Wednesday, December 24, 2008
Friday, December 19, 2008
Monday, December 15, 2008
With all that side show stuff out of the way, it's time to get refocused on the big goals for next season. Right now the only thing between me and the big wins next year is the weather. Current temp: -4 degrees. Burr.
Anyone game for a southward bound road trip?
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
- I know, I'm a jerk. I spend all season keeping ya'll well informed on my whereabouts and activities and then as soon as the off season rolls around I cut you off cold turkey. My bad. I'd promise not to let it happen again but it probably will so, I'll just ask you to bare with me. It's the price you pay for reading the blog of an ADD twenty year old.
Anyways.... Where to start? I took a nice little off season from mid September to mid October. Raced a little cross, raced the Tour of Okinawa, raced a little more cross, and these days I'm on my bike 20+ hrs a week plus in the gym 3 days a week. Sometimes I have to remind myself that my break actually did happen and it wasn't just some awesome dream. So yeah, that's the bike side of life. Sorry to be brief but if you really care to hear more shoot me a comment.
Oh, and I'm racing Cross Nationals this weekend. If you're out there give me a shout!
As for no bike stuff... Moved into a new house up in North Boulder. My roomies were 4 lesbians, a Polish girl, and a guy that sells soy beans. But then 2 of the girls broke up (and the one that left took her awesome dog. So not rad.) and the Polish girl and guy that sold soy beans got fed up with our requests for them to clean their pasta sauce of the kitchen ceiling so they bounced as well. So, now it's me 3 lesbians and I think our new room mate is a (gulp...) triathlete. The official drink of choice at the ol' 1540 homestead is PBR. We have a tent in the basement for slumber parties, we have a custom painted beer pong table & dart board, and I think I'm home about 20% of the time and I have about 20 pairs of ear plugs on hand. Ridiculous contrast = ridiculous fun.
These days I'm getting around in an old '92 Dodge Dakota pick up courtesy of my grandma. Thanks grandma! It's 120% horrible in the snow, has the names of various high school dingbats scratched into the paint, a couple of Avery's brewery stickers permanently stuck to the back, and by my unprofessional diagnosis, may possibly be on the verge of explosion. But god damn it, it's got character. I'm convinced it runs on a character/gasoline mix. Just add 1 part character and 400 parts gas. Seriously though, I shed a tear for all the pour polar bears I'm drowning every time I drive the beast.
Running out of time...
Quick list of other stuff that went down this off season:
- Went "hunting" (ran around the woods, shooting cans, throwing knives at stumps, doing a little 4x4 action, and pooping in the forest. It was awesome)
- Played "head, shoulders, knees and toes" with thirty Japanese kindergarteners. They sing it in English.
- Worked my way up to a 2.5hr run. I think I might try and do a marathon next year. Don't tell my boss.
- Got rained on in New Jersey.
- Ate pie for breakfast 4 days in a row.
- Became addicted to $5 burger night at the attic.
- And danced my ass off on numerous occasions. Can I salsa? No. Can I dance to salsa music? Yes. Will Everyone around me be angry that I am not dancing salsa? Yes. But will those people also be secretly jealous of my sweet moves? Of course.
Take it easy and happy holidays,
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
Friday, September 12, 2008
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
Challenges also make me tired, and due to limited space, I need to finish all my coffee and tea before leaving. God forbid it falls into the hands of the unworthy French. Call me greedy and hateful, but no one in this country is either worthy of or capable of consuming my coveted Ethiopian dark roast. Unless they add the norm of 4 spoonfuls of sugar tarnishing its rich black beauty and muddling with it's perfectly pleasant, eye opening, bitter bite. No, this coffee shall be consumed by none other than I.
Boredom is cured in mysterious ways. Packing 3 days in advance, dreaming up reasons to drink another cup of coffee, and finding ways to make the SAT test easier than ever:
Tuesday, September 9, 2008
Saturday, September 6, 2008
Friday, September 5, 2008
For a small town we have more than our fair share of homeless folks. Actually, I'm not convinced they're all homeless. Many of their cloths change day by day, and dirty as they may be their hair seems to have no trouble adapting to what current fashion dictates. Basically, there are a bunch of gypsies, drunks, nomads, homeless, and in general F***ups running around this town. With nothing to do but ride my bike and ride my bike some more, I've spent months worth of time camped out in the town square observing and mentally documenting the habits of the inhabitants of this slab of concert in the sun. I know that the bald guy sleeps under the air vent behind the post office every week day but never on the weekends. I know that the girl and 2 guys trio lost one of their German shepherds after it bit a police officer. I know that the plants in a particular flower pot will never grow because one of the drunks uses it as his toilet. Not just for urine. And I also knew that 2 of the wanderers had some serious sh*t brewing between them.
