Friday, February 29, 2008

PINK EYE!!!

DAMN IT!!! My illness has taken on a new front in the form of pink eye. Woke up this morning and couldn't open my right eye and I knew what it was right away. A warm wash cloth and 5min of delicate work found me gawking in disbelief at an intensely blood shot, itchy, swollen eye. Damn it, I thought I was winning and now this? Crap, I haven't had pink eye since I was just a little tike. Oh well, I guess it is just one more thing to keep my busy around here. And I'm not so pissed off about it that a couple good slices of home can't improve my mood....

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Yup....


Just kinda sittin' around. I gots nothin' to do but fight my invisible enemy and dream up things to do once I get healthy.


Did you ever meet my room mate? dimitri936.skyrock.com Personally I think his profile pics are real art.


He's out of town right now along with everybody else. It's a bit strange living here alone but, it's a good strange. No crappy techno music, the stove is always ready to be used, It's so quiet here I can even (you might want to sit down for this) read in the living room. Crazy, I know. I think the biggest challenge to living alone is going to be the readaptation once everyone returns. Until then, PARTY AT MY PLACE!!!! Don't forget your party hat Tejay.
Just kidding,
alex

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Sick

Yup. Just a cold but still not good. Pretty typical, just after a little rest break.

Yesterday's video....


video


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

New Apartment

Recently discovered proof of my one ProTour appearence!


At least it feels that way. Renaud and I spent our "rest" day giving the apartment a full on over haul. The items now sitting out by the dumpsters include: fridge, oven, washing machine, bookshelf, what used to be a bookshelf, and a pile of trash 4ft high (that's what wouldn't fit in the dumpster...). My back needs a break. The wildest part is, is we still are not even close to being finished. We have plans drawn up for the kitchen which include new shelves and a few cabinets, roughly one ton worth of trophies to take to the club (not having a car means 2 trophies in a back pack for every trip the club. I estimate it will take roughly 2 months to get them all out of here), if we can get the team to pay for the paint, the bathroom needs to be painted, and we still need to do something about all the outlets before someone gets seriously electrocuted (a good shock is a pretty common occurrence).





I guess what I am saying is, I finally found myself a good project to keep my mind off of home and cycling. Although, I must ask, how the hell do I always get suckered into home improvement projects when I come to Europe?

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Not a Bad Day


Solid day on the bike for me and a good day over all. Decent legs and some savvy decision making saw me sneak my way into the days early 20 rider split. At one point I thought we would make it to the finish for sure. 20 riders working smoothly with nearly a two minute gap, is damn near impossible for any amateur team to bring back and with all the big teams represented only the little teams would have any reason to chase. Alas, this is amateur racing and the peleton some how managed to bring us back. After that it was pretty much lights out for me. Just tried to cover moves and finish. However......

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,

Alex

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Just one of those day.....


I'm not going to lie, I had a shitty week. However, as shitty as my week was for me emotionally, physically it was perfect. Perfect training, perfect diet, perfect amount of sleep every night and afternoon. Perfect. I fell back in to my old habit of spending nearly every waking moment (when I was not on my bike of course) with my nose buried in one of my many cycling books. In just 4 days I made it through 234 pages of 263 pages of "Bicycle Road Racing" by Edward Borysewicz. I studied and pondered every word. I had rememorized the cycling bible. On race day, I did everything perfect. Perfect breakfast, perfect breathing exercises, perfect warm up, perfect everything. I felt like shit in the race. Complete and utter shit. Hollow, worthless, and pathetic. It was everything I could do just to finish.

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!

alex
*That's not to say living here isn't a little bit like camping. I danced for almost a full 15min after finding a busted up bookshelf that I could use the wood from to put under my mattress to soften the blow of the metal cross bars spaces 5 inches apart that my dilapidated 2inch thick foam pad rests upon. I think my father put it best after I told him my spectacular news, "So now your 2inch thick pad rests on boards you took from a busted old bookshelf? Dude, I know stoned ski bums who've got it better than you." Thanks dad.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Just stuff....




Forgot to mention that we had out team presentation the other day. It was pretty cool. Not really sure what they said about the team or what they said about me but it sure took a while. Always cool to walk down a spiral stair case to see a bunch of people clapping for you.

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,
alex

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Wikihow


Wikihow will you marry me? You have always been there for me. When I was dieing from lack of peanut butter you taught me to make my own. When left with out a place to call my own you taught me how to craft a hammock. With out the ability to communicate you gave me tips on how to learn French. And now as I find myself in the most difficult of times you give me instructions to rediscover bliss. I would be so lost w/ out you.

