Living life on the edge... of the road
Photo by Pat Malach

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July 2009

Thursday, July 30, 2009 - General
So what happened in the Cascade Cycling Classic Contest? Everything that's important happened.

Stage 1 - Smith Rock Road Race
My wife Sara won with her prediction that Ben Jacques-Maynes would take the win. And take the win he did, by a whole 10 seconds. Stage victory number 1 for Team Bissell.

Stage 2 - Three Creeks Road Race
There was a bit of controversy on this stage. It looked like Adam Switters used his position in the race to sway the results. We had a poll and the readers agree. Sorry Adam, disqualified! No official winner.

Stage 3 - Skyliners Time Trial
It's getting pretty obvious that Zirbel will win any TT. Not only did PMTG predict that, but he also had Oscar Sevilla in Yellow by a minute. In reality it was 40 seconds, but we'll give him the win anyway. Congratulations Phil.

Stage 4 - Cascade Lakes Road Race
A cute little stage prime for a break. Team Type 1's Moises Aldape took the win and according to the Velonews article his wife called it the night before. So Mrs. Aldape, contact me about your prize. I'm sure you're in desperate need of some Bissell cycling gear.

Stage 5 - Bend Downtown Criterium
I don't think anyone entered, but Ivan Dominguez took the win. A bit of drama that day as Ouch worked to bring back the break only to miss the win.

Stage 6 - Awbrey Butte Circuit Race
Whatever, it appears everyone was watching the Ventoux stage over and over again and didn't care to enter. At least that's what we were doing at our host house. I think I saw the last 5k three times.

The Overall
Burnt Johnson, I do hope that's not a crash while taking a pee inspired pseudonym. Anyway Burnt, you are the winner and the only one to pick Oscar Sevilla. Congratulations.

One last thing, the quote of the week goes to Burke Swindlehurst with

"Looking at your power meter during a sprint
is like looking at yourself in the mirror while having sex."

Oh yeah, that's nice. I like what I'm seeing.

Sunday, July 26, 2009 - Race Reports
The last day of Cascade was another tough one. 84 miles, 5 laps, with a couple little climbs that dished out the hurt.

In summary, it was one of the most painful days of racing I've ever had. The first two laps were super fast and I was giving it a 110% just to stay on. I regulated myself to water boy after that.

The second to last time up the climb I did everything to just stay on. I knew that if I got over the top I could get some bottles for the team and help out that way. That's what I did and then just hovered at the back exhausted.

The last time up I was cooked and rode the last 5k with Floyd Landis who was part of the Ouch train driving it into the climb.

He was a nice guy and offered me some water, but it must have been a trick since he's been sick all week. "I'm not sick anymore, I just can't get better," he said. Okay, whatever Floyd.

Thanks to a lead out from James Mattis I pumped him on the line. That turned a bad day into a possible once in a lifetime result.

I thought it was over, but I was wrong. We needed to keep the pressure on to make our flight home so I suffered some more on Ben's wheel as he raced home. Not to worry, we made it with plenty of time.

Overall Cascade went pretty well for Team Bissell. All that suffering ended in 2 stage wins, a day in yellow and another day in green. Good times.

Saturday, July 25, 2009 - Race Reports
Today's stage of the Cascade Classic was a 90 minute crit in downtown Bend. Since it didn't start till 7pm it was a long day of waiting.

After a short ride a few of us Bissell riders went and had lunch with the Rad Racing junior team. Tom told them how important it is to not do drugs and stay in school. Great advice.

Before the crit, Tim, my old running buddy and best man at my wedding, stopped by on his way to Denver. It was good to catch up with him and see his new baby Elsie. He also got me all pumped up for the race.

The race? It was fast. I felt confident after the Fitchburg crit, I moved up there no problem and did stuff, today was much different. It was basically a flat 5x1 block hot dog. It would get bunched up in the last two turns causing some sketchy moves and forcing big accelerations.

After about an hour of suffering I finally got in a rhythm. I think people just found their place and dealt with it. Not as much fighting for position.

With about 7 laps to go someone clipped their pedal in the last corner sending me into a hay bale. I got my free lap, but that was pretty much the end of my race. They let those of us who crashed back in when half the peloton had passed so after our 0 to 36 acceleration we were on the back. I don't know if it was that, the two minutes rest to let the legs lock up, or getting stuck with other riders in the same position that cracked me, but crack I did.

I got pulled with 5 to go and was pretty wasted. As I did my lap off the back I heard some people yell, "Go Burke." After the face, Burke was a little unhappy to hear this and I'd like to apologize for hurting his image.

That actually isn't the first time I've been off the back getting called Burke this week. It happened on Wednesday too. I don't think I'll tell Burke about that.

