Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Tired Tired

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


Can we get a drummmmmmrolllllll please!?
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!


Random Integer Generator

Here are your random numbers:
Timestamp: 2011-08-30 15:32:03 UTC

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

That's All Folks

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.
SO...what next?
This season has legs!

To France!
I leave for Paris on the10th.
The race is called the Duo Normand, and it's a two-man team time trial.
So stay tuned GliderBison followers!

But for now: that's all folks.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Things Didn't Go As Planned

And thus, my USA Pro Cycling Challenge comes to an abrupt, premature, and somewhat embarrassing end. Stage 4, from Steamboat Springs to Breckenridge, was slated to be a hard one. I foolishly made it much much harder for myself. The race started with five miles of flat, followed by six miles of 6%. I washed towards the front during the neutral parade through Breckenridge, and, well, I'd guess you could say that the Krogg in me took over. Since he's completely at fault here, I'll let him explain the next bit. Go for it Krogg -- I hope you're proud of yourself:

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 was better than good. It was great.

Friday, August 26, 2011


In celebration of the biggest race of the year, I present to you, the biggest giveaway in the history of my blog:


That's right, you can win an official Team Exergy jersey, simply by commenting on my blog. Yes, it's one of mine, which I guess makes it a used jersey -- but take my word for it, it's seen minimal use. It's a size medium. I'll sign it (or at least Krogg will) if you want me to. Wear it, hang it on your wall, or cut into pieces and use it to de-grease your chain -- whatever you want -- it's free! 

And thanks for following GliderBison.

This could be you!

THE RULES: To enter, just post a comment on this blog post (facebook entries don't count). As always, entries that are submitted in poem form are greatly appreciated, though not necessary. One post per person please, and be sure to leave your name (or at least a unique pseudonym). I'll draw a winner using a random number generator once I'm safely back in Boise after the USA Pro Cycling Challenge. Check back here on Monday evening to see if you won! SIMPLE! GOOD LUCK!


OK cycle race fans, KROGG EXPLAIN!

This big big race. Different than all other race. Normal race, Krogg sleep at home-stay all week -- which Krogg love. But this race too much logistics for home-stay. This race Krogg sleep at different ski resort every night. One thing Krogg learn about ski resort -- every ski resort LOVE to be better than last ski resort. USA Pro Cycling Challenge basically giant pissing-match between ski resort. 

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.

Yippie-kai-yaaaaaay! Yippie-kai-yooooo!
Sky flowers? For us?

Krogg love meal time at USA Pro Cycling Challenge. Everybody eat in same room, like this: 
One big happy cyclist family. 
Meal time pretty unreal. Every team have assigned table, and all racers eat together. Everywhere Krogg look, there famous cyclist. Basso over there. Cadel over there. Danielson over there. KROGG RIGHT HERE!
Here how Team Exergy find table: 
Homing beacon.

Eat at buffet like this: 

Glorious breakfast buffet. 
This morning Krogg eat killer house-made granola. Not bad...for Vail. 
Krogg can't wait to see what Steamboat Springs make for breakfast.

Krogg so lucky to race USA PRO CYCLING CHALLENGE!!!
Krogg need pinch: this dream?

Clear Out, You Skunks

My Power Animal for the Day

This is my power animal for the day. Oh that I could trade hair color with Kevin or Conor today...

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Van Ride to Vail

Some read. Some sleep. Some listen to music, or browse the internet. All enjoy the view.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Totally Awesome. Totally Pooped

Well I must say, this race is living up to its hype. The fans are totally off the hook! Thousands of scantly clad, probably drunk, extremely loud cycling fans. GO USA PRO CYCLING CHALLENGE.

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 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

Things That Happened

Here are some of the things that happened today:

  • 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!

Transfer Time

Transfer haiku:

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!

Colorado Springs
Gracious host city, farewell
Hello Salida

The forecast calls for
Colombian fireworks
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

Loony Tunes

I'm watching Loony Tunes with Matt and farting around on my computer before the race starts. Here's some things I like:

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 Day Before

So there's this sweet spot before a race starts. It exists in the time after you've traveled to the race and settled into your host housing or hotel, after you've gone for a spin and pre-ridden the prologue course, after you've had your pre-race meeting and learned your start time and been handed your numbers -- but before the race actually starts. The stresses of preparation and travel are behind you, but the race is still an open book. The possibilities are endless. At tomorrow's prologue, Carlos could take that left-hander so friggin' hot he stays in the hot seat until the last rider finishes. Yellow jersey, press conferences, the whole shebang.  On Tuesday Kai could go up the road in the right breakaway. He could hang tough over the climbs, and make it to the base of the final kicker in Crested Butte with two-minutes on the field, and stick like glue to the wheel of whatever famous pro-tour riders are there, and out-sprint them for the win just before Leipheimer and Evans charge across the line. Anything could happen. I mean the world is our oyster. All I know is that so far, my fortune from two days ago is still holding true: I've been obstacle free.

Right now, I'm looking at my bag for the race. 

It came filled with goodies. 

Some of them were identifiable (hat, water bottle, etc.). While others were not. Here's Matt (my roommate for the week) modeling the "mystery garment."
Or maybe this way?

I flipped through the tech guide and found it to be pretty typical with one major exception. I've never read a race bible that includes instructions for how to treat HAPE (High Altitude Pulmonary Edema). Lord help us, what on earth have we signed up for?

Alright. Gotta sleep. Tomorrow, we start prying open that oyster and finding out what's inside. 


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. 

Be sure to watch tomorrow's race! It'll be on Versus three times tomorrow. Check the TV schedule here. 

Saturday, August 20, 2011


Right now, this is me:
(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!) 
What you're looking at is the Dragon Capsule and it's delivery rocket. They are designed and built by Space X, a private space company, and will be fulfilling a contract with NASA to deliver goods and crew members to the International Space Station this November. This is the future of space flight, and seeing as how I'm about to board a plane to Colorado to participate in the future of American bicycle racing, I thought it appropriate.

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.


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.
I mean, what a great fortune! Sure, if you want to get into a semantic argument about it, 12,000' mountains can certainly be considered obstacles -- but the point is my fortune specifically pointed to next week! I don't think I've opened a fortune cookie in over a year. Regardless, I should eat Thai more often -- them noodles is tasty!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Sleeping in the Tent

So for nearly two weeks now, I've been sleeping in an altitude tent. I've got to say, it's a little strange. It feels very much like being the subject of a scientific experiment inside one of these:

I keep expecting to wake up and be surrounded by men in white suits with flashlights attached to their heads peering in from the outside saying things like "the subject seems to be making excellent progress." The altitude tent and the scientific glove box are quite similar: clear vinyl walls, PVC frame, air tight seals, and strange ports you can stick your arms through. It also feels a lot like being an an aquarium, especially when I fly my Air Swimmer around inside it.

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.
I'm hopeful the altitude tent helps me when I get up to the high Rocky Mountain passes of the US Pro Cycling Challenge, but I can't say I'll miss sleeping it when the race is over.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Jens Voigt! Ivan Basso!

Gosh. They just keep adding newer and cooler people to the US Pro Cycling Challenge. 

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!"


(We start in one week. Gulp).