Thursday, April 30, 2009 - Race ReportsLast night I talked to some of the guys about my riding yesterday. Basically I learned that if you've already covered 2 or 3 moves you'll be too tired to cover the next ones right. You end up just dragging the field because you've lost all your snap. So that is why you have teammates.
Anyway, today's stage was pretty much the Armstrong and Horner show. They rode the front all day keeping the break in check. Ben was up there and that took the pressure off of us. I felt pretty good given how bad my legs hurt all night. That makes me happy.
I had two stupid crashes. One was on the big decent. I was off the front and hit a lump of pavement in one of the hairpin turns, lost control and just started going straight. I wasn't going too fast, the bump just threw me off. I ended up tipping over in the shoulder at about 5mph. Nothing too bad.
The second one was on the final turn. The race went from 2 lanes to 1 bigger lane with a median in the middle of the road. Things were getting squished and guys were jumping the median. I was a little further back and thought I could make the turn just fine. Then I realized that people were going straight because there was gravel in the road. I turned on it and washed out.
Tomorrow's TT has some ups and downs, we'll see how it goes.
Wednesday, April 29, 2009 - Race ReportsToday I learned an alternative to the "That's what she said" joke. It's "Girls tell me that all the time." This way it's clear that multiple girls have said it to you and that they've said it repeatedly. Cool Huh?
Also today, I raced the first stage of the Tour of the Gila and it was hard. I spent the first 2 hours covering attacks and trying to get in a break. I can't count how many times I exploded trying to follow a move. I kept looking down at the clock surprised nothing had gone yet and wishing it would.
I was toast after all that attacking and chasing. That and the altitude pretty much sent me backwards on the final climb. I finished 36th, 3:42 back. But only 2 minutes behind Lance.
How was it racing with the Lance Armstrong? Well, one time he stole my wheel and then adjusted his shorts right in front of me. How cool is that?
Tomorrow should have a little more order to it, but I'm sure it will still be hard.
Tuesday, April 28, 2009 - InterviewsLast weekend, at the conference championships, a lot of people were asking when PaulMach.com would do an interview with BISSELL Pro Paul Mach. So, while Paul was on his way to the Tour of the Gila I caught up with him to ask a few questions. Here is the first part of that exclusive interview.
PaulMach.com: What's it like living the pro lifestyle? Does your wife just cook for you, do your laundry and give you "massages?"
Paul Mach No, it's not like that. My wife has a job that actually pays. She's a high school math teacher in West Sacramento. I do my part by vacuuming with our BISSELL Healthy Home Vacuum, among other things.
PM.C: Are you still in school? How is that research going?
PM: Yeah, I'm still in school working toward my PhD. I come home from a ride, eat a bunch of Kellogg's cereal and then get to work.
PM.C: I just read on CyclingNews that Levi was ineligible to race at Sea Otter. What do you think about that?
PM: I think the rules are a little weird, but it doesn't bother me and it was cool to have him there. If the jersey had been made by Giordana I'd be missing it, but I don't even think about it now. However, I'll raise a stink if they take down another one of Scott's jerseys to make room for it at the Riviera.
PM.C: Speaking of great riders, have you ever been impressed by Phil?
PM: Which one, Mooney or Mann?
PM.C: Both. Ever impressed?
That concludes part 1 of our interview with Paul Mach of BISSELL Pro Cycling. Return next week when we'll continue our conversation.
Sunday, April 26, 2009 - Race ReportsThis weekend UC Davis hosted the West Coast Collegiate Cycling Conference Championships and well, we did a lot of winning. Men, Women, Team Omnium, it was pretty epic.
Saturday morning was the team time trial. The place was alive with people trying to get all their equipment together and our squad was no exception. The course was pretty technical with some big rollers and swirling winds. We rode well and won.
The road race was that afternoon. 4x20 miles with a 4 mile gravel section. There was a bunch of good racing and with a lap to go we had Nils off the front with Harrison Tripp from Berkeley. Phil, Adam and I bridged up on the tailwind climb to make it 4 of 5. I felt bad as we attacked Harrison, but that's bike racing. The 4 of us rolled across the line together with Nils taking the well deserved win.
This is the second time Davis has done the 4-sweep at conference. In 2007 Jim, Eric, Garrett and Shannon pulled it off in the Mens B crit.
Sunday's crit Downtown was pretty cool and not just because I overheard a couple girls in the Portos talking about why they use chamois butter. FYI, people can hear you!
The actual race was good. I rode the crit hard and got in a break of 5 with about 20 minutes to go. Knowing that I couldn't win if this went to the line I attacked with 5 to go and soloed for the win. Got to love those home crowd wins.
Overall a good weekend, Nils won a race, I won a race, and Phil won the omnium. The other categories had similar results.
On an even more pleasant note, in the legendary "Notes from Underground" this site was awarded "Most in Love with Pro Bike Racer" as PaulMach.com with Paul Mach. I'm happy to know that people in So-Cal read my blog.
