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The Paul Mach Blog - September 2010

Living life on the edge... of the road
Photo by Musa Zaid

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September 2010

Wednesday, September 29, 2010 - General
It's been a while, Nationals was over a week ago and I spent the last week in Vegas checking out Interbike and, well, Vegas.

Not much to say about nationals. It was highlighted by a busted pedal and the details are uninteresting. That race also marked the end of a season. It sucks that it's over, but it'll be nice to take some time off and regroup again for next year.

Ian and I celebrated with some Chocolate Thunder from Down Under. No, NO, not the same kind Holloway had, we had the dessert at the Outback. We couldn't pass it up since dinner was on the team card.

After that I was home for a day before heading to Vegas for Interbike. I'd never been and wanted to check it out. It was a bit eye opening. I always thought the weight-weenie, bike nerd on the local group ride was unique. Well, I was wrong because there were like a thousand of those guys at the show.

What did I see there? A whole lot of flashing lights and new wheelsets. That and a solar powered bike light. I'm a little embarrassed to admit that it took me a whole day to figure out that was a dumb idea.

After talking bikes for a few days the wife came down and the party really started. We explored the strip and checked out some shows. It was a good time.

But I'm back now and it's the off season and that means it's time for more of the "r-word."

Saturday, September 18, 2010 - Race Reports
On Thursday I flew across the country again for another bike race. This time the National Championships in Greenville.

For today's time trial I pulled out all the old tricks. I had a little bit of facial hair for that chaotic boundary layer and pinned my number on from the inside to get more aero. So it hurt bad when I got beat by my teammate David Williams by half a second. I finished 9th.

Actually, if you look at the results, it seems like everyone is separated from someone by just a few seconds, 1st and 2nd by 0.2 seconds. 3rd and 4th by 2.2 seconds, 5th and 6th by 1.8 seconds, 8th and 9th by 0.5 seconds, and 11th and 12th by 0.9 seconds. WTF?

Anyway, the result was pretty much on par with my expectations. I'm not on super hot form and there were some good guys in the 15 man field. Why so little? Don't know, but I'd guess everyone else thinks they can win tomorrow.

On the way home, I got an interesting question at a stop light. "Do cyclists have a right to be on the road like that?" The lady shook her head in disbelief when I said, "Yes, we follow the same rules as cars."

I'm a bit disappointed George, I thought you owned this town.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010 - Race Reports
So last weekend I was off in Pennsylvania for the Univest Grand Prix. The first day was awesome, with nice weather and everything. The second, was not.

Saturday featured a sweet little circuit race. A one day race with a team! I think the last time I did a race like that was Sea Otter. It adds a different dynamic, people ride more aggressively and worry less about time and more about finishing position.

I didn't get in any of the moves but I was up there doing stuff and it was a lot of fun. I think I was 30th or something and Frank was 4th.

The next day was totally different, a long crit in the rain. It turned out to be pretty classic. I started a ways back, there was a crash and there was a gap. After some craziness I was in the second group.

A few laps later I was told to pull the plug. I did as I was told, I mean it was raining and I was out of contention. But it wasn't long before I regretted that decision. Was I there to race or there to not crash? I'd probably be thinking differently if I'd crashed. But got to move on to the next race I guess.

Overall the courses were cool and the racing was fast and aggressive. More of that to come this weekend at nationals.

Friday, September 10, 2010 - Race Reports
We moved last week and hadn't really been up for writing about the Challenge Challenge until now. I figured, since I'm on the plane to another bike race, I might as well write about the last one.

So last Saturday morning marked the first time, since Snelling, I'd gotten up before 5am for a bike race. I kept telling myself it was noon somewhere, but that didn't really help.

As for the race, I felt good for the first 3 hours, then I suffered, then I got Andy Schlecked. Basically, I got a flat and my breakmates just kept going.

This may have been provoked by me saying, "Best excuse ever," and "See you guys later, read all about it on my blog," but I think they were just being jerks. I mean, not racing professionally.

I didn't have a wheel in the follow car so I had to talk my way into using Keith Hillier's wheel. Basically, 4 guys were being followed and there were 50 wheels in the truck. Anyway, thanks Keith.

Due to the short little rest, I felt good again. That was, until I hit the climb. It was way hotter than the first two laps and my sunglass filled with sweat. At that point I just wanted it to be over.

It took a while, but it finally was. I ended 5th, probably the same place I would've been without the flat.

And for the record, flat tires suck. It's always better to get dropped because you're racing than because you can't.

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