Friday, February 24, 2012

MY FRIENDS KICK ASS!

TIME TO RECO'NIZE:

I love seeing my friends and family kick ass. Mind you, it makes me a little uncomfortable when they start kicking MY ass, but I guess if I'm going to get my ass kicked, it might as well be someone I know (or even better someone I like) doing the kicking. I'm going to take a moment to acknowledge some of my friends who have been kicking an unusually large amount of ass: 


Name: Drew Lorona 
Type of Ass Kicked: Massive Music Festival
Drew Lorona is one of the founding fathers of the Treefort Music Fest, AKA the biggest music event ever to hit Boise Idaho. Modeled after South by Southwest in Austin, Texas, Treefort is a multi-day, multi-venue music festival that will feature an astounding one-hundred and twenty bands. I am still coming to terms with the size and scope of this festival, and the fact that my friend Drew is making this all happen makes me all the more excited. The first band takes the stage in less than a month -- so if you're from Boise (or even if you're not) check out the line-up and buy yourself some Treefort tickets! 



Name: Vanessa Johnson
Type of Ass Kicked: Drawing

Just take a look at the drawings that my sister has been making. She's been on a tear! I love the simple pen drawings with the words. Be sure to visit her blog at YourTermsOfService.blogspot.com, but here are some of my favorites: 







Name: Kristin Armstrong
Type of Ass Kicked: Bicycle Racing
Kristin Armstrong on her way to victory in stage one of the 2012 Tour of New Zealand
I just wanted to recognize K-Strong for the loud-and-clear statement she is making, as we speak, in New Zealand. Kristin won the opening time trial of the Women's Tour of New Zealand, and has been defending her jersey quite admirably. If (ahem) beating all the other women in the world isn't a good way of convincing the US Olympic committee that Kristen is the right pick for the 2012 Olympic team, then I don't know what is. Hang on to that Jersey Kristin! 





Name: Adrian Hegyvary
Type of Ass Kicked: Bicycle Racing

Adrian just placed inside the top 20 at the Tour of Langkawi. Can you say bawh-luh?? However, I love pointing out that everybody, even the most accomplished racers, had to start somewhere. So, instead of putting up a picture of Adrian crushing a TT for his pro-continental cycling team, I'm going to put up a photo of the Adrian I remember from the old days. Hagens Berman, circa 2007. Style? We had it. Rhythm? Had that too. The only thing we lacked were some ladiez to show off our moves. 

That would be Nick Clayville, Ulrich DeYoung, Kiel Reijnin (Team Type 1), and the one and only Adrian Hegyvary (United Healthcare Pro Cycling Team) showing us how to DANCE. 

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

These Robots Simply Cannot Be Ignored

Look people, we ignore these robots at our peril. I mean, first they could roll, then they could walk -- but now they friggin' strut! Just look:



Just look at that robot walk! It looks prouder than a rooster. It's got that "I'll soon be ruling this silly planet with an iron fist (literally!)" swagger. I can almost hear the BeeGee's in the background singing "Stayin' Alive" -- as in robots stayin' alive while we become their servants.

Also, while this next video is much (much much) more boring, it's also pretty cool. It shows a technique for how complicated robots could be easily mass-produced. So if you thought a swarm of 20 quad-rotor drones was scary, wait 'til you see a cloud of robot locusts so vast it blocks out the sun. My advice, just skip to 2:45, and see the finished bee robot emerge from a flat sheet of metal and plastic.




Monday, February 20, 2012

Training Camp is Over

If there's one thing bike racers are good at, it's finishing hard. It's not uncommon for the final hour of a race to be the hardest effort of the day. We know how to grit our teeth and push it all the way to the line, leaving it all out there on the road. The same can be said about how Team Exergy finished up this week's training camp. Friday's ride was a monster: we covered something like 112 miles, and climbed nearly 12,000 feet. Throw in several major efforts in there, and you've got a recipe for an exertion that should almost rival the most intense racing we're likely to see this year. Here's the garmin file from that day. My numbers are a little short because I accidentally switched off the timer on my Garmin whilst tucking down a descent, and didn't notice what I'd done for several miles.

Friday night we held our final team meeting. There's something magical about being right on the cusp of the racing season. Everyone is in shape. The team is strong. We're hungry, we're ready, and we're in it together. We also recognized that aside from one, possibly two other occasions, we're unlikely to all be in the same room at the same time. Training camp is what sets the tone for the whole team for the year.

On Saturday, our final full day of camp, we held our annual driveway time trial. For three minutes and change, we clobbered our way up a half-mile stretch of pavement so steep, there were pitches where I was honestly worried about falling backwards off my bike (my front wheel kept popping off the road if I wasn't careful). Average grade: 16.7%. Max grade: 31.5%  (which, were it to ever snow in Ventura, would make that stretch of road an avalanche danger). It's amazing the damage an all-out effort that brief can do to a set of lungs and legs. The previous day's big ride, while on a deeper level depleted me more, was nowhere near as painful. I'm sure there will be some internet content about the driveway TT coming soon -- Manual for Speed was there after all -- but here's a photo of the wreckage after the ride. Trust me, the looks on our faces doesn't do justice to the feeling in our lungs (however, the unseen little pile of drool I made does).



