Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Stir Crazy


I have not ridden outside since January 7, 2007. That's 52 days or 1,248 hours or 74,880 minutes! Too long.
It has either been too cold, too wet or too cold and wet here in Chicago. I know I could brave the elements and get out there, but I don't work for the US postal service and I get sick when I am cold and wet.
When it has been nice enough to get out to ride it's been oin a Wednesday or Thursday and the 9-5 doesn't always allow for last sedcond days off to ride.
During this time I have spent way too many hours on the trainer. Once it warms up and we can get back outside, it will interesting to see who was able to deal with being inside and continued to train despite bening denied outside riding and who couldn't cope and just stopped riding.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Wrong!

No matter how you slice it, I think Ullrich retiring stinks.

Cyclingnews reported these quotes from Jan:

I could ride again immediately, I could get a license, I am fit, as fit as
last year and could immediately have a team. I have seven offers, including
ProTour teams.

and


I have never cheated.



Yeah, but you can't prove that. There's no way for him to prove it other than to say it.

I think this illustrates the whole problem with the current system. Information is leaked, papers sent to race organisers and a rider is banned from the Tour, fired from his team and can't get a ride.

Some may say that he could provide a DNA test and that could clear him, but there is nothing to connect him to Puerto other than a list of code names. That's proof of nothing. Why would he trust a system that has already screwed him.

At least Floyd Landis will have the opportunity to prove he didn't dope. Hopefully the arbitration procedures will give him the fullest ability to do so. I fear though that those procedures are slanted in favor of the USADA/WADA and not the athlete.

Ullrich always had what some considered to be a "motivation problem" during the off and early part of the season. While Armstrong trained, Ullrich was said to be eating and hanging out with his family. It appears that now his motivation is completely gone. Can't say I blame him.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Tattoos of the peloton #17

Me. I got this on Saturday. Thanks to Harlan at Deluxe Tattoo for hooking me up. Very crisp, tight work.

In the face of adversity, one must



Friday, February 23, 2007

T of C, no Floyd Landis, but lots of ads

So I watched the last 2 nights of VS. coverage of the Tour of California. No mention of Floyd Landis last night, but on Wednesday, they had a, oh maybe 2 minute interview that didn't really say anything. Kind of like, "yeah, we know Landis won last year and we know he's here at the race, but do we really have to talk to him."

Anyway, on Wednesday night I started to think that there were more ads and irrelevant commentary than actual race coverage, so last night I timed it.

As geeky as I am I timed the whole 1 hour, here it is, starting at 10:00 pm:

0:00 - 4:10 Recap from day before and preview
4:10 - 5:40 Racing - start of race
5:40 - 8:40 ADS
8:40 - 9:40 Bob Roll talking about the rain
9:40 - 14:10 Racing
14:10 - 17:10 ADS
17:10 - 19:50 Racing
19:50 - 22:20 Chris Horner profile
22:20 - 24:50 Racing under the title "Discovery Sets the Pace"
24:50 - 27:50 ADS
27:50 - 30:00 Racing
30:00 - 31:20 AD - Amgen Breakaway Mile Charity
31:20 - 32:30 Racing
32:30 - 35:00 ADS
35:00 - 40:10 Racing- at 35:10 there were 8 mi. left in the race
40:10 - 43:10 ADS
43:10 - 48:00 Racing- the finale, Bettini eeks it out.
48:00 - 52:00 ADS
52:00 - 60:00 Recap, Podium, Leipheimer interview, Preview of TT.

S0 that's about 25 minutes of racing, 15 minutes of recap and preview and 20 minutes of ADS.

I know, I'm supposed to be grateful that there's any coverage at all, but what a bunch of BS.

Impressions from the race:

1. Leipheimer is the shortest guy on Discovery
2. Gerald Ciolek (Ger) T-mobile would have beat Bettini if he didn''t sprint with his head bouncing up and down like some 1980s head banger.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Just what we need

Great.

ASO says "no racing for you" to Unibet.

UCI says "fine" Paris-Nice can't be a UCI race.

ASO says "fine" and gets the race sanctioned by the French federation.

