Thursday, May 31, 2007

Don't kid yourself

I find the powers-that-be inconsistent reactions to the recent Telekom doping revelations disturbing. Musseuw admits to doping, oh wait, sorry to "making a mistake in the last year of his career..."- did ASO ask for his cobblestone back? No. Riis admits to doping for the 96 Tour and everyone wants his yellow jersey. Like it matters which race he doped for. If it wasn't the Tour, then that would be o.k?

Two of the other Telekom confessors now work for Gerolsteiner, yet Tour organizers only want Riis banned from this year's Tour, how does that make any sense?

Do we really believe that Riis is the only Tour winner to have doped? Don't answer that, because I'm not sure I really want to know. I'm not counting Floyd Landis (the kangaroos are still out on that one). Do you really believe that Telekom would have been the only team that was doping that year? Don't kid yourself.

Consistency, people. Treat similar cases similarly, otherwise it just looks like favoritism.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

MTB World Cup #2

MTB World Cup #2, May 27, 2007. In case you were wondering what the conditions were like for the race, where it started to pour midway through:

World champion Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesjaa pre-race:

And, post race:

Photos: cyclingnews.com

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Being Present

The 3 day weekend presented a perfect opportunity to get some BIG miles in, but the weather decided to intervene. I don't like to ride in the rain, so if it's raining when I'm ready to roll, I don't.

So, Saturday, it was raining at 4 a.m. when I peed and didn't stop until after 8 when it was just barely 50 degrees. Wet and cold. Just the way I like it. Needless to say, the ride went off at 7:30 sans me. It isn't always about the bike, family needs attention, so I endeavored to not dwell on the lack of a ride, but to "be present" with the family. Elora doesn't get to see me much in the mornings so I engaged her, trying to do what she wanted to do, like washing your hands with "cow soap, " soap in the shape of a cow, for 5 minutes and drawing pictures of kitty cats and playing hide in seek when the 2 year old is right across the room from you but looking in the other direction so you can't "see" her. We went to a birthday party in the late afternoon and Elora got to stomp in all the rain puddles on the way back.

Sometimes that's the hardest part of being a parent, being present. Balancing riding/training/diet, work and family. Attempting to excel at all 3, but knowing that 1, 2 or all of them suffer from the others.


But then, if I didn't have the kid, I'd miss out on watching this incredible mini-me experience life.


If I didn't have this job, I'd be just another attorney.


If I didn't ride... well that's not even funny.

Friday, May 25, 2007

BAM!- Part II

After reading my first post and then seeing some other reports, maybe I was a little hard on Riis:



My yellow jersey is in a box at home, you can come and collect it.


That's a pretty bold statement. It's one thing to admit to using EPO, it's quite another to say "... and I won the Tour using it..." The latter takes more courage.

Riis could have said, "yes I took EPO, but not for the Tour." Of course, no one would have believed him, but they wouldn't have been able to take the win away from him. Now they can as an admission is just as damaging as a failed test.

Maybe this is a first step towards as Smithers calls it "the revolution?" Let's hope all of this ends up with a cleaner more fair sport.

Quote: cyclingnews.com

BAM!


Holy crap!! I have to admit that when I asked yesterday whether Bjarne would be next, I didn't really think he'd confess. Then BAM! the very next day he does it-

Riis, admitting to doping from 1993 to 1998, including to win the 1996 Tour, stated today:


I have taken EPO. It was a part of every day life as a rider.
He went on to say:


I'm proud of my results even though they were not completely honest, I'm coming out today to secure the right future for the sport.


What, Mr. Riis, do you have to be proud of? This guy makes me sick. He said some pretty harsh things about Basso and now it turns out he was just as, and maybe even more dirty than Basso. How do we know Riis didn't' turn a young Basso onto the dope?


"To secure the future for the sport." What future?? You and the rest of the needle users have killed it. You've sucked out all of its life.


