Thursday, November 26, 2009

What I’m Thankful For

Thanksgiving- and the general holiday season- is a time to give thanks for everything in your life- family and friends, your job, your home, your health- like not having diabetes after last year’s feast and ensuing gluttony- and good fortune. My feeling is that you should be thankful everyday, but hey, what do I know? There are a lot of things in life that I’m extremely thankful for so I’m just going to make a list.

-My mom, one of the strongest people I know.

-Nadia and Jake for being the two best siblings you could ask for

-My grandma who’s always been my #1 fan and supporter

-My entire family for their unwavering support in everything that I do

-Being raised basically as a modern day pilgrim child in the city of Chicago; only being able to watch PBS and play with “museum quality” toys as a kid

-Ron FW for giving me the push I needed to get into cycling

-My coach, Craig, for helping me become a bike racer

-Having the opportunity to live and train at the OTC

-The staff and athletes at the OTC who make it their mission to help everyone here succeed

-My teammates who have been with me for success and failure, good and bad days and tons of unforgettable experiences

-Everyone I’ve called just to talk (It doesn’t happen very often)

-Everyone else that’s supported me in someway, shape or form over the years (There are a lot)

-Living in the US where everything is much easier than the rest of the world

-Being able to see the world from a two-wheeled perspective (You should try it sometime)

-The challenges presented to me, without which my life would be ordinary and boring

-The 300+ days of sunshine in Colorado Springs

The list goes on, but nobody really likes reading lists. What’s more important is for all of you to think about what’s important in your lives. Maybe this list helps spark your thought process, maybe you just read this list at your Thanksgiving dinner as your own, that’s fine. There are people out there that have much more material wealth than you do, but you are much richer. Happy holidays everyone.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Today May as well Be Christmas

Or Hanukkah, Kwanza, or Festivus. I don't really care. I'm going back to Chicago and I'm SO excited! I'm staying for over a month which is the longest I've been there since 2006 when I still lived at home. Technically there's a camp in the middle so I won't be in IL the entire time, but... mostly. United was kind enough to provide me with a voucher after a bag was lost, so I got the flight on the cheap. It shows too. My route is Colorado Springs to Denver, Denver to Omaha (New airport!) then to Chicago. The ticket lady saw my itinerary and said something like "Well aren't you going all over god's good creation?!" Well yes I am! Amen!
And really, amen for Premier Exec! I got bumped up on all my flights. In all the flying I've done, and all the plane's I've ever been on, not one has been in first class, so I'm jazzed. (Do people actually use "Jazzed" anymore? It just came to me so I went with it.) Anyway, they're calling us to board, so I'm out! See you in Chicago.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Going Green Smells

In an effort to go green, and not give myself cancer, I bought a natural deodorant. I thought "I really don't sweat a lot, this makes total sense!" Wrong. I found out that even though Tom's says "Unscented" it actually smells like earwax, "Odor Protection" is code for "Doesn't work worth a crap." Nowadays everything gives you cancer- obesity, deodorant, cellphones, and in a few years they'll probably say chemo causes cancer too. So, in trying to avoid cancer my thought was to revert back to the hippie/pilgrim days when they probably just rubbed a sprig of pine under their arms and called it good. Pine sprigs are copious around the OTC but I'm too lazy to go outside and get some. And it's probably illegal to snap the tender brach of a pine tree off for personal hygiene purposes... that'd be sticky too. So, I'm just gonna go back to using my aluminum riddled deodorant that actually works. Hopefully by the time I get cancer, medical technology will have advanced enough to cure it, and I can keep using what works.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Another Year in the Books

Most people do a yearly recap at the end of the year, but since November is the end of my year, I’m writing this now. Last season was somewhat disappointing for me- 4th place really sucks if you didn’t already know- and there were a lot of outside stresses to be dealt with, but it is what it is. I had to get over that. While being 4th is an awful feeling, it’s a great motivator. It was the fire I needed to get rolling stronger than ever into the 2009 season.

After a much needed mental break, the year started in earnest in January in the lab with Craig and Randy Wilbur. The focus of this season was to be the 3k on the track, so 3 minute power intervals would become my friend- or nemesis- over the coming weeks and months. After plateauing on the track in 2008 I was dedicated 100% to the endeavor; the gap between Sarah and I would start closing. Everything was going according to plan- numbers were where they were supposed to be, and I was clearly becoming a track specialist. Then we got the terrific news that Worlds would be split, meaning two separate qualification processes. (Previously, you could use either a road or track qualification to get you on both road and track teams. Not any more.) It was April at this point, which meant shifting from 5th to reverse to get back into some sort of road shape for trials.

