je ne sais quoi

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

=Some Photos=

Photos [by Dave Haag]
Rokets Blastin'

Pain Faces

O'Reilly Takes it

Battle for 2nd

Monday, January 29, 2007

0 for 1

First race of the year's done. I did not win, I got second. Here's how it went:

Took friday off to do a "proper" Simi ride on Saturday. Just as I parked the car, I see a T-Mobile kit riding by. Aaron Olsen. Hmmm. Lots of rain followed, and the next couple hours were miserable and tough. It was the Christian Valenzuela show. Got 3.5 hours of mixed intensity in before the day was through.

Spent a good 3 hours caressing and cleaning the new bike to prepare it for its first battle the following morning. It's good to have a gloss (instead of matte) bike...they're easy to clean. Put on new tires (Hutchinson 'team edition'...they smell nice), cleaned the shoes, shaved the legs, the whole bit. Race at 2pm. I got on the subway at around 11am, got to the venue at 12:15! Vera at registration was amazed by my unusual punctuality. Ah well, it's the first race of the season...i'll settle into a procrastination routine as soon as I find the proper algorithm.

The talk of the day was "Alllllll the Toyota United guys are going to race, lots of pros, etc etc etc." No Toyota. They never showed. Was a decent field, though. Aaron Olsen (T-Mobil) came, the full complement of Successfulliving guys, including director Steve Hegg (one of 500,000 directors who've said "nope" to me in one way or another), two Sierra Nevada guys, and some other isolated pros. CAMERON FOX also took the start. The funniest thing was seeing the realllly-conspicuous T-Mobile kit floating around the field. I laughed out loud numerous times at that today, but can't really explain why. Okay, so we had about 100 guys total. 100 racers for 100 kilometers. Lots of laps. The first 50k were mellow and smooth. Just a notch or two faster than base pace. Perfect for me: No lactic build-up, no stress, no suffering. Lots of room to hide in a 100 man field. Successfulliving tried and tried to get away, but conditions really didn't favor a break. I sat back and watched the show. Just for kicks, I launched a little move through the start/finish area, but didn't even get a "And now off the front..." from the emcee. I did get [surprise surprise] Christian to bridge to me after a lap. Came back after one more. Felt good, man. Won't lie. The bike was great. Everything working, clicking, Sram, carbon, perfect seat height, tilt, and setback, new tires, new's great not to worry about all that...and i am thankful.

Okay, back to the Action-packed race. Not really. It was dull as hell, but smooth. No one looked to be suffering or breathing hard. It wasn't just me, I found. Well, maybe just Christian, who was off the front at least 20 times. So we eventually got "13 laps to go" out of nowhere. Hmm. Now 5 laps to go. Allright: 3 laps to go. I was well positioned. The two Sierra Nevadas, like me, hadn't done anything all day. I went with them. Wasn't sure who they were, but they had nice kits and matching bikes, so it made sense. Successfulliving started a "leadout" for Alexi with a ridiculous number of laps to go (8 or 9), and they had no one left come game time. 2 laps to go. One of the Sierra Nevada guys (who I'd later learn is Cody O'Reilly) tries repeatedly to bump me off the wheel i'm on. Guy, just 'cause you're pro, doesn't mean you get the wheel. "This is racing, guy" is what I told him. It worked out, though, for us. Bell lap. Things are strangely calm. Race to the last corner. I got there in 3rd position, behind the 2 Sierra Nevads. Cody had a great leadout and sprint to win easily. I took second, also easily. Still, I know I'm faster than I was in the finale, and definitely had more to give, but lost it...just nerves, I guess.

Allright, so that's the report on the first loss of the season. Thank you, Toyota-United, for not coming, 'cause if you did, I might not have been paid.

Dave! Email me that photo!

Thursday, January 25, 2007 its right place...

