Friday, April 30, 2010

Top 5 Universal Sports Ads

If you're like me, you probably tune in to Universal Sports from time to time to watch their excellent cycling coverage. I love watching all of the huge European races on tv: the classics, Terrino-Adriatico, Tour of the Basque Country, and so on. But Universal doesn't just boast the best races on the tube, they also show the best ads as well. With the Giro de Italia coming up in a few days, I thought I'd brief you on some of the best television advertisements you'll ever see:



Billy Mays sells the Awesome Auger


"HI IT'S BILLY MAYS HERE, AND EVEN THOUGH I DIED NEARLY A YEAR AGO, I JUST HAD TO COME BACK FROM THE GRAVE TO TELL YOU ABOUT THIS USELESS PIECE OF SHIT CALLED THE AWESOME AUGER. NOT ONLY IS IT AWKWARD AND POINTLESS, IT'S GUARANTEED TO BOUNCE OUT OF CONTROL AND WHACK YOU IN THE SHINS REALLY REALLY HARD. THE AWESOME AUGER MAKES GARDENING SO EASY, YOU'LL TURN YOUR UGLY BACK YARD INTO HEAVEN ON EARTH  -- WHICH IS GOOD FOR ME, SINCE I GAVE UP MY SPOT IN REAL HEAVEN SO I CAN WANDER THE GLOBE FOR ETERNITY SELLING JUNK ON TV. ORDER NOW."


HD Vision Sunglasses


"Are you a total idiot who doesn't understand a goddam thing about technology or optics? Are you easily persuaded by paid actors who smile and nod approvingly? Do you like HDTV? Well boy do we have an offer for you. With these HD Vision glasses, you'll not only look like a moron, you'll actually prove you're a moron; only a moron would believe that claims about 'Revolutionary HD Glare Block Technology' actually mean something." 


Bottle Tops


Are you tired of your soda cans being soda cans? Don't you wish your soda cans were plastic bottles instead? Well now with the help of bottle tops, you can turn your cans into bottles! We've chopped the tops off a bunch of old bottles, and now we're selling them to you at a ridiculous mark-up, so you can do something that is utterly pointless.



Slim T's


"Want to look thinner instantly without dieting or exercise? Don't mind jamming your midsection into a vice-like corset which restricts both breathing and digestion? Well here's your chance! Stuff your belly into one of these Slim T's, and watch as your waste line is magically extruded to just under your armpits. You'll look great, and I'm sure nobody will notice your rock-hard abs aren't real. If you need support to keep your jelly from jiggling, order a Slim T now!"



The Almighty Slap-Chop

I haven't seen Vince shilling the Slap-Chop recently, but I'm betting on a revival of this classic come Giro time.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

TWO VERY IMPORTANT THINGS!!!

THINGS NUMBERS ONE!!!:

BEHOLD, THE HAGENS BERMAN TEAM BIKE



THINGS NUMBERS TWO!!!:

BEHOLD, MY BOSS'S NEW PUPPIES
 OMG, A BOSTON TERRIER! 

WHAT COULD POSSIBLY BE CUTER THAN A BOSTON TERRIER? 
TWO BOSTON TERRIERS!!!

 BOSTON TERRIERS IN THE MIRROR? MY MIND IS BLOWN. CUTE OVERLOAD

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Krogg Now Cycling Coach!

For the last nine months, I've been working at a wonderful place called Cycle University. Working at Cycle U through the fall and winter was somewhat of a dream job for me -- not only was I doing tons of quality training in Cycle U's beautiful indoor cycling studio, but I was getting paid to do it! In fact, my whole fall and winter of training consisted almost entirely of Cycle U's InCycle workouts. I wear several hats over there:  among other things, I lead indoor cycling classes, teach beginning racing clinics, and run indoor time trials. Well now you can add coaching to that list. A few months ago, I got my coaching license from USA cycling, and started working with my first client. I've got space and time for more clients, so if you're interested, visit the coaching website and check out the rates. Just be sure to request me as your coach when you fill out the Coaching Form.

Monday, April 26, 2010

The Cherry Blossoms Have Fallen

Well the Cherry Blossom Cycling Classic has come to a close. As usual, there is a fine bit of reporting over at Oregon Cycling Action, detailing the final criterium. After we got our call-ups at the start line, Bevin told me "there's only one guy I can't let get a lap up," meaning me. He pretty much stuck to me like glue, but that was to be expected -- any other racer would have needed to lap the field multiple times to take the jersey from him.

OK, picture time:
Joe Holmes, team director extraordinaire.

