Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Internet Issues

When you fill every room in a hotel in a small Georgia town, the wifi tends to roll over and play dead. Therefore, all of my Georgia reports will be coming shortly including some good video stuff.
Here's a photo to get us started:

The Slipstream-Chipotle team lost teammate Timmy Duggan to a horrific crash during Stage 2. He hit the deck HARD and was in bad shape on scene. The next day, they each taped a message to inspire themselves during the TTT which they won for Timmy.
Meanwhile, the Toyota United riders posted a different message a few days later when faced with the tough climb up Brasstown Bald.

More to come.
And the sign on the back of my bike reads: if you can read this, stop reading and start pedaling!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Turtle Xing?

A couple quick random unrelated stories from Tour de Georgia.
- Brad Sohner is working with me this week. He's a freshman journalism student at Ohio University who took the week off from classes to work the Tour de Georgia as an announcer with me in the mobile announcing truck. I'm being conservative when I say that we'll be talking to thousands of people this week.
He had no trouble convincing his professors to let him take the time off. Well, only ONE professor objected: in his public speaking class.
That's irony.
- We have a handful of Chinese riders in the race this week riding for the Marco Polo - Trek Cycling Team. Yesterday, during the stage into Savannah, there were signs along the road that said "Turtle Xing". This baffled the Chinese riders who recognize Xing as a common name in China. And the word Turtle evidently means someone who cheats on his wife. Thus, it created some confusion on their part as they rode through southern Georgia.
- I spoke with some of the riders about their off-bike routine during a race like this. To summarize: they hate having to eat so much. They actually get tired of eating, but since they need the calories they have no choice but to cram the food in. It's not enjoyable.
I'll have a video with one of them stating that for you soon.
Now, I helped deliver the race results to the team dinner yesterday, and sampled one of the desserts on the buffet table. (They offered. I would never presume to just take some - no matter how tempting.) It was a chocolate sushi thing with mousse and white chocolate and coconut that nearly made me cry real tears. It was gooood. Had I known that was the fruit of being a pro bike racer, I would have put more effort into it when I was younger. Ironically, I would be tired of eating and would get no enjoyment out of chocolate sushi. That made me want to cry, too.
OK, that's all for now. Hopefully you rode your miles today! Cheers.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Tybee Island GA

8pm - Saturday, April 19th - Tybee Island, GA
Tour de Georgia starts on Monday with one of the flattest road races I've ever seen. It starts in/on Tybee Island which, for the sake of all the readers from Tybee Island, is one of the gems of the Atlantic Coast.
Now, knowing that I have no readers in Tybee Island, I can say how I really feel about this place: I can't wait for the race to start so we can move up the road!
To be fair, the town has been welcoming of the event.

Well, at least they gave us top billing over their call for house keepers.
I'll be working the United Community Bank Mobile Announce truck with Brad Sohner, the kid from Columbus with the voice of silky thunder.
Reports to follow.
My request of you: what questions do you want me to ask of these riders and crews?
What do you want to see?
Let me know. I'll do my best to capture the inside line.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Lovely day for a bike race.

