Wednesday, December 30, 2009

It's Official

Well it's now official that I will be riding in 2010 for the Cervelo Test Team. Thank you all for your support and looking forward to 2010 as this adventure continues. New York Times Piece


Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Hello from Tenerife

Writing this from the first official team camp of the year in Tenerife. Today we did five hours and the legs felt good. Tenerife is a great island. The weather has been good, in the mid 70’s and sunny most of the time. Today we got some rain and a lot of wind. The only drawback of the island is that there are no flat roads so you are either going up or down. Today we climbed 2,500 meters and yesterday 2,000 meters. The day generally starts at 8 with breakfast and then roll out at 10 until 2 or 3 in the afternoon. Once we get back I do a little stretching and lunch. Every other day there is a massage and then I try and rest a little bit in my room or if the riding wasn’t too hard then a few of us go out for coffee. The hotel is right on the water and it is really pleasant to sit outside with new teammates and get to know each other a little bit. In the evening pretty much jumps on the Internet. The hotel has spotty wireless service in the lobby. I’ve been trying out Skype for keeping in touch with friends and family and it works fairly well. Liam gets a real kick out of the video conferencing. After Internet its dinner at 8 pm followed by a little more Internet time. I generally make it into bed at 11 or so and I am trying to get better at that since it really should be at 10.

I am now officially in Europe having arrived from New York ten days ago and will be staying here for most of the season. The first week I spent in Menton in the south of France near Nice and the Italian border and did some really nice rides including the last 30 Km of Milan San Remo including the Cipressa and Poggio with Thor Hushovd and Gabriel Rasch from the Cervelo Test Team. In the area there is a good group of riders and just being there for a week I met Philippe Gilbert from Lotto and from Stuart O’Grady of Saxo Bank. Out of five rides in the area I also bumped into Davide Rebeline three times. That guy is fit. I decided to rent an apartment in the area and will be living there for at least a few months. It’s a great area for cycling. There are flat roads along the coast although a little busy and then lots of climbing including the Col de la Madone and the Corniche used in Paris-Nice. One thing I am looking forward to living in this area is that hopefully I will be able to relearn French fairly easily. It’s one of the reasons why I chose this area instead of Spain. When I was living in Chateaubriant in the early nineties I learned a little French but I have lost most of it.

On Sunday morning I will leave the training camp and join Tiiu , Liam and Anna in Italy for the week of Christmas in Tuscany where Tiiu and I got married five years ago. It will be a little cold but the area between Siena and Gaiole in Chianti is just perfect for riding. It will also serve for me to see how I am riding since I know the roads and climbs in the area like the back of my hand and can see what kind of times I am doing in those roads. Tiiu and Liam will head back shortly after New Year and Anna will go back to Slovakia around the 26th which is short but it will be really nice to have Christmas with her. Even though she is 10 years old this will be our first Christmas together since she was a newborn.

Shortly after the New Year the team has a camp in Portugal from the 10th to the 24th of January and I am really looking forward to spending time with my teammates in my country. It should be a good two weeks but difficult. Most riders have told me that the camp is fairly challenging and I am looking forward to that. After the camp there will be a short break and I have some good friends from the US coming for a weeklong visit in Portugal with me at my parents house in Palmela. It will be a fun week for sure. Then the real season starts. My first race is scheduled to be Etoile de Besseges in the south of France the first week of February. Looking forward to that as well.

Many of you have asked and some of you already know but there will be a full announcement as to the team that I will be riding for. Look for an article in the New York Times Style Section in the next 2 Thursday’s or so. Until then I am not officially saying anything. But one thing is for sure, it is going to be an interesting season and I appreciate you all following me on this adventure. Hopefully I will inspire some of you to get out on the bike a little more and figure out a way to balance work, family and cycling in your lives.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