70 degrees? Daylight almost 'till 6? I love how the cycling season is structured. It parallels the weather. Like the weather, it only gets better from here. Only about another month 'till I can stash the warmers away for a good long while. Training this week is going smooth. I feel well, and all that's left is to decide what races to do this weekend. Sunday's already set...CBR 100k Crit at dominguez hills. Word on the street: All 14 of the toyota-united guys will be there. It'll mean nothing, but it'd be a daisy if I could schhneak into the inevitable 5-6 guy toyota break and maybe catch Harm's attention...ahhh but it's a short course and if we lap too early, no one will notice! Heh. But no's the first race of the year, just want to learn to ride proper in a group again...

On Saturday, there's the option of doing (1) Montrose -it'd be a nice mellow way to spin the legs for a few hours to get them ready for sunday's race. (2) Simi -Boulevard is the following week, and how I fare at Simi will be a good indication of how well Boulevard will go. Similar pace/profile. But it also means my legs might be a bit shred for Sunday's crit. (3) Race the Track! it'll be a perfect prelude to sunday's ride, and it's fun as hell, always. Plus I won't have to wake up at 6am. We'll see how I feel friday. Allright, gotta stop blathering.

Two more things:

First, check out Marco Fanelli's Blog. It's a good one. he updates it more than once every six months (which seems to be the standard in the blog scene lately...brent...). and he's not as big a narcissist as I am, so it's a nice contrast to this blog. And on that note...below is a video of ME, winning a category 4/5 crit in 2002. It's my 2nd ever win (in my 6th race), and it's got great announcing, great butchering of my name, pristine sprinting form, and top-notch camera work. Really though, I'm lucky to have it. It came at a time when video capabilities were a novel feature on digital cameras, and a guy I knew happened to be there to film it.

Sunday, January 21, 2007



This story is from Friday afternoon's ride. Just riding around town, through the park, a nice 2 hour spin all over Hollywood. I usually go up beachwood canyon...nice ride up to the Hollywood sign, then down the other side into Griffith Park. So today everything is just swell, until this little Honda with a Texas plate buzzes me (inches...and for NO reason with his compact...obviously intentional) on Franklin Ave. Okay. Words are exchanged, he darts off, and of course, gets caught at a light. More [creative] words were exchanged, and I turned right on Beachwood and went on my way. What I said must have struck a chord. 1/4 mile up Beachwood, he rolls up! Hmmm. More words and a brilliant "Get off the road!" was thrown my way. Then he stops his car, opens his door. One foot on the ground, the other on the accelerator. He starts revving his engine? Really?? Did he want to race? Should I have flexed my calves? Idiothhh.


Yesterday was my first Simi ride of the year. Shite. In short, I got my ass kicked. I rode out to the start from home, and didn't even feel good during that 90 minute segment. Typical, I think, because of what the base has done to the body. I can go at 80% all day. But 82%? Nope, not for more than 5 minutes. It'll come though. The whole ride is really just some rollers, with 3 "major" hills, the longest being "7 minute". Really nice parcours for me, when in form, of course. Can't wait to go back next weekend. I'm treating it as a race, and will try to get a ride there this time instead of riding the 30 miles out.

As expected, every socal hotshot from miles around was at the ride...some with their annual dissertations about how "this is THE year" for them. Some guys were already showing off next year's new team bikes (me included! thank you Time) and kits (won't have mine 'till March, looks like). It was nice to see the whole scene...


And then I saw the whole scene again that same evening, at the World Cup Track event at ADT. The first non-local track race I've ever seen, and WOW. Honestly, everyone should try to come out and see one of these things...and the place was packed! Very surprised by that. At the local races i've done out there the place has about 40 people show up, 35 of which are racers, 4 of them officials, and really, that's about it. Last night's points race was incredible. a 19 year old Australian kid rode brilliantly, and took the win on the last sprint. Awesomeness. And Gregory Bauge......what an effort. The match sprints (first ones i'd ever seen) were intense. Such a mind-game...and then they go balls out for 500 meters and are SOOO out of gear come the line, but the form still perfect. Great stuff. Wish I could go to today's event as well.

Why is this bike in the backyard?

Thursday, January 18, 2007


Karl Menzies, getting it done in Oz....

