Dennis Lastochkin

My Sports
Cycling, Running, Swimming
Sprinter, Puncheur
Road Category
Master Roshi
Home Town
Austin, TX
Dennis L
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several hours
As a kid, he used to ride his city bike to after-school basketball team practices. He got his first road bike when he was 18 when he moved to Austin from Haifa, Israel for work and school at UT Austin studying computer science. Well, more partying than studying... At UT he was part of the UT cycling club for a brief period. After a short relationship with Ironman triathlons following school he decided to participate only in the fun part which was riding the bike. 

He met the nice people of Violet Crown that have a great welcoming group ride selection and eventually got elected to help lead the racing team there. That’s where he met Alan and Freedom and the 3 of them decided to start a new team called the Night Owls Racing because they rode at night most of the time.
  • 2022 Texas Crit Masters Champion
  • 2023 East Texas Showdown Winner
Reports & Blogs
Since many people seem to agree with Dan's article on Medium (, I feel ... morecompelled to be the odd one out. I'm going against the grain here a bit. I want to offer several counterpoints to Dan's assertions on the age of BC riders, the safety of the said ride, and Zwift. Full disclosure: I'm not associated in any way with the Breakfast Club management, other than participating in their rides. However, I've been attending most of their A-group rides since the very beginning when they would only attract a dozen or so people to their Saturday rides. And since nobody from the Breakfast crew is going to respond to this article, I'll take this opportunity to practice my English.

Let's start with the easiest subject: age. Dan asserts that he hasn't seen many rider profiles his age on Breakfast Club posts. Dan is in his 50s. He goes on to say that he wasn't sure if he would be welcomed because of it. Several jokes later and a whole section dedicated to the subject makes it feel or imply that BC possibly excludes people based on age. That it's only for "fit bodies in their 20s and 30s" he says. This one is easy to disprove. Just one look at their Instagram and you'll see plenty of gray hair in the pictures. They also list some ride leaders who look past their 40s, although I must admit I don't know everyone's exact age. On a personal note, I'm in my 40s. I feel just as welcome and comfortable on BC A-rides as everyone else and I don't feel like I'm out of place. Or maybe it's my thick Russian accent that masks my age, making everyone think I'm 20. Who knows? One might assert that yes, there are some older people, but the club doesn't correctly represent the proper demographics of all cyclists. I think the opposite is true; because of the size and reach of BC, it has an accurate representation of age in the A group based on ability. Younger people are generally faster and more of them exercise compared to the older population. Moreover, the organizer is a young fella named Grant, you can hardly blame him for inviting his peers. I can expand more on the subject, but let's move on to the meat here.

Safety or lack of it on the A-group ride. Dan asserts that the A group was not a ride but more of a race. That the group was going too fast at 24 mph and that the speed should be capped at 20 mph. That people crossed the double yellow line. He does give credit to the rolling police escort but says the police should have stopped the ride and yelled at everyone for crossing the double yellow lines. Sounds bad when you first read this, right? And it sounds like the speed of those reckless cyclists was THE major factor here, contributing to all this mess. Those darn kids were just going too darn fast to be safe!

However, when you look closely at the data and some of the facts, a different picture emerges.

Did anyone crash on the A group this ride? No.

Did I see anyone crash on the A group when I was there this year? No.

Did people cross the yellow line when the group was going fast or when the group was going slow and fanning across the road? When going slow. When the group was going fast, everyone was either 2x2 or single file, and there was no need to move across the yellow line. Would people be crossing the yellow line if the speeds were slower? When you have that many people? You bet they would.

Were there more crashes on the fast, reckless A BC ride this year or on the slow, 20 mph capped, highly praised according to the author, Violet Crown bagel ride per person attending? According to my sources more crashes on the bagel ride, one person even broke his collarbone recently. Not trying to put down the bagel ride here in particular. Great ride! Crashes can happen on any ride but since Dan made VC the gold standard here, I'm obliged to use them to make my argument.

