|Posted by nickmulderracing on January 30, 2012 at 12:05 AM||comments (1)|
With a finance degree from the University of Maastricht "in the pocket" my focus (once again) turns to cycling. Like most winters one sits on the bike, dreaming away about the potential succeses next season will inevitably bring, your mind wanders, pondering which victory salute to use when crossing the finish line or how you will gloriously even effortlessly win your first race.
One rarely considers the days and races where pain circulates your body, pounding away at your head asking you; "why do we do this?" Neither the crashes with the fresh smell of crackling carbon the sharp nor the burning sensation the hard pavement brings even enter your mind. Luckily.
Several years wiser, shrewd and even bordering pessimistic I envision a season that will bring both successes and failures. I am not disillusioned by others successes and know that in the end it will come down to a combination of talent, work, and luck. There are no shortcuts, cliche or not cliche, that is not the question but the answer.
Nevertheless, despite my newfound, inherited "wisdom" I've put in a great winter fueled by burning motivation to prove to myself I can do it, I can chase my dreams. A winter full of thousands of kilometers in different countries and even on different continents; dividing my time between my 'base' in Maastricht, my home away from home in Washington DC, and the comfortable temperature and terrains that can be found in Spain.
With renewed confidence the season approaches, my heart pounds harder with the thought of the first races or it might be the caffeine running through my veins. Coffee, every cyclists favorite drink, if their is a miracle 'drug' then for me its coffee.
With just a few days left in DC, I would like to thank all the people that have made my stay most welcoming. The weather looks promising to finish off a few final days of training before I hopscotch to Maastricht then to Tarragona, Spain where I will rejoin my new team to put in the final preparations for the season.
My first race will be the last weekend of February; heres to a successful year! Whether it means winning the local club race, finally earning that promotion, getting back into shape, nailing your final exam, or getting that win you've always dreamed of. Never stop dreaming.
In the words of Steve Jobs, "stay hungry, stay foolish".
|Posted by nickmulderracing on November 11, 2011 at 3:00 PM||comments (0)|
Its been a long time since my last post and for that I apologize.
Last year, 2011 that is, my season started successful after a full winter in barcelona where I was able to train in perfect conditions for several months. I laid the foundation for what I had hoped would be a great year, unfortunately, a year that started well ended on slightly less grandiose note.
The post below covers Tour du Loir et Cher where I had a good performance, I carried this form with me for about a month, racing several UCI 1.2 races and finishing 16th in Ronde van Noord Holland. De Hel van Voerendaal, a favorite race of mine, and the hardest u23 race in Holland was where I had aimed to be at my best. The race started well immediately making the first split of 30 riders on the first climb. The second lap I took responsibility for tempo setting and pushed the pace on the climb, immediately dropping 8 riders. My over-excitement in the race and a late race puncture ended up killing my hopes of a top 5. Rolling in demoralized in 20th.
The next day, I had the prologue of Olympias Tour, 500m in I realized I was no where near recovered and rolled in around 120th finishing 40s behind World TT champ Luke Dubridge.
The following stages I felt like I was stronger then the year before, making most of the splits in the cross winds and finishing 12th on the 3rd stage in the big sprint. The last day 200+km stage I ran out of gas and pulled out of the race.
The weeks after I felt like could carry the form but I was riding on a thin wave between peak form and getting sick. My reserves were low and my immune system was vulnerable. In two u23 races I finished 27th, cutting my self short by bad positioning and laziness.
In the second u23 race we raced in terrible conditions. Rain, cold, and wind culminating in what can be described as a perfect summer day in the Netherlands. I ended up getting sick, diagnosed with a virus. Recovered after a week of antibiotics only to crash really hard on my face in what was race winning break.
A day in the hospital getting stitches instead of on the podium was yet another disappointment I was confronted with. When I was diagnosed the week after with almost no reserve iron levels (ferritine) my morale was gone. Dropping out of nationals and preforming mediocrely for another 2 months in the summer made me question leaving the sport.
