I’m Lucky!!

This sucks

So we’re going in to the 2nd week of offseason riding. I rode 6 of the last 7 days. I took today off because sometimes you just have to watch youtube videos with your 7 year old before work. I also thought it would be a good idea since the lactic acid had really built up this week in my legs. Staying with the 4 week ftp booster just wasn’t an option this week. I realized, that after dropping my ftp signifigantly I still was unable to complete the workouts. I ended up doing a few group rides on Zwift and just doing recovery pace on Friday and Saturday.

I started the week with a weight of 173 lbs, and a CTL of 27.7. Today my weight is 171 lbs and my CTL is 29.1. It will be nice to get my CTL above 30 for the first time in over a month, and if I could just get my weight consistently under 170 lbs next week I would be a lot happier with my progress. It’s all about small gains for me right now.

All of ya’ll need to calm down.

My 4 year old son

I’ve been thinking a lot about negativity, negative people, and toxic people this week. How people become negative, are people always negative, and how do people get so toxic? I can only speak from some of the research I’ve done, and my experiences. Everyone is negative at times. Our brain automatically defaults to negativity. It’s how we react to the negativity in our lives that keep us from becoming toxic people. When I am involvled in a negative situation I always try and learn from it. Why did I get so negative? What was I doing at the time that caused me to react so negatively. Most of the time I find that situations I was negative in I thought I was acting in a positive manner. The outcome became negative because I didn’t think my actions through and just reacted with an idea at that time. The lesssons become to not always act on something, espicially when the situation has nothing to do with you. I think people become toxic when they don’t try and learn from negative events. Toxic people want to always bring you down to their level. You just have to block those people from your life and move on. You can’t win in those situations.

Pressure is a privlege

Steven M. Cullen, Founder, Butcherbox Cycling Team

What can I do to make sure my boys learn from negative situations and don’t become toxic? I think toxic people learned how to think about life from their parents. Toxic people blame other people for things instead of taking responsibility for their actions. It would have been so easy to blame the other riders for my bike crash. However, I did not. That is bike racing and crashes happen. My two boys now know that there is always a possibility of crashing in a bike race and that’s just a part of racing. You don’t blame anyone and you just move on from it. Every time one of my boys do something negative my wife and I make sure we sit them down and talk about what happened and what we can do next time to make the situation better. It can be difficult at times since their brains are still developing the reason part and the emotional part takes over most often. I think that if we make a habit of it, that the reason part of the brain will start to work more often. My wife and I have the privlege of having the pressure on us to be positive role models for our two sons so they don’t grow up to be toxic people.

I’m lucky that I have so many positive people around me that lift me up when I’m down. When a loved one around me is down I make sure I try to lift them up as best as I can. I’m lucky I have cycling as an outlet to help me be more positive. When I don’t ride my bike for an extended period of time I notice big mood changes. I am more negative, more easily annoyed, and I eat a lot more fast food. It’s a horrible cycle to get in to. Once you get in to that cycle it becomes so easy to stay in. The hard part is getting out of that cycle. Once you get back in to a positive cycle you can really tell a difference and you want to stay in that and work harder to stay in it. I am so lucky!!!

I’m Lucky!!

This sucks

So we’re going in to the 2nd week of offseason riding. I rode 6 of the last 7 days. I took today off because sometimes you just have to watch youtube videos with your 7 year old before work. I also thought it would be a good idea since the lactic acid had really built up this week in my legs. Staying with the 4 week ftp booster just wasn’t an option this week. I realized, that after dropping my ftp signifigantly I still was unable to complete the workouts. I ended up doing a few group rides on Zwift and just doing recovery pace on Friday and Saturday.

I started the week with a weight of 173 lbs, and a CTL of 27.7. Today my weight is 171 lbs and my CTL is 29.1. It will be nice to get my CTL above 30 for the first time in over a month, and if I could just get my weight consistently under 170 lbs next week I would be a lot happier with my progress. It’s all about small gains for me right now.