Monday, April 20, 2009 - Race ReportsSo apparently BISSELL is supposed to be spelled with all caps. You'd think they'd explain these things at training camp, but no, I just learned about it this weekend.
Anyway, Saturday's Circuit Race at Sea Otter went pretty well. I was in the early break that stayed away for about 20 of the 30 laps. Levi brought us back and then Jeremy and Andy attacked to stay away till the end. I finished 11th, in the same group as Levi. We decided not to sprint but somehow I still ended up at the back.
You can read all about the race on Velonews, Cyclingnews, or better still Podium Insight.
On Friday I had another one of those encounters with one of Burke's "friends." Are they really friends if they keep thinking I'm him? I for one will never have that problem and thus am a true friend.
I'd also like to apologize for the Velonews article that claims I'm "Leipheimer's Santa Rosa training buddy, Paul Mach." Scott Nydam must have been pretty upset about it because on Sunday he went crazy and won Battenkill with a 60 mile solo breakaway.
Dude Scott, you don't have to prove anything, it was a mistake. Sorry.
Friday, April 17, 2009 - Race ReportsIt was a long hard day at the Sea Otter Classic. The course was basically 8 hilly loops at Fort Ord with a 3k finishing climb. Levi Leipheimer was there so our 10 strong Bissell squad was watching him.
The plan was to force Levi to do as much work as possible and not go into the final climb with him. There are only about 5 guys in the world that can take him on a climb like that and we knew that.
Two laps in a 10 man break formed with 4 Bissell, me, Morgan, BJM and Burke. Levi was in it too. With about 4 laps to go we started sending guys off the front, forcing Levi to work. He did, a lot, but we still went into the final climb together.
There was a bunch of attacking at the bottom, but it ended with me and Levi up the road for the last 2k. I knew I had no chance, but still put in a few digs. It was useless and he came around me with about 100 meters to go.
The place was Levi crazy. The neutral feed guys were yelling "Levi, Levi, Levi" forgetting about the rest of us.
It even spread to Velonews. I don't know why they think I'm his training partner.
After the podium I actually had a conversation with Levi. Yeah, he asked me some questions and I responded. It wasn't just, "Hey Levi, can you turn around so I can take your picture."
Tomorrow is the legendary circuit race. Last year was pain, I hope this year is better.
Wednesday, April 15, 2009 - GeneralDuring my recent travels I've noticed a change in the pre-race banter. You still hear, "How many bottles you takin'?" "How much do these wheels weigh?" and "Ah damn, the Bissell guys are here again." But now there is some new stuff like "Did you get Small or Extra-Small?" and "Underwear? Sure, so I don't have to wash 'em."
These new questions are motivated by Skins, gradient compression performance equipment that enhances performance in training, competition and recovery. Basically, full length spandex that you wear after rides to help recovery. They're best for after hard rides but some wear them all the time, and others even wear two pairs for that added support. They're taking over the peloton.
The problem I'm having is with my wife, she won't stop making fun of me about them. She says hurtful things like, "Not getting enough Spandex so now you're wearing it all the time?" and "Ha, the male version of Spanx." Sometimes she just looks at me and laughs.
I don't understand, I'm doing it to improve my performance (on the bike!). Plus, all the cool kids are doing it. What is wrong with that?
So now I'm forced to wear them just after hard workouts and when I'm on the road. Ah, the challenges of balancing a wife with cycling.
Monday, April 6, 2009 - GeneralFor those of you who read my blog but don't read Velonews, they have a pretty sweet write up on the Cherry Blossom Classic.
Sunday, April 5, 2009 - Race ReportsThe last stage of the Cherry Blossom Classic was today. It was 3 times up this 6 mile climb for 84 miles total. The pre-race plan was simple; keep the GC placings and maybe go for the stage.
So for the first two laps Jeremy and Omer rode tempo on the front. There was some arguing between them as Jeremy wanted to make sure he did just as much work as Omer, but other than that it was pretty smooth. I just sat 3rd wheel the whole time.
Omer, just coming back from his injury, was killing it on the climb. The first time, half way up, 5 miles into the race, people were already making bad choices. Some dudes were fighting for position and one stuck his front wheel into my rear quick release. A Land Rover guy yelled at him, "That was your F***in' fault and you know it." He responded with something, but I never saw him again.
The second time up Omer did the same thing. He would look back and see people suffering and just go harder. It was fun to watch.
With a lap to go the group was down to about 20 and they told us it was 3:30 to the break. Clearly the field was hurting since the group was so small. Thus it was game on.
The third time up the climb I attacked with the intent of catching the breakaway. A few of the GC contenders went with me, so I attacked again. I was going deeper into the pain cave as I went up the hill but finally caught all but one of the exploding break.
That guy, Adrian Hegyvary, still had 1:30 on me at the bottom of the decent. I think he put time in on the way down and I was going pretty fast through the long non-technical corners.
