Elite U25 Cycling

The Epitome of a Multi-Sport Athlete

October 30th, 2016 by Kaitlyn Patterson

By : Joe Meyers, Team OAM NOW Multi-Sport Athlete

Team OAM NOW has helped me this year with not only supporting me in running but leading me into success in cycling. I am on the multi-sport team and I started off the year mainly running and playing tennis tournaments most weekends.  Now, I still run and I still play the tournaments but I have found great success in cycling also.

Joe Meyers took second in his age group at the Peak2Peak mountain bike festival this October

Joe Meyers took second in his age group at the Peak2Peak mountain bike festival this October

At the BTR Race for Wishes earlier this season I became the state champion for road cycling and following that I won the 15-16 age category junior point series. Also I have been competing in cycle-cross and mountain biking, last week placing second in the 12-18 beginner age category.  Besides earning two varsity letters in the fall season, I try to go to most of the cycling races with my dad, John Meyers as much as I can. Team OAM NOW has helped me stay focused with my sports career and has opened up new experiences and hopefully many more to come.

Joe’s impressive balancing efforts and talents are noticed by his teammates, coaches, school, and OAM NOW community. Joe was recently profiled in Knight Life News, the Loy Norrix High School community news source. 

 

 


My Zwift Academy Ride

October 6th, 2016 by Kaitlyn Patterson

–By Kaitlyn Patterson, Team OAM NOW cyclist

I’ve been working on a pretty cool project that has escalated over the past month that I would like to explain.  It can be a bit hard to explain to people both within and outside of cycling so I’ll do my best to cover what I’m doing and why.

Zwift is an interactive online cycling program that you can pair to a smart trainer or a power meter ride on a virtual course with other riders logged in from around the world.  You can chat with riders around you, join group rides, do pre-written or custom workouts, or even race. If you have a smart trainer, the resistance will change based on the elevation changes of the Zwift course. Overall, it makes riding the trainer 100% more engaging and can be a great training tool.epic qom

At the beginning of the summer, Zwift rolled out a program called “Zwift Academy,” open to any female cyclist. It included a series of workouts, a pre and post Functional threshold power (FTP) test and a designated number of group rides to complete over a three month time span. After this “qualifying period” a panel of professionals would analyze power data and other information and select 10 semi-finalists they thought had the potential to be professional riders. The semi finalists continue the program and compete for the grand prize of a one year contract with the Canyon/SRAM team.

When I read about this at first, I was intrigued but I thought it was a bit sacrilegious to ride the trainer in the summer and I only had a couple months of freedom before medical school started. However, I thought it was a pretty cool idea and I joined the Facebook group to keep tabs on it. Through the summer, an impressive community of women from around the world converged on this platform- sharing stories, equipment tips, training advice, and such. Most of them were not in it for the “grand prize” or any prize at all but the pursuit of improvement and inclusion in a community.

At the end of July when I was preparing to move to Ann Arbor to start school, I began to plan how I would continue to train most efficiently with the demands of school. I knew my days of riding my mountain bike endlessly from our front door were over and I knew the trainer was going to turn into an important training tool for me. So just for fun, I looked at the Zwift Academy requirements again. It would be a lot of work to finish the program by the August 31st deadline but it had already elicited the spark of a new challenge and there was no turning back.

Despite occasionally feeling guilty for riding inside in August,  Zwift Academy turned into a great outlet for me for several reasons. It definitely helped me fit in a lot of high quality efficient workouts as my volume declined. It also reduced the amount of time I was on the road during the time that I was most anxious about cars due to recent accidents. However, I didn’t post any of my Zwift rides on Strava, because I wasn’t quite confident enough to explain what I was doing or why.

Ore to Shore was a success amid school and Zwift

Ore to Shore was a success amid school and Zwift

Fitting in the workouts around races and outdoor rides turned out to be more of a challenge than expected because the workouts were legitimately hard. However, I managed to finish Zwift Academy by the deadline.  I figured I would likely have a chance at moving on but due to the time constraints, I didn’t do all the workouts at the highest quality and my power numbers didn’t improve much in such a short time. However, one week after the conclusion of the program, my name was among the ten from around the world to move on. (Check out the bios from the semi-finalists here.) I was excited and pleased but also surprised with their selection.  I was very honest with Zwift Academy about my school and racing plans but they advanced me nevertheless.  I thought this was pretty cool for several reasons:

First, one of my goals of medical school is to avoid sacrificing myself mentally and physically in the process of medical training.  Yes, this is historically how it has been done and I may be judged for wanting it to be different. However, I think that the University of Michigan is on board with this and it is cool that Zwift Academy acknowledged this too.kpat canyon

Secondly, my involvement with this project is not driven solely by the pursuit of a pro contract.  But I don’t think it is all about the pro contract for Zwift Academy either.  The enthusiasm of the Zwift Academy community exceeded expectations and I think there is a lot of power in using both community and “gamification” for some impressively rewarding fitness and satisfaction gains – and not just for the highest caliber athletes.  I think building and strengthening an underrepresented community in the cycling world will benefit the sport at all levels. So I was pleased that Zwift acknowledged that I might have something to bring to this community, even if it does not necessarily mean being the optimal candidate to fulfill a professional contract.

