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Thursday, March 26, 2009

Redlands Classic day one

Well I didn't expect much going into Redlands, one of the biggest stage races in North America, and its a good thing, because I didn't get much. I am now sitting in a lowly 143rd place out of 200 riders in the mens pro field. I actually felt pretty good in my warmup, but something strange happened when I got into the starthouse. I was starting to notice my breathing getting out of control before I even started, and by the time I was about a minute into the 10-minute or so all-out time trial, I was completely out of air, with my throat and lungs burning. Meanwhile, my legs were good to go, and in fact that was the most frustrating thing about the race - my breathing was so out of control that I could never even get a good burn in my legs, and feel like I was actually going hard. It felt like someone stuck a governor on my internal engine, and I was not happy about it.
The calm before the storm. Warming up with the team and rocking out to the Rx Bandits.
(I'm in the cap second from right)

This is what we call 'Hanging on for dear life' in the bike biz. 500m to go.

I have a couple of possible culprits in mind, but I'm thinking the cause was the pure methol I stuck in my nostrils for the majority of my 2-hour warmup. The last time I used this stuff in a race, known as 'Olbas' to the Euros, I had the same lung burn symptoms. The other thing in common with that particular race the fact that it was also a prologue - a short time trial kicking off a stage race, which involves a special type of anaerobic effort that I'm not that well-suited to. Maybe I just blew up. It sure felt different from the normal kind of blowing up, and usually when I blow up its a good thing and I wind up getting a decent result.

I could have done better with my equipment choice as well, I thought. I used a full-aero TT setup, when I was only going at TT speed for about 20% of the total time of the race. I feel like I would have been able to do a faster time on a regular road bike setup, because I would have been able to put out more power on the climbs (which made up most of the course), and I probably would have been able to breath a lot easier if I wasn't hunched over in my rather-radical aero TT position. They say this is one of those TT's that you have to do a few times at full speed just to get a feel for the course and dial in your equipment setup. Well, there's always next year.

All that being said, I am only a minute and a half behind the leaders, and I'm told that this race usually blows up to the high heavens on tomorrow's road stage and the 4th and final stage. This means that though I may have lost a minute today with a really bad ride, I could make up 10 to 15 minutes tomorrow with a great ride. On the flipside, if things don't go so well again tomorrow, I'm told I may stand a good chance of being completely dropped (They say the 2nd and 4th road stages usually have a really low finishing rate, due to repeated trips up narrow, steep climbs and down twisty, treacherous descents).

So I'm gonna go out tomorrow and spill my guts, trying to gain some respect in the ranks here. It sounds like a decent course for me if I can manage to stay out of trouble and maybe have some good luck. I've got dinner in my belly and a massage in the legs and now its time for bed...

Tune in again tomorrow evening for the scoop on the first stage on the open road.


  1. alright. You are freaking crazy tay. I miss you man, and I know you are having fun. The pic of you made me do a double take. oh yeah, I was listening to Rx before and through reading this article, so yeah, I was stoked to see that you still listen to 'em!

  2. I always wondered what was on those cotton swabs stuffed up peoples noses before the race.Thanks taylor for the enlightenment,but just remember methol is just a gateway drug so stay pure,we think you're awesome already.eric w/y.s.cycling


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