Sunday, April 24, 2011

This week I’ve been working at the team’s secret desert maintenance facility, to be known only as “Area 52.”
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All the post-race maintenance is done and more tires are glued. If you’ve been following along, you’ll be pleased to know the last wheel/tire was glued on the 21st. Done!

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If you haven’t been following along, that part may make no sense. Do not be alarmed.  As I got near the last tire, I also got near the end of the glue. I finished by combining the remnants of four cans.  I thought this made a neat picture, what do you think?
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Gluing each tire is by no means a small job, but the number  I had to do (over 60) was a huge mental burdon on me and I’m very relieved to be done with it (for now).

While at Area 52, I took a day off and went boating. Why is that significant? It’s been 19 years since I went “recreational boating.” It’s been 30 years since I went recreational boating and someone else drove. Roxie did a fine job, by the way.
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While on the lake I took a little side trip on a leaky raft. I found out later the water temp was 58 degrees. I’m kinda glad I didn’t know that before hand….
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Cool Breeze Factory. This is where gentle breezes across the country originate.
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Next week is the Tour of the Gila in Silver City, New Mexico. See you there!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Redlands, CA

Racing! No, not me. I’m just the mechanic. But after many hours and many miles, the team is back at the races. First up was in San Dimas, California. But I was off my “A-game,” I went to the races every day without my camera.  I snapped a couple of low-quality shots with my phone, that will have to suffice.

During a crit, I stand in the pits prepared to do whatever I have to in order to keep the guys in the race.  Here I am eating the largest slice of pizza I have ever seen.  Like I said, what ever it takes.
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Here’s a cell phone picture of me with the overall race winner, Ben Day.
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Ben Day did his job, as did the rest of the team, and we ended the three-day stage race in first place! It was great, watching my team control the final stage, neutralizing every challenge, showing their strength and the amazing quality of the team mechanic… Hahaha, just kidding about that last part. Nobody notices the mechanic when things work right. But it’s cool.

From there we went to the Redlands Cycling Classic. This four-day stage race is also held in the Los Angles area. Although I brought the camera along this time, we did not dominate the race.

Here the guys are warming up prior to the stage 1 time trial.
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It was still a great event. Great for me. For the racers, it was pretty tough. The second day, stage 2, was 120 miles in the mountains, with temperatures hitting the 90s.
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Stage 3 on Saturday was a great criterium. Here you can see Luca Damiami making a bold move off the front by himself.
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Sprinter Isaac Howe (famously pictured on the side of the trailer) seemed poised to win stage 3 when someone else’s loss of control took him out in the final turn.  Here you see him on Sunday's stage 4.  The black tape on his leg is holding bandages in place.
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Phil Gaimon fought hard to defend his King of the Mountain’s jersey.
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Jim Stemper points out which way he thinks the course goes to two of his teammates.
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Famous Frankie Andreu makes handing off a bottle look easy. I did not try it.
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About 3 miles to go in the final stage, Jim Stemper worked hard to stay away in a two-man breakaway.
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The next race is in New Mexico.  Stick around, I'll try to have more here than just bike racing, though I admit, this time of year, bike racing takes pretty much all of my time.

From New Mexico, I'll be heading northwest to the start of the Amgen Tour of California.  Check your local listings, the Versus channel will be showing that race.  See you there!