Monday, November 12, 2007

'07 in the books

With Southland signed and sealed, I think I'm done racing for the year. What a way to go out! 5 stage wins out of 9, 2nd in KOM, and 4 dudes in the top 20. I can say now that I loved the racing down there though those first 3 days I was absolutely hating life at times. In particular, the times that I thought the sideways hail was ripping my flesh off 3 different times in Stage 2.
I could go on and on about the particulars of each stage and how dynamic of a race it was but it would take too long and be closer to a short novel than a blog post, so I'll just focus on the last stage - which reiterated a huge tenet of cycle racing for me.
I had been slightly sick the week prior to the tour and it was getting slightly worse with time. By the start of tour, I was coughing and spitting all kinds of colorful nasties. It wasn't affecting my legs though so I didn't make much of it. However, as the race progressed, so did my little cough. I'm sure racing all out in freezing rain and 40mph wind wasn't doing any favors. So, by Fri. Stage 7 I was feeling like complete poo. Every real effort I made on the bike was followed by a disgusting coughing fit and I did my best to sit in and survive the stage. That night after the stage was rough as well and I started to find it unlikely that I would finish the tour even though only 2 short stages remained on Sat.
If this hadn't been the last race of the year, I may have pulled the plug that night but I decided that there was no harm in trying in the morning with nothing left on the calendar. So I saddled up in the morning, warmed up slowly and made sure I had plenty of hot coffee in my belly at the start of the first stage. Surprisingly, my legs felt pretty good that morning and I was able to sit in all day thanks to Omer slaving away in the break.
For the afternoon stage, I decided to take a shot at a late breakaway if the situation was fitting. However, 5k into the stage I flatted, just as we turned into a crosswind and 4 guys were gapped off the back. So because the commissaire wouldn't let the caravan pass if there were riders gapped off, I had to do a 5 min. ITT bridge effort to regain contact with the pack. "There goes the energy for that late race attack" I thought to myself. I was a little irked. I had about 5 min. to get to the front so we could try to help Omer get the KOM points by setting a hard tempo up to the top. We set a really hard tempo but Omer was cracked from being in just about every breakaway during the week. However, the hard tempo split the field to about 10 riders with all the heavy hitters present. So then we rolled through pretty hard for a bit but then people started losing interest and the main pack caught us.
Then, director Glen thought it would be a good idea (ie. payback to other teams and fun to watch) for us to throw it in the gutter and smash the field. (Sorry for all the cycling terms but I don't feel like explaining so ask your nearest bike nerd to interpret if you want). Only problem was that poor Zwiza's radio wasn't working so he ended up being part of the field that was "smashed". It's funny now but damn he was steaming at the time! Rightfully so, I admit. So after we had our fun, the rest of the field (including Scotty) rejoined us a bit later and by that time it was about 15k to go in the race.
As soon as it was gruppo compacto, 3 dudes attacked and got a gap on the field. We had 3 4k loops left in the race so I decided to bridge up so we wouldn't have to chase. I really didn't think that it was the race winning move. When I caught them, I saw that it was #1 and #2 in the sprint points competition along with this strong (but little) dude who we raced at K2. The sprinters were going for sprint points that were every 2k so they were completely worthless in the break and were only concerned with each other. I suggested to Strong that we go right by them after the next time they sprint it out. They went all out for the next sprint and sure enough they just had to watch as we went by them on the other side of the road after they had thrashed themselves.
So now it was down to he and I with 2 laps (8k) remaining in the race. We still had a decent gap on the field and I started to believe that we could take it to the line. With less than 5k to go, Strong gapped me off as he went by me after my pull. I couldn't believe how strong he seemed because it didn't seem like an actual attack, he just seemed to be pulling away without trying. As we rounded the last corner with 300m to go before the start of the last lap, he just kept pulling away until 10m from the line he posted it like he had just won. I looked around wildly trying to figure out if it were I who had screwed up the number of laps or if it was him. But Glen was in my ear confirming that we had 1 to go. Whoops.
Well, the momentum has just shifted and despite just putting in a max effort, he continues to pull through with me due to what must have been embarrassment and guilt. I made my move to go solo with 2k to go. It was a weak attack, but he was so smoked that he couldn't accelerate at all. The last 1.2k into a headwind was probably the longest 1.2k of my life. That stretch would not end! But as I rounded the final corner, I knew I had it so I put in a few hard pedal strokes and then rolled over the line with a big grin (not before I poked a little fun at Vennel for his awkward attempt at a victory salute during st. 5's heavy cross winds). "What a crazy sport" was the thought that kept running through my head. I wasn't the strongest person out there that day. And I didn't have the easiest ride either. In fact, I probably had to work harder in that stage than any other racer. So how did I win? A little strength, a little craftiness, and a whoooooole lot of luck. I didn't even want to start the stage, and now I've ended my season with a victory. It reminds me of Nydam's lesson during that decisive stage at Georgia this year. He was dropped 5 or so times but just never gave up and ended up top 5 on GC. This sport is so unpredictable that you have to just keep plugging away even when things are going to crap, because that next victory could be just around the corner.
sorry, having trouble posting pics. another time...
thanks for reading. take care.

