Going ‘pro,’ as they say

I finally made it.

Back in 2006 I thought it would take one, maybe two years TOPS to become a pro cyclist. And by pro I was thinking cat 2. “Wait, they’re pro aren’t they?” A year and a half later by the time I found out that they in fact were not pro and neither were cat 1s, I figured it would maybe take another half year for me to get on a pro team. But probably not. I’d probably pick up a contract mid season (I was a cat 3 at this point). Well fuck me sideways did it take longer than I thought. And it was way harder too. For all you aspiring new cyclists out there with secret ambitions of becoming professional: it’s way harder than you could ever imagine. Give up now and do something positive with your life before it’s too late!

I’m just kidding of course. But…

The mental agony of repeatedly getting dropped, finishing mid-pack, getting sick, getting injured, continuing to finish mid-pack, having little to no social life for years on end, getting dropped, getting in ridiculous arguments over absolutely NOTHING with teammates and directors, continuing to finish mid-pack at races you dreamed about winning all winter long….all that adds up over the years and eventually it leads to most of us quitting altogether or (hopefully) realizing that being pro isn’t the end all be all of life. (Granted, it may be the end all be all of life, I have a sneaking suspicion that it is but I don’t know yet for sure.) But for serious, I’d continue doing this (whatever it is that I’ve been doing) for years even if I knew I’d be “stuck” racing as an amateur. The truth is that as long as I see progress, I’m happy. As long as I get to go train my brains out, smash some other fools’ legs on the weekend, and eat a LOT of food, I’m perfectly content. That’s the way we all have to look at it and continue to be happy about doing it.

With the way the economy is going (ever downwards to the shit-encrusted bowels of hell),  even landing a spot on an elite amateur team with any semblance of travel budget is a success. The market is absolutely saturated with fast guys and there aren’t even close to enough good teams for them to all have a nurturing environment with a budget that does the average cat 1’s commitment, passion, and talent justice. I definitely got lucky and I’m well aware of the fact. Hopefully the economy or at least the bike racing’s economy will pick up in a few years as everyone seems to think/hope.

Everyone knows that it takes a lot of luck for all the cards to fall in the correct boot, or however that saying goes. And I can’t stop thinking about how the perfect storm this year helped land me a spot on this team. Disregarding my good form and decent results, because there were plenty of others that had as good or better races than I did that didn’t get on teams or got let go from their current team.

Everything fell into place (oh so that’s how the saying goes) starting back in the late winter/early spring of 2013. Getting into Philly was a crucial step. I’d been following Philly’s race-funding catastrophe for months. The race was going to happen. Then the announcement was made that it wasn’t. Then it was back on. Maybe. Then I heard rumors it wasn’t going to happen again. Then the rumors reversed and it was happening for sure, probably. By now it was mid April– a month and a half out from the race. I began scrambling to find a guest ride since my current team, Rio Grande, hadn’t received an invite. My hopes of finding a team slowly dimmed as the race approached and no one returned my emails.

Then, while I was nursing (chugging) my third beer out on the sunny driveway of our Tour of the Gila host house, 90 minutes after completing the final stage, I got a call out of the blue from my old director Joe Holmes. He was guest directing with a team called Firefighters, which I vaguely remembered from my days racing in Oregon. He asked if I’d like to be on the team for the race. I had to think of baseball for a hard, I mean controlled…completely controlled, 20 seconds as the thought soaked in…A SPOT ON A TEAM TO RACE PHILLY!!! ARE YOU KIDDING ME!!! HELL YEAH!! I told him I’d suck a mean dick to race Philly, which is the most iconic, bad-ass, brutal race in the entire country (granted the caliber was lower this year as a UCI 1.2 than in the past when it was a 1.HC, but still!) Within half a week of rest back in Boulder, I was out on Old Stage Rd, busting myself with V02 intervals and 1-minute anaerobic black-outs in preparation for my biggest goal of the season.