UCI says "fine" and sends a letter to the Pro Tour teams that says regulations prohibit you from participating in that type of race, so stay home.

Cyclingnews speculated that ASO would now require teams to participate in its other races (i.e. Paris-Nice) in order to be invited to the Tour.

Well, since it appears that there maybe very little racing to watch this season, I will amuse myself by coming up with appropriate names for these acronyms:

Uncomfortable Crotch Itch
Uncertain Cycling Intellect

Ass Smells Overtly

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Tattoos of the Peloton #16- Rasmussen

Michael Rasmussen. Band on his right bicep, just under the jersey line. This was the best picture I could find. That's the hard part of these tattoo posts- finding the images.

Anyway, Rasmussen, like others is a transplant from MTB where he won the World Championship in 1999.

Palmares
2006
Winner Stage 16, Tour de France
Winner Mountains classification, Tour de France

2005
Winner Stage 9, Tour de France
Winner Mountains classification, Tour de France

2004
Winner Stage 6, Critérium du Dauphiné Libéré
Winner Mountains classification, Critérium du Dauphiné Libéré

2003
Winner of stage 7, Vuelta a Espana
Winner of the mountain-Competition, Volta a Catalunya

Unfortunately, he maybe best known for his disastrous TT at the 2005 tour which caused him to plummet in the final GC standings.

Has his own bike shop in Verona Spain

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

How is it?

Dirk Demol, winner of the 1988 Paris-Roubaix
But winning that day wasn't part of the plan. Demol recently told Pez:
My job was that when Eddy [Planckaert] caught our breakaway, I would have some reserves and could help him. If he got a flat tire, I could help... I finally saw my director, with about 5 kilometers to go and he asked me “how is it”? That day I felt so good, in the final I was so sure that this was going to be my day. And in the final sprint, I had a feeling that I have not had since.


How is it? More than just asking how are you feeling. Or how are your legs. The purpose of the question is more important than the answer. The purpose is to inspire effort.

Any director/coach can ask how ya' doing, but the mark of an excellent coach is whether he can inspire a rider/player to excel beyond their abilities. Take for example, Mike Krzyzewski, Duke's basketball coach, he could probably coach a group of high school freshman into the NCAA tournament. Ability to inspire.

The answer to the question, well there probably was no answer. Demol knew what he had to do to win and felt that he could. He won Paris-Roubaix in the longest breakaway to date. His last line sums it up:

I had a feeling that I have not had since
See PEZ for the full interview. Photo: GrahamWatson.com. and Pez.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Introducing: Bill E. Goat

My mountain bike. A Cannondale F2000. With the old team paint job. Damn, I love this bike. Nimble, quick, built to climb. Just like a mountain goat.


See the resemblance?

XTR, Hayes discs, Lefty shock. I haven't changed much on it since I got it 5 years ago, other than regular maintenance (drivetrain, tires etc.), just a different seat, new pedals, third set of grips and I cut the bars down.

I wasn't sure about the disc brakes when I got the bike, but there's no other option with the Lefty. After riding with them, I love discs. I feel like I'm driving a sports car, fast into the corners and fast out.

The Lefty took a few rides to get used to, but once I got the air pressure dialed in... like butter. It can be a little disconcerting to look down and see only the one arm, but you shouldn't be looking straight down on the trail anyway. Performance wise, I think it steers better than a conventional shock.

I have ridden this bike all over, CO, UT and my own stomping grounds- the Kettle in WI and Palos here in IL. I can't imagine riding any thing else. I suppose at some point I'll go to full suspension, but for now Bill E. Goat is my steed of choice.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Sweet music

Elora came up with this while in the back pack Friday just after sunset, her first poem:

Sun goes down,
moon come up
Dark outside.
Kind of like a haiku, but not in the 5,7,5 pattern.
Got our Twin Six t-shirt order yesterday. I love their style. To death do us part. 2 for me, 2 for Tammi, and 2 18-24 mos. old for Elora.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Top 100 Guitar solos

The top 100 guitar solos of all time as determined by the readers of Guitar World:



1. Stairway to Heaven
guitarist: Jimmy Page band: Led Zeppelin album: Led Zeppelin IV more:

2. Eruption
guitarist: Eddie Van Halen band: Van Halen album: Van Halen

3. Freebird
guitarist: Collins/Rossington band: Lynyrd Skynyrd album: Pronounced Leh-nerd Skin-nerd

4. Comfortably Numb
guitarist: David Gilmour band: Pink Floyd album: The Wall

5. All Along the Watchtower
guitarist: Jimi Hendrix band: Jimi Hendrix Experience album: Electric Ladyland

6. November Rain
guitarist: Slash band: Guns n' Roses album: Use Your Illusion I

7. One
guitarist: Kirk Hammet band: Metallica album: And Justice for All

8. Hotel California
guitarist: Don Felder/Joe Walsh band: The Eagles album: Hotel California

9. Crazy Train
guitarist: Randy Rhoads band: Ozzy Ozbourne album: Blizzard of Ozz

10. Crossroads
guitarist: Eric Clapton band: Cream album: Wheels of Fire

Jimi Hendrix appears 6 times, Jimmy Page , 4.

I think this list reveals more about Guitar World's readers, than anything else. Guitar solos like any music or any art for that matter is in the ear of the beholder.

My quarrels with the list:

I've never been a big fan of Eric Clapton (5 appearances on this list) or of the Eagles, or of GnR.

Neil Young doesn't come until #39 for Cortez, the Killer.
Carlos Santana doesn't appear until #49
Alex Lifeson (Rush) appears at #94?
Pete Townsend's only appearance is at #25.

Go here for the full list.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Who suffers

Yesterday, Oscar Perriero expressed his frustration with the lack of finality regarding whether Floyd Landis will keep his 2006 Tour win or whether he will be ruled to be the winner.

While maintaining that he is not bitter, Perreiro told velonews:



I couldn't and my team couldn't maximize the benefits of a Tour victory because of this slow and frustrating process. If Landis loses his case, we won't be able to enjoy the moment of celebration on the podium or take any economic benefits from such a victory.

On whether he is a contender for the 2007 Tour, Perreiro recognizes that he may end up working for Valverde and is surprisingly pragmatic:

With the likes of Basso and Vinokourov back at the Tour, I know I won't be a
favorite to win. I will be among that second tier of candidates, and that's fine
with me.


Can you blame Perreiro? If found to have been the winner, Perreiro would have been able to milk it... ads, endorsements, maybe even a new contract. Now, it looks like there may be no yellow jersey at the London prologue as Landis' US hearing is not until May. Surely, which ever side loses will appeal.

Perreiro isn't the only one. Landis hasn't been able to race, dumped by Phonak, left out to dry. He said he hasn't even ridden 800 miles since the Tour because of the amount of time he has spent on his defense. I guess some of that is also due to the hip surgery.

What about Ullrich? His name wasn't even directly mentioned in the Puerto papers, but he can't race. Shit, he can't even get a license.

While I'm at it, what about the other Puerto riders? Have any of them been charged... with anything? Yet they have had difficulty getting rides. All except Basso, who appears to have landed like Brer Rabbit landing in the Briar Patch.

I'm not defending dopers or doping, in fact, if you've read some of my other posts on the issue, I think their scum, but let's get to the truth.

This system is set up to screw the riders. How can a rider prove they have never doped? They can't. Proving a negative is near impossible. But their livlihoods can and are taken away from them without any due process.

What about someone like Patrick Lefevre? A journalist makes accusations, which if they were against a rider, probably would have cost that rider his ride. Against a Director, nothing.

Maybe in the end, there will be evidence that all these riders are guilty, but until then, I say let 'em ride until proven guilty.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

More on dirt

To busy for a full post. Have to be back in court.

I've been doing some research on mountain bike racing this season around Chicago. Wisconsin has there shit together- with WORS and WEMS.

I'll race Sport and see how I do.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Quicksilver



Quicksilver was released on February 14, 1986. Starring Kevin Bacon as a stock broker who loses his father's savings and decides, after a bike messenger grazes the cab in which he is riding, that his life would be alot simpler if he rode a bike for a living. The messenger drops his marooon beret and later Bacon's character wears it while he messenges.