The plan? Superweek. Matt Bigos and I loaded up the car and drove to Chicago to race our legs off. Our schedule consisted of 11 races in 14 days, and ended up requiring 140 some hours in the car and over 8000 miles of driving. This might sound like misery to some of you, but it made for the best summer I’ve ever had. Shockingly Matt and I didn’t try to kill each other, and we even picked up my sister in Chicago to help with some of the driving. After the block of racing, I was able to “cat up” or move up to the next level of racing.

From there we drove back across the country for road nationals/trials. Time trialing doesn’t necessarily come easily to me, but I’ve been able to get some decent results in the event. This year though, I was a little nervous going into trials, not sure if I’d be able to qualify. The course was in the middle of nowhere USA- Bend, OR. It was one of the simplest courses you could design- an out and back, uphill then downhill course. Climbing hasn’t ever been a strength of mine, which only made my nerves worse. I convinced myself that the crit racing I’d just done at Superweek would help me get up the hill faster, and it ended up being a pretty solid ride. It was a little off standard but much better than my track performance. Go figure. My silver streak continued.

By now it’s August, and road worlds is fast approaching. Italy in September? Not a bad deal if you ask me. My track bike was sitting quietly in the cage at the track, not being used at all. From here out it would be time trial and road bikes. Having the team here to train with was really great. This year it seemed like the team was especially cohesive- as a training group and a group of friends. The week in Italy was awesome. I’d been there once before, but not for racing. Traveling for racing is much different than traveling for pleasure. These are all business trips; no sight seeing, or souvenir shops, we don’t leave the hotel except for rides and racing. I’m a terrible card player (Clark and Ali can attest to that) but we played almost every night. Clark and I had an epic game of War where I won on a triple war victory. That is the highlight of my card-playing career. The highlight of the racing came in the time trial. I don’t know what it is about Americans and time trialing, but it seems that across the board, we do pretty well. Everyone finished top 10, we picked up a few jerseys, and a bunch of medals. Again, the silver streak continued, and I finished second to Sarah. I was absolutely stoked with my ride. Sarah was one minute behind me in the start order; my goal was to hold her off as long as possible. If I could hold her off till the second lap, it would be a good ride for me. Coming through for the second lap, I half expected to hear her and her follow car behind me. Nothing. I made it all the way to the 1k banner when she caught me. I absolutely imploded on the last climb, and she was able to put a ton of time into me there. The last 1000 meters we were as together as you can ride in a TT, and crossed the finish 1 second apart. Despite being caught, it was the fastest I’d ever gone in a TT. The road race played out just as expected, only sooner.

The saying “No rest for the weary” comes to mind in regards to prep for track worlds. We had a few days to recover from the racing and travel, then jumped head first into track training. A good portion of the team was here in Colorado Springs to train on the track which was different than flying solo in training. Ali and I can only do so much on the track by ourselves. It was fun! Having a group of teammates here totally changed how I train… for the better. Having a cohesive group really benefits everyone involved, and it showed. We had three track camps to get ready for worlds ad in each one we had good, hard sessions. Craig warned us that we’d want to quit, and give up, and wonder why we even ride bikes. He was right. The first LA camp was deathly, but I (and everyone else for that matter) came out stronger and more focused than ever. Compared to the camps, racing was the easy part.

“Manchester in November” is not nearly as appealing as “September in Italy” but it’s what we got. Cold, rainy, gloomy; it seemed as though the atmosphere itself sucked the tan off my skin. Ten days in Manchester undid ten months in the sun baking my skin to a fine, dark beige. I digress. The racing went as well as I’d hoped. The schedule was a bit different in that the pursuits were first rather than the sprint. It was phenomenal for me. I enjoy the pursuit- I feel like I need a mental health screening for just saying that- and having it first was a good mental boost for me. Again, it was Sarah and I racing against each other. I knew she’d catch me, it was just a matter of when, and trying to hold her off as long as possible. It started off well, had a good start, was ahead of schedule but felt really good, then I looked at the lap counter. Nine laps to go. Out of twelve. Are you kidding me? It felt like I’d been riding circles for eternity already and I wasn’t even 1/3 of the way through. I was able to pull it together mentally and refocus on the effort. I finished up just a touch off schedule, but not too bad, for a new personal best. And it meant that I’d get to ride again vs. Sarah in the final that afternoon. She caught me like five laps in after her blistering opening kilo- a 1:10. Really, I was OK with it because it meant less suffering for me. What? I’m a realist. Had a new personal best in the 500 too which was nice.

