Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Tour of Virginia Stage 1

TOV began today in Natural Bridge, VA, only about an hour from my place in harrisonburg. I rolled out @ 10:29 A.M for my prologue Time Trial. 8 minutes later I ended up I believe somewhere around 90th out of about 170 or so. Since today was a double - stage day there was a bit of napping and a 45min transfer to.... I forget. Anyway, whatever town I'm in hosted the Criterium. Nice up and down course lined with Cobblestones. I enjoyed a few minutes off the front to but to no avail as no one was willing to work as a breakaway. A lap after I was gobbled up the first time my teammate DAN Bowman to the KOM and is now in the "mountains leaders" jersey. The race begins tomorrow really... 100 miles with a Category 1, 7 mile, steep switch-backed climb 10 miles before the finish.

JB made it back from Belgium yesterday and was at the TOV today. Nice. And Jeff Schalk cherry picked last weekend's Big Bear WVMBA. Nice.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Floor pizza.

Sometimes it seems that when there is little to do, things that actually need to get done get completely neglected. Taxes? On that note...my apologies for the lack of updates this week. The last couple weeks have been full of racing, training and traveling so when my teammates left for home on Tuesday I went to sleep for a few days.There's plenty of room.

Well, almost. First I rode with Andy Mac for 5 hours and hit up Mexi-night @ the Grill on Tuesday night. Since the ride with Andy marked three weeks of hard training and racing I was psyched to spend Wednesday and Thursday Slothing around the house, sleeping anytime I wasn't standing and eating in between. Hit all the rest week cuisine in the form of Five Guys Burgers and Ciro's pizza - still keepin' it real with mega doses of Jon Barron's Private Reserve Super Food to supplement. As Jon puts it in his book, Lessons from the Miracle Doctors, "you can't build strong, quality blood with pepperoni pizza and twinkies". As it turns out, rest was much need and I already felt the new "form" sensations in my legs during today's early evening paradise spin in the 'Burg. Spring is springing and the grass is looking green in the Shenandoah Valley.

Chris Scott's been up in DC the last few days so the house has been extra mellow. He rolled into town this morning to crank out a few house chores unfortunately at the price of the last sunny day of the week. I launched a few items from the bike clothing pile into the ebay matrix today. Always a tedious, mind-numbing time.

I didn't mention this in my last post but on Monday during our TOV recon my teammate Reid hit a car. He was descending a steep road, over-shot a turn and slammed himself into the side of an on-coming van. He went to the hospital via Charlottesville's warp speed emergency response crew. The crash broke Reid's knee and gave him a nasty laceration on his shin. He was released at 2a.m. the next day. This is a huge loss for our team since Reid was a major player going into the Tour of Virginia in two weeks. At this point we're all just relieved it wasn't worse.

I'm still contemplating my move for racing or not this Sunday. My mountain bike isn't exactly ready... The dirt crew is all out at Sea Otter this weekend. Looks like most people are waiting 'till the XC on Sunday unlike years past when the stage race was mandatory for all pro riders. I can see why it's not like that anymore after last year's 2 minute time trial. Hardly worth a day of prep for that. Oh, man, last year I didn't even make it to the XC because of an alien growth on my underside. While the lightning and rain was hitting the pro men start, I was eating fish 'n chips with my manager on Canary Row.

Heated up the last couple slices of pepperoni pizza from last night today for lunch. A piece fell on the floor. I still ate it.

Monday, April 9, 2007

A little tired.

I made it back from the Monster on Saturday and Roubaix'd it up on Sunday with a nice turnout of 40 or so renegade cyclists in town for the Classic gravel road throttle fest. Matty Marcus and Jason Cyr both made appearances as well as Sparky and Big Matt from the snowy mountains of WV. JB rocketed into the lead after taking advantage of the multiple misfortunes of my KBS team. Guess I could have just chased instead of stopping to help my teammates. C'est la vie I suppose. Nice work Bishop. If there is one thing I've learned from this whole road racing thing, it'd be that when it's three on one the solo guy shouldn't feel obligated to do anything. I almost froze on the 10 mile ride home afterwards. I don't think my body temperature was quite normalized from the previous day's arctic march.

Chris and I had a huge crew at the house with my KBS teammates, Matt and Jason. For dinner we all went to the JMU cafeteria and had an amazing all-you-could-eat feast for $7.20. A nice (and cheap) change to the typical out on the town spots we would normally hit. As a group of professional athletes and mountain men we certainly stuck out in the college crowd. Even managed to smuggle out enough bagels for breakfast this morning.

Today Team KBS did a little Tour of Virginia reconnaissance of the two major climbs in Stage 4, Douthat to Waynesboro. I'm beginning to feel the wear of three major weeks of good training and racing building towards TOV. Rest is next up but first:

Tuesday 4/10/2007:
Planned duration: 5:00

Final day of the block!!!!!!! GO NICK!!!!!!!! WU: 30 minutes MS: Just get out there and get in at least 5 hours today. The goal's are: Get in 3 x 30 minutes at BP and do this starting in hour 3(last one is in the last 30 minutes of the ride) . Also get in a bunch of little hills and make sure to push it up them at threshold(not at anaerobic capacity, but hold back a bit). Finally, make that last 30 minutes STRONG tempo pace. Smooth and steady and motoring. I want you to finish strong! CD: 15 minutes

Saturday, April 7, 2007

Fantastic weather.

