Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Closing out my season

     This season has been incredible. I had many ups and downs but in the end I can look back and see just how much fun I had and the experience I gained while racing and living in Europe. I also made several friends here, which has been super cool. I completed almost all my goals and made a lot of progression as a rider. I capped my season off with an 11th place in the junior World Championships in Tabor, Czech Republic. 

Riding around 9th position, seconds off of group for 6th I had a rough crash that put me back into around 20th with 2 to go. I gave it everything I had and finished 2 seconds out of top 10. The environment was ecstatic. Worlds is something different entirely.. That is for sure. 

I can't thank the Segers enough for allowing me to live with them and pursue my dream. I honestly feel like part of the family and I'm going to miss you guys so much! (Especially Moekes soup:p) It's been amazing!  Tom, can't wait to see what the future brings man! Have a great mountain bike season with your team! Love you guys!

Thanks to my parents for the on going support in every way. Thanks for letting me chase my dreams and staying positive through everything. Especially my dad for making everything a smooth process. Countless emails and phone calls made this possible. You're awesome. 

To my coach Matt Weik. I wouldn't have had such success without you. Thanks for always being flexible and positive. You have helped me with a lot more than just cycling in my life. I appreciate what you do for me!

To Tom McDaniel for all the support in the US races and being an incredible friend. One of the best mechanics and people I have had the privilege to work with. 

Thanks to all my supporters in Europe who are constantly asking how races went and wishing me good luck! As well as my supporters in the US. I love you guys. I miss everyone back in Louisville very much! Hope to visit soon.

To Focus Bikes, thanks for everything. It's been an amazing 2 years of support! Everyone I have met involved with this company has been very helpful and kind. We climbed a lot of podiums, did a lot of training, and took some amazing pictures together :) I hope for more!

Sram CX1 really does care. You guys helped me at almost every race wether it be something as small as asking if I want a coffee, or as large as redoing my entire bike. All I had to do was ask. You guys are more than professional and it was awesome to be apart of that.

Also a huge thanks to Challenge tires for all the help. I was prepared for everything this season! HED wheels for my bomb proof Ardenns! We hopped many barriers ;) 

To Wellness Chiropractic Care,  when I arrived to nationals I didn't think I would be racing. I was in so much pain. Thanks for the best adjustments I've ever had! You're the best!

Cuore for my sweet kits, Bontrager for the amazing shoes, Bell Helmets for keeping me safe, Oakley for the fresh and safe eye wear, Enzo's Button for the best Embro around, Time For supporting me with very light and reliable pedals, and to infinite nutrition as well as SWORD nutrition for helping me stay cramp free! 

Also huge thanks to USA cycling for all their help at the races and with traveling this season. We shocked some euros together. Let's keep doing that!

I'm excited to move on to u23 category! It's going to be a big challenge but I'm looking forward to seeing what I can do! 

Being a junior is something I will never forget.

Thanks to all.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Slip N Slide to Victory in the UK

Milton Keynes (Non World Cup) UCI junior race 

The trip to the UK was a great time. My Mom's side of the family is all from England so I was able to visit family and not just focus on racing. I stayed at my cousins house in a Milton Keynes and it was just a fantastic couple days. I drank more tea in 3 days then I have in 3 years and am now having trouble saying certain words without a British accent. I guess you could say it was a succeful trip :)                           (pictures below with cousins)

Getting to the bicycle part of things.. Milton Keynes was genius. The course was beautiful. The Dutch would say "Heel Mooi" it offered almost everything that makes cyclocross great. Off cambers, climbs, run ups, 180s, and MUD. One of the best tracks I've ever had the chance to race on. I hope this race becomes a classic.

With the conditions only getting worse Saturday morning.. I was ready for some action. It was special to warm up hearing my name called out from grandparents, cousins, and other relatives. I had several supporters watching and I was determined to make it a good show for them. I started 3rd row because of some call up issues so I didn't get my usual front row start. However, I wasn't too worried because like I've said before, on tracks like these the strongest riders do well. Not always the fastest starters.  

