Thursday, July 27, 2006

Tour of Vlaams Brabant

Stage 5-26°C
The last stage went better for me as it went on. We did 3 X 42k big loops and then 3 X 14k finishing circuits. The big laps had 3 mountain sprints so it was always fast over the topof the climbs. On the first lap, I was really feeling the day before and wondered if I could make it two more laps. I just kept eating and drinking. On the next lap, I felt better and the same on the next. On the finishing circuits, a group of 5 got away. We were sprinting for 6th. Crane was winded up getting 12th, I was 19th and Reistad was 20th. I winded up finishing 24th overall and got 3rd in the sprint competition. With 3 guys in the top 20 on the last day, it was a good way to finish our first stage race back.

Stage 4-34°C
So today was the day for me to try and take the sprint jersey. I went into the first sprint with all my teammates around to help me beat the sprint leader that I'm tied with. All the best efforts and I still couldn't come around him. I got 2nd place points. Then he got 1 point on the next lap, so I think I'm 3 points down on him now. The efforts from the past few days caught up with me though and I got shelled with 2 to go on the circuits. I rode in with a group of about 20, maybe 9 minutes behind. Oh well, Reistad and Crane got up there in the sprint. I think top 30. Tomorow will be an interesting day for me cause I was hurting today. I will with either be ok tomorrow or just totally crack. Just 3 points off the points jersey so I will be trying to gain back points all day.

Stage 3- 33°C
Today was a 14k TT. The course was loop around Galmaarden with one climb and lots of turns. I felt good but started a little bit too conservative. I had been hearing from my teammates that the last 3-4k are crucial cause it was a false flat headwind section finishing on an uphill for the final 300 meters. I rode a time of 17:33. I think the winner did 16:30 or something like that. Rabobank. I think I winded up 18, and moved to 19th overall. Reistad was 23rd, and Crane 28th.

Stage 2- 29°C
The next stage was 5 laps of 21.4k and then 3 laps of 14k. I made the break on the first lap. There was one climb on the big loop with mountain points over the top every time. We rode strong to a 4 minute gap 4 laps in. But with one lap to go on the big loops, the peloton started bringing us in. Rabobank, who had 3 riders in the 12 rider breakaway, attacked on the climb on the 5th lap. I couldn't follow, so I was with a group of 5 chasing the 7 just up from us. I was caught by the group on the first lap of the finishing circuits. It didn't matter, cause I didn't have the legs to contest the finishing sprint anyways. I did rack up some more sprint points and am now tied for first in that. The guy I'm tied with has the jersey though cause he won two sprints when I was second. Saturday my job will be to beat him and try to collect more points. Reistad, Crane, Riggs and Waite finished on the peloton as well.

Stage 1- 38°C
The 154k first stage of the five day stage race consisted of 2 X 39k big loops followed by 4 X 19k finishing circuits. We started the 190 person race with Nick Reistad, Nick Waite, Matt Crane, Adam Switters, and Eric Riggs. After the first big loop, there was a 50 person group that was riding away from the rest. Then that group split again and again until the race was broken into groups of 12 riders or less. In the end, 3 guys won the race off the front of 4 other riders. Next there was a group of 10, then followed by my group of about 12. I finished 23rd, about 3 minutes of the leaders. The group of 10 finished just over a minute in front of my group, so they are still in reach over the next couple days.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Back in Belgium

I am reporting back in from my first morning back in Izegem Belgium. The weather here is pleasantly cooler than back home in the southeast. Maybe around 80 degree's. I start racing on Wednesday in a 2.12 stage race called Vlaams Brabant.

This morning making coffee with Andy Guptil, there was a little problem with the coffee machine. After a thorough inspection, we decided it just needed a new peice of tape... That's right, the tape holding the coffee machine together is worn out. So when the mechanics get here we'll be on that.