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The Paul Mach Blog - June 2009
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Living life on the edge... of the road
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June 2009

Monday, June 29, 2009 - Interviews
The number one question people ask me about the blog is when I'll continue that interview with BISSELL Pro Paul Mach. Well, the answer is right now. I finally caught up with him again last week, right after getting back from Nevada City. You've had the chance to do a few races with Lance Armstrong, how were they?

Sweet Shades Paul Mach: I don't have the words to describe riding with the legend, but man do those sun glasses look just as funny in person as they do in the pictures.

PM.C: Do you feel any special connection to him since you're both professional cyclists and "Full time Cancer Fighters?"

PM: What? Lance ain't no Full time Cancer Fighter! More like...

PM.C: (mumbling) Here we go again...

PM: ...Part Time Cancer Tweeter. While he's in Aspen tweeting about dinner with his girlfriend and training with his buddies, the real "Cancer Fighters" are in the lab. We're actually working to solve the hard problems that will lead to successful cancer treatments in the future.

PM.C: That may be true but doesn't he somehow, if indirectly, help pay your salary?

PM: Which one, cycling or research?

PM.C: Well both actually. That gives me an idea, maybe we should get Lance to help with the UC budget deficit? Maybe create a new cancer research center or something.

PM: Yeah, but UCLA is already taken.

PM.C: Ha ha, that's funny. You're so funny Paul. One last question before I let you go, my BISSELL CleanAlong doesn't pick up dirt like it used to. Any recommendations?

PM: First, replace the bag and if that doesn't work disconnect the hose and check for clogs. I find a wooden broom handle works best for pushing clogs through. Also, I think the CleanAlong has HEPA filtration so make sure that filter is clean. I bet that's your problem right there.

That concludes our exclusive interview with Paul Mach of BISSELL Pro Cycling. We'll try to get you a part three real soon, but it's just so hard to get in touch with this busy guy.

Monday, June 22, 2009 - Race Reports
This race was insane, thousands of people lining the course and hanging out of windows. It was so loud coming up the climb that I couldn't feel my legs burning.

Even was there. Lance couldn't have missed it 'cause it was written on the pavement right in front of him. all up in Lance's face Crazy what can happen in a week. There were only 20 guys preregistered for the race, but when we got to the line there were 125 guys. I'm guessing a lot people went multiball when they heard Lance was coming and started thinking...

I want to drive you into the corner
And kiss you without a sound
I want to stay this way forever
I'll say it loud

(But) now you're in and you can't get out (until you get pulled I guess)

Avril Lavigne's words, not mine.

Anyway, I got a call up but it was a real fight during the first few laps. Levi and Lance attacked off the front and Ben was up there to follow. I was about 20 guys back. Normally I'd be happy with that but it was obvious Lance would try to get off ASAP to avoid crashing in the corners. I should have been up there.

So 2 groups of 3 got off the front. With Ben up the road, I was just covering stuff and it didn't take long for the break to get over a minute. That's when I figured I could start racing again. I tried some stuff but nobody really wanted to make a break happen.

That was okay because as Lance, Levi and Ben caught riders some would just latch on. So when we got caught with about 10 laps to go there was a group of 20 or so again. I wasn't really sure what to do at this point. I got a vibe from Ben that having a lapped teammate help him out would be lame, but I was still racing against those other guys and wasn't interested in a down hill 50 mph field sprint.

The defining part of my race was when I attacked with 5 to go. The intention was to get away from the other guys, but actually I was bridging up to the Lance Armstrong. He was a lap ahead, but it didn't matter. Levi ended up chasing me down because he thought I had been with him the whole time, and not Ben. Must have been all that yelling. Nice work!

In the end Ben got second, sandwiched by the Super Friends Lance and Levi. I was 8th, same as last year, but against a much tougher field. However, the man of the match was Graham Howard. He only raced 3 laps but grabbed the first lap prime for a house boat vacation valued at $5000.

Similar to last year, popular music describes by post race feelings best. Levi...

You make me so hot, make me wanna stop
You're so ridiculous, I will surely drop
I can hardly breathe, you make me wanna scream
You're so fabulous, you're so good to me baby, baby
We're on a first name basis

Sunday, June 21, 2009 - Race Reports
I guess the karma came around after last year, Jesse Moore won and I kissed the dirt.

The race was a hilly 90 minutes around the Northstar resort and was the last stage of the Tour de Nez.

Jesse attacked early and my teammate Graham Howard bridged up a couple laps later. With Graham up the road, I just focused on covering moves in the group. There were a lot of attacks but no organized chases.