Does the bagel ride have a police escort? No. Does any other ride in town have a police escort? No. It would be too cost-prohibitive for smaller rides.

What about the other fast group rides that were in town like the Mellow Johnny's 100K a couple of years ago? Or maybe the Austin Tri-Cyclist Worlds that was hammering it on Southwest Parkway 10 years ago? Were they reckless too? No mention of those rides here.

When I look at any group ride over the years, I've come across three factors that contribute to safety: Experience, Attention, and Speed. There's no question in anyone's mind that speed increases the probability of crashes and their severity. But what about the relationship between all three?

Attention is a huge factor in crashes. I've been on enough group rides to know that when people get bored and start chatting with each other, stupid crashes happen. It's in our nature to look at the person we're talking to. But what happens if I'm looking at the person and the wheel in front of me slows down? Almost a guaranteed crash. That's exactly how most of the crashes happen on the so-called 20 mph capped rides. People start feeling too comfortable and stop paying attention to the wheel in front of them. That's precisely why there were several crashes on the bagel ride this year, and people broke their collarbones. The same thing happens on other rides. Bagel is not unique in that regard.

Speed increases attention. When you are going 24 mph+, there's zero percent chance you'll be chatting with your buddy about your latest crypto coin and how it's up 1000% since last night.

What about the rider's experience? In general, the more experienced the cyclist is, the less they are going to crash. Is there a relationship between experience and speed? Yes, there is. The more time a person spends on their bike, the faster they usually get and the more experienced they become. But how does speed increase experience in the group? It's quite simple. Slow, inexperienced riders get dropped, and if the pace is high enough for a few miles at the beginning of the ride, what you get at the end is a good selection of experienced riders that you can trust will not crash you out.

And now we come to Zwift! Probably one of the biggest contributors to group crashes. Indoor trainers are great, and Zwift is great! I use an indoor trainer myself during the week all the time. But riding exclusively on an indoor trainer for months and then deciding to show up to a race or a fast group ride is a recipe for a bad time or a crash. High FTP is not the only thing you need to ride a bicycle in a fast group. You also need the reflexes and bike handling skills that come only when you ride in a fast group. Use it or lose it, just like every other skill. Right after the pandemic was over, we had our first race in Crockett, TX. Everyone was fit as hell from riding indoors and solo. But that race was pure carnage. I've never seen so many crashes in my life. I think probably 15-30% of the field crashed in every category. In my P123 category, several people broke their bones. So when I read that Dan rides mostly indoors on Zwift and did the A-ride where you need quick reflexes that you lose in a few months if you don't ride in a fast group, I knew that he was in for a bad time. He said he bunny-hopped a pothole and missed it. To his defense, the road surface of this ride was indeed pretty bad. But people did call out the potholes. At least I did. Navigating bad road surfaces is a skill that you can only acquire while riding fast on bad road surfaces. One should try entering a gravel race where people specifically attack in the worst sections possible.

Finally, I want to talk about why we need a fast group ride in town. Dan wrote that this weekend we had another race/crit that, if you wanted to race, you could attend instead of doing the BC A ride. He wrote that if you want to "race" or average faster than 20 mph, you should go and do a proper road race on a closed course. I take issue with those statements and must disagree here. First, road races are not free. You need to pay good money. Second, there just aren't that many road races in Texas. Road races are slowly dying and getting replaced by gravel, which is cheaper to organize. Third, you need to travel for most of the races, which are out of town, and get a hotel that costs (again) more money. And most of all, you need to spend time away from your family. I race on most of the weekends, but after a few months of doing this, I just get exhausted from all the travel and just want to go do a group ride, where I can ride out of my door and leave the car keys at home.

