Thursday, June 3, 2010

Remembering why

Six weeks ago I returned from Europe with the best fitness of my life. I had just finished an intense block of European racing and had planned to carry that speed and motivation I had back to the states. However, my return to US racing would be anything but speedy. I began to develop a knee pain which continued to bother me and kept me from riding for the next four weeks. This four week span was an up and down roller coaster, but it was a lesson I needed to learn.

Icing my knee and sitting on the couch with the best form of my life was mentally taxing, it wasn’t until my younger brother Austin returned from Europe that I first got a desire to think about cycling again. Riding and racing has been such a part of my daily routine for the last year, and not being able to ride I didn’t know what to do. When Austin was rested and ready to ride again after his own European trip, I wanted to help him out as much as possible to prepare him for the rest of the season. I wasn’t able to ride with him, but I was able to motor pace him behind my car and drive him into the mountains to get in some good riding.
Last week I was able to ride again pain free thanks to Rebound and a lot to ice and rest. I could tell I had lost a lot of my fitness but I’ve learned that these injuries can and will happen and its how you deal with them that makes the difference in the long run. Riding again reminded me of why I love cycling, it is such a beautiful sport and the views from the road are stunning. I had my down days while I was injured but now that I’m riding again I appreciate it even more. For the next few weeks I’ll be in Bend training and preparing for the second half of the season with my brother Austin, on the roads we know and love.

Ian

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Two bikes and a backpack

At Ten AM yesterday Ben King and I decided we were going to ride across Belgium to Huy, the finishing town of Fleche Wallonne (one of the biggest bike races in the spring classics). Since we are stuck in Europe do to the volcanic activities in Iceland we are trying to make the best out of the time here. So with no planning we stuffed a backpack with a change of clothes and heading east to Huy. Less than an hour after we sparked the idea we were on the road. With no maps we relied on my previous travels in Belgium and the knowledge that Brussels was the half way point.
I could not have set out on this trip with a better bud than Ben, a good southern boy riding for the Trek-Livestrong team. He and I have become great friends over the past month, and this adventure would only bring us closer. Taking turns carrying the backpack we rode east and into the center of Brussels. For me this was nothing new as I lived there for nine months a few years back and rode my bike everywhere. For Ben however, it was an adrenaline packed hour. Winding our way through gridlocked streets we eventually made our way out of the city.
The east side of Brussels is very different than the west; with rolling hills, thick forests, and the French language it is an area of Belgium that I enjoy much more than the flat windswept farmland of Flanders. Making our way towards our final destination I realized that this whole trek was possible, we were more than halfway there and still had plenty of daylight. With time to spare we stopped in Wavre and ate a very French lunch, we split a baguette and dipped it in chicken pate. With the seldom seen Belgian sun shining down, the gratification of embarking on this great adventure was absorbed.
With French bread in our bellies the final forty kilometers passed quickly. The final descent brought us into Namur (a large town next to Huy where we planned to stay at the youth hostel) and the hardest part of the voyage was finished. Two hundred kilometers and over six hours of riding had landed us on the opposite side of Belgium only to find that the hostel was booked. Ben and I weighed our options, however with our shallow bank accounts a hotel was not one of them. We contemplated sleeping in a barn or some abandoned building but when we finally came to a conclusion we were on the next train back to Izegem.
While we didn’t get to see the race live, we did ride across an entire country of Belgium. Once we returned the other riders were shocked to see us back. Many had expected to see us earlier thinking we would not have the courage make the journey on such little planning. Some of the riders saw our adventure as a failure because we didn’t do what we planned, but we never planned anything at all. It was a spontaneous thought that we carried out, Ben and I had one of our best days in Belgium yet and I wouldn’t’ have changed it for a thing.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Belgium racing through the eyes of my roommate and all around good guy Ben King