How Amazing Are The Podium Girls?!!!
[graham watson foto]

The guy crushed all in the breakaway group, took the stage, GC, everything...he's a good guy, and one of few 'big time' guys that take a second to say "g'day" or something really realllly Australian like that. I'm gunning for him to destroy the early season scene....I still think he's still vastly underrated...the Tour of California will take care of that. Hopefully i'll have a chance to mix it up with him at some NRCs in the coming months.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

The Dead Of Winter

I'll confess, I have no idea what the above figure of speech refers to, but today's ride and accompanying weather seem to fit the dreary phase rather well. High of 56. Started the ride late to try to stay at or near that 56 zone as much as possible. Layered up, etc etc. Felt colder than 56. Then the winds kicked in. Gah. Particularly bad were those little descents on Malibu Canyon (northbound)...the ones with a steep cliff and low fence in place of a shoulder. That+Unpredictable Wind+Ksyrium+Cars=@!#$#%@.

There was a bright spot, however. A story. Part jerk-move, part catharsis. I should preface this by saying that throughout the base period, plenty of guys passed me up. Some politely, some quietly, and that's cool, that's cool. I'm goin 17~19 mph, so it's bound to happen...but some guys attack me with great aggression; as if taking me to the imaginary finish line is a gamble they CANNOT afford. Why can't we just ride together for a bit? Geez, guy. The story begins while riding down PCH. Had some good tunes on the ipod (Weezer's Pinkerton of only 2 solid -W- albums...Blue being the other). So i'm grooving along when a guy blasts by the left side. Hmmmmmmm...I should hang back and let him revel in his latest conquest, but base was JUST over yesterday. Allright, why not? I calmly closed the gap and sat in his draft for a bit as his speed gradually decreased from the recent blast. He looked back. I smiled, stayed in his draft. Me and pinkerton. After a few minutes I pulled through. Very gently at first, and slowly turned the screws. A really good track came on ("Getchoo"), and the screw turning rate ramped up sharply, and that's pretty much where this story ends. Didn't see the guy again. That was my hardest effort of the new year and it felt swell. Both the effort and the act of passing one of these guys for once...Swell.

Two entries in one day? Serious?

Oh...and results for the MLK crit I missed are already in. As expected...none of the 'core guys showed save the Mezas (who are routinely waxed at the bowl by unshaven guys on creaky Cannondales), so i'm a bit relieved. Tip of the hat, though, to the brave nutcases who raced this thing...

And I'm posting this again...because i'm so proud.

He even let me borrow a cable (the one I had was too short). He's high in the running for MVP, worldwide. Sadly, no white russians could be had at the afterparty...but the dude abides...and settled on a glass of wine instead.

Monday, January 15, 2007


That's what the body did yesterday.

The base period finally came to a close with the end of my rest week (10 hrs) yesterday...and an emphatic ending it was. Only three rides. 1, 5, and 4 hours. 4 of which came yesterday...with some near-hypothermia and crafty descending in ice, it finished up. By LA standards, yesterday was cold. In the valleys, it was a low of 32. 32! In LA! Unheard of. Despite the temperature, it was still sunny and clear. I layered up, and felt nice (aka: overdressed) at the lower elevations, so I took to the mountains. I was fine until about 5000'. Then the ice started and the sun disappeared and it had to have been in the 20s. Ouch. It was okay on the ascent, but coming down...argh. Amazingly, i'm not sick. I've thrown myself in some pretty sickness-inducing situations, but remain unscathed. Getting sick before base begins...that's the way to do it.

So today there was a race. MLK Crit. I didn't go. My rationale: If I went, I'd be doing it for the money. It's an unsanctioned race. The team didn't care if I did it. No one would. I probably would have made at least my entry back ($1000/10 deep), but gah. Is it worth it? Too early (8am start time!)...anddddddddddd....tooooooooo cold. It was 38 this morning...when I probably would have been "warming up" for the race. Plus, a guy up north broke a femur in one of these "Early Bird" races. Femur! That's the one that's reallly realllllly hard to break. Bummer for him, man. People (particularly SoCal-ers who aren't used to the cold) do strange things in adverse weather. I'm no exception. So I sat this one out.

