Tonight's agenda: repeat "I'm a climber" over and over until I believe it. We're in the midst of racing the Tour of Utah and I'm reminded why this is my favorite state in the union. It is so beautiful here and this isn't even my favorite part of the state. The views are magnificent and the upcoming climbs are stellar (and scary hard). Jake, Brian, Glen, and I are joined by Omer and Dan Timmerman and supported by Benno and Tim, who is helping as an invaluable soignier. We've had some quality time together in the close quarters of the team van (around 25 hours from Michigan) and no fist fights worth mentioning to this point. The racing has been very difficult due to a combination of a hella-strong field, massive crosswinds, 95-105 degree weather, and altitude to top it off. My favorite kind of racing usually, but poor positioning has cost me valuable energy in both road races thus far. Monday's road race was highlighted by hurricane force winds for about 20 mins. while a front passed through the area. It made for some interesting racing: I was kept busy dodging tree branches and other debris blowing across the road while being equally attentive to the 130lb "climber types" who were also blowing all over the place. Kinda funny and scary at the same time. Late in the race, 2 dudes tangled right in front of me and I had no where to go but straight over the top of them, somersaulting over my bars and rolling on the pavement (Mary Lou Retton would have been proud, I'm sure). To my amazement, I was fine and tried to get straight back on my bike but my bike had taken the brunt of the impact. After a few futile attempts to get my bike operational again, I pretty much blew my top and had what is best described as a "tantrum". Pretty funny stuff, really - I don't really remember much of it but I think it involved a lot of cursing and even jumping up and down! I wish someone would have gotten that on tape. I'll have to work on that...Ben was able to get me on the spare bike after a bit and Glen and Dan helped me pace back onto the field at the expense of their own races. Overall bummer but could have been worse. Day 2 involved more insane crosswinds and poor positioning caused me to miss some initial splits and I (and Brian and Glen) had to use way too much energy for me to catch back on. Do I learn? Don't answer that - it was rhetorical. On the bright side, Omer must have set some kind of record by going back to get something like 50 bottles from the caravan during the race. He needs to be in the domestique Olympics or something. Unfortunately, Dan had to pull the plug after getting some food poisoning and thus having little energy and Glen was having problems controlling his bodily functions during the race on Mon. (he's getting old - this is to be expected). The time trial today went a little better for us as we finished 3rd on the day in team gc and are now 4th overall. I had a pretty decent run, though not too exciting. My uncle David and cousin Amanda came to watch which was really cool and the only bummer was that I had the fastest time for about 20 min. and we had to sit there and wait as guys kept slipping by me and ended up ousting me from the podium.
Okay, that's enough babbling. Big hilltop finish tomorrow = gc shakeup. Be sure to check it out...ya know, if you care.