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The Paul Mach Blog - April 2010

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

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Thursday, April 29, 2010 - Race Reports
Stage 2 of Gila was defined by wind. It blew cross over the first climb, from every direction in the valley, block head on the last climb and a solid cross for the finish.

That's were Bissell made a move. The whole team lined it out on the front. It wasn't perfect and ended a bit early but it did cut the group to about 20 riders.

While we were chopping off Lance was sitting right behind us. As I was coming around I needed to get back in line. So I hesitated and then took him to the curb. It was't pretty as the cross wind was blowing hard, but it was definitely the highlight of the race for me. 2, LA 0.

Kyle Wamsley sprinted for 3rd and I was at the back of that first group. There were some time gaps all over but I don't think anyone knows what they were. The rumor is the finish camera screwed up and no results have been posted yet.

Tomorrow is the TT, 16 miles and it's hilly. Should also be windy. More good times for sure.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010 - Race Reports
Well, it's Tour of the Gila time again. Stage 1, 95 miles out to Mogollon with a crazy hill top finish.

I'll get right to it, Levi won, again. I saw him in the elevator at our hotel and he said, "The elevation made it hard." So there you have it boys and girls, it was hard for him to put 1:24 minutes into me.

The race was all about that final 4k climb. I went into it in good position but my plan was to ride my own pace up the thing. I think that was a good choice.

Half way up someone yelled, "Go" just as Burke was passing me. He made some joke about us looking alike, but I was in no mood to laugh.

Then I passed Lance Armstrong. I know right, The Lance Armstrong. But he's only won 2 races in the last 4 years so does it really mean anything? Oh snap!!

To sum it up, the climb hurt bad. It's a hard climb just in itself. Then you add in the altitude and the fact that you're racing and it turns into death.

I ended up 16th. Last year I was 36th and 2 minutes behind Lance. So I consider this an improvement.

In other news, I was Panda of the week on Elis' blog. I also finally got the Podium Insight interview. It's a little long but it's definitely worth reading every word. At least that's what my wife says.

Monday, April 19, 2010 - Race Reports
After a good day's racing on Friday, it was on to the circuit race on Saturday.

The race was 2 hours on the Laguna Seca Raceway. Last year we did 30 laps, which took about 3 hours, so it was a bit different race this time.

Right from the start I managed to cover a few moves and ended up in a 3 rider break. Given the Bissell team's results from the last few days, this wasn't super great for us. I waited for Ben's group to bridge up but after some "cat and mousing" I ended up as the only Bissell rider in a break of 5.

This was even worse so I played the team card and sat on. With 3 laps to go I attacked up the climb and soloed in for the victory. It was pretty sweet since, as you know, a win only counts if you do it solo.

However, my excitement was short lived because Eric soon asked if I was big-ringing the climb. I was forced to answer, "No, I still fall short."
So cute. On Sunday the team hit the Santa Cruz Criterium. There was a bunch of aggressive riding by the team that ended with Ben and Cody off the front and Kyle and Dan taking the field sprint. Props to Ben for finally crossing that home town crit off his bucket list.

I finished 14th and was happy I put in that extra dig at the end because t-shirts went 15 deep.

In other Mach family racing news, my brother's novice four rowed to a conference championship last weekend. Sweet man.

Saturday, April 17, 2010 - Race Reports
Sorry for the late update, it was a long night. We had a big dinner in Pebble Beach and the wine was flowing pretty loosely. Big thanks to Mark Bissell for that.
Podium Sweep So I had a good ride at the Sea Otter Road Race yesterday. The basic run down is me, Rob Britton and two Yahoo guys got off the front a few laps in. Rob and I eventually set off on our own and rode to the line together. Rob was gracious enough to let me win.

After getting punked by Levi last year, it was a good feeling to finally take it. Plus a few years ago I won the Cat. 4 race so to come back and win the Pro race is pretty cool.

For those of you that don't know Rob, he's a hecka strong rider. He won the queen stage of Mt. Hood last year. I've had a few chances to ride the break with him and we always pull off some sweet team tactics.

Some people have asked if my new Giro sun glasses had anything to do with the win. The answer is: "Yes, they are awesome."

Thursday, April 15, 2010 - Race Reports
It was the first day of Sea Otter and for the road riders it started with a crit.
Podium Sweep And that is how it ended. 4 Bissell riders off the front with 3 others coming in soon after. That's what happens when you have 10 of 35 starters.

So yeah, me, the sisters and Vennell spent 45 minutes off the front doing a team time trial. There were some shenanigans at the end and I ended up 3rd.

That’s it, just a short little post tonight.

Update: A little post race video shot by

Wednesday, April 7, 2010 - Interviews
Fast!!! Back to the interviews. Today we have Jeremy Vennell. Why do you care? Well, because last year he won the New Zealand TT championship AND got married, all in the same week. Let's start with an easy one. How'd you get into racing bikes?

Jeremy Vennell: Back in 2002 I saw the Tour de France on TV and was like, "I'm going to do that." I was at university and I sucked at it, so I dropped out to race bikes.

It was a life changing decision and when I told my parents they were like, "what the f***." But they still supported me.

Six months later I was to Europe. I was living in a small town in north Holland and racing for a Dutch amateur team. It was the hardest year of my life.

PM.C: After a few years of professional racing in Europe you signed with Bissell. Why?

JV: I think the racing in America suits me better. But I also only saw Anita (now his wife) for 3 weeks out of 10 months and I couldn't handle it. America is closer to New Zealand so it's easier.

Now we live in Santa Rosa during the cycling season and spend a few months at home during the winter. We're living the glory days of wine and roses.

PM.C: And how do you spent your "glory days?"

JV: I have a garden. I just recently purchased a truckload of dirt so I've been dealing with that. We hit up the restaurants and wineries.

I also love internet shopping, I love it. Clothing, Zappos because they do free delivery and a 365 day return policy. The other day I got a $5 pair of pants at the outlet stores.

PM.C: Good to know. Every good New Zealand cyclist has a story about their national tour, The Tour of Southland. What's yours?

JV: Something unique always happens at Southland. This previous year we had the biggest crash in history, everyone but 10 guys went down and those guys crashed 3 kilometers later. That was pretty funny.

I couldn't see it but it was the longest crash I ever heard, it lasted like 20 seconds. Some guy screamed, and I was like "holy sh**, people are dying all around me." It took 30 minutes to get everyone off the road.

And that is bit of Jeremy Vennell. If you're looking for a bike fit, ask for him at Echelon Cycle and Multisport in Santa Rosa. Tell him sent you and he'll hook you up.

Thursday, April 1, 2010 - General
OMG!! Boom! That is what the Cycling News website looks like right now. This is not an April Fools joke, my picture is on the front page!

For a moment I thought about hanging up the bike. I mean, how is one supposed to top that? Then I realized it was for an article on "Knee pain, sleep concerns, stamina and fat testing."

The story has nothing to do with me or Bissell or time trialling. It's just a random picture. But I'll take what I can get, for now.

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