Thursday, April 30, 2009


Sure, he may have pulled the previous 80 miles with Chris Horner, (nearly) single-handily shelling half the field and bringing back the breakaway. Sure, we were nowhere near winning the stage, but were assured the same time as the winner (thus eliminating the need, and drastically reducing the point of sprinting our guts out). Sure, I had to dig into the deepest darkest corners of my pain cave in order to do so, but the fact remains -- I beat Lance Armstrong in a race today. That's right: I finished 25th, and Lance was 27th. Now as most of you know, unless you're inside the top ten, finishing ahead of someone in a bunch sprint is pretty much a non-achievement. It's like nearly winning the lottery: sure you beat a bunch of people -- but you didn't win, and winning's the point. 

Except not this time. This time, probably the only time in my life, I beat the big guy -- my lotto ticket was a few numbers closer to winning than his was, and that's good enough for me. Maybe I didn't pass him in the TT, or drop him on a climb, and I doubt Lance will have nightmares about me coming around him in the final kilometer of our race, but nevertheless, I'll take it. So will Lance. 

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Krogg Wish He Had More Axe to Swing

Krogg love Tour of the Gila. This classic race, no matter how bad Krogg get hosed on final climb. Results posted here, but Krogg suggest you start looking from the bottom of page instead of top. Anyway, race start like normal: official man stand in front with megaphone and explain rules, Krogg chit-chat with other racers, everyone starts pedaling.

Everything normal. Or so Kroggg thought. A few minutes into race, Krogg see Mellow Johnny's racer who look a lot like Levi Leipheimer. Krogg think it coincidence and think nothing of it. Then Krogg see Mellow Johnny's racer who look a lot like Chris Horner. At this point, Krogg rub eyes in disbelief -- Krogg suffering heat stroke? Then Krogg see Mellow Johnny's racer who look a lot like Lance Armstrong, and Krogg shit his ever-loving caveman bibshorts! Krogg worried to ride near Lance at first -- what if Krogg cause crash and hurt famous cycling legend? What if Lance get angry and decide to smite poor lowely caveman by summoning lightning bolts from his fingertips like Emperor in Star Wars???? These things preoccupy Krogg for a while, then realize Lance just another guy on a bike. Krogg get over it and worry about his own race.

First thirty miles Krogg pretty content to chill out and stay out of trouble -- strong headwind make race stay together. Krogg reeeeeeelly want to swing battle axe and attack, but experience taught him better. "Those racers who attack now wasting bullets" Krogg think to himself. Eventually race reach hilly circuits however, and this time, Krogg cannot resist caveman itch: Krogg attack a few times, but sure to keep good grip on axe. After a couple of trys, (and despite being physically able to keep swinging), Krogg realize this long week of racing, and holstered that shit for the rest of the race. Krogg amazed with self restraint.

Things go pretty good until base of climb. Krogg climb bottom part of Mogollon Mountain worse than mastodon climb tree. Krogg kind of surprised by how hard he get dropped -- didn't he do ok here two years ago? Well about halfway up climb, someone alert to Krogg that rear break is rubbing. Krogg look down at rear wheel and see that--WHAT THE--KROGG HAVE BROKEN SPOKE?? WHEEL RUBBING BOTH SIDES OF BREAK AND KROGG NOT EVEN NOTICE? AWH FUCK YOU GOTTA BE KIDDING ME!!! CHRIST ALMIGHTY--HOW LONG HAVE I BEEN RIDING LIKE THIS!!! Krogg pull over and beg last car in caravan for spare wheel. Fuck. Krogg's race over. Krogg really really really REALLY REALLY un-fucking-amused. Krogg finish race ten minutes down (keep in mind Krogg was with front group at base of climb with five miles to go -- that's two minutes per mile that Levi put into Krogg for caveman readers who can't divide). Honestly, Krogg didn't think he had good legs on climb anyway; however, broken spoke serves as convenient excuse. See? Like this: "Krogg rode 90 miles with broken spoke and rubbing wheel. Krogg probably would have gotten second to Levi if he hadn't had such bad luck. Second by a tire-width in photo finish too. Stupid spoke."

Regardless of my misfortune, I had a wonderful day. I basked in the New Mexican scenery, really enjoyed gawking at the star-studded field, and final climb aside, everything went well -- come to think of it, keeping the battle axe firmly in my hands feels kind of good. I'm bummed I'm hosed for GC, sure, but at least time time my sucking wasn't due to my own stupidity.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009


Well put me in a dress and call me Susan -- it looks like I was wrong. Lance Armstrong decided he is going to race the Tour of the Gila after all. Now don't I look silly for taunting the man. The chances that Lance is a regular down here at are slim, so it's unlikely that he caught wind of my taunt, but just in case, I'd better apologize publicly:

Dear Lance,
I'm sorry that I called you a sissy. You are not actually a sissy, but in fact, the polar opposite of a sissy. Also, I doubt you're afraid of me (and if you are, it's not because of how I pedal a bike). I'm sorry that I made up all that stuff in my last post -- I was only kidding. To be honest, I'm slightly afraid of you; you're not a good guy to piss off, and I know that.

