Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Comp Racing partners with Notch Brewing for 2016!!!!

Comp Racing is excited to be working with Notch Brewing for 2016 for our refreshment needs!  Launched in 2010, Notch was the first brewing company in the US to focus exclusively on session beer.  Times have changed, but Notch, much like Comp Racing since 2001, has followed their passion and in 2016 are on the leading edge of a session beer revolution!  And what goes better after a hard ride, run or race...  A beer, full of flavor, but lower in alcohol!  And soon, all of this will be available at Notch's new brewery opening in Salem in 2016!

Find out more about Notch Brewing at www.notchbrewing.com!

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

2016... Roll out!!!!

It's that time of year and Comp Racing is ramping up for a great 2016!  We've got new sponsors, new athletes and new goals, but we can't achieve those on our own and fortunately for us, our newest sponsor GC Coaching is sharing their knowledge in blog posts!    Check them out below:

Why should you hire a coach?

Strength training for cyclists and endurance athletes?


Make sure you check out the rest of Shayne's coaching at https://gaffneycyclingcoaching.wordpress.com/.

On to 2016, healthier, faster and happier!

Train Smart.  Race Hard. HAVE FUN!

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Riding tips and etiquette...

It's getting to be that time of year again when group workouts start popping up on the calendar.  With that, comes an annual reminder and tips about group rides and etiquette.

General stuff...

1)  Please be aware that that when you are wearing your kit in public or at an event, you represent more than just yourself, you represent our team and our sponsors.  Respect the kit you are wearing when you ride.  You represent more than just yourself.
2)  Cars, motorcycles, pedestrians...  They are everywhere and sooner or later, we'll all play nice together.  While we can't control what the cars are going to do out there, we can control our actions and do our best to avoid dangerous situations. Be smart and ride with your head up, don't "encourage" the drivers or pedestrians with single finger salutes, colorful choice words, etc, etc.  Do your best to rise above because if drivers start to see that we don't stoop to their level it just might change a few minds.
3)  Rules of the road...  So we are clear, riding 3 or 4 across is never acceptable!  Riding 2 across, while legal, has a stipulation... You can not impede traffic and must assist in aiding the faster vehicle to pass.  If you are going to ride two across, no more than a handlebar width between you and the person next to you.  This is basic common courtesy and smart.  Sharing the road goes both ways and we need to do our part as well.  My personal preference and recommendation, ride single file as much as possible.
4)  More rules of the road... Red lights and Stop signs.  Let's do our best to set the proper example.  Put a foot down, practice a track stand, look around, enjoy the scenery, chat with the person in the car that should be stopped as well...
Group Rides

1)  Group ride etiquette...  Unless the ride is organized by a member of Comprehensive Racing or Salem Cycle, you are a guest on that ride.   Ask a regular about the ride etiquette (drop, no drop, speed, etc), if you find yourself on the front of the group ask how far up the road the next turn is going to be or what the etiquette in different sections of the ride is, i.e., sprints, hill climbs, pace line work, attacking, etc, etc.   And as a reminder, the Riverside, TNR, Spank'om, the CRW rides and the Bridge Ride are not Comp Racing rides.  We are guests on those rides and those teams have worked hard to establish those rides.  Remember to thank the leaders of the ride and always introduce yourself around to people.  

2)  Pacelines... Paceline work does not mean get on the front and drill it, unless a regular has told you to ramp it up or it's OK to push harder.  When riding in the pace line and you get to the front, keep the pace steady, about the same as the rider who just peeled off.  If that rider is doing 22MPH, pulling to the front and accelerating to 28 MPH, while impressive, is not the right thing to do.  If everyone has been doing 30 second pulls, do a 30 second pull.   If it has not been said explicitly, what the length of a pull should, if you are feeling energetic, pull longer, but not harder.  Remember, steady pace is key and will ultimately lead to a faster average speed if everyone stays together.

