In preparation for 2015

Most photos are taken from Andzs photo blog. Check him out: laukusuns.tumblr.com

Most photos are taken from Andzs photo blog. Check him out: laukusuns.tumblr.com

I have to stop doing this. It’s been too long again. I’m sorry folks. Just feels like there’s nothing to write about, but when there actually is exciting stuff then it’s not like I want to start writing about it, because I’m just enjoying it. It’s a weird loop to be in. I bet you understand though. It’s been a busy two months. The road trip to Spain, a really good training down there for a month and a half, was back home for a few days and made it to the States.

I’m in Greenville now and I’m writing this from the comfy cushions of the couch in the house me and Andzs are staying in. My hosts from last year Lynne, Roy and their son Conor were nice enough to take us both in. It was really fun staying with them last year, but hopefully this time I’ll be able to spend more time here, because the previous time I didn’t get to do much.

The morning when we left Latvia

The morning when we left Latvia

Back to the road trip to Spain. We left after Christmas and on the exact day when we started driving it was super cold. Like -17°C cold. We took the ferry to Germany, so we would have to drive at least a bit less. We spent like 24h on the ferry, had a good nights sleep and we were feeling nice and fresh to start driving. Our first real stop was going to be in Paris, because it was on our way to see Edward near Bordeaux. Most importantly we were going to go through Paris in the evening, which meant there wouldn’t be too much traffic. We managed to park our car French style around 300m from the Eiffel tower. Spent an hour walking around the centre, talking some pictures and most really just getting a break from the driving. We had still around 8h to drive before we could jump under covers and sleep a bit at Edwards house. Oh, for people who don’t know what French style parking means I’ll elaborate. It’s when you park your car wherever you please as long as it doesn’t disturb traffic. Intersections, traffic islands, side walks, just let your imagination find a spot.

We arrived at our next stop at 5AM, we were really sleepy. Thankfully Edward had been woken up by his dog and let us in to have a good nights sleep. I was pretty tired already, so after a nice shower I just fell asleep instantaneously. We woke up and had some breakfast. We hadn’t really noticed how nice it looked outside as it was dark when we got there, but it’s a magnificent place to live in. Edward showed us a nice loop around the area and we managed to do a 3h ride. He’s more then 60 years old and still rides his bike darn fast. I’m surprised how he still does that. Hats off to him. Edward had some friends over and we spent New Years in a classy manner with some good conversations, great food and lovely people. Of course we had brought our own fireworks to make the New Years count for sure.

Spinning around Spain with Edward

Spinning around Spain with Edward

Next morning we had the last leg of the journey to do. Just a 10 hour drive down to Denia. John, Andzs buddy from his time at Chipotle lived on the way, so we stopped at his place, managed to go for a quick ride, have lunch with his family. I made some new friends, but Andzs made good on his New Years resolution – visit John more often. Win -win. Speaking of win – win’s I have to say thanks to Rietumu – Delfin team, because they lent us the car to drive down to Spain, so we’d have all our stuff and not worry about overpaying in flight fees.

Finally I had made it to Spain. Warm weather, good roads and great training. In the 45 days I spent there there was only 3 days when it rained. Perfect. So I managed to ride around 4500km in the time there. Training was good. Here’s what I did. In the first few days I did a 20min power test, so I’d be able to calculate my threshold power, after recovering from that I started with some long rides and intervals. The first intervals I did were not that hard, just keeping a low cadence(60-70rpms) and going around 320w. Have a bit of a break and do it again. Of course I started out with shorter ones like 10 minutes and in the end of the first block I was doing 30min long ones. Once I had established a good foundation I could move up to a bit harder efforts. Just a bit more power and a higher cadence is all you need. Now I was already doing some good intervals on the long rides. Mostly I’d be doing 4-5h rides. With the odd 6h ride somewhere, but as I’m not racing 200km races there’s no real point for me to do 7 hour rides. This time I’m looking for more quality then quantity. Maybe that’s why I was surprised to see that I managed to do 4500km while there.

Fresh fish at the farmers market

Fresh fish at the farmers market

Before flying to USA me and Andzs had to get our Visas approved. The work on our Visas had started already earlier, but all the paperwork had been done and now we just had to go to an interview and give our passports to the embassy, so they could put the Visa in. For us it was real simple, because the team had pretty much done everything already. The only thing I didn’t expect was to get stuck in the embassy for two hours, because the computer system had fried and they couldn’t start the interview process. What was a bit more annoying was that after you get through two security checks and they take away your phone, you’re stuck. All the appointments you’ve made, or emails you could be replying to have to wait. I couldn’t even get a message out that I’ll be late for my next meeting. All is well that ends well though. As we got my passport back with a new Visa the next day I forgot everything about it. Almost. I had a long list of things to do while waiting for the Visa and sorting other stuff out. Somehow I managed to do all of them. Even have pancakes for breakfast with friends.

