Thursday, February 26, 2009
LANCE ARMSTRONG, LEVI LEIPHEIMER AND THE GREAT CHIWEENIE BRAVE THE WINTER WEATHER AT THE 2009 TOUR OF CALIFORNIA
GU "the Great Chiweenie" (DOG)
Nine weeks is a long time to go without my normal 12 hour naps, but the Tour of California was here and we were there to see the best riders in the world race in my backyard. The first week was chillier than I prefer, but seeing rider after rider fly by was cool. I dozed off a bit, but I think I smelled Lance go by.
Weeks 2 and 3 blended together into a soggy mess. The only thing I could see was water droplets on my lenses. The riding was fun, when we got the chance because the smells were great, but standing around was no fun at all. I got to meet Bjarne Riis (Saxobank director and former rider). He looked confused when Cub said, “can I get a picture with you an my dog.” Doesn't everyone want a picture with famous people and their dog? Riis did seem to enjoy my sunglasses and tried to trade with his, but I stared him down to let him know whose the boss.
Weeks 4 and 5 flew by without Megan and then the rain came again, but Cub was quick to get out of the downpours and under shelters. We didn't get to ride much these days, but Cub eats better junk food without Megan.
Weeks 8 and 9 were warm and cloudy. I was upset to here one of my favorite riders say with an unusual accent, “that's not a dog!” as Cub took a picture of us. We did get to ride a bit more the last couple of weeks. And we got away from the crowds and enjoyed watching the finishes for once.
I'm glad to be home.
CUB "rider without a name" (Person)
Nine days is a long time to follow a bike race, but the Tour of California was here again for the fourth time. The first day showed that the crowds would be out in full force to see Lance and all of the world's best riders.
Days 2 and 3 were stormy. Gu didn't seem the happiest, but when we rode he still stood up to get the smells. We even got to meet Bjarne Riis after the stage in Santa Cruz. He was confused when I asked him, “can I get a picture with you and my dog.” But the confusion went away when he saw Gu with his sunglasses. At the end of both days, we would take Gu out of the pack and he would feel like a portable heater (he does where a wool sweater with his jersey over top in cold weather).
Days 4 and 5 were long and hard without Megan. I drove her home and went back up to Modesto. Gu was tired and slept pretty good in the car. We avoided the rain and had one really nice day in the Fresno area.
Days 6 and 7 were close to home and I enjoyed sleeping in my bed. Gu seemed to agree. The sun was out and Megan and Gu even ran beside Levi in the time trial for less than a second.
Days 8 and 9 were packed with people. Jens Voight (sorry if I spelled it wrong) was nice enough to get a pic with Megan and “that's not a dog”, Gu., as he rode to sign in to the last days stage. Rabobank was nice to let us (really GU and since we were with him, Megan and me) into their tent area near the finish. There was nice people, good food and a great spot to actually watch the race finish.
Cub gained 3% of his body weight. Gu lost 4% of his body weight during the week.
Thursday, February 19, 2009
BEST things so far (as of THURSDAY of the Tour of California)
1. SLEEPING IN THE SUN AND WARMTH.
2. Fancy dog treats and Cub dropping tri-tip.
3. Riding down the empty streets with the wind in my face.
4. Being kissed by the Podium Girls.
5. SMELLY CAR after the rainy days.
1. SUN AND WARMTH RETURNS (the cloud burst was cool though).
2. Seeing lots of people excited about bike racing.
3. Seeing lots of great riders race in America.
4. Talking to new and old faces alike(not age, but how long I've known them).
5. Riding my bike.
WORST things so far (as of THURSDAY of the Tour of California)
1. COLD and when sitting still, the rain.
2. No 12 hour naps.
3. Not meeting LANCE or the other riders I like.
4. Getting woken up by a mean fan.
5. Not getting to ride as much as I want to.
1. COLD and the rain.
2. People being rude to each other.
3. Not getting to ride as much I want to.
4. SMELLY CAR after the rain.
5. DRIVING too much.
Monday, February 16, 2009
GU and CUB
At home. Needed to drop off Megan so she can go teach for a couple of days. It will be the just the 2 of us the next 2 days.
We made the news. We are there more than once...so check it out!!!
Thursday, February 12, 2009
GU “The Great Chiweenie” -
Weeks with my family can be busy, traveling to different places usually to go for a ride. The past two weeks was no different. We (Megan, Cub, and I) went to two charity rides that were going to have some cycling stars attending. The first week was cold and threatening rain. I wanted to stay in bed, but the money raised was going to local families.
