Thursday, June 29, 2006

Sheedy Wins!

day 1 of Fitchburg today. 6 mile TT, kinda rolling but mostly uphill. my teamate and good friend Brian Sheedy SMOKED it! he was starting to really look lean and mean at tour de beauce and it appears he's got that last extra bit he needed after a few days of rest and then winning the MI state time trial championships this past weekend. Great win for the team and really awesome to see Brian put in a good ride. 8th place for me. felt alright out there, but definitley some solid room for improvment. Today made me realize how much Mark and Ben help us at races. We're all pulling mechanic/director duties this week as well as racing our bikes. Good thing we're all such great teamates :) Circuit race tomorrow. word on the streets is that its a toughy. wish us luck!

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

the next one

on the road again today. out of MI, through canada, across the wiiiiide state of New York and into Massachussetts. Made good time but it was still a full day. Fitchburg starts thrusday with the TT. no, mechanic or director for us at this one so we are on our own. host housing for the week as well, nice quiet place about 45 min. from the race. Good job to our young guns at the Tour of Ohio. Grammo kicked off the first stage with a nice 5th place. Also a big congrats to Thor for getting the team its first NRC win of the season at the Tour de Nez last week by winning the TT.

The past week or so since Beauce has been filled with a good bit of rest and enjoyable time at home. I hit the local mtb trails a couple days last week for my first dose of much needed singletrack riding in a long time. swell times as always. gotta try to open the legs up a bit tomorrow which may be hard after a week of couch time, but hopefully this weekend will kick me back into gear and ready me for U23 nats and my upcoming europe trip. Looks like the national team guys are putting in some good rides over there so i'm psyched to join em in a few weeks.

no fresh pics, but i have been missing Clara in very large quanities. i'll share this one which i have been looking at rather frequently.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

beauce pics

R and R

back to the blogging world for me. this will be a long one so bear with me. After a rough philly week in which i crashed 3 times in just over a week, i wasn't exactly psyched to write and once again explain what happened; however, i feel like my luck and racing has turned around a bit since then and I'm back on the up instead of on the down.

aside from my crash in the final 200 meters, philly was actually a pretty good day. Last year I didn't makethe final selection there, for a number of reasons, just not having "i"t being one of them. This year though was different and it gave me a new appreciation for the race. Its definitley different then any other race we do all year, especially making it to the 6th hour of racing. I know all those big pros like julich, horner and even pate always say the race isn't hard enough to force a really small selection, and that very well may be the case because we still had 30 or so guys at the finish, but for me, racing the full distance of 250km, and still being there to actually "race" at the end was a tough feat. anyway, the team rode solid throughout the day with Glen and I made the final group. It was great to have a guy like Glen by my side to keep me going and give me all those pointers that only a veteran like him could share. unfortunatley, i took a hard spill in the closing meters of the race as everyone was blurry eyed and diving for wheels. It really sucked to be that close to finishing that race strong and with a good result, but the positive is that i was there and now i know what it takes.

post race was also a bit of a sad time because i had to say my goodbyes to Clara. she's off to Italy to spend a good part of the summer with her parents and rip some legs off over there. I'm already missin her like crazy but at least now I am home and able to have plenty of phone and computer contact with her.

on to the next race.... right after philly we had to drive up to Quebec for the Tour De Beauce which started on tuesday! 250km of racing, a travel day and then a 6 day stage race. ouch!!! upon arriving in quebec i felt like i had been hit my a truck and then trampled by a heard of bulls. i really wasn't sure how i was gonna bring my body to race, but brian and glen convinced me that my body would come around once we got racing again. well, eventually my body did begin to come around, but not before 2 of the most horrific days on the bike i've had in a long time. the first two stages were absolute misery, filled with constant suffering and pretty much total mental and physical breakdown by the finish. i lost time both days and also had begun to watch the best young rider jersey slip out of my reach which was tough to see, knowing that had i come to this race fresh and at my best, these races would have been near perfect for me. on the 3rd day, things began to turn around. Glen, Brian and Tom rode like maniacs all day keeping Teddy and I up front and out of the wind. i can't say how crucial and helpful this was since the day would end on the beast of a climb, Mount Megantic and serious time gaps were sure to happen. The climb was insane. only the 2nd mtn top finish i've ever done and also one of the hardest climbs i've ever raced on, but I rode alright and ended up 15th on the day, putting time into the columbian kid who was leading the best young rider competition. It wasn't a massive result in itself, but the team had finally got things to click a bit and set us up for a good stage 4.

Stage 4 was a double day. 15km TT in the morning and a crit that didn't count for GC in the afternoon. Once again i wasn't sure what to expect out of my smashed legs, but it went quite well. I ended up 8th on the day and also was able to take over the red jersey as new leader of the best young rider classification. Zirbel crushed the course, holding a top 3 time for almost the entire day until that last few heads of state took the the course. still, Tom ended up with a highly impressive 6th place.

The next 2 days were a brutal set of circuit races. rad courses with wacky amounts of climbing and all kinds of leg breaking attacks throughout the days. stage 5 got whittled down to a select front group of 30 in which both sheedy and I found ourselves in. brian rode like a hauss once again making sure i was up at the front ready for any more splits that would happen. The last stage was more of the same and also the hottest of the days at a blistering 95 degrees! a long drag of a climb that was popping guys off the back from lap one and then a roller coaster decent back to the start finish. with our reduced team, we played it safe and stayed out of trouble all day to finish in the whittled down bunch and clinch the red jersey for Priority health, ending a hard week of racing.

doing this from my bros computer so pics are n/a but i will see what i can do in the next day or two.

