Thursday, January 31, 2008

On, off and on again...

That's the pattern these days. I ride for three or four days, and then I'm taking the same amount of time off the bike. Weather is the main culprit, but work is a close second and now, I'm dialing the position on the bike which is taking some visits to the chiro for the ever popular "bone popping". And so far things are working out good with the adjustments, the hip pain is decreasing and the position feels a lot better. So if I can just get on with the training, things should improve for Jeff Cup. Not that I'm looking to set the road on fire or anything like that. Not with the rest of the bloggers (other cat4s) out there talking about power numbers, intervals and how much and how hard they are riding, at times it sounds scary. You'll never read such data here, because there isn't any. Call me old fashioned. There, I feel better.
Over at the sands in Doha (Qatar) the burrito guys suffered a heavy blow today when they lost Maggie Backstedt. The dude has had a serious run of bad luck since about, well, a year ago and it seems like things are not starting too well for the likeable Swede so far this season. Hopefully Maggie will make a full recovery in time for Paris-Roubaix. And if you are keeping score, Loddo beat Boonen and the rest yesterday and today it was Napolitano's turn to step to the highest step of the podium.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Weather Guessers...

Take it from me...I worked in the television industry and all those gadgets in the "weather center" are not put to good use. I mean, thousands of dollars of equipment (computers, alarm systems, radars, satellites, etc.) and these dudes can't get it right. One time one of the dudes I used to work with told me, "man, 99% of the time I'm just guessing"...brilliant!!! after having checked the weather for the week, today was panning out to be a perfect day. That's until about 8AM this morning when the rain woke me up...WTF???? wasn't supposed to rain (light rain if that) until the afternoon, not the morning. Well, plan B was set into motion, getting new tires, breaks and oil change for the girlfriend's car. Hundreds of dollars later, and after cursing the weather people for most of the morning, I got home and decided to ride after all. Hell, although cloudy all the radars were showing rain, yet the sky was actually clearing, brilliant!!! again. On the Mt. Vernon trail I ran into Kyle and we started to talk and went to HP for some laps. Kyle had some intervals planned but that was haulted when his chain decided to snap at the beginning of interval numero uno. A brief search for the missing link and Kyle was back in business, but by then I was running a little cool in the engine department so I called it a day and headed back to homebase. Got back online and weatherbug had two weather alerts for tomorrow. Both indicated high winds, with gusts of 50 miles an hour. Good luck with that, as I may have mentioned, I'm allergic to the wind, maybe that's why I never heard from Quick-Step. By the way, Boonen won again today. Boring!!!

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Where am I?

The plan was to ride from the house to the Bicycle Place for their Sunday ride, join the group and then head back home afterwards. Total planned distance, 70 miles. The alarm goes off at 6:50AM and I'm already setting plan B into action, drive to Rock Creek Park and do the ride. It's cold outside, and I fight the urge to head back to the house. Once at the park, I feel better about riding, but still cold. The right hip is acting up again but I push on and the ride sets off. At the top of Mass, there were like three groups due to the fact that the main group was broken prior to the hill. Not knowing which group I was in, I just followed the 5/8 guys I was with. On Clara Barton, the pace was good and we picked a few more guys...after that, the hip finally settled and the rest of the ride felt much better. Tomorrow I'm getting fitted to see if anything can be done to improve my position on the bike.
On the pro scene, Andre Griepel just steam rolled through the Tour Down Under and let everyone know that there's a new sprinter in the schoolyard. Early season form? perhaps, but nonetheless, the guy (and the team) added a confidence boost to the sponsor search. And in the sands of Doha (Qata), Matteo Tossatto of non other than Quick-Step has the first leader's jersey. A repeat of last year's race perhaps?.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Making friends...

The season is barely underway and it seems like the peloton already has its public enemy number one. The honor goes to Milram's Elia Riggoto for what was describe by the race commissaire Micahel Robb as a "vicious headbutt". Last year at the Tour of Qatar, it was Rabobank's fast man, Graeme Brown who had the persona non gratta label. The race to nowhere in the outskirts of Doha starts on Sunday with another sprinter-heavy lineup. Hopefully they will act civilized and run clean sprints. One thing is for sure, I wouldn't mind some of the warm weather both races are enjoying at the moment.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Damn chain!!!

The sun was out today!!!yeeehhhaaawww. But the weather gods don't want to reward us just yet with a "great day" so despite the fact that it was sunny and it felt a little warmer, the NW wind was going to cause some concerns at HP. Rode from the house to the point and found Dani and later Jose. Looking at the contenders who showed up for Wednesday's festivities, things were going to be fast sooner rather than later. The first lap was taken easy and I can say that because Dani and I sat at the front the entire lap. The second lap was a bit faster but nothing special. The third one, you could feel the excitment building and by the time we were finishing the lap, the attacks began, thick and fast. I was doing my best to hold wheels, when all of the sudden my chain came off the big ring, great. I quickly tried to re-engage it but it took longer than I wanted and by then I was looking at the back of the now fast moving pack. Dani was behind so I pulled the plug and so did Jose, so we settled into the same routine as yesterday, which worked quite well. We had two more guys to fight the wind, so it was a real good workout, although one guy skipped a few pulls and then jumped us, classy. Off tomorrow and then I'm looking to an easy ride on Friday and Saturday before tackling 70 miles on Sunday, weather permitting.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Bravery at last!!!!

