Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Liam and Daddy's Adventure in Beverly Hills

So Tiiu is out with the girls tonight and I decided to take Liam on an adventure.  First we bought a little Christmas Tree with mom and then we went out.  I asked Liam if he wanted to go see Santa and he said no.  "Well where do you want to go" I asked.  "The restaurant" he said.  There is something seriously wrong that he associates food with a restaurant but that's my fault.  At least he likes eating.  We settled on Pasta.  Actually he settled on pasta since I'm sure Nanna had something else planned for me. 
Since I don't know LA that well I just put Rodeo Drive, Beverly Hills on my Garmin.  There's probably an Italian restaurant there.  And bingo we get to Rodeo and I hit Places of Interest on the Garmin, restaurants and then Italian restaurants and bingo we end up at Il Fornaio.  We get a table in the back Liam orderes the penne bolognese (damm the kid knows how to order) - now its not pepe's but here what I learned tonight.  When your feeding them and with abundant choices of how many pieces of penne on a plate they actually start asking for individual pieces as in "this piece daddy".

After this were going to see if we can find a Santa who is not drunk.

Oh yeah training is going well.  16 hours in the last 4 days and all fairly hard. 

Gosh I love this mobile blogigng.  I'm doing it from the restaurant.  Damm where's Liam...

Friday, December 19, 2008

Sitting on plane heading to Camp #2

There was a huge storm in New York today and the flight was suppose to take off at 6:30 and right now its 9:45 and were still in the plane.  Tiiu is entertaining Liam whose already done 2 puzzles and sang about 5 songs.  Right now its Bob the builder.  I've finished the Times and just realized that I could test the mobile blogging feature on my blog.  Screw twitter.

Speaking of Twitter, Lance just said on his twitter page that they flew some guy from Germany to test him in Texas.  That's gotta be expensive.  I realized that I hadn't sent my whereabouts forms in to the UCI for the next two weeks of camp #2.  Then I realized (can you realize a realization?) That I'm not in the whereabouts system and despite the fact that I keep telling the UCI, USA Cycling, The Portuese Cycling Federation and the NYPD that they really should be testing me on a regular basis nobody seems to be listening.  I mean what does a guy have to do to get some surprise testings going.  Since that hasn't worked I've invoked my wife in my own anti-doping testing system (its not governed by anybody) and my wife now does surprise dope tests on me.  I have to keep a whereabouts system (calendar in the back of the wine closet) updated and she's even gotten me a GPS enabled phone to make sure she knows where I am at all times.  I've been tested 5 times in the past three weeks and on two occasions it was in the middle of the night.  Both times I got an elbow to the ribs and she said "wake up and go pee in the cup". Damm it.  I had to do early morning rides on both days.  I am happy to report that 4 out of 5 tests came back negative and one test was positive for excess cholestorol although I am sure the Pepe's Oso Bucco had something to do with that.  I was immediately handed a two week no eating at La Maseria sentence and its been rough. 

So I'm heading for Southern California for two weeks and two 25 Hour riding weeks.  That should be fun.  If anybody finds themselves in the LA area come out for a ride.  I'll finish at Pete's Coffee on Montana for a coffee and cookie.

See who needs twitter when you've got blogger.  Thanks Google guys. 

Monday, December 15, 2008

3 Incredible Photos

Look I am just not that funny.  I know it, you know it.  My blog isn't going to be read because it cracks people up.  Teddy King is funny, Richard Pryor is funny, Rodney Dangerfield now that's funny.  Joao Correia - just a funny name.  So I have to go out of my way and do some serious investigative journalism in order to grab attention and as everybody knows I suffer from low self esteem.  Basically I'm the Holland of self esteem (hey that might be funny)...  So here are three photos worth your while.  Although they are not funny.

I was late yet again and for the second time he was not amused.   We had a really nice lunch and two bottles of wine later I'm busting his nuts again when he said racing was hard.  Come on Eddy racing was hard but not for you, it was hard for the poor schleps who had to ride after you or on your wheel.  Yes he's just a man but damm is he a great man.  Greatest cyclist ever ladies and gentleman Eddy Merckx

OK so you have all heard of the Prince of Spain bike that Alejandro Valverde was touting after winning the Spanish National Championships this summer.  He was at the Tour won a stage or two or three something like that.  Well allow me to present to you the Princess of Portugal.  Everybody knows that princesses have all the fun.  Fausto Pinarello presenting me with my 09 bike.  It's not a great picture but there it is.

And last but not least and as promised.  You may all remember the famous Champs Elysees sprint.  The right veer and then collision into the barriers.  Ouch.  But the man was tough and he was fast.  Lovely guy in person as well.  And no he does not veer right when he walks.   Here is Djamalodin Abdujaparov and Ernesto Colnago.  

Like I said I'm not very funny but try beating that Teddy King...

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Some Photos from Europe

I'll download some more photos from my European trip when I am home including an interesting one with the man knows as the Tashkent Terror. Certain unnamed cycling magazines have been publishing stories about how difficult it is to find him and how he won't talk to anybody. Blah blah blah. I don't know what the big deal is. He wasn't that hard to find.

So I tought I'd share the photos of my new bike for 09 and of a certain place where they make custom cycling shoes, including the wall of boxes of the various folks they make them for under all sorts of different brands.

Here is a photo after the frame was assembled and painted but pre-decals. a guy named Giancarlo painted the frame. He's been at Pinarello since 1977.

Valverde might be the Prince of Spain but there is only one Princess of Portugal.

Assembled by the master Piero and checked by the Grand Master Borgetto to make sure it was up to my dimensions on file. Piero has been at Pinarello since 1978 and Borgo since 1974.

Ah the last file. Probably hard to read the names but let's just say that everybody is there including a certain American who's actual foot mold I held. Hmm smaller than I tought.

And of course the most important box. The funny thing is that I've known Chantal Beltman since 1993. We got into some trouble together after the worlds in Australia in 1993. A certain Dutch coach still doesn't talk to me to this day and after that incident my contract with the Eddy Merckx Boys simply disappeared. Hmmm what could have been.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

First "Training Camp"

So finally the first camp. Sort of; its a private camp I do every year. Training starts on November 1st or so and then around Thanksgiving I like to do a 5 day block. This year I came to Italy to see my daughter and then to see some clients the week after Thanksgiving. I based myself in Lecchi in Chianti which is about 20K outside of Siena and unfortunately the weather wasn't cooperating. It rained every day and I even got sleet once. But did the riding anyways and also had a great Thanksgiving dinner which my cousin Hugo making the bird.  Unfortunately Tiiu and Liam weren't able to come so it could have been better. Here is what the training from Max and nutrition from Nanna looked like for the week for those of you interested.

I usually did a little more riding than prescribed and this year in order to help loose a little more weight I would train through lunch so as not to have lunch and would just have breakfast then dinner and perhaps a small snack if I was very hungry before dinner. But here is the program as prescribed.

