Wednesday, December 03, 2008

December already?!?

I hope everyone had a nice Thanksgiving. Instead of having the traditional Thanksgiving meal with friends and family this year, Rebecca and I tried out our version of the Saxo Bank Boot Camp. Though I'm not sure how much faster this trip made me, I'm sure that it better prepared me for conditions such as was experienced during the St. 4 death march at the 2008 Tour of California. Our adventures included camping in the cold rain in Canyonlands NP in the desert? of Utah, hiking over slippery rocks/cliffs from said rain, camping in the freezing cold of western CO, riding in freezing rain turning to snow as I ascended, and driving through a snow storm which caused us to take backroads and culminated in traveling a 20mph curvy canyon gravel road where we saw only 1 other car in the 45 min it took to drive the 20 miles. Though we had a great time, we concluded that these near-death experiences (we're so dramatic) were signs that we should be spending Thanksgiving eating massive amounts of turkey and pumpkin pie with family. Lesson learned.
So, this training business is going okay so far tho I hit a speedbump when I caught a cold recently (totally unrelated to camping in freezing weather, I'm sure). I'm still feeling kind of crap but it's a snow day anyway here in Boulder so I don't feel too guilty.
Here is a recent interview I did with Amy Bush who freelances for U.S. Cycling Report. Amy is the woman whom I met at the Tour of Missouri and has provided this blog with pictures in the past. In the picture accompanying the interview, I'm looking pretty psyched about my 2nd place effort at TT nats. :)
Some boot camp pics:
the midway point of our 'treacherous' Canyonlands NP hikes. Also, one of my favorite places on Earth.

Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park. I had never been here before last week and the dramatic sheer cliffs absolutely floored me.

Okay, that's all I got. Hopefully my next update will be about how hard I've been training and how fast I'm getting...

Monday, November 17, 2008

Dear Lee,

how have you been? Sorry it's been so long since I've last written. I hope you're doing well and are having fun with your land. Any Mtn bike trails yet??
So, I've been having a good time here in Boulder. Offseason was great (my first in 3 years), and I was able to recharge mind and body over the past couple months. I got in some epic hikes and a little cross racing too. I may have to give the latter up though because I seem to find the ground with my face every stinkin time I ride that bike! It's been fun though. In my first race, I think I beat 4 or 5 finishers which was a moral victory. And in my 2nd race, I was beating a few guys as well before I crashed out (and took Logan with me, haha). Friend Rob Nagler took some pics of the first race and there are a few of me. You can just FEEL my speed emanating through your screen. However, now it's time to get down to business. I've been training for 2 weeks now and am starting to remember what it's like to ride a bike everyday again. I love this time of year because you get to dream big and imagine how good you're going to be in the coming season.
In other momentous news, I moved to south Boulder. I hate moving but this was a step up for me. I'm officially moved out of the closet! Happy days! Though in reality, I probably won't sleep as well in a room with windows.

We had our first snow last week. And I am trying to brag when I say that this pic was taken 200 ft. from my new front door.

This was taken a full block away from my place. Oh and did I mention it's 65 and sunny today? Word.
Take care, General CB!

Monday, September 29, 2008


Do you want to know how you get up Brasstown Bald when you weigh nearly 200lbs and you're completely cracked and seeing stars?? You get not 1, not 2, but 3 grown men to help push you up the steepest section. This photo cracks me up because I remember that cycling ethics was the last thing on my mind at that point. I just wanted to be able to start the next day by any means possible. This photo was taken by Amy whom I met at Tour of Missouri this year.
So, I'm definitely in offseason as confirmed by my recent resurgence of a nightlife, the liklihood that I be spotted at the local IHOP or ice cream aisle of a 24hr grocery store after 10p.m., and the unliklihood that I've been seen outside of Boulder on a bike in the past 2 weeks (exactly once). However, my hiking form is coming around. I'm feeling pretty fast on the dirt paths of the foothills. :-) And I built up a cross bike and so have been hitting the gravel a little and practicing mounting/dismounting a ton (make that 10min. worth where I racked myself a good one and called it a day). I think I'm ready for some cross racing! I may start jumping into some local races as early as this weekend, so if you want a good hearty laugh come out to the races and see me get throttled handily. Sounds like fun to me!
I hope you're enjoying your autumn!

Friday, September 12, 2008


Yesterday hurt...a lot. So much so that I've been claiming that it was one of the hardest days I've had on a bike. The 90mi course was finished with a 46.8kph (29mph) average. This was on a very challenging, hilly course with no flat road anywhere. It was a good thing that we had total participation on the team trying to get in the break, because there were probably a dozen or so serious breakaway attempts that were absolute leg breakers for those in the moves. The decisive break didn't go until 100k into the race. I was a tad smashed by the end but still tried a late move (1500m to go) that was weak and extremely futile.
After the stage, BJM and I were asked to sign some autographs at the Michelob Ultra tent (race sponsor). Our appearance fee consisted of one cold Michelob each. Mmmmm..recovery.

