This Week Has Been All About Training with a Slight Touch of Racing

Quick update for this week.

off the front

The weather around here (Netherlands this week) has been a little rough this week; making things pretty sloppy. The thing is, when it rains around here it causes flooding across entire roads, which by the time you get back from a training ride, your bikes are pretty much toast.

We’ve been training hard, doing 4 1/2 hour rides almost daily in the mountains, which I totally love.

Where we are staying right now, is a town called Sittard which is one of the coolest towns.

About: Sittard is a city in the Dutch province of Limburg, which is the southernmost province of the Netherlands. On the east Sittard borders on Germany. It has some 48,400 inhabitants. Sittard is part of the municipality of Sittard-Geleen.

The shopping here in Sittard and the basic set up of the town is really cool. You almost can’t help meeting new people daily and learning all about their lives. They are very open and friendly people.

It’s pretty cool how easy it is to go in and out of the Country and to do a training ride where you end up riding across a border to say Italy as an example and back home.

The training rides are always full of scenery. We train a lot on bike paths around here which have lots of turns and really cool things to look at like super old buildings and castles. Check out the video below. Its of one of our training rides and shows you what we get to see on a daily basis.

We have a pretty solid system when it comes to training and racing. We are either training long hours or we are racing Kermesses right now as we prepare for our next Nations Cup race.

One of the best things about being here is when we finish a training ride or race, or really every day, ride or not; Robert who is our soigneur who works on our legs. It’s awesome for recovery.

Yesterday was pretty cool. The Netherlands played Spain in the World Cup Tournament and the whole town here pretty much shut down. They take their sports here very seriously.

Netherlands Soccer Match
You can see how the whole town shuts down and they watch the game as a Country united for the glory of sport. Even cooler was the fact that they ended up beating Spain which you would have thought they won the Super Bowl, only they are a little more civilized over here (no riots). It’s really cool!sign in

Well, I’m off to the races here in Belgium today. Ciao!

Connor Brown

A Quick Update from Switzerland

Alright, I owe everyone a huge apology.TT in Switzerland

I really thought I would have all kinds of time to keep up on my blog and in reality, I do. However, its the technical side of things that has me perplexed. You see, my computer adapter doesn’t work in Switzerland and we have basically been here for the last two weeks.

We had a stage race here and now we are staying for some extra training before heading back to Holland.

I have been trying to figure out how to post on my phone, but that obviously hasn’t been going well either.

As for the Switzerland race, we killed it! We won the Overall, the King of the Mountains and for the first time in U.S history we won the Team GC. Pretty freaking cool, right?

Team GC Switzerland

I also just got some awesome news today.

Its official, I am going to race the Tour of Ireland in July instead of Abitibi. I have to say I’m pretty stoked about this, especially since this is where my family is originally from.

Well, I have to keep this short, my internet connection is really bad and the whole process of using the phone is sketchy at best. Ill try and give another update later this week, but once again I really feel awful about not keeping things up to date.

What I will do is when I get back, I will unload all the amazing stories and pics I have gotten to experience. So keep coming back for more details.

Life is freaking great!

Connor Brown

 

 

Here At last

So I have finally arrived in Europe and the first day and a half here have been pretty crazy. I have already been to Belgium, Holland, and Germany, all in the same day.

Bikes!

Bikes!

I am currently staying at the National team base in Sittard, Holland which is basically right in between Belgium and Germany. This is so cool, because we have easy access to basically all of the races in Belgium, Germany, and Holland, plus the Cauberg is easily accessible to train on here, which is freaking legit!

Today I got to pre-ride some of the parts of Axel and boy is this one going to be tough. I did two of the six cobbled sections on the first day, which were brutal.

I think what made them worse is that I forgot to set my air pressure to like 80 psi. and had it at a 20140521_191614(0)hundred psi, which made it worse. However, the Cobbles are not to be messed with!

It literally feels as though someone is taking a jackhammer to your knuckles with each and every cobble hit. Not to mention that you can’t shift whatsoever, which basically means you better pick a nice gear and hang on for the ride because its going to be tough.

The crazy thing is that there is no easy way to ride the cobbles, and the cobbles at Axel do not have any dirt sidings, just tall thick grass. This means that you have to ride right up the middle like a true warrior, making it even harder on your body, because now your taking the full brunt of it.