Finally in september I screwed my head back on was healthy and hungry. With one important race left on the program, the Eurodeomloop in Kerkrade, I used every ounce of motivation just to make it to the start. Like usual the race was ridden in rain, covering 14 laps of about 12km laps. I felt strong on all the climbs and could follow the best. After 5 laps I took a breather and relinquished my top 10 position to go to the car for food only to be shocked to see only 50 riders left. Each lap more riders were getting dropped on the short steep 10% grade climbs. Eventually the rain, the difficult descents, and hard climbs took its toll and I lost oversight of the race. In the front several groups had ridden off the front. I lacked the confidence to push myself to the limit to follow them. With one lap to go I rode away out of my group and passed several riders to finish around 25th. I felt like a rider again and was happy to finally grab a decent result, not in line with my expectations, but after 3 months of hanging on for dear life in races that I normally could finish with one leg this was satisfying.
Last year took its toll on me mentally and really required me to go deep to find motivation to continue. I am extremely happy I did, I want to keep giving it my all and see where this sport can bring me. For this year I switched teams to be in a new environment and to provide me with a new stimulus, the club is called WV De Jonge Renner. Its a young group of riders and after meeting them for the first time last week I can say it is going to be a fun year.
I am extremely motivated again, I've talked to my coach to create a new plan: less intensity this winter and a bigger base. This past week I trained again everyday and I must say it felt great. The mountain bike, the gym, the road bike, a combination of all three will keep me fit as I head into a crucial year.
Thanks for reading!
|Posted by nickmulderracing on April 24, 2011 at 4:47 AM||comments (0)|
1st stage done. R. Hooghiemster wins from group of 12. The group rode away first 20km, got 4 minutes but our tea, Katusha, Big Mat, and PSK whirlpool missed it. Tried to bridge across with a Katusha and Proflavio but fell short. Last 40-10km stuck on the front with Katusha, closed the gap to 1:30 but we got no help from the French. Finished around 45th...4 stages to go. Tomorrow 200km, time to win back some time eh?
Back to back 200km stages. Finished 36th today in the sprint, it was more of a kamikaze. Had an angel on my shoulder today, saw my life flash before my eyes during one of the sprint points. I slalomed through 5 riders on the ground. Tomorrow is the queen stage, 195km with more climbing. Everything is still within 1:50 so the race is wide open.
Hard 193km stage in hot weather. Group of 18 rode away w/ Takayuki, I bridged with 11 others after 45km. On the local circuits there was a hard climb, 10 riders attacked but I hesitated. On the final lap only 5 were left off the front. In the sprint for place 6th I hooked handlebars and nearly crashed into the barriers. Rolled in as 19th and am now sitting 17th in GC tied for 12th. Tomorrow 97km. Full gas, again.
Back from Tour du Loir et Cher. Finished 17th in the final stage in an uphill finish, breakaway of six took all the bonus seconds so I also stayed 17th in GC. Form is coming for the most important races of the season!
Big upcoming races Olympias Tour and Hel van Voerendaal!
|Posted by nickmulderracing on March 31, 2011 at 4:29 AM||comments (0)|
Dwars door Vlaanderen u23 done and dusted. Not the result I hoped for but the form is coming. Felt really good on the cobbled climbs and always made it up in the top 20. Missed the winning break by 20m just didn't have the legs. Only had one bottle because the damn soigneurs were lost or something. Then it happened again with the second group of 15. Two times "Sjas Patat". Finished in the main group.
This weekend a hard circuit race in France with a 1.5km climb. Then exams next week which I am dreading. The sunday after that I have a really important race, Omloop lek en Ijssel which we won last year with Tom. its part of the u23 competition.
|Posted by nickmulderracing on March 17, 2011 at 4:45 AM||comments (0)|
The race went pretty well despite the undesired result. I stayed in the front at all the most important places in the race and was always in the first echelon. Unfortunately there weren't enough open sections and Katusha missed the front echelons and were always closing the gap.
A few times I was the last guy to make it to the front group but I think the short intervals are helping me go deeper then I normally could. Sometimes youre just dying in the gutter and see it break in front of me. I used to be like crap, but now I had enough to close the gaps. In the end everything was gruppo campacto going into the last 20km. I wanted to get in a move but my teammate beat me to it.
