Friday, April 27, 2007

New Equipment

Woo?! My smokin hot Bell Meteor II helmet came in the mail yesterday. After poking and prodding and a few minutes of confused shuffling with the helmet, I finally managed to get it on my huge noggin. I felt like Calvin when he gets enough Chocolate Frosted Sugar Bombs proof of purchases for a beanie and runs to the mailbox everyday to see if it's arrived. But this helmet should really make me fly. I actually sat down with the laptop and sent an email to the company in Ireland asking if they'd sent it yet because the order confirmation didn't come with the promised tracking number. Literally 30 seconds after I clicked send i'm sitting there waiting for the page to load, and a mailman comes up to our door complaining that he can't see our address number, but delivers a luscious long large box which my momma carried up to our house on her head. Woohoo?! Of course I have no use for it, even in training, so i'll have to wait a few weeks for an actual race time trial to wear it.

Also in the equipment department, I got a disc wheel. Not a real $1,000 zipp or anything, but actually better. I got a disc wheel CH-Aero cover. I was definately reluctant at first, but the truth is, I would rather time trial with a 32 spoked PowerTap wheel then with no Powertap and a disc wheel. So this is the next best thing until SRM sponsors me with an FSA Pro SRM.. word.

So my Cervelo One is pretty set and pretty much complete. Semi-Full specs:

Cervelo One 51cm Frame
Visiontech Pro Integrated Aero Bars
Dura Ace Levers
Fi:zik Arione (is that where the : goes? err..)
Visiontech Aero Brake Levers
DT Swiss RR1.1 Rear Wheel w/ Powertap and CH-Aero cover

I'm hopin to save up for a Cervelo P3SL. Hopefully i'll be able to find one in the right size at the right time, but I might have other more important things to purchase first.

I got today off, and tonights gonna be an awesome awesome pasta meal with scallops, muscles, shrimp and maybe somethin else that teems on the bottom of the ocean?

Happy Birthday week to my momma. Ashley and Nick brought over their bird for my mom to play with. She wants one real bad.. And this fool could only say I love you... Pansy. Anyways, I can't think of anyone else deserves a whole week of celebration more than madre so happy birthday. "Next year in Paris."


this guy doesn't stand a chance

Thursday, April 5, 2007

Time off the bike.

So I got started on a new training schedule last week that Cary has specifically tailored for me. The field test is alot longer but I like this better as i've found i'm not as fast of a starter as some people are. I tend to do better over long fast courses rather then sprinting out of the hole. It still hurt though but I was pretty happy with the results. Anyways, I felt my performance over the next few days were struggling, and confirmed it at a training ride. I'm usually more then able to ride off the front, attack and stay away, or just comfortably sit in the pace. I was suffering immensely. I was getting odd looks from people and it was not a good time. Long story short, me and my brother have concluded that i've overreached a good bit. So I get to take a little time off the bike. I feel like a normal person on spring break, as everyone else just got out for their week off of partying and drinkin. I hate taking time off the bike but I know it's for the good of my pistons. In the meantime, feast your eyes on some my awesome pictures from the Tour of California at the prologue this year.

Ivan Basso rode right up next to me and started chattin it up with ex-CSC Pro Andrea Peron. Sweeeeeeeeeeeet?!

Slipstream rider talkin with another guy I rode with. I think they use to ride on the same team? Word

Jakob Piil looks so fit in person. It was kinda weird though... All the T-Mobile bikes were set up and there was this rope around them so people couldn't get too close. Everyone just stood around watching like they were at a zoo.

$17,000ish BMC Time Machine 001. Holy Moly. Sweet wheels, double sweet carbon cranks, chop shopped sella italia flite saddle. It followed behind one of the riders as they went down the ramp who was ridin the fake time machine... Why exactly wasn't anyone riding this? I'll take it.

One of the guys I rode with a few times out in Cali alongside Chris Horner. What a gangsta saddle yeah?

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

What is a Champion?

I wasn't surprised when I read that Jan's DNA, taken in early February, was matched to numerous blood bags found in Fuentes' office. His lawyers say it was the result of manipulation (...riiight), but I guess they're just doing what they're suppose to be doing. This is not a questionable positive result from a urine sample, or an accusation from a journalist or newspapers.