I raced Philly. I bridged to the breakaway in dramatic fashion with a lap to go on the Wall. We could have stuck it. It was possible. And I honestly think I would have won if our five-man group had stayed away. I was probably the freshest since I’d spent minimal time in the wind that day and the finishing climb suited me perfectly. But we didn’t stay away and were caught with two miles to go. Even though I didn’t even make the top 10, that ride pretty much landed me my first pro contract. Allen Wahlstrom, manager of Firefighters, nodded his head in approval at my race. He had a secret plan that he’d been working on for quite some time: a continental Swedish/American/Scandinavian squad that would race all over Europe and be based out of Uppsala Sweden. He told me about the proposed race schedule, the goals of the team, how awesome Sweden is, and mentioned that I might have a spot on the team. I said “Great, sign me up,” not really thinking it would happen. In my mind I gave it a 0.5% chance of happening. These things almost never come true. Dreams that is.

A couple weeks after racing Philly I had a great ride with Full Circle at Nature Valley…almost. I got sick part way though and wasn’t even in condition to start the final day. It was a huge bummer as I would have likely finished 8th overall. But I DNFed instead. To make things worse, I was essentially kicked off my team (Rio Grande) a week and a half later when my director let me know what he really thought of me: not much. I took the not so lightly hinted-at suggestion to quit the team. The last thing I needed was bullshit drama from a jealous director, which would have likely lead to a poor second half of the season and a lot of hurt feelings (mine mostly). I decided I’d just finish off the season getting to races on my own and guest riding. Fuck it. I’m still upset about this as you might be able to tell.

By now it was late June and just a week and a half out from Nationals. I wondered if anyone wanted me to ride in their kit for nationals. It seemed like a waste (and an unnecessary expense) to go out and buy a blank kit.  I called up Allen and he said yes. Wear the Firefighters kit and you’ll just be on our team for the rest of the season. I took 5th in the race, not bad, not great, but good enough to get on the podium. It confirmed to Allen that I should be on Firefighter’s Cascade squad, which was a few weeks after Nationals. They gave me a bike, wheels, helmets, more kits, goodies galore! More importantly, a spot at Cascade.

I had a terrible Cascade. Worst race and form of the season, but showed that I was a good guy, a hard worker, and definitely a team player–something that anyone from my three years on Hagens Berman would have adamantly agreed with. Allen told me I would be on the squad for the new Firefighters continental team assuming it got all the necessary funding. I said “Great, sign me up!” giving it a 1% chance of actually happening. The way Allen described it this time sounded WAY too good to be true, but I gave it that extra half percentage point just out of pure excitement.

Sometimes all that’s needed is that one in a hundred chance.

If one of the above things hadn’t gone just the way I needed them to, I wouldn’t have made it. If the Philly organizers hadn’t accrued the right sponsors, if I hadn’t had such an amazing accidental attack on that last lap, if I hadn’t gotten yelled at by my director on Rio and decided to quite the team and missed out on the chance to ride with Firefighters at Nationals and Cascade…if one small piece of the puzzle was misplaced I wouldn’t be bragging here right now about how amazingly awesome my life has just become: the realization of an eight-year long dream. I’ve wished for nothing else for those eight years. I’ve thought of nothing else. I’ve worked for nothing else. I’ve had just one goal for approximately 30% of my lifetime and I finally accomplished it. And damn does it feel good.

I’ll be moving to Sweden in early April to race for Firefighters Upsala CK along with a few other Americans and a bunch of Europeans. I’ll be racing more awesomely hard, in-the-gutter UCI one days and stage races than I could ever dream of. The first two months of our season will be here in the States as we sharpen up with tried and trusted US classics like Merco, San Dimas, and Redlands. Possibly some Mexican races thrown in there during the early season as well. It would be terrific to finally pull out a really good result at one of these, especially Redlands, just to prove I’m deserving of the spot on the team. 17th is great for an amateur–what I placed at Redlands this year. Next year as a pro the pressure is really on to show that I earned my contract and wasn’t handed it. That’s one thing I’m slightly worried about–having others angrily and jealously talking shit behind my back wondering why I got on the team instead of them or someone who’s actually fast. I know this sort of gossip happens all the time because I used to talk trash with my teammates about other guys in that exact same manner. Almost all of us do it to some extent. Intense competition can drive nasty, even hateful, words towards pretty much complete strangers–people that we’ve “known” for years but only spoken to at the start line or in the parking lot for like 37 seconds total—people we want to CRUSH in a race for the sake of competition but would otherwise be friends with. Enemies are created out of  our greedy need for success, to get on a team, to keep our spot on said team, to confirm to ourselves that we are in fact good at something. The fact that we give something so much worth by competing over it means that whoever comes out on top is inherently a better human being than everyone else. To be admired is to have success. Sport is an essential outlet for the brutally impassioned, mean-spirited, violent yet natural competition that resides in almost all of human kind, which would otherwise be unleashed in the business world, politics, and battlefields—and would inevitably lead to the destruction of us all through the disintegration of all basic human morals and along with those, human rights, the depletion of all natural resources, rocketing the planet’s environment to unstoppable doom, and the mass-murder of the weak for the final, cannibalistic feast of the strong. End of days shit.

