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Allez, Allez, Allez!!

1 Apr

This weekend the racing season gets going full-bore.  I am going to be racing the Louisville Criterium on Saturday and the Groove Subaru Spring Classic Criterium on Sunday.  Then next weekend I will be racing the daunting Mead-Roubaix road race.  These next two weekends should be a great test of how the rest of the season is going to go and what I am going to accomplish this year.  I feel like my form going into these races is better than in years past, and if how many races I have already won in my head is an indicator of how this season is going to go, it’s going to be a good one…I am on a new team this year, Sonic Boom Racing p/b Lucky Pie Pizza and this team is heads and shoulders above any other team I have been a part of, they have set me up to succeed and our team looks to be very strong.

Before every race I get nervous.  There are so many thoughts that go though your head from self-doubt to thoughts of riding away from the field to win solo.  And honestly ever race is different, there are so many different variables that come into play that are out of your control it is best to just sit back, relax and roll with the punches.  I am going to try to take that attitude into my racing this year.  I am still going to go as hard as I can and give every race everything I have, but I’m going to try to not worry too much about what could happen before the race even starts, and instead just RACE.  We’ll see how it goes.

This year the American Cycling Association (the ACA) has decided to implement a timing chip system for all ACA sanctioned races.  There has been a lot of negative response to this push from the ACA, but honestly I like the idea.  If all goes according to plan there should be greater accuracy in recording close finishes and disputes about results should be almost non-existent.  Plus having a sweet timing chip attached to your bike, makes you look a little more professional and a little less amateur, at least in my opinion.  The ACA requires that you place the chip on your head tube, and I placed my chip on my bike the other day, and while it does look a little strange I am hoping that it will make things easier for everyone this year.

 

Ready for Action

 

 

On a side note my legs are getting tan.  Cyclists have a lot of weird quirks and tan legs is one of them.  This is the thinking of most cyclists I know:

Tan legs = Great tan lines = A better rider

Now there really is no benefit other than psychological to having distinct tan lines, but mine are coming along great so hopefully this weekend my racing will reflect that.

 

Good Start...

 

 

Anyway look for some race reports about this weekend in the next few days on the Racing! page of the blog and feel free to send me a good luck prayer or positive thoughts, they always help!

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Into the Wind

6 Jan

I love riding my bike.  I’m not entirely sure what it is about this simple act that gets my blood pumping but it does.  Maybe it is the fact that riding your bike is a solitary activity.  It is a great time to think about anything, and my thoughts have ranged from deep spiritual conversations with God to musings on why I love ketchup but hate tomatoes.  I have had a ton of great thoughts on the bike, but for some reason thinking while riding my bike is like a dream.  After I am done riding I can’t for the life of me remember any of the prophetic thoughts that I conjured up in my brain, just like trying to remember details of a dream you just woke up from.  It just can’t be done.  Sure I remember some things but the majority of thoughts get left out on the road.  Maybe that’s where they belong.  Maybe riding my bike is like an artistic outlet that lets my creativity flow.  Instead of painting pictures or making pots I ride my bike and think, creating ideas that are just for me.

I love riding my bike because of  the fact that you can’t talk your way into being a good cyclist.  It is the ultimate put up or shut up experience. When you are in a bike race you can talk the entire time about how good you feel and how much better prepared you are than everyone else.  You can have the Wilier Cento1 SL with $3000 Enve wheels (Both of which I wouldn’t mind owning), but ultimately its your legs not your bike or your mouth that are going to win you the race.  And the only way to get your legs into the shape they need to be in to succeed in any race is to work.  Pure and simple, you have to suffer on the bike to reap the benefits later.  You have no excuses either because it’s up to you.  The ball is in your court.  If you want to be a good cyclist you have to work for it.

I love riding my bike because there is always someone better than you.  This is true if you are a beginner cyclist swinging your leg over the top tube for the first time, all the way to the pro peloton.  Even the greatest cyclist ever Eddy Merckx, who won 333 races (Including 5 Tour’s, 5 Giro’s, 1 Vuelta, 3 World Championships, and 19 Monuments) in his career, lost.  There is always going to be someone better than you and that is humbling.

I love riding my bike because it is hard.  There are flat tires, headwinds, angry drivers, 17% grades, bonks, cramps, scary descents, crashes, rain, bees and traffic furniture to just name a few.  But the fact that it is hard is what makes it what it is.  One of my favorite parts of a ride is afterwards when I sit on my couch and think about what I just got through, what I just did and how it made me stronger, both mentally and physically.

I love riding my bike because it is slower than driving your car and faster than walking.  You can see so many amazing things when you are riding your bike.  It can take the form of an amazing sunrise, how clean and crisp everything looks after its rained, or a startled herd of deer on the next switch back.  Riding my bike allows me to enjoy this amazing world we live in.

I love riding my bike because it is beautiful.  Just look up anything that has to do with Rouler magazine or Elcyclista.  Look up photos done by VeloImages or The Blue and the Red.  True these are amazing photographers with a ton of skill taking pictures, but they are just capturing what makes riding your bike so great.  The beauty.

