Wednesday, November 11, 2009

You know it's offseason when...

...45 min. into a road ride you look down and see a spiderweb that spans your handlebars. True story, that happened to me yesterday. It was wasn't even my first road ride was like the third or so.
You also know it's offseason when you travel for something other than bike racing. Rebecca and I took a little holiday to Peru last week. Peru is an incredibly cool country. It is so diverse in culture, ecosystems, and landscape. We spent time in Lima on the coast, Cuzco and Machu Picchu next to the Andes, and Puerto Maldonado in the rain forest. Machu Picchu definitely lives up to the hype. Yes, there are tons of stinkin tourists ;-) but it is well worth the hassle to see such a beautiful area and see for yourself how amazing the Incas were. And where we stayed in the jungle, it was about as untouched from development as I've seen. We saw a lot of monkeys (3 different species) and several big tarantulas among other wildlife. It was the first time I'd slept in mosquito nets and I was glad we had them after seeing the giant cockroaches roaming around our room after dark!
In other big-time news, I am now a proud (part) homeowner of a place in Boulder. Pretty sweet, not gonna lie. Moving always sucks, but the grunt work is over and the only thing left is unpacking boxes and finding a place for everything – no small task.
I've started riding my bicycle again. Splitting time between road riding, cx rides, and hiking/running. If I had to race in one of 3 tomorrow, I think I'd be faster hiking up a mountain, but that's okay. I may enter a cyclocross race this weekend or next. They really should let me enter the cat. IV race (and still get slaughtered but not by as much) but they won't. Oh well, it's good for me to get walloped from time to time. That's what I'll be telling myself next year too. :-)
Happy Autumn!

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Update - still lazy

Here are a couple of Worlds pics:
Hour 3 on the "Hot Seat". Exciting yet extremely tedious. Sitting in the same seat, in the chamois I warmed up in, watching a time trial on a little monitor for 3 hours while my legs throbbed. But an awesome experience!

My Belgian body guard Chris "The Fox" to keep the Tifosi at bay. Don't piss him off or...he'll make you cry on the massage table!

I'm still taking it easy here in Boulder. I'm starting the slow process of getting hiking fit again. I went on a 2mi run the other day and felt like I did after a half marathon in my running days. A little pathetic actually. I've said it before but the longer I race my bike, the worse I am at EVERYTHING else. Tho just because my girlfriend can do more push-ups than me doesn't make me any less of a person.

Also, there is snow on my deck. Too early for snow - take it back.

Monday, September 28, 2009


I'm at home now in day 3 of offseason and loving every moment. I walked up and down a flight of stairs like 5 times throughout the day yesterday so that was pretty taxing. The hard thing about offseason is that I sometimes forget to shower because I'm not working out. It's tough. And how much coffee is too much? At what point does it become obsessive and where I probably need an Intervention?
Anyway, Worlds was fun. It's nice to go into a race with low pressure, modest expectations and surprise myself. Of course, that can only happen once because the next time I go will expect a medal from myself, but I enjoyed this experience and I'm not dwelling on the fact that I was relatively close to earning hardware. (Or am I?)
And to the family of the bee who stung me during the 2nd lap of the race: Your brother suffered a horrible death and the anger he induced only made me go faster. And sorry about my appearance while crossing the finish line. They should have had a warning of some sort for children and sensitive viewers.
So, thanks for following Bissell and myself along this season and for all the positive vibes and encouraging messages throughout. I may actually (I can't believe I'm saying this) have to start Facebook or Twitter or some crap in order to better stay connected to friends and family next year while over the pond. Ugh.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009


We have a Gold! I use the term "we" loosely.
Just think of how much faster I'll be thanks to Tejay using my head as a platform to express his artistic voice. (sorry HB)

