Friday, February 13, 2009

Texas Training

Howdy Y'all,
only been here for a few days and the lingo is already starting to rub off. OK not quite but everyone here really does talk like that, and I have already got crap for not pronouncing my R's. I flew to San Antonio on Wed. the 11th of Feb. one week before the start of the KBS team camp to get some warm weather miles in. Our General Manager Ken Mills invited me to come stay at his house and train before and after the camp. A very generous offer and being from NJ he knows how rough the east coast winters are. My flight with South West airlines went super smooth and I actually arrived early into Texas(how often does that happen?!). I walked outside the airport and it was almost 80 degrees and I was way over dressed! We got back to Kens nice home just outside San Antonio and I hit the hay early. In the morning I set up my new Gary Fisher road bike. A quick note on the bike. I wasn't sure what to expect of it as I hadn't seen or heard much about our new team bikes before arriving. After setting it up identical to my Lemond (the geometry is the same which is great as I don't have to change my postion) Dave Veilleux and I went out for a 3 hour spin. To my surprise the bike felt the same as my old bike with the added springiness of aluminum. Yeah that's right the frame is full aluminum. We are going to have carbon bikes soon but for now this seems like a good crit bike and a real warrior. My race bike is outfitted with full Sram Red while my training bie has full Force. Bontrager provides great stem handle bar, tape and wheel selections while I ride my tried and true Selle Italia Flite Team addition saddle. It will really be an advantage for me not to have to switch all of my equpment this winter and I am super comfortable on my bike already. I'll let you know how it really goes once I do sprints on it. The training was really good, winds out of the south and really rolling terrain. It is actually just like the training I did in Chapel Hill last winter except 30 degrees warmer!! We rode a gravel road for 15km and crossed a pretty knarly stream! All of my cross skill are really paying off! I have some long miles planned for this weekend with some more specific stuff next week. More on the training later. For now I have to go put in the miles, check back for an update next week when our official team camp starts! See Ya!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Thank You All So Much

Luke and I are now back from Holland, and I'd really like to take this oppertunity to say Thank You to everyone who contributed to our fundraiser and made our trips possible. I was deeply touched at all of the support that both my friends and family and the cycling communtiy gave to our family. I hope that there is some way that I can repay the favor to all of you because you have given us the ability to take advantage of the oppertunity of a lifetime.

As most of you know. Luke headed over to Europe two weeks earlier than I did to race in the final round of the World Cup Series in Roubaix, France. Luke had a great start, but unfortunately he was tangled up in a crash, taking him out of the lead group, on the second lap. Luke rode strongly to finish up 14th place.

On Thursday I met up with Luke at the race Hotel in Riland, Holland, which is about 12km from the race venue in Hoogerheide. The hotel was really cool. It was an old abby that was converted into a hotel. After getting settled into my room and eating lunch, everyone headed over to the race course to get an early look at the venue. At this point the course was slightly slick and it was looking like it was going to melt even more and be quite sloppy. After riding home to the hotel to eat dinner, I pretty much passed out as soon as my head hit the pillow.

7:45 came way too early when the National team coach Geoff Proctor woke us up for his trademark morning walk before breakfast. We then proceeded to eat a breakfast of bread, deli meat, and pasta. Not your typical American bacon and eggs, but there's no reason to complain. I went out early after breakfast and did some intervals, hoping to wake my legs up after the long flight. I found a really cool cobblestone road that I went down, and it continued for as far as I could see, so I eventually turned around. When I got back I ate some lunch, and then I got back in my USA clothing to take some team photos. These photos never seem to surface, but it is always mandatory that we stand out in the cold to take them. The course had changed entirely when we pre-rode it again on Friday. It was very fast and there was no mud to be seen. I was getting pretty psyched and I was completely ready to race.

Saturday morning Luke was selected for a random blood test at 7:00. Unfortunately, Luke passed out when they took his blood, which would throw anyone off their game. The split of 25 riders formed on the first lap, and with Luke starting on the 4th row, he was unable to make the front group. Luke chased hard for the whole race, and he picked off most of the riders that fell off the group. He ended up finishing 13th place, which was an incredible ride considering the circumstances.

Still feeling the jet-lag I was in pretty rough shape when I woke up on Staurday, but I was so psyched to race that it didn't really matter. I started on the last row, but I was able to move my way up pretty quickly after the start. I was riding well, until I went by the pit and there was a huge pile up. I got stuck behind it and lost a lot of time. After that I couldn't find a group to get in, and on such a windy course that is basically a death sentence. I ended up finsihing by myself in 39th place, as the 3rd American finsiher. It was a bit of a dissapointment, but how often can you be completely satisfied without winning.

Sunday was a good time. We got to stick around and watch the Elite Men's race. Let me tell you, those guys are incredible. I cannot even believe how fast they were going. I was slightly dismayed when I was told that the kid who won my race was doing comparable lap times. It's crazy over there. After watching the Elite races, we headed to the airport hotel in brussels.

Luke and I woke up on Monday morning to find that our flight through London was cancelled. Apparently they can't handle a few inches of snowfall. I couldn't help but think how much snow it would take to slow down Boston, but I guess that's why New Englanders are just so amazing. Luckily, two of our travel companions had cell phone service, and we got our flight rescheduled for Tuesday. Ironically, Tuesday was a mirror image of Monday. Our flight through London had been shut down. I jumped into the Customer service line, and after being shuffled around for a while, I got our flight changed to go through Washington DC. We end up taking off ten minutes earlier than we would have going to London.

