My Life Behind The Bars

These past two weeks I have been doing a ton of racing between all of the Tuesday Night Worlds Crits, Frozen Waffles plus Lindsey Wilson in Kentucky its obviously been a solid block of training for me.

So since there has been kind of a break in my blogging I figured I would catch everyone up on the past races.

Starting with my personal quest for the Frozen Waffle Maker down in Springfield, Missouri. Yes, the prize for first place was a waffle maker, and what better prize for a carbo-ravijour college student then a waffle maker, right? As you can see the stakes were high for me. I noticed that there was a team at this race with a considerably large amount of guys at the race. They will remain nameless for this, but just know they had a lot of guys.

Frozen Waffle

Frozen Waffle With Chris

I on the other hand had no teammates to work with so I had to start implementing guerrilla warfare tactics to try and get stuff done. Right away a move of ten plus people got up the road and since I noticed that the “big team” did not react well to it and were not represented in the move I stayed put. I knew well enough that move didn’t stand much of a chance and I was right, they ended up pulling it back so my hunch played out.

I have found that in a lot of situations where there is a big team you really only have to watch like three guys tops. So when I hear guys complaining about how unfair it is that there is a big team present, in my opinion it just makes it that much more fun to try and blow them up.

Anyways, the break comes back and a try a few times to test the waters but everything stays close. The “big team” decides to get their lead out train going for the finish and wouldn’t you know, I got stuck in a bad place and lost some key positioning. I was so poorly placed that I ended up screwing myself out of the win that day. I finally found a whole that opened up in the final 400 meters which had me

Frozen Waffles Podium

Frozen Waffles Podium

sprinting from 15 guys back to try and take the sprint. Unfortunately, that little mishap cost me the win and I ended up just getting nipped at the line. Im pretty sure had I had about 25 more meters that race would have been mine, but it was a good showing for SBR Quantum anyhow (oops).

Here is the video on the race I am in the orange and black, bike is orange too.

After that I did the Tuesday Night Worlds crit with the Lindenwood squad, and I must say it’s just a blast to ride with everyone there. Julie Carter (our coach/director) splits us all up and we just try and beat the hell out of each other. It makes for good smack talk during the week too.

It is such a good time so if you are in the area, you should come out and enjoy the pain with us, because the LU team has been hammering it and every strong rider in the area is there too. We are talking some serious firepower!

My first Collegiate race of the season was the past weekend and the LU hit squad was looking to take names. Overall, we had riders in every group lighting it up, but for starters the men’s A team got second in the TTT and in the crit we took second and fifth making it a brodium and in the road race we got third. Not bad for our first outing as we get to know one another and gel as a team.

Me And Max Slaying

Me And Max Slaying

During the races we could really tell that Marian was really timid on letting us up the road so much so that they were bringing moves back that had their own guys in it. Plus they had 16 guys in the field, which is why I can’t figure out why they were racing like a bunch of prima donnas that have their thumbs up their bums? I’m in the camp that when you got that much firepower, why not smash the race?

In the end, we all had fun though, which made for an interesting race. I will probably pick some stuff out to talk specifically on later this week. For now I will leave you with the wise words of Super Pro Josh Carter.

“Watch Listen & Learn”

Shout out to the #KobraHitSquad you know who you are.

Podium With Brophy

Podium With Brophy

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I’ve Got Some New Tech!

I recently decided that I had enough with tearing up my cleats and I decided to go out and get some cleat covers for my shoes. I run with the Shimano clips, and I have always thoroughly enjoyed them, but there is nothing worse then having to replace a chewed up clip. Plus it can get expensive fast.

Yet, I seem to find myself in predicaments where I am forced to walk around in my shoes for a bit.

Whether that is because the car isn’t near the finish of a stage finish or when I am on a group ride and we go inside a gas station. Regardless of the circumstances I believe everyone finds themselves in a situation where they like me walk around in there shoes tearing up their cleats.

Kool Kovers

Kool Kovers On

So I finally got a hold of a pair of cleat covers, made by Kool Kovers, and I have to say that I am loving them. There is not a more relaxing and enjoyable feeling knowing that I can walk around and not feel like my soul is being chewed up by the sound of my cleats getting shredded by the pavement.

So if you are a frequent cyclist who rides all the time or even just a weekend warrior who does the group rides. I would get a pair of covers, plus it is really just a one time buy that will save you headaches in the long run.

Kool Kovers off

Kool Kovers off

Anyways, I also recently got a new stem for my bike and I went from a 120 to a 140, which is a pretty significant jump. Yet for some reason my body has really responded well to the new position. I feel a lot more powerful were my new hip angle is and I lost some pain that I was having in my lower back. I think this had to do with the geometry of the Trek being different from my Giant and my Argon 18. It also makes climbing out of the saddle a lot easier for me, due to me being further out I have more room for my legs to pedal more freely. Needless to say I love the new stem and it is carbon fiber too, which really I never thought about having a carbon stem, but I guess when it gets as big as 140 you are going to want to get a light version.

New Bontrager Stem 140

New Bontrager Stem 140

Shimano was kind enough to send the team some of their new sleek and tiny sport cameras that you probably have seen used by Giant Shimano in some of their videos with John Degenkolbe. So I should be able to start putting up footage of some of my races that I do.