Triptyque des Monts et Chateaux: 3 days, 4 stages

Stage 1: 170 km
Fresh of a world championship win, Taylor Phinney joins our team along with fellow Trek-Livestrong riders Gavin Mannion and Nate Brown. Also, in the USA lineup are Bissell Pro riders Boswell and Holloway along with BMC rider Cole House. The wind is strong today and it's cold. Riders know they must be near the front before the crosswinds. Our team is aggressive. I find myself mid-pack trying like everyone else to stay toward the front. It is nervous and there is no space on either side of the pack to shoot forward. All of the sudden, bars lock and around ten riders go down in a tangle of bikes. From behind I plow into them, on top of them. I yank my bike from the jumble, riders beneath me are moaning, and I begin to chase the pack. A small group of riders shoot by me, and when I accelerate for their draft my knee throbs. I see that it's cut and know its deep because it bleeds jelly. I chase on my own and catch the bunch on a short climb. Crosswinds. I'm off the back in a small group. We chase and rejoin. I hang back to access the damage. More crosswinds. Another group off the back. With 130 km left to race, we settle into a hard tempo and make it to the finish 14 minutes back on the lead group.

Four USA riders have made the front group. With 10 km to go Taylor wrecks, but blasts through the caravan and back to the front. Gavin Mannion reels in a breakaway with 5 km to go. Holloway and House ride for Taylor, and Taylor despite a crash with 7 km to go, sprints for 4th.
The race medics scrub my chainring laceration, and recommend the hospital. 9 stitches.
Many of you have twittered and emailed support, and it means a lot. After battling to make the time cut, it is an extreme disappointment to miss the start tomorrow. Tomorrow's time trial should put our team in a solid GC position, and it kills me to bail on my teammates. However, my knee, the hinge of the pedal stroke, is quite sore and swollen. The season is young.



I'll continue to cover the race via our team's website: http://www.treklivestrongu23.com/ but spare the rest of you. Assuming a swift recovery, I'll be getting back amongst it next Friday for Circuit des Ardennes.

BK

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The Flemish super bowl

All this week in Flanders racers and fans are preparing for the Tour of Flanders. For many Belgians this race is bigger than the world championships. Being here in the heart of Flanders it is amazing to see how fanatical this country is with cycling. People are renting out garages on the course and selling parking spots close to all the major climbs. And like the super bowl beer is a vital part to the day, only here in Belgium people will line the course starting at 9am to ensure they can see the race. The drinking will surly start soon thereafter and if a Belgian wins stores could stay closed Monday as many employees will still be recovering from the celebration. Here at the house we have placed our bets and built up in anticipation of a great race, the only down side is we will be doing a race of our own Sunday.

Ian

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

http://www.paulmach.com/100323/172203/Bissells-bike-guy-Ben-Oliver

http://www.paulmach.com/100323/172203/Bissells-bike-guy-Ben-Oliver

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Monday, March 22, 2010

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Going to race

In the sport of cycling it’s easy to get distracted and forget what the sport is all about. Starting last October I started training with a power meter, in many ways it has helped my training but at the same time it has been a distraction. As a first timer with a power meter I got so sucked into the numbers that I became like a robot and rode only off the numbers I was seeing on the power screen and on my computer. I became so ingrained in the power program that I sometimes wouldn’t listen to my body and was solely riding to please the computer program which I download my power files to.
As I step back and realize how I have become what I once pitied, I find myself at a transitional point in the cycling season. The majority of training is over and the racing is here, so from this point forward I will be taking a new approach to an old school method. I am continuing to ride with a power meter, but am taking a vouch to ride with courage and guts rather than numbers and graphs. The next two months in Europe are bound to be some of the hardest races I have ever done, but I’m planning on being the aggressive one. Nothing comes from being a follower and racing with pride is an attitude that creates success. Weather I have the fitness or not I will give everything I can to be in the front of the race, because you have to risk losing to win.

Ian singing off from the San Francisco Airport on my way to Europe

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Monday, March 15, 2010

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Team Inerview before the Madera Crit

New to the Boz Blog

I've decided to start a video blog here at the Boz Blog to keep things fun and new. Let me know what you think.