The next round of workouts started up last week and I have the months workouts in my Training Peaks. The semi-finals include one outdoor workout, one specific Zwift workout and one Zwift group ride or race of our choice. It is actually a pretty relaxed schedule that allows me to continue to spend time on my mountain bike. The semifinals run through the end of November.So it will definitely be an interesting ride no matter what and I’m excited to see what the next few months hold.


Cycling Tips From Andy

September 14th, 2016 by Kaitlyn Patterson

–By Andy Guelzo, Team OAM NOW cyclist

When I first started on my adventure into the adventurous sport of cycling I had some wonderful people to teach me and show me the do’s and don’ts. The small tricks to cycling that most people don’t find out until it’s too late are the things that can make the most difference. Sharing those tips to the beginner cyclist is what needs to be done so that everyone can feel joy of riding to its highest level. The 3 biggest tips I can share are eating properly, getting a correct fitting bike, and finding someone or some people to get guidance from. These tricks can be used from anyone beginning to ride to someone that had been in the sport for a while and wanting to hone in their riding.

1.  Eating

When I began in my cycling career eating while riding was an outside concept to me. I never thought that eating would work and not upset my stomach.  Eating allows your body to keep up energy levels and keep your body from “bonking”. Bonking is when your liver can’t keep up with your blood glucose levels and the brain and nervous system run low on fuel. This in turn causes muscles to not have adequate supply of energy. When eating during a ride, it is best to start early when going for a ride longer than an hour.  After about an hour is when your body starts needing to replace its fuel stores.  Eating early will allow your body to keep up with digestion and supply the body with useable nutrients. Use fuel in the form of  gels for the simple carbohydrates that are metabolized into glucose within the body for use in cells. Also, I carry bars for rides over 90 minutes for their assortment of carbohydrates and proteins. Having the proper nutrition will allow your body to perform the best possible.

2. Bike Fitbike fit

It doesn’t matter how fit or strong an athlete is, if you cannot put the most force possible into your bike you will not go as fast as possible. Having a bike that fits properly will also allow you to be more comfortable and be able to ride longer without causing damage to your joints.  Just like any other machine, if the person working it cannot use it comfortably it will not be used with maximum efficiency. Most local bike shops have some kind of fitting service, 3rd coast cycles in Hudsonville for example has everything you need to be fitted properly. They can fit the bike to your exact body specifications. I cannot stress the importance of a bike fit because I believe that it is the single most important “upgrade” you do to your bike to go faster.

 

3. Don’t do it Alone

It doesn’t matter if you want to just ride for fitness or if you want to race, group riding is one of the best training tools out there. Other people will be able to push you to go faster and go further than you normally would if you were on your own.  Riding in a group will make it easier to meet new people. Most groups have at least one person that has been riding for quite a long time. These people have a special heart for the sport of cycling and terry and andywant to share as much knowledge as possible.  These types of people I find are not looking for a reward of payment. What they want is to see their love for the sport move into someone else who is just starting out in feeling that same passion. A mentor like this can usually do more than any other person you will meet. For me, Athletic Mentors coach, Team tech guru, and all around fantastic road trip driver Terry Ritter has been this person for me. The friendship and bond created will be one that will go on forever. His passion for the sport and the growth of up and coming riders leads too much more than just doing well in races. It leads to a life time attraction to wanting to ride a bike. To take this further, getting in contact with a personal coach to work with you on a training plan to reach your goals is even better. Having a coach will give direction and make reaching goals more possible.

 

 

 


Slow and Steady.