First Tests of the New Season


Beginning of November usually means the start of a new season.  And with that there is a trip to Salt Lake City to do some testing with Max and find out where the fitness is.  October was a good month.  I rode consistently but didn't do much intensity just solid medium endurance work.  The trip was uneventful.  Delta hooked me up again which is always nice.  If only they did that on International flights that would be super duper.   The tests themselves went fairly well.  My weight is as low as its been in 10 years which is nice especially since its only November.  By the beginning of the season I should be hovering around 142-145 and hopefully that will make getting up the climbs easier.  Although I am not sure if it is actually ever easy.  Seeing Max and Carrie is always fun.  We discussed the upcoming year, races I should try to do, things I need to avoid and what sort of fitness I need to arrive at camp with so as to use it to build more form.  After the tests I had to go to our first team meeting for a week so that slowed down the training until now.  I'm starting two weeks later than I should and all of the traveling in the last week and lack of sleep is catching up to me.  Hopefully I won't get sick in the next few days.  

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

I hate Not being funny

Seriously what is up with that?  Most of the time I think I am pretty funny.  I spend a whole week writing jokes and rehearsing them in front of the mirror and then on my weekly sales call watch as my delivery tanks.  Perhaps it has something to do with practicing my delivery in front of a mirror but actually delivering the jokes (soon to be pizza) over a conference line.  My partner in crime Zack usually saves the day with actually quite funny jokes made up on the spot.  Don't you hate talent?  I know I do.  The ladies in Emmaus don't say anything which I take as "my God did he really say that" or is it "Mein Got wienershcnitzel, wienerschintzel". I've got a guy in Chicago whom I mail $20 bucks per week to laugh at the jokes and then a guy in NY who just shakes his head right in front of me.  I'm sure that the wootmeister in LA is paying the NY guy just to destabilize me.  Then there's Jack.  Jack is a famous musician (no he really is) and we just tell Jack to jump on the scale in our conference room at the start of each meeting.  Most people are utterly confused by this but I find it quite funny which is the point isn't it.  The scale mysteriously disappeared last week and I am convinced that HR had something to do with that.  I think I forgot my contribution to the United Way this year and I certainly didn't donate any blood.  I need that blood and who knows whose going to use it.  

I know this entire entry was quite pointless but I thought about it when I read somebody who is quite funny and its really annoying.  Without further ado the hilarious Ted King and his latest blog entry

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Serious Training About to Start

October is one of my favorite months in the season. Genearlly it's a transition month and all I need to do is ride 4 or so times per week and I can do the Gimbles ride every weekend. Gimbles is a ride that started just after WWII from the old Gimbles parking lot in Yonkers and does a Tour of Westchester. It's the local ride I grew up on and to this day still one of my favorite things in the sport. It's a great chance to see friends and catch up with people that you don't see much during the season and of course do a little competing. It's a competitive ride and everybody knows everybody including what the tell tale signs are for each rider. It's like a poker game with the cards reversed. Not to mention that we all know every hole on the ride but innevetably somebody always hits the hole in Chappaqua hard eventhough its been there for 20 years.

Now the fun just for fun is almost over and this Wednesday night I'll fly to Salt Lake City to see Max and do the first baseline testing of the season. After that training will be structured and Gimbles will most likely be no more. That is until Max senses that I am getting a little burnt around the edges and tells me I can ride Gimbles again.

I'll make sure to do a post after the tests and put up some pictures as well.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Riding to Vegas for Breast Cancer



Most of the time when I am riding I am either training and looking at the powermeter or I'm worried about getting home before Liam gets to sleep or before Tiiu gets really pissed off. The summer months offer extra hours of daylight which is nice but as many of you know balancing riding with family and work is challenging. So when the fine folks at Specialized invited me on their annual epic Morgan Hill to Las Vegas ride it didn't take me long to say "Hell Yes". This was to be the trip of a lifetime.



When I say epic I mean EPIC. Six days, 650 miles, over 40,000 feet of climbing and excellent support from western spirit . And we are doing it to bring awarness and funds to the Susan G Komen Foundation in their fight against breast cancer.

On day one we left Morgan Hill and rode 150 miles to Lake McSwain where I got to experience my first night in a tent. Waking up in front of the lake was better than any Four Seasons I've ever stayed in. Yeah for the outdoors! The ride was amazing going over Mt. Hamilton and climbing around 7,000 feet for the day. We were a group of about 35 people including Specialized employees and Specialized dealers as well as some members of the press. One thing I'll say for the Specialized folks is that they take their riding very seriously from Mike Syniard to Chris D'Alusio one of the product guys they are all amazing riders and love to ride their bikes.

