Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Mellow Johnny needs a home.....

Saturday will begin the 3 week quest for the ultimate prize in cycling....the Maillot Jaune (yellow jersey). Wearing the yellow fleece even for one day is the highlight of most cyclists careers. No less competative are the competitions for the Maillot Vert (green jersey) for the sprinters and the King of the Mountains Polka Dot jersey. There is one additional jersey that is given to the Best Young Rider (under 25 as of Jan 1) but since those riders are as a rule newer professionals I won't be previewing the contenders.


The King of the Mountains Polka Dot jersey has lost some of its prestige over the past few years, billed as the Tour's "best climber" the strategy in the recent past is for one of the decent climbers to lose a ton of time on a flat stage or a time trial and then go out on a long breakaway to accumulate points. The following predictions are based on the riders who are the best climbers in this years Tour.

  1. Robert Gessink (Rabobank)-I fully expect him to win the KOM by a large margin. I see a page out of the "Chicken" Rassmussen's book where he loses big time on one of the flat or rolling stages and then goes out point hunting on the big Pyraneean and Alpine stages. To be fair this guy can really climb and probably is one of the top 5 climbers in the Tour.
  2. Andy and Frank Schlek (Saxo Bank)-Both are outstanding climbers and if it becomes apparent after the team time trial and the first individual time trial that one or both are no longer GC contenders then I could see the focus shifting to the KOM.
  3. Carlos Sastre (Cervelo Test Team)-Sastre is the defending champion but I honestly don't think that he has the team support to repeat this year. Last year not enough credit was given to the Schlecks for deflecting attention away from Sastre and for how much work they both did in chasing down breaks and setting an insane tempo up Alpe D'Huez. Once Carlos loses a big chunk in the first two tests against the clock I think he will be given the freedom to out climb all the GC men.
  4. Thomas Voeckler (BBox Boo-Yah Telecom)-Voeckler is not a bad climber and if he can get out on a break in some of the early stages it is very possible for him to build up a nice cushion for the high mountains. This would be a major accomplishment for a French team in this years Tour.
  5. Christophe Moreau (Agritubel)-Not nearly the climber that he used to be and by extension not the GC threat that he used to be either. If he choses to target the KOM this year he can still climb well enough to wear it into Paris.

2008 KOM Final Standings

1. Bernhard Kohl 128 pts (disqualified post race for testing positive for CERA)

2. Carlos Sastre 80 pts

3. Frank Schlek 80 pts

4. Thomas Voeckler 65 pts

5. Sebastian Lang 62 pts

GREEN JERSEY (Most consistant finisher)

The green jersey is given for the most consistant finisher based on points awarded at the finish line of each stage and points awarded for intermediate sprint lines out on the course.

  1. Mark Cavendish (Columbia)-Cav had one of the greatest Tour debuts by a sprinter winning 4 stages before dropping out to rest for the Olympics. Had he completed the Tour Cav would have won the Green Jersey hands down. There is simply no one faster in the last 200m of a sprint.
  2. Oscar Friere (Rabobank)-Winner of the 2008 Green Jersey, Friere has the unique ability to sprint very fast and is a good enough climber to make it over the mountains before most of the other sprinters. Many of the points he accumulated last year were the result of not being in the last group of finishers during the mountain stages.
  3. Thor Hushovd (Cervelo Test Team)-The God of Thunder is a former winner of the Green Jersey and is sprinting very well this season. Hushovd will win his share of stages and is also a fairly decent climber for a sprinter.
  4. Gerald Ciolek (Milram)-Last year he was the lead out man for Cavendish and still managed to win a stage for himself. Ciolek is a very talented young rider and it will be interesting to see him mix it up in the sprint.
  5. Julian Dean (Garmin-Slipstream)- Dean finished 9th in the points last year despite having no real help in the sprint finishes. This year he has young Tyler Farrar who is a fast sprinter in his own right for a lead out. I would expect Dean to be in the mix on all the flat stages.

2008 Standings

1. Oscar Friere 270 pts

2.Thor Hushovd 220 pts

3. Eric Zabel 217 pts

4. Leonardo Duque 181 pts

5. Kim Kirchen 155 pts

Maillot Jaune..Mellow Johnny..Golden Fleece...Yellow Jersey

How ever you want to refer to it, the leader's jersey of the Tour de France is cycling's ultimate prize. The man who stands on the top step of the podium this year will have undoubtedly earned the title of Champion.

  1. Alberto Contador (Astana)-The 2007 Tour champion is making his return to the race after Astana was excluded last year. Contador has won the Giro D'Italia and the Vuelta Espana in the last 12 months making him one of only a handful of men to win all 3 Grand Tours. Contador hasn't raced much this year, but won the Spanish TT championship just last weekend and appears to be on fine form. The only way that I see him not winning the Tour this year is if Astana completely implodes due to internal politics and even then I am not sure that he will lose. Contador can climb with the pure climbers and has raised the level of his time trialing to be at least competative with the likes of Leipheimer and Armstrong.
  2. Lance Armstrong (Astana)-Arguably the greatest Tour rider ever, Armstrong won the Tour seven consecutive times from 1999-2005 before retiring at the end of the '05 Tour. At age 37 Lance is making a comback and from all indications appears to be in fine form as well. My biggest concerns with him are team politics (see Contador, Alberto) and if his body can recover from day to day. There is no doubt that he can still put out the wattage to rival anyone in the peleton the question is if his 37 year old body can recover after a hard effort and repeat that the next day.
  3. Levi Leipheimer (Astana)-Lost in all of the Contador v Armstrong talk is the fact that in any other year Levi would be an odds on favorite to win or at least be on the podium. I am not so sure that is not what is going to happen this year. One of the advantages of having Contador and Armstrong on the same team is that when Levi attacks are the other teams going to be capable of bringing him back and at what cost? Do you expend energy to bring Levi back only to have Contador/Armstrong launch a couter attack which you can't cover? If Levi can put in a good attack and get some time on one of the mountain stages he can certainly defend it during the TT's. Now what? Does Contador attack his own teammate? I think not and I know that if Lance is in a position to help Levi win the Tour he would sacrifice himself to do so.
  4. Cadel Evans (Silence-Lotto)-Poor Cadel, he had a chance the last two years to win the Tour and just couldn't make it happen. Now barring an epic collapse at Astana he will be lucky to make the podium. Evans has virtually no help for the mountains and has a reputation for following wheels and not attacking. He is going to have to put in an epic attack in order to win the Tour this year.
  5. Christian Vande Velde- IF (the proverbial big if) he has recovered from his crash in the Giro and IF (another proverbial big if) he can stay with Astana in the mountains, Vande Velde has an opportunity to be on the final podium in Paris. Like an other non Astana rider in this year's Tour it will take an implosion by Astana for him to win.