After falling victim to a viral infection and dropping out after St. 1, Jeremy has taken a new career path? as a t.v. commentator for the race. Have we found the next Paul Sherwen?

Okay, 3 stages to go. Gotta stay attentive and keep out of trouble.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Missouri update

Those of you giving me a hard time about lack of updates - this will have to do. Now get off my back!!! (Matt, Don, et al) :)
The TT yesterday didn't go so well for me. I felt flat about the whole day and really haven't been feeling all that great for weeks now. I'm not sick or anything, I just think the long season is starting to wear on me a bit. We have 4 days of racing left in the season though, so it's a good time to let it all hang out, take some chances, and have fun racing.
My Dad and uncle Don came to Stages 2 & 3, which was cool. At this time of year, I'll take any form of extra motivation I can get. Rumor has it I could get a Mom appearance this weekend too. Lucky me!
So, if you'd like better race updates and pictures, etc. - I suggest you visit Lyne is at all the races (it seems) and does an awesome job of covering the races, taking pics, and providing unique insights. Plus, if you scroll down through her ToMissouri posts, you'll find my latest fashion choice with regards to haircut and facial hair and an opportunity for you to vote 'yay' or 'nay'. Good for cheap entertainment. Thanks for reading. And the countdown continues....4 to go.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Pick out the good in any situation

The Highlight of my Saturday. The rest I can do without. photo courtesy of Su'zi:k.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

the Morning of...

I roll off in just over 3 hours for TT Nationals. I feel really fit and confident at the moment. The course is a little technical and definitely hillier than the profile gives it credit for. All my preparations have gone well and it's time to execute. My body seems to be awaiting the serious trauma that will commence in a few hours. Kind of like the calm before the storm, in a way.
I'm ready.

Monday, August 11, 2008

"America's Toughest Stage Race"

So say those crazy Utah people anyway. But can they really be trusted? There are a lot of crazy long and mountainous races down in South America that I know of but maybe I'm just nit-picking. The Tour of Utah kicks off this week right in our main man Burke's backyard. So bring your climbing legs and your oxygen tanks cuz there's gonna be some throw downs in the Utah high country this week!
Do you realize this season is winding down, people?? I only have this tour, USPro RR&TT and then finish off the season with the Tour of Missouri. I'm glad I get to finish off the season doing races that I'm excited about! Then a glorious offseason filled with activity (or inactivity) yet to be determined.
Oh, and the Tour of Elk Grove was fun at times and very frustrating/hard at times. Highlights: feeling unbelievably good out on the TT course. I can only hope I feel that good at TT Nats or Missouri. Other highlights included getting 2 giant novelty checks on the podium and getting kisses from 2 (18 yr old) podium girls up on stage. Both of those events now have check marks next to them on my "to-do before I die" list. So in that sense - what a successful tour it was!! Let's hope for more of the same from the Bissell team this week.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Tuscany: my romantic 3 days w Joao Correia

"No matter what, we'll always have Tuscany, Joao." Whenever we come upon hard times, that'll be my response to the Portugese Gangsta. I had a pretty awesome time in Tuscany. We stayed with his friend Alessandro 30k north of Sienna in the country. The roads are beautiful in the area and all up and down. If all you want to do is train and eat, I've never been to a better place. That area is so romantic that if Joao would have asked me to marry him, it's likely that I would have gotten caught up in the moment...
so here's the picture tour:
Alex's apartment. No joke. It's very simple inside, no luxuries - perfect for the area. originally built 4 centuries ago.

Alessandro and Joao outside Alex's cobbler shop in Sienna.

a window at the apartment. it was all so surreal.

Nothing but rolling hills filled w vineyards and olive trees everywhere we went.

This is the main street in the little village of Lucci where we got cappucino and a brioche every morning from Paolo.

Paolo and I outside his cafe. aside: Paolo has the biggest hands I've ever seen. He could crush my head like a nut if he so chose.

Back to the Granfondo Pinarello - here is the podium of the race with Giovanni Pinarello (THE founder) second from right and the crazy Treviso mayor behind me far left.

I did some wine tasting on the podium. "When in Rome..." or Treviso. I was completely smashed at this moment but it wasn't the alcohol.

I thought these Treviso commuters were pretty cute so I snapped a pic while we waited for a train to pass.

