Thought I should maybe drop a note here since I've really been slacking since the appendics set back. Funny how a couple weeks off from work has actually set me behind closer to month or more with everything else. Work is really keeping me busy right now but it's one of those needed evils - well, at least the paycheck is needed for sure. In hopes to be down for the TOM in a couple weeks and taking advantage of not being in the office for a few other days, the hours have been piled on pretty hefty. I plan to update with races and such but looking at my drafts, I still have several to finish. I think it fell apart when I realized video links changed so I tried to update those which just pushed the other fun stuff behind. At some point it will all be updated and my inbox (still maxing out daily at work) will be clean.
I'm thrilled to share that Maggie has started a CVV Fan Club site. She's already got several pics and video's up and it should be a fun place for reads and follow up on how C is doing. Thanks for taking that one on girl! Make sure to check out her other site - Andy Schleck: The Best Bike Racer of the Universe. It's filled with some great stuff. And if any of you like CSC and love the guys there, you'll really enjoy her site. Make sure to check it out!
For the most part things here are quiet. Working way too many hours than a person should and trying to find some time between to do everything else life related. Not always easy. Yesterday I decided to go make some purchases that I've been looking at in honor of my weekend off. I have to say for the first time - in a long time - the sales guy was really helpful. One of my goodies was my GPS unit. Knowing I "wanted" a Garmin - for obvious team support of course - I wasn't sure which model. I had researched other brands and looked a few models so Garmin was it for sure but the model choice was still looming. After figuring out which options I was really interested in and which ones I cared less about he helped me narrow it down to two. And - as a surprise to those that know me - I was able to decide pretty quick.
From there it was on to look at cameras. I like my cheap Kodak for the ease of sharing pics with family but it is not all that sweet for taking sports pics or pics of the adorable kids in my life when we're out running around and having fun. Nothing says fun like asking a 3 year old to stop and stand still while playing. I had price ranges and options in mind and surprisingly, the guy helping me (at least sounded like) he knew what he was talking about. I've narrowed it down to a Cannon a step up from point and shoot but certainly not as pricey as an SLR.
From there it was off to update the cellphone as my update was due. Having looked at many before and thinking a blackberry might be the way to go I was pretty sure it shouldn't be too hard to decide. Never think things are easy. Ha. I did end up with a new phone which has been pretty cool so far but I'm not sure the plan he upgraded me to is needed or if all the features are necessary. I like things somewhat simple but having web abilities for traveling (especially up to mom's) was a solid goal. I have yet to figure it out but I hope to play with it next weekend when I head North. The real test to my patience I am sure. :-)
I'm off to continue my house cleaning and laundry and to dare log into work for some stuff. Then it's a night and a new week begins. Luckily it should be a short 4 days but the days themselves are most likely going to be extremely long. Small price for a good 4 day weekend back home though! Hope everyone had a great weekend and here's to a quick week to hopefully another great weather Holiday weekend coming up! Enjoy!
What a totally fun weekend! Meeting Theresa, Janann, Cat, Dan Schmatz and family, and Tony Cruz was just a blast. Seeing Brad and Jelly Belly and of course seeing C again were true treats. Today started off again with a work out but this time with me being super tired from Saturday. Once done I headed up to get the girls and it was off to the race for another great weather day.
Tony Cruz was nice as could be to all who stopped to say hello.
I had gotten a pic of T and Brad on Saturday and sent it off to be printed as an 8x10. Janann and I disappeared for a bit so we could have Brad sign it for her to surprise her with it later. It worked out great and she loved it. Brad was even a sport and signed her smaller one I gave her when she saw him later. Thanks Brad! I also dropped off some cookies and bars for the guys so hopefully they enjoyed them after the race.
While we were doing our sneaky work, John and C showed up. It was great seeing C and being able to congratulate him on such a great year so far in person. I often wonder how loaded down his blackberry gets as I know I send my share of good lucks and congrats. C put together his bike and then hung out low key with the Jelly Belly guys. When Janann and I got back T was sure we had to run into someone as we were gone for quite some time. When I told her it was C she was not happy with us. I told her to go say hi before the race as I was pretty sure it would be hectic once people knew he was there. Off they went.
When they come back I hear how she saw Danny Van Haute and then realized that C was in the car and she screamed his name. I was sort of hoping it wasn't quite like that but it turns out it was. C is great and I'm hoping the fun wasn't too much in his laying low before the start. When I wave hi and go to talk to Bobby, they tell me he was the one who took their picture with C. I think Janann and I are going to be enjoying some laughs for years to come on the weekend's fun. Huge thanks to C, John, and Bobby for their sweetness in helping T in meeting one of her favorite riders.
Janann, C, and Theresa.
