MO State Wrap Up

So last weekend was Missouri state Championships and of course I was wanting to win every event that I did. Unfortunately it didn’t go the way that I wanted it to go; it wasn’t bad but it wasn’t a win and thats all that really matters in the end.

It started out with my first ever 40 km time trial, which is the longest I have ever done. I ended up 5th place with a time of 54:27. It really sucked because the wind was flat going out and a slight head wind coming back, which lucky for the late starters it ended up dying down.

In the end, the best TT’r won the race so that takes a bit of the sting out of it.

The next day I had the criterium and felt that my legs were feeling very good through the whole thing. I knew that there were a few guys to watch and one in particular who ended up winning.

I will say that I find it highly annoying when the majority of the racers just sit on a strong dudes wheel. Its just boring negative tactics that are just not fun.IMG_8167883635959

See I try to play off strong players, but it is sad when I see a whole team just mark one dude and when they get in breakaways with him they don’t work.

The funny thing was he still won and they still lost, just goes to show that you are better off working with a move then being dead weight.

Anyways, no one was letting anything go, which pissed me off because I was in several moves were I felt that the break, if everyone would have worked, would have stuck, but thats just how it plays out sometimes.IMG_561985504248215

Eventually it came down to a sprint and I was sitting about fifth wheel on the last lap. I felt that I was in the perfect spot because by the end of the lap I would be sitting third or second wheel. That would put me in an ideal spot for a possible win.

But of course the front couple of riders panicked and got off the gas and the result was everyone swarmed, which got me pinched in a corner and pushed me too far back to actually contend for the win.

Honestly, looking back I should have attacked right when they got off the gas, but instead I hesitated and that cost me a good result, I ended up 12th overall and 8th in State.

Guess Ill have to wait until next year, right? But hey, I know one thing is for certain…it won’ sdft be long until I own both those jerseys for the Pro1/2 category and that you can take to the bank!IMG_8142583922825

Connor Brown

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I’m Up To Long Rides and A Cool Tool Review

So this week has been basically a heavy training work load; I had long rides and hard intervals all week. Plus school started for me this week, which has been absolutely boring. Not to mention that my schedule is a bit messed up right now, however, this isn’t my schools fault my much needed change came abruptly, but I have basically been sitting in five- hour and a half classes that I am not supposed to be in the last two days.connor brown cycles logo 2 jpeg

Talk about a waste of time! However, it is all good because the weekend has begun and I am back to my usual. Unfortunately I do not have any races this weekend, which means that I will just be doing my own thing and putting in some long hard miles.

I do plan on talking about my MO State races tomorrow; so do stay tuned for that.

Speaking of my blog I am going to try and start a new thing for my blog to help jump start it. Im going to try and occasionally add some new videos. Just some stuff like me reviewing some products over the coming months or perhaps getting a fresh interview from a race.

For starters here is my review on my latest tool the “Fix It Stick”s:

If you are interested you can check them out here at http://www.fixitsticks.com

Connor Brown

Accidents Happen

This past weekend I went up to Iowa to race their State Crit. I really needed some good racing in my legs before my own State championships, not to mention I heard that this was a fun course and sure enough it held up to its reputation.

The were about 50 guys that showed up and the course was awesome, super safe and had a nice hill in front of a beautiful capitol building. Definitely one of the coolest capital buildings that I have seen in the States.IMG_226253711220472

As far as racing goes I tried to get away for the first five laps and when nothing was sticking I figured that they were all in chase mode so I decided to sit up and take it easy in the pack.

I figured that the guys were just going to get tired running everything down and then I would hit the gas in the last lap.

Unfortunately this didn’t go my way; making my way up the hill and getting ready to launch it for the last lap flyer a crash happened right in front of me.

Now this was a pretty stupid crash, and was caused by some idiot who couldn’t hold his line and he ended up cutting the dude behind him off in the turn which resulted in him losing his front wheel out from under him.

It was just real unprofessional bike handling (Cat 5 move), but luckily for me it was on a hill and I was able to slow down enough to avoid the carnage.IMG_226185638283459

However this meant that I would receive the pleasure of chasing the peloton down in order to try and get back in the fight. Unfortunately, by the time I was able to ride up near the front again the sprint for the finish had already begun and I had to work my way around people who were dead in the water.

I ended up finishing up 13th, but man it could have gone so much better, but that’s bike racing sometimes, but the good news is there is always another race.

