Saturday, December 24, 2011

ANOTHER Year in Review?!?!

As I sit here on Christmas Eve in front of the fire with the whole house asleep, I think about how slow I was on today's two hour jaunt in 36 degree weather. Ah, to go back to those days in July... Alas, I am thinking back to some of my favorite things in 2011, my first with BBVP...

Seguin's voice in my head saying, "DON'T LOSE THAT WHEEL!" as I begin the last three laps of any crit.

Michigan Mike kicking @$$ this year on a borrowed bike.

The beautiful paint schemes on Rich's bikes.

Tom's meticulous record keeping and laid-back demeanor.

The Frankfort Flash joining up with us for 2012.

The two Pauls' undying support.

Bob's dedication to the team to make 2012 the best year for BBVP.

Getting killed in the A Races at Matteson, but the fact that I am now racing the A Races.

Tony always attacking second on the climbs on the Saturday rides.

Me actually thinking I can attack Tony first and keep away.

BBVP organizing and controlling SuperWeek races better than the "big" teams.

Crashing at Sherman Park, but not breaking my collar bone (like the guy I hit who went down in front of me).

Knowing that the guys on BBVP will still be my peeps after I get rid of my racing bug.

Happy New Year, and good luck to all in 2012!!!


Friday, December 9, 2011

Recommended Read: My Racing Thoughts

My Racing Thoughts: End of the Line: Edmond White took at Montrose Harbor on Sunday that sums up my day pretty well. I am the faceless, nameless, numberless body. I am the r...

Monday, December 5, 2011

Montrose Harbor: CX Illinois State Championship

Another great turnout for the final weekend of the ChiCrossCup at Montrose Harbor! A near capacity field of just under 100 4A riders lined up for the challenging course that had a little bit of everything... hills, technical sections, long straight-aways, and of course lots of sand and mud! Just as I have been gaining confidence and was ready for a great finish to end the year, I was humbled by the course and finished a disappointing 30th.

A few small things really got me out of rhythm, coupled with some strategic errors and a little bad luck reminded me quickly that I am still new to the sport. Between the mud and sand packing into my cleats, I had all kinds of problems clipping into my pedals after each remount. This problem got in my head as all I could think of was having to ride this way, rather than keeping focus on the race at hand. It took a while before I figured out an effective way to rap my shoes on the pedals, clearing just enough debris to clip in. Also on the first couple laps I attempted to ride sections that were simply beyond my abilities and lost positions to others that took a more conservative approach by running through the same sections. Over the middle of the race I was able to pick up a number of spots and was closing in on a top-20 finish. With about 1/2 lap to go I dropped the chain and lost close to 10 positions while trying to get it back on.

Whew! What a race! After having sometime to reflect, I am confident most of the errors and misfortune can be overcome with more experience. Although this is the race we would like to have our best performance, and I am disappointed with my finish, I can use it to measure where I am and where I need to be to compete with the riders on the front line. I am confident with an off-season of quality training, another year of experience, some CX-specific training, and learning from other more experienced riders on the team that expectations for next season will be high! I know I have a lot to learn, but that also means I have a lot of room for improvement! I'm exciting already for next season!


Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Race Report: KissCross, Holland, MI

Thanksgiving tradition for many Michiganders, like myself, begins with watching the Lions lose, followed by eating way too much, freezing in the woods waiting for that trophy buck, and getting a Christmas tree. This year may have started another Thanksgiving weekend tradition... Cyclocross!

Michigan has a decent cx series dubbed Kiss Cross, and their finale was held this past weekend in Holland, MI. Cross weather finally arrived, about a day too soon, for fair weather fans like myself. I was actually getting used to the 60-degree weekend weather we've seen so far in October and November. I was hoping for a couple of more unseasonably warm weekends to end the season. Welcome to cross weather! Rain! Mud! Wind! Mud! Cold! Mud!... and more Mud!

Fortunately, the entire course was not a quicksand-type terrain. Unfortunately, however, these sections consisted of running up stairs...

I started and finished in nearly the same spot, coming in 12th/51. Not a lot of passing going on. I was passed by someone trudging through the muddiest spot, while I was actually riding it. Maybe he had the better strategy...