Well, that's 5 of the 9 1996 Telekom Tour riders, is Jan next??? Certainly, Jan now has nothing to lose.


What happens now?? I hope they take away his 96 Tour win. CSC, Gerolsteiner, T-mobile... will they stay as sponsors? Why would they? Would you? I wouldn't invest $10 million in this sport right now. I don't think I'd invest $1.



Quotes and photo: euosport.com

Thursday, May 24, 2007

In the Draft Once Again

The peloton rolls out, getting up to speed. Maybe there's a few neutral laps or kms for the sponsors and then it is race on. The speed goes up, depending upon the wind direction the group may stay in a line or echelon, the riders seeking protection from the wind. Protected riders staying on a teammate''s wheel.

Then one rider attacks, drawing out another, and another, and maybe a few more, until a small but compact group forms, huddled together, trying to put time into the peloton. Rarely does the solo attack/long break succeed. There is safety in numbers.

Just like riding in the peloton, it appears that confessing cyclists are finding safety in numbers, once again seeking to draft behind each other.

First, Dietz, then Christian Henn, a Telekom rider from 1995 to 1999 and now a directeur sportif with Gerolsteiner admitted yesterday to participating in using EPO while with the team, stating:

That's how it was at the time, otherwise you just couldn't keep up.


Udo Bölts then admitted to using EPO to make the 1996 Telekom Tour team.

Now Erik Zabel and Rolf Aldag have admitted to EPO use during the 90s, mostly in preparation for the Tour de France. Frickin' Erik Zabel!!! Winner of 6 green jerseys at the Tour. I think I am going to cry.

Maybe there is a silver lining here though. As one rider attacked (confessing), another followed, and then another and another, until a small breakaway group has formed. Safety in numbers.

When one rider confesses, its easy for everyone, especially team management to say "Eh, it's only "____," that proves nothing." In fact, after Dietz's confession, former team manager Walter Godefroot, now with Team Astana, was quoted as saying,

Dietz was paid to say that. If Erik Zabel said something like that, it would be a different matter. I have never made my riders take illegal medications. I can tell you the names of 20 people who can swear that I have never recommended
illegal medications."


Hey, Walter, guess what, Zabel just did? Now what you got to say? When a group of riders comes forward and then the doctors as well, management can't deny it anymore. Maybe this will result in some responsibility being placed on the teams and management and not just the riders.

Notice that the admitted EPO usage centers around the 1996 tour, so far 4 of the 9 riders for Telekom have confessed- maybe Jan Ullrich and Bjarne Riis are next?

Quotes: cyclingnews.com

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Simoni's sunglasses

Here's Simoni before stage 5 at the Giro. Chillin'. Signing autographs. Sporting the orange way-to-cool for you lenses. No worries.

Here he is on stage 10 on a grueling hot day. All business in the mirrors.

Monday, May 21, 2007

It's Sabotage

Conversation during the weekend's rides was dominated by all things Floyd Landis. Did he, didn't he. What an idiot for allowing his manager to call Lemond. What's Lemond's beef with everyone who ever dared win a Tour. Why didn't Landis tell his attorneys about the call etc.

Today, the hearings continue. TBV, a sympathetic to Landis, yet objective clearinghouse of Landis info blog, described this morning's fog in CA as they travelled to the hearing site:


Those looking for metaphors can look at the fog that has enshrouded things, obscuring the truth; or the dangerous conditions of the unexpectedly treacherous roads; or the hope that dirt will be washed away in a cleansing bath.


I, however, attribute a more sinister motive to everyone:

I Can't Stand It
I Know You Planned It
I'm Gonna Set It Straight, This Watergate
I Can't Stand Rocking When I'm In Here
Because Your Crystal Ball Ain't So Crystal Clear
So While You Sit Back and Wonder Why
I Got This Fucking Thorn In My Side
Oh My, It's A Mirage
I'm Tellin' Y'all It's Sabotage



Whether or not Landis is guilty of doping, the hearing so far has been a mirage. Having Lemond there proves nothing; it's merely a sideshow. Having Papp testify is at best insulting. He is not an expert in whether testosterone would help Floyd or not. He's a rider who got caught and cut a deal.

