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The Paul Mach Blog - February 2009

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

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February 2009

Saturday, February 28, 2009 - Race Reports
The Merco crit was about 90 minutes in downtown Merced. Last year I sat on the back of the cat. 2 race. This year I rode near the front and actually did stuff.

Drove down with Jesse and Adam. They shoved me in the back seat of the truck and wouldn't give me any food. But I had my Skins on so they couldn't hurt me.

The Bissell Team was aggressive the whole race. We were in most of the moves. The best was part was sitting up when teammates were in them.

A few times I was in the move myself. One was with Jackson Stewart of BMC. Another was solo off the front with 7 laps to go. But they were giving $100 primes every few laps so nobody wanted stuff to stay away.

The last few laps were pretty crazy with some crashes right next to me. I managed to stay in the lead group of about 20 for the last lap. I went backwards when I stood up to sprint and finished 18th.

Some of the other guys bowed out of the sprint because it was getting so crazy. Cody finished 8th and Joao was 19th.

Friday, February 27, 2009 - Tech
A Visual Tonight I'm introducing a new feature to the site. It's called "From my Phone." Basically it's a little twist on twitter. I upload pictures and captions from my phone and they get put in the "From my Phone" gallery automatically. They are then posted on twitter so that people can get updates along with the rest of their tweets.

This feature is mainly in response to all the readers who have called for more multimedia on the site. Evidently I'm in competition with and this is what I need to do to keep pace.

That and I want to be able to post at least something soon after a race. Sometimes I'm too tired to get a race report up right away and this is the next best thing.

So why not just use twitter and twitpic? Because I want to know when the picture was taken, not just when it was posted. There's a lot of information in that and I may not upload till that night or the next day. I tried and it's impossible to do this using twitter/twitpc. The other reason is that I like to do things my way without some "service" holding me back.

So here is how it works. I take a picture on my T-Mobile G1. I then upload it to who then throws it back at I use Pixelpipe because they have an app that will take care of the uploading and caption sending.

A script at puts the photo on the website and posts it to my twitter account. That's it, pretty straight forward.

We'll see how it works over the next couple of days. Let me know if you have any issues.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009 - General
The race ride on Tuesday got bit by The Viper again (AKA Jim Wingert). His legendary 1km leadout decimated the field, just like old times. And this ride was legit, it was basically a who's who of Davis area cyclists. I was half expecting USADA to show up and take the top 3 and a random after the last sprint.

The ride also got a bit personal when Adam Switters started offering people some of his cinnamon bread. At first I thought he was being nice but soon realized it was some sort of underhanded tactic. Half way through the sprint I still couldn't breath as I was still choking down the dry bread.

He made up for it by leading me out for the overpass KOM. Thanks. I took the points and kept the jersey for another week.

There was even more drama today when Tim and I got an email from J-Wow that said, "Hey so I heard you were both at Snelling. How did it go and which one of you chased the other down?" So what if we pulled a few shenanigans at Snelling? But a teammate on the other side of the country gets a call about it, what is up with that?

Saturday, February 21, 2009 - Race Reports
It was a 12:15 start time but I still had to get up early at 7:30am. Drove down with Tim and Trudy. They were very nice especially after they found out my water bottle with 1st Endurance leaked out all over their clothes.

I rolled to the line early and started handing out my business cards to all the Cal-Giant guys. I explained that if they needed help bringing back a break or something they should call me. They didn't think it was funny.

Anyway, the goal for me was to get in a break or at least try really hard. I was a little pissed at Cherry Pie because the break went pretty much before I had clipped in.

I tried and tried to get in a break, for almost the whole race. Nothing ever went very far. There were a couple good attempts. The best of which was with a half lap to go. But I'd always look back to see some dude on the front with his head down. Never a good sign.

Overall, I was very aggressive and had good sensations. It was a good ride.

For the sprint I dropped back to try and help Tim move up. I was kinda tired at this point so was only able to move him up from 30th to 20th. But it's the thought that counts. Right?

I was so far back in the sprint that I don't even know who won. I do know that Zach beat me. But he didn't see the wind the whole day. Getting popped off the back and having to chase back on doesn't count.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009 - General
Rain, rain In honor of my teammates in the rainy Tour of California I went outside to ride. It really wasn't that bad after I spent the 30 minutes putting on all the right clothes. These DMT Rain Covers are awesome.

A little weekend recap. Last Sunday we went out to see the start of stage 1 here in Davis. Sara wanted to hear King Wohlberg's voice again so we awkwardly waited around the team car for like 5 minutes. It was so worth it.

On Monday the wife and I just watched the Tour on the laptop. She got all into it and is now following all the big names on Twitter. What a dork.

Saturday, February 14, 2009 - General
This whole Tour of California thing has been good to me. Over the last week I've received a lot of extra attention. Mainly because I look like some of the guys who are actually doing the tour. Let me share with you some of the more humorous incidents.

On Tuesday, out by Cardiac, some guy in a car pulled up to me and Adam Switters and asked for an autograph. He then pulled over and we talked for a few minutes. This was all good until it caused us to barely miss the race ride. We would have been fine but those amateurs cut it short because it "looked like it was going to rain."

