Thursday, December 27

The Strava Slam

If you were unaware, Strava once had a disgusting, stacked-up stem. I didn't like it, so I sent them an e-mail.

Wednesday, December 26

Surfing Lake Michigan

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 could find.
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?


Friday, December 21

Winding Down

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.

Well, it's about that time, eh?

Merry Christmas

Wednesday, December 19


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.

Tuesday, December 18

Day Trip

To mix things up today, we took a little drive down to the National Forest north of Charleston for our ride. We parked at an old style general store where check out was still done the calculator and paper method. Our bikes were rearing to go, so we obliged and hopped on for our loop of the forest.

The entire ride consisted of about four turns, so the tree-lined roads seemed to go on forever. Three-quarters of the roads were nice and smooth; the other bit bore an unfortunate resemblance to of some of the Spring Classics. Overall, today's 96-mile rural excursion was a refreshing change of pace from the monotonous beach roads from the past few days.

Miles of smiles

Look for an update about our local group ride tomorrow!

Monday, December 17

Let's go find some great whites

Today started off with a quick team breakfast at Casa de Cox before we got in the saddle for a long, steady ride. A few miles out we once again resigned ourselves to the wet, soggy, leaf-covered and twisty bike path before putting rubber to open road. Once we were out of congested traffic, a steady 22 mph average, nearly unimaginable back home in Indiana, was the norm for the next 75 or so miles.

While waiting for the clouds to open up an take the pain away from our legs as the weatherman had foretold, we caught up with a local club cyclist who hung with us and shared some local gossip for a few miles. According to our new friend, two great white sharks have been tagged off of the coast of Myrtle Beach recently. Better yet, Jeff told us that anyone with an iPhone can download an app to see the sharks' exact GPS locations. We feel this app may soon become the next leading cause of death for male Myrtle Beachians (behind alcohol poisoning, of course) and thus, strongly advocate it's distribution and widespread use.

Guess which floor is ours
Jeff was the only local person we befriended on the bike today, but team botanist, Andrew Capshew, did manage to form some uncomfortably close relationships with a few local trees and other assorted wildlife. After Cappie recovered from the severe laceration of his pride, the team continued home to our personal criterium loop just as the weatherman unleashed his wrath upon us. We did a few fast loops of the 1.2 mile course before calling it a day just as some other rookie got a flat or something.

We got inside, cleaned our bikes, and had a big late lunch. A few of us shot down to the local bike shop to talk to some more local cyclists. According to Aaron, the shop owner, most people here actually consider this weather too cold to ride bikes. Aaron and his friends, however, are not most people here and thus offered to meet us for a ride Wednesday morning with some more of their buddies to show us some good routes while reliving their illustrious racing careers. So, we're kind of looking forward to that.

Sunday, December 16

Welcome To South Carolina

After leaving at 6 AM Saturday, we pulled into our parking spots at the condominium at about 7:30 that night after a little mix up on directions. The condo, generously provided to us for the week by an alumnus, has been a great surprise, with more than ample room for our 6 man team and beautiful views of the beach. Boatloads of Chinese delivery made the night complete.

We were on the bike this morning by 9, taking a conveniently close and surprisingly technical bike path out to the roads planned for the day. After a 20 mile jaunt to Surfside Beach, we stopped by a local bagel spot for breakfast. Parking our bikes outside, we walked in to a sea of surprised and inquisitive faces. In the short time we were eating there, we had half a dozen friendly locals approach us to ask who we were and where we were going. Compared to Bloomington where everyone under the sun rides bikes, this attention was a nice change of pace, especially on the roads. As we continued our ride up to Myrtle Beach on some well-traveled roads, we noticed much friendlier and more cautious drivers than in Bloomington. The only honks we got were accompanied with a smile and a wave.

Entering Myrtle Beach city limits, traffic seems to disappear altogether. Compared to the beautiful resort areas nearby, the 10 mile stretch traversing the Dirty Myrtle is like being transported to an old Western ghost town, only much, much worse. It's obvious that nobody voluntarily lives there and seems like the entire economy there revolves around mini-golf and Ferris wheels. Of the few people we did ride past, most would  be competitive in a Slim Shady look-a-like contest. Needless to say, we were happy when we got back out of "city" limits and continued our ride elsewhere.