Saturday, October 27, 2007


Greetings from the B-side of the earth. We are hanging in Hamilton, New Zealand right now awaiting the start of the Tour of Southland. New Zealand is absolutely beautiful. Very green, very rolling, very diverse. It seems to have a bit of everything really. We should have some time to be tourists this week as our legs need a spot of rest before the tour starts. The Sun Tour was some great (hard!) racing and we came out with some decent results. Yesterday we raced the K2: a 192km mountainous, windy affair that our director Glen has won like 13 times (or so). It was Epic (notice the capital "E"). We finished 2, 3, 5, and won the KOM title. The victory eluded us but beyond that is was a successful day. And the weather was georgeous so no complaints there. At one point on a descent, there was this incredible view overlooking the Pacific and beach towns and I nearly dropped myself from gawking at the view rather than steering my bike! No worries - I stayed upright. The Kiwis know how to have fun with the races too. All along the course they had all these signs with short quips for us to read and apparently possums are their main roadkill victims because they had like 5 or 6 of them tied up to sign posts dressed up in baby outfits holding beers. I thought they were stuffed animals until told otherwise by locals after the race. I'm sorry if you work with PETA, but that's pretty funny right? Think of the time and effort spent with these roadkill just to get a chuckle out of us during the race! Our hosts from Hamilton, Scott and Debbie, are friends of Glens and live right on the Waikato River. Scott is actually filling in for poor Teddy at Southland, because Teddy is recovering back in New Hampshire after his scary crash on the first stage of the Sun Tour. Thank goodness he's okay. Also, let it be known that Teddy was absolutely flying before he flew off the mountain. Back to Hamilton, We have a park and river path right outside the door. Very nice! Today, for recovery, we are planning the watch the water ski races on the river with plenty of beverages at arm's length. Should be fun. Theres been talk of caving, bungee jumping, and lounging on the coast for this week but we'll see if theres time for all that and resting up too. Sorry there are no pics. I'll make an effort to break out the camera or else I'll pay off Zwiza and use his pics.
Take care.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Ode to Benno

This poem is for Mr. Oliver, our wonderfully unique wrench
A man who is not only smart but can do 350lb on bench

He’s a dude of many talents, as many of you well know
If you get him drunk and ask nicely, he may show you his “gun show”

Of course he fixes our steeds and even washes them too
But he also gives them his love like only special mechanics do

But there’s even more to this quiet man with all his colorful tats
Though he looks as though he may bite the heads off of bats

His patience is unparalleled, when dealing with high-strung spoiled pros
I wonder why he doesn’t just whoop our ass and feed us to the crows

He’ll consume nothing but coffee and beer for a stage race of 5 days
And then he’ll drive the van home in a drunken, sleep-deprived haze

And don’t be fooled by his scraggly beard and his worn cargo shorts
The man has a better vocabulary than the famous Will Shortz

You may catch him in a corner, reading Waltman, Poe, or Joyce
And this is no assignment mind you, this is his free choice!

Many say his calves are sculpted better than Arnold in his prime
So our mechanic may be juiced, how is that a crime?

And then there’s the team van, this part is hard to describe
He has this special relationship, way more than with the Vibe

He’ll drive that van for hours on end, with his foot firmly affixed to the pedal
Fueled by nothing but caffeine and seeds, while his Ipod blasts Death Metal

Bathroom breaks? Yeah right – those are for the weak!
Those bench seats have essence of sweaty Ben; one might say they reek

It’s considered his permanent residence, that much is for sure
He spends more time in that thing than any human should, anyone will concur

But that’s why we love him, he does all this without complaint
I even heard one time he applied Bag Balm to Garrett’s infected taint

Maybe that’s not true, but I know this for shizzle
We’re lucky to have Benno for 2008 on team Bissell!

Monday, September 24, 2007

who writes this trash?