Today that sh*t stew boiled over. Drunken fists whirled through the air. Swings found targets and lights darkened. As I and the rest of the shoppers at the Simply Market watched one man repeatedly kick in the face of the other, all I could think was, "I'm getting the f*** out of this sh*t hole. I'm getting the f*** out of this sh*t hole. I'm getting the f*** out of this sh*t hole. ASAP" Part of me wanted to help the man and part of me felt that some sort of karmatic dept was being leveled against a man who had tormented our unhappy little town.
It was so bizarre. Nothing Really seemed to happen. The man who did the kicking walked away, an ambulance came and took the unconscious man away. The crowed dispersed. I paid for my soap and felt sickly consoled by the fact that a man who had once spit on me for denying to give him money, probably wouldn't be spitting again anytime soon. The only thing that seemed to exist after the incident was my overwhelming need to leave this place. Transform it from a reality to a memory. So that's just what I'm going to do.
Optimism eat my shorts. I’m peacin’ out of here,
Wednesday, September 3, 2008
Sorry about disappearing for a while there. I only packed my iTouch in anticipation of some crazy, unorganized travel with out realizing that I couldn’t actually update my blog with it. I can write in the title section but not in the content section. Oh well, I'm guessing everyone will survive just fine.
Aside from the blogging withdrawals, the last few weeks have been memorable. Paris with Ryan and Emily- Absolute blast. Hanging out in the Netherlands with Tejay, Ryan, and Emily- Absolute blast. GP Tell- Worst race of the season by far on the bike but one of my favorites off the bike. The legs were terrible but waking up to see pointy peaks shrouded in clouds every morning and hanging out with a fun group of guys keeps the spirits up even when the form is down. So basically it was a blast.
After all that yada, I spent a week up at the national team house in Belgium trying to kick a nasty cold I picked up mid way through GP Tell and spending way too much time shooing the sh*t with the guys on all the coffee shop rides. Time flies when you're having fun....
And now.... I'm back, home sweet home, in Marseille. And after a full day of train travel, I must say, as I lay here on my 2 inch thick foam pad of a bed: I just want to go home. Like home, home. The kind of home where there is always someone to pick me up from the airport, puppy dogs to play with, friends to hike with, and a girl to snuggle with. The home where I have every inch of the maze of roads with in 100 miles memorized like the back of my way too tan hand and I actually run into people out on the road whom I want to chat with (opposed to the old cycle stalkers around here). I've been playing this euro trip game for quite some time now, and now, faced with a September 100% void of all racing, I'm ready to pack it up and slap on the official Alex Howes seal of completion on this mini odyssey.
Not that anyone has asked but, I'd say I've pretty much done it all over here. Am I satisfied with my season? Hell no. Results wise I plan on sweeping this season under the rug ASAP. However, as far as (and I say this at the risk of sounding like some sort of liberal hippy douche) growing as person, the last 8 months are untouchable. I went 2 days with out food, wove a hammock, read 16 books, broke 7 chains 1 wheel and 1 bike, had 1500 euro worth of crap stolen, swam in the Atlantic and the med, sampled every type of beer at the grocery store (don't worry there are only 12 kinds), climbed the local mountain, busted the tail light of a team car with my break hood, won a trophy, cut my own hair 4 times, bought my first real saw and hammer (which I still need to figure out how I'm getting home...), visited 8 countries, walked the Luvre, laughed myself into shape, actually cracked, learned how to talk with an Irish accent, threw a bag of trash 50m and scored, more or less learned French, finished a coloring book, watched 106 movies and every episode of south park, spent a full week carving a small statue and threw it in the river, got way too good at sewing, and got beat up by an old Irish woman. I'm not saying I've done it all and I'm done here. Hell no, I'm just getting started. But, damnit I'm beat. I'm ready for a break and a burrito and some State side adventures.
I'll keep you posted but I think my butt will be planted on a familiar couch soon,
Saturday, August 30, 2008
Sunday, August 17, 2008
Off to Belgium tomorrow morning, to go race GP Tell in Switzerland with the national team. Feeling strong. Little stiff after breaking a chain while doing sprints yesterday and flipping ass over tea kettel at 30mph but, feeling strong.
