Friday, August 27, 2010

How's THIS For a Resume?

It's that time of year -- the time when all the cyclists try to make themselves look as impressive as possible, scouring the calendar for anything worthy of adding to a list of results -- that's right it's RESUME TIME!

Fortunately for me, I'm not short in the results department. Check it out!

The Hagens Berman Sponsor Ride

A mere three days after I finished the Mighty Mighty Tour of Utah, I had the provlidge of riding with the our title sponsors, Steve Berman of Hagens Berman LLP.




Here's the magnificent Colin Gibson:

We were joined by UHC riders Morgan Schmitt and Adrian Hegyvary. Both these pros are HB alumni.


Then we had beer and appetizers on the lawn of some sweet restaurant.

There he is folks -- he's more elusive than Spiderman and Santa Claus combined. Steve Berman, in the flesh:


I'm so grateful to be on this team. Thank you, sponsors, for giving me this wonderful opportunity.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Tour of Utah 6.1: A Few Final Pictures

Here are some pictures left over from the weekend: 

There's Kennett slogging up the hill in the crit. He earned himself a new nickname: catfish. 
Here's the crowd along scenic main street Park City.
We stopped for some really good food at El Chubasco after the race

Kennett prepares for battle on Sunday's queen stage
Christine and Mark plot their route.
Me and Gord Fraser discussing the carnage. 

Monday, August 23, 2010

Tour of Utah 6.0: The Tour of Utah is OVER!

I made it. I finished. I ended up third from last in the GC, but considering only 71 guys finished, I'll take that. The queen stage was exactly like I remember it from 2008: a brutal suffer-fest all the way. 100 miles of pain. Just like two years ago, I was afraid of getting dropped before the climbing even started. Just like two years ago, I couldn't believe how long that Sundance climb was. Just like two years ago, I chased my brains out, and latched on to a tattered groupetto. And just like two years ago, I finished inside the time-cut.

Things that made this race obscenely hard:


  • It was SO windy. The first 50 miles, while relatively flat, were guttered a lot.
  • I crashed. Some Trek Livestrong kid ran into the guard rail and took out Jeremy Vennell and me. I was fine but whacked my knee, and somehow bruised my heel. 
  • I got stung by three bees, the last one was right in my quad. 
  • There was 10'000 feet of climbing at altitude. 



Thanks to Mark Twight (who rode in the team car), for snapping these excellent pictures.







Also, I received my fourth random drug test. Nothing beats having to pee on command, in front of another man, after spending the previous 4.5 hours sitting on your crotch. If you've never been selected from a random piss test, here's what you can expect (from my first encounter with this strange procedure, back in 2007).

Tour of Utah 5.0: You Call That a Crit?

I've probably raced one-hundred crits. I know what they're like. I know one when I see one, and I really know one when I race one.

Lord in heaven, believe me when I tell you -- whatever we did on Saturday was NOT a crit. Here's how I know:

When you see really good pros jettisoned out the back of the race before the end of lap number one....IT'S NOT A CRIT!
Paddy Bevin, an excellent crit racer (he's won like seven crits within the last year) got shelled at the base of the climb at the end of the first lap


When over thirty guys, including half the Jamis-Sutter Home team (Dominguez, Borrajo, etc.) fail to make the time cut......IT'S NOT A CRIT!
We lost a lot of good men in that race, but so did just about everybody. At one point someone heckled me by saying "oh look -- an amateur who's still in the race!"

When you climb 3,000 feet in seventy-five minutes.....IT'S NOT A CRIT!
Did I mention the lowest part of the course was at 7,100 feet above sea level? 

When the race finishes with an all-out showdown between Tour legends Mancebo and Leipheimer....IT'S NOT A CRIT!
But it sure was cool to see Mancebo attack the tar out of Levi. 


I rode my brains out, and somehow made it to the half-way mark before getting lapped. Hardest 37.5 minutes of my life.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Tour of Utah 4.1: The Sweetest TT Course EVER!

Welcome to the Miller Motorsports Park. Today was amazing. To begin with, each team was given a pit bay to stage in. This meant we had a nice cool place to hang out and warm up, as well as a nice bathroom to use. 




The course was fantastic -- the turns are so smooth! I couldn't have designed a more fun course if I'd tried -- all the turns could be taken full-speed in the aerobars, and all but a few could be pedaled through. Joe and Christine drove behind me, partially to help me if I got a flat, but mostly because it was really fun to drive around a race track. 


Taylor Phinney started one minute ahead of me, and I never really saw much of him. He ended up winning the race by a huge margin, and reset the course record. 
Here's me with 1k to go.


Here's Lang in the start house.

Here's me and Adrian "the hedge fund" Hegyvary, formerly of Hagens Berman Elite Amateur Cycling Team and Freestyle Dance Squad fame!


