We are all safe and sound in South Africa! Its been a crazy trip to get here. It took a long, long time. But it is now worth it. South Africa is very beautiful. It doesn't feel like the only other African country that I've been too, which is Tanzania. I'm sure as the race travels to the smaller towns and villages, I will get a better idea of it. Because for now, It feels like a mix of Calfornia, Europe and Australia. I'm not sure why I compare places to other places,but regardless, its cool here. We are having ostrich tonite for dinner. Its our last night in our swanky hotel on the harbour. Tomorrow all the hardships and suffering start. Its the first real day...123km, climbing 3000meters with 1200 other riders.
And did I mention....JENNY AND I ARE IN THE LEADER'S JERSEY!!!! And so far, yes, it was mountainbiking. We are having fun and getting a suntan.
Jeremiah and Chris got their pictures taken with an elephant. The Trek/Dolphin guys team with baboons and the girls with birds. That is a photo that will inspire stories for the grandkids.
Some of my good friends are down here including our former Trek soigneur, Allan Carlsen and he is riding with my Trans Rockies partner, Hillary Harrison. I'm going to change their team name to The Skinny Smilers. Also, I'll be racing against my friend and former teammate, Alison Sydor. She is happy as a clam to be racing for nine days like her old roadie days. By the way, her and Bart Brejetnes are the fastest people of their age by a long shot.
I saw the Southern Cross last night. I saw it two years ago in New Zealand, but its still so cool.
Anyway I'll try to get some pics up at some point. And check the Cape Epic website because they have a live feed from the race. Yes, a live feed! Also check cycingnews and velonews.
Tim and Ruby would like it here i think. But I wouldn't want Ruby to have any encounters with a baboon or wildebeast.
Friday, March 21, 2008
Tim, Kyle, Ryan , Andy and I went up to our favorite ride...Big Schloss. It was supposed to be 60 degrees, but at 9am there was still a hard spring frost on the ground. We went up the pavement, up to the Big Schloss, down the short downhill, up the long downhill and then back down the short. What an incredible way to spend the first day of Spring.
Did I mention that I leave for South Africa Sunday night?
I'm sorry. I wrote a detailed story of our team camp that I didn't save and then it disappeared. I was bummed, but just consider it an offering to the blog gods. It was a pretty good one, but can't be recreated, so its just time to move on, I guess.
In short, Moab was really fun. The team vibe was very family. We stayed at Pam and Tony's B&B and shared lots of group meals. Zack, our manager, and Caitlyn his girlfriend and Rocky Mountain Team member made the best food for us. It was healthy and made with love and quickness. Our new Soigneur, Laura Downey, tenderized our legs and took care of us like we were big time pros. Michael Browne, our team director, gave us fun cameras to play with while we rode, hoping to get some cool video for future media use. He also gave us a good pep talk for the season. Our mechanics, Dusty and Bork and Shep, worked long hours to get our hardtails built. They also put up with all the mirco adjustments that occur when riding a new bike. Our photographer, John Laptad, squeezed blood from a stone and got some amazing pics in record speed and in little space.
My only complaint is purely superficial. For some reason the girls jersey's are a weird pink color. Pink is a little two years ago, but I'm about two years behind on trends, too.The unfortunate part is that the shorts are red. I'm old school and have a problem with red and pink going together unless its on a valentine's day card. That said, maybe I should just think of myself as a giant valentine day card riding a bike, bringing love to all the mountainbikers out there. xxx ooo. That is a better visual image than a color clashing clown. But if you like our pink jersey's let me know.
I'm still in amazement over the group of riders that make up the team. There is some serious lung and leg power amongst us. And the skill set of our team is very high. I would love to have some sort of competition that was technical riding only. I think our team would kick ass against other cross country riders. And most importantly, everyone is very nice and fun to be around. We had some awesome group rides.
Moab was the last time the team will be all together this year. We are all going to different races in different places. The staff will do the same. It made our time in Moab even more special.
Friday, March 14, 2008
The 2008 Trek/VW mountainbike team is converging in Moab, UT this week for our team camp. Its a blast! I haven't been to Moab since 2002 when we did the 24 Hours of Moab. Its such a cool town with awesome trails. And of course its like Christmas getting new bikes, gear and electronics from JBL.
I'll have more on the specifics, but here are a couple of pics for now.d
Tuesday, March 4, 2008
The weather at the end of Feb and beg of march in Virginia can pretty much mean anything. This week it was a bit hard getting used to the constantly changing weather and of course much colder temps than in Tucson. It helped that I had an easy week and have took a lovin to rollers. It is great being home. Its fun being back with Tim and Ruby and riding in our very local oasis of Hillendale Park. Tim did tons of work to the house while I was gone. He picked some nice paint colors. Its really nice having a real floor, too. Its a one of a kind...can't get this at Home Depot!
I battled the wind for most of the week, so Sunday was awesome as the weather warmed and a group of us got out on the trails at Big Schloss. Tim got a new bike and was rippin it. It is so cool to see good travel go with good skills. I had some beautiful moments getting back to the rocky trails of Wolf Gap.
Tim took me to a Cirque de Soliel show in Charlottesville. It was Saltimbanco. It was the best of the three shows that I have seen. It had a lot of outrageous athletics and humor. We also celebrated Thomas and Julie's 6th anniversary. Good times.