Valley of the Sun stage 1, USA, February 18-20, 2005
In the past two years, Chris and I have discovered a number of great resources for cyclists in the Scottsdale, Arizona area. Our two most popular hangouts? The Bicycle Ranch and Endurance Rehabilitation. Paraic McGlynn, the famous Irishman, performs a mean bike fit out of the Bicycle Ranch. Several pros can attest to this, including Michael Creed of Postal Service, Brian Sheedy, and Jessi Stensland, pro triathlete.
I visited Paraic for bike adjustments three different times this past winter and I finally feel we've got my position dialed in. He uses video, lasers, and a keen eye that's seen hundreds and hundreds of bike fits over the past few years. And if you have any serious ailments that a PT can help you with, Paraic has close ties with Nate Koch over at Endurance Rehabilitation. Close by, it's a great office employing fantastic PT's, massage therapists, and all the machinery and balls necessary to complete a serious core workout. Joe Friel, the famous triathlete coach, sends all his new athletes to Endurance Rehabilitation for VO2 testing and PT evaluation. A lot of the young gymnasts in town come daily to the clinic for their core workout. They really are amazing to watch. While I'm struggling ridiculously to keep my balance doing sit-ups on a ball, these girls are whipping out reps that would humble most cyclists. Very impressive girls. I hope to be as strong as you one day, even if I do have 20 years on you already.
All week the forecast for Phoenix and Valley of the Sun has been rain on Friday and Saturday. True to form, we went to sleep last night to the sound of pouring rain. Then, about midnight, Kristin and I were awakened with a loud knocking at our door. With my heart rate going above lactate threshold pace, my first thought was "Is USADA REALLY doing surprise blood tests now??"
Kristin and I were both sitting bolt upright in our respective beds when the door opened and someone was trying to get in. Luckily I had closed the latch on the door before going to sleep so the intruders could only open the door part way. I went to the door and for some unknown reason was polite and asked, "Can I help you?" Turns out the reception desk had given away our room to their newest guests. It was a mistake, obviously, on their part, but holy cow, it took awhile for us to fall back asleep.
Arriving to the time trial start was like arriving to the party where you're seeing a bunch of friends that you haven't seen in a long time. It took me awhile to get situated on the trainer, as I kept running into friends I hadn't seen in weeks and months. One of our sponsors was racing as well, and we got to talk to him after he finished his TT. We were all fortunate enough to meet Mike Fogarty, of First Endurance, during our recent training camp, and it was great to see him out in the thick of things now. This is the first year First Endurance has sponsored the women's team, and we all love their products. These guys walk the talk and can 100% assure consumers of clean and effective products.
I felt like we were the rich snobs on the block as well. Andrzej had driven the big T-Mobile truck out ahead of us. So by the time we arrived, he had the trainers set up under our tent, keeping us dry from the dripping skies. What a nice welcome! The warming-up area was really crowded too, full of energy, since almost every category of cyclist can race here: juniors, Special Olympians, masters men and women, along with all the other categories. The first rider had gone off at 9a.m. and my start time wasn't until past 2pm. The women's pro, I, II field here is rather small with just 48 starters, but that doesn't mean there's a lack of talent. With a 12-mile out and back time trial course, the race was very straightforward.
The first race of the season always causes the nerves to resurface, nerves that I haven't felt since Worlds in Verona. Ok, I wasn't THAT nervous. But still, it was good to have that feeling back and to be sharing it with my teammates on our drive out to the time trial course. This is why we train all winter!
Andrzej stayed at the start/finish line during the entire women's race, keeping tabs on all splits. So the times and finishes I have are based on Andrzej's advanced timing system and are in no way official, as of yet. But according to our beloved director, T-Mobile took the podium with Kristin, myself, and Mari Holden finishing 1-2-3. Our biggest threat, Geneviève Jeanson, finished 5th. The entire team did really well and it was a happy bus on the way back to Tempe. We completely lucked out too, as it didn't start pouring rain until just after our last woman finished. The pro men didn't have it so lucky. If these results are right, it definitely sets us up for a good road race scenario tomorrow. So tonight Kristin and I will be sure to close not only the latch, but the deadbolt as well. We need our rest for tomorrow.