Per some requests from fellow fans and racers, I’m following up the Deaflympics with a more thorough detailed story of the road race so ya’ll can see how it unfolded…

The course:
2 laps of 50km on some main highways, town roads, 2 gradual (1-2%) 2-3 mile climbs midway and one large hill at 5% for 2 miles starting about 8 miles from the finish / lap line. The roads were treacherous… Small potholes everywhere then smart car sized potholes midway! Luckily we didn’t lose any riders in those bottomless holes, they were dark and hungry! Gladly the race organizers brightened them up with some warning paint!

The race:
The race started out fast! I kind of anticipated that because of the fact that it’s such a short race. However I stayed behind some riders at the front so I can preserve my energy since it was windy! It will be hard to breakaway alone as most of the attacks put out were solo without anyone else chasing. A few attacks had some potential but we (some of us including myself) kept them from sliding away.

When we reached the bottom of the first gradual climb, Roz with Russia tried to pull away and I chased him in hopes we would form up a strong breakaway group. Once he did his pull, I pulled through for 30 seconds. I looked back, Roz had dropped the pace and let me go. I turned my head back and kept my pace up. I was alone for 1 mile until another Russian rider joined me and we worked hard together to create a strong gap. We worked well together to the base of the 2 mile hill climb, creating 30 seconds gap.

Once we made it to the top, I looked back to check and I saw that a 3 man group had broke away from the peloton to chase us down. We communicated to let them catch up since they would eventually catch us on the downhill and the flat roads paired with wind.

Now there were 5 of us ahead of the peloton. I am not sure of how big the gap was at this point, but if I had to guess, I would say around 45 seconds. I wanted to keep the pace up so no one else will catch us on the downhill portion, so I went in the front to let my heavy frame pull the group through the wind. The officials and support cars in front of us were having trouble pulling the oncoming traffic over so they would be out of the way in case anything happens.
I saw a large van pulled over to block a car and the driver in the car didn’t understand what was going on so he pulled out in front of us, blocking our path! This meant go left between the car and the van or go right between the car and the curb! I reacted and tried to signal to others behind me to watch out and dodged to the left. I looked back to check on the group. I saw that 1 went right and 2 other riders followed me without a scrape, however I saw one rider unluckily hit the trunk of the car! My heart sunk and I slowed down momentarily til I saw the official in front of me urging me on. I shook my head and prayed silently for Roz, who went down, as I resumed the pace.  This group dropped down to 4 riders.

Once we reached the flats, I pulled up on my reins to save my energy and snuck back inside the group.  I looked back again, and there was another group!  This time 7 of them were working hard to catch us and zip by us so we couldn’t hook on.  We knew that they would do that since their speed was blazing compared to ours.  We all latched on and hung on.  The group led us through the lap line with a few more attacks to break up the group. I remained calm while recovering from latching onto the group until I saw Dan Carruthers, with New Zealand, attack right before a highway ramp which led us to another highway. A Russian rider attacked as well after he saw that Dan had put in a good gap already. I followed through with the 2 Italians that were picking up the pace to catch them. Then the leading Italian dropped the pace dramatically which let the 2nd Italian through. He pedaled slowly when I was finally able to get through. I put the hammer down and saw that the 2nd Italian had hopped on behind me. We were creating a good gap already and catching up to the other 2 riders. I flicked my elbow indicating I wanted him to pull through to help us catch up faster. He wouldn’t come through! So looked back to see what’s up. He was cooked and I couldn’t let their group catch up again after such sweet attack… I put my head into an animal mode and silently pounded away to catch the 2 riders.

I could see the gap between us and the front closing while the group was slipping back slowly. I urged my legs to smoothly churn the pedals and I was in the zone! My legs spinning effortlessly while my breaths were flowing over my fore arms rymthically. 5 minutes later we were a 4 man team! The group had dropped back 30 seconds already… The 2nd Italian pulled through with a thumbs up as thank you. I sat behind the other 3 riders for a few pulls then I joined them to do my share of pulls to keep the gap forming.

30 seconds gap slowly turned into 45. Once the 1 minute gap was created, we motivated each other to keep building the gap up to at least 1.5 minutes then we can sit up for a bit. We slowly cranked that gap up to 1.5 minutes and then all of a sudden the 4 of us got a second wind… I think seeing the gap time continue to build both motivated us even more and played a mental trick on the group behind us. Instead of seeing the gap continue to build slowly, it went up faster once we hit the gradual climbs. We had a strong climber (Russia) , all-rounder (myself), a fast descender (New Zealand) and a steady pacer (Italy). We all helped each other pace well!

