The 2012 Kit

The 2012 Kit

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Final Day

It was another hot day out there. 105km finished in under 2.5hrs. An early break went that was soon brought back by MTN and Nippoli, two teams without representation, eager for the sprint. By the final circuit, 11k, we had Martijn, Scott, Fabio, Alexei and me all together in the front. The run in to the sprint was fast and chaotic. We were doing 70k/hr down hill and onto the flats with a bend to the left and a quarter of a turn on a roundabout - remember, in South Africa, we drive on the left side of the road, so we go left on the roundabouts - and that left us at 300m to go. I was floundering in the wind on the left side after the whipping downhill and Scott was with Martijn in the last turn. Then the sprint for the win and....Martijn SECOND. Not bad for an uphill sprint! Great job Martijn. I'm glad we brought home a podium result from this race. I'm still waiting to see the GC results and hoping there wasn't a gap between me and the 30 in front of me in that quick kick to the finish.

I have a few stories to offer from this trip but I have to get a few things straightened out for the trip home (CA).

Spring Schedule
I'll be going to Santa Barbara until the 13th, traveling to Brussels for 2 races on March 16 (Nokere Koerse) and 18 (Handzame Classic) and staying until the 27th because I'm on reserve for the E3 prijs Harelbeke, another Classic in BEL. Santa Barbara will welcome me from the raw Belgium weather where I can train for either the Tour of South Korea or the Tour of Mexico in April. Man, I'll be missing home after all of that! Oh, and no Battenkill for me this year, SHAM! Sorry Deiter Drake and East Coasters.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Queen Stage 6

It was the stage everyone saw to be the hardest.

I am the most frustrated rider in the peleton today.

The group was 15 maximum by the final climb. I was there and Darren Lill attacked at 5k to go just when I was slightly uncomfortable. I hesitated. Another went slowly, and then the young rider's jersey took off, and I went with it. 3k to go.

He spent himself too soon and it was then up to me. I clawed my way up the climb. I dug freaking deep and punished myself with everything I had. I looked back a few times and knew it would be close. I had 10 seconds consistently but it was just too little. At 1k to go I was all cards in and at 200m to go, the first of them came around me! Hell. I'll tell you what: I needed to try to at least maintain my GC spot and sprinting after you've been going balls to the wall for 10 minutes is a brutality.

The team worked so well today, I wanted to finish the race with a reward to prove how well we did today. The team did their job for me and it was then mine to do for them and I tried and almost succeeded. I could practically feel the podium under my feet. The fact that I was able to do it, though, was great. I simply have to remember that my fitness is there and that the result will come as I learn and when the next opportunity arises. It's early in the season and all of that, too, but it was such a great opportunity. What it really feels like, is when you go to high five a buddy and you hit nothing but air because he sneaks it away at the last moment and goes "too slow." Frustration and irritation. You want to slap him, and most of all you want to get a re-do.

All in all, it's been a great race so far. Scott and I finished Stage 4 in the final group and because his legs weren't "sprinting" legs, I was down to go for the finale. He sold out for me then, too. I got boxed in for that stage and kind of blew it, but the idea is that we're out here mixing it up with some great racers early in the season and going for it. The reality is that in a short time, things will probably start coming together with some perseverance.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Cyclingnews has results and race synopses if you're more interested in the less partial view.

Windy Stage 3

It was nice and tranquil averaging 38k/hr for the first 2+hrs. There were elephants, and some riders saw Zebras and Giraffes, though I missed these spectacles. Then we turned and HIT IT 60k from the finish. Everyone was in an echelon from the left to the right and from the front group, I was caught too far on the right, in the gutter. One guy couldn't hold the wheel and that was it for me! Off the back I went. And the second group was large and another 100m behind. I swung around for a while, flailing like a helpless baby in some brutal wind and then accepted defeat. The next 50k were a fight even in the next group, but I got into the rotation, which was much easier than fighting for a wheel (though there were still plenty of elbows thrown). Then Scott and I flatted. We ended up in the gutter for a split second and mashed a piece of sharp, metal debris. Luckily I managed to get back on after a hard effort.

For those who don't know what an echelon is - here's a photo below. It is a formation that occurs because a strong wind comes from an angle. The guys on the diagonal in front have it a lot easier than the poor saps fighting in a line, pinned in the gutter.

Anyway, I haven't seen results yet. I contested the "bunch kick" for something like 10th place and I don't know where I ended up. I threw the bike on the line with 5 other guys and it looked too close to call right away.

Today was frustrating, I was there, and then I wasn't. The wind is tough for everyone, but it's really hard to fight for a wheel when you're a little guy. Last year, I was worse in the wind, though, so at least I'm improving...

Also, writing these after the stage gives an immediate update, but all of this comes in from a delusional stream of consciousness. I don't proofread this stuff, and all I really want is a nap (but, I'm holding off to make sure I stick on this whole new time-zone thing). Sitting in bed will just have to suffice. The TV is on. Fabio wants his computer back, and Mythbusters is on (wish I could do without the annoying geek banter right now...really want to punch everyone on the show in the balls...don't even know what the hell they're testing anyway...).