Mr. Indurain was at the banquets so I needed a comparison pic to show people how much bigger I am than he. However, I asked him how much he weighed when winning the Tours and he replied, "ochenta y uno. mucha forza" (rough translation: 178lbs, good for power.) Wow. I'm only ochenta y ocho. I have no excuse not to at least podium at the Tour someday. :)
That's all for now. Maybe I'll post more later. Up next is the Tour of Elk Grove outside of Chicago. BIG prize money there, so I hear. Maybe if we do well I can buy a one-way ticket to Italy.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Granfondo Pinarello

Hey All,
I just got back from Italy late last night after 22 hours of traveling and so am a little whooped but of course I can't sleep because of this wonderful jet lag phenomenon. I had a great trip a got a little taste of life and racing in Italy. For now, I will post pics from the 2nd part of the trip in Treviso. I will post the Tuscan pics later.
Race report: After taking part in the Granfondo Pinarello, I will no longer refer to it as a 'race' with quotes. It is most definitely a full on RACE! Those Italians are a very proud people and they don't give an inch so you can imagine what it was like at the start with 3000 other people battling for position. Luckily I was able to sneak up to the front before the start, though I wasn't seeded so technically I was supposed to start in about 1000th place (thanks Joao). The race was 200k with 9400ft of climbing with the majority of that packed in the middle w/ 3 consecutive climbs. It was very dynamic and hard from the start with the selections being made 40k in on the first real climb. I found myself in the 2nd group on the road after that ballistic first climb but we had 8 strong guys ready to work together to catch the front group of 7. We didn't catch them until 60k to go, and as soon as we did (field was whittled down to 11 at this point) everyone just sat up and wouldn't work. Me and another guy (basically the only two who would pull through on the flats) attacked w 50k to go and got a gap. The field wouldn't work well together so we immediately started putting some time into them. At the base of the last climb (a steep 2.5k SOB named the Montello w/ 30k to go in the race), we had over 3 min. on the field but I bonked hard from lack of food and water (though I ate more in that race than I ever have in my career and drank 8 bottles in 5 hours) and was dropped by my breakaway companion. I thought it was game over for me but I kept eating and drinking and started to come around after descending that final climb. At this point w 20k remaining, I go into to TT mode to try and hold off the field for 2nd. But I'm feeling slightly better now and am starting to motor fairly decent after 5 hours of racing. Sure enough, I spot the leader in front of me and catch him w 8k to go. At this point, we are both cracked and neither one of us wants to work but we still have to hold off the field so we continue with some weak pulls. While he is pulling on the front, I get a small run-up on him and attack him from behind. However, he looked back just before I got past him and so got a better jump than I was hoping for. He was able scratch and claw his way back to my wheel and there after would not budge from my wheel. Because I did not know the gap to the chase group, I had no other choice but to keep pedaling and lead it out and try to start late so that I was still accelerating thru the line so he would have a harder time getting by me. However, it was not to be and due to a slight confusion as to where the finish line was (there were about 5 overhead tents in the last 100m) and a lack of sprinting prowess, I was passed in the sprint and had to settle for 2nd. I was not too disappointed when I considered all the events leading up to my finish: 2 near crashes (once locking up the breaks on a descent and once missing a sign to turn and plowing into the eventual race winner when we were still in the chase group), 1 actual crash on a descent which bruised my hip a little and more detrimentally bent my deraileur hanger and caused me to lose half of my gears due to slipping, and the little hunger knock in the last part of the race. Considering all this and the fact that the winner used to race professionally on Pantani's Mercatone Uno team in the late 90s, I was not too disappointed/embarrassed/pissed off. But boy...putting a Pinarello Prince over the line first would have been nice! The winner and I averaged 38kph which I thought was respectable considering the difficulty and length of the race.
After the race, I got to meet the mayor of Treviso, who seemed a little nutty to me after he insisted that I drink wine on stage to 'recover' from the race. And Giorgio Andretta, the owner of Gita Sporting Goods(one of Team Bissell's biggest sponsors) acted as my interpreter for the post race interviews. It was a good time, and of course they couldn't get over how big I was, so it's probably better that I couldn't understand their jokes and jabs. :)
So, here are some pics from my time in Treviso:
In the Pinarello factory, the song "If I had a million dollars.." comes to mind.

Were you wondering what Valverde's spanish road champion bike says on the head/down tube during the Tour? I was. This is the bike Fausto Pinarello rode in the Granfondo this year.

We got to attend the presentation for the 2009 line of Pinarello bikes, and I was trying to capture the awe and excitement on people's faces after another new bike was unfurled. mild success.

The new look of the Montello. I think it's Bad Ass to be blunt.

