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Randell Report

January 2, 2005 – So, it’s been two weeks of couch surfing for me since the “accident”; the rumour is going around that Joe Giuliano pushed me in order to make sure that he was going to be team captain on his return to the team…. The pain is receding in the hip, but still causing me enough trouble to make life difficult. The pain is centred on the outside and front of the hip and seems to come and go as the muscles stay limber or tighten up.

A couple of days ago I did my first ride, if you can call it that, after the “accident”. I was on the rollers for half and hour at zero resistance riding my smallest gear, kind of pathetic. At each pedal stroke there was a pull in my hip. On getting off I could hardly walk and thought that things might take a lot longer than I thought.

Today I tried the rollers again and wow, things are improving. Today I was able to ride on the big ring and push a decent tempo. It actually felt better on the hip with a bit more resistance. Again, I only rode for half an hour as at that point the hip started to get sore and I’m not looking to push too hard. Riding today made me more optimistic about getting back out on the road.

The problem there will be “getting back on the horse”, so to speak. I’m a little worried about the road conditions being a little slippery and the chance of falling again. I figure it will be OK, but I’m sure I will be a lot more ginger in the corners.

Keep the rubber side down.

For more about Andrew Randell and his Jet Fuel team, visit www.cyclingteam.info





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Randell Report

December 6, 2004 – Man, it’s cold outside, we’ve just got the first snowfall of the year and yet guilt at not training is eating me up inside. The crazy part is that it’s not like I was being lazy and bumming around, I was laid up for a week with some “stomach” troubles (read into that what you will).

December is here but I can’t wait for the winter to be done and some racing to get under way. Where are we going next year I wonder? Japan again? Maybe, it depends on how they feel about our racing there last season. Europe again, like in ’02? That would be something. The team’s trip there that season was one of the best and will be something remembered for the rest of my life.

The success of that campaign went beyond the results that we earned along the way, although our couple of stage wins were pretty amazing. What was really amazing was the bond that we built as a team, which was only strengthened by our winning. Thoughts of ’02 are always a great motivator.

I guess that’s why I feel guilty about having missed out on training. I don’t want to let anybody down. Not myself and most of all not the team.

For more Randell Reports and other Jet Fuel riders’ blogs, visit www.cyclingteam.info





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Randell Report

May 3, 2004 – Today the Jet Fuel Coffee team competed in the Whitcomb Road Race, a race far harder than anyone imagined. A 39×26 gear was suggested for the climb, but most of us figured that if you were using that kind of gear you wouldn't be in the race. As such, we didn't have the 26s that would have been oh-so-useful today; luckily we weren't the only ones overgeared.

The race consisted of two laps (down from three on a decision by the commissaire after viewing the course) of 25-mile circuits. Held in backwoods country the roads were beautiful, with some of the race running along a river. A long false-flat drag led into the main challenge of the day, a two-kilometer climb with two pitches of 19%, where the 26s would have been handy. At the top we rode on a plateau before descending back to the river and the base of the three kilometer finishing climb. The course really reminded me of some of the races in Willamette for those that have raced in Eugene, Oregon.

Once again, we put someone in the early move. Buck and Paul went up the road in the first kilometer with four other guys. Everyone else was more than willing to sit back and wait for the climb. Soon we were on the main climb of the day. Here Paul and another rider fell off the pace of the break, while the pack splintered behind on the steep pitches. Having only 23s it was necessary to stand on the two steep sections; by the top my arms were ready to burst from pulling on the bars. Buck's break stayed clear over the climb with a gap in the one minute range. Behind eight or nine of us came together, but no one really wanted to work. Since my legs were fairly knackered from yesterday's race at Jiminy Peak, I was more than happy to sit in the back and hope that Buck would stay clear.

A paceline formed and broke apart in the chase as guys alternated between chasing and attacking. In this way the break didn't lose much of its lead and a group containing Thorben was able to catch up with us; it was good to see another teammate. Coming off the descent Thorben took off with another rider, Sean Nealy of Trek/VW, to try and bridge to the break containing Buck. He didn't make it across but was hoping to have a lead coming into the second time up the major climb.

The chase behind was aggressive and broke up on a couple of the smaller rollers leading into the final ascent of the major climb. I was a little worried about how my legs were going to fare as they were quite sore. To get over the climb in contact with the front I had to use a little bit of wily experience. In order not to blow up I had to let the guys ride away from me at the base, the plan being I would save something for the steeper sections. It ended up working to perfection, as on the steep section I was faster than the others, and I caught onto the back of the group just as we crested the top. At that point we had absorbed the whole of the break, except for one of the Louis Garneau riders who had pulled ahead. Buck put his head down and with the help of a Fiordifrutta rider chased all the way down the descent to the base of the final three kilometer climb. It was an impressive effort on their part, unfortunately I wasn't able to capitalize on it.

