Monday, March 26, 2007
THE OFFICIAL EURO CYCLIST CODE OF CONDUCT: 1.Image and style shall be your primary concern. Winning races is an added bonus, and only counts if said euro cyclist wins with appropriate style.
2. You shall NEVER, under any circumstances, wear plain black spandex shorts or any team kit containing non-prominent Logo's.
3. The Socks must extend no less than 1cm below the main bulge of your calf muscle, and shall never extend further than 2cm past the primary calf muscle bulge . All socks shall be white in colour with prominent logo placement.
4. Cycling shoes must be of white colour only!-in certain circumstances, other colours, such as World Champion stripes are perfectly acceptable and encouraged.
5. If white cycling shoes are not available where you reside, white booties with prominent logo's shall always be worn.
6. You're bike frame must contain more than 3 colours, and must always fit tastefully with your wheel selection.
7. Zipp's are to be used as training wheels ONLY. You shall race only on Lightweights and occasionally Bora's if no lightweights are accessible.
8. Ridiculously stylish eye wear is to be worn at all time without exception.
9. In most circumstances, hair shall be kept neatly short, and matching helmet shall be worn (again with prominent logo placement). Under NO CIRCUMSTANCES shall a clashing helmet colour be worn with your euro kit.
10. In several cases, it is deemed acceptable to have long hair. In this event, hair shall be neatly slicked back in maximum euro-styling, and helmet shall not be worn. Stylish sport eyewear shall be worn at all times while exercising this option.
11. A prominent line where your kit ends and where your tan begins is essential to your image. Artificial tanning is banned, the tan shall reflect the level of training commitment.
12. All podium shots (pictures) shall be taken with the euro-rider wearing team kit and appropriately matching casual euro shoes (such as puma's). Socks shall remain within the guidelines above.
13. The seat shall ALWAYS be white along with the handlebar tape, and must be made in Italy or France. - Exception to this rule are seats or handlebar tape containing the following colours: World Champion Stripes,Olympic Gold, Italian flag colour combo (green redwhite).
14. You shall not, under any circumstances, acknowledge the presence of a cyclist riding a bike costing less than $4000 USD in a public place. This could be severely detrimental to your image.
15. Legs will be shaved year-round. ABSOLUTELY NO EXCEPTIONS.
16. Nothing short of All Carbon Water bottle cages shall be used. The only exception is gold (the metal) bottle cages which can be preferable in some situations where colour coordination is key (this is always).
17. Facial hair will be restricted to a goatee, and even this is discouraged. Mustaches are EXPRESSLY PROHIBITED.
18. Ceramic bearings shall be used at all time on both training and race bikes.
19. Campagnolo shall be the only acceptable componentry and is hereby deemed superior to ANY Shimano product in ALL circumstances. You are expected to have nothing less than an ENTIRE campy grouppo. Crank substitutions are NOT permitted.
20. ALL wheels shall be equiped with tubulars, regardless of your ability in gluing them.
21.You shall NEVER, UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCE, associate with triathletes. It is FORBIDDEN to have any number inked onto your body before a race.
22. Any physical activity, other than cycling, is STRONGLY DISCOURAGED. This includes any form of running or swimming and their derivatives (this includes walking).
23. You shall never rearrange your package while riding. Adjustments regarding seating/hanging comfort are to be done in private in order to preserve image.
24. In a circumstance where any cyclist ever displays aggression or disrespect towards you, you shall ride up uncomfortably close to them and slap them in the face with your team issue gloves. (which must be white)
25. MTB gloves are FORBIDDEN. Cycling gloves will be slick, white, and have minimal padding. Padding will be beige or white in colour.
26. In the event a motorist disturbs your ride, you shall proceed to ride up beside the car, form a clenched fist and bang the trunk of the car while doing your best attempt to sound irritated in Italian. Wild arm/head gestures are strongly encouraged to enhance the apparent rage.
27. When riding, sans helmet, a team issue cycling cap, preferably white, should be worn (depending on the hairstyle). The bill shall remain in the downward position at all times. Cycling cap can be worn forwards or backwards to coincide with current hairstyle.
MORE TO COME.... keep sending them in or post in the "comments" section.
