Professional cycling does not begin and end in the 20-stage Le Tour de France. Even if that's when the world takes notice for the three-week period, a cyclist's job never stops. The summer race season gives way to months of training, planning, and a constant focus on nutrition. But, as the temperatures rise and riders can begin to shed their knee and arm warmers, it's back to the game.
In 2011, the Boulder-based Garmin-Cervélo team found themselves with an extra member: Mark Johnson, a writer and photographer, embedded himself with the team as they traced the professional cycling circuit from their winter training camp in Spain to the Paris-Roubaix and home for Colorado's USA Pro Cycling Challenge. The result? A coffee table book, Argyle Armada: Behind the Scene of the Pro Cycling Life.
Johnson's career as a cycling journalist with VeloNews and Cycling Weekly, among others, provides subtle insights into the peloton, the business, everyday preparation (like massage and nutrition), and insider moments like when an 11-year-old Belgian boy joined a training climb in France. (Christoph Le Mével egged him on before giving him a push to get up the hill.)
As you page through the book, check out chapter six on last year's inaugural USA Pro Cycling Challenge. If you followed the pack, you may be surprised to see yourself photographed in the book. As the Centennial State ramps up for the second annual race (August 20-26), Johnson will be in Colorado to give talks and book signings along the race route. Check him out at USA Pro Cycling Challenge Night of Champions at the Boulder Theater on August 24.
Follow editorial assistant Lindsey R. McKissick on Twitter at @LindseyRMcK.