Kennett, team mate extraordinaire. 



Mt. Hood, mountain extraordinaire. 



Mike Hone, opponent extraordinaire (and nearly the winner of yesterday's crit! Close one Mikey!)



TT podium, GO JAMIE!

 
GC podium, GO LANG!



Good grief, I'm such an attention hound! Look at me go -- on and on and on. Will I ever shut up?! 


But then the stage race is over. You pack your bags, load your van, grab a shower (if you're lucky), and eat some food. Then it's a long drive back to Seattle. Your legs hurt the whole way. You arrive too tired to put everything away; you just rip it all out of the car and make a pile on the garage floor. Your mantra:  I'll deal with that tomorrow. And then you sleep.



Yet no matter how late you sleep in, it's not late enough. Your legs ache when you awake -- you regret not rubbing them down before last night, but that was one of the things you said you'd "deal with tomorrow." You move slowly, trying to unpack your life: several weeks on the road has left you with three totally disorganized dufflebags (mostly) filled with dirty spandex. Sorting takes forever. Laundry. Wash a load of water bottles in the dishwasher -- taking care when opening some of the riper ones (drink mix ferments quickly and powerfully). Clean a bike (or two). Clean the van. Clean the cooler. 

Massage your legs. 
Take a nap. 



Then it's time to plan your next chunk of time. Nine days in Seattle. Time for recovery, and then a decent block of training before the next big race. Time for a little work (so my bills keep getting paid), a little time at the gym (so my abs don't whither away), and a lot of good food. 

You're pretty sure these restful periods between the races are the key to the races. 




Sunday, April 25, 2010

Cherry Blossom Stages 2 & 3

Well things are still going pretty well for me down here in Oregon. Stage 2 was indeed a slobberknocker, but I happen to enjoy myself a good slobberknocker from time to time, so this was the result:


I wasn't able to take the overall (not by a long shot), but taking the top step of the podium certainly doesn't hurt. I want to extend a huge thank you to Chad Sperry, the promoter of the Cherry Blossom Cycling Classic for including that spectacular course in this year's race. It was like a playground for bikes: hard climbs, stunning scenery, curvy, fast descents, and a gravel stretch that was right up my alley. As usual, Oregon Cycling Action covered the race beautifully. I especially like the title of the article: 


Orchard course blows apart men’s field, Johnson gets win



Booyeah! I also have to hand it to my teammates, who totally stacked the top ten. Here's another HB exclusive interview video.


Today we've got a double stage; we just finished a 10 mile TT (another podium spot for me!). McKissick totally rocked it. He won the sucker by a lot, 35 seconds on me, a minute on the Jamie Stangeland (nice ride Jamie!). 

This afternoon we race a short (50 minute) criterium in downtown The Dalles. There are huge splits in the GC at this point, but it's bike racing and anything can happen, right? Krogg still has some axe left to swing, right Krogg? 

RIGHT!

Homestay Pictures I Just Have To Share

I just couldn't help myself -- I finally got my camera back up and running, and you just have got to see these pictures from our homestay in Walla Walla:








Saturday, April 24, 2010

Parrrrrrty? Paaaaaaaarty? Party party?


So. Now we're in the Dalles, Oregon, home of the Cherry Blossom Cycling Classic. Yesterday's stage was an odd duck; it was tough to predict, tough to control, and even tougher to win. To help you understand what I mean, I've found a picture of an odd duck for you:

See? What an odd duck!


Anyway, a guy got up the road and won by two minutes! Ouch! Then I somehow won the field sprint for second? How in tarnation did that happen? I guess we'll just have to ask someone who was there:


Please note, I said Jason Bevin, but I meant Patty Bevin. Myself and Lang will have to try again tomorrow I guess. (Also, to whoever taught me to speak the english language, I'm sorry for betraying your failure to the broader public.)
For details, you can read a report on Oregon Cycling Action. 

Today we've got a REAL slobberknocker. Not like those other slobberknockers we've raced in the past -- this one might reset the standard for all sloberknockers to come.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Walla Walla Walla Walla Walla Walla......

After my last post, you may have been thinking "oh jeeze, Sam is cracking. He's sounds all down in the dumps, and he had a bad TT, and he's going to quit racing bikes forever, and now he's never going to  post amusing caveman race reports ever again." And then you probably worried that not getting to read caveman race reports will undoubtedly send you into your own spiral of negativity, ultimately leading to a lonely, miserable, flea-bitten death. Well fortunately for all of us, the HB team and I had a good race on Sunday, the pendulum of my attitude has swung back, and I love bike racing again. Hallelujah, we're saved!

