News from Sweden: I’m not there anymore

The rumors are true. I’m back home in Boulder, as of Thursday night.

Say whaaaaat?

My Swedish adventure started out on a bad foot with me fighting a nasty cold, as you may remember. Not much changed in the following weeks, except my demeanor, which grew ever worse. Like many of you, I’m a drug addict, completely dependent on the steady flow of endorphins that my pancreas pumps out after hard climbs and long days in the saddle. I’m fairly certain that’s where endorphins come from–the pancreas. Same place as babies.

Like I said before, I’d missed out on the main race I went to Europe for in the first place, the French Loir et Cher, which translates roughly to “Big Snail Eater’s Race.” It was five days of crosswinds, crashes, and sprints and I missed out big time while being stuck in the Scandic, my depression darkening like the clouds above Uppsala. Actually, Sweden was experiencing a sort of spring heat wave, with temps in the 40s and 50s.

Shortly after Chris and Barry returned from races in the Deep South (Denmark), we moved across the street to a student dormitory. We quickly pissed off all our hallmates by stealing their pots and pans from the disgustingly dirty, tiny shared kitchen. We didn’t steal per say, since we assumed the pots and pans and forks and plates were for everyone’s use, but our blunder caused some controversy from day one. Luckily you don’t need that much cooking ware to make rice and beans, which, along with delicious bags of Swedish candy and breakfasts from the Scandic, was all I lived on. Sweden is expensive. The price of bananas at the grocery stores and even the way people dress make Boulder look like a cheap dump.

Our bedroom was tight, with all three of us crammed into a 10 x 1 square-foot room, squished and bouncing together on our air mattresses all night long. To put it politely, I got shitty, piss poor sleep when I needed it most. All of us slept horribly. When one person moved, everyone moved. That’s how tight it was. Finally when Barry’s air mattress completely gave out and sprung a leak (an even bigger leak than it already had) our manager Goran took us to Ikea for regular fabric mattresses. They were thin, but they were small and comfortable, allowing at least three feet of space between each of us in the now less-cramped room. We were ecstatic. It was one of the best days of my life I guess. Goran, you’ll never know how happy this made us. We all slept like kings that night. King of the castle, King of the castle, I have a mattress, I have a mattress!

My time in Sweden wasn’t all gloomy and cramped. I did manage to get out on a few rides. The roads in Sweden are pretty fantastic. They’re small, curvy, and meander through the woods and farmlands, splintering this way and that into infinity with almost zero car traffic. Unfortunately all the roads were flat, which left quite a bit to be desired.

I started feeling good enough to train at the end of Week Two, and set about riding the phlegm right out of my lungs for good. I’d been very conservative about when I thought I was good enough to start training again. And by Friday I felt well enough to get out for a short spin. I felt amazing. My legs were super fresh and were pumping right along like they’d been bathed in stem cells and massaged by Jesus’ hot younger sister, if he’d had a sister. My lungs were even clearing up a bit, or so it seemed. The next day I went out with Barry and Chris for a hard training ride that met way the hell out in the countryside. There, we grouped up with 25 others for two 20K circuits of smashfest. It was an all out race ride, no centerline rules applied since there was no centerlines on the tight little roads we were on. We narrowly escaped death from cars numerous times. I only did one lap and went home, figuring I’d be smart and end my day before I got tired and run down.

Sunday was a glorious day filled with sun, 65 degree weather!, and four hours of exploring gravel roads with my two teammates. I felt pretty good for the first two hours, and made sure to half wheel whoever I was on the front with. We’d been riding hard tempo, at a pace I could normally sustain for six hours no problem. Today was not the case. Being completely detrained and still sick, I began bonking at 2:15, still two hours away from home. I had one small bite of Clif bar left, having stupidly only brought two bars for the ride. In my defense I’d planned on riding slower and also shorter, but there were teammates to smash! (Or try to).

I slyly convinced Chris and Barry to stop at a small burger joint on the side of the road for water. I hoped and prayed I’d be able to wolf down 1,200 calories of soda and candy with my 17 Kronas. I was more than let down when all that bought me was a 12-ounce Coke. It was $2.50 for a Coke! We sat in the sun to enjoy our delicious brews, marveling at the amazing weather and the awesome route we’d picked out.