Another reason you need a fast group ride in town is to attract future racers. The racing ecosystem is broken without a fast group ride. You can't just jump from a bagel ride to a road race. It just doesn't happen. Most people need to practice fast group riding skills somewhere before they get thrown into the Cat 4 race and cause all kinds of carnage there. Fast group rides are fast, but they are still a level below the risk people take in a proper Cat 4 race, and they provide a free environment where future racers can hone their group riding skills. Moreover, teams like my team are always looking to recruit future talent from those fast group rides. Without fast group rides, it's impossible to recruit and move racers up the ladder, and the ecosystem suffers as a result. For example, I've met many of our riders on the MJ 100K. Take Kuya for example. Without the MJ 100K, maybe we wouldn't have Kuya's talent flash on all kinds of podiums, and that makes me sad. Without the BC A ride, maybe we won't have the next Kuya.

I think the correct response is to improve the BC A group ride and let people know about the yellow line rule. Set some safety boundaries, give a safety speech before the ride, but capping the ride at 20 mph is not the solution. Telling people not to show up to BC rides is also not a good solution. People will just move to another ride where they don't have a speed cap. People vote with their presence, and at the moment, the BC A-ride is winning. I hope we can all support each other in this community instead of tearing each other apart. I think there's a place for a fast group ride in ATX, whether it's going to be at BC or somewhere else is their decision to make.
Report Date:
Thursday, 27 Apr, 2023
Our bikepacking Superbowl in Texas is the East Texas Showdown, a 400-mile non-stop gravel bikepacking race. The race starts in Bullet Grill @ Point Blank Texas and goes north across ... morea scenic bridge that spans Lake Livingston into the beautiful Davy Crockett National Forest. I won the 2023 edition and this is my story on how it went. I want to break it down into 3 sections: the Race, the Bike, and Nutrition. 

Let’s start with the race breakdown. The weather forecast for race day was pretty bad. Rain and temps in the low 40s. The forecast did not disappoint. We started on time. At 8 am Patrick shouted his trademark slogan: “Go ride your damn bike” and off we went. The first couple of miles were neutral. All of us followed Patrick's car as he shepherded us across the long lake bridge before the real race started on the other side. Once he gave the command we took off. 5 minutes in and there were only about 10 of us at the front. Kuya was leading the charge. Since we can’t draft on this race I had to match watt to watt what Kuya was doing and then some. I was looking down at my power meter and it says 300 watts. I turn to Kuya and suggest that this is crazy. He turns back to me and says 120 watts. I look again at my power, I look up at the nice flat road we are on, make some quick calculations, and tell him: “No way bro, your power meter is broken!”. As Kuya keeps hammering and being all happy that he’s flying and dropping everyone at 120 watts, I try my last ditch effort at convincing him: “What’s your heart rate?” He looks down and says 150 BPM. A sense of relief! Thank god! Finally, we both agreed that he was not doing 120 watts at 150 BPM and the pace settled down a bit.

That settling of the pace wasn’t meant to last. Shortly after a couple of miles of road, we turned onto the first and probably one of the worst sections of gravel, mud, and sand. The pace picked up again. Mud was flinging onto the wheels, frame, all the components, and myself. Disk brakes were making rubbing noises from hell as they were choking down on more grit and sand than they could handle as we plunked down and up navigating all the mud puddles that the cold front had created overnight. Out of nowhere the pace picked up even faster as some unknown rider dressed all in black passed us and continued to create a huge gap at the front at a crazy pace. After another 30 minutes of this, we were left with just 3 riders in the group. Kuya, a 17-year-old kid named PJ, was fresh off his big win on another long bikepacking race in Georgia and me. I looked at Kuya and we both wondered who was this, all in black, dude that has just dropped us all and disappeared. I said, maybe it’s this guy that flew in from Iceland. We had no idea. In any case, there was a 100% certainty that we could not keep his pace for 370 more miles.

Now that we firmly had a group of 3 and nobody in sight in front or behind us, we started chasing. For the first 3 hours of the chase, I averaged 251 watts. That’s average, not normalized power, average! Just for comparison, I’ve averaged less on some @drivewayseries criteriums that lasted 1 hour or less. If I did the same wattage on a similar elevation course on a road surface with my road bike I would be going 21+ mph or maybe even faster. Here on soft muddy gravel roads with a loaded bike, we were averaging only 15mph. So slow! Huge difference in speed! 

