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

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Sleigh bells in the... rain

North Bend, WA
Thursday, December 28, 2006

I don’t include stomach flu or flu on my list of true illnesses; therefore, my streak of illness-free living will remain untarnished- regardless of the wily flu bug. With that said, I used the time off for the flu as recovery. I took three days totally off the bike, and used the third day to ease back into it with a light bout of easy yoga and weights. The “sickness” was actually rather timely, just a bit early. I think I was set to take the break over Christmas; instead I ended up taking it early and doing 2.5 hours Christmas Eve and 3 hours on Christmas. It wasn’t so bad, I just pretended like I was riding a sleigh in the rain… So that’s a total of 5 days of recovery (two days confined to my bed), with Christmas to ease back in.
Right after Christmas training got rough again, immediately instituting the use of AM/PM days: several hours in the morning, sleep, yoga & weights in the evening. It feels like you’re working out the whole day. I did that Tuesday and Wednesday, & surprisingly I’m not totally wasted. This is good, since I’ve got two more of them Friday and Saturday… I’m already excited.
Of course, I’ve been working out with Bernard in the gym. I’ve kind of kept him in the dark as to what I want to accomplish with him, otherwise he’ll take the initiative and go ahead and design some eccentric training regime that’ll leave me walking out of the gym on two hands. So I work out with him and then do the leg stuff that I need to do. None of the exercises that he does are consistent, so it’s impossible to build an unacceptable amount of muscle mass (when I say unacceptable I mean 30+ lbs, 20lbs is fine)… It’s always arm, leg, and core work-outs, but never the same ones more than once a week. So it’s fine to an extent, I just do my specific leg stuff following my little session with him.

I found this interesting, though I'd venture it's not entirely accurate:
Table 1: National Average Per Capita Income using PPP method
Per Capita Income in US$
1 Luxembourg
2 Bermuda
N/A 36,000
3 United States
4 Norway
5 Liechtenstein
N/A 25,000
6 Channel Islands
7 Switzerland
8 Denmark
9 Ireland
10 Iceland

Table 3: National Average Per Capita Income using Atlas method
Per Capita Income in US$
1 Bermuda
2 Luxembourg
3 Norway
4 Switzerland
5 United States
6 Liechtenstein
7 Japan
8 Denmark
9 Channel Islands
10 Iceland

Friday, December 22, 2006


North Bend, WA
Friday, December 22, 2006

Have you ever heard of the stomach Flu? It’s not cool… at all. My parents had it when I got home; they were over it... but not totally over it when I got home. It wasn’t contagious anymore. So I got home, went to the gym & rode the next day. When I got home from the ride I started to feel weird. I took a nap & didn’t sleep at all… my stomach was upset. I woke up and ate a little dinner and went back to bed. I threw up once every 30 minutes well into the morning.
My brother had picked me up from the airport and stayed briefly at our house before going back to his home. I wanted to see just how non-contagious the bug was. So I called him up to ask if he was sick. He said he’d had exactly the same thing at exactly the same time as I’d had mine… So there you go… I’d say that’s fairly contagious, it seems like all you’d have to do is be within 20 feet of someone with the bug for 10 seconds in order to catch it (allow incubation of one day for full effect). Everyone in Seattle’ll probably have it before the year’s over.
The good thing is that it hits hard once and then it’s gone. No sinus or lung problems, you just get an upset stomach and throw up for a day and it’s over. I’d take that over being sick for a week or two any day.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

ToC Training camp

Torrence, CA
Monday, December 18, 2006

So today was the last day of the training camp. I can’t believe how quickly it went by, it’s like we haven’t actually done all the stages it went by so fast. In the ToC it got to the point where it was almost redundant despite the differences in stages. Whether it was a time trial or a climbing stage or just a long one, it was always the same; wake up, eat, pin numbers, race… it seemed to last forever. But here I am doing exactly the same thing through a camp that actually consists of more days and it feels like it took a day or two at the most.
Today we did the EKG tests. It took a bit longer than we had expected, but it was very nice to get them out of the way. Basically they attach a bunch of wires to your chest and take readings several times throughout your test. During the test you get on your bike and start out pedaling at 150 watts. Then they increase the watts by increment of 30 every two minutes. According to my PowerTap I held 498 at the end… the set-up was supposed to hold you at each new increment of 30 but evidently you can vary your output to a certain extent by going harder before it recalibrates with your fluctuating cadence...
The interesting thing was that we didn’t expect the test to be so difficult… like vo2 max difficult. We expected to jump on the bike for five minutes and spin the pedals a bit and jump off. So we rolled out on an easy spin in the morning for an hour and a half. Not that this was bad, but it was more the belief that we were having a nice easy recovery day when, little did we know, we’d have our vo2 max tested in the afternoon. But that’s fine, I wasn’t tired anyway. I guess I’ll do some jumping jacks and push-ups now… & maybe an interval on the trainer too…
Allen (the team doc who did the tests) said my ventricles look swell.