As we neared the bottom of the 2 mile hill, UK had caught up to us while we built the gap up to 3 minutes! Impressive feat, however we dropped him again on the final climb.  I looked back and he was nowhere to be seen for half mile. We took turns together to keep the speed down the hill hair rising fast! No mishaps this time down… Whew! Once we arrived the flats, it was all about keeping it up till 5 km to go! The four of us let the steam up a little while friendly taking turns at the front for no more than 20 seconds.

Inside the 1km, the UK rider had popped out of nowhere and attacked with 500 meters to go! The 4 of us looked at each other then Dan surged forward! I jumped then sat back down because my legs were cooked at this point (started to twitch /cramp). I saw Dan had continued to dominate the sprint and win while I crossed the line 5 seconds behind the four others, claiming 5th.

I came to find out that Dan was demoted from Gold to 4th place because he “cut” off the Russian’s line inside the 200m. I was disappointed as well because he looked like he rode straight-ish enough not to be a hazard and not to impede the Russian’s chance. He had already dominated him! Oh well, guess that’s part of racing…  all I know is I put my heart out there and raced with lots of grace with great competitors from all over the world! :-)

Race with Grace! – Klishy

First off, I must thank all my fans and supporters, especially my girlfriend, Sarah, for believing in me and watching me come to fruition at the 2013 Deaflympics!  This year has been a very fruitful and focused training season.  I was very conservative and saved my fire for this big event.

Trip on the way there: What a chaotic trip on the way to Sofia, Bulgaria!  Everything was going well until we got to Washington DC and found out the plane had been delayed due to some sort of electrical problem.  A long wait turned into a nightmare…  I would not get there until right before the opening ceremony.  This leaves me very little time to get my bike ready and really take in the wonderful ceremonies.  We were put into a hotel in Washington DC over night and then we returned the next day to try get on a plane, coming to find out they wanted to charge for my bike bags AGAIN – I refused blatantly, I could have just accepted it and gotten on the plane… I was stubborn for some reason – I think I was just super tired and worn out from trying to get to Bulgaria.  I even broke down and asked to go home – I was that exhausted.  Luckily I had 2 people sticking by my side – Sarah and a flight scheduler from United that believed I should be in Bulgaria!  I am so grateful everything turned around from there and we finally got a plane that sounded promising with the right terms.  We got there right before the opening ceremony, but I chose to forego attending it to focus on getting my bike ready.  I was glad I did that because I ended up working on the bike until 1am with all the distractions going on!

Off we go from Grand Junction Airport!

Off we go from Grand Junction Airport!

In Washington DC before finding out the bad news...

In Washington DC before finding out the bad news…

The classic waiting game before getting the new boarding passes to Europe!

The classic waiting game before getting the new boarding passes to Europe!

Result Report:

1000M Sprints; Bronze – This event was the longest of any other one! We were there for 6 hours, this included warmup, sprints, and keeping my legs warm on the trainer in between heats! What an experience! They chose to use a one-way 3 lane highway for this event (closed it just for us); It was a 250m long stretch each way with 180 degree turn. Then a 200m sprint line was placed about 50m from the last turn. The preliminary heats had 1 chance win-all rule, then the quarterfinals (top 4) had to race for the best of 3.  I made it all the way to the top 4 without losing, then I lost my first one to the eventual 2nd place Russian. I contested my 2nd one against him by attacking with 500m to go instead of waiting for the 200m and I won by a huge margin. However, I lost the next one. Then when I raced for 3rd place (semifinals), I lost the 1st round again; I tried to place myself behind the German for the 200m sprint and won the 2nd round. As for the 3rd round, I decided to do the same attack I did with Russian because it was a total surprise and I’m really good with a hard attack then holding at a high pace they can’t hold (see clip of this in this video starting at 2:03: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CASONB9DPXg). This worked again as I crossed the line with a huge margin again. BRONZE sealed! (final results: http://dvelo.com/2088/deaflympics-sofia-2013-1000m-sprint/)

Sarah pinning my numbers on with a medal winning smile!

Sarah pinning my numbers on with a medal winning smile! –> Credits: Bill Millios

Waiting for our starts...

Waiting for our starts… –> Credits: Bill Millios

2nd Round of Semifinals #2 - win!

2nd Round of Semifinals #2 – win! –> Credits: Bill Millios

3rd Round of Semifinals#2 Sprints - WIN BRONZE!

