Friday, March 2, 2007
The burn-lines on my legs from the Southern California sun are beginning to settle into my first '07 tan-lines. This always "marks" the beginning of the racing countdown. As opposed to my pals in VA and WV, for the next month anyway, I'll be building my tan-lines layer-by-layer, ride-by-ride. Ahhhh.... No leg warmers, lots of Sun block. Bummer.
I've been out in Oxnard, CA just south of Ventura and north of L.A. riding with my new KBS/Medifast teammates. The travel here from Jeff Schalk's "Tower of Doom" to LAX's smog clouds was not without a hiccup or two. First, I ended up packing way too many clothes which made for insanely heavy bags that lead Jeff to remark "Ya goin' to the Oscars or something?". Just getting to my gate proved to be a challenge as I somehow managed to forget which airline I was flying on. Once again prompting commentary from Mr. Schalk: "Nick, you need to start acting less like a slack @$$ MTB'r and more like a prompt and organized road racer". So, a few call's to the command center (Chris Scott) later, I found my gate. Of course being so behind the ball always comes with consequences and my late arrival on the departing end translated into -2 bags on the arriving end. Fantastic. I feel ready, honestly.
This has by far been the most organized, intense and professionally run program I have ever been apart of. Starting with the fact that for the first time in my career I do not have to travel with bikes! I have a "training-bike" that stays at home fully equipped with Harrisonburg gravel road assaulting tires. In the loving care of our team mechanic Jonno, I have two other fully race-tuned Lemond road bikes. When I arrived at the team house on the corner of Las Palmas St. and Sunset drive I was greeted with more goodies like a Timberland travel duffel bag embroidered with my name and stuffed full of sponsor shwag all sporting the KBS/Medifast logo. Oh, yeah and like 4 pairs of timberland hiking, running, lounging and casual shoes. Nice. By the way, this is the first team I've been a part of that provided prodigious amounts of cool casual threads.
From day one the schedule cranked up to full throttle. The day's started at 7am for breakfast and riding by 9am. The riding here is pretty spectacular since our time on the bike starts and finishes each day with about 20 miles to and from the mountains along the Pacific coastal highway. The first ride the team did together, we rode a stage of the Tour of California backwards and watched the peloton roll by. The spectators along the course were all yelling, " Hey, you guys are going the wrong way!". Next year KBS will be in that race.
The riding was finished by 2pm each day and we had about an hour to chill out before the sponsor presentations and media training began. This went on for six days.
I caught a cold midway through the week so unfortunately I'm not racing with the team this weekend in Merced. On the upside I do have a three-story house on the beach all to myself for the weekend.