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John Lieswyn
Photo: © 7Up/Maxxis

The John Lieswyn Diary

A pro racer who now mostly concentrates on the US domestic scene, John Lieswyn is one of Cyclingnews' most popular and sometimes controversial diarists. He has been racing since 1985 and a Cyclingnews diarist since 1999. John likes both criteriums and longer road races, and seems to particularly like it when the going is hard. He has raced in the Regio Tour, Peace Race, Tour of Poland, Vuelta a Guatemala, Tooheys GP and Commonwealth Bank Classic with success, as well as winning stages in the Sun Tour, Killington and Superweek. In 2003, he is once again riding for 7Up, this year co-sponsored by tyre maker Maxxis.

Burlington to Wapello - Legs (and brain neurons) misfiring

May 23: Burlington to Wapello, 80 miles

Just looking for my legs today. It was Pro/1/2/3 plus a few women including a couple of our sisters from Diet Rite, Cybil and Tania Duff-Miller. Tania was saving it for tomorrow while Cybil rode awesome, probably better than 80 percent of the men in the race! Her participation didn't attract the media frenzy of a certain woman golfer, but it was fun to watch her mixing it up with us.

I made an ass out of myself at one point when Jason was up the road in a two up breakaway, 10 miles to go. A few guys were chasing and I thought it would be funny to ride alongside one legged pedaling for a few seconds, la Bernard Hinault in the Coors Classic (he was making a statement to the Russians with one leg).

But I'm not Hinault and this race isn't the Coors Classic! I don't know what neurons in my brain were misfiring to think that was even slightly funny but it was pretty unprofessional. I can only rationalize having a big mouth in the race today was part and parcel with my general mental instability at the moment. I just wonder how much fresher I'd be for all this if they'd scheduled Nationals for the lighter month of July instead of cramming it in between Housatonic and the Memorial day weekend.

Jason tried to convince his breakaway companion that a for sure minimum second place was worth riding hard for, but the guy wouldn't have any of it. The guy soft-pedaled through, saying that he would rather give up second to Jason for the chance that one of his teammates would win the field sprint if they were caught. Indeed they were caught with 1km to go. Hayden saved our butts (this race is sponsored by 7UP so we really needed to deliver for our local bottler Bruce) by delivering a win despite being heavily jet lagged from his Australia-NY flight yesterday.

Burlington is an old manufacturing town, built in the 1880's. Today with the huge shift in the American economy the downtown has largely been left behind. I picked up a real estate paper and saw that a rambling Victorian brick house needing some work can be had for under $30,000!!!! The Snake Alley was originally designed as a test road for a new style of laying bricks vertically rather than horizontally, giving horse hooves more traction on a steep incline. Today it is on the National Register of Historic Places along with the surrounding neighborhood. For the race the grassy slopes near the seven bends of the steep alley are covered in race fans. It's a great event.

Bruce rewarded us with a great dinner out tonight, and we'll have to try and repeat last year's performance for him with tomorrow's downtown Burlington "Snake Alley Criterium". Last year I won and Jason was 2nd (when he was on a competing team). This is Jason's hometown so we'll see what we can do it is a brutally hard selective course, suiting Jason very well.

Til then.

Email John at jlieswyn@cyclingnews.com