When Janann and I went to put the pictures and some goodies in the car, I ran into Harriet and Grandma Mary Vandevelde. It was great to see them again. Val and Harriet were at Elk Grove and I love talking to them. Mary looks great and sometimes its pretty easy to see why they all call her Hamster. That girl is just always moving! :-) When the race started she wanted to see C so I told her to go up to the front. It's great how big men will quickly and smoothly make room for grandma to get a picture of her grandson!
Harriet and Grandma Mary Vandevelde.
The race got ready to start and several riders got calls up before the start. Brad, Tony Cruz, and Christian just to name a few. C got huge cheers from the crowds and it was great. Even if some of the riders think little of him being there, the fans loved seeing him and I'm thrilled he did the race to connect with so many that followed him. I still find it mind boggling that they use Boulder as his home though. C's not there anymore and hasn't been for quite a while.
Brad smiling waiting for the start of the race.
The race started and it had some odd laps with speed and the pack seemed like they were in warm-up mode. Several times riders tried to get off the front. We were cheering on Bernard Van Ulden as he got away for some laps from the break he was in. There was a nasty crash right near the Mavic tent that left some serious road rash on a couple of the guys. There was a slow down at one point and we weren't sure if it was for others to get on or if something was going on in the pack.
Breakaway is formed with Bernard included.
Janann and I walked around to get out of the sun for a bit and to get some water. As we head back I stopped and said hi to the Vandevelde family and then we get treated to watching C fly off the front and he got a nice gap. I think he was out front for 5-6 laps and it was fun and exciting hearing the crowd cheer him on. A few people were talking about him winning it and they looked at me funny when I said he looked to be doing it for fun and he'd stay totally clear of the sprint at the end. No way he'd risk that. And he did. He likes to liven things up and crits are not his racing but it truly was fun to watch him take off and get the sizable gap.
C flies off the front for several laps getting loads of cheers from the fans.
It was interesting watching the pack too through out the race as different riders were talking to each other. Guys would move up and then you'd see them further back saving some energy talking with others. By the end the pack was together and it was flying. Being further down we couldn't see the lead into the finish. I hope for some more info on Brad's pedal. I was wishing him a great race this weekend as his form is back and I wished he could get the jersey back. Sounds like a mechanical but not sure on any details. Hope all is okay Brad!
What a totally fun day today. I got to meet Theresa and Janann on Friday and it has been a just a great weekend since. Today Cat met us as Downer's for a pretty enjoyable day of race watching. I'm not sure better weather could be hoped for as it's just been beautiful. Sunshine, light breeze, and live racing - does a weekend get much better?
Cat, T, & Janann :-)
Today was a lot of fun walking around. We met some great riders from xXx Racing today and I hope to put up a post on them and the team. Great stories and John and Nico were absolutely great guys who were so friendly and ready to share insights on the team. They even enjoyed the good laughs we had with what exactly did the "xXx" stand for. I really hope to shed some more light on the guys and the team in the coming days. I got to help Theresa meet many of the guys she's been following including Daniel Holloway of Garmin. She met the boys from Jittery Joe's and I again got to see Amy during the race. Cycling's a small world and it's great getting to know different ones from race to race.
Chad Hartley and the Jittery Joe guys happily take a pic with T.
Nico Westlund with xXx racing and T.
We also of course stopped by the Jelly Belly Team and I have to say Thanks for boss man Danny keeping us really entertained before the guys even got to the race. The laughs were enjoyable and the story of Nic Sanderson's missed flight last night was priceless. Thankfully he made it in this morning but I have to say - next time wait and go on the plane! I had brought cookies for the team and Danny was more than happy to take them to put in the cooler for after the race. I said it during the Elk Grove race but again, these guys are great. To put up with us wanting to try to get to know them better with smiles is a lot of fun and they make it really easy to be fans.
I also got to finally meet Dan, Myriam, and adorable little Samuel Schmatz tonight as well. I'm looking forward to talking them some more tomorrow. Dan has by far been one of the friendliest riders I've followed the last couple years. I'm so happy that he is doing so well and that Samuel and Myriam are the center of his life and he's loving life not being a full-time rider now. I'm sure he misses some of it from time to time but I'd imagine little Samuel fills any of that pretty quickly. The little guy is even more adorable in person than in all the pics Dan has shared. Great family and it was really enjoyable meeting them in person. Make sure to check out Dan's blog too with the little guy at the airport. Sorry on the bikes Dan as that just bites but I'm glad you, Myriam, and Samuel made it here safe and sound!
ProAm race start.
Sorry for the blurr but the guys were flyin'!
There was racing all afternoon and I am hoping the site puts up results to share. We watched just about every race and rang the cow bells through out. I still have the headache from that as well as those things are LOUD. They are so loud but certainly beat yelling at every lap although I think we all still have sore throats because you can't help but to want to cheer on riders.