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First Ride

After talking to some of the guys and my directors, with an added experience after riding the cobbles for a bit. The best way to ride the cobbles for me, since I am a junior with junior gears, is a hard gear, light hands on the tops, and steering with my hips.

I still cannot believe how hard it feels to try and ride over the cobbles. The coolest feeling ever though, is that after riding them I feel like I can ride over anything.

The good news is we have a great team thats ready to tackle this race.

Anyways, the food here has been pretty good, and the riding superb. I’ll keep everyone posted as best as I can but note that I am very busy.

Connor Brown

First Live Interview!

So today was pretty chill. I had an interview after school with KMBC 9 news and an awesome training day on my TT bike as I put together my last days of prep before heading abroad. I must say that KMBC have really taken care of me when it comes to helping me get my story out and I really appreciate that.20140515_140856

The whole thing was pretty cool. Even though it was my first news interview, they were very good at making me feel very comfortable and at ease. What I mean is I have done things that have been in newspapers and magazines, but this was definitely a first when it comes to answering questions on the fly and being filmed doing it. It was very interesting that’s for sure.

Anyways, I am coming up on my last day of school, which will be a huge weight off my shoulders. Plus I am so close to heading over to Europe, so needless to say I’m pretty pumped.

As a side note; I will definitely be keeping everyone updated while I’m across the pond, so you can expect lots of pics and more consistent posting now that school is over.

As for my first race, I will be racing Axel which is a stage race held in Belgium and its definitely going to be a great starter to my trip over there. I will be paying the cobbles a visit and in fact it will be the same cobbles that you see in Flanders! How cool is that?

It will definitely be a crazy event, but a great experience.

Speaking of racing; I heard that Taylor Phinney won today at the Amgen, which is a stellar result not to mention its great to see an American kick some butt in a huge race like this. Its kind of cool knowing that Taylor Phinney came up through the same programs that I am going through. He was a former National team rider, and now he is living it large. Perhaps if I can play it right, I might actually get to race against him at some point.

Anyway, its been a pretty cool and exciting day all around, but nothing is going to beat the last day of school!

Connor Brown

Last Week Of School!!!

So I am finishing up my last week of school and it is safe to say that I am super pumped to head over to Europe. It is going to be so much fun and just another adventure that I get to add to the book.

Connor Brown

Connor Brown

My school has been awesome with the support and flexibility, so I cannot thank them enough.

Anyways, I hope you guys are keeping yourselves updated with the pro peloton. This is always one of my favorite times of the year, because its the start of the Grand Tours.

So far it has been an absolute crash fest of a nightmare at the Giro, which is known for its drama and this looks to be one of the craziest ones yet. I mean, Dan Martin and half of the Garmin team were blown out on the stage one team time trial, which is crazy. It just goes to show that cycling, even when it looks safe, requires your 100% concentration or you will pay the price.

It is definitely a sad sight to see Dan go out like that, he has had a bit of a rough go at it this season. Hopefully he can bounce back soon.IMG_113539149403354

Not only has Garmin had troubles, but so have Giant Shimano, having to pull out Marcel Kittel, who was on a one way path for the sprinters jersey and a few more stage wins, due to a cold.

It is safe to say that all of those that made the trip to the Amgen are very pleased with themselves at this moment.

However, it looks like this race might have already been won, by Bradley Wiggins. Who absolutely destroyed the time trial, winning by over 40 seconds on the next man down.

It has definitely been interesting to see what has been happening not just with the racing, but lots of new tech gear has been presented at these races.

Specialized have a new Tarmac, Bell has a new helmet, but the big shocker was Sram electronic. With Shimano running the gambit on the electronic shifting, Sram definitely needed to put their version on the market if they wanted any chance of competing. Well, a little friendly competition is good for the soul and good for our pocket books too. I’m thinking we should see some prices come down a tad since there are now two players competing for the business.

Connor Brown

Weekend Wrap Up

So this weekend was pretty chill. With no racing after a long streak it was nice to just hang out for a bit. I did have some long rides to do, but nothing crazy, the nicest part was that I could sleep in. I have had to wake up at six o’clock for two weeks straight and it’s been brutal.

I usually have a nice break on the weekends, so I can catch up and get refreshed but with all the early racing I haven’t been able to do that.