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug

Even though the November weather and true cx conditions finally showed up, and I actually had to race in long sleeves, I still managed to have a ton of fun. Looking forward to Montrose this weekend and hopefully one last bit of pre-cx-season weather...


Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Breaking! News: Back Racing Cx!

Lots of fun this weekend at Indian Lakes Resort for the CCC race!!! Capt. Tony was there both days as well representing BBVP. Tony and I took turns yelling, cheering, and jeering for each other during our races. The encouragement helped me to keep focus and keep pressing. That's what the team is all about! Thanks Tony!

Fortunately I was able to start racing again this season, although cautiously, after having a surgically repaired clavicle. Witnessing Rich's break didn't help the psyche either. I was eagerly anticipating racing again, but in the first few races I couldn't help but sit at the back (almost literally) until the pack thinned out before making any moves to pass. I was overly cautious not to spill again and get re-injured.

A certain amount of aggression and fearlessness is necessary for success in racing, yet I was easily giving positions away to stay upright. Little-by-little, after a few more races, my confidence has come back and this weekend I was going to do my best to suppress any anxiety about wrecking and race aggressively from the whistle. Although I still lost positions at the start both days, I held on, battled, and settled in the top third instead of near the back. Once the field was thinned-out, I was able to pick up several more spots both days and finished 13th and 16th out of 80+ respectively for the weekend. Although still no where near the podium, those finishes feel a lot better than the feelings from a month ago in Carpentersville sitting in 84th place ahead of only one rider on the first lap.
Maybe the best thing that happened this weekend was wiping out... Yes, wiping out can be a good thing! I took a turn too hot and lost it, spilling onto my "injured" side. I had done what I was fearing! Another trip to the emergency room? Surgery? Time off the bike? Again?!? I got up, after losing a position of course, got back on and finished. Shoulder in tact. Only a small scrape and bruise on the knee. It's good to be back!


Thursday, November 10, 2011

BBVP Happenings

First off I wanted to thank everyone that came out and raced in the Day Ryan Woods, were hoping that all of you had a good time. We are already looking forward to putting on next year’s race, with some slight changes to the course. To hopefully add some more challenges to test your Cyclocross racing skills.

Just to bring everyone up to speed From the BBVP Team. We have started to put together next year’s team roster. We are hoping to have 4 riders racing in the Cat/123 & Masters 123 races, along with our newer riders in the Cat 4/5. Last year we demonstrated that we have the ability to race well on all levels of the local race seen. So the plan is to capitalize on our achievements, and raise the bar for next year.

We will be having our next team meeting on December 2nd, if you are interested in the team come on out and see what’s going on. The meeting will be at 6pm at the Beverly Bike Shop.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

"Off" Season?!?!

Well, as I write this, I am enjoying (believe it or not) NOT doing CX workouts in Dan Ryan Woods. I just completed my longest run in about three years yesterday (8.1 miles near Swallow Cliff). AND the assorted mix of seasonal harvest ales never tasted so good at the side of a fire in 58 degree weather. But, alas, I do miss my bike. There really is no off season when you ride for the blue flash that is Beverly Bike/Vee-Pak.

By this time years past, I was happy to ditch the 23c wheels for watching Sox games, running a few days here and there after school, and chasing my dog for a bath after she was sprayed by a skunk. But, and I hate to admit it after riding almost seven days a week from December 'til mid July: I do miss my bike.

Especially now that the leaves are falling on the ground and your wheels make that trademarked CRUNCH sound that almost resembles a big wheel of years ago. Especially now that the wind is really ramping up, and I do enjoy a tailwind almost as much as a headwind. Especially now that I can get on the saddle and hammer out as many miles as I want without feeling too sore the following day. Especially now that one of the most anticipated times of the year is upon us (or so I'm told): Cyclocross season! Especially now that "wind chill" is more often thought of than "heat index." Especially now that it doesn't seem like a job.

Yeah, riding so much and racing so much can get a podium dreamer toasted more than a broken broiler (or something like that). But what I think I'm trying to say is that while I do miss throwing my right leg over the top tube, I do miss riding with the Wackos of Western that make up the BBVP team. The best I can do at this point induce temporary hearing loss with a cowbell at the weekend CX races so my teammates know how much I appreciate their efforts this late in season, and how thrilled I am that it's not me suffering through a sand volleyball pit, 23% inclines, mud puddles, etc... Enjoy this time of year, boys, until the next "off" season!