(A special thanks to Tom Hopper and Richard Breininger who saved my race when I had a last minute mechanical before the start. You guys are awesome.)

The first corner was a hard right, then you're on the off cambers. (Pic above is after 1st corner) Surprisingly by turn 2 I was in 4th... Just before the crazy decent where I knew crashes would be happening. I turned out to be one of its victims :) a rider in front of my went down and I didn't react fast enough. WHOOOOSHH.. I slid on my butt for a good 5 feet before I could get up. I won't lie, I laughed as it happened. It's still funny to think about 

The first lap I just focused on staying smooth and catching the 3 guys in front of me. By the end of the first lap I was leading. This time around I didn't crash on the decent of death, and managed to stay clean every other lap after that as well. :) this is one of my first big mud races I've done on my Focus CX Mares and it handled stellar. Disks were also super beneficial on a course like this. 

As the race went on I was able to extend my lead thanks to the amazing pit work by Tom Segers and Mario Yskout who allowed me to switch bikes every half lap. Clock work. My Challenge Limus tires hooked up amazing at 16psi in the front and 17psi in the rear. The SRAM cx1 was perfect and the shifting never failed me. Thanks for making this possible Challenge and SRAM!

Was insane to have thousands of fans cheering on every part of the course. So motivating! The crowds in Milton Keynes were the best so far.

The last lap was just staying smooth and having fun. Super happy to put it together in front of family and an amazing crowd. 

                With my Grandparents :)

Thanks for reading.

Until next time.

Gavin T.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Disappointed to Over joyed in 24 hours.

Saturday, Koksijde 

It was pretty amazing to race on such a legendary and historical course. More then anything it was a learning experience. This course is interesting, and definitely favored the riders with the ability to ride sand. I liked the course a lot, however it wasn't my day. 

I had a good start, top 5 for the first half lap, but then it began to fall apart. I was making mistakes right and left that I couldn't recover from. Before I knew it I was 12th and I didn't have the power I normally do to close down gaps. I made my way back to 7th but was passed back and finished 11th. 

Though it was disappointing to not race my best it was still incredible to be apart of something that historical. American Gage Hecht rode a brilliant race to take the win. Amazing result for his first CX race here in Belgium. Congratulations man! Also good job to the other Americans. I know how intimidating it is to line up for the first time against these guys. It only gets better from here!

I also had several supporters at Koksijde which was awesome. Thanks for coming to the races and cheering for me every weekend. You make even the hard days enjoyable!

Sunday, Superprestige, Francorchamps

 I loved this course. I think the power of positive thinking goes a long way. I had good conversations with my coach and my Dad the night before and I was mentally ready for Sunday. I took all the stress of getting a result and decided I was going to race because this is what I love to do.

We arrived to Francorchamps and it was a beautiful area. Sweet knowing about all the Formula 1 racing that has happened here. My dad had been asking me to read a book about Ayrton Senna and I recently finished it. It mentions this track several times. Funny to be here just a few days later...

This course has everything. Climbs, drops, Run Ups (so hard they called it.. And I quote.. "The f*****g wall") power sections, and lots of fans. A beautiful course. 

The start was a 200 meter downhill into a killer 18% climb. So the race starts. I'm having a decent holshot (or so I think). Seconds before we hit the climb I was swarmed by riders from the left and right. (You can see it happen in the highlight video.) I found myself go from top 5 to top 30 in seconds. Crazy.
I've learned not to panic when this stuff happens. This is euro cross and if you mess up you pay the price. The best thing to do is just stay calm and race smooth. Coming up the start/finish  Climb into the second lap I put out a big effort and went from about 20th position to 8th. I took a little time to recover then it was back on the gas. 

