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.