As we kept navigating the mud inevitably my wheels plunked down a big puddle filled with premium soft sticky light brown clay. The clay got all over my front derailleur. Five minutes later when the road allowed faster speeds I tried to shift into the big ring. Nothing! Doesn’t shift! F$@k! This can’t be happening. The mud coated the shifter cable and the front mech didn’t want to move. Pushing the lever harder meant that I was risking tearing the cable apart. What to do? I can’t be riding another 300+ miles in the small ring. My next option was to risk my carb water that I needed, spray it on the front mech, and hope it clears some of the mud off. That worked! But it cost me half a liter of water, a small gap opening, and manual nudging with the hand while the pace was on! But now I was in the big ring again. Phew, crisis averted. The next upgrade would probably have to be a Di2 GRX 12 speed groupset when it comes out.

It was still the 3 of us and around mile 80 we all agreed to stop at a spigot of water to refill. That saved me because I was running low on water from wasting it on the front mech. We each took turns refilling our bottles and hydration packs. I was carrying 5 liters. Kuya had 4 liters. It took me a bit longer to mix my water with my hydration mix, more on that later, and I was left 60 seconds behind chasing again. I caught up, but it was another match that I had to burn.

Right before Jacksonville TX, we hit what looked like a rollercoaster of red gravel hills. I looked at PJ’s cadence and it was pretty low and he was rocking on the bike. I mentioned this earlier to Kuya and he decided to test us both knowing PJ might be in trouble and that I am 55 pounds heavier. Perfect place to put some hurt on me. Very good move! I knew what Kuya was doing but I also knew that I shouldn’t match his speed up the inclines when I can make up some distance on the downhills. It’s a risky strategy because I increase my risk of getting a flat or crashing on some of the off-camber downhill turns. Luckily for me, it worked, but we dropped PJ and never saw him again. 

As we passed our favorite course photographer, Maxwell, we saw some dogs that were chasing something. Can’t be! We were gaining on our lone front leader, Travis. Travis had some experience in bikepacking. He even did some portion of the tour divide with his Dad. Kuya was all smiles when we caught the front guy. We were curious about who he was. So many questions? Why? As we rolled up we were shocked. Travis was on a single speed. We got dropped by a guy on a single speed! Unreal! However, the crazy effort that he put in, meant that he was bonking and bonking hard! He tried to stay with us for a bit but the single speed was biting on the hills. You either had to go fast up every hill or do crazy low RPM. Neither option is good. At this point, I noticed that both Kuya and I were climbing a pretty steep gradient at the same speed. I thought to myself something is wrong here and decided to pay back a favor for earlier by adding a bit of pace once the road flattened. I got a gap quickly on both Kuya and Travis right as we were arriving in Jacksonville at mile 137 and settled on a comfortable pace.

My gap wasn’t meant to last. Kuya got a second wind and caught up to me and now with his bounce, he was putting the pressure back on me. We navigated through the maze of Jacksonville pretty quickly and now with the sunset roads in the lead both were in a very good mood. I decided for the first time to get the phone out and record a video update for the team. We never saw Travis again. He would end up finishing more than 24 hours behind us. We both kept wondering what would have happened if he had gears on his bike? 

The night was falling and we wondered where our 2nd stop would be. We wanted to shoot for the gas station at mile 215 but were surprised when we saw fellow 280 riders stopped at a small restaurant at mile 186 called 4j’s. Having a solid lead at the time we decided not to kill ourselves and stop. It was a super small place. The hosts looked surprised and probably wondered what the hell are y’all doing here. The selection was super small. We had their gumbo, a bit of leftover potato salad, and a small styrofoam bowl of pickles with 2 cokes each. That was 1000% better than what I was eating earlier which was basically drinking pure honey and chasing it down with more sweet sugar water. More on that later. 