Connor Brown

Runnin And Gunnin With The Big Dawgs

So this past weekend I raced the Inteligencia Cup in Chicago. This would be a series of four pro criteriums that I would compete in out of the 8 total races they had scheduled up in Chi-town.

The race seems to be the one that basically took over the old Superweek Races. For some you may have never heard of Superweek, but they were the bomb back in the day. Funny thing about the old Superweek races is, its one of the first places I ever raced.

Me At Superweek

Me At Superweek

Yep, thats right. My dad used to race and he would go up for the summer races and take me with him. So I have some great memories of those races.

All in all the race was well ran, but had extremely high entry fees; this definitely had to have an impact on the field size. We had around 50-65 racers every night, but lower fees and higher payouts, surely would have drawn double the field size. It literally was so high that we now have a running joke about the things that cost less than the entree fees at the Inteligencia Cup.

Anyways, the race was super fast and aggressive. Ill have to double check my Garmin, but all the races combined last I checked came out to an average speed of over 29 mph. Not bad for over 6 hours of racing. As for my racing, I did a bit of mixing it up with some solid attacks, especially since I knew I would not stand a chance in a field sprint with these guys.

The good news is one night my aggressive style actually paid off and I made a last second break and got to the line for a 9th place finish and actually cracked the top ten.

I have to say, I really enjoyed racing with these guys and I was feeling better and better as the days went by. I guess it probably had to do with me getting comfortable with the change of pace.

It definitely was some of the best racing in the Midwest/East Coast that I have done, but I think it could have been even harder if the field sizes were larger. However, like I said, this was the race organizations fault for the high entry fees.

On another note, I finally got to race the infamous Downers Grove course, which was one of the funnest crit courses that I have done. The thing I liked about it was that it was a mix bag, it could end in a break or it could end in a sprint, but you really wouldn’t have an idea until the final lap. I love that!

Connor Brown

Connor Brown

At the end of the day, I learned a lot from the racing I did up there and I really think that it helped make me become a way better and faster rider. Especially now that I know I can attack the big dogs.

Connor Brown

The Start of My Racing on The East Coast Leg

So this weekend I raced the Great Egyptian Omnium, which took place in Illinois. For starters this race was extremely over priced, with 40 dollar entry fees it was a bit ridiculous for a local race that had no money in it. Just saying.

The race overall started with a road race, which was 90 miles when it was all said and done. This was definitely the hardest day of the whole Omnium, plus it was scorching hot. I ended up running out of water by start of the fourth lap. Connor at the GEO

As far as tactics go, I was waiting to get into a break that had the key guys in it and then go from there. Unfortunately this process took quite a long time and didn’t form until the second lap.

I ended up attacking with about ten miles left and went all the way up till about 1.5 kilometers left, were two guys bridged to me. I was so tired from my effort that I didn’t have much left in the legs, but I still managed to sprint to second place.

The Crit was a classic flat course with a few corners; not to bad though. At the beginning of the race a break went off with three guys with one player and then the leader of the races teammate. They ended up letting this group go which was totally stupid because they let him (the other out of the Omium money racer) walk away with the win. This meant for me that I was going to have to get across, but at the same time I didn’t want to give anyone a free ride.

Long story short, I kept attacking and attacking, until with three laps to go I attacked after a prime lap and no one saw it coming. I caught another rider who was out in no mans land and carried another rider with him.

They both didn’t want to pull because “they had teammates,” the classic answer of the wheel sucker.

Anyways, I dragged them almost to the main breakaway, but by then it was to late because the break had won.

I ended up finishing sixth on that day. Excellent tactics were played by Qdoba and very poor tactics by Hammer down racing. Oh well, that’s racing, right? Anyway, I got some good racing in anyway and to be honest, I always have a great time racing.

Boom Time In Nevada

So this weekend I got to race the Tour of Nevada, which was a very interesting place for a race.

Seriously it was out in the middle of nowhere, in an old small town. The meth heads observing gave it an interesting touch, but overall the race was ran incredibly well, had a ton of cash for Primes and was basically a ton of fun to do. Who would have thought?

As for the courses they were a bit too flat for my liking, which always sucks for me because I tend to appreciate things with a bit more incline, just cause I have a good weight advantage, compared to everyone else here.20140712_210615

As mentioned they did make up for the lack of hard courses with a good amount of money on the line. However, the pro team Athlete Octane had two guys (Devin Clark and Colton Barrett) there that decided that they were going to clean house, which I must say was highly impressive to watch, while at the same time it sucked to be on the receiving end of their boom stick.