Check out the spotlight article for today http://www.wikihow.com/

On another note, I received my first care package today and, let me tell you, it could not have come at a more perfect moment! I was in the process of scraping/licking the last milligrams of peanut butter left in my final jar when the door bell rang. THANKS MOM! LOVE YOU!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

What I think of Baguettes:


“Bread that's easy to eat might be convenient, but that's no way to coast through life” The great Julian Corder Kyre.

From now on I’m going to pass on the soft French baguettes and stick to good ol’ crispy American toast.

6.5hrs of toast fueled pedal twirling today. I feel worked and I love it.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

The races...

Went well! On the first day in windy conditions, Evaldas, the king of power, took the team’s first road victory of the season! And on the second day the team finished a couple of guys in the top 10. Both days the team was ever present at the front, covering moves, and launching plenty more. As for myself, I felt good. I was really surprised. Both days I lost count of the number of attacks I had made after around 15 or so. And on the second day I was happy to see that my climbing has improved over the off season. The best part is, is that I really do not feel like I am in racing shape yet. Honestly, I think the only reason I raced as well as I did was because I was so mentally shattered and frustrated after the previous few days events that come race day, I going full gas on nothing but piss and vinegar. Perhaps I'm just better off being pissed off all the time.

Anybody else out there got some bad news they want to give me? If so wait a couple of weeks. I've got a 1.2 UCI race on the 23rd.

alex

Friday, February 8, 2008

Ouch

Three big hits tonight: Fanatically, emotionally, territorially.

Oh and the van leaves at 7am tomorrow morning for the first race of the year......

Can you say stress?

M E R D E

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Aix En Provence...

Well today on an epic ride I found myself lost ass all hell w/ no idea which way was up, down, and more importantly, home. So I did what I always do: I road harder..... and harder..... and harder. After flying along at near maximum for almost a full hour I found myself in the outskirts of Axe En Povence, and let me tell you, it is definitely all it's cracked up to be. It's a pretty rad city and it has made it's way into my top five favorite cities (in order: Boulder, Montréal, Axe en Provence, Portland, Boston). Its whole, old town meshed with modern urban city thing works pretty well and the coffee is top notch. Perfect for raising the spirits enough to slog the 50km home. Now, if I could just figure out how to get all the pictures off my camera....

On a small side note:

I hate it when good things happen to bad people. Makes me sick.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Life sure is swell!

Life couldn't get any more perfect. Busted out a super hard ride this morning and I feel great, bought a sweet new kitchen knife and cutting board at Ikea, and (you might want to sit down for this....) I FOUND PEANUT BUTTER!!!!!

The best part of my day was, as I awoke from my nap, I had an epiphany. I realized that the love of my life will always be there. My love will never waver and, for at least three months out of the year, including a few times during the season, I will be able to enjoy pure bliss. Once all this bike racing stuff there will be plenty of time to pursue my dream of becoming the worlds greatest racquetball player.

Racquetball, you are my true love. Soon we will reunite.

Well, I sure feel silly.


I woke up early this morning. Really early. 8am (just kidding, I usually roll out of bed at 8:30 so it was not that early) to be exact. Chowed down a monster breakfast of cereal, eggs, toast, juice, oatmeal, and 2 cup of tea. I quickly put on my standard riding cloths and marched down the stairs. I was motivated. I had a huge ride planned and I was ready to get out there, seize the day, grab life by the balls and make it my bitch.

Perhaps I should open my shudders and look outside next time before I get ready. It's raining like the Noah’s flood is coming.

I refuse to ride the trainer today. I did enough of that crap when I was a kid. Give me a few more minutes, another cup of tea, and a rain jacket and I'll be ready to hit the road.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Ahhh.... Rest day.

(30min bike ride from the apt.)

Eat, study, sleep, study, eat and study, short ride, eat, study, movie, eat, study, sleep.


The cycle of a typical rest day for me these days. Some day I will be able to speak French so I can get away from this damn computer and away from the bike for a little bit of fun time. Until then, I am going to keep hitting the French lessons pretty hard. At least the wether is nice today and I can chill outside.


alex

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Theme song

I think the video is a bit lame but I sure do love the song.
Good luck to the Slipstream boys tomorrow in Marseille!
alex

Friday, February 1, 2008

Feburary

Sorry for the lack of updates during training camp.... I have been pretty trashed lately and simple things (like walking 200m to the cafe to get internet) have felt nearly impossible. With that said, I survived and I know for a fact that strong legs are just around the corner. Apparently, the staff agrees as I have just been issued my schedule for February. 5 races for the month starting on the 9th. Should be a good month for me and hopefully it will help set me up for bigger races once the season starts for realzyz.

February Schedule:

-9th Boucles Catalanes (France & Spain)
-10th Circuit Mediterraneen (France & Spain)
-14th GP De Rocheville (France)
-15th GP DE Peymeinade (France)
-23rd Les Boucles Sud Ardeche (France)

Excited and ready to race,
alex