Come the final climb I couldn't hold the pace of the frontrunners and had to ride my own tempo to make it to the top without cramping. At the finish I rolled in for something like 12th place and Buck was a little further back. This was a great race and it was unfortunate that more guys didn't come out to attend. Having these two fantastic races back to back really made for a superb weekend;. I can't imagine that there will be many stages in Japan that will be as energy intensive as what we did these last two days. By the end of the week the team should be flying and prepped for Japan!

Andrew Randell, 2002 National Champion, rides for Jet Fuel Coffee





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Randell Report

May 2, 2004 – Ahhh, the first race of the year in shorts and a jersey and boy was it hot! The Jet Fuel Coffee Team drove down to Massachusetts for a week-long training camp, book ended by two weekends of racing. We're staying in Williamstown, a town on the border of Vermont, where the riding is great.

Today was the first of the races, Jiminy Peak: 150km. The field was fairly strong with a Canadian contingent made up of the VW guys, Dom Perras (Ofoto), Aaron Fillion and the Jet Fuel Team. A long false-flat headwind section, leading into a 1km climb made the race tougher than expected. Off the gun a break pulled away and luckily Ryan (Roth) was in it; some of us were suffering for the first lap with bloated legs from the drive. It seemed at first like they would fly away, as we started in a tailwind section, but on turning into the headwind it was pretty clear that they were doomed. They managed a lap and a half off the front before succumbing to the pressures of the peloton.

Riders were trying to get away all over the course, but things were aggressive and the race stayed together. On the third of five laps a break rolled off the front on the descent from the climb – a straight, boring decent. It always astounds me when breaks just roll away in spots you would never imagine it possible. Suddenly we were jamming in the tailwind at 55+km/h and a second group had moved up to the break. It was definitely one of the decisive moments in the race and our team had missed the move. Oops!

We were covering moves, hoping that we would get into a charge that was moving across to the break, but no luck. Finally, in the headwind section some attacks started to gain some ground before being reeled back to the field. I followed a move, but it came back, went again and finally the elastic snapped. Stig and Thorben followed other riders across to this break and we became eight riders working well together. In the wind, the strength of working smoothly together was making itself shown. Without a huge effort we were gaining on the main break, little by little. Some of the guys were struggling but pretty much everyone was doing their turn.

Flying into the climb we must have been 20+ seconds down and on the first steep section one of the Fiordifruitta riders attacked. Three of us latched on and he dragged us up the climb. Over the top we caught the lead break and cruised down the descent with a good gap on the chase group.

Turning into the tailwind section the break was in complete disarray. Some guys were working, some trying to sit on. There were a lot of people getting in the way of helping to creat a good paceline. At 50km/h the little gaps that kept opening up were tough to close as the guys at the front were jamming. Slowly, things settled into a bit of a rhythm and we flew along with the wind at our backs. Turning into the wind though, things ground to a standstill again.

Perras launched on one of the rollers and no one responded. Sitting at the back I was in perfect position and attacked to get across. Kevin Bouchard-Hall (Louis Garneau) was the only other rider to make an effort behind and the three of us came together. Steadily we pulled away from the front of the race, with a minute gap leading into the climb with one lap to go. The key now was to stay away in the tailwind, as once we turned into the headwind I didn'[t think that the chase would be concerted enough to bring us back.

I was maxed out, and on the verge of cramping, working with the other two. Perras and Bouchard-Hall were putting in great pulls and I was doing the best I could, mainly trying not to look like I was suffering too badly. In the end though, my ticket was up when Perras attacked on a roller in the headwind. I couldn't hold Bouchard-Hall when he responded and was left dangling in the wind with the chase not far behind with four or five km to go. All I could think was how embarrassing it would be to get caught. I tried to ride a tempo that I could hold to the end.

Ahead, Bouchard Hall caught Perras and won the sprint, while behind I struggled just to get up the final climb. I made it in for the third and was pretty happy with my ride; I have some great power, I just need to get more racing in to hone my form. Tomorrow we race again – they say it's a tougher course than today's.

Andrew Randell, 2002 National Road Champion, rides for Jet Fuel Coffee.





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Randell Report

April 27, 2004 – Finally it feels like the racing season has really gotten under way for the Jet Fuel Coffee cycling team with our first road trip of the year. For the weekend we headed out to the Classic Chlorophylle, just outside of Quebec City. In the off season it is easy to forget how long some of the drives can be.

On our arrival in Trois Rivieres, where we spent Saturday night, we were all feeling like we had driven to the far north, it was below zero with a blistering wind. Toronto was feeling like it was somewhere far to the south in the warmth of the sun. Sunday, race day, was no better. Our morning pre-race ride was none too impressive due to the chill in the air, again it was below zero. We made a dash to the Tim Hortons and back; nothing like 10 minutes of riding to break in the new kit before racing in it.

The race worked out perfectly for the team. On a flat 19km loop, with a bit of wind, we did five laps for 96km. The whole team was aggressive and maintained a strong presence in the front, which paid off with Buck (Miller) and Ryan (Roth) making the move of the day. From there the four of us in the peloton policed things, while the break toiled away up the road. It never really got very far off the front and with two laps to go some paceline work at the front of the field had brought the break back to within 45 seconds or so: well within sight.