Tuesday, September 22, 2009


So I got into Switzerland a few days early for the World Champs TT on Sun. The race is on Thurs. so the idea was to get settled and used to the time difference. However, I had a tight connection in Atlanta en route to Milan, Italy which was made even tighter by a 15 min. delay that resulted in me sprinting through the terminals in Atlanta in order to make my flight. Well, I made it - in no small part due to my extensive running background - but my bag and bike did not. We had to go back to the airport the next day (mon.) and retrieve my belongings. Do you suppose that I'll get any of the $300 dollars I paid to Delta to transport my bike??? BTW, if you have a choice - don't fly Delta. $300 each way for traveling w/ a bike internationally is a bit excessive I'd say. I think they deserve a boycott. Anyway, back to positives - the hotel and area that we are staying in Switzerland is AMAZING! It is so beautiful that my vocabulary is not sufficient to describe it. We are on a lake (lago di lugano) that is surrounded by mountains and small swiss townships. Except we are also next to this little area of land that is owned by Italy (Campione). It is quite the area and the hotel we are staying at is pretty cool too. It's not super fancy but the real estate, service and food are all top notch.
Oh and about the race: I've ridden the course 4 times so far. It's pretty straight forward - very few turns that require thought and/or brakes. It's got one little ring climb in it (but we do 3 laps) and a couple of fast corners but otherwise you can get into a pretty good rhythem. Today is the first day I've felt good so I'm starting to get excited. The weather has been picturesque so far but there could always be rain in this area. And I rode the road course as well and I have to say I'm a little relieved I'm not doing it. It's a 15k circuit with punchy climbs and single-file narrow, windy descents through town. Very good for Bizarro-Zirbel. Okay gotta go. Ciao.
the view from the our hotel

also taken from the hotel, that little town is Lugano

this is the view from the other side of the lake. In the lower right somewhere is the hotel we're staying at. And it's not hazy, the crummy cameraman just doesn't know how to reduce glare.

And here is the entrance to Campione, 2 sq miles of Italy surrounded by Switzerland which is also right outside our hotel (we're on the swiss side).

And this is a Swiss slug making its way across cobbles. It's hard being a slug.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

50k to go

Tour of Missouri is over and done with. And as easy as the first 4 days were - the last 3 days were brutally hard. Bissell had a good tour, finishing 4th on GC and 2nd in the team's classification. A podium in GC would have been nice, but let's put it in perspective: the bus that Columbia-HTC drives around probably costs more than our entire team budget. I am proud of the way our guys rode last week. It was a great way to end the season and a good last race for me donning the Bissell colors.
I just found out on Monday that I have 49.8km left to do this season. And I'll be doing it in Mendrisio, Switzerland wearing a USA skinsuit against the best in the world. Pretty exciting. I'm hoping that I can represent well and justify my nomination.
We had a mini Clear Lake High School reunion in Missouri this week. In all, I had 9 friends and family who made the trek from Iowa for the race. Thank you! pic courtesy of Jody - who may just get the nod as the #1 Superfan. ;-)

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Today's Lesson

No matter how hard you're going, always keep your eyes up when you're sprinting. The lesson occurs around 8 min. into the video.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

The 2nd step...

...of the podium
2nd - Nature Valley GC
2nd - USPro TT
3rd - Fitchburg-Longsjo GC
2nd - Redlands Classic GC
7th - Tour of California St. 5 TT
2nd - Tour de San Luis st. 3 TT
3rd - Tour of Elk Grove GC
2nd - Tour of the Gila st.3 TT
2nd - KOM at Philly
10th - Tour of Utah Prologue

