First, we would like to apologize for the recent lack of
updates on the blog. Drew, who used to post on behalf of the team, will no
longer be representing us. He has been gracious enough to pass on the website
to the new members of the team.
Due to unfortunate circumstances outside of our control following
IUSF’s recent involvement with USADA, our four qualifications riders have been
disqualified from this year’s race. However, this is not a death blow to our
program, and we will not be relegated to sitting out this race after all of our
hard work this year. Fortunately, we have a deep team of rookies ready to take
the reins, should they need to; and now is their time to shine.
The rookies, who have not been implicated in these actions,
are: Andrew Rice, Ian Boggs, Andrew Capshew, Mardin Yadegar, and new addition, Matthew
Schaupp. These young guys have been training hard as well, and are excited to
show their worth on the big stage. The final four are yet to be decided, but
rest assured, whoever is chosen will represent our team well.
Andrew Rice is a promising new talent from Cincinnati, OH.
During Spring Break training, Rice posted a sub-3 minute ITT time and has been
showing consistent improvement since.
Ian is a Division 1 swimmer, much like ex-team member Nick
Torrance was, at Indiana University, and has agreed to forego some offseason
training with the swim team to compete with us this year upon hopeful
completion of his rookie requirements. We are excited to see how Ian does, as
we have had great luck with athletes transitioning from swimming backgrounds in
Capshew is another long-term freshman prospect, who prides himself
on his race strategy. This guy races (and trains) very smart, making sure to
always conserve as much energy as possible by limiting how much work he has to
Mardin aims to be our team’s stout, pocket-sized powerhouse
sprinter. Rumor has it that he has been recording rides under the Strava pseudonym
Matthew is a recent freshman recruit from San Dimas,
California, most notably winning the 17-18 juniors’ category in the California
State Criterium championships last year. We look forward to seeing how this
youthful experience translates to the cinder track in the upcoming weeks.
We would like to stress that the actions taken by ex-team
members: Drew Coelho, Paul Gillette, Thomas Wimmer and Nick Torrance were
solely their own, and have no bearing on the integrity of the team as a whole.
Although these members have done great things for the program in the past, they
have shown they are no longer fit to be affiliated with our team and we hope
they can walk away with dignity and take this as a stern reminder of ethics
they can later learn from.
In the past week, I've transitioned from beautiful South
Carolina, surprisingly nice Bloomington weather (see Miracle on 446th St.) and most recently the Windy City. After two solid days of training up in
the cold North of Chicago, I threw on some tights and a jacket and hopped on
the bike without a second thought. Almost immediately, the wind from between the Lincoln Park townhomes pushed
me halfway across the road while I was turning out of the driveway. I couldn't help but smile when I hit those crosswinds head-on half a mile later; for some
reason I get a sick sort of satisfaction from these rides.
As I continued south, the tailwind pushed me along at
comfortable 25 or so effortless miles per hour across the freshly-salted Lakefront
Trail. Aside from a few amateur photographers taking in the views for a few
cold minutes, it was a great feeling to have the usually packed trail to
myself. A few miles down, Chicago Police had barricades up to close off the
trail, forcing me to explore the dirt, grass, snow, ice, salt and sand
separating the trail from Lakeshore Drive. Aside from the sections where all of
the above mixed into a simultaneously slushy and bumpy concoction, it wasn’t
too bad considering a dedicated road bike on 25c tires.
The median soon ended, so I hopped back on the trail to
brave the waves some more. Still on a broad reach with the wind, I used the
gusts to my advantage, trying to time my efforts with the sections of low
seawall and high waves. This strategy worked pretty well and kept a smile
frozen (quite literally) to my face right up until I hit the Museum campus. At 27
miles per hour.
You approach the Shedd Aquarium with a gentle left-hander
into the wind, so I prepared accordingly, winding up the gears a little so I
didn’t stop dead in the face of a big gust. No gust came, however, so instead I
found myself going at quite a clip round the right-hand semi-circle just ahead.
Consistent spray from the lake had formed pretty icicles along the hand
railing. As my rear wheel skipped out, the realization that I was sliding
around a corner over black ice hit me nearly as hard as I would soon hit the concrete
barrier before completing my slide to a stop after the front wheel followed its
counterpart’s lead and gave out in spite of my best upright balancing act.
I popped back up with a choice word or three before picking
up my brave steed to bring me back home. While realigning the brakes and slipping
the chain back on, Lake Michigan threw up a massive wave that broke at the top
of the waist-level barrier and quickly froze to my bike and any exposed skin it
The ice cracked off of various places on my kit as I
remounted the bike against the wind. This ride was now a completely different
experience. The wind blew spray and sand into my face as I struggled to spin up
my 39x23 gear to any respectable RPM. Now that I was already beyond frozen, my
wave-dodging strategy became rather pointless. Fighting the wind to ride
through flowing water and crashing waves deemed too hazardous to fjord by the
CPD took the pain away from my hip and freezing appendages and brought the fun
back into my ride.
With blizzard conditions on the way, the weather looks like
it won’t be changing anytime soon; but that’s not so bad, is it?
Sadly, our first winter break training camp has come to a close. Tonight, we're busy packing to go back to our families for the holidays.The weather has been great down here, but what I think we'll all miss most is waking up in the morning with nothing to do but ride bikes with some of our closest friends. Heading out for a hard 5-hour day in the saddle is so much easier to do when you know you have 5 other guys getting up and doing the same thing with you. Even better, you know that as soon as you get home you've got food and a nice comfy chair or bed waiting with no one else to bother you.
Although it's fun to always have a party around, like when we're back at IU, it's tough to express how much more satisfying it is to go down to the local brew pub with the guys who have been working hard and spending time away from their families, committed to the same goal as you after a week of training.
As I look to the 12-hour drive in front of us at some terrible hour in the morning tomorrow, I only dread it because every hour on the road will bring us further from the beautiful weather and great training that came with it.
Today we rolled out at 9 AM for a ride with some local cyclists we met a few days back. Aaron, Kipp, Jacob and a few others from the Cyclopedia shop and Islanders team closed the shop for a few hours and took us out on a few more inland roads we hadn't checked out yet. Talking to some different people for a bit was a nice change for the day. We stopped for Aaron's 8-shot espresso at Starbucks in Myrtle Beach, then continued on our way.
After we parted ways with the Islanders, we headed back to our Litchfield Criterium course for a few fast and fun laps. Each 1.3 mile lap has quite a few brick sections and two tight roundabouts, making for a somewhat technical little circuit. With a few hard laps down, we decided to hold a friendly competition to see who could lay it all out for the fastest standing-start one lap ITT. The results panned out with Torrance leading the bunch:
Nick - 2:52.8
Drew - 2:59.3
Thomas - 3:00.0
Paul - 3:00.9
Rice - 3:10.0
Capshew - 3:20.0
With fantastic weather in the mid 60's and lots of sun, it's been a great day for riding bikes. Next up are we'll be hosting our very own rookie exchange clinic for the entertainment of the area beach communities. Check back for more soon.