Then it was back on. I felt good from the Coke again so I temporarily forgot about my impending bonk, and relished the gravel roads and smashed it on the front again with Chris. Barry was not a fan of the gravel but Chris and I whooped and yelled in pure delight each time we came to a gravel sector.

Three hours in and I was feeling pretty weak, but still did my turns at the front, hoping that Barry and Chris would ask to slow down for the last hour into town. At last, Barry wanted to slow down. But it was only so he could ride three more hours on his own. Chris and I headed home as Barry split off from us. My bonk was coming on hard and I finally admitted to Chris that I was done. Defeated. WAY out of reserves. He gave me a half a Nature Valley bar and I had to draft him into town, staring intently at his rear hub as I focused on keeping my eyes from crossing. I somehow began feeling better and better as he mysteriously slowed to an easy 120 watts. He’d bonked too. Success! We limped home and immediately went to the grocery store for massive bags of sour candy. And we were happy.

I took Monday off to explore the city with Chris. I took Tuesday easy as well, wondering why I was still sick. I realized that I hadn’t actually improved at all in the past week. Aside from the three rides I’d done on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, I had been resting 24/7. Or trying to. Like I said, the living situation was anything but restful. By Tuesday night I’d decided to come home early since my condition hadn’t improved and I’d been sick for three straight weeks, I would be unfit and likely still sick for the three races that were on the schedule for the next two and  a half weeks, and staying there in limbo in Sweden would jeopardize the rest of my season.

With my head hanging low from defeat before I even toed the line of a race, I flew home Thursday. My cough vanished Friday. All along I knew it was a stress cold caused from various issues, and I can guarantee I’d still be sick if I were in Sweden right now. Instead, I’m home with Adelaide, happy, finally getting in some miles, and focusing on being fast for Nationals, Philly, Saganuey, Beauce, and the rest of the summer. I was sick for so long in Sweden that I lost pretty much all of my fitness, so I’m starting up from nothing right now. Hopefully a month of hard work will set me somewhat straight. Here are some pics of the trip.


A typical and heart-warming sight in Sweden: full bike racks! There may be hope for the world after all, though it certainly won’t be the US leading the way.


There’s even a line up at bike lane stop lights.


This is most likely a guy going home from work, but I’d like to think that this is just some good old fashioned Euro style taking place.


The Staz heading through a tunnel downtown.


We took a day to explore the city. The inside of the cathedral in the background was amazing.

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Almost as amazing as this small, local, mom and pop store. The lay out of the city was strange. One side was old and classically “Europe” while the other was full of big box stores and strip malls like the States. One was crowded with pedestrians, bikes, and happy, chatty people sitting outside sipping coffee by the river, the other was populated by cars on their way to buy STUFF.

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Some of those people buying stuff were us. Here I am with our pride and joy: beds!

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I did one training crit on Wednesday night, got dropped, and pulled out of the race after 23 minutes with my lungs emptying buckets of phlegm all over my bike, sleeves, legs and anyone within a 20 meter radius. It confirmed that I needed to go home.


The one Swedish meal I had was at Ikea. Hi, my name is Kennett and I do tourism ruuuul good. Not.

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Chris and I stumbled upon the lottery, which picks 100 people in each postal region and gives them between 1 million and 10,000 kronas for just existing. You don’t even have to buy a ticket! Classic socialism. Keeping people down and stealing their freedom.

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The lottery also provided a tent with free ‘Fika,’ which translates from Swedish to “take a break from whatever you’re doing for a quick coffee high and delicious pastries or cookies.”

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Last and most importantly, if you ever go to Sweden make sure to spend as much money as you have in loose change, or cash in my case, on the vast array of salty and sour candies from the grocery bulk section.

Keeping busy here at the Scandic Hotel

To keep sane during times of sickness and/or idleness, one must practice a well disciplined schedule. Executing this schedule on a daily basis, in a timely fashion, is crucial for maintaining mental health and staving off depression/suicide.

1) Wake up.

