Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Cone- Azalia

OUCH! That is the only word that adequately describes this race. It is a 10 mile loop, 4 miles of which are over dirt/gravel roads. This race is usually brutal, but this year was worse than previous editions as the Michigan winter was unkind to the usually semi-smooth dirt country roads and it had rained all night and into the morning. Platt Road, the longest straight section of the race and is not paved, was infested with potholes this year. There was no clear line through it and the holes were all 4-5 inches deep. Two things were sure going into this race: 1) Don't be in the middle of the peloton and 2) Equipment was going to break.

The Pro/1/2 race started with about 28 guys, half of which were from Bissel of Panther. Riders such as Kirk Albers and Paul Martin showed up to throw down, so it was not going to be an easy day in the saddle (as if Cone ever is...). As we headed into the pothole section on the first lap, I sat up with Alex Vanias and let the peloton get a little gap. Once they hit the bad section and everyone freaked out and started diving everywhere, Alex and I jumped to the soft right shoulder and moved around to the front. It was when I was at the front that I realized how strong the wind was that morning, we were driving directly into a 20+ mph headwind, so I moved back a few spots but stayed near the front to not get caught out in crashes.

After clearing Platt Rd there were only about 18 guys left in the group, all of us were covered in mud and dirt from the wet water filled holes. Most of out shifting and bearings weren't working smooth either. The dust and mud had gotten into the cogs, pins and rollers and everyones bike was squeaking. Luckily the next dirt section (short tailwind, then turn left into the crosswind) was much smoother. As we made the turn two guys went down on the inside, from what I understand one of them broke their ankle and still rode another 40 miles on it. The crosswind made this section brutal as you couldn't hide because the wind came from the left and the good line was along the right shoulder. I made it through with little trouble though and we turned into the tailwind for a couple of miles which allowed my legs to rest.

(My dirty legs after the race)

So I made it through 1 lap safely. 6 more to go. The next lap followed more or less the same pattern. We DRILLED it on the dirt sections and rested in the tailwind, at some point a Panther and Bissel rider got off the front. The other riders in the group wanted to chase, but we knew as soon as we pulled it back the two heavy hitting teams would launch more riders. So we were content to sit in and not work too much.

On the third lap I made a positioning mistake. I got through Platt without too much trouble, other than thinking I broke my steering tube when I got pushed into a series of potholes. But the second dirt section I was on the back and took a bad line through the corner. Well this was about the time the Bissel guy in the break flatted and the peloton passed him. So all the Bissel guys went to the front and drilled the pace in the crosswind. I had gapped myself and was now holding 550 watts (I weigh 146lbs) pulling myself back to the field. I made contact right as we turned into the tailwind and Bissel went even harder. I never got a chance to recover and lost ground on that section of road. I was time trialing myself to get back to the peloton, but even while I was holding 32 mph the group was pulling away. 1 hour of racing had passed, I had completed about 26 miles with the peloton and my race was already over. I checked my average power output for the first hour and I had been riding at 90% of my FTP for that first hour.

(My drivetrain after the race)

Well my day wasn't over. I decided to keep riding and see if I could finish the race. But after another hour of riding it was clear my legs were going to lock up and shut down before that could happen, so I decided to try and beat the Cat 3s to the end of their race. That meant I had to complete 5 laps total (51 miles), 24 miles of which I was riding solo.

Well I achieved my goal. I finished the 5 laps in a time of 2 hours 20 minutes. The Cat 3 peloton of 7 or so guys came in at 2 hours 21 minutes. I checked my average power for the 51 miles, I had ridden the entire time at 82% of my FTP. So I actually had pretty good legs, but the 1/2 field takes no prisoners. Paul Martin won, no surprise there.

(My drivetrain after it was washed)

After the race I cleaned off my dirt covered body and drove to Jackson to enjoy the hottub at my parents house, wash my disgusting bike and take it apart to make sure I didn't break anything. Fortunately my bike held up, but I know a few guys that broke wheels, frames and seats on these rough rough roads.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Willow Time Trial

So Saturday morning was the first real race of the Michigan racing season: Willow Metropark Time Trial. There were 13 guys signed up in the Cat 1/2s and 14 in the Cat 3s. It is a 20k race consisting of 6 laps of the park usually coupled with steady, fairly strong winds.

I got there early enough to talk with all the guys I haven't seen in a few months, help the Juniors prepare for their races, sign in, get my number on, use the bathroom, set up the team area and then warm up. Ventus Cycling had 6 guys racing: Me in the 1/2s and Bush, Benke, Bott, Holloway and Rainville in the 3s. We all warmed up under our team tent together, no one really talking because we all have our own pre race routines which usually consist of listening to music while we get the muscles primed.