After the 500, we packed all our bikes in the romantic lighting of the Holiday Inn parking lot after dark. We ate our last meal at the hotel, then went out to enjoy at least a little bit of Manchester. It was Sunday so our options were somewhat limited, but we found a cool little club in the city. Sam, Clark and I danced for an hour and a half straight! Taj was floating in and out, but danced quite a bit too. Let me tell you, dancing is exhausting! Fun, but exhausting. Maybe when people that aren’t of the Caucasian persuasion, it’s easier. I suppose jerking around the dance floor so it resembles an epileptic’s seizure isn’t really dancing either. We made it back to the hotel to catch an hour nap before getting on the shuttle for the airport.

I experienced quite a bit of success this year, and for that I’m blessed. It would not have been possible without the generosity of everyone who’s supported me in my endeavors. Sponsors CAF for the race wheels, Greg Geisler for the amazing road bike- that thing’s like a Porsche! Anthony Zhan and Fuji Bikes for the best track bike I’ve ever ridden, Mert Lawwill and John Cain for the racing hands, and Powerbar for keeping me fueled along the way. Of course thanks to my friends, family, coaches and teammates for their unwavering support in my journey over the years. You guys are the best of the best and make it all possible. I owe any and all success I have to you guys.

Clif notes highlights, plus some bonus ones:

Halfway decent showing at Elite Nats

Staying in the sketchiest motel ever with Dave

First cross country, nighttime road trip- Chicago with Nadia

Nicest Christmas to date with the family in Chicago

Working with Craig and Randy Wilbur in the lab in the dead of winter

5 week training road trip- Tucson, Chula, SLO

xXx team camp- crashing on the first day

Finding out Worlds would be split, and the season would be extended 8 more weeks.

Shifting gears (no pun intended) back into road mode

Presenting to the IOC to get the Games in Chicago in 2016

Having a horrendous performance at track nationals

Gypsy trip with Matt- racing more than some people thought was a good idea

~140 hours and 8000 miles in 7 weeks in the car (Not counting the previous 5 week trip)

Getting the W at Superweek

Catting up

Only letting Sarah put a minute into me in the TT

Shifting back to track mode after road worlds

StoryCorps recording- forever preserved at the Library of Congress

Craig’s deathly LA track camps

Riding my fastest 3k and opening kilo ever.

Seeing teammates be successful

Dance marathon

Feeling more connected to my family

And coming up: Going home to Chicago for over a month… all three holidays.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Things Not To Do While Traveling

This is a list of (very dumb) things that I’ve done while traveling. Yes, they’re true, and no, I don’t recommend doing any of them.

-Get lost in a country where you do not speak a word of the language. Austria, 2000

This was my first international experience, and also a family vacation, so it was an experience to say the least. My cousin and I decided to go for a walk in Vienna, to get some fresh air. We were told to just walk around the block- which would prevent us from getting lost- but why would we listen to something like that? (We were 12 btw) We just started walking and soon enough we didn’t know where we were anymore. We managed to find a police station and one of the officers spoke enough English to understand that we were staying in the building with the mermaid on the side. No address, just a giant mermaid mural on the building. After a while of phenomenal people watching we were picked up by our family who, from that point on, stayed with us for the remainder of our vacation. Lesson: Carry a map, or at least know where you’re staying.

-Pack irreplaceable items in your suitcase hoping it won’t get lost, because it will. Chicago, 2008

For most of you reading this, this doesn’t apply at all, but for a select few it does. One of the things I’ve learned while traveling with the cycling team is to always carry your custom, one-of-a-kind pieces of equipment with you on the plane. This would include prosthetics. Now, I’m pretty lazy, and I don’t like to carry a bunch of stuff with me on the plane, so I check everything. Well this time I decided to pack my arm (and cycling shoes, pedals, and helmet) in my duffel and check it. Of course my bag won’t get lost! I mean, don’t they know who I am? Nothing bad could ever happen to me! Newsflash, shit happens to everyone, usually when you’re least prepared for it. This was one of those times. Sure enough, I was the last one standing at baggage claim when they turned the belt off. No bag for Greta! Somehow my bag got routed through Hong Kong or someplace ridiculous like that I wouldn’t be able to get it for at least 36 hours. Faaaantastic. I need my arm to ride (along with shoes, pedals and a helmet) and when you’re job is Cyclist that becomes problematic. I did get all my stuff back, just a while later. Lesson: Don’t pack your arm in your suitcase. Carry it with you.