Best of the Rest

Denis Menchov-I toyed with putting Denis in the top 5 but there are two reasons why I didn't; one he just won the Giro and I am not sure he is recovered enough to challenge early in the Tour. By the time he comes into form his Tour may be over, and the second is that he has an uncanny ability to choke in the Tour. He could still end up on the final podium.

Carlos Sastre-Defending champion has no help on Cervelo this year.

Frank/Andy Schleck-neither can TT well enough to be on the final podium

Roman Kreuziger-great young rider who will win the Tour one day....just not this year.

Mick Rodgers-Great in the TT and getting better as a climber, he also rode high in the GC at the Giro and I am not conviced that he is recovered enough to compete early.

Podium Predictions

1. Contador

2. Armstrong

3. Evans

Tomorrow: A Viewers Guide for the First Time Tour Fan

Monday, June 29, 2009

Teams of the Tour

The following team list is reprinted from Velo News and is current as of 29 June. The comments below each team are my own and my opinion.

2009 Tour de France teams

Ag2r-La Mondiale
Manager: Vincent LAVENU
Cyril Dessel (FRA)
Stephane Goubert (FRA)
Lloyd Mondory (FRA)
Vladimir Efimkin (RUS)
Jose Luis Arrieta Lujambio (ESP)

Ag2r are the most competative of the French teams (which isn't saying alot), Vladimir Efimkin and Cyril Dessel are fine riders that given an opportunity may win a stage. As with all French teams though they have no real GC threat.

Manager: David FORNES
Maxime Bouet (Fra)
Sylvain Calzati (Fra)
Brice Feillu (Fra)
Romain Feillu (Fra)
Eduardo Gonzálo (Spa)
Geoffroy Lequatre (Fra)
David La Lay (Fra)
Christophe Moreau (Fra)
Nicolas Vogondy (Fra)

Agritubel is another French team that lacks any real punch save Christophe Moreau. They will be active in the break every day and depending on how the big teams are feeling may even get one of their riders in the Maillot Jaune for a day or two. The best case scenario for this team is to win a stage or two from the break and possibly have Moreau contend for the KOM.

Manager: Johan BRUYNEEL
Lance Armstrong (USA)
Alberto Contador (Spa)
Levi Leipheimer (USA)
Andreas Kloden (Ger)
Haimar Zubeldia (Spa)
Yaroslav Popovych (Ukr)
Gregory Rast (Swi)
Sergio Paulinho (Por)
Dmitriy Muravyev (Kaz)

This quite possibly the strongest team in the history of the Tour De France. The top 4 riders on this team (Armstrong, Contador, Leipheimer, Kloden) have all made the podium in a Grand Tour. If these guys were on seperate teams they would be the top 4 contenders for GC. Throw in Popovich who has a 2nd at the Giro and Zubeldia who is a periennial Top 10 at the Tour and you have 6 of the top 15 riders in the entire race. The only thing that could prevent an Astana rider from winning the Tour (and possibly sweeping the podium) is internal politics. Popular US rider Chris Horner was left off the Tour roster for political reasons. The way I see it is that there are two very distinct sub teams (Armstrong, Leipheimer, Popovich, Kloden) and team two (Contador, Zubeldia, Paulinho) with the other two guys being caught in the middle. It should be interesting to see how this shakes out. I don't buy for one minute that Lance is "willingly" supporting Contador nor do I believe Contador will defer to Armstrong. More on this in the GC preview tomorrow.

Bbox Bouygues Telecom
Manager: Jean-René BERNAUDEAU
William Bonnet (FRA)
Pierre Rolland (FRA)
Thomas Voeckler (FRA)
Yuri Trofimov (RUS)
Pierrick Fedrigo (FRA)
Yukiya Arashiro (JPN)

Bbox Boo-Yah Telecom is pack fodder, nothing more nothing less. Voeckler might go out and grab the KOM jersey and hold it until the high mountains start when the real climbers come out to play.

Caisse D’Epargne
Manager: José-Miguel ECHAVARRI
Jose Ivan Gutierrez Palacios (ESP)
Oscar Pereiro Sio (ESP)
Xabier Zandio Echaide (ESP)
Luis Leon Sanchez Gil (ESP)
Luis Pasamontes Rodriguez (ESP)
David Arroyo Duran (ESP)

Caisse D'Epargne took a major hit when Alejandro Valverde was not allowed to take part in this years Tour. Former champion Oscar Pereiro is on the roster but I don't really expect him to do much in GC. Luis Leon Sanchez could be the big surprise of this team, I expect him to finish in the Top 15.

Cervelo TestTeam
Manager: Theo MAUCHER
Inigo Cuesta (ESP)
Volodymyr Gustov (UKR)
Heinrich Haussler (GER)
Thor Hushovd (NOR)
Andreas Klier (GER)
Brett Lancaster (AUS)
Jose Angel Gomez Marchante (ESP)
Hayden Roulston (NZL)
Carlos Sastre (ESP)

Cervelo Test is a new team this year but it has several familiar faces from past Tours to include defending champion Carlos Sastre. Thor Hushovd should win his share of sprints but other than that I don't expect Sastre to repeat as Tour champion since he no longer has the Schlecks to deflect pressure and chase down attacks. This team is simply not strong enough to stand up to the barrage of attacks from Astana and Saxo Bank in the high mountains. Stage winner Simon Gerrans being left off the team was a disappointment also.

Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne
Manager: Éric BOYER
Stephane Auge (FRA)
Samuel Dumoulin (FRA)
Leonardo Duque (COL)
Bingen Fernandez (ESP)
Christophe Kern (FRA)
Sebastien Minard (FRA)
Amael Moinard (FRA)
David Moncoutie (FRA)
Remi Pauriol (FRA)

Cofidis is just a step above BBox and a step below Ag2r in the pecking order of French teams. Stephane Auge will be active in the breaks and David Moncoutie will possibly contend early for the KOM, other than that it will be a quiet Tour for Cofidis.

Manager: Miguel MADARIAGA
Igor Antón
Mikel Astarloza
Koldo Fernández
Egoi Martínez
Juanio Oroz
Alan Pérez
Rubén Pérez
Amets Txurruka
Gorka Verdugo

Euskatel is another team with no clear GC contender. Mikel Astarloza is a former winner of the Dauphine' but hasn't done much since. Expect Euskatel to be active in the Pyranees and when the Tour dips into Spain, but other than that not much to get excited about.