Thursday November 27, 2008
Breakfast: Oatmeal w/ coffee
Water only during Training

2.5 hrs
20 min below 200W, spinning easily
15 min 200-250watts on flats
5 x 4 min 250-270 watts/rest 1 min
Flats: 4 x 10 sec sprints on 53 x 18/rest 3 min
Hills: 6 x 3 min 320-340 watts, standing 10 sec every min/rest 4 min
Easy x 20 min
2 x 8 min ~ 250 watts on flats/rest 3 min
Cool down

Thanksgiving dinner 
Eat slowly
Small portion of sweets…
Turkey, sweet potatoes w/ olive oil and salt/pepper (1 medium), broccoli or some dark green veggies, cranberry sauce (little); no gravy…Small piece pumpkin pie

Friday November 28, 2008
Breakfast Oatmeal w/ coffee
Bring Accelerade but use only if you need before hill work

3.5 hrs
20 min below 200W, spinning easily
20 min 200-250watts on flats
4 x 8 min 250-270 watts/rest 1 min
Flats: 4 x 10 sec sprints on 53 x 18/rest 3 min
Hills: 4 x 3 min 320-340 watts, standing 10 sec every min/rest 4 min
Easy x 20 min
Hill: 1 x 15 min 260-290 watts
2 x 5 min ~ 250 watts on flats/rest 3 min
Cool down

Lunch: Risotto of your choice (primo)
Meat, fish, poultry w/ Salad (large plate w/ grated parmesan); no potatoes…
Eat slowly…
Fresh fruit if you are hungry Or have some coffee…

Dinner: Minestrone w/ little bread
Fish, meat, poultry w/ veggies (no potatoes)
No dessert…
1 glass red wine;

Saturday November 29, 2008
Breakfast: Coffee only before riding (black, no sugar, no milk)

Easy x 2 hours
Breakfast after riding:
Skinny eggs (1 full egg, 2-3 egg whites) w/ veggies, mushrooms, touch of cheese, salt, pepper, herbs, whole grain toast (2 slices)
Bowl of fresh fruit

Late lunch:
Meat, poultry, fish + veggies or greens, other veggies, fresh fruit, toss of almonds

Fresh fruit if you are hungry
Dinner: Pasta (primo of your choice); meat, fish, poultry + veggies (secondo); glass of red wine,No dessert

Sunday November 30, 2008
Breakfast: Oatmeal w/ coffee
Bring Accelerade use half-way through workout

4.5 hours
20 min warm up, below 200W
Flats: 30 min between 200 and 250 watts
4 x 8 min 250-270W on flats/100 rpm, rest 3 min
Hills: 3 x 15 min 280-300 W/80 rpm, rest 5 min
40 min between 220-240 watts on flats.
Cool down

Endurox 1 scoop

Lunch: Salad + Pizza
Coffee if you like or fresh fruit

Pasta or risotto (primo of your choice); meat, fish, poultry + veggies (secondo); glass of red wine,
Gelato (1 scoop)

Monday December 1, 2008

Breakfast: Oatmeal w/ coffee
Bring Accelerade but use only if you need before hill work

3 hours
20 min warm up, below 200W
Flats: 30 min between 200 and 250 watts
4 x 8 min 250-270W on flats/100 rpm, rest 3 min
Hills: 3 x 10 min 280-300 W/80 rpm, rest 5 min
Flats: 20 min 220-240 watts
1 x 8 min hill at 300-310 watts
Cool down

Lunch: primo: minestrone w/ grissini + parmesan; secondo: fish + veggies (handful of potatoes)

Fresh fruit if you are hungry Or have some coffee…

Dinner: You choose…I would go for a nice Toscana Dinner

Friday, November 14, 2008


OK this is ridiculous. I really just think about food all the time. I'm not hungry all the time but I think of food all the time. I get up in the morning take Liam to school then go to Cafe Macchiato for a quick latte. What I really want is the damm ciabata toasted with butter as well. So I sip my latte and read the paper quickly and then walk to the Northwest corner of 48th Street and Third Avenue where there is probably the best fruit guy in the city. Don't get me wrong he has the best fruit and makes the best juices but what I really want is my portuguese roll with butter and coffee with sugar from the street guy on the Northeast corner of 47th Street. I have to walk past him and then walk back and not go to him. And he always saves me the last portuguese roll since he knows how much I love them. Out of guilt today I went there to get the roll and pay for the other 4 that I know he saved for me througout the week. But I only do that out of guilt.

By the time lunch rolls around its off to the Hale and Hearthy Soup to have a nice salad and a bowl of soup. Look nothing wrong with the salad or the soup. They are delicious. But seriously I'm next to Sparks, Smith & Wollensky and Patroon's. I mean can't I just have a stake, a baked potato and a bottle of wine for lunch. Is that too much to ask for. Timy at Smith's even complains that he hardly sees me anymore. The other day I actually had to wait for a seat at the bar. I've lost my place at the place. It's like falling out of a buddy's spee dial list. Relegated.

Don't get me started on dinner. Jason Nikic one of my New York colleagues texts me the other day from Roberto's in the Bronx asking me if I wanted the Burata. Do I want the burata? What the f*$# do I really need to hear this. Roberto's is the genius of NYC Italian restaurants in Little Italy in the Bronx. I started going there with my college buddies back at Fordham. I've had many, many wonderful dinners there. But what I really want is to leave work, walk accross town to get a little exercise in and wake up the stomach juices and go to Pepe's. La Maseria on 48th Street between Broadway and 8th Avenue. Pino plays the symphony with the dishes. I just sit down and he starts throwing them out. Pepe and Enzo fight over which bottle to get me and I just eat course after course of delicious food. A little mixed sea plate, a small dish of pasta or two, a fish plate and perhaps the rabbit to finish it all off. But no I go home after training and have a small dose of a healthy meal that our kind nanny Charlene has prepared for us. It tastes good but its not the indulgence I am looking for.

Yesterday I was driving home and talking to Nanna my nutritionist and I drove by Grimaldis's Pizza on Old Fulton Street. I really just wanted to stop and have a pie (yes a whole pie) with mushroom and peperoni. My favorite. There wasn't even a line when I drove by. It's like they do this to temp me more. Normally the line is 30 minutes long for the brick oven pizza. Damm it. It's not fair.

So the first week of training is almost behind me. Today I went out to do some hill repeats on river road and it was raining the whole time. And I forgot my rain jacket. By the last repeat it was pitch dark and I could hardly see the powermeter. After the last repeat I hooked it back to the city hoping not to get mowed down by a car. Came close a few times but like that guy said. Lights are for sissy's. It only let's the enemy know where you are. I finished off in the park with a few light intervals and then went back to the office to check my inbox and send out some e-mails. Finally home by 9 where Liam was still up. Dinner (don't ask), a little blog entry after watching a little of Sabrina. One of Harrison Ford's best and now to bed. Pardon the ranting but I am trying to do these a little more often.

If anybody is up for Gimbles (and who wouldn't be) this weekend see you on Sunday. For you newcomers here are the rules. Tempo up the first set of climbs off of 22, right turn at the gas station in armonk and watch the lights. Tempo to hard until the second set of climbs where it will be all together to the top. Back to 22 and more climbs. Again all together to the top. Now some of you may want to get frisky and go ahead of the group. Not a good idea. It pisses people off and ruins my week so if you do. I will bring you back and I won't be happy about it. After the climbs its a free for all to the finish line and everybody knows that real man attack on the flats.