Besides riding and sleeping, I got to hang out with my pops, while my mom was in St. Louis. It was pretty cool, we went out to get some BBQ on Friday, which was awesome, nothing like good ribs for dinner. After that we saw Noah, which was pretty weird, I wasn’t impressed by the story, sadly I walked away feeling a bit creeped out about it. It was just kinda stupid and just plain ridiculous! I figured it would be kinda stupid, but this was just laughable.

Anyways, the next day I went and visited one of my friends graduation parties for a bit, which was pretty good to catch up.

After that I went out with my friend Darcy to Bass Pro Shop and had some fun messing around with the manikins and playing the shooting games.IMG_3976

Other than that I kinda just relaxed, my life has been in the fast lane for so long it was nice to take a breather for a bit.IMG_0848

I will say that today is Mothers Day and I have to brag on my Mom for a second. She is the best on the planet (I know you are probably saying to yourself that yours is the bomb, but my mom is way better). My Mom is by far the best mother on the planet, she is selfless, awesome, funds my dreams, and supports everything I due.

I have to say that there could never be a better mom; Love you Em!

Connor Brown

This Has Been Pretty Cool

So these past few days have been pretty crazy with all of the news chaps putting together interviews and stories about me. I cannot believe how cool this is. I figured that it would be kinda like an article in a newspaper or something small but it keeps getting bigger and bigger publicity.

Ride wise, I have been doing a bit of different training, trying to work on short power bursts, to increase my overall short power and tomorrow I will be doing some longer interval work. It seems as though everything is kinda picking up a bit, preparation for Europe I guess.

Anyways, I have been following the NFL draft, just because I like to watch football in my spare time every now and again. However, I am appalled that no one has selected Johnny Manziel!!

I mean when I saw that my favorite team (The Steelers) had an opportunity to pick him up, I was pissed to see them grab an outside linebacker.083113-CFB-AGGIES-JOHNNY-MANZIEL-DC-PI2_20130831161114867_640_480

See I am kinda one of those guys who picks up a player that I like in college ball and follows him throughout his career even if I don’t like his team. I did the same thing with RG3, but this is ridiculous.

Johnny football is going to light the NFL on fire. He is too explosive and is just a huge playmaker. I have been wrong before, but I thought RG3 was good and I obviously think Johnny football is great.

Just wait which ever team he goes to will have a great QB.

Now back to the world of cycling. We have some big races starting back up, with Tour of California and the Giro. These will be some great races to watch, especially the Giro, with a packed fieldd of GC contenders all looking to avoid the wrath of Chris Froomes Tour de France beat down.amgen-2014-300x204_001

Great things to watch for the future.

Connor Brown

My New TT Bike Is Finally Here!!!!

I would like to apologize for the inconsistency with my current updates. I have been incredibly busy with getting everything ready for Europe and getting my finals for school finished up.

I have spent the past two days getting my TT bike dialed in, it is such a pretty bike. I have only been able to get one ride in with it so far, but I really like it. I haven’t ridden to many tt bikes but I can say that this thing is a missile!

It is just incredibly responsive and stiff, but the best part is that I can fight the cross wind fairly well. I had loads of trouble staying in the aero bars on my old tt bike, but with the crazy winds that we had in Missouri today, I really got to put it to the test.20140506_113725

All in all, I was pretty pleased with the bike and can’t wait to put some time in on it.

As for the Head 3’s. I plan on using the front Head 3 with a Disc on the rear, but for training purposes, this set up is a little more practical.

I will give a better review on it when I have a bit more time. As of now I am less than two weeks away from being in Brussels, I definitely cannot wait.

Connor Brown

Weekend Wrap Up

So I finished up my last race in the US, for a good bit, with a long road race.

The entire race series was pretty good with a strong turnout of solid riders.

I finished the first stage, a short power TT, in third place which was 2 seconds down from first. I actually thought this to be strange because first, I had a bozo rider who was riding up the climb (not racing) get in my way midway up the climb and second, my chain had skipped on me during the climb and I thought for sure that would have cost me huge time. However, I still managed to grab a third.20140503_083031

After that there was a pretty uneventful crit, that I ended up finishing with the main group receiving pack time. The GC did get a bit shaken up after that, do to the time bonus at the end. So that moved me into fifth, which I was alright with because I knew the road race would decided it.

The road race was 90 miles, which included some nice climbing and open areas for the wind to make things interesting. I had a hunch that a break was going to get away today, just wasnt too sure where and when, just knew it was simply just a matter of time.

With so many strong riders present it was hard to let any moves go unattend, especially since I was lone wolfing it this weekend.