Andžs pushing those pedals hard

Andžs pushing those pedals hard

A thing that I had planned to do while back home was a standard threshold test. The test is pretty simple. You start out at a very light pace and just the resistance gets higher and higher the longer you keep riding, until you just can’t push the pedals any more. In the test they measure your lactic acid build up, oxygen intake, blood pressure, heart rate and anything else they could think of. I was probably a bit tired still from camp, but the test went better then expected. I went three minutes further then last year in June. That doesn’t mean I’m currently stronger then I was then, but that is a good indication that the training has been real good and I’m more then ready to start racing.

Our trip to the USA was almost uneventful. Of course we missed a plane and had to spend a night in a hotel, but it was the last plane of the day and we got on the first one in the morning, so we didn’t lose out too much, of course I got stuck on the plane next to a lady with an infant, but not just by chance, but because she switched seats with a guy that was sitting next to me. Still it was a lot less painful then last year, when I got stuck in NYC for three days. We’ve received our new bikes and we’re a few days out of camp, so next time I’ll write how and what happened there.

I grew a mustache

I grew a mustache

A few things to finish off:

People, please do wear helmets on your heads when riding. I saw several guys riding bikes in Spain with their helmets on their handlebars. Not sure it’ll help much on impact then. Helmets save lives. Do not forget that.

While in Spain I had my first crash of the season, but it didn’t affect me too much and I was riding later on the same day already.

Just before I left for the training camp one Latvian radio station had a charity marathon where you could pick a song if you donated 5€(or more). The DJ’s were locked in a glass box on a street in Riga for 6 days and would play music you picked out 24h a day. The money went to old people, who don’t have any relatives to help out. It was a real good cause.

Tasty, gluten, dairy and egg free pancakes? Why not. I made them and they were great. Just ask Andzs.

I spent 5 days in Latvia between Spain and USA. I had pretty much calculated every hour, because of all the stuff I still had to do. Credit cards, licences, threshold test, Visa interview, haircut, doctors appointment, meeting up with friends, family time and other stuff. I even managed to go and see Ed Sheeran playing live and made it to my towns local Sports Award ceremony. A busy time, but at least I got all the things sorted out.

I hadn’t seen a single selfie stick before we stopped in Paris when heading to Spain. But suddenly around the Eiffel tower I saw dozens and dozens. It was hilarious to say the least to see people and families actually using them.

Hope you enjoyed the read. I’ll be back soon.

Toms.

Sunny Spain by laukusuns.tumblr.com

Sunny Spain by laukusuns.tumblr.com

Sagatavošanās periods

Šis ir jāizbeidz. Atkal es esmu aizrāvies un aizmirsis uzrakstīt kaut pāris rindas. Atvainojiet. Dažreiz ir sajūta, ka nav īsti par ko rakstīt, bet brīdī, kad notiek kaut kas aizraujošs, par ko varētu uzrakstīt kaut romānu, protams, ka man nav īsti vēlme un laiks rakstīt, jo ir tas jāizdzīvo. Tāds jocīgs apburtais loks. Zinu, ka saprotat. Šie divi mēneši pagājuši daudz darbos. Ceļš uz Spāniju, kārtīga treniņnometne Denijā, pāris dienas Latvijā un ceļš uz ASV.

Šobrīd jau esmu Grīnvilā un rakstu no ērtā dīvāna, kas atrodas mājā, kur kopā ar Andžu dzīvosim. Mani pagājušā gada uzņēmēji Linne, Rojs un viņu dēls Konors bija pietiekoši laipni, lai uzņemtu mūs abus. Pagājušo gadu bija ļoti patīkami dzīvot pie viņiem, tādēļ cerams šogad varēšu vairāk laika arī pavadīt šeit, jo iepriekš nesanāca īsti pat padzīvoties.

Atpakaļ pie mūsu ceļa uz Spāniju. Izbraucu no Carnikavas ar auto pēc Ziemassvētkiem un tieši todien ārā bija īpaši auksts. Kādi -17°C auksts. Ar kuģi aizpeldējām līdz Vācijai, lai būtu kaut nedaudz mazāk jāstūrē uz Spānijas dienvidiem. Uz kuģa pavadījām ap 24 stundām. Varējām kārtīgi izgulēties un bijām gatavi sākt stūrēt uz dienvidiem. Pirmā nopietnā pieturvieta mūsu maršrutā bija Prīze, jo, braucot cauri pilsētai, bija vakars, satiksme nekāda. Francijas stilā nolikām auto nieka 300m no Ēfeļa torņa. Kādu stundiņu pastaigājām pa Parīzes centru, pabildējāmies un galu galā vienkārši izlocījām kājas un ieelpojām svaigu gaisu. Vēl mums priekšā bija ap 8 stundu garš ceļš pirms varējām ielīst zem segām un aizvērt acis pie Edvarda mājās. Cilvēkiem, kas nezina, kas ir parkošanās Francijas stilā, izstāstīšu. Nolikt auto var jebkur, bet galvenais, lai netraucē satiksmei. Ceļa saliņas, krustojumi, ietves, tik ļauj savai iztēlei atrast spraudziņu.

