Project OPTUMiZ has been going great so far. Already, we're less than one bike away from reaching our goal of 20 bikes to Zambia by the Tour of California. Thank you to everyone who has donated to this Super-Cool, Bikes-Can-Save-the-World cause! I'm very proud and appreciative of the support that 'you' all have given.
Well, I'm back from Uruguay and mostly whole again. We had a pretty rough go of it down there but I think we had a very successful and worthwhile trip. Ken Hanson proved he was the fastest man on two wheels down there, and so it was fun trying to organize lead-out trains amid the chaos that is South American racing. As you may have heard, we did have some issues with the airline not delivering a good chunk of our equipment. To recap, Soladay had to ride on a borrowed bike for the entire 10 days (Hard Man Award!), the team had one set of spare wheels for the whole race, we were missing 4 TT bikes so Zwiz and I confiscated Haga and Reid's TT rigs, Amanda was without her beloved massage table and so had to get creative daily for a makeshift table, and Bob had about half of his tools and so had to make many amigos during the race to make sure all of our bikes were tip top.
Then, there was the sickness. 4 of 6 of us got sick at some point during the race. The day after the time trial (St. 9) was a 188 km stage and was one of the hardest days I've ever had on the bike. Only through the constant help from my teammates was I able to finish on the same time with the leaders. Unbelievable teamwork to get me to the finish line. Looking back, it was really cool. At the time, it was pure misery. So, we headed back to the States with 4 stage wins, 6 podiums, and a 2nd and 4th on GC...and who knows how many random bacteria and parasites in our guts! Next up for me is Joe Martin, straight to Gila, and then a few days at home before the Tour of California (hopefully anyway, our roster hasn't been announced. We have a strong team!).
Having some fun with the giant 2nd place GC trophy from the race.
A glimpse at the glamorous lifestyle of a pro cyclist. We spent 5 days in this hotel room during our Uruguayan stay.