As we left the restaurant both of our legs got a second wind and we were flying again. Kuya was pressing the charge as we passed more 280-mile riders like they were standing still. I just barely had time to say hi without opening too big of a gap to Kuya. As the night hours passed we both settled down a bit but kept a good pace. This was the first time when Kuya asked me how I was feeling. I was ok but my knees were starting to show a sign of fatigue from the cold and the miles and slowly started to lock up. Kuya said his shoulder, leg muscles, and left knee were hurting. Kuya is not one to complain so if he says something is hurting he’s not f%@ing around. Our next stop was Bullet Grill, before going again on the final death loop stretch. Right before we got there, before sunrise, Kuya was not having a good time. He’s a morning person. I’m a night person. Kuya has an insanely large amount of energy in the morning. It takes me hours to get to some sort of resemblance to a human being in the morning. So naturally, mentally I was just fine cruising at 5 am. Kuya on the other hand was falling asleep on the bike. Every 10 to 20 seconds he would yell something to wake himself up. Do pushups on the handlebars. Howl “Okiro” in Japanese, which means wake up. Luckily we were on a small road without much traffic but soon it changed. We turned onto a highway and I kept asking if he was awake. I think the adrenaline shot we both got when an 18-wheeler passed us woke both of us up. From this time on he was awake. Phew! It could have been bad. 

We got to the Bullet Grille and met Patrick who greeted us both. The first thing that he asked me was “So who is going to win this?” I replied: “We’ll see”. However, I got the feeling that what he truly was saying and I’m paraphrasing his look with my own words here: “Yo, this is not a group ride, it’s cute and all that y’all are riding together and I know y’all are tired but go out there and scrape that barrel one more time and show me what you got.” I wasn’t about to disappoint Patrick. There are however several advantages to riding in a group even though you can't draft. Here are some of them: safety in numbers, navigation, each turn gets checked twice, and moral & mental support for sanity when everything hurts.

We left the Bullet and went on to the death loop and the last 65 miles. The death loop is probably the most scenic part of the route. There is a section of red gravel road with large canopy trees that hug the road around you with the sun rays shining through the foliage. Worth the ride. Super scenic. As we left the last gravel part and got onto the road I was thinking about the sprint we are about to have at the end and how much it was going to hurt. If I was pedaling down the hills at the beginning of the race, now I was strictly super tucking every downhill no matter how small it was. I was basically just laying my whole upper body on the handlebars to give myself some rest. It’s a great way to recover your upper body a bit. On one of the downhills, I opened a small gap between myself and Kuya. Just like Kuya’s weight gives him an advantage on the uphills. My weight gives me the advantage on the downhills. That’s what makes us so equal. In any case, right after the downhill, there was an uphill climb coming up. I wanted to see how much ground Kuya would make up if any. If we don’t have to sprint even better. I climbed the hill, looked back and the gap was still the same. On one hand, I felt really bad leaving Kuya after going through hell with him for 27 hours. On the other hand, it’s a race and if the coin were to be flipped, and Kuya was in the front, I would be content with the outcome. I was sure Kuya was fine with it. I cruised through more of those downhills with some uphills and saw that I extended the gap to about 1 minute. As I was coming to the finish I saw a bunch of people standing there on the road and cheering for me! Thank god! Finally, the race was over, and with it, the 29 hours of pain. It seemed like it was all worth it. 

Let’s move on to the Bike. Riding 400 miles on gravel roads is not easy. You can’t just take any bike and ride it. You need a special gravel bike with fat enough tires and ideally some sort of suspension. Gravel bikes sit somewhere between road bikes and MTBs, and gravel bikepack racing bikes are slowly moving towards the MTB side as more and more people realize the benefits of suspension for comfort. To ride 400 miles you have to be comfortable. Every person has a limit on hours and distance they can ride before falling asleep, even while riding the bike. As a true night owl, I can go at least one night on no sleep without any problems. Considering all this, my choice was a fast but comfortable bike with just the required storage for nutrition and hydration without any sleeping gear. 

