Monday, March 31, 2008

Mini Adventures

That what life is for a bike racer. It's just a series of mini adventures (some less mini than others) interspersed with brief periods of extreme boredom. A few days in a faraway land filled w/ picturesque rolling hills and snow caped peaks here, a week or two in a foreign jungle of a city there. The concept of consistency does not exist (aside from the fact that as a bike racer you KNOW that you HAVE to ride your bike EVERYDAY (w/ a few very rare exceptions) if you want to WIN) and to entertain the idea that you actually have a home, or some sort of permanent base, is simply an act that will set you up for quite a let down. Sometimes it sucks however, most of the time the pace and rhythm mesh perfectly with the beat of my little humming bird heart rate.

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

For the first time in a long time

I feel 90% sane (personal best). Why? I don't know, but I like it. It's funny, you never really realize how far from sanity you were until you return to normality.

Feeling good for the race this weekend. I think I can do something pretty rad on the final climb. We'll see.....

Don't hold your breath. Although, it would be perfectly acceptable to cross your fingers.

Oh, and I'm going to buy my first guitar. My lofty goal: To be able to play Iron and Wine's "Each Coming Night" by the time I go back to CO in October. Then find someone who can play the banjo to jam w/ to bring the song to its full level of awsomeness. Any takers?

Thanks for reading,


Thursday, March 27, 2008

Well it's Official

I now know just enough French to get myself into trouble. For example: I read a team email the other day and instead of running it through a translator after I read it just to make sure I understood everything I just assumed I got everything and continued to go about my internet surfing. Turns out I completely missed the main point and because of that I missed the team ride today. This whole language barrier thing is a real bitch sometimes. Looks like I still have some studying to do.....

BIG race this weekend,


Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Few Days Late....

But, happy Easter.

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

Today's Lesson

Pee before you mop the bathroom. Why? Because apparently French cops do look behind the dumpsters out back.


Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Ladies and Gentlemen

I present you with the worlds finest (if not the first) American hand crafted French hammock. It was produced using only the finest Chinese cloths lines and traditional Central American weaving techniques. So far durability is superb and shall soon be moved to a more permanent outdoor location.

Life is chugging along here in France. Training is going great and the sun is shining.

Swinging in style,

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Pretty busy around here......

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Garfield Minus Garfield....

Is pretty much amazing.
Perhaps my life would make more sense w/ a cat......

Wednesday, March 12, 2008


I've never really been a big believer in the big man but at the same time I've never really considered myself educated enough on the subject to be a legitimate disbeliever. However, if there is a God chillin' in the cosmos somewhere out there I'd like to thank him for saving my dumb, bonked ass with a sweet tail wind for the last hour of a 6hr doozy of a day.



Monday, March 10, 2008

When it Rains it Pours

Today I though I had timed it perfectly and left for my ride at the perfect time. The roads were just drying out and the sun was starting to poke through. For a full hour I enjoyed the sun and then, almost without warning, it rained. It rained hard. REALLY HARD. I don't think there is any other way for me to describe it. I was completely awestricken by the intensity of the rain and spent 2 full hours trying to convince myself that I wasn't hypothermic and wishing that I had gills. I honestly can't remember the last time (if ever) I have encountered rain like that. Oh well, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. Right? Lets just hope it dosen't make me sick first.....

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

Corima Tour

The day stared pretty shaky. For those of you who are unaware, I'm going to tell you right now so there will be no issues in the future. A man who wakes up in the dim, wee hours of the morning to discover he is out of oatmeal (or whatever happens to be his breakfast of choice) is not a man to be messed with. Thankfully, nobody did but, I was still pretty grouchy after a meager breakfast of toast and figs. The drive to the Corima factory was not much better. In the middle of one of me and Fred's better conversations (zero translation issues) came the unmistakable sound of carbon scraping on metal. One of the team bikes had been ripped off the roof at 110kmph. After the recovery of the bicycle (which included some impressive street ballet moves from Fred and a lovely conversation with the woman who ran over the bicycle) the mood was quite sullen.

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.

Chris Boardman's hour record bike

The fastest bicycle on earth! Hard to believe when you look at the cranks!

Just plane cool

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

This Picture....

Does no justice for the back roads of southern France.
What a day.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Back From the Dead

At least that's what it feels like! This has been one the nastiest viruses I have ever cross sowards with and it finally looks like I will be the victor. I'm not going to lie I was sweating pretty hard there for a while (literally) and things were looking pretty dark. I think the worst was seeing what I would look like if I were a zombi: Pale, Emaciated, along w/ 2 intensly blood shot eyes tinted green/brown from falling asleep w/ tea bags on my eyes. It was freeky.

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......