Keep those pedals spinning,
The Philly Phlyer circuit race marked the official start of the year for the Kelly Benefit Strategies Elite Team this past weekend, March 21st. A Team Time Trial in the morning began the festivities on a cold morning with snow lying around the entire course. Our main team was built around the four guys that will make up our team at TTT Nationals in April. The remaining 6 riders were split evenly between two teams. It was my first TTT and I had a great time working as a team over the 20K course. The race itself was uneventful and left our nationals TTT team with the victory and the remaining teams rounding out the top five in 3rd and 4th.
With the circuit race not until 3:00 in the afternoon we went back to the house grabbed some food and relaxed before heading back over to the course. Fielding a full team meant we wanted to control the race early on and see if we couldn't get numbers in a break. After a hard first lap we were able to get 3 up the road in a group of 6. From there the remaining members controlled the race. For the next 4 laps of the 7 lap race I sat back and watched my teammates completely shut down every move and ensure the break stayed away. There were times where I lacked faith but each time they would show up at the right time to force their will on the field. It was awesome to recognize what an effect riding for a team can have on the race. With 8 guys we were able to control exactly what happened, and rather than the frustration I held last year as an individual when I was shut down by a team I got to revel in its beauty.
While we were controlling the field the break was beginning to fall apart. A flat bettered our odds to 3/5 and and another break member was struggling as Ben Frederick created a gap around a corner forcing last member to chase. Chris Jones put the power down up the hill and then kept the pace high to ensure the rider couldn't chase back on the descent. With that it was all of a sudden a 3/4 Kelly break. In the field we didn't know this but those are some good odds. From what I heard it played out like this. Curtis attacked up the hill with 1/2 lap to go and just as he was brought in Ben Frederick attacked and was able to stay away for the win! The non-Kelly rider was forced to pull the remaining way in only to be hit with a double attack as Curtis and Chris got around to solidify the sweep.
With two laps to go I received the green light to attack out of the field. I had been waiting for the moment in case the original break got reeled back in. Jake Tremblay attacked on the flat prior to the backside hill and just as he was brought back in I hit the gas and got away clean. Just barely making it over the hill I reset on the defense and began a solo charge home. A lap and a half of hard riding later I completed the top 5 and shortly after Ben Fogle came in with a group of three and out sprinted them to complete the wave of kelly riders coming in. We finished the race taking 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 5th, and 6th. Bring out the broom!
After racing on Saturday the team came back together on Monday outside of Baltimore to be introduced to the greater Kelly Benefit Strategies club and pick up our awesome new kit for 2015. We had the opportunity to meet current club members and meet some of the great people and businesses that make this team possible. It was great to see the support that the club members have for the elite team. I hope we can live up to their expectations throughout the year. It won't be easy but if any team can make it happen I think this might be the one. Be on the lookout for more team photos and follow us on twitter, facebook, and instagram for more updates throughout the year.
Keep those pedals spinning,
Team camp is based out of Washington, VA this year with guys showing up Thursday night and Friday morning for the first day. Beautiful sun and temps floating around 60 degrees made for a great first day. We rode up and over the mountain to Luray where we set up some TTT efforts. At approximately 15 minutes each we got some serious high intensity work in before rolling back over the mountain and home for a solid 4.5 hours.
Day 2 saw a big ride with 5 climbs across the Shenandoah Valley. We enjoyed some awesome views and great roads. It rained overnight but stayed dry for the first half of our ride before rain came down over the middle 2 climbs. As we rolled across the valley we came across a concrete culvert that was flooded immediately follow a hard right turn, with no time to stop we blew right through it. So much for staying dry. I only wish someone had a video, somehow no one went down.
Dinner was served up by R, long time Kelly club and race team member who's house we were staying at. Hard to beat a big meal of chicken, sausage, pasta, garlic bread, and salad after a long ride. Murray and R are taking care of us real well at camp. It's been awesome.
The final day brought an earlier start and shorter ride to get everyone home. While it was supposed to be an easy two hours followed by lead out practice or TTT practice the nasty wind and punchy rollers made it anything but. Still the lead out practice went well and we're pumped to practice it in a real race soon.
That wrapped up a great weekend of riding and getting to know the guys. Should be a great year!
Sometimes excitement gets the best of you, and maybe that's what happened with BSlow Racing. While firmly focused on road racing and chasing all that it has to offer it's hard to give up my passion for the dirt on off-weekends and down times. I've been fortunate enough to get some good support from the mountain bike community and I want to be able to give back to them whenever I can. Couple those feelings with a good friend looking for a team to race for and there you have it, BSlow Racing was born.