Day two was from Lake McSwain to Yosemite (70 miles). An amazing ride into the park and right in front of El Capitan the epic rock climb. That night I had my second experience in a camp ground but as soon as I heard there were bears I didn't get much sleep and spent most of the night in the fetal position saying my hail mary's. A raccoon did come into the tent (they are open) but he quickly moved on. No site of bears and I am happy to say that I am still alive. The climb into Yosemite was great and I got to open my legs a little bit although my fitness isn't very good and this is a lot of climbing. Thousands of River Road repeats I'd imagine.

Day three was an epic ride all by itself from Yosemite to Mamoth going over Tioga pass (100 miles). One of those things to do before you die. From Yosemite through Tioga pass the road goes up to 10,000 feet and a total of 50 miles of pretty much riding up. I managed to stay with Chris, Glenn (a dealer from Santa Rosa and Levi Leipheimer training partner) and Rick an incredibly strong dealer from LA who weight 200 pounds, for about 15 miles on the climb and then I had to set my own rhythm. The park rangers weren't too happy with having us all on the roads so everybody except Chris, Glenn and Rick made it through the entire thing. I got pulled with 20 miles to go in the park. Once we crossed Tioga pass and descended for 12 miles (100Km/h top speed) we made a right turn and hit an incredible headwind into Mamoth for 25 miles of not so much fun grinding. It's one of those times when you think. Geez bike riding isn't that much fun and I should take up Golf. But then you make it in with a great group of people and have a beer and go man that was cool.

Today was Day 4 and it was the best 100 miles I've ever spent on a bike from Mamoth to Lone Pine. The road was all pretty much downhill (2,000 feet of climbing) and straight with a great rear wind. Payback for yesterday. 100 Miles in 5 hours. Perfect.

Tomorrow we go to Furnace Creek from Lone Pine (105 miles). For those of you who don't know Furnace Creek perhaps you've heard of Death Valley. We are riding all the way across. From a high of 10,000 feet on Tioga Pass to a low of negative 200 or so feet in Death Valley. Temperatures should hit 115 or so. It's a good thing we have full support on this ride and are never without water or food. Just raise the hand and the van comes right up.

Our last day will be Tuesday and we will ride from Furnance Creek to the Outdoor Demo of Interbike just outside of Las Vegas for a ride of 130 miles.

Hopefully I'll get some photos to post in the next few days.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Article in Luso-Americano

Luso Americano is a Portuguese community newspaper in the US and for most Portuguese immigrant families its a staple. I use to get a lot of press in it when I was younger and racing seriously but never got the cover. So it was really nice to get the cover in this bad boy. Can't figure out how to post the actual article.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Good Things Happen When you Commute by Bicycle

Ah so apparently Spring Break in the toddler class is two days so I got to ride my bike again to work today. A good day indeed. And I got an added bonus this morning. As I was riding up Lafayette Street I noticed a little store called Kauffman Shoe Repair Supplies where you can find these babies:
What are they you ask? Well for those of you who are more cerebral inclined you probably have made the assumption that they are something for shoes. You would be correct in making such an assumption. These bad boys are for the tips of men's (or ladies) shoes and a good friend of mine in Siena, Italy who makes custom made shoes can't get them. Until a few years ago I was finding them in midtown west but then that supply store closed so luckily this morning as I'm whisteling my way to work I spot Kauffman Shoe Repair Supplies. Twelve boxes of 50 each on their way to Italy as we speak. Commute to work and good things happen. Well unless you get runover by a cab or something like that.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Commuting to Work

So this morning Tiiu tells me that Liam is on Spring Break. Spring Break? He's three and a half and he has Spring Break? Crap that's costing me $152.32 for one day of school. So now I don't have to drop him off at school and because my wallet is missing (later find out Liam hid it under his bed) I've got no money to get to work so I decide to ride my bike to work.

