US Master Road Nationals TT

"If you're not first, you're last" - Ricky Bobby
“If you’re not first, you’re last” – Ricky Bobby

Last week I made a quick overnight trip to Utah so that I could roll the dice at the USA Cycling Master Road Nationals Time Trial – 34km/21 miles on an out and back course on Antelope Island near Ogden. With Master Track Worlds coming up in October I decided to skip the Road Race and Criterium (crash avoidance!).

The bike completed its journey from DIA to SLC sans any TSA inflicted damage. On Tuesday evening I got in an hour of on the trainer in the hotel and felt great, and followed that up with watching Mission Impossible 5 at a nearby cinema. Having a 3yr old and family living thousand of miles away, going to a cinema has become as rare as an Aurora Borealis sighting in Colorado! I was so excited that I rushed into the cinema, got my ticket, food, and sat down thinking I’d missed the first few minutes of the movie. 10mins later I realized that I had just watched the final 10mins! F**k. I got in some Skype time with the family then went back in to watch MI-5 from the START. The movie was great, as was having an electric reclining chair to slouch into. It was getting late so I bailed out as soon as it got to the point where I knew the ending. It kind of worked out!

Back at the hotel, there was a raging party; however, the music seemed to fade out around 10pm and I actually got in some decent sleep. The next morning I whipped up some oatmeal at 7am, lazed around, rior to leaving the hotel, busted out the 3M #77 and glued on my race number (Not the easiest task, but I got it done and it seemed solid), then drove over to Antelope Island.

I got in my warm up, and still felt pretty good and ready to put in a decent effort. A quick swig of fluids then I rode to the start line 1/4 mile away. Just as I arrived I reached back to feel my number starting to peel off my skinsuit. Fortunately, one of the official was nice enough to source some pins and secure my number. I would later discover that the pin job was not great and I had raced with a flappy number.

The race started off with a climb. Not huge, but it definitely felt like it dragged on for longer than I expected it to. What goes up, must go down, so there was fast decent (close to 50mph) to follow. I got passed by one rider about 3/4 of the way to the turnaround so either they were going to blow up, or I was now 30+sec behind fighting for the top podium spot (assuming said rider was going to win). I passed a couple guys before the turn and we had a bit of back and forth which was kind of irritating, but whatever. After the turn I could see last years 2nd place finisher Jamey Yanik already closing in on me. He started last, 2mins behind me, and seemed to be hauling along at a fast clip. It wasn’t much longer before he passed me. Not that much faster, but fast enough that the different in speed resulted in a substantial time gap by the time we both finished. Yanik destroyed the field and took the win by a large margin (adding to the short track MTB national title he won earlier in the year). Yanik went on to solo his way to the 35-39 road race title 2 days later so was clearly onto some excellent form.

I “ran what I brung”, but that was only good enough for 6th… Not exactly what I was hoping for. I’ve spent about 80% of my training either on the TT bike or track bike (same position) and had expected to go fast, but just didn’t have the watts to seal the deal this year. Comparing my time to other guys that I raced against in Colorado that also competed at nationals, instead of losing a minute to them, I’m now gaining a minute. At least that’s one positive to take away… I’ve improved steadily throughout the year.

Yanik moves to the 40-44 age group for 2016, but it looks like most of the other guys will still be in 35-39 for a few years to come. Depending on the location of master nationals next year, I may have another crack at a title.

Colorado State Track Champs

Individual Pursuit. Ripped my number making a sweet parachute… But not as painful as ripping my skinsuit later in the day after using it ONCE. Ugh.

Last Saturday, the final Colorado State Track Championship events for 2015 were held at the Boulder Valley Velodrome. The velodrome was PACKED… I ended up training in one of the tunnels under the track with a few others, which probably was a good thing as it was bloody hot! I raced in the 4k Individual Pursuit around noon which was a bit of an unknown as I’ve been training for the 3k distance. My heat had me up against Colby Pearce… Goal #1, don’t get caught! I decided to start off conservatively, but in hindsight I started WAY too conservatively as Colby said he almost caught me! I ramped things up from Lap 3 onwards and managed to regain some of the ~7 second deficit to finish in 4:52.30 and Colby rolled a damn fast 4:46.50. Kevin Nicol stormed around to finish in 4:45.29 to take the win ahead of Colby, Ian Holt took 3rd 2sec faster than me (4th) and Steven Herzfeld was 5th.