3rd Round of Semifinals#2 Sprints – WIN BRONZE! –> Credits: Bill Millios

38km Time Trial; 4th place – My chain came off at the start so I had to stop and place it back on, which cost me about 15 seconds (you can see the mishap in the video at 3:20 here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1WoLtOzgIBM).  This course was 19km out and back along another closed one-way highway.  This was very scenic and hilly!  This played into my favor as I really enjoy long climbs at 4-5% (ended up with about 3 miles long climb).  The top 3 finishers had a full aero set up while I only had my road bike paired up with aero bars and standard gearing setup.  I think I might have done better with a 55T for the long descents and a more aero back and front wheel setup.  My coach tells me aerodynamics plays 80% into the equation of racing!   Anyway, I ended up being only 7 seconds away from 3rd… if it wasn’t for the start mishap, I would have sealed another medal! (final results: http://dvelo.com/2079/deaflympic-sofia-2013-time-trial/)

100km Road Race; 5th place – This race consisted of 2 laps of 50km roads skirting the outsides of Sofia, Bulgaria, in their beautiful countryside.  Many thanks for Bulgaria to set up such a fun race course and coordinating the closures… I got 5th in a breakaway we formed beginning of 2nd lap and I had nothing left for the final sprint to match a UK rider that illegally caught up to us and then slingshot off of us. He was dropped coming up the final hill about 8 miles from the finish and the 4 of us worked hard to 1km. Then out of nowhere UK rider sprung on us. We were not aware there was a 5th rider among us. We came to find out through a spectator and UCI official (even had a video of him doing this) that he was drafting off of cars to catch up to us on the way down.  I personally think he should have been disqualified. He was given SILVER instead.  All I can do at this point is to reflect on the hard work I put in to push everyone to their limits in this race.  I raced with all of my heart and lots of grace as well!  (final results: http://dvelo.com/2108/deaflympics-sofia-2013-road-race/)

During the road race - working with Dan Carruthers!

During the road race – working with Dan Carruthers!

Road Race Finish - I'm the last of the group... had nothing left!

Road Race Finish – I’m the last of the group… had nothing left!

Mountain Bike; Bronze – 4 laps of 5.5km with 10% average grade for half of the course to the top paired with loose and technical switchbacks at the top, then steep and loose descent back down to the bottom.  I decided to rent a mountain bike in Bulgaria to minimize the hassle of transporting 2 bikes and disassembling/re-assembling 2 bikes.  Patrick Sluyter (was supposed to come, but had to forego this year due to family issues) located a high quality mountain bike manufacturer right in Sofia!  RAM Bikes was the perfect solution so I rented their high end racing machine for this event.  (Thanks RAM bikes for letting me use your awesome setup for this event!)  I was 4th place for most of the race as I couldn’t find my legs for a while until the last lap.  At the bottom of 4th lap, I was about 1minute and 30 seconds behind the leader.  I finally was able to use one gear larger on the climb up and keep the 3rd place Russian in my sight the entire way up to the top. Then I passed him right at the top and cruised down the loose and sketchy downhill to my 2nd medal, closing up on the leader at 55 seconds behind! 2nd BRONZE sealed! (final results: http://dvelo.com/2122/deaflympics-sofia-2013-cross-country-xco/)

At the start waiting among other steaming competitors

At the start waiting among other steaming competitors. –> Credits: Bill Millios

Posing for the camera at the start - keeping it fun!

Posing for the camera at the start – keeping it fun! –> Credits: Bill Millios

Off we go!

Off we go! –> Credits: Bill Millios

Climbing up the fun technical part for spectators!

Climbing up the fun technical part for spectators! –> Credits: Bill Millios

Times of riders at bottom of Lap 4...  go get 'em!

Times of riders at bottom of Lap 4… go get ‘em! –> Credits: Bill Millios

One more time back up!

One more time back up! –> Credits: Bill Millios

Last descent!  3rd place sealed!

Last descent! 3rd place sealed! –> Credits: Bill Millios

Posing at the finish showing "3" for 3rd place...  whew!  Good competition ya'll!

Posing at the finish showing “3″ for 3rd place… whew! Good competition ya’ll! –> Credits: Bill Millios

Posin' with French (2nd) & Russian (1st)!

Posin’ with French (2nd) & Russian (1st)! –>Credits: Kirill Pestov

50km Points Race; GOLD – The course was perfect for me! They used the same area as the sprints for this event, with exception of a longer stretch at 500m each way. This played into my advantage as it turned out to be like Cyclocross… Executing a sharp turn then sprint to keep my gap, then apply a strong steady effort for 400m to next turn again. I broke away about 40 laps to go because there were too much crashing was going on. I decided to see if I could stay away from the mess and it worked! I also used the advantage of how a pack usually works in a race, especially a points race. We were awarded points in every other lap (every 2km); 5 points for 1st rider to cross the line, 3 for 2nd, 2 for 3rd, and 4th. Because I broke away and kept winning 5 points lap after lap; I accumulated 105 (which is the new record in any Deaf Cycling Points Race event in the world!) points and 2nd place came in at 28. I was thrilled I was able to put in such a strong performance after 4 days of racing! I really wanted to go home with a Gold, and my dream came true!  (final results: http://dvelo.com/2125/deaflympics-sofia-2013-point-race/)

Sarah Lubing up my bike!