2) Walk downstairs for the breakfast buffet. I’ve described the tasty spread already in the previous post. I’ll do it again here though in a more thorough manner. First I cut a piece of bread with deli meat (usually salami) and cheese. Next, on the same plate mind you, I spoon on some baked beans, eggs, and 2-3 thin strips of bacon. One time I had pineapple instead of the open faced sandwich. It was a wild time. I then get a cup of coffee and sit down and eat that plate. After that I get a bowl of muesli with milk or yogurt and more coffee. If I’m really hungry, which I’m not since I haven’t ridden in a week, I get more beans and eggs. Usually one or two more coffees as well. Then I make two gigantic sandwiches and quickly run upstairs before anyone gives me the stink eye. Step 2 is the highlight of my day. It’s pretty much all downhill from here.

3) Put my sandwiches in my large Tupperware, making sure to break them down, separating the meat/cheese/lettuce/tomato/pepper section from the bread. I don’t want soggy bread. I WON’T stand for it.

4) Walk back downstairs with my book “The Pillars of the Earth” by Ken Follett and read on the couch while I drink more coffee and watch people eat breakfast.

5) After I have a strong coffee buzz going, I’ll make one more sandwich to take back upstairs.

6) Read more in bed or fool around on the internet or start downloading a movie.

7) Take a short sauna or go on a 30 minute ride. I’m still too sick to really be riding though so it’s usually a sauna. This is always followed by a trip to the sparkling water fountain, which I frequent about 6 times a day.

8) Talk to Adelaide on Skype while laying in bed.

9) Watch the movie I downloaded while laying in bed.

10) Talk to Adelaide on Skype again while laying in bed.

11) Take a shower. I forgot to mention that I’ll possibly take other showers throughout the day, just to mix it up and keep things interesting.

12) Read more or go to sleep. While laying in bed.

That’s basically my day. One time I cleaned my bike in the shower.


Sandwiches (or “sandos” according to Chris) in their Tupperware container that I brought from home since I knew It would come in handy.


Chris and Barry got back from Denmark last night so now I have two friends to do activities with. They aren’t sick though, so once they recover from their 30 hours of driving (and 2 hours of racing) they’ll most likely leave me to rot in my tiny cell when they go out training. One day soon I’ll be well enough to train, race, and explore the city.

Until then I’ll abide by my schedule.




I’m in Sweden, not Switzerland, you idiots.

You know when you’re at the pinnacle of your cold–that point at which you feel the worst you could possibly feel? Headache, fever, chills, body ache, constantly having to blow your nose every 30 seconds or else green mucus starts dripping down your chin? That’s the state I was in while I packed and ran errands the day before my flight to Sweden. Then, during the flight, I got worse.

The lack of sleep during my day of travel set me back a third step, so that when I arrived in Sweden, mid-afternoon on Friday, I was ready to call it a trip and head back home. Usually I’m stoked to travel to a new, exciting place. This time, not so much.

Luckily I had the always positive Chris Stastny to cheer me up. We exchanged pleasantries at the Stockholm airport (I wan’t very pleasant actually), and our team manager Goran drove us up to Uppsala. Once he dropped us off at our lovely Scandic Hotel, which has a sparkling-water spigot, we set off down the street for food. I hadn’t eaten a meal in about 20 hours since my damn flight didn’t serve any dinner or breakfast. Chris’ did, but since he’s a bike racer he was aggressively hungry all the same. We demolished two personal size pizzas at a Turkish Gyro place. Yeah, the first thing we ate here in Sweden was pizza. Mine did have fish on it though.

After that, Chris went on a short spin while I slept for 14 hours.

We woke up early the next morning, me feeling about 20 times better, and went downstairs for the free breakfast buffet. The spread was fantastic. Breads, jams, meats, cheeses, fruit, salad, different types of muesli with a bunch of seed toppings, yogurts, eggs, bacon, beans, oatmeal, plus good coffee. I built two massive sandwiches and snuck them away in napkins for lunch and dinner, since not working + traveling to bike races all over the States for the past two months + now living in Sweden = I’m incredibly broke. Note: I would have smuggled those sandwiches anyways.

Chris took off for the 12-hour drive south to Denmark shortly after breakfast (wait, Sweden isn’t conveniently located in central Europe for easy travel to bike races?), while I went back upstairs to build my bike. I rode downtown in search of a bank and an Apple store for a new computer charger since I’d left mine back home. The charger ended up costing more than my computer is worth.