Friday, November 7, 2008

New Season Starts Now

Wow is it already November? Normally I like to test at the very end of October to see where my baseline is for the first period of training starting November 1st. Yes I am a big dork. But this year on November 1st I was at a Bissell event in Grand Rapids with Tom Zirbel and Ben Jacques-Maynes as well as new director Eric Wohlberg and team manager Glen Mitchel. If Glen ever gets me the pictures he took than you can see me stepping off a certain private plane. It was very nice. Oh look the pictures "finally" arrived. It wasn't all fun and games on the plane. Below you see half of Eric Wohlberg looking very seriously wondering if this thing came with parachutes. Tom and I engaged in a very serious conversation about how we were going to split the season. Ben was next to us (out of picture) but he remained mostly silent. The second photo is Tom negotiating whether or not I could win some time trials. Jeez the guy just can't give one up. And of course the group shot. Bissel team complete with team manager, bike-washer, director-sportif and star riders. Finally Tom giving me a piggy back ride into the plane. It's about time he works for me.

Instead I had to postpone my tests to the first week of November which I am sure will completely undermine my season by missing all of my goals by exactly one week. I wish I had good news but I don't. My test results were absolutely horrible. I was trying to gain power and loose weight but instead I gained weight and lost power. Max of course always sees the positive of everything and says it will be fine don't worry. Don't worry! Crap I have a part time job in worrying. Here is a picture that Teddy King took of me doing a Vo2Max on his handy iPhone. Notice the exhale coming out of the stomach. That's a new breathing technique being employed very successfully by the Iranian national team. I did 80 Watts less than at this time last year on the Vo2Max test and 40 Watts less on the Lactate Test.
Teddy had an awesome test. Damm you Teddy. And there was one other certain Bissell rider there by the name of Tom Zirbel. Oh poor Computrainer. I'm sorry about that. Tom almost snapped his bars at 500+ Watts and the Computrainer was crying uncle. The big man did it again. Burke Swindlehurst was suppose to come and see us suffer but instead he had a late night at a play with some other to be un-named bicycle rider.

So now the work begins. I'm really looking forward to riding in the dark in Central Park and trying to avoid the squirrels. Indecisive little bastards. They go one way then they change their minds and come back the other way.

Oh and one more thing. Bissell team roster was announced this week and I am on it again. Portuguese MSN picked up the news. What the hell? My job will be to once again make my teammates look good by acting as a decoy for the other teams. I'll attack, draw some riders with me because they see the Bissell jersey and then when I can't pull through and the break is doomed one of my more capable teammates will do the coupe d' force and launch the successful attack. Look I don't like it but its the job that I have been given and I will execute it with pride. Besides the looks on the Health-Net or Kelly Benefits guy's face is just too precious when they realize its moi.

Now seriously. This will probably be my last year racing with Bissell and I want to make it count. Last year was a great year but a fairly disappointing year performance wise and I am going to change some things around this year to take advantage of the times of year that I am good mainly in the beginning of the season. I'll focus on that and take a break in April after which I am hoping to be well recuperated for the May criteriums and June nationals.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Camp Twinlakes Wrap Up

Thank you all for donating. I was really touched by the amount of people who donated including some of my teammates. OK so I had to step on some necks but most of you did it willingly and for those of you who needed coercing or in some cases bodily harm. Hey your still an all-star in my book. Besides physical scars heal but what you've done with your donations will last a lifetime in my heart. All in all you guys over matched my contribution so it looks like I need to go make some more money. The total came to nearly $12,000 which is a great contribution to a great cause. Thank you.

A special shout out to my boy Mike Kaeske. Mike came up with the most genius scheme. He made me go out and do a 3 minute interval and send him the file. He promised $3 per watt. Mike thanks for the $1,300 buddy.

Last weekend I went to Camp Twin Lakes for its annual charity ride with one of my colleagues Jason Nikic (thanks for driving man) and Saul Raisin. It was a great day of riding where we got lost, got chased by a bunch of dogs, almost died on a plank bridge and thanks to Saul's Garmin made it back to the camp in amazingly the same amount of distance we were suppose to ride. One of the highlights for me was meeting up after about 10 years with Charlie Seward an old friend of mine who is now living near Atlanta. I met Charlie back in the late eighties when I came to the US and I still remember him motor pacing at SUNY Purchase with his then girlfriend/now wife. Anyways Charlie somehow bumped into this blog a few months ago and we reconnected. Oh the power of the Internet. Charlie has a young daughter who is now a very good competitive swimmer and we reminisced about SUNY Purchase and of course Gimbles where Charlie and a bunch of other folks like the Whalens, Jeff Knisley, Chris Lambiase and a bunch of others used to shelter me when I was around 13, so that I wouldn't get dropped. Come to think of it I think that as soon as I could ride away I re-paid them by dropping them. Not very nice. Any hoots.

The experience at the camp was incredible. I got a tour of the property and its absolutely amazing. It's huge and its got multiple lakes, woods, a garden, a pool and lots of cabins with great looking mailboxes. On my Tour one of the campers came along and it turns out he's the kid in the poster for the ride. His name is Madison and he's been going to camp for a few years. The folks at the camp gave me the star treatment and I was a little embarrassed as I am lining up to real pro's like Cesare Grajales and Phil Southland. I'm sure they are still asking themselves who the hell was that guy.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Camp Twin Lakes Fundraising Drive

As many of you know last year I made a pledge to dedicate my 2008 season to Saul Raisin and donate 100% of my prize money to one of his favorite charities Camp Twin Lakes a not-for-profit organization that offers year-round recreational, therapeutic, and educational programs for children with serious illnesses and life challenges.

Throughout this year and with the help of some great teammates I was able to raise $5,000 which was the first part of my original goal. The second part was to get an additional $5,000 in matches to raise a total of $10,000. So far this year through the generosity of several friends I have received $1,200 in matches and am hoping to raise an additional $3,800. If you would like to donate please click here

On Sunday October 26th I will be going to Camp Twin Lakes along with Saul Raisin for their annual Spin for Kids Charity Ride. If any of you are in the Atlanta area or would like to join me please send me an e-mail to joaoisme@gmail.com.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Fat is back

I do have a good blog entry in me. But today is not the day to talk about my recent trip to Europe and bumping into Andy Hampsten at the top of the Gavia. That's for another day. I was just forcefully moved to a new office a few days ago and I was sitting here organizing a few things when I bumped into these pictures from two years ago. Ah good times.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Eating Well Magazine Article

I get a lot of questions about how I lost weigth and started to race again. Obviously when your 190 pounds going up hill isn't easy and I had to loose the weight but what I found in the process is that food can be a performance enhancer as well and I started to look at nutrition as an important part of my success on the bike. I was recently featured alongside Dana Torres, Apolo Ohno, Mary Lou Retton and the swimmer Erik Vendt (do you think they are asking themselves who the hell is this guy correia?) in an article in eating well magazine titled Eat to Win. Click here to read the entire article. My part is on page 3.

