je ne sais quoi

Monday, March 09, 2009


Let's finish off that last entry, huh? One month old race report....which happily isn't my last. From February 10th, last month:

Small field. CBR. I'd say 95% of the 50 or so riders there were masters racers who had raced at least one other race that day. I was fresh. So, from the gun, click click click, and gone. And gone we stayed the entire 90 minutes. I was solo on the first lap, joined by two others after that, who I wasn't too thrilled to have. And then, almost like clockwork, Sergio Hernandez (rock) bridged up. Woo. A nice quartet. And funny, I think we were the only U30 riders in the race to begin with. I assumed the role of the "jerk who makes sure the breakaway is riding properly". Worked swell. From what I remember, I had only one bottle, and did the lion's share to keep the break going. Dumb of me, but the legs were up to it. I think the gap stayed at 45 ticks the whole time just about. Ah well. Sergio faked some "cramps" during the last 20 minutes or so, and took weaker and shorter pulls. He read the race correctly, and was better hydrated. He was kind enough to tell me when/where he'd attack but I couldn't go with it, and he won easily. I cramped a bit on the last lap, and coasted in for 4th on the day. Right o...GREAT legs, but i'd crash two days later and have to rebuild. Oh, tip of the hat to my two teammates (Waylon + Fritz) who shut things down in the pack pretty nicely.


I am well. Big, big thank you to the scene and all who've wished me well in my recovery. Everything is healing up. I go to therapy 3 times a week, and am in the process of hopefully getting some expedited reimbursement for the bike. I really do hope to get it all sorted soon. I've been doing some long (5+) rides to get the fitness going again. Best place for long ones? The coast. Went out saturday with Ben, James, and Stoney. Usual suspects. After an hour or so, we were cruising down San Vincente to get to PCH when Mike Ward (semi-scenester guitar wiz mustache bike rider guy) rode by. "Hey hey, how you goin Mike?" He was with a couple acquaintances of his and, though the group was bigger than I liked, we all decided to head down the coast for some climbing together. Oddly, one guy on a Trek just hogged up the front on PCH and wasn't going fast at all, ah well. Don't know him too well so just went with it. I chatted him a bit from time to time when I got reshuffled to the front. This was my view for most of that segment...

After a gentle cruise on PCH, we turned right onto Latigo. The guy held his own pretty well. I'd been off the bike for a couple weeks, so couldn't blast off and TT off the front. You know how it is with people you're not sure about...particularly in test each other. He crushed all. On his "easy day". He was kind enough to stop up top for a regroup. Wouldn't get off his phone for a chat though...busy guy.

Okok. I guess my little game is over 'cause I really don't know what else to write. I rode with Lance Armstrong for 4 hours or so. My favorite part was being glued to his wheel going down Rock Store. He's smooth, but he certainly wasn't going balls out by any means. We passed a moto together as well. I'm not "Lance fan #1" but I won't forget it. I chatted him up more than the other mortals, but not to the point of annoyance, as far as I know:

Me: What's your weight like these days?
LA: Right now, 165. If i'm 160 by the time the Giro starts i'll be stoked.

Me: Carbon bars? I thought you were a Deda alu-guy?
LA: [looks at bars] Oh yeah, these? Guess so. Bontrager something. Trek owns me.

Me: Milan San Remo!
LA: Hahh...yeah. I hope I make it through alive. That place, that course, the fans - insane.

Me: What's with the shoes? I like 'em.
LA: Me too! Best $100,000 shoes you can buy!

That's as far as the verbatim quotes I can give here. There were other tidbits. He told me his french is terrible and that he doesn't care to improve it anymore. I told him that there's a finish stage in Aubenas in this year's tour. Told him it's the absolute finest village he'll ever see. "Huh?". Good stuff. No one outside of Aubenas shares that opinion or even knows the place exists.

My impression of the guy? Of his non-public chamois/helmet/bike persona? He's a bike racer. He sprints for city limit signs, goes tempo on climbs (which for most is threshold +++), cracks jokes, and checks out babes walking on the roadside when cruising around. Just like we all do. The guy's ridden bikes with presidents, won the biggest bike race in the world in front of billions of onlookers, and is perhaps the most well known athlete in the world. I wasn't expecting my words to blow his mind in any way or offer him even slight mental stimulation - i'm just another bike racer. That said, each time I had a chat with him, it was clear that he wasn't too interested in what I was saying. I may as well have been a reporter or some guy that won a contest to hang out with him for 2 seconds. He knows how to handle it, and he's quite efficient about it. And honest, that's absolutely fine. Wouldn't expect anything else, and if I had his palmares, I'd be the same way. That said, it was a great ride. Having a 12-23 is a terrible terrible gear choice for climbing Latigo and F#@$%#$^ Piuma. I hadn't hurt that bad in a while. The agony of that gear selection will forever accompany my memory of this ride. :]

Back to racing soon! Thanks again for the kind words and support. They've really helped.