The team rode beautifully. Lang Reynolds, escape artist extraordinaire, slipped off the front of the pack with three other bandits within the first ten miles. The Lenovo team, the burden of defending yellow hanging heavily 'round their necks, chased valiantly. They succeeded in reeling the breakaway back into the field; however, the third time up Mighty Mighty Waitsburg Hill our boys pushed the pace, and Lenovo's leader was left woefully exposed with over 30 miles of racing left to be had. With the armor of his team chipped away, we roared our terrible roars, and gnashed our terrible teeth, and rolled our terrible eyes, and at long last, cracked  McKissick wide open. My teammates all played a part, hitting-out hard when it hurt the most. With a mere eight miles remaining, groups started splintering off the front, one of which contained my teammate Søréñ Pété®søñ (arguably the fastest Danish cyclist over the age of 42 in the world). Now if there's one thing I know about Soren, it's that he knows how to party. And when I say party, I mean win bike races -- so when Soren went up the road, I thought it would be a good idea to follow him. I tried to bridge across to Soren's move with three other guys, but my bridge-mates were either tired or slow, so I called Krogg over, and well, I'll let Krogg explain in his own words:

Krogg dust off battle axe, take big swing, and drop those pipsqueek wheel-suckers like sandbags from hot air balloon. Krogg no need help! Krogg can bridge up there all by himself, thank you very much. Krogg make it most of the way with ease, but have trouble closing the final few seconds. Krogg momentarily worried him overconfident in his abilities -- "Krogg, you hang on to that axe good and tight, ya hear?" Krogg tell himself. Fortunately, Soren smart bike racer; him look back and see Krogg coming across. Soren slow down breakaway for a few seconds, allowing Krogg to catch on.   

Thank you Krogg. Upon reaching the breakaway, I just kept driving the pace, allowing Soren to rest his legs for the final climb, and insuring that we'd stay away from the field.

I was dropped by my breakaway-mates shortly after we started our final ascent of Mighty Mighty Waitsburg Hill,  but this provided me a front row view of Soren's impressive attack. He pounced with such ferocity and conviction, all the other guys looked like they were sprinting under water. I don't think our wily old Dane looked back until he was finished posting up. I hung on for eighth on the day. Ian McKissick, the poor thing, got dropped at the base of the climb, losing over two minutes on Soren. He dropped from 1st to 15th overall.

Yippie. I'm now in Walla Walla, enjoying a bit of down-time between races. I'm riding, eating, and resting a lot. Krogg has been sharpening his axe, and tuning up his TT bike. Sadly, my camera died on me (my charger is in Seattle), and so you'll have to use the camera in your mind if you want corresponding imagery.

Next up, Cherry Blossom. Head over to Oregon Cycling Action for wonderful stage-by-stage analysis, and really cool interactive maps of the courses.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Krogg Not Exactly Crushing It.

Krogg seem to have some difficulties at time trial today. Krogg start morning very motivated caveman, and Krogg think he make good effort today, but clearly not. Krogg place 17th overall, roughly twenty seconds slower than last year, and over a minute-twenty down on Ian McKissick. Holy Saber-Toothed-Tiger Ian!

Krogg compose poem of sadness:

Caveman Caveman Caveman,
Why your wheels no spin faster? 
Why you don't push harder on those pedals? 
Why your bike not cross finish-line sooner?


Caveman Caveman Caveman, 
You eat good breakfast, no?
You have good warmup, yes?
You make good wattage, right?


Caveman Caveman Caveman, 
Perhaps you not so strong after all, 
Perhaps 17th actually pretty good ride for you, 
Perhaps, if you want to win, you should return to your roots:


Competitive guinea pig breeding.


Krogg no longer here to win Tour of Walla Walla.

Friday, April 16, 2010

If Tim Burton and M.C. Escher Planted a Garden....


It might look something like this. Enjoy The Garden of Cosmic Speculation.






Thursday, April 15, 2010

Holy Moly Walla Walla

First off, we're here in Walla Walla, ready for the biggest rumble this side of the Oregon border (and the Canadian border). The start list is awesome: just about every Northwest-based team bringing it's best guys, but no pro teams to skew the dynamic. I find that when a pro team is present, all the local guys sit back and look to the guys with contracts to make (or break) the race. Walla Walla is great because there are so many teams here that can vie for the win -- lots of guys are here to do some damage, not just sit in and wait to get their tickets punched.

