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Late again, we barely made it to the starting line, due partly to me, and partly to a huge traffic jam on I-35. But they kindly waited an extra 5 minutes for us to make it to the line, ... moreand the race was on, sort of.. For the first 20 miles, we rolled easy. One rider was off the front solo, but none of us were worried. It's an 84 mile race. The field was small, maybe just over 20 riders. Giant Lakeside had 4-5 riders, and were clearly targets to keep an eye on.

By mile 20, Giant started to attack the field. Dennis and I took turns covering the moves, and letting other people in the field do some work too. I took a couple of fliers that failed, because a Giant rider would follow me, but not contribute. By mile 30, another attack went. Dennis went to cover, and I moved towards the back. When the field settled, I counterattacked, and dragged the same Giant rider who was marking me before. I thought it was another failed move, until I saw 3 other riders bridge up, with a gap behind them. We caught the solo breakaway, and formed a 6 man paceline. The rest is in the video.

We got another good result. Now, the goal is to switch our focus to criteriums in April and May.
Report Date:
Saturday, 17 Mar, 2018
Last time I was in a pro race a couple of months ago, I got dropped, my legs cramped, but the beating I took that day made me get my act together. This time, I came more prepared.... more

I can't say the same for my teammate, who showed up to the race with 15 minutes of sleep the night before (again). I know owls are supposed to be nocturnal, but Jesus.

Nevertheless, we both did pretty well. Didn't I say we'd come out swinging?
Report Date:
Sunday, 4 Mar, 2018
The initial breakaway for the hilly 60 mile race started at just mile 7. We had maybe 6-8 guys with us. Some bridged up, some dropped. There were a few attacks up the hill to shed ... morethe fat, and that turned out to be the right thing to do, because they were slowing us down. At mile 30, I could feel my right leg starting to cramp, probably because I worked hard in the first few laps trying to increase our gap on the descents. As a result, I was careful about burning my matches, and spinned my legs out as much as possible.

After a couple of attacks in the break, four of us remained, a junior, Strike Cycling, and Daswow. The Daswow guy (Tyler) initiated the attacks out of the breakaway, and was the one I had my eye on. He was wily, and started skipping pulls. It was hard to tell if he was actually tired, or saving for final lap. Eventually, he dropped his chain, and off the back he went. It was better for the breakaway, because his contribution to the group at that point was minimal.

Three of us remained. We eventually had a 1:30 gap on the field. I actually dropped my chain twice, but was lucky in that I was able to save both while on the bike, and chase back on quickly. Eventually, our pace settled, and I began to plot my move. With a cramping leg, initiating attacks up the hill, followed by prolonged intense effort to the finish was out of the question. I could only follow the attacks, and hope I don't cramp. The junior had a highest gearing of 53/14, meaning he'll spin out on the down hills. Strick Cycling (Patrick) isn't the best at descents or corners. So my plan was to attack on the steepest descent ~1600m before the finish, in order to create my separation for the win.

The rest is in the video
Report Date:
Saturday, 3 Mar, 2018
Since the Tommy K race a month ago, I've been focusing on adopting more structure into my training. Intervals were mandatory. We're still building up to full fitness, but our work ... morein the last few weeks paid off. Our team were represented in the winning breakaway, and I broke away from the field solo and took 7th. I was pleasantly surprised by how well we did, this being only my 2nd race as a cat 2. But the job's not done. We want more podiums.
Report Date:
Sunday, 25 Feb, 2018
For the first omnium of the season, the Night Owls send two racers, Andrew Martin and Mark Bozarth-Dreher, to compete in the 3/4 and 4/5, respectively. The omnium format for the Davy ... moreCrockett Classic was a Saturday AM 8 mile time trial, a Saturday afternoon downtown criterium and a Sunday road race. The biggest challenge of the weekend was the wild weather. Saturday morning was misty, but still a warm enough 63 degrees. But by the afternoon criterium, a cold front was blowing in with temps dropping to the lower 40s. By Sunday, the temperature was downright brutal for a bike race, a steady 33 degrees, not warming up a single degree the entire morning or afternoon.

In the time trial, Mark put in a great ride for a top 10 finish and Andrew finishing mid pack. The key in a time trial is your equipment. Mark was on a road bike with clip on bars. Andrew on a road bike. While there were some hills to negate the advantage of a time trial bike a bit, the long flat sections were advantage to those on time trial machines.

