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!