All of ya’ll need to calm down.

My 4 year old son

I’ve been thinking a lot about negativity, negative people, and toxic people this week. How people become negative, are people always negative, and how do people get so toxic? I can only speak from some of the research I’ve done, and my experiences. Everyone is negative at times. Our brain automatically defaults to negativity. It’s how we react to the negativity in our lives that keep us from becoming toxic people. When I am involvled in a negative situation I always try and learn from it. Why did I get so negative? What was I doing at the time that caused me to react so negatively. Most of the time I find that situations I was negative in I thought I was acting in a positive manner. The outcome became negative because I didn’t think my actions through and just reacted with an idea at that time. The lesssons become to not always act on something, espicially when the situation has nothing to do with you. I think people become toxic when they don’t try and learn from negative events. Toxic people want to always bring you down to their level. You just have to block those people from your life and move on. You can’t win in those situations.

Pressure is a privlege

Steven M. Cullen, Founder, Butcherbox Cycling Team

What can I do to make sure my boys learn from negative situations and don’t become toxic? I think toxic people learned how to think about life from their parents. Toxic people blame other people for things instead of taking responsibility for their actions. It would have been so easy to blame the other riders for my bike crash. However, I did not. That is bike racing and crashes happen. My two boys now know that there is always a possibility of crashing in a bike race and that’s just a part of racing. You don’t blame anyone and you just move on from it. Every time one of my boys do something negative my wife and I make sure we sit them down and talk about what happened and what we can do next time to make the situation better. It can be difficult at times since their brains are still developing the reason part and the emotional part takes over most often. I think that if we make a habit of it, that the reason part of the brain will start to work more often. My wife and I have the privlege of having the pressure on us to be positive role models for our two sons so they don’t grow up to be toxic people.

I’m lucky that I have so many positive people around me that lift me up when I’m down. When a loved one around me is down I make sure I try to lift them up as best as I can. I’m lucky I have cycling as an outlet to help me be more positive. When I don’t ride my bike for an extended period of time I notice big mood changes. I am more negative, more easily annoyed, and I eat a lot more fast food. It’s a horrible cycle to get in to. Once you get in to that cycle it becomes so easy to stay in. The hard part is getting out of that cycle. Once you get back in to a positive cycle you can really tell a difference and you want to stay in that and work harder to stay in it. I am so lucky!!!

Just get on the bike!!

I’ve never regretted doing a workout, however I have regretted not doing a workout.

So the first official week of offseason has begun for racers across Tennessee. Nashville Local Cycling had a great showing all weekend long at The Gateway Cup in St. Louis last week and I can’t wait until next year when I’ll be there. The majority of riders across the state finally are enjoying riding casually and soaking up the natural beauty that is Tennessee. The GSD ride on Saturday was modified a bit and had a more casual pace than normal from looking at stats on strava. GSD stands for “get shit done” it’s what we call a race ride and I’ve never had the opportunity to do it yet. My work schedule makes it difficult for me to make early Saturday morning group rides. I look forward to doing it in the future as it’s great training. Riders from all across the state and teams come out to attack each other on climbs, try team tactics out, see who has the best sprint to the stop sign, and just enjoy getting to know each other.

So what have I done this week. Well, since I can’t ride outside for another 3 weeks at least, I decided I would do one of the training plans on Zwift. Zwift is an online world where you can ride your bike virtually with people from all over the world. There are different courses with all types of terrain to ride on. If you have a smart trainer, which I do, the difficulty of the courses come to life as the resistance gets stronger depending on the gradient of the climb. Likewise it becomes easier on the downhills. I decided to do the 4 week FTP booster. Riding on Zwift with no goal in mind is sometimes ok however, for 3 more weeks riding everyday on Zwift ,I didn’t think would be doable. I decided the 4 week FTP booster would help raise my fitness and it would help with riding everyday having some kind of structure in place to keep me motivated while riding inside.

