Saturday, July 29, 2006

2 weeks

Its saturday, which probably means very few people are spending their summer weekend reading "this", but even less people are emailing me! I was on a good roll until today with incoming and outgoing emails which seem to roll the boring belgian day along, but today I've hit a cyper stump. maybe its because i've been here for 2 weeks now and the simplicity of our days is finally sinking in. I'm not complaining, nor am i yet officially "bored" because i know i need to stock as many of these easy going restful days as possible. The coming weeks of brutal raciing and living in some abandoned belgian dorm are sure to make an uneventful day in izegem highly appealing. Here's a fresh action shot of me today.

Floyd eh? not good. I say wait for that B sample to be tested and go from there, but its still a roundhouse kick to the face of the cycling world. Plenty of people already ranting about it so I'll just say that it really bums me out and leave it at that.

Raced a couple days ago. Reninelst, a 1.2 uci race. It went ok, but not great. Beleive me, I know this already seems like a reaccuring theme over here but I'm gonna do my dangdest to fix it. Anyway, 185km of belgian small roads and wind. a few uphill rises but nothing i would call i climb. We only had 4 starters from our team, but Andy and I stayed strong and finished. maybe around 30th for me. I gave it my all trying to get into one of the small groups that stayed away off the front but it just wouldn't happen. The good news is that i did this race last year and can honestly say i felt improvment since then. lets hope the improvment will materialize into somthing one of these days.

Other big news includes that I'm actually reading a book! yea, i know surprising and terrifying at the same time considering I'm still a month or two out of the academic season. It hasn't been half bad though, and I think I might actually finish this one. "Cloud Garden" by a couple backpackers who were kidnapped in the Darien Gap of South American. Keeping me entertained so far.

not sure if you've had a chance to scope it yet, but Team Priority Health has updated their website with a TeamBlog section. posts are sure to be flowing in from all the PH guys so give er a gander every now and then.

Riding has been mellow for the past 2 days, some good exploring but no leg thrashing. that will come soon enough. here's a couple shots from one of my recent rides in one of the few nearby wooded areas.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

US national Team; 1 Liege dorm; 0

We may not have won the race we did last week, but we did outsmart the hotbox, garbage dorm that we stayed in. take a look....

that is state of the art "full moveable blanket curtain", as well as a handy "fan stand". what makes it even better is none of the euros down the hall thought of anything even half as cool. you woulda been psyched too if you coulda felt how miserable and hot this dumpster we stayed in was.

Another noteworthy part of the 5 day, 500+ mile race through the hills of Liege was the rediculous amounts of skin being ripped off my rear end by the shorts we had to wear. wow, i hope these things break in. until then, massive amounts of chamois cream.....So how did the race go? ok. 3 of us made it to the finish. the first day i snagged a top 10 in record belgian highs. 103 f or so? sick to say the least. the next day i rode terrible, missed a feed and was without water, in the gutter for over an hour in some bad crosswinds. that whacked me pretty good and i basically spent the next couple days trying to recover from that heat exhaustion experience and hoping my legs would come around. The last day was pretty epic with some gnarly climbs from liege-bastonge-liege.

The past couple days have been spent trying to heal the legs a bit. Surprisingly I haven't been really bored since i've been here, for belgian standards at least. I've been able to chat with clara just about everyday and that of course helps a bunch.

Here's a pic of my belgian ride. i miss the Ridley but this one is pretty smooth too. check out this diddy. lets hope i get to do some time trials in the coming weeks!
One day 1.2 race in a nearby town tomorrow. Noel said he won't be surprised if we all get dropped. confidence inspiring eh? well, he just wants us to know it will be tough. thats ok, thats how we like it right?

ciao till then

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

goo and poo

my head is stuffed with goo and i kinda feel like poo. that sums it up.

it seems that my head has recently been invaded my mass quantities of mucous. it started as a bit of sneezy and itchy eyes and now has progressed to full congestion. not cool. rather frusterating really. i'm starting my first euro race of the season tomorrow. you would think my head would be filled with race thoughts and excitment. well it is sorta, but mostly just filled with snot. legs feel alright. rested for sure. maybe that will make up for it.

I sneaked into my room and took this pic. Its Mr. Mucous, fresh off one of used kleenex and waiting to be reunited with his relatives which i've been blowing outa my nose all day. not sure if you've seen the u23 national team kits for this year? well they look like spiderman. I'll do my best to get a pic or two from the next few days so i have blog worthy images to post. in the meantime, if your looking for eye candy. head to to not only does she look beautiful, but she recently did some cool races and saw some rad scenery which will likely be on another level to the belgium pics i could be taking.

Today I met Johan, the guy who will be our director for this weeks race. He seems like a decent guy. not Johan brunyeel, but if your name is Johan and you are belgian, you must know a thing or two about bikes and bike racing.

thats all for now. web access during this race is unlikely at best, but i will give you all the good word when i return.


Sunday, July 16, 2006

i'm back

the house i left just over a year ago in lovely Izegem, Belgium hasn't changed much. Its been a quiet place since i got here yesterday. There are only 6 guys here right now, and Noel and Els are in France running a Tour De France camp for the heads of state at usacycling. The weather here is insane right now. warm, sunny, unlike the norm.

I made it through my travels without any major hickups, although my upper body is wrecked from hauling around the ridiculous amount of crap that i decided to bring. what was i thinking?? I'm pretty sure what sealed the deal on that one was my 20 min. walk from the train station in Izegem to the house. Apparantly there was some dude to pick me up at the aiport, but he definitley wasn't where my flight came in because i scanned that place to the max before i finally accepted defeat and hopped on the train. turns out this dude even had a sign labeled "BOOKWALTERS" ("S" inclueded. thats how you know its good). anyway, luckily the rad train skills that i aquired last summer were still somewhat intact and i made all my train hops without too much mad dashing up and down stairs.