For now if you have any questions refer to Mario Cipollini for advice on how to look euro pro.
Sunday, March 25, 2007
Alex and I both had good races at Bonelli, along with the rest of the Helen's/Subie/Fisher team.
Alex won his race and I came in 5th.
Podium shots on Flickr
It was fun to get back to racing and also cool because I am not alone in the Semi's.
Another Subie rider, Papo, is in the same cat. and we are about the same speed so we were able to stick together for a while.
Details? Ummm... it was hard, it went on for a while. I passed a few people near the finish and got on, well not ON technically, but... next to, the podium.
Stay tuned for next blog: Euro Roadie Rules of Engagement. Sweeeet.
Saturday, March 24, 2007
Now this is how to train!
I ran into Colleen on my ride today... as you can see, she is pulling a little something extra. It didn't keep her from opening up a gap. On a hill.
I actually caught up (I had to ride a little above my comfort level) a little later and we got to ride for a few blocks while I headed over to Montrose for coffee.
I predict that when she has only 2 wheels to turn again she will be, what is known in the cycling world (and every other world as well) as "quick".
Before that though, I visited Ben at The Kitchen for some of the best damn food in LA. The Kitchen is a super cool place in Pasadena that does catering and take out. They have tables right outside where you can eat if you go mid ride (which I recommend).
It's also nice if you want to eat picnic style... there's a park right down the street and a coffee shop on the corner so It's a cool spot for an afternoon date!
Anyway, lunch at the Kitchen, coffee in Montrose (also hung out at the bike shop with guest bloggers/racer-types the Lowetz bro's) and running into Colleen made this a pretty entertaining recovery day.
Friday, March 23, 2007
Before I rode today, I changed my bar tape. I went with pink. Now I'm like, 10 times as faster-er as I use to be. If I could only find a pink saddle...
Spring is here, and group rides are on like Donkey Kong...
This ain't no Ohio group ride. If you think your ride wouldn't be crushed by ours, feel free to drop by the 'Bowl any tuesday or thursday. Come by, introduce yourself, and be crushed.
I'm just kidding Ohio, I'm sure your group rides are really... cute.
That skinny bastard with the messenger bag made the winning break on stage 3 of the San Dimas Stage Race. I really don't know how he stays so thin... he's one of the best chefs,... the BEST chef I know. If I could cook like that I would eat WAY too much.
Good job in San Dimas, Ben, see you for lunch.
After my workout, I stopped off for a few refreshments.
Nuthin' says "recovery" like Cheerios, juice and Pokemon.
Whut up Tuck' and Mickey!
P.S. John, it's going to suck when you kick my ass now.
Wednesday, March 21, 2007
It's hard to feel motivated when it's freezing cold and raining outside. I waited until the rain stopped and then headed to the Rose Bowl to ride, figuring that if I stayed close to home I could head in if it started to rain again.
It just misted on me a bit when I started out but even that stopped... still cold though.
I never felt loose, warmed up and ready. Probably because of the cold. I kept stretching but in the end I just cracked out the best intervals I could do until it seemed like I would be doing more harm than good to continue. Ahhhhh, the mundane days of training seem so long.
Sunday, March 18, 2007
I would definitely encourage anyone to add to it and just keep on passing it around until we get the full story!
Day 1: Well... actually, the whole shebang kicked off prior to day one of racing so...
Day 0.5: We all got together for a team meeting at Jerry's house. Everyone was cool, there was a lot of good planning for the race and the season in general.
Eddie sort of gave us all the "low-down" on how the team worked and how to work as a team.
We were all extremely well fed. I am picky eater, but I'll eat a lot if it's good, and I'm pretty sure I made at least 3 trips to the table to refill my plate! Jerry downplayed his cooking skill when he said all he did was "go to Costco, boil water, wait." (or something to that effect)... I say that if 99.999999% of all restaurants can screw up pasta, you gotta be pretty handy in the kitchen to get it right.
Everyone left happy, and that set us up for...
Day 1: I had the pleasure of showing up for the TT and finding a PAA tent all set up and ready to go! It was conveniently located about as close as you could get to the starting area and it was very relaxing to find a calm place to retreat to before and after the race.