And finally -- the true kick to the finish occurred Saturday night. In typical Exergy fashion, we dressed to the nines and went out for a night on the town. Tired legs found new strength under the glow of lasers and strobe lights, and the pulse of the DJ's music. Team Exergy absolutely crushes it, no matter the discipline -- be it across the finish line, or across the dance floor.

And thus, training camp 2012 is over. The squad destined for Merco, the team's first race of the season, stayed in Ventura, while the rest of us scattered to the wind. Me, I'm writing this from a coffee shop in my hometown of Boise, Idaho. Back to the cold, back to the wind, back to the grindstone. Another month or so, and I'm off to the races myself.



Update: and for the record, Matt Cooke set a new course record for the Driveway TT with a time of 3:11.  I watched him finish, and he went so fast for the final 30 seconds it made my head spin. Personally, I finished with a 3:29, tied for 5th place.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Rain Rescues Ruined Racers, Rest-day Repose Required

Wednesday was supposed to be,
Another brutal day.
Instead we awoke to see,
Clouds of rain were on their way.

So we bagged the ride,
And went inside,
The coffee shops,
With our laptops.

And upon returning to the nest,
We held our annual pull-up contest,
Our T-rex arms strained,
Several pectorals sprained.

And when the dust had settled down,
Each Exergy man had gave his best,
'Twas Kai Applequist who retained his crown,
And did more pull-ups than the rest.

Congrats Kai!

Here's the podium from the pull-up contest:


Owly Images

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Day 4: Fatigue Sets In

Team Exergy, training camp, morning, day 5.

The racers don't move nearly as quickly as they did earlier in the week. Everyone's legs are stiff. Everyone's body is tired. Most of the racers are wearing SpiderTech somewhere on their bodies. Last night's massages helped then recover. As did last night's spectacular dinner of quiches, vegetables, salads, and quinoa:

But the last three days have been busy: ~16 hours of riding, ~20,000 feet of climbing, ~280 miles. The fatigue is showing. There was a near-mutiny this morning when, to their horror, the racers discovered the coffee bean reserves were running low, nearly out. Some of them got their morning quad-shot. Some of them didn't. Management had to step in.

Training camp can test a team's management in a myriad of ways. Sometimes the follow-car runs over a screw and is forced to make an emergency trip to the tire store (leaving the team without wheel support for the final fifteen miles of the ride home). Sometimes the team runs out of coffee. Both situations require immediate action from the management.

Today the group splits in half. Sprint lead-outs must be practiced. One squad, the ones destined for the front-lines of the Merco Classic on March 1st, will launch their sprinters into orbit time and again, until the delivery is perfect. The others, the second-wave, will do laps up Gimes Canyon until their legs go weak.

It's another gorgeous day at training camp.




Here's yesterday's ride. Average speeds were low, as several lengthy stops were required so that Brian Hodes of Veloimages could take photographs. Such is the price of being on a pro cycling team. Preparation must be mixed with propaganda.


Tuesday, February 14, 2012

BIG RIDE SMASH KROGG!!!!


Krogg enjoy day three of training camp. Big ride, big climb, big wind! Six hours on bike (5:35 riding time) make for tired caveman. Here Krogg supplies for day: 



Freddie make gigantic feed bag for today's ride. Krogg curious, so Krogg put feed bag on scale: 3.5 lbs of feed (notice whole mango, 5 tortilla wraps, and huge bag of leftover rice)! Fast Freddie eat like champion caveman!








Here team taking brief pause to reload fuel supplies from car:



Here Krogg ride. Gibraltar mountain very very big, and Team Exergy only climb halfway up...but trust Krogg -- halfway up plenty of hard climbing (considering windy ~50 miles of riding beforehand). 



Monday, February 13, 2012

Day 2: The Real Riding Begins

Yesterday was our first proper ride of training camp. We were instructed to take it easy, and use the day to verify that all the equipment was functional. We rode four hours, covered eighty miles, and climbed 4,600 feet. We returned home to an impressive taco bar, and massages from our soigneurs. Here's some details from my ride:


Today should be a much bigger test. At the team meeting last night, I believe Tad's words were something along the lines of: "Hard bike riding tomorrow boys. I want you boys to really push each other, and your equipment, ok?" We are climbing the famed Gibraltar Mountain outside Santa Barbara -- a fantastic ride I did last year as well. You can read Krogg's account of conquering Gibraltar here. 

Saturday, February 11, 2012

TRAINING CAAAAAAAMP!