Sunday, August 10, 2008
Drinking a beer and packing for Paris,
Friday, August 8, 2008
Friday, August 1, 2008
Going to bed early in hopes of gaining magical powers,
Thursday, July 31, 2008
Ok, I'd talk more but my room mate has decided it's bed time. Shit, what time is it? 9pm. Humm, he must be tired. Perhaps he should have finished off the back to save some energy like me!
Monday, July 28, 2008
Fun and games end in 9hrs and it's off to Alsace. From what I hear this race is no, "walk." what ever that means.
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
Monday, July 21, 2008
cyber cafes are expensive and i miss my querty key board. i've been out for 5hrs 45min today and my pacence is pretty low.
off to climb the 4 miles home,
Friday, July 18, 2008
Not quite as crazy as years past (did the math from last year: significant time spent in 13 states and 4 countries for the year’s total) but hey, at least I’ll be out of the house!
Tuesday, July 15, 2008
I know I was completely wrong in dreaming of warm sun, sandy beaches, beautiful Portuguese women, relaxed racing, and an all round good time as I made the pilgrimage to the wholly land of pain last Monday. A man can dream right? Alas, it was little more than a dream. I’m sure many of you have heard the rumors of the insanity of Portuguese racing and listened to the tails told by Pro Tour riders who, upon returning to their native lands, preached nothing but shocking tails of distain, pain, and caravan surfing. So I won’t elaborate too much on the racing side of things and give you a quick day by day:
Stage 1- “Wow I hope my legs wake up for tomorrow because spending 36hrs traveling from the states then driving 18hrs to Portugal has me in the hurt locker”
Stage 2- “F***!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I could have F***ING WON THAT F***ING SPRINT!!!!!!!!!!!!! F***!!! I’M GOING TO KILL THAT LITTLE PORTUGUESE PIECE OF SH*T TOMORROW!!!! (I got 21st after being 4th wheel w/ 1km to the finish before being nearly killed…. lame)
After stage 2- Seriously contemplating crawling down the stairs to dinner. Legs giving out
Stage 3- “F***!!!!! I SHOULD HAVE MADE THAT BREAK!!!! F***!!! (Shortly after….) “Boy I’m sure glad I didn’t make that break because there’s no way in hell I’d be able to make it over all these climbs”
Stage 4- “Oh Sh*t. Did I really forget to eat for 40km? Looks like I’ll be finishing off the back. I sure do hope they don’t make me ride to the hotel after the race…. Damn it.
Stage 5- “I love circuit races and I slept for 12hrs like a dead man last night! I feel great!.... This is not a circuit race. A 4km climb with a 4km decent is torture.”
All things considering (lots and lots of travel, spare bike that kinda fit (if you can consider a 3cm longer reach “in the ball park”)) I did ok. Nothing special and I did finish off the back on a few days but at least I was still givin’ it hell and making the cracked out (I’m not necessarily saying they’re all dopers but every single one of them is twitchy as hell on the bike…) Portuguese earn their podium kisses. If nothing else it brought me up another level on the toughness scale. A few more races like this and I’ll be up to Clint Eastwood tough.
Anyways, w/ zero regard to the racing, Portugal was pretty damn cool. We stayed in a tiny little Mom and Pop hotel just above a local bar. Aside from the toothless 90 year old men and poorly camouflaged transvestites the place was pretty cozy. There were even a couple of English movies on one of the 4 TV channels! Yeah, Fast and the Furious 2! Although, I’m still trying to understand the meaning behind the psychedelic heard of running horses that would play in substitution of commercials… I think I want to join the Portuguese army?
All our food was home made (the first time I saw the kitchen counter covered w/ dead rabbits I was a bit shocked until I realized their purpose) by a small army of semi toothless old women. And any hair found in the food was quickly forgotten with a smile from the granddaughter who worked behind the bar. The sun was hot, nights were cool and the breeze was always the perfect temperature. We stayed 20 km from the ocean and the day we arrived we were granted the rare opportunity to go on an unstructured team ride to the beach. I took advantage of the situation and can now say I’ve jumped in on both sides of the Atlantic! At the risk of sounding cheesy, I think it’s safe to say my dreams came true. Portugal, I’m coming back for you someday.