This week I started off with a weight of 170lbs and a CTL of 26.3. My weight today was 170 lbs and my CTL is 28.3. My goal CTL by January 1st is to be at 60 or higher.

CTL stands for chronic training load. I won’t get into specifics on this but generally the higher the CTL the better fitness one has.

I rode for 5 days out of the 7 this week. I took yesterday and today off. Yesterday I had some family duties in the morning and I was able to get off work early in the evening to attend a get together with neighbors. We just recently started doing these and I think they are great to get to know each other better and for our kids to play more and become better friends as well. However last night I think we all drank a little too much. This led to not riding this morning.

So why was it so hard to get on the bike this week. It just comes down to motivation I think. It’s so much easier to just not do it right? Then for the rest of the day you feel like crap. You feel sorry for yourself, your moody, and you just down right feel guilty about not working out. The hardest part for me is getting ready to workout. But once I have done the hard part of getting ready and throwing my leg over the bike, everything else just becomes easier. Yeah the workout is going to hurt, but when you’re finished you just feel so much better about yourself and are generally just in a better mood. So you decide, are you going to be grumpy and feel guilty, or are you going to do that workout and be in a better mood? Once I break it down in my head like that, I get on the bike and workout. I just hope my boys are seeing this and it helps motivate them in whatever they want to do.

The most logical end to my season.

It was at this time I knew I was fucked!!!!

It’s like you’re just like no no no, we’re talking about winning, like it doesn’t matter.

Steven M. Cullen, Founder Butcherbox Cycling Team

It’s like leading up to the race you’re constantaly thinking about it and then once the race starts, it just disappears from your mind.

Eran Preble, Butcherbox Cycling Team

The two quotes above are referring to crashing in a bike race. I’ve never heard so many great quotes about crit racing than from this amazing documentary called American Crit. You can watch it here https://youtu.be/sodWUMmDweU. They do such an amzing job of capturing the emotion and passion you need to be successful at this. It’s a lot of the inspiration behind this blog.

So thats me #406 going down in the final lap of the Music City Crit Cat 4/5 race on July 31st. Going into the last lap I was in a great position for the bunch sprint. Everyone was fighting for position and I was just in the wrong place at the wrong time. If the movements happned a second sooner or later, the crash would not have happend. You can view it from two angles. This one you can see more of what happened https://youtu.be/Hj6rrT-n1lE. The Sonic guy from the right was forced off of his line by a teammate. He bumped into me just as the moab guy from the left was coming around and my front wheel caught his back wheel https://youtu.be/GTD9tEeZfZU. The second video shows the left side better. Crashing at 30 mph while out of the saddle doesn’t end well for anyone. I ended up in the ER with a broken collar bone and serious road rash all over my body. Everybody else involved was ok.

You’re not a real bike racer until you’ve broken a collar bone.

lots of people

I’m not bitter or pissed about it. If we’re not prepared for this to happen then we should not be bike racing. Crashing is always a possiblity rather it be in a bike race or on a group ride with your friends. Ride a bike long enough and crashing is inevitable. You just have to trust the riders around you. Sometimes someone will have a lapse of concentration and a crash will happen. At least I’ve got a pretty cool story and videos to go with it.

Daddy, I want you to win.

My 4 year old son

So why is the worst bike crash I’ve been in the most logical end to my race season? To answer that question we have to go back to the end of the 2018 race season. The 2018 season was pretty disappointing race wise. I only made one podium early in the season and struggled mentally the rest of the season. So much at times I began questioning if I needed to change coaches and teams. Every day was a struggle on the bike and I was dreading racing every week. It was not fun and it almost became like a job, yet I wasn’t getting paid for it.

