Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Just Around The Corner....

http://www.vuelta-bidasoa.com/2008/index.html

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,
alex

Friday, April 25, 2008

Great Day Or, The Greatest Day?

A surprising number of people have brought the lack of posts over the past few days to my attention. It appears that my blog has a heroin like effect on some people. Like heroin, reading this blog will make you late for work, less intelligent, and over time will probably make your teeth fall out (I'm warning you now...). But, for some reason people read on. Interesting... Well, I have a damn good reason for not posting these last few days. My ipod died. And with it's passing, a surprisingly large chunk of my soul went with it. I never realized it till now but that little hunk of metal affectionately named Pijon and engraved with the saying, "You can't make a quesadilla with out the tortilla" is probably one of my best "friends." It's been with me now for over 3 years and has spent far more time with me than any other inanimate or animate being. I know how lame that must sound but it's true. These days especially. Plugging into the ipod is one of the only places I can get my English fix!

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,
alex

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Earth Day


Happy Earth day!!!


Not sure they have Earth Day here in France land but, I suppose I'll take the recycling out and ride my bike to work today to do my part!


Monday, April 21, 2008

Grim Reaper

That's what I was for the Rhone Alpes Isere Tour. If you were behind me you were screwed. If you were in front of me, everything was going to be ok. With out fail, I was always the last guy to get popped from the lead group. Even when I was feeling amazingly strong something would happen that would keep me out of the lead group. Missed feeds, broken derailleur hanger, dropped chain, slick corner (fallowed by me body checking a rather solid brick wall), ect, ect. The list goes on. And as much as I'd love to sit here and bitch about all my misfortunes this week, the fact is I just didn't have the legs to play w/ the big boys this weekend. Yeah, it sucks when a major objective is met w/ sub par form and fortune but one must never cease to look on the bright side. Not only will repeatedly getting whipped on the climbs help me improve for the upcoming races but out of both panic and necessity I am once again one of the paragon falcons of the peleton. After 4 days of racing up and down rain slicked, and diesel soaked roads I have emerged not as one of the primer climbers but as one of the few who have perfected the delicate ballet moves required to play with the race caravan at 50mph. I may never be one of the best climbers in the peleton but I am quickly becoming one of the few crazy enough to hunt them down post summit.

Sun's out, better go ride,
alex

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

The Real Beginning

Warning: Don't eat Pussy too fast, you will get a brain freez.


First big race of the season for me starts tomorrow. Legs are good (although the ribs are still pretty sore) and I'm pretty excited to get some stage racing under my belt. If you speak French and feel like waking up early you can fallow the race live at http://www.directvelo.com/index.php. It's the Rhône-Alpes Isère Tour. Other wise I'll let you all know how it went next Monday. No laptop for me on this trip. I think I've ODed on internet and need a little detox.

Thanks for reading and cross your fingers,
alex




ps- What will happen when someone from my generation named Kenny actually gets killed?

Monday, April 14, 2008

Ice

Ice is the word of the day today. Just so happens it was the word of the day yesterday also and will most certainly be the word of the day tomorrow. Why? Well, the day after my spectacular high speed dismount I awoke scratching my head wondering what the hell had happened to the right side of my torso. Had I been hit by a truck? Was I slammed by a ram? Did I fall from the 3rd story of a building? Guess I was distracted by all that red liquidy stuff after the race enough to make me over look the fact that I had done some serious whacking to my torso. Oh well, I've got 2 days to get things all straightened out before Rhone Alpes Isere Tour and I'm taking the fact that I managed to pull it together for 8th place on Sunday's road race as a sign that everything is going to play out in my favor. However, until Rhone Alpes.... ice, ice, ice.

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....

alex

Saturday, April 12, 2008

For Those Of You That Don't Know....

Hitting the deck at 60kpm really sucks. Not to mention hurts. Sucks even more when it happens in the 2nd Km of the race when the S--t is hitting the fan. To add insult to injury I was in what ended up being the winning group! Oh and after the crash I had 6 gears (3 in the back and 2 up front). Not 6 gears that worked, just 6 that the deraliure was phically capable of reaching. It made for a long day in the saddle. Can a guy get a little luck around here?

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,
alex

Friday, April 11, 2008

What A Strange Land This Is....


"When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro."


Hunter S. Thompson

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Just Thoughts


If M&Ms and Thin Mints don't kill me does that mean they make me stronger? I sure hope so....


I think I'm going to scrap the cycling tour I was planning on doing in Italy during my mid season break. In replacement I'm thinking camping/canoeing around Sweden or Norway. How rad would that be?!? Get away from the city and sleep in the dirt for a while. It should be just what the doctor ordered to prevent me from fully decomposing in this tiny little French apt.


alex

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Updated Team Site

http://www.veloclublapomme.com//main.php?PAGE=305

Wildlife


I saw a wild boar today. It scared me. I scared her. I thought she was pretty ugly. I wonder if she is thinking the same thing about me right meow….

Rain, rain go away,
alex

Sunday, April 6, 2008

I Got Robbed

They say Marseille has one of the highest crime rates in the country. Guess that’s true. -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
alex

The races this weekend were pretty solid. For the first time in a long time I actually felt fast in a time trial. It was a 4km sprint. 1.5km into a head wind, 1km cross wind 1km tail, 1.5 cross. Pretty straight forward w/ only 2 corners worth breaking for (if you were planning on winning that is!). Got off to a great start and decided that I was going well enough to take some risks on the tail wind section and I promised myself I wouldn’t break. Underestimated the speed I would have when I road the course during warm up and ended up touching gravel in 3 out of the 4 corners on the back stretch! Some how I stayed on the road a was ready to hit the afterburners for the last 1.5km when I suddenly found myself riding a front wheel endo praying to every god in the universe to keep from kissing the concrete (this is the second time this season this has happened!! WTF!!). I didn’t crash and for my acrobatics I was rewarded w/ the opportunity to run/coast my bike for the last 1.5km. Fun! I’m not saying I was going to win but, I think I could have been top 5. Which for me, is a big deal when it’s a TT. Oh well.

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.


Not that anyone cares but, have I ever mentioned how much I love Sea Wolf?


Well I do so there,

alex

Friday, April 4, 2008

I Must Say....


I feel like a straight up bad ass cruzin' around in the team vans! There's nothing that brings me back to a state side mind set than driving a big ass van, shirtless, in bumper to bumper rush hour traffic! Long live cassette players and ghetto clutches.

4km TT tomorrow morning w/ a 100km road race in the afternoon. Should be a bucket of fun!

alex

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Are You F---ing Serious?

http://velonews.com/article/73998/carpenter-and-phinney-start-new-venture

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!

Am I the only one who Noticed

That Pete finished second to Oscar Sevilla in San Dimas? Damn! I here by retract all prior harsh words and sarcastic phrases made this winter in reference to both Pete's large butt and January intervals.

Nice ride Petra,

alex