A Day in the Life of Brice Jones
Brice Jones: Returning for his third season of racing with the Jelly Belly Pro Cycling Team, Brice has earned the respect of his teammates and the rest of the pro peloton with his racing prowess and powerful kick to the line. His integrity, dedication to the sport and affable nature make him a great ambassador and a natural leader. Brice and his wife Sarah are expecting their first child, a girl, in March ‘07.
February 18, 2007
Tour of California Prologue
Diary by Brice Jones
7:00am – I went to bed last night at around 10pm and didn’t have any trouble falling asleep. I’m blessed with a natural ability to fall asleep in milliseconds no matter where I am or what I have on my mind. It’s all about learning to turn off the thought process when the lights go out. The first thing I do when I get out of bed on race days is hop in the shower. There’s something about a warm shower that’s very rejuvenating. This also happens to be the first I do when I get done with a ride. After the shower, I shaved up my grill so that I would be nice and aero for the TT.
8:00am – We headed down to breakfast to a sea of professional cyclists eating who knows how many kilos of watery oatmeal and sipping gallon-upon-gallon of lousy hotel coffee. What’s the deal with hotel coffee? Do all the hotels in this country get together at some convention center in Florida in mid December every year and go to seminars to learn how to brew lousy coffee? It’s the same thing whether you’re at a Motel 6 in Russellville, Arkansas or a Crown Plaza in San Francisco, California. I’m a bit of coffee snob as are most cyclists. We like our coffee just a little thicker than 10W30 motor oil and a whole lot stronger.
So the menu for breakfast looked like this: oatmeal with raisins and sugar in the raw, mixed fruit consisting of honey dew melon, cantaloupe, and watermelon, croissant, ham and cheese sandwich on wheat bread (not by choice; only because they didn’t have eggs), strawberry yogurt, and, of course, coffee.
The atmosphere at breakfast is fairly diverse. You’ve got certain guys who are somewhat portentous; these aren’t the guys who I approach to inquire about their winter training programs. Then there are the guys who are very approachable and down right loquacious. I chose to hang with the Toyota guys for a bit after eating breakfast with my own teammates. The crew included Henk Vogels, Caleb Manion, Sean Sullivan, and Ivan Domingez – all very nice and funny guys. We talked Nascar and envisioned the warm welcoming the good ol’boys would give the newbie Juan Pablo Montoya during today’s Daytona race.
After breakfast it was back up to the room to get things ready for the race. Even though I am a bit bucolic, I do like to have things organized. I tend to prepare earlier for the race than most. I enjoy getting everything set and packed in advance and leaving myself with plenty of time to relax; this leaves time for a self-induced slumber to rid off any superfluous anxiety. My method of choice is reading while listening to music. I enjoy low key music like Ray Lamontagne, Eric Clapton, Bob Dylan and the like during this time period. This is a time for me to completely relax before starting the actual race prep. This morning I had a couple hours of Thoreau, while in the background Lamontagne inspired me to be a better guitar player. I try to provide a good mix of physical and mental stimulation even while at the races.
10:30am – Now it’s time to load up and head to the race site. Today we have two different groups leaving the hotel at different times. I’m in the early crew since I’m the first rider from our team to go off today. Once at the race site in downtown SF on the Embarcadero, we hop out of the car and into the Jelly Belly Team bus. It’s nice to have a team bus at the race. Our unit is equipped with a slide out in the living area, which makes for copious space. We relax for a bit and then get kitted up to start the warm-up.
11:30am -- My warm-up protocol for a short, intense prologue involves a 30- minute spin with a linear heart rate progression up to a tempo effort followed by a short recovery. Then I will do some all out efforts to get my VO2 system firing. Today I rode the course once to get a visualization of my effort to use during my warm-up on the trainer. Warming up on the trainer at a big race is always interesting as there are a lot of fans wanting to take pictures and converse with us while we are at high heart rates. I usually put on my headphones, close my eyes, and start the image streaming.
1:00pm -- I’m frantic now as I’ve got thirteen minutes until I go off and my wheels are just being put on my carbon Orbea. It’s not the mechanics fault – I just had to get in that last effort and spin out the lactate from it. Once on my bike I head straight to the start to have my bike checked by the UCI officials to make sure it’s within regulations of weight and dimension. I guess the best part of the day was sitting on my bike on the starting ramp getting ready to take off. The noise from the crowd was of an incessant and sonorous quality. It was very uplifting and I’m sure my adrenaline was pumping when I finally rolled off the ramp. I felt like I was being pushed by a tailwind of cheers from the crowd. Unfortunately, the massive cheers ended after 300 meter, and the tailwind ceased to exist until the climb up Coit Hill where a 100 mph tailwind wouldn’t have helped me I was so blown after my effort. I looked back after the finish to make sure there wasn’t a furrow from some invisible plow that I was dragging. The day wasn’t that bad I guess -- I did beat my time from last year by 24 seconds. I rode a 5:21 this year, which won’t be close to winning, but I’m not too worried since the prologue isn’t my forte.
1:30pm -- Back to the team bus after finishing the prologue and walking down a ton of steps from Coit Hill. I hit the trainer to spin out the lactic acid from the effort and changed out of my race clothes. Now that I have finished my race it’s time to just hang out and wait for the rest of the guys to finish. I filled my pockets with Jelly Bellies and handed out samples to inquisitive fans, which there’s never a lack of. While handing out beans I listened for stage results. It didn’t take a seer to foretell that Levi Leipheimer was going to win today’s stage.
4:00pm -- Back at the hotel and it’s time to relax from the days events. I got on the massage table at five and then got a crack from the team chiropractor after that. Dinner was shortly after followed by a team meeting to discuss Stage 1. I’m short on time for this diary now as we had a meeting with our clothing sponsor that lasted longer than planned and now it’s time for bed. Tomorrow the real fun starts with 97 miles of good old fashioned racing.