Before we knew it everyone was scrambling to get ready. All the Cat 3 riders went off within 5 minutes of each other so they all jumped off and rode to the line together. I had another 15 minutes so I got my skinsuit on, helmet and shoe covers on and rode around the parking lot for 10 minutes before headed to the line. An interesting tidbit: I raced with earplugs in under my TT helmet. It was in an article I read a while back and maybe Darrell told it to me, I don't really remember. But the theory goes that we judge out speed based on the wind speed we hear. But with earplugs in you cannot hear the wind so you cant judge your speed or exertion, so you can push yourself harder. It was a really cool experience and I think I am going to continue time trialing with them because its nice to hear nothing but your own breathing. No distractions.

Anyway, I knew I was in for a depressing day on the bike because I hadn't been training at all over the winter and I am not the best time trialist. To add insult to injury, 4 of the best time trialists in the state started directly after me, Minnima, Vanias, Vermeulen and York. My plan was to determine my speed based on when I got passed by each rider. My goal was to go under 32 minutes.

31 minutes and 50 seconds later I crossed the line. Last person to finish the race. I had been passed by all 4 riders behind me almost exactly when I thought they would pass me. I ended up 12th, edging out Kroske who was not on his signature P3 having sold it last year. It was a better day for my teammates who ended up 2nd, 3rd, 5th, 6th and 13th in the Cat 3s. All in all it was a good day for the team. I wasn't too upset. Out of form and still able to hold 25mph for 32 minutes isn't too bad. My only goal after the race was to rest and recover. Cone-Azalia was the following morning.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

New Season, New Team, Old Blog Reincarnated

Hello to the 3 people that will read this,

I know it has been about a year since I really updated this thing. Thats because it appeared that no one ever read it. But in the past year I have gotten closer with my family, aunts uncles cousins brothers etc. and most of them are interested in my racing. So I am going to try to revitalize this blog for them.

So what has been up? As you probably notices by the massive picture of me at the top of this page (photo credit goes to Erika Fulk) I have changed my blog, I changed my blog because as most of you know I changed teams. have spent 3 years racing for South Lyon/MCG and most of the people I was friends with on the team moved away or stayed as Cat 3. That meant that York and I were alone in the 1/2 races. There wasn't much left for me at MCG and I wanted a new challenge, so I teamed up with my good friend Mark Bush and we started the Ventus Cycling Team. This is a team designed to promote Michigan racing, bring in new riders and help them move up to Cat 1 or Cat 2.

I am very happy with my decision to change, I will miss racing and hanging out with the MCG boys, but in this sport even when we're on opposite teams most of us are still friends. We currently have 10 Cat 2/3 riders and are in the process of creating a development team so we always have young talent. If you're interested in riding for us, contact us at

So what have I been doing all winter? Not riding. I know I should be, but I had no motivation at the end of last season and it carried through the winter months. I am back to training now and should be competitive by June. I did race the first AAVC STS race this past weekend. I managed to finish with the peloton, though we were lapped by a 6 man breakaway. I honestly did not think I would finish because I had not been training, but I still know how to suffer. So I just put my head down and rode. Averaged 230W for 48 minutes, finished at the back of the group because I had no legs to sprint. All in all I was actually quite happy with myself.

Also on deck for this season, I have a new GoPro Helmet Camera. I will be wearing it in the majority of my races depending on road conditions (so NOT Grand Rapids or Maillot Jaune) and I will post clips or short 2-4 minute video from the races here. Check back soon to see video from the AAVC race and our team photo shoot.

Thanks for reading, I will do my best to keep this thing updated. Here is to a fun filled summer and successful cycling season!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Jumping Ship

By now, both of the people that will still read this blog know I am no longer racing for MCG next season. I have taken on the task (along with Mark Bush) of starting our own team. The team will be called Ventus Cycling.

I will be posting my race reports right here for the 2011 season as well as video from the POV camera I am working on purchasing. It will be mounted under my stem for some races, and that footage will be available here.

I will also be managing the official team blog which is

Friday, September 10, 2010


Say oravoir to this blog. I havent used it in a year so I am deleting it. I will create a new one for next season.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Selling the Giant

Hey everyone, going to invest in a new very nice racing frame for this season. Not telling anyone what I am getting yet. It will be a surprise so stay tuned Thursday or Friday for pictures.