It was difficult to write down these results and it's difficult to look at them. My top 10 failures and shortcomings racing this year are there for everyone to see. The top 3 particularly evoke a sick feeling in my stomach just looking at them. After each one of those first 3 results listed, I remember thinking how teaching high school chemistry or working in a research lab wouldn't (COULDN'T) possibly be as painful as what I was feeling at the time. All that I knew is that I never wanted to feel like that again - and the safest way (so the logic in my head goes) is to find a new line of work. Of course, it doesn't take long to come to my senses and remember that I'm living my dream job and there's no way that I could willingly give it up. So the only choice is to work harder, learn from my mistakes, and make sure it doesn't happen again....but it will. I will always have soul-crushing disappointments in this sport as long as I'm racing at this level. The trick is to let them go. This year has been a lesson in recovering from failures. People may look at my season and see the (apparent) Individual NRC title, all the TT wins, all the GC podiums and say it was a dream season. I will look back at this season and remember how I let my team down by losing the GC lead on the last day in dramatic fashion in both the Nature Valley GP and the Fitchburg-Longsjo Classic. I'll remember how it wasn't me pulling on the stars and stripes jersey on the podium after the USPro TT. I'll remember how I had to ship off 8-10 leader's jerseys to different family, friends, and sponsors because I couldn't stand the sight of them and didn't want them in my house as none of them were from the last day of the race.
This is not to say that I dwell on the negative. I'll certainly remember the moments on the top step as well. I'll keep in mind that since turning pro, my final NRC placings have been: 2006 - 47th, 2007 - 104th, 2008 - 54th. And looking back, I'll be proud of how Bissell came together throughout the year and scrapped for every point possible to earn the Individual NRC title by a mere 7 points! Because let's be honest, what is more indicative of a "Team" title? Is it the Teams classification where you score the most points by placing 3rd, 5th, and 6th rather than just 1st? Or is it the individual standings where the entire team sacrifices their races for 1 person's placing? I believe it's the latter. That's why I am so happy that Bissell was rewarded with the #1 spot in the Individual NRC standings. I time trialed well, but the team slayed themselves for my podium finishes. Without that commitment and sacrifice, I'd currently be 3rd at best in the standings. I believe that WE (the riders, staff, and sponsors) deserve that title.
So, I'm planning on using all these rollercoaster experiences to help me keep an even keel during next year's adventures and challenges. Because some may think the stakes go up next year racing at a higher level, but I don't believe that to be true. You can be just as exhilerated (or devastated) by a small local race with 18 starters and a few parents and girlfriends watching as you can by a prestigious NRC race with deafening crowd noise. It all depends on INTERNAL drive, motivation, and goal setting and has very little to do with the number of fans present, prize money, or number of countries providing live video streaming.
BUT FIRST!!! We have unfinished business at the Tour of Missouri next week where last year I learned some valuble lessons about being a pro. In last year's edition, I was so cracked mentally and physically from the season that my attitude was a joke and when I found myself as the only GC guy on the team after getting in the decisive break, I fell apart in the last 3 stages and went from 6th to like 15th because of stupid mistakes and general unprofessionalism. Moral of the story: SUCK IT UP PANSY-BOY!!! And ride like you're capable no matter how much you hate your bike at the time.
FTR: I do not currently hate my bike and am looking forward to smashing some stinky Euro-trash next week. :)
Sorry for the length (of course it's your choice to read my heartfelt ramblings, not mine) but it's an emotional day for me. I've already had 20 or so congratulatory emails, calls, and texts today. Oh, and I peed in a cup for some USADA reps this morning too after we watched the end of the Vuelta stage. They come over to visit so often that we're on a first name basis. All this before noon - Big day!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Yeah, yeah

