May 27, 2007

on the Road again and again and again

It's been about three weeks since my last big stage race in New Mexico and I'm still living out of my suitcase bouncing across the country. I've been to Flagstaff AZ to Boulder Co and back to Flagstaff all in the 12 days. If any of you have ever been to boulder , you know what an athletic town it is. I was taken back by how many top notch cyclist and triathletes there are in Boulder. A new friend of our Bryan Rhodes calls boulder home. He's one of the top triathletes in the world. I met up with Bryan for an epic ride alond the peak to peak highway near estes park. Estes park sits at about 7500ft and was quite cold when we set out. I'm always one for a challenge though, and sometimes it's the weather that makes the ride. Here's pic of me all bundled up for my ride. I didn't bring any proper warm weather clothes, so I made use of what I had.
Here's the fashion statement made this day: 3 Jerseys, arm warmers, knee high compression socks, shoe covers on my hands and feet, a hat and a my Hammer sweatshirt. It was a great ride and one i'll remember forever. Oh ya, I spent this trip with my Mom, so it made it extra special.

May 17, 2007

Coming to a Laundromat Near You

You know you live an exciting and meaningful life when your biggest event in the last two weeks is having your IPod quit working. For me, it was devastating. Fifteen minutes into my ride today my music stopped playing and I was confronted with a frowning IPod icon on my screen.

After nearly 4 hours of listening to myself sing "The Hustle" in my head I found myself back at home. When I'm riding the road bike I need all the extra stimuli I can get so a broken IPod is a big deal. I sort of felt like this as I realized that I wasn't going to have music for the rest of my ride. Man, I hope I can get it fixed. Otherwise I might just have to stop riding.

For those few people who actually read this blog you might remember a post that I did a few weeks ago about living in the back of my car. Well, Fred Drier from VeloNews thought that my accommodations were a humorous enough testament to the current state of mountain biking to include a few sentences about it in the beginning of the article about the Santa Ynez race in the latest issue of VeloNews. Check it out.

In other news, Evan, Owen, and I will soon collide at Mt. Hood, where we will each try to have the highest average speed after six days of racing. As for Sam, he is currently sharpening his fitness so he can tear off some Euros' legs at the second World Cup in Offenburg, Germany. Maybe, if we all shut our eyes and wish really hard, Sam might post a few pictures and words about his experience. Don't hold your breath though.

In the meantime I'm settling into my new digs in the high-elevation town of Durango, CO, (I can practically hear my blood thickening) and pursuing a job at a local laundromat. Just wait until I let Montana State University know what this recent engineering grad is doing with his degree. They are going to be SO proud. Hey, maybe VeloNews will think that this is a funny enough to include in their next issue. Keep your eyes peeled.

Until then, do the hustle.

May 10, 2007

Gila Monster and Beyond

I'm hanging out in Fayetteville, AR getting ready for the start of the Joe Martin Stage Race. Tour of the Gila ended on Sunday and I have been trying to lay low and get some rest before the next race. As far as Gila goes it was a really hard year but one of the best ones too. Out of 125 guys that started the race only about 85 finished the race. I threw down a great time in the opening TT with a huge 90th place or something like that. I am known for my amazing TT abilities.

It was great to be racing with Evan again in a big race and we spent the chill times of the long road races talking about how much coffee I drank before the stages, summer plans and girls. Those are always good ways to pass the time in a road race. Unfortunatly, there wasn't a whole lot of down time in the races due to racers trying to win the bike race. In the first 100+ road stage Evan rode amazing and pulled off a good result. I managed to crack with 1 mile to go on the climb to the finish and actually lost more the 20 spots in that last mile.

This is a pic of Evan on the climb.

Our host house for Tour of the Gila was sweet. We were staying out in the middle of the wilderness at an old ladies ranch. She had donkeys and Mules that we liked to feed and hangout with.
This is one of my teammates, Sam Johnson. He has a way with animals and always knows how to dress like a classy gentleman.

I must say that the best part of Gila was racing with a team from Rwanda. There were 4 guys on the team and they came all the way from Africa to do this race and they finished the entire thing. I tried to talk to one of the guys and quickly found out that they spoke absolutely no english. They weren't the best or fastest riders in the field but the had so much heart and did amazingly well considering there experience.All in all the last few days have had alot of bike racing and alot of traveling. We've made it a fun trip and hopefully Arkansas will go well. I'll keep you posted.

May 6, 2007

The Inland Empire

After a successful weekend of racing at the "National Mountain Bike Series Race Number 2" in Santa Ynez, CA, Sam and I got a chance to hangout together for several days of riding in Santa Barbara. We then made the trip down to Fontana, a city in the middle of L.A., for the third race in the National Mountain Bike Series.

For a course in the middle of suburbia, it is surprisingly fun. It is sandy, rutted, and steep. Its always interesting when you pre-ride a course and realize that when you race it the next day it is nearly a guarantee that you are going to go down. The only consultation is the fact that the dirt is relatively soft so it won't hurt that bad.

Well, that guarantee came true in a big way. Both Sam and I went down more then once and I think that you would be hard pressed to find a pro at the finish of the race who wasn't covered in dirt or didn't have a little blood trickling down their leg.

Most mountain bike races take place in resort towns at ski hills so racing in the middle of L.A. puts a new spin on things. For example:

View from the top of the course in L.A. = Suburbia Sprawl

Course markings in L.A. = Graffiti

River in L.A. = Concrete Channel

Green-space in L.A. = Power-line right-of-way

53x11 Coffee in L.A. = The best brew around

May 4, 2007

Where are Evan and Owen and Andy

Well, we are all out on the open road racing bikes and living life to the fullest. Last I heard from Andy he was sleeping in a field somwhere in Cali getting ready for a MTB race. I actually saw some results and he finished up like 7th and 11th in his last races. I'm hoping he'll come out from the wilderness sometime soon to write about it. I look forward to his wittty blog postings. As for myself and Owen, we are racing The Tour of GIla in NM. This is a full on NRC stage race where the top teams in the country show up and throw down. We just started two days ago with a time trial. Both Owen and myself are not very good at TTs. They require a lot of expensive equipment to be dialed in. That's my excuse anyway. So the TT went as well as expected. I was placed 79th. Nathan O'neil was the TT winner. If you don't know who he is you should just google his name. He's kinda fast. So this is a 5 day stage race and it's usually the last man standing in the end. The overall results can change big time by the last day. I'm hoping they continue to improve for myself.
Yesterday was the first big road race stage. the race was about 90 miles and finished with a 5 mile climb with grades up to 20%. There was a four man break off the front the entire day, but Health net was working hard to pull it back. It's amazing how calculated they can do it. We caught the break with about 2 miles to go. I was feeling good, but not good enough to finish with the front guys. I ended up 37th and Owen was just behind me. The pic above is of our friend Adam Curry. This was just after he crossed the line. You can tell by the look on his face how hard it was.
I'll keep you posted on the days to come. Evan