-Lock your passport in the hotel safe after mistyping the lock code. Italy, 2009

This one seems like a no-brainer (I guess my brain was routed through Hong Kong with my arm as I wasn’t able to use it.) Nowadays most hotel rooms have safes for your valuables. My only valuable- beside my good looks and wit- was my passport. I decided it could go in the safe with my roommate’s stuff. This safe didn’t just close to lock, you needed to enter the code. Whatever code you enter to lock it, is the code to unlock it as well. When you mistype the locking code and don’t know what you actually typed it becomes an issue. This was an issue I didn’t want to deal with, so my roommate Babs took care of it. Here’s the good part. She found me 15min later and asked what day we were leaving. Why does this matter? She followed that up with “Well, we can wait a week for the safe guy or the hotel can drill it and we’ll have to pay $1000.” Do you have a mouse in your pocket? Who’s this “WE” you speak of? She started laughing 5 seconds after my jaw hit the floor. The hotel was able to get it open without a problem. Lesson: Remember your birthday which doubles as the safe code.

The Gypsy Life

At what point in your life do you say “I want to live out of a backpack and a car when I grow up.”? I don’t remember aspiring to that, but that’s where I’m at now. Five weeks ago I packed my laundry basket with clothes and a race bag with my competition gear and got in the car. This was to be an epic road trip full of bike racing, some eating, Redbull, bike racing, Clif Bars and more bike racing. Our car had enough equipment to supply a small pro team, and the collective value of said equipment was definitely worth more than the Yukon. You know you’re a bike racer when the stuff on and inside your car is worth more than the car itself.

First up was SoCal for our track national championships. Going there we drove south through Arizona and New Mexico, which was really like Dante’s 5th ring of hell. Not even kidding, it was 115° at 11am wherever it was that we were. I don’t even know, nor do I really care to know. While in central CA we spent the night at a college house with a friend, and let me tell you, I didn’t miss out on anything by skipping “real college” to ride my bike. We slept in the garage (seriously) on a couch and a futon with beer and mystery stains on it. I laid there on top of a sleeping bag with all my clothes on and debated leaving my shoes on incase of a late night escape. It was horrible. The next morning we didn’t even brush our teeth- we just grabbed our backpacks and left.

From there we (another para-cyclist Matt and I) came back to Colorado Springs basically to repack the car and grab different bikes before heading on to Chicago. We drove through the night through the heartland- Nebraska and Iowa. If you’ve seen one corn field, you’ve seen middle America, just repeat that image for 1000 miles. Chicago is my hometown, and I was looking forward to being back. We were greeted by my mom, our dog and the “backup meatloaf” my mother decided to whip up for us just incase we needed a meatloaf sandwich when we got in at 1am.

The whole point of going to Chicago was for Superweek, or Stupidweek as more people call it. It’s 17 days of road and crit racing in Illinois and Wisconsin. (A Crit is a type of road race on a ~1 mile course, usually 4 corners in a urban area.) I was registered for 11 races, nine were pro races and two were amateur. When the pros tell you that you’re racing too much, you might be racing too much. But hey, what else do I have going on? Nothing, so I might as well right? Christ, I got my butt cooked well done and handed back to me on a silver platter every day for the first week. It was terrible. Both Matt and I had similar racing experiences. Finally after about 4 races we found our legs and started racing well. It was as if someone flipped a switch and turned our legs on. Towards the end I actually ended up with a few results to write home about, and a little bit of money to boot. By this time we’d spent more time in the car than either of us had spent at home in 6 weeks, and we showed it. At the races everyone knew who we were because we were the crippled kids, and the slowest ones, and the loudest most obnoxious people around. It was fantastic, and neither of us cared. We had sleeping bags that we’d unzip in the middle of the parks on our courses and take naps, make gypsy sandwiches on the tailgate of the car, take water bottle showers parking lots, and I actually debated washing my hair in the sink of a deli bathroom somewhere in Wisconsin. How we became such degenerates so quickly, I don’t know.

Superweek ended and it was on to the next leg of our journey- Milwaukee, WI to Bend, OR. Yes, Oregon is on the other side of the country. 36 hours in the car, 30 spent listening to 60’s on 6 on XM (If our brains were filled with knowledge rather than all the words to every song on the radio, we might actually not be as dumb.) and 6 hours watching movies later we arrived in the middle of nowhere- Bend, OR. The racing in Bend went well for me, finishing 2nd (always the bridesmaid!) in the time trial and qualifying for a spot on the Road World Championship team.