It's been awhile, I know. But as the season gets longer and longer - I find less and less energy to post blog updates. Too busy? No. Laziness? Absolutely. There's been quite a bit of racing since Cascade where we got a couple of stage wins and a day in the leader's jersey. We had the big money stage race in Elk Grove, IL where I was able to score a couple of big novelty checks by winning the TT and finishing on the podium. Another highlight of that race was getting kisses on the podium from the Elk Grove mayor's daughter and her friend again this year. They are 19 now and growing up so fast! I remember just last year when they were only 18 and still in high school? Yeah, I just think it's funny that the mayor has his daughter up there kissing dodgy bike racers. Anyway, though not my cup-o-java, they treat us well at Elk Grove and I hope it continues to grow.
Then it was on to the Meijer Grand Cycling Classic in Grand Rapids, MI. Our main man and sponsor Bob Hughes makes this race happen so it's important for us to perform well there (ie. WIN!!). And I don't know if you'd heard the news, but I'm a crit specialist now cuz I was able to pull off the victory ahead of a strong and savvy Jake Rytlewski in our 2 man escape. Jake the Snake is my former teammate and he is very good all-arounder. He can climb, corner, and sprint all very well so I had my work cut out for me. Because we HAD to win our home race, I was a jerk to him and made him take 2 pulls to my 1. He is going very good right now and has since placed top 5 at Downer's and Marion. Impressive for a 'little climber', huh? Oh, did I mention he is tiny on the bike and tends to kiss his stem while he rides? I was very annoyed and angry at the world for being in a break with him of all people. I pirated this photo of his site: in order to show you why I was so miserable on his wheel.

Up next was the Tour of Utah this past week where we had a stage win and another podium finish on the hardest day. More importantly we animated the race that final mountain day and really put the pressure on Rock, BMC, and Type 1. Great racing Vennell, BJM, and T-Bird! That's what it's all about. Me on the other hand, was going up that final Snowbird climb on Sat. at roughly 10kph, going as hard as I could muster, cursing Burke and his "hometown race" all the way up. Thanks to all the fans along the climb who took pity on me by dumping cold water on me and giving me the occasional push. I was also helped (emotionally) by having family at the race. I got to see an aunt, uncle and cousins whom I hadn't seen in years for the TT, and a different aunt, uncle, and cousin who live SLC for the weekend races. Incredible. For those of you keeping track - I have had friends and family come to watch me/Bissell at every race this year except the Argentina race and the Tour of the Gila. Can you believe that??? How's that for a support system?!? Yep, I'm a lucky dude. I don't deny it.
Next up is the TT/RR in Greenville and a week later is the Tour of Missouri. It'll be interesting to see how well different people have managed the long season coming into these big, big races at the end of the year. I feel confident, so hopefully I've done something right. ;-)
Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Cascade Happenings

I'm here in Bend, OR for another fine edition of the Cascade Cycling Classic. If you want to read about what's going on in the race with me this week, I will be updating a blog on Wartburg College's athletic website (my alma mater): where there will be a link, or you can just go to straight to the blog they created: I promised I'd do a good job of updating so the pressure's on!

Friday, July 03, 2009


Fitchburg has been a unique experience so far. After a 14 hr travel day due to delays and layovers, we got to our hotel 14 hours before race time. Not that I'm complaining, the J-M bros got in roughly 20 min. before the start and Vennell never even made it to the start due to cancelled flights. So after that rough start, we were greeted w misty rain and fog all day during the TT. At one point during my race, it was so foggy that I had to take off my sunglasses just to avoid the potholes and finish the course in one piece. A few hours after the race, the race organized a podium presentation at the Senior Center in Fitchburg. We ate spaghetti and homemade meatballs while listening to an accordian player. I found it very entertaining and unique. There were kids there as well, so we signed a few autographs and then they held a raffle for a couple jerseys and a bike! The little boy who won the bike was so shy that he hardly smiled while receiving his prize. But he did manage to mumble into the microphone that he'd be beating me in a few years on his new bike! It was a fun experience. The community seems excited to have us here (it IS the 50th edition of the race!) so I'm hoping the weather cooperates and caters to the viewers and fans.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Midwest Racing

They're already talking about mid-September! This was a teleconference I did about the Tour of Missouri the other day. Some of the dialogue was muddled a little in the transcript (maybe b/c I mumble at times?) but it turned out okay. I certainly didn't throw out that many "ums" and "well you know"s did I???

