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The Life and Times | Axel's Army
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Croatia14
just cought up with the two latest chapters, can't wait for reading the next chapters thoguh to see what happens to them...great job in tensing us up!
ICL20 // Euskaltel Story // Can't Slow Down // 21 and Done // Dreams of a Viper

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jandal7
@Croatia - Thanks a lot, good to see the cliffhanger worked Pfft Me neither, so let's dive in...
S6/E1
i.imgur.com/8iKuzOs.jpg
Airport

"They've really thrown you three under the bus. But you can get through it. You can survive out there. Good luck, you'll bloody well need it little bro."

They looked up at me, theirr looks I guess matching mine - dumbfounded, horrified and all in all, bewildered.
'Are they stupid?' Why is this announced now, surely they'd know we were comi-'
'It wasn't Cycling NZ, they would have told the UCI earlier, it's just coming out now.'
'Still, crappy timing.'
'More than crappy, in a day or two when we get there, everyone in cycling will have heard. They'll know and they'll know we were one of the ones who told Cycling NZ. Damn could this be any worse?'
'At least it's out I guess.' I said, doing my best to look on the bright side. Besides, more texts were flurrying in to all of our phones. Mac, Rose, Alex, Mum, Dad... all saying the same thing, along the lines of "Hayden just text, this really sucks. Good luck over there."

We had half an hour until boarding which we spend browsing discussion forums, news outlets, twitter and the lot as Europe awoke to the news. No press had contacted us but we guessed it'd be directed at Hayden, Mac and Cycling NZ for the first while. We agreed to say nothing to anyone except friends and family until we knew what was going on. True and false rumours were spreading like wildfire but all we could do was hope nobody would pin it on us and everyone that was guilty would get brought down.

Ah, wishful thinking.

i.imgur.com/2Dkpk98.jpg

Edited by jandal7 on 28-12-2017 03:33
 
jandal7
S6/E2
i.imgur.com/8iKuzOs.jpg
Arrival

"We could only hope the jet lag would wear off quick."

When we touched down in Dubai 17 hours later, Europe had reacted to the news. Anger, shock, sadness and disappointment were the main themes. Cycling NZ and the UCI had both said they didn't release the news but confirmed the allegations had been filed. I had numerous texts waiting for me, including from Sebastian Clement, our team Boss at CR4C Roanne, saying that they'd seen the allegations but would like to largely ignore them, and with the intention that we'd be getting from elsewhere, that sounded fine by us.

When we landed in Lyon we were picked up by one of the other two riders on the team from an Anglophone country - Cad Williams, a Welshman. He was a friendly guy, also a newbie on the team this season, and for the 100km trip to where Ollie, Richie and I were sharing a flat we talked about cycling, rugby - anything sport, really. We kicked it off easily and it was good that someone who shared a first language with us was a good guy.

When we got to our flat we unpacked our stuff and figured out what we'd need to purchase. To our surprise, there was already a few (if basic) items of furniture, an (if slow internet connection and adequate bathroom and kitchen facilities. The one thing we did think we'd need was a TV, however small, as well as food and toilet paper. So full of hope that the jet lag wouldn't last long, we set out to explore the town of Roanne.
Edited by jandal7 on 28-12-2017 03:32
 
jandal7
S6/E3
i.imgur.com/8iKuzOs.jpg
Baby Steps

"Once we were suitably settled down and adjusted to the new timezone, it was time to race."

At CR4C some riders were there for their entire cycling career - this was their peak and they were fine with that. They had other jobs to put food on the table and warmth in the house. Some, more like us or Cad, were youngsters hoping for a break. And then furthermore Cad said he found you could split our group up as well - some had the commitment to make a 5+ hour round trip for a race in the pissing cold with no mechanic or mate to help you, and some only went in local races or big events where the team "officially" organised a team. We wanted to be firmly in the former half.