Honestly, I'm also reallyexcited to be in the same race as you; this is something I never thought would happen, so it's kind of hard to believe. In many ways you're the reason I'm here; if you hadn't won the Tour de France seven times, I doubt I would have found bicycle racing in college, devoted my life to cycling, or had dreams about *ahem* kicking your ass in a time trial and dropping you on all the hills (I have crazy dreams, I know!). Anyway, I hope there are no hard feelings, and that you and your Astana guys -- I mean Mellow Johnny's guys take it easy on me.


P.S. we have a pretty sweet home stay, so if you want to come over for dinner, we'll totally cook you and Levi pasta. Not Horner though -- I've seen that guy eat -- no manners at all with that guy.

Monday, April 27, 2009


Citing an antiquated and unenforceable UCI rule, Lance Armstrong has decided to tuck-tail and withdraw his entry from this year's Tour of the Gila, an Armstrong spokesman said today. While the UCI technicality provides a convenient excuse, several sources close to Armstrong, including teammate Chris Horner confirm that Armstrong's withdrawal was due to the fact that he's a total sissy, and is scared shitless of racing against Hagens Berman racer Sam Johnson. Apparently Johnson's last-minute decision to race the Tour of the Gila has been the source of endless anxiety for Armstrong and his Astana teammates.  "Yeah, we were all psyched to go down [to the Tour of the Gila], but once we heard Johnson was gunna be there, we were like FUCK. Lance was totally freaking out -- hew as all 'Chris, we HAVE to find a way out out of that race while still saving face' -- thank god for UCI regulation 2.1.009, ya know?" Horner said. Apparently Armstrong was having nightmares, and hadn't had a full night's sleep ever since Johnson officially registered for the race, as evidenced by his middle-of-the-night posts to his Twitter account: 

Can't sleep again. Close my eyes and all I see is tall Hagens Berman rider passing me in the Gila TT. 
Posted 3:15 AM Apr 23rd from Twitter Berry

Another sleepless night filled with terrifying curly haired Hagens racer. Why God, this curse? 
Posted 4:55 AM Apr 25th from web

Sam Johnson, an amateur cyclist who was greatly looking forward to getting to compete against the seven time tour winner, was disappointed by the news. "Honestly I'm bummed -- I was really looking forward to seeing the guy! Racing against Lance? C'mon! That's like a dream! That's like playing basketball against of Michael Jordan!" Johnson said. 

Officials at the UCI were, surprisingly, available for comment: "Lance can do what he wants -- we don't give a flying fuck about cycling in the USA -- in fact we fully support anything that increases Armstrong's chances of injury before the Tour de France." 

Armstrong himself was too busy updating his Twitter account for comment. 

P.S. Lance, and the rest of you Astana guys -- if you change your mind, and DO end up coming to the Tour of the Gila -- please don't crash me out. I'm only joking Lance; I know you're not actually a sissy. 

Saturday, April 25, 2009



Logistics Marathon Over!

Well we're in Santa Fe, and I can't say I've ever been more relieved to be home -- even if that home isn't actually mine. When we decided to point our car South, driving twenty-some hours to the Tour of the Gila (instead of a mere six hours to the Tour of Willamette), we had none of our ducks in a row; we didn't know where we were going to stay the next night, let alone the following two weeks! However, once I know what I want, uncertainty regarding the steps I must take has never prevented me from lurching impulsively towards of my desires. In fact, when it comes to ambitious undertakings, I've found that it's best to wedge yourself into a situation where the cost of failure is greater than the cost of success (i.e. registering for the race and starting the drive without knowing whether or not we'll find free housing). It's called "kicking out the ladder;" it's cheesy and ripped off from a Honda commercial, but fitting. 

The Tour of Willamette was cancelled Tuesday, but thanks to a hang-up regarding registration in the Pro-1 field (they were full until Rock Racing pulled out), it wasn't until the following morning that I was able to secure entry into the Tour of the Gila. So on Wednesday we registered for the race, and found a spot to sleep in Boise, Idaho (four hours closer to New Mexico!), thus committing ourselves to the trip, and lighting a fire under my ass especially to get everything else arranged. I cast my net far and wide, calling basically everyone I knew who might know someone who knew someone who'd let us stay with them. We hung out in Boise Thursday, nabbing a delightful ride through some of my classic training grounds from last year, and found a spot in Durango, Colorado for the next night. On Friday we drove most of the day, arriving in Durango around 8PM at the house of Troy Wells (famed cyclocross/mountain bike racer). We didn't know Troy that well, but he's a cyclist, and no doubt has spent many a grateful night sleeping on near-strangers' floors or couches while traveling to a race. We were grateful Troy extended us the same hospitality. Troy and his housemates were gracious hosts, treating us to a guided tour of the Durango bar scene that night, and pointing us towards the local group ride the following morning, where we were treated to a royal ass whooping, courtesy of Anthony Colby (Colavita) and Ben Kneller (Ciclismo, formerly Jittery Joe's). 

