Trying to weigh contracts and offers is really tough, especially for Neo-Pros. There are so many U23 riders that are really talented, but when they go up to the Pro Tour teams they get lost in the shuffle. People are always saying, whatever happened to that guy? I don’t want to be THAT guy.—Joe Dombrowski
Tour of Utah
Sam Johnson, cooked both figuratively and literally, after 130 brutal miles in 100-degree Utah heat.
Boise Twilight Criterium
Fifteen minutes to the gun, focused and ready to go all-out for an hour, Quinn Keogh still finds time for the camera.
Boise Twilight Criterium
When the race started it was dry and warm, but after 20 minutes the rain started and it was like racing on an ice rink. Everybody out there was crashing through the turns. I actually went down early on the last lap and recovered, only to get involved in a nasty one on the last lap.—Logan Loader (pictured: Kevin Mullervy)
I hope that at least the foundation of it is my Hard Work. Hard Work, many years in the sport, being solid, being reliable. And I mean since you guys um, do a cycling web page, you know that our sport has taken a few turns—to the better and to the worse. And I think what people like is that I was always at my spot. I never turned left or right or up and down I was always at my spot, hopefully people see some certain stability. “Whatever happens, Jens will be still Jens.”—Jens Voigt
Tour of Flanders
In a modest hotel up the road from Ghent is Garmin. The Ronde De Vlaanderen is in two days. Team cars line the edge of a driveway running past the side of the hotel. In the back, two Garmin buses are parked side-by-side, tip-to-tail. Between them, under an awning, is an impromptu alley and place to converge and congregate.
Tour of Flanders
Two days before the start of this week, a week most racers will likely experience maybe six or seven times at best, they go slow. They noodle. They pedal as if their cranks were made of glass. They take a walk on the bike. They ride slow enough for a local club rider to catch them up and draft-bask in the back for a few miles. Note: The recovery pace for a 6-watt-per-kilogramer is 60% or 3.6 watts per kilogram, which happens to be the threshold pace for a good cat 3. Because to go fast in two days, and again in five days, and again nine days, they first need to go slow. It’s a layering thing.
“Heat is always good, it makes it easier to ride hard, easier to get to the point of feeling good. You just have to use cooling strategies. You take a pantyhose and put ice in it, and you put it, the Ice Sock, down your back. Ideally you’re able to get more during the race. I started with a bunch of ice and that’s probably why I felt so good for the first 30 minutes.”—Quinn Keogh
Team Exergy Training Camp
No one gets to be a pro bike racer without hard, hard training, but for many people who do make the grade, training is easy. The daily routine of eat, train, sleep provides comfort and order. However, when it comes time to rest and allow the hard work to metastasize, they cannot do it. Rest and recovery is equally important to training, and the obsessive behavior that drives many athletes will not allow the down time.—Tad Hamilton
At night. If it’s raining or even just a little wet it looks icy, totally glazed. You half the time don’t know who you are riding with. It’s dark, it’s hard to see, you have no idea whether it’s someone you trust or respect. Basically you are cornering shoulder-to-shoulder and blocking and trying to stay on Carlos’s wheel, blind. You tense up, try to feel your way through it but all you feel is your bike for sure and the ground maybe. You are running on sensation. You expect anything and everything. You sit on your bike that way and with that in mind. Your position, all about mitigating the inevitable, is uncompromised. You react. You avoid or deflect and if it’s really bad, absorb.—Based on discussions with Ben Chaddock
Team Exergy Sponsor Camp
My profession (Professional Road Racing) requires that I ride my bike nearly every day of the year except for three weeks in October which I call my “Off Season.” Because my training/racing schedule leaves no time to rest-up or complete a physiotherapy routine if, for example, I pull a muscle, long-standing muscular and range-of-motion imbalances must be dealt with proactively. There is a big assumption that once you ‘turn pro’ daily massage is the norm. However this is often not the case, which means most of us have to take daily recovery into our own hands.—Ben Chaddock
Tour of California
Los Angeles, CA
