January 20, 2013


ridiculous course conditions, 
It's been a rough start to the off-season so far this year, came down with the Flu Tuesday night and was laid out in bed until Saturday morning, it was awful. Luckily, it was just a massive headache, aches,chills, and sweats but none of the other unpleasant flu stuff which was good. None the less I had some time to go over my race from last Sunday and have a lot to be happy with and a lot to take away from it.

6" wide course
 Things came together good in Verona for me. The speed I was missing in Chicago the week prior was there and it was a good feeling. Mid-week I went out motorpacing for an hour just to keep the leg speed up and maybe this is what I had been missing the previous weeks leading up to Chicago, I don't know, but I sure felt much much better on Sunday.

I haven't heard or seen anyone really talking about course conditions at nationals for the Sunday races after the fact but that course was horrible to race on. The layout is good, but the frozen ruts was extremely dangerous and just silly, the course was essentially 6" wide the whole way around. It was bad, the worst I have raced on. If that happens in Louisville, I predict the Euro's don't start. Anyway, all that said, the conditions suited me pretty well if that makes sense. I think if it hadn't been slippery on top it would have been a little different, but it was so slick out there it reduced the horsepower of most riders and that is always good for me and benefits those can ride smooth and stay upright.

So things were clicking good for me on sunday, I had a perfect setup at the OPtum trailer, I warmed up and knew I had good legs, I was warm and stayed warm while at the start line and I was feeling confident and optimistic that I could pull off a good ride. I had a great start and first lap, somewhere inside the top 10 and I rode most of the lap behind J Powers. I was smooth and confident and it was strange because riding behind Jeremy I could tell he was struggling a bit with the conditions. Of course, he straight away rode away from on the road section but I was ok riding my own pace and I new consistent lap times and staying up would be the way to race for me. Gaps opened up huge on the first couple laps, I was riding near the top 10 going back and forth with Troy Wells and Isaac Neff who was having a great ride but then I started to struggle clipping in to my pedals. It got progressively worse to the point where after seems like an eternity to finally get them in, one would just snap out anywhere in my pedal stroke sending my foot flying off in all directions. Apparently Ice was building up so thick and heavy on my shoe sole my cleat just disappeared from under my shoe. I was battling with those guys pretty good and it didn't occur to me it was my shoe that was the issue and not my pedals so I kept taking bikes but the issue was still there.
where all my problems started
that is solid ice under there
I basically rode the last 3 laps without being able to clip in at all and without any control of keeping my feet on the pedals. I couldn't get up the hills because I couldn't pull the pedal around and I couldn't keep my pressure foot on the pedal pushing down. Hindsight I should have stopped in the pits and hacked out the ice, but like I  said, it never occurred to me how bad the bottom of my shoe was or could be and in the heat of the race, thinking of stopping in the middle of a race just didn't pop up in my head. I probably could have saved maybe a 12th or 13th place, I thought maybe I could have ridden with Troy inside the top 10 but that is hard to say, it's easy after a race to say you could have done better than you did. Regardless, it was disappointing to put together a good race and have some ice on my shoes screw things up for me.

riding with troy, Isaac following

So, with Nationals behind me and obviously no selection to Worlds my season is over and I've got some downtime to think about things and look forward to taking what I've learned this year and carry it into next season. It was awesome having OPtum as a sponsor with all the added support they provided and I really have to thank them for making things significantly easier for me both on and off the bike so huge thanks to them.

Hopefully 2013 will bring some new races and good results and I'm looking forward to it.

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