Sunday, July 6, 2008
Saturday, July 5, 2008
- Team GC (as Walker will tell you, it's a big deal because we all got jearsys)
- Climbers jearsy (Won by Peter Stetina after some of the most hardcore racing I've ever seen. Took a couple of pages out of the, "Eastern Block Book for Bikers - We Break Legs for breakfast"
- Best young rider - Won by Peter Salons. If you count nail sanwiches and horse semen recovery shakes* as doping than that kid is jacked.
- Most agressive rider jearsy on 2 stages - I had it one day and Stetina had it the next day.
- Oh yeah, almost forgot..... we won 2 stages! One of them was live on national television! Both were won by Daniel Holloway. That kid is FAST! Everybody was saying how amazing we were as a team riding on the front in the crits trying to set it up for Holloway. Fact is, is that it ain't hard to go hard when you know you've got a guy like Holloway to seal the deal at the end.
- Home - I could write a full book of the events that took place but I'll spare you the details.
- 8hr rides trying to cover every inch of the front range roads I love so much.
- Farmer's market loitering
- Levi's 21st and a steller Hat party
- Goodwill shopping
- Rock climbing (Fred and Vaughters, if you're reading this right now you can go ahead and ignore that last bullet...)
- 2 crashes (one stupid one in a construction zone and one on live television)
- One potato gun shooting (may the Kelly Cannon live forever)
All of that is topped off w/ a healthy serving of quality laughs, tasty food, hugs, and good ol' Colorado livin'.
Well then, It's been 29hrs since I last had a wink of solid snoozin' so I'm off to bed.
Happy late 4th of July,
*The Slovok never actually ingested nails or horse semen...
Monday, June 16, 2008
Enjoying the sun,
Tuesday, June 10, 2008
I will say though, that hanging out here at the national team house is a very welcomed change of pace. Hanging out, speaking English, recalling war stories, watching English tv, and just enjoying riding bikes (or not riding sometimes! our "training session" at a playground in a near by town wasn't exactly the most strenuous ride), has me feeling happy as a clam here. Not to mention I don't have to cook dinner! I could most certainly get used to this.
Anyways, just got my ticket info and I'm officially heading to the states on the 12th! REALLY EXCITED!
Oh, and one more thing. A few of you were asking about my fight at Roubaix. It started when they neutralized the race after 60km and some hozer was pushing his way to the front. He pushed me down into the mud in an effort to move up and I grabbed onto his bike to preventing him from doing so. Upon regaining my footing, he had some choice words for me in his language and I had a few for him in my language. He swung, popped me in the top of the helmet (that had to hurt!) and in the heat of the moment I felt the need to give him a quick jab w/ the right. Pretty stupid, but I'm sure it was pretty funny to watch!
Goin' out swinging today,
Friday, June 6, 2008
Wednesday, June 4, 2008
Quick break down of the race- Marked breaks for the first 50km. Got a flat 5km before the first pave section. Motor paced back at 70kmph almost killed myself riding on the side walk then revved the engine at the front and launched Gatis into the pave. Race was neutralized after a moto crashed. Got in a fist fight during the neutral. Stayed upright by riding 15yards out into a mud field during the second section to make the led split of 25. Marked breaks till Gatis rejoined the front (crashed during pave section). Race, race, race. Bla, bla, bla. Pave, pave, pave. Crash w/ 30km to go. Got an epically slow wheel change and no help from the car after the change. Day was over. Packed it up and just dragged my tired ass to the finish. Damn seeing the finishing velodrome felt good!
One funny thing about the whole Roubaix experience is, before the race the staff told us that after the race we could drink all the beer we wanted. But saying that is like telling a little kid who is going in to get his tonsils taken out that, after the surgery, he can have all the ice cream he wants. After surgery the poor kid is in too much pain to get the ice cream down his throat so he just sits there staring at it in agony. We were not much different. After the race my hands were so trashed and bruised I could hardly even hold a beer can. Opening it was damn near impossible and drinking it.... not happening.
Anyways, Roubaix was fun and I'm really happy I got to race and even happier that I put in a good race and was able to really help out the team. However, there is no time to bask in the post Roubaix vibe; I've got a big month ahead of me. I'll spare y'all the details but I will say that in the next month I will visit 5 countries and 4 states. Yeah, that's right I said states!
