• Bloomer Park, Rochester Hills, MI

  • Racing the Provincial's Crit 2014

  • Forest City Velodrome - London, ON

  • Larkenville Challenge, Buffalo, NY

  • Winning the Sprint at the ForestCity Velodrome

  • Track Nationals 2014: Keirin

  • Track Nationals 2014: Points Race

  • OCUP #1: Feb 2015


First, I would like to say the information I am about to present is largely anecdotal. I have no scientific evidence to suggest that the claim I am making is true, but it does explain an issue I have encountered. I postulate that excess coffee consumption negatively affects athletic endurance. 

My Story

Over the last few months, I have been having difficulty finishing bike races I would otherwise do well in. This includes races at the Forest City Velodrome in London, ON, the Midweek Crit in Mississauga, ON, and the Larkenville Challenge in Buffalo, NY. Nevermind, a poor performance down in Georgia at Speedweek. I was getting spit out the back in races I should have finished with the pack. Part of the issue has been mental: I've not really wanted to race this season, so there have been times I just dropped out of a race. However, when I wanted to finish, I found that I could not. Two weeks ago, in Buffalo, I lasted 30 mins in the 65min race because I had nothing left: literally. The following Tuesday at the Midweek Crit, the same thing happened. Around the 30 min mark, I was blasted. Both races averaged 43km/h but I've done Midweek last year when it averaged 45km/h. This should not have been hard, but for some reason it was. With Midweek, I used to be able ride to work, ride to the race, do the A and B races, and ride home without issue. 100km in a day with a race in the middle. For some reason, this year, something changed. It is the "what" that changed I could not figure out. All this sudden inability also played havoc on my will to race. I was losing interest. Then, I a friend ask me: what changed? And, I got to thinking.

This year I went to Florida for two weeks for a training camp to get back on the road bike and "learn" to get comfortable riding on the road again. The next step: learning how to race the road bike again. It might seem a bit silly to say, but after 6 months of indoor training and racing on the track, it's almost a "new" experience to race on the road again, having to deal with gears and brakes, corners and hills, etc.. For me, the transition back to road is always a hard one. For the track, I ride and train at the Forest City Velodrome all year around, so I've gotten to the point I can pick that back up without hesitation. Top it off that I make it a point to go to Bloomer Park and race the 200m track there in Rochester Hills, MI and the Cleveland Velodrome during the summer, and track almost comes natural to me. My confidence is built back in 20 mins of training. For road racing, it takes a few races to my confidence back. In my mind, Speedweek - 5 races in 7 days - is an excellent way to get that confidence back racing in sunny and warm Georgia and South Carolina.

I would like to first thank my generous supporters on the GoFundMe campaign. The campaign was as much a way to raise funds as a way to test out GoFundMe for a possible campaign for track worlds in a few years. I would also like to thank Ed Veal and Jessica Puddifant for putting me up on the couch of the condo they rented. Without them, I probably would not have gone. Also, thanks to Jon Maloney and Deirdra MacCallum for being there at the start line. Having someone to go to the start makes things much easier. That said, we were only able to do a Speedweekend. Next time, I hope to bring a group of racers down. Committed individuals who see Speedweek the say way I do: Crit Goon Training Camp.

I am sure my opinion will not be shared by all. First, let us start with saying bike racing is dangerous. I can remember almost six years ago doing the Midweek Cycling Club learn to race program and have Jeff Archbold standing up front before the start of the first night and saying: "You will crash. Get over it". There is no way to make it safe no more so that driving a car is safe. On the highways, one has to practice defensive driving. One has to anticipate the stupid moves of other drivers and know how to react.

The problem with racing, at least in the master ranks, is everyone has the notion of "safe racing". This does happen when it does happens because the same guys race together over and over again and get to know each others skill and fitness levels. However, add some unknown riders, new riders , gravel on the road, rain, etc. into the equation, and safe racing does not happen. Gaps happen. Wheels get crossed. Bars connect. Sh*t happens. Because most masters only race a few races a year and are more concerned about their FTP then skillfully handling a bike, no one gets "good" a bike handling. So, when things get a bit "sketchy" (ever heard that muttered at a race before?) they have no idea what to do. I can remember the first time being coached by Ed Veal, elite racer now on the national team, and complaining about these races: his words: "get over it". I've never complained about a race being sketchy since.


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