Crossing the Brooklyn Bridge - slight rise a little harder on my Electra Amsterdam than on my Prince. I figure I'm doing a solid 220 Watts right now


Accross the Brooklyn Bridge and by the court houses and government buildings in lower Manhattan





4th Avenue clear and hugging the middle lane. That can't be safe.



Park Avenue with Grand Central in the distance. Almost there and no problem so far
A couple of close fits but all in all maneagable
Almost at Grand Central





Hello there. Little cyclist on the road. My lane. Not that most cars care


Good Morning fellow comutter.


Safe at the office. The last time I commuted to work my bike got stolen. Let's see if this time its safe.



Sunday, March 29, 2009

Battle of the breakfasts

I have a weakness for food. Sure I've written about it and you don't come here for those writings but writing about races is boring and this is easier. Besides one of my favorite bloggers, no correction - one of my favorite people in this universe is Ted King of the Cervelo Test team and he never writes about racing. He writes about all sort of strange things and manages to be funny quite often and I, well I am just trying to match his wit. I'll get you Ted King.

Anyhoot back to the breakfast question. I love breakfast. It's my favorite meal of the day right after lunch and dinner. I should be eating healthy Kashi cereal in the morning but Liam is usually late for school and we run out the door every morning hoping to get him to school within 15 minutes of when he is suppose to be there. For those of you who are about to accuse me of being an irresponsible parent he's only three so I am not sure that it actually qualifies as school. Off subject again sorry.

Oh yeah breakfast. You might recall an earlier blog entry titled I just want to eat, in it I wrote about some of my favorite breakfast places. Now I expand and will include some photos so that you the reader (mom, dad and Jason) can vote on what you think is the best. Drum roll paalleeaasee -
A few years ago while I was still at Esquire I discovered a great little place (literally it's tiny) on sixth avenue that served a real espresso. I was blown away by how well they made espresso and cappuccinos (and no I never ordered one after 11:00 a.m.). It's name is Zibetto's and it's on 6th Avenue near 56th Street. Be careful because you will walk right by it since it's tiny. I've recommended a ton of people there. Unfortunately when I moved to my current job across town it became rather inconvenient to go to Zibetto's. So imagine my surprise when I was walking back to the subway one day after dropping Liam off at school to discover a Zibetto's under construction on Fulton street. It took a few weeks but it finally opened and when I am not running too late I stop in for a cappuccino (never after 11:00 a.m. of course) and a brioche. Here is example number #1:
Near the office is Cafe Macchiato. It's the place I go to the most for breakfast and lunch. The staff is awesome and the owner Tal is a great guy. Most of the time I manage to stay away from the chocolate chip cookies which are honestly the best I've ever had but sooo baaddd for my girlish figure. For breakfast go with the toasted ciabatta with butter and some strawberry jam if your feeling freaky. Example #2:
And last but not least there is my man on 3rd. He's got real Portuguese roll (even though I am sure he's not Portuguese) and saves one for me each morning. If I have a particularly tough day or am feeling just a tad blue (shocker) I go to my man on 3rd. $2.50 and he sets me straight. Portuguese roll with real butter and coffee, milk and lots of sugar. Nanna doesn't approve but every once in a while its good for me. Example #3:

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Merced Done - Didn't Crash

It was a hectic weekend with plenty of crashes as usual at the Merced races.  Fortunately neither myself nor any of my teammates bit the dust.  I didn't feel all that hot this weekend but finished both days respectably and Andy Jacques-Maynes managed a 3rd in the 200 Km road race after riging a break for a good part of the race.  We represented strong with Ben in the moves as well as Paul Mach, Sheldon Deeny and Coday "Neil" O'Reilly.  I followed some moves but nothing stuck which was just as good since I didn't think I'd be able to contribute to much.  Did the last two laps with cramps and was just happy to get accross the line happy and do a little bit for the team.  Now I'm eating my customary recovery meal at In N Out Burger.  When in Cali!  Tonight Red Eye home.  Tomorrow work after hopefully making ithome in time to take the little guy to school.  Miss him more and more on these trips.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Heading to Cali

