Monthly Archives: July 2010

Back in Wisconsin

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I am back in Wisconsin already. Kind of a in and out trip. The BMC Team was racing The Tour of Poland that starts tomorrow and it was a 1600 km drive from Belgium for Trudi and the BMC gang, so they took off on Thursday. I took a train from Izegem to Brussels. It was a hour and a half train trip and it cost 9 Euros. That is pretty cheap. And no one ever looked at my ticket. I never even saw anyone that did that. Kind of strange in a nice way.

I like riding on trains a lot. I plan to do that much more later in life. Going through Brussels on the way to the airport I realized that I should have planned on staying a couple extra days to look around. I’ve been there a few times before, but not recently. It is a very nice town to walk around.

Upon arriving at the airport, the airline guy said they were giving $1000 and a night at the Sheraton Brussels to volunteer to fly the next day. I signed up immediately. I was the first volunteer out of 250+ people that had checked in. I thought to myself it is pretty nice not “having” to be anywhere at any specific time. I never forget how lucky I am. And I was really looking forward to checking out Brussels again. But, at the gate it became obvious that there were a lot of passengers that weren’t there, so I knew that I wasn’t going to get bumped. I went to get my boarding pass back and the agent had moved me up to Business Class for being the only volunteer. Sweet.

I hadn’t flown Business Class in a while. Not since the seats went totally flat. It is amazing how much better you feel after 9 hours of flying. I was seating next to a huge guy. Pretty young. Black. Dressed really nice. I thought maybe a football player. He was traveling with a friend that had the same build. I introduced myself, but we didn’t talk much. I asked him what he did and he said that he was “currently unemployed”. I told him hopefully he could stay that way. He didn’t eat any of the airplane food and only drank water. He was reading weight lifting magazines and listening to music. He pulled out a new Macbook and started watching a movie. It was the Alfred Hitchcock movie, Rear Window, with Jimmy Steward and Grace Kelley. It surprised me. After the movie he started listening to music on his headphones. I could here it and it was Bach’s Fugue in G Minor (the guy in the link is crazy good. Check out his feet).

Anyway, my point is that I was surprised by nearly everything this guy did. I talked to him a bit while deplaning. He was definitely someone I could hang out with. I need to be more open before stereotyping people.

Okay. I need to get going. There is a 50 miler road race starting soon. (Dennis is riding the team time trial with 3 guys I know.) If I felt better, I’d probably to it. It’s called the Firehouse 50 and something like 800 riders go off all at once. I raced it once and won. My ribs are pretty jacked up still. I need to go see another doctor, but am procrastinating. I ran for 20 minutes last night in the woods “with” Bromont. I am super sore this morning. Legs and ribs. Not a good sign for cross. My guys, Tradewind Energy Team is racing in Elk Grove this weekend. I hate missing another race, but it’s not possible right now. I thought this rib thing was going to be short lived, but it doesn’t seem to be improving much at all. And Frank Schleck broke his collar bone into 3 pieces and was racing a kermese this week. Go figure.

I seem to be experiencing a ton a rainbows recently. This was a full rainbow at the train station outside Izegem. I knew it was going to be a good day.

This is the trend in Europe. Plastic wrapping your luggage before you fly. It wouldn't work in the US with all the security.

This is a photo of the video they show as you enter the securtiy area in Brussels. Check out the size of the agent guy.

Clandestine photo of the of the Rear Window video.

Brugge, De Panne

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Spent most of the day North at Brugge and De Panne. It was very windy at De Panne, just like the spring. It is amazing how many people were there for the beach. Amazing. And it wasn’t even a nice beach compared to US standards. Windy. Blowing sand. Tons and tons of people. Brugge is a beautiful town, but is now a total tourist destination. Most Belgians are on vacation until August 11th, so there are alot of people everywhere on the streets.

Bicycle fountain in the main square in Brugge.

Brugge's main square.

Some of the houses along the canal in Brugge.

Very old wind turbine.

Strand along the ocean in De Panne.

Lunch.

Real Belgian dinner.

Cadel

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I hadn’t spoken to Cadel Evans in a while. Maybe not since he had started riding on the road. That is probably right. I can’t imagine where I would have run into him. But, my short term memory is suspect sometimes nowadays, so I wouldn’t swear to it. Anyway, I got a chance to catch up with him a little bit right after the final stage and then again longer at the BMC party in Paris.

We used to race MTB together. Well, he raced for Cannondale and I mainly for Specialized, but we did a lot of the same events. He rode on the Saeco development team to train for MTB and eventually just switched over to the road when the MTB scene started going south. He obviously made the transition pretty well.