What people tend to forget is that 45 seconds in a strong wind is a huge gap to bridge on your own. The same pattern kept repeating itself: several riders would get together on the front of the peloton and set up a nice steady echelon, bringing the break closer and closer. After a while these riders would fade a bit and instead of people coming up and giving them a hand someone would launch solo off the front in an attempt to bridge to the break. No one ever made it across, most of them would fade within a kilometre or two. If there was more guys willing to work there would be no way for the break to stay off the front. Fortunately for us this situation worked out in our favour, as we had our two strongest riders in the break.

Buck and Ryan waited until the final lap to stir things up, with Ryan finally getting away with two other riders. He left them for dead to finish with a winning margin of two minutes. Behind, Buck dropped the last of the breakaway, Martin St. Laurent of VW/Trek, to grab fourth place. In the pack Paul (Kotyk), Matt (Hansen) and I were were setting up Thorben for the bunch finish. It was a tough sprint to judge as it was not only uphill, but also into the wind. At first we started too soon and were swarmed. We then regrouped before latching onto VW's leadout, to pass them at the base of the hill and launch Thorben. We gapped the field nicely and Thorben won the sprint handily by two bike lengths; all in all a great day for the team. Not only did we win but we practised a leadout and worked on communicating during the race. All of which will come in handy when we are in some of the bigger events of the season.

Andrew Randell, 2002 National Road Champion, rides for Jet Fuel Coffee.





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Randell Report

March 7, 2004 – For the last week of February, 'reading week' at Ryerson University, I headed to the West coast for a week in Victoria, B.C. Initially I had wanted to head south to San Jose, California, but high airfares played a large part in my decision. So it was BC or bust – not that B.C. was a poor second choice. First, I had never been there, and it's always great to go somewhere new. And second, I had a couple of friends to visit – my team-mate Matt Hansen (of Pedal fame) and Andrew Pinfold (formerly of Ital Pasta, now with Symmetrics). Both of them turned out to be great guides to riding in and around Victoria, and Geoff Kabush, with whom we were all staying, was a most gracious host. Having been to South Africa over Christmas I had some pretty good miles in the legs. My plan was to have only one month of poor riding conditions between South Africa and a second training camp and my plan ended up working out great. But the efforts made in the gym on the Xtrainer (a cross-country simulator) and the Monarch, didn't transfer so perfectly to the bike. From what I can tell, it definitely takes a couple of days to get the outdoor legs back. So in B.C. I struggled over the first few days, almost getting dropped by Hansen, who's injured leg had left him a near invalid until a couple of months ago. As a result I became worried about the coming season! Every day we put in some great riding. One of our best rides was northwest of Victoria, over what is known as the Malahat. Once over the top you enter this great back country area full of rolling trails that pop out onto the coast every once in a while. It's quite amazing. Best of all, as always, was stopping at the highly recommended, Cosmic Cafe in Duncan. Second best of all was an area called Highlands, just north of Victoria. You would never guess that you were close to an urban center. The woods, in all their damp and mossy glory, felt pristine and untouched. All in all, the riding in Victoria is as good as anything I've done anywhere else. With the damp climate it feels like Oregon, or riding along the coastal hills south of San Francisco. At week's end I had put in 32 hours of riding and now I'm paying the price. I've felt rocked on the bike for the whole week following – a small price to pay, trying to gain some race winning form for the upcoming season.

Andrew Randell rides with the Jetfuel Coffee team. For more about Randell and his team, visit http://www.cyclingteam.info





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Randell Report

A Pedal Exclusive


Stage 3


Well I can`t say that today went exactly as planned. I ended up in the
second group several minutes down from the leaders.

Mid-stage at about 78km
there was a big 4km climb and it was there that the group split away. The
legs weren’t as good as I hoped. Training last week after Philly I felt
like a superstar and thought that things would go better.


I tried an attack as things got going early in the stage. One of
the Iteamnova guys and a Mercury rider came with me and for a bit it looked
like we were away. Racing depends on the pack and on one of the climbs the
attacks behind started and soon after they closed in. On the descent they
just rolled up to us… and that`s how it goes.


Later, after the first KOM, I recognised that the race was going
into a tough section and once again I had a good go. Vogels from Mercury
and Johnson from Saturn were also having a try. It didn’t split there but
on the next climb it did. Having gassed myself I was in the second split,
but luckily it all rolled back together, just in time for the big 4km
kicker.


Now that the prospect of a good GC is over I’ll have to hope that
the legs come good and that I can continue to ride an aggressive race. It`s
all about a stage win now or at least getting into a long break on one of
the stages. You never know, and once the GC is a little more settled come
Saturday and Sunday some breaks will probably be allowed to roll.

Andrew Randell is a 28-year-old professional cyclist with the Canadian
Sympatico-Jetfuel team. This is his seventh time riding the Grand Prix de
Beauce.





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