Above all, I want a fair process.

P.S. On the why didn't Landis tell his attorneys about the call... if clients always did what they were supposed to, they wouldn't need lawyers.

P.P.S yeah, I know I went back on my recent "I won't post about Floyd etc." tirade... all I can say is it's my blog and I changed my mind.

Lyrics: "Sabotage" Beastie Boys

Friday, May 18, 2007

The Landis Circus Schedule



Today's schedule at the Floyd Landis USADA 3 Ring Circus(Hearing):


In the first ring: The Clowns! For kids of all ages. They will even have some of those annoying French mimes.


In last ring: Lions, Tigers and Bears, oh my!


And in the center ring: more bizarro testimony that may or may not prove whether Landis doped or not. How many clowns can they fit in the room?


While I am joking here, this is just plain bad! Even CNN this morning did a piece on the Landis hearing/Lemond testimony wondering whether cycling had lost its collective mind.


Landis' reputation and livelihood, as well as the credibility of the whole sport is at stake. I expect better from all involved.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

I will not...

... write anything about Floyd Landis, whose case is certainly bordering on the surreal, (plead to a lesser charge for info on Armstrong???) Or Ivan Basso who is a lying piece of dog crap or the rest of the incomprehensible nonsense going on in cycling right now.

I need to say this to myself 10 times slowly... take a deep breath, chant a couple of "ohms."

I feel better. The saddest thing of all is that I have no interest in the Giro, mostly because I'm afraid that I'll get sucked into it and then I'll find out right before the Tour that one of the guys on the podium was a client of Dr. Fuentes.

This will kill cycling.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Race Report- Monsters of the Midway- 5/13/07

I originally wasn't going to do this race because crits scare the be-jebus out of me. As some of you know, I was a late comer to road cycling/racing, so going balls out fast and diving into corners with 30 - 40 other crazies just doesn't entice me. I prefer road races, neutral starts, easy corners etc.

Thinking that I was not going to race on Sunday, I rode Judson on Saturday, 68 miles, basically the ride-behind-Josh ride. Seemed like he was on the front, not just at the front, for 40 miles.

During post ride java, met up with some team mates who were racing and they convinced me that the turns on the race course were mild, basically like a NASCAR track, and I was a wuss for not going, so I was in.

We did the Cat 4 race, I figured that I'd get wasted in the 30+ or 40+. It was the largest field of the day with about 70+ guys. At the start, I couldn't clip in (D'oh) and as fast you can say "CLICK" I'm the very last rider. So I spent the entire 45 minutes of the race trying to move up- on the inside, not much doing there, no go in the middle, settled on the outside where at least I would have a clear line on the turns. 32 mph on the 2 long straights, then slow down because of the riders in front of me to 20 on the turns, jump out of the saddle, get back up to speed and move up. Repeat.

Ended up finishing in the 30s. Not bad for starting dead last.

My major impression is that I need to get out of that category and the only way to do that is to do more races. No crashes + bike o.k. + body o.k. = good race.

Monday, May 14, 2007

GoFaster Hardcore Award- Larry Harris

Saturday, group ride. Pretty quick. Towards the end of the ride, gearing up for the first of three sprints, I heard a lot of yelling of "Crash" behind me. Turned around and this is what I saw:







The bars on Larry Harris' Lightspeed sheared off right at the stem. Carbon you snicker? Nay, good 'ol aluminum.

He was gearing up for the sprint and at 30 mph, the right side of the bar snapped, going right into his wheel. The bike pulled hard to the left into the lane of oncoming traffic (luckily no cars were coming). Amazingly Larry kept the bike upright and did not go down.


Here's Larry giving us the details.

