Life On Two Wheels

Along the river and toward the mountains a morning shadow shimmers across the road. The rays of the first light jet through the trees and across a figure gliding upon the road. His breath trails in short spurts, petrified as it hits the icy air. All is quiet except the slight sound of the athlete as he summons himself for yet another days work. Soon the rest of the world will bustle with life as well and the brief simplicity of cyclist and nature will disappear into the everyday struggle of life in full motion; the errands and intervals, the appointments and intersections, and the deadlines and finish lines OutPaceTheRace

Friday, August 11, 2006

Tour of Utah

Stage 3- Time Trial
Thursday, August 10, 2006

Every time trial seems to be a bit of an experience for me. It seems that today’s was the first in perhaps many that will lead to my exceptional time trial prowess of the future. With Dr. Lim on the radio I knew what I had to do and managed to stay focused for the first three fourths of the race. Then in the last quarter of the race I began to lose focus and fight it. Then Baldwin passed me in the last ½ kilometer or so, and I regained my focus to stay some 3 seconds behind him. That would put me about a minute behind him, which is a margin that will be extraordinarily hard to surpass on the way up the climbs in the next few days. But I will try, who ever said that Floyd couldn’t make up his 7 minute lapse of time? My legs didn’t fall asleep today either…

Stage 2-Thanksgiving Point, UT
Wednesday, August 09, 2006

We knew it was going to be a race of crazy cross winds and “tactical awareness,” and precisely as we suspected it turned out to be. We were well positioned throughout the race as the winds blew across the field. A small break of insignificants got away for most of the race, and even I got in a break of four after the feed zone. We got caught pretty quick though- as I looked over my shoulder I saw the field approaching super fast with Navigators on the front and I gave everything I had to get up to speed and into a small gap someone opened for me to get in. Later on in the race while almost all of us were sitting some 25 guys back as we lazily approached the finishing circuit, a 15 foot American flag took position at the front of the field and “Captain America” gave the go ahead and suddenly the lazy pace was an all-out gutter effort. My sixth sense immediately sent me up the outside in a desperate attempt to close in on them before a gap opened. A gap opened and fortunately the field had the presence of mind to work together to get back. We caught on fairly quick, but not before some very hurt and frazzled fellow belched blood on my glasses after digging a bit too deep.
The circuit was nothing short of insane. I entered it with half a bottle, and finished it with two to go after rationing myself in an unsuccessful attempt to avoid the bouts of dry mouth that the weather was giving me. The cross winds in the circuit made it perhaps the most tortuous of all finishes I’ve been in. It looped and wound around, making positioning become quite a hazard. On the last lap it blew apart with United setting a brilliant pace. Moninger made the little split, but alas the officials didn’t record the time gaps.

Stage 1- Utah Lake, UT
Tuesday, August 08, 2006

The race was at 3 pm so I did a trivial 45 minute ride in the morning to loosen up the legs a little. We left Snowbird in route to Provo at 12:30. The race ended up being pretty strange, in the beginning there were cross winds not to be reckoned with. They blew dust up everywhere, lightning would strike in the distance and huge drops of rain fell. The road was an absolute piece of crap too, as we fought to hold position in the cross wind and avoid the riders beside us with each gust of wind, we also had to avoid the various fissures about the road. Then everyone sat up and it eventually came to a field sprint. Mike handily clasped a 3rd place despite the wide assortment of “laps to go” that the announcer was throwing out on the finishing circuit.

Snowbird, UT
Sunday, August 06, 2006

We’ve arrived at “The Cliff”- the hotel at the resort that’ll house us for the duration of the race. It’s at some 8000 feet, so that’ll be interesting, but aside from the height of the place everything’s quite pristine and the hotels of highest quality. The riding around the area is either up or down, so for today’s three hour ride I rode my bike on the trainer in the hotel room it was a unique situation. Can’t say I’ve been in a position as such before, where the road either goes straight up or straight down…
I guess Snowbird’s had a couple bad years lately; the snow’s been slow’n up or someth’n… evidently. I just can’t think of any other reason that would require the payment by customers for internet access. So tack on another 10 smackers to the $200 a room face price. I wonder what exactly is included in the $200 that they charge for this dump that you wouldn’t find in your average motel six for $49.99...

Provo, UT
Saturday, August 05, 2006

We left at 8:30 am yesterday in route to Provo, with the preliminary duration of the trip set at 4 hours. Then 7 hours, and finally 10 hours… Hmm, okay. We got into Provo with time to eat and spin around for a bit over an hour. Provo is on the Salt Lake City side of the mountains at the valley that leads up to Snowbird.
In the meantime were staying at the Marriot. They immediately start sticking it to you, first with the internet, then with the breakfast. I walk into the breakfast and they ask me if I want the buffet. Of course… no I’ll just have coffee… so I get some oatmeal. They come with a check right away for 8.50. Then I go and get some pancakes and they bring me another check, for 10.50 this time. What? What kind of a buffet is this? Evidently they had three different buffets going on on the same table, “the American,” the “good start,” and the “assorted pastries” buffets. They mentioned “the buffet” when I came in and no markers distinguished one buffet from another. I guess they only expect you to get one thing, like a banana for 8.50 and call it good…