Sarah lubing up my bike!

Discussing strategy with Sarah - she also helped me tune in some decision thinking!  Thanks sweetie!   --> Credits: Bill Millios

Discussing strategy with Sarah – she also helped me tune in some decision thinking! –> Credits: Bill Millios

First turn of the race...  yikes - didn't realize it looked this bad behind me!

First turn of the race… yikes – didn’t realize it looked this bad behind me! –> Credits: Bill Millios

Turn #2 of Points Race - yowch!  Paul Woods (USA) went down here and had mechanical problems, which forced him out of the race :(

Turn #2 of Points Race – yowch! Paul Woods (USA) went down here and had mechanical problems, which forced him out of the race :( –> Credits: Bill Millios

In the pack, staying up in the front & away from trouble...

In the pack, staying up in the front & away from trouble…

Still in the pack (far left, behind red jersey), enjoying the competition vibe!

Still in the pack (far left, behind red jersey), enjoying the competition vibe!

The start of the breakaway!

The start of the breakaway!

2013Deaflympics Points Race Leading

Ahead of the pack – keeping my breakaway up!

Further ahead!

Further ahead! –> Credits: Bill Millios

Gotta keep the pressure on!

Gotta keep the pressure on! I believe this is 5 laps to go…

Done!  Very overwhelmed with sense of accomplishment and gratitude!!

Done! Very overwhelmed with sense of accomplishment and gratitude!!

Receiving a GOLD medal fan crowd hug!  Thanks ya'll!

Receiving a GOLD medal fan crowd hug! Thanks ya’ll!

Results summary: 5th place, 4th place, 2 Bronze, and 1 Gold!  I was very close to bringing home 5 medals, but I am very happy with how I put everything on the plate and did very well.  Top 5 in all events and being the only rider to have competed in all events with 3 medals!  My coach is right, I’m an all-arounder!  I immensely enjoy every biking event so it was rewarding to see that I can compete among the strongest in the world while maintaining performance in each group of specialty!

On the podium for Points Race!

On the podium for Points Race!

Lindsay and I with our hardware!  Lindsay got 3rd in the 1000m sprints!

Lindsay and I with our hardware… Lindsay got 3rd in the 1000m sprints!

Posing with my biggest supporter, Sarah, and my medal haul!

Posing with my biggest supporter, Sarah, and my medal haul!

Posing with the USA Deaf Cycling Team! (Paul Wood, Raymonda Yeh, Lindsay Lorenz, and myself)

Posing with the USA Deaf Cycling Team! (Paul Wood, Raymonda Yeh, Lindsay Lorenz, and myself)

Trip back home: This time around it was smooth sailing all the way home!  Whew! :)  I even had a wonderful surprise of a welcome home crowd!  My mom drove from Denver to be there as well!!!  What a honor and thank you!

Goodbye beautiful Sofia - I'll be back!

Goodbye beautiful Sofia – I’ll be back!

WOW!!!!  Thanks for the wonderful welcome!!!!

WOW!!!! Thanks for the wonderful welcome!!!!

Final Note:  I plan on returning to the next Deaflympics which will be taking place in Turkey in the year of 2017! I also plan to help USA Deaf Cycling raise some money so we can take more athletes to represent for us!

Acknowledgements:  Many thanks to my great supporters, fans, family, and friends for sticking by me.  I know it has been a long journey for some of them to watch me go through the hard phases of cycling/training and continue to cheer me on to strive on for the greatest of the greatest! :)  Big devotion of acknowledgement also go to my sponsors and supporters:  Julbo Eyewear (they’ve been with me for 3 years now and they continue to provide me high quality sunglasses!); Feedback Sports (I’ve been with them for 3 years as well and will be participating among the team in the upcoming cyclocross season…  they make and provide amazing bike repair stands that are easy to setup for use and breakdown for transportation!); LTR Sports (I’ve been with them for 1 year and they’ve been really GREAT with providing high quality service for my bikes.  They helped me select my new racing machine, Giant TCR Advanced 1, then Adam S. provided me the amazing fit setup – my back has hurt a lot less this year and have been able to enjoy my riding immensely more this year.  LTR Sports is located in Grand Junction and they provide amazingly fast turnaround service – same day service so you can stay on track with your training!); Ergotron (I received a workstation from them last summer and it’s been great to be able to stand up or sit down while keeping my office work ergonomics optimized.  It’s so important to work in a healthy environment so your body can last!  There IS such a thing as sitting disease – look it up!); Roll Recovery (my college classmate invented an amazing massage tool and allowed me to showcase his brilliance around the world.  Amazing stuff – they’ve helped my muscles stay supple for all these top notch events!) XTERRA (They’ve stuck by my side the last 5 years, investing in my dream to grow my non-profit organization DEAFlete.  They’ve been my #1 supporter since then – thank you for believing in me and being my family!); My wonderful girlfriend, Sarah, for supporting me during my long training season and cooking me numerous nutritious dinners for after the hard rides; My genius coach, Greg Mueller (we’ve been working together for the past 3.5 years and he knows me real well.  He knows how to really hold me back and let the fire go when it’s time!  He taught me how crucial it is to have quality workouts paired with rest in order to achieve high level of performance!)  AND finally, thanks to USA Deaf Cycling for getting me fired up for this competition!  We, as a team, struggled in the beginning, but then we GREW into a team at the end of this trip.  We really came together to inspire each other more… that’s what I love about participating in such events with teams so we can fuel each other up!