September 13th, 2016 by Kaitlyn Patterson

– By Collin Snyder, Team OAM NOW cyclist

This year has been a roller coaster of ups and downs. When the season was in its early strides, I was already showing signs it was going to be a good year. I put the time in over the winter and dividends were coming in. Then right when it started, it ended. On a training ride, I broke my kneecap (non-displaced patella for you medical people), putting the brakes on all plans for the year. Seven weeks later I was on the bike, but nowhere close to where I started. In fact, my first week back, it was hard to do a ride over a 20 minutes :(

I re-adjusted my expectations, and decided to just roll with the punches and enjoy the summer racing. Due to the still weak knee, I decided to do Lumberjack on a geared bike. This is so unheard of for me, I actually had to buy a rear MTB wheel that wasn’t single speed dedicated. I raced and struggled. The results were similar on the road. I showed up, put my all into it, but it just wasn’t there. To make matters worse, not longer after Lumberjack, I broke a rib in another crash. This just wasn’t my year.

colin breckIn mid-August, I took a little break from the road to race a bucket list race; the Breck Epic, a 6 day MTB stage race in Breckenridge Colorado. My rib was healed, I had some training under my belt, but I really didn’t know what to expect. The race ended up living up the hype. Being from Michigan, I just wanted to finish. I raced smart everyday, always metered my efforts with the altitude always at the back of my mind and bottom of my lungs. In the end, I finished 16th in my age group for the six days, and had a top 10 on the last day.

When I came back, I wanted to use my re-found fitness while it was still around. With shifting of some of the races this year, Labor Day weekend was free for me to head out of state to race Shenandoah Mountain 100. This is a race that I’ve raced five times prior, with my last experience in 2013 soured by the remnants of a hurricane which dumped heavy rain for a majority of the race. This year, I was just going to have fun.

When the race kicked off, as always it started fast, but this year, I decided not to kill myself and watched my single speed competition struggle to hold onto the likes of Jeremiah Bishop’s wheel while spinning at 190 RPM. This is a big change for me. Normally at these NUE races, I kill myself at the beginning, get in a good position, then slowly fade and then struggle to stop the bleeding as fresher competitors pass like I’m standing still.colin breck 2

I rode my pace up climb 1 and 2 of six without seeing another single speeder. When I reached the bottom of the second descent, I saw a racer begging for a tube. I figured I was just riding my bike and I had a tube on me and another about 10 miles up the road at the next aid station, so why not stop and help him. Good karma right? Helped him out, took a nature break, and was on my way.

Going up the fifth climb, also affectionately known as “The Death Climb” due to the fact its about 18 miles long, I rode my pace. Slowly, one by one, I started passing people. Most were geared, but four were my single speed “classmates”. As I reached the top and started going down, I pass a guy messing with his bike who then realizes I’m a single speeder also. Panic sets in (for him), and he puts it in high pursuit, bombing down the 5 mile, super rocky, 2500 ft decent. He passes me like I’m standing still.  Although I’m a good descender, I’m still a flat lander, so I ease off knowing I want to live to see another day. Midway down the trail, there’s a short climb which the SSer comes back into view, and he’s walking up it. I manage to scale it without walking. With one more 25 minute climb to come in the closing miles, I know I’ll have him.

I make it down to the bottom safely, reach the last aid station, take a NASCAR style stop, and I’m in hot pursuit. When I get to the start of the last climb, he’s out of sight, but I do a steady tempo, never becoming impatient. Although slow, it was faster than I’ve ever gone up that climb in the 5 other editions. I actually had gas left in the tank, what a concept! Midway up the climb, I see him, and he had nothing left. The grade was too much for his blown up legs. I put a poker face on and stand up to “dance on the pedals” as he hiked next to his rig. As I pass, he says he’s got nothing left and congratulates me on my effort. I ride safely up and down the last mountain, and roll in nearly 25 minutes faster than my personal best. I place third in the Single Speed Class, beating my previous best by 8 places.

breck podium

This race really mirrors my recovery. I re-adjusted my expectations, aimed for fun over results, and sure enough, I managed to accomplish both. Sometimes it’s a bunch of crappy setbacks that makes you step back and realize why you’re in this sport to begin with. This mindset will continue into cyclocross season where another training disruption is imminent. My wife and I are expecting our first child, about a month before Iceman.


On the Top Step

August 1st, 2016 by Kaitlyn Patterson

–By Andy Guelzo, Team OAM NOW Elite Cyclist

Some athletes take racing as just competing and having a great time doing it. There is nothing wrong with this, this is actually how sports attract people and grow in general. But, once you get the taste of winning, it is what you strive for from then on. Winning a road race is not an easy thing to do. It takes time, physical ability, and most importantly, the mental ability to keep going when your body is suffering more than it wants to tolerate.
teamwork

This season at the State Championships Road Race at Maple Hills Race for Wishes, everything I had was put to the test. The race for the Category 1/2/3 men started out fairly slowly with Peter Ehmann taking off from the first corner on a solo flyer which just allowed us to ride the coat tails of the attacks that went up the road to chase. Sitting near the front with Cory Stange and Dan Yankus, the three of us were able to cover any and all attacks that were launched. Eventually Peter was caught and the real games and attacks were about to begin. About this time I was not feeling very good at all. I was not able to drink because of a huge stomachache that was building. Taking myself out of the way at the front I went to the back to try to relax my stomach. Taking a few deep breaths, I was able to regain control of my stomach and make my way back toward the front of the race. I knew at this point the race was starting to heat up and I needed to be ready to take care of anything that was headed our way.