Francaise Des Jeux
Manager: Marc MADIOT
Sandy Casar (F)
Jerome Coppel (F)
Anthony Geslin (F)
Yahueni Hutarovich (Blr)
Christophe LeMevel (F)
Benoit Vaugrenard (F)
Jussi Veikkanen (Fin)

Sandy Casar was the Tour's Best Young Rider a few years ago unfortunately he hasn't won anything else of note lately. Casar may win a stage from a breakaway but don't expect alot from this team. FDJ should be happy they are French or they wouldn't be here at all.

Garmin - Slipstream
Manager: Jonathan VAUGHTERS
Julian Dean (NZl)
Tyler Farrar (USA)
Ryder Hesjedal (Can)
Dan Martin (Irl)
David Millar (GBr)
Danny Pate (USA)
Christian Vande Velde (USA)
Bradley Wiggins (GBr)
David Zabriskie (USA)

This is the second or third strongest team in the Tour. Christian Vande Velde (provided he has recovered from his Giro crash) is a legit podium contender. With the additions of Dan Martin and Ryder Hesjedal to the roster this year he should have some help in the high mountains. I would be shocked if Garmin doesn't win the Team TT and at least one other stage.

Lampre - N.G.C.
Manager: Giuseppe SARONNI
Marco Bandiera (ITA)
Angelo Furlan (ITA)
Marco Marzano (ITA)
Daniele Righi (ITA)
Simon Spilak (SLO)
Massimiliano Mori (ITA)
Mirco Lorenzetto (ITA)
Marzio Bruseghin (ITA)
Alessandro Ballan (ITA)

Lampre is a team without an identity. Alessandro Ballan could win a stage or two and with a stronger team Marzio Bruseghin could possibly be Top 5 in GC, it will be interesting to see which direction the team goes. Do they hunt for stage victories or do they go out and try to get Bruseghin high in the GC? Time will tell.

Manager: Roberto, AMADIO
Daniele Bennati (Ita)
Roman Kreuziger (Cze)
Alexandr Kuschynski (Rus)
Vicenzo Nibali (Ita)
Franco Pellizotti (Ita)
Fabio Sabatini (Ita)
Brian Vandborg (Den)
Alessandro Vanoti (Ita)
Frederik Willems (Bel)

With no Ivan Basso due to gastritis, Liquigas took a big hit for the Tour. Basso would have been capable of rivaling the Astana train for podium positions and wins in the mountains. What Liquigas does have is (in my opinion) one of the most exciting young riders in the peleton in Roman Kreuziger. Kreuziger has won the Tour of Romandie already and had a very good Giro as well, he may be one to crash the Astana party at the top of the leader boards. Expect Bennati to mix it up on some of the stages also.

Quick Step
Manager: Patrick LEFÉVÈRE
Sylvain Chavanel (FRA)
Jerome Pineau (FRA)
Stijn Devolder (BEL)
Carlos Barredo Llamazales (ESP)

Quick Step has an excellent GC man in Sylvain Chavanel, unfortunately they don't have the team to support him. Ultimately the teams success or failure will depend on the decision by CAS to let Tom Boonen into the Tour. If he is in then the team can concentrate on winning the Sprinters jersey, if not then the will hunt stage wins with Stijn Devolder and Chavanel.

Manager: Harold KNEBEL
Denis Menchov
Grischa Niermann
Juan Antonio Flecha
Oscar Freire
Juan Manuel Garate
Joost Posthuma
Stef Clement
Laurens Ten Dam
Robert Gesink

Rabobank is one of the more intriguing teams in this year's Tour. Denis Menchov is fresh off of his victory in the Giro where he soundly beat Leipheimer and Armstrong in two Time Trials. The Rabo's also bring Robert Gesink to the Tour to provide climbing help for Menchov and contend for the KOM jersey. Oscar Freire is still fast and should be able to mix it up with Cavendish and Hushovd for some sprint victories. Expect Juan Antonio Flecha to be in several breaks and possibly win a stage from one of them.

Manager: Marc SERGEANT
Cadel Evans (AUS)
Thomas Dekker (NED)
Jurgen Van den Broeck (BEL)
Johan Vansummeren (BEL)
Greg Van Avermaet (BEL)
Staf Scheirlinckx (BEL)
Mickael Delage (FRA)
Matthew Lloyd (AUS)
Sebastian Lang (GER)

Ah poor Cadel...so close to winning the Tour for two straight years and now so far away. With the defection of Yaraslav Popovich to Astana, Evans has virtually no help in the mountains. Thomas Dekkar and Matthew Lloyd will do the best the can, but I don't see either of them being able to hang with the best climbers. All Cadel can do is Time Trial his tail off and follow wheels in the mountains. If he is close on Mount Ventoux then he could have a shot, especially if there is infighting at Astana.

Jonathan Hivert (FRA)
Piet Rooijakkers (NED)
Kenny Robert Van Hummel (NED)
Albert Timmer (NED)
Cyril Lemoine (FRA)
Simon Geschke (GER)

Pack fodder....I have no idea who any of these guys are!

Team Columbia - Highroad
Manager: Bob STAPLETON
Mark Cavendish (GBR)
George Hincapie (USA)
Tony Martin (GER)
Mark Renshaw (AUS)
Michael Rogers (AUS)
Maxime Monfort (ITA)
Kim Kirchen (LUX)
Bernhard Eisel (AUT)
Marcus Burghardt (GER)

This is a great team, with great riders, lead by a great manager. You can't say enough good things about Columbia. They are a true team and work for on another to get the stage or race victory whether it is a sprint for Cavendish or an overall for Kirchen. Sadly I don't think that Kirchen has the horses to hang in the high mountains, he should still be Top 10 at worst due to being a very good all around rider, don't count out Mick Rodgers either he was the World TT champion 3 year in a row and has become a decent if not great climber. Expect Cavendish to win at least 4 stages if not more, there is simply no one in the world even close to him in the last 200m of a sprint.

Team Katusha
Manager: Stefano FELTRIN
Joan Horrach Rippoll (ESP)
Serguei Ivanov (RUS)
Danilo Napolitano (ITA)
Nikolay Trusov (RUS)
Stijn Vandenbergh (BEL)
Filippo Pozzato (ITA)
Vladimir Karpets (RUS)
Mikhail Ignatiev (RUS)
Alexandre Botcharov (RUS)

With Robbie McEwen sidelined due to injury Team Katusha will look to Filippo Pozzato and Danilo Napolitano to bring home some sprint victories. Vladimir Karpets is the GC man and could be Top 10 if he can eliminate the one bad day in the mountains that he seems to have every Tour.

