In Defense of…
When I started cheering for Garmin, they were serious underdogs. Every little victory was actually a huge victory. Now they are, on paper, one of the strongest Classics squad on the planet and not a half-bad stage racing squad. But they have not exactly had great success on the roads this season. They got off to a great start at the Tour Down Under and Tour of Qatar, but victory has seemed elusive since then. Milan-San Remo, Scheldeprijs, Tour of Flanders… If it wasn’t for bad luck, they wouldn’t have any luck at all. Now, it seems that fans are up in arms about the lack of success.
I can’t say anything about tactics, equipment, training or anything else. What I will say is this: It’s still sport. The unpredictability is the beautiful thing about sport. Just because the team is the strongest on paper, it doesn’t mean that will always transfer to the road. Sky threw so much money at their team last year and did terribly. Leopard-Trek hasn’t had the best season so far either. Flanders even showed that the stronger riders can still fail. So you know what? I’m still behind them. I’ll put on some argyle this Sunday and shout at Thor to complete his progression up the Roubaix podium.
Your Favorite Brands
My team is sponsored by a specific tire company. In all of my experience with this company, I have despised their product. They don’t last very long and the mountain bike tires have tread designs that don’t work for me. But since we were trying to put together a team order, I was trying to rationalize a purchase of some of their tires. So I went trolling for reviews. It’s funny how we will look until we get the answer we want to read. That might be shopping around at different doctors until you get the diagnosis you want, or reading enough reviews of a product until you find one that has the sentiments you wanted to read in the first place. Consequently, I looked and looked until I was pretty satisfied that I wasn’t going to find someone who would say good things about the tires I was looking at. So I started looking at some other brands and found gushing reviews almost immediately. I stopped looking and resolved to just buy the tires I like.
This has been the most bizarre week. On Sunday night, going into Monday morning, we got several inches of snow. I had to fire up my snowblower for the first time since the end of January. Then today, I went out for a bike ride in bib shorts and a short sleeve jersey. While it’s weird, I think it’s somewhat charming. The year-round recreation here is part of the reason people live here — including me. If this weather keeps up, we might still get on the trail by the beginning of May. Maybe?
Changing Your Race Schedule
About two weeks ago, I decided that I wasn’t going to ride the Almanzo. I had been excited about it, but the excitement waned quickly. Part of it is the distance to Spring Valley, Minnesota. Part of it is my real goal for the year, which revolves around short, hard efforts — which is the exact opposite of what the Almanzo is about. Part of it is making sure there’s stuff for my kids to do, whether that’s before, during or after the race. Spring Valley, even with the Almanzo market and Rochester just up the road, just can’t compare with what’s happening around Hayward, Wisconsin. So today I mailed in my check and registration form for the Cable Area Off-Road Classic. I’ve raced CAORC each of the last two years and found it a great start to the season. They’ve got a good kids race for Cameron and we’ll stay at the KOA again, with the infamous Jumping Pillow. Pulling out of the Almanzo makes me feel bad, but I know it’s the right thing.
Not Being Able to Figure Out Your Race Schedule
I still cannot figure out if I want to do the Superior Bike Fest or the Subaru Cup. They are so different that I cannot decide between them. The Superior Bike Fest is a local set of road races — crits, circuit races and so on. It’s cheap, it’s close and it’s on tarmac. The Subaru Cup is a set of mountain bike races several hours away. It might be one of the only times I get to see some of my mountain bike heroes racing — Todd Wells, JHK, Heather Irmiger and so on. I don’t feel bad about this indecision because I’ve got time to spare.
Dang, Flanders was cool to watch — even with radios. Getting to listen in on the team radios? Way cool.