je ne sais quoi

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Descent Into Valle Crucis

Today was a fun ride. Lots of little descents in and around griffith park (been doing lots of my base through there...i should get sick of it any day now) made the ride a fun one. Which brought to mind the greatest descent I know: Highway 194 from Banner Elk into Valle Crucis...and so, we have the above video. I rode out of town one day, taped my digital camera to the bars, and hit record...

Spring, 2004. Banner Elk, North Carolina. Note the unobstructed lushness of the place. The only thing that isn't vibrant green in color is the road or occasional farm animal. Addicting. The descent is in two parts. The first section is the shorter one, with rougher pavement, and lots of G-forces. This is followed by a mile long flat section which takes you to the second part. More Gs, better pavement, and when you're *feeling it* -the most fun you can ever have on a bicycle. I remember breaking spokes once solely from the lateral and braking force through one of the turns (My mechanical ineptitude likely contributed, however) near the beginning of the 2nd section. It's that awesome. The whole road is about 7miles, I think. Pardon my singing/commentary.

And I'd like to take time to pay homage to the great Luke Winger: Former roommate, tip-top juggler, and THE fastest man down that mountain, every time -especially in inclement weather. Salvodelli Status. Smoked me every time, without even trying.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Thank You For Read My Bloggings

We'll start with this:

I was supposed to start base on the 13th. Problem was, I was still waiting on new handlebars to come in at the shop (Universal Cycles on Cahuenga.....BEST guys). The bike above is the loaner. Pretty nuts bike to borrow huh? Well, it's a demo Cinelli XLR8R. Full Carbon, D/A, DT Wheels, etc. Measured up to a 55cm (which I think is a L by Cinelli's standards), but I wasn't going to turn down an opportunity to ride a bike that amazing looking. I took it for a long ride up the crest on tuesday, the 14th. My first ride longer than 5 seconds on a Shimano bike. Ouch. I really couldn't deal with the hood shape, and particularly, the texture of the rubber! The campy ones are sooo much softer, no comparison. After the pain of the hoods (I have blisters to prove!), I realized that the bike was ridiculously uncomfortable, and wayyy too small (the last two complaints are likely related). I had the seatpost maxed out, and good leg extension, but it just wasn't gonna happen. I returned the bike two days later.

I couldn't borrow a proper-sized bike in time, and so, I was forced to push base back one week. Fast forward a week, and now it's sunday, and I'm done with the first week of base. 15hours. The week went well. I had a particularly good day on thanksgiving morning: went out to the coast, and took Kanan to Rock Store, then to the Valley, and home. It was great because it seemed that all the cars were not out to kill and destroy, you know? It is finally getting colder, unfortunately, but i'm sure the SoCal colors will show themselves and we'll be in the 70s again. Next week: 18hours. Should be a daisy. Tomorrow calls for 50s and rain. I'm all over it.

I'm using to log my training this year. I like it. No more looking all over for the little training notebook. The site isn't perfect, has some bugs, but it's free, and you can access it from anywhere -a real plus. And you can check out what other people are doing...though the site is mainly catered to rec-riders battling for "who can do the most miles this year".

Next year: It hurts me to say this, but i've exhausted all my options and myself for next season. Right now, I don't want to think about teams and riders and energy-gel sponsors and custom headbands and matching shoes. For now, i'll say this: Some potentially great things came and went...some were pleasantly surprising, others instilled a massive amount of anger, frustration, and confusion (which I'll touch on in time...). In short, I'm back where I started. I'm currently unattached, and contrary to what you might think, I'm perfectly content with that. Howard Roark did it...and if necessary, I will as well. Like I said in the last entry, the motivation isn't really bouncing off the walls, but it's there, i'll find it. I'll get through the base period as thoroughly and professionally as possible. Regardless of where I end up, '07 will be a year of vindication. Vindication and crushing of the weak.

and! I'm getting an SRM! A friend is letting me use it for the season. Fantastic. Not sure when it'll get here, but you can bet your balls there'll be a journal entry devoted to it when it arrives.

Friday, November 10, 2006

3 More Days...

...'Till the fun starts. It's been a longgggggg long offseason. Completely off. I even took apart my road bike a couple weeks ago to ensure that I didn't ride it. I haven't ridden since October 10th. Zero. Not a single pedal stroke on the road bike. My body's loving it. The long lapse has made it think that i've given up on the cycling game, and that the days of burying it in lactic acid are over. Nope. I'll bury it deeper still in the coming months. The body currently weighs 176.4lbs...not too far from my race weight, and the lowest it's ever been entering the base period. I feel noticeably (probably only to me) leaner as well. Energy levels are great: I come home from daily 8 hour stints at the shop with plenty of energy to spare. This wasn't the case during the first week. Also, during the month, I've nursed a cold, and am over it right on time to begin base. Antibodies. Well timed, body, nicely done. So the body is good and ready. Yep, it definitely is.

The mind? That's the difficult one. The time off has helped, for sure. The mind is ready for whatever I can throw at it...and believe me, the second phase of base really tests your every psychological limit. What would realllllllllly set things right and straight is if I could get some closure regarding next year's plans, but unfortunately, they're yet to be decided. The apprehension and anxiousness is definitely taking it's toll, but I remain hopeful. I can't get into details yet. I will soon...I hope.