Being on one of the several strong teams in the race, we knew that we needed to be in any break that was to try and get away, and that is exactly what I was able to do. Right after crossing the start line to begin the third of five laps, Bryce Nuiver (EPS Cycling) put in a hard solo attack and put in about 30 seconds on the group, to chase that four guys were able to put in a hard attack on the group and bridge up to Bryce. John Leach (Bissell), Jesse Kooistra (Clark Logic), Dan Doddy (Tower International), and I were able to get something going. As a larger gap opened up Aaron Beebe (Bissell) and Tom Burke (Giant) were also able to bridge up to the break making it seven men strong. We worked together very nicely for the next 2 laps opening up a gap of about 3 minutes. On the last lap the games began and cards started to be laid down and sorted out. Unfortunately for Bryce, about 3 miles into the last lap he had a mechanical on the feed zone hill and was not able to catch back on. The break was down to six. Moving deeper into the last lap my thoughts were on how to make this race into a sprint finish since Beebe is an amazing time trialist and Tom Burke is capable of long hard pulls which could put me in the hurt box. This is when the pain face came on. Playing as the underestimated small rider, I sat near the back of the break looking as if I was dying and just trying to hold on. This made it possible for me to recover and get ready for the flurry of attacks that were about to start.

The course had two major hills, the feed zone hill and a hill about 4 miles from the finish. Since we were past the feed zone hill I knew that the next logical place to put in a hard break-shattering attack would be on the second hill. And that’s exactly what happened.  With Leach, Burke, Kooistra, and Doddy in front of me and Beebe behind, I had a perfect view of the action. Burke attacked, Leach went with and Kooistra followed. Knowing that I could not let this go if I ever wanted a chance at winning, I followed right along but also showing everyone that I had more in the tank than I was leading on to have. With no major split from Burke’s attack, Leach soon attacked after that causing Doddy to fall off. After Leach’s attack Beebe countered causing Leach to drop as well.

It was now down to Burke, Beebe, Kooistra, and I all going into the last 2 miles. With the last 2 miles being downhill and games being played, Doddy was able to chase back on but not without a price to be paid by his legs. Going into the last corner Beebe was not about to let me get behind him. Burke put in a final long attack going into the final corner, Kooistra and Beebe right then made their losing mistake, giving me a great leadout. With Kooistra and Beebe in front of me and Burke about 30 feet in front of them I started my sprint with about 300m to go. Coming around my leadout and using Burke as a jumping stone I produced about a 4-5 bike length gap. Cramping with every pedal stroke and looking under my arm to look for a wheel I knew I had clinched a victory! Just in time to post up like I was on top of the world. Passing our team tent I heard someone say, “did he get it?!” and I looked right at the tent and yelled “Yes, I got it!” and cheers rolled out! My world was ecstatic. All the pain and all the heat and thirst went away in that moment. The time training and sacrifices were all worth it in exchange for this one moment on the top step.

Guelzo podium

The race was full of mental and physical challenges. Pushing my body past its comfort zone and into the winning position took more than I ever thought I had and just as well with the physical aspects, I put in the training and effort to make sure my body could do what I need it to. There is almost no better feeling than feeling the gratification of being able to win a big race and be encouraged to keep pushing into the future.


BTR / Maple Hills Race Weekend Highlights

July 13th, 2016 by Kaitlyn Patterson

It was a busy weekend of racing, coaching, cheering, and volunteering this weekend for Team OAM NOW who came out in force for the BTR Crit and Maple Hills Race for Wishes.  It was a big weekend as Maple Hills was the 2016  state championship road race and  BTR was the state championship criterium for women, masters and juniors.   It was a great showing for the team with a successful Friday night skills clinic to kick off the weekend and nearly every race sporting some OAM NOW blue and orange kits. The racing was highlighted by two overall state champions as well as success stories in nearly every race.

Elite Men

Guelzo podiumIn the 87 mile men’s Cat 1/2/3/ road race on Sunday, Andy Guelzo stole the show taking the win in a sprint finish from a six man breakaway.  Andy was in strong company with Tom Burke and two Bissell ABG riders Aaron Beebe and John Leach.  But Andy was patient and delivered a brilliant sprint at the line to take the win.

Dan Yankus followed closely  in a chase group taking seventh.  With teammates up the road in breaks, the rest of the mens team finished in the main field.