I realize I haven't updated the blog lately. This week has been particularly busy at work and I only managed to get out on the bike once and it was on the trainer. Here is Liam saying good night to daddy. Not good but here I am sitting at the airport and they are calling. Heading to do the Merco Classic in Merced. A 40 mile criterium tomorrow and a 125 mile road race on Sunday. I've done this race since I started my comeback two years ago so I wanted to make sure I was there. The team has been riding well. Graham got 3rd at Valley of the Sun and the Tour of California boys rode like lions. The highlights were Tom's 7th in the TT and top 10 in the Prologue while Ben was right there with him with his usual 1 second difference (they trade who puts one second on who) in the prologue and a great ride in the TT as well. Ben rode a lot of the breaks as well and got some nice TV time.

I'm trying out Twitter and there is a link to that on the right hand side nav bar of the site. I don't update it as often as Lance does but eh I've got a different kind of full time job. Also a link to my facebook page if anybody is on there send me a friend request. While your at it go to YouTube and type in the real facebook for a funny spoof on facebook by three British guys. Those crazy English.

Monday, February 9, 2009

A bike for a cuban?

You know you've been riding a long time when you can say that you competed against the soviets. I remember racing against riders from the eastern block and on many occasions getting my butt kicked by guys in pretty much BMX cranks. It was crazy some of the equipment these guys were on.

Recently at the Tour of San Luis I was reminded that the latest and greatest equipment isn't always necessary when I saw the Cubans. Chad Nordwall a buddy of mine who owns Above Category probably the sweetest bicycle shop on earth e-mailed me about a photo he'd seen at the Tour of San Luis on cyclingnews.com of a Cuban rider on. Well I'll just paste what he wrote:


"I’m looking a pic of one of the Cuban guys, crazy! First you see Basso, then you see this Cuban guy on an old Scott, with OLD campy! Like 3 rolls of bar tape used to cover the bars! Standard wheels, tube socks and all, super crazy!"


When I saw the picture Chad was talking about I chuckled since I had just been talking to that guy on the same day. His name is Alonso Lisuandy and I was blown away by how strong he was yet the crap he was riding. I mean were talking 80's here. What also struck me was that the Liquigas guys kept yelling at him to get out of the way. (Although Basso wasn't one of those guys) Not very nice boys. The guy was just trying to keep his position and since he's on a small national team like Cuba the Pro Tour neanderthals just pushed him around. But the kid held his own and wouldn't move.


Anyhoot. After San Luis I went to camp and met up with Chad at the shop and he had a great idea of getting this guy a bike. So Chad and I are now in the market to get a bike for Alonso and the more challenging part is to get the bike to Alonso either in Cuba or when he travels out. If any of you out there are interested in helping then please get out your checkbook and send some money out to contribute to the project. You can e-mail me at joaoisme@gmail.com and the checks can be made to Above Category Chad's shop.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Team Camp

Ah yes team camp time again. So different than last year. No longer one of the new guys, still not one of the good guys and I get to make a little fun of myself and a lot of fun of everyone else. The first three days Burke and I tried not to get everybody sick so we hate by ourselves and pretty much were miserable trying to get over this cold. We had team pictures taken and other photo shoots. Innevetably we had to do a little riding and even if it was just 45 minutes easy back to Santa Rosa from the shoot some anxious obnoxious person would always have to jam it up a hill but still act like they were going easy. Not fun when your sick. I'm taking notes and there will be hell to pay later when I'm better. Not in the way that I will actually hurt somebody on the bike but, but I will hurt somebody period. You know who you are stop pretending.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Don't cry for me Argentina

Well about to board the plane with a heavy head cold.  Let's see it was 20 degrees in NYC when I left 10 days ago, the high here was 112 on one of the stages that somebody pointed out to me was literally through the desert.  What's that spread.  Damm.  An 11 hour red eye flight in coach and then a 5 hour flight (although I did get upgraded), should do wonders for my head. 