Coming to the end of the third lap I was able to catch top 3 which was a Fidea rider and Gage Hecht. It was funny because I didn't know where I really was until I heard the announcer say "And here are the 3 chasers going for 2nd position"  

I tried to recover once I caught them but the attacks didn't stop and it was a brutal last two laps. 

With 1 to go the Fidea rider had gapped Gage and I by just a few seconds. Moments later Gage got off his bike and started running. He flatted and had to make his way to the pit. Big bummer for him but the race wasn't over and I was doing my best to catch the Fidea rider.

I made contact with him with half a lap left but made a few mistakes and couldn't rejoin. I focused just on just staying clean and doing my best to secure 3rd.

The last time through the pits I looked at Tom Segers and we both smiled. It was a very special moment because I knew I was about to do something we both have worked so hard for. I crossed the line for third. This is the biggest result of my career so far and I can't explain the emotions I felt. It was an amazing moment. That feeling alone has motivated me to make this happen again, and maybe even a step or two higher on the podium next time.

I want to thank all my sponsors for making this possible. The support I have been given this season through the good and the bad has been more than professional. I want to thank my Parents for believing in me and letting a high school student travel the world doing what he loves. The segers for letting me live here as if I was one of their own children. My coach, Matt Weik, for getting me to this level. Everyone back home supporting me via social media. It's all a dream come true. Thanks again everyone.

Flowers for Tom Segers Mother because she has been like a grandmother to me. Cooking for me all the time during the week and we work on puzzles together. She's awesome :)

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Cincy 3 race reports

Before I get started I want to say this weekend was awesome. The courses, organizers, and crowds were amazing. Thanks to everyone who helped make it possible. It was a blast! 

     Saturday, Kings Wood Cx,

     I started 4th row, as I didn't have any UCI points but I wasn't too worried because 45 minutes is quite a bit of time to move up. Especially on a course as hard as this one. The hardest part for me was a section near the end of the course where you went up a steep hill 3 times in a row with only seconds rest, when coasting down one side before going up the next. 
    I stayed patient and made my way to the front but by the time I was there, Gage Hecht was already 7 seconds up on me. While that gap was small I couldn't close it down. Gage rode an amazing race and was simply too strong for me that day. 

     I attacked out of the chase group in a sand pit section and was able to finish second behind a very strong Mr. Hecht. Great race man!  

        (It was a cold podium)

      Sunday, Pan American Championships,

       One of the more technical courses I've ever done, this race was awesome! I had a better start position and good legs, so I was pretty excited to see how things went. I had a good start, 4th in the holeshot and felt fine. I stayed there for a lap and then tried making an aggressive move on a sick decent which ended in a hard crash. 

     I took a bit of time to recover, maybe a little too long, but I was worried about my ribs as I landed on my chest in the fall. I went back to just outside the top 10 and took a lap to get my head together, then it was back on the gas. My plan was to catch a guy, rest for a couple minutes then attack and move up to the next group/guy. I knew I could get back to the podium after a couple laps of this. 

     I moved into top 4 with 3 to go, and rode with Lance Haidet for half a lap then continued my surge. Then soon I was with my buddy Spencer Petrov with 2 laps remaining and didn't rest that time. Spencer is a strong racer and I just wanted to keep maintaining a fast but smooth pace.
       (Christopher Blevins and I on the last lap)
     Finally I caught second place on the last lap (Christopher Blevins) and attacked him immiedetly. I had a small gap going into a hard little climb with lose dirt. I messed up and he caught back on. At that point we had half a lap remaining and I decided to take my chances in the sprint. Chris picked the pace up going into the remaining minutes of the race, trying to get rid of me. I was questioning his tactics but later found out he had a problem with his pedal and couldn't pull up hard without coming out. So he was doing everything he could to avoid a sprint. I accelerated around him into the last corner and sprinted out of the corner for second place. Great ride to Chris, finishing with only one working pedal. Way to finish with a mechanical! Once again Gage was the best of the group and deserved his win. Excited to race with him and others in Europe soon!