I think that this would really be a cool start to introducing some new ways to spice up the blog. What better than just telling you about the race then being able to show you it as well?

If you read my last post you would know that I raced at Froze Toes this past weekend and apparently there was a bit of complaining in regards to teams blocking and someone taking hands off the bars to push people.

Shimano Camera

Shimano Sport Camera

I want to address blocking first, especially since I know it is hard in local races to draw the line between teams blocking. For starters, it is always good for a team to control the front of the race and or at least practice this at races like these. Why? Well how will you learn how to work as a team if you do not practice, right?

It is always going to suck when there is one or two big teams in a race and everyone else is dispersed among groups of three and below. This is why I believe that racing locally can suck a lot of the times. I know from past experience of racing by myself, that it is no fun to race with teams who are super negative racers. This is why I think that the best way is to follow attacks. Don’t just pull things back just because you can but use them as great chances to get another guy up the road or get up the road yourself. Yet at the same time I know its out of your control if a team decides that they are going to block. That is just racing sometimes and yeah it sucks.

As to taking your hands off the bars and “touching” someone, this is a bit childish for one thing so quit complaining…its just bike racing. I have taken people and pushed them with my hands to move their hips out of the way. In my opinion its much safer than taking the bars and slamming elbows into each other and even better you can control the force a lot better too. So when someone complains about being “touched” they sound like a kid. This is cycling and if you can’t handle the heat in the kitchen then maybe it is time to get out.

Connor Brown

The Drought Is Over

So I am back at it again!

Yes, I have decided that now would be a good time to start things back up again here on the blog.

Don’t worry though you really didn’t miss much over the winter. All that transpired was a lot of top secret winter training exercises that no one will ever know about. No, really, it was just a lot of base miles with a lot of winter garb on. So, I felt as though I would give you guys a bit of a recap to get everyone caught up.

Signing Day At Lindenwood

Signing Day At Lindenwood

As of now I am officially in college! I know your thinking wasn’t he in high school like a couple of months ago? The answer is yes. I decided to graduate a semester early so I could make a fast transition into collegiate racing. Plus, who could turn down a nice place like Lindenwood, right? Or maybe you might just be dumb enough to go to Marian instead? No, in all honesty I am loving the college life.

I wake up every day at 7:40 in the morning, as opposed to getting up at 6:00 a.m. sharp, and walk down to my class, which I only have until 10:30 max. After that I am free for the rest of the day. This means that I will no longer have to write about being imprisoned in school while the beauty of the outside world would grace me with a glimpse through the windows. Those days are officially over!

Plus the classes are super laid back and really interesting/useful as compared to high school. I have probably learned more in my Business Law class than I have in my entire semester of my senior year of high school.

Not to mention that there are a bunch of really talented riders on the campus, which makes training very enjoyable when you are riding with your teammates.

WP_20150207_11_01_06_Pro

Team Camp Break

Besides Lindenwood, I am officially a Gateway Harley Davidson rider for 2015! I am super happy to be part of such an elite program and to be surrounded by such a great group of talented riders and staff. We have such great sponsors and everything that we have is top of the line.

Team Camp In Phoenix, AZ

Team Camp In Phoenix, AZ

The bikes are the best thing that I have ever ridden. It is virtually weightless and stiff as possible, in fact I can say without a doubt that this frame is the stiffest that I have ever ridden. The carbon grade is spectacular and I can feel nothing being left out during the power transfer.

Let it be known that we are also rocking with Hammer Nutrition, Bontrager, Castelli, and HED wheels this year so for sure we have the best products to help support the team. Overall it is going to be a lights out year. I have huge expectations for sure!

The racing season also kicked off for me this weekend and I did two races.

The first was an old favorite of mine out in Kansas called Spring Fling. We had really nice weather and a good turnout. I ended that day with a second place finish and I helped my breakaway, which consisted of Kent Woerman and Michael Allison. Allison won the day and had a great show of early season form.

Breakaway At Spring Fling

Breakaway At Spring Fling

After that race I headed over to Froze Toes where I was racing for Lindenwood and we had a hit squad of five guys in the a race and two who were also there; just not in LU kit.

It was an aggressive race but once Monk got off the front after we pounded attacks down everyones throats. I turned my focus over to help the rest of the gang set up Iron Dom while at the same time we made sure nothing reached Monk or if they were going to give it a shot it wasn’t going to go without me in it. In the end,. I ended the day seventh after a sketchy finishing sprint filled with potholes all over the place.

Froze Toes

Froze Toes

All in all not a horrible start to the season, and even better it looks like my winter training really cashed in this season!

Hammer Products

Hammer Products

New Bontrager Helmets

New Bontrager Helmets

Chilling At Team Camp

Chilling At Team Camp

Cody Anderson Holding Things Together At Froze Toes

Cody Anderson Holding Things Together At Froze Toes

Monk Solo At Froze Toes

Monk Solo At Froze Toes

Wes Welker NFL Doper Gets A 4 Game Suspension; Good Thing He’s Not A Cyclist

So today I found out that Wes Welker had been given a four game suspension for the use of a PED/ amphetamine.