It’s flat, cold, gray, and drizzly here in Sweden. The people are beautiful though. Everyone is fit, friendly, and out on their bikes or walking, despite the weather.

Catching this cold has pretty much made this trip not worth it, since I’m now missing out on the main reason I came: Loir et Cher, a 5-day UCI 2.2 that starts next Wednesday. Couldn’t I be over my cold by then? Maybe but it’s very doubtful. If I were to do the race I’d have to spend all day driving one of the cars down to Denmark today for the two local races that the team is doing, after which I’d drive the rest of the way to France on Monday. The travel and jet lag to get here to Sweden combined with all that extra race travel would have left me with crappy legs even if I were healthy, which I’m not. The smart decision was to stay here in Uppsala, the home base of the team, and recover.

Unfortunately the race schedule for our team is very sparse this spring. The next race weekend won’t be until the beginning of May. We have a couple UCI 1.2s, then our home race the following weekend, which is another 1.2 and a crit. The week after that, I plan (hope) to head back to North America for US pro nationals, Philly, Sagueney, and Beauce. I guess I’ll try to treat my time here in Sweden as a recover/building block for the next big chunk of racing back in the States and Canada. It’s kind of a long way to travel for training in the rain but hey, it’s something new and when else in life am I going to get to live in Sweden of all places?

While in the past I’ve gotten sick quite frequently, I did make it almost 11 weeks of staying healthy this winter and spring. That’s pretty decent for me. Along that line of trying to make myself feel better, I’ve had some fairly good results and 18 days of racing already this year. It’s hard but I’m really trying to stay positive while I lay here sick in bed. Goodnight. Or good morning. I have no clue what time it is wherever you are.

Final Depressing Days of Redlands

If you didn’t read the last post, I’ll give you the low-down: I rode poorly and got upset about it.

The low down of this post: I rode ever worse and got even more upset about it.

The final two stages of Redlands didn’t go any better than the first three. I guess the first two weren’t terrible and I was feeling fine. It’s just that Beaumont stage that I was pissed about. Anyways, during the crit on Saturday evening, after about 10 laps of failing to move up enough to get to the front, I decided to just pack it in at 60 minutes to make the time cut. My legs weren’t good enough to get in moves anyways, I wasn’t going to get in the top 10 for the stage, and I knew I’d need every ounce of strength to avoid getting dropped on Sundays Sunset circuit race.

Back at home we ate enchiladas, rice, beans, tri tip steak, and salad. Probably too much tri tip, but our hosts were amazing cooks. I hoped that a big meal with some red meat might help transform me into a less shitty rider. I had my doubts.

Let me quickly introduce the my Landis-Trek teammates since I failed to do that earlier:

Michael Dziedzic
Tim Carolan
Cole House
Drew Miller
Tyler Coplea
Jared Gilyard
Lewis Elliot

We had Brian Lemke as team manager and director, and Scott Price as soignier. It was a pleasure riding for Landis-Trek and meeting this awesome new group of people. I just wish I’d had the legs to repay them all.

Anyways, the synopsis of Sunday’s stage 5 circuit race will be short and sweet: I was in the red leading up to the climb, got popped on the flatter section of the climb mid way up on the first lap,  got passed by 50 or 60 guys while I tired to regain my legs, sort of recovered, blew up again a minute later at the KOM, then chased until I got caught by a group of like 10 guys. Mind you, this all happened within six miles of racing. There were still 90 to go.

My legs sort of came back since the small group I was with was riding slower but my motivation was completely gone. We were already a minute and a half back from the lead group of 50, with probably another 70 guys in between that group and us. There was no way we were ever seeing even the middle, let alone the front, of the race again. I chose to cowardly fall off the back and take a short cut home to wallow in self pity and contemplate giving up bike racing. At least I’d be giving my legs the rest that they hopefully needed in order to get out of this slump.

I flew home the following Monday and I leave for Europe tomorrow so there’s packing to be done. All I want to do is sleep and get back massages from Adelaide though. I ended up getting sick. On top of it all, I saw the dentist today for a teeth cleaning and I had two cavities! The cavities were just small voids (cavities) in my last two fillings that needed extra glue, so I can’t really complain about that. The being sick part does suck though.

