Saturday, April 30, 2011

I Like Silver City, Because It Is Weird

I mean this place is really weird. And I love it!











Friday, April 29, 2011

GliderBison Giveaway, Gila edition, PART 2!!!!!!!

ALRIGHT. GILA IS NOW 3/5 OVER.

Here's a brief recap of my time trial:

Things were going great. Then something like this happened:
I don't really want to blog about it right now, but let's just say that I spent far more time standing by the side of the road literally yanking my chain (out whence it was wedged) than I would have liked. Needless to say I didn't, as I'd hoped, hold off Tom Zirbel. However my teammates had some awesome rides, and Team Exergy is sitting really pretty for both tomorrow's crit, and Sunday's mega-spectacular laser-battle on the slopes of the Gila Monster. You can see current results here, and don't forget to read Team Exergy's (always entertaining, always well-written) race write-ups here.

In celebration for these mighty last two days of racing, I've decided to offer up another Gliderbison Giveaway! This time -- a BRAND NEW TEAM EXERGY CYCLING CAP (modeled by yours truly):
 

Rules are same as always:

To entersimply leave a comment on this blog post with your name (NOTE: FACEBOOK ENTRIES DON'T COUNT!). Leaving your name is enough, but feel free to leave an actual comment, an anecdote, or a haiku too. You will be assigned a number based on the order that you commented, and I'll draw a winner using a random number generator on Monday morning (5/2/11).  One entry per person please. GOOD LUCK!

And The Winner Is: MATTI!!!!!

Alright sock lovers -- here's the result of my random drawing. It looks like twenty-one of you entered, so I'm asking the random number generator to choose an integer between one and twenty-one.

Drumroll please......


Random Integer Generator

Here are your random numbers:

9

Timestamp: 2011-04-29 05:01:55 UTC



Congratulations to Matti in Seattle! Your socks will be in the mail as soon as I return to Boise (and as soon as you e-mail me your address). I'll also throw in an Exergy water bottle too!

Sorry to all of you who didn't win. The good news is that this was by far the most successful GliderBison Giveaway yet. This means there will undoubtedly be more of these to come! Stay tuned for the next giveaway (sooner rather than later).

Thursday, April 28, 2011

More Amazing Robots

CAUTION: DO NOT READ THIS POST UNLESS YOU LOVE (or HATE) ROBOTS!!!!

Now I love me some robots -- but only if the robots are dumb and slow and silly. Like this robot for instance:

I also like robots who are friendly and cute and helpful, like this one:

Wait....aren't those the same robot?

Anyway -- where was I?

Oh yeah -- on the other hand, there are some kinds of robots that I absolutely HATE -- first and foremost the ones who do things better than I do. For instance: I am good at catching balls, but this robot is better at catching balls than I am. Therefore I hate it.


Another example: I'm good at performing surgery, but this robot is better at performing surgery than I am. Therefore I hate it.
Lastly, I am very good at dancing, but this robot is better at dancing than I am. THEREFORE I HATE IT:





NEXT UP -- SPEAKING OF ROBOTS, CHECK THIS OUT FOR A START TIME FOR TOMORROW:

13 9:36:00 35 JOHNSON Sam Team Exergy Boise ID
14 9:36:30 135 ZIRBEL Tom Hotel San Jose/ACME Boulder CO 


AIN'T THAT A BITCH???? I AM TOM ZIRBEL'S 30-SECOND MAN??? I mean really. Tom Zirbel -- largest man in the peloton. A top-five mutant body of the Tour of the Gila. 4th at the WORLD TT championships. How did this happen? What strange maelstrom of cosmic forces conspired to place me directly in front of Thor the very thunder-god himself?

Lord let me make it to the turnaround before enduring the hammer-blow.


p.s. anyone want to go see Thor with me?
p.p.s. more gliderbison robot coverage here.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Lights are Dim


...and then there's that time, after you finish your race, and rinse out your stinging eyes, and slam another Coke. After you check in with your director, and ride down the Mogollon, and change out of your spandex, and help pack the van. After you drive for an hour back to your homestay, and wait your turn for a shower, and eat a sandwich (the first solid food you've eaten since breakfast), and throw your laundry in the machine.

Then, finally, there's that time: that magical time when you flop on your bed, and think to yourself "wow -- now that was a hard stage."

