Sunday, April 26, 2009

Ramping Up!

Skies are full of pollen, and l'Etape du Tour is coming sooner than I realize. It's time to get more distance and climbing in the legs, so I took two days off and set out to do just that. Thursday was four and a half hours with 1500m climbing. Friday was short to rest a bit, and Saturday was another four and a half hours, 100km and 1300m - and windy. Granted, not terribly long or fast, but I'm starting to feel good. I was finally able to navigate to the Passwang, which isn't incredibly difficult, but is close to home and has a few twists in it.

Both rides here...

The view from the top of the Passwang. It was getting pretty late by this time, luckily the road home was downhill... a little!

Notice the vertical jump when I forgot to restart the Edge 705! Also the Biel Benken wall with 12% at the end of the ride.

Even with a Garmin, it is faster to navigate with the tried-and-true tape on the top tube!

Oude Kwaremont

Just a quick one to catch up a bit on postings and races, etc. I got the chance to ride with Chris Milliman in Belgium during the classics trip that spanned Ghent-Wevelgem through Paris-Roubaix. Milliman's a big guy and in far better shape than I. He also takes great cycling photographs. Were it not for the fact that he shot this with my crappy little SD400, here's a 'great' shot of me on the Oude Kwaremont (Tour of Flanders), which we did a couple of times. I now know for a fact that I'm not exactly built for cobblestones!

The Saturday morning before Roubaix was incredible. We saw more Quick Step jerseys than I care to see in one place. There was group after group of Belgian locals out on the famous roads of the Ronde. Right after our ride, we high tailed it down to Compiegne to get our credentials and a meeting with the Mavic guys.

As for Roubaix, Quinziato put in a great effort, but had a little crisis late in the race. Still, 9th place means he's improving in this race and SHOULD be on lists for the future (if only he came from an english-speaking country! More about that later!).

We were able to get to four different points during the race. I passed a grand total of four waterbottles, one dropped by Quinzia. No wheel changes though - my chance at mechanical fame will have to wait another year!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Am I Hip Enough to Wear This?

Look what arrived in the mail this morning... The Rapha Bernard Hinault Legend t-shirt. I usually don't consider myself to be retro or cool enough to buy cycling clothes/gear that's not either lime green or plastered with the logos of our sponsored team, but I HAD to get this. La Vie Claire was the coolest team of all time (at least when I first got into the sport). Just put this one down to nostalgia as I approach 40 and try to recapture long-lost youth.

The answer? No, I'm not hip enough. Hipsters rejoice! I also won't be building my old Tommasini into a fixie any time soon!

Saturday, April 11, 2009


I had the eleventh-best seat in the house for Wednesday's race (Team Liquigas was car number 11). It started out windy and wet, and it stayed that way for the whole race. The wind blew the group to pieces just 10km into the race. Strong teams like Quick Step totally missed out (ok, Boonen was in the lead group but once he flatted, it was game over for the Belgian powerhouse). Then, it was crash after crash from the front group. Cervelo at one point had almost their whole team in the break. Rabo had 4. Race radio said we had only two! Once we got permission to pass group 2, we found a nice surprise... Fischer had made the break as well! From there, Liquigas poured on the pressure as Alexandre Kuchynski attacked on the second pass of the Kemmelberg. He got away and was soon joined by eventual winner Edvald Boasson Hagen. Once he joined, we knew we were racing for second. Really, Kuchy did great, but the young High Road rider just has a stronger kick. It was nervous in the car for a bit, but what a way to watch a race!

My view...

My photographer's view...

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

It's Almost Here!

I was fourteen years old, and had just gotten into this thing called bike racing. I had not yet adopted my 'Dave Stoller' alter ego. Not yet a word of Italian... but we had Paris-Roubaix on CBS. This is how I became a fan of Greg Lemond. Over-produced, edited, schmaltzy, but it was these rare glimpses of pro cycling that gave me the bug. It's also how I built up an appreciation for this incredible race...

Somehow, I now have the luck to 'work' this race for the fourth time! I'll remember to pinch myself from the bleachers in Roubaix to confirm that it's real!