Sunday, July 31, 2011

Quebec

Here are my impressions of Quebec.


-I guess Montreal is a big city, but the places I traveled to were in the middle of nowhere. They are pretty places though, surrounded by lakes and forests.

-Montreal is bilingual, but the quaint little cities aren't. Fortunately, most of the folks involved in the race spoke superb English. If you want to be a hit with the local ladies, learn French. That will give you a slight advantage over the 50 other drooling American riders.

-When we met our first ever French Canadians, they told us that Abitibi has a lot of chicks. And it's true, there are a lot of chicks. It was crazy because they were all attractive. There are 2 possible explanations for that. (1) Literally every Abitibian teenage female is attractive. (2) Maybe there is a shortage of men that makes the women especially desperate, so desperate that the most attractive ladies decide to volunteer for the bike race and ergo be seen. Forgive me for my ramblings.

-The music in Quebec is HORRIBLE. The riders had to go on an hour bus ride to the start of each race. I got a major feel for the popular Quebecan music. It is a lot of dance pop that gets stuck in your head. Bad mojo before a race.


That's Quebec in a nutshell.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Hangin' Out

I'll make a longer post about Quebec tomorrow, but I felt the need to post tonight to keep my readers appeased. My goal right now is simply to heal. The road rash isn't very bad, but it can be a touch aggravating at the worst of times. Also, I have somehow picked up Thygeson's Superficial Punctate Keratopathy in my eyes. It is a disease/condition that inflames the corneas. The cause is unknown. It doesn't inhibit me at all, except that I can't wear contacts. It is after all, superficial.
That's all I have for this update. Take it easy.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

What I learned

If you're going to L'Abitibi next year, here are some tips I accrued over the week.

1. Nutrition is super important in a 6 day stage race. If you don't drink sufficiently on the bike, you will probably cramp. You or your teammate will have to go back to the team car to get bottles. I didn't get bottles all week, and perhaps that contributed to my suffering. Off-the-bike nutrition is just as important too. You have to be eating, eating, eating all the time.

2. Positioning is everything. L'Abitibi is won in the time trial and lost in all the other stages. You can't be riding at the back (which is what I did for the majority of the race). The crosswinds are vicious at L'Abitibi, and the experienced riders are looking for them. If you're at the back when it happens, get ready to suffer in the gutter for the rest of the race. Very painful. The crashes tend to happen in the middle of the pack where everyone is condensed together. That being said, being at the back is still worse than the middle. You need to be at the front.

3. A L'Abitibi piece of advice is to grab your (male organs) out of the jar in your pantry and ride like a man. You have to stand up for yourself in the pack. To ride at the front requires controlled agression.

4. NEVER GIVE UP!!! If there is one thing I learned at L'Abitibi, it is to keep on keeping on. I finished off-the-back in three stages, but I wasn't time cut, thank God. Good things happen to those who finish. There is always a light at the end of the tunnel. It just hurts in between, that's all.

Thanks everyone for helping me get to Canada. It was a great experience, and I hope I did you proud.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The Quebec Chronicles: Finishing

The last 4 stages sort of blurred together. I was mainly just fighting to get to the front and avoid being dropped. My inability to get the front really frustrated me. Stage 5 was 78 miles with 3 KOMs and a major crosswind. My job was to contest the KOMs, so I did my best. I either went too early or went to late, but I missed the KOMs. Fortunately, Erik did a splendid job to put himself in 2nd place in that competition. We lost TJ and Chris on that stage, and Owen and I were both dropped. Danny was able to hold his top 10 placing throughout the entire race, with fantastic help from Erik and Owen, and I did what I could to help him. All in all, I did everything I could. I finished 106th out of 109 finishers and 132 starters.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

The QuebecChronicles: Stages 2 and 3

Stage 2 was a 108 kilometer jog from Macamic to Amos, finishing with 5 circuits around the city. The first 10 kilometers were chaotic. There were several sections of dirt and railroad tracks, and the threat of a crosswind was always there. Mark told us to trying to get in a break before the chaos really started. I gave it a shot and got in a break with a Kiwi, a Kazakh, and a US Nat'l Team rider. We got pulled back immediately, but it was nice to be on the front. I lost my position in the peleton just as the field completely strung out. The elastic was at full stretch, and riders were really suffering just to hang on. The pace slowed, and the race got easier. At 40k I was considering when I was going to go back to the team car and grab some bottles, but it was not to be. 5k later, a Quebec rider braked and swerved right. I wasn't quick enough to react; my left hood got stuck in his hip, and I went flying into the ground. I didn't break anything, but the caravan passed me within minutes. It was a lonely 60 kilometers to ride, not to mention I had to make the time cut of 25 minutes. I don't know how, but I made the cut. I thank God for that. It was really a tough experience, but it taught me a lot. DON'T GIVE UP!!!

Thank you team Mid-South for waiting on me, and thank you Owen for helping me get to medical. Thanks Mark and Andrew for getting me back on the road. Thank you Lucas for giving me time checks. Thanks Alexey for giving me your phone. Thank you French Medical lady for patching me up.