People have called him the best, the most talented, the rider with the bigger engine, but with evidence like this, will his legacy still hold up? Probably. Look at Pantani. I've never understood how people still call him the Champion that they think he is, after he was caught using drugs. The truth is (to me), is that he would have been just another rider gone unseen and unnoticed, had it not been for the drugs that put him on the top. How many positive drug results have you seen that were from riders in the peloton that nobody ever heard of? That number it seems, at least in my case, is very few. It's when you get up to the higher calibre of rider, however, that you will find a lot of the evidence that suggests doping. Think back to the 2006 Giro D'Italia. A rider no one had ever heard of scorched the Giro with top stage finishes and coming in an amazing 2nd place. José Enrique Gutierrez was later named in the Operacian Puerto scandal. That's not to say everyone involved in a drug scandal is guilty, but in that case, it was a little more than suspicious.

I was watching a video of the 2000 Tour de France a few weeks ago, and noticed something that gave me a sick feeling in my stomach. Every single top rider in the stage to Mt Ventoux was either proven to have doped, confessed, or was involved in a large doping scandal. Riders like Jose Jiminez who had a shadey past involving drugs, Richard Virenque who confessed after being involved in a scandal, Pantani who tested positive and also was involved in a drug scandal, Roberto Heras who tested positive, and numerous Ibanesto members who were all involved in a large team doping scandal, and not to mention Jan Ullrich. All involved in doping in one way or another, all Champions to their fans.

There's 2 types of fans. Fans that will always stick by their favorite cyclist through thick and thin, or a fan that will expect to see great bike racing no matter what it takes, but when that rider is involved in a doping scandal they come up with some stupid response like, "I've been watching cycling for 20 years, but now I am going to quit because of doping." Get real. Learn to love cycling for the sheer beauty of it, and focus on the riders who stand up for a clean sport and say it loud and proud. No one cares if you stop watching cycling, that's your loss.

Like they say, admitting you have a problem is the first step to recovery. It seems like it'd be a pretty convenient time for Jan to admit that he was doping, considering all the evidence against him. Take David Millar for example. He admitted it, and he got the respect from other riders, and fans alike. The same goes for Richard Virenque. I think it takes a true Champion to admit you've done wrong, and then coming back and being successful is just icing on the cake.

Winning every race you enter doesn't make you who you are. One of the most popular German cyclist, and maybe the most popular now, is Jens Voigt. He'll never win the Tour de France, or even podium, but few riders can say they've had a more successful career then Jens. He just defines success in a different way.

So what makes a Champion? Is it always being in that lead group on the climb, or a rider who at the end of the day, knows he rode his best and can sit down and be content with just that.

Monday, April 2, 2007

Rocky Mount SR, the beginning

So the season just started out for me. I missed a few time trials since I was building up my TT bike so i'm a little behind everyone else at the moment. The RR was 54 miles and rolling hills. Texas had nothing on the calendar so a lot of Texas racers ended up here which made for challenging competition.

Thursday we headed out to Monroe where Mrs. Penny put us up in her hotel for a few nights. (thanks!) Me and my brother Cary had already discussed strategy so there wasn't much to do that night besides unpack and hit the sack. Unfortunately the RR is 2 hours away so were up 3-4am getting ready. I won't bore you with details, unless you really like oatmeal (first post).

The RR started out with a 1-mile neutral. As always seems to be the case I'm in the first line of riders setting an easy tempo to get the legs a little more warmed up. The 1 mile neutral ended at the first turn into the race, and immediately Scott Simmons attacked. Great, a Masters TT champ decides to race in the 4's. That's a shame. Shouldn't he be with the 1's and 2's? I figured if he was strong enough to launch an attack in the first 200 meters then I needed to be with him. No luck. I sprint up to his wheel and so did everyone else. Unfortunately I went into the race with only base miles and no real strength training so I didn't have many cards to play, but still felt good throughout the whole race. The hills were challenging at times as the bigger riders sprint as hard as they can over them and fall like a rock down the other side. No 30 minute climbs for me to lay down the hammer here today :(. Attacks happened every 2-5 minutes it seemed but nothing stuck. Scott Simmons and a Mirage rider ended up getting away but 5 or 6 of us quickly organized a chase at the front while everyone else sat on trying to conserve energy. But this was the most threatening break the whole race sadly (topped at around 25second gap) so we brought it back inside the last lap. Right as the break was caught the pace slowed and I attacked. Sadly I was chased down and it came down to a field sprint. I finished in the pack and started recovering for the evening Time Trial. I was pretty happy that I ended up in a few short lived breaks and still had enough to attack in the last few miles. The seasons looking good.