They got caught in the last 5km. I was up there in the sprint, took so many risks but thats natural. It was my first real big sprint where I told myself I was going to go for it. I was sitting well and dodged what felt like 100 crashes. The final traffic circle got me though. I took the left side of the circle, somebody went wide and I had to go full in the brakes losing 15 places. Then a huge crash meant I had to close a 50m gap. I was pretty toast closing it but it was a really fun and nervous finale. I rolled across the line as 30th.
Sunday Meeus Race u23 followed by GP Waregem on Wednesday. Two important races!
|Posted by nickmulderracing on March 1, 2011 at 2:17 PM||comments (0)|
This past weekend I had my first two races of the 2011 season. On saturday I lined up for the Ster van Zwolle a UCI 1.2 170km race in Northern Holland. The wind and rain ended up playing the biggest role. The first hour I felt fine but had a little trouble riding near the front. When we entered an open field and the field went in the gutter I found myself in the second echelon. I didn't panic because I was confident we would come back. When the gap was down to 15 seconds between our two groups I jumped through a small town and made it back to the front group. Unfortunately, when I was back we entered another open section along a canal and I found myself last wheel in the first echelon. I was strong and had no problem following but gaps were forming and I had to surge around. When the pace settled I noticed my legs weren't recovering from the effort, it also felt as if my saddle was lower. Unfortunately, my saddle had come loose and the point was pointing towards the ground. This meant I had to go back to the car and the mechanic gave it a good smack, tightened the screws and I was off. While I was gone the group had split and again I was stuck in the second group. I felt a lot better with my saddle sort of correct. Eventually I made it back with a small group of 10 in the final 5km. My teammate told me he wanted to sprint so I brought him to the front and rolled in with the peloton. I thought that there was a larger group off the front, but apparently only 5 riders, including 2 from Rabobank, 1 CT Jo Piels were left. I finished 35th out of 200.
On Sunday I raced Brussel-Opwijk a 150km race through some of Belgium's cobbled climbs and roads. Despite some muscle soreness from the previous day's changed position I felt good. Early on in the race it was key to be towards the front especially with the wind and climbs coming up. The first time up the Puttersberg, a nasty cobbled climb, I was scared shitless. Since the climb was placed directly after a descent we flew into the climb with 45kph. Its been a while since I have enjoyed the cobbles. I was quick to notice the gutter on the sides of the roads and placed myself strategically in them as my speed wore down. It still hurt. I constantly remained in the front of the peleton with my teammates Lars and Raymond, unfortunately we had missed the early break, but we were not the team to chase it down. On the third lap of 37km I chose a strange place to attack. I sort of rode off the front in my aero tuck and quickly established a gap. I decided to carry on and within a few minutes I was joined by fellow limburger Bram Nolten. We soldiered on trading pulls for a few kilometers. I then looked back and I saw small groups bridging up to us. Looks like I had started the finale…Once our group consolidated the pace was HOT. We were flying trying to stay out of grasp. Unfortunately there were 18 of us and we weren't cooperating. Through the feedzone I took a long hard pull up the climb and we could see the breakaway group only 30 seconds ahead of us. As the KMs flew by our gap grew to 30 seconds and started to look promising. The third run up the Puttersberg I found myself in the paincave. I started the climb as one of the last in our group and had to pass some of the stragglers. My legs were sore as hell and on fire. On top of the climb the false flat section reminded me of nightmares. But I somehow big ringed it past some French lightweights and made it back. Apparently I wasn't the only one that was hurting because the pace sagged and as we turned onto a big provincial highway with a hard side wind the Belgians stopped moved their legs. In Holland it is often the opposite, a sign to go vol gas or full gas. To our demise, small groups started coming back. If I were smart I would have attacked here but I wasn't and I was waiting on our team car because my bottles had flown out and I was getting thirsty. Before long the front group was back up to 100 or so riders as we entered the final three circuits of 6km. As expected the lack of fluids led to a cramp attack. Luckily I could call the team car just in time and get some anti-cramp pills and a 'stick' water bottle before returning back to the group. In the finale my teammate Lars was up the road in a promising move for 3rd place. In the final 6 ams as he was about to be swallowed up by the peloton I launched a move once I finally established my gap with the other 2 in my wheel my legs seized up and I was forced to hold my legs still. I came in the belly of the peloton as 72nd out of 220 starters.
