Tour of Missouri - Stage 7

Moto 1. Final day. A technical circuit race around Kansas City. The circuit was 10.3 miles with 20 turns and a couple of steep pitches, 7 laps for the race. All the teams who haven't won a stage were looking for glory so the pace was high from the gun. I did a front wheel change early in the race. Fronts are easy, so this one was pretty smooth. Got off the moto to do another change but the team mechanic had made his way to the rider so I deferred to him. Late in the race, I did a rear wheel change. [These are a bit trickier, especially this year. The first thing is to determine whether the team is Campy or Shimano or SRAM. Fortunately, most of the Campy teams were running 11 speed, but this had to be confirmed. All this is done as you are running up to the rider (after jumping off the moto that you've been sitting on for the last 2+ hours). Then you have to pick the correct wheel out of the two rears you've been carrying this whole time. Oh yeah, then get it in the bike and make sure the brake is still lined up.] This change was fairly smooth, although, the wheel was gapped a little wide for the dropouts and took some tightening.

A break sort of established itself. They never got more than a minute and it was short lived. The rest of the race was relentless attacking with Garmin trying to defend the lead. The peloton was single file most of the day. Riders started poppinng on the steep pitches and fading back. The crowds were pretty heavy around most of the course. A Planet Energy rider took the sprint, giving validation to their last minute invitation. Dave Z took the overall, Thor the sprint jersey, Chavez the climbing jersey, Cataldo the young rider's jersey, and Saxo nabbed some intermediate time bonuses to take the team prize by a slim margin over Bissell.


Tour of Missouri - Stage 6

Moto 2. Out in front again. Unfortunately, the pack was so animated that no breaks stuck. Followed Tom Murphy for about 15 minutes and a break of 2 riders for about 3 minutes. The rest of the day was spent staring at the bumper of Charlie 6 (the state patrol car at the head of the race caravan). Fortunately, the animated pack made this the fastest day to date. The average speed was just under 30 mph.

Last year's final stage winner (Chichi) took the stage today but no change in the overall.

Tour of Missouri - Stage 5

Individual TT. Usually pretty boring stuff for neutral support. Go out in the middle of no where, set up a pit with wheels and bikes, watch the riders go by one at a time, pack up, and go home. Which is exactly what happened. No services from my pit. The only thing the Mavic crew did was shorten some aerobars and tape a magnet.

Dave Z ripped up the TT and took the stage and the jersey. My pick for the stage ended a respectable 3rd (Tom Zirbel).


Tour of Missouri - Stage 4

Moto 1. Another break went away today. Although, I was behind the main peloton and didn't get to see any of it. The break got caught before we came into Jefferson City for the finishing circuits. JJ Haedo took the stage and the jersey.

A little excitement today as I did the first wheel change for Mavic for this race. There was also a crash in the final 3k. Being moto 1, we wove through the wreckage and stayed with the group. The other Mavic cars stopped to help sort out the mess.

Tour of Missouri - Stage 3

Moto 2 today. Fortunately, a 3 man break established itself at mile 9. So, we rode with them all day (or most of it anyway). The break got caught within the final 5k. I didn't think they had a chance of staying away, but was hoping they would and I'd actually get to see a finish. Another quiet day on the road for Mavic, no services.

Finished coming into Rolla. I think the steep little pitches in Missouri are catching a lot of these pros off guard. They seem to be suffering a bit. Columbia couldn't quite control the run in with all the ups and down. Thor was able to take the stage and the jersey.


Tour of Missouri - Stage 2

Rode moto 1 today. This moto stays with the main peloton. It's a little more nerve racking since you are always on call (moto 2 you can ease a bit when the peloton is all together). Plus you have to watch out for riders and cars while they are feeding. It's pretty much a mad house at the back of the peloton.

I did make a couple of dismounts. Thor dropped a chain but had it back on and was under way by the time we got to him. Another rider had a flat that I was about to change, but his team car was there and took over. Pretty slow change and they had to fish the dead wheel out of the weeds down a pretty steep slope. I'm assuming they got it. If not someone ended up with a Dura-Ace carbon rear wheel as a souvenir.

Had a quick chat with Jens. He came up and asked if I would be holding the spare wheels all day. Told him I would and he made reference to me being the strongest man in the world. He was rolling along saying hay to the teams cars as he made his way back up to the peloton. A class act if there ever was one.

Tour of Missouri - Stage 1

Rode moto 2 today. This (and Mavic 2) are the moto and car that cover breaks that go. Followed the 3 man break for most of the day. No services. The only real excitement was when we decided to trade some paint with Mavic 2. I thought I was about to get a matching set of bruised hips. But thanks to the mad skills of Rob Love (the moto driver), he kept it upright and me off the ground.

The break eventually got caught, which meant we moved ahead of the field and were deviated at the finish. The only downside to working Mavic is you don't get to see too many of the finishes. Since we were ahead of the peloton we didn't see any of the closing k's carnage.

Hip felt good, although, I didn't have to do any quick dismounts...


Tour of Missouri

Tour of Missouri...Working with Mavic again this year. Got into St. Louis on Saturday and went straight to work. First order of business was cleaning the old stickers off the Cosmic Ultimates so we could put the new stickers on.

Sunday was a casual breakfast at Union Station. Some of us decided to jump in and race the Giro della Montagna (Tour of the Hill - the Hill is an Italian neighborhood in St. Louis). This race has been going on for 20+ years and I raced it a few times in college. The course, however, was slightly different than when I raced it. The uphill finish was now down hill.

I decided to liven things up and took a flier about 18 minutes into the race. I managed to get a pretty good gap and got a shout out from the announcer. Unfortunately, I didn't take into account the bike/tire combination I wasn't familiar with and the ripples in the pavement in turn 1. Bam. Hit the deck. Took my free lap and jumped back in. Finished the lap with the pack.

Tomorrow will be the real test. Getting on and off the motto with a strawberry on the hip may make life interesting. More to come...


2009 Vuelta a Espana on your computer!

We are four stages into this years edition of the Tour of Spain and looks like another exciting race. If you have not found a website on the internet to watch the race yet, here are our two favorites.
1. Universal Sports.com: the coverage is excellent and there are NO ads. You can actually watch the race develop and not have to endure all of the silly VS. video montages. Plus if you want to pay ($9.95) there are all manner of stats that you can watch relating to your favorite rider or teams.
2. Steephill.tv: this site provides you with more info than you can believe and links to live feeds from all over the world. You can watch the coverage in Flemish if you want to. Check it out!