Sometimes I have to admit that my life seems like a poorly written novel. This year I've been dealt with some fairly extreme circumstances. I'm not trying to be dramatic here, I'm just pointing out that I try to live my life on a relative even keel, and these severe ups and downs are starting to mess with my psyche. Starting out the 2007 season on highs w/ a couple of the best results of my life at the LA World Cup and Tour of California to our team winning its first Tour at Central Valley. Then comes the blood clot out of the blue in March to put me in the gutter. Months later, with no recent results to my name, doubts and questions about my career and life growing louder with each passing day, I'm offered another contract for the 2008 season from my team. "We believe in you" they say and it nearly brings me to tears on the phone because again I'm reminded of how blessed I am. So this is mid-June and the fitness is really coming along and I decide to throw caution to the wind and start utilizing this form and producing some results for this team that I love. Whoops, we know where this leads: my near-death experience with a pulmonary embolism and a forced re-evaluation of what it is I'm actually doing with my life (What's my Personal Legend? "Alchemist" anyone?). My answer? I'm following my dream and my passion with the knowledge that tomorrow may, in fact, never come. That's not to say that I wasn't stupid for cutting my meds like I did but I know that it was a calculated risk based on bad information that led to my actions. My current decision to race on blood thinners is also a calculated risk, but it's a risk that was made after consulting with both a lung specialist and a hematologist and not just from a 28 year old pro racer with a B.A. in chemistry. So with the decision made to race when well enough to do so, I decided that USPro TT (6 weeks after getting out of the hospital) would be a nice starting point. It took the 1st week to get back to full breathing capacity, the 2nd week to get over my fear of suddenly expiring while riding out on my own, and 2 more weeks to actually open up my legs and remember what threshold training was all about. Leading up to the TT, I was getting noticeably stronger every day but still not at the level that I was in late June. I was trying to remain optimistic and not put any pressure on myself to perform, but I couldn't help but remember how fit I knew I was before I got sick again. So, I went out in the TT, played it conservative the first half never digging into the red and really never gave it some stick until the last 10k because my body was so unaccustomed to that level of effort that I was afraid of completely blowing during the race. So, to finish that race in 4th, 8s out of podium and 16s from the jersey was definitely an unexpected surprise. I couldn't have possibly asked for more based on the last 7 weeks leading up to that race. But I can certainly ask for more from myself in coming years. That race showed me what I'm capable of. Results aside, if I were to have proper training and preparation leading into that race, could I have gone 20s? 30s? faster? I think so. Since that TT, our team has had its share of ups and downs as well. In the USPro road race, a tired Ben was forced to lead the team yet again because none of us could make that next step up. 14 hours later, we lined up in Atlanta for the last NRC event in hopes of clinching the NRC individual title that Ben has led since March. We won the race but lost the war as Emile won but Rory finished in front of Ben to take the title. However, Ben had an amazing season and really should be proud of the way he pulled through time and after time for this team while balancing family life and the stress and strain of having another child in July. The team should also be proud of the way they rode so unselfishly for Ben throughout the entire season. The next week, we raced the Grand Rapids crit in front of and put on by our sponsors and we were schooled by 3 (albeit very good) Health Net racers. Last week, we raced the Tour de Leelanau, 109.5 mi road race with relenting hills and wind in northern Michigan. This type of race is right up our alley and so went better for us with Garrett scoring his first victory of the year and the PH boys going 1-3-4-7-10.
One of the downers about this sport is the lack of job security for yourself and your teammates. This coming year, we are keeping the roster mostly the same but not completely the same. As a result, I won't be racing with a couple of my buddies who I've developed friendships with over the past 2 years. A bummer, but hopefully positives will come out of these setbacks.
Okay, so do you want to hear my latest installment "In hindsight...maybe that wasn't such a bright idea"? So, I went to my high school buddy Wells' wedding this past weekend in Chippewa Falls, WI. It was a nice, pretty wedding but that is not the story - the story is how I managed to injure myself at the reception. Because I thought it would be funny (after a few beers, mind you), I decided to dive for the garter belt that Wells flipped to us according to ceremony. I'm talking a full-on, Pete Rose style head first dive on the wooden dance floor. It was a pretty sweet dive, I'm not going to lie. Probably about 10 feet or so of actual sliding on the buffed wooden floor. What I had forgotten was that I had my digital camera in my front pocket and landed with all my force on the camera. Results: I came up a foot short of the belt, my camera was still functional, but my left quad now has a deep bruise/charlie horse that has swelled due to the blood thinners and has kept me off the bike for 2 days now. The next morning as I was driving back to the airport from the venue, barely able to bend my leg past 20 degrees or so, I was again feeling down on myself and life in general. But then my new friend Kanye reminded me "that what does not kill me, will only make me stronger". And I said "Word, Kanye" as I blasted the volume in my compact Dodge rental zooming down the interstate to my destination.