Going home for a week,
Thursday, May 29, 2008
However, no Darwin awards will be given out this weekend. Hence, I have noting to fear. Courage is the name of the game and honor is at stake. As the old Cody Racing Team always liked to say,
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
Sunday, May 25, 2008
Oh sh*t! I almost forgot, I managed to sneak into the break on the 5th stage! It was one of the strangest breaks I have even been apart of. We all raced like crazy men for the first 20km and the big split happened on the decent. 20-30riders. Crash.... 12 riders. Race, race, race. First big hill 1 rider get dropped (I'm felling surprisingly invincible at this point). Decent.... Crash. 11 riders. Crash.... 10 riders. Somewhere in there I go from feeling like I'm cornering on rails to cornering on greased ice. 2 wheel slide here, skimming along the guardrail there (I knew I wore leg warmers for a reason!). Now I know I've made a lot of huff and puff about how crazy and dangerous this or that race was but this one takes the cake! I was scared just riding in a straight line! Anyways, after a few more descents and a lot more wild, chamois soiling, incidents the break was whittled down to the 7 best/stupidest, riders/bike handlers. However, we were doomed from the start seeing as there was a pretty knarly finishing climb at the end. We made it to the hill, tried our best to pretend we were still racing for the win, and were promptly caught in the last 5km. 130km in the rain off the front risking life and limb only to get caught at the very end. That's life I guess. But just like life, it was fun.
One last thing. By far my favorite part of the entire race occurred about 10km into stage 4. The race started w/ a long high speed decent (yes, I am now sure the promoters were trying to kill us...). Fearing for my life when in the bunch, I did everything in my power to make it up in to the top few riders. On my way to the front, I completely misjudged a corner and came w/ in inches of mowing down 2 old men who were standing on the side of the course. When I looked back, half expecting one of them to be laying on the ground dead, I saw two of the world's biggest smiles w/ one of the old men shaking a limp hand. In France this limp hand shake roughly translates to, "holly sh*t!" I don't know why but it was rad.
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
It's strange having no idea where I am. I have yet to look up the location of the race on the internet and I slept for the entire 5-6hr car ride. All I know is that I'm located 5-6hrs from Marseille, the landscape is and odd blend of urban meshed w/ rural which reminds me of Pennsylvania (good training for Tour of PA), and tonight we're staying in the same town as the College of Notre Dame (a fact which was made very obvious as we came rolling in gawking at all the lovely "scenery" that only a college town can offer). On the plus side tonight's hotel has some really tasty food w/ plenty of variety.
Already dreaming about breakfast,
Monday, May 19, 2008
Sunday's race was a full day of time trialing. The morning TT was well.... a TT. As is the norm Gatis and Evaldas had good rides and took the top 2 spots. In the afternoon it was TTT practice. After splitting the field over the first climb La Pomme went into formation and hammered on the front for the next 100km. Gatis won the road race and the over all. Long tough day in the saddle.
Tour de Franche Comté starts tomorrow. I honestly thought I had a few days to take it easy after training camp/Sunday’s race before Comte. Guess I was wrong... Oh well, I'm perfectly happy living vicariously through the results of my peers. Can't tell you how happy it makes me to see guys like Mike Lange (3rd Tour of Arkansas), Brad Huff (1st stage 4 Tour of Arkansas), and Kilian Patour (stage 3 Tour de Picardie) back on the podium. Nice work guys!
Ok, van is here. I'll try and keep y'all posted,
Friday, May 16, 2008
It's strange how the vocabulary deteriorates when the opportunity to speak English surfaces only once in a blue moon. For example, in Spain I was nearly run over whilst walking through a gas station parking lot. First words out of my mouth were, "YOU F*** ASS!!!!" F*** ass? Pretty creative I know. I think it's from the movie Donnie Darko.
Anyways, training camp is now over and tomorrow I plan to sleep till 1pm in an attempt to get some legs back under me for the race on Sunday. Oh, and not doing L'Isard is not the end of the world; I'll be doing Tour de Franche Comté instead. 5 days of fun. From what I hear the weather is supposed to be good and the scenery is top notch. Maybe the pasta will even be al dente! Ummm.... probably not. I think I'll just count my lucky stars and be grateful I didn't break my neck racing in Spain and cross my fingers I stay healthy from now until May 26.
Pissed off and riding fast,
Thursday, May 15, 2008
On a completely unrelated note. I road up on two guys conversing w/ one another using sign language as they road through city traffic today and concluded that it was unsafe to use sign language in traffic and be unable the hear what's going on around you. Then I realized that flipping someone the bird while listening to an ipod fits that criteria. I guess I'm not a very safe person...