Whoever got up early to create that space should know that it really helped to make the whole race a lot more enjoyable/less stressfull and I couldn't have done it better myself. Hell, I couldn't have done it as good myself. Ahhh, who am I kidding, I couldn't have done it. Period.
After warming up with my teammates (I was anti-social and listened to Jurassic 5 on my I-Pod most of the time) I went to the timing tent for a 9:05 start. I think I was the first PAA rider off.
I rode as hard as I could for 3.8 miles, and picked off as many riders as possible on my way to the top... in my mind I kept thinking of Scott Powell's hwy 2 climb time!
OK, that's a lie. I thought of that before the TT but the TT itself was mostly an oxygen deprived haze. All I remember (vaguely) is fighting the urge to stop pedalling.
I forgot to stop my timer at the top, so I didn't know exactly how long it took me. I was pretty sure I'd gone fast though! I was almost... confident.
My confidence turned out to be misplaced though, because unlike the Pro TT times where #1 and #2 were 0.6 seconds apart, Scott beat his closest competitors (myself included) by 15 seconds. He beat his, ummm... not-closest competitors by a lot more. I think his time was about 15:30.
So that was how the day ended, with PAA in the yellow jersey.
Day 2: Once again I showed up to a stable space to warm up in. I set up my trainer and started to warm up, this time without my I-Pod, as Eddie was there to provide valuable stat's from the day before, and help us all create a plan of action for the day. In addition to breaking down the GC contenders and possible threats to the yellow jersey verbally, Eddie also wrote their numbers on masking tape and put them on our stems. That came in handy later, because once the race started I could barely remember my own name. Not because the pace was fast (that came later) but because I was nervous.
We all arrived at the staging area right on time and proceeded to wait in the freezing (I'm a California boy so for me the cold was life threatening) cold and fog for at least 20 min. Apparently someone had not opened one of the gates on the stage route, opening the door to a potentially huge cluster%@#!!.
Eventually, after everyones legs were cold and our warm-ups rendered useless, the race got underway.
The whole team worked together incredibly and I never once took a pull! It was a lot different from other group rides (where I would pull) and from the SDSR last year (where I worked for John McKeen). Last year I sprinted to take time bonuses away from anyone threatening John. This year Scott and I were close enough in GC that when you factored in the sprint bonuses I actually pulled ahead. Ironically, one of the main people who helped me get in position to sprint on day 1 was... Scott!
Anyone who saw that first sprint knows that there was no one behind me... the reason no one was there though, is because Scott pulled all the way down the finishing straight, stringing out the field until, when I got close enough to sprint for the bonus and looked back... no one was there.
I hope I have the opportunity to reciprocate.
All the PAA guys were very aggressive at times, and we really controlled the stage. Everyone rode within themselves and no one pushed so hard that they got dropped... even if it took teamwork to stay with the peloton (or claw your way back to it) until we could recover. (I am pretty sure there is more to that story/s so if this sounds familiar, just post your account of it in the "comments" section)
With everyone (but me) working I conserved enough energy to sprint for it at the end of the stage and PAA went 2 for 2 in the San Dimas Stage Race.
Later, after looking at my power files, I estimated that including all the sprints I did, I still averaged about 10 watts less than everone else. Probably more that 10 watts less than some of riders *ahhhhhhmmscottpowellhmmm* who rode super strong that day.
I went home and took a nap.
Day 3: We all set up our trainers at the tent (which magically appeared without any work on my part again) and warmed up. I started asking for team support early and borrowed Jerry's pump, and embrocation (well... "borrowed" implies that he got it back so... he gave it to me). After taking Jerry's stuff I asked if anyone had seen the second jacked I had lost. I guess someone realized that I leave my shit behind after I left jacket number one, because someone had grabbed it for me and handed it to me now.
Then I got on my trainer and started warming up with the rest of the guys. After we were all warmed up and we had been briefed by Eddie we headed to the staging area and waited.
There was some grumbling about how strong PAA was as we were called to the line, and then the race started.
We all rode as a team and that was the coolest part of all three days to me. Everyone stuck together (the pic at the top shows how near to each other we were all riding) until a rider would take a planned break and we would all let it go. Scott Powell got in a break with one of the top GC riders (533) and we got a pic so you can see him off the front below.