After the IP, the real endurance event started… The LONG, LONG, LOOOOOONG way for the Team Pursuit. We finally got to race that at about 430pm. There were two teams and we were second off which was nice as we got to watch the first team do their ride. Jeff Anderson, Jeff Wardell, Zach LaBry, and Ian Holt clocked 4:39.20. We (Kevin, Colby, me, and Steve Worley) has gone a bit faster two weeks earlier and I thought we would be shooting for about 4:35. Not a huge ask. We had the same team with the exception of Andrew Kruse vs. Steve Worley. and most of us have ridden a TP together so it was our race to lose. We had a steady start with no hiccups and were quickly doing laps in the mid 16’s. After one of my laps I heard 5-6 (which means 15.6sec) and that hurt me pretty good for the remaining laps. Andrew put in as much as he could before peeling off and letting me, Kevin, and Colby wrap things up. I was pretty fried and with 3 laps to go took a 1/2 lap pull vs. the 1 lap pulls we had been doing. A few more laps of low to mid 16’s and we crossed the line. Between trying to breathe and the noise inside of my aero helmet it was impossible to hear what time we had done. I eventually found out that we had one and done a 4:31.28, beating the other team comfortably. They didn’t have a Co State TP championship in 2014, and I won with some other guys in 2013, so that’s 2 out of 2! Later on Saturday night we realized that we’d beaten the US national record for the 30+ and 35+ team pursuit – records set by some seriously talented riders who have gone on to win master world championship titles etc., (but there’s a catch…):

30+ 4:31.463 Dan Vogt, Curtis Tolson, Kenny Williams, Leif Clarke Colorado Springs, Colo., 8/13/06
35+ 4:35.823 Jason Meidhof, David Bozak, Joshua Frick, Daniel Casper Colorado Springs, Colo., 7/29/12
40+ 4:36.895 Kent Bostick, Richard Meeker, Jeff Fillerup, Larry Nolan Colorado Springs, Colo., 8/13/06
45+ 4:36.849 Curtis Tolson, Kenny Williams, Chris Charlson, Dean Peterson Colorado Springs, Colo., 7/29/12
50+ 4:38.365 Robert Black, Andrew Buck, Scott Butler, Christopher Regan Colorado Springs, Colo., 8/20/09

Information from:

Team Pursuit Podium

The catch is… No one realized we had broken the record(s) until we had already left the track… A requirement of breaking a record is that the bikes used need to meet UCI rules. Only one of our bikes was measured so no record. F***… I’d be lying if I didn’t say I was frustrated. It sucks knowing the ride we put in and that it isn’t officially recognized. No doubt we will take another crack at it when schedules work out… and maybe we’ll break the 4:30 barrier!

Pursuit of fun


Thanks to Boulder Valley Velodrome moving their Saturday Time Trials to mornings from the previous evening schedule, I was finally able to get in a time 3k pursuit effort on the track. I had a stack of 1min intervals to get through on Friday, but reduced the number slightly so that I wasn’t feeling those on Saturday morning. Despite doing less, the legs were still not feeling so chipper 14hrs later. I planned to do 3x 3km efforts on different gears, but those plans changed when I asked Colby Pearce (2x Olympian) if he was game to do a 4k Team Pursuit effort. I figured it would be decent training (race speed for the duration, and race speed and power when I was taking my pulls). First, I did my 3k effort and rode 3:39.32 despite riding a more conservative evenly paced race. Not setting the world of fire, but good enough to chop ~15sec off the 18-39yr old track record. After a few more riders did their distances of choice, I lined up with Colby, Kevin Nicol, and Steve Worley for 4km of fun. Zero practice… Just run what ya brung! Kevin was riding a monster gear of ~104″ and was second man, and that didn’t work out so well at the start, but we got things together quickly and for the most part had a smooth ride. Part way through we lost Steve and were down to 3 men, which made for shorter changes. I underestimated that and was going too far up the track, and getting back on took some leg searing work. The last 2 laps were a bit horrible as I spent them trying to close down a bike length (or more) gap to Colby and Kevin as our finish time would be based of me as the third rider. Ugh. We ended up with a new track record of 4:39.13 which was ~6sec quicker than the previous one. We’re not done yet and plan a few more TP efforts so it will be interesting to see how fast we can go when we’ve got the kinks ironed out. I hadn’t done a TP since winning US Elite Nationals in 2013 and it was fun
 to finally do one again!

