Thursday, February 12, 2009

hey bucko...

A few pics from my recent adventure....

oh weird, wind.
how excited can you get to drive into the middle of the desert to start a bike race?  chad will tell you...
build an entire city at one time.  Brilliant!
motorized bike rack
window washers looking for work should maybe call this place
qatar forest!
Markus shopping for a new pet
crowd control at the start was always in issue...
grip it and rip it

Monday, February 09, 2009

AND wizards....

Seeulaterbye Qatar. Strange place, strange race. We all made it thru
and from the sounds of it, took a step forward in improving on the
teams performance there last year. No "break on thru to the other
side" type stuff but little steps forward start to add up. It was
great working with the new guys on the team and after 6 days of racing
we were more unified than when we showed up.

I'm wondering how long its going to take my body to adjust back to
normal time. Currently, I'm about 24 hrs into the trip home and still
have another 20 or so to go. Looking forward to a little decompress
and then hopefully some good riding/training. The mountain bike sounds
fun right now. No team racing until march 1 or so, back to belgium.
I'm thinking I need to invest in a scooter/driver combo for motor
pacing. This past week was a cruel reminder to just how "fast" racing
is and I really don't know if its possible to prepare or simulate that
without a race, a robot or a maybe a quickstep clone to ride with. Any
other ideas? Maybe all 3?

Thanks for the comments. I wasn't able to smuggle any camels out of
qatar, so sorry to those of you who requested one. Maybe next year.

Pics to follow at some point.

Why don't airports have more accesible power outlets?

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Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Why can't we be friends...

Another stressful, tense day in sand land. Team worked well together
and all stayed out of trouble which is more than can be said for a
handful of the guys. 2 more days. Good news is that I think we've
ridden every road in the country, so we know what were getting. The
bad news is that we know what we are getting and that is a nice set of
junk roads in insane wind which all looks EXACTLY the same. Whooop.

Thanks for the comments....

Food has been decent. The accomodations are actually the main redeemer
of the trip. Pretty normal stuff with a few "regional" options. Buffet
style. Trying to save as many pasta matches as possible for the rest
of the season.

Pics to come. Internet here is like 30 bones/day so the dingleberry is
my main source of sanity preservation.

And yes. PMA.

Ma' al Salama

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Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Saving the trees?

We drove over an hour to the race start today. Literally in the middle
of nowhere. They put rugs on the desert floor and tents up. There was
also a small toilet building. Inside there was a toilet, and a hose
with a sprayer, like the one on your kitchen sink. No toilet paper.
You use the hose instead. Yea, really. Remember that movie demolition
man, which takes place in the future? They didn't use tp either, but
shells instead. In qatar, THE FUTURE IS NOW. Wrap ur head around that.

The award for brilliance today goes to the race commasaires, and team
car drivers who repetedly drive around the pack of riders by going off
the road, into the rubble, flinging chunks of rock and sand at the
riders. Add a nice 20 mph cross wind to that and u have a tasty and
dangerous rock/sand cocktail flying through the pack.

Today was fast. We had to have averaged around 50km/ hour. The sickest
part about that is that there were some cross wind sections which were
so strong it was hard to keep ur bike on the road. Not just a few kms
at a time but nice 10-20km at a time. Ugh those were rough.

I am realizing more and more that to be a good cyclist, you have to
reject and deny any thoughts of logic which enter your mind. If you
think its a no brainer to do a particular thing in a race, you should
probably do the opposite because that is what everyone else will do.

Markus was a stud again today, made the front group. its impossible to
use words in describing what a feat that in itself is. He then
finished a solid 8th.

The rest of us survived. 3 more days.

Please send any extra mutant strength lying around to:

Brent bookwalter
Endless Desert patch 352
Rock and rubble road

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Monday, February 02, 2009

Crusty brown crouton town

that is from taylor, but I like it. A good way to describe this place.
I can't understand why people live here. Or why there is a bike race
here. I overheard at least 10 guys today talking about how ridiculous
it is. Stressful, dangerous. So much energy, such high winds,
dangerous roads at times. Rough way to start the year.

We all survived today. The neutral was bezerk, 50km/hr, over
threshold and guys taking risks. Chad jumped into the early move
which was surprisingly given a leash thanks to an early headwind.
Eventually we turned into crosswind and it blew to pieces.
Lots of nice scenery, meaning rubble, rocks, sand and desert. Guys
getting blown and pushed off the road. Real nice. Zberg made the 2nd
group. I think 14 guys went to the line to fight for the win. I got
gapped off the group I was in and slid back to tony, taylor and
jacksons group where everyone continued to fight eachother until
finally realizing it was futile, rolling to the line a ways after the
leaders. Like I said, we all made it thru safely.

More of the same tomorrow.....

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Sunday, February 01, 2009

This one time.....

Qatar stage 1, ttt.

Felt like we rode fast. But not exactly smooth. And relative to the
other teams here, not very fast. A lot to be learned. Little to be
dwelled upon. The first big dig of they year always feels extra spicy
and today was a perfect example of that. Deep into the windy desert
tomorrow and it is sure to be nothing less than alienville with cross
winds and plenty of fighting.

(Insert inspirational song. Here)

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