Our boss, Sebastian Clement, had said to us we could enter any race in team kit and bike under the CR4C name. By the end of March we were all ready to race and couldn't wait to get going. However, big races were hard to come by around Roanne, unless we were talking more 9 or 10 hour round trips. To bide the time we decided to enter a couple of local amateur rides, both of which were flat. We knew we just had to get the legs going again on the other side of the globe before we could be competitive at the front. The first race was quiet for us, but in the second the group split in half with only a couple of kilometres to go and I managed to sneak into the top 1 in the sprint. Not a bad start.

Our first UCI race was to be in Northern France with the Circuit des Ardennes, a three-day race with four stages, most of which are hilly. It was going to be near 6 hours to get to the start in Rocquigny, but so desperate were we to introduce ourselves to the scene we decided to go for it as we'd not be doing the 11 hours' driving all in one day. All three of us went along with Cad, an experienced French rider I didn't know and the other rider with English as a first language: an Aussie called Nick Schultz.
Edited by jandal7 on 03-01-2018 05:07
 
jandal7
S6/E4
i.imgur.com/8iKuzOs.jpg
Ardennes I

"Once we were suitably settled down and adjusted to the new timezone, it was time to race."

The night before the first stage we decided to set out a plan. We didn't know each other and each other's strengths very well so over a beer we talked and discussed who'd lead and what our roles would be. Jeremy, the experienced French rider, was a sprinter with a lot of endurance ad race smarts, so he'd road captain and potentially be set up for sprints. Ollie and Cad were our powerhouses, with the latter also a very useful climber. Then there were Richie, Schultz and I. Richie was built for longer climbs and so would be more of a domestique, whilst Schultz was a very good puncheur. Which left me. I hadn't found my feet in terms of specialty yet but I'd never particularly struggled in any situation or terrain. In the end we decided the possibility of a GC rider would be decided after the first stage, where we'd try get a rider in the break and in the mix for the win.

i.imgur.com/EDNuF5b.png

The stage was up and down with a final hill, descent and then a kicker. If Hayden were here he'd be licking his lips but we had no idea what to do with this - so we improvised. Cad managed to get in the breakaway and we sat in the middle of the pack, trying to conserve energy and hold onto the wheels until the finish. With 15km to go it was just Schultz and I left, to my surprise. Suddenly, he spoke up, without turning to face me.
'So, Vaillenos, how you doing?' he asked, 'Because I won't be any good in a sprint so I might try to follow some moves on the hill.'
'Sure thing, I'll stay near the front in case you guys get caught.' I replied. We moved up towards the front of the pack and when we hit the foot of the climb he was ready. Unfortunately for him, picking his battles wasn't something he'd mastered quite yet. He responded to nearly everything and by the time a move got away he didn't have the legs to go with it. That left me to muster what I could out of the stage.

I kept up on the downhill and good thing I did, because on a corner, just as we caught the trio up front, most of the pack behind me were held up by a crash or forced to take a bad line. There was just 1km to go and 12 of us were clear, including the hot tip for the GC, Zoidl. I didn't take any pulls - there were domestiques for that - but decided to take a flyer (hey, it was my first time) with a few hundred to go, just as the team leaders were looking at each other. I took them by surprise but I couldn't hold on, in the last 100m I went from first to 8th. Still, an incredible result for my first .2 race. the real struggle would be to repeat it.
Edited by jandal7 on 28-12-2017 03:32
 
Croatia14
#dailyriderstoryoftheyear2017votelifeandtimes
ICL20 // Euskaltel Story // Can't Slow Down // 21 and Done // Dreams of a Viper

since 2018: Radsim'05: Astana
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jandal7
@Croatia - Wow, tough task but thanks ShockGrin Leading into...
@ALL -Guess this is my best opportunity (since I forgot last time) to thank the 6 (!) of you who voted for this story in the awards and the 3 (!) who did for me personally in Story Writer award. You guys are all great, be you silent followers or regular commenters, you've helped me get this really going over the last year and helped me improve massively <3
S6/E5
i.imgur.com/8iKuzOs.jpg
Ardennes II

"The real struggle would be to repeat yesterday's performance."

i.imgur.com/pYuDGF5.png

Stage two would make coming near the top 10 very hard, with some almost mountains on the way. It was more for Richie or even Schultz, but for at least until we saw how I was going to go, I was to be the team's protected rider for the stage. Ollie got in the breakaway and I got into Cad's wheel. Cad seemed to be made for doing this on this kind of stage, pushing himself up every climb he could, and then some that he couldn't.

