Help Will get to Abitibi!




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Georgetown Grand State Championship Crit


It has taken days to ponder the event at Georgetown, and I think I need a do-over. I enjoyed it so much I want to do it again! Several reasons. 1) I have a brother that lives 6 miles from the course. 2) Awesome venue, I only scratched the surface on the activities and dining and shopping. 3) The racing was great to watch and the course was awesome to ride. The P12 Crit Saturday night was fantastic. 4) A general great atmosphere surrounding the event and the locals and business’ seemed very excited to have the racers in town.

Holland Racing did an outstanding job with the organization of this event. There was a ton of support for the racers and lots of vendors. A job very well done! And not to leave out the City of Georgetown and all the associated medical workers, They all went overboard taking care of the racers and the venue…even blowing the corners after every race.

Will and I did two classes each in our quest for Texas crit supremecy. Will was racing the 15-16 group as well as the Mens Cat4 both on Saturday. I opted for the Cat5 on Saturday and the 35+ championship race on Sunday.

In the 15-16 crit Will rode well in the top 4 of the age bracket(the 15-16 and 17-18 were racing together) until a slight saddle malfunction blasted the ole concentration level to dropped….I suggested that he stop at the wheel pit for a possible free way says the official. Thats a maintenance issue he says…..ouch. I am in charge of maintenance, although I am teaching the boy the value of it as fast as I can. After 40 minutes an 8th place finish a lap down was all he could manage. I know he was disappointed but he quickly set his sights on the Cat4 mens race. Cat4 men line up and Will is on the first row. Nice starting spot according my crit coach Matti Von Kessing. The race looked fast from the sidelines and Will dangled at the front 20 of the 85 starters for the majority of the race. At one point he was shaking his head and looked to be ready to pop from the uphill accelerations but was able to hang with the lead group the entire 45 minutes. 24th of 85 is a good ride in my book. He is planning on riding more aggressive in upcoming races and staying at the front will allow for less braking!

 Will is tucked in nicely in the Mens Cat4

In the Cat5 race I was able to start on the front row…according to the crit coach the effects of a good starting spot greatly reduce the effort needed to have a strong ride as well as not needing to brake as much thus keeping the momentum high. That is a very short version but it does seem to work well. I was able to ride in the front the entire crit and finished with 6th place ride. I expect to finish better. In the 35+ on Sunday I was not able to secure a front row spot and paid dearly. Also I had a clip in mis-cue and this relegated me to 25-30 right off the gun. The race was smooth and well ridden by all. I placed 17th with much more brakes and accordion going on. The quality of the racers in 35+ is obvious… I continue my saying “beats the couch!”..literally

And thats me in green! My new favorite photo!

In retrospect……bring on next year…………

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Coldspring Road Race 2012

The Coldspring road race was our first road race since Celina. We have enjoyed a few crits so a road race was welcome. Many of our team members were making the trip so that meant that there would be team mates to ride with! The weather was perfect and the course was great. The course was mostly a flat slightly downhill 12 mile section with about 3 miles of rollers with an uphill finish. I liked the idea of an uphill finish…but getting to the finish with the lead group after so much flat riding had me worried. I thought for sure some TT monsters would take off the front and I knew that my mission was to stay tucked in nicely at the front and not go with any breaks unless there were at least 3 or 4 riders in it, and those breaks never materialized. I have had problems on Saturday road races getting my body jump started, as I seemed to ride better on a second day of racing. I recently had a bike fit with David Wenger and I asked him about this. He asked me what I was doing the day before a Saturday race…nothing I said…well start getting in a moderate ride to get the body in race mode was his answer. A Friday ride revealed something interesting, my heart rate would not get above 165 when my max is 187, 22 miles later I call it a ride. 7 miles into Saturday’s race I notice 173 on the HR monitor..nice I’m thinking because i was feeling pretty good. I have found that if my HR does not climb to the max when needed I just don’t ride strong. Today it was climbing well and recovering. Thank David! The race was very uneventful. I rode in the front most of the  race since previous attempts at riding conservative have found me at the back of the peleton.  The plan worked great although I did not win I was solid in the top 10 with a 6th place finish. I had 6 team members in the race and that made the race fun and everyone enjoyed solid efforts. Chuck Lafferty, one of our team captains rode at the front with me for the entire race also and sprinted to a fine 3rd place ride but was a DQ for crossing the center line too early. He was not alone in his effort due to poor communications about the location of about where you could take the entire road. Oh well, there is always next year!