I held a small ceremony in my car on Friday celebrating the official passing of winter. It was nearly 70 degrees and sunny outside, so I marked the occasion by turning off the heated seats. They had been on since mid-November. So, I made the declaration that Her Majesty Queen Winter MMVIII was dead. Long live the Queen.
The seats are back on. 36 hours later. So much for Friday's ceremony.
Saturday's weather was also crap. And there was a bike race scheduled. It was an uninviting 43 degrees and rainy with a strong biting wind, but I was still contemplating the idea of racing. You see, on VeloNews.com this week, there's a cool and inspiring photo of George Hincapie covered in mud riding through the Arenberg Forest during the 2001 Paris-Roubaix (Paris Roubaix is happening right now - Sunday morning, 13 APR). The photo had a negative effect on me: it made me want to race regardless of the conditions.
We normal people aren't involved in epic rides very often, so it seemed OK to create one. I arrived only an hour before the race to find that I was the second rider to sign up. By the start of the race, only 12 more had joined the field. That's not a good sign. I have found that the smaller the field, the harder the racing. That's exactly what happened. We spend the next two hours beating each other senseless. It was awesome.
It was awesome until I flatted. Twice. Out of the race.
Two things about this that I want to share:
1. I was surprised to see several well-known riders drive into the parking lot, sit and grumble, then turn around and leave without even getting out of the car. They made the mistake of sitting in a warm car with the heater (and seats) turned on full blast. Bad move. It prevents them from seeing that it was 43 degrees. Just a few weeks ago - when the weather was 28 degrees and snowing sideways - we would have given anything for 43 degrees. OK, so the wind and rain made it worse; it didn't make it horrible.
2. My old friend Rich Snodsmith was in town visiting from San Francisco. He borrowed a bike and came to race. Now, he may not want me to tell you but I will: he's been fighting cancer for the fourth time, and just had his last round of chemo only a few weeks ago. Here he is riding in this crap. After the race, soaked with road grit everywhere and dried worms stuck to the downtube, he's smiling. Sore, but happy. It's the Roadie Way.
OK, I gots to go. Paris-Roubaix is on Velonews.com.
(EPILOGUE - Is this poetic or ironic? George Hincapie - my inspiration for racing in the rain -flatted in the race and was out of contention. I feel his pain. He feels mine.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Well, it wasn't Istanbul this time.

Racing at the Ann Arbor Spring Training Series race today, I'm happy to report that I didn't have They Might be Giants' "Istanbul" running through my head for the hour-long criterium. Nope, not today.
Today, it was the Libera Me movement from Verdi's Requiem. Top THAT, i dare you!
So as the killer wind had us lined up single file in the gutter at 30mph struggling to stay on the wheel in front, I was singing, "Libera me domine de morte aeterna in die illa tremenda."
NOT out loud. Are you kidding? No way!
I'm not Catholic, so I don't understand the Latin. (Something about 'deliver me from eternal death...etc." In hindsight, the words actually aren't inappropriate for a bike race.) I just sing it for the musicality of it. And, by the way, will be performing it on Wednesday at Orchestra Hall in Detroit at 8m. I'll expect to see the bike racing guys sitting in the second balcony (because they're a little cheaper than the main floor. Just sayin') Park in the parking structure. That too is cheaper.
So here's a glimpse of part of one lap at Ann Arbor. We're not quite in a single file line, but we're still cookin'. And I'm near the back but not ON the back. Fun times.

I'm hoping to have a better song stuck in my head next week. Check back for updates.
ALSO, the book is shipping. Keep your eyes open for it if you ordered it from Amazon. A friend of mine spotted it at Border's in Boston. Nothing in Santa Monica yet.
More to come.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

We're off and running! (not really running)

First, a huge thank you to Kinetic Systems Bicycles in Clarkston for hosting our book launch/signing party. Jeff and Louise and the crew rolled out the red carpet for Jef Mallett and I today. (see photo #1)
And another thank you to the people who came to visit and walk out with a copy of Roadie! It was a great kick off to what we hope will be a great run. (not a real run)
Jef is an old hand at this and knows exactly what to write for each person. Meanwhile, I was having flashbacks to the last day of school when I would sign yearbooks trying to find something clever and appropriate for each person. It took a few tries to boil it down and not get too wordy.
The Detroit Free Press had run an article (Thanks Bill Laitner!) that attracted many Frazz fans. And though Frazz doesn't appear in the book, he is definitely nearby.

So - just in time for your summer reading - the book has been released out into the wild blue yonder (Air Force reference), and is available at all the popular places. If your local bookseller doesn't have it, they can get it. Or you can go to velogear.com and find it and more!
Now we're working on a movie trailer promo for it which will be appearing soon. And we've got some other surprises planned!
And more to come here on ridersready.net!
Hope you enjoy reading Roadie!
Now go ride!