The last new team mate to get introduced is Taylor Pilant, which is only fair since he was the last to join the team, but that is another story.
I don't know Taylor well, but we have ridden together a few times in the past and, interestingly, he the brother of another team mate, Scott. I saw Taylor about a month before we rode together for the first time as team mates and he had productively spent that month growing a mustache. It is quite large and stylish, the kind that every male who grows a 'stache hopes it will look like. He reminded me of Dave Zabriske and ______________ of the Garmin team who showed up with big 'staches at the beginning of last season. Don't know if it will last or not, but it goes well with his silk pipe-smoking jacket.
As I did with everyone else, I asked for personal and cycling biographical information. Here is what Taylor provided to me:
Name: Taylor Pilant
Road Category: 3
Hometown: Spokane, WA.
Years Racing: 1987-1990 2007-present
Favorite Local Race: Downtown Crit. (R.I.P.)
Racing Skills: Hard to take down or crash. Corners as if on rails.
Best Race: 2009 Masters B State Crit Championships, 1st
Worst Race: 1987? Tree Top Classic Circuit Race. Still had one lap to go and they were already taking down the finish line.
Favorite Race:2008 Oregon State Crit Championships. First race with higher categories. Fast pace, fun cornering and a good solo flyer one lap too soon. No result to write home about, but satisfying race.
Worst Crash: 2009 Portland Twilight Crit. Crashed twice and separated my shoulder on the 2nd crash.
Favorite Ride: 5-mile loop. It is one I made up when I was 14 and lived at the bottom of N. 5 Mile hill. It goes up the hill, across the prairie, back down behind 5 mile shopping center, down Country Homes Blvd. and Waikiki to the hill again. It's about a 7 mile loop and I usually like to do 4 laps, when I'm in shape. Plenty of climbing up 5 Mile and plenty of fast flat riding along country homes and Waikiki. Great for workout and nostalgia factor.
Does anyone else think it's funny that Taylor's favorite ride is called 5 Mile loop and it is a 7 mile loop?
Nicknames. I also asked Taylor about nicknames and to his everlasting credit, the first comment he made was to cite the well-known rule that "you can't give yourself a nickname." I knew then that we had another solid team mate on our hands.
Taylor did tell me that he earned the nickname "Captain Defense" from a jujitsu partner once. Any nickname that comes from jujitsu has a cool factor, but in cycling being primarily known for defense is not usually a positive thing, so we may wait to see if another rises to the top before officially accepting it.
Why did I include "Vortex" in the title? This weekend while we were riding together, I was struggling to keep up to the pace being set by stronger riders. I was just not on my game and the headwind and my legs kept me hovering at or off the back of the pack the whole way. At one point Taylor rode up next to me and helpfully pointed out that the best place to ride in the headwind was just off his right side because his aforementioned mustache was creating a large vortex where I could comfortably escape the wind.
Yes, I can see that this is going to work out well. Welcome to the team, Taylor.