Speed Week

Walterboro, SC

DATE: 2 May 2012   TIME: 8:58 PM   SUBJECT: Downtown Walterboro Criterium

I feel like there is a certain amount of camaraderie that pros need to have with each other, even if they are on separate teams. The fact that we all race together week-in and week-out provides us the opportunity to learn everyone’s riding style and to develop trust with each other during the dangerous moments of races.

By nature cycling is an unsafe sport, and that is why I get upset when good, strong, cyclists ride in a way that further endangers others in the race. You expect that kind of stuff from guys who are racing outside of their league, but I didn’t expect it from Carlos that night. Every night he was crushing us just by how hard he was pushing the pedals, but that night I felt that he lacked the experienced style of riding that I was used to seeing from him. People usually don’t intend to ride dangerously, and that’s why it’s important they be told when they do—so their mistake doesn’t turn into a habit.

Language barriers in the peloton make it really hard to communicate. More often than not there are only a few universal words that are picked up by both parties, and the wrong message is communicated. A well-intentioned chat can easily send the wrong message.—Isaac Howe, Team Kenda/5-Hour Energy

Speed Week

Walterboro, SC

DATE: 2 May 2012   TIME: 9:26 PM   SUBJECT: Downtown Walterboro Criterium

A lot of people ask, “How do you do it?” assuming there is some magic bullet that can be easily replicated. It’s not that easy. It takes total devotion to racing.—Nate King

Team Exergy Sponsor Camp

Boise, ID

DATE: 31 January 2012   TIME: 10:12 AM   SUBJECT: Ben Chaddock's Stretching Routine

I will often lie for 5-10 minutes a time and completely zone out, slightly shifting my weight during the duration of the exercise. The baseball on my hips and shoulders are my favourite post-travel exercise.—Ben Chaddock

Speed Week

Anderson City, SC

DATE: 5 May 2012   TIME: 4:31 PM   SUBJECT: Electric City Circuit Race

Fojo had just quit a few days before this, and the day was extremely hot and dusty. I had a poor race that day but Carlos was strong and got second. He needed to go get on the podium and without a soigneur there was no one to clean him up. So I wiped him down with ice water. Everyone was happy as this was the first day we saw Carlos beat United Healthcare in a head to head sprint. —Quinn Keogh

Speed Week

Walterboro, SC

DATE: 2 May 2012   TIME: 9:12 PM   SUBJECT: Downtown Walterboro Criterium

I know that he would hold it for the win, especially after coming so close these last few nights. Carlos is the nicest guy off the bike but during the finale, he is ruthless. This is his job. He has been to the Olympics. He has raced all over the world. In Colombia, he is a star. And I believe in my team leader.—Ben Chaddock

Speed Week

Spartanburg, SC

DATE: 4 May 2012   TIME: 10:07 PM   SUBJECT: Spartanburg Regional Classic

I wouldn’t say there are a lot of “Nate Archetypes” floating around. Everyone’s story is different, and everyone races for different reasons. There definitely needs to be a special mental and circumstantial cocktail that gets mixed up for a 20-something to embark on the Pro Cyclist career path, it takes a particular brand of masochist to get seriously involved in the sport. ((Manual #5: BE A BIT CRAZY)) I’ve met a lot of people who want to be the Pro/Elite Cyclist type, but can’t get to that level for some particular reason, most often motivational. If you want to race at that level, you’ve gotta be willing to grind yourself into the dirt and suffer more than you ever have before, both mentally and physically. Not only that, but there’s no guarantee of success even after doing everything right when it comes to training and racing. It might sound self-aggrandizing, but ask anyone at that level, and they’ll respond in a similar manner.—Nate King

Photo: Carlos Alzate after another podium finish at Speed Week A Manual for Speed