This is about 4k up the San Boldo climb which was the 2nd climb of the race with 20 switchbacks and a couple of winding tunnel sections. very cool climb...unless you're racing it.

these temporary tats were in our race packet, so I sported one on my arm during the race. Cappucino doesn't count, right?

the fruits of my labor. this is the 2nd place trophy (very nice) coupled with Rebecca's impressive orchid which currently has 8 blooms! Thanks for reading!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Off to Italia

I'm boarding my flight to Italy in a couple of minutes (actually Frankfurt, then Florence, Italy) so I'll be short. Cascade went okay for us but not great. Mostly because I wasn't climbing quite how I expected. The team did a great job of setting me up on the Sat. RR after I was sitting 2nd on GC from being in the break Fri. and time trialing okay. However, despite everything going smoothly for me leading into the final climb on Sat. up to the ski resort - I was unable to hold the wheels of the fellas I needed to mark and ended up losing a significant amount of time. Disappointing because I know that I can climb with those guys when I'm firing on all cylinders and it sucks to let the team down after they worked hard to set me up perfectly. But we live to race another day. The race did have quite a few injuries this year tho. Our thoughts are with Ben Brooks for a speedy recovery from that horrific crash on st. 1. And also with BJM and Logan for a quick comeback from their broken chicken wings.
For me, it's on to the Granfondo Pinarello which is on Sun. I'm taking it kind of seriously because I think it'd be a big deal for Mr. Pinarello himself if one of his bikes came across the line 1st. I have no idea what to expect and don't even know if I'll have a shot at winning but I'm hoping that this form that I really thought I'd have for Cascade just took a week longer than expected. :)
I'll try to post from the former empire if I can and I will also do my best to take pics liberally.
Gotta go. Ciao! (lame, I know)

Monday, July 07, 2008

Full On

That's the best way to describe the upcoming racing at Cascade. Have you checked the start list?!? This field is stacked! I'm looking forward to some quality racing and I'm feeling confident with my fitness coming in. It feels like I haven't raced in ages though I got back from piggy-backed stage races only 2 weeks ago. I feel like a different rider now and I've already laid down some expectation on myself despite the stellar field in Bend this year.
And after Cascade is concluded, I get to jump on a plane to Italy for some sponsor-related activities! Joao and I will be representing Bissell and Pinarello for the Granfondo Pinarello race/ride on Sun. July 20. Pinarello is one of our biggest sponsors with the half million dollars in product they provide us with each year and so it would be awesome if we could come and win the Pinarello sponsored Granfondo riding our sweet Prince bikes. The event takes place in the Treviso/Venice area which I've heard is beautiful. I'm excited but I also know I have a job to do!
In between my intense training blocks of late, I was able to sneak in my first camping trip of the year and first ever w/ Rebecca. The area is near Estes Park and was a 5 mile hike in near the North St. Vrain river. It is a beautiful area and our site was right next to the raging river. Very cool. We were also visited by a family of mountain goats (7) in the morning who were just grazing and staring at us about 100 ft. from above.
I also went on my first ride on Trail Ridge Rd in the Rocky Mountain National Park last week. I went w/ Frank Overton and some of his Fascat athletes. We had a great time riding and observing the breath-taking views - at 12,000ft, that can be taken a couple different ways. :)
But enough of this "summer fun" stuff. It's time to smash up the competition at Cascade! Bissell is bringing a very strong team and I think we should have all kinds of options to animate the race. Plus, I'll be racing with (against) Scott Nydam and Logan Garey - the first time we've all 3 been in the same race since we were teammates back in 2005. As I often remind Scott, "This is for Nick's (Sports Garage owner) undying love!" Thanks for reading. I'll try to post race and/or Italy updates when I can.
We saw lots of Columbines in full bloom on the hike to our campsite.

A view from a bridge near our campsite.

Trail Ridge Rd at around 12,000 ft. elevation. Oh, THAT'S why they close this road in the winter. pic taken by Gregg.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008


both in the glory of a Bissell GC win and the Colorado sunshine! Aaron Olson took home an impressive come-from-behind GC victory at the Tour de Nez last week. It was an awesome team effort to help him pull off the win but don't let his post-race quotes fool ya. He'll have you think that he let Graham and myself do all the work driving the race winning break on Sun. but that is far from the truth. Aaron pulled as much as Graham and I combined and when he came to the front, it was all we could do just to hang on to the wheel! Boys and girls, PT has found himself some form!! As for me....not so much. I was passed in a TT for the first time in my entire cycling career at Nez. Race winner Ian McKissick took 30s out of me in what seemed like about 3 min. (no lie) into my race. Wow. Talk about a morale killer. I think I'm coming around, but boy! does this racing business hurt when you haven't done it for awhile!!! I'm letting my body heal from Nature Valley and Nez and soon I'll be smashing it up the canyons around here in preps for Cascade which starts in 2 weeks. Cascade is one of my favorite races and I can't wait to be reunited with my lil' 4 year old girlfriend Kayla! (w/ the Sheasby host family)
Nature Valley was also an awesome experience for me. The racing I could have done without but the friends and family who showed up to see me race were amazing. Dad, Mom, Karen, Don, Doreen, Doris, Wellsy and Miller - THANKS FOR COMING AND CHEERING!!!