I’ve tried to keep a tally in my head of the hours spent in the car, and I think we’re over 145 hours, and over 8000 miles on this epic journey. We’ve been through deserts, plains, mountains, valleys, the ocean, old roads, new roads, a dead horse on the highway, elk, sheep, cows, corn, soy beans, nice people, mean people, toothless people, dumb people, and had a blast along the way. It’s so good to be home now.

A Conversation With a Highway Patrol Officer

Before I get down to it, I need to give you some background. I grew up going on road trips all over the country with my family, which for most people would turn them off ever driving anywhere ever again. Not me, I love driving. Mix that in with my sport which is all about going fast, the fact that I’ve seen way too many episodes of Top Gear, and that I like driving fast on (unpaved) twisty roads, it should be no surprise that I want to be reincarnated as a rally driver.

While driving from Tucson, AZ to the central coast of California, I came across many things, like border patrol check points, Hollywood traffic and an RV that caught fire in a gas station. All of these things cost me precious time on the 700 mile journey north. In an attempt to make UP time, I was driving a bit over the speed limit, and on highway 154 it finally caught up with me. I’ll admit it, I was bombing down this road, alone, having a great time driving, when I came around a turn and who pulls out right behind me? California Highway Patrol. Womp, womp. This was my first time being pulled over, but I’d seen the movies so I knew what to do. Out run him! No, I kid. I pulled over right away and he promptly blinded me with his flood light through the rearview mirror. He tapped on the passenger side window, I rolled it down, and our conversation went something like this:

Officer- “Good evening! How you doin’ tonight?”

Me- “I was doing alright... how ‘bout yourself?” This isn’t what I’d expected him to say.

Officer- “Good, good. You were going a little fast, you know that? 75 in a 55. Where you headed?” I honestly didn’t realize it was a 55, I thought it was still 65.

Me- “Yeah, I know, I’m sorry. I’m on my way to a cycling training camp in San Luis Obispo.” I’m sure I looked like a hot mess seeing as I’d raced in the morning, not showered and had sat in the car for the previous 9 hours leading up to this moment. And the car was crammed full of bikes and affiliated equipment.

Officer- “Wow, that sounds like a lot of fun! Can I see your license and registration?” I hand him my license and the first card I grab out of the glove box, which is packed full of extra napkins I’d grabbed to check the oil level in my car. They pretty much explode out of the glove box. “Ok, this is your insurance card, which expires tomorrow by the way, do you have your registration?”

Damn it. I rifle through the glove box again, and the billion napkins that are now all over the passenger side of the car. No registration.

“No sir, I’m afraid I don’t have it.”

“Ok” As he writes down my license number, and gives it back to me “Well you take it easy out there, I don’t want you gettin’ hurt.”

“Yes sir.” I say after him because he’s already half way back to his car.

I waited a moment unsure weather he was coming back with a ticket, or if I could leave. I thought I was free to go, but he hadn’t said “I’m letting you off with a warming” like I’d expected him to say after not giving out a ticket. When he started backing up to pull out, I figured it was more than safe to leave- which I did at a much slower speed, and obeyed all posted speed limits and road signs.

*A week later my mother got an envelope from the Arizona Department of Transportation with a photo of me in the car, and a speeding ticket to go along with it. Damn photo enforced speed limit thing got me.

Old Blogs Reposted

I'm reposting some blogs from my .mac site, and articles I've written for the newsletter here on complex. You may or may not have seen them already. So, sorry if you already have.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Worlds Part 2

Now that I'm recovered from a marathon of travel, I can sit down and write about track worlds- Worlds Part 2.

Let me start at the very beginning. As per usual, we loaded the bus and left for the airport at 0'dark thirty in the morning for the drive up to Denver. (We have so much stuff we have to fly from Denver because the little planes in Colorado Springs can't carry it all). It’s not one of my serious goals in life, but I’d like to see as

many airports around the world as I can. Luckily when we travel as a team, we get to check a lot off the list. Denver-Detroit-Frankfurt-Manchester. Four in one go! We collected our baggage in Manchester where a small miracle occurred- only one bag was lost. Unfortunately, it was my bike case with both bikes in it. Oh, and my bag came out busted open and tied together with a rope. It sounds like a bummer, but really, it was ok. The bikes were delivered to the hotel and my bag was just unzipped (I guess zippers are hard for TSA agents to figure out.)