While in Durango, the fruits of my net-casting ripened, and our housing for the remainder of the trip slid into place like a fresh cleat sliding into a new pedal. Now we're in Santa Fe, where we shall remain until Tuesday morning. We've got a homestay in Silver City. Everyone is relieved. 

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Dropping The "L-Bomb"

Ok....I can't hold it back any longer. Now that the gears have been put irreversibly into motion, thrusting us headlong towards Silver City to compete in the 23rd annual Tour of the Gila -- I just gotta spill the beans:

There are rumors floating around certain clandestine cycling circles that this year's Tour of the Gila might have some high-profile participants. Some very high profile participants. Catch my drift? Yes that's right, I'm talking about the man himself. The head-honcho. The mack-daddy. I'm talking about the Boss.

It's true: in less than one week from today, I'll be lining up to race against none other than Bruce-fucking-Springsteen. While most people are familiar with The Boss for his incredible career as a singer/songwriter, Springsteen was actually a pretty good Cat 3 cyclist in his late teens and early twenties. He has secretly been planning a comeback to competitive racing for years now, and as I'm sure will soon be shared with the greater public, has decided to make the SRAM Tour of the Gila his first bicycle race in nearly forty years. For some strange reason, race organizers have granted Springsteen "honorary category one" status (apparently doing so increases the race's marketability), so he'll be out there in spandex, pedaling down the roads of Southeast New Mexico just like me.

Honestly, this is going to be a great honor. Bruce Springsteen is one of the reasons I started cycling in the first place; for some reason I always thought his song "Born to Run" was actually "Born to Ride" and assumed it was about bikes. I'm extremely excited to see if I've got what it takes to kick his sixty year old ass. I'm pretty sure I do, but then again, he's really fit for a sexagenarian -- I mean look at the guy -- he's the friggin' Boss!

Actually, the guy I'm really worried about is a little younger, has zero Billboard top 40 hits to his name, but half as many testicles as The Boss (note: assumption). Boo yeah. Bomb dropped.

P.S. I'm still looking for Silver City housing.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Logistics Update:

Here's how flying by the seat of our pants is going:
  • Housing in Boise tonight? CHECK
  • Housing in Salt Lake or Durango tomorrow night or the night after? SORT-OF CHECK
  • Housing in Santa Fe for Saturday, Sunday, and Monday? UN-CHECK, STILL LOOKING, BUT GOOD IDEAS
  • Soigneur? HUGE CHECK (two of us convinced our girlfriends to fly down and join us!)



This weekend's Tour of Willamette (which was shaping up to be a great race) has been unfortunately canceled. In its stead, we are pointing our car South instead of West, and going to Silver City, New Mexico to race in the Tour of the Gila! I can't quite believe it, because there's so little time to arrange everything, but I just registered! I'm in the race! We're GOING!

Seriously, if anyone has ideas for us for housing or for a soigneur, I'm all ears.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Silver City, New Mexico?

Do any of my blog readers out there know of someone in Silver City, New Mexico who might be willing to host 3 cyclists and one soigneur (that would be 4 people total) next week? I "have a friend" who might be interested in doing the Tour of the Gila, and since his plans are coming together a little late, needs help.

Also -- is anyone interested in being a soigneur for 5 days in Silver City for the tour of the Gila? We're looking for -- I mean "my friend" is looking for that person too!

In Celebration of Collegiate Racing

I've never been prouder of the Whitman Cycling team than I am after this weekend. The team pulled off amazing results in nearly every category. Check here for updates soon.

While the current team is infinitely more organized, much better run, and honestly, a lot better at racing than we ever were, I feel like this has aged well, and still taps into the heart of what makes collegiate racing so special:

Born to Ride from Aaron Mandel on Vimeo.

Oh The Mighty and Glorious Tour of Walla Walla, How I Love You....