Thanks for reading!
-Gavin T

Thanks to Kent Baumgardt and Christopher Schmidt for the pictures!

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Valkenburg WC, My Race Report

     I loved the course at Valkenburg. It was technical and had a lot of climbing, suiting me very well. My USA teammates and I raced the junior men Sunday morning at 10 am. It was still slick from the morning fog, and a perfect tempertature for racing. 
                   (Warming up with last minute advise from head coach Geoff Proctor)
     I started 3rd row, but managed to squeeze my way into second row ;) gotta be sneaky with these euros haha. I picked a dumb place to start but.. you know how it is. You see the best position on the starting grid and automatically take that instead of the smart one that doesn't get you pinched in the first corner. Bad decision. 

     The light turned green and things were already off to a bad start. The German in front of me missed his pedal and caused the two riders behind him to crash. I went to an almost dead stop to ride around them. 

     In the first corner there was already crashes happening and I just got off my bike and started running. On the bright side, I saw my buddy Lance Haidet had a killer start and was riding top 5. I was envious but stoked at the same time :) being at the front of these races is something most Americans don't experiance. Even if it's for a brief moment, you know you're riding with the best in the world. Something special. 
                (Trying to make my way through the  rider congestion on the first lap)
     The first lap I just tried to stay calm. I knew the gaps to the leaders had already opened to almost 40 seconds because when you're behind crashes the first lap and not at the front, well..that's just how it goes. You have to mentally know that you won't be winning but can still get a decent result. Just suck it up and go.

     Second lap in I started moving up quite a bit, pulling my way to around 17th. I tried making my time up on the long climbing sections. At this level everybody is good, so I had to find places to use my energy where it counted and places to rest behind guys where I wasn't moving up. Coming into the third lap, I saw top 15, as well as Lance about 10 seconds up the road.
                         (On long road climb)

     I caught the group at the beginning of the lap and tried communicating with Lance but it was too hectic as we were in a group of 5 guys all trying to lead. So I attacked out of that group the first chance I got and kept pressing forward. Unfortunately Lance went down pretty hard and had to pit, suffering from a timely mechanical. 
         (Tire of choice was the challenge Limus at 22 psi in the front and 23 in the rear)
     4th lap things stayed roughly the same and I started to feel the effects of such a tough course. I decided to rest that lap and let a couple Netherlands and French guys catch me to pull me around for a little, as we were coming into 2 laps remaining. Starting the 5th lap I attacked hard and went all in. I saw the group ahead of me racing for 7th that a Belgian with us had just bridged across to. So I knew if he could do it, so could I. I made contact with them near the end of the 5th lap. Then it went down hill fast. 
         (Bontrager shoes were super stiff and my Time pedals cleaned the mud out perfectly)
     I crashed hard. I was caught and gapped by the group of 5 and had 2 guys behind me chasing hard with only half a lap left. I gave it everything I had and finished just out of reach to the group. 12 seconds to top 10. 
                                 (Last lap at top of rode climb) (HED Wheels rode amazing)
     It's hard for me to show extreme happiness with this result. Don't get me wrong 12th isn't anything to complain about, but I was there. I was racing for UCI points in a World Cup. To have a mistake that I made take that away isn't diassapointimg as much as it is motivating to just do better next time. Please don't confuse my words for disappointment. It's passion, and I can't wait to get the chance to line up against the best in the world, yet another time.

     Can't forget to mention my other USA teammates! Lance pulled a solid top 20 after a rough mechanical, and Jordan Lewis completed his first European race finishing In the top 40, I believe. Way to go man! 

     I hope Jordan doesn't mind me sharing one of my favorite moments of the trip. 

     We were hanging out after our race, sharing stories and just having a good time. Jordan at some point In our conversation goes "guys.. I was just going so hard.. I didn't even know if I was doing good or bad man" Lance and I couldn't stop laughing because it sums up the racing over here perfectly. It's the hardest thing I've ever done. 
               (Jordan Lewis, Lance Haidet, and myself after our race)
     A huge thanks to USA cycling and Geoff proctor for making this trip happen! Had lots of fun and it was a super smooth process. 