Monday, August 27, 2007

still kickin'

Well hello there!
I'm quite alive and doing well now. I've been training lung-pain free for a few weeks now. And I'm taking my meds like a good little infirm. I've been out visiting teammate Sheedy in the Appalachians of North Carolina and I have to admit how impressed I am with the terrain. The Rockies got nothin on these here southern hills. I don't even remember what's it like to ride on flat ground. I think if I live here for a few more months and subsist on nothing but coffee and rice cakes, I could snatch that KOM jersey from Scotty next year at Cascade! weeeell, maybe I should just stick w/ TTs. I wouldn't want to relinquish my status as the heaviest bloke in the pro peloton.
I will say that the backroads in this area can get a little precarious. If you're fast enough to outsprint the loose rabid country dogs (which amazingly I've got an undefeated record thus far - look out Logan! Of course, the knowledge that I'm on blood thinners could add a little extra adrenaline to the mix) you still have to pray the NASCAR Ricky Bobby Wannabes don't feel like jerking the wheel 2 inches to the right as they pass you. In reality, Lees-McRae cycling team has not had any car/bike encounters in recent history but I did get pegged by an empty Mt. Dew plastic bottle and an empty chaw tin (thank you for fitting perfectly into my stereotypes mr. redneck motorist) in one ride. I'm in the process of working on a thesis that quantifyingly correlates the deepness into redneck kuntree with how shot up the road signs in the area are. you know, 2 or 3 rifle shots and you should watch out for dogs but if the sign is so full of shot that you can't read it - you should pull a u-turn and sprint like mad, etc. All in all, these are minor hiccups when compared to the quality of training available in this area. So, I'll be doing the USPro TT this weekend so we'll see how that goes. Should be fun to get a little adrenaline pumping anyway. After that, we have the Atlanta 100k which should be a slugfest as it's the last NRC race. Then we head to Michigan to race in Grand Rapids and Tour de Leelanau to hopefully wow the sponsors and end on a good note. After that I'm hoping to get out to track nationals in LA and go around in circles fast for a bit. Buuuuut, let's just take it one day at a time, eh? TT nats this weekend...
here are some pics from the summer:
this is how we cool off and ice the legs in the summer in boulder - a little soak in the boulder creek. the ladies try to deny it, but they love our hot spandex and tan lines.
so I'm a little bit of a coffee snob sometimes but don't these just look scrumptious? it's art I tell ya.
here's a sunset in my hometown of Clear Lake, IA. yup, it's purty.
here's sheedy in his element w/ passenger Ally. when he tells you he's been spending a lot of hours on the bike - this is probably what he means...
this is one of many secluded country roads in the area of Banner Elk, NC. It's fun to just go out and get lost on roads like these for a few hours.
Take care and thanks for sticking with me! Are you happy C.B.?

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Not so fast there Tiger

I'm thinking of writing a story. All that I have is the outline so far, but tell me what you think:
March 20: rider diagnosed w/ blood clot in leg
mid April - June 30: rider just trains, trains, trains and starts to feel really good when pedaling.
June 30: rider gets leg checked out, blood clot ALMOST gone but not quite, rider lies and says "blood clot gone, yeah for me, time to race!"]
July 1: rider cuts his coumadin intake in half w/out telling doctors
July 16: rider starts feeling short of breath and says "time to reap what you sow" quietly to himself
July 17: rider diagnosed with a pulmonary embolism and spends 20 hrs in the ICU fighting to breath
July 18-present: rider improves by the hour and is thankful to be breathing pain free and even more thankful to be breathing period. Also, rider does not feel very intelligent.
present: rider still wants to race again someday but does not feel like he has the energy for blogging anymore.

That's all I have so far. I think it's going to have a happy ending but I'm just not sure what that involves yet.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007


All systems go!
I'm headed to Iowa today for racing on Sun.

Winner of the previous post's pop quiz: Teddy comes through w/ the closest (only)guess at 8 lbs of water lost. That would have been right on if I weighed 80 lbs. Alas, I weigh nearly 200 lbs, so it was actually 20 stinkin pounds of water lost on a 6 hour ride in the mountains! 205 ounces drank during ride and I still weighed 10 lbs less after the ride. craziness. that's a p.r. for me.

Have a happy 4th and don't shoot anyone w/ fireworks.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Can you see the heart beating?