We finally touched down in Boston at 11:00 P.M. Now you would assume that this is where I leave you with the happily ever after of my tale, but the shuttle that we were supposed to take was shut down for the night, and with the road being quite treacherous with snow it seemed we were stuck for the night. We then proceeded to barricade ourselves in the corner of the International Arrivals terminal, and try to get some rest for the night. Morning came for me at 1:00, and I then entertained myself until the 6:15 shuttle in the morning with my iPod, prayers of Thanksgiving, and plenty of reading.

Talk about an adventure. This trip was absolutely amazing. Not only for the invaluable racing experince, but in every way. Everything from getting to see Luke race his last Worlds as a junior to sleeping in an airport terminal was absolutely priceless, and I just want everyone to know how incredibly grateful I am.


Friday, January 30, 2009

VeloNews Photography | Kelly Snow Camp: New Englander Matt Keough leads ... | The Journal of Competitive Cycling.

VeloNews Photography Kelly Snow Camp: New Englander Matt Keough leads ... The Journal of Competitive Cycling.

This really annoys me! If you are not a certain 7 time Tour de France, winner the media doesn't even care! This year it is my goal to make sure nobody ever forgets my name!


Kelly Benefits Winter Training Camp

Just back from our first team camp of 2009. I flew out to Winter Park Colorado, where our team Director Jonas Carney lives, on Wednesday the 21st of Jan. My flight went smoothly and showed up on time. It was strange flying to a team camp with not one piece of cycling apparel, just ski gear and warm clothes. I immediately met up with the infamous El Gato(Jonny Sundt). We sat down for a cup of coffee at an airport cafe as there was some time to kill before the others arrived. We met up with Cando, and Erker, and finally Scott Zwizanski came through for us with the rental car and picked us up right in front of the terminal, what service!! The drive out to winter park was long but scenic and by the time we got there we were starved. The other half of the crew was to come in later so we went out to eat with Jonas before meeting up with the other guys at the house. We hit the sack wondering exactly what kind of "team building" activities Jonas had in store for us over the next few days.

We woke up relatively early and were told that we were going to go conquer a Mountain on snows shoes. Being from wintry New England I had a distinct advantage over guys like Neil Shirley form San Diego who hasn't played in the snow for years! We got going straight away and hike for about an hour and a half to reach the summit. We worked as a team breaking new trail but as in any competitive group of guys we soon began a race. A few of the guys, Erk, Neil, Ryan Anderson, and Deja Vu, decided it would be best to climb straight to the top. The rest of us, myself Zach Bell, Gato, Jonas, Cando, Ried, Zwizza, and Bowman, all decided to tack back and forth across the face in order to move faster and use less energy. We made the first peak at about the same time but because our method put us further across we were actually a few minutes ahead. There was no rest and we continued at this juncture Dave and Randy bridged up to Zach Reid and Myself to make up the front group. We pushed ahead until Deja made a clutch decision to remove his snow shies on a particularly rock section. He pulled ahead of me and the gap was just too big to bring back by the summit. Dave summited about a minute ahead of me with Reid close behind. At the top we found a huge cornice and jumped off it into some waist deep powder. The trip down was not so much fun as going down in the deep snow with snowshoes just wasn't productive. Every step you took you had to take an extra 20 seconds to get you feet out of the snow. We made it down fine however and waited in the base lodge for Charles who had apparently made it most of the way up, a good distance behind us, and now for we new was lost on the mountain! He impressively made it down not far behind everyone and we headed back to the house to get warm.

Later in the day Dan Bowman and I decided to start the weekend long project of making the Death Sled jump in the back yard. We made the run in and first hit but the snow was too light to effectively work with so we decided to leave the rest for the next day, but not before Dan hucked off it and landed on a pretty huge stump!! We went out for Pizza with the whole team after Casey Gibson did some head shots for the Team Website.

Friday half of us went Classic Nordic skiing and the other half went snow boarding with Jonas. It was snowing pretty hard all day but the skiing was still good. I have been skiing a lot back home so this was really just a normal day of training. After we got back to the house and had some lunch Zach and I went out to work on the Death Sled Jump. The snow was perfect for building and before long we had the run in dialed with two pretty good sized doubles and a berm at the end. We rode it for a few hours with no serious injuries and plenty of close calls! All in a days work!

Saturday we split up again this time between skate skiing and snowboarding. I have only skate skied on my classic back country skis at home so this was a new experience. I picked it up relatively quick and got in a good hard work out. By the time we were headed back it was white out conditions and it took us a few attempts just to get out of the park! We got back and just chilled out as everyone was pretty tired. We had a team meeting and then went out to dinner together at a seafood restaurant. As an aside I have a general rule that I have developed after living 21 years on coastal Cape Cod- If you can't see the ocean, don't buy the fish!. Obviously at 9500ft there was no ocean within a couple hundred miles. After some debate with the waitress about the "fresh catch of the day" (I mean seriously, how fresh could it be!) I ordered the Ahi Tuna, it was decent although not Cape quality, we left with a full team snowball fight in the parking lot and headed home.

Sunday morning we had some team photos to do as well as some more death sledding. We got some pictures before flying out and headed over Bertha pass to the airport. There was some concern because the pass was closed earlier for Avalanche blasting. It was fine however and we made it to the airport with plenty of time to spare. We hung out at the airport ant all boarded our flights on time. I had a bit of flight trouble, par for the course, the flight attendant broke one of the over head bins so a mechanic had to come on board, that put us out of the deicing line which in turn put us 2 hours behind. I arrived in Boston at 2 in the morning and Mom and Dad were there waiting! THANKS! Well that's it for this trip, tune in to here about our real Training Camp in a few weeks. I am heading down to Texas a week early to train at Ken Mills house. Should be fun, actually riding with all the guys but be assured there will be plenty of off the bike antics! PEACE OUT!