It was funny to just sit up and make other people do all the work to catch someone... on a group ride I would get yelled at for that!
For the most part, anytime I needed or wanted help from a teammate they were there doing what I would've asked before I could get the words out.
On the 2 occasions where no one read my mind and I actually asked for help (I think once was to chase a break and once was because I was lazy and didn't want to pull, LOL!) I got what I needed/wanted/wastolazytodomyself with no hesitation or reservation. It was cool.
The pace picked up quite a bit throughout the race and by the the mid-race time bonus sprint we were going pretty hard.
Number 506 (Braun Lutz,3rd in GC) attacked and Scott and another teammate (all I saw was a butt and I didn't have time to look more closely) pulled me close enough as we came through the last turn of the loop that I was (barely) able to nip him for the bonus. That helped secure the yellow jersey and Scott's 2nd in GC. After that I just sat in, protected by teammates who weren't busy pushing the pace or attacking, until the last two laps.
With two laps to go I wormed my way to the front and waited with a couple other PAA riders to see what would happen.
Braun Lutz attacked out of turn three and Jim went after him, pulling me with him.
Braun is in front in the climbers jersey, Jim is in the middle and I am about to latch onto his wheel. Braun accelerated hard right after this pic but Jim closed the gap by about halfway up the climb.
Either some of our PAA riders sat up out of the turn, or the pack just slowed down to fit everyone around the corner, because just as Jim caught Braun I looked back and saw that a gap had opened.
Braun had aready been out in the wind for bit and seemed a little tired, and since Jim had pulled me up to him I was (in comparison) rested so I attacked.
Jim sat up right on cue, and as I got to the top of the climb I looked back to see Braun gesturing at Jim and trying to move to one side so that Jim could pull through. Jim moved when Braun moved, and stayed in the draft.
I drilled it as hard as I could along the top and down most of the hill. I looked back before I turned the corner onto the finishing straight to see Braun cracking and Jim starting to pull through with the pack closing fast a few seconds behind him.
I had enough of a gap that I didn't have to sprint, so I had front row seats for the last 5-10 seconds of the race.
Jim put his head down and buried it all the way to the line... the pack didn't quite catch him in time and only one sprinter was able to get by, giving PAA 994/1491sts (roughly two thirds) of the podium spots for the stage.
Scott stayed glued to Brauns wheel. I'm pretty sure they finished right next to each other, meaning there was no way Braun could endanger Scott's podium spot.
After that I looked forward again, but everyone finished in the pack and I could hear some of my teammates yelling "Whoooo-Hooooooo". The feeling was mutual!!!!!!!!!!
We gathered around for a post race celebration, Eddie said a few choice words and pictures were taken, before we all headed off to cool down...
That's the way I saw it go down, but I would love to hear other peoples accounts of what happened, so if you have anything to add... post it!!!!!!!!!!
Winning a road race for the first time was a good feeling... I will look for more cool stage races to do!
Saturday, March 17, 2007
Thursday, March 15, 2007
Sunday, March 11, 2007
I will definitely give the down-low (the "D.L." as the kids say) on all the race action but right now I have urgent news to tell you:
GUEST BLOGGER JASON LOWETZ ON THE NEWS:
This is a picture of Jason and his brother Dan in the middle of some heated MTB race action...
on thursday they were in a middle of a car chase!
Here's what Dan had to say:
"Today at around noon, I was riding up the first half mile of the crest and rocking out to a euphonious track by the band "Tool" on my iPod, when a car flew by at about 70-80mph. At first I thought maybe the car was going normal speed and I was perhaps traveling backwards at 60mph, but my computer did infact indicate i was going +11mph. The car was followed by about 500 police cars and police motorcycles with loud sirens and flashy lights - I guess they just happened to also be in hurry to get to where the fast car was in a hurry to get to. There were two helicopters in the air. The sites and sounds surrounding me almost made me feel like I was riding in the tour, and I was on a mega breakaway. Then, back to reality, I just happened to see my brother descending down the oposite side of the road - what a small world. He tried to turn around and chase me down but I was going way to fast for legs as weak as his, so he resorted to calling my cell phone. He suggested that the crest would not be the best place to be riding on a bicycle during a police chase, since it's already pretty sketchy under normal conditions. I agreed and turned around, turning my 80 mile day in to a 60 mile day, which was plenty enough anyways.