KHMTT and Superior-Morgul TT

Photographic evidence that I've actually raced this year!
Photographic evidence that I’ve actually raced this year! Photo by Ryan Muncy.

Despite only racing a few of the events, and having a few blunders along the way, I managed 8th overall out of 25 in the KHMTT series. Not a peak event, so it made for some great training and also provided the opportunity to work out the kinks with my warmup, bike setup, and position.

Superior-Morgul TT

After the KHMTT series, the next race I took a stab at was the TT stage of the Superior-Morgul 3-day. That went mostly well other than missing the first turn and losing a bunch of time. On paper, my result wasn’t that great, but adjusting for the lost time I had potential for a top 20 ride among some of Colorado’s fastest P/1/2 riders. I had my best avg wattage to date for a TT so that was a small victory.

Go hard, turn left…


No, not THAT left, the other left! That pretty much describes how my time trial went last night. After last week’s cluster, I pulled apart the RocketShip, re-cabled the rear brake, added spacers to the front brake (2 brakes are nice to have when needed!), torqued the bars to 5Nm, etc. Took the Elite TurboMuin vs. the rollers so that I’d actually have some resistance to warm up with. I planned out my warmup and printed out the schedule. The bike worked, the warmup went went, and I rolled to the start with 40sec to go. About as perfect as you can get!

One of the lessons learned from last week was to not go too hard in the first 2 mins. As such, I held myself back (and trust me, I bloody hate doing that!) for the first 2 mins before laying down decent watts. No rain/thunderstorm this week, but a bitch of a crosswind was on tap to keep things exciting. I felt like I was passing more riders than the previous week and did my best to sail the bike in the crosswind… Scott Tietzel caught me a bit later this week and didn’t disappear out of sight as quickly this time… Well, at least not until I got directed the wrong way around mile 6. By the time I’d figured out that I was riding back to the parking lot and no longer on course, freewheeled for a bit, then got back on course I’d lost at least 42sec (based on my SRM). I did what I could to get back into the game but in a 10 mile TT, 42sec is a substantial chunk of change to try and recover from. I crossed the finish in 22:06.02 vs last week’s 22:13.3. Had I not added in the detour, 4th place with a low 21 was in the bag. 3rd would have been a stretch, but who knows.

Next time!

US Elite National Champion!

Last weekend I travelled to Los Angeles to compete at the US Elite National Track Championships (Timed) held at the Velo Sports Center in Carson, CA. I had signed up for the 4km Individual Pursuit, the International Omnium, and the 4km Team Pursuit, so in theory I had a ton of racing jammed into 2.5 days of racing!

Photo by Brian Hodes /

Friday Aug 9

The first race of the day was the 4km IP. I did a 4:53.8 here back in 2009 and thought I might be able to get down to a 4:45 thanks to living at altitude since mid-June. That wasn’t the case and I limped around to finish with a 4:59 which was a bit faster than the dismal 5:06 that I rode in Colorado Springs in early July. My time ended up slotting me into 8th place out of 13 starters, one position worst than my 7th place from ’09. Not horrendous, but not flying either.

In the evening I had the flying laps (250m) and clocked 15.714. Again, not great and that put me in 15th out of 18. If I had an aero helmet on that may have gained me a little bit of time but what’s done is done.

The next race of the evening was the 120-lap points race. That went a lot better than the point race I contested in Colorado Springs at the US Grand Prix of Sprinting. I took one of the springs, grabbed points in another, but was a couple laps down and ended up getting pulled somewhere about lap-90. Not great but it was a good speed workout and I felt like I could actually try some moves vs. hanging on for life in COS! Another 15th place. At this point, my Omnium competition was definitely over but based on the less than ideal training and moving house across the country in the past 2-months I probably couldn’t have expected much more.

The final even of the evening was the Elimination race. Despite starting at the back I got myself into what I thought was a safe position and survived 5 laps before getting eliminated. C’est la vie.

Sat Aug 10
I thought that my IP from Fri would could towards the Omnium but I found our on Fri that I would be riding another IP as part of the omnium this morning. I made the decision to only take one race number to the track but found out <10min before my start that two numbers were required. Rookie mistake. I was sent on a wild goose chase by the officials to get a new number but time was fast running out and I decided to pull the plug on my Sat racing and save my legs for Sunday’s Team Pursuit where I had a good chance of winning something.