The first night was a twilight crit and to be honest I was awful at it! I was having a hard time seeing, which made me have a really hard time finding a proper line through the corners and really just getting comfortable during the race. I ended up missing the break and came in for a pack finished which totally sucked.

One very cool thing that happened was I got to enjoy a nice call up from my man Aero (The Midwest’s #1 Race Announcer) which was very cool, but other than that it was a blown opportunity for me.

The next day was a bit more conducive to my strengths, it had a false flat finish that was putting people into the hurt locker. I figured that I could use this to my advantage and hopefully I could hook up with Athlete Octane in a break.

I tried and tried and tried and tried, but couldn’t get anything to work, then right as I fold in 15 guys back Athlete Octane hits it and sure enough I missed it. I tried to get to it a couple of times but they had a guy marking every move and he was just sitting on wheels making it almost impossible to get there without any help from someone else in the field.20140713_162248

There guy (Devin Clark) ended up soloing away and I ended up coming in for 9th place. I did try one last ditch effort to get away at the end but everyone followed me and I ended up blowing the last corner and had to sprint for my ninth place finish.

All in all I made my money back so its always good to get some good hard racing for free.

Connor Brown

Back On Home Turf

IMG_93611421684486So this past weekend I got to race the first ever Truman Cup! For starters I was really impressed for how well the race was ran and how much money there was for a new race. Plus it’s great to see more events start to spring up here in the Midwest, especially this time of the year.

Anyways, the race was really short, only an hour, which meant that it would be a fast hard one. Unfortunately for me this would be my first race in hot humid weather, which caused me to have an unenjoyable time during the race.

The good news is that the first race in the heat is always the hardest. I still was able to make the winning break away and we even ended up lapping the field and believe it or not we almost did it twice.IMG_92701398453389

My plan from the get go with the course set up was to get in a break and see if we couldn’t lap the field and then with one lap to go I was planning on attacking. The plan was working out perfectly but I was on Shadd Smith’s wheel and I knew that he was best sprinter out of us, so I needed to adapt and improvise to see if I could foil his plans. So with that I figured it would be best if I would just sit on his wheel and then try to come around him on the finishing slight uphill finish.

Sure enough Shadd opens the sprint out from two corners out and as I jumped to get on the gravy train I ended up having a problem with my DI2 shifting. Occasionally I have this issue where when I shift under pressure it skips and with that Shadd got the gap he needed to close the deal. Luckily I was able to recover for a third place finish and made some good money.IMG_92953670827332

All in all, it is nice to be back racing on home turf! Now its all about this weekend, I hear its a smooth solid course, so it should be a great race.

Connor Brown

A National Disaster

So this past week I have been racing in Madison, Wisconsin; where the United States National Championships were being held.

I was participating in the Junior 17-18 road race and time trial, to decide who would be the new national champion.IMG_238919366570136

I really wanted to walk away with a good result here, and I knew that these races are fairly chaotic and would be a tough challenge, which is why it is such a great place to walk away a winner.

The first event for me would be the road race. This features a hard course that is suited for climber time trialist types.

I knew this would be a pretty good course for me, but the odds were a bit stacked against, due to me not having any teammates.

Unfortunately I had caught a nice head cold, literally a day before going to Nationals, and had the pleasure of dealing with that during the race.

Luckily I wasn’t to affected by it, however I didn’t have much luck with making the winning move. Last lap in the race a break of three got up the road and each of those three had guys in our main group which meant that we didn’t have much help with chasing.

So because I really wanted to win, I decided that I would make a move to try and catch the break, simply because no one else was willing to go. This would not play out in my favor in the end, mainly because after wasting the energy to go out alone they finally caught me on the climb.

I was so tired and wasted that I rolled into the finish at 19th, which to me is horrible. I realize now that I probably should have sat in and gotten myself a top ten at the worst, but honestly I wanted that win so badly that I was willing to gamble a top twenty for a first place finish.

It sucks but that’s racing and the best part about racing is that there is always another race.

THE TIME TRIAL DISASTER

Not much to say here other than the fact that I was very ready both mentally and physically for this time trial. The course really favored me because of the rolling hills. But talk about crappy luck, I got all the way to the start of my time trial went through the jig/roll out and my cable to my shifter broke right when they handed me my bike to take the start.

