Sunday, February 22, 2009

It's a Wrap

The ATOC that is. I followed this about as close as any race, the fact that it was here and not in Europe probably has a lot to do with that. Not having to get up at 5:30 AM or some such makes it a little easier. The voyeur effect of the return of the ‘riders of faded glory’ probably had a little influence though I might like to argue otherwise.

I thought it was a decent event. Too bad about the crappy weather in Northern Cali, and I mean that sincerely. I don’t really need to turn on the dope scope or stare at the live streaming webcast to get an eyeful of bicycling in the rain. Most days this time of year I can just go outside and get the full effect.

I followed a couple riders (Tom Peterson and Svein Tuft) that had a bit of a Northwest connection. Because they were neither big name riders nor picked to win, following their progress was not easy. Tom Peterson’s stage win made him a little more visible. That Leipheimer captured the yellow shirt on the same stage essentially robbed him (Peterson) of much exposure. You can say he didn’t deserve it as he rode Levi’s wheel to the line, but don’t forget that he was out in a break for most of the race while Leipheimer was being towed by the likes of Lance Armstrong, Chris Horner, and Chechu Rubiera. And he was the only one in the break to hang with the lead to the finish.

Tuft seemed to be buried in the peloton for most of the race and unfortunately none of the media, print or otherwise dug deep enough to showcase, or even mention these two guys. The final results indicate that Tuft DNF’ed the last stage but I can find no information about why. I only hope he wasn’t hurt. Ah well, woulda, coulda, shoulda, it was still entertaining.

That last climb, the one after Mt Palomar (Cole Grade?) looked absolutely wicked! I’m counting on one, or some of your PCH Randos to comment here and let me know if that was trick photography or if that climb really is a wall. Watching Schleck and Nibali crawl up that stretch, was agony. The riders I was most impressed by were Mancebo (poor sole) and Nibali. Nibali appeared to put all his chips in on this race and in so doing distinguished himself.

On the home front, we didn’t go north and ride the Chilly Hilly today. The Missus was still off her oats. I had it in me but I rode a hard ride Saturday, it was sunny but much colder than I expected and I rode into some very challenging wind out of the east-north-east. An east wind in these parts comes straight off the snow packed Cascade mountains and it always seems bent on sucking the warmth out of you, starting with your feet and hands, and replacing it with that mountain fresh coldness.

Most riders I know say they would rather face climbs than wind, me too. When you’re climbing you know that it will end, you know where, and you have a pretty good idea of when. Not so with the wind. When you are riding into a wind and you are only cranking out 12 or 14 Kph and about one Bsh (bucket of sweat/hour) it is enough to make you want to turn and ride an easier route. Or just stop and whimper. I was surprised when I got home how cold I was and yet how soaked my tights and jersey were. As I posted my numbers there was no sense of triumph; the numbers did not impress and I felt thoroughly beaten. And, I got the double joy of waking up with screaming knots of cramps in my legs that night. When this hapens it usually causes quite a stir around the place. The poor cat freaks: back arched, ears back, and eyes like big red buttons. It would make a decent SNL skit: I'm stumbling into the dresser, yelping and hunched over like an Orc, the Missus is asking what she can do to help, and the cat comes running to hiss at me. Give me hills any day.

So rather than ride Sunday I did ‘chores’ around the castle, either fixing or installing stuff that has been on ‘the list’ for some time. I got three or four things done and confirmed the third law of home handyman repair. Ladies, please note, this can save you considerable strife with your own personal home handyman: It is, and always will be true that it takes approximately the same number of tools to re-hang a towel bar as it takes to add on a spare bedroom. Mrs. C marveled at the array of tools and parts I had spread around the bathroom. Maybe it is just me. My style in the kitchen is similar, If I am making scrambled eggs I can usually get somewhere between 85% and 92% of the dishes in the kitchen dirty.

Perhaps this explains why my seat bag is always so heavy.

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