Will Hughes had a great effort in the HS Championship Race with a 1st place finish. He is going to plan a couple more Jr. races and then spend the rest of the year working over the men in the cat4 races for experience.

Here is a photo story and a few pics:

Coldspring Photo Story

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Matrix Challenge 2012

Wow. It’s the first Matrix Challenge for me and it has set the bar pretty high for other events to follow! First off all hats off to RBM and Matrix for a first class venue and event. Crits are quickly becoming my favorite race of choice and this race really has a lot to offer. I have just had my first professional bike fit  by David Wenger with Durata Training and I went into this race weekend with no miles on my new setup..hmmmm. I was also fortunate enough to meet some of the people I follow on blog….Matt Kessing… on Sunday before the P12 race. It was a pleasure to meet him  as i had I carefully watched the Saturday Cat2 race from the back stretch of the course. I quickly noticed a Wooly Mammoth kit pounding the race at the front and wondered if it was Matt, it was! . A dominating performance that probably….well click on his name and read his blog!  My son Will and I were doing our second weekend of 2 classes of racing each for 2 days in a row.

I will start off in order and recap.

Day 1:

Will had the first race at 9:45 Saturday morning in Jr. 15-18. A fast pace was quickly established and after a few laps of the 40 minute race three riders go into a break and Will did not bridge the gap in time and rode hard for a 3rd place finish. It was clear he had good legs and just made a mistake and he was quickly calculating the fix for this.

The anxious Jr. start on saturday

The next race up was the 35+ for me. I was a little cautious of the course and rode a majority of the race in the 30-35 place position as watched for the crashes that I knew would be coming. After a few laps the new fit seemed good and no new muscle problems were arising. The only incident I saw was on the last corner coming to the finish. I was lucky enough to stay out of harms way and finish 15th.– This is a video of the 35+ race that ends just seconds before the last lap crash. I am #612. Thanks to Scott Giancola for the video!

Then Will saddles up for the cat4 men’s race. After last week’s 15th and 24th I know he can compete but hey….this is the Matrix Challenge right? After 50 minutes of smart and smooth riding towards the front of the field Will nets a 7th place finish of over 60 starters. Cool.

Then up comes the cat5 race for me. I have been delaying my upgrade to a cat4  for a couple of weeks…hoping i might “steal” a win. Whatever….the pesky kids are a shaky on holding their line but they are just fast for the most part. I had a couple of teammates for this race and just having them there was fun motivation. Chuck Lafferty was able to score a third place finish while I rode in 8th and Danny Whitaker came in 9th.

Danny, Chuck, Me

One day of racing down…no scratches and 4 decent finishes. I’ll take it.

Day 2:

We headed to the course early to watch a teammate race the Womens cat4 at 7 am. A 13th place finish for her was a decent ride for the first serious crit action. I’m just a kind of person that just loves to kill a whole day at the races. That’s what I call fun! Will had commented on his 3rd place finish that he was tired of finishing 3rd, so I promptly suggested he go out and just kill them today…….he did.

Will’s Jr. race started off and quickly got up to speed with a smooth start. he did his usual smart riding keeping the pace high and his work at the front minimal. He was able to counter all the attacks and stay at the front of the contending group. After 40 minutes he sprints to the line well ahead of 2nd place…BOOM..victory felt sweet!

Winner winner chicken dinner! 1st and 3rd in Jr.  7th and 15th in cat4.  2 trophies and $42 bucks cash. What a weekend!

Then there is another round of the 35+action up for me. very similar race to saturday but with a few more crashes. I managed to stay clear and ride clean. I did not have quite as much pop in the legs for Sunday’s races but I could compete. I witnessed three crashes first hand but the first was in the break that I missed. A rider going a lap down on the second lap was in the way on a blind corner as the 2 break riders came through. The leader (Robert Baatz) ended up in the barrier with some serious injuries. My prayers go out to him for a speedy and full recovery. He dishes out the pain and I look forward to his return. Just the usual suffering for 40 minutes netted a 17th place finish. Not great but ok for another 50-60 rider field.