Anyways, a break formed and I managed to get in it. The split happened on the last lap of the race, and with 10 guys I knew that it was going to stick.

Unfortunately when it came down to the finish, everyone got the jump on me which sucked because I had to play catch up. I ended up sixth on the day, but I finished right behind the guys who were behind me in GC.20140503_130127

This was supposed to solidify my third place, but the officials decided that there was a two second gap that between me and another rider which made it so that there was a three way tie for third.

The officials ended up giving me fifth, which is a bit bogus because when I went to ask to see the film they wouldn’t show me it and just said they recorded it and two officials both agreed it was 2 seconds. I have to admit I was a bit suspect because last year they had problems with the time splits and so I really just wanted to make sure that I wasn’t getting screwed. Anyway, thats racing sometimes.

Now I am off to Belgium to race with the National team!

On another note and way more important than my race….I want to give a huge shout out to Brian Dziewa for winning the Collegiate National Road Race! I consider Brian to be one of my mentors, who has really helped me out in my cycling and taught me an incredible amount about the sport. So way to go Brian!

The Beast

The Beast

That basically wraps up the weekends events. Hope everyone had as much fun as I did?

Connor Brown

Getting Use To It

So today it’s back to the usual, and that simply means more riding and training with a dash of school.

As for the road rash i must admit its placed in all of the right areas so that way it doesn’t really affect my riding; which is pretty nice.

Connor Brown

Connor Brown

In the meantime, we are trying a new technique out and what we are doing is any time I am going out to ride I am applying Neosporin onto my scabs so that way when they crack they will be able to be kept sealed.

So far, its really worked out today, during and after my ride I felt as though my wound was fine and no longer open which is very good news, because that means it will heal even quicker.

I was thinking about the fact that I am going to have some funny placed scars on my butt though. I mean right on my left cheek is going to be a pretty huge one, unless it heals without it. I guess I will have to rule out “mooning” people in the future, so I suppose I will have to rethink my summer plans.

The cool thing is it just makes you look like a warrior which is pretty legit.

Anyways, I am all signed up for Velotek Grand Prix and this will be my last race before I head out for Europe. So hopefully I can leave on a high note!

As far as Joe Martin is concerned I am a little pissed about how that all played out.Connor go fund me button

I think that overall the officiating at that race has sucked, and for me specifically. Last year, I got a flat and while chasing back on to the peloton, a police officer that was doing the corners waved me through my turn and I sent me on a wild goose chase, that saw me lose my second place in gc.

This year I roll up to the start of the crit, and yes I went a bit backwards on the course (15 feet) but so did six other people. Yet for some reason, I was singled out and forced to go to the very back, and I mean the very back.

Then to top things off, I am involved in a crash and by the time I got to the pit they had no time to check anything and just threw me out there whilst the peloton was rushing by me. Why did they do this? because the official was screaming to throw me out there.

Not only did they send me out with out time to get up to speed, they also left me without a fighting chance. This was largely due to the fact that my bike was basically broken, with my brakes rubbing and bars screwed up, it made it a bit hard to chase back on. What’s the point of a wheel pit and rules?

But the best part was when the official said to me that I would not receive pack time, even though I was screwed, not because of my own wrongdoing but because of others. His reasoning, “how could I know if you could finish?”

What the heck? I’m sitting top 10 GC and I have been in every select group for the entire weekend and at this point in a hard crit race I have been a very big presence in the front, but somehow this official is concerned? Did he even watch the race?

When it comes down to it, I am not weeping and rethinking my cycling career over this. If thats how this comes across then you have the wrong understanding of how I am saying this.

The truth is, this makes two Joe Martin races in a row where I have gotten screwed. Listen, I read Steve Tilfords blog the other day about how he flatted with something like 8 or less laps to go and he is awarded pack time. How’s that work out? He’s out of the GC running while at the same time he’s out of the cash and he gets awarded pack time?

Then there’s me…sitting in the money, placed in the top 10 for the overall and I get a royal screw job. What the heck? That’s all I’m saying!

Side note: In Steve’s blog, he does mention that the pack time was a little screwy, but rules are rules. He too thought it was strange that riders who got dropped in the last 2 or 3 laps got worse times than guys who got dropped with about a quarter of the race left. It’s simply messed up!

Ok, my crying is over and the only thing left to do is to go back there and win the whole freaking thing!

Connor Brown