That was going well till I crashed about 40 minutes later. I was taking a corner on the inside, caught some dirt, maybe clipped a pedal and went down. I got shot towards the inside and landed in a bunch of dirt. Omer said I just disappeared into a cloud of dust.

I was fine, but my handle bars were a bit crooked and I was off the back. Since there were no free laps, I just pulled out.

This was my first DNF in over two years, so I didn't know what to do. I ended up sitting with my wife and heckling all the riders as they went by. Kind of fun actually.

Another Cal Giant rider, Justin England, bridged to Jesse and Graham towards the end. They rode a few laps together and Jesse took the win, Graham was second. Pretty monster efforts after spending almost the whole race off the front.

Nevada City today should be a circus, even if only a fraction of Lance's 1 million Twitter followers show up.

Saturday, June 20, 2009 - Race Reports
In the car on the way to Northstar for the last race of this year's the Tour de Nez. I have just enough time for a blog about yesterday's crit in Reno.

Basically it was pretty awesome. The course wound through downtown and it got completely dark for the last half hour.

I lined up in the back row at the start and that was the big mistake for the night. The race went single file on the first lap and I was caught near the back. I realized things would go pear-shaped so I tried to move up as much as I could.

The race did blow apart, mainly because of like 3 crashes. At that point I was caught in the second group. Jesse jumped first to bridge across, I hesitated and went right behind him. Unfortunately I never caught Jesse till we both caught the front group about 5 or 6 laps later. That was pretty much my race.

Graham was active in the front group, but since I had lit my match book on fire during the bridge attempt I couldn't help him much.

In the end I finished somewhere in that group of maybe 15 or 20. Graham was 6th or 7th.

I was proud of my bridge attempt, but unfortunately it was motivated by stupidity. Fortunately, I have a chance to try again in about an hour.

Friday, June 19, 2009 - Race Reports
The Truckee Crit marks the only day of the year that my wife gets drunk in Truckee. The Pour House provides the wine and the race provides the entertainment.

For me, the race felt pretty much like last year. I'd go hard for maybe a lap and then promptly explode. I think a lot of people were in the same boat because I had trouble getting them to pull through.

Anyway, I did a bunch of stupid stuff, pulled back a teammate and then just rode the front so Dave Towle would say my name. There were 2 groups of 2 off the front and my Bissell teammate Graham Howard won the bunch kick for 5th. I finished somewhere in the group.

The crowd was pretty big. I heard some "You guys are racing for 5th" and "You're not catching them," but I also heard some people yelling, so that was pretty cool.

And now it's time for a little known Wohlberg fact. At the Pan Am games he rode the 100k team time trial so fast that his team would just rotate behind him.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009 - Race Reports
I apologize, I'm so not 3008, I'm just 2000 and late.

So I woke up at 4am on Sunday to head over to Sattley for the NorCal District TT. 40k of pain in the middle of nowhere. The rumors of road repaving were false and thus the last 10k hurt pretty bad for more than just the obvious reasons.

I ended up winning the Elite Men with 50:11, a minute and half faster than last year and 7 seconds faster than Phil. The big problem was Chris Lyman beat us both by over 30 seconds. Super fast.

Other than the race, the highlight of my day in Sattley was when someone asked, "Do you think it's worth velcroing this gel flask to my top tube," and his friend responded, "Only if you plan on doing a triathlon later." Now that's some sound advice.

Saturday, June 13, 2009 - General

Hey, Paul Mach here. I just got word that I'll be doing Levi's King Ridge Gran Fondo in early October. King Ridge is one of the best rides around and this is a unique opportunity to do it with Levi and his pro buddies (me).

If you're interested, sign up quick. There are 3 route options, but the full 105 mile route is limited to only 500 riders.

Monday, June 8, 2009 - Race Reports
How do they get the pear in there? I was lucky to get some Pear in a Bottle Brandy on the podium yesterday. Lucky because I would've made an ass of myself with Champagne.

The crit went pretty much according to plan. I was a little worried since I'm not a great crit rider, but the team made it easy. Omer, Morgan and Burke rode the front and Graham took care of me whenever I fell out of position or something. My job was to just follow Chris Baldwin around.

We let a break go early so they'd take the time bonuses. Somehow Adam Switters managed to get up there again after his long day yesterday. They stayed away till the finish and had about 34 seconds on the field. I just finished with Baldwin and maintained my lead.

The podium was fun. Lots of people to talk to and pictures to take. I even had to sign some autographs, which was pretty sweet.

Nils had a good day too and managed to move up to 4th in the Masters race. A great week all around for Davis riders.

After the race the wife and I drove up to Seattle to visit some family before they head off for another fishing season. The first one without me in 14 years.