Monday, July 11, 2011

SuperWeek Day 2. Homewood Masters 4/5

This one goes out to Pat and Ron. I will post a report latter

Super Week, Day 1 Geneva Master’s 4/5

The race didn’t start the way I was hoping it would have, I was lined up in the back dead last. I knew that passing was going to be hard. The course was tight for the last 3rd of the lap do to the 4 turns, so there would be no way to pass without taking risks in that section.  You would have to do it on the false flat after turn 1 or on the back side after turn 2.  Well it took 6 laps for me to work my way to the front, and usually I would be gassed by this time from all the work I just did. Today was different I felt really good so I went to the front and started doing a lot of work. I kept taking long pulls along with Patrick Meyer Nick Venice and Arron Hampton. We kept this up for the next 10 laps. Now were sitting with 5 to go when Sully comes up next to me and tells me I’m doing too much work, I gave him the OK and he drifted back a few places in the pack. Now was the time to just sit in, we had covered all the brakes and I’m sitting 2nd or 3rd wheel. That’s when there was a big attack. With one rider 5seconds ahead, Pat comes to the front and just drills it with 3 laps to go. Pat was racing like a madman chasing down the single rider and dropping me off with one lap to go sitting second wheel behind Patrick Meyer. Patrick had no choice but to keep pushing or the pack would have engulfed us. If we could make it to the last 3rd of the lap I knew I had a chance. We made into the tight section with me still holding 2nd, Now it was time to look for the big move, or come out of the last turn and just give everything that I had. We came in and all I saw was daylight, so I just pushed on the peddles as hard as I could. I was in shock when the line was coming and no one was passing me. I raised my arms up and let out a yell. Sorry for that, but it’s been a hard year for me and I have worked so hard, Spending a lot of time away from the family training. Thank you Charleen and Amber.  

I owe this win to Pat Sullivan, for giving up his chance at a really good finish, so I could have a chance for the win.

Bob Murray   

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Downtown South Bend Criterium

The day after Glencoe I decided to head out to South Bend for some crit racing.  The field wasn't huge but was respectable sized.  Lots of Cat 3s, which is tough because most all of them had already raced the 3/4 race earlier.  My collegiate teammate Doug "Duggles" Ansel almost took that one, but got second out of the break.  Congrats to him on a good effort.

Our race started with a few break attempts.  I was in a frustrating position: I knew I was strong enough that I should have made the break, but only strong enough to go with half the serious moves.  So I missed the five man winning break, which was a bummer.

Back in the main field, guys were hurting big time.  They were letting stuff go off the front like it was nothing.  At one point three guys went, and then a fourth, fifth and sixth guy bridged like it was nothing and nobody reacted.  The "break" grew to ten guys.  It really ticked me off, so I decided to play sweeper and clean up the mess.  My other collegiate teammate, Matt, was about to bridge as well.  I turned to him and said, "no man, just sit on.  I'm sick of this crap."  I hit the front and pulled back all fifteen seconds from the ten man break.

The winning five man break lapped us.  I hopped on as they came by, and the field realized they could too.  Three guys from the break attacked.  Brandon Feeherty, who was in the break, asked if I wanted to try to bridge to the three guys and if I'd help him.  I told him yes, so we went.  A third guy grabbed our wheels.  I pulled at a pretty unsustainable pace for the first three laps to get Brandon up there but couldn't help him get there.  We had like 12 laps to go, and it was pretty obvious we'd make it the whole way since the field was toasted.  Brandon pulled the last lap and really helped me stay with the break toward the end, which was nice of him, but I still couldn't win the sprint.  I thought we were sprinting for 6th buy apparently some other group got off the front that I didn't know about so I only got 13th.

Glencoe NRC

It didn't go well.

Thanks for reading

Brian Boyle

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Cobb Park 123s

Small field at the race yesterday; only 15 guys.  That's a shame since its a good, well-run race put on by the South Chicago Wheelmen.  A few moves went early but Tony and I stayed on top of them.  Eventually a serious break with a Wheelman and a XXX guy got about 15 seconds.  I had to start taking pulls.  As we got closer, tony bridged and the Wheelman got dropped.  Eventually Tony dropped off too, so I hit the front to kill the move. 