Team Milram
Manager: Gerry VAN GERWEN
Gerald Ciolek (Ger)
Markus Fothen (Ger)
Johannes Fröhlinger (Ger)
Linus Gerdemann (Ger)
Christian Knees (Ger)
Niki Terpstra (Ned)
Peter Velits (Svk)
Fabian Wegmann (Ger)
Peter Wrolich (Aut)

Team Milram could surprise some people this year and have a great Tour. No longer are they the lead out train for Petacchi and Zabel in the sprints, Milram actually has three riders in Markus Fothem, Fabian Wegmann and Linus Geremann that could be high in the GC. Gerdemann wore the Yellow Jersey for one day during the '07 Tour and with some help could wear it again this year. This is a sneaky strong team!

Team Saxo Bank

Manager: Bjarne RIIS
Andy Schleck (Lux)
Fränk Schleck (Lux)
Fabian Cancellara (Swi)
Stuart O’Grady (Aus)
Jens Voigt (G)
Nicki Sørensen (Den)
Chris Anker Sørensen (Den)
Gustav Larsson (Swe)
Kurt-Asle Arvesen (Nor)

Team Saxo Bank is again loaded for bear at this year's Tour. Cancellara should win the opening Time Trial, both of the Schlecks are very, very strong climbers, Jens Voigt can be counted on to be in a breakaway or ten, and Stuart O'Grady still has some pop in the legs to contend for the sprint finishes. Kurt-Asle Arvesen is another Tour stage winner on the team. Look for one or both of the Schlecks to ride high in the GC, if they can limit their losses in the Time Trials either one has a shot to win it all.

There you have it, a look at each team that will start the 2009 Tour De France. The rosters that aren't full yet shouldn't make any difference with the exception of Boonen being added to the Quick Step roster. In order of strength I rank the top 10 in this order:

  1. Astana-they are like the Yankees of cycling
  2. Columbia-close between them and Garmin for 2nd, the health of Vande Velde and the strength of Cavendish in the sprint is what gives them the edge.
  3. Garmin-Slipstream-very strong team this year, hopefully Vande Velde has recovered from his crash in the Giro and can ride like he did last year.
  4. Saxo Bank-Climbers, Time Trialists, and a Sprinter (Oh my!). They should be in the mix on every stage.
  5. Cervelo Test Team-Sastre and Hushovd will bring home some victories for the Cervelo boys. Plus they ride the P4!
  6. Milram-Scary good, lots of really good young talent.
  7. Silence-Lotto-Cadel is riding solo again. Thomas Dekker could surprise though.
  8. Liquigas-Roman Kreuziger will win the Tour one day in the near future, probably not on this team though.
  9. Rabobank-They should probably be a bit higher, but I am not convinced that Menchov is fully recovered from the Giro enough to contend.
  10. Lapre, Quick Step (with Boonen), or Caisse D'Epargne.....flip a coin.

Tomorrow is the GC, Sprinter, and KOM preview.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Vive Le Tour

The 96th Tour De France will kick off on July 4th with a 15km Time Trial in Monaco. The race then moves across the southern end of France with a slight dip into Spain prior to the Pyranees. The race then makes an air transfer to the north and proceeds across the nothern part of France to the Alps and finally makes it's way down to the "Giant of Provence" for the penultimate stage....Mount Ventoux.

Stage 1 (and it is a Stage this year as opposed to a Prolouge as it is over 10km long)-Monaco>Monaco-Stage 1 promises fireworks from the get go, at 15.5km there is the opportunity for the favorites to put some time into each other on the first day. The stage itself is a challenge with a gradual 7.5 km climb to the top of the Category 4 Cote de Beausoliel, followed by a screaming descent back into town.

Favorites: Cancellara, Zabriske,Evans, Leipheimer
Next Cut: Menchov, Hincapie, Armstrong, Millar, Van De Velde
Outside Shot: Pate, Kirchen, Moreau, Contador, Kloden

Stage 2-Monaco>Brignoles-Stage 2 looks to be a chance for the sprinters to mix it up although with one Category 3 climb and three Category 4 climbs a breakaway could conceivably get up the road and steal the sprinters day. The last climb is 60k from the finish so I expect that Columbia will have pulled any breaks back by that time and will control the race to the finale.

Favorites: Cavendish, Hushovd, Ciolek
Next Cut: Dean, Farrar, O'Grady, Benatti, Ballan
Outside Shot: Napolitano, Casar, Auge

Stage 3-Marseille>La Grande Motte-If ever there was a stage that screamed "Bunch Sprint" this one is it. Two Category 4 climbs in the middle will give some no name French rider a shot at wearing the Polka Dot jersey for a few days, but the end of the stage is flat. The last 100k has zero elevation change so the sprinters teams should be able to pull back the break and set up for an exciting day of sprinting.

Favorites: Cavendish, Hushovd, Ciolek
Next Cut: Dean, Farrar, O'Grady, Benatti, Ballan
Outside Shot: Napolitano, Casar, Auge

Stage 4-Team Time Trial-Montpellier>Montpellier-39km of pure red line hell. The Tour won't be won here, but if you are on a weak TTT team (I am looking at you Sastre) then you could lose enough time that your Tour may be over prior to the high mountains.

Favorites: Garmin-Slipstream, Astana, Columbia-High Road
Next Cut: Saxo Bank, Rabobank, Milram, Cervelo Test Team, Caisse D'Espargne
Outside Shot: Everyone else....this is going to be UGLY!!

Stage 5-Le Cap D'Agde>Perpignan-This stage is a breakaway artists dream. With the big guns resting their legs after yesterdays TTT and looking forward to the High Mountains in two days time a break composed of the right riders should stay away until the end. Look for some no name French rider to win the stage and possibly take the Yellow Jersey.

Favorites: Some dude off of a French Team
Next Cut: Some other dude off a French Team
Outside Shot: Someone not French on a French Team

Stage 6-Girona>Barcelona-The Tour visits Spain for this rolling stage before the High Mountains. With three Category 4 and two Category 3 climbs on the route, look for whatever no name Frenchman wearing the Polka Dots to go out and consolidate his lead before the real climbers come out and play tomorrow. The sprinters will want this one since their opportunities from here on out are few.

