Livin' the Dream

Livin' the Dream

About Me

I am a sophomore at James Madison University in Harrisonburg, VA, majoring in journalism. My passion is cycling. I am a category 4 bike racer and my absolute dream would be to turn pro one day. My more realistic goal is to become a journalist for the sport of cycling and eventually move on to become a broadcaster for the sport.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

A Kick Ass Summer

A Kick-Ass Summer

            I am currently into my third week of my sophomore here at James Madison University. This year I have an apartment off campus with a couple of friends, which is pretty sweet. Since school has started that means for me at least, summer is officially OVER. My summer was insanely awesome. Anyone who even remotely knows me knows that means it was of bikes, bike riding, and the sport of cycling. Here is a summary of how it went.

May: Starting Off in Paradise

            My last exam was May 7th and from the time I got back to my home just outside off Washington D.C. to the time I left for the airport to fly to work the Amgen Tour of California (ATOC) for Medalist Sports was a mere 10 hours. Tight turn around right? But I would not have wanted it any different. There was no better way to start summer than being around top-notch bike racing.

            This year I was assigned to setting up the Michelob king of the mountain (KOM) arch each day—a pretty fun job. The KOM’s are always packed and since the arch is so big we usually need help setting it up. We are never short of volunteers. The fans really dig that and feel like they are part of the race. I did notice though that once the race passes the fans scatter away and do not quite feel the same about packing it up.

            My favorite stage of Tour of California was the one along the Pacific Coast Highway (PCH). Dave, my co-worker for the week, and I got up extra early so we could take our time driving down the PCH towards our KOM spot. We stopped no fewer that 20 times to take pictures.  The ATOC was awesome and that was just the beginning to an awesome summer!

June: Back to Racing and Ride the Rockies

            After spending a couple of weeks off the bike to work ATOC I was not at all in race shape, but I had Ride the Rockies (RTR) coming up the second week in June. I needed to make sure I was super fit for RTR because, one, the elevation, and two, I spend the week hammering up hills with the likes of Wayne Stetina and George Hincapie. #namedrop

            This year RTR was brutal, but amazing. My dad came along this year and I got to spend a lot of time bonding with him. I encourage you to go check out my series of posts from the ride.

            By the time RTR ended, I was flying on the bike. I felt super lean and was ready to get back in the racing game. I had raced from February till the end of April; the break for ATOC came at a perfect point. Now I was recharged, fit, and raring to go. I would have seven straight weeks of non-stop racing before going back on the road to work Tour of Utah, followed by the USA Pro Challenge. Yes, this meant my season would end at the beginning of August, but as a consolation I would be around top bike racing in the world. Little did I know though that I would not have the summer of racing I thought I would have.

                        I had terrible luck my second race back. Someone took me out from behind causing me to fall hard on my wrist.  It was kind of like what happened to Tejay van Garderen on stage 7 of the Tour.  With all of the pain and swelling I honestly thought it was broken, but x-rays showed no broken bones or fractures. Good, but I could not put any pressure on it. Bad. For the first couple of days after the crash I rode a spin bike so I would not have to put a whole lot of pressure on my wrist. By the end of the week I was riding outside, but still taking it easy. I still lined up that weekend to race. Mistake.

            The first race after my crash went fantastically. The race was Senior Crit Champs and I was motivated.  I went in three breakaways, one lasting 10 laps, and tried a move with one to go, but got caught. I rolled in behind the field, but had great sensations and was ready for July to be a great racing month.

            To make a long story short, because I had so little time to race this summer I began training at my top level too quickly after the crash. As a consequence, I got over trained, badly. I was suffering on the bike, and could produce virtually no power. After discussing the situation with my coach, we realized that had I not crashed I would have had myself a fairly good season. There’s always next year and now I am super motivated.

July: Suffering and Playing Journalist

            July essentially sucked because I did poorly in race and didn’t realize I was over trained. Though, I did make head-way in getting my name out there in the cycling world. During the Tour de France I played remote journalist. I Tweeted the play-by-play of the stage each day and wrote a daily report, sometimes with an analysis of the stage. Each day I got new followers on twitter, and more and more views on my blog. My dream is to become a professional bike racer, but being a journalist for the sport is the next best thing.

August: Working Bike Races While #Livin’theDream

            This August I worked both the Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah (TOU) and US Pro Cycling Challenge (USPCC). At the end of the USPCC I was privileged to have a special moment with an absolute legend in the sport of cycling, Jens Voigt, who had raced his last race.

            After Jen Voigt stepped off the stage after being presented with a wonderful collage of pictures from his illustrious career, I got to present to him the Red 1K Kite backstage. The kite flew during his last race as a professional. Early in the week I worked with the announcers Brad Sohner and Dave Towle to get the riders to sign the kite as they signed-in for the stage. Even Jens signed the kite unaware that he would be given it at the race’s end.

            Jens seemed to very humbled when I gave it to him. He was very thankful and even seemed a little speechless when I mentioned all of the riders of the race had signed the kite. He stuck out his hand for a handshake and then we posed for a picture. As it turns out Trek Factory Racing posted a picture of Jens and I holding the Red 1K Kite I presented to him on Twitter. There I was all over social media with The Legend. I myself was humbled to be able to present to Jens this special gift. It was a fantastic end to the summer, as the next day, I flew home and the day after I went to JMU to start my sophomore year.


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