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Living life on the edge... of the road
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May 2011

Tuesday, May 31, 2011 - Race Reports
It was 90+ and humid out in Greenville yesterday. So Nationals was one of those races where you don't worry so much about the race, but about the heat.

I got put on early break duty. What that means is, "Make the break or get bottles and chase."

Getting bottles can be hit or miss, most of the time you get the "Thanks." Other time you get the "Um... maybe... maybe at the top of the climb." Or you'll put in a lot of effort to find that teammate and then he says, "No, I'm good."

We did have a couple guys in the break, but when it started to splinter we were forced to chase. I got stuck leading up the climb the third time. Basically, I was the only one willing to set a pace. It's really easy to lose a minute on a climb that you're not going to want to chase back later.

Overall, I felt relatively good. Maybe if I'd saved it I could have been in the first main group. But we'll never know. In the end, it worked out the best for the team. We got our fast guys over the climb into that main group so they could sprint for high places. That's just what happened and Kyle was 5th and Chase was 10th. Not bad.

As of right now, I have a little rest untill Cascade. What that means is less racing and more training, and I'm looking forward to it.


Sunday, May 29, 2011 - Race Reports
It's been an action packed couple of days. First, there was getting to Greenville. That took over 30 hours.

I left Davis on Thursday morning. Storms forced us to refuel in Huntsville on our way to Atlanta. That was bad, but when my next flight, from Atlanta to Greenville, returned to the gate at 1am on Friday morning, I began to worry. Then, when I walked to the ticket counter at 1:30am to see 150 people waiting in line, I started thinking about alternate transportation.

Delta had me confirmed for a 9am flight on Saturday morning (TT day). That wasn't going to work so I spent the night in Atlanta and drove a rental car up to Greenville on Friday.

I was bit cracked on my ride that night, but felt better after a full night's sleep. For the TT, I hit the wall after 2 of the 3 laps. I finished 15th, which I'm okay with given my form and the travel situation.

Today was "rest day." It's actually kind of weird to have a day between bike races, that never happens here in the US. The team went for a ride on the course, then I took a nap. Later I went for coffee with Lyne from Podium Insight and now I'm writing this blog.

Seriously, that's what I did today. Oh, and I talked to my lovely wife, but that's a given. Anyway, tomorrow is the National Championships time. Every year it's been different, so it should be good one.


Wednesday, May 25, 2011 - Race Reports
Well, it's been a few days and I'm back in Davis now, but only for about another day. Then it's off to Greenville for US Pro.

So the the last stage of The AMGEN was highlighted by yelling. It's in the best interest of the pro tour teams to have a small break escape early so they can just ride the front.

So the the racing on the last day was aggressive, fun, with attacks here and there, basic racing. That upset the pro tour guys. It got to the point that whenever there was a 2 bike length gap, one would yell, "That's it." Obviously the team that missed it disagreed.

I even had a few words with HTC's Bernhard Eisel. I talked back (why not?), and he just went off. Of the 20 or so word response, I'd say 15 were inappropriate and one was over 4 letters long.

I thought it was comical, mainly because when one strings so many cuss words together, you can't help but laugh. However, after this and my incident with Mark Renshaw last year, my next phone will not be an HTC.

Anyway, we made it to the finishing circuits in Thousand Oaks and they were packed full of spectators. The whole race was well attended and it was awesome to be a part of it. Thanks for all the support out there.


Saturday, May 21, 2011 - Race Reports
I'm siting here in the L.A. Live lobby, sucking up the free Internet. It's actually the same place I sat to write the blog last year.

Well, you've probably noticed that the blog posts have gotten less creative and more to the point. That's because I'm tired. I know you demand better, but tough.

So today was hard. 10,000 ft of climbing, or more depending on who you ask. I felt pretty good finally. At least for the first 3 hours. Unfortunately the race was about 3:40 for me.

I made it over the first climb in the front group. At one point I looked back to see I was the last rider and nothing was behind me, not even any cars. But I managed to hang in there.

Once we made it over the top I went on bottle duty. It was nice to actually have a purpose today because, honestly, I've been feeling pretty useless all tour.

Thanks again for all the support. At one point I saw a UCSD fan offering pushes for a slap on the ass. In the age of Youtube and camera phones, that was one line I was not willing to cross.

Tomorrow it's time to give it another go. Make sure to watch out for those finishing circuits, because they will be brutal.


Friday, May 20, 2011 - Race Reports
Stopped Alright, pretty tired right now. Long day, followed by a long day of transfers, followed by the hardest day tomorrow. I even got drug tested by the UCI. Good times. This picture is of the UCI chaperon stopping me immediately after the finish.