Nelson Vails is credited as the "rider in maroon beret." Nicknamed "The Cheetah" he won a silver medal at the 1984 Olympics on the track. In fact, he started out as an NYC messenger. Go here and here for some interesting bios on Vails.


Overall, the movie isn't really that good. The plot doesn't really hang together, but it does have some neat bike scenes. The race between Bacon and Laurence Fishbourne's character is alright as is the freestyle scene in front of the company's office.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Support Your Local Bike Shop


I spend alot of time in bike shops. Sometimes, I drop in to just say "hi", but really it's an excuse to find people who will talk about bikes. Whenever I travel I seek out a bike shop. The smell, the look... everything about it. There's nothing like a bike shop. An opportunity to immerse myself in my one true addicting... cycling. In return, I buy something. A tube, a pair of socks, a t-shirt, something.


As consumers, cyclists are always looking for a deal. Really though we're looking for the "deal." The discount. You know, the "super-bro-down-low" deal. We know there is a mark up on everything and we want to get things for less than retail. This is only human, but in doing so we could kill the very hand that feeds us.


The internet has emerged as great sources for the things we need: replacement parts, shiny bling-bling seats etc. The internet sellers can buy in much larger quantities than your local shop can, thereby getting a lower cost so they can sell each piece for less and still make a profit.


But, what about the people, the relationships. I would rather have to spend a little more cash, but have a place I can go to talk bikes. The bike retail business is tough. The margins on alot of items like wheels is tight. Anytime I get a deal, I say thank-you and when I don't I still say thank-you.

Monday, February 12, 2007

I Like Dirt

The earth is made of dirt and wood
And I'd be water if I could
Live in a dream
In your stream
Live in a dream
Red Hot Chili Peppers, "I Like Dirt"


My cycling passion did not start out on the road. It began in the dirt.


Let me take you back... (here's where I start making those sounds like from Wayne's World: doo doo doo doo.)


to 1989. Feeling out of shape, in need of something to do and having moved in to the city, I decided to buy a bike. I don't know why, but a road bike didn't appeal to me. So, I bought a mountain bike. A steel, no shock Nishiki. Quickly, everything became about the bike. New parts, new styles, new lingo, new bike (Cannondale). I fell in love with my wife in part because we shared mountain bike rides together.


Fast forward to Lance's first tour win and I got on the road. I admit it, I am a Lance-era roadie.
And I love the road. The speed, the draft, the tactics- I love it. However, the dirt is simpler.


This season, though, I vow to return to my roots. More dirt.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

1989 World Cycling Championships Finish

90 kph on the downhill in the rain. Oh how I wish the World's course had serious climbs and that the world's best riders raced.

Positive Energy

All positive energy and thoughts going towards our buddy Ed who crashed hard last night snowboarding in WI. Only have a preliminary report- 3 broken bones in his shoulder, but no head trauma and no spinal damage. Surgery is imminent.

Apparently one of his first comments in the ER was "I can still ride my trainer." Rollers are off limits, dude.

Hardcore my friend.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Landis is right

Floyd Landis responded yesterday to various news stories regarding requests by USADA that he approve testing of the B samples from the negative A sample tests from the Tour.

Cyclingnews reported:


USADA's request for further analysis of "B" samples is in clear violation the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Code and Union Cyclist International (UCI) rules and is unprecedented in athlete anti-doping cases."

However, WADA legal director Olivier Niggli told L'Equipe that "The World Anti-Doping Code allows additional analysis on B samples only [as the A samples have already been used - ed.] when there is a need for it in the procedure."

So which is it? Can the B samples be used "when there is a need" as WADA claims or is the request a violation of the rules?

I looked through the WADA code and found no instances when WADA or USADA has the right to request testing of the B sample. In fact, section 7.2 clearly provides it is the athlete's right to request such testing and only if the A sample is positive.

This is about due process, one of the fundamental rights of a democratic society.

The WADA code recognizes this by placing the burden of proof of establishing that a doping violation has occurred on the agency. This standard of proof is:


greater then a mere balance of probability but less than proof beyond a reasonable doubt.


