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Friday, December 30, 2005

No Lift Lines Here



Whether it is lift lines at 8:30 or surf side beach towel rights, it seems like everyone has the same idea.



Today I ventured into a world most pro cyclists see maybe once or twice a year... The beach! Me and my tan lines gave a big "what's up" to the Fort Myers Beach (thankfully most folks were sporting sunglasses because I was and still am white!). I guess I am going to throw in the towel on my male underwear model dream....

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Head & Shoulders



So for the past two days my head has felt like a tea kettle ready to explode. When conjestion sets up camp in between my ears, I bust out my tried and true remedy, the headstand. Inversions not only help with headaches, conjestion, low energy and digestion but they are also a crowd pleaser!



On days when I am feeling a little "off the back" I refer to my head and shoulder test:

If my symptoms are above my shoulders (headache, conjestion, sore throat) I go ahead with my workout and they usually make me feel better. However, if my symptoms are below my shoulders, I take a chill pill and hit the couch.... word to the wise. On the road again.

I appoligize in advance for the, "Hey Ma, look at me," but check out the JBL site.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Dodging Snowbirds

You know you are training in Florida when:



a.) You are bonking and try to crack open a coconut for food (take note, if they are green they taste like poo).



b.) You are worried about the sea-shells giving you a flat tire.

This past week I have not only been dodging my Mom's Christmas cookies but also dodging the Florida state bird, the snowbird, better known as Q-tips when behind the wheel (you know, that white poof of hair that barely see's over the dash). Flying solo has reminded me of our greatest training tool.... Our training partners. Those guys (and girls) that make you go that extra hour, the ones that make you go that much harder.... Have you hugged your training partner lately?



So check this out, this is my Mom's idea of a beach cruiser! She has been worried about the possibility of having grand kids and thinks I need to give her seat a try!





On a side note, it is that time of year when I start to put my babies up on the block one by one. My 2005 Madone 5.9 just went up for sale on Road bike review.com. Check it out!

And if a 62 is too large, my teammate Brian Smith has his 56 up on the block as well, tell him Nick sent you.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

From My Family To Yours



Merry Christmas, from my family to yours. Here is a little glimpse of a holiday induced moment at Ma's House. Kevin was caught trying to do an impression of his hero, Mr. Potatoe Head.... not bad!



Kevin is going to kill me! (Note how well his custom chin strap fits) "Have you seen my baseball." Ladies, don't bother flooding my inbox with fan mail for Kevin, he is already married.



I hope your kitchens are smelling as unbelievable as my Mom's! Time to turn your tummies to "operation digestion" and enjoy some quality time with your loved ones. As for me and my family, we will be having leftovers for a week.... by the pool. Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 22, 2005

If You Build It....

Lance once said, “Now I only have good days and great days.” This is a saying I try to remind myself of on days when things get tough.



Regardless of whether or not you define yourself as a cyclist, you have been blessed with the power of the mind. As humans we excel when we are inspired, when we are motivated, when our minds are positive.



Well today as I rolled along the sun-drenched roads of Florida, I found my mind wandering, forgetting these encouraging thoughts, and putting myself in a mental rut. I was thinking of nothing but getting home and getting comfortable. I am sure each of you can relate…



Lucky enough for me, the Travel Channel is having an afternoon devoted to Lance and the organization surrounding the 7-time champion. Just when you think you know what work ethic is, Lance rewrites the definition and raises the bar. He has reminded me what it means to be inspired, to be motivated and to stay positive. Cheers to those who dream big and work harder, you are an inspiration.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

As The World Turns

Cycling has what I call, a meditation in-motion effect. Hours will pass and my mind will go from one thought to the another, then jump up and over to the next. By the time I roll into the driveway you think I would have a solution for world peace?!?! But I guess that is why I love this sport, it keeps me centered.



I wonder what would have happened if I choose to play football for 5 hrs a day instead? After today's episode of MTV Cribs, it makes me think.... hmmm beach house, TV in my closet, marble tops, 20 inch rims.... Ashes to ashes, dust to dust, right? At least I love what I do, I have no complaints.



