The 2012 Kit

The 2012 Kit

Monday, March 28, 2011

You saw it here

The best things in the world can be seen where thedragonbreathesfire. D2 outfitted me with a beautiful second pair of shoes while I was in Europe. Voila.
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Sunday, March 27, 2011

Bathroom Return

Thank you for listening. I successfully overcame my fear of interfering with their loathsome rest and I am now comfortably trapped in my corner, once again. Our previous discussion on Airplane bathroom etiquette reminded me of an encounter I had at customs while entering the international terminal at brussels airport.

This encounter struck such a tone with me that I will have to tell it in a fashion that is so uncomfortable, you will disbelieve it, similarly to the last. But, it, like the last was more real than Lindsay Lohan's left testicle.

He was no more than 50, 5'9" and overweight to the point that purchasing pants to fit the circumference of his midsection-measured at the diaphragm, secured without a belt or straps- made more sense fashionably-speaking, than owning an XXXL collared shirt capable of circumnavigating his bulging ventral hemisphere to finally settle in his trousers, where I and many others would have them sit, at the hips. These trousers were beige khakis. He had a hardshell overcoat, unzipped, a already small Eastpack backpack that was further dwarfed by his size that a fanny pack behind my neck would almost give this character a convincing double. He had two more items of particular importance, though, aside from his overall, disheveled look topped with a cotton brimmed cap, advertising Alaska's Denali National Forest in dull colored embroidering. Jason wore a pair of glasses that appeared to be a pair of those self-dimming ones that pedophiles and Dan Cassidy typically wear. This time, though, these slim, rectangular glasses, a fine vogue attempt, remained dark and ominous, even in the dull lighting of our customs line. I could see nothing more than the shadows of his eyesockets. Maybe he had shamefully ugly eyesockets. Jason also wore a final article of appalling, magnetic draw. He had a nametag. Jason something. Jason Millionaire. He looked like the product of a lucky draw, Office Space's Milton, born into real-life, a semi-functioning animation to meet me in queue. He clearly, to me, had found a discarded Lottery card on the ground, picked it up and got lucky. He then decided for whatever reason that going to Brussels would be the best location ever.

Jason crept up to me, breathing onto the few hairs on the back of my neck. So, I moved left, distancing myself from this oversized frog. He was American. He had a problem with figeting, looking over his left shoulder every 30 seconds. What was it? I even looked twice, it was so convincing. Usually it's the Euros that push up against you in line because that is where they feel comfortable, literally on top of you if they could. I was in an unforgiving mode, and, happening upon his display of self-proclaiming identification, I would give him no reigns of personal space invasion or, God forbid, close talking, that a Belgian might have gotten. I watched as the line moved forward, paying attention to how close he was to moving passed me, deciding, at what moment I was deemed "cut" in the queue. He was behind my bag, situated before me, by 3 inches. But, okay, 3 inches is 3 inches, no confrontation. I was playing the game. No longer peeved by his insolent nature, I was toying with it. A moment of entertainment, it was. We all scrolled forward, and I reached for my bag. And then! Yes! He crossed the line! But what now?! He had moved around me, to my right, and closed the gap between me and the woman before me! How insulting! He obviously had no regard for the rules of order, we all were drilled in Kindergarten.

"Excuse me, Jason..." It came out. I didn't need to finish the sentence.

In a string of blubbering jargon his response came swiftly and unapologetic. "Well...(words not captured)...not like...linear line...anyway..." What!? Hold this PHONE. Was he carrying a little red stapler in his pocket!? I mean, Hell, did he just reference our queue as "linear!?" You bet your ass he did. This man was exactly who he looked like. Who says you can't judge an emperor for the clothes he doesn't wear? Or the book because the cover just told it all!?

I was so dumbfounded, I was at a loss for words at this very moment. Every word that social education and common courtesy taught about stereotypes and judgement had been ripped from its very pages, flipped upside down and backwards. Then words fell from me again, only this time, to match his level of maturity of disregard for things we should have known long ago, I went ahead and took us both straight back to grade-school.

"I'm sorry, I'm having a hard time hearing you. You seem to be mumbling a whole lot."

And WHAMMY, that was the end of that. I stood, facing forward for a moment, and it was my turn. To think, that nitwit could have charged ahead of me when I had only 20 minutes until take-off. Have people lost all sense of philanthropy? And what about the people that get trample the trampled on black Friday at WalMarts? Is there no remorse? Any apology? Does anybody give a damn? I nearly told the customs officer that this Michael Moore maniac was acting weird, but I was in too much of a hurry. I checked to see if he got on my plane. Negative.

Take me to my plane because everyone's boarded and they are calling my name...and the story behind that is a lot shorter and equally entertaining. Read on.

