What is it about a week long stage race that covers hundreds of miles, with tens of thousands of feet of climbing at high altitude that makes a man REALLY tired? I'm pooped. I could sleep for days. I'm knackered. Commence rest protocol now....
Tuesday, August 30, 2011
I cleaned out the double entries, and the anonymous entries (I said in the rules that you had to leave your name.) By my count, that left us with 37 entries. I asked my trusty random number generator to pick me a random integer between 1 and 37 (inclusive), and clicked: Get Numbers!
THEREFORE, THE WINNER OF MY TEAM EXERGY JERSEY is:
Random Integer Generator
Which makes the winner....MARTIN CRIMINALE! WHICH IS AWESOME! Martin is a Seattle-based cyclist,and an avid blogger himself. He's been a regular here at GliderBison for quite some time. THANKS EVERYBODY FOR PLAYING! Martin, get in touch with me via e-mail. Give me your address, and within a week or so, you'll be the proud owner of an authentic Team Exergy jersey. You sir have your choice: would you like your jersey signed by Krogg? Or left in its pristine form?
Monday, August 29, 2011
The USA Pro Cycling Challenge is over.
We had an after party last night at the Rio Grande (big Mexican joint, killer margaritas).
I always find it amusing watching cyclists drink alcohol -- so little can do so much!
And boy can things get sloppy quick.
But the night was delightful.
A lot of happy racers, and staff, and promoters, and sponsors.
And one very happy Sam Johnson.
But the party ended.
Carlos and Andres are headed back to Colombia.
Sebastian is headed back to Canada.
Freddy back to California.
Matt stays right here in Colorado.
The team vehicles, most of the staff, and yours truly are headed back to Boise.
I'll spend my day in the back of the van, reading my book and listening to music, and combing through all my amazing memories from this race.
This season has legs!
I leave for Paris on the10th.
The race is called the Duo Normand, and it's a two-man team time trial.
THIS SHIT JUST KEEPS GETTING BETTER AND BETTER DOESN'T IT?
So stay tuned GliderBison followers!
But for now: that's all folks.
Sunday, August 28, 2011
Krogg sit right behind Paul Mach during neutral parade. Krogg see Paul lick lips and get to very front. Krogg realize, PAUL MACH WILL ATTACK! Sure enough, referee blow whistle, and Paul Mach sprint like crazy. KROGG SPRINT TOO! So next thing Krogg know, Krogg in breakaway! HA! GO KROGG! SWING THAT AXE! Then Krogg teammate Matt Cooke join breakaway! Matt excellent climber, better than Krogg. Matt could actually make it over top of big climb and win stage. Since Krogg inferior climber to Matt, and since Krogg really want to see Matt CRUSH race today, Krogg job pretty clear: MURDER IT AT THE FRONT OF BREAKAWAY UNTIL BASE OF CLIMB!!!!! CATAPULT MATT INTO STRATOSPHERE!!!! So Krogg murder it at front of breakaway for five miles. At base of climb, Krogg swing axe HARD one more time, say "GOOD LUCK MATT," and then get dropped like boulder on mammoth head.
Ok, thank you Krogg. Did you catch that? Basically, on a day when most guys were looking to do nothing more than survive the opening climb, I found myself up the road with on of Team Exergy's best climbers, absolutely slaying it. I was deep inside the pain cave -- before the climb even started! About halfway up the thing, I'd settled into a rythym alright -- just not quite the same rythym that Cadel Evans settled into as he blazed past me in his big ring. Naturally Cadel was followed by the rest of the field. I tried to lift my pace, but really couldn't. I made it over the climb in one of the last chase groups, and after much gut-busting chasing, we clawed our way back to the peloton. "Nice work Sam," I thought to myself, "you swung the axe, but made it over the climb, and you're going to get to the finish just fine."
Then things get slightly fuzzy. I'm not exactly sure what happened; all I know is that I had an upset stomach, and then about fifteen miles later, I was breathing about 40% harder than anyone else around me. Every roller, every slight crosswind, every surge threw me straight to the back of the field. Like a doctor who realizes that despite his best efforts, his patient will certainly die, I realized: I am getting dropped. It was only a matter of time, but it was utterly unpreventable. I didn't know which roller would be undoing, but I knew it was coming up.