Obviously I never like catching a cold but this time it’s sort of a relief finally figuring out why my legs were so bad for the second half of the race. In the back of my mind I’d kept wondering if I was fighting some sort of low grade infection, and sure enough I started feeling a trickle in my throat Sunday night. It better pass quickly because I have two races in Denmark this weekend, followed by a five-day UCI in France starting next Wednesday. At least it’ll be sunny and warm over there.

Some suffering going on during Stage 3’s Beaumont road race:

10169466_803070196379175_2852100310494525591_nPhoto: Dean Warren

Redlands First Three Stages

I’m here in the land of paradise with Landis Trek, racing Redlands and just loving life! HA. No but seriously, I’m incredibly depressed.

This is not going to be an uplifting post. Nor will it be an interesting or exciting post. It will not even contain that many facts about the race. The few details about the race won’t even be accurate. Due to my incredible amount of suck, I haven’t even seen the front of this race. Pack fodder is my name.

Being a worthless pile of human excrement is my game. Day 1: I sucked. I rode like a wimp, positioned poorly, and screwed up what was probably my best chance at a good result. This first stage consisted of a 2.8-mile circuit that hit a steep climb and a winding neighborhood descent each lap. We did 20 laps. I felt uncomfortable and my legs weren’t happy, but the race didn’t feel too hard. I came into the final climb far back, like 80 guys deep, which meant that I was out of contention for the sprint at the top of the hill. I went hard and passed quite a few guys to get 42nd, which was 15 seconds off the winner due to time gaps. I was pissed off mainly at my lack of positioning, not yet realizing the worst to come: shitty legs.

Day 2: The Big Bear time trial. What more to say than “Oh man that would be awesome if they cancel it due to snow because this is the stage I’ll most likely lose the most amount of time! Damn it they didn’t cancel it. What the hell, these new UCI rules are BULL! Are they trying to give me scoliosis and ED? Crap I didn’t warm up long enough. Yep, this hurts. Probably shouldn’t have gone out at 488 watts for the first minute and a half. Crap now I’m only averaging 350. I suck. Done. Despite knowing that my time is mediocre, I REALLY need to see the results! Why’s it taking them four hours to get results posted!? Oh, I was 44th. Crap. That confirms it. I suck.”

Day 3: The Beaumont road race was the day I was looking forward to the most since last year I was just barely off being able to make the front selection of eight guys that vied for the win. This year was a whole different story. The gist of it is that my form from last weekend miraculously vanished. I suffered all day long. On the climbs, on the flats, coasting, just looking at my bike before the stage started as I sat in my chair…nowhere was I comfortable and I was always in the red. I don’t know what happened to my legs the past week. Possibly external non-race related stressors are the cause, yet I don’t know. Sometimes you just suck. Coming to terms with it is hard but it’s the only thing that will get you back to sanity after four and a half hours in the saddle playing mind games with yourself, wondering if every good race you’ve ever had was just a fluke and you’re destined for poor performances for the rest of you days. I finished 82nd. Last year I was 12th. I’m now 52nd on GC out of 201 starters (Man, some guys must REALLY be having a bad week! I kid, I kid).

If I get a chance at it, I’m going all in on Sunday’s Sunset loop and making the breakaway, even if it’s just for a lap. Doing that would be better than just sitting in until I inevitably get dropped. And if by some miracle I get in the move and end up having good legs, well I guess that would be pretty nice too. Hmm. I must be in a constant state of denial/fantasy land to believe some of the things I tell myself. It’s a necessary mindset for this sport. My next post might contain some pictures and more descriptions of my teammates and the happenings of our week here. Might not though. Depends on the motivation.

In all seriousness though, I am enjoying my time here and I’m very grateful that Landis gave me an opportunity to race. A bad race is still a race, and all races make for a good time, one way or another. The team support has been fantastic so far with a great host house, awesome food prepared by our director Brian Lemke, and perfect feeds and logistics provided by Scott and also Brian. The team is in good spirits despite a lack luster showing, and while I’m suffering a bout of bad form, I assume it will only be temporary and I’ll bounce back sooner rather than later.

San Dimas Part 2

Mid-race mantra: “Don’t go to bed with any regrets tonight Kennett. You won’t be able to sleep. Don’t go to bed with any regrets tonight Kennett. You won’t be able to sleep.”