The BSlow nickname has been around since last December when Saul of Fortuna Cycling wrote it down on the bag with my jersey inside. I'm still not sure where he came up with it, but it stuck. I think in coinciding with the launch of BSlow Racing, it's time the blog got a little update. No longer "Two Feet to Two Wheels", I think I have firmly planted myself as a cyclist and not a former runner. The site will be closely linked to the race team's page but focus on my own endeavors and adventures, so be sure to catch up on all the news of the team on their website, conveniently located in the menu bar above.
With all these changes to begin the season I couldn't be more pumped for the year to begin. It is going to be awesome to have a custom jersey to rep for my mountain bike activities and more importantly pumped to have a good group of friends join me in the fun! I couldn't be more thankful for the help it took to get this thing off the ground. Saul and Andy at Blue Ride Bicycle Tours and Curtis Winsor of Winsor Creative setting up an awesome logo and kit design. Furthermore I can't wait to put the new race machine to the test and couldn't thank Santa Cruz Bicycles and Fox Racing Shox enough for getting it set up and ready to go. Dope socks provided by Swiftwick.
So I hope you will get caught up in the excitement and join us. Whether that be a racing for us (USAC Club Membership Pending Approval), getting a jersey, setting up a sponsorship, cheering us on at events, or just following us along here on the interwebs, thanks for being a part of the ride.
To check out the full scoops and what BSlow Racing is all about check out the blurb below pulled directly from the team website.
Keep those pedals spinning,
The Lowdown From www.BSlowRacing.Weebly.com
Ah the glory days of collegiate cycling:
Laid back yet competitive.
Building friendships around racing & fun!!
Steven Cook and Bryan Lewis formed one of those friendships on training rides in between classes at the University of Virginia and during collegiate race weekends. As both went their separate ways after graduation they stayed in touched and often talked about finding a team that had the collegiate cycling vibe, competitive but with a sense of humor.
After hearing of another failed team opportunity from Steven, Bryan suggested they make their own team. We are in it to have fun, not take racing or ourselves too seriously, to support one another and the cycling community around us. So welcome to BSlow Racing, a group of fun guys and gals who just want to ride bikes, have fun, support each other, and grow the sport of cycling.
If you think this low-key vibe works for you and you like the logo here’s the low down:
We’re looking for people who ride and race (although racing isn’t required), love cycling, don’t take themselves too seriously and are courteous to others.
No designated club fees, but we highly suggest you buy a jersey.
No required events.
No mandatory power to weight ratios.
With the club currently made up of a close group of friends, we plan on holding some low key events throughout the year, with locations central to as many members as possible. Think big rides in the beautiful mountains of Pisgah National Forest or racing at the 6 hours of Warrior Creek, Marathon Nationals in Georgia with some road and Cyclocross races thrown in too.
From pro to slow, we’re just looking for others like us. If you’re interested in what we are and what we represent, shoot us a note, buy a jersey and join the club! We’re working on getting more sponsorships and deals so we can better support our racers.
Staff (the original crew):
Co-Founder (Pro) - Bryan Lewis
Co-Founder (Slow) - Steven Cook
Nutritionist / Whiskey-Connoisseur - Will Suhring
Coach, Cyclocross, and Obscure Racer expert - Tyler Cloutier
Doctor in Training, World Class Good Guy - Andrew Moore
Brap Specialist - Gavin Kline
Gear Guru - Jay Catlett
You have to start your season somewhere and after having so many races cancelled I was itching to get out there. With spring finally showing it's head and 60 degree temperatures forecasted the William and Mary Tidewater Classic seemed like as good a place as any. My little training group of Curtis Winsor and Chris Jones were in for the weekend so we had a nice little contingent of Kelly Benefit Strategies for the race. It was awesome to have these guys along and get an early season effort in with such close friends, makes it an easy transition. It was great to have them around and I was luck enough to have my college buddy Will make it over for the race in his backyard. It never hurts to have a good heckle crew as you're ripping around the course.
We had a brief team meeting before the race and made some simple game plan, a first for me since I haven't raced for a road team before. With the small field we assumed there was a high likelihood of a small break going of about 5 guys and we thought that would suit us really well. If not, we'd practice our leadouts and get a ton of benefit from that. We also considered attacking early or just sitting back and responding since we thought we would be a marked team.
Right after the neutral rollout Curtis attacked. We didn't come here to get pushed around and it immediately took the pressure off of Chris and I in our first race back. Curtis actually opened up a good sized gap solo off the front, a couple more guys joined him but then the field decided that wasn't going to stick. Shortly after bringing him back Chris followed the next move, it lasted about 15 seconds. As that move was caught the field eased way back and Tim Mullins (Carytown Bikes) had momentum and hit the front with speed, I jumped out of the group, got yelled at for a yellow line violation (there was no yellow line, and I thought I was fiine) but caught his wheel. Off we went, quickly joined by Jordon Cook (Bon Securs). Looking around and realizing these were the only 3 major teams in the race I laughed at how easy that might have been. Sure enough off we went, within a lap we were out 1:30.
