Monday, April 27, 2009
Last Saturday, April 25th, 2009, in Athens, Georgia, at one of the biggest Criterium races in the World, The Athens Twilight Criterium, Adrian Hegyvary secured the biggest result in his racing career, a third place finish.
Now, you must understand, cycling results are very different from most other sports. In most other athletic disciplines, you win or you lose. Whereas in cycling, a high paying professional athlete may go years without ever winning a race. The esteem of a bike racer depends upon their ability to help secure "results," whether it be by helping a teammate win, or by placing top ten in a world class race. Adrian placing third at the Athens Twilight Crit is a monstrously amazing example of this.
What is even more amazing is how Adrian got to this place in his bike racing career. Last year Adrian had had one of his worst racing seasons ever. He had an entire year of no results on the pro road racing circuit (though he did kick butt on the velodrome), and ended the season with a horrific crash that put him in the hospital with a torn shoulder that would prevent him from attending track National Championships, where he would have been a favorite to win the Madison and other endurance events.
In the Fall Adrian began attending the UW Law School. Doubt concerning the direction and possibility of his future racing career haunted him. On several occasion Adrian was on the verge of hanging up the bike and calling it quits. After seven years of solid dedication to cycling, his ambitions seemed to be leading nowhere.
But, despite the stresses of life and school, Adrian decided to just keep on doing what he loved. And what he loved was to train and ride his bike. In all honesty, it is quite frightening how much Adrian loves bikes.
You see, the point behind all this is simple: there was no magic new training plan that Adrian did that took him to the next level. There was no fitness fairy that came from Never-ever land and sprinkled Adrian with lactate threshold dust. Nope. Adrian's jump to the next level as an athlete occurred solely because he did not quit. He kept on training, stuck to it, and after seven hard years he is finally seeing the results that will land him a high-paying professional contract.
One last thing should be said about this all. One of the main reasons preventing Adrian from quitting--even when quitting seemed logical (just ask him about his European racing experiences...)--is that Adrian loves racing his bike. He is not doing it to prove his self-worth, or to prove anything to anyone. He is doing it because he is passionate about it and it fulfills him. This mindset is absolutely mandatory to make any life passion sustainable.
All to often people burn out because they are trying to prove something to themselves or to others, and they begin to forget the simple pleasures of their activities, and when this happens the little voices of failure begin to get louder and louder. So, always remember to do something because you love it.
Take it to the next level.
Posted by harm at 2:14 PM
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
Track season is almost here! And let me tell you, I cannot wait. This race season has been a roller coaster ride for me. My early days and late nights have been filling up with countless projects, commitments and jobs, ranging from leading after school bike programs, to art consulting, to late night Djing , to writing for small local publications, to personal coaching and training. I shouldn't be astonished that my time to race has somehow vanished. But, the beauty of Marymoor Track Racing is that it is every Friday evening when I have no plans except to race, race, race.
Every Friday afternoon I lead after school bike rides for the Major Taylor program at the Global Connections high school in Seatac. The rides end at 5pm, which gives me just enough time to throw my bike in the back of my pick-up and dive straight into the endless lines of traffic on I-405 all the way up to Marymoor, just in time for racing, which begins at 7pm sharp. If I am lucky I may get a bit of a warm-up.
My main incentive for training for the track these past few months has been solely to beat my best-friend, adversary, and co-worker, Adrian Hegyvary. If you have been following the local road racing scene, you well know that Adrian has been destroying the competition.
On the track him and I are always neck and neck--literally, because we are practically the same height, and figuratively, because we both beat each other on a consistent basis (thus making us perfect Madison partners). Though, I must say, there is no way I am ever going to let him beat me in a pursuit.
This season he definitely has an advantage over me. Every good track racer knows he or she must have a spring big road road season to have a good track season. Well, unfortunately I have not raced much this spring due to my interest in other non-cycling related projects, whereas Adrian has decided--despite the monstrous time commitment of being a full time law school student--to keep on pursuing professional cycling.
Yet, I do have a few tricks up my sleeve. Being in shape is an integral and necessary part of my existence. I have been doing a lot of secret solo ninja training camps consisting of bi-monthly half-marathons, stair running, fixie hill sprints, and CycleU InCycle classes. Let's see if this is enough to be on par with Hegyvary...
The beauty of track racing is its controlled environment and simplicity. As a racer you only have to worry about tactics and fitness. The track is always the same; there are never any high-speed descents or sketchy corners, the pavement is predictable, and you never have to worry about racing in wet weather.