Yesterday's road stage was the longest ride I'd ever done, 137 miles. As for hardness, it was up there with Big Bear last year. It was shorter time wise, but there was no grupetto.

Today's ride in Solvang was pretty cool. I've seen the race on Tour Tracker a few times, but doing it was something else. Thanks for all the encouragement out there. It's always cool to hear your name called and it's even cooler when it's from all around the course. Thanks.

I just cruised because honestly, I had nothing to gain and hopefully the legs will come around in the next couple days.

Now off to bed. If the rapture does happen tomorrow, it better happen before we hit Mt. Baldy, for obvious reasons.


Wednesday, May 18, 2011 - Race Reports
Paul Mach dot Pro Not much more to report, just ouch. Multiple copies of that. It was cool to descend Mt. Hamilton with closed roads though.

Tomorrow will prove to be an even more brutal day. First the start is at 9:45, 1.5 hours earlier than today, and the finish is scheduled for the same time. Add in a long morning transfer and you have an alarm set for 5:45.

In other news, my GNAC conference meet record in the 400 hurdles was broken on Saturday. 6 years on top, I guess I'll have to be satisfied with that. Still have the conference 800 meter record though. Yes, I check the records weekly for updates.

Here's another graph from Race Shape.com. What you're looking at is the time gaps between different riders/groups along the course.

Some people may call this a bit nerdy, but stats are a big part of every other sport (ever listened to a half time report?). While a small fraction obsesses over them, most people at least understand. My hope is one day a graph like this will reach that level.



Tuesday, May 17, 2011 - Race Reports
Yes they do. So we raced to Modesto today in the Tour of California.

Yesterday I tried the first attack strategy. Today, I decided to wait and it was the first attack that formed the break. That was kind of underwhelming. All that anticipation and I didn't even get to attack.

There's an interesting article on Podium Insight about what it's like getting into break. It pretty much tells it how it is.

Anyway, so then it was 5 hours of just hanging out. What do you do for 5 hours on drafting. Well, I did some math, 1.5 hours, 50km into a 200km stage. That's when I started thinking about food.

So after 5 hours we hit some cross winds and started racing. It was kind of a wake up call. I ended up in a rather large chase group that caught back on eventually. Then I rolled it into the finish trying to stay out of trouble.

Also, thanks for all the support and cheering out there. The "Intel nerds love Paul Mach" sign was awesome. Thanks to Stan and Melanie for that.

Overall, it's been a rather slow start to the Tour. Half day, long head wind day. Tomorrow that will change with lots of climbs and a GC shake up on tap.


Monday, May 16, 2011 - Race Reports
So we actually started racing today. But we didn't do the whole stage. I didn't really pay much attention to the weather up on Donner Pass this morning, but I'm glad we skipped the long, cold, decent off of it.

The plan for today was a bit questionable. It's hard to tell what the peloton would want to after the last couple days. My job was to attack right from the gun. That's what I did. Unfortunately that was not the move to go.

For the finish I was having trouble breathing. Not sure why, but it definitely wasn't right. I started at the back and finished at the back. That wasn't optimal, but tomorrow is another day.

Here's a picture of the time gaps in today's race from my other site Raceshape.com. Even without race radios it was still a break + well timed catch. Interesting.



Sunday, May 15, 2011 - General
Snow on the course It really snowed. Everyone saw the forecast and the ominous clouds rolling in, so it wasn't a surprise. But the decision to cancel the stage was a bit of a roller coaster.

At breakfast we learned it would at least be a shortened stage. So we waited around for another 4 hours and learned it was really a go at 1:15.

And it was a go, we put on our costumes and signed in. Then, literally right before the start, Levi and some official came on stage to tell us the race was canceled.

I feel it was a good decision. It was only freezing at the start, but wet, windy and snowy along the course. It would have been a death march, with actual deaths.

Overall, the whole situation threw me for a loop. Yes, no, maybe, make up your minds already!!! Hopefully this Tahoe vacation will end tomorrow and we'll get to race.


Saturday, May 14, 2011 - General
O Magazine What to do, what to do? Well, just getting ready for the racing and weather tomorrow.

Desperate for an edge, I even flipped through this magazine. I can tell you now, it was of no help.

We went for a little ride around South Lake Tahoe. The motorists were all very supportive. One even yelled, "Good luck Sunday." Naturally Rob heard, "You look so gay."

I also stopped by the Pearl Izumi Outlet store to say high to super fans Lauren and Allison. Roman Kilun stopped by later and was impressed by how they repeatedly turned the conversation back to me. Thank you.

Anyway, the weather is the talk of the town. So much so that I don't know what to believe anymore. Some people are talking like you'll be lucky to make it to the finish line alive. I hope it doesn't go that far.