Monday, August 11, 2008

I'm baaaccckkkk

Hello sports fans. After an unbelivable number of requests (2 to be exact) I am back on the blog to update everybody on what has been going on. Let's see last time I was getting my ass kicked somewhere, I believe that was in early July. Wow that's a month ago. Happy to report that the ass kicking continues and I am now neck and neck for the inter-team competition of Bissell's most consistent rider this year. The latest was my getting dropped yesterday at the local Tokeneke road race. The boys from Targetraining set a furious pace up the climb to the finish and I wasn't able to hang on. Wow. At some point I remember looking down to see if anything was rubbing on my bike. Sad to say nothing. Although I am pretty sure that I got the hell out of there in my car in record time.

This past Friday the Bicycling Magazine corporate team lit up the T-Town velodrome and we won the annual corporate challenge after a few last minute decisions on who could actually ride. Every year we say next year were really going to prepare for this thing and go down to T-Town to do the practices so that were smooth on race day and every year about 5 days before we enter into panic mode because all of a sudden we have no track bikes and nobody wants to ride or has something better to do. This year was no exception. Luckily Zack Grice came to the rescue with his amazing organizational skills before going to the beach on race day. The corporate challenge is an Italian Pursuit with six riders (two of which have to be women) and every lap a rider peals off until there is only one on the track from each team. The two fastest teams advance to the final and the next two fight out for Bronze. Our team was Jasen Thorpe, Tom Cromie, Kate Veronneau, Christine Mattheis, Jason Nikic and myself. We had the second fastest time and then in the final we smoked the defending champs despite the fact that they had a ringer. It was a lot of fun.

Tight is what I am thinking of as we look at the awesome formation that is Bicycling Magazine
No the photo is not blurry and I am that fast. Bringing it home on the last lap of the finals.
Liam loves the camera. Daddy was getting interviewed by the local TV station but the little guy did the interview
The final score board
Oh how sweet is is to pop the champagne. After all these year still got it. Managed to spray everybody within 50 feet and Team Rodale in third place
Everybody had to wear the special Correia socks with the Portuguese flag - being the boss has its perks after all

But all kiding aside things have been good for the past few weeks. I am just coming off a much needed week of rest where I didn't touch the bike at all for an entire week. My wife got to see what it was like to have me home every night and my son even started calling me daddy again which was nice.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

This was a great idea

In the last few weeks I have been asking myself a lot "What the hell was I thinking". Seriously and people most of this is of course done with a lot of sense of humour even if I am the only one who gets it but really what was I thinking? Tour de Nez was Wunderbar. I mean I was as useless as I could have been. I blammed it on the altitude and shrugg it off and kept on pedaling. Nationals in Portugal didn't go much better. I was there to do the TT and the Road Race but after a wrong turn (yes that's right a wrong turn) I was so damm embarrassed that I just packed up the car and went home not starting the road race the next day. Good thing too since the guy that won was part of a team that a month ago got raided and was found with more than a few doping products. The two who didn't get suspended only managed to escape because they gave the wrong addresses to the anti-doping authorities. Go figure. But back to the wrong turn. The course at Nationals was a little odd for a TT course. Four laps of 7 Km each with 3 round abouts per lap and a 180 degree turn at the bottom of a 2 laned 70 Kph downhill. Oh yeah. I did a few laps of the course with Sergio Paulinho from Astana the day before and although It wasn't exactly a course that favored me (no TT course really is) I still was determined to give it the old college try. I started the TT well enough trying not to go too hard in the first 5Km and although I was fairly convinced that I was sucking wind (never a good sign)coming to the end of the first lap I come out of the turnarounds and bamm my one minute man was right there. Sweet I am thinking. Come to Papa bad boy. Now I am zeroing in on him and am about to catch him when I notice that there is a flag guy going wild while I am going by and my follow car is beeping a lot (should have worn that radio after all). Apparently there was a right turn that I missed. Faaauuucckk. I slam on the brakes (always pleasant with carbon wheels) make a U turn and then just basically said Fuck it and made a right instead of a left. That's it done. Rode to the Hotel and after dodging a phone call or two from reporters (and why they cared is beyond me) I took off back home so that I could at least get one day of beach in before coming back to the US.

I figured that at leats I had Fitchburg at the end of the week and I got home 3 days before the race. I had to dig out at work for most of the week and only managed one ride the day before Fitchburg but at least I tought my legs were pretty good. I wanted to have a good TT so I warmed up pretty good and started off pretty well and after doing 400 Watts for the first 6 minutes I just wasn't able to hold it and ended up finishing 1:30 off of the winner. Not a good start. At least I caught two guys and although I go caught by a Health Net guy I did manage to re-pass him in the last mile so technically he didn't catch me right? The second stage was the Waschusset mountain stage and I basically suffered most of the day on the climbs and came in 8 minutes down with Davide Fratine and Andy Guptil from Colavita and my teammate Garrett Peltonen. Although I must say I was the only wuss in that group. Both Davide and Andy had been controling the front all day and rode like champs and poor old Garrett was riding with a bunch of fractured bones suffered during this horrific crash - Garrett is a true hard man and never complains. Me, I'm made of twinkies and can't stop bitching. Hey it takes all kinds. The third stage was the circuit race and we had Teddy in 3rd place with a strategy to get him the 2 seconds he needed to take over 2nd or even the lead from Kyle Wamsley who was riding damm well. In the very first lap there were a few attacks and I threw down a pothetic little attack. I am pretty sure that I went 3 miles an hour faster than the group but did manage a little gap and did manage to bring two guys with me and did manage to catch the dude that was off the front from Health Net so that's that. From there I went straight to the back and continued to suffer like a dog the last 50 meters of that climb. I think now we are literally 4 laps into a 24 lap race. I'm suffering like a dog, poor Garrett is just in front of me and were coming to the climb I shift to the little ring and am looking down to see what gear I am in when bamm. Out of nowhere there is a guy standing in the middle of the road off his bike and I hit him dead on. Next thing you know I am laying on the ground unable to clip out of my pedal because of the angle that I am in thinking "holly crap is this really happening again". I managed to taco a rear wheel, break a rear hanger (thank god its removable) and seriously hurt my quad. My day is done and next thing you know Garrett is off the front and I'm heading home. AGAIN.