Will was ready for yet another cat4 ride. 50 minutes of riding with tired legs nets a 15th place ride out of 60…stellar in my book. I am very proud of his weekend.

The final cat5 race of the weekend was also the last. 30 minutes later all I had in me was a 7th place. But hey, all in one piece. Onward boys. More training ahead. The next stop…..Cold Springs Road Race.

A couple of videos of the cat4 and cat5 action will be on my youtube page as soon as can get them edited.

My first fit.

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Rockwall Criterium 2012

The weekend was much anticipated as it was the first of several to come of two day crits.  Will and I both registered for two classes. Will doing the Jr. Open and his first venture in Men’s Cat4. I did the 35+ 4-5 and the Cat5. Saturday was a day of mixed results. The Jr. fields were small with about 15 combined riders. This made for tough conditions with wind gust’s approaching 30+mph.  Will pounced first with a fine ride for 3rd place in Jr. open.

Well then it was my turn. The 35+ race started out well. But i found myself doing the usual trick of drifting from the front to the back. This has proven several time to be a bad move……insanity seems to prevail here. I found myself struggling with the wind and shortly into the race was unable to stay in the draft. Riding solo until I found some fellow sufferers i lost considerable ground. After a sickening 25 minutes I was flagged to exit the course…….a dissapointing 53 place. I found my way back to the trailer to lick my wounds.

Then it was Will’s turn once again as he made the start line for his first Cat4 race. 40 minutes of serious action ensued.  I was very pleased to watch Will carefully move in the peloton for a 24th place ride. Very nice!

Then back to some cat5 action for the end of the day. With a small field of 15 riders I was no stronger than earlier and found a better  but not encouraging ride. 8th place was the best I had. Back home 2 hours for some rest and a regrouping.

As is usually the case I woke up Sunday in a new world. Feeling excited to once again give it the college associates degree try. The schedule being the same I was more relaxed. Rain filled the sky’s as we headed to the race course. Will and I have already been wet racing this year so there was no stopping us today!

The Jr. race for Will started out in good form as the field worked. A cat2 rider went up the road with no one willing to chase. Will carefully rode the wheels and applied pressure when needed to drop the hammer on the group for a solid sprint to finish 2nd. A nice piece of rock is now in hand. Congrats on a great ride!

BTW..after we got the rock I was checking out the truckload of sweet primes for the day….I launched a plan to get my hands on some of it.

As my 35+ race got started I stayed close to the front with a minimal amount of work. After 35 minutes of rain delayed and rain soaked action we had avery smooth race withput incident and a decent 15th place finish. I’ll take it.

Will’s cat 4 action for Sunday proved even better that Saturday. 40 minutes at 25 mph he was scored in 15th!  I may have a racer on my hands….cool.

Now my Cat5 race was up. The thoughts of primes danced in my head. A few laps in the bell rang out for prime one. I smoothly worked to the top 4-5 and waited till about half a lap to the finish and I launched an all out attack to conquer my quest to primeville. Before I could get to the finish my legs were screaming for mercy. I looked back and a teammate was helping detour would be challengers. Thanks  Mike B! The prime was secured..mission accomplished right? Wait…there is alot of racing to go. I was in need of a short rest and the field gave it to me as I got on the back and the pace stayed reasonable for me to get my heart rate under control. the race plyed out smooth and the final sprint found me with a 4th place finish. Much better than Saturday.

The next stop is the Matrix Challenge. More learning is in store.

There are some videos at my youtube page.

Hopefully I will have some Rockwall video from Will’s race up soon.

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Beauty and the Beast Tour….By Size Matters

Lets be honest.  There are no “reviews” written by cyclists.  We
“reride” an event; for better or for worse.
(To prop up my compliments and critiques I will pull my B&B ride
director and B&B race director T-shirts from the closet and note both
have shrunk profusely over the years.)