Thursday, some guy named Bruce rolls up to me on a farm road south of Davis and says, "Wait, do I know you? Oh sorry you look like Burke Swindlehurst." I've actually heard that before. "Well tell him I said hi and good luck this weekend." He sped off before I could explain.
Me and Burke, the same? Then on the Wheelworks ride, on which I had a bunch of luck, some girl asked me if I was racing today. I said, "You bet! I got second on that sprint but Phil Mooney went over the center line so actually I won." Nothing like a 4.5 hour warmup to get those good sensations.

The best one happened at the prologue today. I talked to Frank Pipp after and he said, I kid you not, "There are a bunch of people on the course wearing Davis stuff and yelling to all the Bissell riders." I'd like to thank the Junior Team for their support. Maybe one day it will actually apply.

There are only a few hours left before the public forgets about bike racing again. But the excitement hasn't died yet, I'll be trading my Bissell trading cards tomorrow at the start.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009 - General
Well that News 10 thing went pretty well. It was 30 minutes live online and they cut into the midday news for a few seconds a couple of times. It was basically a conversation about cycling motivated by the Tour of California coming through town.

Chris was stressed out "more than before the Nationals Crit." Zach was like, "Seriously, I'm 16."

I botched some of the team promotion stuff. I had my hand in front of the Bissell logo on my shirt the whole time. I also said, "The bikes my team will be riding..." instead of "The Pinarello that Team Bissell will be riding." Amateur I know, sorry Beth.

You can check the whole thing out in the Live Online Archive and they also have a photo gallery. I'm on for the last 13 minutes if you want to skip past those other guys.

Thanks to everyone who sent in questions. But "Zack is the boss." Seriously? I thought we talked about that.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009 - General
News 10 Well not exactly, more like "Live Online." Tomorrow (Wednesday), online at, from 11-Noon, me, Jason Eiserich, Chris Stastny and Zach Wick will be on.

I'm not sure what it's going to be like but apparently you can ask questions through the website. So before you start logging in remember that, "Paul, you are the man," is not actually a question.

Sunday, February 8, 2009 - Race Reports
Full Gas Raced Cherry Pie today. Adam Switters talked me into riding out there from Davis. I figured an extra 50 miles would make for a good workout and the wife would be happy to miss the 1:30 pre-race hangout. In reality, it turned out to be a suffer fest. Full on head wind and the rain got my bike all dirty.

At the race I met up with Tim and Jono only to see that I'd missed a memo or e-mail or something. Tim had carbon wheels and Jono had a brand new set of Vredestein race tires. I suddenly felt inadequate with my PowerTap and training tires.

As for the race, I was planning to shoot from the hip and get in a good workout. At the start line I was chillin' in the back talking to Scott Zwizanski. It took me about 3 or 4 laps to move up to the front at which point the winning break of 4, to become 2, riders was already off. Cal Giant and Z-Team were represented.

Spent the rest of the race attacking, trying to pull back the break and exploding. The chase never got going and the 10 Cal Giant guys weren't helping.

I mistimed the whole attack/explode thing for the finish and went from near the front to not as the bell was ringing. Alex Wick from DBC murmered something about me owing him a leadout. As we were like 40th wheel and the race was strung out single file I decided to pass. Where I ended up finishing is not important.

Jesse Moore won from the break. Originally he was supposed to ride out with us but had some excuse about not finding a ride back. I guess it was all part of the plan.

Update: Added a picture by Mark Adkison of Hors Category Photography.

Thursday, February 5, 2009 - General
Bad race number I'd like to share a few tips for the Intersquad Time Trial coming up this weekend.

First, there's no need for a warm up. A true pro, or a pro wanna be, should be able to win without one.

Next, make sure your number is aero. This includes stiffening it up with packing tape if we have frame numbers again. Don't worry, you'll have time (see the previous paragraph).

Finally, as a precaution, come up with a good excuse and set it up before the start. Dropping hints like, "I think I'm only going to go 85% today," or, "I'm pretty tired, I've had a tough week," is a good idea.

If you forget to setup an excuse but still need one afterward try, "a car pulled out in front of me and I had to back off," or, "my skewer was loose so I had to stop and fix it." If someone else has already used those just blame it on something mechanical, like shifting.

I hope these tips will help everyone have a good ride on Saturday. Or at least have a good reason why they didn't.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009 - General
Jono's Job well done This is what we'd come back to after our rides. Jono, our soigneur, would have chairs, food and premixed recovery bottles all set out. I tried to get my wife to do this sort of thing but she wasn't into it.

Wohlberg was also helping out. He spent to whole week not riding, but driving the car with food and spare wheels. Some think this might be the first time he's actually tapered so if you see him on a local group ride, watch out.

Sunday, February 1, 2009 - General
Haven't updated in a couple days so I'll give you the round up.

Yesterday was media day. They swarmed all over the Smash Brothers and Zirbel, which was to be expected. I did talk to a couple people but it was clear they would only use my quotes if I said something funny. I tried my best.

A ride over to Howell Mountain followed because some of the guys wanted to check out the run in for Stage 1 of the Tour of Califonia.

Today featured an epic ride with an 8am start. We did the Skaggs Springs Loop for 200 km in 6.5 hours (read longest ride ever to cap off a big week).

Tomorrow I'm riding back to Davis. Then I'll pick up the wife and head back to Santa Rosa to get all my stuff.

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