This marked my fourth time in Manchester for a cycling event, but for most of the team it was their first. In the world of cycling, the Manchester velodrome is the closest thing we have to a Mecca. Honestly I don’t know how it came to be so revered but it sure is fast. The Brits train there and they’re all fast, so maybe we’re hoping for some type of osmosis to happen and magically become faster. So seeing the excitement on everyone’s face when we walked in for training was pretty darn cool; like kids at Festivus.

Enough about this osmosis business, you want to hear about the racing. OK. I traveled 5000 miles to race 14 laps around the Mecca track. Was it worth it? Definitely. First up was the individual pursuit- 3000 meters (12 laps) in the pain cave doing everything you can to catch your opponent. The 3k was my main focus of the year. The past ten months of training came down to the four minutes of this race. (In this event, two people are on the track at the same time, on opposite sides and try to catch each other. In the first round, the fastest 4 riders go on to finals, and in finals, if you catch your opponent the ride is over and you win.) My race is against Sarah the Brit, who happens to be the world record holder, world and Paralympic champion. We all know I’m going to get caught, it’s just a matter of time, I’m ready for that, and in fact it’s good for me because then I have someone I can see and chase. The gun goes off and we’re racing. Law and order are on it; Mecca tra

ck is bowing down to me. I settle in and after what feels like 6 laps later- I’m well into the cave at this point- I look at the lap counter and see 9. I’m not even 1/3 of the way through this hellish event and my vision is starting to go, my legs feel like battery acid is flowing through them. Terrific. I don’t remember the rest very clearly, but before we left, a friend told me he wanted just 3 more rpm and I did everything I could to get it out. My time is about 4.5 seconds faster than my previous best, and I’m ecstatic. Forget getting passed and Sarah taking 2 more seconds off the insanely fast world record. I had a great ride and I didn’t care about anything else.

The next day was the 500- two laps and it’s over. This is an event that I train for, but don’t focus on at all if that makes any sense. I do it well, because Craig tells me to, but because you have no chance at a medal if you’re not entered. That’s why I do it.

The best part of this trip wasn’t any personal success I had, but seeing the success of the team. Every rider surpassed expectations and we brought back double the projected number of medals. The team basically lived together for two straight months in prep for this event. We were with each other for the highs of success and the lows of bad days and deathly camp workouts. It was way better to finish a race and be greeted by smiling faces, hi-fives and hugs than to get a shiny coin on a ribbon.

World Cups Announced!

This isn't breaking news anymore, but still important. There will be a road world cup series starting next year. Read the article for more deets.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Track Worlds Website and Update

People have been asking, I'm finally going to deliver. Click on the link for results and updates from Manchester at the Paracycling Track World Championships.

We arrived in Manchester yesterday afternoon after about 26 hours of travel. The 5:30a departure from Colorado Springs was a bit rough, but I managed to sleep on the planes, and even wrote a paper in the airport. (Gotta love a 5 hour layover in Detroit!) Amazingly, only one piece of luggage was lost from our entire group... it happened to be my bike box, with both bikes in it. It was put on the next flight to Manchester- it never left Chicago- and made it to the hotel later that night. Also, my duffel bag came out tied together with a rope. When I saw it, I promptly announced that "That's a janky ass bag! Who's is that?!" Not knowing it was infact mine. Phenomenal. After closer inspection, the zipper was just open, and a simple unzip- zip solved the problem and nothing is actually broken. And now I have 6ft of high quality rope. (The rope they used is of surprising quality, and tied with very good knotsmanship (??) Makes me think they've done that before)
We got on the rollers last night for a little recovery spin (I was able to use Craig's bike for that), ate dinner, and tried our hardest to stay awake till a reasonable bed time. The movie Taken did the trick. So after a solid night's sleep in our scoarching hotel room, we got back on the rollers today, both times in the shelter of the cargo shipping container we're using as a storage room. 6 cyclists and about 20 bike boxes fit nicely inside. It's quite warm once everyone gets rolling. Tomorrow we should be on the track nd everyone is looking forward to it. It's my 4th time in Manchester, but the first for almost everyone else. It's fun to see the excitement people get when riding a new track. Not to sound old and jaded, I'm still really excited to be here, and this is actually one of my favorite tracks.
That's all for now. I should be posting again later this week with hopefully more exciting updates for you all. Thanks for reading!