I'm not sure if it was televised, but if it was and you saw two fellas wearing PAA duds (one in last year's colors and one in the new), them there were's us.
Have a great day!
For those who don't know, PAA colors are mostly red. See if you can spot Jason going opposite the car exactly 15 seconds into this news report: http://firstname.lastname@example.org (HINT: He just looks like a black, fuzzy speck.)
Here Jason brings you the inside story of a man... well, more than a man actually... anyway, he brings you the story:
Reguarding the police chase up the crest today.
The red and blue blur you see in the chase footage( aprox. 2.3 seconds after the cbs2 commentator says "this is crazy") was me.
What you didn't know is that he was talking about me.
You can't see it in the footage...but I was traveling at over 270 mph and actually bunny hopped the suspects car.
While in the air I turned, looked at the camera and said.... "yer momma" "how you like me now" "bizzatch" "whooop there it is"
A 2nd chase began.
They were chasing me. Big wooopie. I cranked it up to 40,000 watts. The chase lasted 4 seconds.
Endurance miles are sooo borrrrring.
AND NOW... BACK TO FONTUCKY.
I hitched a ride to the race with (new Subie rider) Alex Boone and Lee Bird. I was really just going to cheer them on and pass out water bottles, I even brought a Rubik's cube to confound me while they were out on laps.
I DID bring my bike though. Y'know... just in case. After a couple hours of putting off any kind of decision (why put off 'till tomorrow what you can put off 'till the day AFTER tomorrow?) I found myself writing a check to Southridge for a little pre-season fun. I wasn't quite commited to the whole "race" experience though, so I brought my digital camera with me.
We went to the line. It was hot. I had no expectations.
I chased Alex around the course for almost 2 hours, racing as fast as I knew how!
He beat me by almost a minute. I considered that a good race.
Lee on the left, Alex, Eddie, Matt.
The next day Alex and I rode super easy for coffee and enjoyed a well deserved rest day!
Friday, March 09, 2007
Thursday, March 08, 2007
Today Brooke and I rode up Lower Sam Merrill to the ruins on Echo Mtn. It was cool. You should go there.
We took turns on the "echophone" which magnifies your voice, and channels it up Rubio Cyn, which bounces back a whole bunch of echos! It was COOL.....cool,cool,cool,ool,ool.
Brooke had important business to attend to, so we high-tailed it out of there and rolled over to Sunset. The trail is in great shape, but a little rutted from the rains. Brooke was riding like a champ today though, and she rode almost everything and made it look easy.
Needless to say, she was pretty stoked! I was too. After seeing how smooth she was riding I hung back for the last bit of technical stuff to not distract her. I was happy to see her clean it! I dabbed. Twice.
We parted ways after that and I rode over to Descanso for the Doggie Night Ride.
For a while it was uneventful.... but then Fritz decided that pulling one handed wheelies up steep dirt roads wasn't manly enough and rode full speed off a cliff.
Luckily, he sprang into action with his cat-like-one-handed-wheelie reflexes and grabbed a bush with one hand and his bike with his feet, halting his descent just inches from a bed of sharp, man-eating rocks.
He then proceeded to consolidate his lead in "Man Points" by riding around Cherry Cyn. with one hand on the bar and one hand holding his light (the mount broke in all the commotion). He didn't seem to have any trouble keeping up with the group but when I asked him about it he admitted that "it affects braking" or something to that effect. He can be seen riding/holding his light below.
In a rare moment of Mac Guyver like brilliance, I suggested to Fritz that he use his Gnog light to attatch his light to the mount.
It worked, and because of my rare genius I nominated myself for 2nd place in "Man Points" for the evening (3rd if we were to count Brooke, she would have crushed us both with her El P. cleaning). Fritz attaching his light with his, ummmm... light.^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
The rest of the ride went smoothly.
I stopped off at a friends house on the way home and we watched a little Pokemon. It was awesome.