I'm going to take a few weeks off right now so I hope nobody has any objections to that. This whole thing was a great idea. Really it was!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Boy it just keeps getting better

You know how sometimes things just can't get any worst. Well they can. I was getting my ass handed to me all over the east coast and now I have opened franchises and have expanded to the west coast. Technically in my last 8 starts I have had 0 finishes. After joyous Philly week I tought I'd go to a local training race called Floyd Bennet. It was a race where last year I actually got dropped in and I wanted to see how my fitness was compared to last year so I rode out to Floyd Bennet feeling pretty good and pretty confident that I would be just fine. The race is 12 laps long and I did my first little move after 5 laps to see who was there and who wasn't but mostly to see how my legs were. All systems go. Felt good, broke it up a little bit and then it came back together. Next laps we go again. This course is dead flat but its on a former airport so it has a lot of wind. It's just attack, attack, attack and see who survives by the end. I get a little move going that gets caught and then a counter goes, next lap with 4 to go now I try to bridge accross with a small group and I am just killing it with the pulls. Really feeling good and pittying the guys who were with me and who were literaly pulling through and pulling off. Yes I am thinking today is going to be a good day. We are getting closer and closer and all of a sudden. Kaabbooommm. Wow what was that. Yeah I kind of ran out of juice and I see two United guys (Burrow Brothers not Toyota United) jump accross and make it. I'm thinking jesus where did those guys come from. Now the group that was 5 seconds up the road is getting further and further away. I take another pull and finally get so frustrated that I just pulled off. Next lap around half the guys had caught the front group. How do you like them apples. I got my stuff and took the hell out of there. Man that was embarrassing.

I was on the team to do Nevada City before Tour de Nez but John Eustice asked me to stay in New York and do the Harlem Criterium, which of course I was thrilled to do since its in NYC and its been a whopping 4 days since I've gotten my ass handed to me in NYC. Bonus that my whole family gets to come out and see me and it's fathers day so I can do whatever the hell I want to. Harlem this year had the support of Rock Racing so it should be a good show. And John being one of the best promoters in the country no doubt that it would be a classy race. I had a lot of motivation coming into this race and I intended to at least go down swinging. I took the first twenty minutes of the race easy to see who was there and what was going on. The race was pretty fast and it seemed like it was going to come down to a sprint so I attacked. I got into a little move that showed some promise but the two Rock Racing guys didn't really want to pull since they had Freddy Rodriguez and Rashad Bahatti with them so we only managed a few laps out front. As were getting caught there was a cab in the middle of the road and I had to chuckle because there is always something interesting happening at this race. The streaker a few years ago was the best and the kids throwing the waters baloons at the field last year was a close second. There were plenty of crashes to keep the racing interesting and since I was on a brand new bike (first ride) I was trying to avoid them as much as I could but man there are a lot of bone heads doing these races. I mean guys taking serious risks for absolutely nothing. We come down to the last 5 laps and I'm feeling good but since I have nationals in two weeks I'm not going to get into the middle of the fighting going on for the Rock Racing train. I decide to stay a few feet to the outside in the wind but in the top 20 and then see what happens in the sprint. We come to the last lap and its a little bunched and very dangerous, I take the last corner and bamm a crash right in front of me. I managed to avoid it by the skin of my teeth, I see a clear line down the left hand side of the road and take it punching it to the line. Mind you that I am not in contention here but merely sprinting for around 10th or so. I'm thinking man that was close and are my glad I didn't go down...then I see Pollo from Mengoni skidding into my lane on his back with two other guys right on him. I have nowhere to go since I am all the way to the left about 50 meters frmo the line and boom go full speed into his bike and I don't remember anything else expect thinking I cannot believe this just happened. I won't even talk about my beloved bike. She bled. Although I went down hard I wasn't very harmed and only had a few minor scratches. So technically I didn't finish that one.

Tour de Nez was the perfect leadup to Nationals. A few short crits, two tough road races and a time trial. Good field but not stellar and we were there to win so it should allow me to do some serious riding at the front. Ah it's at altitude. OK I can deal with that. First crit was 1:15 minutes in a casino parking lot. A little sketchy and dangerous and I was still a little gun shy from my crash but the altitude was just killing me. I tought I was going to get dropped from the start and I managed to survive the crit barely. With 10 minutes to go I get popped. Luckily the team was flying and after a very agressive stage Sven Howard takes the sprint by 3 bike lengths. 21 and his first NRC win. Life is good. So I kind of finished but not really so another one.

Hey I am at the airport so I am going to make this quick. Second stage is a TT, I soft pedal to the finish since there is no time limit so technically I finished it. In the afternoon there is another short crit and this time I get popped a whopping 8 minutes in. My legs felt fine but I just can't breath. Not good. Not good.

The good news is that the team was good and we won the overall with Aaron Olso. Burke Swindlehurst rode incredibly to also finish in the top 10 and Tom Zirbel along with Graham Howard just killed it riding support. Sven won a stage and poor Morgan was sick the whole time but still managed an incredible top 10 in the TT. Omer was there and had a crash in the first day after pulling way too hard in the crit.

Gotta go heading to Portugal for Nationals. I'm sure it will be better. Will put up pictures soon they are calling us and my wife is antsy.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

The Rest of Philly Week

I took two days off work after Tuesday's race so that I could arrive relatively fresh to Reading on Thursday. On Wednesday we all went out for an easy ride and spirits were high for Thursday. The Reading course was hillier than Lehigh and it had a a 500-800meter long climb each lap and on the last three laps it was a 2.5 Km climb which was sure to break the race apart. The rest of the course was very up and down with a lot of turns. On the very first lap there was a crash and the race was neutralized for one lap while a few riders caught back up. I wish I could say I was sorry for that but I was really happy we were going slow. Once the race started it was full gas. Not quite as fast as Tuesday since it was up and down but it was still hard. There were a few spots where I was just suffering to stay on and usually it was in the false flats. I was feeling good on the climb but once we started the big loops I just couldn't get good position to pass the climb with the leaders. I came off at the top of the big climb with 3 laps to go but came back to only come off for good one lap later. Glen called on the radio for me Scottie and Garrett to go to the front and help bring Sevilla's break back but I only managed to get about halfway up to the front before I had to tuck back into the pack before the climb. Once on the climb I again began to have problems and was off the back about halfway through the climb with another few guys including Magnus Backstead (poor guy weight 205 pounds). I wanted to finish so I just kept riding the last lap by myself and came in amazingly again exactly 8:26 down on the winner. But show up as DNF again which is annoying as hell. At the end of the race I was completely destroyed and was not looking forward to the 3 hour drive back home. But Friday was a work day and also Tiiu's birthday so I had to be back.

On Saturday I went to do Gimbles and my legs felt terrible on the hills which worried me a little bit. I got to Philly mid-afternoon just in time to miss my massage but was in fairly good spirits. Sometime during the evening my head just started to spin out of control and literaly everything came apart for me. All of a sudden all of the different pressures of family, work, responsibility to the team, knowing that people were looking for my name and wondering how I would do came crashing on me and I just fell apart. By the time I lined up on Sunday I was frightened beyond belief and the last thing I wanted to do was be in that race. It is hard to explain but it literally all fell apart. I remember the very first lap just thinking of turning right and going to the hotel. The only thing that kept me in the race was a sense of responsibility towards my teammates. My job was simple. I had to help Scott Zwizanski and Richard England start the climb in the front each lap so that they could do it at an easy pace. I tried to do that as often as I could although Richie really does like hanging out in the back like most sprinters. My legs were actually really good and the heat was a good thing for me since it didn't bother me too much. Each time up the wall I felt better and better and outside of a few times where the speed was high on the flats I never really had any problems. Yet my head wasn't there and I couldn't turn it around. With two or three trips left up the wall Scottie flatted and I helped bring him back spending a lot of energy in the process and I paid for it a few minutes after we got back on. On a flat section before the finish the pace was super high and I just couldn't hang on and came off. Normally this is something that I should be able to recuperate from by staying in the cars but this wasn't the day and I packed it in. Showered, put my bike in the car and drove home to see my son and wife. It was the first time this year that I truly gave up and I wasn't proud of it so I couldn't face the team and just left. Its not pretty but there it is.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Philly Week