Our anonymous driver to the airport this morning put Unleaded Fuel in the Diesel VW fuel tank and didn't know what to do so I looked online and decided we were fucked and then we hired 3 cabs and a tow truck as help and the cabs took forever but drove at 180k/hr to get us there on time, but it was terrifying because our driver was dialing phone numbers and toying with the GPS the whole time in an already damaged Mercedes SUV, leaving me happy to be alive and a chance to meet Jason Millionaire.
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US Airways Takes Me Home

Take me home tonight... Eddie Money.

What is the general etiquette when you are in a window seat and hydrate better than the others? As you can imagine based on my inquiry, I am struggling with a full bladder and ready to crawl over the two individuals slumped next to me in an undisturbed airplane slumber. Every 20 minutes, I decide to wait another 20. We took off three hours ago, though, and I got up once already. Won't the 4 eyed dutchy sitting middle take a hint? Does he have to release any matter? He sure likes to waste time with Sudoku and Word Searches. Not only that, he used money to buy a book full of them!

If you are one of those people, just don't.

I am just going to get my own plane so I don't have to deal with the difficulties of flying. Would I have to go through security? I can pilot a plane, please. Can't be any more complicated than the law, and the people that enforce that generally aren't doing anything impressive on the SAT's... if they took them.

I need to write another column for Jim on bestincycling.com. Sure, I have ideas, but I wouldn't mind if anyone had special requests for certain topics. Does anyone want me to discuss anything in particular? I'm open to pretty much anything from chocolate chip cookies to skydiving, but it should probably be related to cycling. Contact me. I'm at 30,000ft. If you are Chris, you'll text me at 3:00AM knowing I'm in Europe, asking me why I'm not having a St. Patrick's Day beer with him. I wasn't aware, but that comes of no surprise....whoosh! This dutchy just sneezed 5 consecutive times into his word search page. Oh, and he's holding back numberrrrrr! Whammy. Number 6. Gross. While I am traveling, these holidays..7...creep up on me. In 2009 New Year's...8...9?!...10 and he held his nose this time...11...this will be a book of numbers, soon...12... is this even worth recording? Abso-13-lutely. New Year's passed without a glimmering image of champagne and confetti or even a ridiculously large ball dropping.

For anyone wary 14 of the truth of this, I can only prove to you that the time it takes for him to sneeze is literally within the time it takes me to type the characters between each "sneeze number" at roughly 25 wpm. Fathom it. Oh, you might also catch some of his germs just 15 by reading this. At least he's awake. Maybe I will take this opportunity to go to the restroom and suggest he follows 16 suit. This 4 eyed dutch baldy is really lucky I am already pretty ill, otherwise I might have to...hell, I'd probably bite my lip and suffer the next 4 hrs just the same. Hell.

What isn't Lady Gaga Thinking?

Relocate. Stomp. Force. Antiaircraft missiles, Strenuous activity. Serenity, Black Panthers, Simplicity. Order, marks, dutch, ankle, monopoly, fabricate, anthrax, delicate, menagerie, new, brake, truth, keep, jowls, bass, stream.

Say, what do you think about the Mt. Washington Hillclimb? I want to do it sometime. I definitely want to do it correctly, though. I'd want an 8 lb bike and a dimpled skin to keep my edge on the competition. Either that or id like to do it in a gorilla suit on a mtn bike. Just to make my point.

Our team got everything stolen from them at Coppi e Bartali in Italy this week. Bikes, wheels, cables, housing, bike measuring tools, time trial bikes, tt bike measurements, everything. Nothing was left behind. I hope that shimano and colnago will be able to outfit the team soon enough with new equipment. Check ebay for our bikes and equipment...maybe you can get a good deal on some Shimano discs...
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Thursday, March 24, 2011

Bet you didn't know I was best friends with Phil Liggett since the start of Stage 4 in South Africa... I can hardly wait to see what this does to my blog visitor hits. You'd be hard pressed to find this kind of material on Lance's blog.

Still ill today so just waiting to get better by riding easy and resting.
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Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Best In Cycling Debut

Below is a link I am testing from my debut writing columns on the www.bestincycling.com website. A friend of mine, Jim Camus, is editor in chief and runs the show there. Check it out! I hope I can write relatively consistently (as I am mostly doing it from my phone). If you have questions or comments, don't be afeared. I am wildly open to criticism.

I also start E3 on Saturday and I've been a little sick. The last two days I didn't ride, but I am confident I will be healthy to start.

How to handle challenges of unpredictable training | Best in Cycling | The best content in cycling
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March 23

Today is, again, another beautiful day, but I really am feeling a bit sick so I won't be going to pre-ride the E3 Prijs climbs with the team. Instead, I will probably rest at the hotel and wallow in a sea of boredom.

