Thursday, May 29, 2008

My Worst Fear

For some people it's public speaking or public humiliation. For others it's death. For me it's a bit of a combination of the two. My worst fear is ending up in the Darwin Awards. I guess it wouldn't be that bad seeing as I wouldn't actually know but damn, it would suck to be the parents of some of the winners. "Yes, Mr. & Mrs. So and So we are deeply sorry for your loss but, you have to admit..... your son was a dumb ass."

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

The Big Show

Typically I get pretty pissed when I am told that, instead of getting the planned rest I so desperately need, I have to man up and stick it out for one more race. Call it a pet peeve of mine. However, I just can't seem to get mad about the fact that U23 Paris-Roubaix has been tossed into my calendar. It's not really my kind of race but, it's a legendary beast of a race and with Gatis we have a legendary beast of a rider to call our leader. I'm itching with anticipation (ok, maybe it's not anticipation.... I've had some wild hives ever since laying down in the grass at the finish of French-Conte) over the idea of loosing a few brain cells as I bounce over the cobbles.

Manning up,

Sunday, May 25, 2008


Whew! Glad that's over! Sorry about the lack of updates but most hotels in these parts care little for that whole wifi thing. Anyways, by some Godly miracle I some how managed to get my gimp ass to the finish line for all six stages. I know it doesn’t sound like much but I'm actually pretty damn proud of myself given the state I started in. The best part is that I seemed to get better day by day. Actually, no, that's wrong. I think as the days ticked by the other riders slowly dipped down to the speed of my pathetic crawl.

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.

Bed time,

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

This Is Going To Be Tough....

On paper today looked like the easiest stage. Didn't feel so easy. We road in one long line for 130km today until someone finally called uncle and the field shattered then regrouped into 2 groups. In the second group everyone seemed to be just as tired as I was and we were all more than happy to coast in the last 15km or so. So now me and 3 others from my team (we only have 5....) are now 5min down. To be perfectly honest I'm a bit happy because now I won't have a target on my back and there's no pressure for the TT.

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

Just Don't Look Back

Any one who says keeping a training log is a good idea is a complete idiot. This is the second season I have kept one and once again it has been telling me nothing but bad things. I could see the benefit if I had control over my own training and racing schedule but, right now all it's telling me is I'm way in the hole and about to go even deeper w/ the next big race that stats tomorrow. So I'm tossing it out the window right now and taking a page out of breaking away 101: Don't look back.

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 ComtĂ© 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

Day 3

Rain, rain, rain. Gotta love it. At least when it rains here it isn't nearly as cold as a rain storm on the ol' Colorado front range. In addition to the spectacularly rainy, climb filled training day today, I was delivered the information that I will not have the opportunity to race L'Isard next week. Can't say I'm pissed. Nothing like finding out the big goal of the season is no longer in my schedule, by email. What ever. As I have taught some of my team mates to say when bad things happen, "F*** it" and proceed. Seems like I've been saying that a lot with my recent streak of ill fated luck and crappy weather.

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

T-Camp #2 Day 2: Ventoux

Man that hill is tough! We never even went all the way to the top (although we did the lower 10km twice) and I feel like I've been run over by a truck! Today was not what I had expected. I've seen the Ventoux on the TV a number of times from it's various appearances in the Tour de France and every time I've seen it, it looked like the sunny side of the moon, i.e. hotter than hell and completely barren. However, today since we only road the lower 2/3 of the climb we never left the forest and (big surprise here....) it was cold and rainy. It really is a testing climb; long, steep, plenty of extended straight sections where you can catch a glimpse of all the fast guys up the road and all the guys nipping at your heals. I guess what I'm trying to say is, if I ever race the Tour I'll be crossing my fingers that Ventoux isn't part of the course!