A quick post from the host house about yesterday's race. Oh was that tough. My job was to get in the early breaks. I sort of did that. Well not really. Technically I am not sure that 4 seconds up the road for 20 seconds with 10 other guys is considered a break. Especially when I saw the Liquigas guy come up wait for him and then suck the hell out of his wheel to the move. It was quickly broken apart and I was back in the pack suffering like hell to recover for the next 2 laps. My legs weren't great but the race was super fast. Stretched out the whole time. And I was counting laps down from the start as I know most guys were. I knew I wasn't the only one when I saw a CSC and a Liguigas guy get popped. I made it into the last lap and then got dropped myself with 10 other guys. In the last 10Km we lost 8 minutes and it was super frustrating to get to the finish 8 minutes behind the winner and the road was already barickated. Hence the DNF. I finished damm it. Tomorrow is another day and I am hoping for better legs.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Review and Philly Week

Sorry for the lack of posting in the last 10 days but it has been hell keeping up with work, training, racing, marriage and a two and a half year old. After my last post I did a few NRC criteriums including Willmington, Kelly Cup and Sommerville. Sometimes I think I'm a good crit rider (usually on a climb) and sometimes I think I'm a good climber (usually in a crit). I'm starting to think that I really do suck at both. Willmington would have been a disaster if it wasn't for Scott Zwizanski winning. And it was a beautiful win. He gets into a break of 12 guys with 4 Colavita guys and with two laps to go slips away and wins it.
Now it wasn't pretty since Scottie you may remember pedals with a goofy foot but man was it special. My race sucked. I was in oxygen deprivation from the first lap (need to remember to warm up properly) after driving 3 hours to get there and once the break stuck and I saw the race was done I pulled the plug. Not a good idea since I should have finished and tried to get some NRC points for the team.

Kelly Cup went better. Well sort of. I was a little pissed at how Wilmington went so I drove to Baltimore the night before. Made sure I did an hour of spinning in the morning and an OK warm up. My legs were great in the race. I felt good and nothing was getting away without me trying to be in it. With about 12 laps to go a dangerous move goes up the road and I bridge up with a few guys but then the counter went and I had nothing in the thank to be in there. So I start setting up the sprint for Sven when with two laps to go as were hitting the front somebody goes down and I can't avoid him since I have barriers to my left and a field to my right. I t bone the guy break my frame and by the time I get up I'm the only guy left behind. Obviously I was a little pissed and ended up borrowing a bike from SRAM so that I could get to my car. Damm it. I really wanted to do well at Kelly.

Sommerville is a special race for me since it was my first race in the US back in 1987 and my first win in the US in the 9-11 category. I still remember beating Yanni Felman who at the time was the hot kid on the block until I showed up that is. I stuck on his wheel the whole race not taking one pull and then I beat him in the sprint. I was under orders from my father not to pull. After that for a few years Yanni and I would end up alone in each race and I would either drop him or out sprint him. Poor guy. Anyways. Sommerville is a great race. Fast, easy and usually a sprint so I wanted to make sure that we were in good shape until the end and then see if I can sneak into the Colavita train with Sven since I was pretty sure Haedo was the guy to beat. I spun my legs the entire day in an easy gear and was pretty fresh in the end. But so were a lot of people and there were way too many people trying to jockey for position that had no business being there. It was crash mania. There must have been 5 crashes in the last lap. I managed to avoid them all but Sven and Scottie weren't so lucky and they both went down hard. I managed to stay upright and was on the Colavita train
until the last lap when I got boxed out and just rolled accross the line in 23rd place.

The last crit I did was also the hardest. The Ricola Twilight Criterium is a local race in Baskin Ridge that usually gets a great field because of a $10,000 prize list. Last year I lasted 22 minutes and average 330 Watts for those 22 minutes. That's real Watts not normalized power folks. I'm sure that's nothing for a lot of guys but for me its a lot. This year again I suffered like a dog and tought many times I was going to get dropped but I survived and finished 16th. The average power for the same 22 minutes was 300 Watts this year but the speed was the same so I am either a lot leaner or getting more efficient.

This weekend I have the CSC classic another NRC race in Arlington, VA. Its the first time that I do a 100 Km criterium since I raced in Europe and its suppose to be a hard one so I am hoping to have good legs for it. Especially since my college roommate will be there with his family and the last time he watched me race at Kelly I went down. That was also the first time he watched me race. So I'm hoping not to go down this time. Then it's Philly week and that will be a lot of fun. I'm looking forward to doing the Allentown race in front of the Rodale folks as well as Philly itself since the last time I did it was 1995. I've been preparing hard for these races and am hoping to be on good days so that I can help the team.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Hey You People Aren't so Cheap After All

So I have gotten some nice surprises in the last week including three donations for a total of $800 to Camp Twin Lakes. The first wishes to remain anonymous but thank you for getting us started. Mike Sundet a former client and now friend also added to the pot and I really appreciate that. Keep the beer coming Mike. People buy Anheuser-Bush beer. And yesterday Kirsten Budden who is a killer thriatlete who schools her husband on a regular basis out on the course (check out Chris Budden's Blog) made a donation as well. Thank you all for your help and thoughtfulness. As we swing into summer these donations really help the kids get the most out of the outdoors so keep em comin and no amount is too small.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Joe Martin

Today was day 3 of Joe Martin and I finally had a good day...sort of. The team had a great day with my boy Teddy King popping a flyer with one K to go and sticking it. Here is a play by play of that. Way to go Teddy T. We'll have to have a glass of celebratory bubly this evening.

The first day of Joe Martin was a 2.5 Km uphill Time Trial. I didn't do so well. I rode it as hard as I could but I just couldn't get into a hard rhythm. Of course having Alejandro Borajo start 30 seconds behind me helped me keep moving. He never caught me. But he came close.

The second stage was 110 Miles with one major climb of 9 miles and a few minor climbs. The climb wasn't too steep but it stung the legs. From the base there were attacks and I managed to hang in there getting dropped once and then working my way back up on Dan Zmolick's wheel. The New York boys try to stick together. It's almost like a park race here. Lohner is here with Zmolick, Eugene and Nick from Mengoni. Of course we will miss Bear Mountain this Sunday which sucks but that's the price you pay. Anyways back on the ranch. Once over the climb the race stayed fast and after taking Teddy into one of the last corners I popped the shoot and rolled in the last K with Emile Abraham from Team Type 1. Somehow I lost 2seconds to Emile eventhough we were together.

