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

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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

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