Well, what does that mean to non-lawyers? "Mere balance of probability" is basically more than 50% i.e. it is more likely than not that a violation occurred. It is the basic standard of proof in a civil case in the U.S.

"Beyond a reasonable doubt" is the legal standard for finding guilt in a criminal case in the U.S, i.e. a finder of fact (judge or jury) should be 99% sure of the finding.

So the standard of proof is somewhere in the middle. In the US this standard of proof is called "by clear and convincing evidence."

Some may argue that if Landis has nothing to hide, why not agree. Here's why. With this request from USADA Landis is in a no-win situation here. If he agrees to have the B samples tested and the Bs come back negative, he has gained nothing, as the corresponding As were already negative. Remember, a B sample is only used to confirm an A sample positive.

On the other hand, if the Bs test positive, everyone, will use it against him.

Landis is right. This request is a violation of at least the spirit, if not the letter of the WADA code. The athlete is innocent until proven guilty. Could this tactic by USADA reveal the true weakness in their case? That Landis is right, the tests on his positive A and B samples were bogus? Only time will tell.

You can view the WADA code at their website.

Friday, February 9, 2007

Nothing but the Tour and Doping

I was on the trainer at 5:40 a.m. today and had ESPN on. As yesterday's scores rolled by on the ticker, I saw an upcoming title "Cycling." I thought to myself, what would that be. Soon enough... it was a blurb about yesterday's deal between Floyd Landis and the French to delay the disciplinary hearing in France until after USADA has its hearing. To get this continuance though, Landis had to agree not to race on French soil in 2007. Ah, the French, so fair.

Maybe he could just do the prologue and stage 1 of the 2007 Tour, since they're in England.

Anyway, ESPN reported the story and then zoomed in on a "timeline" of Landis. This timeline started with the abnormal testosterone test. No mention of previous races or charity events, just doping.

Why are the only stories about cycling that we see in mainstream American media either about a Tour de France win or doping? It's total BS. The NFL, NBA and MLB haven't even agreed to the WADA code! Cycling tests the hell out of the riders and now is demanding DNA, basically treating the riders like convicted sex offenders. Don't get me wrong, cheaters should pay, but please. No wonder most non-cyclists think all bike racers are doped... it's the only stories they see.

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Tattoos of the peloton #15 - Pozzato


Filippo Pozzato. I couldn't find anything that translated the 3 symbols.

He won Milan-Sanremo in 2006 after a great ride which saw him first work for team leader Tom Boonen.
He jumped to Liquigas for this season to be a team leader.

Other results

2005 HEW Cyclassics
2003 Tirreno-Adriatico overall
2004 Tour de France stage
Photos: PEZ and velonews.

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

In the eye of the beholder

The gesture, also known as "the bird", "flipping the bird", or "flipping (someone) off," is probably thousands of years old dating back to the early Greeks and Romans. In fact, it has been identified as the digitus impudicus ("impudent finger") in ancient Roman writings. See Wikipedia. Another webpage claimed that some anthropologists have argued that the finger is a variant of a classic "phallic aggressive" gesture used by primates to threaten your enemy.


Whatever its origin, in any language it is meant as an insult.

From Pez: Nys' teammate, Richard Groenendaal, showing his displeasure with yet another Nys win, apparently due to the fact that he will not be with the team after 10 years.


Judith Arndt at the 2004 Olympic Road Race. Cyclingnews.com reported that she was "expressing her frustration at the German federation's decision not to bring friend and sprinter Petra Rossner." Photo: AFP Photo.

Go here to see Floyd Landis making his own statement.

Landis is flanked by Robbie Ventura and Dr. Allen Lim and is giving the camera the "bird." Who exactly is Floyd flipping off. Me, you, everyone? It's all in the eye of the beholder, probably based upon whether one believes Landis doped or not.

You could view Landis' gesture as "sticking it to the man." For Landis, of course, the "man" is WADA, USADA, ASO, UCI, Dick Pound etc. Despite the man's attempts to keep him down, Floyd will not be deterred and will prove, once he is given the opportunity, that he is innocent.