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Weekend Getaway

This isn't exactly cycling related but there was some cross training(?) involved and it served as a good reset button for me. Rebecca and I hit the Great Sand Dune National Park before checking out Taos and Santa Fe for a 4 day holiday. The sand dunes are pretty amazing really. There are these 600ft high sand dunes abutting the Sangre de Cristo mountains on one side and desert plains on the other. Pretty cool phenomenon.
This is the view from High Dune. It took a solid 45 min. of exhausting hiking to get up there. Ever tried to hike uphill in sand?
We camped about 10 miles away from the dunes at a little tent site. You can see a bit of the dune field at the base of the mountains.

I really like this picture taken by Dean Hanson of the last corner at the Stillwater crit in NVGP. This is only the tail end of the Bissell train as there were 5 guys in front of me.
Next up for me is the Fitchburg-Longsjo Classic out east. Special thank you to the riders from the Bike & Sport team in Santa Fe for taking me out on a ride...and letting me win the city limit sprint! :)
Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009


What an exciting end to the Nature Valley Grand Prix! That's what bike racing is all about: 5 days of racing comes down to the last 2 laps at Stillwater. There were 1000s of people lining that incredible venue screaming their lungs out for their favorites. It's taken me 2 days to put a positive spin on it being as we were on the short end of the stick, but I think I'll take a lot of good things away from that race. I am so proud of the way the team rode that Stillwater course. I've replayed the last 2 laps in my head somewhere in the vicinity of 100 times (which isn't healthy) but I know the things I did wrong and I just have to make sure I ride differently if ever in a similar situation. One cool thing about this sport is the strongest person doesn't always win. There are a lot of a tactics and technical aspects to this sport that I need to improve on and this race may be the impetus for me to take the next step in my progression.
Plus, being as NVGP is fairly close to my old stomping grounds of Clear Lake, IA - I had a pretty kick ass fan club: Mom, dad, brother, 4 aunts/uncles, 3 cousins, 8 family friends, 3 HS friends (w/ personalized Bissell/Zirbel Tees on of course) and the biggest surprise was that my sister flew out from New Hampshire to see the race! I was loving it. What a cool experience for me. As much as it sucks to lose a leader's jersey on the last day of a stage race by 3 seconds, sometimes you have to just take a step back and say "Wow" and remember to enjoy the ride.
Thanks for all the support!!! Oh, and I lost my phone Wed. night June 10, so if you called or texted since then I didn't get it. I'm not ignoring you. :) Hopefully I'll have it replaced sometime today.

Friday, June 12, 2009

1/2 way

3 down, 3 to go here at the Nature Valley Grand Prix. The team is riding most excellent and is helping me every step (pedal stroke?) of the way. We have a hella hard circuit coming up in Mankato tomorrow and I'm excited to see how I respond to the pressure and attacks that are headed my way. But first, we have to get thru the Minneapolis crit tonight! 75 min. of nail-biting, white-knuckled fun! I can't think of anything else I'd rather do...
Thanks for the support thus far!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Honor Thy Mother

Last Sunday was Mother's Day and because I was racing and couldn't spend the day with my mother, I thought what better way to celebrate my mom than to eat a half-priced cake in her honor? Afterall, the end of the Joe Martin crit on Sun. marked the beginning of my mid-season break.

I'm still bumming a bit about not winning Joe Martin but we definitely raced our hearts out on Sat. trying to regain the lead. OUCH did an impressive job of defending the jersey. Thanks to my Dad, Uncle Don and Margie for cheering us on every stage of the JMSR! Sorry we couldn't win it for you guys. :(
Next race for me is Philly and I'm giddy b/c it'll be my first go at that U.S. classic. Watch out Manayunk - my fat @$$ is coming!!

