Thursday, January 31, 2008

Team Pictures

So its not all fun and games. No we don't ride all the time. Sometimes we are expected to stand around all day and pose for pictures. Sure fantastic if you are a male model but I came to this outfit to ride. Obligations, obligation. It rained all day and we did team pictures in 38 degree weather and then riding shots outside. Some of the photos were done inside so that was good. Here are a couple of shots for you guys to look at.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

I miss California and I'm freezing my nuts off in NYC

So last week I'm riding in Santa Rosa in leg warmers and a long sleeve jersey and thinking "man it isn't that warm". Yesterday I was riding out of Brooklyn (in da house) and wearing a long sleeve base layer, long sleeve jersey, sleeveless jersey, thermal jacket and a wind jacket. I'm talking about a high of 28. And to make matters worst it was overcast. My question is what happened to all of this talk about global warming? I mean didn't some guy just win a Nobel prize because he was scaring the crap out of people with something about global warming? I don't see it.

I set out of New York City with the Empire Crew and some of my juniors. Karl Rahn and I hadn't ridden together for a while so we decided to ride out of the city instead of me going to Gimbles (sin number one). He brings Mike "the tool" Margarite and Mike Sherry and I brought Lewis Almonte and Pascual Caputi from the CRCA Junior Development Team. We get out of the city and everybody's cold but generally happy. I had told Karl that this wasn't going to be a hammer fest (so leave John Lohner at home) but it wasn't going to be a Basil "12 MPH" Moutsopolis ride either candy ass. Anyways back to the ranch. We cross the bridge and had gotten the pleasantries out of the way and are riding towards the diner when all of a sudden we make a right to 9W. I asked where the hell are we going? Uh 9W. What the hell do you mean 9W. It's freezing and were just going to ride up 9W in a straight line with cards buzzing by? I asked Karl but he basically gave me his normal answer "I dunno" and Molloy wasn't even there. Mike didn't say anything so basically I've got Mike running the show and heading to 9W. Fantastic. So I turned around and did 501. Hey Karl thanks for the ride you pin head. Next time I'm just going to Gimbles. Serves me right for missing the ride.

The kids and I rolled up at a nice pace and stopped at the Nyack muffin shop to grab some water since our's was frozen. A high school girl named Gaby was doing her class project on different people who came into the shop and why they did what they did "like ride bikes in sub 30 weather" and she snapped our picture. That's the picture above with me Lewis and Pascual.

Today I took the kids out again up to Bear Mountain followed by dinner at my parents house. I swear that Pascual doesn't eat anywhere else outside of my parent’s house because each time he comes over my mother has to shop for extra groceries. The weather was a little better but it was still cold as hell especially on the downhill down from the climb. The goal was to do a bunch of 20-minute efforts on the climb off of 9W (no I didn't ride 9W there) but after 4 miles there was snow on the ground and instead we just did a bunch of 15-minute efforts. The decent was brutal and I am sure I aged 10 years today. I don't think I've been that cold in a while. But the good news is that the legs are feeling pretty good and camp starts at the end of the week so wish me luck and let's hope I don't embarrass myself against the real pro's. I'll update the blog more often once I'm at camp since I'm taking vacation to do it. Some of you have commented that I need to update this a little more often but I can't have the boss thinking that all I do is blog and ride my bike. The bike-racing thing is just a hobby and it doesn't pay the bills. It sure as hell been a lot of fun so far though.

Oh one more thing. The Missus and I are out to dinner at my uncles place (Aquario in West Harrison) last night and she asks so your team is Bissell and you guys were ranked number 3 last year? How come you didn't mention that before? I was perplexed since I haven't exactly been trying to hide it from her and did mention it. It occurred to me then that its not only me that hears "blah blah blah, blah blah blah" when she talks. Apparently she does the same to me. Go figure. Anyways I just told her "eh you may not know this but I'm kind of a big deal" :)

Thursday, January 3, 2008

First Training Camp/Family Vacation Southern California

There would be pictures but we forgot the camera at home. That was definitely Tiiu's responsibility. I was in charge of transportation, accomodations, hunting, gathering and safety. She just had to make sure we didn't forget Liam and the damm camera. So blame her for no photos.

Our original schedule was to go to Moab between Christmas and New Years for some riding but about 3 days before leaving I realized that it was December and it was probably going to be cold in Moab and after enduring the 3 blizzards in colorado last year, http://www.bicycling.com/article/1,6610,s1-3-12-15474-1,00.html and not being a betting man (I loose them all just ask Tony Karklins) I decided to go south and we ended up in Santa Monica where my trusty colleague Greg Wootton took great care of us (thanks again for the car Wootton and sorry for the kid throwing up on you - - he never does that)

The trip started with a flight to Salt Lake City to see Max and do some tests. Well the tests didn't go that well. But this being winter and Max always finding the positive of everything I walked away thinking. Crap I've got work to do but its doable. On the 21st we flew out of a serious snow storm in Salt Lake City (thank you God for not stranding us) and into sunny Los Angeles airport where it apparently was a cold day (60 degrees - ah). We quickly settled into the two bedroom we found on Craigslist a few days before and I handed some french guy cash for my deposit wondering if I was ever going to see it again (I did and the French guy was great)

Now all I had left was 12 days of great training. Max sent along a nice little schedule with 25 hours per week of riding and I was looking forward to getting down to work. Four to Five hours every day and I was thinking, this is what its all about. Tiiu was happy she didn't have to see me for an entire day so nothing is new on that front. And my kid was still calling me dad at this point and no sign of little Benjamin anywhere.