Anyway, for the last 15 miles I chased and chased and chased. The gap got shorter and shorter. 30, 25, 20, 18, 15, 12 seconds. In the end I ran out of pavement and he won by 5 seconds. Almost. So I rolled in for second, 2:53 ahead of the next group.
That finished off a good weekend. Me and Jeremy Vennell went 1, 2 in the GC with 1 stage win and 2 second places. Not bad for a weekend trip up to Oregon.
Saturday, April 4, 2009 - Race ReportsIt's late and I don't have much to say, typical TT and crit today.
The time trial of the Cherry Blossom Classic was this morning. 8 miles out and back with a head wind and steady 2% climb on the way out. Without a TT bike I finished 7th, 50 seconds behind the winner. Jeremy finished 2nd, 8 seconds back.
The Crit was in the evening in downtown The Dalles. It was a simple 4 corner rectangle with a tail wind on the home stretch. A crash in the race before ours took a while to clean up and since it was getting dark they shortened the race from 50 to just 28 minutes. The Bissell guys all raced really hard and attacked a bunch. I sat up for the sprint. It was good fun but way too short.
Results are being posted here and Oregon Cycling Action has some pretty cool and timely write-ups about the race.
For dinner I had some pizza because that is what Lance Armstrong had. Tomorrow is the last stage, a 85 miles hilly road race and it will be game on.
Saturday, April 4, 2009 - Race ReportsThis weekend a few of us Bissell boys, me, Omer, Morgan and Jeremy, headed up to The Dalles for the Cherry Blossom Classic. We were a little worried about the weather up in Northern Oregon, but it turned out pretty good, clear and windy. The first stage today was a road race, 4 loops for 75 miles, up and over a hill. Saturday has a TT in the morning and Crit in the evening. There is another road race on Sunday.
Even before the start Morgan had some drama. He caught a stick on the way to the start line and tore the derailleur hanger right off his Pinarello Prince. It was pretty sad but he was a good sport and ended up as our only guy in the feedzone.
I was expecting the race to roll out pretty mellow but the local teams were out in force and a break went away early. Jeremy made it into a chase group and Omer set me up for a bridge attempt on the climb. The two front groups came together over the top so we had 2 Bissell out of about 15.
We rolled well for the rest of the lap. The second time up the climb Jeremy and I worked the front and the group dwindled down to 7 guys. At this point we decided that I should try to get up the road since Jeremy is the only one with a TT bike and I could use the extra time.
Thus, I attacked the third time up the climb and my Easton EC90 Aero wheels rolled so well I stayed away for the whole last lap. It was a little early but plan B was for Jeremy to sit on and sprint so I think we had it pretty good. That is just what he did and finished second.
Official results haven't been posted yet but I think I'm a couple minutes up on Jeremy and maybe another minute up on third place. Later I stole Jeremy's latte just to rub it in.
Wednesday, April 1, 2009 - Race ReportsSorry for the lack of posts, I've been busy riding and actually doing work, seriously. But last weekend I headed out for a collegiate race in Reno, here is the report.
Because of its location, few people show up to this one. This year was no exception with 18 people in the Men's A, 5 from Davis. The course is two out and backs with a climb in the middle for 80 miles.
This is now it went down. Phil and Will attacked almost immediately and that was it. Will won and Phil got second. Back in the group a chase formed but with so few guys in the field nothing was going to happen.
The first time over the climb I set a hard temp and a break formed. This effort put me deep in a high altitude ice cave of pain. I was so blown that I found myself yelling at my break mates to take it easy and to stop surging. I normally can't stand those people.
Somehow the two other guys in break got dropped in the feed zone so it was just me and Evan Pickett from Stanford chasing Phil and Will for the last 40 miles. We rode hard but couldn't make up their 4 minute gap. I ended up third.
The crit on Sunday had an even lower turnout with 16 guys and again 5 Davis. The course had a couple rough corners and was very windy. I stayed in the car till about 5 minutes before the start to stay warm. The first 10 minutes went hard and I was in pain. At some point Phil and I broke away. We managed to lap the field about 15 minutes later.
When we got back on the field, I recovered for a little bit, then got bored and attacked again. They pretty much let me go and I had Brian Percival from Stanford on my wheel. We were working together well, but I was doing most of the work. I let him pull a little more and then attacked him. I felt bad but how was I supposed to drop him if I was killing myself into the head wind?
Anyway, proceeded to lap the field for a second time. When I got back around Phil was pissed and claimed that Brian was still 45 seconds off the front. I looked up and saw him about 15 seconds up. I did my duty and brought him back.
That was it for me. There were about 5 laps left at this point. I thought of doing something to help Nils and Will but was hurting as the pace picked up.
With a half lap to go I sat up and just rolled in. I'm not really sure how everyone finished but I think we had 4 in the top 10.
And that is what I call high rollin' Reno style.