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
Monday, May 12, 2008
ps. It always pisses me off when the global warming articles get put in the opinion section of the paper.
Sunday, May 11, 2008
Also I'd like to make it clear that there are no hard feelings between me and the Basque country. Last night I was repaid for all my bad luck and effort w/ an amazing traditional Basque dinner and some delicious champagne. Is there any better way to finish up a hard race? I think not.
Saturday, May 10, 2008
Training for L'Isard,
Training for L'Isard,
Thursday, May 8, 2008
Cross your fingers it doesn’t rain again,
Today promises to be pretty tough with a hard 8km climb right in the middle of the course. W/ a little luck and some guts I hope to be one of the first ones over the top.
OK, time to go!
Monday, May 5, 2008
Anyways, I leave tomorrow morning for Spain for the Vuelta Bidasoa. Looking forward to some good food and hard racing. Cross your fingers for me to make it to the line w/ some of the little Spanish climbers so I can wax them in the sprint. At least that's what my plan is....
Talk to you again next week,
Wednesday, April 30, 2008
Check out the Etapas. They look like the teeth of some sort of man eating animal. Lets just hope I come out alive.
Paris-Mantes was nothing special. Other than the shocking feeling of imminent death quickly advancing upon me as we entered each obstacle course of a town (and we passed through plenty of them) I was left with little to brag, I mean... write about.
I've got another race tomorrow some where in France. Should be a fast little bastard. 30 laps of a 1.8km circuit. I've busted out my carbon knuckled oakley boxing gloves for this one. This American crit racer is predicting some serious bush league antics and intends to arrive prepared. With a little luck I think those gloves may be in the air as I cross the line tomorrow.
Dustin' off the crit legs,
Friday, April 25, 2008
For 3 days I fought back the tears in silence and tried to stay strong with the music from my computer but it just wasn't the same. So this morning, after 3 cups of coffee and a couple of slices of home (peanut butter, honey, sliced banana, and cinnamon on toast) I cranked up the MGMT got out my Tok, Alaska Swiss army knife and proceeded to perform surgery on poor little Pijon. For 3 hrs I worked. Hands shaking from the nervous energy that can only come from diving head first into the unknown abyss of open heart surgery performed on ones best friend (or was it the 3 cups of coffee?), brow sweating, and eyes darting back and forth from a dismantled Pijon to Wikihow. And I'll be damned, I did it! I am happy to report that Pijon is once again fully functional! A revived ipod, spectacular ride w/ perfect weather, new bar tape, and new cleats makes today one of the most amazing days in the life of Alex Howes!
As I write this I can't help but think of another good friend of mine who's in a tough spot. Timmy Duggan recently hit the deck (hell, he probably broke the deck with how hard he hit it) at the Tour of Georgia. Pretty scary stuff. Hearing about crashes like that always makes me (and the rest of the peleton I'm sure) wonder why we do this stupid sport.
Heal fast Timmy!
Oh yeah, and there's a race this weekend! Paris-Mantes. I have no idea what kind of race it is or who is going to be there but I know where Paris is!
Goin' to Paris,
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
Monday, April 21, 2008
Sun's out, better go ride,
Wednesday, April 16, 2008
Monday, April 14, 2008
Another thing I have going in my favor is the fact that I have rediscovered my bandage changing song. I know it sounds weird but a few years ago I discovered that the usually silent pain of cleaning wounds and changing bandages is much more tolerable while rocking out and occasionally playing naked air guitar. My long time favorite bandage cleaning song: Holy Diver by Dio. Why is this at the top of the list? If only I knew....
Saturday, April 12, 2008
Ok I'm done venting. Good thing is, is that I finished so I can race tomorrow (at least they tell me that's a good thing.....) and my legs were actually really good today. I think I might have actually finished second group. Not sure seeing as I spent the whole day playing leap frog working my way up from the back. Tomorrow stars w/ a 6km up hill TT w/ a short road race in the afternoon. Cross your fingers I don't break my chain in this TT also.
Sleeping on the left side,
Friday, April 11, 2008
Wednesday, April 9, 2008
Tuesday, April 8, 2008
Sunday, April 6, 2008
The road race in the afternoon was much better. After few nervous moments of trying to beg, borrow, and steal a new chain a rival team stepped in to help out. Other than that I felt great all day. From the km zero attack (yeah, I was that asshole) to the final few km. Managed to TT up to the lead split which was pretty rad. Guess snapping my chain in the morning helped me save my TT legs for the afternoon…. I think I finished up somewhere in the top 10. Expecting big things for the big races comming up in the next couple of weeks and months.