Favorites: Cavendish, Ciolek, Hushovd
Next Cut: Some random dude that is an hour down already.
Outside Shot: Anyone from BBox, Cofidis, Agritubel, FDJ, or Ag2R

Stage 7-Barcelona>Andorre Arcalis-The first of the High Mountain stages and the longest stage of this year's Tour should make for an interesting day. There are 5 categorized climbs starting off with a Cat 4 climb and then two Cat 3 climbs sandwiched around a Cat 1 climb. The stage finishes on top of the HC Arcalis. I don't think that the big boys are going to duke it out on this first climb, but rather they will mark each other so as not to lose any time. Expect a pure climber to win this stage.

Favorites: Gessink, Hesjedal,Kruziger, A. Schlek, F.Schlek, Sastre

Next Cut: Any of the GC guys should one of the other favorites attack

Outside Shot: One of the mountain goats from Euskatel. It is their home turf after all.

Stage 8-Andorre-La Vielle>Saint Girons-With two Cat 1 climbs and a nasty Cat 2 sandwiched between them this stage could be fireworks, or with its downhill finish could be nothing. I expect that the GC contenders will again be content to mark each other and barring an attack from a contender, sit in for this stage. Expect a breakaway/climber to win this stage.

Favorites: Gessink, Hesjedal, Kruziger, A. Schlek, F.Schlek, Kirchen

Next Cut: Any of the GC Contenders if one attacks

Outside Shot: Euskatel guys

Stage 9-Saint Gaudens>Tarbes-Two of the Tours most famous climbs make an appearance here, unfortunately they are so far away from the finish line that it won't make a difference. The Col de Tourmalet and Col de Aspin fall right in the middle of this stage and are only 30km apart, however even if one of the GC men should faulter on the the Tourmalet his team should be able to bring him back to the peleton in plenty of time to reach the finish without giving up time. Expect whomever is the KOM leader to go out point hunting today to consolidate his lead.

Favorites: Gessink, Dessel, LL Sanchez

Next Cut: Moncoutie, either Schlek

Outside Shot: Random guy no one has ever heard of that is an hour down already.

Stage 10-Limoge>Issoudun-After a rest day in Limoge, the Tour heads north on a relatively flat stage. There are three Cat 4 climbs in the first 60 km but after that it is pretty flat. Expect the sprinters (that are left) to contest this stage as the opportunities for a stage win are growing small. It is July 14th (Bastille Day) so you can expect a Frenchman to make a go of it either in a breakaway or in the sprint.

Favorites: Cavendish, Hushovd, Ciolek

Next Cut: Moncoutie, S. Chavanel, some random French dude.

Outside Shot: Any random French dude.

Stage 11-Vatan>Saint-Fargeau-Another flatish stage heading north. The only bumps in the road are two Cat 4 climbs one at the beginning and one at the end. I would be shocked if this is not a bunch sprint at the end.

Favorites: Cavendish, Hushovd, Ciolek

Next Cut: Eisel, Farrar, Dean

Outside Shot: Some guy no one has ever heard of.....

Stage 12-Tonnerre>Vittel-This is an interesting stage that could feature some fireworks toward the end. There are six catogorized climbs ( five Cat 4 and one Cat 3) none of which are all that difficult, however the placement of the Cat 3 climb 30km from the finish could allow a breakaway artist to go and stay away until the end.

Favorites: Voight, Asle-Arveson, Flecha

Next Cut: Eisel, Pate, Pozzato

Outside Shot: Anyone....this stage is hard to predict.

Stage 13-Vittel>Colmar-The Tour visits the Vosges for the first time in a couple of years. This stage has all the makings of an attack-fest. With the Alps starting in just two days (and only one stage being a true mountain top finish) expect one or more of the GC men to attack on this day to try and either get back some lost time or gain time going into the mountains and the final TT. There are 5 catagorized climbs on this route, with the tricky Cat 1, Cat 3, and Cat 2 trifecta in the last 70km (the Cat 2 climb coming just 20k from the finish). This is definitely a can't miss stage for viewing.

Favorites: Leipheimer, Menchov, either Schleck, Evans

Next Cut: Krueziger, Vande Velde, LL Sanchez, Gessink

Outside Shot: Dessel, Moureau, Popovich, Hincapie

Stage 14-Colmar>Besancon-A relatively benign stage, this should be a bunch sprint. After yesterday's attackfest and the high mountains starting tomorrow, expect the GC guys to sit in and save their energy. Depending on the fatigue factor the win today could also go to someone in the breakaway.

Favorites: Cavendish, Hushovd, Ciolek, Freire

Next Cut: Farrar, Dean, Eisel

Outside Shot: Close your eyes and pick one....this has the potential to be an "I don't care" stage by the peleton.

Stage 15-Pontalier>Verbier-The Alps begin today and here is where the GC contenders will position themselves for the last week of the Tour. There are 6 catagorized climbs on this 200k stage, however the first 4 are Cat 3 climbs and fall in the first 74km. The remaining 2 climbs (one Cat 2 and the finshing climb of Verbier {Cat 1}) should separate the men from the boys. The final climb is 8.8 km long (relatively short by Tour standards) and has a maximum grade of 7.5% so it isn't that steep either. Don't expect the true contenders to lose too much time on this one.

Favorites: Contador, Armstrong, Sastre, Menchov, Vande Velde, Evans, either Schleck, Gesink

Next Cut: Leipheimer, Kloden, Rodgers, Hesjedal, Kruziger

Outside Shot: Anyone from Euskatel, Karpets, Gerdeman, Popovich

Stage 16-Martigny>Bourg-Saint-Maurice-Day 2 in the Alps. Only 2 climbs on this stage but boy are they both tough! Just 40k into the stage the Col du Grand Saint Bernard is a leg burning 24.4 km long at an average of 6.2% grade. This earns the higest classification of an HC climb. The second climb is equally as tough if not as long. The Col du Petit-Saint-Bernard comes at 128 km in and is 22.6 km long with an average grade of 5.1 %. With 30k from the summit of the last climb to the finish line, I don't expect that this will blow the GC apart. That being said if you get dropped on the first climb and can't get back on by the second one your Tour is pretty much over. I expect the main GC guys to stay together and whomever is the leader of the KOM competition to go out on a solo break and win.

Favorites: Gessink, All the main GC contenders

Next Cut: Voeckler, Moncoutie

Outside Shot: anyone who is a decent climber and is so far down on GC that the peleton won't bother to chase.