To appease my throat, I think speculoos ice cream will suffice as proper medication. After coffee. And truffles.

Here are a few photos for you that I took yesterday in Brugge. A canal with swans and some delicate chocolate sculptures we only dream about found around the main square.
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Sunday, March 20, 2011

Weekend Update

It's Sunday night. Yesterday we recovered by riding around really easy, today was again, not a hard day for some. I decided to do the longer ride with a group of five over to Flanders and Oodenarde. We hit some of the classics' climbs and got back in just over 4:15. Quickly, I ran in for a sandwich before lunch was over and then headed out for another 2 hrs. I wanted some time to myself and was enjoying the day-even though my legs were hurting a little. Now I'm good and tired, fully expecting a sound night's sleep. Tomorrow will be a rest day and then Tuesday we will shuttle over to preview the E3 Prijs climbs and ride for 100-150km. Wednesday we MIGHT get into another 1.1 race. Battery dies.
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Friday, March 18, 2011

Handzame Finished

I crashed on cobbles 60-70km into the race and it was cold and miserable with rain and I'm psyched that it's over. Oh, then I gave a wheel to my teammate Fabio with about 36km to go and I got led off course with 11km to go so I just turned around and headed to the finish. I wasn't having that much fun, but I certainly wasn't a quitter. I still logged the 200km. Anyway, consider me last finisher!

I am planning on doing E3 Prijs next Saturday. It might be on Versus, but I'm not sure. It's a big one over here, though. Training for 8 days until then.
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Thursday, March 17, 2011

Handzame Classic

I race this tomorrow. Fortunately, there will be less cobbles and a few more hills (so I hear). Still trying to figure out how to go forwards on bumps when I have more than 20psi in my tires (in cross, its a lot easier).

Next Saturday I will be entered into the E3 Prijs Harlebeken, a very famous classic that hits many of the titled climbs in Flanders.

The Vampires woke me up this morning for a taste of my red juice. If I get tested enough, can I write that off, too? Maybe someone can post a link to the race so others know where to view it online. www.steephill.tv is usually a good start. Good night.
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Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Race Finished

Driving home in the van: The race was aggressive. Chaotic doesn't really begin to describe the style. Racing here basically has the intensity of a cross race but for about 5hrs instead of 1. Damn. There were hills and I stayed up front for the first hour, even finding myself "winning" off the front for a short period. We blazed through town centers and small villages on cobbles and bike path-sized roads. There were something like 220 starters. Totally wild. We lucked out with warm weather. It was about 50F all day. After an hour, I whipped out a Mars bar and enjoying it by sliding to the back was my big mistake of the day. But, boy the caramel stuck between my teeth and gums gave me something to focus on besides ny legs for a few minutes.

I somehow caught back on after being off the back of the peleton in a groups of 20 for maybe 50-60km. A strong crosswind did this. Damn those. As the break was chased, I refueled and slammed my perineum and balls, too on an unexpected bump. It was simply a reaction to groan, "Uhhh! My balls!" Even at 50k/hr I heard a spectator burst out laughing. Even robotic athletes are fucking hilarious, sometimes.

Then I did what I could for the Martijn Verschoor in the last two circuits knowing I was not at my best after the last week's preparation. But, I still went for it and ended up somewhere in the top third or something.

Overall, it was a good race and I exceeded my expectations and learned things. I even jumpstarted my recovery with a cold one from spectators, who were baffled that a rider would want beer so badly. That's right, children, there's a man in the house. Hey, and how the heck do these people have postcards and photos of me of last year, my name and all, that I have never seen?! They have me in their books with my own special signature box outlined next to ones for my teammates. Maybe when I come back for the Green Mountain Stage Race I will be swarmed by a dozen sworn supporters all with "Chase The Dragon" apparel.

Comment away--> Gratzie
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Correction-Nokere Koerse

The name is Nokere, not Noerse. So, off I go. 80k to the 196km course. We do 80k to an 8 lap 15k circuit or something. Merde!
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Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Noerse Koerse

Tomorrow is the first race. I'm getting adjusted slowly (woke up at 4:30 this morning, but that's better than 3:30). It's a beautiful afternoon here and I found my way onto the roof of our hotel, which has about 25 rooms in the center of a small town called Oostkamp, just outside of Brugge. I ate too many croissants this morning. But, nay, I don't think it's possible to eat too many, so I take that back. When I was about ten to twelve years younger, I remember going to Landsdown Resort with my cousin for 5 days. It was a 4 star resort hotel complete with a golf course, squash courts and swimming pool that his father, my uncle, Gerard used to manage. We watched 'Payback' and 'The Siege,' two movies that kicked ass and cost $6.99 (bill it to the room, please). Did I mention they had fine dining? I would hit breakfast there like Guidos hit the gym. I remember my Aunt Mary Coale commenting on the number of croissants I had taken to supplement the rest of my feast. I believe there were about 5 or 6 in me by that time. Anyway, I didn't regret a single bite. I simply wished my stomach would digest without delay so that I could stuff a few more buttery treats in me before I had to go back to Northampton, Massachusetts.

