What's Cool In Road Cycling

Episode 2: It’s Go-Time!

– By Rusty Beall –

The days of sitting at home in front of the T.V. and flipping through the various midgets on Maury and Oprah reruns seem like a distant memory in a not too distant past; it was not long ago that this was, perhaps sadly, a part of my daily routine. This leisure has been replaced by what has become a motto, or rather a slogan, constantly being echoed in my ear from my new teammate, old friend, and longtime training partner, Chris McGovern: “this isn’t November anymore, it’s GO-TIME”, at our pre-training camp training camp, in San Diego.

Chris and I are both riding, as I mentioned last time, for the new Health Net Cycling Team. At the moment, we are down in San Diego, getting in some good riding before we head north to Piedmont (east Bay) to begin our actual team training camp, on January 15th. The last week has been quite an adjustment period for me, I left my home in Eastern Washington, drove thirteen hours to Nevada City, California (my new home for the season), and rode for six hilly, slightly hellish hours with Chris the next day. Remember, “this isn’t November anymore, it’s GO-TIME.”

The following day was spent shaving my beard, after I was told it might be a good idea before meeting our team manager for the first time. “Ta-dah,” I now once again look like a prepubescent seventeen year old, which is fine if you don’t mind getting handcuffed for the girls that come running. Then it was down to San Jose, where we met and stayed with Kevin Klein our manager and his wife Jane. Kevin has been working harder on the Health Net Cycling Team than anyone else, spending hundreds of hours on the phone, lining up sponsors, keeping in touch with riders, and planning and budgeting for the season. His garage is starting to resemble a Los Angeles chop-shop, with frames, tires, water bottles, and drink mix being brought in by the truckload.

Finally, Chris and I arrived in San Diego, on Tuesday and met up with my buddy Daimeon. We are staying with Laurin White and her family, a friend that Daimeon and I both met when we were in Europe last fall. They are the quintessential bike family and have spoiled us with their hospitality and for the most part, their weather. We came down here for some sun and warmth, but ended up hitting every storm cell in the area. Torrential rains, I’m talking three-inch deep rivers flowing downhill at us with bits of Mount Palomar being washed away. It really was a lot like the cartoon where thundercloud follows the poor unsuspecting character around wherever he goes. We ended up in a gas station huddled together drinking hot coffee and swiping newspaper to stuff in our jerseys so that we could make it back alive. Then we tempt fate again and hop on I-15, a place that would be scary in a T-39 tank with eighteen inch thick steel walls, when it is raining, to get out of our nearly catatonic, definitely hypothermic state. Life in the gutter, hell yeah!

Yesterday we treated ourselves to a rest day and headed to the coast for some coffee drinking and Southern California girl watching at Miracles Cafй in Cardiff; a definitely deserved and needed day after a thirty hour week. It was there that I realized two things, I am starting to gain some fitness, and running really is a great sport to watch. If you’ve ever seen 38-inches of silicone in a sports bra run by you, you know what I am talking about. Until next week from the Health Net training camp, remember, “this isn’t November anymore, it’s GO-TIME.”

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