After that the race was winding down and the Weelmen started sending guys off the front.  Their strong juniors made good moves.  With 4 laps left one of them got a big gap.  I rode tempo to keep him in sight, but I thought he would make it.

With 2 to go I saw the lap counter flipped to "1" early.  I got the sense that the two guys in front of me didn't realize it and thought it was the last lap.  Sure enough, I followed their wheels as they sprinted a lap early.  I looked back and had a substantial gap just like I hoped.  I measured my effort since I knew I was likely to get the win if I could last.  I caught the wheelmen kid with a half lap left.  I eased up since I wanted him to grab my wheel so his team would sit up.  Unfortunately he couldn't hold it.  I was committed at this point.  I still had a healthy gap out of the last corner, but jim flora from the wheelmen caught me with 200 meters left and took the win.  Several people rode his slipstream to pass me in the last 50 meters.  Anyway, it didn't work out but I played my cards well.  You have to risk losing to win, and that's what I did. 

Thanks to the wheelmen for putting on a great race again.  Hopefully there will be more riders next year!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Brian Boyle Racing at the ToG Crit

Photo By: Eric Goodwin

First Race Experience: Tour of Galena

Since this was my first race I really didn’t know what to expect. I wanted to gain experience and to see where I stack up against other competitors. My only two goals were to 1) not crash, and 2) have fun…

Time Trial: Although I had never been in a time trial before, I was comfortable with the race because of my experience in triathlon. The short-course was constant rolling hills, but nothing too steep. I tried to press hard uphill and recovered on the decent. I passed the rider who started a minute ahead so I knew that I probably had a good time going. I finished the 3.6 miles in 7:31, which was the fastest Cat-5 time. Good start to the weekend.

Road Race: I heard it was hilly in Galina. I guess “hilly” is relative. The time trial short-course wasn’t bad and the crit course was flat. How bad could the road course be?* Well, about half way down the first decent I told myself this would be my last road race. I had a death grip on the handle bars and was shaking so bad I was having trouble keeping smooth. I was scared. I liked the climbs a lot better. Although they hurt, I was not afraid of dying while going up. I could tell right away the uphill sections were where riders would be dropped. About half way through the course I was in third position, on the wheels of the eventual 1st and 2nd place finishers. This is where the steep decent/sharp turn/railroad-to-hell-crossing incident took place. When I flew off the road I was just glad that I didn’t crash. I scrambled to get back on the road, clip in, and catch the front again. When I pressed down nothing happened. That’s when I looked down to see the chain was off. I dismounted again, and fought against my trembling hands to put the chain back on. When I restarted the group in front was nearly cresting the next climb and I knew I was probably done. I was told that the top two riders finished together, then a small gap, then 3 more, then another gap to the rest of the field which was strung out. I was able to chase down everyone else, to finish 6th in a field of 40+.

* On Sunday I talked to one of the race organizers about the road course. He said it was probably the most difficult road course in Illinois. Bob, Brian, and Paul would probably have a better idea…

Crit: The crit course had two long straight aways, one easy, wide turn, and one tight, narrow turn. At the start of the race I went to the back of the field for about 5 laps, until the lead pack started to separate. I passed guys that were dropping to stay on the heels of the lead pack. With about 5 laps to go I wanted to see if I could get to the front. I was able to pretty easily and led for one lap before attempting to settling back in. This is where my inexperience hurt. As I gave up the lead I could not get back in line and ended near the back of the pack again. I was able to out-sprint most of the field down the stretch to finish 4th, but I put myself in such a bad position there was no way I could get to the front.

Overall this was a great first race experience. The long team rides and talking to some of the more experienced riders on the team helped tremendously. Looking forward to the next race!!!


Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Spring Prairie P/1/2

Like Sully said in his post about the race, this was a 6.5 mile course with a few climbs in it.  We had to do ten laps, a mercifully short race of 65 miles.  We had to go up the 18% climb eleven times if you count the neutral lap.  My number one priority was finishing with a respectable group. I'd felt pretty crappy racing for a few weeks and just pulled out of it this week.

