Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Redlands Success?

So finally after over a month off from racing after our biggest race of the year, the NRC season officially kicked off this past week. We finished 2nd and 5th on GC and had a 3rd and two 4th place finishes on stages. It's a solid start to the season but as we were sitting around, guzzling Ultragen after the Sunset Road Race, I could tell that none of us were overly content with the week. We've upped the expectations and 2nd place on GC is no longer going to be a 'success' for this team. Louder and BMC rode a great race and deserved the win, that much is clear. So we are going to have step it up another notch if we want that top step on the podium. I, for one, did not race aggressive enough to pull out the win on the last day. The fear of losing our podium spot on GC caused me to race defensively for the majority of the race. Hopefully I'll learn from this experience and react differently next time I'm in that situation. That being said, this was my highest finish ever on GC for an NRC event. And a high quality field at that. Everyone on the team helped me out at one point or other during the 4 day event. Be it helping me with positioning, fetching bottles for me, helping me with positioning, gobbling up time bonuses, getting in the break or helping me with positioning, the boys had their hands full the last 3 days! And of course our staff made it so we just had to pedal our bikes and recover. Such a huge help. But my favorite part of Redlands (besides that wonderful, 90 min., zig-zaggy, 160 man field, white knuckled crit that I and many other poor souls crashed in) is staying with my Aunt Margaret and Uncle Jim during the race and spending time with their/our family. I'm so lucky to be able to get that family TLC on the road while racing. Thanks fam!
Okay, maybe I'll start updating this blog more often now that the racing has begun again. Maybe I'll start posting pictures again to spice things up. And maybe I'll put a little effort into writing interesting content instead of generic race reports or self-evaluations. Maybe.

Monday, March 02, 2009

now what?

phew! I'm glad that race is done. Now we can just sit back and relax for the remainder of the 2009 season, right? Maybe not. That's the trouble with the schedule for the domestic pro teams. The biggest race of the year for us is in Feb.! And then probably the 2nd and 3rd biggest races are at the end of the year. Don't get me wrong, it's nice having a month at home after the AToC but it just seems like a big waste not being able to directly utilize this fitness gained from suffering through that friggin hard race. I am thankful that Bissell was invited to the ToC again this year because it's an incredible experience and it's an honor to race in it, but it's just difficult to be going well in Feb., Sept., and a few times in between. Now that I have the whining out of my system, let me say that my friends/family support throughout the ToC was 2nd to none! It was a lot of fun having the support of so many loved ones (not to mention some complete strangers) at the race this year. It's that very support that helps keep us going when we're racing in miserable cold rain for 3 days straight...for instance.
So, I took it nice and easy on the bike this week and all my little road rash areas and bruising are healing up nicely. I'm hoping that Scotty, Teddy, Omer, and PZ are healing up fast as well. AJM seems to have recovered okay as proven by his podium finish this past week in Merced. No team races for me until Redlands at the end of this month, but I may jump in a local race or 2 in the meantime.
Thanks to all who supported and cheered the Bissell team during this year's edition of the Amgen Tour!
Take care.