Seconds after the race ended. “You’re getting no sleep tonight.”

When you’re out of the running and roll in mid-pack or off the back, you get depressed. When you’re close but just off the mark, you dwell. Dwelling is harder to get over. For one thing, it takes longer to finish a solid dwell session. What if I’d done this? Why didn’t I do that? If I’d only done this instead. All the sheets would be ripped off the bed and wrapped tightly around my legs by morning. I was in for a long night of tossing and turning.

How it went down:

Since I was at the front for the start, I decided to attack immediately once the race was de-neutralized. It didn’t go anywhere of course but I continued to set easy tempo on the front for the next five minutes just to stay out of trouble for the first couple turns, which are littered with cones and potholes. Like I’ve said with every bog post account of this race, the San Dimas circuit is an incredibly sketchy day. While I do love the course, every year it’s dangerous enough for me to question whether I’ll ever come back. The answer is of course yes, but I still do consider it. There’s road furniture, positioning is important to not get gapped off so everyone rides aggressively, there’s cones everywhere, there’s oncoming traffic around blind, downhill corners, and the road surface is less than smooth. This is my fifth time here yet I’ve never crashed, so I guess it’s not as sketchy as it seems. Ha. Tell that to Phil Gaimon.

I lost position on the second lap due to my fear of crashing and going fast through corners, and was too far back on the KOM climb. The race broke into three groups, with me in the third and largest group. For a few kilometers I worried that I’d blown the race and my day was over. It all came together on the feed zone climb though. Everyone was still fresh. Good. I tried positioning better for the KOM climb that third lap and did slightly better, but still missed out on the small front group that got away for the next couple miles. Shortly after the two groups merged back together, I attacked on the feed zone hill. Actually, that was on the fifth lap. It seems that I have no recollection whatsoever of the fourth lap.

Looking back after the feed zone hill descent, I saw a massive gap opening up already. I put my head down and kept going. A group of six or seven caught me right before the toll-booth, which is situated in the middle of the road, and we worked well leading up to the KOM climb. A few more guys bridged to us there and I think we might have lost one guy as well.

I’m terrible at keeping track of who’s in the break but I know that for the majority of the race we had 10 guys:

Anton Varabei (Jet Fuel)
David Santos (KHS)
Luis Amaran (Jamis)
Serghei Tevetkov (Jelly Belly)
Clement Chavrier (Bissell)
Kit Recca (Horizon)
Daniel Eaton (Canyon)
Bruno Langlois (5-Hour Energy)
Coulton Hartrich (Unattached…somebody pick this guy up!)

Most of the bigger teams were represented so the field was left with little reason to chase. That was a good thing since our cohesion was shaky for the next lap or two.

As usual, my desire to not get caught outweighed my desire to win, which meant that I took some extra pulls to help ensure we stayed away. I had great legs and never felt under pressure or tired the whole day. If I lost, it wouldn’t be because I was getting dropped, that much I knew for sure, so I figured working it for the next few laps wouldn’t hurt.

One guy who had the opposite idea and decided to sit at the back all day long and never come to the front except to take KOM and sprint points was Amaran. Maybe Jamis didn’t want the move to stick since none of their GC guys were in the move. Who knows, but it annoyed me.

Over the next five laps I didn’t go for any of the sprint or KOM points, just to make sure that I was as fresh as possible for the finish. My plan was to attack balls out on the final climb or follow moves on the last lap. I was going for the stage win, not a jersey.

We heard that our gap was over two minutes with a lap to go, which meant that we’d stay away. We began sitting up a bit and conserving, looking at each other, skipping pulls, and getting ready for the first attacks.

Daniel Eaton of Canyon was the first to go. He chose the feed zone climb and I was quickly on him. I pulled through super short, not really wanting to get away since I figured Clement (Bissell) would just sit on the front no matter what and pull. He’d been the most ambitious about keeping the pace up in the break since he was the best placed GC guy out of all of us and was just going for time. Eaton and I were swallowed up on the descent and the attacks flew for the next kilometer or two, then that was it. Everyone realized Clement was just going to sit on the front and keep the pace up, killing all but the most ambitious attempts to get away. Besides, we only had a short downhill section and then the KOM. That’s where the real action would take place.