Friday, May 08, 2009

sloppy day

We're here in Fayetteville, Arkansas - home of the U of Arkansas Razorbacks and Walmart! It was pouring rain quite heavily this morning and is still coming down a bit right now (3 hours till start) but is supposed to clear up this afternoon. Makes me grateful that we have afternoon starts at the Joe Martin stage race rather than the 8-9 am starts at Gila last week.
There is a buzz of excitement and nervous expectation rippling through the team this morning because BJM smashed the TT yesterday and is leading the race! We stacked 4 guys in the top 10 and so gave ourselves some options for the remaining racing. It's a strong and motivated field here so it should make for some dynamic races these next 3 days.

The 3rd place finisher in yesterday's TT has a relaxing morning while the weather gets the rain out of it's system. If you look closely, you can see that JV has his recovery Skins under his tracksuit like a good lil' racer.
If you have a sec, send some good luck thoughts our way!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

I'm back from the Tour of Battenkill in upstate NY and it was actually a pretty cool trip. I was able to get on the podium on Saturday's race which wasn't really the plan - I was kinda supposed to save things for Sunday but sometimes things don't work out the way you plan them. I wrote about the race on the team site. Sunday went not so well for me cuz I flatted on the first lap and didn't get any neutral service - I think they were out of wheels from so many flats! However, the other 4 Bissell dudes showed some grit by finishing the 200k classic style race.
Every once in awhile people ask me what I do with all my free time on the road. Well, when I'm staying at a camp resort in a room by myself with no T.V., no computer, no cell phone reception and no crosswords handy....
I finish a 489 piece jigsaw puzzle over the weekend (11 pieces were missing - which btw makes things more difficult not less b/c you end up spending all sorts of time looking for pieces that aren't there).

Actually this was my roommate for the first day or so, but he was sick (too much coffee?) and I had to put him out of his misery when I saw him stumbling around on the floor the next day. :(

So, that area of New York is pretty cool. The race was in Cambridge/Greenwich area and is surrounded by hills and trees and rivers and all sort of pretty scenery. I was impressed. And all of the locals seemed to really get behind the race which always makes it more rewarding for us. I think the race will keep getting bigger and better as well.
As for Boulder, our weather has done a 360 and today was georgeous. I thoroughly enjoyed my recovery ride today.

This is a picture from the Stone Cup coffee shop in Lyons during my pit stop today. I really like Lyons and would think about living there if it wasn't so far from the airport. But I took the picture to poke fun at the coffee shop b/c they have an American flag w the peace sign in place of the stars and a flag of the earth. Can you be more Hippie than that??

Up next for me is the Tour of the Gila followed closely by Joe Martin Stage Race. I'm looking forward to both - should be some goooood racin!!!
Thanks for reading!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

"Uncle!" you win Weather

This fella recently had a B-Day. I also post this pic to remind me of better days. Rain, sleet, hail mix today in Boulder. 100% chance of snow this weekend. It's mid-April, folks. Enough already.
If my flight actually gets off the ground tomorrow morning, I am headed to the Tour of Battenkill in NY with Omer, Frank, Sheldon, and Graham. No snow in the forecast so that's promising.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Redlands Success?

So finally after over a month off from racing after our biggest race of the year, the NRC season officially kicked off this past week. We finished 2nd and 5th on GC and had a 3rd and two 4th place finishes on stages. It's a solid start to the season but as we were sitting around, guzzling Ultragen after the Sunset Road Race, I could tell that none of us were overly content with the week. We've upped the expectations and 2nd place on GC is no longer going to be a 'success' for this team. Louder and BMC rode a great race and deserved the win, that much is clear. So we are going to have step it up another notch if we want that top step on the podium. I, for one, did not race aggressive enough to pull out the win on the last day. The fear of losing our podium spot on GC caused me to race defensively for the majority of the race. Hopefully I'll learn from this experience and react differently next time I'm in that situation. That being said, this was my highest finish ever on GC for an NRC event. And a high quality field at that. Everyone on the team helped me out at one point or other during the 4 day event. Be it helping me with positioning, fetching bottles for me, helping me with positioning, gobbling up time bonuses, getting in the break or helping me with positioning, the boys had their hands full the last 3 days! And of course our staff made it so we just had to pedal our bikes and recover. Such a huge help. But my favorite part of Redlands (besides that wonderful, 90 min., zig-zaggy, 160 man field, white knuckled crit that I and many other poor souls crashed in) is staying with my Aunt Margaret and Uncle Jim during the race and spending time with their/our family. I'm so lucky to be able to get that family TLC on the road while racing. Thanks fam!
Okay, maybe I'll start updating this blog more often now that the racing has begun again. Maybe I'll start posting pictures again to spice things up. And maybe I'll put a little effort into writing interesting content instead of generic race reports or self-evaluations. Maybe.