Sunday’s win was a big relief to the team after a disappointing showing in the crit on Saturday.  Although  OAM NOW riders were part of every breakaway throughout the race, the field came back together in the final laps.  With a large Cat 1/2/3 field and a strong wind on the backstretch of the course, positioning was everything and the team ran out of real estate on the final lap. Andy  led the team in 14th place, followed by Dan in 19th.

 

Women

It was a great weekend for women’s racing with strong and deep fields lining up both days.  Road captain Marie Dershem was joined by Kaitlyn Patterson, JoAnn Cranson, Danielle Nye, Laura Melendez, and Elaine Sheikh, the biggest showing for a women’t cycling event this season.

In the 60 minute crit, Kaitlyn Patterson broke away from the field alone 15 minutes in, enduring the windy backstretch and  eventually lapping the field to take the win.  After Kaitlyn was clear from the field, Marie began attacking and also broke away to take second and first in the Cat 1 / 2 race.

In the road race, the OAM NOW women  faced a challenge with City Hub Cyclery and Hagerty fielding strong teams.  The first half of the race rolled at a pedestrian pace, with an unfortunate crash taking down Danielle Nye and several other riders.  The attacks began on the biggest climb on the second of three laps as Kaitlyn got a gap but was pulled back and the field came back together.  On the final lap, the race was neutralized during the deciding climb as the field was passed by the Masters 35+ men.  With most of the riders still together, the nuetralization drastically changed the race dynamics.  With a deciding climb rendered irrelevant and nobody willing to pull or attack, Kaitlyn drilled the last 12 miles in the attempt to thin down the field and give Marie the best chance at the win. Despite the effort, 15 women stayed intact and the title was determined in a field sprint. Marie claimed fourth and second in Cat 1 /2 with Elaine and JoAnn finishing in the top 13.

TeamOAM Women's triathletes in Michigan, managed by Athletic Mentors, elite endurance sport coaches

 

Maple Hills debuted a Masters 40+ womens race this year with several riders taking on the challenge after racing the morning Cat 1/2/3/4 race as well. In an impressive double, JoAnn  took the top step of the Masters race in a sprint finish after 90 miles of total racing.

Elaine was one of the only Cat 4 riders to finish with the main field in the morning and she recovered quickly to also race in the Cat 4 race in the afternoon, taking sixth. This capped off a strong weekend for Elaine, after taking third in a sprint finish in the Cat 4 race at BTR.

 

Masters Menstate championship

The Masters Men had strong showings all weekend.  On Saturday, Richard Landgraff rode to a 2nd place finish in in the BTR crit for the 50-54 State Championship. Leonard Van Drunen just missed the podium, taking fourth in a four man break  in the 55+ race.

 On Sunday, the 7 masters riders monitored all the moves throughout the day and the race came down to a field sprint with Jon Morgan taking second and Rich in third  place in the state championship 50+.  The team was joined by new rider John Meyers who was instrumental in countering breaks with Terry Ritter, Mark Olson and Mike Wyzalek, and perennial strongman Chris Abston.

Juniors

Three OAM NOW juniors took on the tough double race weekend including new team member Joe Meyers as well as Christian Dershem and Hunter Maschke.  Joe took third at BTR and took the top step in the 15-16 age category in Sunday’s road race, Hunter joined Joe on the podium taking third.

joe meyers RR

Full BTR Criterium Results can be found here.

Full Maple Hills results can be found here. 

 

 

 

 

 


Free Cycling Clinics with Team OAM NOW / Athletic Mentors

June 28th, 2016 by Kaitlyn Patterson

Few will disagree that the learning curve of cycling and racing is significant but that is also why the sport is rewarding. There is always something to improve on whether you are a beginner or a seasoned racer.

teamworkTeam OAM NOW/Athletic Mentors will host two cycling clinics to cater to a range of abilities. The clinics will be held on Friday, July 8 at WMU BTR Park, where the BTR Crit will be held the following day.  Both clinics are FREE if you preregister or $10 day of.

The women’s only clinic will be geared towards beginner riders and will cover drafting, cornering, and group riding etiquette.  This is a great chance to build confidence in a non-intimidating atmosphere with help from Team OAM NOW riders.  Check-in is at 5:45 with the clinic running from 6-8pm.  Be prepared to ride with a bike and helmet, road bike recommended!  Make sure you pre-register for this clinic HERE!

The second clinic will be open to both men and women and be focused on race specific skills and drills.  The clinic will be on the actual race course, a great opportunity to prepare for the BTR crit!  Check-in is at 6:15 with the clinic running 6:30-9pm. Pre-register for this clinic HERE!

