J-Pow’s Journal: Crackin’ a curse and kickin’ it with Clinton
Welcome to my new diary on VeloNews.com, a diary that will offer an exciting, behind-the scenes look into my cycling ventures as I tour around the United States and Europe racing cyclo-cross this fall and winter.
I’m certain there will be great moments inevitably accompanied by some less exciting ones: Crashes, gossip, name-dropping, interviews; lousy drivers, flight attendants and race promoters. Just make sure you read every other Wednesday during this ‘cross season, and I’ll do my part to keep it exciting.
About two weeks ago I finished the Tour of Missouri, which was arguably twice as fast as last year. Going into the last stage I was pissed. I had tried hard to get into the breakaways day after day and came up short. With some luck I finally got into a 40-something-mile break with Kirk O’Bee of Health Net. It all came together on a rainy day into a strong headwind on an off ramp in St. Louis, Missouri. I was soaked and stoked to finally make a break in a big race in the United States just before the ’cross season kicked off.
After Missouri I came home, hopped in my 1990 Chevrolet Caprice and headed out to the Boston area where I met up with my cyclo-cross team director, Stu Thorne, and teammate Tim Johnson. Stu had the new bikes from Cannondale ready to rip and Tim and I went out to work out the kinks for about an hour. Then I went back to Stu’s shop, packed ’em up for a trip to the West Coast and met Tim the next day in Seattle.
The first races of the year in Washington state were the FSA Star Crossed in Redmond and the Rad Racing GP in Tacoma. Star Crossed was awesome — the race had a live DJ, Dave Towle announcing, a beer garden and rain to top it all off, typical of all my travels to the Northwest.
By winning Star Crossed, I finally broke my years-long losing streak in the Northwest — and I didn’t even know it because of a mix-up with the lap cards. Still, I eventually celebrated my first win of the 2008 cyclocross season. The good luck and good legs continued on Sunday in Tacoma, where Tim won and I came in third. It was a big weekend for the Cyclocrossworld.com-Cannondale crew and we didn’t expect it!
I would like to personally thank Top Pot Doughnuts (they are delicious!) for the good morale during the weekend. All in all, we went into the weekend facing some major setbacks: The weather was crap, our competitors were fresh and the bikes were brand new. Nevertheless, it ended up being an amazing weekend in the ’cross-crazy.
I blew out of Seattle and hit Vegas on Monday afternoon for Interbike and CrossVegas. For the last couple years I’ve been a big fan of one particular radio show, SmashTime Radio with DJ Clinton Sparks. Clinton does a three-hour show that is syndicated in 30 countries. Once the show is finished, it’s uploaded as a podcast that anyone can download and, if you’re like me, train to it every week. It’s got all the new music, funny interviews, popular culture, etc.
Over time I’ve developed a relationship with Clinton and we finally met up in Vegas. It was awesome; we played some blackjack, ate some food and then did an interview with Grammy Award winner Lil Jon. After the interview we headed down to Planet Hollywood’s Club Prîve, where Lil Jon was Djing, and I soaked it up. Lil Jon and I talked a bit about me racing in his home city of Atlanta, Georgia, at the Atlanta 100K, which my teammate Bernard Van Ulden won. We discussed his old 10-speed and the fact that he probably couldn’t keep up with the pro peloton. He did admit that he used to ride bikes and is now (I like to think because of me) interested in a new one.
I should make a couple points clear. Lil Jon doesn’t always scream in real life like in his rap songs, he does have gold teeth, and he’s a really nice guy. Check out the interview on Clinton’s upcoming podcast and hear my goofy laugh in the backround, it’s a classic!
CrossVegas was a lot like everything in Vegas, crazy. Let me count the ways: 15,000 spectators showed up, Lance Armstrong flew in from New York and raced, Dale’s Pale Ale was abundant and I personally got a taste when a spectator launched one into the front group about 30 minutes into the race.
It was an amazing race, easily the biggest ever assembled on U.S. soil. My ninth-place finish was a matter of a little bad positioning; still, with some luck I was able to finish last in the front group. I was happy to be finished and on my way home for some rest. I’ve spent only about two nights there since I moved in last month.
So now it’s just training and getting ready for three ’cross races in Ohio and Kentucky.
Thanks for reading.
Jeremy Powers is a member of the Cyclocrossworld.com-Cannondale team.