Anyway, it great to see him having a crazy great year after winning the World Road Championships last year. Maybe that got a monkey off of his back. I don’t know. But, he has won a classic this year, has won both the yellow and pink jerseys at the Tour and Giro and has represented the World Stripes better than most any rider I can think of recent history. That is doing this all on a new/start-up Continental Team. It isn’t your typically Continental Team, but that is their assigned status.

It was interesting to me listening what seemed important to him now. Like I said, it had been a long time. I can tell he is obviously most proud of the World Championship victory. He lives less than 5 km from the course.

Anyway, the racing in Europe seems to be a bit more wide open now that it seems to be less “super charged”. If Cadel can just tweek a few things, probably most mentally, in my opinion, then he is going to win a Grand Tour pretty soon. That would probably get another monkey off his back.

Riding in Belgium

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I went out for a couple hour ride this morning. I’m going to ride over to Brugge or De Panne later this afternoon. It is amazing how many roads there are here. And how narrow they are. Nearly sidewalks. It is refreshing not riding with a phone or any communication device. And not knowing exactly where you are at any one time is kind of strange to experience again. It was cloudy, so keeping track of direction was mostly keeping track of the wind direction. I never got more than 30 km from Izegem, so it wasn’t hard to get back. There are a ton of signs showing town directions.

Going out of town I ran into Ben Sharp, US Junior National Team coach. He was getting ready to go to Junior World’s down in Italy next week. USA Cycling has a team house based out of Izegem, so it wasn’t that weird. I hadn’t seen Ben for a while, so it was nice to catch up a little.

Okay. Better not spend all my Europe time on the computer. I only have another day here and should make the best use of it.

Here are so photos from today.

Ben Sharp and junior rider Nate Geoffrion hanging in downtown Izegem.

Johan Bruyneel's brother has a jewelery shop in town here.


The are a ton of individual wind turbines around here. Usually only a couple at a time. Not like the wind farms in the US Tradewind Energy constructs.


Belgium is all about beer.

Example of a typical road around here. Barely wider than a sidewalk.

BMC Belgium Service Course – Riding along the canal

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Like I said before, this morning I went by the BMC Belgium service course and borrowed a bike from Ian Sherburne, head mechanic for BMC. There is a ton of stuff there. I’ve been to a bunch of different PRO Team’s service courses. This one was the most well organized of any I’ve seen. All the cars are inside, trucks and the bus are inside. There are sections for each rider’s bikes. Cadel has something like 15 different bikes. Ian said that they took 5 bikes for each rider to the Tour de France. Pretty amazing.

I’ve never ridden Campagnolo 11 speed parts until today. I’m not going to give them the thumbs up yet. It was a nice try. And I should really be giving them the benefit of the doubt. I adjusted the gears for Brent Bookwalter’s spare bike and it had probably been washed 20 times with diesel and water without him riding it once. The frame is super stiff. It rides much like a Trek Madone. No complaints there.

I just got back from a ride along the canal down to the Kermese and then back up to Deinze and back to Izegem. It was a couple hours. Dead flat. Completely. Nice for recovery ride, but I ended up riding hard for 30 minutes or so just because I felt like it. Going into Izegem for some pizza or frites tonight. Tomorrow I’m going to ride up to Brugge maybe via Holland. Should be fun.

I'm guessing they put the name on the top of the top tube incase the rider crashes and wants to know who he is?


Riding along the canal with the wind turbines in the background. Good for Tradewind Energy‘s future.

The BMC Team got to use both special colors of the Easton wheels made for the Grand Tours this year. Not bad.

Racks and racks of bikes.

This is just the remainder of the season's pile of drinks for the year. Imagine what it looked like 4 months ago.

Bike paths in Belgium are tree lined alot of the time.

Belgium – Paris Tourist Photos

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We drove to Belgium yesterday late. Went by the BMC service course this morning to get a bike for the next couple days. Ended up with Brent Bookwalter’s spare. It’s only a 55cm, but has a long stem and will work great. It is kind of cool here and overcast. I didn’t sleep too great last night and am really looking forward to riding some to get back in sync. There are 3 races within a 20km ride to watch. It’s Belgium. Below are some photos from Paris yesterday.

Walking through the Louve.

The best way to panhandle - have puppies. This guy was making a fortune.

Trudi feeding the birds outside of Notre Dame.

Parisians hurting for the beach along the Seine River.

View towards the Eifel Tower from the Louve.

Nice little stack of stuff on the floor of the offices at the BMC service course.