I rode the TT in survival mode today. My chainring bit into my right knee yesterday. It is uncomfortable, but that is really the extent of the pain. My time was 18 something, averaging around 26, I believe. I`m not going to get eliminated, so I am happy. I live to fight another day.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The Quebec Chronicles: Stage 1

Some good and some bad. There weren't as many crashes as were anticipated, but one of the crashes took out Owen. He lost 14 minutes, and then the commissaires fined us for motorpacing (we did't do anything wrong in my opinion). I stayed in the pack, and the guys finished well. I want to help them out more next time. I have to go now.

Monday, July 18, 2011

The Quebec Chronicles: Waiting

Just a few quick observations.

-I spent Saturday night at the Comfort Inn with Danny and Owen. Owen decided to be a 12 year old and throw things (water, soap bars, etc) at us, but there are no hard feelings. It was team bonding, I guess.

-Owen's French Canadian friend picked us up from the airport. We went to dinner with him and some guys from the Quebec regional team. They are some funny/crazy dudes, pretty European. I learned a little tidbit about Quebec culture; they like bread. Not fancy bready, but sandwich bread. They'll just wolf down plain sandwich bread.

-The flight from Montreal to Val'd'Or was tiny. 10 people, most of which were either on the US National team or Mid-South.<

-Our team is staying in a high school classroom. It was super hot and muggy last night, but it seems to have cooled down.

-We have previewed one of the finishing circuits plus the time trial course. This finishing circuit has one 110 degree turn and a block-long 8% finish. The TT course is all downhill except for going up said uphill finish.

-I have run into Alexey and Lucas a couple times. Prochain is rooming right next to us, as is Specialized. We regional American teams are on the 3rd floor. The national teams are on the second.

-115 kilometer course tomorrow, I believe. It ends on that uphill, so I think we will definitely have some guys going for the win on it. The key is to not crash in the first mile. Let's hope for the best.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

The Quebec Chronicles: The Team

I suspect I will get significant access to a computer up in Amos, so hopefully this blog shall be kept updated over the next week or so. Allow me to start this off by introducing the riders of Team Mid-South Regional:

Daniel Eaton, 18, Mesa AZ
Danny is pretty well-known in Arizona. Pretty well-known as one of the top up-and-comers in this sport. In his second year of racing, he is already Category 2. He loves to attack, break away, and take fliers...as well as time trial....and climb. He's a powerful rider, and despite his large size, he's able to climb with the best. He got 2nd at Camp, winning the flat repeats. He took 9th at the National TT and crit, but crashed twice in the road race. I sense he has something to prove.

TJ Eisenhart, 17, Lehi UT
TJ is pretty much having his best year of racing ever. He was 1st at camp, after ravaging every test. He is around 115-120 pounds, a little heavier than me, yet he produces about 40 more watts. In other words, if there's elevation, he's going to hurt you real bad. I regard him as one of the most skilled juniors I've ever seen. Also, he has been racing since 2006, so he rides with quality experience.

Owen Graves, 18, Scottsdale AZ
Big O, as we call him. Racing for Bike Haus. Owen is most comfortable in the crits. He packs a strong punch that makes him very competitive on power climbs and sprints. Seeing how Abitibi is basically a flat race, he will get many opportunities to shine. I suspect he will mix it up in the sprints, but at the same time be a complete team player.

Chris Putt, 18 Park City UT
Climbing specialist. On camp's Mars Hill repeats, Chris was incredibly close to TJ and Danny, with a time that would have won last year's test. He isn't on many riders' radars because he hasn't raced Nationals. I suspect he will surprise many people.

Erik Volotzky, 17, Chatsworth CA
Erik, in my opinion, brings the most experience to the table for our team. In his racing career spanning 7 years, he has accrued 9 podiums at Nationals and several wins at VOS and Callville. He went to the 15-16 Euro Camp, and rode with the National team this spring. He has Europe experience, which really helps the team. He's strong on the flat and competitive on the uphills. Certainly he will be in the mix.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

4 Days

I rode the new Specialized Transition today. It is super smooth and comfortable (except for the saddle). It'll go pretty fast. What do you think of "Red October" for a name? Is that a good name?

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Suffering to Payson

The charity ride was pretty sweet. There were 8 of us I think, and mostly everybody turned around at mile 39. Pete, Walt, and I kept on going. Dad, Brian M, and Matt J gave us tons of feeds, so there was minimal bonking. Normally 70 mile rides don't take 5 hours, but we were enjoying major elevation gain. That's all I've got to say about that.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Underlying Issues

I am still not convinced that the European peloton has a prevailingly clean influence. Look at the mindset of some of these teams. Movistar is absolutely ITCHING to sign Alejandro Valverde...once he gets done with his two year ban. Bjarne has zero problem with having Alberto on his team.
It's not just the teams. I see it in the fans too. Just reading through the Cyclingnews forum, I see that the public has fallen in love with Vino again.
I know that those are only three examples, but they bug the pizza out of me. I really hope that these American teams are about to turn the tables on the Euros, provided they actually have some integrity. I only wish I knew. I'd hate to find out that I had been lied to again.

Monday, July 4, 2011

The practice phase was good to me



The first 3 stages went well. Consistency is going to be key in the following stages. The "Arizona Riders" group is going to be a knock-down-drag-out duel. Jake S (Gobble Out Gu) and Mike D (Team DZ) are coming at me like spider monkeys. No one can be underestimated. Let the real battle begin.