The gesture could also be viewed in a negative light, though, as an expression of arrogance, an "I don't give a damn" attitude, and far from the image one might expect from someone seeking support, money and sympathy.

When asked, shortly after Landis tested positive, if he had any advice for his former teammate, Lance Armstrong replied that he would have told him to take off the backwards Oakley hat. Armstrong always knew that appearances matter. I think the photo was a mistake and could harm Landis' public image at a time when he needs support more than ever.

Monday, February 5, 2007

The Shoes of Champions

Boonen's World Champion shoes.

Bettini's World Champion and Olympic Gold shoes.













Now, who gets to be team leader at the Tour of Flanders? Bettini has said that he wants to win Flanders before he retires and why not? It is one of the Monuments, one of the greatest one day races, which like Paris Roubaix, can make a rider's career.


In 2006 Bettini and Boonen raced together for Quickstep only once, at Milan-San Remo. Certainly, the team sponsors want the rainbow jersey to be at as many races as possible. It would be great to see them work together to get one of them on the podium at each of the spring classics.

Sunday, February 4, 2007

Well...

That sucked. Congrats to Peyton Manning and the Colts.

Go Bears!

Kickoff is 4 hours away. The line is Colts by 7, over/under is 48. My prediction is Bears, 27-17.

Fast Freddy's Stars and Stripes v. Trek's Tricolor Splash

Fred Rodriguez, US Champ in 2000, 2001 and 2004 has had 3 different commemorative bicycles by 3 different builders: Moser, Merckx and Ridley.

The Moser. This particular bike was set up for the 2002 Giro- cyclingnews reported:
Of note is the typical sprinter's top gear of 53 x 11 - and also the sprinter's 'oh no it's the mountains' 39 x 25 low! As far as we know, Fast Freddy was the only rider in this year's Giro using Crank Bros Egg Beater pedals, a light weight design that's crossed over from the MTB world.

The Ridley. Taken at the 2005 Wachovia Cycling Series. Photo from Operation Gadget.

Both of these blow away Trek's bike for Hincapie posted earlier. Why can't Trek give Hincapie a sharp looking bike? Despite the fact that most euro wannabes won't touch a Trek, its bikes are race proven. It seems, though, that they ignore the look of a bike.

A bike can be/is art. A great paint job can accentuate a bike's lines as well as its technological advances and use of materials. There's so much more that Trek could have done, instead of the tricolor splashes. They could have used Hincapie's Classics campaign as a way to promote the signature frame. Although he has yet to win one of the monuments of cycling, Hincapie has been on the podium: Flanders (2006) and Paris-Roubaix (2005). He is really the only American rider who regularly slugs it out with the Euros on the pave. Trek has failed to support the current US champ and lost marketing opportunity.

Maybe Trek, like the rest of the general American public only cares about cycling when it comes to the Tour. If true, that's just sad.

You can see a photo of the Merckx at Fast Freddy's website.

Saturday, February 3, 2007

Eki (retired)

Eki from the recent Discovery camp. Retired, but still riding with the team and still sporting the mullet.

photo: velonews, Casey Gibson.

Friday, February 2, 2007

A Proud Father

Saturday we went to On the Route Bicycles, one of our club's sponser, to say "Hi" and talk to John and Denis.

I was holding my daughter, Elora, who is just shy of 2 years old as we walked in. Her eyes turned "as big as saucers" and she yelled "Bapa, bikes!" She squirmed around in my arms and yelled "Bapa, down, down." I set her down and she ran up to a bike and again yelled "Bike, bike." Then she ran around to the other side and grabbed a pedal and said "Pedal, pedal" and moved the pedal backwards so it would move.

She ran over to another bike and then did the same thing. And on to another, and another... All the while proclaiming "bikes, pedal, pedal..."

I picked her up so she could say hi to D and John, she looked up and yelled "wheels" and pointed to the row of new wheels hanging from the wall.

All I could say was "Can you tell that she's my kid."

I was beaming the entire time. I have to confess... it was the proudest moment of my life.

Damn I am such a geek.