I leave you with an example of the beauty that riding your bike holds.  Below are a few pictures that I took after today’s ride.  It was windy, cold and wet but it was also amazing.  Even my meager photography skills can’t hold back the beauty of a training ride in Colorado.

 

A Wonderful Christmas = More Stuff

29 Dec

Alright so, have I shared with you that I am a borderline hoarder? With such a small space, this is not really productive. You really can’t tell walking into our house because thanks to years of working in tedious retail jobs, I am extremely good at organizing.

YES! It's color coded, and just in case you're wondering, so is my side of the closet.

But I mean, I am a proponent of “reduce, reuse and recycle”. I do admit I am mildly harkening back to elementary school platforms (or more recently, bureaucratic 60-year-old’s platforms) where the little green arrowed triangle is stamped on to our mushy little brains in hopes that we may some day throw that cream of mushroom soup can and our soon-to-be non-existent newspapers in the recycle bin and save the world!! (Cue Star Wars theme music)

But here’s the thing, I still have my Cabbage patch doll from my 1st birthday, Valentine’s Day cards from when I was 7, and I’ve taken up an ever-expanding collection of old clothes and various fabric in hopes that some day I will make something wonderful out of them.

Why do I still have these?!

And since some extremely lazy residents in our complex couldn’t walk another ten feet to dispose of their trash in the correct receptacle, we no longer have recycling in our apartments. So now I find it extremely hard to throw away beautiful glass jars (despite the fact I have not come up with ONE idea as how to repurpose them).

But wait, didn’t global warming get de-bunked? Shouldn’t all these ‘green’ practices that we have so happily adapted be making some sort of dent in this ‘horrible’ place we’ve created for ourselves? Who knows and really that’s an argument for another day.

Anyways, in our tiny little piece of the universe, it’s getting to be a bit much.The other day, as I was trying to pull out my gift-wrapping ephemera (i.e. re-used boxes, recycled tins and wrapping paper, ribbons, etc), I thought I was either going to be killed in an avalanche of stuff or have a panic attack complete with mental break down.

Watch out!

I even considered shelling out the extra dough each month so we can have a glorious chunk of real estate (comparatively speaking) for storage space, aka ‘a garage’. All of a sudden I had wholesome daydreams of a house (rented or bought is neither here nor there) with a lusciously green back yard for the dogs and multiple rooms complete with craft room for me and man cave for Kyle. Swoon!

Then… suddenly remembering our current balance in our checking and savings accounts… I dreamt of becoming a minimalist. Ravenously throwing things out left and right. Living off of dried beans and rice, no cable/internet, and the good Lord forbid, only two t-shirts and one pair of shoes, or shall I say sandals.

Don’t get me wrong, I am SO THANKFUL for the gifts we have received, but we are dealing with limited space here people! Luckily we received some things that are going to encourage organization. Yeah for bookshelves!

I believe the exact words I chanted upon opening were “Hallelujah! Hallelujah!”

Is that blasphemous?

So needless to say the top of the list for resolutions and all that… CLEAN HOUSE!! But can I rid our place of things that I KNOW we will need at some point???

Ummmm…..

I think we need more storage.

From Helga to Heidi

24 Sep

So for those of you that have checked into this blog at some point since it’s inception  you may be aware that I like to ride my bike and that bike is named Helga.  I love Helga.  She is my constant companion through some very painful and physically straining hours every week and she has been with me on all of my crashes surviving to ride home.  That said I really want a new bike.  This is nothing against Helga, she is great and valuable to me but I am a guy after all and I always have my eye on things that are bigger and better…Some guys get excited about cars, some get excited about TV’s and electronics but I get excited about bikes!  Recently the annual trade show known as interbike has taken place in Las Vegas.  This event happens every year and is where all the cycling companies around the world come and reveal their new product for next year letting dealers and members of the media get a first look at their offerings (Next year I am going to try to go as a member of the media…this blog qualifies me as media right?).  Anyway if you want to check out some great reports on some of the new stuff for next year there are various media outlets to check out.  My favorites are:

Cyclingnews

Velonews

Elcyclista

As I was surfing through all the new stuff I was struck by one bike in particular from the Swiss company BMC.  The bike is called the Impec and it is one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen!

Beautiful!

The Impec literally took my breath away when I saw it…(Say what you will, make fun of me if you must but it totally did!).  The lines on it are amazing and the construction process is truely unique, check out the BMC link above to see a video describing it.

The joining of the tubes is accented by the red color. Amazing I say!

Anyway I love this bike and in the next 6 months or so, hopefully I will be getting a new bike to stand alongside Helga.  While I probably will not be able to afford the Impec, it is still a great fun to dream and fun to admire the amazing design and construction of bikes that is being presented at interbike this year.  If somehow I win the lottery or discover a collection of ancient gold coins in my parents attic then I will probably purchase the Impec but as that seems very close to impossible I am going to be looking for a few more budget minded bike in the next few months and hope to test ride all of them, so check back to see the reviews as I search for my new bike already dubbed Heidi!