I’ll definitely have quite a bit to prove next year. I can deal though.

The team:

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Off Season Highs And Lows

The end is nigh. The last days of my sluggish existence are finally numbered. Just…four more…­­weeks!!! Four more weeks? That’s a damn month!

I took a vow with myself to resist regimented training until my birthday on the 16th (what better present could I give myself?) While I plan on getting back on the bike in two weeks, just after Halloween, the training I’ll be doing will be minimal and the effort lacking until the 16th. If I manage this feat, taking September 9th through November 15th “off,” it would mark the biggest true break I’ve had since 2007. 10 weeks off is no joke. No joke at all. This is difficult stuff for me. I’ve had to fill the void with getting tipsy on Fridays and making vast quantities of soup and stews on Sundays. Here’s the recipe for my latest creation:

2 butternut squash (baked then chopped)

1 large chicken breast (sautéed)

1 large Walla Walla sweet onion (sautéed)

1 large scoop of homegrown garlic (sautéed)

1 can coconut milk

4 cans of water

Cinnamon

Salt

Nutmeg

Vanilla extract

5 pieces of bacon (fried then chopped finely)

Add all the ingredients above except the bacon to a large pot and emulsify. Then add in the bacon.

I’ve ridden a few times with Adelaide and some friends the past couple weekends for fun. Nothing at all hard though. It’s been just enough riding for me to realize that I’m not fully out of shape yet, which is what I’m trying to accomplish (somewhat). The idea of getting out of shape on purpose still doesn’t sit well with me, even though I know I need to do it in order to let my body get up another level next spring.

I spent about a month in the gym, going like two times a week and not really putting in a lot of effort. I did a lot of balancing squat type stuff and core. And by a lot I mean not that much. My new Pearl Izumi running shoes that are pure neon green awesomeness/annoying for others to look at and embarrassing for me to wear because I hate people with bright shoes who try to stand out of the crowd by buying something, have succeeded in getting me out the door for runs like twice a week. I still commute about four hours a week as well, so I’m not a complete sloth right now. One other thing I’ve been doing is getting down to weight. I’m currently sitting at an average weight of 160, which is 2-3 pounds lighter than my race weight this past year. Losing weight in the off season, or at least maintaining a low weight, seems to be optimal for dropping down a weight class in the winter. My goal for next race season is to be under 155.

I’ve recently replaced the gym and normal runs with combined run/plyometrics (Gilad-style workouts). Lots of jumps, some sprinting, core work in the grass, etc. I’ve only done them a few times to date. My motivation isn’t really there to make me want to work very hard or consistently. My mantra for all of these off-season cross training workouts has been “Only do it if you feel like it. And even then, maybe just don’t do it.” No pain, lots of gain. My legs need to be rested more than ever for next season.

My time off the bike and away from racing has been pretty nice actually. I’ve been enjoying the weekends and spending time with Adelaide and work/race buddies in non-bike racing mode (ie trying to drop them up Sunshine).

After an incredibly stressful year of racing and working, it’s been nice to relax a bit. Though, it isn’t all complete Never Never land. I have some heavy weights on my mind regarding next year’s plans, but more on that later.

More exciting than that is my thriving new coaching business. I get paid in kisses and hugs. My client, Adelaide just started training a couple months ago. Her progression has been wicked, as to be expected. She comes from a heavy swimming and ultra running background so her endurance is through the efing roof. She’ll be crushing people next spring, mark my words. I’m not even saying this to be nice to her. I just want it known that when she becomes a famous cyclist, it was ALL MY doing. I found her first. I just want all the credit. Is that too much to ask god damn it!