What a wonderful race. Tour of Walla Walla, once again, you do me just right. Here's the skinny:

Stage 1:

The Kellogg Hollow road race involved two loops around a hilly, windy, 30-some mile course. It's a rough way to race 60 miles, and it makes for a much more interesting race than the previous 3-stage version of the Tour of Walla Walla. For the most part, the race is just about being in good position: out of the wind, towards the front. Things got strung out so many times, being in a bad part of the back could really cost you; ultimately things came down to a bunch sprint, but only fifty guys finished in the front group (out of nearly 120 starters). The race went ok for us for the most part -- we had some bad luck, but recovered from it nicely. As we crested the KOM climb on the first lap, Nick and I made the little split that happened. Nick went with one of the accelerations put in by a Red Truck rider over the top, only to somehow dislodge his water bottle from its cage, and send it into the spokes of his rear wheel. His wheel came to a complete halt, and he promptly skidded clean through his tire, flatting his brand new, $75 tubular. Not only that, he did so when the wheel cars couldn't have been further back (things were strung out into the base of the climb, and got really stung out over the top), so we had Chris Daifuku sacrifice his wheel so Nick could continue, a noble gesture for sure. Nick eventually made it back up to the front group, but Chris, sadly, had to wait for minutes before the caravan got to him, and never reconnected to the group.

I went off the front with maybe 15 k left to go, and ended up getting bridged to by two Red Truck riders (including last year's winner Rob Britton). They were looking a lot fresher than I, so I was extremely relieved when the field chased us down inside 4 k to go and it turned into a pack sprint.

Stage 2

The Russell Creek time trial was a cool course! Nearly two miles longer, and including a much wider variety of terrain, the Russell Creek TT was an excellent upgrade from previous years. It took advantage of one of the best short loops in Walla Walla, one that I've done dozens of times throughout my years at Whitman. It was a tricky course, and despite knowing the roads like the back of my hand, I still didn't nail the pacing of it -- I think I went a little too hard over the crest of the climb, and didn't have quite enough left in the tank for a strong finish. I got 5th in the TT, behind my teammates Nick Clayville in 4th (who is riding his time trials several notches better than he ever has, kudos Nick!), and our Hunky Hungarian Adrian Hegyvary who got 2nd. None of us could unseat Rob Britton, last year's (deserving) winner, however, who beat Adrian by a scant 8 second.

Stage 3:

Walla Walla Downtown Crit started at dusk, and lasted for 50 minutes, into the dark. There were maybe 6 additional flood lights set up at certain corners, but the course was huge (1.1 miles), so it was mostly unlit or poorly lit. Night time crit racing is a whole different animal: you feel like you're going really really fast (even though we only averaged something like 27); the flood lights cast huge shadows of the racers, and I kept thinking they were other guys trying to come around me (I closed the door on my shadow at least once per lap); and the drastically changing light conditions make cornering "tricky" to put it lightly -- I often found myself forcing my eyes to focus past my brightly lit forground into the darkness of the road ahead. It was really fun, albeit a tad sketchy. The Red Truck team rode at the front for the entire race, keeping things steady, and setting up Adrian for two prime wins worth two seconds each. He slashed his deficit to the race leader in half, from 8 seconds to 4. We didn't set up terribly well for the final sprint, but thankfully, nobody went down in the crash that took place on the final corner of the final lap. Several guys went down, including race leader Rob Britton, who lost a lot of skin, and supposedly totaled his bike, but was ok enough to start the next day, much to our relief: nothing strips the glory of a stage race victory faster than having the leader (and former winner) crash out with one stage remaining.

Stage 4:
The Waitsburg Road Race is long, and hilly. It's possible to conserve a lot of energy, and have a relatively easy 98 miles, because for the most part, this stage becomes a tactical battle between the stronger teams. If you're so inclined, you can just hide from the wind the whole time, and you're more likely than not to hit that final climb with the main group. However, if you're racing to win the whole enchilada, instead of just keeping your GC spot, you're more likely to have a brutally hard 98 miles. Like last year, Red Truck held the lead, but this time we were closer (Adrian only 4 seconds back), and had more cards to play (2nd, 3rd, and 4th in GC). We tried hard, but honestly, we were just outraced. Red Truck did a great job controlling things -- they pretty much always had guys where they wanted them (either up the road, or in the field keeping Britton safe), while we were forced to react more than I would have liked. Our plan was to have Nick and me put pressure on Britton, while keeping Adrian rested enough to drop him on the final climb by 4 seconds. Ultimately, we did chip away at Britton's armor enough that he was forced to take some serious digs that Adrian didn't have to, but when it all came down to it, his team rode too well, we couldn't make him work quite hard enough, and he was just a little too strong for Adrian to get his time back. Oh so close -- I can't remember a closer Tour of Walla Walla: after nearly eight hours of racing spread out over three days and four stages the top fifteen guys in GC were all within a minute of the race leader! I'm pleased. We were able to maintain our GC spots, and win the team GC, despite working pretty damn hard to crack Red Truck. Oh, and Red Truck, my hat is off -- you guys outraced us pretty cleanly this weekend. I'm glad we were able to give you a run for your money, and had the chips fallen differently, we could have cracked ya, but this time, your win is well earned.

Full results can be seen here.
Pictures of all the stages are here.

Ok, there ya go -- a Glider Bison race report from the Tour of Walla Walla.

