Time to train in the rain

California, January 4, 2006

Mudslide anyone? No, I'm not talking about the drink, unfortunately. It's the holiday season but the only mudslides around here are the ones on the hills of Sonoma County. I am well into my winter training despite the flooding we're enduring, and although we're no stranger to rain in Northern California, this year has been a little more intense.

It's tough to complain about a few roads washed out here and there on the heels of Katrina but there have been some local homes evacuated. We've been very lucky and I have all the clothing I need to ride in this kind of weather so it's not so bad. I also have the world's coolest rain bike that makes a big difference in this weather. It has fully modified/lengthened fenders, disk brakes and an SRM to makes sure my training goes smoothly.

I've recently added another element (aside from rain) to my training which is pretty cool. I've been using a Colorado Altitude Training tent at night. It's a huge one which fits my king bed and at night stands so the whole family can sleep at altitude quite comfortably. The three Chihuahuas are becoming freakishly strong and fast. They sleep at 9000 feet and go to the dog park at sea level.

We've been busy planning a fundraiser for A Leg Up Rescue and the "Free Wheels" essay contest. I'll enclose the press release at the end of this diary so you can read about it if you haven't already. Odessa is now the development director for ALUP rescue and is working together with ALUR's founder Jenn Bird to build a facility for the animals. A portion of the funds raised will go towards the future shelter and another portion will go to the essay contest winners. It should be a really great evening. Five-time gold medallist Dr Eric Heiden, and trainer to the stars, Dr Max Testa, will co-host the evening with me. It's an honour to host an event in such company.

Another exciting development this winter has been the Tour of California. I've been talking with the race organiser Jim Birrell on a regular basis about courses and other race details. It's really fascinating to see the inside of a stage race. There is so much in motion long before a single wheel sets in motion. So many things have to come together for an event like this and it seems like a mammoth undertaking for anyone. Jim handles it with ease and I think it's going to become one of the best races in the world. How could it not? California is the perfect place for a bike race. Actually, it's just the perfect place. I'm really looking forward to kicking off my season in my own state. It's all the motivation I need to ride in the rain.

What else has been happening? We got a new puppy. I'll enclose a picture. Her name is Smokey. So if our lives weren't complicated enough travelling with two Chihuahuas, it will be with three but she's worth it. Check her out and be sure to read up on our gala fundraiser. If you're lucky enough to be in the vicinity of Sonoma County on January 13th you should come and party with us.

Until next time, stay dry!


PS - Here's a reminder for that event I've got coming up:

Sport legends to host fundraiser

Fundraising gala hosted by cycling star Levi Leipheimer, Dr Max Testa, five-time gold medallist Eric Heiden and Specialized bikes. Join Levi, Max and Eric at the beautiful new Nor Cal Bike Sport in Santa Rosa on January 13th for an elegant evening of fine dining and entertainment.

Tickets are $250 per person or $500 per person to sit with Levi Leipheimer, Max Testa or Eric Heiden and are available through www.norcalcycling.com or by phoning 707 573-0112. The ticket price is tax-deductible and includes valet parking and a "goodie-bag".

Proceeds will go to the animals at A Leg Up Rescue and the winners of the "Free Wheels" essay contest - not only will you enjoy a star studded evening of dinner and dance but you can win a Specialized racing bike, cycling shoes, helmet and much, much, more.

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After a great 2005, Levi Leipheimer is back in 2006 with his German Gerolsteiner team, and looking for even more success. A sixth place finish in the 2005 Tour de France, along with a big win in the Tour of Germany saw Leipheimer establish himself as one of the European pro peloton's main men and possibly America's number one male stage racer. With a supporting cast that includes wife Odessa and three Chihuahuas, Levi will be out to conquer more stage races in 2006, so follow Levi's progress to the Tour and beyond on Cyclingnews. Australia UK USA