This 5 min. sunset was the highlight of the 6 hour drive through Nebraska. ugh.

Stillwater was by far the coolest thing about Nature Valley. It is an epic race and I was little disappointed to race it on sub-par form, but maybe next year?

CLHS baby!!

View of "The Biggest Little City in the World" from our 11th floor 'suite' in the casino.

Presenting: your 2008 Tour de Nez race winner! PT Aaron Olson!!!

We're close on this team. Sometimes too close (Joao). Donner Lake back drop - beautiful area near Lake Tahoe.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Vacation O-vah!

Time to get back to this racin business. Nature Valley starts today and it sounds like I will have a strong family and friend contingency at the races, being so close to my roots. I have some requests for my family & friends making the trip to MN to watch: no streaking. no throwing objects at or in front of my opponents. and no pushing me...unless there is a really steep hill that I don't know about and it looks like I need it.
Speaking of pushes, I could have used a little help in my "warmup" race that I did on Sunday. I'm not sure why I did it b/c in no way did it resemble the racing at Nature Valley, but it was still fun to get out there. The race took about 70min. and about 60 min. of that was climbing - some of which was upwards of 15% gradient. Ouch. I lost count of how many times I called myself fat under my breath during that one. I finished 4th on the day which was about as good as I could have done considering how I was climbing. Shortly after, I jumped in the car with mi madre and headed for the homeland of Iowa where I've been the last 2 days. Kinda reminds me of swamp land around here. This rain and flooding has hit this area pretty hard.
Okay, let's hope this rain forecast fizzles out and we can race our bikes this weekend and the midwest can dry out a little.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Notice to the DEA:

Take me off your list!
Hi, my name is Tom Zirbel, and I've been percoset-free for over 32 hours! If I can kick the habit, then YOU CAN TOO!!! I'm not going to lie, the heart rate jumped a couple of beats last night when I realized that I was going to try and sleep an entire night w/out my pain-saviour of the last 3.5 weeks. But I slept okay so that means no more happy pills for me...unless I reinjure my ribs again like I did last week.
So, if that's a valid indicator then I'd say I'm recovering well. I'm even starting to do real, honest-to-goodness training. How exciting! You should have seen me - I was even un-officially racing triathletes and sport riders alike during my ride today. I can tell that it's been awhile since I've had a competitive outlet, for sure. Is it time to shave the legs again??? I kinda felt like a bike racer for the 1st time in a month today.
I'm planning on being back for Nature Valley in MN which starts in 2 weeks so it's high time I log some hours and intensity in the saddle, I'd say. Nothing like being a little under-cooked for crit-filled stage racing.
Okay, thanks for checking in on me. And good luck to the Bissell Boyz who'll be tackling Philly Week starting this weekend.

Friday, May 16, 2008

upon further review...

Ah, remember that time when I updated after my gila crash, reporting that I had a strained shoulder, 1 cracked rib and a broken bone in my hand? Just kidding about that! It took 11 days to figure out, but it turns out I have 3 cracked ribs, a broken collarbone near the sternoclavicular joint (don't I sound smert?) - which is adjacent to the sternum, annnd still a broken bone in my hand. It sorta ruins your day when you go a week thinking you have 2 broken bones, only to find out that you actually have 5 - surprise! It's especially irritating when you've been moving your arm in hopes of gently stretching out the tendons rather than keeping it completely static to let the bone heal. Moral: get 2nd and 3rd medical opinions folks!!! I wish doctors were all-knowing but they aren't (except for Otis, the Bakers, Taylor, Andrea, and T-Bone).
On a happy note, the pain is getting more tolerable and I can even ride some. I just have to take it easy and let my body heal itself unobtrusively. And the Bissell boys are doing well at Mt. Hood. Kill it in the TT fellas!!!

having lunch down by the creek w/ mis amigos. must fill days w activities like this or insanity will ensue.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Keep on truckin...

On to that "recovery" stage where everything goes slower and takes longer than you hope/expect. I rode the trainer a couple days ago with some success but today I don't feel well enough to even walk around. No complaining though, Esparza from Tecos, who crashed on the same descent as me, is still in rough shape in El Paso. They have set up a fund to help pay for his medical bills. Donations can be sent to:
Wells Fargo Bank
1201 N. Pope St.
Silver City, NM 88061

Attention: Fausto Munoz Esparza Donation Fund

Next month, I plan to be doing this! But for now, will have to settle for this...on my good days:
this scuzzball hadn't showered since the crash 5 days previous!