By the first time up the Robinson climb, he had to let go and it was just Schultz, Richie and I left from the team in the peloton. However, I knew by now this wasn't going to be my day and started to help Richie stay near the front. I tried to stay for the downhill but the smaller hill on the way down was where I'd have to say goodbye to the bunch. Richie would go on to finish a few groups down in 16th, with Nick 22nd, whilst I slipped to 33rd in GC. Not a great day, but after the highs of yesterday it was just back to what I had expected going up there.
Edited by jandal7 on 28-12-2017 03:32
 
Croatia14
we need some recovery, go!
ICL20 // Euskaltel Story // Can't Slow Down // 21 and Done // Dreams of a Viper

since 2018: Radsim'05: Astana
Most Improved Team 2018 & 2019 // Manager of the Year 2018, 2019 & 2020

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Raziz
Nice one! Great writings Smile
 
Tamijo
Perfect first day - then reality kicked in Cool
 
jandal7
@Croatia - We sure do, let's hope for good results in the ITT and easier hilly stage on day 3!

@Raziz - Thanks a lot, welcome Grin

@Tamijo - Yeah absolutely right - real test for Joseph with the big boys Cool Good to have you back too!

@ALL - Not counting prologues, counting episodes split in two and episodes where I forgot to change the episode number in the title and so have two of a certain number (Pfft) that was the 99th episode. I'll try make the 100th special.

2020 EDIT: He says, about-to-leave-the-story-to-gather-dust-for-three-months-ingly...

Edited by jandal7 on 22-04-2020 08:16
30/12/14 - matt17br said "Sutty's birthday is more important than [Jesus' Birthday]"
24/2/21 - kandesbunzler said “I don’t drink famous people.”
8/12/13 - welker3257 said [when asked for a cyclist beginning with K] "Tom Boonen."

[ICL] Santos-Euskadi | The Life And Times | [Doomed] i.imgur.com/c85NSl6.png Xero Racing
[CX] Listerijns & Kiwis

i.imgur.com/PdCbs9I.png
i.imgur.com/RPIlJYr.png
3x i.imgur.com/wM6Wok5.png x3
i.imgur.com/olRsxdu.png
 
jandal7
This has been probably the longest break yet so I owe you guys a bit of an apology SadEmbarassed This certainly will carry on for a long while yet, and with holidays soon I'll pick it back up Smile
30/12/14 - matt17br said "Sutty's birthday is more important than [Jesus' Birthday]"
24/2/21 - kandesbunzler said “I don’t drink famous people.”
8/12/13 - welker3257 said [when asked for a cyclist beginning with K] "Tom Boonen."

[ICL] Santos-Euskadi | The Life And Times | [Doomed] i.imgur.com/c85NSl6.png Xero Racing
[CX] Listerijns & Kiwis

i.imgur.com/PdCbs9I.png
i.imgur.com/RPIlJYr.png
3x i.imgur.com/wM6Wok5.png x3
i.imgur.com/olRsxdu.png
 
Tamijo
When ever you are ready :lol:
 
Ollie23
jandal7 wrote:
This has been probably the longest break yet so I owe you guys a bit of an apology SadEmbarassed This certainly will carry on for a long while yet, and with holidays soon I'll pick it back up Smile


Good thing I'm all caught up now then. Looking forward to the continuation! Smile
 