As is the norm, the team road really well. Balbuena finished up 3rd overall, Lopez snagged the sprinters jersey, and Delaroziere came in 3rd for the mountains classification. Did I mention we only had 4 guys in the race? Not too shabby.
Friday, April 4, 2008
4km TT tomorrow morning w/ a 100km road race in the afternoon. Should be a bucket of fun!
Wednesday, April 2, 2008
Tuesday, April 1, 2008
This better be an April fools joke. I don't think I could keep up if there was a whole peleton full of Mini Phinnys!
Monday, March 31, 2008
This weekend's mini adventure was to Annemasse. The race was hard. I spent most of the day driving the peleton through valleys and over some pretty damn tough hills. The team road really well as a cohesive unit, splitting the field into smaller and smaller groups until lighting a rocket going into the final climb. My legs felt solid but after 120km of flat out racing my body yelled, "uncle" and I had to find a little laughing group and limp home with. All things considering I'm pretty happy w/ the way things played out and w/ way I raced. Big props to Jonathan Balbuena who road a stellar race to finish 2nd. But ya, bla bla bla.... racing shmacing. What I really wanted to say is how F---ING AWSOME Annemasse is. I'm pretty sure if I ever decide to buy myself a permanent residence here in France it's going to be somewhere in that region. Absolutely stunning landscape. I'm thinking a nice little cottage in Switzerland.....
Oh, and I had another little mini adventure today too! While digging through the piles of food on my shelf I had a sudden thought, "WTF Alex why are you still using an old dilapidated cardboard box to organize your crap? Build a f---ing spice rack!" So that's just what I did. I walked/hitch hiked the 4 miles in the rain (people keep telling me it never rains here... What the hell?) to the hardware store, bought a saw, nails, and a hammer, ripped apart some chairs by the dumpsters and made an absolutely baller spice rack. Thank you boy scouts!
Oh and congrats to Jonathan Brunel, and Gatis Smukulis who both snagged sweet victories this weekend at Saint-Ciers!
Did you know the Eiffel Tower was inaugurated on this day in 1889?
Yeah, didn’t think so,
Friday, March 28, 2008
Don't hold your breath. Although, it would be perfectly acceptable to cross your fingers.
Thursday, March 27, 2008
BIG race this weekend,
Tuesday, March 25, 2008
My Easter was pretty fantastic. I passed the day speaking English and enjoying a few smiles with a special girl and even got to talk with the whole family on the phone during Easter lunch! I couldn't have asked for a better day (although, I do find it pretty ironic that it was the first day in roughly 5 weeks that I did not consume any hard boiled eggs). Today however, it's back to the grind. I can't remember the last time I road in wind like this. Oh wait I think I do..... I think it was that time back in Colorado when I got a chunk taken out of my helmet from a shingle that was ripped off my neighbor's roof. Remember kids, always wear a helmet.
Friday, March 21, 2008
Tuesday, March 18, 2008
Life is chugging along here in France. Training is going great and the sun is shining.
Swinging in style,
Thursday, March 13, 2008
Wednesday, March 12, 2008
Monday, March 10, 2008
As for the race this weekend, the team road really well. We finished up with 5 out of the top ten and Tanner was second. Not bad at all. The race its self was absolutely brutal. The course was a series of farm roads the size of bike paths with numerous steep 1km climbs and 160 degree corners. Oh, and it was windy. I knew I was in for a long day when I looked up and all I could see was a series of 5 man echelons! There had to have been at least 15! Shortly after I made the mistake of looking down at my heart rate monitor. 197 beats per min. OUCH! Given the circumstances I think I road pretty well but it wasn't exactly the ideal first race back after being sick and off the bike for 6 days and I called it quits after 130km.
Hoping for a good week of training,
Friday, March 7, 2008
Upon arriving at the Corima things took a welcomed turn for the better. Did I understand the majority of the things said today during the presentations and tour? No. Was I floored by the professionalism and prestige of the Corima business? Hell yes. The coolest part about the whole experience (aside from the wheels themselves of course) was the way Corima really tried to make us feel like part of the Corima family. We met all of the employees, had a chance to ask ANY questions that popped into our heads (I was even permitted to ask in English!!) and we got to enjoy an amazing lunch, with our new friends, of wine, pizza, and ice cream at a very posh restaurant down the street. The perfect food for a kid trying to get down to race weight!!!
