Archive for the ‘Team CRCA/GFNY Racing’ Category

From Dark to Light

My bike sat on the indoor trainer, mocking me. Each day for a week was going to be the day I got back to my training program. But each day “life got in the way.”

This happens sometimes, and when life is really good, and training suffers, that’s OK. Or when life is really bad, while not “OK” it is easy to use the training as a way to dig out of a dark hole and start to make life good again.

But when there isn’t anything specific getting in the way of training, it’s hard to accept. When you are simply having those days where you can’t motivate yourself, that is not OK. And those days tend to build upon each other and start to weigh on you. Each one makes that next day’s decision, to train or not to train, that much more difficult.

For eight days after the brutally cold Grant’s Tomb Crit, I was stuck in this funk. For eight days I felt the darkness weighing on me – and getting heavier along with my body weight. Sure, “life” threw me a few curve balls; but none of them big enough to beat me down. This was just a mental detour, and I needed to get back on my path.

Then I read, “The Pep Talk You Need Right Now,” a short blog post by Chris Carmichael. It was like he was watching me the last eight days; he was in my apartment, he was in my head. And I realized that this is such a common place for athletes in training to find themselves, so it’s also a common place to escape.

Yesterday I got on the trainer at 5:30 AM and did a tough 60-minute program. It hurt. A lot. But I felt so much better for doing it. I was physically slower all day at work, but mentally uplifted.

Late in the afternoon my teammate Ethan posted to Slack, “anyone up for a casual spin in Central Park tonight?” It was 60F outside after a few cold days and with 25F predicted the next, so I really wanted to get outside. But I had a late office meeting, so I declined.

Thirty minutes later, the meeting was rescheduled and I was free to ride. Ethan and I recruited Gavin to join us, and hit the park for a sunset spin. My legs fried from the morning workout, I road a casual pace and the three of us rode, talked, laughed, and just enjoyed wearing our new team kits. (They don’t include cold weather gear, so haven’t been worn outdoors until this ride.) It was terrific, and 27-miles later as I rolled up to my apartment, I knew that any little bit of darkness that remained from the last 8-days was gone.

It wasn’t a particularly solid training day, and I’ve undoubtedly lost some recent gains. But I will not harp on that and I will not beat myself up. As Carmichael said, “This is what I have right now, and today’s effort will make me better.”

So get out there and make yourself better. Yesterday no longer matters. And every small step towards your goal means you are closer.

2017 GFNY World Championship Jersey – Racing Team Edition

As Head of Group Rides for GFNY and Team Manager for the GFNY Racing Team, I get to preview much of the GFNY gear. And, for 2017, our kits are brought to us by GFNY Apparel – a new entity in the GFNY family. GFNY Apparel was created because Uli and Lidia, founders of GFNY, have uncompromising standards in their gear and now they can assure that these standards are fully realized.

The GFNY Racing Team has a season that starts in March, so we get the jerseys ahead of the full distribution to all GFNY World Championship participants on May 21st. And while there are a few minor design alterations to the Racing Team jersey, the overall design and the fit are precisely what you’ll get for May 21st.

While the previous jerseys were really superb, there’s always room for improvement and the zipper was top of this list. The previous jersey had a zipper designed to “disappear” within the jersey design when closed, but it wasn’t terribly durable. The new zipper has larger teeth, is easier to zip, and has a tab that is easy to grab (even with fingered gloves). And yet, for all these improvements, GFNY Apparel has managed to still find a way to hide the zipper track perfectly when closed!

Other improvements this year include a more proportional waistline cut, roomy (but not bulky) back pockets and, two side pockets for trash (not new, but unique, so worth noting.) Also, the side panels are extra-stretchy to fit all different body types.

With the weather way too cold for short sleeves, I took my new jersey for a spin on the trainer and I was very pleased with the results. If you are unsure of your size, I’d recommend you “size up” as these are racing cut (small) and, compared to last year, a bit snug. For me, the side panels accomodated the needed stretch, but I’d go a size larger given the chance. (If your fit has been perfect in the past, don’t change it – my thoughts are mostly for folks that consider themselves to be in between sizes.)

Here are a couple more photos of your 2017 GFNY World Championship jersey! (There are a few different design elements since these are the Racing Team jerseys, but you get the idea.)

When the Universe Sends You a Message…

…listen to it!