3)  On the flip side, we know that sometimes the pace even drafting can be at someones threshold.  If you find yourself on the front of the line and can't hold the pace for 30 seconds, it's OK to do 5 or 10 seconds.  Just wait long enough for the lead rider to clear your wheel and then peel off.  This is a great way to demonstrate to everyone that you are trying hard and learning.  In addition, it's also OK skip a pull through the line by waiting at the back of the line while other riders cycle through the line.

4)  When you are done with a pull on the front of a paceline, first, make sure it is safe to pull off the front (i.e., no cars coming, blind corners, etc.).  Once you pull off the front, make sure you get to the back of the line as quickly and smoothly as possible.  Don't ride along next to the next person on the front as that person might be on their limit, which ultimately ends up disrupting the flow and is more dangerous.  It also leads to half-wheeling.

5)  Half-wheeling...  If you don't know what half wheeling is, ask on your next ride.  It's when two people ride "next to eachother."  The problem is, one person wants to stay slightly ahead, so they ramp up their speed, and then the person next to them does the same thing and this alternates until it's a full on sprint at the front.  This is not good technique and it drives everyone nuts.  :-)
6)  Bring what you need, which includes, water, spares, tools, etc. and make sure your bike is in working order.  If you don't know how to use the tools ask.  If your bike is squeaking and squealing and downright irritating to those around you, get it fixed.  Sooner or later, it will become a safety hazard for you and those around you.
7)  Safe riding techniques... Being safe in a group means no braking hard, riding smoothly, not weaving in and out of people, soft pedaling in a group instead of braking and surging, not overlapping wheels, following the wheel in front of you, not standing and lurching back the bike when climbing and generally keeping your head up.  This goes for racing as well.  Be safe out there!  If you ever have a question about any riding techniques, feel free to ask.  We all want to learn and be safe out there!  This topic alone could fill an entire book...

8)  If you are on a group ride and the general trend is for the group to regroup in sections, or it is considered a "no drop ride", please make sure you tell someone if you plan to deviate or leave the group.  There is nothing worse for a group to wonder where a random rider disappeared to and then turn the whole group around to look for them.

9)  Catching and overtaking people on other bikes can be tricky.  Sometimes it's fast, sometimes it's not.  The best thing that you can do is announce yourself and your intentions, for instance..."Good Morning, I'll be passing on your left".  If you are leading a paceline, announce that the group will be passing them.  If you are being overtaken, don't accelerate and try to mix into their group.  It's usually OK to latch onto the back, but let them know you are there and follow the rules of the ride.

10)  Attacking and sprints... We all like to have some fun on our rides with town line sprints and attacks.  This is fine, but make sure that it is safe!  If there is a car coming up from behind you, that is not the time to swing wide and drill it down the middle of the lane.  Wait for the car to pass, make sure the road is clear and then go for it, but keep it tight to the group.  It should never look like you are playing chicken with oncoming traffic.  

11)  The yellow line...  Unless there is something blocking your entire lane, there should never be a need to cross the yellow line.  I don't know what else to say, except don't do it.  And if there is no yellow line, imagine the center of the road has one and don't cross it.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

2015... A whole new year!!!

The goal this year is to keep everyone up to date and what we are doing, so without further adieu, lost of racing this weekend and finally, some minimal shoveling!

Chewy Mangsen ripped it up in the warmth of Florida, banging out a 15K, 5K, Half Marathon and 8K in 2 days at the Michelob Ultra Challenge!
Congrats to Mironda M and Colin D for repping the Comp Racing colors at the Exeter Snowshoe Hullaboo yesterday!  Colin has been killing it on the Snowshoe circuit all season and this was Mironda's first race and based on her excitement, she'll be back!