The night of my last race was the end of the Music City Crit series for 2018. It was fun celebrating another team win and I’m glad my two boys were there to witness that. We got home way past bed time for the boys. After showers and bed time stories I was tucking my 3 year old at the time in bed. I was holding his hand and telling him goodnight when we muttered words that brought me to the ground. In his most tired, half asleep, and sweet voice that only a 3 year old can have he said “Daddy, I want you to win.” In that moment this hobby I had took on something so much more than I ever thought. I just wasn’t bike racing for myself, I was doing this for my boys. I thought this would be a great long term life lesson. They could see how hard I train and that to win a bike race you have to put the work in. You have to work hard in life and nothing is just given to you. The most important things in life are the hardest to attain. But if you work hard and dont give up, eventually you will get what you want. They could see the struggles and hard work in my training. I had to do this!!!!

I wouldn’t call my 2018 season a failure, more of a learning experience. The biggest lesson I learned from the 2018 season is that I need goals to work towards. In 2018 I had no specific goal. Just to do well is not really a goal.

At the end of every season I take a couple of months off of structured training and just fall back in love with cycling. The fall time in Middle Tennessee is just beautiful. All the leaves are changing, the temperatures are comfortable, and its great enjoying group rides with friends again. So besides winning a race in 2019 what were my goals? After multiple rides and discussions with my coach Michaelee Bowes of True Perfomance Training Systems we came up with a plan.

During September and October I would just ride and enjoy riding. During this time I noticed my power numbers going up signifigantly and my heart rate coming down. At the end of October I always take a trip with my wife to the beach for a long weekend getaway. After this I would get back to structred training. My coach and I decided that not only did I need to win a race, I needed to win a big race, with a big gap. We decided on the Sunny King Classic in Alabama to do this at. They had a Masters Cat 4/5 race which we felt would be a great first win.

On November 1st we went to work with my first FTP test. An FTP test is an all out 20 minute effort. You take the avg power of that effort and multiply it by .95 and you get your ftp or functional threshold power. Your training zones are determined by this number. My avg 20 min power for that test was 286, meaning my ftp was 271. After that we set several goals. The goal by Sunny King in April was to have an FTP of at least 300 watts or greater, weigh 155lbs, and fucking win the Masters Cat 4/5 with a huge breakaway win.

During the next couple of months, I mixed structred workouts with just riding. I was enjoying every day on the bike and the legs were responding great. Then the first hiccup of the 2019 season happened. At the end of December through the first part of February things happened that were out of me and my families control. It became one of the most difficult times for our marriage. I continued to ride during all of this however the focus wasn’t there. Right after Christmas I got strep throat and ended up taking 4 days off the bike. When I was cleared to ride again I was glad to know that I didn’t lose much power. I was happy for a moment however upset that I knew I wasn’t gaining any power and I was just maintaining what I had.

It was the first Sunday of February. It was a crisp cold morning probably in the high 30’s. I went out to ride one of my normal routes. In the middle of this loop there is a 4 mile ride up a long, tree covered road that leads to a wide open pasture and dead ends at the base of the Highland Rim. I often ride here and take a break for a minute. This time I turned my music off, looked around, closed my eyes, hunched over my bike and prayed. I thanked God for getting my family and me through this difficult time and I asked for strength to help me to continue to work toward my goals. I opened my eyes and began to cry. It was relief. It was like ok, nothing can hold you or your family back. Everything is going to go well. I remember just fucking smashing the rest of that ride. The last 45 mins of that ride I avg’d well over 275 watts and just fucking crushed a couple of climbs.

My wife and I were planning on enjoying Valentines Day weekend in Nashville. We got engaged on Valentines Day 2008 so it will always be a special day for us. For the second time in less than a month I had to go to Washington D.C. for work. This time I came back with the flu. I was sick all weekend and didn’t ride my bike for a week. I was constantly worried about how much fitness and power I was losing during this time. My first ride outside after being off the bike for over a week confirmed my worst fears. Before I had the flu I was comfortable cruising in the 275 watt range for a couple of hours. I was confidant before the flu that my FTP was over 300 watts and looking forward to my next FTP test in March. That ride I could barely manage holding 200 watts. I thought to myself “THIS FUCKING SUCKS!!!!!” I continued with the workouts for the next few weeks just trudging through. Slowly power started to come back up but it was never quite what it was before I had the flu.