It was way hotter once the race got going than I thought it would be.  I knew I'd made a huge mistake bringing only two bottles.  The first lap I stayed toward the back up the climb, which was no problem.  The second lap guys started to gap, but it easily came back together.  The third lap I got caught behind a pretty substantial split and I had to shut it down myself.  For the rest of the race I entered and exited the climb in the top ten to avoid that crap.

A handful of guys got a small gap when apathy set in among the main field.  After one time up the hill, maybe the seventh or so, I actually had to do some work at the front because nobody else would.  Nick Ramirez from Illinois made a great move then to bridge.  I'd have gone with him but I was really worried I'd crack with dehydration setting in.  On lap seven I took a bottle from a stranger in the feed zone.  I drank it and tossed it back on the next lap with a "thank you."  That bottle saved me.

On the last lap I ruled out attacking since I'd been one of the stronger guys on the climb.  But I ended up cramping up pretty bad on the final climb.  I started catching guys at the end but finished at the back of the group I thought I could win and got 25th.  Overall I was only doing this for training and I guess it worked.

Monday, June 6, 2011

I Thought Fox River Grove Was No Fun...

First of all, congrats to Bob and his ability to come back from the "Crab Cake" incident. I'm sure that Indy State Championship is not far off. I, on the other hand, was at Spring Prairie this past Sunday. Treat these next few paragraphs like an accident on the Dan Ryan: you don't really wanna look, but it's quick and it makes you feel better about yourself.

After a neutral start up the daunting 18% climb, we, the 4/5s that aren't from Packerville, began our first of six laps on the six mile or so course on country roads. While I was beyond joyous about staying in the top eight to ten on said lap numero uno, I was passed by about 80% of the field on the first "official" climb on the 18%er. "I know I can, I know I can" just wasn't enough to get me to stay on the back.

After a few more rollers, one at 8% and another around 10%, I honestly considered sitting up. But why did I drive 100 miles? Why did I pay my own money for the race AND gas to get there? Why have I spent almost seven days a week training? To quit? It sucked, but I chased down a few guys and started to work with them. When our pack grew to seven, I corraled them all to take short pulls (20-30 seconds) in order to keep the confidence. After sweeping up a couple more riders on lap three, we all eventually rushed up the finishing hill like we were in the main pack.

Now, I would LOVE to end this with a tale of my first top ten finish, or how I flatted and still got a PR; but what was most satisfying was getting back to my car and seeing some riders from other teams. When I asked them how they did, a few of them answered that they had dropped out. DNF. Wow. All that time, effort, and money to get a DNF. Yeah, it sucked, but I am proud to say that I finished, no matter how far down the list. A moral victory? Nah, just a love/hate relationship with this biking hobby.


Sunday, June 5, 2011

Eagle Creek Crit Cat 4/5

I went down to Indianapolis this weekend to race what looked to be a good race.  I was right, it was a well run race put on by a group called Planet Adventure, It was held in Eagle Creek State Park. They were well organized and prompt. This race will be on the calendar for next year.

Now to the race, I arrived early enough to get warmed up and not be rushed. All is going well, the officials tell us to take a warm up lap and then line up. I get a good spot on the line when I remember that I forgot to put on my timing chip, big mistake. I bolt off and get it on as quick as I can, but now I’m sitting on the last row.  Ok, that’s cool I just have to work my way up in the field. This is my last test to check my fitness after the surgery, so I figure no it’s big deal. We start off as usual the field hammers it for the first 3 laps then shuts it down. By this time I have worked my way to the front so I decide to take a flier.  I stay off the front for a lap before the pack pulls me back. I did this like 5 times in the 1 hour race. On one of the fliers I thought the pack was going to let me go, but they dragged me back after a few laps. That’s when I heard over the PA, 5 laps to go. I decide to sit in and gain my composure to get ready to sprint. On the last lap I was sitting around 10th, mistake number 2. I need to stay in the top 5.  Anyway the acceleration came and I was boxed in.  I had to come all the way around the other side of the field to get 6th place.  All in all it was a good day. The legs and lungs are working fine, plus no pain from the surgery area. Now I just need to race smart save my energy and be sitting in the top 3-5 going into the sprint. If I can do that I have a good chance to pull one off for the team.