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Traveling to Taiwan today…

Posted: October 30, 2012 in Racing
Packing the bike

Bena watching me in the early morning breaking the bike up to pack up into the bag!

So, I’m sitting at the San Francisco International Airport, waiting for my next flight to Taiwan. I woke up around 5:00 am to get my bike packed up inside a Ruster Sport’s Hen house bag (http://www.rustersports.com/hen-house.html).

Bike ready to be put into the Hen House!

The bike is completely broken down, covered up with pipe foam, and parts velcroed together to protect movement within the bag.

This bag is an interesting product and works like charm so far on this trip. Their goal was to get the linear inch of the bike bag under 62 inches so we don’t have to pay that hefty fee for the “oversize baggage” of approximately $200-$250 EACH way!!! It would not fit at first and it took my girlfriend, Sarah, to recognize that my cranks were in the way. With the cranks taken off, it barely fit my large CX bike! Very stoked to have it working – it was also very easy to carry around with me compared to the other bike boxes / bags I’ve used before. I was surprised I arrived at the check-in with the bike bag weighing only at 27 pounds and the wheel bag only at 26 pounds! I put all my clothes and gear in those bags. Then I took a carry on bag with my laptop in it. Pretty simple – don’t need much on this trip… Then I worked half day today to get everything on track before I left.

I also had been moving the last 3 days from one house to another with Sarah – it had been chaotic trying to get everything moved out and into the new house, AND clean the house before the next month started so we wouldn’t have to pay the next month of rent. Then everything was all over the place!  I got overwhelmed easily with packing for this trip. Luckily I was able to keep calm and get it done. My dad patiently stood by my side as I finished packing after work right before going to the airport. Then he took me to the airport and wished me luck as Sarah had to work…

At the GJ Airport

Taken by my dad before I go in – wheel bag on my left and the hen house is on my shoulder on the right. Simple!

So, why am I going to Taiwan?! I’m riding for the USA Deaf Cycling team (http://www.usdeafcycling.org/), participating in the “Tour de Formosa” for the next 10 days. I will attempt to post updates on the FB page through WordPress so you can see where we are in the race. This race is basically a Tour de France for deaf riders, only cleaner. Speaking of which, with all this cycling talk going on, it’s amazing to see how many different views there are out there. I was recently most touched by this article and I think it applies most accurately in today’ society (http://www.tnr.com/article/109212/cyclings-secret-it-may-be-the-worlds-cleanest-sport#). It’s unfortunate, but true.  I am actually glad to hear it’s becoming more cleaner nowadays because it really levels out the playing field and makes it feel much more respected.

Anyway, back to the tour – Nick Schrieber from Arizona and I will be racing together in the 7 stage race among some 40 riders from all over the world. You may read their introduction page here… http://deaftourdetaiwan.deafsports.org.tw/welcomemessageen. This is an exciting honor to be riding in this race! Please keep your eyes peeled on the updates!

Eye Candy for mountain bikers!

SFO has a museum dedicated to mountain biking! This is a site to see right in the International Terminal…

Race with grace,
John

Xterra Worlds 2011

Posted: October 26, 2011 in Race report, Racing

Whew!  I’m sitting @ Taylor Seavey’s temporary home on Maui, HI, reflecting on the race @ Xterra Worlds that took place on October 23, 2011…  Took me some time to recover and gather some energy to write this up.  Many thanks to Seavey family for letting me stay here as I recover and visit!

Getting all prepped up for the swim...

Posing with great friends before the swim, from left: Taylor Seavey, Melissa Norland, John Klish, and Matt Signoretty.

Mass start of the swim in front of a massive spectator crowd!

