My Amgen Tour of California ended midway through Stage 2, and it was entirely my fault. The day before, I'd ridden myself into the ground through Stage 1 chasing the Most Courageous Rider jersey. My body felt terrible from the start, but I ignored the overwhelming desire to sit down on the side of the road in favor of launching attacks, following moves, and bridging to everything that got away. By the end, my legs were trashed. But the work was worthwhile, as my teammate won the jersey by nailing a timely solo counterattack. All that mattered is that Hagens Berman | Supermint landed on the podium; the detail of who put on the shirt was irrelevant. It was a win. The price was that I felt like crap from the gun on the next day's stage. I punched my ticket on the struggle bus and rode it all day ...continue reading.
I just watched a team director hang his underwear to dry along the balcony of the Copper Manor Motel. From this vantage point, I count three team trailers, one U-haul, four team vans, three team cars, and a few dozen bikes. Soigneurs are carrying bags of laundry and washing coolers and bottles, while mechanics service bikes and reload trailers. Motel room doors are propped open and I can see a few riders sprawled out on beds or slumped in chairs. It's mid-afternoon in the middle of Tour of the Gila in Silver City, NM but this scene will unfold a hundred more times at stage races around the world. This is like going backstage at the circus. This is where the lions and clowns sleep at night. Cycling media shows you the surface of stage racing; the scenic photos, the results from each day, the shifts in the General Classification ...continue reading.
There are a few questions I am often asked about the mechanics of running a professional cycling team. Before I dive into the intense block of Pro Tour races that make up the American spring and summer, I'd like to answer those and clear up a few misconceptions. Obviously these answers are based on my experiences; running a WorldTour men's team is probably a lot different. For starters, my secretary would be jotting down these answers with a Montblanc pen instead of me pecking away on an iPhone while I log more hours on my CycleOps. Oh, to live the dream. What's it like to run a team? Probably similar to how you feel about your job. Sometimes it's rewarding and fun. Sometimes I want to sell the riders on eBay and run screaming from the sport. These extremes can happen by noon on the same day. Like any job, ...continue reading.
In two hours and four minutes, I’m starting the final event of the Chico Stage Race, the downtown criterium. This isn’t anything new; I’ve started dozens of crits. But this time, I’m in the yellow jersey, defending a General Classification lead of two seconds with the help of six teammates. We also have a strong lead in the sprint competition. If all goes well, we’ll end this weekend with both jerseys. Holy shitballs, I’m in shock. Not because I doubt my team. My teammates are strong, talented riders. But I’ve never been in a yellow jersey before, and certainly not while representing the team we built from scratch. It's such a weird feeling that I'm hardly even nervous. ********** Things did not start out ideally this weekend. When I got to Chico on Thursday after a 9-hour drive, all I felt like doing was going for a recovery spin and ...continue reading.
Jess: "You know what would feel better than a drink right now? Going for a spin." Me: "There is a 0% chance that I'm riding a bike now." Jess: "I know. That's why I'm driving us to the bar."
When the air is warm and the sun shines bright on dry roads, cycling is a privilege and a pleasure, no matter how hard the ride. You clip in, savor the breeze on your bare skin, and feel positively blessed. Bikes are the best! Life is great! Winter evokes none of these feelings. Winter is a slap across the face with a cold, dead fish. There are a few lucky cyclists who live in climates that never turn against them. This article is not for those riders (instead please enjoy a friendly middle finger). This article is for everybody else who has ever had to spend twenty minutes bundling up just to venture out for a quick spin. Whatever hemisphere you call home, chances are good you've had a ride plan impacted or derailed entirely by weather that would put off the most intrepid athletes. I'm from Northern Virginia, and never does ...continue reading.