Rock Racing took 1st and 2nd tonight with Jittery Joe's getting 3rd. Brad ended up with a flat front tire in the under 5 laps to go so no free lap - race done. :-( There was a crash on the other side of the course with just a couple laps to go that many riders got caught behind. I think the field started with over 160 riders. They were moving too!
My pics were not the greatest today partly because I just didn't take nearly as many as I usually do. Much more fun visiting and cheering on the riders than snapping pics. Tomorrow I do hope to get more pics of the race. With the National Jersey on the line it will be intense with stress levels pretty high. Christian should be there riding with Daniel. I'm looking forward to seeing him and John. John had me almost in tears laughing when I talked to him this afternoon. Always a good time!
Hopefully the race site will have results up - HERE - shortly. There was great racing by the riders today and tomorrow should be even more intense. Hope if you're in the area you come and check it out.
Last weekend I was one of many that pulled an all nighter Friday night to watch the Men's RR which was shown live on NBCOlympics.com. There were many variables to play with which added to many of us wanting to see it.
The racing was exciting to watch but it was weird not seeing fans up and down the sides of the roads. The weather looked brutal. The riders looked hot. It was thrilling to watch the last lap of the race. When watching Fabian TT to the chasers and then watching them take off and catch the leaders - awesome. I felt so bad for Andy not being able to get a medal but it was hard not to be thrilled for Tony getting the bronze. Our US guys raced really well with the conditions. JMac was out front pulling early on. We got to see Dave up front and it was great seeing him back. George, Levi, and C all had great shots and all looked spent at the line. Levi finished 11th, C 17th, and George 40th.
It was awesome watching Fabian pass Schumi. I'm not sure why, but I don't like the guy so seeing him get passed by Tony was great. He rode so well and put it all out on the road. I was thrilled for Larsson as he was so thrilled to be up on the podium. Huge congrats to both Kristin and Levi for their rides and awesome medals!
I am starting to feel bad that I am not updating this as often as I used to. Seems that the appendics thing put in a dent in my life that I have yet to get back from. My email inbox is still on the border of "over its size limit" on a daily basis at work. I get through 100 and then a fire pops up and I get 200 more. Not winning the battle. :-(
The only somewhat valid excuse I can offer on my limited postings are the 12-13 hour days I've been putting in since returning from my break after surgery. Nothing says we missed you like a work load that has yet to be controlled. I at least like what I'm doing or it could be very bad but it was pretty nice spending 2 1/2 weeks at home following the Tour and not thinking about work much. Just wish it wasn't so much to come back to. But we're almost caught up - I hope.
Any who... on to good stuff!!! I love the Olympics and I'm not sure much compares. They only happen every 4 years (2 if you're looking at both winter and summer but each only happen every 4) so there is something really special about those wins, those records that get broken, those medals, and certainly all the athletes.
I am not sure there is an event that I don't get sucked into once the TV is finally turned on late at night but I certainly have ones I like to watch for sure. Cycling is an obvious one but then I love watching most of the swimming events, especially relays. Add in some diving, highlights of gymnastics, some beach volleyball, and finally some track and field, and chilling out at night is great.
Before the events got under way there was much media attention brought upon some of our cyclists choosing to wear masks as they got off the plane in Beijing. I think at this point the census is that the timing might not have been the best but I don't hear too many bad mouthing them anymore for the decision. I support them as I feel it should be their choice and thought that the USOC looked bad for not supporting them when the masks were issued in the gear supplied by them.
With a visit to Beijing last December, the cyclists had an idea as to what to expect upon their arrival. Lea ended up with an infection (if I recall) on the last trip and with what Mike has worked through to get to this point - how does one not respect their decision to protect themselves? One bad thing I've gotten from reading is that we may not truly not know just how bad things are. Many have said that the media is making the air sound worst than it is yet I've also been reading the athletes have been told NOT to discuss it in a negative way.
Here are some links to articles on it and the air quality in Beijing:
What a great weekend! Today's stage was won by Brad!!! Yeah!!! I could not be happier for him and it was a great win.
Poor Chris Horner was involved in the crash yesterday at the end of the stage and he broke his collarbone. Ouch! But the trooper and sweetheart was at the race today and he was talking through out the race up on the stage. It was good to see him back but he also looked sore by the end. Chris Horner talked through the stage - broken collarbone and all.
Peg and I saw John and Diane on our way over to say hi to the Jelly Belly guys. He told us Val and Harriet VanDeVelde were coming to the race too! Peg knows the whole clan from years ago and we were both looking forward to seeing them!