The downtown criterium course was slightly changed from the initial course presented in the race bible. Instead of a "L" shaped course, racers were looking at a rectangular course, with the north end more of a rounded turn around the Houston County courthouse. Crockett is the Republican capital of Houston County. One visit to the Moosehead Cafe in downtown Crockett and you can see why. Reminder: Hillary lied! Mark was first up in the 4/5 criterium. On one of the opening laps, he was attempting to bridge to one of the early attackers. This looked like it was going to be a brilliant move as the early attacker from Dallas Bike Works ended up staying away, picking up all the lap bonuses and with his 3rd place finish in the road race on Sunday would sew up the overrall. However it was not to be as during the bridge attempt with another rider, Mark got caught up in a crash as the other rider crashed coming out of the southern 90 degree turn and could not avoid it. Instead of taking his free lap, Mark attempted to chase, but could never catch on to the field. He ended up being out of the hunt for the overrall, and in retrospect should have taken the free lap, but lesson learned for next time. In the 3/4, Andrew was very active. An opening lap attack didn't stick and it was coming down to a bunch gallop for 2nd as a rider got away with 2 to go. Andrew made the decision to try to be the first out of the southern corners to see if he could get enough of a gap to hold off the field. However, the two 90 degree turns were not taken agressive enough and he came out of the corners onto the finishing straight into the headwind with not quite enough of a gap. He was caught with 300 to go and rolled in 23rd. This aggressive decision took him out of any hope for the overall.

As mentioned the Sunday road race was in brutal conditions. In the 3/4, a few guys rolled off early and stayed away for the majority of the race. Andrew tried getting in a few moves to attempt to bridge, but the field wouldn't let him off the leash. As there was a little precipitation, it was still so cold that glasses weren't fogging up, but theywere icing over! A rolling course with some pretty sizeable climbs in this lollipop course didn't whittle the field down too much as the final 15 or so miles were straight headwind. Once into the headwind section, Andrew made sure to stay up front in the top 15 as this race was headed for a bunch sprint. He put himself in great position for the slightly uphill sprint, but didn't unleash a very good sprint due to the combination of a decision for a bad wheel to follow as opposed to following the wheel of the winner, Will Sharp from Hot Tubes, and starting the sprint too late. But a finish of 5th was still a great result due to really good positioning. In the 4/5, it was a large field of 80 racers. Mark did launch a solo attack early on, but was never given more than 30 seconds was was brought back before the tailwind section. He did a tremendous job of staying up front and was able to get away late in the final 3 miles from home with one other rider. They worked together well to keep a gap and Mark finished it off solo with a few bike lengths over his late break buddy. It was a fantastic result for Mark in just his 3rd road race, showing not only his power but his race management.

Overrall it was a fun weekend of racing in Crockett, Texas and great results for the Night Owls. The locals were all very welcoming and happy to have the racers in town. Hopefully next year, there will be a bigger squad and you will see the Night Owls up there fighting for the overall.
Report Date:
Thursday, 22 Feb, 2018
TL;DR - DNF, not enough training, need to plan things better Last year (2017), Tommy Ketterhagen raced for the last time here. There was a breakaway, where my teammate Dennis won. ... moreI was riding behind them with the main pack, in good position for the field sprint, but just didn't have the legs at that time of year to close it out. Tommy sprinted right past me, won the field sprint, and gave a nice self-congratulatory "WHOOO." My immediate thought was - ok, this kid's been training. A few days later, I saw on social media that Tommy was killed in a hit and run, by a distracted driver. I didn't know him personally, but as a cyclist in the cycling community and an avid cyclist who frequently navigates these increasingly dangerous roads, his death struck a chord with me. This year, the race was named after him, and Kelley did a great job organizing it.

6:00 AM. the alarm went off. race was at 9, I needed to pick up 2 teammates, and there's an hour drive. But I hit the snooze anyway, because I only had ~3.5 hours of sleep, and my monkey brain thought that an extra 10-20 minutes may somehow help rectify that. I've been doing this for 3 years now, and should know better, but long story short, the three of us arrived at the race with only 20 minutes to spare. I realized that my license wasn't even up to date. We all scrambled to try to register, change, put our bikes together and make it to the staging area. Dennis (who was racing with me, and somehow manages on NO sleep) and I both only managed to pin on just one number. It was my responsibility to make sure we get there on time, and I dropped the ball. But when you're on the bottom, there's nowhere to go but up.

And we were off. I see the familiar faces, some in new kits, most were better cyclists than me, in almost every aspect. I wish I could be more optimistic, but I was coming out of off season with an average of 6 hours of training a week. Most of everyone else were doing proper base training of 12+ hour weeks. The plan was to basically hang on, try to stay near the front, react to attacks, and make the break, which was bound to happen on a windy day like this one. The efforts I was making just to keep up felt harder. Before long, I found myself near the back of the peloton. the sight of 80+ riders strung out in the distance in front of me was an awakening of how much competition there was.