In the mean time, I am selling my Giant TCR because I dont ever use it and I need money for the new frame. So if you are interested it is listed here.


Tuesday, March 30, 2010

For the Record... one ever comments on these so I have no idea if anyone reads it. Anyways here we go, up and running. Going to try and keep this updated for the rest of the season (we will see how long that lasts).

So this was quite a busy past week for me. Had two exams, trying to get the Met Cart in the Ex. Phys. lab working properly so Jason can do his thesis, and the Undergraduate Symposium. The Symposium is where all the bright undergrads present mostly their own research. I had to give a speech on Acceleration Economy Differences in Trained and Untrained Runners. It was fun for me but boring for the audience, oh well. After the Symposium I had to go to work. The following morning marked the true start of cycling season.

So yeah last week I did the Fisk Knob TT. But come on, its a TT. Its a great race wish good competition and a great way to see where your fitness it, but its still not a road race.

Saturday morning was the first race of the FRCC Spring Training Series. Field sizes were surprisingly large considering Barry-Roubaix was the same day on the other side of the state. We had 53 riders in the A group. There was a strong wind out of the east which meant on this course when you go down the hill you are in a strong headwind. So any gap forming on the way up was much bigger by the bottom. The race started off fairly easy. Several people attacked, there were surges but it was all still manageable. At about 35-40 minutes in there was a big split while the pace was high. 15-20 of us were caught out in the second group including my team leader and only other teammate in the race, Adam York.

My goal was to get Adam up to the main group to contend. So for a half lap, I pulled the entire second group up to the main group, I was pushing just around 600 watts to accomplish it. Needless to say, I was exhausted and when the back of the group came around I couldn't jump on. I sat out a lab and jumped back into the rear of the group for a while until there was another split with 25 minutes to go. Again I went to the front as Adam was in our group again. Jamie Smith had been caught out in this split too and was up there with my trying to get a paceline going. Surprisingly some A riders have no idea how to work a paceline. I got frustrated so I did one last insane effort and then dropped out. I needed to rest up for Sunday.

Julie was at the race with me and her and I watched as the A group sprinted for the line. Taking the win by about a bike length was none other than little Tony Wieczorek. A 17 year old schooled some of the best 1/2 riders in the state and won. Congrats. It was then time to recover and prepare for AAVC.

Sunday marked the first of four AAVC spring training series races. The weather wasn't windy but the rain decided to make a guest appearance. Temperature was about 37 degrees and by the time we got to race, the road had puddles and the rain was harder than ever. 45 minutes of crit racing with about 20 guys. I was a little tired from Waterford, but I was still happy with how I rode. I was constantly mixing it up at the front with the other guys, I tried to get into 3-4 breakaways but none succeeded. I even out sprinted Alan Antonuk for a prime.

2 riders eventually made it into a successful break that stayed away for quite a while. As I had no teammates my job was pretty easy. I would go to the front, ride hard then go back and recover. Once I recover I went back to the front and rode hard etc. etc. etc. I had no idea how much time was left in the race as the lap cards were not being updated and I could see the break coming close. So I went to the front and did one last hard effort knowing I was going to get dropped. It was so cold and wet that if i tried to stand up my quads would cramp and I knew there would be a surge on the hill. So after my hard effort I pulled out and hear "3 laps to go!". Just my luck.

Alexey had a 2 lap flyer that got caught in the last lap where Antonuk took the sprint for the win. I wasted no time changing into dry warm clothes. We were all soaked to the bone by the end and most of us couldn't feel our fingers. Great day of racing though. I may not have finished either race this weekend, but I am not unhappy with my results. I am stronger than I was last year at this time by far. As I keep telling myself. This is my first season as a 1/2 it will be a learning experience.

Next week I am racing Saturday as we dont have racing Sunday due to Easter.
Pictures courtesy of Blake Beddow's facebook.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

I know I know I know

I am doing horribly bad with my blog this year. It will turn around here probably next week. I have just been slammed with school and I have a big presentation coming up on Friday that I literally JUST finished (still needs to be reviewed though).

I did however do Fisk Knob this past weekend. 17.4 mile Time Trial out in the middle of nowhere. I managed to ride 65 seconds faster than I have ever done the race for a total time of 43:59. That is an average of 23.8 mph for 44 minutes. As I haven't been training much and have not done any TT work, I was quite happy with my time. It was good enough for 4th in the 20-25 age group and 14th out of like 190 racers.

It was a good test, but there will be a better one this weekend. I am doing both the FRCC and STS training races this weekend. Hope to see you guys out there!

Back to schoolwork now...