The reason why I personally enjoy track racing more than any other cycling discipline is because I find it to be the most cerebral. Because it is such a controlled environment I only have to worry about complex tactics and going hard. Because of this I can get into my brain more and hit those higher levels of consciousness (aka, the athletic zone, aka, tunnel vision). In Criteriums and road racing I cannot establish such high levels of focus since I am always worrying about crashing in a sharp turn or getting a flat because of some massive hidden pothole lurking in front of me.
As a spectator track racing is great to watch. The race unfolds before your eyes, you can see the whole spectacle happen right there, and you have the option of drinking cool beer in the warm fading sun. Though, do be warned, bring a jacket, because its gets mighty cold when the sun blinks goodnight below the horizon.
I will be there every Friday that I am in town. I hope you are there as well supporting your local racers. Come watch the fixed gear madness ensue!!!
Posted by harm at 11:19 AM
Quick Race Update:
Despite being sick from a poorly timed migraine, Coach Adrian placed second over-all at the grueling Tour of Walla Walla Stage Race. I hate to say it, but he missed the overall win by a mere four seconds...just imagine the damage he could have done with full ammunition.
Nice work Adrian. Keep it going!
Posted by harm at 10:30 AM
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
This weekend was a back to back Criterium Fest.
On Saturday there was the Volunteer Park Crit, a scenic race swirling around the colossal brick observatory tower of Volunteer Park. This Criterium is known for its smooth and fast descent that directly links into a big chainring mashing ascent to the wide open finish line.
The next day, on Easter Sunday, there was the Brad Lewis Memorial Criterium, also known as the Boat Street Crit. Sharp off-camber turns amd numerous road obstacles distinguish this fast and relatively flat Crit. The short length and tricky corners always packs this race with excitement and mayhem.
Both days called for wet weather. Yet, the weather had other plans and decided to save all the miserable rain for Sunday. This meant Volunteer park was dry, sunny, though a little breezy, and had a good showing of cheering spectators--some spectators were even doing human pyramids and pulling all kinds of circus like tricks of balancing people on top of people.
The men's Pro 1/2 race started off quickly with a flurry of attacks from numerous teams. A small break-away of five riders established a respectable gap from the get-go, but the pack had no intention of letting them stay ahead. With about 40 minutes left the peleton finally pulled in the break-away, and, as soon as they were caught, CycleU Coach, Adrian, launched a monstor attack up the grueling uphill portion of the race course. The only other rider able to hang with such an effort was Jamie, riding for team Doppio Cycling presented by Gin-Optics.
Adrian and Jamie worked efficiently together and began increasing their time gap away from the field. Soon they were 30 seconds ahead of the pack. There were a few nervous moments when the pack pulled them back to 18 seconds, but, over-all Adrian and Jamie dominated the pervasive field and crossed the finish line with a 25 second lead.
On the last lap Jamie attacked Adrian on the finishing climb. Adrian managed to cover the attack and then countered the attack on the slight uphill straight-away leading into the finish line and held Jamie off by about ten bike length for the win. Go Adrian!!! Both Jamie and Adrian showed that hands down the are two of the strongest Northwest riders this season.
The following day the weather decided that all us bike racers had too much fun at Volunteer Park and accordingly thought it best to start raining all day with miserable amounts of wetness. I must say, the irony was laughable when the sun peaked out literally seconds after the end of the Men's pro 1/2 race.
Unfourntely the foul weather meant the crowds were sparse. Some of the only true bike warrior fans were friends, family, and supporters of Chad Nikolz and his Gin-Optics eye-wear company which boasted two tents, a barabecue, and a bumping sound-system playing fun and dancy tunes. All day the Doppio Cycling / Gin-Optics team was crowded with merry folk dancing and laughing and trying to stay positive and dry despite the cold temperatures.
The Men's Pro 1/2 race played out very similiarly to the previous day. From the gun there were many small break-away attempts that never stuck. Within minutes the orginal pack of 30 riders had slimmed down to 18 as riders concerned for their health pulled out of the race. The course when wet can be very tricky, dangerous, and a short-cut to getting a cold.
Adrian, pulling his signautre move of this season, attacked half-way through the race and immediately established a huge gap from the field. Soon his teammate, Sam Johnson, began to bridge the gap while bringing another rider from team Lenova along with him.
These three riders worked well together and eventually lapped the field with about 10 laps to go. The sprint was soon coming up and riders began forming lead-out-trains to set-up their sprinters for a harrowing finish.
With one lap to go Sam Johnson proved to have the most pop in his legs after 90 minutes of freezing racing. He took the win, directly ahead of Adrian, who claimed his respectable second place finish.
Coach Adrian is a fine example of the caliber of racers that CycleU has as coaches. Way to go Adrian-keep on givin' them hell!
Posted by harm at 10:22 AM