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The farmers market in Denia

Piecos no rīta ieradāmies pie Edwarda, bijām tiešām saguruši. Par laimi Edwarda suns pamodināja mājas saimnieku, kurs mūs laipni ielaida mājā. Pēc siltas dušas ātri vien ietraucos sapņu pasaulē. Kad pamodāmies uzēdām nelielas brokastis, un taisījāmies treniņam. Pa nakti ierodoties, nebijām pamanījuši, cik apkārtne izskatījās skaista. Edwards mūs izveda pa vietējiem ceļiem un mums pat izdevās nobraukt patīkamu trīs stundu treniņu. Nama tēvam ir vairāk kā 60 gadu, bet viņš vēl joprojām spēj pamīties diezgan veikli. Cepuri nost. Edwards pie sevis bija uzaicinājis pāris draugus uz jaunā gada svinībam. Mēs sagaidījām 2015.gadu raitu sarunu, garšīga ēdiena un patīkamu cilvēku sabiedrībā. Protams, ka līdzi bijām paķēruši pāris raķetes, lai to gada sākumu kārtīgi iezīmētu.

Nākamajā rītā mums jau bija atlicis tikai noslēdzošais ceļa posms – 10 stundu brauciens līdz Spānijas dienvidiem. Džons, Andža draugs no laika, kad Flaksis pārstāvēja “Chipotle” komandu dzīvoja mums tieši pa ceļam, tādēļ mēs, protams, piestājām ciemos gan uz vieglu treniņu, gan garšīgām pusdienām. Man izdevās iepazīties ar jauniem cilvēkiem, bet Andžam lieliski iesākt gadu, satiekot vecos kara biedrus. Vakarā jau ieradāmies Denijā, kur iekārtojāmies savā izīrētajā dzīvoklī. Jāsaka liels paldies Rietumu – Delfin komandai, kas ļāva mums aizlienēt savu auto, lai mums nebūtu jāsatraucās par lielajiem bagāžu rēķiniem.

Beidzot bijām ieradušies Spānijas dienvidos. Silts laiks, labi ceļi un lieliski treniņi. 45 dienās, ko pavadīju nometnē, paspēju noripināt 4500km, jo lietus mums uzlija tikai trīs dienas kamēr vien atradāmies tur. Treniņi pagāja labi. Lūk, ko es pastrādāju: Pirmajās dienās, kad ierados veicu 20 minūšu garu testu, lai noteiktu jaudas zonas, kādās visu nometni strādāšu. Pāris dienas pēc testa atpūtos, un tad jau iesāku gatavošanos ar pāris gariem treniņiem. Pirmos intervālus, ko sāku braukt, nebraucu ar pārāk lielu intensitāti, bet zemiem apgriezieniem(60-70 apgr/min), lai liktu lielu slodzi tieši uz spēka darbu. Sāku, protams, ar īsākiem(10min) un pārgāju uz garākiem, līdz beigās jau braucu pat 30min garus intervālus. Kad biju sasniedzis labu spēka bāzi, pārgāju uz lielākas intensitātes intervāliem ar augstākiem apgriezieniem. Pārsvarā braucu 4-5 stundas, gan dienās ar, gan dienās bez intervāliem. Pāris reizes arī sanāca izbraukt ap sešām stundām, tomēr man šogad plānā nav daudz sacensību, kas būtu 200km garas, tādēļ īsti svarīgi pārāk ilgi atrasties uz ceļa nebija nepieciešams. Vairāk tieši akcentu liktu uz treniņu kvalitāti, nevis kvantitāti, tādēļ biju tiešām pārsteigts, ka izdevās savākt 4500 kilometrus.