Stage 17-Bourg-Saint-Maurice>Le Grande-Bornand-Here is where the GC will be thinned out and we will see the final podium start to take shape. There are 5 catagorized climbs (4 Cat 1 and one Cat 2) all of which are long, steep, and hard. The summit of the last climb and the finish line are only separated by 15 km so whomever crests the last climb first should win the stage. The climbs are as follows:

Km 18.0 - Cormet de Roselend (D.902-D.925) - 18.1 km climb to 5.7 % - Category 1
Km 56.0 - Col des Saisies - 15.1 km climb to 6 % - Category 1
Km 111.5 - Côte d'Araches - 6.3 km climb to 7 % - Category 2
Km 140.5 - Col de Romme - 8.8 km climb to 8.9 % - Category 1
Km 154.5 - Col de la Colombière - 7.5 km climb to 8.5 % - Category 1

All I have to say is OUCH!!

Favorites: Contador, Sastre, Armstrong, Gessink

Next Cut: Evans, Menchov, Leipheimer, Kloden, Vande Velde, Gerdeman, Rodgers

Outside Shot: Kirchen, Dessel, Moncoutie, S. Chavanel

Stage 18-Annecy>Annecy-Normally this would be the day that shakes up the GC and sets the final podium for Paris. Not this year! With the Giant of Prevance looming in just a few days the GC men will approach this TT differently than in years past. Last year it was a climber (Sastre) who had to hold off a Time Trialist (Evans) in order to secure the yellow jersey and win the Tour. Today's TT will be more about the strong time trial riders trying to gain back time on the pure climbers that might be ahead of them on GC and the climbers trying to limit their loses so that they still have a chance on Mount Ventoux.

Favorites: Armstrong, Leipheimer, Menchov, Evans, Cancellara, Zabriske, Millar

Next Cut: Contador, Kloden, Rogers, Hincapie, Karpets, Gerdeman

Outside Shot: Sastre, Gessink, S. Chavanel

Stage 19-Bergoin-Jellieau>Aubenas-This stage on paper is a breakaway winner's dream. It's the day after the final TT and the day before the showdown on Mount Ventoux so in theory the GC contenders (what is left of them) should sit in and save their energy for tomorrow and the sprinters aren't going to make it over the last Cat 2 climb in time to make it a bunch sprint so a breakaway rider or riders who can climb should win this stage....right? In the words of Lee Corso..not so fast my friend. The last climb on this stage is a nasty little Cat 2 that is only 14km from the finish. If one or more of the GC men are within a minute or two of a podium position then expect an attack on this climb to try to take back a bit more time before tomorrow.

Favorites: Voight, Moncoutie, anyone a long way down on GC

Next Cut: any Frenchman that hasn't contended for a stage win

Outside Shot: Anyone..literally. It could be a GC man or someone 3 hours down.

Stage 20-Montelimar>Mount Ventoux-The Queen stage of the Tour. Today will decide the final podium in Paris. There are 5 catogorized climbs on this stage none of which should factor in the final results except for the final one....Mount Ventoux. The Giant of Prevance is 21.1 km long at an average gradient of 7.6%. This stage could go either way, it could be a final showdown between 3,4, or 5 remaining GC contenders or it could be a matter of the Maillot Jaune just surviving to the top to seal his victory. I expect Lance to win this stage one way or the other, if he is wearing yellow then it will be a crowning acheivement to an 8th Tour victory, if he is not in yellow then I expect him to win to try and erase the regret of gifting the stage to Marco Pantani in the 2002 Tour.

Favorites: Armstrong, Contador, Gessink

Next Cut: Leipheimer, Evans, Kloden, Sastre, Vande Velde

Outside Shot: No one outside the Top 5 on GC

Stage 21-Montereau-Fault-Yonne>Paris-The final stage! Who will be drinking champagne on the way to Paris? Expect a sprinter to win here.

Favorites: Cavendish, Hushovd, Freire, Farrar, Dean

So there you have it, a stage by stage breakdown of the 2009 Tour de France. Tomorrow I will preview each team and then the GC contenders, Sprint and KOM favorites on Tuesday.

It's That Time of Year...

It's the end of June which can mean only one thing...it's Preview Season. The two loves of my life (other than my wife and kids of course) are getting ready to swing into high gear. The Tour starts next weekend (July4th) and then it won't be long until College Football starts. Over the course of the next few days I will be doing a comprehensive preview of the Tour stage by stage and then give thoughts on who are the Contenders and who are the Pretenders.

Sometime before the beginning of August I will do a preview of the SEC team by team and give my thougts an predictions on what is going to happen and who will be in Atlanta come December 4th.

Until then....Vive Le Tour!

Monday, June 22, 2009

How do you like THEM apples????

As those of you who read my blog regularly know I have been in somewhat of a racing funk lately. For whatever reason during my first two multisport races of the year (Duathlon Nationals and Gulf Coast) I was unable to put it together on race day and it lead to a disappointing result in Richmond and a DNF in Panama City. Last weekend I raced at West Point Lake in the Olympic distance event and while basically equaling my time from last year I did feel like I had a much stronger race (the swim course being long might have had something to do with that also). This past Saturday continued that trend as I was able to pull of a great race at the Sgt Audie Murphy Sprint Triathlon at Ft Rucker, Alabama.

Before I get into the actual race report a brief history lesson on Sgt Audie Murphy. This is courtesy of the Ft Rucker Audie Murphy Club website:

Audie Leon Murphy, son of poor Texas sharecroppers, rose to national fame as the most decorated U.S. combat soldier of World War II. Among his 33 awards and decorations was the Medal of Honor for "conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty." He also received every decoration for valor that the United States offers, many of them more than once.He also received 5 decorations for valor by France and Belgium. Credited with killing over 240 enemy, he became a legend within the 3rd InfantryDivision (Rock of the Marne). After enlisting as an Army Private, Audie quickly rose to the rank of Staff Sergeant, Murephy was later given a "battle field" commission as 2nd Lieutenant. During his time in combat, Murphy was wounded three times and fought in 9 major campaigns across the European Theater. On 21 September, 1945, Audie was released from active duty with the Army. During this same time, actor James Cagney invited Murphy to Hollywood in September 1945, when he saw Murphy's photo on the cover of LifeMagazine. His first starring role came in a 1949 released film by Allied Artists called, Bad Boy. In 1950 Murphy was signed to a contract with Universal-International (later calledUniversal) where he starred in 26 films, 23 of them westerns over the next 15 years. His1949 autobiography To Hell And Back was a best seller and Murphy played himself in a film of the same title released by Universal-International in 1955. To Hell and Back held the record as Universal's highest grossing picture until 1975 when it was surpassed by Jaws. In 1965 Universal chose not to renew Murphy's contract. This gave him the opportunity to work with other studios and independent film producers. In the 25 years that Audie spent in Hollywood, he made a total of 44 feature films. Audie Murphy also wrote poetry and realized success as a songwriter. He teamed up with talented artists and composers such as Guy Mitchell, Jimmy Bryant, ScottTurner, Coy Ziegler, and Terri Eddleman. Dozens of Audie Murphy's songs were recorded and released by Dean Martin, Eddy Arnold, Charley Pride,Jimmy Bryant, Porter Waggoner, Jerry Wallace, Roy Clark, and Harry Nilsson. His two biggest hits were Shutters and Boards and When the Wind Blows in Chicago. Eddy Arnold recorded When the Wind Blows in Chicago for his 1993 album Last of the Love Songs currently released by RCA. Audie suffered from what is now known as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and was plagued by insomnia and depression. During the mid-60's he became dependent on doctor prescribed sleeping pills called Placidly. When he recognized that he had become addicted to this prescription drug, he locked himself in a motel room, stopped taking the sleeping pills and went through withdrawal symptoms for a week. As an advocate for the needs of veterans, he broke the taboo about discussing war relatedmental problems after this experience. In an effort to draw attention to the problems of returning Korean and Vietnam War veterans, Audie Murphy spoke-out candidly about his personal problems with PTSD, then known as "Battle Fatigue". He publicly called for the Government to give more consideration and study to the emotional impact war has on veterans and to extend health care benefits to address PTSD and other mental health problems of returning war vets. On May 28, 1971, (Memorial Day Weekend) he was killed at the age of 46. A private plane flying in fog and rain crashed in the side of a mountain nearRoanoke, Virginia. Five others including the pilot were also killed. On June 7th Audie Murphy was buried with full military honors in Arlington National Cemetery. His gravesite near the Amphitheater, is the second most visited gravesite behind that of President Kennedy. In 1996 the Texas Legislature officially designated his birthday, June 20th, as Audie Murphy Day. On June 9, 1999 Governor George W. Bush of Texas made a similar proclamation declaring June 20th to officially be Audie Murphy Day.

Now on to the race report!

I arrived at Ft Rucker on Friday afternoon and went out to Lake Tholocco to pick up my race packet and pre ride the bike course since it was on an area of post I wasn't familiar with. This proved (at least in my opinion) to be the key to the race. Although the bike course was only 10.6 miles long it was hilly, I mean REALLY HILLY. I went out at an easy pace and was surprised at how steep a couple of the hills were. After the turn around on the way back in I realized that the out portion was the steeper and that I would be able to hammer it back in to transition. I also did a quick transition run off the bike which turned out to be a good thing also. The road turned from paved to gravel/dirt after about 1/2 mile so it was good to know that ahead of time. I actually thought of switching to a heavier shoe (I was planning to run in my flats) due to the dirt road but I hadn't run in the other shoes without socks and didn't want to risk blisters.

Pre-race meal was a nice juicy sirloin, sweet potato, and broccoli at the Santa Fe Roadhouse in Enterprise with my buddy Steve and his wife and daughter.

Race morning started with a 5 am wake up and arriving at transition at 5:30am. Transition racks were first come, first served and I was able to grab a nice spot beside the Bike/Run out. I met up with Kraig and we went down to the lake for a warm up swim. The water was warm and not the least bit refreshing. It had already started to get humid so we knew it was going to be a challenging day.

Swim-The swim was 4 waves starting 3 minutes apart. The under 30 men started first followed buy the under 30 women, then it was us old dudes, and finally the cougar brigade to round things out. My wave (of course) was the largest so it was important that I get off to a good start from the front. The course was advertised as 1/4 mile (~440 yds) but it looked long just eyeballing it during the warm up. Kraig and I seeded ourselves up front and decided to go all out on the swim since it was so short. The horn sounded and off we went! I saw several guys ahead of me in green caps and I knew Kraig was just off my left side so I tried to keep them in sight and not sight off the buoy. By the time we hit the first buoy the "world beaters" had petered out and I only saw one green cap ahead of me. We started catching people from the previous two waves before the second buoy and by the time I hit the beach I thought that there was only one green cap ahead of me, but I wasn't 100% sure. I felt great during the swim and knew that I had really rocked it even while going close to 100% the entire time. I didn't wear a watch again so I had no idea what my swim time was until after the race. When I saw 9:03 I knew it was longer than 440 yds. This was confirmed by another athlete who was a college swimmer and only did a 7:00 swim (which was the fastest of the day). My swim was good for 2nd AG and top 5 overall.

T1-There was a small hill up to transition, but I was able to get in and out in a flash (0:39) which was good for 1st AG.

Bike-Here is where yesterday's recon ride payed off for me. Initially I was a little concerned that I wouldn't be able to push the bigger gears on the bike due to the fact that I had done 102 miles on Wednesday and was still feeling some residual leg fatigue during my recon ride Friday, luckily that was not an issue on Saturday. The RD told me the day before that a guy from the All Army team was racing and he started in the 30 and under wave which gave him a 6 minute head start on me. I also wasn't sure exactly how many in my AG were ahead of me after the swim either since they started all 30 and over men at the same time. Basically I got on the bike and went as hard as I could for the entire ride hoping to pull back any 30 + men that had managed to get ahead of me and take as much of that 6 minute head start back as I could from the young guys. Somewhere between the 3 and 4 mile mark I saw the All Army guy coming back toward me and I knew that I probably wasn't catching up to him unless he completely blew up on the run. It was a good 5 minutes at least until I saw the next guy on his way back which gave me some hope to at least grab 2nd Overall. Just after the turn I caught what turned out to be the only 30+ male ahead of me (although I didn't know that at the time) and proceeded to put a good amount of time into him on the way back. By the time I got back to transition there were only 5-7 people total ahead of me on the course, what I didn't know though was if any of them were in my AG. Bike time was 29:16 (21.75 mph) which was good for 1st AG and 2nd fastest overall.