Sunday, June 7, 2009 - Race Reports
Bissell Riding the front Sorry for the late post, we're staying with Dan and Julie and since it was Dan's birthday yesterday it was barbecue time.

My job for Stage 3 of the Mt. Hood Cycling Classic was to pull a Menchov and just stay glued to Chris Baldwin, number 2 on the GC. The Bissell team made that pretty easy for me.

Adam Switters was in the break and off the front till about 3k. I was pulling for him, but it was not to be. Omer and Graham rode like mosters for over 80 miles to control him. Morgan went down with about 30 miles to go. A gust of wind while he was taking a pee. We didn't know if he was going to get back in, but with a new bike and a bunch of road rash he still finished 8th.

The real action started with 10k to go. Guys started attacking, but Burke was there to cover. I just followed him as he closed stuff down.

Baldwin started attacking with about 5k left and I just tried to stay with him. He didn't have much help and was stuck riding the front. The other two guys in our group were going for the stage win.

At the finish I took the inside line and Baldwin pressed me against the barriers. Live and learn I guess. I finished 3rd, Baldwin was 2nd and Rob Britton won. Due to the time bonuses I'm now only 13 seconds ahead of Baldwin with just the Hood River Criterium remaining.

It was pretty sweet riding with a team in a situation like this. Omer and Graham did an awesome job and Burke and Morgan took care of all the big decision making. I couldn't have done it without them.

Friday, June 5, 2009 - Race Reports
No time to look Stage 2 of the Mt. Hood Cycling Classic featured an 18 mile scenic time trial along the Columbia River. But with 2000 feet of elevation gain and a stiff head wind, there wasn't much time to look around.

Nothing really interesting to report from the race, just lots of cross winds that weren't too friendly to the disc. I finished second, 3 seconds behind Chris Baldwin. I've been TTing well lately but to almost match a two time national TT champion is pretty cool.

Since I kept the GC lead I'll actually get to wear the yellow leader's jersey tomorrow. I opted out of wearing the yellow skinsuit today, I thought the banana suit would be a bit much and our Giordana ones are super fast anyway.

Tomorrow will be an epic 92 mile, 10,500 foot day and I think Omer summed it up best on the MHCC Blog, "The biggest thing we have going for us right now is that Mach has shown how strong he is - especially after yesterday's stage. As a team, everyone is looking at us. We're going to ride hard enough to demoralize the field and then everyone who wants to win is going to have to ride away from Paul, Morgan, and Burke."

Thursday, June 4, 2009 - Race Reports
Bissell brings back the break. Stage 1 was killer. Up 9 miles, down 9 miles. 5 times up, 4 times down. Burke warned us before the start that the first lap feels easy, but then it just wears on you. He was right.

A break went early with some guys bridging up later. With a lap and a half to go the break was 2 guys at 2:30. That's when Omer and Graham went to the front to real it back in.

They slayed themselves and brought back the last guy, Dan Martin, right before the final 3k climb. Some other riders started the action early so Morgan and I just continued it. We were doing a good job of forcing the other riders to pull and I finally got away with about 1.5k to go, probably a bit early.

With about 500 meters left Morgan caught me. I was a little relieved but looked back to see we still had a decent gap. At 200 meters I caught Morgan, looked back again and decided to go for. Guys can make up 50 meters easy if they unleash a sprint and I didn't want to get caught. So after a bunch of second places I finally got to post it.

So Bisselled it again, me and Morgan, 1, 2 and we're also 1, 2 in the GC. It's nice to win, but the race is far from over. With Bissell positioned so well in the GC, the next two stages will be game on.

For those of you back home, there are a number of people posting live twitter updates during the race. The official race twitter is mthoodcc and then Heidi Swift and Cal Giant were updating from the cars. Race results have been post to pretty quickly.

In other news, Conference Road Race Champion Nils Johnson wins the Masters Race. Another Davis rider representing.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009 - Race Reports
2nd in the prologue Drove up to Hood River with the boss man Glen Mitchell yesterday for my first go at the Mt. Hood Cycling Classic. The Cherry Blossom Race gave me a little introduction to the area but all the courses are different for this one.

The prologue didn't start till 5:30 so we played that waiting game for most of the day. A little ride in the morning to check out the TT course followed by a little work.

Today's prologue was a short 5k TT with a little hill top finish. I'd never done a TT that short before so didn't know what to expect. I gave it a go and finished 2nd. Morgan was 4th and Burke was 8th. Not a bad start.

Today was good and all, but the real racing starts tomorrow. The long hilly days are sure to shake things up and the Bissell boys are ready.

Oh and I got the "How you doin' Burke" today. That was quickly followed by, "Oh sorry, it was the way the sun hit your face."

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