Friday, May 13, 2011 - General
Alright, so things are starting to roll. Most everybody is already up in South Lake Tahoe for Sunday's start of the Amgen Tour of California.
Full parking lot Yes, we're here a day early. That makes sense for the guys traveling from further away. For me, I just get to chill for an extra day.

I officially got to see our Fi'zi:k sponsored RV. Not only am I figuratively bigger than Levi Leipheimer, I'm literally bigger. But that's not really saying much because I've seen 12 year old girls that are bigger than him.

Snow, it's supposed to snow on Sunday and everyone is talking about it. We'll see what the day actually offers, but cold wet weather is no fun, but it will be exciting.


Wednesday, May 11, 2011 - General
It has begun. Check out what hit the twitter today.
HOT!!! And as if my head wasn't big enough already, I'm told this thing will be RV sized by Sunday along side Ben and Jeremy.

I expect all of you to take a picture with it sometime next week.


Tuesday, May 10, 2011 - Race Reports
Well, it's been a few days, but here's an update.

First, we slayed the Joe Martin monster on Sunday. After a bunch of attacking Frank Pipp and Jeremy Vennell got up the road and that was it. They moved into first and second overall.

Me? I was still feeling it from the day before. But I did put in a couple attacks that forced the field to respond. My teammates got up the road a little later, so I'm taking some of the credit.

And there was still a bunch of yelling. It was the third day in a row from one guy. I'm starting to think it wasn't just caffeine induced rages and that's he's actually a dick.

In fact I heard him say this to Mancebo, "If you chase down my teammate, I'll help you pull." Such a great teammate.

Anyway, it's always fun when it works out because then you can laugh at them all the way to the airport, on the plane, in the second airport, on the next plane and then on the drive home. It was glorious.

The next race is the good old Tour of California. But first I need to front load the school work.


Sunday, May 8, 2011 - Race Reports
Dynamic racing yesterday at the Joe Martin Stage Race. The course was hard and the group was detonating all over the place.

It seemed like the entire field wanted to take Francisco Mancebo down. Unfortunately, when you have 2, 3, 4 and 7 on GC, you're looking for the win, not to just take him down.
Breakaways That little conflict resulted in a lot of yelling. I was the high man on GC in a couple moves. However, Mancebo's teammate, Cesar Grajales, only 13 second back on me, was also there.

The group was getting angry, expecting me to work, while he sat on. Well guys, after 70 miles of riding, I'm pretty sure Grajales could take all the time he needed at the finish. That's not really the result Team BISSELL is looking for.

At the end, Jay Thomson was in the late break. We had to bring it back a bit to protect our GC. From what I heard, the whole caravan was in uproar about that. But again, Jay was the lowest man in the move, so...

Jay won and most of the GC stayed the same. So it still worked out pretty well for us.


Saturday, May 7, 2011 - Race Reports
So we finally made it to Arkansas. We did a couple of rides and limited the driving to only 8 hours per day so it took 3 days.

After a short little ride on Wednesday, we had the uphill TT on Thursday. I rolled in for 4th, behind 2 teammates (Ben and Jeremy) and Francisco Mancebo. I finally felt good and had a good ride.

Yesterday was a 110 mile road race. There was all sorts of attacking, at the start and on the climb near the finish.

I tried hard to get in the break, but the moves were all a bit touchy. With second, third and fourth on GC, you need to make sure the move will give you something better than that, and that's a tall order. A number of times I was yelled at for not pulling through. But come on, I can't pull around guys that are only few seconds behind me when there are so many bonus seconds at the finish.

Anyway, there will be much more of that today as there in another 105 mile road race on tap.


Monday, May 2, 2011 - Race Reports
So, it's been a few days of racing here at Gila. Spoiler alert, they were hard and they all hurt.

The time trial on Friday was the time trial. It hurt and it wasn't that fast. So that wasn't good. Jeremy Vennell rode a quality time to finish second.

The crit on Saturday had some drama. Overall, high altitude crits aren't that fun. For me, I wasn't hurting that bad, but I also couldn't do anything either. I think I've felt that way before.

So the drama was the officials and Dave Towle yelling one lap to go when it was actually 2. So what do you do when this happens? There is no good answer, you wait and they decide to score it a lap earlier. You don't wait and they say, "Oops, sorry." I'd like to say that's bike racing, but it really isn't.

Sunday's Gila Monster was interesting and different. The break didn't go till after the first climb and then it was rolled in over the second. There was a basically a lot of chasing going on. The third climb wasn't nice to me and that was it.

Since the race we've been on our way to Fayetteville, AR for Joe Martin. Two days of driving down, only one to go.

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