Don't tell anyone... but Santa Cruz is an unreal training base. A quirky community mixed of college kids, surfers and professionals who drive very fast cars (to make the commute to the city centers a little more tolerable). Californian freeways can be overwhelming at times with lanes ending and beginning on both sides of the road seemingly at random and I have observed as many as 12 lanes - 6 heading each direction. Thankfully Santa Cruz is safe on the Oceanside of the mountains and is a much similar, slower pace to home in Victoria. In fact, S.C. is similar in many ways-except here the climbs are longer the temperature a little warmer and the surf much more accessible. Cool happening while we were here, legendary surf break Mavericks went off on a super nice sunny day. Anyone who has seen riding giants or heard anything of big wave surfing has seen this break. It is about 60 miles north of where we are living and if there is a storm across the world, and the currents and winds are just right you have the equation for 40 foot waves travelling deceptively fast. It is not until you see the speck of wetsuit and fiberglass cruising the breast of these beasts that you appreciate the size and speed. I tried to pedal out to watch the contest but soon realized the journey would probably leave me in the ditch somewhere between here and half-moon bay, so after riding the coast for a couple hours I gave up chasing waves and stuck to biking, I hucked a U-ball and rode the last couple climbs of the Tour of Cali route on the way home. To my delight rolling into town there were still big breakers along the cliffs of Santa Cruz. Back to chasing the spectacle of waves, I stopped at a spot along west cliff where there is a lighthouse and surf museum, leaned the Trek up against a bench and drooled over barreling waves for a good twenty minutes. Friends back home would have been recklessly diving off the cliffs, board in hand, just to visit the green room. While I sat there slightly cracked from a long ride with an ear-to-ear grin, the spray from the waves emulated the sound of water on a screaming hot frying pan as it reached up to the highly hung power lines.
I have had the privilege to train with some exceptional bike riders while down here (a couple fast vacuum cleaners, a jelly belly and the occasional strawberry) and I have learned tons. I feel with a solid group to train with and some upcoming spring racing the formula for a really successful 2010 is well aligned. The best part is knowing all the other TRT fellas are super committed to a good year and are spread across the continent preparing to build off a hugely successful 2009. Word on the street is that the new clothing and gear for the year has arrived, so in a months time the Trek Red Truck Racing Team presented by Mosaic Homes will be going camping in beautiful Santa Rosa in new duds. Last year Chris Wilberg, the name behind Barney and Oscar Films (every seen One Gear no Brakes?), came onboard in a huge way to provide a launching pad for the team in the form of a warm weather, fully supported team camp. We are very fortunate to be able to bring everyone together again this year for a great ten days of biking. Stay tuned for some camp updates and hopefully another Brian Green photo shoot to really get things rolling.
On an Olympic note...being what at times seems to be lonely Canadians down here, Rob and myself find ourselves quite out of the loop on the Olympic front. Our generous host has actually headed up north to take in the games and last night I was emailing and texting with him as he arrived in Whistler. I woke up to a few messages this morning along the lines of “...arrived safe and sound in Whistler. What a beautiful place. Just sitting down to what will be the first of a few Red Truck Ales.” I was delighted that he not only appreciated what I regard as some of the most beautiful mountains in the world, but also enjoyed a beverage that I have come to regard as one of the tastiest brews around. The Whistler Brewhouse has two versions of our Title Sponsors beverages on tap and nothing compliments a gold medal or two quite as well as a Red Truck Beer.
The morning rain has blown over and it is time to start the leg rotations. A couple more days of hitting it and I am off to San Fran for a rest week with my girlfriend, golden gate bridges and, thanks to Adam Thuss' guidance, some of the best coffee in the whole world. Cheers.