The swim was the best swim I have ever had and I had so much fun with it, regardless of all the beatings I received.  The start turned out really well since I had a fast entry and got to the front quickly so I could get in a head start for 1 second!  Then everyone else swarmed around me, kicking me, grabbing my legs, punching my sides as they passed me.  I forced myself to stay calm, which I was able to do so the entire swim.  As we approached the first buoy, people in front of me slowed down to get around it which resulted in bottle-necking.  People from behind were still swimming full speed into the bottle-neck, over me and pushed me down into the water.  I got pushed deeper and deeper as each line of people came over.  As I let go of my last breath and saw the bubbles float to the sky, I thought “boy, that was my last breath, it’s time for me to get back out!” so I grabbed someone’s leg and pulled with all my might to get out.  I surfaced and first thing I did was swim forward to get out of the hell-hole!  Sorry for whoever I pulled on, but I needed to get out!  Hope you were able to carry on as well.  Anyway, I was able to resume my rhythm rather quickly without panicking, past the 2nd buoy, then onto the beach for the short 50 yard beach sprint to do another lap.  The beach sprint worked to my advantage since I passed 4 people and felt great going back into the water.  I had to remind myself as I was running the beach, that I am doing another lap and that I need to make sure I keep my breath calm.  Once I started swimming, I started to run out of breath, so I just focused on breathing while remaining swimming.  This plan worked well as I was able to complete the entire swim without backstroking!!

Once I got out of the water again, I ran as hard as I could, using the transition run time partly as a warm-up for the bike portion.  I came into T1 looking for my bike and I couldn’t see it!  I had passed my bike and missed it by a few bikes – it was behind me the whole time as I stood there in a bewildered state for a good 15 seconds, scratching my head!  I couldn’t look into the crowd to look for my supporters because the crowd was massive and it’s better to count on myself at this point.  I couldn’t hear my name anyway, so I was on my own to depend on my so-called reliable eyes…  Once I turned my head to look back, I located it, put on my biking shoes quickly, put on my helmet, and then bolted for the bike exit.  As I neared the transition area exit, one of the marshals said my helmet wasn’t buckled, so I had to stop momentarily to buckle it before I can “legally” leave the area!  Next time, I’ll be sure to buckle my helmet first thing when I put it on since I will be messing around with it anyway!

As I hopped on the bike, first thing that popped in my head was “cyclocross mounting does pay off!!!!”  I have now been cyclocross racing for a full year and now am a few points away from being Cat 1 cyclocross racer.  Remounting is a big skill to have during cyclocross racing and it turns out to be handy for triathlons!!  Anyhow, I put the hammer down and started passing people immediately as I know the first mile is all paved and straight up to heaven.  I lost count after passing 30 people before hopping onto the singletrack and started having fun!  Except, around mile 2, as I passed another competitor, we both locked handlebars while attempting to pass a couple of ladies around and over a sharp technical feature.  We both went down hard and I got up quickly to stay out of the mess and the oncoming wave of people.  I looked back at the guy to make sure he was okay, and he appeared to be okay because he stood there, yelling at me.  I didn’t waste time and got back on.  We both continued to battle each other up and down the hills – I finally found my match!  We both matched each other’s speed pretty closely.  As we rode a calmer section of the course near the end, he whined that he had some cuts and is bleeding a bit from our crash.  I showed him that I also got some cuts and told him that it’s all part of the game.  He swallowed it and just kept on riding.  I felt bad but at the same time, I’ve been racing for years and you get to the point where you know when you need to stay back and when you need to keep moving.  He was just upset that we locked bars and that’s all part of the game.  Sorry bro!  The bike course was top-notch!  I enjoyed every bit of it because it had technical turns, steep long climbs, fast descents, and great views!  I didn’t want this ride to end (as you can see in my face in the photo below), but I had to put an end to it as I entered T2.

All smiles @ mile 6!

The T2 transition was fast for me since I was able to put the bike away quickly and put on my running shoes before a couple of other competitors exited.  I struggled with my set up as I ran out because I tied my number to my hat and should not do that next time.  I had to make sure I had the number on before I left T2.  So, next time I will just put a clip on instead of tying it together.

Heading out for the run portion!