T2- Here is where my rack selection payed off big. I was already out of my bike shoes so I didn't have to run in them and I was right by the exit so I slipped on my flats and was out on the run course. Time 0:28 1st AG

Run-Two of my goals for this race were to finish in under an hour and run sub 20 off the bike. When I ran out of transition Steve told me that I was at 39 minutes elapsed time so I knew that I had to have a good run to go under an hour. I also still wasn't entirely sure that there wasn't at least one more person from my AG out in front of me. I took off and my legs felt surprisingly good considering how hard I had just gone on the bike. I passed one guy by the 1/2 mile mark where the road changed over to dirt. I checked his calf out and saw he was under 30. I was able to pick off another guy before I saw the All Army guy headed back in to the finish. I knew that there was no way I was going to run fast enough to make up the 6 minute buffer but I was still determined to run sub 20 so I pressed on. I started seeing guys coming back from the turn around and checked each one's calf out to make sure that they weren't in my AG as they passed. I hit the turn around and passed another guy and had one more in my sights about 100 yds ahead of me. Both were under 30 so I felt fairly confident that I had caught everyone in the M35-39 AG on the bike. I was still running strong but it was starting to get hot and I was ready to be finished. I hit the paved portion of the road, kicked it up a little and ran across the finish line. Run time 21:07 (6:45 min/mile) 1 st AG. This was a little disappointing since I have run sub 20 in my last 3 open 5k's but given the heat and humidity I will take it.

Final finish time was 1:00:33 which was good for 1st M35-39 AG and 2nd Overall. All Army guy (who I later found out swam at West Point and has a Pro card) was 1st Overall in 54 minutes. I was next at 1:00:33 and then the next closest competitor was 1:03 and I won my AG by 6 minutes.

This was a great race in a great venue. The final count was over 200 athletes participating which was a good showing. I am hoping that the RD gets the race USAT sanctioned for next year so the points will count toward rankings.

I am very happy with my performance and I feel like my bike is back where it should be (considering that I have logged almost 800 miles in the last 4-5 weeks I would hope so). Now it's time to focus on Cardinal Harbour and continue the streak of strong races.

Thanks for reading, Train Safe!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Deja Vu all over again......

2oo8- Swim-26:41 (14th AG) Bike-1:09:40 (21.4 mph/9th AG) Run-47:07 (7:36 min/mi 9th AG) Total Time- 2:25:15 36th Overall/10th AG

2009- Swim-29:11 (15th AG) Bike-1:08:22 (21.8 mph/9th AG) Run-45:52 (7:24 min/mi 9th AG) Total Time-2:25:36 45th Overall/9th AG

Wow..I don't think that I have ever done the same race twice in almost the same time. The results are a bit misleading since the '09 swim was long so I feel confident that my swim was better this year. The overall placement is also a bit misleading since there were a TON of people between 2:20 and 2:25, a couple of seconds or a minute faster means 10 positions overall.

My first impressions of the race are good ones, I felt like I was back on my game for this one. I didn't wear a watch or use a Power Meter or Heart Rate monitor and just took what my body gave me. It was refreshing to not look down and see a certain HR or Wattage and play the mental game of "I need to be going harder" or "I am going to hard I need to slow down before I blow up" and just RACE!

Swim-There was a storm the night before so all of the buoys were blown across the lake. They tried to reset them as best as they could, but the course just looked long compared to the previous year. I wore my XTERRA Velocity 0.02 Speedsuit (https://www.xterrawetsuits.com/shop-xterra/product_info.php?cPath=24&products_id=36) for the first time in a race and loved it. I felt faster in the water and it was super easy to get off when I came out. I was glad that I didn't have a watch on for the swim, even though we ALL knew that it was long it still would have been discouraging to see 29 + minutes out of the water. Overall Grade: Incomplete (it felt good, but without the apples to apples comparison from last year I can't gauge improvement or lack thereof)

T1-Out of the speedsuit in a flash, had a bit of trouble getting my helmet straps untangled and snapped. Other than that no issues.

Bike-This bike course is no joke. The first 3/4 of a mile are in the park so it is flat, after that though it is just constant rollers that never give the legs a break. I felt strong and pushed the bike and passed a ton of people while only being passed by 5. I was faster than last year which I expected since last year's race was 2 days after the "Cycle Jam" spin class that I went to at the brand new Mountain Brook Lifetime Fitness and I was still feeling it race morning. In looking at the results there was one person that was under an hour and most of the AG winners were around 1:03 so I really feel good about this bike. That being said I can go faster! Overall Grade: B+

T2-In and out in a flash

Run-Coming off the bike I felt good and was confident that a good run was in the cards. I was able to get my foot turnover going pretty quickly out of transition and settled into a good pace. Not having a watch I didn't know exactly how fast I was going but I did know that it didn't feel sub-7 which I really wanted to run off the bike. I tried a few times to speed up but my body was telling me that I was pretty much at my limit so in keeping with the spirit of the day I took what my body gave me. After I hit the turn around I saw one of my teammates up ahead about 1/4 mile or so and try as I might I could not reel her in before the finish. There is a nasty little hill right before the 5 mile mark, it's about 200 yards long and straight up (which is really cruel at that point in the race). Last year I ran up it and my HR never came back down so this year I decided to walk quickly and my HR never came back down (funny how that works isn't it?). I knew I was slowing down the last 1.5 miles and when a guy in my AG passed me right before the finish line I had nothing left to contest the sprint. This is still way off my open 10k time, but in looking at the results there were maybe 5 people total to run under 40 min so I feel pretty good about this also given the course and conditions. Overall Grade: B

This race was a huge boost to my confidence after the first two races of 2009. I feel fairly certain that if the swim was correct then I would have bested last years time by a couple of minutes at least. One thing that I am going to try is taking in nutrition on the bike for the Olympic distance. In the past I have just done Sprint and Olympic distance races on plain water, but I feel like if I had had a few calories in the system yesterday I might not have faded at the end of the run. Something to work on for next time I suppose. My goals for this race were pretty simple: Have fun (check), Go fast (sort of check), Have a solid run off the bike (half a check). My super secret goals for the race were Swim 24-25, Bike 1:05, Run-43:00 (not really even in the ballpark for those). Overall Grade: B+ (the swim was impossible to evaluate, the bike was good and the run was good but not what I wanted).

Next up: SGT. Audie Murphy Sprint Triathlon next Saturday.

Thanks for reading, Train Safe!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Ok....So I Am A Slacker.....

about posting here. Not a lot of interesting happenings over the past 3 weeks. I have changed a few things in my training and feel like it is working. This weekend is West Point and my only goal is to have a solid race overall. No time goals or competative goals against other athletes that are going to be there. I want to get out of the water feeling strong, ride hard but in control, and have a great run off the bike. I may not even wear a watch for this.........

I will write a race report and comments on Sunday after the race.

Until then, train safe!