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, June 20, 2006

Route du Sud

FRA- Route du Sud
Friday, June 16, 2006

As I had predicted I felt much better today. It was what they call a “flat, easy stage” today. I’ve learned that indeed there is no such thing as an easy stage. The flat ones are rolling with cross winds, a barrage of incessant attacks, and splits all smashed into 180 km. I never realized just how far 180 km is, I always figured it was somewhere in the range of the norm... but no, its 108 mi. California, Georgia and Taiwan had days in the range of ~250 km…. ~150 miles. You look at the profile, then you look to see when the feed zone comes, the first categorized climbs, the sprints and finally the finish. Of course after memorizing all these km markers you tend to overlook the distance. Sure 150 miles for one day is fine, but follow that up with a week of 110 mile races and you’re (at least I am) going to have trouble getting out of bed in the morning- consider that when you think about how nice it’d be to be a professional cyclist. Anyway, back to the race. I was in 6th or 7th position when we hit a long, crosswind section. Bouygues Telecom was at the front chasing something down. There were about 4 of them left up at the front, and they were absolutely drilling it, they had everyone in the gutter except a select few- four or so guys in front of me and then the rest of the bunch. Somehow I got put out in the wind. I’m still trying to figure out how it happened, but I went from sixth in the gutter to just left of the gutter as everyone went flying by on the right then on into the caravan, then right out the back of the caravan. This is just about the most screwed I’ve ever been. During my journey out the back of the caravan I picked up an Agritubel guy who would not work with me to get back on. I couldn’t figure it out. I pushed him, yelled at him, everything. He was absolutely concrete in his decision to sit behind me and do nothing as I flailed helplessly in the wind. Then I got a brilliant idea, if he’s not going to work with me then he’s gonna have to work by himself. I moved to the right and put his lame French arse in the gutter. Then he began to work a little, just enough for me to get a rest and drill it again. We caught ‘em as it started getting hilly (15 minutes of being dropped and we finally get back, I thought it was over for sure); I made sure to go straight to the front in case they went hard again so I wouldn’t get thrown again. But you never know, I may be the first ever to go from 6th to off the back in a cross wind. But I felt great today, so hopefully we do well tomorrow and the next day as the race goes deep into the French Pyrenees.
At the moment it rains outside, so tomorrow’s time trial (30 km total, 10 km rolling up, then 20 up to the top of some ridiculously long category 1 climb) could be a bit sketchy. I wonder if there are KOM points for the winner of the time trial?.. We’re 18 minutes out of GC, but only a few from KOM. We’ll see.

FRA- Route du Sud
Thursday, June 15, 2006

Wow the things you can do when you are absolutely fed up with “repeating circumstances.” I got a sore throat a couple days ago and got some medication for it. They’re special effervescent tablets that you mix with water and drink ONCE a day. They looked the same as the airborne tablets or whatever else that comes in the form of an effervescent tablet. When I first took ‘em they didn’t really do anything, so I figured that the riding is probably putting stress on the medication, and I actually need more to make it work. So I took 5 or so of ‘em. Of course in any kind of medication that actually has more than vitamin c in it, certain things happen when you “overdose.” In this case it caused serious indigestion. It was supposed to get rid of mucus or something that was causing the sore throat. So it must’ve had some sort of acid or something, it kind of charred the front of my tongue and the sides of my mouth. Anyway, whenever I tried to go hard it started bubbling up and all sorts of other strange problems began to hinder my performance. So that’s the gist of my issues at the moment. I missed the break- which got 15-20 minutes. So the race is over for us as far as GC goes. I think I’ll feel better tomorrow and the rest of the race. The guys are fast here, but they’re not too fast.

FRA- Route du Sud
Wednesday, June 14, 2006

We left at around 11:30 from Girona this morning with everything packed up. I don’t reckon we’ll be back for some time, at least not until after July. It’s okay though, the weather’s just about reached the boiling point over the last couple days, so coming back to Washington for a week’s gonna be… pleasant. In the mean time, I’ll endure the French weather for a bit. It’ll be interesting to see how this here race progresses. I think we’ll do really well. With a couple months of racing here (for me a few weeks) I presume that we’ve finally reached their level, so mixing it up shouldn’t be an issue. It’ll be nice to be defending instead of always “on the offensive with nothing to lose.” Anyway, at the moment all I can do is wait and be anxious…. as always.