I rode the Cervelo Aspero with a Redshift pro stem and seat post for comfort, with ENVE aero bars for speed. My tire choice was s-works pathfinders 42mm, sitting on ZIPP 303 firecrest wheels. I ran Shimano 2x setup for downhill speed and gear range. And for the bags, I had @southcitystitchworks make 2 custom bags that I specifically designed for ETS. One custom bag sits between the aero bars for easy access and one wedge bag sits right behind the head tube. Plus, a rear seat bag for tools. 

Now, let's finally talk about nutrition and hydration. I burned about 22,000 calories in 29 hours. That is 5.5kg or 12 pounds of pure sugar or carbs burned and converted into CO2 and water. Our muscles require glucose which is converted to glycogen and oxygen to function. Your body cannot convert fats directly into muscle-ready glycogen. However, through a series of metabolic processes that result from conditions of depleted carbohydrates, it is possible for stored fats to be broken down into glucose, which can then be converted into glycogen. Meaning - yes, you can run your body on fat but it’s not the most direct way or the most efficient. Furthermore, fat oxidation reduces substantially the higher the power requirement is, as you climb up the zones. All that meant was that I needed to supply my body with glucose. Now, there’s a limit on how much glucose your body can absorb per hour, usually around 60 grams per hour. Moreover, pure glucose or dextrose, which is corn-based glucose, is very sweet, not ideal. 5500 grams / 29 = 189 grams per hour. So 60 grams/hr is not going to cut it. Luckily there’s another fructose channel in your body through which you can absorb more carbs. So, if you mix fructose with glucose now you can absorb more. Now, you can take it a step further. You can chain glucose into maltodextrin which keeps the same glycemic index but reduces the sweetness substantially. 

The end result of all this research was that I created my own carb drink mix formula with 0.8:1 fructose and maltodextrin and loaded it 10 to 1 with water or 10% carb-to-water mix. That’s right below the 12% which is considered the max you can absorb without stomach issues. 

However, this is still not enough to cover my 189 grams/hr caloric needs. We stopped 3 times to refill the 5 liters I was carrying plus the original mix minus leftovers. All in all, I consumed around 18 liters of water/carb mix or around 1,800 grams of carbs from hydration or around 60 grams per hour. 

From my research, I read that some athletes can consume around 100-120 grams of carbs per hour. That meant that I could add another 40 g/hr via gels or….. Honey! Honey is the perfect mix of fructose to glucose. I had a regular plastic bottle of honey directly in the front aero bar south city bag. I would open the bag and squeeze a gulp of honey every now and then. In total, I consumed 700 grams of honey. I also had 7 Roctaine gels, each containing 21 grams of carbs for a total of 847 grams of carbs. That adds up to about 30 grams per hour. Which brings me to 90 grams per hour. In addition, I also had 8 rice cakes, each about 120-130 grams, which contain about 30-40 grams of carbs per cake. In total, I was consuming about 100 grams of carbs per hour. The remaining 89 grams of carbs/hr was coming from my fat reserve oxidation.

Some final numbers. I averaged 200 normalized watts, 985 TSS, 22K calories, 27:52 moving, and 29:04 elapsed time for the whole race. 

Are you still here and reading all this? Congrats! You have the willpower to suffer. Maybe you should consider entering ETS next year.
Report Date:
Friday, 24 Mar, 2023
Was feeling great unfortunately 2 guys crashed in front of me, their front wheels got stuck in the mud. I took a bad line around and smashed my front tire into a concrete ledge. Was ... morestill with the front group but the pressure in the tire kept dropping. Eventually stopped and fixed the flat. Connor was passing by and we made a good effort to chase back but then he crashed behind me while cooking the corner too hard. He was there, laying not moving. I for sure though he broke some bones. 5 minutes later we were at it, smashing it again. What a stud. He got a flat another 10 min later. Continues, I caught up with my vite buddy and we started working for the next 60 miles. He wasn't felling it so after 10 miles or so I told him to sit on my wheel. Superhero flex move. We caught couple more guys and finished top 10 but never managed to catch the front group. Fun day on the bike. I'll be back for sure.
Report Date:
Tuesday, 2 Jul, 2019
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(, 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,, 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
Good race today. We only had 2 guys registered in the p12 so they combined us. Chris Hanson and couple guys decided to go from the gun. I tried following. Got out of the saddle and… ... moreclick click... click. Broken rear spoke the first 100 meters of the race.