2 mellow pace rides so far. good to just get out, stretch the legs, recover a bit from last weekend and slowly let the body adapt to the new environment. probably the same recipe for the coming days since we start the Tour of Liege on wed. supposed to be a 5 day stage race with hilly road races everyday. I'm sure that will kick our bodies into gear.

until we start racing, and in between all the races I'll be an internet fanatic since there are limited things to do here. shoot me an email or leave me some love in the comments section to keep me in touch with the homelands. i'm up for suggestions as far as post topics too.

until next time.

Friday, July 14, 2006

I feel dirty

First of, a few pics.....

diggin deep in the closing meters
how do i look?
close but not quite.
can you see me?? solo bridging to the break. ouch!!
i wonder if scott new he was gonna see a bear during the race?

traveling and large amounts of it has been the recipe for yesterday, today and will be as well for tomorrow. Yesterday was wack. my dad and i drove to Philly to get my passport sorted out. A big Thank you to Harry Bookwalter for that one!! well, after about 12 hours of driving, 2 hours waiting in line and another 2 hours waiting in a coffee shop I came away with a new passport. i think next time i will skip the "leaving my passport in storage at school part" and just bring it with me so we can skip that saga of trying to get it back which has occured over the past few weeks.

I didn't make it back in time for the crit yesterday, but sven, scott and grahmo all rode well. Graham bridged up to the winning move, then with about 3 laps to go, put all his marbles into another 3 man move which looked likely to stick but unfortunatley was brought back. he still ended up 9th though, and scrappy scott pulled down a solid 15th. Wait till these kids show back up in PA for U23 nats next year with another year of experience under their belt. I think they'll be turning some heads.

so now i'm in New York, at the airport. about another hour or so here and then I'm off. I feel like a dirtball, and i'm sure its only gonna get worse between now and when i arrive in brussels tomorrow morning. Its almost time to turn off my phone to let it hibernate for the next couple months. i don't know about you, but i think verizon should put a tower in Izegem, Belgium.

maybe in my next post i will type in flemish!!!!

Thursday, July 13, 2006

a GREAT day

Seven Springs, PA. I have to say I've really takin a liking to this place since its been so kinda to me over the past couple years. Starting with collegiate mtb nats in '04, then again in '05 and now with the U23 road National Championships.

Yesterday was the day I've been looking for and thinking about for a while now, the TT nataional championships. the course was great for me and we even had a nice steady downpour of rain. I gave everything I had over the demanding 30km and came away with my first U23 national championship. It feels great after coming so close in the road race only a few days earlier, and after just missing the top spot on the podium repetadly in road, mtb and cyclocross the past couple years. Its awesome to really put your mind, heart, body and soul into somthing and then have everything come together on the day you are shooting for. Whats even better is all the great people I have to share it with. Thank you to everyone who has believed in me, not just for this goal but always, throughout my cycling career and even beyond cycling. Your comments, thoughts and prayers mean a lot!!!!I'd love to roll out more of an in detail update on the RR, TT and the week in general, but as usual I'm rippin around trying to get stuff done, last minute. I'm not gonna be able to race the crit tonight because as i type this I'm in Philly, waiting for a few passport issues I have to get sorted out. Looks like its all coming together though and I'll still be able to fly out tomorrow morning to head across the pond and join up with the U23 national team. I think my first race over there is less then a week away, but i'll be sure to keep the updates coming while i'm over there.

ciao for now

Friday, July 07, 2006

computers, ugh

well i've once again proved to myself that I'm a retard when it comes to computers and most other forms of technology. I swapped computers with my stepmom since mine is falling apart and i needed a reliable one for the europe jaunt. hers is almost new so its plush to be rollin with one that works, but i had no idea how much work it would be to get this one "brent" friendly. programs, files and all that stuff i need from my old one. I proly put 6 hours into this today and have gotten almost nowhere. boooooo.

Fitchburg ended up alright. It was a bummer to not be able to keep sheedy in the leaders jersey. in no way, shape or form was that because of how he was riding. that kinda frusterates me when people are like, "what happened to sheedy?" the better question would be, "what happened to the team" cuz after all, this is a team effort, especially when you are trying to defend the lead. We did a good job of it in the circuit race, even with little or no radio communication and no director or mechanic. the next day in the road race we went in with a good plan, with a couple options depending on how things unfolded. It went one of the ways we had anticipated and planned for, but just didn't work out in the end. The good news is that Ted and I both moved up on GC, me to 5th and Ted to 6th. We maintained the last day in the crit and came away with a respectable result. Personally, I was happy to score a top 5 at a NRC race. With a little more experience, a little more form and a little more luck I know I can be right there for that top spot. The team came away from the race with some good momentum and excited to head into the rest of the summer. The guys are lookin sharp so look out!

The past 2 days have been spent trying to recover a bit and looking ahead to the rest of my summer which is rapidly approaching. saturday i leave for Seven Springs, PA for U23 road nats. then on July 14th i head over to Europe to join the national team. I also have to have all my stuf in order for my fall semester at school since i likely won't be coming back to MI before school starts. Whew! that is a bit to think about.

I better get my butt in gear. i should have some pics on this computer sometime in the next year or so. keep checkin back though, i could sprout a few computer friendly brain cells.