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Lucas Euser's Tour of California diary

As he enters his third year of competition as a professional, 23-year-old Team Slipstream Sports powered by Chipotle rider Lucas Euser will keep Cyclingnews updated with his and the outfits progress each day at the Tour of California. It's the youngster's second Tour of California, after he contested the Tour last year where he finished 49th.

Index to all entries

February 25, 2007

Racing for last

I have to apologize for taking a hiatus last night, I went to write the diary and as I laid there on my bed, the eyes got heavy and I fell asleep. I promise, it won't happen again. I hope.

As a young cyclist in America it's kind of hard to compare yourself against the top: Levi, Zabriskie, CVV, Julich, Hincapie, Horner and the list goes on. In order to not be completely demoralized by getting absolutely crushed by those guys, we the younger generation have to focus on slighter, more subtle achievements.

Yesterday I had one goal in mind and that was to throw the Hail Mary and pray something would work out. I rode off the front 35km into a 215km stage and knew it was going to be a long day. Never once did I think I was going out there just for the hell of it, it was all or nothing. Even after I flatted out of the break with 15km to go, I still chased back on and tried to keep the group motivated only to get swallowed up with 5km to go.

Some guys would call that a failure, but to me it was another personal achievement. I gave it a go and things didn't go perfectly. Had the stars aligned in a slightly different fashion the night before things might have worked out a little differently. But to kick myself for that would be a step in the wrong direction. I'm here to learn, and I'm here to get better, and the only way to do it is try and learn from my mistakes.

On the other hand, there is something I have learned to do extremely well in my short career. Most people think in a TT, a pro cyclist just lays it all on the line no matter what. Well, yes that's true for some people, and I can't exactly read minds so I don't know for sure who went for it and who didn't, but I will let you in a little secret. If there is no way I can go for top 10, maybe top 20 on GC, I'm not going for the TT. You might be thinking that sounds a little strange, but hear me out. I am not a great time trialist. On a good day I could crack the top half, so when there are other things on the line like KOM jerseys (hint hint), I ride a time trial with the utmost precision trying to conserve as much energy as possible yet still not get time cut.

I'm not sure if you scrolled down far enough in the results today (for Friday - ed.) but if you noticed where I finished, you would have seen me DFL--lantern rouge for the day and by the miracle that you did notice, you might have said, "Ouch, he must have had a bad day." Oh, but a bad day it was not. As a matter of fact, I rode one of the most perfect TT's possible in this situation. Like I said, I went just hard enough to squeak in the time limit. I'm not bragging nor am I knocking anyone who tried and ended up 60 something, but when looking at the big picture of a stage race, sometimes you have to sacrifice one thing in order to excel at another. Needless to say I'll be eating my jerky and Nutella again tonight in order to get psyched for tomorrow.

Today I set another goal. I met it, and I'm happy as there is not much more or less I could have done. However, I have to admit I didn't do it all on my own, I had a little help from a friend I like to call flat. Flat tire that is. I flatted in the first 500 meters and had to ride the flat to a Mavic support tent, swap wheels, and then get on with it again.

Thanks Mr. Tire, or Flat, as you like to be called for helping get DFL (dead F'en last if you don't know) I've always wanted the lantern rouge. You are such a great friend. But I have to break you the bad news, I've had enough of you this race, so you can come back and see me in training. It'll be great, but for now, you can go hang out with some of the other racers.

Lucas Euser