Flemish Classics

Gent, Belgium

DATE: 2 April 2011   TIME: 9:10 AM   SUBJECT: Fanboys

Fan Boys. In Ghent, the largest city and capitol of the East Flanders Province in the Flemish Region of Belgium, they care – we know you know this, we know this goes without saying, we know you’ve heard this before and but it’s really, really true so we’re saying it anyway – about cycling. Here, teenagers ride bikes for fun and for sport, not just to get cigarettes at 7-11. They know where Garmin are staying and they’re geeked. Professional cycling (the entire institution), professional cyclists (the world’s top most best athletes!) and the pursuit of speed, is legend.

Team Exergy Training Camp

Ventura, CA

DATE: 17 Feburary 2011   TIME: 10:46 AM   SUBJECT: Driveway Time Trial

The road is lined with various signs warning and alerting drivers to the many and various issues associated with it’s ridiculous and near otherworldly grade; flooding, general steepness, difficulty braking, difficulty stopping, loss of control etc. That it’s the painful and much apprehensive finish to every ride, every day, is general knowledge and a common topic of conversation. Various techniques to avoid it, handle it or mitigate it’s cruelty are employed. Drafting, which is pointless as we all know at four miles an hour, but worth a try. Holding onto the window or something like the end of  a roof rack, anything. And of course tick-tacking. But nothing works because the hill is mean and stupid and longer and straighter than what generally makes sense.

Boise Twilight Criterium

Boise, ID

DATE: 14 July 2012   TIME: 8:09 PM   SUBJECT: The Start Line

If we don’t win… well I don’t want to think about that. All that matters is that we put on the biggest show the Exergy Twilight race has ever seen. We just need to get it done. Whether than means we have to put ourselves in harm’s way, give so much that it’ll take days to recover, or pour everything into split-second decisions made with limited information, now is the time. Today is the day that the team’s been planning for, talking about and also dreading since the first day at training camp. Today is Team Exergy’s home criterium race in Boise, Idaho, now sponsored by the team’s title sponsor Exergy Development Group.—Ben Chaddock

US Nationals

Greenville, SC

DATE: 28 May 2012   TIME: 9:03 PM   SUBJECT: Pro Road Race National Championship

I lasted an hour forty minutes and crits are the longest races I’d been in all year so I guess I can’t be too bummed on myself, but then again it just sucks. Not to know what Tad’s thinking is tough. It was just Tad, the mechanic and I and Tad didn’t say a single word all the way home. You’ve got no idea what he or the other managers are thinking.—Conor Mullervy

USA Nationals

Greenville, SC

DATE: 28 May 2012   TIME: 12:12 PM   SUBJECT: Pro Road Race National Championship

I started drifting back of the group and I’m thinking, “Hey, that’s a small field.” Then I saw the caravan behind us and I was like, “Ah shit, this is the lead group.” I was in a break and didn’t even know it. —Conor Mullervy

Tour of California

Outside Big Bear Lake, CA

DATE: 18 May 2012   TIME: 3:17 PM   SUBJECT: Stage 6

You can’t lose guys to mishaps. Crashes or bad legs—that’s different—but it’s not acceptable to lose guys to flats, and the riders have to remember that.1 There’s absolutely no reason at all to lose someone to that with a caravan so big, so we make it happen. You will get penalized at the end of the day. We call em fees, there’s no problem paying for them. That’s what happens, every does the same thing. No complaints there.—DS Tad Hamilton

  1. Manual #8: NEVER FORGET THE FUNDAMENTALS []

US Nationals

Greenville, SC

DATE: 28 May 2012   TIME: 1:24 PM   SUBJECT: Pro Road Race National Championship

It was about trying to hang on.—Conor Mullervy

Boise Twilight Criterium

Boise, ID

DATE: 14 July 2012   TIME: 10:52 PM   SUBJECT: National Champion

Two years ago my mentor Glenn Silver told me I would be a Canadian National Champion in one year. I didn’t really know what to say so I tossed it into the bucket list. I progressed faster than I thought I would that summer, and just one year later I won the final sprint of the 2011 event; unfortunately the points race format left me 3rd in the championship. The podium was nice but the Maple Leaf was all that I was interested in. It haunted me for 365 days. No call-ups at criteriums, just another leadout man. In 2012 I had to bring it home. Relieved is a good way of putting it.—Ben Chaddock