Sunday Aug 11
After a lot of warming up and sitting around, I got in a short practice run with Liam Donoghue, Stefan Rothe, and Jake Deuhring amongst a traffic-filled velodrome. It got a little nuts with a few riders doing standing starts so we pulled the plug and got off the track while we were all still alive. After sitting through all of the team sprints we finally lined up for the TP. With the other guys doing times in the 4:40’s for their IP’s vs my 4:59, we made the decision that I would take over at the end of the first lap and go as hard as I could for 2-3 laps, pull off, then let the other guys finish up the job. The plan worked perfectly and we ripped around the track to come home with the fastest qualifying ime of 4:30.5! Holy s**t… Fastest IP that I ever did was a 4:41.4 in LA in ’09 so to be part of a team doing a 4:30 was both surprising and cool.

For the final I expected us to maybe go a bit slower as the other guys had raced the pursuit, scratch race, and kilo the previous day /evening. After lots more sitting around and keeping warmed up on the rollers we lined up for the final against Zak Kovalcik, Justin Williams, Al Urbanski, and Colin Gibson. We went with the same plan again with me doing 2-3 of the fastest laps that I could… I got the guys up to 37mph, peeled off and then it was all up to them to seal the deal. Watching the 3 of them ride for the final 3.5mins was nail biting as the splits were very close at the half way point, but in the end my team pulled ahead to finish with a 4:27.973 over the silver medal’s 4:30.283 ride. We went even faster AND were not US Elite National Team Pursuit Champions! Daaaaamn!

Just like Stefan Rothe said, I couldn’t have picked a better group of guys to win my first Elite National Champion title with. Other cool factoids are that Stefan and I both got our US Citizenship last year, and 3 of our team are dual-citizens hence the team name “Three Plus One”. Even better was having my wife and daughter there to see the event unfold and getting to take them up on the podium. Priceless!

US Grand Prix of Sprinting

So… That didn’t quite go so well! Before Friday morning I don’t recall ever doing a flying lap. Nothing quite like doing it for the first time at a UCI race. I managed to not set the world on fire with a 20.195 ride over the 333m lap which works out at a slugging 59-ish kph. I even got chicked by some of the pro women. Oops.

Next race on the schedule was the Points Races. I figured this would go better being more of an endurance event… Not so much. I was a lap down within <20 laps of the 90 lap race, then suddenly there were a couple pistol shots and the race was stopped. No one knew why but we later found out that the UCI realized there was no medical people on site. Oops. So we all sat there for 30mins while the organizers arranged for medical support. They eventually arrived just in time for the hottest part of the day, we resumed racing, and no longer had I started, I was pulled by the UCI official as I was getting lapped again. Damn… Maybe not having my road bike to train on has screwed up my form more than I thought.

In the evening I ventured back to the track for the Elimination Race… At this point I was sitting in last place in the Omnium so I lined up at the back for the race start. Not the best place to be in so as soon as the race started I got my nose to the front of the pack. I managed to stay in for a few laps before being eliminated. I guess it could have been first… At least I wasn’t eliminated on lap 1!

Overall, the first day mostly sucked.

On Day 2 the first even I was going to ride was the Individual Pursuit. I got in a good warmup and was all ready to go, did one last spin around the infield when I got the dreaded psss psss psss sound. Yup, I flatted my rear disc on all the crap on the track infield and apron. Not enough time to borrow a spare wheel from someone so I decided to scratch it and pull the plug on the remaining racing for the weekend. In hindsight that wasn’t an entirely bad decision as the other events got rain delayed until 8pm with racing not concluding until 11pm.

Time to figure out how to re-align my duck before Nationals in LA in 3.5 weeks time!

CO State Track Champs

Warming up for the Team Pursuit. Photo: © Dejan Smaic | 2013

What better way to drop into the local race scene than sign up for the State Track Championships 3 weeks after arriving at altitide! That’s exactly what I did last weekend, racing on the track both days. I wasn’t expecting any spectactular performances as the 10 days leading up to the race were spent trying to get my back to feel like normal while also trying to train at the same time. Nothing worse than being in a conflict between wanting to train hard, but trying to not do any further damage to your back. I think I screwed up my back lifting my daughter into the car. She’s not getting any lighter, and combined with a removable car seat, that’s ~50lbs of awkward weight to deal with. 1 rep of that is nothing, but do it constantly 7 days a week and you’ll get it! The other genius part of the equation was my employer and shipping company delaying shipping my goods (and bikes) so that they could wait until other coworkers stuff was ready to sail across the pacific. Great… So the past three weeks have been spent navigating Denver’s roads on my track bike w/out brakes and trying to get some kind of training effect out of it all. Not ideal!