My coach and I decided that my first race would be the Birmingham Hammerfest in the middle part of March right before my families Spring Break trip to DisneyWorld. I was feeling confident but was still unsure of how the legs would respond and how my power would be. It was a cold and overcast that day in Birmingham. This was a huge nationally televised event since it was the first race of the year for USACrits pro racing circuit. I had one other teammate in the event. Our race strategy was to go to the front and fucking drill it from the gun. That’s exactly what we did. Within the first 10 minutes we destroyed the field of 40+ riders to a small group of around 10. I tried several attempts to break away but to no avail. With 2 laps to go a rider slipped off the front and no one wanted to chase. I didn’t have the legs to do it after being on the front for the last 3 laps. With 1 lap to go there was a crash going into the 2nd corner. I went to the front and just hammered as hard as I could hoping I wouldn’t get rushed from behind. On the final stretch I sprinted out of the saddle as hard as I could. I got beat at the line and took home 3rd. I was happy to podium in my first race in a year, espicially one as big as this one. On the drive back home my thoughts were going. “You did great, you got 3rd. This is great, you got 3rd in a huge race. You got 3rd, great job, what did we do wrong?”

I sat down with my coach and we analyzed every watt on every lap. We binge watched the race analyzing every second. After multiple discussions we came to two conclusions. 1. My teammate and I marked ourselves from the beginning as the strongest in the race. We drove the pace as hard as we could for the first 10 minutes. After that if someone else tried to break away no one in the group would do any work. It was up to us to pull the break back. When we tried to break away the group wouldn’t let us go and we just strung it out and made it fast. We got plenty of “tv” time as they call it. Frankie Andreu the former pro who rode with Lance Armstrong does commentary for UsaCrits. He said our names several times along with the team’s name, so that’s cool. TV time however, rarely wins races. 2. I had no high end power. This is usually the case in early races due to it being cold outside and being on the trainer so much. It’s tough to do those hard sprint workouts when it’s cold. You can injure yourself when it’s cold and on the trainer you can seriously injure yourself. My max power for the race was only 864 watts and my avg power was 275 watts for the race. My VO2Max power and threshold power was looking great. I took the next week off as I went to DisneyWorld with the family. After that it was time to work on the high end.

On the day we came back from Disney I felt a sinus infection coming on. Fucking great I thought to myself. By the next day it was a full blown sinus infection. I can’t catch a fucking break!! With the first major weekend of racing in Middle Tennessee at the beginnning of May we had a month to get my high end power up. I continued with the training and after a week with the sinus infection not going anywhere it developed into bonchitis. I could still ride but I couldn’t do any high end workouts.

After two weeks I was well enough to hit it hard and get ready for Max Gander and Cedar Hill Criteriums. After a week of pushing myself hard everyday something felt off. During what should have been an easy tempo workout my legs began cramping up. I stopped the workout and tried to just spin the lactic acid out of my legs. Nothing was working. When I got back to my car I looked at my legs and you could just watch the muscls spasms happening all over both legs. What the fuck is going on with my legs. I went to my Sports Dr the next day and he could tell right away how tight my legs were. No riding for at least two weeks. FUCK!!!!!!!!!! So there goes the first major weekend of racing. Over the next two weeks my legs just would now relax. I stretched and stretched. I tried just easy spinning on the trainer, nothing worked. Towards the end of May they finally started to feel better and I pretty much had to start over. This summer of racing was going to fucking suck!!!!