Tour of California

Outside Big Bear Lake, CA

DATE: 18 May 2012   TIME: 3:07 PM   SUBJECT: Stage 6

Flatting so late in the race, there’s no way I’m going to get back into the group. You change a wheel at that point, when it has kicked up, and all of a sudden you’re back past the cars.  It’s made worse because you have the helicopter there with the cameras on, so you’re not going to get any gimmes from the race officials. At those speeds, when the stage is coming to an end and you have a team like Garmin all working on the front, it’s near impossible to catch back up; not to mention with the altitude we were at, you have to control your efforts to avoid blowing up and ruining the next day.—Morgan Schmitt

Cascade Cycling Classic

Mt. Bachelor Ski Resort, OR

DATE: 20 July 2012   TIME: 1:35 PM   SUBJECT: Stage 3

“Knock knock”
“Who’s there?”
“Fuck you!”

—Sam Johnson

Boise Twilight Criterium

Boise, ID

DATE: 14 July 2012   TIME: 9:52 PM   SUBJECT: Crashing

Boise was a hard one. When the race started it was dry and warm, but after 20 minutes of racing it started raining and all the crap on the road was slicked up, it was like an ice rink. Everybody was crashing through the turns. I actually went down early but it wasn’t so bad, so I got back on and rejoined the field. Then on the last lap was involved in another one, a nasty one. I had to take a week off the bike entirely to recover, but was able to ride properly soon after that. It could’ve been worse, but even a week off the bike hurts you.—Logan Loader

Tour of California

Big Bear Lake, CA

DATE: 18 May 2012   TIME: 7:17 PM   SUBJECT: Stage 6

What I see in that picture is a guy still wrecked from that day’s stage into Big Bear. I’m disappointed I didn’t get a better result in the race and since I just haven’t been feeling great, I am dreading the next days stage (Mt. Baldy).—Matt Cooke

Tour of California

Livermore, CA

DATE: 15 May 2012   TIME: 5:17 PM   SUBJECT: Stage 3

Look Ma! I’m on a poster!—Sam Johnson

Tour of California

Felton, CA

DATE: 14 May 2012   TIME: 7:56 PM   SUBJECT: Stage 2

I always try to examine the results from the day to see how well other riders are doing, how they are faring against each other and the day’s course. It can show not just what kind of form other riders have and but also how I stack up, and maybe what goals I need to set.  The more you know for the next days race, the better.—Matt Cooke1

  1. Manual #7: KNOW THE DATA []

Tour of California

Hwy 49 near Moccasin, CA

DATE: 16 May 2012   TIME: 12:14 PM   SUBJECT: Stage 4

Whenever the road heads downhill I tell myself the following: “Sam, you weigh a lot more than most of these guys, and this is the one situation where your bulk gives you an advantage—now get up to speed, tuck like a skier, and don’t look back until you hit the bottom.” Sometimes it works. —Sam Johnson

Tour of utah

Provo, UT

DATE: 8 August 2012   TIME: 6:13 PM   SUBJECT: Stage 2

Team Garmin-Sharp-Barracuda’s Christian Vande Velde is tied with Tejay van Garderen of BMC for the lead in the USA Pro Challenge. Manual for Speed was at the Tour of Utah and caught up with Christian, and we’re in Colorado now following his quest for the yellow jersey in Denver. Stay tuned.

Tour of California

Big Bear Lake, CA

DATE: 18 August 2012   TIME: 5:04 PM   SUBJECT: Stage 6

The Tour of California was super hot every day this year, so it’s definitely nice to kick back in the RV and have an espresso before the stages and before sign in. Being comfortable before a race is a big advantage and it’s nice to have somewhere to escape the whole crazy scene right after the stage finishes.—Logan Loader

Tour of California

Livermore, CA

DATE: 15 May 2012   TIME: 4:53 PM   SUBJECT: Stage 3

Heat always makes things more difficult. Often, it will affect you in ways that might you might not even be immediately aware of. You could recover just a few percentages slower than normal overnight, and that can make you suffer for several days. —Matt Cooke

Tour of California

Sonora, CA

DATE: 16 May 2012   TIME: 10:35 AM   SUBJECT: Stage 4

The big races are far and away a different experience than the NRC calendar. The infrastructure is so much more intense. Take sign-in for instance: an NRC race sign-in is often a folding table in the middle of a deserted parking lot, with a single official checking off riders. At the Tour of California, you’ve got to hand your bike off to a volunteer, bushwhack through a thicket of fans (signing autographs along the way), climb a set of stairs up to the stage, wink at the podium girl as she hands you a Sharpie, sign your name, smile for the photographers, and (if you’re unlucky) answer questions from the announcer. It’s a lot crazier. —Sam Johnson

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