Larry gets the GoFaster Hardcore Award of the week.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

He Is Birillo

I have had this photo of Ivan Basso on my office wall since the 2006 Giro. It's a shot of him winning stage 17. I think it's a great shot of him descending, eyes on the prize, you can even see the pressure on the tires and wheels from the descending forces.



After his partial not-really a confession admission this week, I decided that rather than take it down, I would alter it.


Friday, May 11, 2007

When Did You Commit?

Com·mit (kuh-mĭt'), v., To pledge or obligate one's own self.

Just like Go Clipless, I committed to mountain biking when I switched to clipless pedals. The disntictive "SNAP" set me apart from riders who still used clips. It took some getting used to, including several low-speed-can't-get-out-of the- pedals crashes, but I got the hang of it. Now, I can't imagine riding a bike without them.

But, on the road, the point at which I felt I had committed wasn't when I got clipless pedals, it was when I shaved my legs. While some mountain bikers shave their legs, I think the majority do not. On the road, though, it is much more common.

On the road, we are in a perpetual search for the draft, for the sweet spot. You, therefore, must depend upon the other riders in the group, not only for the draft but also to be steady, both in their line and their pace. There is no better compliment to give a roadie than "He is a steady wheel."

When riding with people you don't know, how can you tell? For me, its 2 ways. First, their bike, is it clean and in good mechanical shape, i.e. no squeaks or creaks. A fine tuned bike is a sign of the rider's commitment to the sport. The second way is whether he shaves his legs. Why? Because it is time consuming, goes against conventional gender roles and can even be painful. In short, it reveals a level of the rider's commitment. I know several riders who do not shave and they are very steady, but I already know them.

If given the choice, I will follow a leg shaver before I follow a hairy legger.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Teach Your Children Well

Cyclingnews reports that the 30 or so Spanish riders named in Puerto are trying to cut a deal by which they would be able to confess their involvement in return for a reduced sentence that would let them ride the 2008 Vuelta.

Why should you get a reduced sentence without giving up all the details? The national federations etc. cannot cut a deal with Basso or any other Clinton-esque, I-never-inhaled doper. To do so would only confirm that they are not serious about curing the disease and are just treating the symptoms. It's kind of like the don't ask/don't tell policy regarding gays in the military. Either their in or their out.

It's as if the cycling powers that be want to show their "we're tough on doping" faces, but at the same time they don't really want to clean up the sport.

Maybe this is just a system of control over the riders. The cycling powers hold all of the cards. For European riders, pro cycling is a ticket to a better life. A ticket that is dangled in front of any aspiring pro. But, super-human results are demanded and as a consequence, the temptation to dope is there. Riders are faced with a choice and many come down on the wrong side of that choice. You cannot tell me that team management is unaware given the amount of time these guys spend together.

Riders are not blind, they see what's going on. Former champions like Musseuw are able to say "in the last year of my career I made a mistake" with basically no repercussions. The lesson taught and ultimately learned is: it's only bad if I get caught.

That's not a lesson any parent wants their child to learn.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Even a Dog Has His Limits

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

May 8, 2007. Milan, Italy.

Earlier today, in a first of its kind law suit, Birillo, Ivan Basso's dog, filed court documents seeking undisclosed damages against Basso and an injunction emancipating him from Basso's ownership. Birillo's defamation suit was in response to Basso's admission that the blood seized from Dr. Fuentes labeled with the name "Birillo" was in fact his.

In a statement read by his attorney, Birillo stated:


My good name is ruined. I can no longer run free in the park without the other dogs snickering behind my back. Basso used my name without my permission. I had no knowledge of his actions.

Birillo added:

I can no longer tolerate Ivan's hypocrisy. When this story first broke last year and Ivan was kicked out of Le Tour, I asked him if it was true. Did he use my name in Spain? He looked into my eyes, rubbed my ears and said "No Birillo, I would never do that to you." Ivan cried like a baby for days. I comforted him in his time of need as only a dog can. When Bjarne Riis came over and told Basso he would have to leave CSC, I growled at him and chased him down the driveway. When the paparazzi crowded our gate I barked at them too. I am so humiliated.