The lead grew to 3:00 as Chris and Curtis controlled the peloton. While I'm not sure what exactly happened it seemed like it played out like this. Dan King talked smack about how his team was for sure going to win and that Chris or Curtis probably needed to bring the break back. I don't know Dan well, but if I've learned anything from Mark King it's that the King family can talk smack and are always looking to tilt the race in their favor. Mike Stoop and Chris traded blows back and forth to no real avail. Chris had the hard job in the race and did it perfectly. The laps continued to tick off at a slightly slowing rate until we finally made it to a lap to go with a chase group 2:00 back and the field 4:00 behind, all but guaranteeing we would get to the line as a group of three. It was time to consider how I was going to get away from this group. The nice thing about having Curtis on your team is he makes sure you are prepared and ready for the race. We each talked about how we would win if we were in a break of 5 and spoke about an alternative option if it was needed. So at this point it was all about following the plan.
At 4K to go Jordan rounded the 2nd to last turn on the course and I jumped immideatly out of the corner. With a little gap I just smashed all the way to the line finishing off the work my teammates started for the 1st win of the year. The race couldn't have played out any closer to the original plan. It was great to put the racing legs back on and have such awesome teammates to share it with. It's going to be a good year ripping people's legs off with this group.
The only thing better than getting the win for these guys was the Alamo BBQ Texas Trainwreck I had for dinner. Next up is our team's spring camp and then up to the first major team race of the year at Philly Phlyer, then Jeff Cup right in my backyard. So here it goes, I guess it's time to race. Couldn't be more excited.
Keep those pedals spinning,
This post was inspired in part by the full force of winter that has attacked Charlottesville recently and by a blog posted on Velo News by Julian Kyer, a continental Pro that rides for SmartStop.
After what has been a mild winter with almost no hiccups in the training schedule the last 3 weeks or so have been a struggle. I had only ridden the trainer twice prior to this little block of winter weather. It seems like the weather gods decided to unleash all the winter conditions in 3 weeks instead of spreading it across 3 months. 3 or 4 major snow storms and temperatures hovering in the mid to low twenties makes for some tough riding conditions. Coming off a big block of training I took a down week in fine weather, the next week snow blanketed the city. Instead of forcing anything, another down week ensued, riding the mountain bike or rollers for 1-2 hours a day or not if I was not feeling it. Another week, more junk conditions. I was lucky to get in a couple outside rides. The couple of road rides I did when the roads finally cleared but temperatures stayed cool enough for the snow to stay on the ground. Stunning. Riding through the countryside with snow blanketed fields is something I've never done before and it was definitely worth the cold temperatures.
I do think it is key to keep moving and get something in, but you can’t beat your head against the wall doing it. For me that meant hopping on the mountain bike and cross bike. Plenty of days consisted of hitting the essentially unrideable trails with friends or spinning out the cross bike on crappy roads. Either way I only did that because it was an adventure, something fun to do for the day. It’s easy to become stressed and worry about the training you’re not getting, the workouts you’re missing, or the fact that you hate the trainer or rollers. If you mentally break it’s a problem, so take the week, or two, or three, and just enjoy riding and goofing off with friends. I had a great time kicking it the snow and goofing off, not worrying about big hours and catching up on work and hanging with friends. That can’t be replaced in a training program. It’s good to goof off, play in the snow, and relax.
So, what does this have to do with confidence? Julian Kyer mentions in the article how cyclists plan out there winter training and have goals and expectations for exactly how it goes and how there is always disappointment in not hitting this perfect as life gets in the way. That might mean, the flu, weather, jobs, school, or a number of other distractions, but it never goes perfectly. How you adjust to these imperfections can be the make or break point of your season. Are you confident enough that it is only February? Are you confident that a missed workout won’t kill you season? Are you confident changes to the held all too closely training plan won’t ruin your SM100 result? It is incredibly easy to get caught up in these negative attitudes. So what do you do?
How you mentally tackle these stumbling blocks is more important than anything in your lead up to a great spring and summer. Take the opportunity to back off training, let your body and your brain recover. Training hard takes both to be working properly and both need rest. 3 weeks of low hours and easy riding isn’t a bad thing at all. Will you possibly be a weak late on form, sure, maybe, or you might come out of it stronger as you’re itching to race and train hard when it’s over. Nothing makes a 60 degree day warmer than weeks of 20 degrees.
So are you confident enough to take time off? Are you confident enough that your legs will come around? Are you confident enough to relax and let your mind and body relax? If you’re confident enough to do that I am convinced you will be confident enough to win in the spring and summer.
And lucky for us, warmer weather seems like it is on its way.
Keep those pedals spinning,