Anyway, tomorrow is another day. We prerode the circuit race loop this morning and it's pretty hard. Hopefully it'll go better than today.

Friday, July 24, 2009 - Race Reports
Another big stage today at the Cascade Classic. A 15 mile climb to start and then a hill top to finish.

The first climb was pretty hard. I tried my hand at some moves but just didn't have it. Ben got in the break that finally formed over the top. He was high man on GC in there so that let us sit back for once. The break came back in the end but Ben got the green sprint jersey for his efforts.

After the climb things settled down as Rock took the front. However, everyone was fighting for position behind them.

Still about 10 miles out I got caught up in a crash. Something happened on the left and moved over to the right. Rammed my collar bone into a rear wheel but was going pretty slow when I fell. Taylor Phinney not so much. I got up, fixed my front brake, put my chain back on and he was still laying there on the ground. But it sounds like he'll be okay.

Kirk and I spent a while chasing back on but finally made it. After that I just hung out at the back a little tired and a little unmotivated.

When it started to go hard up the final climb I found myself at the back. I had to go around guys and ended up about 10 meters behind the lead group before I blew up. That's what I get for starting at the back, oh well.

I'm glad the legs felt better on today's final climb. Now just saving it for that circuit race on Sunday.

I don't think anybody appreciated today's win by Team Type 1's Moises Aldape.

Tomorrow's crit will be interesting. I don't know how much work Ivan Dominguez did today but he was up there. Kirk had an easy day so I'll bet on him.

Thursday, July 23, 2009 - Race Reports
How hard should you ride a TT when you're over 10 minutes back in the GC? The answer is not very hard. This is unless you can win it just like Tom Zirbel did today.

Touch little 14 mile course that climbed quite a bit on the way out and was rocket fast on the way back. I only went about 85% but gunned it a few times down the hill because it was so fun going 45 mph. Not much more to say about that.

There are results up at CyclingNW. I don't know if they're official. I finished a solid 55th, 1.6 sad seconds behind Jesse Moore. I did roll Floyd Landis by 7 seconds, but he looked sick and was without a voice at the start.

Looks like PMTG rocked the contest, but Sevilla is only leading Jeff Louder by 40 seconds. I'm picking tomorrow to end with a break off the front. Who will win? Who will win?

There was a little bit of controversy regarding yesterday's stage and contest results. When the break finally went up the road, Steve Reaney of Cal Giant, jumped into our rotation. The big question is, was Steve just putting some final touches on his prep for nationals next week or did Adam Switters send him up there to set up Sevilla? What do you think?

Warning: Use of undefined constant REMOTE_ADDR - assumed 'REMOTE_ADDR' (this will throw an Error in a future version of PHP) in /home/public/includes/poll.php on line 39
Did Adam use his position in the race
to unfairly affect the results?

   View Results

Wednesday, July 22, 2009 - Race Reports
Both literally and figuratively. A tough, hot day for the Bissell boys at the Cascade Classic.

You can probably get a pretty good idea of how the race went when Velonews and Cyclingnews post their reports. I won't bore you with the same details.

Basically there was a bunch of attacking for the first 50 miles and then we headed into the final 8 mile climb with a small break off the front.

The climb started pretty steep and the peloton broke apart. When it flattened out a bit I was in the second group with Jeremy. I rode the front and slowly brought the groups together.

After that I tried to help Jeremy move up but when the attacks started again I was done. That was at about 5k to go and I just rolled it in steady from there. Little disappointed I dropped off so early but at least I helped a little.

Oscar Sevilla won. Ben was 1:28 back and is now sitting 7th in the GC. The time trial will be critical tomorrow for him, for me, not so much. I'm sitting 67th overall at 10:02, tied with Floyd Landis. Good times.

It looks like Adam Switters takes the win today. A little bit of good luck after the Cal Giant new team car crapped during today's stage. They were hurting for water by the end.

Same deal for stage 3. But this time predict the winner and who will be in yellow. Take a look at the results and then post comment with your entry.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009 - Race Reports
Crazy day out here at the Cascade Classic. A shorter flat stage that ended with a group of 20+ off the front. Ben was up there and took the win for Bissell.

We also had Jeremy up in that group so were content, but not happy. With Ben winning it turned out pretty good for us.

So how did such a big group get away on a flat stage? Well there was a lot of the typical attacking and eventually 10 guys got off. Then another 10 got off in the feed zone.

How did that second split happen? Noone knows but this is what I heard from Ben. BMC and Rock were riding the front to bring the first group back. Ben comes around them to grab a bottle. Someone behind pulls over to grab a bottle and opens a gap. Ben latches on and someone yells, "Gap!" BMC and Rock both look back and gun it. Game over.