Check out more details on the BTR Clinics page.

Make it a full weekend and come out to race the BTR Crit on Saturday, July 9 and Maple Hills Race for Wishes on Sunday, July 10!


Why You Should Try the Velodrome!

June 24th, 2016 by Kaitlyn Patterson

–By Luke Cavender, Team OAM NOW cyclist

From http://www.ivbp.org/

From http://www.ivbp.org/

I want to write to you guys about the Velodrome at Bloomer Park and how we would like to get more riders – especially from Team OAM Now – out to the track. Because I’m new to the team, you might not know that I’ve been racing the track for many years now. It has taken me places I never thought I would go, like Elite/Pro Nationals, Olympic trials, and the Olympic Training Center just to name a few. Track cycling boosted my riding ability much faster than just training on the road or the trails. Yes, you still need to get your endurance training done, but track cycling improves your power, speed, and bike handling skills tenfold.

If you’re not familiar with a velodrome, it is a banked bike racing track that varies in length. The one we are blessed to have in Michigan is 200 meters with 44 degree banking in the corners. That’s 200 meters of pure fun and excitement. If you like rollercoasters, the track will definitely interest you! There are many races done on the track: scratch race, points race, Madison, elimination race, match sprints, and time trials. Each race has its own different thrill and unique flavor.

The velodrome will improve your bike handling skills because it essentially makes you “one” with your bike. Since track bikes do not have brakes and only run one gear, you learn to look up ahead of the riders in front of you (so you’re not staring down at the wheel in front of you) in order to anticipate what is coming your way. A key factor in competitive and recreational cycling is being able to control your bike in a group or around a corner. The velodrome helps you get used to riding in a pack in a controlled environment without the worry of passing cars. When you get comfortable riding in a pace line on the track, you can ride a pace line anywhere. On the road, you either do one race a night/weekend, but on the track, you’re able to do 5-6 races in one session. Those extra races alone, though they are shorter, allow you to quickly gain experience riding in a pack at speed. The more reps you can do, the better. Along with gaining experience in a pack, you learn race tactics at an accelerated level, like how to get to the front, finish a race during a sprint, and how to establish a breakaway. The track is a great training tool to refine your skills so you become a better all-around rider.

There are many ways to gain power, speed, and endurance; everyone has their own methods to do so. As I mentioned earlier, since we do 5-6 races a night, it allows you to work on these things. The more times you try to chase down a break and finish a race, you will gain more top-end speed and the power needed to get to that speed.

Last Friday night on the boards was a great one for me. Race #2 was a continuation of our season-long scratch race series; I won the race, and now I’m sitting in first overall for the series. This race started out pretty fast, with everyone trying to ride at the front. With about 5 laps to go, the field sat up and no one breaking away until Paul Hertzler, from Wolverine Sports Club, put in a great move and gained about half a track on the field because we were too busy looking at each other. Mike Dega from Team O2 put the throttle down and made it about halfway to Paul with me on his wheel. Coming into the bell lap, I made my move around Mike to overtake Paul on the back stretch for a comfortable win. The next race – elimination – I redeemed myself from a poor 5th place finish the week before. It came down to a final match sprint between myself and Nick Laughton of Team O2 after bettering the rest of the competition. With 2 to go, we were looking at each other. He had the front position on me and made a nice move to pick up speed with one and a half laps to go. We hit the front straightaway with one to go, and the sprint was on. I was able to ride up next to him on the back stretch, but he had one last little kick and edged me out at the finish line. We’re now tied for first in the overall elimination race series.

Luke and his teammate

Luke and CJ Karas pair up to claim the win the two-person team race

Lastly, the feature race of the night and my favorite – the Madison. That night there was no glory, it was all for fun. I was paired up with CJ Karas from Marian University and we had a pretty decent race. The Madison is a bit different from other track races because it is a two person team race. When the rider in the race comes around to the rider on relief, he or she reaches up and grabs the hand of their teammate and throws them into the race. It’s generally ran like a points race with multiple sprints along the way, and the team with most points or laps on the field wins the race. The first two sprints saw us taking third and second, respectively. Coming into the final sprint, knowing we had to win the sprint to win the race, I timed an attack and throw CJ in with a nice lead. She was able to maintain the gap for the victory.

I hope that after reading this tidbit on track cycling, a few of you will come out and try the velodrome. It’s also a great spectator sport to see exactly what it’s all about before trying it yourself. The races are held every Friday night at 7:30pm all summer long – we even have a live band that plays while we race. There are plenty of new rider classes, even if you’re not new to a bike. If you don’t have a track bike, they have bikes for you to use. You just need to bring your shoes, helmet, and eagerness to ride. After a few classes, you’ll be ready to start racing and winning in no time. Get in contact with me (luke.cavender.racing@gmail.com) if you want more info or check out ivbp.org.