While some people *cough* Joe Friel believe that a new cyclist should focus on just riding their bike and putting in miles, I am of another opinion…the not idiotic opinion that is. Having people get used to riding easy and slow from the beginning is not the way to go. One must start out hard in order to go hard later. Otherwise it’s like trying to teach a new dog an old trick. Or something like that. Maybe not that.

Adelaide has been completing hard workouts, sometimes stacking days on top of each other to make 2-day and 3-day blocks, with plenty of rest days throughout the week of course. Unlike me, she knows when to say no to hard days when her body isn’t recovered, so I’m not too worried about overtraining her. Well, just a little.

She’d been doing lots of climbing before the floods ruined the roads, so to keep the efforts hard now she’s been doing workouts like 10 x 15 second sprints and also 2 x 15 minute intervals with 30 seconds on (V02) and 30 seconds off (tempo). This is a hard workout. I admit it’s a bit of an experiment having a new cyclist do this sort of work.

However, her power has been steadily, and sometimes drastically, improving for the past month and a half. Who knows, that could have and should have happened anyways from just riding in general, but I think it’s rising at a quicker rate than it would have if she’d just been putting in miles.

Adelaide has completely given up her car as well, which makes me feel good that I’ve had some positive influence on at least one person in this fucked up country. Not that I’m doing anything good for the world myself. I recently did an online calculation of my carbon footprint and because A) I live in an extremely wasteful country that doesn’t use renewable sources for electricity and B) I fly way too much, my carbon footprint is HUGE. I’m at 24 cubic tons of CO2 a year. The average in the USA is 27. The average for the world is 5.5 (thankfully there are lots of poor people to make up for us greedy, fat, rich, oil, gas, and coal users). You don’t have to be poor to have a small footprint though. Sweden’s average is 7.

I recycle, don’t own a car, compost (or I did up until a few months ago), never buy new stuff except for bike gear, never use plastic bags at grocery stores, even for produce, don’t turn the heat or air conditioning on at home, live in a small apartment, blah blah blah it doesn’t even matter one bit because I fly around 20,000 miles a year (that’s 14 round trip flights). For one thing, air travel needs to become lower emission and more fuel efficient. Those behemoths up there in the air are relics. Also, I’d much prefer high speed trains powered by solar. Until those things happen, the only responsible thing to do is to NOT fly or travel. I’m not prepared to do that. This is why I’ve recently given up all hope that the world will one day be a good place. If I can’t even make a change, how can I expect others to?

I am no better than a monster-truck-driving, Wal-Mart-shopping, wife-beating redneck who throws his Micky D’s trash out the window, dumps his oil down the gutter, smokes near public doorways, and molests baby otters.

To keep the bad news flowing right along, many Boulder cyclists have been getting killed by trucks as of late. We’ve had two deaths in the area recently, a near death with Dale Stetina, plus the death of Boulder cyclist Amy Dombrowski over in BELGIUM no less. This means there are four less “spandexers” on the roads of Boulder. Congratulations cars and trucks! You’re winning the war on…uhhh…destroying the planet I guess.

One of Adelaide’s and my friend, Bogie, came over for dinner a few nights ago. He gave up his car about half a year ago and has been commuting on a bike ever since. He just got a throttle-style electric bike a month or two ago. He showed it to us and I rode up and down the block for a few minutes. It was very cool in the fact that it was much faster than the ones I used at Interbike and Dealer Camp. Way faster. I could easily see something like that type of electric pedal bike being the key to getting Americans out of cars and on two wheels. It does require some exercise, but it’s minimal and using it would still be much faster than most people could ever ride a non-motorized bike. For getting around the city, especially during rush hour, it’s just as fast if not faster than a car. Of course, if everyone rode a bike there’d never even be any rush hour but I digress. I don’t know what that word means but it sounds nice. You know what also sounds nice? A chocolate banana milk shake. I used to make those quite frequently back in high school but I don’t think I’ve had one in years now that I think about getting back on topic:

Bogie was hit from behind on his bike two nights after visiting us. The damage was severe: a broken hip socket among other injuries, with the likelihood of chronic hip arthritis for the rest of his life. This news has seriously depressed me. The fact that there could be permanent damage to such an amazing athlete is a fucking shame.