Darian Seavey, Taylor’s Dad, had made me an ice collar the night before and it worked its charm for the first 15 minutes.  I couldn’t believe how quick the heat got to it!  Once the ice melted, I overheated and had to walk most of the hills, run the flats and the downhills.  It was by far the hardest “run” of my life, because every time I tried to push it up the hills, my heart would start to get overloaded.  My legs and lungs felt great, the heart just didn’t have the pumping power!  At this point, I told myself in my head to keep moving and just finish the race.  I don’t care how well I finish, all I cared was to  be able to finish it.  This strategy worked well for me since I was able to save my energy for the downhills and catch up to a few people on the way down.  There was one more brutal climb on a paved path before reaching the bottom, which was unbelievably hot and steep.  I walked the whole section and had to stop a few times to let my heart catch its breath.  I had the people running the aid station in the vicinity, pour 4 cups of refreshing cold water on me as I passed them.  I crawled and pulled my way to the top of this hill and said “This is it!  You’re almost to the bottom…  keep going, you can do it!”  Once I made it to the bottom, the hell beach was painstakingly long to complete.  The sand was so soft and hot.  At this point, I didn’t want to do anymore.  I stopped once more on the beach before hitting the last hill to the finish and got my breath to run for 50 feet!  I saw Matt Signoretty’s mom at the bottom of the hill, yelling “come on John!!!!!  Finish is right up there!  Come on!!!”  All I could think was “I KNOW!!  Oh my god, this hill looks like 13 miles!”  I got one more breath near her again, then tried to jog up the hill.  As I started jogging again, I saw Melanie McQuaid buckled over on the ground with a bunch of people pouring cold, ice water on her.  I thought to myself, just keep yourself calm and just finish it.  I was extremely worried about Mel, but she had all the support she could get so I kept going.  I jogged for another MAYBE a good 10 feet before I had to walk the hill again.  Once I arrived on the flat part of the hill, I looked back and saw another competitor coming up, so I dug deep and pushed myself to run to the finish.  I did it!!!!  I finished my first Xterra Worlds!!!!!  I placed 9th in my 30-34 Age Group, 70th overall out of 670 competitors in 2:54:31.

Once I passed the finish line, my legs just buckled and I fell into the arms of the HOT flower girl.  Before the race, I had made it my goal to get a hug and a kiss from her at the finish, but instead I passed out!  I was put in a wheelchair and hauled off to the medical tent.  “No, don’t take me away from her!  She can take care of me!” I kept screaming on the way there.  They ignored me and hooked me up with a bag of IV and put two freezing cold towels on me to help me cool off quickly.  After 15 minutes, I was out of the hole and was able to eat solid food and got back on my feet.  That was my first time getting an IV after a race!  What an experience – I plan to prepare better next time.  Even though I didn’t get the race I wanted, I got the experience I wanted… I look forward to next year’s Xterra Worlds!

Flower Girl carrying me away...

Yikes! Even 2 layers of sunscreen still didn't do the trick!

Enjoy the Xterra Worlds Highlight Video here

Please check out the results here:  http://www.jtltiming.com/results/x-maui11.html

Many congrats to the DEAFlete athletes for their hard work (please click on their names to go to their websites for their stories):  Taylor Seavey @ 5th in 20-24 Age Group, 77th overall @ 2:55:56; Mat Signoretty @ 8th in 20-24 Age Group, 135th overall @ 3:07:59; Jessi Stensland @ 2nd in 35-39 Age Group, 155th overall @ 3:10:52.

Many thanks to my sponsors: Julbo Eyewear for the great glasses (I used Dirt on the bike and Ultra on the run), Grand Traverse Landscaping LLC for the support, Honey Stinger for the gels (Strawberry & Ginsting flavors), Feedback Sports & Squirt Lube for great their lubing system, Mountain Pedaler for keeping my bike up to speed, Vail Foundation & Vail Ski Resorts for their support, and all my friends and family for their never-ending support!!!!!

Aloha!

08/13/2011 @ XTERRA B.O.L.T

Posted: August 16, 2011 in Race report

Another great weekend of racing in the belt!  I left Friday late morning for the XTERRA event near Lincoln, Nebraska at Branched Oak Lake.  In case you’re wondering, B.O.L.T. stands for Branched Oak Lake Triathlon!  Clever…  Anyway, I had hoped to arrive around 6 to 7pm, but because of numerous construction on I-80, I arrived at the campgrounds next to the lake around 10:00pm!  What a long drive that was.  I had never expected Nebraska to be so humid, I ended up having to run BOTH the wipers and the defroster to get my windshield de-fogged!  That’s how humid it was!

I woke up early next day, to pick up the race packet and get the transitions set up.  This would be my first race to swim point-to-point so I was very excited about that.  I came to find out we also swim without our wetsuits!  I was a bit nervous as I never have swam without a wetsuit in open water.  The water was perfect temperature so I put in a good amount of warming up in the water, before the race, to get my mind used to the environment and the thought of swimming without my security blanket!

As I waited around for the start, I noticed that the field was smaller than the other 2 Xterras I’ve been to this year so far.  As a typical deaf athlete, I let a row of people stand in front of me so I know when the race started.  Once everyone started moving, I jumped into the water and started swimming.  I noticed I didn’t have to pull or push so many people, so the start was very painless – no bashing in the face or foot meeting the nuts!  It turns out I was 9th out of the water, so that was good news for me because then I don’t have to pass so many riders as you all know that the bike is my favorite part!  The course was very much like a cyclocross race – mowed grass, tight switchbacks, muddy corners, and beer poured all over us… ok, no the beer didn’t take place.

