The Reno-Tahoe blog will occasionally feature entries from athletes sponsored by Reno-Tahoe, America’s Adventure Place. Bobby Julich, professional cyclist, trains in the Reno-Tahoe area and has been cycling since before he entered and won his first Race, the Red Zinger Mini Classic, at the age of 13. Highlights of his professional career include a third place podium finish in the 1998 Tour de France riding for Cofidis, a Bronze medal at the 2004 Athens Olympics and a victory in the week long Paris-Nice race in 2005 with Team CSC.
Dear friends and fans in Reno/Tahoe: I just finished the Tour of Italy, or Giro d’Italia, which is the first of two Grand Tours that I have on my racing schedule for this year. This was the first time that I have ever raced the Giro and it was a great experience. It was also the first time in my career that I raced without personal goals but rather as a loyal team support rider. Cycling is a team sport, which not every observer may realize, and in a race that lasts 3 weeks the entire 9 man team works to have our star rider on the top step of the podium when the race finishes. For my team, CSC, our leader was Ivan Basso. Ivan has finished 2nd and 3rd in the last two Tour de France’s and we put all of our effort behind him. We had somewhat of a shaky start, but Ivan took the overall lead on the 9th stage and he kept it all the way to the end of the race in Milan. It was a milestone victory for Team CSC as this was the first Grand Tour victory in the history of our team. Personally, my first Giro was challenging in many ways. Not only did I find it difficult to keep my focus and morale high for three weeks, but I also had to deal with a severe allergy problem that crippled my performance in the first half of the race. I usually don’t race in the month of May because I am normally back in Reno/Tahoe at that time training and resting after a difficult spring racing campaign in Europe. However, this year I decided to do the Giro to help Ivan as much as I could. Unfortunately, Italy experienced one of it’s worst allergy seasons in recent history due to a cold spring and I happened to be right in the middle of it! The problem with allergies is that they hit you out of nowhere. One day you are feeling fine, and then the next day you feel your performance drop significantly. As an athlete, it takes longer to realize the problem because we take it as an “off day” or rationalize it in other ways. Many people with allergies don’t even know that they have them, so if you experience a sudden drop in performance during certain times of the year, it could be due to allergies. There is little to no rest in the life of a professional cyclist, but I am now taking a short break to catch up with my family and recharge my batteries. Rest and recovery are important when you are competing as much as we do, especially when you are competing in more than one grand Tour per year. They can really take a toll on you both physically and emotionally. Before I know it, it will be time to get back on the bike and head off for Team CSC’s training camp in preparation for the Tour de France. The Tour de France is the biggest race in the world and both myself and Team CSC have high ambitions for it. Since I had some problems in the Giro, I am even more motivated for the Tour. With our win in the Giro we are going into the race as favorites for the overall victory again with Ivan Basso. The competition will be harder in the Tour than it was in the Giro, but I think that the experience that we gained in our 3 weeks in Italy will pay off big time in July. Till next time, enjoy the ride,Bobby