Speed Week

Spartanburg, SC

DATE: 4 May 2012   TIME: 9:27 PM   SUBJECT: Spartanburg Regional Classic

Adam Myerson grabbed my bike for me, and I wandered off-course. A police officer tried to get me to stay put while he called medical, but after five minutes it became apparent they weren’t coming to me. I staggered up the course, locating the EMTs and getting bandaged up. I examined my nearly-new helmet to discover a massive split and chainring bite marks in the back of it. Injuries suffered? Broken rib, concussion, more abrasions, and a huge sub-dermal hematoma the size of a third-trimester pregnancy on my left hip. My pants wouldn’t fit right for a month, and there’s still a massive wad of scar tissue sitting there that no amount of tear-jerking foam rolling will dissipate. Needless to say, the Spartanburg wreck took me out of the last two Speed Week races (as well as most of May and June) —a huge letdown for me, as I was finally feeling like I had the legs/skill to be useful to the team. I’ve learned a lot from the crashing, but it’s still something I’d rather not have gone through.—Nate King

Speed Week

Spartanburg, SC

DATE: 4 May 2012   TIME: 9:22 PM   SUBJECT: Spartanburg Regional Classic

Then, on the fifth day, at Spartanburg, all hell broke loose. There had already been two pretty nasty wrecks, and I got wrapped up in the third. About two-thirds of the way through the race, out of the corner of my eye (on the very dangerous and fast finish straight), I saw a blurry orange and green skinsuit swing into the back of my bike. I entered a fatal speed wobble, and was kissing the pavement within about half a second. I should preface the following sentence by letting you know I’m no stranger to wrecks - while my first year racing was pretty clean as far as tarmac episodes go, I was previously a bike messenger and had met the ground/cars/small dogs plenty of times. This particular wreck scared the epic shit out of me. Normally when you hit, you slide, dissipating the impact through the grinding away of kit/flesh in a friction-filled asphalt burn. Not so, this time. Direct impact with the ground with my hip and head at 34.6MPH (per my GPS), shockwaves rippled through my body like the concussion of an artillery shell. I rolled over and tucked, feeling bikes and bodies pinging off of me. Within about 10 seconds I was up, dazed and suffering from a concussion.—Nate King

Speed Week

Beaufort, SC

DATE: 1 May 2012   TIME: 7:39 PM   SUBJECT: Beaufort Memorial Cycling Classic

Speed Week? What’s Speed Week? I thought I spent a month and a half in the South to go to Wafflehouse? Southern fast food aside, I’d never been exposed to that “flavor” of racing - even NRC stage race crits, while fast, are pretty mellow and controlled. The races during Speed Week are nothing short of chaotic. The level of physicality is out of this world. Some guys in the Speed Week packs have no issue taking you (and possibly themselves) out for 15th or 50th place.—Nate King

Speed Week

Walterboro, SC

DATE: 2 May 2012   TIME: 8:05 PM   SUBJECT: Downtown Walterboro Criterium

The course is the darkest course of the whole week. Halfway through the 90 minute race the ‘bad’ crash of the night happened on Corner 1. Back on the main straightaway, the officials jumped in front of us and we all stopped on the start line… the race neutralized as paramedics attended to the injured riders. We were told it would be 10-15 minutes. 

Hot and out of water, I leaned my bike against the rail and walked backwards along the course to the bar to get more. I stood at the bar for ages. I guess they didn’t want to serve “that guy in spandex”.  We actually call it lyrca—get it right people! Eventually I gave up but fortunately found a waitress on the way out and she filled my bottles. She was pretty cute too… too bad I had to go get back on my bike and finish the race. I learned a long time ago that if you hesitate you’ll never make it, so when i decided to go find water, I was going to make it happen.—Ben Chaddock

Speed Week

Beaufort, SC

DATE: 1 May 2012   TIME: 9:57 PM   SUBJECT: Beaufort Memorial Cycling Classic

I showed up to Speed Week with a broken wrist and some scrapes after getting plowed into by a Buick the day before my flight out… so things weren’t too hot to begin with, as far as my body’s integrity. Anyway, let’s just say my crit skills were not quite up to par at the start of the week, at least when it came to accident-avoidance. I took a brief skitter on the second day at Roswell in a corner after getting chopped and rolling a tire, but it didn’t seem to affect me much in the way of form.—Nate King

Speed Week

Beaufort, SC

DATE: 1 May 2012   TIME: 8:15 PM   SUBJECT: Beaufort Memorial Cycling Classic

It’s dark, there are a lot riders, the streets are narrow, and you’re moving really, really fast. It’s an intense environment to race in.—Kevin Mullervy