|Click this photo to see exactly what my face looked like for the last two hours of the race.|
And up it came, roughly 40 miles from the finish, a small, unmarked and nondescript roller. The field surged. I didn't. After fluttering through the caravan for a few miles, eventually I was dropped for good. Now my task was clear: make the time cut. For almost two hours, I died a thousand deaths, all by myself, my own private little hell. I fought and clawed and huffed and puffed, feeling as powerless and frustrated as a lion in the circus. Why am I here!? I know I'm capable of so much more than this! It was just me and the broom wagon, for miles and miles. My mind filled with all sorts of the nastiest thoughts imaginable: I SUCK! I'M AN IDIOT! I SWUNG THE AXE OUT OF MY HANDS AGAIN? I HATE CYCLING! I HAT COLORADO! CAN'T I JUST QUIT? Eventually I rallied, my body finally able to convert the sugar in Coke into forward momentum (Coke being the only fuel I was able to keep down all day). The thousands of insane fans that lined the course inspired me to dig deep. [note: to the fleshy man in the Borat speedo, thanks a LOT -- I'm going to have nightmares.] I was that guy -- the last guy in the race, battling, not for the stage win, not to protect my team leader, but simply to finish the goddam race. "You can do it! Keep going! Don't stop," they yelled. I didn't stop. I rounded the final corner into Breckenridge, roughly a minute outside the time cut. My race is over.
Thank you Colorado...it was better than good. It was great.
Friday, August 26, 2011
|This could be you!|
Krogg love it when ski resort compete to impress: In Colorado Springs Krogg sleep in nice hotel and eat good food. In Crested Butte, Krogg sleep in really nice hotel, and eat really good food. In Aspen, Krogg stay in full-blown condominium apartment, and eat salmon in basement ballroom. In Vail, Krogg sleep in quaint and charming condominium apartment with killer view, and eat tilapia in ground floor ballroom. At this point things almost out of control! Now Krogg in Steamboat Springs. Krogg sleep in luxurious condominium apartment with killer view, new carpet, and more appliances than Sears. Krogg eat Colorado trout with lemon sauce in second floor ballroom with old-timey country band playing to entertain.
WHAT GOING ON? THIS HEAVEN? Krogg wouldn't be surprised. At this rate, tomorrow in Breckenridge Krogg eat sushi while watching Cirque de Soliel, and on Sunday in Denver Krogg eat endangered shark fin while watching Radiohead. Here photo proof:
|Krogg sized bed!|
|Nice view of ski mountain.|
|Dining room in hotel room? CRAZY!|
|Krogg never see this sign in hotel, ever.|
|Try the trout -- it delicious.|
|Sky flowers? For us?|
|One big happy cyclist family.|
|Glorious breakfast buffet.|
|Krogg can't wait to see what Steamboat Springs make for breakfast.|
|Krogg need pinch: this dream?|
Thursday, August 25, 2011
Wednesday, August 24, 2011
Here are some sweet spots:
ANDRES MADE A SCHLECK SANDWICH! And it was a MUCH better crafted one than I made. Here's Andres and the Schlecks going over the top of Independence Pass.
I WAS IN A BREAKAWAY WITH JENS VOIGT! I couldn't believe my eyes, but old Jensy and I (and about 12 others) spent a few minutes off the front during the first part of the race. Jens would have eaten me for lunch in that breakaway if it had stuck, but regardless...it was fun.
I TOOK A FEED FROM THE CAR GOING 50 MPH! There's nothing like it. Picture this, you're basically switching back and forth between stuffing your shirt with water bottles, and -- OH SHIT GET YOUR HANDS BACK ON THE BRAKES HERE COMES A CURVE.
THOSE PASSES WERE AWESOME. I didn't really get the full appreciation of the view, but dang, what a cool place to have a race.
CARLOS PULLED THE PIN (and I joined him). The last ~40 miles of my race were pretty calm. Carlos was feeling less than stellar, and wanted to save his energy for the stages he can win. So, at the base of Independence Pass, he slid off the back. Kai and I slid off with him, and proceeded to set a nice, easy pace for him all the way to the finish. Piano. Molto piano.
Lastly, and on a somewhat unrelated note, my former teammate Steve Fisher made a video teasing me, and my tendency to coax snakes off the road. Here you go:
I AM TIRED. Goodnight.
Tuesday, August 23, 2011
- I MADE A SCHLECK SANDWICH! The brothers Schleck were riding next to each other, and I carefully moved in between them. Mission accomplished, I thought to myself.
- CADEL MADE A JOKE! As we passed by the sign that read ENTERING CHAFFEE COUNTY, I heard Cadel say "I hope everyone remembered their chamois cream -- I hear this county is Chaffee!"