Looking at this from a cycling perspective, I can not help but to laugh. First off the NFL has some of the most lenient doping control on the planet and when they do catch some one its only a four game ban?welker

This is just ridiculous, I mean a four game suspension? Thats it? I know of a track rider, you may recall seeing this on Velonews in 2012, getting busted for having traces of THC found in a sample collected by USADA.

Here is a link if you would like to read an article USAC posted on the matter: http://www.usacycling.org/lopez-3-month-suspension-from-usada-jrs-track-results-revised.htm

They didn’t give this kid a four race ban, they took away his National champion title on the track and banned him for three months. That was just for THC! Think about what would have happened if he were caught with a performance enhancer.

The best part is that Wes took to twitter and was trying to say how he was totally innocent and that the NFL messed up. Just absolutely ridiculous stuff, sound a bit familiar too? Kinda Like a guy named Lance?

I also find it ridiculous that this isn’t all over ESPN and the talk of the town, because it seems like the only time ESPN wants to report on cycling its to bring up a new doping ban. But this gets the hush hush.

I am sure we all remember when Contador got his Tour and Giro taken from him because of clenbuterol being found in his sample, and he had a pretty good story as to where it could have come from. Till this day we still don’t even know if he did it or not, but he still lost his grand tours.

When will other sports, such as football (baseball, soccer & basketball), start to take on the actual challenge of being a clean sport?

I would love to see, right after a game ends, waiting at the entrance of the locker room, random doping control. No warning, just a straight up legit test, Im talking cycling style.

I bet we would see a big difference in the mindset of how people view their sport.

I challenge the NFL to actually make an attempt to becoming clean, and not just the NFL, but I challenge sports media to call for stricter dope control. Because the testing if there is any is mediocre at best.

Its my opinion that the only sport that is actually trying to clean itself up is Cycling and yet, the media treats it like its the red headed step child of all sports since we cant seem to get our act together. Seriously?

Connor Brown

Still Speedin

So my final race of the 2014 season has ended, which concludes my third season of bike racing. We have seen a lot this season, from my stay on the West Coast to European racing with the U.S National Team. All of it has made for one amazing season, lets hope that it can only get better from here.20140831_173259

I will say that after three seasons, it is almost sad to see another one put in the books. Due to this being my last year as a junior racer I feel as though a whole new section of my book has been started. As I am not one to dwell on the past, I just can’t help but to ponder on my racing career so far and think of how my life has changed since my first pedal stroke.

It just all happened so fast. I remember as if it were yesterday sitting in my bed at my first junior talent I.D. camp and wondering what would come of this in the next year or even week.

It is just crazy how fast time flies by and how quickly we can get caught in the moment.

Anyways, with this chapter ending there is always a new one waiting to be written. So to the future!

As far as the racing went it was insanely fast. I mean crazy fast. We are talking two races averaging almost 32 MPH. Seeing that this was my first real NCC race with all the big dawgs showing up it most certainly made for an interesting event. Obviously having the junior gears on (my average cadence was over 115 with max rpm’s over 160) when we were absolutely speedin it was not very helpful. But I guess I don’t have to deal with that anymore, which is nice.20140829_212158

All in all the racing was blazing fast and fun. A bit chaotic at times, but I didn’t seem to have a problem finishing any of the races with the upper half of the field. So I take that away as a plus.

Connor Brown

Disaster Strikes In Sedalia!

So this weekend I raced the Sedalia downtown crit; first time I have ever raced it. I was really excited to earn some money and get a good result that day. Unfortunately I wasn’t fortunate.

I started out the race with an attack on lap one and got some good distance and made everyone work to bring me back. I was going for the hundred dollar cash prime but got pimped at the line for it.

After that I got the next twenty dollar prime, at this point I was feeling really good and was trying to figure out my best way of winning the day.

I was having a really great sprint on this course, due to it being a false flat long finish. This allowed me to be in my highest gear and have a good fighting chance.

Cool Place For A Race

Cool Place For A Race

Then it happened… After sitting perfect all race, biding my time and feeling like I could blow the thing apart anytime I wanted I started to feel my left pedal hitting something. I thought it was weird because I was going perfectly straight. Then I looked down and I see it… My entire DI2 battery and clip was hanging on by the wire. I immediately knew that I was in trouble because I can’t ride let alone race with out my battery.

So I slowed down to make my way to the pit and when I got there they told me I could go back in, but I was a lap down. They said because the course didn’t cause it it was my fault. Like I was purposely derailing my race.

It is safe to say that I was pissed, in fact I am getting pissed writing about this right now. Anyways, I finally decided that I was going to go back in to help my friend win the race.

Right away when I got in I freaking hammered it, because I didn’t care and I was pissed. I immediately got a gap and drug two guys up to the two man breakaway. I then proceeded to drive the breakaway so we could sustain our gap.

Long story short, we end up getting away and I took another prime, then I gave Shadd lead out for the sprint which he won.

Thats it, a good day gone bad. Seems like I have had a string of them the last 5 weeks, but thats about to change!

Connor Brown

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

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

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