I, along with probably 150 other guys, was focusing on getting a bottle, it has a hot day after all. Before we noticed anything there was a 10 second gap. Since we had Ben and Jeremy up there we're still sitting in good position. The race however is over for a lot of guys and that kind of sucks.

Sara, my wife, took stage one of the PaulMach.Contest. She'll get a special prize from me so you don't worry about that. Adam was a little disappointed she won something he could never have, but he'll just have to get over it.

So, same deal for stage two, look at today's results and post a comment with your prediction by 10am tomorrow. You call still post a GC prediction today if you like since the big show will be tomorrow anyway. If you have a suggestion about the contest, just email me.

Monday, July 20, 2009 - General
It's time for a contest! It's pretty simple, pick the winner of the stages of the upcoming Cascade Classic. Pick the overall winner, with the closest time gap over second place, and win the grand prize.

It's a rest day at the Tour so you'll have plenty of time to study the start list, the stages and the current NRC standings to make an educated guess.

How to enter
First, tell a friend about the contest.

Second, add your entry as a comment to this post. Today just post who you think the winner will be for Stage 1 and the GC plus the time gap.

Third, make sure you complete the previous two steps before the start of tomorrow's stage, which I think is 10am.

Oh wow, do I have some good stuff, besides pride and glory of winning a PaulMach.Contest you could win some of these fabulous prizes.

Bissell Training Cards You're not a true cycling fan unless you have the full collection of Bissell Team Trading Cards. A signed copy of the Tom Zirbel card is probably worth more than the grand prize. So it won't just be my card, but other ones I can round up at Cascade.

Bissell Hat To be shaded by an authentic Bissell team cap, wow. It's brand new so don't worry. However, if you do want some of my sweat in it, I'm sure we can work something out.

The grand prize is a $40 gift certificate to Cyclepath!

All prizes will be distributed on a first win first choose basis, except for the grand prize of course.

Since this is the first time I've tried something like this on the blog we'll see how it goes. If no one picks the winner of the stage I'll just give some prizes to whoever came closest. If there is a tie of something I'll just split the prizes. And remember, only one entry per person, per stage.

Good Luck.

Sunday, July 19, 2009 - Race Reports
Headed out to Reno for the Sierra Nevada Hill Climb TT #3: Geiger Grade to try my legs against Bobby Julich's record. For those that don't have time to read more, I won, but missed the record by a whoppin' 45 seconds.

The climb was about 2100 feet in 7.6 miles. Not that bad but it did end at 6800ft. I knew the average speed I needed to keep and quickly realized I wasn't going to hold it. I finished in 30:10.

I know I can ride faster than that. For one, I could've left the saddle bag at home. Well, I call it a saddle bag but it's actually a parachute I use when I blow through the finish line too hot. It was unnecessary on this course.

Afterward people told me that my time was probably the second fastest. That didn't make me feel better as I wasn't interested in being the Tyler Farrar of hill climbs. Oh Snap!

Anyway, the legs felt pretty good, I'm looking forward to Cascade next week.

Friday, July 17, 2009 - General
Poor Levi Last night, before going to bed, I saw that Levi Leipheimer was pulling out of the Tour. I was up late watching He's Just Not That Into You and the news was pretty upsetting.

Quite the roller coaster ride of an evening actually with Gigi relationships and then Levi's news. Needless to say, I didn't sleep that well.

Anyway, who are we to root for now, "I win everything" Lance Armstrong or "Our other American hope" Christian Vande Velde? Levi, you make life so difficult. Get better soon.

In other news, the athletic program at my under college did a little "where are they now" on me recently. Have a read, if that's what you're into.

Thursday, July 16, 2009 - General
We look so hot in our new accessories Had a few life changing experiences this week. The big one was that I got my first pair of glasses. I've known that my left eye sucks for a few years now and I finally got it checked out. Turns out I have an Astigmatism.

For better or worse the computer screen is a lot clearer, allowing for longer hours of work. That's a small price to pay because now my wife is even more beautiful and my Pinarello is even more awesome.

As my more observant fans may have noticed, I also got a hair cut. Basically, when I came home from school my head started to get really hot. So I drank some cold water, but it didn't do nothing. So I laid in the bathtub for a while, but then I realized that it was my hair that was making my head hot. So I went into my kitchen and I shaved it all off.

Anyway, big things are coming to the blog in the next few days. So check back for info on the first ever PaulMach.Contest.

Thursday, July 9, 2009 - General
See, no space I don't want to talk much about the last stage of Fitchburg last Sunday. Basically I rode hard and it didn't work out that well for the team. You can read all about it at Velonews and Cyclingnews if you're interested.

The flight home was actually the dramatic part of the trip. The setup was Boston to JFK, JFK to Long Beach and Long Beach to Sacramento, a full day of flying.