In Pursuit of the “Trifecta”

June 23rd, 2016 by Kaitlyn Patterson

–By Terry Ritter,  Team OAM NOW Masters Cyclist

For the last decade I have been in awe of the acts of one man: Raymond Dybowski. Oh, sure, I’m with everyone else when it comes to being mystified at his ability to casually escape the main group and just roll away. The non-threatening vibe his motion exudes boggles the mind when you realize he’s done it a number of times and actually had success. No, what I hold “Big Ray” in reverence for is the rarely seen “Trifecta.” This is when you do 3 different Criterium races on the same day. Typically, with our structure in Michigan, that means a Masters 45+, then 35+, and followed by a Pro 1/2 race. I have witness his attempts a few times, and always thought it’d be a cool thing to try.

Unfortunately, the structure of our road teams prevents me from just doing a 1/2 race, even though I have a Cat. 2 license. If I did two other events in a day, I’d be useless to the boys, and that likely would be bad form. However, a special situation came up with a Criterium in Galion, Ohio. They not only had a more sedate (I hoped) 50+ Masters race (I am officially 50 on my racing license this year), but also a 40+ right after. Then, a few hours and the P/1/2/3 race would start as the sun was setting. This could be my chance!

If I had this control over other factors of my life, I would not have worked 12 hours on my feet the day before, or driven 3+ hours to get to the event. Oh, and also would not have pegged the thermometer at 90+ the entire race day. But, I was signed up, had my trusty co-pilot and teammate Andrew Guelzo along (he spins the tunes), and lots of ice in the cooler.

The 50+ Masters race had a dozen riders, two of which were actually familiar faces: Scott Kroski of the Wolverines, and Hendry Swinty of the Ft. Wayne Outfitters. The former I see weekly and the later races in Michigan a lot, and quite successfully. My hope was this small group would be easy to watch from the back, and also not be too charged up with the heat and a 45 min race duration. That prediction was correct and I camped out and drank lots, letting others close gaps as I followed. Then, with 6 laps to go, Scott took a flier. Being a fellow Michigander, I really couldn’t chase, so I waited to see if anyone else would. A few guys worked at the front, and someone made a weak attempt to go across, but it all brought us back together with 2 laps.

Terry grabbed a podium in his first race of the day- Master's 50+

Terry grabbed a podium in his first race of the day- Master’s 50+

By this point I was setting third wheel and watching the front. Scott had slotted right behind me. With two quick turns and then an uphill grade and 300 m to the line, I was ready.  But as the guy in front of me jumped as the leader went wide on the second to last corner, I hesitated. By time I shortened the gap we were ready to sprint, and I effectively gave Scott a decent leadout. He got second and I held on for third. My mistake and hats off to him for aggressive racing.

 

Scott, Henry, and I lined up for the 40+ race, which was the same duration. Still thinking I should be conserving, I did get a little more assertive in my position, and this allowed me the sight of seeing a guy bolt on the second lap. I watched to see if anyone would follow and, on the third lap, a guy jumped out and gave chase. At this point, there was still 40 mins of racing and it was easy to talk myself into not moving. I figured Henry or Scott would eventually try. The lead duo was about 30 seconds up with 30 mins of racing when Henry struck out. After he rolled 50 meters and I didn’t think anyone was going to follow, I bridged out.

The pace was high but I figured I’d get a chance to catch my breath as it was obvious we were cutting the gap down and the main group was left for dead it seemed. But, the head wind and Henry’s diminutive size made it hard for me to get any rest. After 4 laps of chasing we had cut the lead down to 12 seconds with 20 mins of racing left. Henry jumped when I was gassed on a pull and I couldn’t close it down. Andy said I had 30 seconds so I pushed through in TT mode the last 6 laps and finished in 4th .

When I asked Henry how he did against the two lead guys, he stated he never caught them…and that he needed one more guy to help him. I stood there speechless, with the satisfaction that there is racing karma after all.

With a few hours before the P/1/2/3 race, I hung out in the shade and chatted with Ross Williams, who races Cat. 3 on our team. He had came down with his parents from Traverse City. Just then a gust of wind knocked Ross’s Giant Propel over. This seemed innocent enough until Ross came back from his attempted warm up to show me a very bent derailleur hanger preventing any reasonable shifting. Fortunately, I had a spare and he was up and running again in less than 10 mins.