All I can say is, thanks Corima; that was fun.
The fastest bicycle on earth! Hard to believe when you look at the cranks!
Just plane cool
Tuesday, March 4, 2008
Monday, March 3, 2008
Any who, I'm back on the bike and starting to feel like myself.
I think I'm going to start the craft of bending wood......
Friday, February 29, 2008
Thursday, February 28, 2008
Wednesday, February 27, 2008
Oh by the way, other than a broken chain (and 110km on a saddle sliding spare bike) on Sat. the races went well. Gatis scored a big win in a half professional field on Sat and David pulled out a solid 4th on Sunday. As for myself, typical race animation and wild antics. Nothing but fun and games for me this weekend. Cool, day before the race, pic-
Tuesday, February 19, 2008
Monday, February 18, 2008
Sunday, February 17, 2008
EVALDAS WON!!!!! AGAIN!!!! That's 2 out of 3 for him this season! To put the icing on the cake David Tanner came home w/ third and we won the team competition. Not to bad eh?
High lights of the day:
#1- Getting back to the van and asking, "what happened in the finish?" "oh, Evaldas won again" "!!!!!!!!!"
#2- Stickin' it to some Tinkoff guy out on the road. After getting my ass slapped for the 3rd time to move over by some over anxious Italian I looked over at him and gave him the ol' Alex Howes death stare. Apparently, I didn't do it quite right because a couple of corners later he came buzzing past on the inside, damn near crashed when his front wheel slid a couple of inches, and full on body checked me. Once he had regained composure he again tried an uncalled for pass and I had, had enough. I swear my left elbow reached out half a mile and hooked him like the bottom feeder he his. Stopped him dead in his tracks and almost sent him off the road. Needless to say he had a number of choice words for me. None of which I understood. I on the other hand had no words for him. Just one middle finger placed two inches from his face. He shut up pretty quick. I don't think he got more than 5 feet from me for the rest of the race.
#3- Playing with some random dog at some random person's house after the race. I think we wrestled for a good 15min and I think I cramped at least 15 times but it was fun. I miss my puppy dogs.
#4- Catching the shower gel thief. I had, had a suspicion that someone had been poaching my shower gel because I have gone through a full bottle since arriving. At home a bottle of such size would last for twice as long. That's not to say I don't bathe, although I have been cutting back recently for territorial reasons, but I have always been one to lather sparingly. How did I catch him you wonder? Lets just say that the French set their own trap when they decided that people should always give/receive 2 kisses to the cheeks when greeting. Sent lingers.
Enjoy your Sunday,
Saturday, February 16, 2008
And I know exactly why: I'm actually trying to race well. Not my style. I'm the kind of kid who has one of the best races of his career after playing beach volley ball in the sun for 6hrs and eating half a birthday cake before deciding, "Ya, I should probably race today.... hey, maybe I can make some money!" The night before some of my most memorable rides I was eating hot dogs and pasta cooked over a fire and sleeping in the dirt.* I destroy entire peletons after waking up 2hrs late, running around trying to find my shoes, and shoving 6 slices of bread in my pocket for, "race food." The only way I can really fly in bike races is when I'm flying by the seat of my pants.
So that is just what I am going to do. I'm going old school from now on. I am still going to train like a robot because I firmly believe that tallent don't mean shit unless you work your ass off. But I will be a robot who stops to smell the roses every once and a while and partakes in a little birthday cake munching every once in a blue moon. And as far as racing goes, I am going to stick with what got me here in the first place: Instinct, Ballz, and Wild Flyers off the front.
Oh boy, tomorrow is going to be fun!
Friday, February 15, 2008
Today after washing my bike (I love this bike, especially when it's all pearly white and clean! Now she just needs a name.) I was doing an interval up one of my favorite mountains around here. I was going flat out with my head down when I, almost literally, ran into the Tour of Méditerranéen. I was seriously inches from getting hit head on by a police motor cycle. Bastard never even honked or stopped. It was cool to watch the race on one of the fastest parts of the decent and even cooler because a healthy portion of my good buddies from Slipstream were in the front group. Nice work guys!
On another note, races three and four are this weekend with some pretty challenging and unpredictable terrain. I hear the roads are crappy and the hills never stop coming. Needless to say, I am pretty excited to tear things up.
Keepin' it real,