|Cyclingnews TV News Tech Features Road MTB BMX Cyclo-cross Track Photos Fitness Letters Search Forum|
The John Lieswyn Diary
A pro racer who now mostly concentrates on the US domestic scene, John Lieswyn is one of Cyclingnews' most popular and sometimes controversial diarists. He has been racing since 1985 and a Cyclingnews diarist since 1999. John likes both criteriums and longer road races, and seems to particularly like it when the going is hard. He has raced in the Regio Tour, Peace Race, Tour of Poland, Vuelta a Guatemala, Tooheys GP and Commonwealth Bank Classic with success, as well as winning astages in the Sun Tour, Killington and Superweek. In 2002, he is riding for 7Up/NutraFig.
Brick-surfing at Trenton; disgust and disappointment at Philly
First Union Classic, Trenton, NJ, June 7
Trenton was just plain scary. The heavy rain and rapidly decreasing light made for a real challenge just keeping upright. I was quite amazed at the size of the group. About fifty guys had the cajones to brave the slick streets. I'm not very brave when it comes to cornering on wet bricks. Hincapie was amazing; he'd pull 10 meters out of everyone on some of the turns. It was as if he was on special "aquatread" compound tires. Horner had the race won but he worried too much about the guy he was with and they squandered their lead in the last kilometre. Gord took matters into his own hands with a courageous but narrow victory. I was about 25th, but very pleased with my form and looking forward to Philly on Sunday.
First Union USPRO championships, Philadelphia, PA, June 9
At first I wasn't going to do a report on Philly. I'm doing it because of all the people I met this week that have encouraged me in my writing and cycling. Wonderful people like Kelly Moninger's parents, who I wished I had time to chat with after the race instead of rushing off to catch my flight home. I'm also realizing that I write my diary for another more selfish reason: when I do well I can relate the excitement. When I do poorly it helps me to write about it, closing the book on that race and psyching myself up to continue.
Despite my relaxed attitude towards today's US Pro Road Championship and a confidence that I would do well, I sucked today. I don't know why. At first I blamed my failure on an inopportune flat tire, but the fact is that I missed several opportunities after that to get back into the race.
I'd made the 40 man split at four to go. Alone for 7UP/NutraFig in this lead group, I drifted to the back to wait for reinforcements. We had just 10 seconds over the remainder of the peloton. Then I flatted. After what seemed like the slowest front wheel change in history from neutral support (our team mechanics were back in car #20), I was at the back of the field and I shouldn't have wasted any time moving to the front. The peloton regrouped, slightly reshuffled, and another split occurred. Opportunity number one down.
Now we had only Doug Z up there for 7UP. George Hincapie and Henk Vogels crossed the gap (I was so far back I never even saw them go). Opportunity two missed.
We got really close on Manayunk Wall, opportunity three, but now I just didn't have the legs. As the gap grew I chased as hard as I could, along with guys like Horner (Prime Alliance) Rodriguez (Domo) Tony Cruz (USPS) and Charles Dionne (7UP). Saeco and Mapei had two each in the group, and Horner had Svein Tuft come back to help. Despite some favorites missing the move, the front group was huge, had full representation from leading teams, and it was plain to see they were hauling. We finally had to admit defeat.
Rodriguez pulled the plug before the three finishing circuits in disgust and disappointment. Feelings that I can totally relate to. Whereas Fred will have other big races to redeem himself, I felt obligated to keep going for the scraps that may have been left for our group. When we were two minutes behind the leading 40 guys, Horner said to me "embarrassing isn't it?" The biggest race of the year, the one time we get to compete in a race that makes us all feel like true professionals, and I blew it. End of story.
I can still salvage something out of the second half of the season. After barely racing or training in May, a full slate of hard racing in June should get me FLYING for big races like 'Toona, TT nationals, and Chicago's US Pro Criterium Championships. Next up, the NRC race in Minneapolis. From there I'm going directly to Quebec for North America's only UCI men's stage race, the Tour de Beauce. Three days off, then the NRC stage race in Fitchburg MA. Plenty of chances to drop the hammer and rebuild my team's (and my own) confidence. Thanks for reading.