Croatia14
I want this!
ICL20 // Euskaltel Story // Can't Slow Down // 21 and Done // Dreams of a Viper

since 2018: Radsim'05: Astana
Most Improved Team 2018 & 2019 // Manager of the Year 2018, 2019 & 2020

PCM.daily Awards:
Most Improved Member '16 // MG New Manager '16 // Thread of the Year (PCT Roundtable Analysis) '17 '18 '19 // Most Helpful Member '18 '19 '20 // MG Team of the Year (Isostar - Adriatic) '18 // MG Manager of the Year '18 '19 // Member of the Year '19
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jandal7
@Tamijo - Thanks Smile
@Ollie - Cheers and awesome to hear, welcome aboard!
@Croatia - Well here it is!
@ALL - Sorry if this is boring or whatever, the Joseph/Hayden parts are the first two and I'm just trying this out Pfft Anyway - we hit 100, so looking back and looking forward: how do you guys feel about where this is going and how it's been going? Too slow, too fast (yeah right Pfft), not enough of something, predictions, etc.? Also thanks to everyone that's read this for your support Smile

S6/E6
i.imgur.com/8iKuzOs.jpg
100 Not Out

"Sorry, we don't have a musical number, and I do celebrate meaningless milestones."

100 episodes, here we are. I wondered for a while on what to do on this one because as a wee bit of a sap I do celebrate meaningless milestones. So let's check up on where everyone was on the day of the 7th of April 2013..


I was waiting anxiously for the the penultimate third stage of the Circuit des Ardennes to start for me - a team time trial. We weren't favoured - not at all, and we wanted to mix things up in stage four in the afternoon anyway. But Schultz, Richie and I had decent enough top 50 GC places to defend and for our first French race Richie and I were pretty excited by that. Little did we know the results we'd get in the rest of the season - or the twists and turns life would throw at us. But in that moment, it was all about the bike.


Hayden was training for an upcoming trio of races - the Reatihi Gutbuster - 50km of pure hills, the Te Awamutu Junior Cycling Tour - a race we'd never attended despite its prestige, and the Mersey Valley Tour, which I had. He'd be looking for 3 wins before heading to Europe for the Course de la Paix after NZ expanded their program after seeing how Mac, Hayden, Ollie, Richie and I were developing - especially with Smith and Oram just going through to U23s. it was a risky move but didn't it pay off. Anyway, a bit cliched but that's another story.


My parents were a wee bit stressed - Anna had just got chicken pox but the other two weren't catching it and she was being "bloody whiny" about it all and not dealing with it well. At least school was coming in a few months and because I'm nice they, at least, were looking forward to it!



Rose was out on a training ride with her amateur team, not too far from C4RC's HQ. We still hadn't caught up yet but we planned to before the month was out. The rest of her year wasn't going to be what she expected either, but in a very different way to me...


Alex was on his gap year, tutoring at a school in England somewhere and starting his own sports blog while he was at it. He was keeping up cycling but unlike me, it was just a hobby, and whilst he was still a very strong rider he'd fell off the pace a bit and it's a good thing he wasn't pursuing it because when he got back, I mean, the guy became a father the next year...


And Lana was at a funeral - her grandmother's. Fierce woman, I was told, proud of he granddaughter but strict and traditional. Neither of us knew the other existed, nevermind that our paths would collide not too far down the track...
Edited by jandal7 on 28-12-2017 03:31
 
Croatia14
great to see this going!
ICL20 // Euskaltel Story // Can't Slow Down // 21 and Done // Dreams of a Viper

since 2018: Radsim'05: Astana
Most Improved Team 2018 & 2019 // Manager of the Year 2018, 2019 & 2020

PCM.daily Awards:
Most Improved Member '16 // MG New Manager '16 // Thread of the Year (PCT Roundtable Analysis) '17 '18 '19 // Most Helpful Member '18 '19 '20 // MG Team of the Year (Isostar - Adriatic) '18 // MG Manager of the Year '18 '19 // Member of the Year '19
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Tamijo
"Sorry, we don't have a musical number, and I do celebrate meaningless milestones."