The 2019 Music City Crit series started in June. I was just starting to get back to normal workouts when they began. I had hoped I didn’t lose too much fitness and would be ok enough to race. I lost fucking everything, all my fitness was fucking gone! Racing in June fucking sucked. I was just hanging on the back of the group and usually got dropped on the last lap of the Cat 3/4 race. That is a horrible feeling knowing where I was just over two months ago. After a trip to the beach I was ready to hit the last two months of racing hard. I started seeing gains early in July. I started racing again instead of just hanging on. Thats a great feeling when you can move throughout the group with ease. I started attacking the group, bridged up to a couple of breaks, and just started having fun racing again. Racing had become fun again. Training however had started to get mentally tough. Riding beautiful back roads is great and all. But when your head is down staring at your computer it just sucks. I always tried to remind myself that back in May I would’ve given anything to be out riding and trudging through workouts. I reminded myself of that often.

Cycling goals are attained not by strength but by perseverance.

Felicity Luckey

The last part of July I was finally having descent finishes and enjoying the team camaraderie. On July 31st that all came to a crashing halt!! Pun intended. My race season was over in a blink of an eye. After the season I had this was the only way my season could have ended. I have never crashed that hard. It fucking hurt. I still went to the rest of the races to support my team and enjoy being around bike racing. So what did I learn from 2019? First and foremost I finally figured out my hydration and proper fueling for long rides and races. I know this sounds very basic but it has taken me over 5 years to find out the right type of drink mixes and gels that work for me. I have learned how important properly recovering is. I now have recovery drink mixs and bought a powerdot mobile e-stem unit. These things helped tremendously.

So what do I do now? I took a full two weeks off the bike after the crash. Then I slowly started doing 30 minute rides on the trainer a few days a week. My legs feel ok however my anaerobic system has taken a big hit. This should be quick to come back with consistent riding. I went back to the Dr yesterday for more x-rays and my collarbone is healing nicely. I still can’t ride outside for at least 3 more weeks. I have started the FTP boost workout on zwift because riding for fun on zwift is fucking impossible.

My coach and I have discusssed goals for next year. We have set them pretty high but we have a game plan to get there. The goal is to race in the Cat 2/3 race with a chance to ride in the pro race at Gateway in St Louis next year. The plan is to ride as much as possible between now and Jan 1st and get as many miles as I can underneath me. Jan 1st we go back to structured workouts. In order to accomplish my goal I need my weight to be 155lbs and have an FTP of at least 315 watts by Mar 1st 2020. I will also need to be a Cat 3 before the this time as well.

From now on I will be updating this weekly putting out my workouts, power numbers, and weight. I will discuss how my legs are feeling and how I’m handling it mentally. Thank you for reading this long post. Please continue to like and share as much as possible.

HUMP NIGHT WORLD CHAMPIONS!!!!

I am a member of a team, and I rely on the team, I defer to it and sacrifice for it, because the team, not the individual is the ultimate champion.

Mia Hamm

Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines team as a number of persons associated together in work or activity. It defines teammate as a fellow member of a team. Now lets think about that for a second. These definitions seem very basic and I don’t think they do justice to just how important a team and teammates are. We most often think of sports when we think of the words team and teammate. In this blog I will discuss my race team Nashville Local Cycling, seen above as we recently celebrated being Music City Criterium Champions for the 4th year in a row. Yes that is me in a sling. I will discuss that in the next blog. I will give the story of our team, how we started, the initial vision, the future of our team, and what this team means to me. I will also talk about other teams that we may be a part of. My family is the most important team that I’m on. We are also part of a work team no matter what our profession is. I’m also part of a legislative team within my organization. I will break all these down talk about what I think makes great teammates and how being on a team may not always be the best thing.