Speaking of Walla Walla -- we're still here. Yes, that's right, the luscious wheatfields, gorgeous weather, and delightful residents were too much to resist. We're sticking around for a day or two...cuz it's nice here. Real nice.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Walla Walla I Sing To Thee (Again)

Tour of Walla Walla is up next. Get psyched!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

How It Went Down....

Bike racing can be a funny beast -- unpredictable, seemingly nonsensical, and extremely unique. My odds of winning the Brad Lewis Memorial Crit this weekend were not good -- I'd (generously) have given myself one chance in 15, and yet, there I was atop the highest step of the podium on Sunday. To further illuminate what I mean, I'll share with you the writeup I sent out to our team listserve, along with some snippets from my personal inner monologue. Enjoy:

It wasn't a pretty day -- cold, and anywhere from a drizzle to a downpour -- but it was a good day. {We're going to die out here -- this weather would make for a bad day on The Deadliest Catch, let alone good crit weather. I'm an idiot} In attendance: a mere 30 of the region's 1/2's, but a quality field nonetheless. {wow -- look at all these other guys -- we're all idiots. Idiots: what we lack in reasoning, we make up for in numbers} Almost all the heavy hitters were present (the only notable exception being Ian Tubbs), including many of the previous year's winners. We had a solid squad: Lang, AJ, Cooper, Benny, Ross, Steve Fisher, Adrian (fresh off his previous day's victory at volunteer park), and myself. {my team doesn't need me -- I mean Adrian could probably win this race with his eyes closed -- I wonder if they'd notice if I just rode home...} With that small of a field, and 90 minutes on the clock, we knew that a group was likely to break off the front and lap the field; once the right combo of guys went up the road, there would be too few organized (or capable) chasers to pull them back. {ten minutes into the race: ok, time to get in the mix here -- put in an attack -- nope, not letting me go -- cover a move -- nope, that's not going anywhere either -- put in another attack, this time into the final corner -- NEARLY FUCKING CRASH!!! -- yikes that was close, I fishtailed around that corner like an old rear-wheel-drive Nissan pickup (aka my car) on an ice rink} What we didn't expect was that it would take nearly an hour of steady attacking before someone finally got away for good. Groups would form off the front and get tiny gaps, but for whatever reason never got past that breaking point where a single strong dig from someone in the field could pull everything back. {twenty minutes into the race: ouch ouch ouch ouch -- my legs are burning -- I think there's something wrong with my quads -- I can't see a thing -- this is miserable! I'm miserable! what on earth am I doing out here? maybe I should fake a flat tire...} We played our game as usual, taking turns covering moves. We snagged a few primes (including an especially burly 4-lap solo flier by Cooper that won him two primes in a row). {man I can't see a thing -- who is that up there holding off the field for all those primes? it looks like Cooper, but that's -- wait -- it is -- dang Coop you been eatin' your spinach!!!} It wasn't until at least halfway through the race that Adrian got away solo. {it was only a matter of time} He said he had to counter his own move three times to do so (which did a good job splintering the front of the field into several tiny chase groups), but finally he got off the front alone. At first, I was just trying to defend Adrian's move by marking a chaser, {now where do you think you're going?} but ended up sort of surfing up to the front of the race: three times in a row I sat on a guy who took a deep dig to close the gap in front of him, and once he'd gotten me most of the way there, I pounced him and closed the gap. {thank you, come again} Eventually I leapfrogged my way to Ryan Iddings (Lenovo), who was the first guy chasing Adrian. By the time I'd made it up to his wheel, we were pretty far off the front of the pack. I sat on him for a lap or so, but Adrian wasn't too far up the road (15 seconds or so), and I smelled opportunity: if we got up to him, there was a good chance we could take 1st and 2nd. {allright, we're off the front -- now all we have to do is close the gap on Adrian -- shouldn't be too hard -- he's only a few seconds up the road....} If I continued to sit on Iddings, I was willing to bet that he'd fade and go back to the pack, so I pulled through, and worked hard with Iddings to get up to Adrian. Adrian was looking absolutely fantastic -- smooth, powerful, precise. {holy mother of god, we're not putting any time into him at all! I'm cracking here! Adrian, for Pete's sake, look behind you!} I have no doubt that he could have stayed off the front all by himself the remainder of the race, but after looking back and seeing we were coming across, he slowed down enough that we could catch him. {Ok, we're not going to bring him back -- "tell Adrian to SLOW THE FUCK DOWN" maybe he'll get the memo on the next lap and wait for us} I actually dug a little too deep while bridging and had to sit on for a few laps {"I'm gassed -- I've got nothing, I need to sit on for a few" -- wow -- I'm riding like a maniac -- I can't take any of these corners like I'm supposed to -- why is it raining so much harder? -- holy shit these guys are stro--neaRLY FUCKING CRASH AGAIN!!!} fortunately Adrian was feeling good, and Iddings was all too happy to keep pulling his brains out. Mountain bikers -- gotta love 'em. Or at least racing against 'em (no offense Ryan). {I hope this guy realizes he doesn't have to work as hard as he's been working -- maybe he just feels phenomenal -- maybe he just--oh SHIT, COMIN' IN HOT!!!! at this point I miss a corner all together, riding off the course up onto the sidewalk -- SIDEWALK --BUSHES -- TELEPHONE POLE -- SPECTATORS --YIKES......phew....that was close}