Those are brand new Reynolds wheels. Figured if I bent the spoke around I might be able to continue. By the time I got back was already couple minutes down.

I could see people dropping off the back and tried to get some of them on my wheel. Maybe we could get something going. You know the pace is high when people dropping on the first lap. Not good timing to be off the back.

One guy got on my wheel and rotated with me for 2 pulls. I was thankful for that. But the pack was gone. Figured I'll just time trial it as hard as I can and make it a good workout.

Kinda sucks, after a month off my road bike because of broken cranks and now this - broken spokes. But I'll take it.

I was still going hard solo. Around the the beginning of the 3rd lap I started seeing the pack was ahead. I put in another extra effort. I was closing. I got them right before the beginning of the 4th lap. I’ve soloed about 35 miles by myself. Was spent and cramping in my glutes.

Thought to myself. That new position is working great. Those are the exact muscles I want to use and make larger & more efficient. Large muscle group, non rotational weight.

Once I got to the pack I just sat in it and tried to recover. Lungs were good. Legs were shot. It all came down to mass sprint. I couldn't even get out of the saddle. Hurting bad. I saw Samir going for it. Managed to pass couple guys and got on his wheel last 50 meters & rolled for 2nd. Congrats to Samir! Good job. Chappell hill next week. Good to be back racing.
Report Date:
Saturday, 2 Sep, 2017
Good week on the bike. Didn't crash and didn't cause any crashes. Got 10th in DW P123 & 7th in Crockett, TX in P12. Figured out how to hydrate and eat on those long 80 miles races ... morewithout cramping. I'm trying to do 100 miles in hotter than hell in the P12 front group. Hard task but probably achievable. Learned a lesson or two in the last Crockett 80 race. What worked in San Marvelous didn't work this time around. The biggest difference was how people react to attacks when there's one very dominant team. When there were no teams in San Marvelous race everybody chased everything. So I could just wait till the 3rd or 4th person and then go. When there's a dominant team in the race, like Giant from Dallas. Nobody wants to chase. Because they know that once they bring the break, another teammate will go. Also, once you have the magic makeup of correct colors in the break the rest of the team will just sit up, even the strongest member of the team will sit up and not work. So if you are solo, you either have to know which break to go with (experience) or try and chase everything. The most important part is not to sit 3rd or 4th wheel. Because the attacks usually go from 7th or 8th wheel. So sitting around 10th is probably ideal for chasing. I was trying to sit on the Giant's leader rear wheel usually in the front. But all he was doing is lifting his finger, and another loyal teammate would attack from the back. It took me couple tries to figure that out. By that point it was too late. His team mate went and would not return. As far as hydration and nutrition, for me personally it takes about 3 Gatorade bottles, 5 water bottles, 7 gels and 2 salt pills to not get cramps and feel good at the end of 80 miles.
Report Date:
Tuesday, 18 Jul, 2017
Fresh off cat 2 upgrade. 83-mile road race is the standard now. San Marvelous was this weekend and I decided to give it a go. We drove with Freedom in the morning. All equipment was ... moregood and nothing broken, weren’t late. Awesome! Freedom was going for the cat 3 race. Michael Sheehan and Nick were in my race. Both professional cyclists. We had about 20 people start the P12 race. My goal was to stay with the pack. Apparently, smaller races are actually harder. It’s counter intuitive. But it’s true. When you have a lot of people you can just hide & suck wheels in the pack, but when you have 20 people when half of them drop in the first lap there’s nowhere to hide, single file and you are in for 80 miles of pain.