Just a nice view in Denia

Just a nice view in Denia

Pirms došanās uz ASV man un Andžam vajadzēja iegūt vīzas. Papīri jau tika sagatavoti mēnešus iepriekš, tādēļ tagad mums tikai atlika pieteikties intervijai un iedot savas pases vēstniecībā ar cerību, ka tās mums atdos ar vīzām. Nekā sarežģīta, bet tikai tādēļ, ka komanda jau bija veikusi visas iepriekš nepieciešamās darbības. Vienīgais, ko negaidīju bija iestrēgšana vēstniecībā uz divām stundām, jo izrādījās, ka kaut kas bija nojucis ar viņu datorsistēmu. Sliktākais, ka pēc divām drošības kontrolēm, tev tiek atņemts mobilais tālrunis un tu nevari nevienam pat paziņot, ka kavēsi uz nākamo tikšanos. Viss ir labs, kas labi beidzās. Pasi ar vīzu jau dabūju nākamajā dienā un likās, ka viss ir padarīts. Gandrīz viss. Man vēl bija garš saraksts ar darāmajiem darbiem. Kaut kā man tomēr izdevās visus paspēt un pat pacienāt draugus ar pankūkām brokastīs.

Latvijā biju ieplānojis aizčāpot uz LOV un nobraukt standarta izturības testu. Testā nav nekā sarežģīta. Sākumā jāminās ir ar ļoti mazu slodzi, bet katru minūti pretestība tiek palielināta līdz vairs nevari pagriezt pedāļus. Testa laikā tiek mērīts laktāts, asins spiediens, sirds frekvence un jebkas cits, ko vien var iedomāties. Visdrīzāk, ka biju nedaudz saguris no nometnes, taču testu nobraucu labāk kā biju domājis. Nobraucu par trīs minūtēm ilgāk kā pagājušo gadu jūnijā. Tas nenozīmē, ka jau esmu spēcīgāks, bet noteikti liecina par to, ka treniņnometnē neesmu slinkojis un esmu gatavs sacensībām.

We had some fun in between hard rides

We had some fun in between hard rides

Ceļš uz ASV bija gandrīz pat garlaicīģs. Protams, ka nokavējām lidmašīnu un nācās nakti pārgulēt viesnīcā, taču nokavējām pēdējo dienas lidmašīnu un jau ar pirmo bijām ceļā uz Grīnvilu. Protams, ka man arī nācās garākajā lidojumā sēdēt blakus mātei ar mazuli, bet tā nebija tāda vienkārša neveiksme, jo šī sieviete no savas vietas apmainījās vietām ar vīrieti, kuram vajadzēja sēdēt man blakus. Un tomēr šis bija labāks lidojums kā pagājušo gadu, kad iesprūdu trīs dienas Ņujorkā. Esam jau dabūjuši jaunos velo un tūlīt arī sāksies nometne, tādeļ nākamreiz noteikti varēsiet lasīt kā mums tur gāja.

The climbing was real good out there

The climbing was real good out there

Pāris lietas, ko gribu atzīmēt:

Lūdzu lieciet ķiveres galvā, kad brauciet ar velosipēdiem. Spānijā redzēju vairākus braucējus, kas bija smuki uzsprādzējuši ķiveri uz stūres, bet mani īsti nepārliecina, ka tas varētu sargāt galvu sadursmē. Ķiveres glābj dzīvības. Neaizmirsti.

Kamēr trenējāmies Spānijā arī es piedzīvoju savu pirmo sezonas kritienu, par laimi nekas smags, jo jau tajā pašā dienā varēju mīties tālāk treniņā.

Neilgi pirms devāmies uz Spāniju Latvijā Radio 5 bija izveidojuši labdarības maratonu, kurā mūzikas dīdžeji 6 dienas no vietas spēlēja mūziku pret ziedojumiem. Man tiešām patika šī iniciatīva un ceru, ka tu nepalaidi garām iespēju noziedot mūsu trūcīgajiem senioriem.

Garšīgas, bez glutēna, bez piena un bez olām pagatavotas pankūkas?! Kādēļ gan ne. Man tādas izdevās pagatavot. Netici, pajautā Andžam.

Latvijā pavadīju 5 dienas pirms devos uz ASV. Biju sarēķinājis gandrīz katru dienu līdz stundai, jo bija tiešām daudz darāmais. Kredītkartes, licences, atskaites, izturības tests, daktera apmeklējumi, intervija vīzai, tikšanās ar draugiem, radiem un citas aktivitātes. Man pat izdevās apmeklēt Carnikavas Sporta Laureātu un Ed Šēran koncertu. Aizņemtas dienas, bet vismaz man izdevās visu paspēt.

Kad bijām piestājuši Parīzē pa ceļam uz Spāniju, pirmo reizi saskāros ar pašiņa kociņiem. Nebiju redzējis nevienu tiešām tos lietojam, taču pie Ēfeļa torņa tos redzēju desmitiem. Skats tiešām uzjautrinošs.

Ceru, ka bija interesanti palasīt. Uz drīzu atkalredzēšanos.

Toms.

Already rolling around Greenville

Already rolling around Greenville

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