Culture

Vande Velde’s View: Home sweet home

Still no phone at our house in good old Girona. I think that sums up a modern-day house. Okay, maybe you have high-speed cable and then a cell phone; that is more than intelligent. But here in Spain you can't have one without the other. So I'm sitting here choking down second-hand smoke. Tyler used to always comment on how he would "smoke a pack of cigarettes" while he checked his e-mail. Being from Chicago I thought he was being a bit extreme, until I found myself in the same situation. I feel like I have to throw my clothes in the incinerator after going down there. Okay,

By Christian Vande Velde, CSC professional cycling team

Still no phone at our house in good old Girona. I think that sums up a modern-day house. Okay, maybe you have high-speed cable and then a cell phone; that is more than intelligent. But here in Spain you can’t have one without the other. So I’m sitting here choking down second-hand smoke.

Tyler used to always comment on how he would “smoke a pack of cigarettes” while he checked his e-mail. Being from Chicago I thought he was being a bit extreme, until I found myself in the same situation. I feel like I have to throw my clothes in the incinerator after going down there. Okay, enough.

The house has given me a duele cabeza (headache). Leah moved in last week, and it has been a year that we were waiting for this to happen. Always “two months” – not two weeks, like “The Money Pit,” but close. So after waiting for so long you’d think that they had time enough to make everything perfect, right? And that we could just breeze in, park the car in the garage and hang up our clothes?

Yeah, well, this is Spain. The heat didn’t work, the ceiling had to be painted and the floors were not flat. Then the floors were ripped up to make way for new pipes for the heating, and the walls that we had painted also got ripped open for the heat. Oh, did I mention that Leah and I were naive enough to spend four days cleaning the place before all of this happened? So I left for Italy on Saturday and Leah moved in on Monday. The ceiling dripped on her forehead the first night. So now all of you can feel good about the shortcomings of your own houses. Basta.

CSC – what is up with this team? Well, the training has paid off. Six wins, and in several of those wins there were teammates right behind in second, third, sixth, seventh. . . . Giovanni Lombardi scored his best overall placing in Qatar in his entire career. After 14 years racing he finished seventh. But he was pissed, because there were four teammates ahead of him and it made him look like a chump. So most of the boys came back happy – though one of them didn’t come back at all, happy or otherwise. Fabrizio Guidi just left for Phonak. He is making better coin now, so good on him.

Bjarne and I decided that I should skip the Med Tour and wait for the races later in the season; obviously, there are other guys champing at the bit. Franky Shleck took my place in Med and is in third place overall. And if I were to be bold, or just offer some common sense, I’d say that CSC will win the TTT this afternoon and Franky will be in second. I think that Jens could probably get top three by himself in the TTT.

This Sunday starts the third training camp, in the same place as the second. It will be harder than the first and is supposed to take the team to a different level. Hopefully that level is up, not down. Judging by the first I’d say that it is probably going to go up.

I’ll be home for real this time on the 24th. Hopefully Leah hasn’t burnt the house down by that time. I’m kidding; kind of.