The driver came up from behind and turned right into Bogie part way through an intersection. That road should not be considered dangerous due to the fact that it has a bike lane and the speed limit is relatively low, but of course any road with cars on it is dangerous. The crash happened at night, which could be a valid excuse for the driver if Bogie’s bike hadn’t been lit up like a Christmas tree. The night Adelaide and I had him over for dinner, Adelaide even commented on how bright his bike was. “Like a circus.”

There were motion-sensing lights in the spokes, two flashing rear lights mounted on the back, a big handlebar-mounted high beam on the front. Bogie had a flashing red light on the back of his helmet and a very bright flashing white light on the front of his helmet. That makes 5 lights total, not counting the spoke lights in the wheels OR the (literally) multiple meters-worth of reflective tape he’d sewn onto all his gear, including his bright yellow jacket. There was absolutely no excuse for him to get hit. This “accident,” was caused by total inattention on the driver’s part, just like 99% of car vs bike crashes. The fucking idiot must have either had his eyes closed or was focused on his cell phone. The jack ass will get away with it too. Maybe he’ll have to pay a small fee, his insurance will go up, or maybe he’ll even have to pay out the ass if Bogie wins a big lawsuit, but real punishment? Jail time? Permanent loss of driver’s license? Of course not! It was an honest to god accident, right? An accident that ONLY just ruined someone’s life (Bogie if you’re reading this don’t take that too seriously, I know someone with your amazing will power will make a full recovery—I just need some drama).

All these horrible crashes and deaths prove that you can get away with man slaughter if you do it out of stupidity or carelessness. And if you’re driving a car you can even get away with murder in the first degree. “I didn’t see him,” has been a winning phrase for car drivers everywhere. Even when the assault was obviously intentional (speeding off after the cyclist who was in the way went over the hood of the car, get home and replace bumper with new one and wipe away all the blood).

I wonder if I’ll get away with it if I’m on my bike. “Sorry officer. I realize I looked up where this prick lived, waited for him to step out his door to his driveway in the morning on his way to his car, rode by and smashed his face in with a ball pin hammer, but I was texting while doing it so it doesn’t count right? It won’t happen again, maybe. I’ll just pay the reckless riding fee of $200 and be on my way.

Bogie was an elite ultra runner, and will hopefully regain his status as one. He just completed Badwater this summer…self supported. Only a few people have ever accomplished this. For those who don’t know, Badwater is a 135-mile run across Death Valley. Most people who do this race have support teams that drench them in water every few miles. Most people don’t finish either. Doing it self supported means Bogie had to push a cart with all of his own water in it. Hundreds of pounds of water. One mistake is all it takes to die a quick death out there in that sort of heat. Temps were up in the 120s. Yet, it’s more dangerous to ride your bike through a residential area in the streets of Boulder. Fucking ridiculous. Wake up America. It’s time to ditch your cars or at least open your eyes.

On that note, I’m going out for a quick commute. Wish me luck.

Eight Years Part 3

I decided not to make a fourth part to this series so this is the last one, focusing more on the early years.

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2008. Adam Edgerton, David Kuhns, and I finish off the final few meters of the TTT at the University of Oregon/Oregon Stage collegiate weekend. I won the day before in the road race from a two-man breakaway. The other guy was kind enough to not sprint me since it was my home race. That’s collegiate racing for you: a great community of friends. It was a nice segue into the real sport.

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2008. Collegiate nationals in Fort Collins. I got my ass kicked.

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2006. My first road bike. Trek 2200.

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2008. I rode for and worked at Life Cycle bike shop, which had the best-looking kit in Oregon. Gilad Gozlan, owner of the shop, coached me from 2007 until 2009, when I switched to Jeannatte Rose for a year. As you all know, Sam Johnson coached me in 2011 and 2012. I couldn’t have done it without these three selfless people.

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2010. I lived back home at my parent’s house in Sherwood, Oregon off and on from 2009 to 2011, like any true pro wanna be.  I slept in an altitude tent for two years, and took it everywhere I went during those two years. It did not make me any faster.