Back in MI now for a few days of R and R. hope the summer is treating you all nicely!

ciao ciao

Friday, June 09, 2006

and another one

a quick update to report some not so good news.

i crashed again. last lap. glen pulls an amazing effort and brings me and robbie in the top 10 wheels coming into the final and crucial climb with only maybe 2 miles to go. then BAM! someone sprints up my right side, hooking the back of my handelbars and sending me into a disco spin. game over. not cool. one of these days it will come together though.

heading to philly tomorrow. wish i was there today. wish me luck and no crashing. comments are fun too.

ciao for now.


Tuesday, June 06, 2006

take a gander....

i realized today that i have my camera and battery charger but no batteries. Luckily Tom Z was nice enough to sponsor me with a pair of AA's for the coming days, as well as these dandy pics. thanks Tom!

if your looking for carnage pics, headhere.

good, bad, worst and ok

another entry for die hard "brent bookwalter" fans. no pictures once again, just the report.

we're finally settled into a place which we'll stay for more then a day. the past few days have been crazy to say the least. ups and downs as usual but i have to say more downs in this stretch. we went into the CSC invitational thinking it couldn't get much worse then captech, but it did.

Good: We started the race off great. Everyone got into good position early and was looking strong. After Brad Huff of Tiaacreff escaped solo only a few laps in, Glen put in a hard attack, and continued to string out the pack once caught. as soon as he let up, i hit it HARD! and got a gap right away, bridging to Huff. We instantly went to work and before too long had built a 20 second gap. That early in the race i really wasn't thinking we would stay away long, at least without being joined by more riders, but we were making a good go at it. later we were joined by another punk, who's name i will not mention because i really don't think too much of him after his childish behavior then ensued. anyway, we kept hammering away and byt his time i was getting a bit wacked.

Bad:i sat on a bit trying to recover and just as i was starting to pull through again i ate it. thats right. crashed! and that was it. game over.

Robbie and Teddy rode strong to finish solid, in a destroyed field of only 25 or so.

Worst: Aside from my tumble, Eddy and Rich also went down, both ending up in the hospital. Rich with a schnazzy 15 stitches in his chin. Eddy with a broken pelvis. thats right kids. that big bone that holds your legs in place. not good. the team sure is gonna miss Eddy int he coming weeks, not just on the bike but as a friend on the road as well.

So So: Lancaster was yesterday. 90 miles of brutal ups, downs and accelerations. my body was a bit thrashed from the day before. riding in break and crashing are both hard on the body, but i was set to give it a go and see how i felt. i made the selection to the last lap, then dumped my front wheel into a pothole and cracked it. Knowing a wheel change at that point was impossible, I fumbled with my front brake enough to get the wheel to clear through, but in doing so I lost all my position for the most crucial part of the course. Gaps started to form and I cramped myself and soon found myself off the back with a group of others. I surfed through the caravan for a bit, then rode it in.

Hopefully we’ve hit our quota for “hard luck” days and will be on the up now. With such a young team we should be growing and improving every race.

Time to go motor pace off a few amish horse and buggys.


Saturday, June 03, 2006


Another pseudo-lame entry with nothing really exciting to report, but what else do I have to do?

Made it up to Arlington, VA yesterday for the CSC invitational crit which takes place today in a few hours. 100 laps, 100km at some rediculously high speeds. I think in a few minutes i'm gonna start spinning around in clockwise circles so i don't get dizzy once the race begins. CSC is here with one or two other euro teams. Last night in our hotel, there was some sort of fire or for some reason some of the "in-room" sprinkers went off creating quite a mess. they wouldn't let us back into the hotel for a long time. I guess a few floors above us were flooded and people had to be moved out. All of our team was in the clear except for Sheedy and Zirbel who had some water leak into their room from above so they had to be moved across the hall. The Hyatt hotel continued with its amazing performance this morning. Jake and I ventured to the resaurant for breakfast. $11 for pancakes which tasted like cardboard. they were even advertised to be topped with fruit but no such luck. only butter and syrup. who wants fruit when you can have butter???? i then proceeded to order, 1 cup of coffee. key word: 1!!!! they bring out a french press, pour me a cup and leave the press on the table. i say, "oh thank you, but i only want one cup." apparantly they don't sell 1 cup and the french press full of coffee i didn't drink cost me another $5. what a rip.

Oh, I almost forgot to update everyone on how the Captech Classic went the other night. I think absolute MISERY! is the best way to describe it. I got a sweet front row callup and felt great for about 5 laps. i won the first KOM sprint and then it was all downhill from there. i could give you a bunch of excuses but i just basically sucked. the only consoloation is that everyone except about 30 guys sucked i guess. I did get to experience some sweet heat exhaustion during the race. extreme overheating, chills, goosebumps and even a few puke episodes were all on the menu for me at some point during the race. ultimatley, i ended up pulling out with about 12 laps to go realizing the best i could hope for at that point was to hang on and finish just outside the top 30 since there were just over 30 guys left at that point. I really hope that knocked some kinks outa the system and opened me up because i don't wanna have to go through that again. we'll see. today's course isn't exactly taylor made for our team, but hopefully we can ride a bit better then we did on thursday night.

Lancaster tomorrow. Reading on Wed. and Philly on Sunday. we're in host housing all week. out in the middle of nowhere i think so the updates may be scarce. if your feeling inspirational, shoot me an email or a comment. i'll try to make the next one a bit more upbeat!

ciao for now.