Friday June 29 is an exciting day for me! As I'm sure any parent will attest, the nervous excitement of the first ultrasound can be overwhelming at times. This will be my first ultrasound since that fateful day when we found that big bundle of joy in my body. It's been 14 weeks and I can't wait to see the progress. One would hope that my little intruder has gotten smaller rather than bigger...but there are some similarities, no? If the news is good, I'll be sure to post picks of the utltrasound so everyone can put them on their fridges. This impending date w/ the doc will determine if I can race in mid July. If I don't get the green light, I'll get it checked out again in August and just take it month by month. BUT, if I do get the okay - I will be racing at the Bicycle, Blues, and BBQ festival road race in Clear Lake, IA on July 8 as my big return to the sport. It's a 71 mi point to point race with a closed finish and it is run by cyclists who know what racers like. So, you think you're fit??? Come and bring the hurt to a pro cyclist who hasn't felt the pain of a race since March. Doesn't that sound like fun? Besides, Clear Lake is a cool place to be around the 4th of July and it'll be a fun weekend.
Soooo, I guess it's summertime, huh? It's been pretty stinkin hot on the Colorado front range lately. You'd think that climbing up 4000ft would cool things off significantly but that doesn't always seem to be the case. With that in mind, I have a pop quiz for ya'll:
1) The other day, I went for a long ride in the mountains where the temperature varied between 80-90 degrees, depending on the elevation I was at. So, the question is - how many ounces of water did I lose during the ride? Details: I was out about 6 hrs, rode about 110 mi at an average elevation of about 7000ft. hints: remember I'm a big dude so everything gets scaled up. Here's a pic of the post-ride salt stains on my arm and jersey.
The calculation I used was (weight lost during ride) + (total ounces drank during ride) - (2 lbs for calorie expenditure) - (1 lb for my one "nature break" during ride).

Over the past few months I've been forced to observe races from the other side of the barriers, and don't get me wrong, somedays I miss racing so much that I feel sick but there is definitely something to be said for spectating this cool sport. I mean what is there not to love? It's free, you can get so close you can touch the riders (right Teddy?), you can just sit there and let the riders come to you, and you get to see all sorts nuances of the race that aren't always apparent in the pack. It's certainly a nice way to spend an afternoon...

Not an atypical sight at a lap race. This was from April at Koppenburg. Lounge around and chat/drink for 20 min., cheer like mad for 30s, sit down and repeat.
A Denver crit from last week with Logan in tow. They went by probably 50 times and this was the best picture I could manage. weak.

Take care and remember to get out and ride (if applicable).

Monday, May 28, 2007

Summer Time!

Since Memorial Day is the unofficial start of summer, I thought I'd post some summery pics for the occasion.
This is a scenic overlook of Ole Miss with my buddy the General. I have to say I was quite impressed with the caliber of riding in NE Iowa! Just so you know, Lee is a cat. 1 racer but he's no slave to fashion.

This is the midpoint of my favorite area ride - Estes Park. That white building is the Stanley Hotel, I believe. (Think "The Shining")
Matt and I on a country road heading to Ft. Collins to meet up with Joel who was riding down from Laramie, WY.
Matt and I lounging in easy chairs drinking coffee as Joel slays himself into a massive headwind trying to meet us in Ft. Collins.

Following our rendevous and subsequent ride back to Boulder, we had time and just enough energy to bbq, swim, hottub it, and do a little posing as well. This accentuates my attractive tan lines. Take your eyes of my impressive guns for a second and notice my bib tan line on my back. Somehow I'm tanning through my jersey as well! As a result, I'm accepting applications from women who could apply sunscreen to my back daily before my rides.

Logan utilizing his uncanny ability to take group photos at arm's length. Lev, Carri, Matt, Joel, and Logan.
Memorial Day in Boulder also means Bolder Boulder 10k time, which just happens to start 40m from our deck. 50,000+ people racing, walking, jogging, or roaming aimlessly past our place this morning. This photo inadvertantly caught the kid in the grey shirt hopping the fence to run bandit. I've already alerted the proper authorities.
Have a good summer everyone!

Friday, May 04, 2007

"patience young grasshopper"

that's my theme these days. I just had to post something cuz that "Life as a Gimp" post was up there way too long and was kind of a Debbie Downer. Nothing too crazy and exciting in my world right now. I love to ride my bike...that's cool I guess. I'm the zone 2 master these days. Nothing intense. I told Huff that and he texted back "zone 2 = zone gay. you need zone huff." What a dork. I guess when you win a World Championship medal you can get away with comments like that though...
I'm having a hard time following the Gila race going on right now. I didn't realize how much I wanted to be there until it started and I'm sitting here at home moping. The team seems to be fired up to race though. BJM somehow pulled off a 2nd place in the TT at altitude - I don't know how he does it. And the guys did very well at Georgia too. All these cool races I'm missing....must repeat mantra.
So I took a temp job working evenings M-F 5:30-10:30. Just something to keep me occupied because I can't stand being stuck at home while not being able to train full force. Basically, the job is grading written responses from 4-5 graders. It's actually not as tedious as it sounds. Those little squirts get pretty creative at times and it's fairly entertaining as a result. That lasts one more week, then it's back to the Homeland at some point to visit fam and friends. After that it will be time to start thinking about whipping myself (somewhat) into racing shape! Training camp, anyone? Boise, CO Springs, Boulder??? Anyone interested in a block of eatin, sleepin, and trainin (focussing on the latter two) sometime between late May through early July should contact me with a well written proposal.
Oh, and Meatball Friedman makes his return from the woes of clottiness to the racing circuit this week at Dunkirk. Yay for comebacks!
Take care, ya'll.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Life as a Gimp