We stopped over to wish Brad, Bryce, and the team good luck. Bryce was warming up and waved as we walked over. Brad was chillin' a little bit before the race so we tried to catch up on what happened in yesterday's stage. Matty Rice was pretty funny and clearly at home with us visiting. If these guys only knew what it's like growing up with brothers and working with mostly men. Little shocks us. But Danny Van Haute tried to keep it clean. We all enjoyed the laughs.
More pics with Brad, this one before today's winning stage!
From there we walked over closer to the start and got to meet Fast Freddie and Tyler Hamilton. Enjoyed seeing many other riders too and then headed to find John and Diane. We found Val and Harriet and from there the real fun began. I can't say enough about how great the family is and how much of a pleasure it is to spend time with them. John came over and he managed to get us all into the VIP area. What a treat! It offered a nice break in air conditioning, up top offered a great view of the start finish line, and the drinks had certainly made for a lively and laugh filled afternoon!
John and Diane are on the right along with friends of their's from Belgium.
Peg and I took a break from that and walked around some too. We ran into PopUp Rolan from Podium Cafe and it was great meeting him. I also got to talk to Amy (Chad Hartley's g/f) again. We took some more pics and then headed back for some water. John was then onto the stage for an interview and we all had some good fun making fun of the waves he should do to the crowd. With about 10 laps to go we all went down to the ground level and cheered on the riders somemore. They cheered really loudly for Daniel Holloway and John was his typical enthusiast cheering on the guys and Tyler. I of course cheered on Daniel but had to cheer for Bryce in the breakaway and Brad and Chad in the field.
As the laps counted down we were pretty much in non-stop laugh mode. John shared some awesome stories of the France visit. If you get a chance and have Stage 21 on tape, make sure to check out Christian blowing apart the QuickStep train on the Champs!!! He lead going into the tunnel and on then dropped back. Millar is seen leading coming out and what a great story. As David Millar said - what GC leader takes it upon himself to make some noise and disrupt a train like that for their guy Julian!!! Way to go C! He's off to Beijing tomorrow and Leah, Uma, and good ol' Jake are coming here. Safest travels to you all!!!
As we watched the breakaway get sucked up we were all cheering for the guys. On the last lap we all prayed they'd make it through that last tight corner and they did. As they came flying up to the line I saw Brad fly off the front for the win and I was screaming for him. I was so happy. They gang was like who was that - and I was like THAT was BRAD!!! Yeah!!! Brad even impressed John and we were all happy for him.
The gang took off and Peg and I headed over to get pics and cheer for the winners. Once that was done we walked around the back and saw Chris Horner and Fast Freddie. We got to congratulate them and wish Chris a speedy recovery. He was such a trooper! We then saw Brad being interviewed and I went to congratulate him and we helped him carry his flowers and nice big check back to the team. We ran into Amy again and Daniel Holloway so I officially got all the pics I had with signed which was pretty sweet. And all the guys are going to be back for Downers! Yeah!!!
Overall winner's podium.
A huge congrats to Brad on a great win today! I was so excited for him and I seriously can not say enough about him and the entire Jelly Belly Team. The entire team is just a great group of guys who were super friendly and took time to chat and made us feel very welcome in stopping by and saying hi. They have set a very high bar for others and I only hope others are a fraction as friendly as they were!!! Again, thanks guys for a really great weekend of racing!
I wanted to put a quick post up on the Elk Grove TT from Friday night. I had a really good time and I got to meet some of the guys I've been following. Brad Huff wins hands down for being really friendly and easy to talk to. It was more like catching up with an old friend than being star struck in meeting him which was pretty cool. It was fun to finally meet The Bird too. I figured he'd be easy to spot but didn't figure on Matty Rice being so tall too. All together the group looks like most other cyclists until you stand an average height person next to them or meet them in person and you realize just how tall they are. The entire Jelly Belly Team was nice and it was fun to stop over and say hi. :-) I recommend anyone there to stop over and meet them. It's a great team with some pretty cool guys with great talent.
Bryce Mead (aka The Bird) in the start house.
Matty Rice in the start house.
Meeting Chris Horner.
Chris Horner from Astana was at the race and he is one of the sweetest guys to meet. Very fan friendly and easy to talk to and really takes time with the fans which was great. I also got to meet Daniel Holloway from Garmin. It was his first race I think in the team kit. I had asked Alex about him a little and it was cool to pass along hello's between them. They're both great guys.
Daniel Holloway takes off for his ride.
There are some big names at the race and awesome talent. I love seeing cycling live as you really appreciate what they do and how they prepare and the tactics that go on. When you hear the TT bikes go by and you hear the power they're producing it can give you goosebumps. And not much beats cheering them on as groups when they fly by you. The wind they create is an experience all should check out.
Sometimes a little much, but always unconditional. :-) The above pic was C, me, and John before the start of Downers Grove 2008. C took off with about 15 laps to go for a fun lead to liven the race up a bit. It was great seeing him again!