Bob Murray

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Quad Cities Criterium Cat 1/2

This crit is a fast, eight corner flat downtown race with a great atmosphere.  I decided to make the three hour drive out to Rock Island, Illinois.  I did some longer rides with teammates the previous few days so I wasn't the freshest.  When I got there I remembered they staged the start by race number.  I was number 110, so I was starting in the back.  I'm guessing there was a field of around 120 guys.  I've been doing this awhile though, so during all the pre-race call ups and movement to make way for the guys coming through I was able to sneak up to the middle.  

The pace was pretty fast from the beginning.  I wanted to make my way up to the front, but so did everyone else.  It took me like five laps to get up there, but by then a few groups had gotten off the front.  I'm not capable of being in an hour and a half long breakaway anyway, so I knew it was time to sit on.  Sometimes you have to take the risk that the race will go up the road, and this time it did.

One guy who I guess won the day before managed to attack one of the breaks and he lapped the field.  When I saw his teammate bring him by me I knew they were going to the front to drill it, so I moved up again.  His teammates seemed to be driving it pretty hard, but in a field that big it's easy to sit in so I couldn't really tell how fast we were going.

At the end, a few attacks went away from our group, which I think was the main field.  I was sort of baffled when guys weren't grabbing those wheels, but then again I didn't either so I can't really say anything.  And most of those guys raced the previous few days.  Apparently there was a separation somewhere behind me so our group wasn't that big.  The announcer said that our group still had some money spots available, so I stayed toward the front and sprinted for fifth or so in the group.  It was only good for 46th place though, which was a surprise to me since I didn't think there were more than 18 or so guys left up the road.  Well, I guess that's what happens when the field is so big that you can't see the front of it from anywhere on the course.  It was a hot day, a fast race, with plenty of corners, and I was never in any difficulty.  That's good because I haven't felt too good on the bike the last few weeks.  Hopefully I'm coming out of it.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Serfas Sunglasses 2011 BBVP Sponsor

2011 Sponsor Serfas


I want to take this opportunity to announce another great sponsor for 2011. Of course no one can top our team sponsors Beverly Bike and Ski and Vee Pak, Inc. . Serfas optics has decided to sponsor us. The team has had the pleasure of using these great glasses in 2009. They are top quality at a very affordable price. How many times have you thrown down $100 for a set of Oakley’s or Rudy Project’s and just lose them at race or crashed and totally destroyed them. Well for less than half the price you can have the same quality and a company that backs their product.
Last year, Tony was at race and crashed go figure, right? Anyway, of course he doesn’t break any bones but the glasses didn’t make it. He asked me about it and I told him you’re SOL. I also told him check with the bike shop. The shop called Serfas direct and they said they would cover it. That’s pretty good of Serfas to back their product. We made the right choice and BB/VP is sticking with Serfas for the 2011 race season. Give them a try you won’t be disappointed!!!

These are the glasses I have.

(picture upper right)
(H.O.T.) Helmet Optimized Temples reduce Helmet interference

Each Model comes with 4 sets of Interchangeable Lenses

Infinite bend temples to customize fit

Extra nose pads included

Furnished with EVA hard case and micro fiber bag

RX compatible clip in frame included

(pictured top left)
Each Model Comes With 4 Sets of Interchangeable Lenses

(H.O.T.)Helmet Optimized Temples Reduce Helmet Interference

TR-90- Frame Construction For Extreme Durability

Decentered Polycarbonate Lens Technology

Soft Elastomer Nose Pads and Temple Inserts

Metal Side Panels

Designed for Smaller Faces

Separate Polorized and Photochromic Lenses Available
Serfas sunglasses

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Monsters of the Midway 1-2-3 Race

I rolled out of bed at like 11:30 in South Bend, packed up my stuff for the summer and drove straight to U of Chicago for the Monster's race.  It was 75 and sunny when I left Indiana, and it was 40 and raining when I got to U of C.  The field was way smaller than last year.  I think last year we had like 70 guys in this there were only 25.  I suspect a lot of people got scared off by the weather.  Too bad, since the organizers did a great job putting this thing together.

