Monday, May 18, 2009

Coffee is good. Today it will save me, cause my legs are pretty wrecked right now and its only 8:30, but I could use a nap. I raced again yesterday, and once again got destroyed by Euro's, but it was good. I love racing somewhere new and somewhere hard. Everything is so different here, it is exhausting just trying to go grocery shopping, or to get some bread at the bakery, much less try to figure out where to warmup, and what tires to race on and where you are going to find a pre-race meals when we are on the road. But it is good and I don't want to be any other place right now. Everyday that I am here, I find something new and exciting that I totally love, something as nominal as musli, or no speed limits (that would have saved me some money over the years!), and wish I had back at home (wherever that is... my Subaru maybe?). The riding here is different too, I am temped to say its like east coast riding, rocky, and rooty and muddy, but then I realize that when we go ride, there is a little bit of everything. Some big open smooth fields, some tight, rocky twisty, rooty stuff though the woods, and some open fast rocky fire-roads covered in baby-head sized rocks (yes I said that), something out of a forest in the high country. Its just a big gumbo soup of riding and it is all sweet and everyone here does it. 
Second cup of coffee. So the race was pretty O.K. It was pretty typical of European races, it started on pavement, made a sharp turn then went straight up, and then they ran us down the Downhill race course for a decent. On top of that it was muddy earlier in the week, so everything was still wet, but it was slow and sticky, which is my least favorite. It was a course that had potential to eat bikes. Fortunately for the US Team (and probably most of the credit goes to Joey our awesome mechanic) nobody destroyed anything. I was the first US guy called up because I had the most UCI points (from Nats last year), somewhere around 25-30, we were in the fourth row. There were 108 starters, (supposedly), so it was a huge field and they were all U23's. It was fast, but I was strong, and as the race progressed I got stronger which is a good feeling. By the end of the 3rd lap I was in my rhythm and was catching people finally, I had a good surge going. I was pretty fast down the decent, and I had power on the climb, but alas, the swiss are stupid fast (the winner destroyed second place and the rest of a mostly german field by 4 and a half minutes) and I got pulled after 5 of seven laps. I was bummed because I was racing at a seven lap pace, so I still had quite a bit in the tank at the end of the race. I was the third american in the results, behind Tristan, who is killing it over here, at 23, and Mitch at 29, I finished 35. Which is good considering the size of the field, and that this race is just a step below a World Cup. I am happy though cause I am in Euro-land and racing my bike. Things are good. 
Mononucleosis is a nasty disease. It is still keeping me at about 85%. I just am not recovering, and I never seem to be able to go 100% in a race. I always have flat legs and I am living from cup of coffee to cup of coffee. I just want to feel good for once. It hasn't happened yet and I am wondering if it will happen at all this year. Frustrating. Ok so we are going to the store so we can have food for a day or two. Six hungry bike racers eat a lot. Here are some photos:

This is the Taylor Cup Race last Sunday
Some photos of a ride that Rob said would last about and hour and change, the climb was an hour and a half alone:

Riding up to the windmills
The holy grail, Schaminsland (I did not spell that right)
More of the Robscapade

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