This guy would have dropped me today but he lost his flip flop shortly after his attack. It's a doggy dog world out here.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Common threads

this is an audio post - click to play


Kudos to everyone of you who is out there making your adventures happen, regardless of the conditions mother nature has thrown your way. These last couple days have been tough, pushing through the sunny 70 degree weather on the Gulf Coast of Florida. To be frank, I don't know if I am going to pull though these next three weeks of long sunny miles....



I will leave you with the words of my Road Manager, Jimmy D, "Vivi il Songo, Vola come il Vento," translated means, live the dream, ride like wind.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Changes in Latitude



Today I said my farewells to the chilly tundra of Colorado, tomorrow morning I will be flying south to Florida for Mom's annual 3 week holiday training camp. To be honest, I am pretty excited to trade in the double booties for some tanning lotion. From here on out I am fully committed to the cultivation my tan lines.



What the....!!!

On a side note, I got a note from my bro Mike "Army of One" Wilk down in D-Town in regards to some recent misfortune. I guess while he was out on some local dirt, a rock kicked this roadie sideways and Wilk came away with a broken knee. Back in the day, Wilk was one of the guys that really showed me what it meant to step it up on the bike. He never showed fear out there on the trails and was pretty much pinning it all the time... Brings back some good memories. I wish you my best bro!



Speaking of D-Town, there has been a lot squawk lately on "raceclean" about the whole Durango crew. I just want to make it clear that I stand for the message of the site (keeping the sport clean) but NOT the accusations. I don't know where the site gets their fuel for their fires but I believe in athletes until they are proven otherwise. With that being said, congratulations to the Wells brothers....

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Fundamentals

The other day I was asked the question, "if I were to throw my hard earned cash down for anything cycling related... What would it be".




This weekend my teammates Brian and Jenny Smith headed north, out of the ice box they call home (Gunnison was down to -39 degrees already!), to get their bikes fit at the infamous Boulder Center of Sports Medicine. (Because this was related to a medical issue, the Smith's insurance completely covered the usual $400 fit!)



Pruitt, Carver and Guerra have made quite a name for themselves, fitting the best athletes in the world on their state of the art 3-D fit system. Seeing it first hand blew me away and it really sunk in how valuable and beneficial this resource is. They analyze your fit in separate power zones since our body changes to adapt to the increased efforts. A simple change is noted by a 3-D computer image and compared to the previous images to note the progress. Brilliant!



I was fit by Carver and Pruitt last season, but it was more of the "bro" fit, without all the bells and whistles and computer assistance. I was still blown away by their knowledge and ability find power in areas you didn't know you had. (btw Pruitt referred to me as Egor!?, apparently I am all jacked up!"

If you are having any problems on the bike or if your bike is your passion, call up BCSM for the best fit in the business! As soon as I get back from Mom's annual training camp in Florida, which I leave for in a couple days, I am throwing down to get probed and fit again.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Boulder Base Camp





I ventured to Boulder, CO just over two years ago to pursue cycling and today's ride reminded me why it was the right move. Nothing is better for your modivation than training with a group of elite athletes who share your same determination and focus. Today's train was powered by the likes of JHK (Fisher), Scott Moninger (Health Net), Chris Baldwin (Navigators), Chuck Coyle (Vitamin Cottage), Pete Lopinto (Sierra Nevada), Doug Ollerenshaw (Health Net), Heather Irmiger (Gary Fisher) and of course the boyz from Tiaa Cref (just to name a few).



It was pretty much a Roadie enduced day in the saddle and being the only mountain bikers in the group (besides JHK), Ranno let his true feelings be known, "Dude, I feel weird, like I am on a first date or something".



Chuck went for the triple threat in the Little Debbie department! I never want this to turn into a site about how much I train or how much my bike weighs .... it's all about the lifestyle. This gas station shot is a perfect example of how we manage on the road, whether it is training or traveling, we get by.

In other news:

Check out fellow "blogger" Ashwin's site for his new pro interview features. Thanks Ashwin for featuring me as your first athlete. Check it out...

Btw, Nick Ranno will no longer be referred to as "The Diesel". He shall now be referred to as Nick "Short Bus" Ranno. This update goes into effect immediately.

Anytime you mix cycling and cowboy boots, you have my vote! Damn Girl...