Today saw more snowshoe racing at Brooksby Farm, with Capt K, Super Cooper, IronJay Curry and Tim "Slim Speedy" Clarke all lining up! After the overalls were sorted out, everyone managed an age group podium finish (with a sweep in the 40-49 AG) and top 15 overall!
Finally, FOR THE WIN... Shayne Gaffney took overall the win at Breakaway Computraining Indoor TT on Saturday! Not only did he take the win, he was more than a minute clear of second place!!! Nick Baker was there keeping Shayne honest with a strong 2nd place in his heat! Way to go team!!!!

A strong start to the season for the Black and Orange!

Thursday, October 23, 2014

2014 UCI Masters Track World Championships Report!

2014 UCI Masters Track Cycling World Championships 

Straight from Captain Pelletier to you!

It was my honor to represent USA at the UCI Masters Track Cycling World Championships this past week in  Manchester England, my second appearance at this event in three years.  For 2014, 33 nations sent more than 430 riders, many with coaches/handlers/souigneurs though I traveled self-supported as usual.  
I had planned on competing in the individual timed events only, but was recruited a week prior to the championships to join a US pursuit team in need of a fourth man.  It was a thrill to find out that my one-time coach and good friend Kurt B had also joined the US squad.

Unfortunately, upon arrival in Manchester Friday morning I was informed my bike had not been forwarded from London and would not arrive until later that evening.  With my Team Pursuit event scheduled for the following afternoon, this was a major problem.  The UCI assigned me a driver to take me to the velodrome during the day to sign-on to the championships and receive my accreditation and race numbers.  I was then driven back to the airport in the evening to retrieve my bike, then to the velodrome once again to assemble it, and finally to my hotel for a late night check-in and a quick sleep.  It all got done.

Saturday morning I was shuttled to the velodrome for an early training session, getting some pre-race laps and dialing in my equipment with only a few hours of sleep on the books.  Manchester's velodrome is one of the premier facilities in the world; a 250-meter board track with 42-degree banking and an exceedingly smooth racing surface.  I nearly slipped off the wall in training, my tires just not sticky enough to maintain proper adhesion at lower speeds, but I wouldn't be needing lower speeds once the racing began as my events were all full-on efforts from the starting gate to the finish line.  

After training I met up with the other US pursuit team members and we discussed our plan for the event later that day (94.6" gear, conservative start, 18-second laps, fanned-out finish).  Team Pursuit is a very technical race similar to a Team Time-Trial on the road; It is as much choreographed dance as it is flat-out blast.  Exchanges are executed on the steep banking in tight formation at over 30mph, brakeless.  To throw together a team at the last minute, never ride together, and show up at Worlds to race for the championship is rather brazen (or foolish), but that's exactly what we did.  And we rode well, turning the 3000-meter distance more than 20 seconds faster than I'd ever gone alone (3:39.938, 30.5mph, 49.0kph).  In the end we were 5th place, very satisfied with our performance and happy with what we had achieved together.
That night I slept quite well.  

On Sunday I returned to the venue to race the 3000-meter Individual Pursuit.  I got an excellent warmup on the rollers and was literally dizzy with adrenaline as I got through bike-check, seeded in the first heat against a Guatemalan rider.  I decided to run a slightly larger gear than normal (93.5"), given that my form was good and I felt I could keep it turning.  I made a fast start, settling into lap-times exactly as planned with the help of an Australian coach that I'd asked to shout splits and give visual cues to my pacing while I orbited the stadium (these cues are known as "walking the line"; the coach stands on the track's apron and moves forward or rearward of the finish line to indicate lap-by-lap whether the rider needs to increase/maintain/decrease speed in order to ride to the targeted schedule).  With more than a kilometer to go I had gained a half lap on my opponent, overtaking him on the steepest part of the track and leaving him behind.  I ended up setting a personal-best time of 4:02.216 (27.71mph, 44.59kph); good enough for 18th place but still shy of the 4-minute goal that I had set for myself in training this year.  After the race I thanked the Aussie coach and gave him my first-edition Comp Racing team cap in recognition of his generous help to me.