Today's stage was 92 miles with 3 circuits and some more climbing. Nothing too long but up and down with two stingers in there. I felt good from the beginning and followed a few moves in the beginning and then once the break stuck just settled in and spun to keep the legs good for the sprint. The team told me this morning that I could do what I wanted today since it was a good finish for me so I tried to conserve. Here is our team director Mark coming up with that important decision. Anytime anything dangerous split I tried to be in it and in the last lap it went balistic for a moment. Right after I had covered a move from Colavita the climbs were coming and luckily for me Teddy King was there with a helping hand (literarly) at just the right moment. Coming into the sprint I got on the right wheel then Teddy popped it so I think that eventhough I was in the Top 20 or so I already had my hands raised well before the line celebrating Teddy's win.

And then it happened. In my haste I went up to Teddy and was about to give the guy a big kiss when my handlebars got tangled on his and I went down hard. I lost consicousness for a few seconds but when I came to I was more embarassed than anything. I am OK but now have two large bruises on my face, both hands and knees. Anyways tomorrow is a killer crit so let's see if we can repeat and stay on the bike both before and after the line. Thank you Tweetie for the great shots and for keeping my bike sort of clean.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Come on donate you cheap bastards

OK so I have raised $1,000 dollars to date in prize money for Camp Twin lakes (see side bar) and a month or so ago I called upon my friends and supporters to try and do some matching so that we can help more kids with serious illnesses enjoy the outdoors and experience the joy of childhood. To date nothing. Bubkas. Now I know there are folks reading this blog - about 200 per day to be exact and some of you may even have jobs. So break out those check books and make some tax deductible donations before I come to your house on saturday morning looking for a check. You can donate here or if you prefer to do it by mail or phone you can find information here Don't forget to e-mail me so that I can add to the taly and give you your proper credit.

Here is more information on what Camp Twin Lakes is and what they do.
And what they do is make an increcible difference in the lives of kids.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Stop the Presses

Before you all read it in the sports section of the New York Times tomorrow, or a major news organization like bicycling.com. I wanted my fan base to know it from me first. Yes the NRC rankings are now updated after this weekends races and I am ranked officialy. Wait for it, wait for it. Yes 100th position with 5 points. That is only 287 points away from Burke Swindelhurst the original Kazee Soza from Bissel who is leading the series in front of Santiago Botero some guy from Colombia. Now I am still going to be the same person don't worry, I won't let the success get to my head. If my name only started with an A I'd be in 97th place. Instead I have Jonhy Clarke, Fabio Calabria and Jorge Alvarado in front of me. I am especially upset about Johny since I bought that little bastard dinner a few weeks ago. Of course I have eight of my bissell teammates in front of me but Jeremy and Scottie are only 5 and 11 points in front and I have them in my sights. That's right boys watch your asses because its going to get rough out there.

This weekend was Sunny King Criterum and Roswell. Saturday at Sunny King I was pretty much useless to the team. Richard "but I love Kate" England (recent Tour of Georgia stage winner), Scott "goofy left foot" Zwizanski, Garret "I get as much ass as any man can" Peltonen and Ted "I'm tall and I can climb" King and I were representing Bissell. They responded to attacks left and right and I just prayed to the virgin marry and asked Karl "God Damm Saddist" Menzies to please stop making it hurt so much. Alas a break got away with Scottie and Richard in it the pace became civilized and then in the end in an effort to help Richie... and I say effort because I think that I actually cost him a few places ... managed to stay up there and finish in 18th place (hence the 5 NRC points)

The next day at Roswell things went a little better for me personaly. My legs felt better and I was at least able to respond to some moves. And when I say respond I mean jump on the wheels and stay there. I think once I went with a dude from Health Net and you could tell that he saw a Bissell guy come up and just decided to wait since two is better than one and then I got up to him and kind of pulled through like a little girl and he was very confused. Hey buddy, not all of us are full time "pro" bike racers. So a break finally gets away with Teddy King in it and it laps the field so the race wasn't so bad. In the end I let a gap open on the backside as Toyota was leading it out and rolled accross the line in 24th place. Teddy was 4th so that was good but we didn't win.

For a moment there I was kidding myself thinking that I was a good crit rider but the reality of it is that I can just get myself in the right position most of the time and this weekend it wasn't one of those times. I am hoping that taking a week off might have hurt my supless (as the french say) a little bit and that Joe Martin will be different. I mean Bill Elliston beat me on Sunday for christ's sake. Is there nothing sacred anymore.

Now I am working hard three days of sales calls back with my man Jason. Hi Steve I miss you too (inside joke).

Another update with pictures soon. Thanks for reading the blabbing but its late and I need to go to sleep.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Tour de Ephrata

I was looking forward to spending the weekend at home and getting ready for what is going to be two and a half months of fairly non-stop weekend traveling to various races. I had even signed up for a Prospect Park race. Then I saw this great little race in Pennsylvania and some of my friends from Empire were doing so I decided to go down there and race. It was 2 days and 3 stages so it would be good preparation for Joe Martin in two weeks. The stages were a little short but still the competition was good and I was looking forward to seeing if I could finally win something. Well it wasn't to be.

On the first day was a 60 mile circuit race made up of 12 laps of a rolie course. The wind was high so fairly quickly in the cross winds the race started to blow apart. I paid attention to always being in the echelons and after being in a few moves that had no legs I found myself in the right move with 3 riders from Rite Aid, 2 from Empire and 2 from Harley Davidson. I looked around and thought "oh boy, here we go again." The break worked well and within a few laps we were out of sight and until the end everybody pretty much pulled through. A few times guys were skipping pulls but all in all it was pretty even. I felt strong but not confident enough to attack and besides with two guys from Empire in the break I thought that we could keep it within New York. John Lohner was in there with me which was nice since we keep talking about riding in breaks together and it finally happened this time. If I couldn't win, I was hoping John could. We came into the sprint together and I sat on Bobie Lee's wheel from Rite Aid and he practically gave me the perfect lead out. Unfortunately when I stood up my legs didn't have much response and he quickly opened a gap. I made the mistake of sitting down and soft pedaling to the line while getting passed by 3-4 people when I probably could have just gotten passed by one or two. It was to prove a bad decision by the end of the weekend. The first stage I finished 6th

On Sunday there was a morning time trial and an afternoon criterium. The TT was only 14Km but it finished on a 2.5 Km wall. I decided to use the TT bike until the bottom part of the climb and then switch to the road bike. I started out well and stayed within my targeted wattage for the first 5 Km but after that I couldn't keep the same rhythm and fell by 10-20% for the second 5K. In the last part of the race I was just trying to get up the climb and didn't feel like I was going particularly fast. I ended up 7th for the day but close to 2 minutes outside of first place which in this distance is a long time. Since the race was based on points time didn't really matter and so far I was in 3rd place on GC. Still I wasn't happy and didn't think that I could win the whole thing so I decided to do some cooling down for about 30 minutes and then another 30 minutes of motor pacing to keep my legs supple.