Speed Week

Walterboro, SC

DATE: 3 May 2012   TIME: 12:03 AM   SUBJECT: Downtown Walterboro Criterium

Everything has to get done whether the race ends at 2:30 or at 10:30. Tweaking bikes, stretching and massage, et cetera. But everyone at the race is doing the same stuff, the late nights and long week is tough on the whole field. The whole team worked perfectly together, that’s how we had so much success.—Kevin Mullervy

Team Exergy Training Camp

Ventura, CA

DATE: 18 February 2012   TIME: 1:22 PM   SUBJECT: Driveway Time Trial

It’s an 800 meter 20% average grade climb. It’s an exceptionally hard three and a half minutes. —Quinn Keogh

Team Exergy Training Camp

Ventura, CA

DATE: 16 Feb 2012   TIME: 1:05 PM   SUBJECT: Zac Davies' Rehab

Training camp went well. It was nice to be with the team for an extended period of time. I missed all the riding of course, but I had my own work to do so I just focused on that and worked with the Soigneurs when they had free time. My teammates are all very supportive; the Colombians don’t understand why I need massage if I am not riding so I tell them in Spanish which is fun for me, and they are happy to have another translator on the team. I use some slang swear words and that makes them even happier.—Zac Davies

Speed Week

Walterboro, SC

DATE: 2 May 2012   TIME: 7:02 PM   SUBJECT: Downtown Walterboro Criterium

Not all crits are created equal. Eight corners and a hill make for a stupid hard race. Then UHC shows up and turns the screws on everyone just to make it extra special. They put two guys in the break. The break got half way to lapping the field. The two UHC guys dropped back from the break and the team chased the break down like clock work. Amazing. Only about 30 guys finished the race. 

I felt like death but hung on to also finish in the money. Any day you make enough prize money to warrant filling out a 1099 is a good day to be a bike racer.—Dan Chabanov1

  1. Manual #4: APPRECIATE ANY SUCCESS []

Speed Week

Walterboro, SC

DATE: 2 May 2012   TIME: 6:45 PM   SUBJECT: Downtown Walterboro Criterium

Filling out an income tax form at a bike race is an weird experience for me. Technically racing bikes isn’t my job but in the last few months its been my primary source of income. I’ve spent most of the last month on the road. Today’s payday means I can afford rent on my apartment for another month. I’m trying really hard to not succumb to moving in with my mom.

Some days the races don’t go our way and we’ll all go home splitting two hundred dollars five ways. Usually that means I have to pick up an extra shift at the bike shop or deliver food in the evenings. Odd jobs in between training, traveling, and racing. You really have to have your priorities figured out to be ok with this lifestyle, you can’t half-ass-it at this level. —Dan Chabanov

Redlands Bicycle Classic

Redlands, CA

DATE: 25 March 2012   TIME: 5:08 PM   SUBJECT: Stage 4

The guy that won the tour was on the same tires. It’s a lot of luck and chance and timing. It’s hard because you don’t get many opportunities where it all comes together, all the moons align and they’re chasing Mancebo and you can just sit on. That’s what I’ve learned, when you sense an opportunity you need to take it. ((Manual #3: ACT AGGRESIVELY)) Had I not flatted I could’ve won Redlands. I was pretty devastated to say the least.—Morgan Schmitt

Team Exergy Training Camp

Outside Ventura, CA

DATE: 17 February 2012   TIME: 11:34 AM   SUBJECT: Santa Ynez Mountains

Training camp is about testing yourself. It is fun to see how the other guys are going. And some of us need other guys to test against. But really, camp is about testing yourself. On paper, that ride was really only a test for the climbers. When the rest of us saw the road open up, with a cross wind, it was our last best chance to have fun. That ride across that basin was just a stampede. I felt like a wild horse. There was no prize other than the feeling of speed and camaraderie, with no risk of getting totally dropped because we had a follow car. You don’t get that feeling a lot in races because big efforts are precious and you are always calculating how to use them. —Quinn Keogh

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