In a normal cat 3 race the first half of the race everybody usually chills in the pack and the second half is where the action is. Not in this race. From the gun. The guys attacked for a whole lap, as many times as it took, until the elastic broke. Nick averaged 336 watts with the 700 watt attacks for the first 26 minutes, once we made the turn, and he didn’t even get into the break. And that was just first lap warm up. It was brutal. This is how it works. You have guys launching like a missile from the back. Some people hesitate then someone decides to chase and the pack stretches out. Once the guy is caught somebody else goes and the process repeats until a break establishes. And they did it 20 times. I chased couple of those and even went to the front myself. Soon I realized I can’t do it for 80 miles so instead of chasing first wheel I would chase 3rd or 4th wheel. At one point, I got caught in the back and had to bridge - pedal to the metal for 40 seconds. Luckily, 3 guys Sheehan, Das Wow & CCR got away and 7 of us started the chase. That was the end of the first lap. Out of 20 guys only 10 remained.

The next 5 laps were pretty much time trial / break-away pace where the guys would echelon for the whole time. 5-20 seconds pulls in the front. We were rotating. It was 6 of us. 1 guy dropped after deciding to smash it up the hill. That was super stupid. At about lap 4 I realized If matched their watts I wouldn’t make it the whole 80 miles so I started chilling more and more in the back and skipping pulls. At the same time, I was trying to eat those shot blocks I got in HEB. Never again. GU Gels work for me Shot blocks made my stomach cramp really bad. I felt like puking. It was horrible.

Lap 5 we managed to catch Michael Sheehan break-away. 1 das wow and 1 CCR guy that was with Michael dropped so now it was 7 of us. All that remained of the race.

Last lap was again like the first. Constant attacks and lulls. But nothing would go. I guess people were tired. They are human after all. It all came down to an uphill sprint. I decided to go. Managed to get of out the saddle for probably 50 meters then had to sit down. Every pedal stroke was a cramp. Real Pain. Managed to get 5th of out of 7 guys that finished. I stayed with the pack. All I could ask for the first race.
Report Date:
Sunday, 14 May, 2017
Report Date:
Saturday, 14 Jan, 2017
Got Lucky again! Hard race. First 3 laps were inconsequential, except that one dude from San Antonio went ahead and stayed there. He was always barely visible. A min or two ahead.... more

Attacks started flying even before the last lap. Last lap was red hot. After several attacks, Zach, Jordan Parker & I managed to get away. We went pretty hard. The field did not want to let us go. We spent maybe 15-20 min at the front always being chased by the field 10-20 seconds back. Zach was super strong. We got caught.

On the way back into town attacks started again I was always around top 10. At one point, we went into a lull up the hill. A bit of rest from the attacks. I continued the momentum forward - slow pedaling it. I look back and Zach, the monster, is on my wheel and the pack is 20 feet behind. Ohh shit?! I yelled: “Let’s go”. And the hammering started and never stopped. It was 2 of us chasing the sole dude in the front. Zach probably did a good 65% of the work. We closed 1 or 2 minutes. Carrying my fat 194 pounds up those hills is not fun. I was at the limit. We were closing the sole dude ahead and closing fast. We managed to get to him on the 200-meter line. I knew that if I managed to get to the 200-meter line I could squeeze extra juice from my fast twitch. After all, fast twitch, doesn’t need oxygen. Good, because my lungs were shot. Sprint! Yes.

About 5 miles to the finish when I was in the break on the last lap I hit something that looked like a 2x4 or a tree branch. Hit it head on. I managed to stay upright. The pack in the back had worse luck. Sucks!
Report Date:
Saturday, 21 Jan, 2017
Group Rides
My Bikes
  • Cervélo Aspero
  • 2023 Giant Propel
  • Salsa Journeyman Kids Bikepacking Machine
90mm cranks!