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

Training Camp #2

Well we have another training camp. Mid season right smack dab in between stage races. The purpose of this camp is completely beyond me at the moment because most of the guys look like they should be sleeping on the couch w/ their legs up trying to recover instead of doing climbing intervals. But hey, I'm not the boss. Today was pretty rough for me. Actually, "pretty rough" is a serious understatement. I think today was one of the worst days I have had on the bike all year. I was absolutely crawling. Oh well. What ever, nothing a good night’s sleep can't cure. Tomorrow we head out to the legendary Mt. Ventoux for some serious climbing. Let's hope I'm not pedaling squares!


Monday, May 12, 2008

If You Want To Help Me Win Bike Races....

Help stop global warming. Being the mountain boy that I am, I've never been particularly good at racing in the heat.,0,7434369.story


ps. It always pisses me off when the global warming articles get put in the opinion section of the paper.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Happy Mother's Day!

I would like to wish all you mamas out there a HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY! Especially to my mom! Thanks for bringing me into this world. I'd also like to thank my little brother Jordan who, for the first time in 17 years, is cleaning house (Mother’s Day tradition at the Howes house) w/ out his older brother around to vacuum and oil the antiques! Way to pick up the slack little bro!

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

Bad Timing

Well today sucked. Not really any other way to put it. It started off ok; cold, rainy, and aggressive. I managed to get away with a ridiculously strong Spaniard for a total of 12km early on and was rewarded w/ a few more King of the Mountains points. But the peleton was having none of it and our advantage never made it past 32 seconds. After getting caught I had just enough time to catch my breath and slam some sugar before a tough category 2 climb. I was feeling surprisingly good for about 2km at which point I rocketed into the red. Wondering what was up, I kept looking back to see if some on was hanging on to my saddle. My assumption was close, I had a flat. 3/4 of the way up the hill w/ my team car a full km behind I was granted the opportunity to wait for a solid minute for a wheel then wait what felt like an hour as the wheel was changed. My race was pretty much over. I came pretty close to making it back in the caravan but ended up in the grupetto and finishing behind the time cut. Oh well, that's racing I guess. At this point, even if I was offered a pro contract for next year I'm not sure I would sign simply because I intend to come back to this race next year and rip it apart. I've got some unfinished business here in the Basque country.

Training for L'Isard,
Training for L'Isard,

Thursday, May 8, 2008


Today was honestly one of the most insane races I have ever done. I think 75% of the peleton crashed. By some act of God I managed to stay upright but I was taken out of the race in the last 15km by some hozer who thought it would be a good idea to smash my rear derailleur into my spokes as we chased back on after getting caught behind a crash. Pretty fun. On the bright side I felt great today, although I didn't manage to get any more King of the Mountains points. Oh well. My new plan for the rest of the race is to do what I do best. Go really, really hard. I'm thinking another long break is in the cards for me tomorrow. If the motivation to get a good result isn't enough to get away tomorrow, the fear of running through the Basque gauntlet of carnage again surly will be.

Cross your fingers it doesn’t rain again,

Quick update from Bidasoa

Well day one is in the books and I'm pretty happy with it. Managed to make the break with out even trying which is a first for me here in Europe. 2 quick corners and wham bam thank you mam. Even w/ some pretty shotty organization we managed to make it pretty close to the line and only got caught in the last 7km. I felt good all day and am now tied for the King of the Mountains classification. We'll see where I end up by the end of the race....

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

Off To Spain

Once again, sorry about the lack of updates. I'd love to say that I've just been too busy but, it's been quite the opposite. Not doing much around here these days. Eat, sleep, and ride. Fun, fun, and more fun! Kinda... So yeah, I haven't had much to write about. That little race I was talking about last time went ok. I managed another 8th place. I swear someday I'll do better than 8th. I swear on my dead dogs grave I'll get 7th one day. Maybe even 6th! Oh well, at least I didn't loose any skin and I felt really cool after the race because of how torn up my pedals were from clipping them through half the corners. I know I sound like an idiot because I think that trashing my pedals and almost crashing is cool but for some reason I see it as something to be proud of.

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,