Monday, March 02, 2009

now what?

phew! I'm glad that race is done. Now we can just sit back and relax for the remainder of the 2009 season, right? Maybe not. That's the trouble with the schedule for the domestic pro teams. The biggest race of the year for us is in Feb.! And then probably the 2nd and 3rd biggest races are at the end of the year. Don't get me wrong, it's nice having a month at home after the AToC but it just seems like a big waste not being able to directly utilize this fitness gained from suffering through that friggin hard race. I am thankful that Bissell was invited to the ToC again this year because it's an incredible experience and it's an honor to race in it, but it's just difficult to be going well in Feb., Sept., and a few times in between. Now that I have the whining out of my system, let me say that my friends/family support throughout the ToC was 2nd to none! It was a lot of fun having the support of so many loved ones (not to mention some complete strangers) at the race this year. It's that very support that helps keep us going when we're racing in miserable cold rain for 3 days straight...for instance.
So, I took it nice and easy on the bike this week and all my little road rash areas and bruising are healing up nicely. I'm hoping that Scotty, Teddy, Omer, and PZ are healing up fast as well. AJM seems to have recovered okay as proven by his podium finish this past week in Merced. No team races for me until Redlands at the end of this month, but I may jump in a local race or 2 in the meantime.
Thanks to all who supported and cheered the Bissell team during this year's edition of the Amgen Tour!
Take care.

Monday, February 09, 2009

Picture time

In typical blogging fashion for me, I have some photos and updates from weeks ago...
after our Argentina campaign, we flew straight to training camp in Santa Rosa. With quite a few new additions to the team, it was good to finally meet each other and try out the new gear and equipment (which some of us had already done in Argentina and Wellington). Have I ever mentioned that we have about the best equipment sponsorship on the planet? We also got to spend quite a bit of time chatting and riding with most of our sponsors. A lot of times training camp is the only opportunity to meet many of the sponsors or at least get to spend some time with them, so it's nice to be able to get to know some of the personalities behind the forces that allow our team to exist. Besides a few of us getting sick at camp as well, everything went according to plan and it looks as though we are going to have a fun year of working together and winning races.
The Tour of California is coming up quick so that's been preoccupying most of my thoughts of late. It sounds like I'll have quite the friends and family contingent cheering there for parts of the race so that'll be a bonus. I've been feeling pretty good and gaining confidence coming into this year's edition, but if you haven't noticed, there is a pretty impressive start list for the race so I'm not sure what my fitness and confidence will translate to when head-to-head against the best in the world. All I know is that Bissell is going to race hard and make opportunities for ourselves. Let the circus begin!

San Luis was beautiful most of the time we were there but about once a week they'd have this crazy deluge for about 30min. that would cause massive flooding in the streets.

This San Luis store sounds like my kind of place!

This was some sort of roadside altar near San Luis that I thought was interesting.

A team ride doing the Geyser's Loop near Santa Rosa. I love my Boulder roads, but Santa Rosa is no slouch either...

Giampaolo and I mug for the camera at his restaurant Riviera. He and his family fed the Bissell team (no small feat!) 3 of the 7 nights of our camp w incredible italian food. Thank you Pesce family!