Absolutely brutal, today was... 5am alarm followed by 1hr transfer in a raging snow storm that didn't stop until two hours into the race. You get the idea. The start of today's US Open was delayed because the helicopters wouldn't fly in a blizzard, not for saving the riders from hypothermia. The lone coffee shop in town made a killing off the Caffeine-starved racers awaiting the star, myself included. It was pretty wild hanging out at the Java hut with the entire US Pro peloton.

Getting dressed was a huge challenge today. Since most teams arrived in VA with minimal cold weather gear we were forced to get creative to keep the wind, snow and icy road spray at bay. The Kelly team rocked the toilet scrubber yellow rubber gloves to keep the gloves dry and Zip-Lock bags for our shoes, knee's and hips. Can't get much more water proof than cheap plastic and rubber. We stayed in the Saabs with the heat cranked until the pack was actually rolling down the road. The day started with the entire peloton/caravan taking a wrong turn. We flipped it, made the "right" turn and we were off on our frozen journey. Almost every time we rolled under trees the pack would get pelted by frozen chunks rainy down on us.

I Almost got dropped a couple times during the cross-wind sections. I was taking back some clothing to the team car and when I got back to the pack it was in the gutter and I was forced to dangle at the back which is practically THE most difficult position to be in when it's windy. Felt really good on the Circuits in Richmond and climb near the front on the first 5 laps (look close in the coverage, you'll see my red gloves). Johnny, Reid and Ryan justified our sponsor's investment today with some nice NBC breakaway airtime. My good friend Dr. B(onk) visited me on laps 6 and 7. I hate that cruel bastard. GEL gel gel. I will not race without that sticky slime ever again. The bars I had in my pocket were frozen and it was extremely difficult to find the time the mess with them during wicked fast circuits. I finished. Bla bla bla.... and bla! Surprisingly there were only a few crashes today. I narrowly missed being a part of the big one again. There were these train tracks on the left side of the road on part of the circuit and a guy rolled into one at the perfect angle and BOOM, quarter of the pack tasted the sterile Richmond pavement.

I'm worked and I've got a beverage in me so to bed to bed tobed tooobed. Harri-Roubaix Tomorrow! I'm bringin' some teammates.

Friday, April 6, 2007

US Open

The beginning of this week was unreal for riding around here. I Drove into a beautiful Harrisonburg afternoon on Monday. On Tuesday I napped in the sun and made sun-tea followed by burger night @ the Bishops. Wednesday was a super "race winning" interval day with JB while the temperature was easily in 70's. However, the ride did greet us with a few insane pollen and white petal filled wind gusts. An allergenic whiteout. I even got burned over my California tan??

That brings us to Thursday where the bottom dropped out and Harrisonburg awoke to cloudy skies and 30 degrees. Chris Scott and I went out for a "mellow" super rolling loop to check out some of the key turns and gravel sections for this weekend's Hell of the North... Harri-Roubaix. As it was windy and generally miserable we didn't see much and instead opted to ride the wind home to escape the cruel joke that nature is apparently playing on us. It's Spring! Relax! And just as you let down your guard... mother nature blows in an icy "just kidding!". Tomorrow is going to be brutal. Not because I haven't managed to wake up before nine since returning east and tomorrow's start being 8:10 am. And not because the race is 112 miles long. It's because it's going to be freakin' 30 degrees and snowing!

I'm actually really psyched. I've got the French-press packed for the 6am departure and the pace is going to heat things up fast. No worries.

Delayed coverage on NBC Sports tomorrow from 2:30-5:00 PM.

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

I'm back. Feed me, please.

Nick and Karl (and Karl's giant truck). Brothers.

Just got back from a nice little home visit up in Davis, WV. Touched base with the crew that pretty much makes what I do happen...or at least enjoyable. Hung out with Matt, Jason and Roger @ Blackwater bikes and witnessed one of the new WV 29'er team bikes get built and weigh in under 21 pounds! BWB seems to be cranking up nicely for '07 with bikes and other retail stuff starting to disappear at the quicker Spring rate. Ran into most of the locals including Gary Berti who always seems to be sawing or building something in his backyard that he shares with the bike shop. The Cyrs cheffed up an amazing SUPER-steak dinner for Matt and I - the second welcome back dinner since we returned from our trips ( the first being from Saundra Goss at Sirianni's on Friday night). The roll continued with an awesome Turkey dinner at my parent's house in Aurora on Sunday night with both the Cyrs and Matt. Matt told a bunch of really cool stories of his epic bike adventure in South America and the harsh reality of having to once again shop at the local Shop N' Save... You get the idea if you've ever been to Europe or S. America. The freshness and variety of produce and baked-goods just doesn't compare. At least we have lots of colorful packages with nice pictures on them that in no way portray what's actually inside. Anyway, thanks to all those that fed me while I was home! Matt and Roger contemplating their big order.

The New Team WV 29'er bike. Jason Cyr:"Hey, check this out". No way! CRAZY!!

And finally the big ride of the weekend to complete a tired and jet-lagged week. In the rain and nothing short of a WV style mountain throw down. A 90 mile, five hour and ten minute tour of the gritty mountain roads that built me! A flat tire from a roofing nail in hour five had me arriving home just before dinner.

On Monday morning I miraculously was able to make it to BWB before 10am and met Jason and Matt for Breakfast at the "new" Bright Morning cafe. I give it four out of five stars. I'm going to say the fifth star is for "originality" and one look at the menu will explain why they didn't get it...

Rolled into town last night. Got a visit from the Bishops on their way back from the airport. JB had a solid weekend @ NORBA # 1 in AZ. Congrats.

Today was a rest day.