So excuses aside, the racing went reasonably well… I signed up for the Omnium so I had the Individual Pursuit (4km), Scratch Race, and Kilo on Saturday, then the Team Pursuit and Points Race on Sunday.

Individual Pursuit – I felt OK, but I was also matched up with the rider that ended up winning the IP (and Omnium) and he caught me towards the end. First time I’ve been caught in a pursuit… Ouch. Not wicked fast, but good enough for 4th and less than 1sec out of the medals. In some ways, I’m happy with 4th vs. getting the chocolate medal, but it would still have been nice to been in the 4:40’s and not a 5:06ish.

Scratch Race – This started off reasonably OK, then later in the race I thought I saw 13 laps to go on the lap board, but after a group had accelerated ahead I realized it was 3 to go and the game was over. Dumb mistake, but better to make it at a non important event than something like nationals! I think I got 6th.

Kilo – It went about as good as a Kilo can go. It hurt for all 1 min 13seconds which was good enough for 4th and a hair outside of the medals again.

After a 70 mile drive north back to home in Denver, a 9hr nap in my own bed, then a 70 mile drive back south to Colorado Springs, it was time to try and redeem something from the weekend!

Team Pursuit – I raced with the winner of the previous days IP (Jacob Deuhring), Steven Herzfeld, and Greg Auld, we combined out efforts to come away with the Gold medal with a 4:44 ride. Not wicked fast but fast enough to get the job done over some faster older geezers from Boulder that included a couple master world champs.

Point Race – The final race of the weekend and I had a plan of action. Nothing to lose so I might as well go for it! I crossed the line 5th at the 5 lap sprint, then took a flier on lap 8 and stayed away to take max points on lap 10. I sat up to be absorbed by the group, but things went from good to bad when I got blocked in and ridden down onto the Cote d’Azur while a strong group of guys sped off never to be seen again. I stuck it out and finished in 4th again, slightly irritated at what could have been a better ride. C’est la vie.

Overall it was a fun wekeend of racing, the Colorado track crowd are really cool, I get to be 1/4 CO State Champ, and got some cool photos out of it too. Roll on this Friday/Saturday’s US Grand Prix of Sprinting! Ouch.

Team Time Trial

Post race chat with Kevin Kawainui (BME Racing) and Mark McClay (Hickam Area Cycling Club).
Photo by: Sau Hsu.

This morning I raced a 40k Team Time Trial with one team made and a couple friends. I haven’t had luck sourcing a 1″ fork for my TT bike so I ended up using my TK2 track bike with 53 x 14 (Fixed).

We hadn’t practiced together as a team, but three of us have raced a few TTT’s before so we just picked a rider order, agreed on rotation direction, and went for it.  We were the first team off… Dry roads and minimal wind (rare!). We were working together really well then at about half way to the turnaround it started raining. I survived the turnaround and it looked like we had a good gap over the team that started behind us. As we were going through Punalu’u, I was riding on the front and a silver truck pulled out right in front of us then proceeded to cruise along well below the speed limit and about 10mph slower than we were travelling. We slowed down, then the driver slowed down some more, so we went to go around the guy. Next thing, the driver speeds up a little, and I tried to gesture him to accelerate and get out of our way. He then decided to hit the brakes right in front of us almost causing a crash. Eventually he drove off, but the damage had been done… We must have lost at least 10sec, but probably more. We got back down to business and did what we could to the finish and crossed the line in 53:43 based on the officials watch. We were beaten by BOCA by 2 seconds.

Prior to starting the TTT my aerobars felt solid, but a mixture of road vibrations, wet weather, and my death grip resulted in the left extension rotating 45deg and the right one creeping forward almost coming out of the clamp holding it in place. Trying to wiggle / slide it back in while riding a track bike in the rain with 3 guys makes for some exciting and nerve-racking times. Fortunately I kept the extension in there until the finish.

Moral of the story? If you see a silver truck on O’ahu with the license place RGD 814, please feel free to do whatever you see fit. The driver really doesn’t give a shit about cyclists. I brought up the incident to a cop at the race but he didn’t seem to care either… Probably too much to expect him to write a report and follow up with the driver.