A few moves tried to go early.  I chased a little bit here and there.  The main move got away like 20 minutes into the race.  Guys were sitting up and letting bridge attempts go at will.  I hit the front and cleaned up all the chase moves so it was just a 4 man break.  One guy crashed or flatted, so it was down to three.  Even though they ended up getting 30 seconds on us, I knew there was a chance we'd get them if they slowed down too much at the end.  My teammate Tony took a few pulls, and did a great job hanging in there even though he already raced.  With 15 to go, Chris Padfield hit the front and did a great job...he pulled for over ten laps and shelled a bunch of guys from the chase group.  With one to go he was still pulling.  I was sort of getting complacent on his wheel though, since two guys attacked with 400 meters to go and got a small gap.  I decided to try and jump onto the group.  That took a lot out of me and so I had to settle for seventh.  We caught the break on the line.

Tomorrow is Fox River Grove, a race VERY ill suited to me.  But it's important to get out of your comfort zone and do a race where you know you'll get your butt kicked.  It builds character, it's good for fitness, and its kind of fun to do something other than a normal flat crit.  So I'm looking forward to it, even though I guarantee I'll embarrass myself.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

I Love Goshen Twilight Crit

Friday I raced in Goshen, Indiana.  The atmosphere was awesome.  The town has a festival the first Friday of every month.  Local businesses set up shop outside and thousands of people show up.  The 1/2/3 race started at 8 pm, so it was a twilight crit.  The course was four corners, very safe, wide open, and fast.  I stayed up front through the start since many of the riders had raced earlier in the 3s and were opening up gaps.

As you'd expect, attacks flew off the front.  About 15 minutes in I started to go with them since I sensed that one would stick.  After one group got a solid gap, I counterattacked immediately.  Unfortunately I was pulled back right away, and the guys that countered THAT one stuck.  They built a solid gap of 10 to 15 seconds.

I thought it was over but around the halfway mark a guy tried to bridge so I grabbed his wheel.  He did a great job pulling for two straightaways, but when it was my turn to pull through I gapped him and accidentally lost him.  I kept going, and gave it my all.  I closed the gap to within ten yards.  I was about to catch them around the second corner, so I blasted through the turn as fast as I could.  Unfortunately, at this point I was completely cross-eyed, and I forgot there was a sewer cap in the apex of the turn.  For some reason I swerved inside to avoid it, which turned out to be a sidewalk.  I was going way too fast to bring it back under control, and I shot off the course onto somebody's lawn.  I took my free lap and hopped back in.  I sincerely hope that was the stupidest thing I did all day since I took a final exam earlier...and if I did anything dumber on that test I probably failed out of school.

I did plenty of pulling since I'd given up trying to bridge at that point.  A few late attacks went and I followed, but I ended up in the field sprint.  The race wasn't really fast enough to fight for position with three to go, so I waited until the last lap to move up.  I ended up somewhere in the top ten in the sprint.  Frustrating race for me, compounded by my own errors.  At least my legs are starting to come around.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Second Annual Team Camp in Carbondale

When I heard about BBVP's annual trip (OK, so it was ONLY the second year) to sunny Carbondale, Illinois, I jumped at the chance. And since it just ended mere hours ago as I write this, it did have its ups (Duuude...) and downs (DUDE!):

Duuude...: I got to drive down with the soon-to-be 2011 Indiana State Champion!
DUDE!: I didn't think he would appreciate Slayer, so I kept the tunes to Van Halen and Social Distortion.

Duuude...: The house/cabin/cottage, whatever ya wanna call it, was amazing. Enough mattresses for all nine of us and a large TV for the NCAA tournament games.
DUDE!: Thanks for the fresh air, Brian, but the 29 degree weather pouring from the window was a bit too much for my sleeping bag.

Duuude...: Jimmy H. setting up the nutrition for the first riding day and Corey the Eagle scouting the roads in and around the Shawnee National Forest.
DUDE!: Cloudy, 40 degrees, and The Wall in Makanda.

Duuude...: The guys let me stop at the liquor store for refreshments for the evening.
DUDE!: The map watching on various smartphones told us that Friday's riding was in jeopardy.