Well, nothing much new from my corner of the world. I get lots of blood drawn and am now well known by all the nurses and secretaries in the clinic that I go to. I'm starting to pedal around a bit and plan to ease in to some of that training business starting this week. I'm kinda sorta planning to be racing again in July but that'll depend on how the treatment goes from now till then. When I'm not sitting in a healthcare facility, I've been spending most of my time hanging out with my Colorado pals who I haven't seen for months. That's been great and has helped keep me afloat. I still have people in the state who I can't wait to see again (Jen, Kenny, Sara, Eli, Sarah, et al.) which should keep me busy traveling around and focussing on something other than all the cool races that I'm missing and how much I could be helping my team right now.
I probably won't update this thing too often as I doubt I'll have anything worthwhile to say. Just know that I'm doing fine and I'm right on track with my treatment. I don't think I'm quite ready to call it a year and so I kinda think I should win a few races in the last few months of the season. Thanks for all the phone calls, emails, and blog comments concerning my excessive blood coagulation. Oh, this is kind of funny: for the first 10 days of my treatment, I was giving myself injections of an anticoagulant. And so everyday I would come home, this wave of guilt and embarrassment would come over me when I'd see syringes lying on the table in plain sight of anyone who came in - like I was doing something shady. It was amusing. It would quickly pass, but that initial feeling was uncontrollable. I thought about staging a photo of me giving myself an injection while wearing my chamois, but decided it might be in poor taste given the ultra-sensitive state we've been forced into.
Alright, thanks for reading and all of your support.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

A slight change of plans...

Well, you won't see my name in the results for a bit. I went and got myself one them blood clots in my left leg. You know the things that your 85 year old grandmother has to worry about? Yup, same thing. Or as I like to call it: Mike Friedman Disease. I'm not really sure what caused it but I think it had something to do with the trauma of the Tour of Cali followed directly by 3 days of relative inactivity due to a bronchial infection combined with a genetic predisposition to such things. Shortly after the tour is when I first felt it and I just got it checked out 2 days ago (that thing was setting up camp for about 3 weeks undiagnosed). As you may or may not know, Friedman got a clot in his leg last fall, it went undiagnosed, and a month later it manifested itself as a pulmonary embolism and he nearly died. He was the sole reason I got my leg checked out and caught it before it got nasty. For that reason, I'm calling Meatball a hero who deserves all sorts of medals, town keys, and beautiful groupies and maybe a cape too. He has been an invaluable source for me of both advice and empathy. He's quite the caring fella.
I think I will be out of the racing scene for at least 3 months because of the blood thinners that I have to take. Hopefully, I will be able to train again in 2 weeks but I will know more in the next week or so.
And just to address the elephant in the room for those reading this that don't know me: I got my blood results back yesterday and my hematocrit level came back a stellar 41 (or "slightly anemic" as the medical folk like to say). That's probably the extent of the time and energy that I will spend addressing any accusations.
Redlands update: Ben pulled off a 2nd place in the prologue which may be the ideal position at this point. The remaining 7 dudes are raring to go and will be racing for the GC win. I'm just sorry I won't be there to contribute and left them 1 man short. I'm sure they'll step it up in my absence.
Okay, there's my news. Health updates will be forthcoming when I get them.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

March can be a long month

I'm in the final week of my nearly 3 month stint in this fine state of California and I have to say that it's been fun, the weather has been phenomenal, and we've done some good hard racin', but MAN I can't wait to get back to Boulder! We've got a crit this afternoon, then we head down to Redlands where Aunt Margaret and Uncle Jim will host some of the team again and we do our best to help Ben keep on his winning ways. That should prove to be quite the challenge. Then Garrett, Benno, and I will high-tail it to Boulder by van.
Ben had another stellar ride yesterday by crushing the field in a challenging 30k TT. Unfortunately, I was not feeling my oats and had a very sub-par ride on a course that suited me very well. It's disappointing because I know these opportunities are few and far between but at least we scored another NRC victory! (I use the term "we" loosely) Ben is in another league right now and I think the rest of the dudes in the peloton are a little scared of him at the moment. Tonight we try to set up Emile to a sprint victory which will be difficult with Toyota and others in full force.
I can't wait to see some fam in a couple of days and all my boulder buds soon after. To all my family and friends: give me a call, email, or blog comment if we haven't spoken recently. I'd like to reconnect following this California hiatus. Take care.

We're getting used to this sight. This is Ben after wrapping up the overall at Central Valley.

