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Behind THE Barriers Director’s Cut: Oxygen deprivation

Jeremy Powers

Happy New Year everyone! The New Year comes with new beginnings, new goals, new motivation and a new episode of “Behind THE Barriers!”

Episode 9 brings “Behind THE Barriers” to Bend, Oregon, for the final U.S. Gran Prix of the year! I wasn’t in town this year for a couple of reasons. In winning both days in Louisville, Kentucky, a few weeks before, I had earned all the UCI points available to me from racing in the USA. As a result, I turned my focus to the World Cup races, the only place I could still earn UCI points and improve my world ranking.

This is important, because your world ranking determines where we start in the world championships. Since the world championships are in Louisville, getting onto the front row is extremely important to me, and I wanted to do everything in my power to get there. This is what brought me to Tucson, Arizona: the search for some good training weather.

Episode 9 starts out with my French teammate, JEWEL-AYE (Julie Krasniak), taking you guys along for a day at the races and some mastering of the English language. We also learn from the awesome Julie Krasniak that “cement legs,” “pizza legs” or “couch form” — whatever you pick to describe that horrible feeling of bad legs from your stable of excuses — should now include the term “rocks in a blender.” It’s what all the kids are saying and you can thank Mrs. Krasniak for that!

The second part of episode 9 brings you down to Tucson, Arizona, for a nice training block with Sam, my friend Alec and VeloNews blogger and pal Phil Gaimon. We laughed a lot and got in some good rides on the bike. Before we got there, I knew of a chance of snow on top of Mount Lemmon, but it was one of those things that you think, “maybe that will happen, but it’s the desert, there not getting much snow!” Wrong.

It was pretty ironic, because we left Massachusetts, where I live, to train in good weather and it ended up snowing anyway. But, as we drove down the mountain to train in the warm Tucson valley everyday, it was worth it. It’s a weird experience to go from desert and cactus to snow and pine trees, but it made for a great block of training.

Alec did all the cooking, figured out all the training routes, led all the motor pacing, etc. and Phil kept us laughing the whole time. It was such a good trip. We got nine days of vitamin D on our pale legs. Once our time was up, Phil headed back to Athens, Georgia, and, for Alec and me, it was a 15-hour flight to a very different landscape in Belgium. Where it rained. Every. Single. Day.

In Europe we had some small success, but the trip was rough, and a lot of missed sleep left me a bit empty. But even though the results didn’t go how I would have liked, I still gained valuable points and experience. The good news is, that training block is going to pay off in the coming weeks as I get ready to try and defend my national title and continue to build up towards the world championships in Louisville this February.

Thank you for watching and reading and all the best to everyone in 2013!


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