Duuude...: Said beverages helped me sleep.
DUDE!: The weekend was cancelled because of the snow, ice, wind, falling temps, and we all left on Friday.

Duuude...: Got to join members of the CFD team, Tony, and Bob for a spirited ride Sunday morning.
DUDE!: Have to wait 361 days for next year's camp. Tom, my check is in the mail.

Yeah, a bummer when you look at it on the surface; but for this BBVP member the conversation, laughs, burning legs, reruns of Seinfeld and NCAA basketball rules that I had to explain to Corey the Eagle, invaluable riding/eating tips, and team comeraderie is something that will elicit a "Duuude..." from me whenever I look back at it. Thanks, team!


Thursday, March 10, 2011

Learning to like the trainer

Textbooks are the perfect size to support your front wheel.  Plus the sweat stains are a great way to intimidate other students.
This is the first time I've both tried to train in the off season and been in a cold environment.  I decided some time ago that once the temperature drops to a certain point I'd rather be bored than frozen, so I ride inside.  It's been below that point since December.  Thus, I've only actually ridden my bike outside twice since Elvis Cross on October 15.  I've been on the trainer five days a week, however, since early January.  With so much time inside, it really shocks the system to get out on the roads.  Outside there are countless small efforts, like accelerating from stop signs, that cause me to put a lot more force on the pedals than I'm used to.  But in my experience, those punchy efforts come back pretty easily, usually in just a few rides.

I've done a few things that have helped me break up the monotony on the trainer.  I've focused more on interval training, without building up much of a "base" of long, slow distance miles like I used to do.  I also use a power meter, so I can see where my numbers are compared to the previous week.  It only took me three weeks of training to surpass my numbers from last year...which says more about bad I was last year than how good I am this year.  Most important, however, has been streaming media content online.  The only truly boring part of riding inside is when you're between intervals or warming up.  The Daily Show and Colbert Report, which are free online, are my go-to distractions.  They're usually 20 minutes long or so, which is perfect for a warm up.

One redeeming attribute of the trainer is that it allows you to push yourself to the point of being completely cross-eyed and drooling on yourself without risking an accident on the roads.  To put out that sort of effort outside simply isn't safe.  I'm not necessarily into pushing it that hard this early, but it does give you something to break up your ride.

I'll end with two trainer movie recommendations: Hoop Dreams and More than a Game.  Both are documentaries about basketball.  They've got all the necessary parts to good sports movies, existential "why we do it" type of stuff, reliving the glory days, and over-invested parents and fans.  Both movies keep you on the edge of your seat.  Even though I don't follow pro basketball, or like it that much, it's nice to branch out to other sports and see that no matter how different the game, so much remains the same.

-Brian B

Sunday, March 6, 2011

A must read for the new cat 5.

Yesterday, I logged onto a good friends blog, As The Crank Turns. He had a post that is a must read for all cat 4/5 riders. As a matter of fact it's a post that anyone that races or rides in large groups should read. If we all follow his advice, racing would be that much safer and fun to participate in.


Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Bring On the Spring

The beginning of the 2011 season is knocking on the door with a hammer. The season starts off with the wheelmen hosting a race at the autobahn in Joliet. I did this race last year, and it was one of my favorites. The week continues with the Gapers Block Crit series, hosted by Half Acer. The racing will consist of 2 cat 4/5 races and 1 women’s race. The fields for all 3 races always have a good turn out. To finish the week off we have the 4th annual Burnham Racing – Spring Super Criterium. Not bad to start off the season. That’s just a warm up for Hillsboro Road Race the folling weekend.

The team plans on having riders at Joliet and the first 2 nights of the gapers block races. Then it’s off to 5 days of training in Southern Illinois. We had a training camp last year around the same time and it was a blast. I personally suffered due to the fact that I weighed too much, so going up hills sucked but I rocked on the down hills.

I want to take the time to welcome our new sponsors along with our always faithful title sponsors of Beverly Bike and VeePak. This year we added on Easton and PowerBar as sponsors. Giant and Serfas also have been with us since last year. Latter in the season we will be putting together reviews of all the equipment that we have. I hope that you read about all the equipment. And if you like what read then come on down to Beverly Bike and talk to Paul or Mike. I’m sure they can help you out from sales to service.