My family is the most important team that I am a part of. Without my family I am nothing, without me my family is nothing. We all work together so we can be the best versions of ourselves. We sacrifice for each other. When one of us is hurting we all hurt and help in the healing process. I believe what makes a family strong is the ability for a family to wake up everyday and work to make each other stronger and a better person. It’s our ability to push each other outside of our comfort zones and overcome a fear or problem that we are facing. If we don’t love each other with all of our hearts then this doesn’t happen. At least that’s how it works in my house. Also with a family it is important to understand boundaries. Sometimes we need our space and our own time to exercise or just decompress from the stresses of life. It’s important to show the kids that you need that time and that it’s ok for you to take personal time for yourself each day. This allows us to relax and not get upset by something little that normally wouldn’t have made us upset. This helps us to be better versions of ourselves, be better partners, and parents. As a husband and father I feel it is my resposibilty to make sure that my family is always pushing themselves and striving to be the best person that they can be. I am always learning and evaluating what I can be doing better for myself so I can be better for my family. My wife and I are a team, our family is as seperate team. I believe the goals of a husband and wife should be to have the best marriage they can and to lift each other up when one is down and support each other in the bad times. Which every marriage goes through ups and downs. Our goal as parents is to raise our two boys to know right from wrong. Be respectful and teach them how to make the right decisions in life, and grow up to be productive members of society in whatever profession makes them happy. All I really want for my boys is for them to be happy with who they are and strive to be the best at whatever profession they choose to do. Having a happy successful marraige and raising two boys to become what I just described is the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. Without your partner being on the same page about goals this can become even harder. I’m lucky that I have such an amazing, strong, and supportive wife that helps me and our sons accomplish these goals. My family is the most important team that I will ever be a part of.

I won’t discuss much about my actual work team. I have a very important job, some say one of the most stressful jobs in the world. We come together everyday and make sure we get the job done. No one is individual is able to do this on their own. I have never had a formal office job so I can’t speak to that kind of teamwork. I’ll just leave it at the for now.

I am part of a great legislative team that spans the entire country working for the good of the entire population. Our national legislative team is broken down into several regions. There are regional leaders that are responsible for the states within their regions and there are state leaders that are responsible for the reps within their state. I’m the Tennessee State Legislative Coordinator for my organization and I’m responsible for 6 Legislative Reps. Each of them are responsible for developing, educating, and maintaing relationships with their member of congress about our job. I am responsible for those relationships as well as the district I live in and two other districts. I have never been in a leadership position before and I have never read any leadership books. I look at leadership books the same way I look at parenting books. They have great information in them but when it comes down to actually applying what you’ve read they usually don’t work. Everyone is different and you have to find out what works for your team. I have taken qualities from great leaders that I have been influenced by and I remember the bad qualities that leaders have had and I try to replicate the good and not do that bad. I make it a point to lead by example. I ask my reps to attend town hall meetings, go to fundraisers, and to meet with their member of congress as much as possible. I do this as much as possible. If I wasn’t then where is the motivation for them to do the same. I HATE micromanagers. I feel that leaders who micromanage have no trust in their team. I think that without trust in a team then that team can become toxic. That becomes a bad team to be on at that point. I also call them individually every month to ask how they’re doing, discuss future plans, ask if they have any problems about what we’re doing, if they have any issues with me, and I make sure to ask if they have any suggestions on ways we could be doing things better. Since I have taken over as the state coordinator, relationships in the state have fourished. We have a lot more work to do however. I don’t know if this is partly my doing, or more people are motivated to get involved and make things better. I like to think it’s the latter and that I just simply guide them along the path and give them the support and resources they need to be succesful without interferring.

My bicycle racing team is Nashville Local Cycling. The picture above was taken last Wednesday night at the conclusion of the 2019 Music City Crit Series. This is the summer crit series in Nashville that I like to refer to as Hump Night Worlds since they’re on Wednesday nights. This is the 4th year Nashville Local Cycling has been in existance and the 4th year in a row being Team champions of the Music City Crit Series. I became a member of the team 3 years ago after my local shop team folded into another larger team and I was not invited to become a member of that team.

Nashville Local Cycling was founded by Michaelee Bowes after his previous elite team of Village Volkswagen folded after the 2015 season. Michalee and his roommate at the time had the idea of starting an elite team. After running into multiple road blocks with possible sponsors Michaelee had a businessman and new cyclist who wante to help promote cycling and liked the idea of an elite team. By this time Michaelle’s roommate had already decided to go another direction. Michael Edens was brought on board to be the montain bike team captain and Michaelee would be the road captain. This was to be a club team with anyone that was interested in riding and racing.