In Boston they told me I needed to recheck my bags in Long Beach. Something about their system only being able to handle trips with three flights. See, there are is only space for two flights on the tag. Yep, that's what they told me.

I wasn't too worried about it, but things went pear shaped when my bike didn't show up to Long Beach. So I had a lost bag and the trip wasn't over yet. The big question was, how do you fill out the report when you're not at your final destination yet?

Answer: with a lot of explain and reexplaining. After a bunch of that I got my bike back only a day late.

So that was the trip and I spent the last couple days recovering from it, both the riding and the flying. I know, I'm delicate.

Saturday, July 4, 2009 - Race Reports
First of all I'd like to thank the Bissell staff. Their help after yesterday's rainy stage helped a bunch. But there is only so much they can do and I started today still feeling yesterday's efforts. Not even Frank Pipp's eggs over easy could help me.

Well, that's a tough way to start a 110 mile stage. There was one major climb with a few rollers before and after in each of the 10 laps. That's where all the action happened. First few laps were hardcore, then it settled down a bit and Bissell hit the front to keep the break in check.

With 3 to go a dangerous move got up the road and I was the only Bissell guy in it. That came back in a half a lap and then it was game on for the rest of the race. I tried to cover moves and ride the front as much as I could but after 105 miles I was cooked. It got kind of crazy with tons of attacks and Tom was forced to cover. After all that he finished a little bit back but still holds the lead by 6 seconds.

I popped off with 2k to go. How much time can you lose in 2k? Well, apparently 1:17.

Today's race was a more consistent hurt and I wasn't as destroyed as yesterday. Just to make sure, the team hit up Applebee's and topped it off with some ice cream.

Finished the night was a little Mike Jones.

Friday, July 3, 2009 - Race Reports
I didn't want to be the only person on the internet not to post something about Michael Jackson, so this title is my part.

OMG, stage 2 of the Fitchburg Classic was intense. It was a 5k circuit with a pretty good climb in it that we did 24 times for 75 miles. The finish was at the top of the climb.

The first half was typical; fast up the climb, a fight for position. Then it started raining, hard, thunderstorm hard. That's also about when the break of 7 went up the road. Kirk was in it so we let it go. The problem was it took us a while to realized that number 3 on the GC, Zach Bell, was in it too.

So Bissell hit the front to chase. Andy and Frank rode for a while but the break was still gaining time as they had 6 rotating to our 2. Morgan and I jumped in a few laps later and the gap started coming down from over a minute to 40 seconds.

With 5 laps to go Colavita hit the front to setup the stage win. I rotated with them and took my final pull with a lap and a half to go. I got shelled up the climb but on the back side Ben yelled, "Go Paul, get back up there," as Tom was now drilling it himself on the front.

Ben and I hit the front again for a few more K. That effort, plus the one to move up, killed me. Then Ben reminded me that I still needed to sprint up the hill to make sure no gaps would open. That hurt the worst.

I finished in the main group behind the break in the 40s somewhere. Kirk won the stage from the break and Tom is still in the lead by 21 seconds.

It was a desperate situation there for a couple laps but it turned out okay. It was also pretty awesome riding the front like a real man, non of that sitting in garbage. Good times, more to come tomorrow.

Thursday, July 2, 2009 - Race Reports
Fitchburg received 2.4 inches of rain over the last 24 hours and visibility was very low for the first day of the Fitchburg Classic. It was a 14.3km TT. Out and back with a slight downhill on the way out.

I felt below average but finished 13th, 54 seconds behind our big man Tom Zirbel, who won. Ben was 7th after arriving from D.C. just an hour before his start. Overall we had all seven guys on the Bissell Team finish in the top 25.

So it looks like I'll be riding the front during tomorrow's 75 mile circuit race. I've never had to do this before and I think it'll be fun. Well, at least for the first 20 miles or so.

The rest of the race features a 110 mile road race on Saturday and a crit in downtown Fitchburg on Sunday.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009 - General
Lance, Scott and Bruno So I'm flying Jet Blue from Seattle to JFK watching the Food Network when a guy walks up to my seat, opens a copy of Velonews, points at an article and asks, "Is this you?"

I knew there was an article in the August issue but to see it for the first time like this, wow. Dave was nice enough to let me read the piece and I signed it for him.

That was the good part of the travel day. The whole Bissell Team was supposed to fly in for the 50th Annual Fitchburg Classic in well... Fitchburg. There was bad weather in Boston and it messed with a bunch of flights.

Me and Morgan made it in 15 hours from home to hotel. Jeremy got on the plane in LA but they found something wrong soon after leaving the gate so he flew back home. The Smash Brothers only made it to D.C. and are driving (8 hours) here tonight.

And such starts July.

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