I caught up to the first place when I got on the pavement (which was about 1/3 of the way through the bike leg) and he tried to get behind me by implementing the draft effect.  I knew his game plan as I was passing him and could see him trying hard to keep on my tail.  I tried shaking him off by swerving out and pushing a bit harder when he fell off my tail.  I looked back after I put in a good push and sure enough, his head fell downward and I could see him pull back his power.  YEAH!!  Thanks to my coach for the awesome training!  I continued putting in diesel power to build my lead.  I blew by a turn-off point, so I had to turn around and pass the same guy again and rebuild my lead.  Then, we faced even more switchbacks!  Their trails really meander here!  Then I missed another turn!  I lost maybe a total of 4-5 minutes…  By the time I was done with the bike leg, my abs and arms were unusually fatigued.  That’s how many switchbacks there were!

The run mostly took place on the grass through the campgrounds.  I couldn’t really power through it because the grass was so wet that if you tried to push off too hard, you’ll slip!  So it was almost like running on sand the entire time.  The altitude is significantly lower than at home, 1120′ versus 6600′, so the run was pretty easy to breathe through, however my legs weren’t 100% since I did a pretty hard training run workout on Thursday, which was ok – it’s all part of the training plan for the Nationals anyway.  **Suspense music plays…** dum dah dum…  I ended up winning the race!  SWEET VICTORY!  Hats off to Wade Wheatlake for 2nd place, Kevin Burke for 3rd place, and Jessi Stensland for 1st female overall!  Great race and great people, as usual.  See here for results!

Then I stayed around to help the breakdown of the course – the coordinators were so great to work with.  Many thanks for the opportunity and I look forward to coming back next year.

Thanks to my coach, sponsors, Charlie Brown @ Mountain Pedaler and my family and friends for always believing in me and giving such great support.  Always remember to be grateful for those around you – they’re a huge part of your life… well, at least mine anyway :)  On to the next one! -Klishy

08/06-07/11 Race Weekend Recap

Posted: August 8, 2011 in Race report

Wow!  I am having so much fun this year – I competed in the Indian Peaks XTERRA on Saturday and got 2nd place overall, behind Brad Zoller!  He took off 5 minutes from last year’s time as well – he’s getting stronger every year.  Great training partner and carpool company :)  Anyway, I’m really happy to announce that I took off 10 minutes total from last year’s time – 4 minutes faster swim, 1.5 minutes faster total transitions, 3.5 minutes faster bike, and 1 minute faster run!!!!  That even counted tripping twice on the run, which I had to pull back on the gas and recollect myself and slap myself in my mind “pick up yer dang feet!”  Michael Hagen (Age Group 45-49) was amazing on the hills so I stuck with him to help me pace smarter, then I blasted by him near the end on the downhill for the victory!  check out the race results here…  Indian Peaks XTERRA Results.  I am stoked to keep up my training for next season – my goal is to compete in the Beaver Creek XTERRA again and place in the top 7!

I also competed in the 10k @ 10,000′ the next day on the Vail Mountain.  I definitely went out way too hard at the start.  I thought I would try something new today to test my running fitness, but I’m not quite there yet, which put me 7th overall.  I was only 20 seconds back from 3rd place overall, so I’m definitely pacing myself better next time.  At least it was a great experience to see where I come out after yesterday’s hard effort.  My legs were definitely tired – a buddy of mine (William Desportes) running the race took turns with me on the trail near the end of the race, trying to motivate each other catch up to the guys ahead of us.  I had NOTHING left – it was like trying to run a lawnmower on low gas and re-starting it repeatedly to finish the job!  Great work to William for finishing strong! Whew – I LOVED the course though.  Check out their course details @ http://www.vailrec.com/trailrunningseries.cfm - nice work Vail Recreation District!!  Scott was there taking pictures – RAD pictures!  Check ‘em out here… 10k @ 10,000′ Photos!

Thank you all for the continuing support and having fun with me!  Live life large!

-Klishy

08/05/2011

Posted: August 4, 2011 in Race report

Welp, 2nd set of 3rd place, for the Vail Recreation District‘s Series MTB races, earned last night in the Pro field @ Boneyard Brawl race! Good season for shure! :) Those of you cheering me out there – you rock… fueling my fire to ride harder! Thanks! :)

Oh, by the way, Scott took awesome pictures – check ‘em out:http://www.mcclarrinonphotography.com/MountainBikingEvents2011/Boneyard-Brawl-2011/18365861_hRChrG#1415103732_GJHZ5bk