Or so I thought. Clement continued setting the pace on the climb, albeit pretty easy on the lower slopes, leaving everyone with too much oxygen and punch in their legs for me to get away when I attacked half way up. I looked back at the top and saw Bruno Langlois gritting his teeth just 10 meters back with the rest of the group strung out behind on his wheel. Damn it. Should have gone earlier on the climb.

I sat up on the flat headwind section at the top and we rocketed down the quick descent to the finish straight. 2K to go. Clement went to the front again and drilled it. I should have gone with 500 meters, just for the hell of it since I knew I wouldn’t win the sprint, but I didn’t and started from last wheel with 250 meters. I finished a disappointing 7th but at least managed to avoid a nasty crash after the finish line. A group of photographers, who were standing in the middle of the road just 100 feet after the finish line, forced us to swerve around them at the last second as we grabbed brakes at 40mph. Eaton, Varabei, and Santos crashed into a parked truck in the process and destroyed themselves and their bikes.

The point of a telephoto lens is to capture images from afar, meaning you don’t have to stand ON the finish line to get a good shot. This was total mindlessness from the photographers. But, just like the riders, photographers, officials, volunteers, etc are all part of the race too, and are bound to make mistakes, just like us.

Top three on the stage:

1st Anton Varabei (Jet Fuel)
2nd David Santos (KHS)
3rd Daniel Eaton (Canyon)


Varabei won the race to the finish line and also to the side of the promoter’s truck. Poor truck. He’s a big fellah.



That’s a Jet-Fueled Varabei-sized dent in the side there.


I apologize for the lack of pictures. I feel worse and worse about inserting others’ work into my blog. But I have no moneys! Some day when I’m above the poverty line I’ll buy them I swear. There’s more images of all the races and all the categories and all the stages at Cycling

Here’s one on the KOM climb that highlights my good side. In hindsight I wish I’d gone for the KOMs. Oh well. You know what they say: “There’s always next year. Unless you die first. Or stop racing, which are basically the same thing.” I’m pretty sure that’s a saying.

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Colin, Tim, and I had Dan in the feed zone with endless bottles of sweet, sweet Osmo. Every hand off was effortless and perfect. So for that, thank you Dan. Colin spent the day in the pack, surfing through the carnage that would see only 45 guys out of the 150 starters make the main front group. Tim, who also made the main front group, spent multiple laps off in no man’s land by himself, just 50 seconds behind us at one point. He got caught on the last lap at the top of the KOM. Just needed one more guy to bridge the gap.

I was hoping to at least move into the top 10 GC since the field was a minute back, but I only managed 11th. Today I have the crit to make up a few seconds, though my chances of that aren’t great.

Written later after the crit:

The crit didn’t go great. Didn’t go terribly either. I never made it to the front to go with any moves. I just wasn’t aggressive enough to get up there. I moved down a spot on GC to 12th. It was a good weekend of racing though. Colin, Dan, Tim and I capped it off at the Inn N Out Burger with my friend, Will, who’d come to watch the race, then later we teamed up against a poor girl on a 4 vs 1 blind date at the frozen yogurt place (set up via Tinder), and ended the night at Del Taco. We binged on fast food like frat boys drink. The end of a stage race often calls for this sort of behavior. It’s the cyclist way of life. Plus, with Redlands starting just three days later, we had to pack those sugar and saturated fat stores to full capacity! I’m happy to announce that I’ll be racing with Landis Trek for the week. The temporary wolf pack of Colin, Dan, Tim, and I has sadly been disbanded. Another will take its place in the coming days. It’s a strange lifestyle being a lone composite racer. Redlands will be my last hurrah in the States until May. Sweden is calling at last and my composite days will come to an end as well.

To the race promoter of San Dimas, all the volunteers, officials, and everyone else, thanks for making this weekend great and I’ll see you next year.

Oh, and as a footnote, I’d like to thank Josh Berry and his mom for driving out from Redlands to pick me up from the Azusa Super 8, and in doing so sparing me the 4-5 hours worth of bus rides and transfers I’d have had to take in order to get here to Redlands. I owe him a couple tows to the front of the peloton now!