Sunday, September 14, 2008

The TT and the beginning of the Vacation

I was happy that morning. I was very happy that day. We got to go out on the later bus so we got to hear how everybody did. Matt had mechanical issues, David had to change his position so he didn't do that well, Oz won, and Pepe was third. Not a bad start to the morning. Mike had just finished his first lap when we had arrived and he was looking strong. We still had about two and half hours of waiting until we were going. I had a bit to eat and then started going. I had yet to ride the entrance to, on, and off the dam. I got all geared up and was off riding around 1:15, I started at 3:15. I wasn't able to get a great head of steam into the unknown territory but I at least got to ride the slip and slide. It was fun. I had some minor shifting problems but those were easily solved. I then hung out for a while while Ron and Anthony got ready to go. Ron was off at 2:25. I then got all ready and started warming up on the rollers. Craig took off with Anthony to follow him on the first lap. He was playing the very eager father roll making sure that all of children were ready for the race. I was as ready as was going to be. I was the second to last athlete to go for the single bikes. I new that I could catch the girls in front of me but I didn't know whether or not Natalie from Germany would catch me. I figured it would be towards the end of first lap. I got started and was pumped. I played it smart. Took the hill with a high cadence and pushed it up over each hill. I wish that I went faster in some sections but I still won the race. I knew I had done well at the end of the day when I could here the announcer saying that I was coming with a very fast time. I got to embrace a very upset Barb because she had forgotten about the factor and the announcer was telling everybody that I had won the race. i knew that I would end up second because of the factor but I knew that if we were at worlds I would be wearing gold. I had the race of my life. I can't ask for more.

I started celebrating right away. The next day I was off to the wall and got some more souvenir shopping done. The wall is amazing. The fact that somebody thousands of years ago wanted a large wall and it got built. It was amazing to see how it just zigzagged the landscape. I went Mary Riddel, former ski teammer. I thought some of my teammates on cycling team liked to talk but she is just as bad. It was fun though, we got to go in a BOCOG vehicle and not the public shuttle. We got there quick and painless. Later a group of us went to an Irish bar with a couple of the Irish cyclist. It was a ton of fun. I got drunk and ended up at another bar with "Gus", and didn't make it home until 3:30am. I slept all of the next day. We then went to an acrobatic show, which was amazing. Three subway trains later we were back at the Village. We then wrangled up Craig and made him keep a bet that he had made, 5 golds and we get to put USA into the back of his head. If we would have gotten 8 then it was a tattoo. Craig looked like a little boy going to the dentist for the first time. We have lots of photos.

It was a great ending to the games and I am having a good vacation.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

The 3km Pursuit

The 3km pursuit is by far my least favorite event, but I always seem to do okay. The morning started off really early with a 6am wake, yes I know in the real world that is not that early but when you are used to getting up at 7-7:30, 6am seem early. A quick survey of all of the gear to make sure that I have everything I needed. I some how managed to leave my keys at the laundry drop-off so I had to run and grab those. I then got onto the bus with all of the other early morning riders and there were a lot of bikes on this particular bus so once I was in, I was stuck. Get to the track, very slowly today, and I ran off after getting my road bike down to the infield to get my traditional panoramas of the velodrome.

I then realized that they were putting me on all Mavic wheel, big deal in cycling. Because of the new wheels I had to get used to how the front wheel moved so I did an early warm-up on the track, on race gear. I was feeling awesome. I followed a CP4 from South Africa for a while and then she started to scare me with her bike handling skills so I backed off of her and did my own thing. After a while I had a little gaggle behind me and I didn't feel like sharing my draft so a did a little sneaky move by getting off of the track and acting like I was done, let the group go around me and then I jumped back on. No international crisis occurred so I was satisfied. Finished my warm-up and got off of the track and started a semi cool down because I still had an hour before my ride. I stretched and got some carbs into my system and then started to get my leg ready for the race. I went after barb again but I got to go against a rider that is more my ability but still has 2 legs.