In cheerier news: The band I go with had a show last night at the Alex Theatre. Great show. Massive crowd (2000 people?), and not a single empty seat! I'd never experienced that before. Amazing. But...the best of the bass players from another band looked strangely familiar....

And they gave The Dude a beeper.

and a bass, apparently! Incredible guy. Even his mannerisms were spot on! I was in the presence of greatness. Wow, I'm still buzzing. Jeff Bridges himself could not have done it any better. The man IS the dude, but with slightly fewer years (and lbs) and with a knack for music. Imagine that man in a Creedence cover band. fuahhh.

Thursday, January 11, 2007


Big Lapse. Likely the last. Just found out today that there's a race on Monday. MLK Crit. Non-sanctioned. $1000, ten deep. I'll be there, man.


It's done. Even the 32 hour week went by without a single problem. I'm amazed at how the body handled the volume. Actually, I'd say the 2nd week (18 hours) was the most difficult. After the first rest week, the body did what it had to knew what lie ahead, and prepped itself accordingly. Ahhh yeah. Last year, it didn't do that. The final 3 weeks of base (which were 24, 27, and 30 hours, respectively) were agonizing. Midway through the last week, I was so dazed and drained from all the training, that I hit a parked car while goin up the crest. Parked! This year's been a huge contrast. Okay. May we never speak of this base nonsense again. For at least a while...

So this week i've got a really mellow schedule, and that's how it's gone: In three days so far, I've ridden 1 hour. Walked to the post and back the other day (3 miles). Today i'll ride proper. Only the weather's turned to shite overnight. Gahh. High of 59, looks like. It was 80+ just the other day. Hm. Not much else to write about. Been busy with non-cycling things, the blog suffers. I'm going to do a post about the bike soon. I just want to do it justice.


Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Ultimo Semana

Happy New Year to the blog people.

: Slept early (relative) last night, and did the annual Mt. Wilson romp this morning. The ride has a sensible start time (10am), so it works out, people come in droves. Among the droves were: Ivan Dominguez and friggin' Dave Clinger (seriously?? yes) out there, in addition to a bunch of people from the west side who i've never seen on this side of town in my life. Strange all around, yes. We roll out. Real fidgety the first mile, so I went to the front until it strung out. Conditions were great, and getting better. A slight breeze picked up about 10 minutes in, no worries. Pace heated up, I dropped back, la dee da. Then, while off the back. Wind gusts began. Wind like i've never seen in my life (on or off the bike). Pissed off demonic psycho wind. From all directions. It had to have been 80+ mph blasts. Lots of people turned around, and surprisingly, a good number rode on. I can't believe no one ended up in the canyon. Anyhow, I rode alone most of the way, as it goes with base miles, said "hi" to a bunch of people I hadn't seen in a long while, and ended up with a 6.5 hour day to start off the final week of base. 25.5 hours and 6 days remain! A big big thanks to the Haag support crew, braving the elements in the element to give the random masochistic riders who rode on some coffee, gatorade, smiles. Swell times, and the great ice-cold coffee+orange accelerade cocktail that goes down so good after the 4th hour of these rides did wonders. I didn't have country music today, unfortunately. Where is my ipod?

Also, on a technical note...the body is responding REALLY well to off days. Took last thursday off, and felt real fresh the next day (5hrs), and same great legs today, after having yesterday off. This means one of two things: i've come to form too early and won't peak properly, or it means lots of legs will be slain at my hand this year. Slain and smite downnnnn to the ground.

And on a nutritional note...all the hours so far (123.5) were done with accelerade in the bottles, chocolate milk (1 serving per 2 hours ride time immediately post-ride), no supplements (no multis, glutamine, nothing), and lots and lots of pad thai and tuna. Weight is unchanged, but that's not a concern of mine at this point.