A Day in the life of Mike Jones
About Mike: Mike joins the Jelly Belly Pro Cycling Team looking to realize his full potential as a top competitor. Long regarded as a talented sprinter, Mike also has plans to showcase his time trial talents in the season’s prologues. In addition to some solid race results, his teammates can count on Mike’s offbeat sense of humor to provide plenty of laughs.
What time do you go to sleep the night before a race?
If the distance of the race ends in an odd number I will go to bed at an odd time, like 9:36pm. I know that’s not an odd number, but it’s an odd time to set for a bed time. If the distance ends in an even number, I will usually go to the hotel bar and wait until exactly 20 people are at the bar and then at that time I will go get some sleep. The only time that plan backfires is when it takes a while for 20 people to show up to the bar and I get stuck there for a while. One thing that can change the whole plan is if Jeremy Powers is staying with me; I base my bed time on when I tuck him in.
Who do you think you'll be rooming with? Jeremy Powers? Does he snore?
I hope I don’t room with Powers. He doesn’t snore, but he has this ridiculous ritual of waking up at 2am and going to the mirror and saying "you are Jeremy Powers - you are strong enough, good enough and doggone it Danny Van Haute likes you."
How many hours of sleep do you need? Do you ever have trouble sleeping the night before a big race?
Sometimes I have trouble sleeping. I don’t really worry about the race; I more worry about how my hair will look the next day or if I should wear clear lenses in case a photographer gets a good shot of my eyes. The amount of sleep varies; I have raced on 0-17 hours of sleep before.
What time did you get up this morning?
What do you typically eat for breakfast?
Everything that is in front of me. Truly though, oatmeal, eggs, toast. But by day three of a stage race, watch out, the tablecloth is fair game.
How many hours before the race will you eat breakfast?
Usually I eat 3 hours before, but if it’s an early start I will push it to 2. Sometimes I just go back for McGriddles at the team car.
Describe for me what the next couple of hours are like.
I pack up my team kit, check my bike, ride my bike to the start if it’s not too far away from our hotel, get dress in the team bus, sign autographs, hand out Jelly Belly beans to spectators, attend the pre-race team meeting, check my race radio, pack some food (Sport Beans, bars and gels) in my jersey, ride over to the sign in table, possibly do an interview with the race announcer, and then I usually like to grab the NY Times and tail gun it at the back of the field and read the paper.
What are you thinking about in the minutes before the start? (besides all the hot women checking you out and a possible trip to the port-a-potty?!)
One of my most important things I do before a race is turn around to see how many cars back my Team Director is to judge how much hanging out at the back I can actually do and get away with it.
How do you mentally prepare yourself to race? How closely do you pay attention to the course map?
I don’t spend too much time pouring over the course map; I rely on my Team Director on the radio to tell me. I usually have to ask at the start line how many laps there are if the race is a criterium or ask the guy at the start gate how long a time trial is.
What do you do during the race if you need food or drinks, or if need mechanical assistance? How do you guys decide who covers a break, who goes back to fetch food?
The team car, which follows the riders, is loaded with anything we could need: spare wheels, food, spare clothes, spare shoes, a mechanic and an empty seat in case you just want to pack it in and watch the race in air conditioned comfort. Pretty much the guys that aren’t as fit at the time go back and get food for everyone else. It’s all about taking care of your best guy, cycling is a team sport and every little bit helps.
What do you guys talk about when you are riding?
It’s funny, it can be a big party at times when the race isn’t going fast. Riders catch up with each other and talk about everything. We race each other all year so we are all pretty good friends to some degree. The Tour of California is different; there are several Euro pros here, and I don’t speak European, so I’ll probably just ask for some autographs and talk to myself.
What happens after the race?
After a race, we usually ride to the hotel if it’s close and eat some food quickly to start the recovery process. I only shower every third stage so I have a lot of free time. I don’t really do much; I might surf the internet or just sit and listen to some Tim McGraw. I don’t go check results because I was just in the race and finding out the next day is soon enough for me. I like to hang in the parking lot and talk to mechanics, maybe even turn a wrench or two myself. I may even go to some other teams’ trailers and put funny stickers on other riders’ bikes or just walk to a convenience store to get a diet Pepsi.