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Sorry Mr. Guptill

Hey Everybody - I'm alive and well!! (relatively)
Man, I'd say we had an awesome Tour of the Gila! 2 stage wins, 2nd on GC, 2nd in the team's classification and we controlled the front of nearly every stage. Vega from Tecos is an amazing climber so Burke should be proud of his 2nd on gc.
I was looking forward to seeing how I would fair on the brutal last day but didn't give myself the opportunity when i overcooked a turn on the steep gila monster descent and slammed into Andy Guptill of Colavita who was just lifting himself up from crashing. Well, me and about 8 others crashed on the same turn. I guess we got a little carried away. I hobbled away w/ a strained shoulder (no broken collarbone), broken bone in L hand, and cracked back R rib. I'm a little sore of course but am actually doing fine. I have teammate Jeremy Vennell here to give me his special kiwi TLC when I need it, and my new friend Percoset has really come through for me too.
Thanks for all the emails, texts, phone calls, and blog comments first for getting the leader's jersey, then for the crash. :) Much appreciated. Here is a good pic of the week taken by Gleein.
we had to get a pic w this local after the crit (read his shirt)

Friday, May 02, 2008

It was a good day...

Bissell had a good stage 3 at the Tour of the Gila. I won the TT to squeak into the leader's jersey by a full 2 seconds. Plenty to spare - I should have sat up the last 20m. BJM was 2nd on the day to slip into the top 10 on GC. Which is pretty impressive considering he's spent about 95% of this race off the front in breaks so far. And Burke had a solid ride and is sitting in 5th GC at the moment. The top 7 are all within a minute. Yikes! And with Sunday's epic mountain stage, there are going to be some massive time gaps. Oh, and we're leading the team GC competition which may not mean much but is always a subject of pride for the teams. We have a fun downtown crit tomorrow that has a little roller coaster section on the backside and then the slugfest on Sun.
We're staying in a cool host house about 20 miles outside of Silver City. It is very, how do you say....remote. It is an awesome place though and it gives us a good feel for this beautiful southwest U.S. region where people don't move here to have a bunch of neighbors. I love the rolling, desert terrain of NM. With my occasional hermit tendencies I can see myself living here someday.
our host Jeff's backyard view. Hammock essential.

from TdG, to show how well they treat us, here is documentation that my hotel bed came equiped w/ 7 pillows. wow. I guess that means it's fancy, right?

Here, Mayo shows her Bissell pride during the Brasstown stage at Georgia.

Thanks for reading and if you happen to have any good luck to spare, could you send it our way for the next 2 days? Thanks.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

i hate this wait, I LOVE IT!!!

After having a day so frustrating that I wanted nothing to do with this race or sport for a time, why not have the best day ever in the history of Bissell/Priority Health??? I've felt some rather extreme ups and downs in the last 48 hrs. I had a mechanical at the beginning of lap 3 of 4 in the TTT and wasn't able to catch back on and so wasn't able to help the team like I hoped. We lost a lot of time that 3rd lap but the boys recovered well and had a smokin 4th lap. We were obviously disappointed with our performance and wanted to make up for it on Stage 5. The stage was a brutal 134 mile up and down affair that was hard all day. Teddy did an awesome job getting into the break and gobbling up KOM points along the way - and nearly held it off until the end! Then the man of the hour, Rich England, showed that he's on decent form by winning the queen stage of the tour in a sprint finish by a select group of 15 or so. YEAH!! So that's 2 podium spots on the same day at the Tour de friggin Georgia. It's hard for me to even remember what it was that I was disappointed about the day before. I was so proud of the team effort put forth yesterday in that champion effort. Everyone did their job, be it covering moves, getting bottles, getting KOM pts, or winning a stage. :)
Okay, gotta go get ready for this Brasstown stage. Nothing like a little momentum to help you up a hill, eh?

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Done w/ the Fluff

Finished off stages 2 & 3 without too much trouble. Could have been better for us, I guess, but not too bad nonetheless. Stage 2 went like this: really fast first 70k until a group got off that the peloton was relatively happy with (or just too tired to respond). Then we went really friggin slow for the next 2 hours, letting the 3 breakaway dudes maintain a lead. Then, of course, it got really stinkin fast for the last hour. Overall, not to bad of a stage except that my body HATES going hard, easy, hard on rides/races. It's like the engine just shuts off during the easy portion and I sit there cranking on the starter to no avail when it gets hard again. I'd rather it just stay hard the whole way (done whining). Teddy came up just short of the KOM jersey behind Pipp near the end of the stage so that was bitter-sweet. And Jeremy got hit by a Toyota team car late in the stage after a pee break. He is okay, just a little scratched, bruised and irritated.
Stage 3 was a similar stage on paper to st. 2: 175k or so with no categorized climbs. However, in reality st. 3 was a bear! The 2nd half of that stage had some serious rollers (re: leg-busters) and then finished up on a killer 3k up and down circuit that we did twice. We averaged 44kph (27.5 mph) for a stage of about 110 miles. Ouch. One reason it was so fast is because Zwiza and his 3 breakaway companions must have been KILLIN it out front. They were hella-strong today. Hats off to them.
On a more somber note, fellow front range Coloradan Timmy Duggan suffered a nasty crash today on a fast descent. Word is that he broke a few bones and is hemorraging from the brain. He is in ICU and they are watching him closely but every indication is that he didn't suffer brain damage and he is expected to recover. We're thinking about you, buddy. GET WELL!!!
Next up is the team time trial tomorrow. We're hoping and expecting to shine in this event, it's just a matter of racing smart and communicating well. Then it's on to the hardest stages 5 & 6 which contain a ton of climbing and will be where the GC is separated out. So like I said, done w/ the fluff and on to the meat of the race -Game on!!

