Saturday, January 14, 2012

New year, new scenery, new season: starting off 2012

Waking up to a recovery day, my natural inclination is to do nothing but sit around and read through some old national geographic and velonews magazines. However, the productivity bug has briefly taken hold, so I am taking advantage of it to clean up a little bit, and finally update my blog. For starters, as my northern readers will know, winter finally hit Vermont, so it was time for me to make my yearly southern migration.

After a wonerful Christmas at home with my family, including several days spent sledding, skiing, and snowshoeing with my brother, it became clear that I would need to leave Vermont again to refocus on some base training that would become the building blocks of my 2012 season. After such a short time at home, it was hard to hit the road again. Alas, such is the life of a pro bike racer, so I was once again saying goodbye to my family and home state to begin my 2012 season.

After loading up the family minivan with folding chairs and plastic utensils, I began the long drive down to our newly rented appartment in Greenville, South Carolina with National Teammate Paul Lynch and fellow UVM cyclist Matt Buckley. Eighteen hours later, we arrived at our new home just north of Greenville. After furnishing our appartment (ie, inflatable air mattresses and a thermarest, fold up lawn chairs, $12 folding table), we were ready to explore the new roads. We also took advantage of a rest day to go and explore the small but lively Greenville Zoo and go hiking in Paris Mountain State Park.

Fortunately, we were not long without company, as we soon ran into Paul's Team Type 1 teammate Strad Helms, as well as American cycling legend George Hincapie who showed us all the biggest climbs. After several weeks of riding from our newly christened "WH training center" (named after the Wade Hampton boulevard, the 6 lane road that runs by the appartment), Paul and I were off to our first national team event of the year, with a team building camp in Colorado Springs. From there, I travelled to Austin, Texas for my Chipotle Team camp. Both camps were lots of fun and it was good to catch up with old teammates and get to know new ones. There was also a paintballing tournament at both camps. This being my first experience with the very competitive sport of paintball, I returned covered in big red ring welts. Suffice to say that the military doesn't look like a good carreer path for me!

Back at the WH, Matt Buckley had to return home to the ice box to begin his classes at UVM, but Paul and I were soon joined by National Team Pursuit rider Zack Noonan of Pennsylvania, keeping our appartment nice and lively. With the temperature climbing up to 70 degrees here, I happily dismiss thoughts of snow and ice piling up on the doorstep back home in vermont. Hopefully the great weather sticks around and I can keep exploring new roads without stumbling into any more confederate militiamen's fortresses on top of remote mountains. (The triple locked gate and confederate flag should have tipped me off, but heck, I was in the middle of an interval) At the end of the month, I'm set to move over to Toulouse, France with Chipotle, for what could be a season-long european campaign. In preparation, I've been eating nothing but cheese and baguettes, with the occasional southern grits thrown in, of course. With a big year of european racing ahead, I couldn't be more excited for the 2012 season!