Up next is Mollenbeek-Weersbeek in Belgium, followed by Dorpen Omloop Ruchpen Uci 1.2, Meeus Race U23, GP Waregem U23. The legs are getting better and the training is paying off. I am loads stronger then last year so I am looking forward to snagging a top result!
Thanks for reading.
|Posted by nickmulderracing on February 20, 2011 at 2:47 AM||comments (0)|
Thats right. My season starts on Saturday with the Ster van Zwolle UCI 1.2 (170km). The following day I travel to Belgium to take place in Brussel-Opwijk, a Belgian classic that opens up their first weekend of racing.
Today I received my new Ridley Damocles, a true upgrade from my Ridley last season. The paint job is cool and the details like lime green cables make it one of a kind.
So as my racing begins my winter training comes to an end. I have survived the winter, not only that, but it was a true juxtaposition of last winter. As if I haven't repeated it enough, it was a true disaster and made me a slave to the trainer with a broken elbow and wrist in one incident followed by a car accident that smashed my collarbone in another.
I finished my winter training yesterday with an SRM test which only adds to my confidence as I head into the new season. But now the real work begins. Time to make all those hours of suffering worth it. Time to follow my dream and make it happen.
Here's to a super 2011!
|Posted by nickmulderracing on February 3, 2011 at 3:40 PM||comments (0)|
New year, new kit. Still waiting on my new bike.
Sunday I leave for Mallorca.
|Posted by nickmulderracing on January 25, 2011 at 10:03 PM||comments (0)|
Just like that I say goodbye to my home. My family, my dog, my friends. It feels like I just came home but its with mixed feelings that I say goodbye again. Apprehension, sadness, excitement...a new year, new motivation, the same dreams.
Tomorrow I board a plane back to Barcelona, my past temporary home from September till last December. Its with great satisfaction that I look back and reminisce those memories. The past weeks at home were spectacular as well. Picking up where things left off with my family and becoming closer to them then I have ever been. Hopefully we can stay this connected despite the small pond of water that separates us.
Saturday will be our team presentation. A time where everyone boasts about their training hours, miles, watts. Where some riders are thrusted into the spotlight and others left in their shadows. I prefer to let my legs do the talking. My legs have talked enough to me, its time to show the rest what they are capable of. I will be sitting, confidently, in the shadow.
Next Wednesday I depart for Mallorca only to be joined by my team on Sunday. Here I hope to put the final finishing touches on my training.
It is with great excitement that I look towards the new year. Thanks for the support.
Keep reading and keep the rubber side down,
|Posted by nickmulderracing on January 14, 2011 at 1:23 PM||comments (0)|
Another few solid few days in the books. A lot of sweet spot training which has increased my fitness rapidly.
Yesterday I tried Rocktape on my IT bands. I have to say, not because I get there stuff for free, but my IT bands are not sore today. During my ride it felt like my whole pedaling movement was a a little more stable. I did the exact same training tuesday and thursday and despite being fatigued thursday my watts were higher. Coincidence or science? I am happy with the results and will continue using the product.
I had some neck pain at the end of my ride and asked my mom to tape my neck. I will report back on the results.
Not to leave my other sponsors out but I am madly in love with my SLS3 compression socks. I was heartbroken when I stupidly pulled on them and heard a small rip. Luckily Sebastian from SLS3 sent me a new pair, yes saved! I also have the full leg sleeves and they're great when my legs are really messed up.
The socks are a little more convenient. I've tried compression gear from 4-5 different companies including Skins, 2XU, but SLS3 (also sponsor Ivan Basso so you know its good) is the best one by far. The socks feel natural and I actually like wearing them.
Thanks to both RockTape and SLS3.