Thanks god for the toe strap. I got up to the start, Craig the gentleman walked me up all the way to my bike. I get all strapped in and ready to go. I wasn't paying to much attention because next thing I know there is 11seconds on the clock. I gear up for the start and off I go. On the second down stroke I pulled up on my stump came out of the pedal but thank the gods for the strap for all I had to do was step down and I was still attached to my pedal. I would have hated to have had to make me and the New Zealand girl have to restart. I also had a really good start and I didn't want to try for another one. I had a good starting split which set me up for fast splits from there on out. Eventually I knew that I was going to be passed and I was ready for it. The pass just came a lot later then I am used to and then to my amazement I was able to pace off of her, not draft but pace. I fell about 20 meters back and then mustered up the strength and drive to match her pace. Unfortunately this happened with only 4 laps to go and she was going to finish right in front of me. Usually people get out the way right away but her brain shutdown and she didn't move. I gave a quick yell and she still didn't move, then I gave another one and she got the hint and got out of the way. If she hadn't moved on the second yell I was going to have to go up and around her which isn't fast that late in the race.

Barb ended up winning the race because of the factor but she did get a new world record for the CP3 category. This race was the closest that I have ever been at any competition. Jenny advanced to the gold medal round and finished 2nd and Greta was 5th only a few seconds out of the medal rounds. I packed up my track bike and then I then headed back to the village where I talked to my madre and boy back home. I can't wait to get back to everything in the States but at the same time I am glad that I am not dealing with all of the politics that is completely taken over all television, radio, and newspaper.

The 500m

I love to race, I truly do. I have this ability to get my self all worried about it and then I am there and there is not a single thing I can put into my mind to get me off my high horse. I had a good day all around. I woke up in an otay mood after an emotional train wreck the night before, no need to rain on today’s parade. I was very excited about the race and just wanted to get there and get it done. I knew going into it I wasn’t going to win but I wanted to turn some heads doing it. I always seem to get on the bike premature. I only need a quick warm up but I get excited and get on the bike 2hr before need be. At least today my leg actually felt like it wanted to work, where as yesterday I couldn’t get it to warm up worth shit where I finally gave up and just did my efforts. Back to today.

I got to watch all of my teammates go first. Good for me in ski racing bad for me on the track. I don’t want to see times or to see what is going on, impossible at the track where you have no choice. I watched Jenny win by a land slide in the mixed LC1/LC2/CP4 class. Greta had an okay ride but nothing spectacular. The factor really makes a difference. Barb rode before I did and she was the first CP3 so I got to see how badly her times were going to adjust before I went. I was ready and psyched to go. The weird thing that I am not used to but should start practicing is letting somebody else take my bike to the line without me and then I have to hope to get to it, or I just need to start carrying crutches, but that is a drag. Everything from here on out went by very quickly. I got all strapped in, got set, 15sec started to count down, Craig called out 5 to go, and then I was off. The only thing that I remember is that my rear wheel was wiggly and I could stay on the black line. Other then that I knew that I was going faster then I had ever gone before. At the end of the race I was so happy I rode the back straight where all of the fans were with my hands and head held up high. I went half a second faster then I had ever gone.

The next highlight of my day was riding back on the bus with the Irish boy, Enda and Gus. They could start their own comedy skit and become the world’s most famous comedians. It is hilarious. I official was invited to O’Shea’s, the only Irish pub in Beijing on the evening of the 13th, when their races are done for a pint of beer. I can’t wait. I am going to be pissing my pants from the laughter not the beer.

The rest of the day went without much, ate, meeting, slept.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Sept 6th Journal

The rest of the team has arrived, well they arrived days ago, oops. It is nice to finally have everybody here but it was also nice when it was just the girls, Mike, and Anthony. Pepe was voted team Captain by the majority of the team. I am getting to know Eric, the new sougier(sp). Really cool guy, hard worker, and a good sense of humor. Michelle has been a god sent. I usually have major conflicts with asking for help but she gets it. I feel comfortable at a race finally. I am not the same attention needing person I used to be. I can handle my own problems now , I do not need someone to hold my hand anymore. I have com to respect my ability and my drive. I know I can do it, I don't need somebody to point it out. I have the power.
To night we walked into a three ring circus filled with gimps, amps, and blind. There will be awesome people watching capability. For one night I have no competition, just a gathering of gimpies joined to celebrate an event where we are the stars of the show.
I will get to walk amongst friends. I will be apart of a whole. We represent the elite of the elite and there is going to be thousands there to applaud us for accomplishing where we have gotten.

