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

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