Progress report: Week 3.
Omer has joined me in the quest to look trashy (or a gentlemanly sophistication?) note: this pic has not been altered or enhanced in any way.
This is a common scene at the host family house. Hours have been spent playing the old school Gameboy Tetris in the official gaming chair. As Teddy lamented recently, "I can't sleep because I'm visualizing Tetris moves when I close my eyes" small price to pay for the glory of a high score.

Friday, March 09, 2007

1st of Many!

This just in:
BenJM notched our 1st NRC victory of the 2007 season by attacking a break of 7 riders and bringing it home solo in the Central Valley RR!!!!
It was a brutally hard RR and what was left of the pack (70 or so) finished about 30 s back from Ben. Ben picked up a 15s time bonus with the win for a little breathing room in tomorrow's TT. There were some strong TTers in the break with Ben so it should be quite the battle for GC control. I can't wait! Wish us luck - not that Ben needs any the way he's riding right now...

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Livin Large in Clovis

We are in week 2 of our 3 week stint with our host family in Clovis, CA. It's pretty nice living with our giant screen t.v. and endless supply of cereal among other amenities. Everyone is still recuperating from one ailment or another. Teddy suffered his 2nd and 3rd crash of the season this past weekend but seems to be recovering well. Omer took a nasty fall in training last week but gutted out the racing and is improving everyday. And most everyone still has some kind of congestion that they are trying to clear up. Sat.'s crit was a bit disappointing with 2 of us flatting (Teddy and I) with less than 15 laps to go in the race so we didn't have as much horsepower up front as we would have liked. As a result, we ran out of leadouts and Emile was in great position with 2 laps to go but lost some places in the final 2 laps. In the road race, we had Garrett in the break with one other dude for 60 miles! They were caught with less than 10k to go and so we tried to set up Ben and Emile as best we could for the finish. Emile ended getting caught behind a crash but Ben showed his excellent form with a 4th place finish with some help from Scotty down the stretch. I was a little disappointed that I wasn't able to help in the last 5k but was happy with my contributions in the last 20k or so. My fitness seems to be fairly good at the moment as I've felt rather spry at the end of these long road races. My top end is lacking but I'll be fine tuning that in the upcoming weeks. This week is the Central Valley Classic with a hilly rr on fri., a long, flat(!) tt on sat., and a crit on sun. It should suit us so hopefully we can produce some results. Oh, and my latest trend-setting, king of style endeavor is the stash. I remember a family portrait when I was maybe 4? where my dad was sporting a killer mustachio and he says he hit a homerun in his softball game that day so I figure it must be performance enhancing in some way (much like the mullet). I've been growing it since the end of the ToC and I don't know if it will ever fill in past the "14 yr old stage" but I'll give it a shot and try to give picture updates periodically.
Progress report: Week 1.
Equipped with "the beater". Hey, it may not be impressive yet, but you have to start somewhere.

A butt shot from the car during the ToC TT. This was during the wicked fast descent. courtesy of Bob Hughes!

Getting a little extra training in on Noah's bike. You should see my sprint! photo courtesy of teddy.

This is a pic of me acing a serve vs. Benno in tennis on the Nintendo Wii. As Teddy will attest, these things are exhausting! Maybe it's the method of the future to curbing overweight youths.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

It's not even March yet????

Okay, so the last month has been a bit of a blur. A lot happening and not a lot of time or energy to sit back and absorb it. I am very happy with the results our team achieved at the ToC and am really proud of the 3 guys who gutted it out to the finish despite the prevalent virus/bacteria that was rampant in our team. I was pretty bummed about not finishing st. 6, but to keep perspective - it is only Feb! There will be plenty of opportunities for me to redeem myself. Riding in the tour was a great experience for me and I've taken a lot from it. Everyone on the team is riding exceptionally well and it should be exciting to see how we use this momentum for the March racing. I'm feeling a little better each day and hope to be full strength by the racing this weekend in Merced. At this point, it doesn't look like I will be going to Spain for the Track World Championships but will be doing Redlands instead - which is kind of a bummer but should prove to be better prep for the Tour of Georgia if we are fortunate enough to be invited. 5 of us have just arrived at a host house in Clovis, CA with a family who will be kind (and patient) enough to house us for a few weeks! I've posted pics of their specimens of endless energy they call Garrett (12) and Noah (8). Could be the future of U.S. cycling right here! They love their bikes and can already geek it up better than me when talking about euro pros, tech talk, or anything bike related really. Sorry about the focussing issues. I also posted one of Ben and Garrett relaxing in the romantic Madonna Inn in San Louis Obisbo after St. 4 where our rooms came stocked with pink robes. It's probably a good thing that pic isn't in focus. Then there are some pre tour pics: one of Ben living the life at the Los Olivos Estate (I think I was in that hot tub every night for 2 weeks straight) and one of a team ride with sponsor Mark Bissell in the hills of central California. Speaking of which, it was pretty amazing to see all of the fans and sponsors supporting us during the tour. That combined with our fantastic support crew of Glen, Mark, Jo, Kasey, Ben, and Richie was no small part of our success. It was a pretty taxing tour for everyone involved but hopefully everyone agrees that is was well worth it. :) Okay, that's all for now, but hopefully I'll be getting on a more regular updating schedule. It's possible, eh? Thanks again for all of the support.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

3, 2, 1, BEEEEEEEP!

