by John Petrylak


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MARCH 2016

You have not lived until you hear the alarm go off at 5:30am on a random Tuesday morning in late January only to know that you will be riding your bike in the same place, staring at the same wall for the next 2 hours. This is the kind of morning that requires 2 cups of coffee before hitting the trainer. I think I've learned to love my trainer; what's not to love? You can do hill repeats, tempo rides, recovery rides and everything in between all from the comfort of your pain cave. And then after all this jump in the shower and head out the door to your other job; the one that actually pays you!

All of this trainer abuse during the week and big rides on weekends trying to get a decent early season form. The "Pantani" ride is always a good measuring stick for early season form. This year was especially cold I think the high was around 20 degrees. It was also attended by some of Virginia's cycling royalty Mr. Jeremiah Bishop and David Flaten. After a few miles in I quickly realized I was wearing too much ( I always make this mistake). I unzipped and vented the best I could without losing contact with the main group. I settled into a pace that was tough but maintainable. Jeremiah, David, Wes and I kept this pace all the way up to Simmons Gap and then things got real...very quickly! On the steepest part of the climb David and Jeremiah pushed a super human pace that made me taste my breakfast; I knew it was time to ride my pace. They quickly disappeared out of my sight as I was managing this climb as best as possible. I had a respectable time up and over the mountain. Wes and I traded 3rd place over the last 10 miles but ultimately he got a gap on me and I was happy to roll back in not frost bitten and in one piece in 4th place.

There I am in the back "always chasing" the fast guys.

With Pantani done and over I was ready to head back to RVA for the famed Monster Cross.

The usual suspects lined up in the front ready to grind out 50 miles of the most unique race I do all year. It's incredible how fast the pace was this year. I can't tell you the last time my heart rate was in Zone 6 but it got there for too long this year at Monster Cross. I had a great race and felt really good for the entire 3 hours. 17th place is no reason to celebrate but it was by far my best effort at this race.

No questions I rode with some great folks this day. We had lots of chatting going on in the group and it was a memorable 3 hours of suffering with new friends.

"training races" I'm looking forward to this year. Most of my focus will be on racing as many VORS races as possible with some VAXXC races and a few 100 milers mixed in for fun. I'm going to check in every month or so as our season gets going. Until then I'll be out riding or on the traine

ABOUT John Petrylak
At 37 years old with 2 busy kids involved in travel soccer, karate and ballet I gotta get creative sometimes to fit in my training. If it wasn't for my wife Amanda keeping things together  none of this could happen. 

I grew up riding my bicycle everywhere it was my most prized possession! That turned into riding and eventually racing dirt bikes. I raced motocross off and on from the early 90's through 2009. During this time I always rode my mountain bike to cross train but I was never serious about racing it. Then I was invited to participate in a 24 hour race on a 4 man team in 2010. After the first lap I was hooked!

I sold my dirt bike, started losing weight and rode the wheels off my mountain bike. Cycling has brought so many wonderful people into our lives and has created too many wonderful family memories to count. I started racing my mountain bike late in life but I'm happy to make up lost time!