Terry, Andrew, and Ross line up for the P/1/2/3 race at Galion

Terry, Andrew, and Ross line up for the P/1/2/3 race

The final race started at 8:00 pm and 91 degrees. The field was about 30 guys, with Ross, Andy, and I at the line. It started fast enough, then it got faster. About 10 mins in a rider had taken a wheel change and came from the wheel pit, past the peloton, which was averaging 27.5 MPH, straight to the front and then off the front! The group picked up the pace for the next 10 mins, which preceded to pop me and a few others. Eventually, the young buck lapped the field that was down to about 15 riders with 5 laps remaining.

For me, that wasn’t the most excitement. Just as Ross was coming unhitched from the back, Andy rolled through with the group but was obviously off the pace and looked like he’d given up as he crossed the start/finish line. I figured he was going to spin, so Ross, Jeff Johnson from EPS (another Michigan team) and I went out. We never ran into Andy and, upon returning to the course, the various stories started coming in detailing his demise.

Ross’s parents were holding Andy’s bike and explained they were told Andy crashed…but that made no sense. After I talked to an official, they said he’d stopped at a corner marshal and was being treated by paramedics. Still kitted up, and with my race wheels on, I rolled over to the direction they pointed. There, a corner marshal explained that Andy had came through after the group and the guy had to catch him to prevent him from falling off his bike. Andy then started ripping of his equipment. Finally, some paramedics took him to the hospital. At this point, I wasn’t sure what to do. But, Galion is a small town and, sure enough, the kind people at that corner gave me easy directions and I was at the ER in 10 mins (still on my bike, in a skinsuit that displayed the salt of three races).

Unfortunately, they had no record of Andrew. I left a number and headed back to the race course only to get flagged down by Ross’s dad, telling me Andy was back and fine. Sure enough, I found him talking to a young woman, with his magnetic smile on full display. He explained how he’d gotten a terrible cramp in his side and couldn’t go on, how he’d gotten to the corner marshal but about fell over, and then couldn’t stand having his clothing on any longer. I pretended to follow but was just happy he wasn’t suffering from any condition that would require treatment.

From there we licked our wounds, packed up the car, and headed back to our great state. We’d had some fun, even experienced an adventure, and made some new friends. Next year, though, I have to be a little better prepared if I ever hope to mirror my endurance hero, as I missed out on my own Trifecta.


A Course of Action

June 10th, 2016 by Marie Dershem

Tragedy. Senseless. Horrific. Heartbreaking… there are so many words that help us describe what happened in Kalamazoo a few short days ago. Five cyclists lost their lives and four were severely injured because of one person’s decision to drive recklessly. And we feel devastated, angry, distressed, anxious, deeply saddened, vulnerable and helpless.

So many words… but words can only take us so far. We want a course of action. We need to have something to do. We want to support those who have lost loved ones, demand justice for the actions of the man who caused this tragedy, and remember all who have been hit and injured or killed while cycling.

The ride of silence just 24 hours after this tragic event was a moving display of care, support, love and remembrance. The fund for the victims’ families has been established and is growing. These are immediate opportunities to give and support and raise awareness. We must grieve the loss, feel the feelings of anger and sadness.

But, what about a month from now? A year from now? How does this impact us? What course of action, long term, can we take in response to such tragedy? I believe we can allow this to change us for the better. We can be bitter, or we can make things better. As I ofen tell my children, we can’t prevent bad things from happening to us or those we love. The only thing we can control is our response to it. We can grow bitter hearts and resentment, or we can grow character and resilience

So, as we move from our deep sense of grief into a time of response, let’s consider how this can better us and better our community.

On the practical side:

bike safety picWhen you drive, show patience to cyclists. Give cyclist ample room (5’) when you pass them. Remember that they are more than just cyclists. They are someone’s son or daughter, someone’s brother or sister, someone’s father or mother. However rushed you feel, remember that carelessness is not worth the risk or the 5 seconds you might save.

When you drive, vow to never, ever receive or send a text or email while driving. Ever. I hope it goes without saying that it is never acceptable in any way, shape or form to drive under the influence.

If you are a cyclist, follow the rules of the road, always.

Help to educate your community about cyclist’s right to be on the road and how to keep cyclists safe.

Volunteer at a cycling event to help keep participants safe.

Be as visible as you can when you ride.

Follow that instinct to do something – you’ll find what that thing is for you.

On the emotional side:

cycle with friendsEvents like this remind us how fragile life is. I know it is cliché, but speak your love to your loved ones. Hold close those friends who make your world a better place.

Remember that life, good health, and physical activity is a gift. We are blessed to be able to ride. Ride with joy. Ride as a celebration of life and health. Ride with friends and embrace the community cycling has given to us.

Let’s vow to keep our priorities straight . . . Live with joy. Ride with gratitude. Love with your whole heart.

ride for life



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