Monday, April 21, 2008

Tour de Georgia, St. 1

Only so much you can write about a dead flat 115k stage 1 of 7 but I'll try. Bissell was aggressive today, initiating quite a few moves and Garrett was in the move that stayed away for a bit w/ 5 others. However, if nothing else I will have the unofficial title of being the first person to attack at the 2008 TdG. I was thinking of just calling it good and pulling out of the race w/ a "job well done" attitude but I decided to stick it out for a bit longer. And Rich scored a really good result for us with a 4th place finish in the sprint after getting a bit of help from Vennell down the stretch. Nice work, fellas!
I needed an action photo so Rich assured me that this is what he looked like while throwing his bike for 4th place on the stage.

Here is the view from our hotel room in Tybee Island. Check that - this is the view for HALF of the team, but Garrett, me, et. al are on the opposite side w/ a keen view of the parking lot.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

What the...?!?

It was 85 and sunny here yesterday. I guess Garrett and I should be ready for any weather condition the Tour de Georgia throws at us next week.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

So long SoCal

The California tours are over (for me anyway) and it’s time to travel to other regions of this fine country. Redlands finished up well for us with Burke securing a podium spot for the GC. That was his first podium at Redlands and he’s in his mid-30s so I guess that means that I have 4-6 years of improving (at least) before I hit my lifetime peak. Bad news on the weekend was that Omer broke his collarbone in a massive pileup 15 min. into the Sunset RR. He’s okay, “It was a clean break; I’ll be riding the trainer in a few days” he says, but he and a few others suffered some road rash on the day as well. Jeremy, Rich, and Teddy also went down during the stage and as a result weren’t able to catch back on to the lead group. BJM was feeling ill, yet was still able to stay off the front in a 3 man break for half the race. Aaron and I tried to help Burke and keep him in good position in the last part of the race. I was psyched to be able to help on a couple of occasions: once when burke was caught behind a crash and once when a gap opened up on the last time up the climb. I’m convinced he would have been fine without me but it always nice to feel like you contributed to a great effort. :)
It’s nice to be heading home but I’m gonna miss the home-cooked meals provided by Aunt Margaret this past week! We were so spoiled!!! And in fairness, I have to admit that the smog wasn’t too overwhelming during this stay. The mornings were often chilly and wet which helped dispel the sulfuric acid in the air, I believe.
Next up for me is the Tour de Georgia followed closely by the Tour of the Gila. I’m excited about Georgia having never done it. I hear there is some Copper or Brass something-or-other hill in it that is supposed to be challenging. Nothing my 200lb carcass can’t handle, I’m sure. :) Gila is definitely high on my list as well. It is in such a cool area and has great race courses. I haven’t raced it since 2004 when I was a cat. 3, so I definitely miss it and can’t wait to get back. I guess I better find my climbing legs for the upcoming races…
Take care. And it’s spring now so don’t forget to make time to get out and ride!
This was the family crowd support for the Sunset RR (minus Mike and Desiree who bugged out before picture time). Impressive, eh?

Burke in all his Redlands podium slendor.

Friday, April 04, 2008

Redlands Update

Hey Everyone,
Burke had a good ride today for Bissell at the Redlands Cycling Classic. He got in the race winning break that went on the 2nd of 5 laps and made the podium on the day w/ a 3rd place showing. Nice work by the old sage/jedi master! He is probably sitting 3rd or 4th on GC at the moment so that's exciting as well. It was a circuit race that went right by Aunt Margaret and Uncle Jim's place in Calimesa where Jeremy, Teddy, and I are staying. So needless to say, we had some stellar crowd support once again.
As you could probably have gathered, yesterday was not one of my better days. I missed my start because a) I'm an idiot and didn't give myself any wriggle room and b) because the UCI officials checking the bikes decided to change the measuring rules for BB to bar ends and decided I was over the UCI limit for length even though it was the same bike that I rode in the Tour of Cali the last 2 years and US Pros last year, etc. I was not the only person to fall victim to this "new rule" as several other people were forced to ride their road bikes and/or miss their start as well. It is pretty disappointing and irritating when officials have the power to just wreck a person's race basically on a whim. As Henk Vogels vented to me "It's the same f%&$in measurements I've used for 2 Giros, Tour of Cali [and a shit ton of other giganto races] and they're gonna sit there and tell me that I'M wrong?!?" Grrr. There needs to be changes in our sport's administration.
However, the sun came up this morning and it turned into a beeeeeautiful day. I even got a lil too much sun (despite copious amounts of sunscreen), which is okay w/ me. I felt fine today in the 1st group of the peloton and am not looking forward to tomorrow's crit, but Sun.'s Sunset Loop should be full on fun.
Teddy, Jeremy and I spoke to about 200 kids from Smiley Elementary on Wed. about bike safety, what it's like to be a bike racer, and how FUN it is to ride a bike. In this pic I'm showing off my sz 50 DMTs. Pic courtesy of Teddy and his beloved Iphone.

