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

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

ToC- Feb 18 - 21, '06

San Jose, CA- Stage 2
February 21, 2006

And the story continues. Sometimes you’ve gotta wonder how a hotel can expect you to pay upwards of $200 a night for a hotel and scam you on the little things. I’ve maintained in the past that customer service is the leading factor in a quality business, so if you want to run it well, treat people like they deserve to be treated. Of course, I respect the Hilton Hotel chain for supporting the race and hooking us up with a room each night, but- at least give your customers free internet, water & a complementary continental breakfast! At $200 you’d think it’s a given… But who am I to tell them how to run their business.

So, plagued once more I am with the pace of the race. I managed to get food poisoning the day before the race began and just today got my legs beneath me once more. I was beginning to get used to the tremendous effort I had to give each time the race arrived at a climb, but until today I forgot what it was like to float up a climb with poise. Fortunately, now I’m armed with much more self confidence and am actually looking forward to the next few days.

Aside from the many boggles I’ve had along the way I’ve actually had a couple experiences (perhaps the first of many) that simply quavered my bones. The greatest cause occurred today on the descent. These fellows can descend like Falcons when they need to. The hills are super steep and coming back down them you’ve got to clutch your handle bars and hope for the best. The most nerve racking event is when you’re descending these hills and you cross the center line and hit a rode turtle with your carbon wheels. It’s like listening to someone scratch their nails on a blackboard. The hair on your back raises and you wonder how many more times your wheels can take it without cracking and throwing you 150 feet off the side of the precipice.

The other event of note is when a team is drilling it at the front coming into a big, race deciding, hill. The entire field is doing everything they can to stay at the front and we are literally filling the entirety of the road, yet riders are moving up on either side- squeezing in when there is literally no room for them to move up. Keep in mind that were doing around 35 mph and were bumping handlebars, just one little mistake by anyone and half the field goes down. I know that I probably shouldn’t be thinking about catastrophe during a moment like that, but sometimes it’s kind of hard…

Santa Rosa, CA- Stage 1
February 21, 2006

The day went horribly for me, I managed to finish without losing time, but it hurt & it shouldn’t have. I had food poisoning for dinner on the 19th.
Of note was the amazing sprinting prowess of our sprinter Brad Huff who finished 4th on the day.

San Francisco, CA- Prologue
February 19, 2006

The Prologue was a short effort of 5 minutes- flat in the beginning and climbing up to the Coit Tower at the end, an ideal course for me. The one problem that has thwarted me in the past and continues to do so now, is my fear of over-extending myself and “dying” before the finish. This seems to plague me in most aspects of racing; I always fear that if I go to hard then I’ll end up paying for it later when the other guys attack. I have to assume that I’m the strongest and go from there- bottom line, I need to have confidence.
Today I came out thinking about this way too much. On the way up the climb I never gave it 100% because I was afraid that I’d use up all the gas, but then I got to the finish and discovered that indeed I hadn’t given enough, in fact I had enough left to sprint for the last 150m. If I could harness my effort I swear that I could throw a deadly time, we’ll see though in the next time trial. I’m not normally big on excuses, but I’ve got to narrow the problem down so I can change it in the future. The trick’s going to be not making anymore of these “little” mistakes.

San Francisco, CA
February 18, 2006

Today was hailed as a double day by our director. We were to do a 2 hour ride in the morning on our time trial bikes and then a two our ride on our road bikes with several efforts in the afternoon. The day’s weather turned quickly from sunny and nice to a complete down pour. Fortunately, the down pour fell between the two rides and we managed to make it through the day without suffering in the midst of the rain.
With each additional day I spend on the time trial bike I feel more and more comfortable on it. In the past I haven’t had a chance to become acquainted with it, so I feel like I definitely have a chance to do well in the race. Should be good, I’m looking forward to the start tomorrow.