Well, we are three months into 2016. The year started out a bit slow, but things are now really starting to pick-up.

The last we left off - I was being a gluttonous pig enjoying the fine food and wine offered in France and Italy. Let’s just say the end of 2015 was a relaxing one. Perhaps too relaxing to the point I packed on those infamous holiday pounds. 

With the anticipation of 2016 playing out to be my debut year in competitive cycling, I needed to begin disciplining myself and take my diet more seriously, as well as exercise routinely again. The first change was to control my alcohol consumption. For those who know me, I do love me a good pint or glass. I made a pact prior to entering the new year by giving my liver a break and going through the whole month of January without consuming any alcohol. It was a rough start to say the least. By substituting drinking with high-intensity 30-minute exercises (P90X3) 4-5 days a week, that extra weight stripped right off. The results were visible and I physically, as well as psychologically, felt great. 

(Oh! and I grew a sweet beard, too!)

I was preparing to enter the velodrome and crits this year lone wolf-style. However, I’ll officially announce it here that I’ve recently joined a fresh team of cyclists representing Drop Crank Society led by Edouard Hall. Ed is a popular figure in the cycling community, known for his DCS parties and profession as a trainer. There was an opportunity to join a group of local gentlemen on the same level and train on a set schedule together. It was a no brainer when he came calling to represent his team. You may have already got the hit on my recent posts on Instagram at the gym, spin class, or doing team laps at Central Park.

I’m not saying by any means that we’re going to destroy the competition. We ARE, however, going to compete, give 100%, and try to create waves wherever we go. THAT I can guarantee!

This past weekend was my first Monster Track (as a racer). It didn't necessarily go as I would've hoped and no - I wasn't expecting to make podium. The Financial District and Lower Manhattan was going to give me trouble. I knew it was going to be my weakness going in, even before the race. Before those checkpoints, I was making good time with uptown and midtown. An error I made on Park Avenue set me back and by the time I reached downtown - my routes and pace weren't the best. My slow ass reached Sophie's Bar with completed manifest at 9pm, but the party had already moved to the Beast of Bourbon. I contemplated not even going to the after-party, but I did anyway for the briefest of moments to complete the MT experience.

Even though I finished Monster Track, I certainly didn't feel the joy I expected at the end. Something didn't feel right. It may have  just been because I was too burned out, cold, or rocking a huge tear in my jeans. Maybe because the race started two hours behind schedule. Maybe because I was pissed there were NO checkpoint volunteers at none of the downtown locations by the time I got there (and having to take selfies as a result). It's probably all of it. I don't even know what I placed, but at that point (or even now) - I don't care. All I can do is work harder and strive for better at the next race. It was a learning experience for sure. I congratulate all the winners and participants on a grueling race.

MT means a great deal to a lot of urban cyclists, especially the messenger community. It is still the grand stage to prove your speed, knowledge of the city, and demonstrate one’s open-traffic skills. It’s a race for bragging rights and how you rank among other riders, which is worth more to many people than a Chrome Jersey or trophy.

The integrity of MT, however, has been getting a lot of heat these past days. I won't echo the comments and theories floating around, but I'm sure they're not hard to find if you care enough to know them. From personal experience, all I can say is it was highly unorganized. But perhaps, it's not new to anyone and this probably happens every year. I guess when it's an alley cat bringing in 200+ people out to battle in the streets in NYC - things don't always go according to plan. You'd figure, though, for a race in its 17th edition - it would be a tight operation.

Would I race again next year? Sure.

Now that MT is all finished - I can now focus on the start of track season and…Red Hook Crit. With some intervention from the cycling gods, I successfully registered for Red Hook Crit Brooklyn on April 30th along with two of my teammates. Rumor has it that open registration for the men’s race sold out in 45 seconds. A LOT of people were waitlisted, including several of my peers. I’ll openly admit it – many who were waitlisted are probably more deserving for a place to race than I am. None the less, it doesn’t mean I’m taking the crit lightly. I’m hungry! While people may want the “experience,” I want to race, compete with the best, and prove I was worthy of registration. The next 51 days will be filled with blood, sweat, and tears.

  Red Hook Crit Brooklyn 2015

Red Hook Crit Brooklyn 2015

Note to David Trimble and the RHC organizers – if you are reading this, I think it’s time to restructure registration.

This heavy schedule may lead to BYC being a little less present here on the page, but I certainly have new things in the works. Whether it’s racing, supporting, snapping photos, or taking on new projects/ideas - I’ll be there.

Count on it.