It all started with a prayer,…when Pierre blessed the one or two
unhappy people at the end of his oratory, I smiled openly and somewhat
knowingly.  Afterward, I felt privileged to be reminded by our flag
that my paltry entry fee went to a good cause.  (Hats off to Pierre
and his steadfast belief in the finer things in life that stem from
focused hard work – anything he does seems to breed quality – please
support Kiepersol, “land of beef and wine” in all of its guises.)

An old cyclist once asked me after a long ride whether or not I
thought about my shoes during the ride.  I said, “no”.  His response
was simple, “Gonna get me some then, cause I been thinkin about mine
for three hours.”

Why is this relevant?  Because this is the greatest compliment I can
bestow on a race director and his rowdy crew of misfit volunteers.  I
did not think about anything but riding for over four hours.

So what did I do while not thinking about my shoes?  Ahhh, well,…

Traffic jam before the right onto 69 meant that the first group turned
onto 344 so far ahead of us that I barely witnessed it.  By the long
decent after Kiepersol Estates I could see the first and now a
distinctive second group climbing  in the distance.  I thought, “that
is our group”.  Dace and I gave chase through the forests of
Yarborough, where we picked up Charity and thereby divided the work
three ways. Past the metropolis of Troup, we started picking off the
stragglers from the second group while burying ourselves with the joy
of a pack of dogs chasing a car.  I could not count the number of
times the three of us rotated at the front of one small group or
another.  I even got dropped for awhile but that is another story.  No
one ever could come through to help but all were joyous and thankful
for the pulls.  Slowly we caught and then became the second group.
(The fifty or so down the road that were the first group were light
years ahead of us.)  The scents of flowers and farmland melted into
hills and big chainrings and shifting up while standing and dropping
low after spinning out on a decent and,…oh yea, and to those two
guys that looked like cyclists which we caught for the fourth time in
Mixon, so sorry you couln’t hang.

And then there was hill.  I started first, and rightfully attracted
the majority of cowbell attention.(Thanks Ross)  Soon though, Dace
came past like an arrow, never to be seen again.  About halfway up,
Blaise says, “Your wife went that a way.” and points up the hill.  Can
you hear the sarcasm in her voice?  Laugh.  I still can.  To add
injury to insult, Blaise then notices someone up the hill, pushing
their bike and walks past me, up the hill, to help them.  I started
counting individual chip seal pebbles as they passed under my front
tire to stave off boredom. Yes, you can stand on a 39X25 gear and
remain upright while your cycle computer registers zero.  I call it
climbing, some might say, trackstand.  Needless to say, Charity caught
me before the top and we rounded onto 69 with two errant “Purples” in
our sight.  (Purples are part of the joyous wheel leeches previously
discussed which somehow got past me on the hill.)  For anyone who
witnessed Char and I swerve around the Purples on 69, it is Not true
that we were in the left hand lane, it just looked like that because
we were going so fast.  Really.
Then there was cramp.  My legs decided that bending was no longer an
option.  Thank goodness for the downward slope of the road and Char
pulling, I was toast.

You can talk about a director and his team doing a great job.  I rode
their great job and will never forget.
Thanks to all – more than you can know.


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Denton Criterium 2012

As the crit started I was at the front. By the 2nd lap I was at the rear with my son yelling “get to the front’. But it didn’t take a rocket scientist to realize that with a group of 20 that even if not at the front I was close to the front. So I rode front and back several times and tried to stay ready for any attacks. No one seemed able to get off the front and stay. a couple of single attempts failed so a pack sprint was in order for all primes and the finish. An 8th place finish and a prime win were a decent day.

This was a great day of racing. The rain kept alot of people at home…oh well. Beats the couch!!

A big thanks to Ginny King and the King Racing Group for going the distance to make the race possible.

The crits are my favorite racing. I am still learning to race strong and HOW to race. I will win some of these in time. The competition is awesome.

As i learn to blog I will bring more cycling stories for txbra racers and want to be racers to enjoy. There is a lot of brain activity with little action going on!!

Oh, and by the way…Here is a cool picture of my son Will Hughes at Cedar Hill for a close 7th place finish. Thanks to Andy Hollinger!

This coming weekend will be the Beauty and the Beast bike tour in Tyler. I will be volunteering instead of riding. There will be plenty of training time after!

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