Thursday, June 21, 2007

Passport Please and Tour de Beauce

Protecting Yellow Again
My first flat of the year, was no little thorn
Start of TT
Leading Walters
Sweet Goobers

The sometimes rush, rush of cycling added with and almost 6 hour race can make it easy for some short term memory issues or add forgetfulness with some international travel necessities, such as a passport.
The team trailer was heading up to Quebec directly after Sunday's Philly race, where our team duffel bags would go as well, to limit our flying hassles. Some last minute hotel changes and with the immediate rush I forgot to take my passport out of the duffel and put it in my carrion. This came to my attention at about 1am on Sunday night while in bed. I tried to reassure my self by stating that you don't need to a passport to enter Canada. But it was not really working, as I have kept up with the World news. I was off to the airport anyways as Sarah was headed back to Colorado. As I dropped her at the gate I said, "Maybe I'll be seeing you later..."

The attendant reassured my fear and said that there is no way to be flying into Canada without a passport. Stockton, my team manager was right on the case when he arrived at the airport, a bit ticked of course but still managedto get me a way up to Beauce. He found a flight to Burlington, Vermont. He called the mechanic re-routed his trip to come pick me up in Burlington and off I was for another stage race. I was so tired and physically wrecked I was not sure if I was happy I was going up there or not. I was eager for my break to come, but did have a week left in me.

Tour de Beauce went very well for us. Walters got things going from the get go on a long first stage, 5 hrs. or so, with a stage win. For the following stages it was tempo time for the rest of us, which works quite well when you're tired. It simplifies things, ride at the front for 140km. Done. Even though we lost the jersey on the Mont Megantic stage, we got back to the front in the crit to pull back a breakaway in perfect fashion, with one 1.5km lap to go, and lead it out for Dom, but small error led him to get 2nd. Still, it was good fun stringing out the field and bringing back the hopeful breakaway. After a week of great weather the last stage brought down some heavy rains and made it rather miserable. I was in two breakaways that each got about a minute up the road, but the legs pooched out on me towards the end and shut down the opportunity of a stage win that I was seeking.
I was very pleased to get through the tough week, as the roads were relentless, still had a cough and I kept counting the minutes to having some time off the bike. Walters made the race great for our team by grabbing the yellow jersey on the first stage and having the Kodak Team set tempo for the first 4 stages and getting to show our strength as a team.

I am in bed now, sleeping. I'll be doing this for a while.

Philly Cheese Steaks are Good

A Brit in Philly Sarah, My Guapa
Ready, Set, Go
Following Zee German

It was a week of downtime in downtown Philly after the RAS. The thought of it is quite nice after a hard stage race, but not having the chance to head home for this week took it's toll. Yes, I get home sick and miss Sarah. I wouldn't say home sick for Boulder, but homesick of the comfort of our new apt. there on Pearl St and spending a week off with my wife. I spent the week with Walters and Rollin in a great old house in the historic district of Philadelphia. We took our time getting the day started, enjoying our home made coffees and going out and about taking pics with our KODAK cameras of course. I struggled with the heat and humidity as it was a drastic change from Ireland's Spring Weather and the high allergic levels. CSC Invitational was the first race back, and it was a suffer fest. The heat took it's toll and made most of the field drop out. I hung in there until the finish but could not manage much help for out sprinter Rollin. The race took a lot out of me and made that following week miserable with a nagging cough and green snot! This made for early departures in the mid week races, Lancaster and Reading. I awoke highly motivated for the Big Philly race as my wife flew in and a few old friends. I did have a few nerves at the start, as the venue is quite a scene. It's no local Chicago crit. It was my job to keep Walters up in the first 15 riders heading into the Manayunk wall each lap, in which I succeeded in. Its a full on sprint each lap to the base of the steep 1.5km climb, but we managed to duel it out and head into the run in safely. It was my longest race ever, it being 156 miles. This year was done in record time of 5:45hrs. not bad aye... I was spent have the race and was struggling with the fact that I would be on a plane the next morning to start a 6 day stage race up in Quebec. The Tour de Beauce...