May I suggest "She's a Rainbow" from MILESTONE (Rolling Stones)
 
jandal7
@Croatia - It's good to be back Grin
@Tamijo - Was more a reference to certain shows who celebrate milestones with musical numbers, but thanks for the suggestion anyway PfftGrin

S6/E7
i.imgur.com/8iKuzOs.jpg
Ardennes III

"There wasn't much left to be defensive about."

I'll gloss over the morning TTT because honestly I can't remember anything except it was pretty awful, we'd never done one as a team and we all slipped out of top 50 GC. This did give us some more room to attack and try spring a surprise on the final afternoon.

i.imgur.com/hGtTpto.png

A hilly day again but not as much as previously - our plans were to light up the race and try and make something happen. Surprisingly enough this involved getting someone in the break, and after kilometres of trying that someone was me! My first European break and it felt good.

I won a mountain sprint along the way and got some nice pocket money and bragging rights and with about 20km to go at the foot of the Les Mazures climb we were close to being reeled in so I struck out. It only lasted for about a third of the way up instead of a quarter but the honour of being the last man standing and the Most Aggressive Rider of the day award was mine! I completely collapsed soon after and finished in the grupetto but up ahead Schultz was in a group of about 15 that made it to the end, with him in 11th.

Overall a tough but pretty successful debut for us that only left us hungry for more racing action. But first, it was the 6-hour van ride back to Roanne. Plenty of time for cards and laughter, and with surprising ease, at least amongst the English speakers, I felt comfortable already at CR4C Roanne.
Edited by jandal7 on 28-12-2017 03:31
 
jandal7
S6/E8
i.imgur.com/8iKuzOs.jpg
Respect

"The Rhône-Alpes Tour is one of the most fought-over spots at CR4C."

Back to smaller races after the excursion to Northern France and almost everyone on the squad was vying for a place in the Rhône-Alpes Isère Tour, one of the more local .2 races, only about 50 minutes on the other side of Lyon from Roanne. A couple of spots were assured but Richie and I especially were hungry for another taste of the big leagues. Well, the biggest leagues we could get to right now. Hayden started his European schedule with the U23 Course de la Paix soon too, however sadly there was no chance to meet up.

Our first small race back was five days after and was pretty flat, a group sprint was the result where one of our French riders, Fumeaux, took third. I had just tried to, once again, survive until the end and help out where I could but I couldn't quite match the pace to be of any service in the finale. The second was equally flat but more of a crit race - something I had a bit of experience with. I hung around amidst crashes and chaos and though my sprint was pretty average I managed to make another top 10, finishing 8th whilst Fumeaux was third again.

The third was a wee while away but took place around some foothills and eventually partway up the Puy de Dôme, a mountain where Eddy Merckx was punched, Anquetil and Poulidor had their famous side-by-side duel. I was unsure how I'd go and so got in the break for the hell of it. We managed to survive and work well until the penultimate climb where someone took a flyer from the pack and caught us followed by more and more people, including Richie and another French rider from our team who i didn't know too well. Richie was struggling a bit and I tried to stay in the wheels. With some pretty rusty French we decided I'd protect the former for as long as I could, which turned out to be barely 100m onto the final climb where I bonked completely. I did recover a bit to come 17th - not bad.

Not bad, but unfortunately not impressive enough to put me in the team for the big tour. I was a bit disheartened but then again, only Schultz made it of the English-speakers and it only made Ollie, Richie, Cad and I more hungry to get some results in smaller races and force our way into teams for bigger ones. Speaking of which, that night we fielded a call from Cycling NZ, who finally got around to planning our junior schedule, starting with the GP Gènéral Patton in Luxembourg early next month.
Edited by jandal7 on 31-08-2017 05:38
 
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