Spring Break Training
28th Mar 2015Posted in: Blog, Featured Posts 0
Spring Break Training

Spring Break, in many ways, is the capstone of our training plan. We finish off months of long, focused rides and transition to racing; and, to that effect, we start to see some exciting results. We spent the last two weekends on the road in competition. In this blog post, I’ll talk about how we performed each weekend and provide some color to the brutal week of training that took place in between the two.


1st Weekend – Long Run Park Criterium


Cat 5 – John Hyndman 5th

Cat 4/5 – Kyle Knight 2nd, AJ Sood 12th

Cat 3/4 – Chris Craig 5th, AJ Sood 29th


Long nights at the track

Chris also raced in the Cat 1/2/3 race, featuring professional cycling teams. He competed well for 40 minutes after pulling himself due to fatigue from his earlier race.


We awoke at 5:15am to quickly grab breakfast and hop in the car to make it to Louisville, KY for our races. The course is about a mile and a half, and it features one large climb and a fast decent. This was the team’s first race after a significant amount of training, and each of us were anxious for the races. Each of our respective fields was very competitive; however, we felt confident in our legs this day. This was my second race since this past summer and my first race since entering our training plan. I felt significantly stronger than I was in my first race this past summer. Since riding with the team, I have become much more comfortable maneuvering through the pack and confident in my cornering. I felt as though I could control my position in pack better. I wasn’t just sucking wind off the back of the pack, as my fitness has come a long way over the course of our training.


Training Week

I really don’t have much to say about this time primarily because I spent a significant portion “in the tunnel”; which is a saying our team has come up with to explain when you are exhausted beyond the point where you can hold conversation or think clearly.


This week was exhausting and grueling, and pushed each of our mental strength. The Little 500 track is open to train on during this time and our team made it a priority to take advantage of this opportunity. We spent our days testing our legs and pushing each other to our limits. Our nights we spent decompressing and doing nearly anything we could to recover before our next practice. I was warned by my teammates for a significant time about this training block and it deserved the respect it garnished. After a hard week of training, we had a weekend of racing to look forward to.

Lots of racing while in Saint Louis

Lots of racing while in Saint Louis


2nd Weekend – Tour of St. Louis


Carondelicious Criterium

Cat 4/5 – Kyle Knight 1st, John Hyndman 7th, AJ Sood 23rd

Cat 4 – AJ Sood 18th

Cat 3 – Chris Craig 8th


Forest Park Criterium

Cat 4/5 – John Hyndman 2nd, Kyle Knight 6th, AJ Sood 26th

Cat 4 – AJ Sood 28th

Cat 3 – Chris Craig 6th


We left Bloomington around 6pm Friday and began our journey to St. Louis. We had racing and Kyle’s 21st birthday to look forward to this weekend. We were staying at the home of Grace Mower, a Kappa cyclist and Kyle’s girlfriend, as her family offered to accommodate us for the weekend. We lost an hour due to the time change and arrived that evening around 11pm. We quickly settled in and got to bed in order to rest up for the following day.


1st day Saturday: Carondelicious Criterium

This course was very similar to Long Run Park the first weekend. It was similar length, and it featured a fast curving descent followed by a climb. The first race of the day was the Cat 4/5 race and was a great success for the team. Kyle Knight followed burns and got towards the front of the pack for the first Prem (cash prize) of the race. He recognized the gap he opened up and continued to widen it. He attacked off the front of the pack, holding a 100-yard gap until another rider attacked and caught up to him. AJ and I held positioning in the pack attempting to slow the pace while Kyle built his lead. After gapping the pack by a full minute and sustaining this break for 30 minutes, he dropped the rider who caught him and won the race easily. He turned 21 this evening and had yet another reason to celebrate that night. Kyle was looking very strong in the following Cat 4 race until he was apart of a collision that left his bike unraceable.


After racing, we went back to the Mower’s home to shower, nap, and prepare ourselves for the evening. We made dinner reservations at an Italian Restaurant called Ricardo’s in celebration of the day and Kyle’s 21st. We had the whole team, Kyle’s family, and the Mower family as well. We had a raucous meal together filled with story telling and laughter. Following the dinner, we retreated back to the Mower’s home for cake and presents. We finished the evening off fireside with legal beers.

Ready to race

Ready to race


2nd day Sunday: Forest Park Criterium

This was a very unique course, taking place in the largest city park in the nation. It was a 1.3-mile course featuring a long sprint finish and no significant climbing. I recognized this, as a course I could likely due well at, as climbing is a weakness of mine, as they tend to spike my heart rate. I was able to conserve energy much better and was happy with my effort this day. I held positioning throughout the race and followed necessary burns. I had the third wheel coming around the final turn of the race and, once released by the turn, I unleashed my sprint going for the win. I held a solid sprint preventing anyone from catching me until the final moments when I was edged out for first by inches. It was quite frustrating I couldn’t hold off any counterattacks and earn the win; however, it was only my fourth race and there were many critiques of my sprint that may have resulted in a win. I kept my head high and knew I should be proud of my effort.


. . .


The team would like to thank the Mower Family who graciously housed, fed, and cared for the team during our stay in St. Louis. They were a significant factor in the team’s success this weekend and we couldn’t have done it without them.


Spring Break was an overall success for the team. We polished off months of hard work with respectable finishes in our races. Now, we turn to the coming month of track practices and racing on the track. We have set ourselves up for success in the following weeks if we continue our focus and training on the track. Each individual is strong; however, our strength as a team will be the greatest factor come April 25th.

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