Saturday, December 26, 2009

2009 Recap

#1 Present of 2009: is a pair of white BG S-Works shoes from my lovely girlfriend. The over the top PRO styling of these made them pretty high on the wish list, but the sock like comfort of them made them a must have.

Ridiculous accessory I may now need: White shoes equals maintenance, and a quick look at my drive train will show that I'm terrible in that department. I'm seriously considering overshoes a la Frank Vandenbroucke.

I've never thought about them before, but I noticed (and how could you not notice Paulo's) several pairs on the boxing day ride.

Trend I hope is resurrected in 2010: If there was one fashion trend that defined cycling in the early and mide 90's it was outlandish eyewear worn unabashedly. See exhibits one, two, and three. After a decade of black minimalism it looks like the Gaudí is back in. Oakley's new Jawbones are almost so ugly as to be beautiful and their aptly named 'Retina Burn' pair is calling my name.

Promise to myself I'm unlikely to keep: Go no more than two days without a ride. I want to get fast this year. Consistency = improvement. Nothing else really to say.

Surprise of the 09 racing season: I'm not a time trialist - I don't like them because I am bad at them and am bad at them because I don't do them - so I normally only look at the results to see just how much Garth won by. But for a three week span at the end of the summer this year I was hooked. The reason: the fight for end of season wins between Dave Collins and Mark Hatherly. There were three races and all three were decided by less than four seconds. FOUR SECONDS! Rivalry makes good sport and good sport pushes people harder than what they otherwise would. I'm excited to see what Mark can do in 2010.

Local Race of the Year: This one is really a no brainer for me. It has to be Scott's ride at the National Road Race Championships. i've seen a lot of races in Bermuda, but never a two hour solo move in the wind and rain to seal it. I only had the back of the pack view, but there was carnage in the group with three laps to go because of the unsuccessful attempt to close the gap; I can't imagine the pain involved in holding off that charge but somehow it all came together.

Promise to myself I'm unlikely to keep #2: Drink less in general and the night before 5:30 a.m. training sessions in particular. I'm thinking my strategy for tackling this one is concentrate on quality wine over quantity.

Funniest Proposition of the Year:

Scene: Having a coffee after 30 miles in the wind and rain.

Brian Drea: I felt pretty good just there. Do you want to go around the back of St. Georges, the Lighthouse and back?
Me: No.
BD: Oh come one. Tell you what, I've got some Fig Newtons we can split. What do you say?
Me: Well that changes everything.

Rode just over 60 miles that morning.

Revelation of the Year - Equipment: I recently asked Chelsea for a handbuilt front DT Swiss 240 and am amazed at the difference it makes to my bike. I just rolls so smooth. I can't go back to anything else now, and if anyone else is looking for a bulletproof set of training wheels, look no further.

Obscure Bike Builder Obsession of the Year: I just think that Sacha White's Speedvagen bikes are so cool. Metal bikes are making a comeback and he's leading the charge.

Revelation of the Year - Product: Some things in life are worth debating (Monica Bellucci or Scarlett Johansson, the Giro or the Tour) others are not. On the topic of the best cycling blog, it's firmly in the latter camp: Belgium Knee Warmers is the best. Period. They are the keeper of all things PRO and their long standing love of Frank Vandenbroucke is ispiring, the origin of the title is explained here:
true hardmen opt to forego the knee or leg warmers and instead choose an embrocation to cover the knees, which provides warmth for the legs chemcially and keeps the blood circulating and the muscles as supple as possible. This embrocation and the sheen created is affectionatley known as “Belgian knee warmers.”

Of course I was curious, so Dave brought some Mad Alchemy embrocation down from Canada. It's only been a week, but this stuff is great. It's like a cup of coffee for the legs and makes getting out the door on those cold morning just that much easier.

Photo of the Year:

Bevis Tetlow and Phil Mace cycled 1836 K's between Buenos Aires and Santiago earlier this year. Geography majors out there will know that this meant a) crossing the Andes along the way, and b) Southern Hemisphere meant the ride was during their winter. It was a bad ass ride and they raised a ton of money for charity (as well as giing themselves a great excuse to buy new bikes). Their photos are incredible, and I probably could have chosen any of them to be the year's best, but I liked this one.

Promise to myself I'm unlikely to keep #3: Stretch every day. I'm told it helps, but all I want to do after a ride is drink coffee.

Exceedingly Optimistic 2010 Event: I don't know if anyone's noticed, but Tom - Mr Grand Prix Bermuda - Barras has found a ride with the new UK Raleigh cycling team. Raleigh used to be a powerhouse team in the European peleton. Their ambitions are a little lower going into 2010 - more Continental Division I level - but they've signed some great young riders. Maybe Tom will convince the managers to have an end of season jolly around Hamilton and do some racing too. Just try and imagine if racers still did this after particularly grueling stages of the Tour:

Revelation of the Year - Racing: The Junior program. The juniors riding now are good. Really good. It's great to see the development and I can only hope that they stay in the sport long enough to become great.

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