We are staying in an absolute hoot of an old farmhouse. This place is over 100 years old, but it clearly got a big makeover in (I think) the 50's. Take a look:


I'm not sure when flocked wallpaper went out of style, but they obviously never got the memo here.
Yikes:
This freezer is larger than the Hagens Berman team van. 





Next up, here are some life lessons from my teammate Lang, printed without his knowledge or approval:

1: Organize your friggin' race bag. 
By separating his clothing into categories, and using gallon ziplocks to keep everything compact, Lang has the best organized duffle bag on the team. 

When it's time to put on his bibs, there's no time lost searching, elbow-deep in his duffle bag, through an unsorted matrix of blue white and black spandex; he just reaches for his ziplock labeled "bibs," and poof, he's ready. 

2: Wear shoe covers that "pop." 
Shoe covers look very pro, especially ones that pop. Especially yellow and red ones that pop so loud they actually sting your eyes to look at them. Lang bravely tested out some of the shoe covers our kind shoe sponsors Northwave sent to us. It turns out that these shoe covers don't blend particularly well with the HB kit, but when it comes to shoe covers, it's no the colors that matter, it's how you wear them. Lang wears them very, very well.



3: Tan your friggin' shoulders. 
'nuf said.

NOW THIS IS WHAT I'M TALKING ABOUT!


Thanks to Teampics for the photo. Click to see more photos. 

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

YEEEEEEE-HAW!!!!!!

Hagens Berman had a GOOD WEEKEND!!!!

First up: the Volunteer Park criterium. I WON!!!! THAT'S RIGHT!!!!
I WON!!!! CHECK IT OUT 


I can't believe the race actually played out like it did, but holy tamale, I won the race. Krogg, would you mind explaining how you did it?

Sure thing. Krogg attack with 6 laps to go. Krogg stay off front until finish. That pretty much it. 



Gosh, thanks Krogg, how eloquent. Here's another photo of post-race celebrating. Please note, my teammate Ian Crane got 4th in the field sprint, taking 5th overall: 



and here I am off the front: 






Here's a link to even more pictures, thanks to team vice-president Bing Knight. 




Then, to make matters even better, on Sunday, we raced the Olympic View Road Race and Lang WON! Two wins in as many days. I'll let him fill you in on all the details, but WOW what a sweet victory. GO LANG! GO HAGENS BERMAN! 





Thursday, April 8, 2010

Breakfasts Like These....


Breakfasts like these make the world go 'round. They make other breakfasts seem like entirely different creatures -- unfit to be in the same category, let alone described by the same word. Calling what I experienced this morning simply "breakfast" feels woefully inadequate, especially when I can, with equal accuracy, call yesterday's bowl of Malt-O-Meal Cinnamon Toasters by the same name. It's like comparing a rusting Daihatsu with a glossy Lamborghini -- yes, they're both "cars" but oh the insult to the greater of the two. Yes, our language is painfully limited. 

Behold: three glorious pancakes from scratch. Whole wheat, little bit of cornmeal, little bit of almond meal, and an entire box of blueberries between them. Fresh tub of yogurt. Vanilla-apple compote. Metric fuck-ton of coffee. 

Thine jealousies art duly warranted. 




Reprograming Muscle Memory Update!

As you may recall, I recently stumbled upon the fact that I have been tying my shoes incorrectly my entire life. This discovery came as quite a shock; I ended up suffering a minor nervous breakdown, calling into question everything I know (or think I know). Well after over two months of trying to re-teach my fingers how to tie a damn bow-tie the right way, I'm proud to announce that just yesterday, I tied my shoes correctly, completely automatically. It only took my fingers a week or two before they could dexterously tie a proper reef-knot; however, any time I'd tie my shoes without consciously remembering to correct my error, I'd find a nice fat granny-knot staring back at me.

Until yesterday.

Yesterday, I tied my shoes without thinking about it, and lo-- there she was, a perfect reef. I've reprogramed myself. I'm a better person. Glory be praised, all is right again with the universe -- up is up, down is down, and I know pretty much everything there is to know about anything worth knowing.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

The Ballard Farmers Market, Easter Sunday, Mostly Musicians.

























Easter Sunday

Ahhhh Easter Sunday, gotta love it (if you're viewing this in facebook, you've gotta visit my actual blog to see this great Easter themed Bill Hicks video):



I'm taking it pretty easy this week. Lots of rest, not so much riding, and maybe not as much blogging. I'm pretty blown to bits after my two weeks of travel and racing, so it's high time I recharge those batteries. Next up, Walla Walla and Cherry Blossom. Giddyup.

Enjoy the chocolate.