Tag Archives: Joey Sullivan

How I came to be on the POA Cycling Team

What did you do New Years Day? I went for a ride in the morning with my mates from the POA Cycling Team. It was a great way to start off the year. I think it is going to be a good one!

I should point out (because I didn’t in the video) that not all the team was there. We were missing eight other riders. Hope we can get everyone together for our team picture which will have to take place soon. It is needed for the launch of our new web site in February.

Also, you will notice that two of the guys weren’t wearing POA kits. Hopefully, that will be taken care of this week when our new duds come in. Rodney and Paul are two of the new guys (though Paul is actually returning to the team after a year away). Eric is also new, but there was an ’09 kit left that fit him.

I’m always feeling like a tag-along on these rides. Perhaps part of it is because of how I came to be on the team. I’m not sure I’ve ever shared the story, so here goes.

I have ridden with several of the POA Cycling Team members for years. John James, Billy White, Luis Sanchez, and I have ridden together since I started riding road bikes. When the ’09 team was being put together I learned all three of these guys would be on the team. Secretly, I wished I was good enough to be invited on.

Shortly before that, I completed the Ride to Austin on a team with Joey Sullivan and Matt Tebbetts. Joey was a current member of the ’08 team. After returning from the trip – which was a great one and created a friendship with my teammates – I learned that Matt was going to join the POA Team. Seemed like everyone around me was going to be riding in the red suits!

Then one day after the season had started I was on a ride with Matt.  He mentioned that Joey might be talking to me about coming on board the team. Joey’s wife was battling cancer and he was not able to devote time to the team and he was going to ask if I could fill in for him. He would still be on the team, but would not be able to participate as much.

I had mixed emotions. One of the reasons I wanted to be on the team was to ride with Joey. I didn’t like the idea of coming on and him not being there. Also, I would be joining the team on Joey’s recommendation – not because I had shown myself worth having. Those thoughts were trumped by the excitement of knowing I would get to join the team for which I hoped to ride.

My feelings of inadequacy were compounded by my not so good ’09 season. Soon after joining the team I broke my finger and missed the first races of the season. I was feeling like maybe I could help out when I placed fourth in my first race back. That turned out to be my highest finish of the year.

The team did great. We were always in the mix in the local races. We managed a couple of championship jerseys. It was a good year.

In 2010, I would like to shake that feeling. It is something I have put on myself and the only way I’m going to be able to get rid of it is to have some good finishes. Looks like I’ll have my first chance at the Paris Mountain Time Trial coming up on January 30.

Coach says I can work it into my schedule – only it won’t be a targeted event. What that means is that I have to do the climb without tapering up to it. I will have to follow my normal training plan even if that means the day before the TT I have to do a hard workout. Still, I’m ready to “turn my legs in anger”. They are starting to feel a little antsy.

Closing a door to open another

Sometimes it seems that I have been riding my bike forever.  That could be due to it being the end of the season, but it also could be because I have packed a lot into the last two years.  Now as the 2009 season comes to a close, I’m having to start thinking about 2010.  I don’t know if I am ready.

My first year riding a road bike, I pretty much meandered around the Upstate and tried to ride fast around the Cleveland Park circuit.  That year of 2006 doesn’t really count.  I started riding in August.

2007 was the year with my first ever goal.  It was to start the process of working toward my first Assault on Mount Mitchell.  Back then it seemed so huge!  Funny, but the fact that I competed in my first race didn’t mean much at the time.  I figured it was a one time experience.

In 2008 I turned 40 and my focus was that climb to the top of Mitchell.  Training for that climb brought me into a close relationship with the back of Paris Mountain and so the obsession with breaking my personal best there was born.  Racing factored into the year as well, but more for the sake of getting ready for my assault.

The Assault on Mount Mitchell lived up to its billing, but the win during the Downtown Greenville Cycling Classic was the highlight of the year for me.  It was completely unexpected, but it got me hooked.  It put me on a high as I headed into the 2008 Palmetto Peloton Project’s Challenge to Conquer Cancer ride.

While on the ride, I met Joey Sullivan and Matt Tebbetts.  We formed a bond during that ride and then early this year, Joey contacted me to see if I would be willing to fill a space for him in the POA Cycling Team.  Secretly, I had been hoping for a spot on the team.  I tried to act like it was no big deal as the guys would talk about it, but coming on board was another one of those unexpected surprises in life.

So, in 2009 my goals shaped around racing – but included the Assault and Paris Mountain.  My goal in racing was to win my first Category 4 race.  My goal for the Assault was to finish in 6 hours and 30 minutes.  My aim for Paris Mountain was to break 12 minutes.

I’ve only got one of those goals – the sub-twelve up Paris.  I finished in 6 hours and 49 minutes on the Mt. Mitchell ride.  My highest place in a race was 4th – in my first race of the year.

Was it a bad year?  Well, I guess if you base it on outcome, one out of three would not be that great.  However, if you consider the goals a means to an end and not the end itself, I would say it was a successful year.  I had fun and learned a lot – not to mention that I am nearly as fit as I have ever been.

One important thing I learned is that if you are going to set goals, you need to have a plan for each of them.  The better the plan, the greater the opportunity for success.  The plan needs to take you beyond your norms.

So, as I close the door on 2009, I’m thinking about the new year.  I’ve decided to have a coach to help me formulate the plans that will help me reach the goals I hope to set.  I’ll be honest, I’m a little scared of the commitment.  Then again, I was scared when I set my sights on climbing Mt. Mitchell.  I was scared when I pulled up to the line for my first race.

I never have regreted turning that crank to start either of them. I’m guessing 2010 won’t be any different.  Now, what will those goals be….?

Simple things and random sites

Last night was one of those times when you learn to enjoy the simple things. I was finishing up my day expecting to get home, grab a bite to eat, and then head out to a meeting. However, my wonderful redhead decided that I would stay with the kids while she went to the meeting.

That allowed me to rush home from work and jump on the bike for a 40 minute ride with some of my teammates. Samantha, Joey, Matt, and I had a good time making several laps around Cleveland Park. I even had a chance to uncork a couple of time on two of the climbs and clocked a power max of just under 1200 watts.

But mostly it was just a pleasure to spin around the park at about 120 watts. I would hate to do that by myself, but when you are with good friends it makes all the difference. Thanks, ya’ll!

And… now… for… RANDOM SITE OF THE DAY!

I have a horrible time remembering all the parts of a bicycle. I’m sure I’ve made my mechanic friends chuckle more than once when I called a part something other than what it was… “It is the dohickie that is making the rattling sound.”

Well, no more… I happened upon “The Parts Of A Bicycle Nomenclature Names.” Say what? Oh, just go look at this page: http://www.jimlangley.net/wrench/bicycleparts.html.

You cyclists have fun out there at Donaldson tonight. I have the meeting and the wife is staying with the kids. I won’t be able to join you.