Year in review and year in preview.

2010 was highly successful for me in a couple of ways.  First, with the help of my teammates Ken Johnson and Keith Gerarden, I earned the rest of the points I needed for the USCF category 1 upgrade.  This has been a huge goal of mine since the days I first started doing group rides when everyone there would freak when a category 1 rider would show up and put the smack down on us.  I never considered myself in the same league as these guys back then, but in the back of my mind somewhere I thought that I might be capable of riding my bike as strongly.  Little did I know it would take 10 years to get there, but nevertheless I thought it was possible.  I was a cat4 about the next 6 years while I completed my undergraduate studies and began my working career.  I was never consistent on my bike for more than a couple of months per year those first six years, but back in 2007 when I started racing again, things began to fall into place and moved pretty quickly from then. Racing this year should only be for pure enjoyment and to help my teammates race their goals now that I’ve had all the help in the world reaching mine.  Racing is so much more fun when you don’t really give a crap what place you finish. 


Another huge thing for me this year was doing the 4 day Shenandoah/Blue Ridge Parkway MegaRide.  I’ve always wanted to ride the length of both of them back since the first time I ever drove a car down stretches of Skyline Drive in Virginia.  I couldn’t believe that road essentially went on for 574 miles from end to end.  Riding a road bike doesn’t really get much better than that road and I’ve ridden a lot of miles all over the country now.  I’d strongly encourage anyone who rides much to put it on their bucket list.  It was only possible to do the ride in this way with the help of my dad who had just retired the week before.  He was just awesome for those 4 days mixing me up sports drink in bottles and handing them to me from the car or from the roadside and snapping off little video clips.  I didn’t really have to worry about anything other than pedaling my bike during the time I was riding.  After doing it, I think a three day attempt is possible, but probably not this coming year.


For year 2011 the first major event planned is the birth of my son.  If all goes to plan, he should be arriving first thing in March.  I’ve trained hard so far this winter and will continue to do so up till he’s born.  The wife and I firmly believe that life shouldn’t stop just because we’re having a child and will work hard to make sure we help eachother get out and exercise and continue the things in our life that are important to us.  I’m pretty confident we’ll be good in that way and I do think I’ll have a good season of cycling.  I might not get to ride when I do right now, but I will have time to get on the bike.  I might have to do some trainer sessions instead of getting out on the road 6 days a week when the weather turns good, but if it’s while I’m watching my boy sleep I don’t think I’ll mind.


As far as race goals go, I don’t really have one other than maybe to win one of the bigger regional road races, criteriums, or state championship events.  I’ve won smaller events and placed second in some bigger races, but I think I might have better fitness this year than last and can maybe find a way to finish ahead of some of the pros around here that win many of these races.  Beyond individual goals, again I’d just like to have fun racing while helping the team.  We’ve got one cat2 on the elite squad and I’d like to see him ‘cat up’ so I’ll be working for him in the sprints as he can go in that capacity.  We also have a very talented cat3 on the team who I am sure will be joining us in the Pro1,2 field in no time.  I’m pretty sure he could be a ‘1’ by seasons end.


My cycling team is Triangle-Velo.  We used to be an elite only team, but after we lost 4 guys last year do to various reasons the remaining guys decided to can the elite status and just become a club so all of our friends could race together with us as one group.  It’s pretty exciting because now we are 20 members with now 2 females on board.  We have pretty much every category represented including master’s 35, and 45+. 


Over the past few years my cycling team has raised some money and supported several charitable organizations.  With the team transforming so much this year, I thought it would be good and refreshing if we began to support a new cause.  What we have decided to do is to make more of an effort to get non-athletes out on bikes and to help them to kick start their exercise regiment with some beginner rides and a big beginner gran-fondo style event.  Details are still a little hazy, but it looks like I’ll be leading beginner rides 2Xmonth and our organized gran-fondo will take place in October of 2011.  I’m really hopeful that we can get people to come out and support the gran-fondo as I would like to take the proceeds and donate them back to the community to help fund childhood obesity fighting initiatives.  This inititiave to fight obesity is being called, “Team Nobesity, pedaling to health”.  Many of my team’s sponsors are keen on supporting this initiative which I’m thrilled about as I think the public at large is ready for a national level movement.  If you’d like to come out to a Team Nobesity sponsored ride, please hit me up on Veloreviews.


Aside from doing some racing, mountain centuries, and growing the team’s cause to fight obesity, I don’t have any other goals other than enjoying my time on a bike this year.  I like to train hard, so I can race hard when I do and really enjoy myself when I take on the more challenging terrain in the mountains.  This should shape up to be a great year as well and I would love it if I could stay off the pavement this year.  I wish everyone the best of luck in their 2011 cycling season and especially hope you stay safe out there.  Remember, never go faster on downhill curve than you can make assuming that a) you can’t cross over the double yellow line as there will be a car coming around the bend at you, and b)that there will be gravel and sand in your lane.  Follow that rule, and you might avert disaster.




Jon Speer

  • rapunzel

    Congrats on the Cat 1 status!  That must have been such a grand feeling to have achieved that level!


    Sounds like you’re going in a terrific direction with regards to focusing on “fun” in your club’s rides and members.  I’m certain your efforts will indeed be beneficial to helping your buddies achieve the levels they desire, too.  Fun is the main goal of the rides I humbly “lead”, and I have riders (who are distinctly faster than our main group) come join us b/c of the vibe our group has.


    With regards to the arrival of your son, I hope the transition of adding him into your lives goes smoothly and easily.  However, please give yourselves the space and permission to adjust if or when you find that more time is required in your lives.  I can still remember all the great ideas my husband and I had of all the things we would still be able to accomplish once our first son arrived.  All that was blown to bits partly b/c we didn’t have any concept of how much time, effort, love…and how much impact a baby would have in our lives.  How much would change, how little sleep we would get…and how that would affect everything else in your lives.  So, most of all, please give yourselves permission to change your minds about EVERYTHING, if need be.  I’m not saying that you and your wife won’t be able to get out and do things.  Each new life is unique and his or her affect on the family is also unique…and not at all predictable.  I just humbly offer a bit of gentle wisdom.  Most of all, take the space to enjoy this precious, precious time in your lives.  Before you know it, he’ll be a teenager.  Time starts moving at warp speed once you have kids.  :-)


    Lastly, I think it’s great that your group is thinking of doing that beginner-focused event.  What a great way to “give back” and get new folks started in this wonderful sport.  Reaching out to beginners hits a soft spot for me and is the reason why I lead one of the weekly rides I did in 2010.