In college I had a pretty cool job. I was a sports writer for The Daily Advertiser in Lafayette, LA. My beat was mostly high school football and basketball, but I had some great experiences including:
Covering the New Orleans Saints’ 1997 draft (from the team headquarters). This was Mike Dikta’s first year as the coach of the Saints, so I had the opportunity to speak with him and several ESPN personalities that were reporting live from the scene including Linda Cohn – with whom I lost a $5 bet on who the Saints would take with their #10 pick (damn Chris Naeole).
Being in the newsroom (and putting on the headline) when LSU beat then #1 Florida – in my opinion the first spark in what became LSU’s recent mini-dynasty
Covering numerous high school players that have gone on to success in the NFL.
Ever since I got my first job in the “real world” I’ve always missed the creative outlet that being a writer provided. That is one of the reasons that I started this blog. Well, I’m proud to say that I have “picked up my pen” one more time and have a story in this month’s Racing Post. The Racing Post is THE #1 authority on all things cycling in Texas. They have great coverage on Texas racing, rally rides, etc. You’ll find a PDF my story on page 29 through this link The magazine is also availble in bike shops all over Texas. The motivation to write the story came from my son, Grant, who continues to inspire me on a daily basis.
Hope you enjoy and with any luck I’ll write a few more.
So Saturday my teammate Ed organized a training ride out in Palo Pinto. Six of us took on the challenge (5 Moritz riders and our mountain-bike-phenom buddy Matt). There are two races in Mineral Wells/Palo Pinto in a couple of weeks, so this was a great opportunity to train and pre-ride some of the course.
If you know Ed, you know he trains HARD. So we had no doubt this ride would be epic. Here was the plan:
Meet Ed at a small B&B on Lake Palo Pinto (where he and his wife had stayed the night before).
Ride 11 hilly miles to the base of Cherry Pie Hill.
Do 3 sets of 3 hill repeats up Cherry Pie Hill (that’s 9 times up CP Hill!)
Then ride the first half of the race course, taking a short-cut back to our cars.
For those of you not familar with Cherry Pie Hill, it is the longest climb in North Texas – about 1.5 miles @ 6%-8% (it’s 350 ft. vertical). So the thought of doing 9 hill repeats up CP Hill was a little daunting. So how did it turn out?
just over 72 miles in 4 hours
over 5,800 ft. of climbing
“The Big Ring Challenge” on the 9th and final climb up Cherry Pie Hill we all agreed to stay in our big chain ring or suffer humiliation – everyone made it
some tempo work into a nasty headwind on the way home
Overall a great ride. Let’s hope the hard work turns into some W’s for Moritz in April!
Mortiz Chevrolet Cycling had a great weekend in Lago Vista racing La Primavera I&II. Here’s the breakdown:
1st, 13th and 17th in the Cat 3 race.
3rd and 16th in the Cat 4 race.
1st and 17th in the Men’s 45+ race.
4th in the Cat 3 race.
12th and 13th in the Cat 4 race.
5th and 9th in the Men’s 45+ race.
Overall, a great weekend. Big props to Scott for his win in the Cat 3 race. Scott broke his arm in a crash at New Braunfels a month ago, but he didn’t let it slow down his training. His breakaway with two laps remaining in the race was pretty impressive.
As you can see from the profile above, the race was a 4 or 5 mile loop (depending on the day) with essentially a long gradual climb followed by a fast decent to a little power climb finish. The course suited me well and I did OK. Saturday I burned a few matches going on a couple breaks – almost got one to stick. Finished with the pack at 39th (we had 100 starters both days).
Sunday was a race of attrition. A stiff wind kicked up that was essentially a crosswind for most of the course. Brian and Thomas set a fast tempo to start the race and the speed never let up. We averaged 23 mph over the 40 miles on both days, but Sunday’s speed is much more impressive considering the wind. New teammate Camillo got 3rd on Saturday and is a good climber, so he and I decided to try to get something going with about 2 laps-to-go. I went off the front on the first climb of the second-to-last lap and opened up a pretty good gap. Camillo bridged up with another rider. However, the other rider was pretty baked, or not interested in working together because Camillo and I did all the pulling. After several rotations we realized we couldn’t hold off the field with just the two of us pulling, so Camillo and I sat-up to wait for the pack.
On the last lap Thomas did a great job of “escorting” me to the front of the field so I would be in good position for the finish. For the first time all weekend I had a pretty good line on the finishing climb and was able to sprint past a few guys for 12th. We started with 100 guys on Sunday, but only 50 finished and only 25 finished in the front group (other guys came in anywhere from 1 to 5 minutes behind). Like I said, with the wind, climbs and speed, it was definitely a race of attrition.
I definitely feel like I have a better “sense” of the race now and I’m learning to conserve my energy. I’m doing the Jesuit Ranger Round-Up race in Celina Sunday (it raises money for the North Texas High School Cycling League). It is a Cat 4/5 race of 45 miles (rolling hills course). Most of the Moritz Cat 4s will be there, so hopefully we can do well. After this I’m taking a couple weekends off from racing to accomplish a few things:
I would really like to get a good result before the baby comes, because I have a feeling my structured training days might be over for a while.