     Next race report coming soon.

 Thanks for reading,
Gavin T.

A huge thanks to Red Zone Cycling, Focus Bikes, Coure of Switzerland, Hed wheels, Infinite Nutrition, Bontrager shoes, Challenge Tires, Bell Helemts, and Time Pedals for making this possible 

Friday, October 17, 2014

Some things I needed to say.

     I wrote this on the plane to Brussels. There isn't much to do when you fly. You have movies, sleep, and music. I found it a great time to reflect on my past. This has been on my mind for a while and I wanted to make a quick post about it.

     I miss my friends back in the Midwest, and am blessed I was able to grow up there.

     I've been a lot of places for racing and there isn't anything like home. Everyone claims that their development program is this or that but after being able to actually see how others are developing kids to be the "future" of the sport; i have come to an easy conclusion. The Midwest is doing it right. No doubt in my mind.

     I was taught how to win, lose, be a good teammate, treat your competitors with respect, never quit, and most importantly - I learned to love riding my bike.

     I'm thankful that I was taught to enjoy riding my bike, and not just worry about racing. I loved cycling before I even thought about racing. 

      It sickens me when I see kids riding their hearts out only because they want to make their parents, friends, or somebody proud. I see it all the time. When you're 10, worrying about your parents being angry if you don't podium. There is no way you will enjoy any part of what you're doing. I'm not saying go out to a race and have a "leisurely ride through the park". I'm saying the coaches/mentors of these junior teams should be teaching kids to love riding their bikes.  Not just focusing on being the "top junior team" or winning every race they enter. Clubs need to understand nobody remembers who the "junior team of the year" was in 2002, or anytime for that matter. Yes it's cool to win when you're 9 or 12, but it's even cooler to win the elite race when you're 25. You want your kids to ride 10 years from now. Teams need to stop pressuring young junior riders, show them why riding is fun, and let them develope their competitive edge themselves. 

     When the time comes to step it up and they still have the love. Well then making the jump to the next level doesn't feel like it's being forced but rather a decision for he/she to make. 

      As a young junior I never felt pressured to race my bike. The Midwest cycling community and mainly Louisville did that for me.

     There are so many people to thank for helping me develope my passion for cycling. The Midwest is inspiring because they want to see you succeed. My Dad, the McShanes, Bob Bobrow, Curtis Tolson, Joe Collins, Mike Hewitt, Corey Green, Doug Dobrozsi, Mitch Gram, Chris Halioris, the entire OVCX staff.. the list goes on and on. It's something I haven't seen anywhere else. The passion and patience to grow the sport the right way. 

     I want to thank the Midwest cycling community, for everything. While I'm still an amature in the sport, I'm blessed I was taught the right way to do things. I can't explain how excited I am to come back in just a few weeks to race in both Cinci and my hometown, Louisville. It will be something special. So if you see me out at the course please stop me and say hello, I miss all of you and can't wait to come home. You're doing it right, Midwest. Don't stop.

     Never forget where you come from.

Until next time.
-Gavin T

List of pictures in order from when I started racing until now.
                (My first year of cyclocross at Friday practice)
                                    (My best friend Ian and I racing MTB)
                               (I used to be nice and fluffy guys, don't hate.) 
                           (2009, Bend Nationals)

               (2010 at Nationals with Pencer Petrov, Me, Ben Golver, and ian McShane)

        (A couple years ago at Derby City Cup) 

                               (Beginning of 2013 cyclocross season)

                   (First 1/2 win in OVCX series)

                       (After race "John Bryan" last season)

                                                 (Ian and I)

                                      (Last season, in Europe)
                     (Legendary after race stories with Josey Weik)

                       (All in for 2014-2015 cross season)

          (My friend, Lance and I today in Sittard, Netherlands)