Torrance, CA
Sunday, December 17, 2006

This morning we drove down to LA from Santa Clarita for what is supposed to be the last ride of the camp. The camp’s been pretty good, it’s nice to see the stages and climbs before the race, but most of the riding hasn’t been too hard. Mainly we’ve just been doing endurance pace rides, but we occasionally drill it on the climbs. The efforts are good ‘cause it allows me to check my condition against the other guys, and at the moment I seem to be going well… which is a good sign given that I did only one week with intervals in the training since Belgium… not to mention hitting the weights 3 times a week with the personal trainer.
Tomorrow we head deep into LA proper for some UCI heart testing stuff (I guess it’s called an ekg test). Evidently they wanna make sure that your heart is capable of withstanding the rigors of racing before you go head-to-head with the various forms of unkempt eurolites.

ToC: Stage 6- Santa Barbara, CA to Santa Clarita, CA
Saturday, December 16, 2006

Today was the last stage that we are previewing for the Tour of California. The stage was 115 miles with three fairly significant climbs, none of which I believe are big enough to rattle the general classification. The course basically just rolls along the coast, goes inland for a bit and comes back to the coast. The stage itself is fairly spectacular, but I think it’ll basically be a day for a break and ultimately a day for the sprinters.
Tomorrow we’ll do a ride in Santa Clarita, the next day’ll be off and the day after that we’ll fly home.

Solvang, CA
Friday, December 15, 2006

Today we stayed in Solvang to do another ride. Apparently this is the place to train if you’re going to go somewhere to do it. The weather’s normally good, and the terrain is unbeatable. The roads, however, leave much to be desired… I guess if they’re no good it prepares us for some of the garbage they call roads in Europe.
Anyway, today we did a 6 hour loop with three fair climbs. None of them were too long, winding around the hills and valleys with an occasional kicker or lapse in grade. It was nice because it allows you to focus on keeping the power constant and putting out a good flat effort. In the end the ride was very nice, perhaps the best we’ve done so far.

ToC- Stage 4: Solvang, CA
Thursday, December 14, 2006

Today we previewed the time trial course, the fourth stage of the tour. It is a short 14 mile loop around Solvang with a relatively flat/rolling start and a short climb in the middle. Right after the climb there’s a windy descent followed by some fairly little hills to the finish.
The ride today was ~3 hours, and officially my first time on the new time trial bike. I got the position on it to be what I think is pretty good. Normally I have all sorts of problems with the weird positions, but I got it to where I don’t seem to have in issues. So I rode it on the course and felt good the whole time. I put out some wattage that I was pretty surprised about too…

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

ToC Preview: Rest Day

ToC- rest day: Santa Cruz, CA to Solvang, CA
Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Today we took a brief rest day to recoup from the last three days and drive down to Solvang. We did a nice easy 2 hour spin in the morning in Santa Cruz and loaded up the Freightliner in rout to Solvang; a drive of around about 4.5 hours.
In case you’ve never been to Solvang, it’s an old Danish settlement that turned into a thriving tourist hot spot. For those of you in Washington it’s similar to Leavenworth except 50 times the size… It’s also in southern California. We’ll be taking the next 3 days to do a couple rides. Tomorrow we’ll preview the time trial course, and then Friday we’ll do a ride on the great Solvang terrain, found exclusively in Solvang…

Preview: Stage 3

ToC- Stage 3: Stockton, CA to San Jose, CA
Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Today’s stage is a very interesting one. It starts in this flat agricultural area near Davis called Stockton. The first ~20 km are absolutely flat with a chance of harsh crosswinds and gutters straight from Belgium. Then the course winds through the scenic rolling hills on the way to San Jose. Most of the climbs along the route are fairly steep kickers that “stair-step” to the top. The first one out of Stockton is new; the other two are the same as in last years course culminating with the final and super steep Sierra climb. I think it’ll end up being the biggest climb this year too…
Since there was a little drizzle today in Davis we drove most of the gutter section & jumped on the bikes at the foot of the first climb. Then just about everyone got a flat tire including Allen in the Subaru. If you know Allen then you know that a flat tire in a car leaves him stranded, his life in absolute peril… fortunately Pat and I were there to expedite the process- introducing the intricacies of wrenching lug-nuts and basic car sustenance…