So I got in the zone. Having only access to one lane of road to share with 80+ riders, moving up was difficult. But there were always moments and places, where the opportunities to move up would surface. I used every safe opportunity to move up, and gradually, ended up in the top 1/2 - 1/3 of the field. It wasn't enough. Shortly after the first lap, there's a surge, and a gap opened. It grew, and grew. Some riders up front saw what's happening, and attacked. Nobody wanted to close the gap, and I was on the wrong side of it, too far back to be able to do anything about it. Most of the strong riders were in that selection, and I thought that was it. We're done, enjoy the rest of the training ride.

For 3-4 laps, we chased. Initially, I thought there was no way we were catching them. But the breakaway seemed to consisted of 20+ people. I imagined a group that large would have its share of slackers who weren't pulling their weight. Meanwhile, there were a few willing guys on our sides who weren't giving up, guys who probably should be with the other group, but weren't. We took turns chasing. I helped out some, and tried to get some pace lines going. There were times when we got as close as 200 meters to the lead group, and times when they were out of sight. On lap 4, someone jumped, someone else followed, I was near the front, and I reacted to the move as well. Looking back at my power data, it was not a huge effort, but it definitely felt like one at the time. My legs just weren't conditioned to handle repeated surges like that this time of year. I don't know how many were able to latch on to the attack, but all of the strong guys bridged up to the breakaway. There were a few more surges of strong guys in our new group trying to get away, and us other guys reacting to the moves. Eventually, I could start to feel the cramps building up in my quads with each hard pedal stroke. The acid was filling up the blood. I started to move back, hoping to allow the rest of the pack buffer the acceleration, so that I can hitch a ride near the back. That didn't happen. The last guy went by me, and I was done. In the distance, I saw my teammate Dennis chasing down a gap. It looked like it hurt..

I was dropped, but I had also just past the finish line, and decided to do another lap. Stragglers from the initial pack split apart, and turned into smaller packs of 6-8 people. Michael from Voodoo was in one of them, which was doing a paceline. "Might as well get some training in," he said. I did about one rotation with them, before my legs were cramping up. both of them. everywhere. I came to a stop, and stood there, in the middle of the road, for maybe 3 minutes, doing micro stretches, careful to not fully cramp, because I knew if I did, I would fall right over, and it would totally suck. Eventually, I started pedalling again, and came across another group of stragglers. These guys were doing "conversation pace." perfect. The silver lining is that the race was a rude awakening, letting me know, exactly what I needed to do to be up there with the big dogs: ride more long rides, do more intervals, better manage calories, get enough sleep. Give us a couple of months. We'll come out swinging.
Report Date:
Sunday, 21 Jan, 2018
That was definitely a learning experience. I placed myself way too far back in the pack and didn't have the room to move up when it mattered. Overall, course was fantastic, weather ... morewas beautiful, and the organizers did a great job of hosting one fun bike race! I wish I could rewind the clock and stick in the front of the group, because once the race got rolling it was pretty tough to move up. Oh well, there's always next year!

Thanks to Gu for providing me with the delicious, and performance enhancing Gu Roctane Energy Drink mix! It kept the legs fresh for the final sprint even if my own tactics prevented me from being able to contest it where I wanted to be.
Report Date:
Saturday, 20 Jan, 2018
First race of the season was a memorial race for Tommy Ketterhagen in Oatmeal,TX just west of Austin, TX. We raced here exactly a year ago together with Tommy. I took some pictures ... moreof him. One week later he was hit by a shady schoolmate driving recklessly in a truck in a hit and run that killed him on the spot.

This year I was in the 80 mile Pro / Cat 1 / Cat 2 race. Racing as a Cat 2. The field was 80+ strong with 3+ professional riders. The wind was pretty strong yesterday. We raced on a loop that had couple hills with head wind and 2 sections with side wind that were perfect for guttering people. Everything stayed together for almost a lap. Group was pretty large, road was fairly narrow, and it was extremely hard to move up. There just wasn’t any space.

Right before the side wind section I saw some activity and decided to move up. A bunch of CCR (race team) went on the attack and the rest of them were acting like a bottle cork, blocking the road for the rest. Once the cork loosened up on the turn the first selection was made. I chased on to the CCR majority group, got there in time for the hammer drop, looked back and… we had a gap that started growing.

After the race 2 people came over and told me that I made “The selection”. Apparently, “The selection” is a fancy, fairly large, breakaway where the pros drop the hammer on a crosswind section and gutter everybody only to see who can hang. If Seinfeld was a bike racer he would for sure make an episode called “The selection”.