Lastly, I'd like to thank Mark Twight for being my power animal and spirit guide today. If you look closely at the results, I beat no less than four guys by less than a second. Thanks Mark. 

Tour of Utah 4.0: New Power Animal!

Alright, I'm trying a different tack all together with my power animal for today's time trial. So far, I've channeled moose and squirrels, but I think today's power animal should be something a little more intense. A little more hardcore. A little scarier. That is why I've selected Mark Twight as my power animal for the day.

For those of you who don't know, Twight is a famous mountain climber. I won't sing to you his accomplishments, but trust me, they are many. Twight is also the owner of Gym Jones, an exclusive gym in Salt Lake City that adheres to Twight's somewhat intense, but also highly successful brand of fitness philosophy. Spend some time in the knowledge section of the Gym Jones website -- it will do you good.

Twight's writing has been an inspiration of mine for quite some time, so it's been an extra special privilege to get to actually spend time with him here in Salt Lake. Some of the guys have gone on rides with him, and I even got to swing by Gym Jones and see some Jiu-Jitsu fighters doing a workout. Here's our director Joe Holmes, and Mark Twight in Gym Jones:
So, Mark Twight -- power animal for the day.

Also, look at this crazy time trial -- the Tour of Utah, where the easy stages are hard, and the hard stages are completely nuts.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Tour of Utah 3.0: Remember That Time Mt. Nebo Kicked My Ass???

Holy friggin' moly. Here's what we did today (thanks Garmin Connect):

What can I say about this stage? Let's just put it this way: the final 20 miles lived up to their reputation. Scaling 4,500 ft Mt. Nebo was everything it was cracked up to be. I was with Levi (and the rest of the field) until about 12 miles to go. In that 12 miles, he put a whopping 18 minutes in to me. I wasn't soft-pedaling either (people who soft-pedaled lost half an hour and got time-cut) -- I was going pretty hard.

Here's the part that I wasn't prepared for: the 60 miles of brutal crosswinds and echelons that preceded the final climb. It was awful. About 20 miles into the race, we rounded some bend and the aspect changed, and the wind shifted from a mostly-head to a cross-head wind, and all hell broke loose. By the time I hit the base of the climb, I was already fucked-in-half (pardon my French, but it's true).

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Tour of Utah 2.2: Post Race Devastation

Today was really hard. Here's some evidence:

Lang
Ian

Phil, Chris, and (creepy) Kennett

Sean (and host child)

Sam (and Lang)

tour of Utah 2.1: FINALLY! KROGG GET IN BIG BREAKAWAY

Krogg thrilled! Tour of Utah race much better after today. If you followed Krogg at Redlands or Joe Martin or Cascade Classic, you know that Krogg spent much energy trying (and failing) to get in big breakway. Often Krogg close, but no cigar.  Well this time Krogg happy to announce Krogg actually manage to get in day's big breakaway! And I quote:

"A lead group formed on the descent that included Krasilnkay, Dowsett, King, Gaimon, Franttini, Thomson, Tanner, Jacques-Maynes, Rob Britton (Bissell), Tyler Wren (Jamis-Sutter Home), Sam Johnson (Hagens Berman), Chris Baldwin (UnitedHealthcare-Maxxis), Caleb Fairly (Holowesko Partners), Valery Kobzarenko (Team Type 1) and Ian Holt (Team Rio Grande)." 



You see that?  Shit yeah -- that from a little website called CYCLINGNEWS. See Krogg name in there? Read it careful. Carefuler. SEE IT? YEAH! The fruit of Krogg labor! Talk about a sweet reward! Krogg's NAME on a WEBSITE!


Krogg slightly disappointed Cyclingnews fail to mention Krogg spend 8 miles of race off front of race SOLO, as well as totally win sprint for points out in middle of nowhere. Whatever. Even though Krogg suffer greatly on last climb (and lose 16 minutes), and even though Krogg want to vomit all the way up Big Mountain (and all the way up Little Mountain, and all the way down Emigration Canyon, and all the way to finish line), and even though Krogg only get name in there once, KROGG HAPPY. BIG BREAKAWAY! KROGG STICK BIG BREAKAWAY!!


Thanks Harvey. You good power animal for day.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Tour of Utah 2.0: New Power Animal!

I've selected a new Power Animal for the stage from Ogden to Salt Lake: Harvey the Squirrel.


Harvey proved hard to photograph, and that's partially why I chose him. He's elusive and speedy. He's got quick reflexes, good instincts, and he's very crafty. See for yourself:

The final attribute of Harvy's that I'd like to channel is his ability to soar uphill! Harvey can go from the forest floor to the top of the tallest tree faster that Taylor Phinney can spell the word "tree." [Mind you, His Twitterness only recently graduated to non-acronym four letter words, but he's got "tree" down pat.] Here's Harvey demonstrating his I-climb-so-fast-I-practically-fly skills:

Here's what we have to look forward to: 

Tour of Utah 1.1: Wow....Already?