Friday, January 23, 2009

Game Over

After almost 5 stages I finally packed it in today. It was a 205km stage with a 2 climb at 88km and a cat 3 and 1 to the finish. Unfortunately I didn't make it over the cat 2 climb and pulled off at the feed zone after 105 km since I wouldn't have made the time cut. Can't really say anything was wrong except that my legs were just empty on the climb. I was told after the stage that it was over 110 degrees on the climb which would explain why nobody was talking eventhough the pace was reasonable. Its a great race but a little crazy. Yesterday the ESPN helicopter crashed and today while I was in the wagon from the feed zone going 50 miles per hour the front right wheel just popped off and we came to a skidding stop. I was in the front passenger seat and I am not sure how the thing didn't just flip. I should get some good form from this race. A little rest now and off to camp next week and then home and back to normal life and training at night in central park. Thank you all for following the race.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Stage 4 done and polished

On the bus on the way back from stage 4. 160 K with two Cat 2 climbs. The last one was 20Km long and 15 K from the line. I was popped for good about halfway up and coasted in with about 10 guys. It was a very up and down stage and its really hot here. The argentinians who have the leaders jersey controled the race pretty well and I even managed to get in a short lived move with Juan Jose Haedo from Saxo Bank and Tyler Wren. But it was not to be which is good because I was definitely hurting. Tomorrow is a 205 Km stage with 3 climbs. A Cat 3, a Cat 2 after 80K or so and a Cat 1 to the finish. That will be an interesting stage. And to add to it there are massive transfers to and from the hotel so we probably won't get back until 10-11 pm or so. Hope the bus doesn't leave without me on the way back.

Stage 2 and 3 Update

Yesterday's stage finished on a climb so at the bottom I got into a group that was going at a nice tempo and came in about 8 minutes down on the winner. I had a little run-in with the car mirror as I was getting bottles and I'll try to get some pictures of me on the ground. Not hurt but a little embarrasing. Today Tom Zirbel was second in the TT and Ben 4th. Tom had the lead until the last few guys and was beat by an Argentinian. Its a shame since today's stage had a nice purse of $15,000, but probably more important would have been a win for the big man. Here's a picture of him on the podium. The steps are actually pretty different which shows how much taller Tom is than everybody. My TT went fine. I rode it as easy as possible but made sure not to get caught and since Kurt Asle Arveson from CSC was starting a minute behind me I was getting a little nervous until we spoke at the start and he said he was going easy as well. Tomorrow starts two really tough days and its time to start riding harder. Let's see how the legs hold up. The cycling culture here is pretty amazing and its been interesting to sign autographs again.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Stage 1 in the bag

Ben Jacques-Maynes spent 140K in the break and bagged the Mountain Jersey so it was a good day for the team. I managed to sttay out of trouble and finished in the first group. The stage was suppose to be an easy first one but because of the cross-winds it was fairly tough. It also ran about 10K long which isn't nice when you're already in the hurt box. Here is a picture of the bus back to the hotel. Davide Fratini from Colavita in front of me. His teammate Haedo was 3rd on the stage so a good day for the US teams all around.

Legs up on MLK



Laying in my bed with my legs up waiting for the first stage. All the stages are afternoon starts so the mornings are free which is nice. Yesterday was the team presentations in the town square and there were a few thousand people there. The cycling culture in Argentina is amazing. Cars pass and they beep (and not the NY angry beeps) and take pictures. At the presentation people were taking pictures with cyclists everywhere and it didn't matter if you were famous or not. I got pulled for a radio interview and the only pre-requisite seemed to be that I spoke spanish. So far its been a great experience. Let's see how stage 1 goes. Thanks to everybody for the encouragement and comments. My goals here are modest for sure. First

help the team as much as I can and second get to the finish. Here is the photo of the photographer who was taking my picture. Funny eh.


Sunday, January 18, 2009

First Update

After a thirty hour trip I arrived on Friday night at around mid-night. Lucky for me dinner is served late here. Since by the comments you are all more interested in Basso (photo credit Kirsten Robbins) here is a nice photo of him. My prediction is that he will take it somewhat easy but ride the TT all out.