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Spring Break 2010 Begins

Made it down to Panama City Beach in Florida today. Took us 2 days of traveling to get here. Stayed with my cousin Scott in Tennessee last night, woke up and drove to his college to have breakfast. All I have to say is that if I had $300,000 to spare, I would definitely go to Sawanee University of the South.

Once we got to the very nice hotel, we unloaded the car (yes I brought my bike) and checked out the pool deck. We immediately changed into our swimsuits and jumped into the warm pool. We hung out there for an hour until we got hungry. We then showered changed and headed out to scout the area. We went to Wal-Mart to get food (we have a kitchen), ate at Sonic, then dropped by the liquor store and headed back to the hotel.

Now I am sitting here typing this after we unloaded everything and cleaned up the kitchen. I am headed to bed so I can get out on the bike early and scout out the area for semi-decent training routes. Picture and more story later.

Friday, February 5, 2010

I know I fail at this

But hey look, I'm posting now. I'm sorry to my 3 readers that I have not updated this in a long time. It is the off season, I am in my junior year of college and I don't have all that much to write about, but if I did, I wouldn't have the time do to school. However, today is one of my very few free days, so here it goes.

So I was over in Kalamazoo on January 9th with my brother Pat and my parents, skiing. Pat starts talking about a trip Eric is trying to put together for the following weekend. I call up Eric and invite myself, he was going to invite me anyway, just hadn't gotten a chance to call me. So that evening I booked my flight and the following week on Thursday January 14th, I flew out to Seattle.

The point of the trip was to get all five of the Maino brothers together to go skiing out West. It was 80% successful. Greg couldn't make it out, so it was just Eric, Pat, John and me. My flight was 4 hours ahead of Pats, so Eric and John picked me up at the airport and we went to eat, then drop off my luggage at their townhouse. We then went back to the airport to pick up Pat and headed to a bar to meet up with a bunch of their friends (Pat used to live out in Seattle.)

The following morning (John and Pat not feeling so hot) we loaded up the 2 cars early and hit the road. In the first car was Colleen (driving), John and me. In the second car was Eric, Pat and their friend Lassi. It was 2 hours to the boarder of Canada, and another 2 hours to Whistler. Yes, Whistler. Where the Olympics are being held in one week, one of the nicest skiing resorts in the world, Whistler. To make the trip even more fun (as expected when 2 or more Mainos are together) we raced to the boarder. Despite Colleen getting pulled over, we did cross into Canada before the others.

Once we got to Whistler we found our condo and suited up to ski. We took the lift tickets that came with the room and headed to the mountain. Well luck would have it that those tickets weren't valid for that day. So instead of reissuing the tickets they told us that we couldn't ski. The sky was amazingly blue, the slopes were in perfect condition and do to poor customer service, we couldn't enjoy it.

So we went hottubing. Then got dinner. Then watched some hockey and went to bed. We wanted to get up early and hit the slopes. And we did. We were on the mountain by 8:45am the following morning and it would be a rough day for me. I have never skied out west, so I have never skied powder. And let me tell you midwesterners who think skiing is skiing and snow is snow.....POWDER IS NOT THE SAME AS OUR CRAPPY MIDWEST SNOW. Its way more fun, but way harder to ski. So Saturday was a learning experience for me. I have never had sore legs from skiing....but then again, I've never skied out west.

After a fun full day, we went back to the condo, took a nap, ate, sat it hottub, watched more hockey and went to sleep. Again we were up and on the hill early Sunday. I was more confident in myself that day, and we proceeded to go as high up the mountain as they would let us. After one run, they had the peak open. John went skiing through the trees on the first run and decided to see how his ski tasted. But he was fine and we took off for the peak. On the run down, my brothers thought I was going a little fast, my right tip caught and I went face first into the snow. Both skis came off along with both poles. My brothers came to see if I was fine. Landing in power is one of the coolest experiences ever. I was fine with the exception of two nice bruises. We spent the rest of the day skiing 7th Heaven, gliding over fresh powered through the glades. It was amazing.

Well that was all the skiing we could get in for the weekend. The next morning we were up early driving back to the States. Pat and I were to fly out that evening because we didn't have school for MLK day. Unfortunately as I checked in for my flight, I had booked a flight leaving Tuesday. So I got an extra day in Seattle. I walked around the city, down to the market and back to the townhouse. Then flew home on the red eye. It was an EPIC trip.

Stay tuned for my next major event. Spring Break in Panama City, FL. (Yes I am taking my bike) We leave for Florida in 23 days.