This morning I had to be in Central Park at 4:30 AM to marshal a CRCA race and then I was planning to do a Sunday group ride. Everything went wrong this morning, so I took this as a sign to not go on the group ride.

First, this ridiculous fall – just a few blocks from my apartment:

Next, I turn down a street that has a fire hydrant open and can’t turn around because there’s a car behind me, so I get totally doused.

Then I pass a building in Harlem where a body bag is being removed on a gurney.

All the while there is way more activity on the streets than I’m used to at 4:00 AM – and I do this ride with some frequency. It was a bit unnerving.

Finally, I get to the registration on time at 4:30 AM, but they aren’t even set up yet.

During the race, a woman I asked to leash her dogs decided to unleash them – and they both ran into the Cat 3 field. It was a miracle there wasn’t a crash and that all the riders (and both dogs) escaped unharmed. The woman was sufficiently shaken up that I doubt she’ll make that mistake again.

And then my friend Emma crashed at the end of her race.

Just one of those days, so I went home after the race and watched the Tour de France stage from the safety of my couch. And then I took a nap. Fun times!

Team CRCA/GFNY Inaugural Race!

2016-03-05 Inaugural Team Photo

The inaugural race for Team CRCA/GFNY took place on March 5, 2016. Wait, what? GFNY has a race team?!? Oh, right, I guess I should start there…

As the 2015 cycling season wound down, we quietly put together a GFNY sponsored race team. While I am the Team Manager and somewhat responsible for this group, it was the work of many that came before me that helped make this a success. For the 2016 season, we’ve got ten racers, all in Cat5, with the expectation that we’ll end the season in Cat4. And perhaps a few wins as well.

March 5th was unseasonably cold, but not nearly as bad as all of March (and some of April) in 2015. Our first race was about 28F and, somehow, we’re all smiling (yes, that’s a smile in Peter’s world) in this pre-race photo. We tried to talk strategy, but, honestly, we were all just happy to be on a team for the first time. Most, if not all, of us raced CRCA previously, but only as an individual and being on a team completely changes the dynamic.

12794932_10156557863430570_7344211498418039489_oSo as we prepared for the starter’s whistle, we reminded ourselves that this was a race to get acclimated, understand the field, learn about each other and, above all, remain upright! (Because, well, Cat5 is also know as Crash5.) In this regard, we were 100% successful. And we learned quite a lot from this race, too. Stan sent a summary to the team that was incredibly observant and useful to everyone. And even with all of Stan’s detail, there’s still so much to cover and so much more to plan. I guess I forgot what it’s like to be on a competitive sports team, but I’m looking forward to that experience again!

CRCA posted this photo of our field, I think just after the start. It definitely captures the moment, but there’s so much missing context as well. Like the painfully cold ride to the start, the peacefulness of a pre-race lap in the park under the moonlight and the anxiety of a “first race”. Yet, somehow, when that whistle blows and the pedals are turning, it’s suddenly all about the race and everything else just falls away.

While Cat5 races aren’t terribly predictable, this one was and mostly due to its unpredictability. Stan got bumped by a rider that changed his line to pass without looking. The first lap was too fast and the pace didn’t hold. Riders didn’t get on a wheel and took their own lines. An attack went off way too early and was reeled back in. And, sadly, there was a 4-man crash in the last 500m.

0305160833Yet we remained upright, safe and strong – and all finished the day feeling that we were way better for the experience. I personally was off the back after only one lap; I didn’t expect to finish with the field, but one lap was pretty fast for me to drop. I spent the rest of Saturday and all of Sunday laid up with a stomach bug, so perhaps I was already weak. No matter, my personal goals are simply to improve. And my team goals are to help in any way I can. If I’m strong enough, I should be a good lead out man, and I’d gladly sacrifice myself for the climber or sprinter that can take it at the finish.

The bottom line is that we had a great time, which has to be the first reason you race. If you race primarily to win, you’ll be primarily disappointed. Don’t get me wrong, you must be competitive, but there’s a balance. Like any sport, if the competition replaces the fun, you’re doing it wrong. And, really, look at that post-race photo? Those are some seriously happy cyclists!

My Strava of the race is below (not as telling as those that remained in the pack) and video footage of the first nine minutes while I was near the front and leading our team out.

Last but definitely not least…

HUGE THANKS to Uli and Lidia for making this possible! GFNY is a terrific organization and we’re so happy to be both part of the family and representing an entirely new chapter in the GFNY story.