Right before lap 4 fairly large group of about 20 riders made the bridge to us. Alan was in it. Alright! Now we were a decent sized group again. I was near the end of the group when we hit the same sidewind gutter section. Big mistake. The hammer was dropped by about 15 guys in the front and a gap started opening again. 10 of us started chasing. Alan & Eli pulled the plug, since they were probably gassed from bridging before. It was about 5 of us left. I was pulling full gas. Everything I had. My only thought was to get to the downhill section so that I can crash into the aero tuck and die. I managed to get to the downhill… aero tuck… I’m closing on the group…. I think… I just looked at my front wheel… heart rate coming down… I look up and I see the group… another pull I look back and I see only David W behind me. I’m thinking he’ll just pull to the front and finish the bridge since I was pulling him. Man was I wrong. He just attacked me and joined solo. It’s rough out there. I just got dumped. Ouch. I dug extra deep for another 30 seconds gave it all I had and managed to bridge. So much pain. Now we were about 22 guys. Later on, I looked at Gevin G strava on this section. His average heart rate for those 7 minutes was 185 with max at 193 and he was dumping 400 or 500 watts when he was pedaling while being somewhere in the group.

After that chase my legs were shot. Winter training was about long steady miles. This was not it. Definitely was not ready for those kinds of efforts. Never the less, I was in the group and determined. Somewhere in here my favorite German in Austin, Stefan Rothe(rothetraining.com), asked me if I was going to write this report, not long before going on a solo attack for half a lap. Watts!

Last loop, my legs starting to cramp. I see the downhill section coming right before the finish uphill sprint. I get into the tuck… passed the whole group to 3rd wheel. Great position, if only I had the legs for the sprint. Nope. I managed a measly seated sprint for 18th place.

Considering only 20+ guys finished in the front group and all of them Cat 1s, my 4-hour/week average training in Jan with two, week long, trips to Chicago in the past month and a half. I consider myself lucky to be among the finishing group.

My dad would always ask me to write those reports and would religiously read them. He kept asking me when was the next race. He passed away 2 weeks ago from cancer. Wish he was still here to read this.

Our NightOwls.Bike team did great. Mark Bozarth-Dreher finished 2nd in cat 5 race. Andrew Martin and Ramsey Foster both finished top 10 in Cat 3 race.

Can’t wait to get out new kits in Feb. They are sick! We are long overdue for a new look.

Thanks to our sponsors: @bradleylhouston @313longboards @neloscycles, rubble trucking company, Thea.com, Tudor McLeod Asset Management
Report Date:
Saturday, 20 Jan, 2018
Texas Road Race championships went better than I was expecting. The course was 103 miles with close to 6000 feet of climbing. Being 6’4” and 193 pounds I’m not big on climbing.... more

Race started super easy. It was about 40 category 2’s from around Texas with some guests from Colorado.

First attack went when everybody was just talking and warming up. I didn’t even pay attention to that one. Lots of strong guys in the group were with me. After 50 miles or so they had over 3 minutes. At that point people started getting worried a bit.

The course was hilly. I could use my Froome super tuck to bring couple breaks that went on the downhill and even go on an attack myself with another guy. Didn’t stick.

Feed zone broke the elastic. The pack was getting guttered before and people dropping. Only 50% of the starters finished the race. I had a choice of getting a water or chasing. I chose water. On the downhill I tied to close the gap but didn’t have much help and Preston & Lucas really hit it out of the ballpark. Good for them.

I used that Froome super tuck quite a lot. I’ve been perfecting it. It’s amazing how much faster it is. Science! Most people can’t even hold my wheel when I get into it, even when they pedal. I can easily create 200 feet gap on a good downhill. Also, it’s a nice position to rest in and it’s pretty stable. I would not call it dangerous. In order for it to work you really need to have your shoulders on the handlebars. It actually makes your handlebars more stable and it’s impossible to get the speed wobble (on old Trek 5900 I had) that way, but definitely takes some practice.

Last half lap it was only 8 of us left. You could see everybody was suffering. It was just a matter of who can sprint through the cramps. 1K to go. One of the good climbing dudes decided to try his luck. We brought him back in. 600 meters to go. He goes again. I react. Maybe he’s got it. Nop. He fades quickly. At this point I don’t have a choice. I’m at full speed might as well try and stick it. I can feel 2 guys on my wheel. I slow down a bit on the 200-meter line. Too see if anybody of them would go so that I can get on their wheel. Nobody goes. I get out of the saddle and bury myself. I’m not even looking forward. Trying to stay as aero as possible. I could hear somebody behind me. 30 meters to go. We are all cramping bad. I hear…. shit…. and I know somebody gave up. The guy behind me had a bad cramp. I knew I had it. Well, at least the pack sprint.

Managed to get 5th on the Texas podium and 7th overall. First Cat 2 podium. Barely squeezed in. So awesome to be there. Everybody on the podium was between 17 and 21 years old and 50 pounds lighter. I’m pretty sure I’m going to see all those guys on TV in a couple years. Great group of guys. My best result for far.
Report Date:
Saturday, 16 Sep, 2017
my last cat 3 race. not the result I wanted, but looking forward to doing some real racing in the future.
Report Date:
Saturday, 16 Sep, 2017