The rest of the ride took us inland, through some golf courses and back South to our home for the week at a nice easy pace to warm up for the week. The sun finally came out as we were arriving, hopefully as a good omen for the rest of our stay.

Stay tuned for more daily updates on our training trip!

Tuesday, November 27

Rookies, Part Deux

Going back and looking at last year's "Rookies" post, everything I wrote then seems almost foreign to me now. Our once mostly rookie team is now full with veterans, with two fast up-and-coming rookies to boot. It seems like we have finally put an end to our perpetually revolving door of riders, trading it for the door analogy of a legitimate and sustainable team.

Please don't tell them (seriously, don't...I don't think they even know this blog exists), but I love our rookies. Let me clarify; I love what our rookies stand for. They are happy to put in the time and work just like the rest of us, with the knowledge that they are likely only training for races in years to come. It is this commitment to a team they are barely familiar with that gives me hope for our future as a program.

All in all, I am proud that these guys can see how much this team means to us and put in the work to build on our program's legacy. If we didn't continue to develop our team from the bottom up, then there would be no team left, but only a disjointed series of individual efforts over the years.

Keep an eye out for some more updates soon. Winter Break Training Camp in sunny South Carolina is only a few weeks away!

Now it's time to watch some magnificent team building a la Tom Crean. Go Hoosiers!

Tuesday, October 30

Fall Series Wrap-up

Thanks to everyone who helped put on the best yet Fall Series!

         This year's events were: - Individual Time Trials on Thursday,
                                                  - Cyclocross on Friday,
                                                  - Duathlon on Saturday and
                                                  - Street Sprints on Sunday

Our team had a good showing, with Nick and Paul claiming 2nd and 4th places in the 1 mile ITT with some particularly scary corners on Thursday to win the event for the team.

Cyclocross was a crazy event, where a lot of us were just trying to not crash each lap on the wet, muddy, sandy and leaf-covered obstacle course. Phi Psi's Miles Johnson showed how much of a role experience plays in this race, opening up an impressive early gap. Nick and Thomas stayed upright long enough to score a team 7th place for us.

The Duathlon was a 1 mile run, followed by an 8 lap sprint on the track and closed out with a 1.5 mile run around the stadium. Drew and Nick claimed 5th and 6th in this event for a 2nd place team score.

The final event, Street Sprints, was a tournament-style measure of who had the strongest legs over 200 meters from a standing start. Kris Zee of Cru Cycling was a monster off the line and walked away with the event. When asked by JB if he, as returning champion, wanted a best-of-three final round, he opted out, presumably responding, "No thanks, Jordan, I'll just win this one". Paul and Drew both made it through to earn quarter-final round time bonuses to hang on to 4th place in the event and 3rd place overall.

Overall, we had a great showing in this year's Fall Series. Thanks again to all the event organizers, officials, volunteers and riders for making last weekend lots of fun.

Monday, October 22

Can we please get some "bad" weather?

I don't like the term, "bad weather". What is bad for one person could well be quite nice for another. If 35 degrees and raining means that I'm training and you're not, I'd call that good weather (you may not).

Last year, we had an unusually mild winter. I hated it. There was no occasion to our rides. Putting on a jacket and some legwarmers for a moderately chilly mid-January jaunt just seems wrong. I love the single digit suffer-fests of frozen fingers and toes. I love rides when I have the road to myself, free of the fair-weather heroes and Hilly Hundred types. I love it when all you can hear is the swishing of the tires over whichever physical state of water that day might have brought and the sound that it makes when it just runs off your saturated body and kit helplessly with nowhere to go.

There is a certain, inexplicable quality of riding in conditions in which others choose not to that makes you want to go faster. It's not just that the cold, rain, snow or hail takes your mind off of the pain you are submitting your legs to; it has something to do with the reason you're out there. It is a reminder that you're not one of the summer peloton, but of something a little more distinguished. You may not be the fastest, but you're doing everything you can to get there, and that's something you can't say about all the people who used to be on the road when the weather was "good".