Follow this link to my interview with Paul Mach

Monday, March 8, 2010

Merco Weekend

This past weekend was the Merco Classic, it is the unofficial start to the real California race season. I joined five of my BISSELL teammates and took part in a very successful and fun weekend of racing. I will try and get around to a blog this week, but in the mean time here is a link to my weekend room buddy and star cyclist Paul Mach's weekend recap.

http://www.paulmach.com/

Friday, February 26, 2010

The road ahead




The one thing I have learned already this season as my first year as a professional bike racer is that nothing is ever 100%. In this wild world of bike racing things change faster than the gears on a bike. Just two weeks ago I had had my entire spring planed out; I was to stay living in Chico for the spring and race with my team BISSELL Pro Cycling in a lot of the bigger races on the west coast. However, this all changed with the click of a mouse, an invitation from the national team to race in Europe for a two month block threw some curves in my road.
It took me a while do decide what I wanted to do, on one hand I want to race here in the US with my new team and on the other I love racing in Europe and the experience I get is unmatched. I finally came to the conclusion that racing in the US will always be an option, so I will be going to my second home in Belgium yet again. On the 19th of March I be leaving to us and flying to Belgium for a short week before flying down to Portugal for a u23 nations cup. The racing is bound to me hard and now that I am no longer racing at the junior level I’m back at the bottom of the chopping block. Before I head to Europe I will have the chance to race some in the US with my team. I will be racing the Snelling road race tomorrow with the company of my younger brother. He and my mother came down earlier this week to see me before I head off to Europe and also bring a few of my things back to Bend. My mother drove back to Bend early this morning, and left Austin behind to enjoy some California life style. I can’t wait to see how Austin does in the race this weekend and hope we get some good bonding before both of our seasons start and we hit the road.
My dad will be coming down mid next week for a little Boswell Chico training camp and to take Austin home. Even thought my plans are always changing my family is always there to support me and adjust with the changing tide. I’ll enjoy my final few weeks in the US with two more California races then pack the bags and go to my second home across the Atlantic.

With the season ahead the blog will be back alive,
Ian

Monday, February 22, 2010

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Team camp

This past week I've been in Santa Rosa, Ca for my team camp. I will get a post up soon but till then here is a link to my teammate Paul Mach's blog.

http://paulmach.com/

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

A little thread from Belgium

This is just a quick post, but yesterday as I was taking a shower I noticed the bracelet that my host bother Julien (from my Belgian exchange) made me three years ago. I have worn it every day since I tied it on and now three years later it remains in the same place. The white thread has aged from a pearl white to a faded gray, but I’d like to think that a little dirt from the 13 different countries I have traveled to in the past three years is engrained somewhere in the bracelet. The opportunities I have had will never be forgotten and thank you to everyone who has helped me along the way.

Ian

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Where do I want to be?

I’m writing this from the comfort of my warm room in my dry house. The rain outside continues to fall and the wind persists to howl, and as I think about what I’ve been doing for the last four and a half hours my room is all the more appreciated. This morning I dressed for the elements and with my iPod on play, I hit the road in what was a wet and windy ride. Several times during the ride I noticed the classic and quiet country farm homes which are cumbersome in most of my rides outside of Chico, Ca. Not only did the houses look welcoming with the smoke coming from the chimneys or the lights on inside, but I was imagining that the mother of the house was cooking some hot cookies and the family was around the TV watching the NFL playoffs. So bad I wanted to get off my bike and be home with my family, dry and warm; however I was doing what I love to do. It’s interesting how many ups and downs one will go through on a four hour ride, but when all is down I’m almost always glad I was out on the road. Today was one of those rides that you just try and get done because there is not much desirable about it; the ironic thing is, this week’s weather is going to remain the same, but I’m guaranteed to be out there wishing I was in the comfort of my home with my family.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

A family affair

During the holiday vacation I left sunny Chico, California to visit my family in Bend, Oregon. I quickly remembered why I moved to California. Bend was cold but warm, I always love seeing family and getting together. As we get older I’ve noticed how we are all now doing our own thing and see one another a lot less, which is sad, but makes it that much better once we do get together.
When I am away from Bend the person I miss the most is my brother Austin. We fight, tussle and do almost everything else together, but most recently he has started getting into cycling and is amazingly strong already. My last day in Bend we did a 75 mile ride and he had no problem hanging with the group and was even at the front taking pulls. Next season he plans on racing a lot and I can’t wait to watch him and support him like he has done for me for so long.
My highlights while I was in Bend were, riding with my dad and brother, Christmas dinner, and cutting down our huge Christmas tree that Austin hauled out of the woods by himself and decorating it with my family.

Hope all had a great holiday season and great new years. More posts on the way as the racing is coming up quick.
Ian