- LEVI PEED ON ME! His etiquette was fine -- he was all the way over at the side of the road, and he was extremely tidy. The winds, however, turned his stream into a fine aerosol mist -- some of which hit me. It's bike racing folks, and it's got some gross bits. EEEEEEW.
- BASSO WINKED AT ME! I nodded to him at dinner, and he winked back.
- Kai, Slack and I polished off that breakaway, and tried to lead out Carlos and Freddy. SMASH!
- Manual For Speed threw up some sweet photos on their facebook page. I COMMAND THEE TO SCOPE THEM AT ONCE!
Prologue finish line
Why are you so far away?
This last K shall suck.
Perched on a cooler
I can wince and drool -- that's it
Lungs like fire, on fire
Sleep avoided me
Tossed and turned and coughed til two
I curse you, Red Bull!
Gracious host city, farewell
The forecast calls for
Stage one, time to dance!
Listen up good, lungs
Gird your lions and steel your nerves!
Wait, do lungs have loins?
Monday, August 22, 2011
First up, here's a video that does a pretty effective job of sharing what it's like to win a crit with a crazy last lap attack. Thanks Brad Huff (by the way, who, after watching this awesome footage, still thinks GoPro cameras should be banned?)
Next, check out all the awesome work done for Team Exergy by our sponsor Trademark Signs. My favorites include these:
Sunday, August 21, 2011
The Garden of the Gods is gorgeous. It's like a moonscape, mixed with a coral reef, mixed with this crazy dream I had about being an ant.
|Freddy and Andres behind Jens Voigt and Martin Mortensen.|
|Andres poses in front of the craggy rock spires of Garden of the Gods.|
Saturday, August 20, 2011
|(note: I would have posted a picture of the Space Shuttle waiting on its launchpad, but they've gone the way of the dodo -- this is the future of space flight! Go Space X!)|
These last few days have been uneasy. All the hard work and preparation are done. My bikes are all waiting for me in Colorado. Even my time in the altitude tent has come to an end (I hear it's good to sleep at lower elevations for a night or two before the event to fully top-off on rest and recovery). I'm friggin' ANTSY! Let's get this sucker started! I'm as prepared as I'm going to get. I'm down to race weight. I'm tapered. I'm motivated.
LET THE GAMES BEGIN!!!!
And, mother of all omens, while I was eating Thai food last night, I got this in my fortune cookie:
|No obstacles will stand in your way this coming week.|
Wednesday, August 17, 2011
Just kidding -- I don't have an Air Swimmer. However, here are a few of the essentials required to survive (and even enjoy) your time in an aquarium/altitude tent.
First up, you need an O2 sensor:
This little device tells you what percentage of the air is oxygen. An altitude tent works by condensing oxygen, and then removing it from the air. Normal air has 20.9 percent oxygen (that's regardless of elevation). At higher elevations, the air becomes less concentrated, and thus, you become less able to breathe. By removing some of the oxygen, the altitude tent simulates the amount of oxygen present at high altitudes. Alongside my O2 sensor, I keep an elevation chart:
This chart tells me what elevation my tent is simulating. At 16.7% oxygen, my tent is simulating just under 9000 feet above sea level. The air enters the tent through a 1-inch clear plastic tube (I forgot to take a close-up of the tube, but it totally adds to the science-experiment quality of the setup).
The tent is designed to be air tight, so aside from the gentle puffs of oxygen depleted air entering through the tube, there's not a lot of air-flow. It can get stuffy and hot. This leads me to another crucial piece of equipment: a fan!
The fan pushes air around the tent, and since the tent tends to heat up, provides me a way to stay cool when I'm trying to sleep. Once the tent is full of low-O2 air, I can open up a vent or two to maximize the air flow. There are lots of vents like this one:
Getting the tent tuned so that it stays at a steady elevation throughout the night took some practice. On more than one occasion, I went to sleep at a nice and practical elevation of ~7000 feet, only to wake up several hours later feeling like I was breathing through a straw, the elevation having risen to upwards of 10,000 feet.
The last important thing I take into the tent with me is a good book to read (right now Meriwether Lewis and William Clark are about to steak out their winter camp near the Mandan Indian tribe in the winter of 1804 in Undaunted Courage), and a water bottle. My mouth tends to dry up, and it's nice to get a drink without having to leave the tent and let all that richly oxygenated air inside.
Monday, August 15, 2011
Ivan Basso! Friggin two-time Giro winner! Tour podium finisher!
Jens Voit! Biggest badass in the world! Man who coined the phrase "shut up legs!"
BRING IT ON IVAN AND JENS!!!! KROGG READY!!!
(We start in one week. Gulp).