The afternoon criterium went pretty well. My legs were good and I just kept an eye on the moves making sure that I didn't miss anything too important. The pace was fairly fast and I thought it would come down to a sprint and it almost didn't. The last break and the most dangerous of the race which I had missed got caught on the last turn of the last lap and I knew that the position you came through that turn would most likely be the position you would cross the line. Apparently a few other people knew that as well and it became a dash for the last turn. I jumped to the left and started my sprint to the turn and got beaten to it by Bobby Lea who won the stage and I finished 2nd a few bike lengths back. I can't match that speed and was happy with 2nd. On GC I ended up 4th one point behind 3rd and 2nd and as I had suspected after the first day that soft pedal cost me two spots. Even if I had finished one place up I would have ended up 2nd overall. Oh well, still learning apparently.

I was happy the race was over and it was great to hang out with old friends from Empire as well as some of the CRCA Juniors. Drove back home and felt fairly tired so I decided that this week I will take 2 days off and then ride easy for the rest of the week to see if I can get some snap back into my legs because its going to be a bumpy couple of weeks and the team is good right now so I want to do my part whether that is carrying water bottles, leading people out or maybe just maybe bringing a victory home.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Sea Otter

It seems that most of my posts are coming out of airports these days. There is a new rule at home that I can't go on the internet in the evening after training so no blogging from home, and I can't blog from work to be fair so it seems that when I get a few minutes its always at airports. Right now I am waiting to board a flight back to New York from San Francisco after Sea Otter. It was nice to get a call up to the line - amazing what $20 bucks can still buy you The race was super windy and the pace was blistering fast from the start. By the halfway point in the race it was game over and unfortunately I got caught in the back half of the split along with two teammates (Graham Howard and Burke Swindelhurst). Luckily for us one of our guys made the front split (Morgan Schmitt) and he ended up finishing in 16th place. I was feeling good up the climb but was having a real hard time entering the climb in the top 15 or so which is where I should have been most of the time. The cross winds were insane and it was gutter all the way up. I didn't have my SRM on so I don't know what kind of power I was doing but it had to be a lot because I was climbing in the 19 on most laps. The race was 31 laps of the laguna seca course with 325 feet of climbing per lap. The winning break with 3 guys from successfull living went in the first 5 laps and Rock Racing had Clinger in it so it was up to the other teams who had full squads there to chase. Health-Net and Colavita weren't able to bring it back and everybody was pretty soon left racing for 5th. Last year I didn't manage to finish so in a way I am happy that I got to the line although dissapointed at the same time since this race was very important for me. I had a lot of friends and colleagues watching me and cheering for me and I wanted to make them proud. So I will have to settle for 28th place. Yes I sprinted for 27th place. Thanks to Thomas Prehn and Lyn Lamauroux for the pictures. The good news is that the legs are pretty good there is good progress and I am looking forward to the onslaught in my calendar in May and June.

Last week I did a local race in New Jersey called the PNC Classic. It was a nice course with a little hill. I was able to get into a break a little before the halfway point with 2 guys from Rite Aid, 2 from Empire and 2 from Batley Harley Davidson. I worked hard in the break to make sure I got to the end tired. I still wanted to win but one of the guys from Batley was smart and attacked from behind on the last time up the climb and I didn't want to be the one to bring him back. I gambled and lost and could only come in 5th out of 7. Oh well.

Next race will be next weekend in Prospect Park and I'm looking forward to that especially since I'll be home with Liam and Tiiu for the weekend which is a nice change for the both of us. I'll try to post pictures from Sea Otter as soon as I get some. Gotta go now zone 7 is boarding. Luckily I got the upgrade. Woof.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Eddy Merckx is pissed at me

I could tell by the tone in his voice that he was pissed. We were running late for our lunch and when I phoned to tell him we were on the way and should be there in 45 minutes I knew he wasn’t happy. I was in Belgium this past week for a few meetings and our Editor in Chief Steve Madden and Executive Editor Bill Strickland were arriving that morning from the US and their plane was late. But that’s not the reason why we were late. We were late because I had to clock two and a half hours on the bike this morning and even thought I hit the road at eight in the morning I still hadn’t managed to get out of the hotel in time to head to Meise. So it was either I don’t ride or Eddy waits. I chose the latter, sorry Eddy.

Thankfully, if you’re going to rent a car in Europe the best place to do it is Germany – there’s a better chance you’ll get a fast car, and we got the new Audi A4. It’s fast but not fast enough since I wasn’t able to get it past 140 MPH. We finally arrived at 1 pm and Eddy said that we had to find a restaurant that was still open since he was expecting us at 12. In all fairness I said I’d be there for lunch not at 12. Sandy from Gita said I’d be there at 12 but he never told me that. So really this is all-his fault. OK Eddy you made your point no let’s go it before I go into glycogen recession.

The restaurant was nice, but a bit empty since apparently in Belgium lunch is at 12! Now when you walk in somewhere with Eddy Merckx especially in Belgium its kind of a big deal. Heads turned, people spoke in low voices to their companions and then went about their business of finishing their DESERTS. Nobody asked for an autograph and nobody bothered the man. Although I was with two journalists and Jason Nikic one of our sales reps there were a few moment of silence. Eddy was asked a few pointed questions and he was very accommodating but I couldn’t help but wonder how often he’s asked these questions. I mean after all of these years and after all of the times he has spoken to reporters does he actually get asked a new question. I couldn’t help but feel sorry for him. He told us that in 1975 (great year) he raced 190 days and that in those days the riders had contracts with him and not with the team. He said that he retired because he was tired of having all of that responsibility and that if he was racing today that he’d race less. By that he meant that he wouldn’t do as many six-day races, cyclo-cross races and criteriums where the start money was attractive. At the top of his career he made the equivalent of 150,000 Euros and that team budgets in those days were about 400,000 Euros. He misses his son who is now living in Canada and his grandson likes to ride bikes.

Although I had brought my camera I didn’t have the balls to ask for a picture for the blog. Sorry about that folks. Madden however did make away with the empty bottle of Bordeaux and Eddy’s signature.
We made it back to the factory and said our goodbyes and I again apologized for being late. No problem Eddy said. Yeah sorry about that I replied again.

You can see Bill’s blog entry on Bicycling.com about our lunch which I am sure is a lot better written than mine but the guy can’t sell advertising to save his life so I think I still win the all around competition.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Quick Post from JFK Airport

Well I landed last night after 4 or 5 flights in what feels like the same number of days. Had the chance to go to a great Speedplay event in San Diego on Sunday where Sharon and Richard invited one of their top pros to come and ride with some friends. I'm on my way to Germany now for a few meetings and some riding with our Editor in Chief Steve Madden, Bill Strickland and Jason Nikic. Over the next few days we'll see Storck, Eddy Merckx, Vermarc, Ridley and Pinarello. This Saturday I'll do part of the Tour of Flanders Grandfondo and on Sunday the Selle Italia Grandfondo. I tought this picture was funny so I am posting it. It's Tom Zirbel and I last week riding in Boulder with Thomas Prehn (photo credit) from Cateye, Steve Brawley from Bicycling and Jon Graf from Skins. Tom is the tallest rider on the team and I am the shortest. Thanks to everybody for all the messages. When I catch my breath I'll start writing about some of the suggestions.