Went for a recovery ride today with Jim and Phil. We rode up to Pinos Altos, which just happens to be a good 1,100 feet up in 7 miles, headed back to downtown on the crit course, made a stop at Walgreens and headed back to the gym.
Came out to Gila a few days early with a few of the guys. Stemper, Phil, and myself were greeted at the airport early yesterday morning by our ace mechanic William Swan. Ha Swan. We made what felt like the forever drive from El Paso, TX to Silver City, NM.
Once we made it to our awesome accommodations at the Baptist Church's gymnasium we kitted up and headed out for a spin. The local's greeted us with horns and one finger up which I don't believe meant #1 in this case. Once we cooled down with a few laps in the gym, a little hot for one particular rider, we showered up and headed to dinner an the grocery.
Stemper who was having just an awesome day which included a broken bike from the airline, not a very welcoming committy on the ride, and a mishap with a slippery gym floor would be victim again at dinner. He ordered steamed veggies, which the waitress forgot about. They finally came out but were no where near the description of steamed veggies and best of yet he was charged $6 when the menu said $4. All the waitress could say about that was, "What would you like me to do about that?" Seriously!
Today we reconned the last 80 miles of the Gila Monster stage. We started in the valley and headed to the hills battling a sweet wind.
Not a bad draft behind these stallions.
Behind climbing specialist Phil. Look at that form.
Then there was me.
Stemper really hadn't planned on riding long or hard today, but we talked him into going with us. Here on the biggest climb I'm thinking he wasn't to happy.
I was trying to keep the spirits up. It's hard to keep it easy on a 7km climb that averages over 7% with a cross wind gusting over 40mph.
Once we were finally able to find more water, get back and get some food in our body's we were happy to have such a great day on the bike. Plus ace mechanic Will Swan also became baking extrodinare and made a cake for us. Maybe we shouldn't tell Frankie. Now time to rest on the gym floor, try not to eat to much cake or all the candy, cookies, and ice cream that appear to be in the freezer for two days before the start of the race on Wednesday.
That as expected was a fast trip. In a short 36hrs I went from Indiana to Alabama and did a 70km crit and a 115km road race. It was very pro flying in the day off and out the same day as the last race. What wasn't pro was bumming rides and having Joe Kukola transport my bike. Those last two though were smart and saved nearly $600. It's an amazing network that alot of us have, and I'm always happy to return the favor. Thanks Joe, Laura, Monte, and Brian.
It felt great getting back in there and mixing things up. I'm really starting to like night time crits. There seems to be a special ora, more excitement, and it just feels like a big time sporting event. Of course as it was the first crit for the year for me I had to get use to the whole corning fast and with it being night time seeing shadows all around.
The whole team just went out to be aggressive, and we did that. Not missing any important moves or splits. We weren't going to be caught out. Our only mishap was our sprinter being moved off the leadout mans wheel. Things happen.
So after collecting prize money, rolling back to the host house, eating dinner and showering we were in bed my midnight. Not a huge deal other then the fact we had to be up by 5am to get to the start of the road race at 8am.
It was a fast night and a quick morning. We grabbed our complimentary breakfast at the race site which consisted of a bagel with cream cheese and a Trix yogurt. Good thing the race wasn't any longer.
We were back and racing on our bikes less then 12hrs after finishing the previous night. Once again we didn't want to be caught out with guys who weren't motivated and miss a move from some of the riders who were motivated. Once again we did a good team effort and Jonny ended up in the move. Real cyclist did much of the chasing as their guy got dropped from it. Jonny came unhitched as we closed in on the finale climb.
That left it to us to close the final 30 seconds of the now 4 leaders. We took to the front and I took a really hard dig with 4km to go and had it all together with 3km to go. That left it up to Hartley, Luca, and Isaac to once again try to finish it off. They had it set up perfectly other then the fact the finish was 800meters from the last corner not 400meters like they had planned out. Whoops.
I'm really impressed with the team this year in how strong everyone is riding. Guys were all over the front of the races and in position to win, like they have already this year. A few more races and we should be banging out the wins.
Next up is the Tour of the Gila and the end of the month.
The racing season is about to begin. I fly out tomorrow morning for the Sunny King Criterium tomorrow night and the road race the following morning before heading back that night. It's going to be a whirlwind weekend. I'm looking forward to racing with a few of the new guys and of course the old teammates, not just in age like Sundt and Weiss. You can watch the criterium live as it will be streaming live on Velonews. Action begins at 8:30pm (EST).
I did a race last weekend in Tennessee, the Hell of the South. It was a pretty awesome road race that was 96miles long, with some small rollers and a narley dirt section. It wasn't much different then a training ride, but it was nice to get out with some guys and hammer. I'll probably try to get out and do it again next year if I'm not doing anything else.
Well here's to hoping I'm ready for this weekend. The first one is always a little nerve racking. Especially when your director calls and says it's going to be hard and the speed will be a shock to the system. As if I needed to hear that. I'm more then ready though.
I have to thank Joe Kukola for transporting my Masi in his mini van. Delta now charges $200 each way for a bike. I'm sure my team will appreciate it as well when they don't receive $400 worth of receipts to transport a bike for a weekend. That's more then then the ticket itself.