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Living Life



Today seemed to be unfolding just like any other, another day on the bike with hours of snowy singletrack behind us. This was of course until I seriously came face to face with death in a matter of a moment. I had looked both ways on Hwy 36 but had failed to see a black SUV that was heading my way at about 65 mph. With only a couple pedal strokes I lined myself up perfectly in front of the SUV which blended in with the backdrop of the road. This could have been my final moment but I am thankful someone was looking over me....



I felt the brush of the car as it flew by and nothing... I was completely untouched thanks to the driver's quick thinking. (Bezecny and Ranno had front row seats) The rest of my day feels like a gift and I can't even begin to explain the range of emotions and thoughts that have followed. Each moment of our lives is a gift from God and I hope each of you lives your day as if it was your last..... Best of Rides.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Skinny White Boys



Check out this portrait of Iban Mayo during the 2003 Tour de France, reminds me of a post from back in August, "Someone Feed Tristan". If you are currently training to be the next American hopeful for the Tour, I recommend printing this picture out and posting it on your fridge.



Here is another polka dot jersey at his finest, the Great Dane in the '05 Tour. (Thanks JB for the pic)

Ah the sacrifices....



So Zack's team truck is over at Kustom Kar Audio getting some loving from Clay and JBL, leaving him fully committed to the commuter bike. Today temps dropped to 0 degrees and look who shows up at my doorstep!

Want to stay modivated in the off season.... Check this out.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Looking For Margaritaville

This morning I was awoke to the sounds of 60 mph gusts and conditions that looked to be nearly unbearable. So I rang up Stefano in an effort to cancel our scheduled ride and was quickly talked into venturing out into the mountains on a day when most cyclists would have sat on the trainer. Since I am a firm believer that as a cyclist you are only allotted a certain amount of trainer hours in a lifetime and mine have already been cashed in, I suited up.



Give me the fastest, tightest and steepest singletrack out there and I won't think twice.. the situation I faced today however, left me shaking in my booties. Next time you think about using the term "roadie" in a derogative manner, think twice, these guys know how to ride. Today Stefano Barberi, one of the nation's fastest up and coming roadies, lead me down some seriously sketchy, ice littered, steep and windy (and I am not using this term lightly) mountain roads that reminded me why I don't trust skinny tires.



Btw, Stefano just signed with Frankie Andreu's new team, United Pro Cycling, which looks like the team to beat next year. Congratulations bro, I wish I was as fast as you when I was 21, wait I wish I was that fast right now...

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Base Induced Thoughts

Another competitive year comes to a close, a brief training respite ensues, and then the cycling squawk inevitably turns to Base. T'is my favorite time of year, long epic rides, great conversation, self induced brain freeze and no flexing of the quads because "ah man I can't go this hard, I am in base, let's back it off". Just the basics..... and a lot of them. I guess I look at base like the ole story of building your house, you need a strong foundation or your house will collapse.



Well today at hour three, my hands nearly fell off, with sub 30 degree temps and less then base worthy gloves, my body was screaming for the coffee shops (which is my favorite base ritual). I had to make the stop while Ranno peddled around the block for 15 minutes, I guess Ranno enforces this no stopping policy. Well 24 oz of jitter juice later and one huge muffin, my game face was back on to finish out the final hours. It only takes one near frost bite experience to set you straight.



Btw, I have suffered through my share of hard earned miles and have come to a couple conclusions: Goggles serve their purpose under the right conditions, newspaper is a must from December on (note the Rocky Mtn News under my jersey today) and do not be afraid to rock the double chamois.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Employee Of The Month



It's official, this is my view for the next couple months of base training (could be worse, it could be Poz's backside). Time to put on a load of wash every morning and venture into the frigid cold for 3-4 months of LSD (Long Slow Distance) and frequent coffee stops. After 9 days of cheese curds and relaxation, I came back to CO modivated and excited to be out there. You know it's cold when you only see one other rider on Hwy 36.....hardcore or stupid, you make the call.



Thanks to the crew at BikeBlogs.com for selecting ridewithnickmartin.com as December's Blog of the Month. Glad I can help those office hours go by a little faster.

Here's to dreamers.....