With about ten minutes left in the race, we saw the tail end of the pack, and finished lapping the field fairly quickly. {ahhh -- we're closing in -- perfect, Iddings is pulling -- wait for it -- waaaait for it -- ok he's pulling off - POUNCE -- sweet, I'm going to make it -- sorry Ryan} As soon as I made contact, I went straight to the front of the peloton, gathering as many teammates as I could on the way -- Morgan Schmitt, last year's winner was stuck in no-man's land, and I did NOT want him to reconnect with the group, so for the final four or five laps we whipped up the pace. {"ALLRIGHT HAGENS, EVERYONE TO THE FRONT, PUT YOUR BACKS INTO IT!"} Lang took us from 4 laps to 2 laps to go all by himself -- I could hardly hold his wheel. {ouch ouch ouch ouch ouch} With two laps to go, they rang the prime lap bell, and Cooper, despite busting a spoke mid-sprint, won that gamblers prime with ease. On the last lap, I just marked Iddings until a good moment on the back side of the course.
{Iddings looks tired -- I feel awful, but now's the time -- I need a big gap since I know he's going to take that final corner faster than me -- it's now or never...} I attacked him, and held on for dear life -- taking 8th or 9th in the field sprint (won by Kenny Willams), but beating Iddings and Adrian. {holy shit it worked!} Hagens took first and second, and won a hand full of primes -- all in all another very solid team effort.


Tuesday, April 14, 2009


I know, I know -- you're all wondering how I of all people won a rainy, technical crit. Well I'm almost done with my writeup, but to keep you entertained (or horrified -- depending on whether you believe the robot uprising will be peaceful or violent), here's a new video about iron-man exoskeleton suits, soon to be available at your local Target Superstore (don't worry, the American version will be enlarged to accommodate up to a 55 inch waist, unlike this tiny-Japanese-guy prototype).

I'm pretty sure I could put out about 750 watts at threshold with one of these on.

I must say the choices of names used in this suit are pretty poor from a "let's keep the humans calm about the oncoming robot uprising" perspective. HAL was of course the name of the intelligent computer that killed all those dudes in 2001, and Cyberdyne Systems was the name of the fictional company that invented all those cyborg killing machines in the Terminator movies. Oh...wait....never mind -- the Cyberdine company that just cranked out the robot exoskeleton spells its name with an "i" instead of a "y." And the HAL computer in the movie was actually called the HAL 9000. Thank goodness -- those would have been creepy coincidences, don't you think?

UPDATE: Wow -- apparently you already can purchase one of these gizmos. They only cost $4200. I know guys with wheels that cost less than that.

ANOTHER UPDATE!!!: Holy caveman -- now look at these:

Legs On: Honda's Walking Assist Devices from Gizmodo on Vimeo.

Sunday, April 12, 2009




If winning is wrong, then this boy can do no right.....that's right folks, Adrian "The Hunky Hungarian" Hegyvary just won his *GASP* 8th race of the season yesterday. He and Jamie "The Doctor" Stangeland held off the hard-chargin' field for over half the race. They were together into the last turn, but our Finno-Ugric fastman came around his breakaway partner for the W-I-N!

*Thanks to Chris Wingfield for the photo.

As for yours truly, I lit the race on fire for the first half-hour or so, attacking and attacking and attacking. I won two primes (INCLUDING A SERVING OF PASTA + SAUCE --- MOTHERFUCKER YES I DID!!!!!!!), and set up Adrian well for his conquest. Our freight train of victory (AKA our leadout for third) was derailed a little when our leadout man and our sprinter crashed each other out in the final 300 meters, but by gum, we nearly pulled it off, and shall get our revenge today at Boat Street--- MARK MY WORDS!!!!

Update: here's a sweet action shot, thanks to Jake Vernard:

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Easter, You're a Bitch

Thank you, chocolate bunny rabbit,
You arrived on my doorstep,
Filled with the wide-eyed love for living,
That only baby animals possess.

Your heart and soul,
Not hollow or empty,
Not a shell around void,
But solid through and through.

So it hurt me, chocolate bunny rabbit,
As I'm sure it hurt you,
When I bit your
Ears first.

Your eyes remained wide,
But accusatory now, terrified,
Stage 3: bargaining,
But I ignored your silent plea.

It wasn't until I finished your tail,
That your revenge was got.
The heartburn kicked in,
And I read the back of your box.