My bike ended up stuck in the hardest gear for the entire time trial. It literally broke right after I had gone through role out and tried to shift it down into an easier gear for the start. it left me with zero options. I had no time to fix it and almost decided to not race it because I figured I would get a horrible time.

Then with less than 20 seconds left I just went for it, I guess I kinda just said screw it.

I ended up finishing 15th to my surprise, it was just a shame because I lost a lot of time on the hills due to the gear issues. Well, that about sums up my disastrous National shot. Now I will start looking to perhaps get a little redemption and perhaps win a U-23 National Championship in the next few years.

Connor Brown

My Stay In Switzerland

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Vineyards

So this will be part number 2 of my stay in Europe. I will be covering my stay in Switzerland and the Pays de Vaud race.

Switzerland is probably the most beautiful place that I have ever seen. Snow top mountains encircling a huge crystal clear lake, with vineyards as far as the eyes could see, it certainly makes for an amazing view.

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View from window

For starters we were staying in Aigle, which is right at the base of the mountains and right next to Lake Geneva. We were staying in a hostile (like a hotel) that was right around the corner from the UCI center, which meant we were blessed to be treated to the cuisine of the UCI center, which was pretty cool.

Anyways, we would be racing in the mountains at Pays de Vaud, which has been the coolest race that I have done so far in my young career.

We had a pretty great race here, we had won the king of the mountains jersey, the white jersey, the yellow jersey, the best team overall, and three out of five stage wins. Not too shabby, right?20140605_114226

We obviously had a very successful run of it. However, that was only accomplished at the hands of hard work and an entire team effort. Everyone was working as a unit and we were able to man handle that race due to this.

On a side note, I absolutely loved racing in Switzerland; it was awesome having an actual mountain top finish in a race for once. Plus the descents through the towns were insane!

We were going so fast through technical descents that as where going into a cool town right next to the lake, we hardly even got to see any of it.

After the race we went and had a team training camp for a solid week. It was awesome to have long hard days in the mountains and be able to get some good training in. Plus we did a bit of sightseeing and had plenty of selfies takin.20140603_110116

All in all, I loved Switzerland and hated leaving the place, but our stay in Sittard would also be very enjoyable.

Connor Brown

Home At Last

So it’s official, I am finally back in the United States!

After about five weeks of crappy internet, and amazing racing, I guess it is nice to be home.

I know that I had promised that I would keep everyone updated on my adventure over there, but due to the internet being crappy,it just didn’t work out like I had thought it would. So, I decided that I would take this time to explain what had happened and hope everyone understands.

Connor Brown

Connor Brown

This will be five part series and I will make todays part one.

AXEL:

This would be my first race in Europe and what better way to start it than with one of the most brutal races in Europe.

It was funny because guys who had done this race before me were laughing, because for my first race in Europe this would be crazy. Most of them hated it and told me that I would be in for a treat, great way to get my hopes up.

To no surprise, I found myself in the most intense crazy chaotic race that I have ever done. For starters, this race had like 250 riders in it and we were on the smallest roads I could have imagined, there were cobble sections that beat the crude out of you and they were very long, and last but not least each road race had about 66 turns in it, to make it even more interesting.

Avoiding A Crash

Avoiding A Crash

Turning in a peloton of crazed juniors on the smallest roads, makes for a crazy sketchy race. I couldn’t believe how willingly these guys were to sacrifice their own skin just to be in the front.

I mean you know it’s going to be a bad race when there is a bunch of crashes in the neutral start of the race. We aren’t even racing and people are already hitting the deck.

It was definitely an eye opener. However, it was a great experience to race on the cobbles, and for one they are brutal. After riding them you feel like you can ride over anything. Literally after a section of them and you hit the regular road, it feels as though you aren’t even on the pavement but sliding across ice.

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Hell On Earth

It was just brutal, you look at the pros floating across them and you think it can’t be that bad. It really is that bad! Your hands feel as though they are being beaten to death by a baseball bat just trying to hold yourself up. The entire bike is shaking uncontrollably to the point where it feels as though you are in the end times.

All in all it was a crazy experience and now I know how the pros feel going over that crap. After that race my new motto for the rest of the trip was, “it can’t be as bad as Axel.”

Anyways, it is good to be back in America and I am going to pick back up the daily blogging so stay tuned for things to come.

Connor Brown