My body is a little out of wack after such a long trip and especially my lower back. I guess that I should have done those core workouts that Max had told me to do. The race starts tomorrow and my legs are feeling OK. Let's see how it goes.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Argentina here I come


At the airport about to board the plane to Argentina. I'll try to do daily updates and promise not to make them too boring. Results can be seen on cyclingnews.com and I suggest you guys start from the bottom and work your way up. Kidding. I'm really looking forward to doing this race. I spoke to Aaron Olson whose already down there and racing for Colavita and he said its been in the 90's. I went back into the closet and got out the summer jerseys. A little more lightweight than the regular short sleeve jerseys. And my shoes showed up yesterday. What else can a guy ask for.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Dinner at Grimaldi's in Brooklyn

Here is the best pizza in NYC on Old Fulton.  My dad, Hugo, Liam and Tiiu and the Pizza.  Mom and Luciene were on my side of the table.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Countdown to Tour de San Luis

9 days left to the first race of the season and I haven't shaved in months. My legs that is. Argentina here I come. Camp numero 2 went rather well. Unlike last year I managed two weeks of training without a) getting sick, b) getting divorced c) getting fired. All good things in my book. Two 25 hour weeks and saw some mates as well as a few friends/clients down in San Diego and San Francisco where we flew out of on Sunday the 5th. The most embarrassing story of all was on Saturday the 4th my last day of training going on a ride with uber marketing guru at Specialized Ben Capron and being spanked, schooled and just plain embarrassed on the ride. It was one of those rides where your checking the wheels for friction, your wondering if the guy tightened your bottom bracket and you are just not sure that this whole racing another season thing was a good idea. I finally said after two hours "hey man I am really embarrassed but I need to turn around and go home". Damn that hurt. Mission accomplished I am done now turn me over.

If that wasn't enough I managed to loose my brand new shoes. And these had a little Portuguese flag on them and only work with Speedplay pedals so keep an eye out for them.

The flight back was non eventful which was good. Tiiu, Liam and I arrived at home on Sunday night and for the next few days everybody was jet lagged. Especially Liam who wouldn't go to sleep until 10 on most nights and then the next morning didn't want to get up for school. The week was also a busy one work wise so I only managed to get on the bike 3 times this week. One easy one hour spin on Monday with my boy Jason Gay, then an hour and half Park ride to make sure it was still there in 36 degrees and rain. (Home in bed sick the next day with a weird virus) and a forty-five minute trainer ride tonight (Friday). All of this and 9 days to go before San Luis. I bet you Ivan Basso doesn't have to put up with this shit. Now the weather forecast for the next week in New York is lovely. snow for the next three days and balmy highs of mid-twenties for the next week. I am going to stare at the Empire State Building out of the fire exit of my building a whole lot.

Many funny stories out of my trip to Cali but one stood out in particular. Wootton and I are riding out of Mulholland Drive onto PCH about 50 K up from LA and I am in dire need to an espresso and a little cake. We pop into the nearest Starbucks when I notice a nice little De Rosa parked on the bike rack and a guy with a rock racing uniform on. We do the hey how ya doin' stare while checking each other out and I go in for my espresso. I turn to Wootton and say hhhmmm I bet you that guy was on LPR last year. He looks Euro and he's wearing LPR socks. Lets find out who it is. I go out and introduce myself and the guy all of a sudden goes. wait for it...wait for it..Danilo. Ah freaking Danilo di Luca running around in a Rock Racing uniform. Yes he's still with LPR. I'm sure Michael Ball just got him a kit since if your a pro and you come to LA you have to go kiss the jeans. Apparently I'm not pro enough since I didn't get a uniform. Nice guy we rode back with him to Santa Monica and he couldn't be more pleasant. A little insider info for y'all. He's got his money on Lance for the Giro and Tour. But the world's are his he says. Well you heard it here first. Now if Wootton hadn't attacked the guy 5 or six times on the way back it would have been perfect. It was like he was shooting out of a cannon. Bamm take that Danilo.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Slow news day again -- in Portugal

Most of you don't read Portuguese, unless of course you are in Portugal or had a really boring weekend and decided to learn it by buying the Rosetta Stone (in which case you speak Brazilian Portuguese) but this past week I got a call from a Portuguese reporter who was really digging hard for a story so after everybody else must of said no she called me when I was in California.