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

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Barcelona, ESP to Girona, ESP
Sunday, May 14, 2006

Since the team (& staff) is off to a race in France, we had to take the train back to the apartment. This turned out to take nearly as long as the flight. We screwed up, and then screwed up again, & again. First we couldn’t find the trains to begin with. Then we got on the train and transferred, then transferred, then missed the transfer, and missed it again. It all only added up to 6.50 E. I’m not sure you can beat that price with a stick.
On the subject of beating things, there was a bit of a show at the train station. For some reason these little bunnies were dancing around helplessly (I think something happened to their mother), and this J-bird came over and started killing each one, one at a time. It would poke the eyes out with it’s beak, the process took some five minutes. You could actually see the blood squirt out and watch as it squealed and flopped around helplessly. The first time we figured it was better to let it die, but when it went for a second one we started throwing rocks (it was on the other side of the tracks behind a fence) and things to scare it away. But then the train came so we had to leave, we could here the squeals as we got on.

Philadelphia, PN to Barcelona, ESP
Sunday, May 14, 2006

US Airline’s spectacular service improved marginally as they served both dinner and a breakfast morsel. They decided not to turn the lights off though… So I didn’t get a whole lot of sleep, in fact, I don’t recall getting any at all. Hence this flight took the cake as far as being the worst flight to date goes. By the way, we didn’t spend the night in Philadelphia; Sunday’s the result of the time change.

SeaTac, WA to Philadelphia, PN
Saturday, May 13, 2006

The flight left at 6:30 this morning, entailing a 4:00 wakeup and a wander through the house- I’m about to be gone for a month -routine. This is where you try to sleep and think about what you may have forgotten at the same time. It doesn’t work very well, you may’ve guessed, but you end up doing more worrying than sleeping. Before you know it, the alarms wailing and you’re in a mad dash to squander what little time you have before driving to the airport.
We’re flying on this ghastly, depraved & corrupting airline called US Airways. This is by far the worst airline I’ve ever been on (they are part of United’s star alliance though, so the miles correspond with each other). At check in they’ve got ~15 attendants of which none feel like helping you. So what should take maybe 5 minutes took 30. Then they didn’t serve food from Seattle to Philadelphia (6:30am- 11:30am), I almost feinted on the way out. This guy behind me did though…

North Bend, WA
May 12, 2006

Okay, I’ll admit it: I lost my passport and I’ve been going through some serious tribulations for the past week to get a new one. It was supposed to arrive at my house Tuesday evening or Wednesday morning. That was fine, I figured that it was just the government hard at work and it’d be there yesterday… but it wasn’t. So I ended up calling the passport people and trying to track it down. They didn’t know if they’d shipped it Fed Ex or USPS, so they didn’t have a tracking number! I ended up going to the Seattle Regional Passport Center to get one made in one day, that’s right, get there at 8:00 in the morning and wait all day for them to make a new one. I got there and they found out that they’d shipped it USPS, but they couldn’t deliver it because no one was home to sign for it when they delivered it. For some reason they didn’t bother to leave a note. Nonetheless this was a big relief, so I went to the post office and finally picked it up… the day before leaving for Barcelona. It was funny because I was there before the Passport Center opened with a couple of other people who were sort of in the same boat. They were talking about how they needed it in a week or two… when they asked me when I was leaving; I beat ‘em all “tomorrow…”
“Let us know how that works out…”
“I will punks, ha! Who’s fly’n now?” Actually, I didn’t say that, but I thought it… & that’s all that matters anyway.
I had a four hour ride to do when I got home, I was so plagued with bad luck that I decided to do it on the trainer. 30 minutes after I got done I noticed that I had a flat tire… What’s next? United 93….

Ellensburg, WA
May 11, 2006

I’d heard stories of a daunting climb in Ellensburg, so when I got word that I needed to do some 15 minute climbing intervals I had no where else to go. Ellensburg is on the east side of the mountains (I’m on the west), so the drive was about an hour and a half. We got to it, which I will name the “Reecer Road Climb,” and discovered that Ellensburg is an absolutely horrible place. It doesn’t rain, but the wind doesn’t stop either. You can look at any given standing object and notice that it leans to the east. The climb turned out to be amazing. It’s on a one lane road going up to 5000 feet, but I couldn’t get to the top because of the snow. Basically it twists through the trees with sections of 20 percent. I’m surprised that something like this exists. The entire climb is ~16 km, maybe more when the snow melts. With my 15 minute intervals I made it roughly half way, I climbed the whole thing after I got done. It’s hard to do less than 200 watts going up in a 23 for me.
The worst part were the intervals I had to do after the ride when I got home. At 6:30 in the evening after riding for a little over 4 hours, you get quite lazy and tired- even more so after your shifter cable breaks while you’re on the trainer. That’s right; my shifter cable finally gave up the ghost after suffering through a winter of cold and rain. So I ended up doing the intervals on the trainer on the time trial bike. Not fun, I finished at 8:30 for a grand total of 6 hours.