At this point it was the new team or bust for me. Randy, Myself, and Eden went to work. All of a sudden everything became so much easier when I wasn’t torn between two completely different ideas for teams. Over the next month we found plenty of exciting new riders, we secured several Belle Meade based sponsors. Designed a kit after more than 20 different design ideas were considered. November of 2015 we decided on a name. Nashville Local Cycling. A team was born.

Michaelee Bowes, Nashville Local Cycling Team Captain

I dont think anyone is left from the 2016 team besides MLB as we call him and Edens. I joined in 2017 with a crop of new Cat 4/5 guys. We had a couple of cat 3’s and a few 1’s and 2’s. We were and still are a very large team however that first year I was on the team we didn’t race like a team. We wern’t all in the best of shape and a couple of the guys didn’t like being told how to race. After that season most of those guys joined another team, and some just stopped racing. Thats ok that’s how bike race teams go. The 2018 season was a bust for me however we had several strong riders and it started to look like an actual race team to me. The 2019 season in my opinion has been the best year for Nashville Local Cycling. We now have a solid Cat 1/2 crew that race amazingly well. The Cat 3 team this year worked so well together, I was the lone Cat 4 who had a bust of a season. I did however manage to contribute quite a bit in the Cat 3/4 races. Usually sacrificing myself so I could set my teammates up for some counter attacks which worked sometimes. What I watched this season was a group of guys coming together and wanting to win even if that meant sacrificing themselves for the good of the team. We came together as one and won the Music City Crits team championship against a lot of very tough competion. We are also the 2019 Road Team of the year in Tennessee. There was also a lot of strong competition for this as well. We have several individual state champions in Road, Criterium, and Time Trial disciplines. We have faced sickness, injuries, crashes, and personal issues. This team has had several opportunities to lower it’s standards and be petty but has not. Every time we felt like we were down everyone stepped in and the team stepped up to the challenge. I feel very proud to be a part of this team. I’m excited to see what happens and where I fit in with this ever evolving team in 2020.

My Introduction

There’s like a miracle that happens around a finish line. Thats what a finish line does, it fucking takes your soul, dips it in the water bucket of life and goes riiiiippppp.

Steve M. Cullen, Founder of Butcherbox Cycling

I am a 36 year old dad, husband, and cat 4 bicycle racer living in a suberb of Nashville. I race for Nashville Local Cycling. We are an amateur team with aspirations of becoming a pro team while still keeping the amateur side for people like me. My wife and I have been happily married for 9 years. I have two boys aged 7 and 4 and we have a 2 year old golden retriever. I have been in my career for 11 years and I’m very lucky to have landed my dream job. I have also recently accepted a leadership position within an organzation assoicated with my work where I am responsible legislative reps educating, forming, and maintaining relationships with members of congress.

I am writing this blog to document my journey from being a mediocre cat 4 crit racer to my goal next year of becoming a cat 2 racer and racing in the cat 2/3 night race at the Gateway Cup in St. Louis. I will show the highs and lows of training and bike racing in a very crude and honest way. There will be vulgar language and I will not hold back my feelings. I have also been told that I’m a great dad and husband. I’m not so sure about that however I will also be talking about how cycling has transformed me into trying to always be the best person that I can be and how I hope my boys will be inspired by my struggles and successes.

I also want to document how cycling has helped me become a better husband and document my wife’s sacrifice for our family. She has sacrificed herself and professional career so she could be the best mother that she can be and I deeply admire that. She is about to embark on getting her masters degree in Library Science so she can become a Children’s Librarian. We fully support and encourage this. It won’t be easy however, but nothing in life worth doing is easy.

I hope you will enjoy this blog. It’s not meant to give advice rather be a release for me and maybe it can help other people as well. I will often be promoting my race team, our sponsors, equipment that I use, and any nutritional products that I use. I will keep this updated weekly discussing how my training is going and how my family is doing. Please leave comments and share. Thank you.