Anyway, I told my team after they were scoping out what everyone ate for lunch today. I told them that I had no intention of coming to Belgium to get skinny. My intention was to do these races and prepare for S. Korea while enjoying the fruits of this culture with wild indulgence in order to make sure I get my rightful dosage of beer, frites and waffles to make up for the year and a half that's passed since my last Belgian escapade. And hell, I'll have one for each of you, too.

I arrived on the 14th at 6:35AM. The van came to pick me up at 10:30AM. When I got to the hotel after a 1:5hr drive, I took a nap while everyone rode and had lunch. I slept too long and it ruined last night's sleep, but I awoke refreshed after 3hrs, completely under. So, up at 4:30AM I was, rode for a few hrs to regain some consistency in my legs since I need that. Tomorrow will hurt, but I am ready to suffer. I had a brief 30 minute rest after lunch and I expect to get at least a straight 7 hrs tonight, uninterrupted. Ok sheen, that's my story on getting used to a 9hr time change in 1.5 days. Kill them all.
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Thursday, March 10, 2011

Here's a peek at Refugio beach, about 1.5 hrs further west. Cody O'Reilly and I stopped for a breather here yesterday morning.

It's hard to believe I'll be leaving for Belgium in just two days... I can hardly wait for my 6am flight to catch another flight to catch yet another flight to Europe.
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Nuun arrives

I couldn't do much better getting these photos situated properly, so I will leave it as it was meant to be...

Check out what Nuun came up with! A treasure on my doorstep after my first day of riding in a week. Great timing because I sweat a lot in the heat! The only problem with Nuun is when I run out. My addiction to tasty electrolytes is incredible. Better hope you're not around when I drop my last tablet. Oh, and one more thing: these things are great for average people that go out and get tanked. If you hate hangovers, pop a bottle and drop a tab into your forced glass of water before you go to bed. It's better than Gatorade.

What's more, I stopped at Ken's house on my way home and crazy Shawn is in town. I feel a big dinner tonight with the boys in the hood.

Shower me.
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Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Nuun post

There was an issue with my post earlier today. I'll have it fixed in the morning, if possible. Hold on to your hats and DON'T let go.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

The Week Drags On

I didn't get my bike for a few days after the trip, and the afternoon I did, I headed out to the Refugio climb and came back at dark. I felt horribly, but I halfway expected I would, still keeping a halfway decent pace with the wind. The next day, though, yesterday, I was worse. I turned around early and crawled home. Today I needed the day. I had a 3hr nap yesterday and woke up with aches and a little illness today. Day off. I want to train but I can't train if I can't pedal and I can't race if I can't train... so I exercise some more patience. It's frustrating facing this immediately after the delayed bike. So it goes. Another 3hr nap today. Hopefully I'll be weapons of mass destruction again soon. Hell, I leave for Belgium in a week.
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Thursday, March 3, 2011

Up and at 'em

Since sleeping is wildly overrated, I went for a run as the clouds were burning away early this morning down on the beach. I'm going to be one sore sucker later on, but it was really great to be alongside the awesome ocean.
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Back to SB

I've temporarily reached my final destination, though it's been over two days since I've seen my trusted ally in competition. No, blue steel didn't make it. She's posted up in Frankfurt, Germany for a pit stop after the first 11 hr flight from Cape Town, South Africa. Thinking about it, now, it was probably the best move to follow suit and get a hotel room had I known how memorable my second 11hr flight would be after a 4hr layover: two germans sat behind my, the wife was directly situated. She was large. At a reasonable altitude I reclined my seat hoping to catch some shut-eye only to get pushed back upright. I slowly reclined again. Jerked upright. I turned around, peering between my seats as the husband met my eye with his headphones, and in an overly audible startle I go, "Que pass!?" "No spreuken ze deutche or whatever. English ou francais." He made hand signals saying, "not enough room for my wife when your seat is back." "SERIOUSLY? Dude, that's messed up." Ok fine, I'm limitedly confrontational. I went to the middle seat and reclined, contemplating the circumstances, awake, for the next 7 hrs as I just got jostled and jolted every time someone switched positions back there. Sheesh.
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