Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Baylor Race Report: Conference Championships

Us presenting sponsor and former teammate Anthony Sequera with a signed jersey. Anthony is the owner and all around awesome guy behind 2Quik Carbon Technology.

Well, time for the final race report of the 2013 collegiate season. The championship is double points, so lots of people show up. We got into Waco after dark, but we still saw a bunch of news crews just off the interstate. They were there because of the fertilizer plant explosion in West, Texas. They had three little ribbons that we could purchase and wear either on our bike or jersey to help out the victim fund.

It went off like most races. I have not spent much time on the bike or working out outside of races, so I fell off early. I hate that I have lost form in season. I've now learned my lesson, but I feel like I should have noticed what was happening much earlier. Anyway, I rode for a few miles working with some guys I didn’t know. I caught up to my friend who rides for Texas. I stayed with them until I just couldn’t hold it anymore. The course started to speed up toward the end. I went to a corner where a lot of people were crashed. They shouted, “Stay to the inside!” I wish that I had gone all the way to the inside of the corner. I skidded and almost held it. I fell going very slowly. It ripped my jersey, re-bruised my hip and knee, scratched my Oakleys, and took a bit of shoulder skin. It was really slow though, so it didn’t hurt too bad. I was more angry than anything else. I rode the rest of the way back and got the wound cleaned up. I sulked throughout the TT, but didn’t let anyone notice. I’m pretty much disappointed on all fronts at the moment. I need to sew up my torn jerseys and do some riding by myself. There is a therapeutic quality to riding alone. It helps me keep things in perspective.

I was watching the TT from the finish line with some of the OU riders that couldn’t ride for this race and the MSU coach. OU had a pretty impressive performance in the time trial for every division that we had a team in including Men’s B. I’ll talk about the team performance after mine for the other races, but needless to say I am quite pleased with how OU Cycling is developing.

That night we had a lot of beer and cheap Italian food. It was the first BYOB restaurant that I had ever been to. It is silly for places that serve food to not at least have 3.2 beer. I had some New Belgium Trippel, which is 7.8% ABV. I was a bit more gregarious and talkative than usual as a result. The pasta was fantastic. I am very happy that OSU has a food critic on their team to suggest restaurants. 
Delicious. One of the better meals I have had at a race.

The crit race was a race that I actually had a goal for. I said if there was a prime called within the first few laps and I was still with the group I would go for it. After the first lap they called it. I was pumped. I tried to move from the back of the race to the front. I noticed my teammate was at the front pushing the pace up considerably. I couldn’t get to the front at all. I burnt myself out trying to move up. I desperately wanted to provide this one thing to my team. At least we got some prime points from the other two OU riders. I rode for a few more laps before being pulled. Not the best weekend I have had. I understand much about what I need to do to maintain fitness through a season though. I will build back up and possibly do a few races down the stretch here; at least once I know that I can succeed in them. I don’t need to pay for non-collegiate races if I am going to do really poorly in them.

Now to talk about the fun stuff. OU Cycling has come a long way since I have joined the team in late 2010. This is the first year where I have felt the team was truly a team. This Saturday we will have our end of the year party. It will be a celebration of a very successful year for this club. I hope that next year the team improves even more. There is a lot of work that needs to be done though. The SCCCC has a bunch of schools in Texas, a few in Louisiana, two in Oklahoma, and one in Arkansas. Midwestern State University in Wichita Falls, Texas placed first in the conference. This comes as no surprise. They have scholarships for bike racers, a coach that works with each individual rider, and consistently place in the top at Collegiate Road Nationals. I wish them the best of luck this weekend in Ogden, and I will be looking forward to the results. Second place went to the University of Texas. They are an established program that is sponsored by one of the most famous bike shops owned by undoubtedly the most famous(or infamous if you view him that way) cyclist from the United States. In case you don’t know that is Lance Armstrong with Mellow Johnny’s Bike Shop. They have a lot of racers, so they always do pretty well in the team standings. They have a few racers in every single division.

Now to the third place recipients. I am proud to say that this year the University of Oklahoma was able to win this honor. Just four short years ago the team was non-existent. This year we did better than practically the entire conference with a much smaller budget than most of them. Getting on the podium this year is a big step for our team and our state. I would also like to commend Oklahoma State University on getting 4th place. They were in a similar position last year as we were two years ago. The more our state can do to be impressive the more I see cycling being a part of life here. There are a ton of great areas to train here with a decent talent pool.
A massive photo with the top 3 teams in the SCCCC. Congrats to MSU, UT, and OU!

I should mention that our team would be much lower without all of the points gained by our women's squad. I feel like a strong female recruiting class next year could be what puts us up into the second place spot. I hope that the ladies of OU Cycling can make a stronger presence in the conference and be competitive in the upper divisions. 

I would like to thank all of the sponsors of OU Cycling for the 2013 season. Without all of them it would have been impossible. Our school decreased our budget, and we are thankful for every dollar from the local community. They have helped us immensely. Here they are in no particular order.

AGIO Technology
405 Bicycles
2Quick Carbon Technology
Champion System
Andrew Stevens Photography
Hard Edge Screenprint & Embroidery
Buchanan Bicycles
Peak Nutrition
Keep It Local OK
Skinsations Tattoo & Piercing
Fast Lanes Car Wash
Oklahoma Sports & Orthopedics Institute

I am grateful for every moment with OU Cycling this year. Next year if I am back I will be sure to train much smarter. We have a definite chance at getting second place next year and possibly sending a rider or two to Nationals. The future looks great for OU Cycling, and I couldn’t be happier for the success that they have seen. As an ending note to this post I will be back with a season recap soon-ish. I will talk about my ideas for the future of OU Cycling and mention the names of all of the OU 2013 riders with notable accomplishments. 

Ride safe and train hard.