You mean to tell me, chocolate bunny rabbit,
That you, in all your supposed innocence,
You were hiding a dark secrete behind those milky eyes?
That you were nearly one-thousand fucking calories?

Well no remorse for you, chocolate bunny rabbit,
The memory of your crying eyes,
Floats a thin smile,
Across my sticky lips.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Shawn Ongers

This weekend Shawn Ongers, a rider on the Lenovo team suffered a nasty high-speed crash on one of the descents yesterday. He hit a signpost, and fractured several ribs, and six vertebrae. He is fortunately (miraculously) not paralyzed.

Shawn lives in Walla Walla, and I've known him since my Whitman days. He is a solid all-round racer, and a great all-round guy. Shawn was off to a strong season already, scoring a win in early March, and featuring in several other local races. I'm so sad to hear about Shawn's crash, and I'll be thinking about him a lot these next few weeks -- especially when I go up to race the Tour of Walla Walla, Shawn's (and in a way my) hometown race.

Best of luck in your recovery -- your presence will be missed in the peloton.

UPDATE: Shawn is doing relatively well. He's up and walking around. The fractures in his vertebrae were not terribly serious (apparently he broke the fins on this sides of his vertebrae instead of cracking them through the center), so according to the doctor, Shawn will be able to ride his bike before long.

Cherry Blossom Roundup

Back in my (short-lived, pain-filled) rugby days, after we'd finish playing a match, the refs would get together and decide upon a "man of the match." This would be the guy who made the biggest impact on the game, the guy who made the big plays when they were needed most, the guy who brought home the frickin' bacon. The "man of the match" at the 2009 Cherry Blossom Classic is undoubtedly Adrian "The Hungarian" Hegyvary. Here's a recap of Adrian's race:

Stage 1 RR: rode defensively for Nick and me, did his job as a teammate and kept the pack under control, before finally taking second in the field sprint for 9th overall.

Stage 2 TT: went absolutely ape-shit, winning the whole thing, and leapfrogging into 6th GC.

Stage 3 crit: salvaged our broken lead-out, getting 6th.

Stage 4 RR: helped marshal our riders around the battle field, guiding us to our finest display of team tactics to date. [note: the course was 3 laps of a 27 mile circuit, with one major climb (7 miles, 1400 feet) and two fast, slightly technical descents.] We sent two guys up the road on lap 1, Adrian bridged up to them on the descent on lap two, they worked smoothly until lap 3 when Adrian took matters into his own hands, and soloed in the last 20 miles. Paul Mach, the GC leader, and by far the strongest climber (and arguably strongest guy in general), tried, got close, and ultimately failed to reel in our brave Hungarian strong-man. Adrian won the race by five seconds.

Adrian Hegyvary, winning two stages, and never finishing outside the top 10? You are hereby:

As for the rest of us, Nick and I finished in the first chase group (5th and 7th respectively), and Patrick Stanko and Lang Reynolds finished in the second chase. Nick and I held out GC spots, and Stanko even moved up a spot in GC -- leaving us with 3rd, 4th, 6th, and 8th in GC, two stage wins, and two 3rd places. Pretty good -- and hopefully just a sign of things to come. We still have a lot to work on, but this was a pretty good way to start our serious season.

UPDATE: Awh SHIT we made Velonews!


Twitter, your days are clearly numbered:

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Cherry Blossom Update: Storm's A'brewin'.

Before I go into detail about the state of the race, I wanted to revisit yesterday morning:

I woke up feeling fine, and started going about my business preparing for the TT. Roughly half an hour before we were supposed to depart, I noticed my wallet was missing. After searching all my personal belongings, I thought I'd go out to the Cooper's car, a logical place to check, since that's the last time I remember having it -- we made an excursion to the Dairy Queen after the race to get these:

So I open the back hatch of Coop's Audi station wagon, search for my missing billfold, and then close the hatch. Note: I didn't slam the hatch, nor was there anything in the way of the door -- I merely allowed the weight of the door to bring the hatch down. And yet, somehow, the gods of automobile mishaps decided it was a good time to smite me down -- so when the door closed, the rear window shattered into 5'000 pieces. I stood there aghast. Adrian, who witnessed the whole thing, burst into uncontrollable, inconsolable laughter.

A few minutes later, I convinced myself that my wallet had fallen out of the car into the street in the middle of Hood River (I later found it wedged in the couch cushions), and then a few minutes after that, I discovered that a spoke in my carbon Easton wheel popped for no reason (it was fine when I put it on the car after the race....).

I felt completely shit on. In less than an hour, I went from feeling pretty darn good about the day, to receiving a mighty downpour of negativity and misfortune. I'd convinced myself my wallet was lost, I broke Cooper's car window, and I found out my race wheel was out of commission for the rest of the weekend. I didn't know what I'd done to warrant such a karmic swift-kick-to-the-nuts, but it must have been pretty bad.