Until tomorrow: there will be a bunch of punchy climbs and it'll be hard. We have a 2 hr drive to the start, and another hour to the hotel in Cape Town after the Stage. Each stage starts at 10:00am. We'll be leaving at 6:45am tomorrow. Wahoo. Great planning.

Monday, February 21, 2011

rest day tour of SA

rest day today.

went to beach. did not ride bike. it was beautiful. team wondered why i didn't ride and i said because the beach calls.

training was a stroll, instead.

i also had a massage.

i got a mcflurry for the first time. it wasn't that great.

i was drug tested after stage 1 and i was disappointed they didn't take blood. isn't that the most important part? that makes 4 tests so far this season, though.

tomorrow is 180km. the next 5 days will be especially hard because yesterday's stage was nullified after we stopped 3 times due to traffic. the chief cop disappeared and then cars were everywhere. so, rapha condor got out lucky before everyone started attacking left and right to try to steal the yellow jersey.

tomorrow is another day. we drove the last 7k or so and there are two steep 1km climbs that will tear up the field. then 4km descent to a right hand turn 350m from the finish line. AWESOME.

i slept for 10hrs solid last night. it was the coma i needed to recharge. i'm looking forward to the rest of the race. thanks for reading. sorry it's so brief.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Tour of South Africa, Stage 1 Report

hi everyone. i'm excluding a proofread and giving myself all sorts of exceptions on grammer and what have you. i have 20 minutes to give you the deal on what's been going on. 2 weeks before i left for SA i went to san diego and entered the boulevard road race and the red trolley criterium the day after. i have a race report that i wrote for all of you that unfortunately i didn't get online because of spotty internet and limited time. my results respectively were 1st and 7th.

february 15th, i traveled to south africa. never been here before. there are a lot more black people than there are in vermont, but not as many as there are in baltimore, md. i'm getting ready for stage 2 tomorrow. we are 10 hrs ahead. i had a 2 hr flight to san fransisco (from santa barbara), then a 10.5 hr flight to munich, and then another 10.5 from there to johannesburg, sa where i am now. we started and finished in town today - a 155k course.

i was trying my legs on the first kom and was 5th or 6th coming over the top (my legs feel like a beaten pulp). the winner of the race and 1 other were a few meters up ahead and pushed over the top. thinking they would never stay away from a strung-out field, i didn't bury myself to bridge that gap, but kristian house attacked his companion and soloed in for the finish well ahead of the field. it was a dangerous move, but feeling lethargic and it being only the first stage, it made more sense to wait out for the field sprint and try our luck with sprinters alexei schmidt and martijn verschoor.

scott and i lined it up on the front. we came in with the sprinters on our wheel with 2km to go. having studied the race bible. we understood that the last 3 km had 3 roundabouts and a few other corners. it would be very technical. when we came around a gradual left hand bend and started an uphill grind, i pulled through and ended up gapping the field with the exception of 1 eurocar rider who was on my wheel. i hesitated and asked him to roll through (thinking maybe we'd work for a couple of k until the finish), but then there was a banner up ahead!!! too soon, i thought! no way was the finish 200m from now! well, a group jumped me and i figured maybe it was a 1k to go banner. so i chased their wheels, but there was martijn, too. i finished 7th in the kick, putting me 8th for the day. martijn was 5th. what the hell happened? everyone on team type 1 rolled through dazed and confused. we had a perfect setup despite the circumstances. in fact, what had happened, is that we had all looked at the race vehicle detour and assumed that as the race route! we confused which way we went, and the finish was in fact sooner than we anticipated, and far less technical. next time we will look closer...but that was the issue we faced today. a few of us were really frustrated, but that's how it goes.

my legs don't feel very good. i felt great at boulevard road race, but now, after a flight like that, my body feels a little lethargic and i'm trying to get used to a 10hr time difference. i think it will take 1-2 more days before i am going fine again. until then, i'm going to be smart and a bit conservative - there are still 6 race days left.

tomorrow is 166km. it will be aggressive. after that, we come back to the hotel, shower, get on a train to the airport, take a 7:40pm flight to a different town, and have a rest day on monday. the team staff will drive for 12 hrs and meet us at the hotel with all equipment. pretty wild stuff.

i met phil liggett. you know, the announcer that's on tv for the tour de france who works with paul sherwin. he's announcing here. uniquely, though, i was urinating in the hotel bathroom before a training ride. he entered, and unzipped to do the same. i looked over and our eyes met (very uncouth). well, he struck up conversation and i told him that i saw him on tv a lot and that my college friends would get a kick out of that story.

i'll get back to you with more. for now, i have to do all sorts of emailing. i'm trying to go to europe after this race because i'm racing in belgium on the 16, 18 march. going back to california for 2 weeks will be a waste of time and energy between. i MUST change my itinerary!

goodnight and goodday.

all the best, will

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

out with the old, in with the new

My new shoes! A post about last weekend is around the corner. The internet has been rough this morning.
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