A grouping of riders that looked like skeletons were hanging out with crowds forming around them. Cub and Megan got excited and wanted to take pics of me and some of them. The first guy was tall and slim, and didn't realize I was on Cub's back. Then he turned to look and slightly jumped by surprise, I'm pretty sure it was my lazy eye and my morning breath that startled him. The other guy spoke kind of funny, but I had met him during the 2008 Tour of Missouri (seems like years ago). The ride itself was fun. We met quite of few female riders. I'm pretty sure they thought I was cute. We hung with the group until the air left Cub's tire and then we chased.
Luckily, there was food. Good food. Really good food, but then we rushed away to try to stay with one of the groups. Then the worst thing happened, Cub lost Megan. She was right behind us, then when we stopped to wait, she never showed up. I told Cub we'd find her, but he was panicky. After looking for her for hours, we finally found her, of course, where the food was at the end of the ride.
Now the second week was different. The day was clearer, but still cold. We convinced Megan's brother and mom to go with us, since we were down there for their birthdays. The ride was nice and slow, with good smells as we rode out of the town. I kept telling Cub to go faster, but he kept going at his pace.
Towards the end of the 25 mile ride, some of the riders doing the longer route were passing us. One group went by and giggled, I looked around, but couldn't figure out what they were laughing at. Cub asked if he could go with them and Meg said “Go!”. Cub stood up and quickly caught onto the group. I was hungry and ready for the ride to be done. The group had a female we had met the day before and the ride was at a nice friendly pace that brought enough wind to make my ears go up. BUT, there was some hairy chinned guy whose bike was making noises. WHAP, WHAP, WHAP, over and over again. It was annoying and disturbing my concentration on the increased wind in my face. We rode on and then we ate. Afterwards, we went back to Nana's and ate even more, STEAK!!! All was well.
CUB “The Rider without a Name” -
Weekends are great. Going out for longer rides and usually traveling to races or charity rides is always fun. This past weekend was no different. We (Megan, GU, and I) went to two charity rides that were going to have some professional rides. Saturday we went to Avila and rode the Pedal to Pier with Team Columbia. I always like when rides benefit local organizations and families.
It was chilly and I thought it was going to rain, but we were pretty lucky during the ride. Before the ride some of the Columbia riders in their new yellow, white and black kits were hanging out. People asking for their autographs or to take their picture. We were no different. Megan got out the camera and we went right towards George Hincapie. I turned my back so GU could be in the shot and many other cameras were going off. We then went over to see Micheal Rogers. I met him briefly at the end of the 2008 Tour of Missouri, when Mark Cavendish wanted to take a picture of GU. It was after the award ceremony, he stopped their team car and asked for us to come over. Rogers was in the back seat and I shook his hand and introduced myself (actually I introduced GU and might have mentioned my name).
The ride itself started nice and easy. Some of Columbia's womens team were riding around us and laughing at the Goober (one of GU's nicknames) and asked Megan questions about him. We were going to shorten the ride because I had a job interview, but looked at Megan and GU and realized the pace was perfect with the highway patrol giving us a rolling closure. “We gotta do the long ride!” Megan agreed until the flat tire. We tried to hurry, because there really was no group after the front pack, just a few spread here and there.
At the food stop, we just missed the second group heading out, with Hincapie and Rogers. Megan told me to try to catch them, but it was not going to happen. I tried for miles, but wasn't close enough to get the rolling closure. Finally, after Morro Bay, I stopped and decided to wait for Megan. GU was getting whiny as he always does when he can't find her. We waited, waited and waited some more. Then I asked one of the riders if he'd seen her and he said, “we haven't passed anyone since Cayucos.” So GU and I took off and rode a majority of the ride by ourselves. Luckily the rain held off until after we were done, because then it poured.
Now the second day was different. Not too warm, but no rain. GU didn't seem happy with the weather conditions. He likes the heat with wind. We were heading down to Thousand Oaks to celebrate Megan's mom and brother's birthday and convinced them to ride the Breakaway from Cancer ride at Amgen. We rode with them almost the entire time. I think we were some of the last riders on the short route. GU was a little whiny when Megan gave him to me to carry. He quieted down when the wind and smells increased, but completely stopped whining when we rode fast.
It just happened to happen that some of the long route riders passed us on the final couple of miles, so I jumped to ride the rest with them. Kim Anderson from Team Columbia's women's team, who we had met the day before, was with the group as was most of the Amgen's Masters Team. But the guy they were all surrounding was Bob Roll. WHAP, WHAP, WHAP. His tire was flat and he kept riding with it. I asked the guy next to me “how long has he been riding with the flat?” and the guy said, “three or four miles.” Rolling over the last few hills he still seemed in total control as his rim was now against the road. We rolled in as the announcer (who by the way sang a great national anthem) welcomed us home. Then it was time to eat and I'm pretty sure GU agreed.