You still breathe with caution and care -- filling your lungs too full will undoubtedly hurt, and trigger more coughing, and remind you of hyperventilating up the last three miles of that beastly climb. You still move your legs with caution and care -- the wrong bend in your knee will undoubtedly trigger more leg cramps, the kind you've been gingerly avoiding for the last two hours. You prefer to lie down -- your lower back makes you abundantly aware of its displeasure at being in any position other than on your back, prone. You look forward to your massage* with a mixture of fear and excitement. Fear, because it will probably hurt, because your legs are blown to smithereens. Excitement, because you know how much you need a massage.

Finally you relax -- every muscle, one by one, for the first time all day. Your fingers quickly tap out a blog post, and then you close your computer and take a nap, and dream about doing it all over again tomorrow.


*It still blows my mind that getting a massage is now part of my job. It's something I don't think I'll ever get tired of.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Gila Stage 1: Mogollon




Krogg race stage 1 Gila tomorrow. Stage 1 Gila straightforward: ride 85 miles into middle of desert, then climb Mogollon. This stage make Krogg cry on more than one occasion -- stage tricky. Now you think "Krogg -- you make nonsense. How stage straightforward and tricky at same time!?" Well Krogg explain. 


First off: wind. Wind blow very very hard in Silver City, so wind slam peloton all day long. This make bike race nervous; nobody want to be caught like caveman with bearskin around ankles in heavy crosswind. (Yes Krogg just use semicolon. Caveman learn how!) Krogg must be careful about wind. 


Second off: tactics. This first stage of stage race. Also, this first time in several years normal caveman will win race instead of Levi Leipheimer (who most certainly NOT normal caveman). Race wide open! This mean every tribe insist on having man in breakaway. Getting into breakaway harder than sleeping with daughter of chief: everybody want to, everybody try, and if other caveman see you about to succeed, he chase you down and stop you! 


Third off: Whitewater Mesa. This trickiest part of stage 1 Gila. Mogollon climb start with right-hand turn onto road with straight cross-wind. Then Mogollon start with brutally steep 13% kicker that last way too long. Of course racers go berserk over kicker at bottom, and totally shatter field. Then, road flatten out pancake flat, but still brutal crosswind for two miles! This mean it really really easy to get snapped off back of field and miss choo-choo train across Whitewater Mesa -- and if you miss choo-choo train across Whitewater Mesa, you lose minute in two miles, because you pull in wind alone (or with group of other dropped caveman). Krogg have bad memories of stage 1 Gila from 2006. And 2007. And 2008. And 2009. Ouch Ouch. 


KROGG PROMISE HERE AND NOW: GOOD MEMORIES OF WHITEWATER MESA WILL BE MADE TOMORROW!!! MARK KROGG WORDS!!!!


Oh, and you can read about Krogg disastrous stage 1 Gila from 2008 (when Krogg literally piss himself out of race), or 2009 (when Krogg blow spoke over Whitewater Mesa). 

Monday, April 25, 2011

GliderBison Giveaway! GILA EDITION!!!

THE TOUR OF THE GILA CALLS FOR SOME SWAG!!!!!!

Alright swag fans, I know it's been a while since my last GliderBison Giveaway (where I first tried to pedal an expired gift certificate, and then revised my offering to some more legit HB gear), but the wait has been worth it. This week, I'll be giving away some honest-to-goodness Team Exergy apparel. This stuff comes from my own personal allotment of Exergy goods -- something that I'm not sure is wise, but I'm not convinced is stupid either. If you'd like to see more swag up for grabs on the blog, SPREAD THE WORD -- get all your friends to enter! I know it decreases your chances in the short term, the more people who enter, the better I'll be able to convince the team management that it's a good idea to give me Exergy gear to give to you!

First up: Brand new Team Exergy SOCKS! These are size L/XL, and they're sweet. These are the medium-tall version of Castelli's nicest socks, (I think they're the Rosso Coursa 9 sock), and they're as stylish as they are comfortable. Seeeeee?

To enter: simply leave a comment on this blog post with your name (NOTE: FACEBOOK ENTRIES DON'T COUNT!). Leaving your name is enough, but feel free to leave an actual comment, an anecdote, or a haiku too. You don't need to leave your e-mail address, your address, or your credit card number -- just a full name so that I'll know who wins. You will be assigned a number based on the order that you commented, and I'll draw a winner using a random number generator on Friday morning (4/29/11).  One entry per person please. GOOD LUCK!


Also, stay tuned, as I'll be offering up more swag during the Tour of the Gila! 

The SRAM Tour of the Gila Awaits!