You don’t really talk much in a break. You can sense the way guys are riding. Rory [Sutherland] made the first move on that tough hill which caught me by surprise. Everybody was still there though and guys just kept making attacks despite the long downhill right there, which makes it a bit fruitless to try to get away. All the while the peloton is charging up on our heels, and once attacks start going out you lose any cohesion. A 30 second gap disappears quickly when people stop working and attacks are slowing everything down. I felt good in the break, I was being patient, hoping to make it to that last lap. If we had, I would’ve just lit it up. Nothing to lose in that situation. I was marking Rory since I thought he was the strongest guy in the break, and he was certainly the craftiest and most tactical guy. All of a sudden he’s off the break, which means I’m off the break, and Rabobank was right on our heels. You have to make a gamble on who you cover, that time I read it wrong. It was game over, but it was fun.—Morgan Schmitt
Redlands Bicycle Classic
As we were headed down off the hill with 10k or so to go, Phil and those guys still working their butts off, the worst possible thing that could happen to me happens and I flat. We’e going 60k/hr and I punctured, in the wet, in the worst possible place to do it. There’s zero chance I could come back from that. By the time you get off, change the wheel, and get back up to speed, there just isn’t enough time to get back to the front. That’s what happened and it was unfortunate. I honestly think I would’ve won the tour.—Morgan Schmitt
La Flèche Wallonne
If you have this perception of what something is, and then it turns out that your perception is wrong, it’s not going to be good when you get there. You have to commit, it’s not going to happen overnight. Racing in Europe there is this sense of acceptance amongst your peers, because everyone there knows its not easy. They know you’re committed and in it for the long haul.
You can’t get to this level relying just on other people, you have to learn about yourself and know your own body, know what you feel and what that means, you have to develop all those instincts yourself.—Ryder Hejsedal
30 November 2012
This week came with some sad news that our good friends at Team Exergy won’t be around for 2013. They were the main characters of our Manual for Speed project. They were our subjects but also our friends. The suddenness of their disappearance is a testament to the fragility of cycling, as a sport. This is the very reason we chose to document a team such as Exergy. Emotionally, physically, or, as in this case, financially, everything could fall apart and shatter at any moment.
If you haven’t, please check out the project out of respect for these guys’ dedication and singular focus. It’s rare to find people so driven to push themselves so far and sacrifice so much for a singular goal. Speed.
We consistently rode well that week. There wasn’t a lot of attitude, essentially the guys are easy to direct. I noticed that at Training Camp, like how all the guys offered to help pack-up their bikes and kit and gear and stupid shit like that, it’s the small things, they make a difference and they’re sometimes very telling. They’re all bunch of good guys and that’s why I like directing them. And they listened to me, they rode at the front, they didn’t miss things, they raced, and they won just about everything you can win.—Ken Mills
Tour of California
Being up early every day and having the pressure of needing all the bikes to work perfectly was tough. Then, after a long morning you sit in a car behind the race not knowing whats always going on. It stressful. Then the race ends and you are washing bikes, tweaking things. I work from the time I wake up till the time I go to bed. I skipped a lot of breakfasts, some dinners.—Josh Geiszler
Anderson City, SC
“It’s just that I don’t like, or at least I’m not used to, staying in the pack and waiting for the group sprint. I like going and looking for the race win on my own. Things are going to change, though, because Fred [Rodriguez] keeps telling me to wait until the end. I’ll need to have much more patience, and control myself.”—Carlos Alzate
Tour of Flanders
We have been told that seeing the race more than once is difficult to impossible. At best, we are told, we may see the race two to three times. We do not have an arsenal of digital cameras equipped with long-to-pornographically-long lenses swinging from our necks, nor are we wearing vests and carrying helmets, thus we do not look the part.
The race “office” is basically two folding tables end-to-end behind which are a number of cardboard boxes, stacks of laminated cards, color-coded stickers in various sizes, and a gorgeous young woman wearing leopard skin tights and a slinky designer boat-neck top. She speaks English well enough for us to understand immediately and unequivocally just how ridiculous our slapdash request for passes is. For the next hour we stay rooted (fixed and pressing) to our spot on floor and adopt a necessarily oblique, circuitous and strategically disorganized manner of argument and case making. We basically stonewall and lie and smile and do everything possible to not not-get passes. And we do, more or less.