Okay - here we go! The Tour starts tomorrow in downtown San Fran and all I can say is let's get this thing going already! I've never had so much prep, planning, and hype before a race. Everyone on the team is just ready to hit that start line. We had a great camp and everyone seems to be hauling right now. So I'm excited to see how we fair against the big boys. And speaking of which - being as this is my first BIG race, I'm allowed a certain amount of gawking and awestruck-ness at the event, eh? So here we go. I'm just going to do this once and be done with it. In the last 2 days, I've had breakfast or dinner in the same room as Basso, Bettini, Rasmussen, Jens, Eki and of course all the U.S. stars. I'd have to say that Bettini has the biggest "aura" as the current Olympic and World Champ. And last night our team was introduced at the big gala by Paul Sherwin and Bob Roll. I'm not going to lie - it's been a little surreal. But now I have put all that junk out of my mind and just race my bike hard. I will say that this race is stacked with talent! If everyone is going well at the moment, it should be quite the epic battle. As far as our team, I've been amazed at the level of equipment, staff, and organization for this event. We're on arguably the best equipment at the tour (no kidding) and we'll have 2 soigneurs, 2 mechanics, along with Mark and Glen. So, that's all I got for now. If you can't make it out to Cali to watch, you can catch the action each night on VS. (formerly OLN) and some of the guys will be keeping daily blogs found at the team website. Thanks for following our progress and all the good luck wishes. I'll try to update when I can...

Saturday, January 27, 2007


whew - that was a long hiatus, eh? That's what happens sometimes when you don't own your own computer - the internet time gets cut down to just enough to check your 20 email messages every 4-5 days. Plus, I've been pretty busy heading back and forth between LA with the track stuff and Los Olivos, CA where our team has rented a sweet ranch/house/estate for a month. As of 10:30A this morning, I am a full-on roadie again! I finished my last track race for at least 2 months. I was pleased with the LA World Cup results where I finished 8th with a surprising time (for me anyway) of 4:34.2. That 8th place was good for some UCI points and a possible qualification for the World Track Championships in Spain in late March. But we won't know for sure until the end of Feb. Now my focus is 100% on the Tour of California!!!! THE biggest race on U.S. soil. We're coming in as probably the biggest underdogs of the race so we'll have to prove to everyone that they made a good choice in selecting us to compete. I'm feeling very fortunate to have the opportunity to line up with the best this sport has to offer but also a fair amount of pressure to compete against these dudes that I watch doing the Tour on OLN. At least I could beat most of them in a no-holds-barred UFC match...and that's really what matters at the end of the day. So anyway, if you want to reach me in the next couple of days - it might prove difficult because I'm going to be taking the "Cliff Notes Guide" to base fitness in attempts to get ready for ToC. Here are some various pics from the last month:

My new ride! (the bike not the Vibe) picture different seatpost/saddle, carbon bottle cages, no pump/saddlebag, and aero Easton race wheels for a sexy racing machine.
Here's Brad Huff lining up for the scratch race final at the world cup. he finished 9th - which basically means that I'm better than he is (remember I finished a stellar 8th in my event)
A view from the top of a climb near our house in Los Olivos. Not bad, eh?
A look out at the ocean from the top of a different climb.
I passed this on a solo ride in the area and thought the sign was disrespectful to the cows.
Meatball Friedman, always the crowd pleaser, showing his track stand skills on a bike that is probably only a 1-2cm smaller than he regularly rides.
the only thing the LA smog is good for: consistently impressive sunsets.

Monday, January 01, 2007

It's good for something.

It may not be real conducive to riding outdoors for extended periods of time, but the snow sure makes for some beautiful scenery in these parts. The roads were melted enough for me to get out for a bit yesterday and do some hill intervals. I took these pics up there (after my last interval of course!).

The flatirons from the south.
a view of snow-laden Boulder
mas montanas

I leave for LA on Wed. the 3rd and will quite possibly be in Cali for 3 months straight! Sheesh. Next race is Jan. 19th at the LA World Cup III where I'll be doing the individual pursuit again.
Happy '07 to everyone!!!