From: Alex Howes *********
Subject: Boulder visit

You should have been here last week, I got all my lingering stuff done, I got ready without even realizing I was getting ready. I went to the dentist. I had surgery a couple of weeks ago (lymph node swollen since the Ardennes). I got my license sorted out. I got new contacts. I got some pedals on order that should be here before I leave. I got two pairs of shoes ready to go. Everything is set. I might even get a new iPhone tomorrow. Usually I’m the worst procrastinator ever.

Alex Howes is twenty-four years old, he wears nerd glasses, he has dapper hair, he is co-founder of the P.C.B.C. (Pro Cyclist’s Book Club), he lives in Boulder, Colorado. It’s mid-January. In 48 hours he leaves for Gerona, Spain and the start of his 2013 season. For two days now we have been following and observing Alex in his natural habitat.

Yesterday he patched a stack of tubes, rode with a UHC-friend for an hour-and-a-half, washed his bike at a car wash, made beets, some kale, three small green apples, a handful of carrots and a little chunk of ginger into juice, and he ate a peanut butter & banana1 sandwich along with a little box of wasabi flavored roasted seaweed snacks. Today he went to a skate park, a basketball court, a racquetball court, a dog walking park, a recreational center, a swimming pool, a sauna, a track, a city park and a Lark Burger2, all for a Trading Card photo shoot3.

We are here because we want to know what it’s like to be a professional cyclist. What it’s really like. Not what it’s like to win a race or have good legs. But what it’s like to travel and live and race at the World Tour level day-in-and-day-out on a team the size and stature of Garmin. Because Alex is switched-on, observant and straight-up insightful, we asked him to share his 2013 season with us so that we may publish it. We told him that we would Skype, text and email on a regular basis, that we would visit him when possible, that we would photograph him, that we would watch him race, that we would shout at him from behind a barbed-wire fence on the Gulperberg,  that we would light-stalk him. He was into it.

  1. After surgically removing the brown bits, of course. []
  2. Over a faux artisanal cheeseburgers and fries we talk about the science behind the custom of fresh lemon juice in a glass of ice water with a meal, how it’s alkaline qualities help with the digestion of meat, “that’s why it’s good to eat burgers with pickles and vinegar based sauces, your body needs alkaline to combat the acidy of meat, and without added alkaline, your body draws the calcium out of your bones.” []
  3. MFS and Alex will be revolutionizing the concept of trading cards in the coming year. []