Preview: Stage 2

Santa Rosa, CA to Davis, CA
Monday, December 11, 2006

The riding was quite fantastic today. I’m not quite sure, but today’s course seemed totally new to me. There were two new climbs, neither of which were significant enough to alter the future GC. Aside from the wind ‘n stuff near Davis, the scenery leaving Santa Rosa was spectacular. There were lush rolling hills, seemingly endless vineyards, and mile after mile of roads without cars… I’m kinda glad we’re pre-riding the course ‘cause there’s absolutely no way I’d be checking the scenery out during the race…
The weather seems to be kinda on ‘n off. There’s been nothing as bad as what we’re enduring up North, but there’s stuff you just don’t expect from California… Like a little drizzle that’s hardly enough to get your attention. Of course everyone’s complaining like we’re in a flash flood or something, but even if it was raining, it wouldn’t be cold enough to have any effect. But that’s California, they’re not used to rain or cold, so a little of both is kinda harsh.

Preview: Stage 1

ToC- Stage 1: Sausalito, CA to Santa Rosa, CA
Sunday, December 10, 2006

The bad weather that was apparently due to arrive over the next couple of weeks came last night. I heard it pounding on the roof, but that was it. In the morning the ground was wet and the sky was a bit grey, but after messing around in the morning for a while the bad weather past and the rest of the day was pretty much fair sailing. The course from Sausalito to Santa Rosa changed a little with a slight addition to the length of the first climb and an entirely new climb near the end of the stage. The new one’s quite a kicker in the beginning. It’s somewhat unique due to the beginning of the climb; it’s a sudden turn off of a rather small road to begin with onto a superbly small road. So I think it’s kind of a given that positioning is gonna be absolutely key coming into the climb. If you’re not in the top 20-30 guys you’re not going to make it over in the first group.
It was nice to recon the course and get some serious time and miles in on the bike.

Saturday, December 09, 2006


Berkeley, CA
Saturday, December 09, 2006

I took the plane from Seatac this afternoon in rout to San Francisco. The team is having a little “camp” to go over the stages of the 2007 Tour of California. Unfortunately, the weather has turned imperfect just in time for us to arrive. Apparently it’s been rather pleasant over the last several weeks, and just today the “rainy season” began. Of course, I have a tendency to cause untimely weather patterns so it’s really no surprise to me…
Participants of the camp include Danny, Pat and I with Allen and Lara as staff. Evidently Lucas, Taylor and Brad will be driving up from Santa Cruz tomorrow morning too.
I’m looking forward to a weather change once we head south a bit.

Friday, December 08, 2006

The Slipstream unveiling

Slipstream Sports- "dedicated solely to the ethical growth of American cycling."

Press Release- scroll down to "Slipstream-Chipotle announces pro continental status"

Thursday, December 07, 2006

As we walk through the valley of the shadow of...

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Have you ever pondered how infinitely large the universe could-be/is? Does it keep going, or does it just stop? Or is it a figment of our imagination? Human exploration hasn’t gone all that far, so to speak. We haven’t even journeyed into the deepest areas of the sea. If you think about it, we can’t make a robot that effectively walks on two legs or a bird that flies like a bird or a fish that swims like a fish… Wouldn’t you assume that the natural motion of nature would be the most efficient form of life, be it artificial or not…? I can’t help but wonder what’s in store for the world in 100 years. If technology has come so far in 100 years, what will the world look like in 500 years? I wonder what would be more interesting, going back 500 years or forward 500 years? I guess forward would be… unless, perhaps… we are overdue for a certain event…

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Slaying thyself

North Bend, WA
Tuesday, December 5, 2006

Time seems to go by so quick in the off season. It seems like I just got done with that race in Belgium, but now it’s already December… how can that be? The time that I took off seemed like nothing. It’s amazing how swiftly time passes when you’re not working.
Anyway, on the subject of working… While I was “working” today, I drew an exceptional parallel between sport and law. Of course with one you actually accomplish something, with the other you... Uh, well… lose something… Here’s the parallel, the only “activity” in the world that you could compare training for competitive cycling to is Shariah Law. No kidding. Alright, probably not, but the term “slay yourself” never had more connotation than now…

Friday, December 01, 2006



Does your "chain hang low?" Here's a song I heard on a local radio station:

Chain Hang Low