This one is for my dad: it's a picture of new bossman Wohlberg's '64 Buick Le Sabre wagon with roof rack. Bench seats, 8 track player, 401cc engine, etc. It pretty much demands respect. I think the night time picture adds to the mystique.

Take care.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

don't cry for me...

a little update here from San Luis. I'm alive. I wasn't able to start st. 5 of the Tour due to a bout with what was probably food poisoning. I was disappointed for sure but mostly because I missed out on some more great training and prep for ToC. I'm feeling better now but I was pretty worthless there for about 30 hrs. The team is doing great without me with BJM in the top 10 on GC and 2nd in sprint points.
Argentina is a cool country and I am enjoying my time here now that I have time to look around a bit. The people are very chill and generally happy. They love their siestas here as nearly everything closes down between 1p - 5p! Also, they don't start dinner until 9p or so. And the best part?!? They love their helado (ice cream) here!!! There are ice cream shops everywhere and they're always packed. That is the real reason I like these people so much! I can get a giant waffle cone w/ 2 scoops for 3 pesos ($1)! And oddly enough, that was one the only food that didn't cause me to get nauseous (sp?) the day after getting sick. :)
I've been taking a few pics but I'll have to post them later.
Thanks for the supporting emails and blog posts!
Also, posted that interview of me done by Nathan Rand back in November recently. Make sure you check out how boring of an interviewee I am...after checking out the "daily distractions" of course...
Hasta luego amigos!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Dias Contentos!

quick update here. I'm heading to Argentina today for the Tour de San Luis which runs Mon-Sun. I'm mucho excited both to see a new country and start racing! The form seems to be coming around so I'm cautiously optimistic about the TT on St. 3. It's a pretty big race with a couple of Pro Tour teams and a bunch of pro conti teams from overseas so you should have no problem following results with,, or Some Basso character is planning to show up which is apparently a big deal but I think the J-M bros being reunited is a much bigger deal. That's just me.
Oh, and if there happens to be a freak blizzard during the race (forecast is for mid-90s), my prediction is that T-Bird and I will dominate due to much practice in riding in those conditions the past 2 months. :)
Take care.

Friday, January 02, 2009

A Clean Start to the New Year

Happy New Year!
In an attempt to start 2009 on the right foot, I broke out my new Bissell ProHeat 2X CleanShot that was given to me from Bissell for Christmas and cleaned every square inch of the carpet in my apartment (approx. 900 sq. ft!). That thing is bad @$$! I picked up so much dirt, hair, and crud even after vacuuming with my stellar Bissell Healthy Home Vacuum first. I need to post some graphic pics to demonstrate its dirt-fighting prowess.
The ProHeat in action. Can you tell which side I've already cleaned???

This is some of the hair that the ProHeat picked up from the carpet. The best part is that it was primarily black dog hair from the PREVIOUS TENANT!! (note: The mini candy cane is for scale only and was not picked up by the Bissell)

So, a lot has happened since my last post. I went to Santa Rosa in mid Dec. for an 8 day training block with buddy Scott and to spend some time with boss man Glen as well. Congrats to Glen and Tonia for the birth of their first child, daughter Kira Christine Mitchell born on Dec. 26th!!! But don't think you can skimp on Birthday presents just b/c Christmas is the day before!
I also went home for Christmas for a few days which was nice but the weather was a little obnoxious. The one time I ventured out in the cold for a ride while I was back, I crashed 1 block later on a sheet of ice and flipped it. I also got to see Baltimore and D.C. for the first time. I got about a day's worth of each.

That bulge in Tonia's belly is now breathing, eating, crying, sleeping, and pooping in our world.

Here's the Capitol Building in D.C. After seeing how big it is, I think they should rename it the Capital Building. Also, it doesn't really lean, it's just a bad angle by the cameraman.

Okay, I gotta get out and RIDE! Here's to a great 2009!