The first day I went out with Wootton for 4 hours and right after PCH Wootton turns off into a 7 mile climb and just start putting the screws on me. I'm on his wheel thinking this just isn't good. I mean the guy is 41 and I'm suppose to be a pro here (technically it was still 07 so I was just a 1) and he's killing me. 2K later I am thinking "Is Wootton going to pop me?" but I hung tough and on the last half of the climb I decided to give him a little medicine of his own. I looked at him and said "why don't you suck on 400 Watts for a little while and see how long it feels good." A little later I hear pop so I did what any sane bike rider would do and popped it in another tooth. I was feeling good for dropping the little bastard and it serves him right too. All I wanted to do was ride tempo up the climb but no somebody just couldn't keep it in his pants.

For the next week things were going great. Four to five hours each day with plenty of intervals especially on the climbs which I was really enjoying. By the end of the week I was about 30 watts better than at the beginning and because I had bitched to Nanna that I was feeling really fat I was down a few pounds. Hey if you do 3,500 Kjoules per day and all you eat is bird feed you'd loose weight too.

The first day off came and I went down to San Diego to take Liam to the Zoo with our friends Sharon Worman and Richard Bryne. How cool are my clients? They even take my kid to the Zoo. Liam had a good time and didn't get into too much trouble and we had a blast. On the way back Richard starts talking about coffee and as everybody knows I'm a coffee nut so finally after hearing him talk about it for 30 minutes we invited ourselves over to his house to taste the brew ourselves. Well it turns out the man is a genuine barista. I mean the coffee is perfectly grinded to serving, weighted, tamped to 30 pounds of pressure and a gorgeous esspresso shot pulled over 25 seconds come out nice and golden. Sugars sits on top? Affirmative. It was absolutely the best esspresso outside of Italy. Stop by their house whenver you are around. They love it when people drop by for coffee.

The next day I wake up and bang a sore throat. Liam had a cough the whole week but still needed his kisses from daddy on a regular basis (every five minutes) and I can't disapoint so being the good little fella that he is he shared his cold with daddy and mommy Of course he had already given it to one of our cover models and good friend Bruce Weyman and now it was our turn. So the hard riding was over and it was just now easy spins with Bruce since Wootton doesn't know how to ride easy. Oh well at leat I got a full seven days of living the dream.

I had a standing invitation to go back to San Diego for dinner with Jeano Erforth and his girlfriend Sandra so we made it back down to San Diego once again where Jeano just killed it in the kitchen. And who says that Germans can't cook. He cooked an incredible tick piece of fish to perfection and I had the best beats ever down there. My favorite however was Sandra's Kartofel salat and I even got to practice my German with Sandra's mom. Since they have a Piano and Liam couldn't resists I got to say one of the few sentences I know in German "Liam spielen die Klavier" and everybody was amazed. Ah to be me. We spend a wonderful night in their guest house (no there was no sex I am married people) and the next day had a splendind breakfast of German bread (which is awesome) and jam that Sandra's mom made. After that it was an easy drive back up to Santa Monica through the Pacific Coast Highway. Stopped for a few cups of coffee along the way and Liam slept almost the entire time in the back seat until Long Beach making sure he didn't see any sort of coastline. And of course until Long Beach, Tiiu and I are thinking that we could live here but then we hit Long Beach and said gosh we love Brooklyn.

The trip was almost over and just before New Year's we got together with our good friend Bruce Weyman and his wife the actress Laura Allen http://www.lauraallen.net/ . Now let me tell you about Bruce. He's a cover model so you probably can figure out what he looks like. Basically the envy of every guy. My wife gushes each time she sees him. Then he's also a really nice guy which just really pisses me off. So now he's married to an actress, does this just seem to good to be true or what? And she too is super nice. I swear you just want to watch them because its pretty much like a GQ fashion story every time but with personality so I guess it really is more like an Esquire fashion story. We had a great dinner of Mexican food and I'm sure people in the restaurant were asking who that great looking couple was with Bruce and Laura.

Ah time to go home and leave nice warm LA. So after countless hours on the bike, great food (I mean bird feed), trips to Peets for coffee (Peet is the best), seeing friends and having a great time we got on the plane to New York and back to sweet Brooklyn. Of course its in the 20's right now in Brooklyn but we are happy to be home.