That's where my mind was before the TT yesterday morning. Not the best place to be. I'm not making excuses -- I actually felt ok, and thought I did pretty well -- but my mental state pre-race certainly didn't help.


TT left us in pretty good standing overall: Nick leapfrogged me into 3rd overall, I'm now in 4th, Adrian downright pole-vaulted into 6th, and Stanko ollied into 9th. That's FOUR Hagens guys in the top ten.

Yesterday's crit didn't change anything -- we butchered it, failing to get any primes, or get anyone on the podium -- but nobody lost time. I'm finding it difficult to be patient in crits. I get to the front with five to go, but can't keep a holster on it -- attacking, or drilling it, when I should be waiting patiently for the last lap where it really matters. I'm resolving here and now to not do that next weekend at volunteer park or boat street.

Today is brutally hard -- a 7-mile beast of a climb that we get to hit three times. Thanks Chad Sperry -- you've maintained your reputation, another "epic" race.

Let's hope we can hold it together.

Saturday, April 4, 2009


While I succeeded in my goal of not getting caught by the guy behind me (Jeremy Vennell), I only did so by the slimmest of margins (full results). He was hot on my heels as we came through the line, and if the race had been 2 miles longer, I think he would have passed me.

My teammate Adrian, on the other hand, went absolutely ape-shit and won the whole thing -- beating Vennell by 8 seconds! I think a BOO-YEAH is in order! The podium was rounded out by another HB rider, one Patrick Stanko who I'm sure you'll remember.

(insert podium picture here)

Tonight: a 50 minute crit around a rectangle

Tomorrow: a really fucking hard 30 mile circuit, complete with a 7 mile, 1200 foot climb. Ouch.

Friday, April 3, 2009

No Pressure....

While I was pleased with my third-place performance yesterday, there was one down side -- I get to start today's time trial right in front of Jeremy Vennell, the current New Zealand national time trial champion. No pressure...

Further Evidence Our Days of Supremacy On Planet Earth Are Numbered...

...let us hope our robot overlords are benevolent ones. Soon this won't be as much of a joke:

In The Know: Are We Giving The Robots That Run Our Society Too Much Power?

Thursday, April 2, 2009

The Cherry Blossom

It's pronounced The Dælz,
Where cherries bloom, gorge winds blow,
Hilly circuits. Pounce.

A Tale Of Two (Penetratingly Cold) Races: Part 2


On one very very cold Sunday morning, Krogg drive out to Carnation to race in Carnation Time Trial #1. Krogg slightly nervous about racing in more bitter cold and pelting rain after previous day's race, but nevertheless, Krogg excited -- besides, after bad luck flat tire remove Krogg from race he could have won, Krogg have bone to pick.

First funny:

Krogg arrive slightly late, and pull car into first available spot (in middle of soggy, grassy field). While Krogg pulling car to stop, Krogg notice car drifted a little in mud -- but no time to worry -- Krog LATE! Krogg get to registration and see that race delayed for one hour to give road chance to thaw. Phew! Krogg return to car much less panicked, and begin trying to move car. Car stuck in mud. Car no move. Uh-oh. Other racers in parking lot hear Krogg's car straining to dislodge from mud, and come to help. Krogg throw car in reverse and, while several kind strangers push front bumper, stomp on pedal. Car start to move! As car begin creeping out of muddy field, helpful strangers start to shout things: "GAAAAAAAAA". Once car free, Krogg look back at helpful strangers and see what Krogg did; Krogg driving front-wheel drive car, which shot mud at helpful strangers (who were standing directly in front of the rapidly spinning front wheels), covering them from head to toe in sticky brown mud. Oops. Krogg know that not everyone appreciate good mud bath as much as caveman do. Krogg very sorry, and very grateful, especially to one gentleman who got absolutely plastered.

Second funny:

Krogg move car and prepare for race. Once Krogg fully dressed and ready to start warm up, perhaps 45 minutes before start time, Krogg try to place front wheel on bicycle. Uh oh. Front wheel no fit -- break look bent. Krogg experience uneasy sensation in pit of stomach as Krogg
remember how previous night, as Krogg pulled out of driveway with bike on roof-rack, nearby tree snag bike and flip it over side of car, smashing front end of bike on side of car (silly caveman forget to fasten rear-wheel holder on bike rack!). Krogg look over bike and think nothing wrong. This inaccurate assessment. Krogg need new front break!!! Krogg fortunately have second bike and proper tools to perform minor bicycle surgery in car, so Krogg cut cables, and Krogg loosen bolts, and Krogg swap front break calipers. Despite rapidly ticking start clock, Krogg operate with calm and precision usually seen by Jedi knights. Krogg tighten everything up, say small prayer, and commence warm up.

Third Funny:
Krogg wear more clothes than he ever though needed for time trial. Notice ski gloves in picture.
Krogg go out there and win race! KROGG SWING BATTLE AXE AGAIN!@!!.