I shave my legs, I have a mullet, and I heart Pikachu. That's just how I roll.
P.S. Whut up Tucker!
Wednesday, March 07, 2007
Normally I try to support my local, independantly owned, better tasting coffee shops but today I didn't have time to ride the extra 15 min each way and still make the wed group ride.
....and I wanted to enjoy my coffee.
On the way back I ran into a group of kids doing "science". It was pretty sweet! They had built a cannon that used air pressure (about 100 psi) to launch water bottles wrapped in duct tape and filled with lead shot (to get the weight just right) at over 200 miles per hour!
They were calculating distance and trajectory by having friends on the other side of the wash find the bottles. Some of them were nearly 900 feet.
Alex, I'm pretty sure this cannon would give our potato cannons a run for their money... if we had made some, which we didn't because they're probably illegal.
I was having so much fun watching the cannon that I lost track of time and had to play catch up on Brown Mtn!
Everyone was still at the top though, and we got a good shot of almost all the regulars.
Hey John, notice how everyone is dressed... on a night ride... in June? Bee-atch!
On my ride today I discovered what I think is the (2nd) most important training tool for cycling:
If you train by yourself (and if you ride enough mileage you inevitably do) then having music is quite a perk! Thanks to Benji for hooking up the sweet tunes AND the Shuffle!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
The MOST important training tool ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
Saturday, March 03, 2007
Since I couldn't get any pictures of me, Alex and Lee riding through the leftover snow in perfect weather I am posting the most recent and, I feel, relevant (?) picture I have: Alex enjoying a frosty glass of beer the night before.
Alex drank the whole glass, and I think it must've hit him pretty hard because the next morning, at the crack of 7:30 I was at the trailhead, and for the first time EVER (that I've ridden with him) Alex wasn't there yet.
He showed up less than a minute later and the three of us (me, Lee, Alex) took off up Brown Mtn, over to Millard, up Lowe Toll Road to Wilson, down Valley Forge, and up to Redbox (where Lee took off for home), down to Switzer's, up to Clear Creek and then home on the 2.
Here's details: there was snow on the ground at the top of the Toll Road and it would've made for super cool pictures because it completely covered the road in spots and it was just us riding on a sea of white. Picture it. It's cool right?
A guy fell off the cliff right by the tunnel at the top. Not sure how he managed it because it seems like it would be a lot harder to fall off than to stay on. He was fine, but there was no way to climb back up so he had to be helicopter... ed off the mountain.
Picture a big rock slide in front of the tunnel. The guy fell off right where that metal bar sticks up.
Valley Forge was in great shape, much better than the last time I rode it on our team ride.
We decided to try taking the singletrack straight to Redbox instead of down to the campgrounds and up the fire road. I don't recommend it. It was fun for a couple minutes and then we came to some cool cabins... after that it was pretty unrideable. We saw a VERY bold bobcat though, he just kept trotting up the trail in front of us while we rode.
Eventually we fumbled our way back to the fire road and took that to Redbox.
Alex and I thoroughly enjoyed the singletrack to Switzer. Also we thoroughly enjoyed the aerodynamic advantage our clingy, spandex leotards gave us as we left a group of long travel, full face helmet and pads types in our dust.
We gave some guy directions.
We saw one of the Lipton girls heading down at about the same time. I caught up to her and she and I took turns pulling down the 2. I got excited. I forgot to get her name (I will just have to check the Lipton team pics to see if I was riding with a star or a SUPER-star). I missed my turn off.
After I missed the turn (to ride down into JPL), I waited at the bottom for a while before I realized what had happened. Alex waited at the top. Because Alex is much smarter he asked someone if I had come by and they said no. Because I was not what they call: "smart" I rode to JPL and up along the creek to the fire road, thinking I would cut Alex off and we would ride home together.
Alex waited for me at the gas station at the base of the 2.
I waited at JPL for a while with no cell reception. No one had seen Alex.
I rode back to civilization. I called Alex. He was at home.
I went home and met my wife who had just gotten back from her team ride, we all got cleaned up and we all (me, Brooke, Alex, and friends Scott and Marie) went out for a well deserved lunch.