And that's it folks -- stage one of the 2010 Tour of Utah is in the books. I didn't go very fast. Still haven't seen the results, but I suffered a mechanical problem on my TT bike, so I doubt that my time (40 seconds off Tsaylor Phinney on a 6-minute course) even got me inside the top 70. I started the race in my small chain ring, and couldn't get the front derailleur to shift. I spent half the race freaking out and totally thrown out of my groove. Picture me spastically looking down at my gears, riding with my knees cocked out, and soft pedaling a lot (hoping that a drop in chain tension would allow the shift to happen). It shifted fine under load on the trainer, so I just don't know what happened. The funny thing is that normally my Blue Triad is totally problem-free, and I used the same setup during Cascade and shifted four times in that TT with no problems. In fact, I've never had a problem shifting my front derailleur since I got this bike two years ago -- pity it had to happen at the biggest race I've ever done!

Apparently, choosing a moose as a power animal was not the wisest thing I could have done. I should have done more research; it turns out that despite their immense power, moose are so large that they have a low Vo2 Max, and a horrible Watts/Kg. They also can't corner for beans due to their gangly, knobby knees. Moose are awful prologue racers.

In order to cheer myself up, I spent the last few minutes imagining what it must feel like to be Nathan O'Neil, who crashed in the prologue and broke his collarbone for the umpteenth time. Or to be one of the poor guys who just got time-cut by Taylor Phinney's outrageously fast time. To those of you who got cut, I think that's bullshit! It's a friggin' prologue, and "America's Toughest Stage Race" or not, cutting guys on a stage like today hurts the race. I understand cutting at something like the TT at Nature Valley where the top 10 guys are separated by a minute or so, but that won't be the case here.

Then I watched this, and it actually did cheer me up.


Support this bill!


Congressmen Submit Emergency 3 AM Bill Demanding IHOP Stay Open All Night

Tour of Utah 1.0: Prologue Power Animal!


If you liked yesterday's deer sighting, you'll love the animals that dropped by our home stay this morning. That's right, Millie the Moose and her daughter Mabel dropped by and said hello.


I see this as an extremely good omen for today's short (2.8 mile) time trial. Did you know that a well-trained moose can sustain over 9,000 watts for five minutes? Well neither did I until this morning, when Millie decided to borrow the new stationary trainer we're keeping in the van and hammer out an interval. 

I can't believe how close these moose were! They slept in our lawn, and browsed for breakfast on the rose bushes. Here's Mike, our host dad, on his back deck, looking at Millie (slightly obscured, but she's there) -- RIGHT IN HIS BACK YARD! 


The only thing I can think of better than a moose to find in your back yard is a double-rainbow-all-the-way.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Tour of Utah 0.2: The Many Ways to Follow Along!

The tour of Utah offers an impressive array of ways to follow along.

An impressive website: http://www.tourofutah.com/

Twitter: http://twitter.com/theTourofUtah

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/tourofutah?ref=ts

A Youtube Channel: http://www.youtube.com/theTourofUtah#p/u/14/uabhpUFuZVY

Google Earth Fly-Overs: http://www.tourofutah.com/googleearth/gmap.html

A freekin' iPhone app! (search for "Tour of Utah" in the app store)

And finally the complete program guide, that includes wonderful descriptions of the pain we're about to endure.

Enjoy!

Tour of Utah 0.1: The Preface to the Prologue

So here we are. In Utah. Things are great. We're settled into our home stay. We're staying up in a beautiful neighborhood, somewhere high up in the clouds, halfway between Salt Lake and Park City. Here's what we did today:

Saw deer!

We woke up and found that our home stay is frequented by wild deer even more than by traveling cyclists. Here's the sweet little thing munching on the garden right outside the office:



Went Riding!

Yes, the air is thin up here, and the sun beats down with ferocity, but good lord is it pretty!






Ate Dinner!

There was a free pasta feed for the racers. Nothing, and I mean nothing stirs up the predatory instincts in amateur cyclists like the words "free pasta feed." Like sharks smelling blood in the water, we descended from our perch atop the mountains to the Sheraton Hotel, race headquarters for the Tour of Utah, and gorged on pasta, veggies, and bread. 


Chris came, even though he eats a gluten-free diet. Only a cyclist would bring pasta to a pasta feed: 




Top-Secret Training!

We added an impressive new feature to the Hagens Berman team van, one normally only seen on the best-equipped pro-tour teams. We now have the ability to spin our legs while we're in the van, thanks to our state of the art stationary trainer. 

Here's Sean, cranking out ~580 watts.
The advanced mechanism that controls the resistance does indeed get hot! I burned my finger on it quite badly. We poured water on the crank arms and it sizzled off as though it were a hot skillet!
We will now be the most warmed-up, and cooled-down team here at the Tour of Utah!