My final event of the championships and my 2014 racing season was the 750-meter Time Trial on Monday.  The TT is a short 3 laps, raced from a gated start at maximum effort for its entirety.  It's an unfamiliar distance for me (in the US the TT is a full kilometer), though I'd raced it once before in Europe.  I ran a 93.5" gear against an opponent from Great Britain, going really good for 2 laps but just dying on the 3rd.  I held on as best I could and was relieved to see my time on the scoreboard, 57.539  (29.16mph, 46.92kph); my fastest time to-date by more than 1/2 a second.  I watched the remaining riders complete their races, and ended up 20th, only 3/10 of a second behind the next two places.

With that I was free to pack away the bike and enjoy the remainder of my trip relaxing and supporting the other US team members and internationals who I'd befriended in their remaining races, returning to America two days later.  3 Top 20 finishes, 3 personal-best times...satisfied.

I'd like to extend a sincere thanks to my team, Comprehensive Racing, for helping me return from injury and prepare for this year's racing schedule.  In addition I am thankful for the sponsors, friends, and families  that generously support our team.  It's been a challenging and rewarding 2014 season and I look forward to 2015 eagerly.
-Stephen Pelletier

Monday, October 13, 2014

Track Nationals... From the oddly large phone of Chris Watt...

2014 USA Cycling national track championship
August 12-17
Giordana Velodrome
Rock Hill, SC
Race report.
From the oddly large phone of Comprehensive Racing track cyclist Chris Watt.

This was an awesome experience.
It's underscored by the fact that I'm typing a race report on a return flight. It's like I hit the big time.
I haven't. This was expensive! Haha.

My recent visits to Ttown completely reminded me of what I love about competitive cycling. The last time I visited that track I turned an absurd amount of laps on the pursuit bars. I had a chat with Marty Nothstein, and received some positive reinforcement, with the nationals coming up in conversation. That rung a bell in my head.
I communicated with Capt. Steve, and he also mentioned the nationals. I didn't need much convincing.
We collaborated, shipped bikes, flew out, arrived, picked up our bikes and headed to assemble them.

The weather was iffy on the evening of Tuesday the 12th, and the omnium kilometer TT was stopped short. They would instead combine the omnium kilo riders with the national championship kilo riderson Wednesday the 13th. (30 riders in total)
They run it similar to a pursuit, with two riders at a time, on opposing straights of the track. I glanced down the start list. I was paired up with(against) Bobby Lea.
BOBBY -FREAKING- LEA. The USA Olympic team member. The 20 or so time national champion. The only guy in the whole event who's name I knew, other than Steve and myself.
No pressure.
The heats came and went fast. I had a completely inaccurate idea of what my times would be, and these guys were rocketship fast.
My previous PR from NEV was in the range of 1:24. I was prepared to set a new PR, I hoped.
Bike through bike check, sit in the on deck chair, get called up, listen to the announcer tell me all about my "opponent". Hand bike to holder, climb on, clip in, count down.
5. 4. 3. 2. 1. Beep.
A 4 lap explosion.
I hammer the start, trying my best to not get caught by the human freight train that's surely bearing down on me. My opening lap is ok, as is my second lap, I fade a bit on the third, and I'm near tears on the fourth as Bobby's bell is rung sooner that what I thought was humanly possible. I can hear the distinct sound of a fixed gear bicycle somewhere over my right shoulder as I'm entering my last half lap, and I cross HIS finish line before he passes me. He didn't catch me! I finish my kiko with a 1:16.0, a PR by over 8 seconds and good enough for 8th!
I cool down a bit and realize my right calf is feeling tight. Perhaps I need to fine tune my standing starts.

