A Day in the Life of Andrew Bajadali
About Andy: After a season of impressive results and a heroic ride at the 2006 US National Road Race Championships, “The Baj” proved to the peloton that he is a force to be reckoned with when the ride gets steep. Andy’s talent, focus, motivation and grit will make him a formidable contender in the most challenging stage races in ‘07.
What time do you go to sleep the night before a race?
Who are you rooming with this week?
Jeremy Powers, he cracks good jokes and he’s sarcastic, lightens the load a little. He does snore, but so do I.
How many hours of sleep do you need?
Ideally 10 hours. The more, the better. I had a good sleep the night after training camp. 14 hours- that was great.
Do you ever have trouble sleeping the night before a big race?
Yes, of course. I watch TV with all the lights out, maybe drink chamomile tea, sometimes beer. Just something to calm my nerves a little.
What do you typically eat for breakfast?
Oatmeal, fruit, I love bananas, really all kinds of fruit, pancakes, yogurt, I need my calcium, eggs if it’s a big day.
How about coffee?
I usually have coffee first thing in the morning, while I either surf the internet or watch the news. Then breakfast. Then pre-ride coffee. Everything in moderation, we’re not talking huge cups here.
Always organic, I bring it from home- I buy it at the Brewing Market in Boulder- Guatemalan Dark is the roast of preference these days.
Do you eat anything else before the race?
I usually will eat again about an hour before the race. I’ll have a Gatorade bar or some Sport Beans.
Describe what the next couple of hours are like.
I grab my team kit, I’m pretty paranoid about leaving stuff behind like my shoes and my helmets so I check about 5 times to make sure I haven’t left anything behind. I’ve gotten better, so it’s pretty rare.
I ride over to the start with the guys about an hour and a half before the race.
I get dressed. I’m usually the last guy to get dressed. I figure I’m going to be in that chamois long enough, no point spending more time in it than I have to.
I pack my jersey with Sport Beans, bars, gels.
I check my race radio.
Go over to the sign in table with my teammates, often do an interview with the race announcer.
How do you prepare mentally for the race?
The Ipod goes on about an hour before the race. I listen to some mellow stuff first – Led Zeppelin, some Trance, some techno stuff. It depends on the day and how tough I think it will be. This morning I listened to Metallica in anticipation of a tough day. Gotta get ready for the pain.
What were your thoughts on today’s course map, how closely do you pay attention to the course map during the day?
When I looked at the course map I saw that there was a big flat run into the finish after that second big climb, so I figured that the group would come together. Even if there is a breakaway before the climbs, chances are they’d get reabsorbed into the group.
As far as during the race, I think it depends on how well I am doing in the race. If the legs are good, and I am feeling confident, then I look forward to the terrain coming up. Today’s ride had some cool terrain, for sure.
What is it about climbing that you enjoy? I guess it’s the goal, the challenge, something to conquer.
What do you do during the race if you need food or drinks, or if need mechanical assistance?
I’m usually a protected rider along with Brice and Alex, so my other teammates take care of me and bring me what I need.
How do you guys decide who covers a break, who goes back to fetch food?
We’ll usually designate some guys before the race, whoever has the legs, who feels good. The powerhouses, the bigger stronger riders, they’ll be able to motor on the flats and distance themselves from the pack.
The point is that they’ll be able to survive because they have the bigger engine to survive real hard fast riding. The strategy is to have representation of your team in the breakaway so if the race lets it go up the road, you have someone up there and can go for the stage win or the team or rider overall general classification.
What do you guys talk about when you are riding?
There’s a lot of chitter chatter, about fitness levels, cars, women, home repairs, typical guy stuff- same things we talk about when we’re not riding.
Sometimes we’ll ask “When is this gonna end?”, “Why are they going so fast, it’s only February?”
What happens after the race?
Calories, that’s usually what I am thinking- it’s the absolute most important thing. In a typical day, I burn 3500-4500 calories so a recovery shake is the first thing. I have wait 20 -30 minutes before I eat again. Then I have a sandwich. Hydration is always on the agenda: Gatorade, water. There’s a brief discussion of the race with teammates and team director and then we ride back to the hotel.
Once I am back at the hotel I jump in the shower. I might snack on cookies, something light. Then I stretch. I try to stretch right before my massage. Then dinner. Then I do crunches- not too many, maybe 100. TV, some tea. Catch up with my girlfriend or family, and then to bed- for hopefully another 14 hours.
At the finish we caught up with Andy to get his thoughts on today’s stage. With a big smile on his face he said, “It was awesome! The terrain was great. As we approached the city (Sacramento) most of us were just trying to eat something to get through the rest of the race, when all of a sudden the pace just exploded- it was wild.”
After he returned to the hotel, Andy, who was born and raised in nearby Folsom, was interviewed by KCRA-3, the local NBC affiliate in Sacramento. All in a day’s work...