Teddy sporting the KOM jersey at San Dimas from last weekend. Check out the impressive hip angle!

Saturday, March 29, 2008

San Dimas Sketch Race

A quick race update for ya:
Teddy King is holding the Sprint and KOM leader's jerseys heading into the final day here at the San Dimas Stage Race. There are no KOM points available so Teddy will just need to finish to retain that. The sprint competition however is very much still up for grabs and will require some aggressive (and fast) riding from Teddy aka iamtedking aka Iphone 4.
After a "sub-par" TT in which he was holding back vomit for most of it, Kiwi Jeremy Vennell is sitting 7th on GC in his second ever race on U.S. soil.
My personal highlights include talking trash to Michael Creed before the uphill TT on Fri. (he was my 30s man and I just said "Sucks to be you today" as I rode by him in warmup) and then rightfully I got schooled by him by like 6s. The biggest highlight so far, however, was surviving the RR earlier today. Sketch-ball City!!! That course, though cool and challenging on paper, is not designed for 140 aggressive dudes desperately trying to get an early-season result. If you happened to race this course today or sometime in the past, please feel free to use this blog's comment section as your forum. Maybe my old age (big 3-0 this year) and/or my being on blood thinners is making me soft and pansy-like so I'd like to hear what others have to say.
At the finish of the 2nd lap of 12, somebody crashed in front of me and because he slid, I had time to slow down ALMOST quick enough to avoid him but instead ended up with my front wheel on his chest and my left foot on the far side of him. "You okay?" A nod. Okay, time to get my chain back on and catch back up to the peloton which is receding into the horizon. Luckily Burke and Graham saw my episode and waited to escort me back to the group nearly single-handedly. Having good teammates is such a treat! I caught back on with minimal effort after a mishap that should have cost me big-time energy that I would need later.
So yeah, Teddy got into the main break of the day w/ 2 others to gobble up those sprint and kom points. Burke put himself in a move with 4 others late in the race that wasn't caught until the final time up the hill (about 3k to go). Zwiza and I crested the hill together on the final lap in about 15th or so and he attempted to launch me to the solo win w/ about 1k to go but I had little left in the tank and could hardly come around him. So, it came down to a sprint finish w/ Omer, Jeremy, Burke, Zwiza and I finishing on same time w/ the winner.
Unfortunately, Morgan double flatted at the base of the climb w/ 2 to go and since he was sitting 2nd in the U25 competition, Teddy and Graham gave him their wheels in hopes that he could catch back on but it was just too fast at that point and thus those 3 missed the front group. Bike racing.
It's a hard crit tomorrow and I predict carnage. It's got a good little hill and descent in it and is a bit long (90 min.) for people to fake it with tired legs.
I also have to say that I've had some pretty awesome fan support during my first 2 races of the season. At the ToC, I had my mum, 2 aunts, 1 uncle, 5 cousins, and a Boulder bud come out to watch. And here at San Dimas, I have my dad and friend, same aunt and uncle, and 2 cousins out to watch. It's pretty cool. It's a bummer the other racers don't recognize this and just let me win. Maybe I'll make an announcement before the crit. Thanks for reading!
We're staying at an Extended Stay hotel for this race and we've got 3 dudes packed into each room. Here is a pic of our room less than 24 hours after Bissell infiltration. And yes ladies, Iphone-1 does frequent our room shirtless from time to time. How lucky am I???

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Breaking News!!

This just in:
I received my Frostbite TT medal in the mail today! Don't know what I'm referring to? Read my blog entry on the team site from 2 weeks ago. Recent exchange between my roommate/landlord/romantic-nonsexual life partner Betts:

Betts brings in the mail, hands me small package.
Me: hmmm, what's this? Oh! I'll bet this is my medal!!! You know, from that local TT that I placed 3rd in... [I open package] Yes!! Sweet!
Betts: Remember that time when you finished 4th in the National TT?


Thanks Mr. Haywood, for spending the time and $1.13 in postage to send me my prized medal.