Rejoice, dear readers, for the SRAM Tour of the Gila is upon us. Yay, in nary two days time, the start gun shall have fired, the pedals shall have gone "click," and the suffering shall have thusly commenced. Yay, the proper stage-races are upon us! Gone are the days of San Dimas and Redlands and Sea Otter, what with their puny little circuits and short, stabby little climbs. Here are the days of epic stages, of mountain-top finishes, of long windy time trials, and of dangerous monsters that can only be slain by the bravest of knights. My history with the Tour of the Gila is long and juicy. The fickle beast has struck me down with bolts of bad luck, but also granted me days of gilded glory. The Gila Monster giveth, and the Gila Monster taketh away. Watch out for the teeth:
One of the things that make this race so awesome is the location; simply getting to Silver City is often an adventure in itself. I've certainly had my own crazy trips to the Gila, but Kennett Peterson's 50-some-odd hour Greyhound trip puts all but my worst travel nightmares to shame. If you enjoy reading well-crafted tales about the endless suffering and humiliation endured by bike racers who are "living the dream" (which, let's be honest, is why you read this blog), Kennett's "Journey to the Gila" is a story you don't want to miss. 

Honestly, for me, this Gila feels a little different, like I'm on the other side of some sort of wall. I've done the Tour of the Gila four times as an amateur (twice without any teammates), and every time, it was pure survival. Even in 2008, when I felt amazing, and placed 7th on stage 2, I was the only guy from HB at the race -- my highest ambitions were personal. Now that I'm on a powerful team that has a legitimate shot at winning the whole shebang, I'm far more motivated. I don't give a hoot how I finish -- all I care about is launching Team Exergy into the stratosphere! It's going to be a good one -- stay tuned.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Santa Fe Sunset

Oh man. For my last night in Santa Fe, I was treated to a good one.



Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Santa Fe! Santa Fe! Santa Fe!

Yay!!! Team Exergy is in Santa Fe! Part of the squad from Sea Otter has met up with part of the squad from the Old Pueblo Grand Prix, and we're all enjoying some fine times down here in my favorite city. [quick note: nice work down there Old Pueblo squad! Read Ben's tales from the road here] I just love Santa Fe: the altitude is high, the chile is hot, and the hospitality is spectacular. Most of us are staying with my long-time friends and mentors, Tove and Jerry Shere. These are the folks who, waaaay back in 1999 got me on my first road bike. I remember it well -- Tove tricked me into racing a triathlon! She lured me over to her house with the promise of pizza and an unnamed surprise. When I arrived I found an old KHS road bike with aerobars on it, waiting for me on a trainer. Jerry adjusted the saddle and handlebars, and I rode it around the block once or twice. The next day, they carted me down to Albuquerque to race the Jay Benson triathlon -- thus beginning this crazy two-wheeled adventure I've been on ever since. They let me use that bike for years, and when I was done using it (in 2003), they passed on the trusty KHS to another deserving youngster. They are very much the reason why I'm a road bike racer, and have been an inspiration, a source of motivation, and also just good friends of mine for as long as I've known them. They've made us feel very much at home. It also doesn't hurt that Jerry has the best-equipped bike shop I've ever seen. Need the grease gun that can service Speedplay pedals? Check. Need every size of Torx wrench? How about in socket form? Check. Need crank bolt spacers to help fit your massive 58-tooth chainring onto your frame without gouging your chainstays? Check.

The other half of our team is staying with another long-time friend, Tony Ferrar. Tony is the owner of New Mexico Bike'n'Sport (by far the best bike shop in town -- and I am not just saying that because I worked there). I worked for him back in 2005, which was also my first real season of bike racing (meaning I raced more than just a handful of collegiate races). I first met Tony at the Ironhorse Classic -- or rather IN the Ironhorse classic. School had just let out for the summer, and I was road-tripping back from Whitman to Santa Fe, hitting up every cat-3 bike race I could find along the way. While we were racing, I spied someone wearing a NM Bike'n'Sport jersey. I caught up to him, and said "hay I love that shop -- I want to work there this summer," to which he said "well Tony the owner is a few wheels back -- go ask him!" I then had my first and only mid-race job interview. "Hey, can I work at your shop this summer?" I asked. "Uh, ask me that after the race," he replied  It didn't hurt that I went on to win the race. I spent the rest of that summer happy as a clam: I was working at a really cool bike shop (next to a really cool coffee shop), racing for NM Bike'n'Sport's team, watching my first Tour de France on TV, and eating a ton of gelato (Santa Fe's first gelato shop opened that summer). Life was grand.