In closing, let me once again refer you to the Old Velomiskrit:

// If you are out riding in bad weather, it means you are a badass. Period.
Fair-weather riding is a luxury reserved for Sunday afternoons and wide boulevards. Those who ride in foul weather – be it cold, wet, or inordinately hot – are members of a special club of riders who, on the morning of a big ride, pull back the curtain to check the weather and, upon seeing rain falling from the skies, allow a wry smile to spread across their face. This is a rider who loves the work.

Wednesday, October 10

Simple Economics

Some more inspiration from the velominati (this time it's marko's):
 ...the beauty of pain is that it is free to any of us who are willing to take it. By placing value on pain we recognize that there is plenty of it laying around for the taking because so many other people do what they can to avoid it.
 I'm predicting a further increase in the local pain surplus to be brought in with the coming long weekend. It's a buyer's market, gentlemen. Buy, buy, buy.

Sunday, April 29


After a year's hard work, all of our training hinged on one thing: The Race. We came out ready to go, excited to see what we could do.

Suddenly, after moving up through the pack, Torrance was headbutted off the bike at the front of a crash in turn 1.

We couldn't seem to catch any breaks, working with Cutters to catch back on, dropping all the other crashed teams only to lose the Cutters' wheel on a mistimed exchange just before they finished making up the half lap back without us around lap 25. At this point we had burnt a few too many matches to make a move by ourselves to catch up. We sat up and after a few sets were back in the pack, one lap down.

It is hard to judge how we fit into the race after this point, since we all got perfect burns for exchanges since the lead riders were no longer marking our moves. However, all of the racing was strong and safe, staying near the front of the pack at all but the most unlucky of times. Wimmer was taken down by a crash to put us another lap down around the half way point, then Torrance was put down again, this time by the yellow jersey-ed perennial  self-crashing favorite, and was stretchered off.

We finished the race in a frankly miraculous 12th place considering the three out of four big pileups we were in. Next year, we hope to not be so unlucky; but more importantly, next year we will look to control the race more and not take any chances behind the wheel-rubbing masses.

With the 2012 race behind us, our schedules now transition to summer road racing and lots more miles. Many of our competitors are now our teammates, a reminder of the great camaraderie there is within the race and the cycling community. In the mean time, enjoy some pictures from the race!

We'll see you out there!

Wednesday, April 4

Race Day Shirts 2012

Race day is less than 3 weeks away... This means its getting time to buy your race day shirt to rep the EP!

Check out the design for this year and email us at with your order by this Sunday at midnight. Each shirt is available in American Apparel sizes S-XL and costs $15.

You can send in a check or alternatively send your order in with the appropriate donation on our PayPal link. If you can't make it for the race to pick your shirt up but would still like to show your support, email us and we can get it shipped to you.

Thursday, March 1


While so many other teams are returning full rosters of four or more riders (with 5th year seniors a bit of a theme this year), we have two riders returning from last year's team and a total of one year of race experience between them.

In no way is this a pessimistic post though; we are expecting this to be our strongest season since our return to the race in 2007. Having one freshman, two sophomores, and a junior only gives us more hope of great things to come. For now, though, we are focused on the 2012 race.

Our summers consisted of countless miles, enjoying the weather on 50+ mile training rides with hometown clubs and teams. Fall semester let us get lots of great team work in together before we thought the weather would force us inside; but the unusually mild winter gave the team an opportunity to endure the snowy, icy roads and perma-frozen toes regularly with only an occasional roller workout taking the place of one of these Five and Dime rides. Now spring is here, and long rides are transitioning to brutal intervals, pack riding, and exchange work.

Our pokey little four man team has stuck it out through all of this, always striving to be better and having a great time along the way. From laying it all out on a sprint to a Wednesday Worlds finish line to belting out "Wagon Wheel" or Disney tunes with some questionable lyrics, I can safely say that I am immensely proud of what our team has become and where we are going. Keep an eye out for us this year.


Friday, February 3