The TT was in downtown Shreveport on a nice little stretch of road. The police closed down the road but ended up shortening it to 2 miles instead of 3. There was a beast of a headwind with an uphill finish. I was happy enough to have my TT bike built but lacked the other equipment. No disc, no helmet, skin suit or anything. Unfortunately for me, those make a huge difference with a 12mph headwind, but no worries. I put in a decent ride considering the wind but nothing astonishing. At least I had the sexiest shoes known to man on my feet (courtesy of Cary).

The crit was around 10:30 the next morning so I got to sleep in. Very niiice. I did a little warm up and the legs were not feelin all too good. It was flat minus a little rise in the middle of the course, and WINDY. So the crit started and I figured i'd stay midpack for the first few laps till I was ready to launch a searing attack... Bad idea. I thought the crit would stay together for the most part but going into the first corner it was a dead sprint. The wind was blowing hard on the finishing stretch and also on the road after the first right turn. This played well into the hands of Scott who went straight to the front and started hammering through the turns. I was behind a TCF and NOBC rider who let this insurmountable gap open. Who else to close it but me?! After the effort of getting up to the rear I was spent. I watched helplessly as the group powered away in front of me.

I felt like a complete failure and was seconds away from turning off the course and watching from the sidelines. But the never quit mentality kicked in and I was off hammering into the wind and through the turns. About 4 laps into the race there was no peloton. Just a string of riders that that had dropped off the pace over the entire course. I got this huge burst of power from god knows where and started catching numerous people. I caught one young kid and told him to work with me to catch back up. Unfortunately the pull ratio was about 5:1. I lapped 2 of my teammates and said "Lets work together and catch this?!"... "No thanks" they said. Good god man! No one to work with but I was feelin GOOOOD. I pumped around the course with my HR at 185-190. I could see the group of riders that were killing everybody and i was even with them the entire rest of the race. I ended up lapping and catching about 12 riders but ended up about 16th. I was content with that. I ended up averaging 4.8 watts/kg over the entire crit (33 minutes total). That was my goal for this season and I did it in my first crit! Word.

So the weekend didn't turn out like I planned, but what can you expect with only base miles. My hard training has started this week and me and my brother are very optimist about the results to come this season.

Next up is the Mississippi Gran Prix and then off to Arizona for the Vuelta de Bisbee. Yeeees, major climbs here. No more of that sprinting over every hill at 1000watts shit.

The ride home was fun. I think we were all slipped crazy pills at dinner. Here's a good example. The one thing I DID win this weekend, was this intense game of hangman with Liz. Errr....

Jens, Olaf and the Crit Internationals

So The Dude Jens Voigt came through this weekend to win the overall in the Criterium International for the 3rd time. (not to mention being top 5, 7 times overall.)

Olaf Pollack won the first stage and threw up a big middle finger (proverbially) to T-Mobile for dropping him last year even after storming the Tour of California for 2 stage wins and the overall points classification. Besides that he didn't win much else. He brought home 4 top 3 finishes in stages at the Giro D'Italia, 3rd in the chase for the Green Jersey, and a short-lived stint in the Maglia Rosa. That sounds like enough to get him a contract for another year or two right? Wrong. Apparently Olaf doesn't know when to keep his mouth shut when the bosses pick on the new recruits, or so I hear. Either way, Weisenhof has got to be happy about their win. I'm guessin T-Mobile is wishing they kept Olaf around a little longer while their new youngin' Gerald Ciolek came into his own. So far Geralds picked up a handful of nothing. Numerous 2nd places, but he hasn't come up with the goods so far. He is only 20 though

Jens is already off to a succesful season with a stage win in the Tour of California. It's impossible to not like Jens. He'll work all day in a breakaway, get caught, and then karate chop anyone who tries to get in his way for the stage win. I speak mainly of Levi Leipheimer, who can't seem to drop Jens when he really needs to. Like in the Tour of Deutschland last year. Seeing Jens climb with Levi then punk him in the sprint was hilarious and a slap in the face to the "pure" climber. Jens you are a dude. Oh and he has a 5th baby on the way. Geez. Seems to have spent the whole off-season for nothing but training and sexy time.