runner turned triathlete turned cyclist. Director of the very powerful Team Specialized Junior squad
|Favorite Race||very fast indoor velodromes|
|Numerous local wins including all of the Nor Cal classics: Nevada City, Cat's Hill, Santa Cruz, Berkeley Hills, Sausilito, Burlingame, Giro di San Francisco|
|112 State elite and masters road and track Championships|
|42 USA masters road and track National Championships - two current national records|
|14 UCI masters track World Championships - one current world record|
|and, my wife and I are coming up on our 30th anniversary!|
Team Specialized Junior updateMay 18, 2012
I’ve been of strong opinion NOT to call ourselves a “development” team in the past mainly because racing cyclists of all ages and years of experiences need to evolve and develop, not just juniors. Juniors may win a boatload of medals and honors when they are young, yet once “promoted” to the elite levels of racing wins and podiums will elude them unless they take their development path seriously. Development also comes off the bike. The leaders on Team Specialized have always believed in a foundation based on “student-athlete” and doing what’s best to prepare these young men for the business world, just in case these riders don’t become professional bicycle racers.
What would you do? – would you fire, or take strong action against an employee that missed a company monthly conference call? - Well, I’m about to share some really great stories of bicycle racing with you, but I wanted to start off this update with a lesson that was recently learned by two of our juniors. Neither could attend last week’s team conference call, nor did either communicate that they would not make it. Whoa! Conference calls are not the best way to communicate as a team, but we all live miles and hours away from each other. It’s also very likely that these twelve juniors will not work in the same building as their manager in the future so they need to practice other forms of communication and become EXCELLENT communicators. Lessons learned on this one. No one was fired. In this way, we are still developing our teammates. It’s a continual process.
I wanted to share some of the highlights of our conference call because it was a solid session, we learned from each other and these are notes that should be reviewed in the coming weeks leading up to USA Cycling Road Nationals in Augusta, GA (the focus of our season).
- Quiz on the teammates remembering the “seven principles of training” originally discussed at our winter camp. We left regularity, progression and reversibility out of the discussion as we are only five weeks from nationals. Instead we focused on stress, recovery, overload, and specificity. We then had each teammate give us an update on the stress in their lives (racing, training, finishing up strong in school/ some are graduating, social life, house chores, and coaches/ directors ;-). We then shared ideas on recovery techniques (proper nutrition, sleep, compression, oils/ massage, hydration, off your feet, mind off cycling), overloading (a fine balance of a larger volume of stress and less recovery until you are on the verge of sickness, and then you recover), and specificity which is the key principle in preparing our riders for Nationals. Specificity for our team simply means preparing for their best events at Nationals and flexing your strengths. Whether the teammate has the best shot at the time trial (rolling 10km, 19km or 30km courses), criterium (flat and fast and destined for a late break or field sprint), and road race (power climb in the last 2km with a fast finish). Specificity for Augusta also means preparing for the heat and humidity. We talked about training in the heat of the day, with extra clothes on to emulate the comfortableness that the teammates will experience (Bikram yoga anyone?). Finally, specificity also means that small races leading up to Nationals can be used as specific training. For instance, raise the tempo with 2km to go and then try to outsprint the field, because you will be gassed and sprinting in the Augusta road race if you plan to win. You can see the profile of the race in the Strava file below.
- We also talked about our upcoming Memorial Day Training Camp; Augusta travel plans; and Bakersfield SCNCA “state” championships road race.
- A solid conf call!
Onto the racing with quick recaptures
- So Cal May 5-6 weekend – So Cal Juniors were competing in Bario Logan at their SCNCA “state” championships. Kyle Torres (18) is not yet a field sprinter, so he tried again and again to get away in his race. Nick Castellano (15) and Diego Binatena (16) tried but could not get their teamwork right, so Diego finished 4th. And, in the 13-14 criterium Sean McElroy (13) lost the sprint to Matthew Ly but was later awarded the win because of Matthew’s abrupt move into Sean. Sean had a great attitude and after watching the video it was decided that Matthew had won the race fair and square. There was a lapped rider on the course which is why Matthew moved into Sean. As many have said, Sean has much bigger races to win in his future. Dana Point was the next day with Diego taking an impressive 4th place in the elite 3’s race.
- Nor Cal May 5-6 weekend – seven Nor Cal teammates competed at the 39th annual Cat’s Hill Classic, a true “classic” downtown course with a 23 percent climb. In the 15-16 race all five teammates raced together perfectly to help Matt Valencia (16) cross the finish line first, Jack Maddux (15) was 2nd, Jason Saltzman (15) was 4th, Oliver Barajas (15) was 6th and Jon Christensen (15) was 8th. Lots of individual sacrifices and excellent teamwork. The 17-18s race was like one of those soccer matches where a team dominates, but loses. Marcus and Chris rode well the whole race but right when they went on the attack, a strong competitor (Tobin Obtenblad – 2011 Jr World Cross Team) sprung a counter-attack that left both Marcus Smith (18) and Chris LaBerge (18) chasing. Marcus, Matt and Jack raced with the Pro/1/2 field later in the day with Marcus coming 10th on junior gearing.
- Colorado May 5-6 weekend – Dean Haas (18) wins the Palmer Lake Time Trial!
- So Cal May 12-13 weekend – Sean, Kyle, Diego and Nick hit the roads again with the SCNCA “state” time trial championships on Saturday and Long Beach Crit on Sunday. Nick and Kyle had a rough day in the saddle but Kyle still held on for 3rd in the 17-18s, Diego romped to an impressive 2nd place in the 15-16’s and Sean won the state championship that had eluded him the week prior by smoking the 10km time trial course at 27.0 miles per hour. Try that on your next training ride! The time trialing must have been stuck in Diego’s head as he headed into Sunday’s Long Beach Crit and attacked solo with 2 laps to go to impressively win the elite 3 race. One of Diego’s goals for the year is to get booted up to the elite 2’s. He’s almost there!
- Nor Cal May 12-13 weekend – Matt, Jack, Jason, Oliver and Jon put on the second act of their teamwork play with a picture perfect lead-out for the team win. Matt was the recipient of the team efforts and is the new 15-16 NCNCA state criterium champion. Jack was 3rd after his lead-out. Chris LaBerge had an excellent effort in the 17-18 race but in the end came 2nd to a team of six Ritte Development teammates. Marcus toughed out 80 miles with the pro/1/2 field at the Berkeley Hills Road Race.
Upcoming Junior races and events
- Beginner track session – May 19 8:30-11:30am at the San Jose Track
- Modesto Crit and Road races this weekend
- So Cal teammates watching Tour of California!
- Memorial Day camp
- Bakersfield SCNCA state road champs – June 2
- Dunlap NCNCA time trial champs – June 3
- Folsom Cyclebration – June 9-10
- Nationals – June 20-25
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