Monday, July 18, 2011

Life on the Go

Quite a lot has happened since USPRO Nationals. I’m pretty sure my excitement for the rest of the season is the only thing keeping me going at this point since I should be dead tired. In the seven weeks since Greenville, I have raced in Washington D.C., Augusta, GA, and Boise, ID, and spent four straight weeks away from my place in Suwanee, GA but I am loving every minute of it. I have visited friends in Virginia, spent time with family in Colorado, went to the Children With Diabetes conference in Orlando, spent time in Montana and Idaho, and I am now on my slow return to the dirty South. So much has happened in all of this travel that I highly doubt I will get to everything here, but I will definitely hit the highlights.

USPRO did not go so well. It was an incredibly hot day and the riders were really itching to race. Long story short, I did not last nearly as long as I wanted and pulled out way too early, but a positive note, my parents drove down from Sugar Grove, IL so I was able to spend some quality time with them.

In the week following USPRO, I emailed my coach giving him my thoughts on the race and I did not get the response I expected. I was very concerned that the training I had been doing needed to be altered so I would be more competitive in races. Logical right? He didn’t feel the same way. Throughout the season there has been a gap in communication between the two of us, and this situation was no exception.

I had to make a decision: should I continue to work with my current coach and see if he turns out to be right in the future, or should I begin to look for a new coach?

I found a new coach and I couldn’t be happier.

I began working with Nate Keck, a good friend of mine who also happens to be a genius in the sports science world. I worked with Nate during the years I competed in RAAM with Team Type 1, so it made complete sense to work with him now, especially given his sports science background and knowledge about diabetes. It is going to be very beneficial to have a coach that really understands the processes the body goes through with training and diabetes.

I was recently visiting him in Missoula, and the whole time I was there he was interested in what my blood sugars were, the amount of insulin I was taking, and how it could be related back to training. This interest proved useful immediately since I spent the majority of my time there with really low sugars. Regardless, I got in some awesome training and learned so much, I wish I had been taking notes for future reference!

Before heading to Missoula, I had an awesome opportunity to spend time with my family in Telluride, CO for my grandparent’s 50th anniversary. It was great to go on some fun and interesting adventures with everyone, and get some great training in at altitude to top it off. I was sad to leave a couple days early because I was having a lot of fun and it’s pretty inspirational to spend time with my grandparents, knowing they had been married for half of a century and that they have been a big influence on me over the years.

From Telluride, I flew to Orlando for the Children With Diabetes conference. This was the second year I was there and both times it has become a highlight of my year. This year it was held at the Coronado Springs Resort in Disney World and was packed with parents and children interested in having the most knowledge and best control of diabetes they possibly can. I love seeing parents taking such an active roll in their kids diabetes, like mine did, and its even better to be able to relate to them and talk about my experience growing up with the condition so they can pass the info down when their children are going through similar situations.

This year it was great to be able to catch up with all of the friends I met last year and meet tons of new, incredibly inspirational people. I learned about numerous great programs and ideas that are being put in motion to help those with diabetes and it got me really stoked about doing all that I can to help out. I can only imagine that the things coming in the future will help make living with diabetes much easier. I learned about some exiting new products, like insulin pumps, that are going to be out soon and about groups or organizations people have started to reach out to those living with diabetes. Unfortunately, amidst the wealth of knowledge I was obtaining, it became time to leave the conference and head to Missoula for the next stop on my trip.

After the week of training with Nate in Missoula, we took off on the long drive to Boise, ID, with his wife, for the Boise Twilight Criterium. I have heard a lot about Boise Twilight in the past so I was pretty jittery most of the seven-hour drive there in anticipation.

The race is held in downtown Boise and attracts roughly 25,000 fans and I was racing in the main event. On top of that, I knew that my fitness should be decent going into the race since I had six weeks of training under Nate prior. Realistically, six weeks is not nearly enough time to go from over-trained and tired to top form but I knew I was on the way and proved it during the race.

From the gun, the race was full on with guys trying to get off of the front and going for the cash primes that were being offered up every few laps. Every time I looked down at my Garmin we were riding over 30mph and it seemed as if we were never going to slow down. Eventually, it got late and darkness set in. That translates to people started crashing. The race was a total of 85 laps through downtown and in the last 20 there were at least three or four crashes.

With 10 laps to go, Fly V Australia* took control of the front of the race and kept the pace high to set up their sprinter for the finish. With three laps to go, they completely dropped the hammer and caused some massive explosions within the field. Groups of riders were coming off the back of the field but luckily I was able to stick with the front group until the end. By the time we rounded the final couple of corners, Fly V had drained the last of my energy I had absolutely nothing left but I was able to hold on for 15th place! It was by far the best race I have had all year, and I know there is a lot more where that came from.

I am currently back in Richmond, VA, where I started my month of traveling around. It is definitely a great place for my last stop before driving back to Atlanta. I am staying with Tim P, who was the TT1 Devo director last year, and his family. He has become a great friend of mine over the years and I know that whenever I spend time at his place, there will be lots of good things to talk about and even better meals to eat. I can’t think of a better place to reflect on the past month. Thanks Tim!

Next on my schedule is the Charlotte Criterium and the Tour of Elk Grove, so until then, thanks for reading!

*Side note: props to the Fly V boys for doing all that work at the end to put three guys in the top five. Quite the impressive result.

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