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, September 01, 2006

C'mon feel the noise...

Saxon, SUI to Saxon, SUI Stage 3 of Valle d’Aosta
Thursday, August 31, 2006

This morning we transferred from the Italian side of the Alps to the Swiss side. We took some tunnel that went under the higher mountains and across into Switzerland. The first thing we see in Switzerland is their great “neutral” army. I guess they’ve gotta defend their banks or something. Anyway the Swiss side looks the same as the Italian side- personally I prefer the Italian side to the Swiss side. The Swiss towns are not as they are portrayed on TV ‘n stuff. It looks more like Marseilles surrounded by mountains or something, but with more Mercedes and Volvos. Indeed, the Swiss seem to be swimming in money. I must’ve mistaken the Swiss villages for the Bovarian ones, for some reason I thought that’s how they’d look, but I guess they prefer a clean version of the Marseilles architecture.
Anyway, the name of the game today was the change of the game… My climbing legs returned today. Debatably the hardest day, it had 3 significant hills- one with a section of 18%. It didn’t seem to make much of a difference though ‘cause I just kept on spinning until there were like 15 guys left. We descended off the 18% one and headed up the longest one of the day (~12km with a section of dirt in the last km). As planned, I attacked at the bottom of the climb, and by the time I got to the top we had a minute on the 6 or so guys left in the field! One guy from La Pomme came with me and one guy from an earlier break got on our wheel near the top. On the descent the La Pomme guy pulled an Ullrich and ended up taking a dive off the side. On the flat 20 km to the finish a group of 6 guys caught us making our group 8. On the finish I got 5th… So we’re all pretty stoked and hopefully I continue to climb well in the next couple days!

Aosta, ITA to Valgrisenche, ITA Stage 2 of Valle d’Aosta
Wednesday, August 30, 2006

It didn’t quite work out today. My 31st position overall is pretty much cemented at the moment… Unless a miracle occurs where I jump the 5 minute gap or something, I’m pretty well worked for GC. As is the case when were screwed overall, the situation changes and we start shooting for results on the stage. In general this means getting in the break and making it over the various mountains on the way to the finish without being caught. Tomorrow should be ideal for such a setting to occur. It’s got three large climbs (one with a section of 1 km at 18%) and one small one. The finish is flat so everyone’ll probably stay kinda calm on the way over the mountains- but since this is an Italian race calm isn’t saying much, ‘cause the bunch’s got a knack of goin haywire over the smallest things.
Today’s race had a nice long climb at the finish and I simply didn’t have the legs to hang with them all the way. I finished three minutes down wondering why the hell I can’t hang with a bunch of lame Italians in the midst of what I’ve been able to do in the last couple months. I swear that I’ll race until January if I don’t get a result in a climbing race this year. When you set out to have a successful season and you finish with your hat in your hand, you’ve got to wonder what’s going on. At the beginning of the year I was sure the season’d yield something of worth, yet I’m finishing the year with nothing & it feels like dog-crap. To begin next year with an unproductive season this year will feel like I’m just going to recycle this one. Hopefully something grand’ll happen in the next few days.