All posts by Mike

Discovered a photo of Lance I took in 1997… (originally published on my Facebook page)

Trek's Team coordinator Mike M on the right, and he who must not be named, Lance, on the left.
Trek’s Team coordinator Mike M on the right, and he who must not be named, Lance Armstrong, on the left.

1997. Who knew. Mike M, Trek’s team liaison (on the right in the photo), was pretty darned sure he knew. Knew that he’d signed the next big thing in pro cycling. I recall him calling me on the phone, at home, to tell me about it. He was that excited (and at the time, I was pretty high on Trek’s dealer list). They flew me to San Diego to the training camp where I was supposed to be hugely impressed by the pro athletes on display… at the time, I was much more impressed by the bike technology. I hadn’t been totally sucked into pro cycling yet.

I was only 40 at the time and one heck of a lot faster than I am today. I could hold my own against the Trek engineers and such (some of whom raced fairly well), and not look totally foolish riding (not really long rides) with guys I should have been far more impressed with than I was. Pretty naïve in hindsight.

Two and a half years later I found myself in France, exposed to an entirely new and epic type of bike racing at my first TdF. I was quickly and thoroughly hooked. Had I any idea what the pinnacle of bike racing could be like when I started racing, I likely would have made some very different choices. In retrospect, I’m glad I didn’t, but I’ll continue to wonder, am I a has-been or a never-was.

From 2000 up through this year, I’ve been to every TdF except 2008 (the year Carlos Sastre won). It’s clearly a bit of an obsession, and from 2007-on, an obsession I’ve shared with my son. 9 years ago he was 14, 5’3 or so, and had slimmed down to about 195lbs. He’d been as high as 220. Today he’s 5’9 and 170. Cycling has transformed him, and our trips to the TdF have been a high point of each year for both of us.

Sucks that Lance turned out to be not just a doper but an *hole, which kinda takes over the narrative for a great story.

Tuesday’s Ride Update-

Just a few of us this morning;  myself, Kevin (younger Kevin, not the Pilot), JR, and, for the climb up Kings, Marcus. Kevin and Marcus are in a whole different class and just rode on ahead; I rode hard the first part of the climb but fell apart further up and got passed by JR. So nothing new to report. Same as it ever was.  🙂

Channeling my inner Mara Abbott on the upper part of Tunitas today!

I had a few choices for the main photo; a shot of Kevin riding away from me up Tunitas, a "tunnel" shot of the eucalyptus trees on Stage Road, or this. This being the photo that makes me smile, it gets the spot here.
I had a few choices for the main photo; a shot of Kevin riding away from me up Tunitas, a “tunnel” shot of the eucalyptus trees on Stage Road, or this. This being the photo that makes me smile, it gets the spot here.

Do I ever get tired of repeating the same Sunday ride so frequently? Up Old LaHonda, over Haskins, lunch at Arcangeli Pescadero market, north into the headwind on Stage and up Tunitas? I have no doubt that Arcangeli market has much to do with the route choice! The chicken club sandwich and oversized cookies are pretty darned awesome.

The fallen Mastadon near Pescadero
The fallen Mastadon near Pescadero

Of course, to get there, you have to survive the climb over Old LaHonda, where there’s zero chance of me keeping up with Kevin, until you can feel like you’re on equal footing on the grade over Haskins. Today was no different; Kevin was a minute or two ahead of me up Old LaHonda, but I managed to keep pace with him on Haskins. Certain climbs he has a bit of trouble on, or I’m a bit stronger on, not sure which.

We made a brief stop on the way out to Pescadero to take a photo of the fallen Mastadon; poor guy has been on the ground since early winter. The Triceratops has been sadly looking upon its fallen friend the entire time, waiting for someone to put him upright again so they can face off across the field.

Stage Road is my sole remaining climb where I have a chance to do better than Kevin, especially the second bump heading into San Gregorio, and the final climb up to Highway 1. I have no idea why this is, and I doubt it will last, but I’ll take it while I can. Once we get to Tunitas, it’s all-Kevin all the time.

With favorable winds it was a good day to “launch” Kevin on Tunitas. Any day that you can get close to 10 minutes from the coast to the entrance of the forest is a good day to try and get a good time. I watched Kevin ride away, hoping that he’d just get stronger and stronger, but apparently he finished just a couple minutes ahead of me. I felt like I could have done a bit better if only I hadn’t felt a need to keep standing up to keep my legs going, kind of like American Mara Abbott did the final 10k of the Women’s Olympic Road Race… a flaw that cost her the race, as she got caught just before the finish line. For me, does it really matter if I climb Kings in 48:40 or 49:30? The main goal is to finish on the same day as my son. 🙂