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2008. Derek Newel, Will Nieman-Ross, and Tony Guisto. These were some great teammates from UO. To this day a lot of my favorite training rides were with Tony and Will. I attempted to drive stakes through both of their hearts just about every ride we did together. No matter how badly I’d destroy them they’d always come back for more. Just like Will’s mother.

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2006. My brother Galen and I camped out in the school soccer field for the Elkhorn stage race in Eastern Oregon. In between bike races, we painted three houses that summer, working for about three hours a day and riding for another three or four. It was a good life. I was paying galen roughly $3 an hour. My profit at the end of the summer went to buying a bunch of crappy bike parts for a pieced together piece of crap time trial bike that never really worked. Not much has changed.

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2008. Tony and the Israeli team in Belgium. My first trip to Belgium was a long time ago it turns out. Tony (a cat 4) and I (a cat 2) had the opportunity to ride and live with a group of U23 and junior Israelis for a couple months after I graduated college. I spent most of the time racing through sicknesses and getting dropped or missing out on the breakaways from not knowing what the hell I was doing. My best finish was 17th I think. I was pretty proud!!! After all, weren’t all these Kermesses basically filled with Tour de France riders???

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2008. At the ice cream parlor. This was the one time the Israeli coaches let their riders eat anything other than white pasta, boiled eggs, cabbage, and muesli. Meanwhile, Tony had brought over about 40 Snickers bars. They’re the only thing that got him through the trip. Me too.

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2006. High Desert Omnium time trial, borrowing Galen Miterman’s aero bars and not using them for some reason. My contempt for time trials materialized early in my cycling career.

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2007. At Point Arena, northern California for a spear fishing/abalone diving trip with my family. Notice the bike in the background. Over the years I’ve been obsessive about bringing it everywhere I went. Maybe that was a good thing after all.

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2008. Some random collegiate race on the Zing Supreme.

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2010. San Dimas. I’m still a believer that high fructose maple syrup is the best option out there for rapid energy to the muscles during a race.

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2012. Gabe Varella and I preview the Battenkill one day UCI. The next day, during the race, I flatted three times in the first half lap. My legs had been fantastic that day and I’d been riding at the front during the hardest climbs and gravel sections. I was so pissed off from my bad luck that when I was pulled by the officials (because what was left of the peloton was long gone up the road) I flipped them off and continued riding to the finish for another 60 mile lap by myself. I was fined $50.

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Thomas in a box.

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2008. Belgium. Just completed my first kermess. And by completed I mean I got pulled with two laps to go.

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2008. Doing the post-race cool down  at one of the collegiate races with Will on the left and me in the compression tights. I just want to put it out there–I was one of the first people in the cycling world to adopt compression tights. I was doing them my first year way back in 2006, buying the thigh-high ones from Walgreens. Kennett Peterson: trend-setter, renegade, professional cyclist, and philanthropist.

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2009. I went to live with Aaron Mike, Tony Profetta, and TJ Zalanski in Tucson after I graduated from college. Thus began my full-time career at not having a career other than bike riding. By the way this is a turkey neck, not my penis.

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2006. Aaron and I in Tucson at the top of A-Mountain.

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2009. Galen and I after a mountain bike ride in Eugene.

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2006. Just about to cross the line at the High Desert Omnium in Bend. I’d crashed the day before in the crit, clipping my pedal while I was off the front by myself. I won this race by bridging up to Michael Sencenboss with about 35 miles to go. He and I drilled it so hard we caught and passed the Cat 1/2 breakaway (we were cat 3s). Michael cracked with 10 miles to go since he’d been off the front a full lap before I’d bridged to him, and when he tried sitting on a bit I began yelling and screaming at him to work. I threatened to drop him if he didn’t pull more. I let him pull until he was useless to me then I attacked and dropped him. I won the race by two minutes. Michael bonked and got passed by our entire field with a mile to go and finished dead last. I never even felt bad about it.

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2008. Mike Brunelle, Ivar Vong, Tony, and I trying to look like idiots while juggling at our year-end cycling BBQ.

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2008. Tony and I at the start of a kermess. Tony actually lasted over half way before getting pulled, which was pretty remarkable for someone who’d just started bike racing that year.