I'd like to give a huge thanks to Tove and Jerry Shere, and to Tony Ferrar, both for the amazing hospitality they've offered to Team Exergy, but also for the years of support -- without it, I wouldn't be on Team Exergy. 

Ok. Before I go to bed, I thought I'd share the baby monkey song. I wasn't prepared for how funny this is: 



Thanks to my teammate Matt Cooke for sharing. 

Sunday, April 17, 2011

When The Going Gets Tough.....

Whenever I think I've seen it all, I stumble across a video like this that proves me wrong. I've had plenty of mishaps in my career, but never this one. Imagine finding yourself 20 k from the finish of Paris Roubaix with a perfectly functional bike....minus one seat. Most people would have said "oh well, that's bike racing -- my day is over." Not Kurt Arvesen.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Stuff That is Awesome

First off, if you're a will Ferrell fan, or a Three Amigos fan, you're in luck, because this basically looks like a modern re-make of the Three Amigos. I can't tell if it's a full length movie, but regardless, I can't wait.


The next thing I've got on the Awesome List is NASA. I just love NASA and the crazy ideas they come up with. Read this article about how they plan to lower the next new-and-improved (and really heavy) Mars rover to the planet's surface. It's like science fiction -- only without the fiction. NASA nerds, I salute you.

After that, the Awesome List calls, once again, for my teammates. Matt Cooke went up the road today and took the lead in the KOM points, and Andres Diaz got his second second place in his second day of racing. WOW. Podium Insight has brief results.

Finally, on the Awesome List, enjoy these contrasting views on the pain scale.

View 1.
View 2.
View 3

Threadbare


I'm starting to wear a little thin. 
At least my confidence is. 


Another race, 
Chasing, 
For time cut. 


More rookie mistakes.
More racing,
Outside my abilities. 


Some of it's luck. 
But some of it's not. 


I need to figure it out, 
Soon. 

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Sea Otter: Stage 1

I'd like this post to be in honor of people who do what they do really well. Lyne over at Podium Insight, for instance, does her job really well. As usual, she has the full scoop, complete with photos and results. Check it out here. 

But she's not the only one. Our staff also does what they do really well. Tad, Mark, Josh, Scott all worked their butts off for us, and my gratitude is only matched by my desire to make them real proud tomorrow.


Also, my teammates do a thing or two really well too. Like race bikes. Yeah, they ain't so bad at that:



Carlos took the points jersey. Andres is 2nd overall and Carlos is 3rd.

It was a good day for Exergy.

Here's another guy who does....something:
I don't know if he did that "really well" but he did try to do it, and that's more than I can say.



Jaw, Meet Floor


Those of you who know me well, also know my sister, Vanessa. For those of you who don't know me well, it's time to meet her. Why? Because Vanessa just joined the Blogosphere. Yes that's right.
Vanessa.
Has.
A.
Blog.

It's an art blog (for now).

Vanessa is an art student at the College of Fine Arts in N├╝rnberg, Germany. She has been hard at work all year, cranking out some extremely impressive work. Here's a sample, but head on over to YourTermsOfService.blogspot.com for much much more. 

Sometimes You TOTALLY Luck Out!

One of my favorite components of being a racer is the chance to travel around the country, and stay at all these wonderful homestays. Over the years, I've stayed in some amazinglavish, and downright bizarre places. Staying with a host family really adds a lot to my experience at a race; they're far more comfortable and interesting than a hotel room, and they leave me with such awesome memories. Plus, sometimes, you TOTALLY luck out! Like the house I'm staying in right now -- there are HORSIES EVERYWHERE!!!! Here are a few snapshots from the bedroom that Matt and I will be sharing through the weekend. Enjoy: 

Horsies on the bedspread.

Horsies on the wall! And a play-kitchen!

Horsies on the shelf.

Horsies on the coat rack!

This is an impressive collection of hair bows.

Doll furniture.

Hello Kitty phone. 

Blue ribbons from showing real horsies!

