Monday, February 16, 2009

Amgen Tour of BLAH BLAH -- GO KIEL!

This year's Tour of California is different. In years past, I've known guys who are in the race. Some of them I've known quite well. Last year when Scott Nydam won the climbers jersey, or when Tom Zirbel nearly won stage 7, I was so psyched for them! I remember Scott and Tom from the early days of their racing, back in 2005 when they lived in Colorado and raced for Sports Garage. They would drive south and poach New Mexico races. I'll never forget that time I TOTALLY CRUSHED SCOTT in a 5-up sprint in the Tres Piedras to Tierra Amarilla road race (66 miles, 7,570' of climbing, average elevation: 9,500') -- BET THAT ONE STILL STINGS A BIT, EH SCOTTY???

But I digress.

I know Scott, and I'm really happy for his success, but he's always been more or less of a acquaintence (albeit a good one) than a friend.

Kiel Reijnen on the other hand, is a friend. Two years ago, Kiel was my teammate, slugging it out with us in the amateur ranks on Hagens Berman. Last year he made a lateral step to Waste Management cycling team, but he improved dramatically, and earned himself a spot on the Jelly Belly pro cycling team before the year was out. Now Kiel is out there in California, rubbing elbows with Lance Armstrong. He'll be time trialing against world TT champs Michael Rogers, and Fabian Cancellara. He'll be trying to lead out Brad Huff against the world's best sprinters, guys like Tom Boonen, Oscar Freire, and Mark Cavendish. He'll be fighting for wheels with Oscar Sevilla, Floyd Landis, Francisco Macebo, Tyler Hamilton, and ALLLLLLLLL those other convicted dopers back in the sport, racing on domestic teams (instead of new young guys like me!).
Kiel, I salute you, and I wish you a fantastic Tour of California. Congratulations Little Monster.

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