THE LOCALS ARE PAINTING MY NAME ON THE ROADS

About Contact Links

Fantastic weekend! Little bit of local stage racing, little bit of cruising with my progenitor masquerading as Alejandro Valverde 20 years removed from racing (bonus: I think he likes my Dogma), little bit of ice cream, corned beef, and burgers, little bit of mashing for four hours on Sunday. 

From the Friday mailbag:

How did you get hooked up with the CC team? 

Long story. Kind of. I started working at RealCyclist (CC’s future owners) in November of 2010 putting ordered bikes together in the shop, as well as doing a lot of warehouse logistical fun. Shortly thereafter RealCyclist sponsored the team, and I met Gord when he took a tour of our warehouse sometime in the winter (though I doubt he remembers - he commented on my UHC team shirt and I got some warm fuzzies). Fast-forward a few months, and I’d embarked upon my overly ambitious season-long Cat 5-to-1 campaign. I’d also transferred over to doing bike photography for BC, giving me a lot more latitude when it came to bailing out of work to race. 

Anyway, I first met RealCyclist’s athelete sponsorship/cat herding guy, Jonny Atencio, in April at Gila where I was riding in the 3’s (and would eventually take second in the GC). He was a little confused when I begged him for some team kit to give to my New Mexico housing host, but chucked some lycra/beer coozies my way and patted me on the head. I tried to remain in contact with him on an intermittent basis (read: I’d email and beg him for stuff) throughout the season, as we worked in different offices.

Enter early August, right before the 2011 Tour of Utah. Fresh off winning the Cat 2 GC at Cascade and a local stage race, I headed up to DealerCamp in Park City for work and free margaritas. Serendipitously, the then-RealCyclist.com Pro Team was there, meeting sponsors and mingling with the kind-of public. It was there that I met one of the team owners, Jason Kriel, and I asked the rather baldfaced question: “Is there a chance I could ride with you guys next year?”. He asked me to send him a resume, and I wormed my way into going out for a four-hour ride with the team the day after (for the locals: The PC/Guardsman/Emigration/Parley’s loop), a nice 2000 meter, 115km day.

During the ride, we got to talking about the weekend’s upcoming Utah State Championship road race, and myself/Evan Hyde (then Park City resident and team member) managed to con Rabou and Paco into doing it. Coincidentally, my parents live in the town near where the race is held, about 150km from Salt Lake - built in host housing for the crew of four (sidenote: also where I’d find myself the following spring)! The race ended up going 1/2/3 RC, with my ass dragging up 4th.  By nature of elite amateur competition, I was awarded the state championship.

The Tour of Utah came and went, Backcountry/RealCyclist fulfilled my dreams of shooting bikes like Competitive by buying them, and the days went on. Enter October (I think), and I got a message from Jason: “You want a spot?”. I had to contain the news for a few weeks, and was a little on the verge of exploding into a bludgeoned pinata of joy for awhile.  

So, there’s the novella. Connor Bondlow over at ROAD Magazine did a far more eloquent job of detailing things in the May issue (free digital subscription). 

Posted at 11:58am and tagged with: competitive cyclist racing team, usu classic, nate king, paco mancebo, evan hyde, thomas rabou, gord fraser, jason kriel, pinarello, competitive cyclist, backcountry,.

Tommy Chandler, Competitive Cyclist

Undefined enigma of sorts, PRO is an aspirational essence - one of those things that “if you have to ask…”. In fact, if you’re wondering why it’s capitalized, you’re probably on the right track. 

Opining in my never-humble manner while cooking dinner last Friday night (and after taking yet another rib about running a frame pump on a Dogma 2), I came to the conclusion that the concept of pro has little to do with sock cuff length, shaved legs, neon-yellow helmets, what you eat on rides, your FTP wattage, carbon tubulars, or even your past race results.

I began dwelling on my somewhat-harrowing San Dimas/Redlands adventure last month (possibly fueled by the fumes of reducing pear balsamic vinegar), and giving a fair bit of scrutiny to the mentality of our veteran riders; looking for ways that I could improve my own performance. Something hit me, especially while revisiting the last day of Redlands.

We were up against the wall, with Paco (our team captain, GC honcho, and Iberian vino connoisseur) down a good chunk of time from the GC lead. Our director sportif laid out the plan of attack to put Mancebo in yellow, being honest in his assessment of our capabilities/roles for the infamous Sunset Road Circuit Race. It became apparent that the brunt of the load for winning the race would fall to the shoulders of our strongest riders.  

It was then that I knew what made these guys, by definition, pro. We were all tired. We weren’t in what I’d call optimal spirits, and the rain forecast for the day wasn’t lightening anyone’s mood (especially after the torrential San Dimas road race the weekend prior). It was obvious Paco was a bit knackered, and probably would’ve much rather have been sipping Castilian wine at home instead of destroying himself in the final minutes of that race - in a frigid downpour. So, when he went off the front with about 20k to go in the bike race (and from our understanding at that time, had taken the lead), I was struck with a certain sense of awe and respect. He went out and did his job. Period. The circumstances didn’t matter - he and the strong guys around him left it all on the course, just what their team had asked of them. THAT, in my nubile rookie eyes, is PRO - win or lose. 

(top photo credit: Tommy Chandler, Competitive Cyclist; bottom photo badass bib-fixing credit: my awesome lycra-adept mom)

Posted at 10:21pm and tagged with: competitive cyclist racing team, cycling, nate king, San Dimas Stage Race, paco mancebo, francisco mancebo, redlands classic, gord fraser, htfu, one column,.

Know their own bodies. 

Enter scene today - shredder team pacelining on Paco’s wheel. Begin feeling haggard. Knee begins to feel haggard thanks to some position adjustments I haven’t adapted to yet. Instead of taking a breather on the back, I kept pushing it.

Knee begins screaming in pain.

Nate falls off the back. 

Gord drops back and feeds me valuable advice on the preceding situation - don’t be ashamed to take a break on the back.

"It’s always good to stay in instead of falling out," he says. 

Listen to your director. 

Jason rolls up in the team car, and instructs me to do the unthinkable.

"Get in the car."

Listen to your director.

I get in the car.

Posted at 4:41pm and tagged with: cycling, training, racing, gord fraser, competitive cyclist racing team, competitive cyclist, one column,.