Monday, February 25, 2008

Fantastic News

Delta just called and I've been upgraded on Friday's flight...Just wanted to share that with all of you.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Post from Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport

Why do they call it Sky Harbor if were boarding airplanes? Do planes sail? Yes they go into the sky but they don't sail and their not boats. That's the type of question that I ponder at 12:30 in the morning after a 3 day stage race and before boarding a short red-eye to NYC. The short ones really suck. Not quite long enough to really get a good night's sleep and you leave really late and arrive really early. But before you go and feel bad for me. I did get upgraded. AGAIN! Thank you Delta. Tomorrow when I get home I've got closet's to refit. Luckily my father in law already started it last week and I just have to assemble a few things. I keep pushing house chores to the point where my wife basically threatens to divorce me if I don't do them. My personal record is 9 months, 23 days, 4 hours and 22 minutes to tighten a screw on a focet. Yes you say but its just a screw. But really I don't have time to screw around with a stupid screw. This time she literarly had the lawyer on the phone. Enough about that.

So today was the last stage of Valley of the Sun and I really wanted to win the stage. I even packed my Speedplay podium hat for the ocassion. Although I didn't tell anybody I packed it. The race started well, fairly fast in the begining with no real incidents. It was a 70 minute criterium. It was a figure eight course with two long stretches where we only hit 55 Km/h. Not exactly blistering but still fast enough that I knew nothing was going to stay away with out a few hitters in it and a content field no chasing. So I kept an eye on things, made a few moves after primes to test the legs and turn on the afterburners for the sprint. With about 10 minutes to go I start getting in position and then POP. Rear flat just before a turn. I managed to keep it upright and went to the pits to get my wheel changed, making sure that I got an Easton rear wheel to keep the sponsors happy (not that their watching me but I try). I get back into the race with 5 to go (down to laps now) and start looking for my leadout train. Since I don't have any teammates here I decided that Rock Racing would have to do. I love those little guys. So I jumped on the back of their train and just held on to that wheel. A few guys tried to bump me off and it was quite comical at times with some of the 6 + feet tall guys. Something about the big guys picking on us little guys that I just love. Anyways not too much trouble keeping the wheel and I come out of the last turn in 5th while the Rock boys kept peeling off. I started my sprint but didn't quite have enough power to pass their lead sprinter and the guy in front of him so I finished 3rd. Not bad. I was happy with it. With the 10 second bonus I moved to 10th on GC 56 seconds down from the winner. 13th in the TT, 5th in the RR and 3rd in the Crit. Things are going the right way.

Special congrats to Jon Chodrof a Yale graduate class of 07 who just finished 4th in Valley of the Sun racing for New York City based Empire Cycling Team. Jon has only been racing for a year and a half and is a former world class rower (Yale National Champions) who produced an impressive 4th place in the TT and hung tough for 4th in the final GC. Although his position on his TT bike looks more like a clown at the circus than a bike racer, I know that when Mike Sherry gets his hands on him he'll knock a minute off of his time. Check out his blog in his attempt to make it to the pro's. OK gotta board again. Thanks for your support and keep the comments coming.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Deja Vu Valley of the Sun First Race

Is it suppose to rain in Arizona? What happened to the draught. The day before I left my buddy Effraim told me to bring a rain jacket. Huh? A rain jacket to Arizona? So I packed my rain jacket and sure enough it was raining in Arizona. Here's the thing about drivers in Arizona. They don't do so good, I mean so well, driving in the rain. It's kind of like Floridians driving in the snow. They just weren't born with that instict in them, unless of course they are New York transplanters which in Florida I am sure its a real shocker.

So the flight was delayed (yeah I know, imagine that) and I got in at 1 in the morning just completely hammered, and it wasn't from the free drinks in first class (did I mention I got upgraded). The next morning I went to the TT and got a nice warm up in next to my buddy Eric who is now riding for Empire (formerly the evil squad). The TT went well. I promised myself that I'd keep it at 350 Watts for the first 5Km and not let the excitement get to me. And of course I go out and I'm doing 400 Watts and it feels easy. Here's the thing about the start of a TT, it always feel easy in the beginning. I mean every single TT, I go out and I'm looking at the powermeter and going wow this isn't so bad, I am flying here. And then after about 7 or 8 minutes 390, 380, 270, 320 kapumb. So I dropped it to 350 and then tried to slowly ratch it up except that I never quite got it ratched up. But still managed to do 350 average (quick what's the square root of 350 divided by 420 to the 3rd degree?). Sorry. Long story short I ended up 13th, 46 seconds off the winner and 3:30 minutes or so faster than my time last year. I was happy with that.