Thursday the 14th was day three of the event(day two of competition for Steve and myself) and it brought the individual pursuit. This is NOT my event(though, I thought, neither is the kilo). I look at the start list and see I'm paired up with(against) Owen Gillett, in the first heat.
Never heard of him. Enter Google. Bad idea. I haven't seen him ride, but Google says he's fast. Ha! And my right calf is still giving me problems. I baby it a bit, hoping it won't affect my racing.
Steve and I spend the morning riding rollers, stressing about start times and watching the other events. All the while looking cooler than anyone else at the event. If nothing else, comp racers are a good looking bunch!
I get my bike through check and sit in the on-deck chair. I get called up, and I'm told I'll be riding alone. My Owen is a no show! At least I won't get lapped.
No time to compute that.
Hand bike over, climb on, clip in, count down.
5. 4. 3. 2. 1. Beep.
A 16 lap metered effort. I'm screwed.
I lunge away from the starter and I hear one trackside official say, "nice start!". It felt like a good one! I go conservative for a kilo, less conservative for the second one, and with 750m to go I realize that I've officially tied my legs into knots. I'm pedaling circles, but very weak ones. My lungs are on fire, my legs have no power, and I taste blood in my breath. Ah yes, this is a proper pursuit. I cross the finish with a 5:25. I'm sure that's a PR. The whole ride, I hear the announcer reading off my bio and talking me up. He even mentioned my pizza tattoo! I would have laughed, if I hadn't been nearly crying.
That solo ride put me atop the leader board. Alone, but up there!
The glory is short lived, as I was knocked off my pedestal after the second heat, which Steve was in. I cool down on the rollers and remember what pursuiters cough is all about. Steve finished his pursuit and we shared a few coughs together.
Seriously though, the infield sounded like a hospital ward after the pursuits. My calf really hurts now, but it was fine during my race.

All in all, it was a fantastic event! Steve is the nicest, most welcoming guy on earth. He went above and beyond to help me get to this event.
He is truly an inspiration to me, constantly motivating me in my track cycling.
Thank you, Steve.
Thank you, Comprehensive Racing

I now realize that track cycling is true pure bicycle racing. Not diluted with the complications of the road. Each event is a distilled version of the sport. I have not been this excited for cycling since the first time I swung a leg over a track bike at NEV, years ago.
Track cycling is where it's at for me.
Velodromes are just little bowls of paradise.
My training will increase, my performance will improve, I will return.
More please!

Chris Watt

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

USAT Nationals Report!!!

Reporting in my the land of the frozen tundra with another great race report from one of the Black and Orange crew... Cheryl "Rockstar" Alden...

Hi all, 
What a great race venue!  Milwaukee did not disappoint.  The swim was in calm water, bike was flat and fast and the run, other than going by a very full port o potty station, was awesome near the water.

Race morning came quickly.  The first wave headed out at 7:30a but I didn’t hit the water until 8:55.  My goal for nationals was to PR for the distance.  Competition was fierce and there were many fast women in it to win it!  I got hung up at the beginning of the swim trying to get a good position.  I am not very aggressive in the water so hung back and tried to find a bit of open water.  Once I did, I had a very solid swim.  The run to T1 was a bit long on pavement but was well swept so no random pebbles.  I had a sweet spot on the rack 4 bikes in from the end of the row.  My bike was also easy to find as most of the bikes in the area were already gone:-/. My bike went well.  It was flat so I was able to pull off just over a 20 MPH average!  Not too shabby for me and my little P2C.  Headed out on the run feeling good and nailed a 7:15 pace on the run.  Looking at my stats, I gradually moved up in the rank from swim, bike and run passing a half dozen or so women in my age group on the run.  Overall, I had a great race and got my PR by 11 minutes from nationals in Burlington in 2012 which was then my fastest time at Olympic distance.  I finished in 2:33and change and was 90th overall out of about 200 women in my age group.  B- average for the nations best.  I’ll take it!
Headed out for a celebratory beer that night and ran into Matt Garceau.

Pic of my friend Karin, far left, (2nd 40-44 women finisher), Johanna, middle, (7th 50-54 age group finisher), and me in front a sign that summed up race day.