More dolly furniture, plus a real dolly!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Next Up: SEA OTTER



So next race Krogg do called Sea Otter Classic. Oh boy! Krogg like sound of that! Sea otter good animal -- strong teeth, good hunter, fast swimmer, like to smash crustaceans on belly with rock. Good animal make good race! Krogg never do Sea Otter Classic, but hear of many times. Sea Otter Classic big big big festival too -- road bike, mountain bike, vendor booth, clowns and unicorns! Much much much to do at Sea Otter -- Krogg hope he have chance to do more than just race, like watch crazy downhill racers scream "KOWABUNGA" as they dive off cliff, find real live sea otter and give pet, or even just walk around expo area and try to find free swag. 


This Sea Otter first road event: Sea Otter Crit. 


WHAT? HOT DOG CRIT?? WHY??? Krogg LOVE hot dog crit...NOT! (Caveman only recently master nuances of "not" joke.)  Goddamit -- can't they make other type of race for Krogg? Like giant lazy circle crit? Or even better -- giant straight line crit? Oh well. Hot dog crit suit Krogg teammates just fine, so there


Look at more Sea Otter course map here.


SEE YOU SOON SEA OTTER!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Set That Bike UP!

Oh yeah. It's time. Finally I've had the chance to really spend some time working on my position on my TT bike. I took by beautiful Felt B2 to Tom Coleman of WN Precision. Tom is a master bike fitter, and a sponsor of Team Exergy. He spent nearly three hours of his time carefully adjusting my bike. 

 Tom is extremely meticulous, and uses an array of tools to make sure that the saddle and handlebars are exactly where he wants them. It's not called WN Precision for nothing -- I saw him use calipers, a torque wrench, a digital level, and a laser level.
 Here's my machine all finished. (Note the phone book underneath the front wheel -- it serves as a convenient, infinitely adjustable front wheel stand, to insure the bike is level.)
After we finished adjusting the bike, we spent some time coaching my position on that bike. He gave me some great tips for how to remain aero while still cranking out the watts. I have the chance to field test this new position this weekend. Giddyup.

ALSO -- HERE IS A PICTURE OF A PUG:

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Here Are Things That Are Not Cool

Here are things that are not cool:

1: I didn't say this yesterday, but I cracked my race bike. Yes. The frame is toast. Never in my life have I wrecked a frame in a race, and this is one of only two bike frames in my career that I've damaged. I managed to get a bike change and finish the race (on a bike one-size too small no less), and even got my team mates some water bottles once I returned, but I've got to say, I'm still slightly shocked that I broke something so valuable so quickly. I mean one second I was towards the front of the peloton preparing to roll the dice in some breakaway attempts, the next second my bike was at the bottom of a tangled pile of carbon and steel. The moments after the crash were blurry -- I removed my shifter levers from a frantic Borrajo brother's brake caliper, and pulled some other guy's handlebars out of my spokes. I removed my rear wheel, and waited for neutral service to give me a change. Somewhere in there, I heard someone say "ooh -- he's going to need a bike change." I looked down to see that my top tube had been crushed like a Coke can.

Thank goodness for my team, and my bike sponsor -- otherwise, I'd be walking the rest of this season.

Fare-thee-well dear race bike. You were so young so beautiful -- clearly those that burn brightest also burn out quickly.

2: Only two laps into tonight's crit, Andres had a mechanical problem and pulled into the pit. Thanks to some confusion regarding the nature of Andres' problem, the officials told him he wouldn't be granted a free-lap and would have to chase. So off went Andres, now hopelessly behind the charging field. I, being the worst positioned racer on the team at the time, was instructed to sit up and wait for Andres to help him regain contact with the bunch. Little did I know, shortly after I sat up, Andres went back into the pit, and thanks to a change in the ruling, was reinserted in the field as though he'd never left. That left me dangling behind the peloton all by myself. I chased and chased (and got quite close), but never regained contact. I was lapped and pulled before I reached the cut for tomorrow's stage.

My Redlands is over.

That's bike racing folks. Sometimes your team asks you to jump on a grenade for your team leader. Sometimes, when you're asked to do that, you save the day, and bring your leader back from the brink of disaster. Sometimes crazy shit happens, and you end up pulling out of a race for no reason. Bike racing: one wild ride.

Things I Love

Here are five things I love, in no particular order:


  • Hyperbole and a Half.  This is some of the funniest stuff in the world. The author absolutely nails animal behavior, child behavior, and humor -- often all in the same blog post. It's good to see a fellow art major using her degree...to write a blog.



  • Animal.







  • Andres Diaz, who bridged up to that breakaway, took third on the stage, and vaulted into fourth overall. Huzzuh good team mate. Huzzuh. Read about it on Podium Insight. 







  • Dinosaurs that wear jetpacks.