Posted in cycling, moritz, racing
Tagged cycling, lago vista, moritz, moritz chevrolet cycling, primavera, team moritz, texas, txbra, txbra.org
This past weekend was the Moritz Chevrolet Cycling team training camp in Granbury, TX (hosted by Mike and his wife in Pecan Plantation). The original plan was a full weekend of riding, dinners together, etc. Approximately 25 guys had planned on attending. However, Mother Nature had different ideas and dropped some cold weather and rain on us Saturday (they were originally forecasting freezing rain, etc). So on Thursday we decided to condense camp to one day – Sunday. The new agenda was:
Meet in the morning for breakfast and catching-up
Meet to discuss team issues (plans for the year, upcoming races, etc.)
Ride for 4 hours on the beautiful and hilly roads around Granbury
Post ride pizza, watch the Tour of California on Versus, etc.
The weather on Sunday actually turned out pretty good – sunny and in the 50′s; however, there was a steady 15-20 mph wind out of the NW. Mike planned out a great route that would take us into the headwind for about 40 miles and then we would come back on a similar route with the benefit of the tailwind, but the added challenge of climbing Comanche Peak. Larry was even nice enough to drive our support truck with extra bottles, wheels, etc. so we wouldn’t lose any time if someone flatted on the road.
We had a great ride. Mostly double paceline, played a few games of “chase the rabbit” on the hills etc. In all we did 80 miles and 5,000 ft. of climbing (profile below) in 4 hours.
For those of you fellow “power junkies” my normalized average power for the 4 hour ride was 229w, so it was a good effort and I definitely racked up some TSS.
I’m lucky to be on a team with a great group of guys and look forward to some positive results for MCC in 2008.
Saturday was the start of the road race season here in Texas with the TBi Copperas Cove RR. Copperas Cove is just outside Kileen, TX, so a 2.5 hour drive from Fort Worth. I rode down with Brian (one of my Mortiz teammates) for a noon start. The turn out for the race was huge:
A P/1/2/3 field of over 60
Two Cat 4/5 races, both with 75 racers
35+/Women’s race with about 75 racers as well.
All of the races started within 30 minutes of each other, so you had about 350 racers milling through the parking lot all morning – checking their gear, eating bananas or Clif Bars and trying to stay warm (it was 27 degrees in the morning, by race time it was in the high 30′s).
Unfortunately Brian and I didn’t get to race together (he was in the B race, I was in the A race), so this would be a solo effort. The race was 54 miles, consisting of a 9 mile, hilly, out-and-back stretch and a 30+ mile loop. The winds were strong out of the north (20 mph+), so I assumed everyone would stay together for the first half of the race and then things would really open up as we had the benefit of the tailwind.
My inexperience (this was only my second road race, and my first as a Cat 4) did not serve me well. I got stuck in the back of the pack early and had a difficult time moving up because we had such a large field (and the centerline rule was being heavily enforced). When you are at the back of a 75 person pack every little action up front gets magnified in the rear. As a result, guys in the front keep a pretty consistent pace, but those of us in the back are forced to constantly brake and accelerate to stay with the pack. There were definitely early season nerves (many guys were all over the road and there was a lot of hard braking), this translated into two different wrecks in the A race. Luckily I managed to avoid both of them (the second requiring me to spend some time in the grass to avoid the pile-up). I never felt “at my limit” during the race, so I just waited for the hills in the last 6 miles of the race as my best chance to advance. Luckily this worked and I was able to move up the field and then solo and bridge up to a breakaway of about 6 racers. As soon as I caught up to the break I realized these guys were gassed and we weren’t likely to hold everyone off. Sure enough, another group of about 12-15 guys bridged up to us.
Me (Racer 822) in the breakaway
So about 22 of us rolled into town together and got strung out single file before hitting the two right-hand turns (basically a U-turn) into the finishing straight. I’m not a great sprinter, so I just held on to my place – finishing 18th. If I would have known the course better, I probably would have attacked on the last little climb before we turned into the finish, but such is racing - lot’s of ifs and buts. Overall, I’m pretty pleased and it wasn’t a bad way to start the season – nice little 54 mile ride at 22 mph. I also raced with my PowerTap, so it was really interesting to look at the file after the race and see how the power efforts were compared to my perceived exhaustion at different points in the race.
So on Friday I had a really interesting opportunity to participate in the Cycle for Science benefit (benefiting the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History). The benefit offered the rare opportunity to ride shoulder-to-shoulder with 2 top pros (Levi Leipheimer and Jason McCartney – both formerly of Discovery Channel) while supporting a great cause. The benefit also included performance testing from Carmichael Training Systems and dinner with the riders the night before the ride.
The ride was a great time and really let you see just how strong pro riders are (they picked up the pace a couple times – several stretches of 30+ mph). We also stopped at a local elementary school along the route and the guys spoke to the kids for a few minutes about the importance of being active and healthy, etc. These kids had no idea who we were, but in our flashy cycling kits and $5,000 carbon bikes, they were still pretty impressed.
What really became clear is that these guys are just like the rest of us (recreational cyclists and amateur racers) – guys who just really love to ride their bike. These guys just get paid to do it, have more drive and more genetic potential than the rest of us. However, they have definitely made a lot of sacrifices to get where they are today. I’m glad to see both of these guys land good contracts (Levi with Astana and Jason with CSC) with Discovery coming to an end.
Posted in cycling, moritz, pro cycling, racing, sports, texas
Tagged cycling, discovery team, fort worth, jason mccartney, levi leipheimer, moritz chevrolet cycling, pro cycling