So training camp is in full swing down here in Ventura, CA. Today was all about preparation: we were introduced to our fabulous new training bikes (which weigh in at a downright chunky 15.7 lbs.), and spent most of the morning adjusting our fits with the expert help of the one and only Tom Coleman of WN Precision. Then we hit the road for the first time as a new squad, a leisurely two-hour cruise, just to make sure the bikes work well and the fits feel good.
pic.twitter.com/mla8jvWC
Our 2012 Felt FC training bikes.  


We are staying, as we were last year, in the lovely home of some of Exergy's biggest supporters: John and Terri Ferro. Their house is large enough to accommodate all sixteen members of our roster (the staff stays elsewhere), and they themselves are tolerant enough to live right in the eye of the hurricane that is Team Exergy (in fact, if I didn't know any better, I'd say they kind of like it -- at least for one week per year).

For the next eight days, my life is downright plush. My responsibilities include: eat a lot of delicious food, spend a generous amount of time hanging out with my teammates (I'm sharing a room with Serghei Tvetcov, a man who deserves a whole post of his own), get a daily massage from our fantastic sougneurs, and last but not least, go clobber myself to pieces on my bike -- hopefully not literally.

Here are some pictures from my day:

Last night's sunset. Temperature: ~70 degrees. 

A hazy morning gave way to bright sun in the afternoon. 

Matt can't decide which hat he wants...so he tries to take them all.  Quinn watches, unimpressed. 

Ben teaches Serghei and John how to make his secret "gluten-free,  rice-free, sugar-free, soy-free, dairy-free, flavor-free, fun-free,  laughter-free, and happiness-free energy bars." Just kidding Ben. I know they taste awesome. And they're better for you. 

Man? Myth? Legend? All of the above. Meet Serghei Tvetcov. 

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Things You Should Know

There are many things you should know. Among them, the following:

Cycling Bloggers Blog Blog-posts on their Blogs:

Indeed, Lang Reynolds has some exciting news about his upcoming move to Germany to race for Team Roadsigns-Brothers Bikes. It's going to be a year full of big changes for Lang -- learning to say "hey girl" in German isn't going to be easy.

Kennett Peterson does a fine job of introducing his readers to the new and improved Hagens Berman squad. It's going to be an exciting year for my alma mater, and Kennett's Moby-Dick-length blog posts should be there to guide you through the year.

Lastly, my current teammate Ben Chaddock has been very productive over on his blog. Ben is leaner than I've ever seen him, and he's had a really steady winter of training. I can't wait to see what Mighty Mouse is capable of this year.


NEXT THING YOU SHOULD KNOW:

We are sending a totally badass robot, the Curiosity, to Mars. It's armed with some really cool sciency tools, and some really awesome cameras. It will explore the surface (and beneath the surface) of the Red planet, searching for signs of life, water, aliens, gnomes, chocolate geysers -- whatever's out there. Here's how the bloody contraption will land:



...aaaand here's how it will probably die (just like the Spirit rover died):
Click to enlarge.


LAST THING YOU SHOULD KNOW (ever. In your life.):

Manual For Speed just hit out with their Philly write-up. Some phine photos from Philly, if I say so myselph. Here's a good'un:


Wednesday, February 8, 2012

It's Happening Again

There's this point, as the date of my departure for a race (or a training camp in the case) draws near, where I instinctively start to prepare. Without realizing it. Without really meaning to (that's what instinctively means, right?). But nevertheless, my mind starts to get ready, and thus, in some ways, my apartment does to. I wash all my laundry (so that I'm sure to have clean Exergy branded clothing once I need to pack). I return all my library books (so I don't have to pay that dastardly ten-cents-per-day late-fee). And, most importantly, I stop buying food. This latter response, nearly unconscious, has probably the largest impact on my life. I realize that hey -- I am leaving for Ventura in two days! If I were to say, go buy milk and cereal, I probably wouldn't eat it all before I leave. The odds that said milk would go rancid whilst I'm away is slim -- and yet I fear. This trip is a mere ten days. The one after this will be for a whole month. And thus, I do not buy. Experience, AKA old age, AKA being really set in my ways has taught me to prepare for this scenario by stocking canned milk in my larder. I always keep a few cans handy for when the times get tough or the living gets lean -- what was I, born during the great depression? However, my desire to consume all my food before it spoils is deeply rooted, and unjostleable. So canned milk it shall be with my cereal. Until I'm out of cereal. At which point it shall be toast. Until I'm out of toast. And then eggs, and tortillas, and so on.

It's happening again. And I love it. Let's go training camp -- my fridge is empty.


Canned milk.
Empty cereal cupboard. 



Sunday, February 5, 2012

OMG ROBOTS ARE GETTING NUTS!

So it's the super bowl and all, but I'm much more fascinated by the fact that -- OMG ROBOTS WILL KILL US ALL! I mean, this has been a common theme here at GliderBison, but just look at the progress being made by our soon-to-be robot overlords:



Yeah -- imagine a swarm of those suckers flying through your window...with lasers!