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2009. Me leading Chris Swan out for a prime at the Cherry Blossom crit in The Dalles, Oregon. He got it of course.

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2009. This picture may not seem cycling-related, but it is. I’ve met most of my current friends though bike racing. I met Quinn Keogh, on the left in the wetsuit, at Paul’s Bicycle Way of Life in Eugene, where I bought my first bike. He and I trained together over the years and still keep in touch. He ended up riding for Exergy in 2011 and 2012 until they folded. Unfortunately, most of the people I’ve met through cycling live in different cities and states (and countries) than I do, But it’s a strange community. When you go to a race at a far off city you randomly run into friends on the street or at the grocery store, which make places like San Dimas or Philadelphia feel like your home town. (Quinn and I were out diving for crawdaddy’s and these people needed a push to get off the shore).

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2009. This was the first and best lightning bolt haircut I’ve ever had, courtesy of Leeann Newel.

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2007. I went to a lot of races in 2007 in street clothes, too overtrained to race. A lot of people think they’ve overtrained at some point in their cycling careers. I beg to differ. There’s a difference between overreaching, burnout, and true overtraining. True overtraining takes months or years to get recover from. In my case it took about five months. After completing my first half year of bike riding and racing in 2006, I started doing intervals three or four times a week from September through November. I’d do up to forty 300-meter sprints back-t0-back with one minute rests. I did variations of these intervals and longer ones like it all fall, three three times a week. Sometimes four. I topped it off with a 120-hour month of training in Tucson over winter break. I came home in January to school and continued putting in 20 hour weeks, getting slower and slower and sicker and sicker. By March I was useless, getting dropped from cat 3 races. Earlier in Tucson I’d been dropping cat 1s up Mt. Lemmon. Not knowing what was going on, I took my friend, Geoff Huber’s, advice and introduced myself to Gilad, the Israeli who ended up coaching me for the next two years. Gilad immediately saw the crazy in my eyes and the fatigue in my body. The first thing he had me do was rest for two full months. Then I did a bit of riding and cross training, slowly building up until I finally had his permission to do a short stage race in September. I took 2nd in the road race. I was cured. Then, the day after the race, it was time for the offseason. The punishment of overtraining had been a year of no racing and I learned my lesson. No wait, I didn’t.

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2007. This was the first UO group ride of the fall, where new members rode with us for the first time. The guy back there in the red had claimed that he could sustain 25mph for 100 miles on his mountain bike. We never saw him again after he was dropped on this easy 20-miler. This should be a reminder of how unflattering bragging looks, unless you’re actually really fucking fast like me.

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2012. Here I am at the Tour of Namur again, getting the hurt put on by some strong Belgians. I was sick during this race (go figure) and wasn’t able to finish the final day.

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2009. Jim Anderson, Chris Swan, and I looking really worried and eager about something. This was during the last rest stop/check point of the Rapha Gentlemen’s ride in September, which started on the Oregon coast and ended at a brewery in Portland. I chugged three beers immediately upon finishing since they were free and it was the off season. I chugged more later.

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2009. The Rapha ride is an unofficial race: a team time trial where everyone has to finish together. Our team consisted of Chris, Jim, Adam Edgerton, Brian Marcroft, and Rob Anderson. It was my favorite day of riding that year even though it wasn’t even a real race.

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2010. My mom, Tim Schulze, and I before King’s Valley in Oregon. I don’t know why I was on a trainer before a road race. Oh yeah I do. Because my plan was to attack from the gun and ride the whole thing solo and I needed to be warmed up. I had confidence but not the legs to do it.

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2009. Aaron and I had some fun with WD-40 on New Year’s eve in Tucson. The next morning we woke up to charred ceilings, walls, and many other items. I had been completely sober. Aaron had not.

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2006. Here I am, all smiles, mid-way into my ridiculously long,  hard month of solo training over Christmas break down in Tucson. Even back from the beginning my mind has always been much stronger than my body. Although, I’m pretty happy that I was so naive about this whole professional bike racing thing. I had no idea how hard it would be and how long it would take to reach my goal, and still don’t because goals constantly evolve. I’ve been very fortunate in the fact that I’ve had the level of support from my family and so many great friends to pursue this dream. I expected big things from myself back then. And I still do. Next year will be an adventure.