The Tour of California is the closest thing I have to a “home race.” Although it’s 5000 km away, the fans speak English, the roads and climbs are familiar to me from past editions, and my family and friends are more easily able to follow.
I have just returned to the USA after a 7 hour freezing race in the rain followed by 25 sleepless hours of travelling, so please forgive any typos!
After Pais Vasco everything else feels easy. Legs do the talking. A hail storm greeted us in the Basque Country foreshadowing the week ahead.
An encouraging glimmer of my normal strength, at least tells me that “it’s in there somewhere,” and that time and persistence will overcome whatever fatigue has plagued me.
Staying upright and on the rough road requires a balance of letting the bike do what it wants and a delicate and ever fluctuating sense of how much force to guide it with.
At this level, every rider can take a hit. What separates us is how many hits it takes to break us, how many times a rider can rev to redline and how long he can stay there.
Braking, shouting, sprinting, and pushing. You can't get that in winter training!
I rode back to the peloton befuddled by his response and inspired by his optimism and belief. “Yeah! I can have a great day!"
A month in the sun.
I took courage from the strength I felt in San Sebastian, but the stress and shock that the crash put on my body required time to dissolve.
You know that big bike race in July, right?
As the only American on Team Dimension Data, I invested in the trip soley for the joy of racing and opportunity to win the coveted stars and stripes jersey.
Exploration is the essence of cycling.
Time always pauses before hitting the ground and you have time for one thought, and mine was a conceding, “you couldn't have missed this one.”
It was like a sidewalk that should have had stairs.
The atmosphere surrounding these races feels closer to USA style athletics with tailgates, super fans, and massive crowds. There’s an art to the violence required to position for the narrow cobbled climbs and crashes are inevitable.
If you are still smiling, you’re still in the game.
After a rejuvenating off-season, I was back in action with Team Dimension Data in Portugal.
Six weeks later, I’d been pushing some of my best power numbers in training and looked forward to racing after so much time on the sidelines.
Highs and lows create the drama in cycling.