Friday, April 4, 2008

Flanders countdown

It has been a little light online as far as Flanders recon or tech photos or articles. Cyclingnews had this rad photo of the Koppenberg. It is looming in a very menacing fashion.

I guess it's time to lay down the predictions.
I will go with a podium of Boonen,Ballan, and Gilbert.
Top five rounded out by Flecha and Nuyens

PS How sick would it be to have some throwback gatorade shoe cover?

From the DNF to the DFL

It might not seem it, but it's a long way from DNF to DFL.
Setting your goals for the season can be tough. You have to be realistic
and still give yourself something to struggle towards. So maybe to some
the goal of "Go from DNF to DFL" might seem like a gimme or not a worthy
challenge, but given my sporadic and unsuccessful history with racing, it
was the place to start.
As my first race of the year approached, I had the usual nerves. Have I
lost enough weight?, Have I trained enough? Too little base? Too much? Too
little intensity??. I had just gotten my bike back from the shop and
wanted to test it out before my big day. Luckily around here there are
several training races to choose from. So to give myself a test, I signed
up for one a week before my first scheduled race. This would give me a
chance to make sure I could find my license and get all my pre race
routines back in order. (My OCD level issues with pre-ride routines are
pretty comical-unless you live with me). Also if the bike was fubar'd I
could have week to get it straightened out.

First 3 laps all I could think was this sucks and why did I drive an hour
to turn right on a one mile loop? 8 mile warm up was fine and the pace
wasn't crazy, but it was little nervous and it kept bunching up. How many
times are they going to keep yelling "hole" and "sand right". They have
been in the same place every lap. At least it was a 10AM start, so I
wasn't up at the crack of dawn.
After about 10 laps, I was pleasantly surprised to still be racing and to
being able to move around the bunch pretty easily-the back of the bunch.
There was a big right hand turn at the end of the lap and no one had
crashed on it. Had to sprint out of the corner up a slight hill, but it
wasn't so bad even after a 15+ laps. No real excitement until the last
lap when the pace heated up-don't no who lifted the tempo cause I
was drifting back. Going, Going, Gone. Rolled across the line a few
seconds in arears. Not sure what place. If the race was a lap shorter
I might have known, but I didn't really care.
Mission accomplished. Race finished. Check of the goal of the season, DFL
accomplished. But in reality this was just a "training race" and not one of my preselected targeted races so I can't gloat yet. Hopefully my luck holds til next weekend......
Part II
Marblehead, oh Marblehead. 2 mile circuit on the water with a headwind somewhere(guaranteed). This year the wind was on the short side of the course-the run in to the big corner. Not so bad, except for the cold.
4/5 field of 75 guys. Seemed like maybe 40 of them on Cervelos. My last time here I got dropped early and got yanked after 3 laps so I was ready for revenge, but nervous as hell. Birthday margaritas the night before were a risky proposition, but I managed to behave. Did I mention it was cold? 28 when I started "warming up". Race was not super aggressive, no real attacks til about 6-7 laps in. Pace kept yo-yo'ing and crashes seemed imminent. No one seemed to be pushing the pace and it would slow down up every incline. I missed one crash early on, but my luck didn't last. Last lap just as it was starting to speed up about 6 guys went down in front of me, dodged right, jumped back left, and then laid down for a minute. My feet were so cold I was trying to unclip and they weren't responding-so down I went. No mechanical and no injuries, but also no hope of catching the bunch. My chances of contesting a top 30 finish were dashed!! Rode it in to ensure I got placed, and then let out a big exhale. Finished! Not even DFL! Revenge exacted and now I have the rest of the day to gloat, buy bike parts, and scheme about my next race.
Checked the results and I managed a middle of the road 35th place. Can't complain. Other people finishing 35th this weekend included Dave Zabriskie so I'm in good company.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Not so much

I will guess that this image of Team Cannondale-Vredenstein will not appear in a Vredenstein ad anytime soon..........
Ouch. But I guess shit happens when you race across South Africa.

Guest Rant-Tuesday AM Commute

This Guest Rant hit my inbox yesterday, enjoy

There he was, stopped at the red light. Full Tweed Ensemble. Pasty white skin that never sees sunlight directly, just lights up when it peeks out from the edges of the cloth. You can picture him arriving late for his Poetry Slam grand entrance and tripping in front of whatever was posing as an audience. Light turns green as I glide toward the intersection. He’s got a head start on his Mongoose and standing on the pedals he manages to take ¾ of the lane, preventing all cars from passing and momentarily preventing myself from getting around him without heading into oncoming traffic. And then out of his unzipped backpack pops his umbrella. It clatters in front of me and somehow I throw myself to the left and manage to avoid it from leaping into my spokes, without hitting the sleepy chick driving the Pontiac Gran Ma.

Enough. I head into the break between cars in the oncoming lane and cutting it close I begin to go past him, just in time to see the Bicycling Magazine trying to escape from his ever widening backpack.

That’s who reads Bicycling Magazine.

10 Tips for Getting Legs of Steel

5 Tips for staying in the group on a Saturday Club Ride

10 More tips on taking great pictures of your legs.

The New Trek - Hype or just High Expectations?

HTFU part 3

So O'Grady and Meares are in the HTFU hall of fame and now so is Gerben Löwik. I know it seems unlikely that this Jeff Spicoli looking Dutchman could make the cut, but here is the proof from
Löwik was only six kilometres in to the weekend's race when he was unable to avoid a pothole in the road and went down. He got back up though and continued on his way. "I got back into the group after the crash, but let [directeur sportif Erik] Dekker know that I had considerable pain in my arm," the rider told "I just couldn't keep up. 10 kilometres later, he told me, 'if you turn off here, you can probably ride along the canal back to the hotel'."
Löwik did that and rode the 40 km back to the Holiday Inn in Gent. "With some shoes I borrowed from the hotel reception, I stepped into my car and drove to the hospital," he added. "There they found a cracked bone. I got a cast on it and drove home. I'll miss two weeks. Last year I missed the Ronde van Vlaanderen because I broke my hand in De Panne."

There you have it, when was the last time you road 10K with a broken arm and then drove yourself to the hospital in someone else's shoes? Harden the Fuck Up!

Monday, March 31, 2008

2 good blogs, 2 good videos brought this Museeuw video to light. Like a bad BBC documentary/infomercial. Much better than the videos for his healthclub.
Then this fan film from EuroPeleton-which is also a good read.

Not bad for a Monday

Prognostication Devastation

So how did my predicitions pan out?
As far as the E3, I called Weylandt, Hoste, and Pozzatto. Missed that by a mile. My choices came in at 13th,36th, and 89th (also known as last). At least this was an exciting race.
In the Criterium International, I faired a little better. My big 3 were Julich,Zabriskie, and Voigt. I got Jens, but a ridiculous 7 minute gap took Dave Z out of contention. So my choices finished 1st, 35th, and 62nd.
And to wrap up my Jimmy the Greek phase at the Brabantse Pijl. I went with Nuyens, Visconti, and Freire. Makes me almost look smart. They finished 4th, 8th, and 37th. Chavenel is having the season of a lifetime.
Freire and Boonen streaks over. Jens still going strong.
So with a week to go until Flanders there are a lot of guys looking strong Boonen,Cancellara,Flecha, Nuyens, Gilbert, Chavenel.
This week should be filled with Classic tech, reconnaisance ride photo shoots and wild gossip about who can do it at Flanders. Cannot Wait!

Good Bike Photo Blog-Belgian

This dude has a photo blog on the Het Volk online site. It is always rad. Good pictures from the Belgian races this weekend!