Monday, February 28, 2011

Frederick to Brussels

     The last X has been marked on my calender and I am traveling through the airports on my way to Brussels for round 2.
     As soon as we took off I was instantly able to recognize a very familiar sight, the bay bridge, spanning high above the Chesapeake Bay. Off to the left, on the other side of the bay, was Rock Hall which allowed me to quickly, and very easily, locate my old college town- Chestertown. I was also able to see the little bridge which allowed 213 to cross the mighty Chester river, that bridge which I have crossed so many times both by bicycle and by car. I could see all of the little towns and far off roads that I have visited during my years living on the eastern shore. It was not long ago when I was riding those roads, training for the season which would be soon approaching. Not much has changed. I still Have many of the same routines, but this time instead of balancing my training time with homework and social functions, I have been balancing my schedule with riding and work. I miss that little town and all the good times I had there, but now it's time to open a new chapter. I hear the fasten seat belt prompt as I see the sun begin to peak above the clouds to wish Belgium a good morning. 

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Two Weeks from Today

I will be boarding my plane two Sundays from now for another round in Belgium. Sometimes it feels like the winter has gone by quickly, but then I remember all the hours riding in the cold and on the dreaded trainer, and then it seems like it's been an eternity!
For me, this is the most difficult part of my training season. No longer is it time for base miles but intense riding both indoors and out, for hours and hours each day. Short rest periods make it even more difficult but I have light at the end of the tunnel with a tapering rest week before I leave. So that leave just one more week of real riding here at home. It looks like I will be given a special treat too, the weather is going to warm up. And by warm up, I mean going from the mid 20's to the mid 50's in the span of about 4 days. This might be bad though, I don't want to get spoiled all of a sudden and then show up to 45 degrees and raining in Belgium!
Ahh the Belgian rain. Rarely is it a down pour, usually there is always something falling from the sky. Sometimes I even enjoyed riding in the rain there, as long as I was warm!

Ask me that in April when I've been riding in the rain for two months...

This will be a very exciting year for the team and our new sponsor Geox. We are now tied in as a development team for the pro team Geox-Tmc. New kits, new bikes, and new sponsors. All very exciting indeed.

Here is a link for our new website from Fuji:

http://www.fujibikes.com/testteam/

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Laying Low, Counting the Days

It's almost here, the 2011 season, and with it comes my departure to Belgium once again, for another round. Last year was a learning season. Just another amateur bike racer thrown to the wolves in the gutters of Belgium. I've had plenty of time to reflect on what went right, what went wrong, and how I can correct those wrongs. I only raced half of the season really, from breaking my jaw, getting tendinitis in my right knee, and then bronchitis for a month at the end- there were a lot of races I missed.

Of course, none of that is going to happen this year! More experience in the pack equals less broken body parts. Paying attention to the aches and pains of my joints and not doing a stage race on a bum knee should go a long way. And, eating a healthier diet with plenty of rest will ward off any major illnesses. Those three things are pretty simple, but it was those simple things that put a huge damper on last years season.

So, enough about last season and what went wrong. Onto this season with what is going to go right. Of course, I won't be able to tell you until it happens but rest assured, as soon as it does I will...eventually

More base miles, more intensity, and different eating habits are already showing fruits from my labor. We're currently getting weekly snow and ice storms but it's nothing compared to the storm that just hit the northern mid-west. I saw the forecasts, 2-3 feet! I can do with out that this year. That storm just gave us a bunch of warm rain to wash away the old snow that has refused to melt since last weeks storm. While half of the country is digging themselves out, I'm lucky to have wet roads and 40 degree temps. Perfect Belgian weather!

Yes, this is the time of the month when I start counting the days until I leave (25!) for the land of rain and cobblestones. I've got my list of things I need and slowly collecting the things I forgot last year. I will be looking forward to meeting new guys on the team. Some are from the states but most of the team is international which is very exciting. I really enjoying meeting racers from different parts of the world, all riding and racing under the same roof!

With new bikes, new sponsors, and new kits, I'm looking forward to be standing at the train station in Tielt, waiting for my ride.

Now, onto more miles in the snowy rain, or is it rainy snow?