Sept 3rd Journal

Yesterday was interesting. My laundry bag was lost and then once I got it I found out it was ripped and one of my jerseys was stained beyond belief. Luckily I don't need it to race in. We had a bit of down time but I really didn't have time to lay down in. I called Mom, Sis, and Justin and had a good chat with them. We went to the track in the morning/noon time. The sun rises really early here so the day is kinda funky. China doesn't do time zones so it's like being in New York with Colorado's time. I keep forgetting to bring my camera on the bus rides to and from the venues.

The bus ride to the Velodrome. First we get our own lane. Which is pretty cool for getting through traffic. The bus drivers must believe though that they may only drive in the lane because they make a mad dash over to the lane and then a mad dash out of the lane to the exit. No sense of readiness, it is an "oh shit, there is the exit and I don't want to miss it." Part of the drive is along this canal. There are fisherman with ginormous fishing rods squatting on the embankment getting the morning catch. There are tons of apartments along the journey. I know China has 1/6th the worlds population but they make NY housing look small and pathetic.

There are also more historical housing and complexes along the way, mostly settled on top of a hill so all below can see their might and beauty. They are truly amazing. These little shrines and small empires on their hill top over looking the world below them. I wonder what it was like in the centuries past how they dominated their surroundings. China has such history and awe there is no way to take it all in with the little time that I am here.

The Vegetation here is amazing as well. Thick lush bushes and willows that swallow the landscape. It is mice compared to the big cities back home where all you see is concrete boulevards and houses as far as the eye can see. Here urban meets jungle in a harmonious fashion. Yeah there is concrete but there is also green and not just green. Flowers, ponds, and rustic trees supported in every environment. I wish the States could grasp the idea that fake plants do not brighten the office, but it shows just how lazy we truly are.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008


Don't bottle the Anger. I am trying to learn this. I am also trying not to let anger guide my emotions or dictate my action. I am going to know that shit is about to hit the fan. I know that people are going to get on my nerves and I know that I am not going to agree with everybody's decisions. I am better then them and I can get through this without going psycho and agro with my teammates. I can only control what is with in my abilities and every thing that I can not control that I get angry at is a waste of time. I like this train of thought for it might keep me sane through these games.

We had a very good day today. I did a decent time on the track for a standing 1 lap and tomorrow is a full on race effort but only 375m and not the whole thing. Craig keeps asking me what I would like to do and then I tell him and then he goes and suggests that maybe I should do something else and then still gives me an option so then I ask him what he thinks I should do and then he tells me what to do. It is a round about way of getting a task designed but it seems to work with Craig without being mister nasty pants. I laugh at it every time.

I think things are going really well. I got the afternoon off and I made good use of it. I watch an episode of Dexter: the second season, with Greta, had a good chat with Sean, and then had team dinner and meeting. I think I enjoyed myself well. I am looking forward to riding tomorrow with race intensity. I am sure that it will work out well and I am sure that I won't get pissed off at anybody. I think it will be a good race simulation and I am ready for it.

Monday, September 1, 2008


I am completely overloaded. There is so much exciting things to see and do here I am unable to take it all in. The TT course to freaking sweet. I can't wait to race it. The "Hill" is nothing that I haven't been able to ride before. At an easy pace I think that I could have gone up it no problem. I got to ride it twice today and I am already trying to figure out where I can take more time out of the competition and where I am going to be able to beat my teammate. The drive out there at "Star"'s pace sucked but could easily be reduced to about 30mins at my pace. There is a special lane for the Paralympics and we were being passed by all of the other traffic, pathetic. I tested out wearing my water bottle cage on the back side of my socket, the only available space I have with no more room on the frame. It worked out pretty well, I must say but if the weather is what it was like today I won't need a water bottle at all. The road alway has shelter from the wind except for one section and that is it.

After lunch we went to the track and this is where the overloading really kicked in. First I forgot my newly painted stomp cup, Greta thankfully ran back for me and grabbed it. Once I was at the track I realized that I left all of my gears at the room, and there was no chainring on my bike, oops. Again Greta came to my rescue and had one that I could borrow. After that I pretty much was on top of things. I had a good and quick first session. I can't wait to get the track racing done and over with and get onto the road TT.

Once we were back at the village I got busy. After cleaning up I got my clothes over to the laundry facilities, cut the another leg off of my Skins, got a water pot for the morning coffee (came with a converter so now I can also use the grinder), and then watched the video of my teammates acting like baffoons on the bus over to the track. Dinner was good as usual. I must say I haven't eaten this well at a Paralympics since my first one in Salt Lake City.