Today was the road race. Last year I got popped one and a half lap into the race including the first time up the climb so this year I was hoping to do a little better. Want some light bathroom reading check out that post for an understanding what the painfest was like last year. So anyways the race starts and there was a time bonus after two laps so I was trying to get into some moves to see if I could score 15 seconds that would put me in the top 10. Oh yeah there's a bulls eye on my back now. Here's the good thing about riding for a team like Bissell. You want to get in to a wheel you just have to ask and the guy usually let's you in. The bad thing, it's hard to just slip up the road. Oh well. So I managed to hang in the pack most of the day while staying attent up front and going in any moves with dangerous guys including those little buggers who were a few seconds behind me. Yeah you, I got your number down here, get back in line. There was a move of 14 guys that got away but since there were no Jittery Joe's guys in it I didn't worry about it. Last lap they came back due to some good Jittery Joes and Empire riding including some impressive pulling by Eric and with half a lap to go Eric and Curtin Gunn from Successfull Living slip off the front to be brought back at the base of the climb to the finish. The climb was a big gear climb but it was a grinder that went up about 2 miles to the finish. Rock Racing and Jittery Joe's were putting the hammer down and it was nicely stretched out. I took a seat behind a Health Net guy and just bid my time. A few guys slipped away with two K to go and about 500 meters later I bolted out with Caleb Fairly from Slipstream on my wheel and we bridged up to the five leaders. I started my sprint but didn't have enough in the old tanker. Captain to the engine Room? Engine Room: There's nothing left captain she's going as hard as she can. And with 100 meters to go I got passed by 4 guys and finished 5th. Hey I'm happy, not complaining but I really wanted that first Bissell win of the year since I know the boys will do well in the Prologue of the Tour of California tomorrow. So that is it for today.

Oh and apparently there is more than my mother reading this blog. I had two people come up to me today and tell me they read the blog when they were trying to find out information on the race. Apparently if you google Valley of the Sun the blog somehow makes it in there. I think there might be something to this whole internet thing. I might even sing up for one of those e-mail accounts.

Sorry that I have no pictures but in case you guys haven't noticed I don't exactly photograph that well on a bike. I really am a lot skinier than that and I don't usually look like a hockey player on a bike do I?

Thursday, February 14, 2008

It's Racing Time

A quick post from JFK Airport. I'm on my way to Valley of the Sun for the first race of the year. The camp ended last Sunday with a nice hard 5 hour ride that included a 45 minute climb. It was a fun but tough week. This Sunday is also the start of the Tour of California and we have a solid team there with both Tom Zirbel and Ben Jacques-Maynes as contenders for the prologue on Sunday. As for me this will be a return to Valley of the Sun a race that as you can see in one of my first posts here was not very kind to me last year. I am hoping that this year will be different and eventhough this week wasn't ideal with only 3 days of one and a half hour rides in my legs I am still feeling really good after a week at camp. Tomorrow is the Time Trial followed by a 90 mile road race on Saturday and a criterium on Sunday. Gotta go getting called in. And I got upgraded. Life is good.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Pictures Get Your Pictures Here!

OK so I finally got pictures for all of you guys. Beth Skau one of the fine Bissell folks that is here with us was kind enough to share some of her shots with me. The past few days have been long but steady rides with not too much intensity. Today the real camp started and for the next five days it is going to be go time. 5-7 hours per day with plenty of climbing and hard riding thrown in for good measure. Today was a five hour tempo day where we rode between 40-50Km/H, hammered the climbs and one hill time trial. Damm that hurt. The legs are defenetly feeling it right now as I sit and write this and my teammates cook dinner. Thanks guys. I have asked Teddy King to write my next blog entry because I have long ago stopped being funny. Check out his blog when you get a chance since its hillarious.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

No camera again

OK I confess. I forgot the camera. Some of you have e-mailed me asking for photos but unfortunately I don't have a camera. I promise to try and get some photos to show you of the team training. For now below is my team card. That's all I could get. The good news is that my wife won't yell at me since the last time I went somewhere by myself I brought the camera and she couldn't take any pictures of Liam when her parents are in town. Today was an easy ride day. We had some press here in the morning and Sandy Nicholls from GITA also came to make sure the bikes, shoes and clothing are all good and to see what else the boys needed. Everybody is super psyched about riding the Pinarello Prince this year and the general consensus amongst the team is that were on the best bike in the US Pro peloton. I didn't feel too hot today and after riding two and a half hours with Sandy and a few of the guys I got on my race bike and rode with Ben Jacques-Maynes while he was riding his FM1 TT bike. He basically rode me off his wheel so that didn't feel too good. My legs were just empty for most of the ride and I felt a real lack of strength. Considering that up to now we haven't done anything that's too hard this isn't a good sign but I am keeping my spirits up and the pedals turning. Now whose going to give me the play by play of Gimbles this weekend?

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Oh yeah the riding has begun

Although the hard part of the camp and structured riding is really from the 4th to the 10th, time has come for the rubber to hit the road. First day we did 4 hours and a few of us went an extra 2 hours to recon some of the climbs in the Tour of California. Boys will be boys so there was some I'll show you mine if you show me yours on the climbs and let me tell you these guys don't joke around. Nothing like 450 Watts up climbs while talking to the guy next to you. I'm puffing of course but some people are actually talking. Today the weather was crapy and some of us headed out for a 4 hour spin just to check out some more TOC climbs. 38 degrees and it rained all day. I actually enjoyed it and it felt good to get into the shower afterwards. Here's a shot out the windown this morning. And another shot of when its good weather of the house. Then I look at the weather in NYC and its 42 degrees. And it's Saturday which means that I really should have been at Gimbles making sure everybody behaves. And I heard that there were some people who didn't behave so there will be hell to pay in a few weeks.