This morning I felt a little more confident about riding, and it wasn't long after waking up that the phone rang. "weather report" asked Jose..."there's a winter weather advisory until 4PM" was my reply to which I added, "screw it, we are riding". Another phone call later and Dani was onboard. Got dressed and felt like I had an astronaut suit on, but I was feeling warm. Dani came by the house and off we went to HP. There we hooked up with Jose and a few others and started a lap around. No sooner had we finished the first lap that the other 4 guys started to get feisty. "Have it at folks, I'm not getting sucked into this after 5 days off the bike", and with that, I settled into a nice tempo that both Jose and Dani seemed to enjoy. We did our usual joking around to help the time pass and to keep us thinking about something other than the cold and he nagging drizzle. Now back in the house, I can tell my mood is upbeat and I feel fresh. Like Dani said to me before heading out, "I had to ride or I was going to go mad"...I hear you bro.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Not much riding...

The cold weather has me under the covers since last Thursday. I thought over the weekend I would venture out but on Saturday I just chickened out and slept late and yesterday, well, it was too damn cold for me to even consider riding. So out we went to the mall and to grab a bite to eat and that took a big effort on my part. Watched the football games and caught on the latest Cipo's gossip .Today I was all excited because of the fact that every local station weather guesser and most of the weather sites were calling for a high of 32!!! with no wind. Got up and followed the usual routine, but once I stepped outside to do my own temperature check, it was quickly decided that making it to 32 was going to be hard. The highest I saw the mercury today was 29 and another day of complete inactivity for me, but I did read some of Floyd's interview and somehow I still think the guy was framed. Nonetheless, I will pay for my inactivity sooner or later, that's a fact.

Friday, January 18, 2008

And when you thought...

You heard it all, news comes that one Mario Cipollini is making a flash return to cycling. And to add wood to the fire, the return of the self proclaimed "fastest man in cycling" is with the Rock Racing team, which by the way, has gotten quite the publicity push for the last few weeks, thanks to the always peppered comments of their head honcho, Michael Ball. Good move for either of them?...I persoanlly think so. Cipo probably misses the starlight, and the fact that he was just handed a court ordered to pay over 1 million dollars in past taxes makes his decision a little easier. For Ball, histeam has acquired a ticket to the big races and more of the aforementioned publicity, heck, the organizers of the Tour of California already added them to their list of invited teams. Hopefully Mario's return to the peloton will go as well as Malcolm Elliott's, and the Lyon King will roar once again, so what if it's in your local crit.
On the home front, the snow kept me and the rest of the "Spanish Mafia" in yesterday. It was a good day to just take it easy and relax and today was an early day at work, so I can pretty much write it off too. Tomorrow's 7AM ride will be a "game time decision" depending on the weather and Sunday, well, Jose is wanting to ride after work and I might muster some bravery and hit the road with him. Or, I might just watch football!!!!


So scanning the net I ran into this little tip. So is he or is he not?

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

"Spanish Mafia" Ride

Jose, Enrique, Dani and myself (a.k.a. The Spanish Mafia) headed out to Great Falls to do part of the 10AM loop to work on hills...of course, I was out for revenge after the below par performance I had last week during Dani's hilly loop, due to a severe case of bonking...and as is customary with this crew, the minute they smelled blood, they a pack of hyenas going after a single, wounded today I was better prepared. The pace was a good one, everyone was working well, and Enrique, even though he rides far less during the week than the rest of us, still was able to keep pace for most of the ride, trading pulls here and there...Jose and Dani were up to their usual tricks, talking trash and cracking jokes. I don't know what hurts more, the hills or all the laughing during the sure made the ride feel warmer. Coming down Great Falls we crossed path with a group from Silver Spring (I think?)...Rayman was in the middle of the action going up...we made a 360 at the bottom of Great Falls and went back up, at a more human pace and saw the devastation coming up the park hill, where the Silver Spring bunch was completely decimated by a dude sporting the US national team gear...back down for us and we packed the bike after 35 miles...a good day for us, before the weather gods turn the screws and hit us right on the face. Looks like the rest of the week I'll be either working or on the couch...trainer you say?, no thanks!!!!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008


Just a week ago I was doing "Dani's" hilly loop in shorts, jersey and arm warmers (just to do the pro thing) and today, I saw snow flakes...crazy!!!...Dani called to see if we were doing the hilly route again and departue time was set for looked good earlier in the morning and I was looking forward to some revenge after last week's debacle...but the more I kept looking at the weatherbug site, the more the weather started to turn, and not in a positive way. At 1PM, Dani called to cancel the guy he is...and I thought of going out for a spin, damn the cold, but the wind outside quickly made me change my see, I'm allergic to wind...instead I hit the kitchen and went all Emeril Lagasse for a change...BAM!!!!...and started the blog...who says I'm not productive...Jose get's back tonight from NY and rumor has it that the "Spanish Mafia" is doing part of the Saturday 10AM ride...hopefully the weather gods will allow us to log a few miles before things get completetly out of hand weather wise later this week.