In response to Basso's claim that he only attempted to dope for the 2006 Tour de France and that all his other wins, including the 2006 Giro, were won clean, Birillo said:

What the hell does that mean: Attempted doping. Does he think we're stupid? We're not a bunch of cats. Ivan lied to me and everyone. I want to be free of him and live my remaining dog years without the shame of having been involved with such a man.


In response to his dog's suit, Ivan Basso stated:

I hope Birillo will reconsider. I really need his support right now. Dogs are supposed to be man's best friend right?

I guess even a dog has his limits.

Friday, May 4, 2007

That sunrise


This is what greeted me this morning as I rolled onto the lakefront path. There is a moment, ever so brief, as the sun rises, when the sky takes on these red and purple tones. Then the sun is up and the colors are gone. Nothing crazy, just some base miles.

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Another day, another ride

Another day, another ride at dawn. The lakefront path was tame, a medium wind almost straight out of the east. Very few people out (only the hardcore are out there at dawn). Didn't have near the drama that Chris did! Geez, like you need that kind of strife trying to get your ride on.
I read Trent Wilson's diary entry at cycling news.com, smashed up his bike pretty good at the
Athens Twilight Criterium:


Bye, bye fork. Then, he got on his teammate's bike (who had also crashed) and finshed the race, taking third! For that Trent gets the Hardcore Award of the week.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

The a.m. ride

I got up this a.m. at 5:15 and was out of the house by 5:40. Chilly, but the sun was already on its way up so I didn't need the blinky please-don't-hit-me lights. A nice tail wind out of the NE, I knew it would be tough on the way back.

Right as I turned around for the dreaded up-wind tack, I met 2 other riders. After discussing the wind, introductions followed, Jack (from around Lakeview) and Marty(from Hyde Park.) I didn't recognize them, but Jack must have recognized me because he asked if I was still riding Judson. Both guys were older than me and appeared to be seasoned vets.

How can you tell a vet? I look at the bike, what's on it and how they ride. Anyone can stay in the draft on a down wind run, but the trick is smoothly finding the draft up wind or in a cross wind.

Bikes: Marty- C-50/full Record. Jack- Lightspeed.

While the wind was firmly out of the NE, the path changed, so you had to move around to find the sweet spot. Conversation ebbed as we quickly fell into a good rotation, all 3 of us adjusting our line to stay in the draft. Nice, strong pulls and in no time we were at the end of the path. They turned to go back south and I continued to go home.

What originally presented as a tough solo journey back north turned into an enjoyable "team" effort.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

The Union Makes Us Stronger

Maybe it is time for the pro roadies to start a union. Unions form when management (in pro racing that is the owners, race organizers etc.) abuse and/or misuse their labor. Labor in this matter is the riders themselves.

Consider the following:


  • Floyd Landis seems doomed. The evidence is stacked against him as are the procedures for determining guilt or innocence. Data being erased, Landis' experts denied access to the testing of the B sample- hell, just the testing of the B samples in the absence of an "A" positive smacks of impropriety. Due process is denied when an accused person cannot even get access to the data and/or evidence being used to determine his guilt. I don't know if Landis is guilty or innocent, but the whole way his case has been handled stinks.

  • Yesterday Spanish authorities released 6,000 pages of additional evidence about Puerto. This is in addition to the 500 pages previously released. The list of implicated riders has grown to over 100. That's 1200% more evidence than presented last year. So, where was all this stuff before? Conveniently it appears a week or so before the Giro. Then everyone runs around screaming "kick 'em out!" Tinkoff for his part basically said "go to hell" until you have more than just speculation. Hamilton has said test my DNA and in fact pulled a piece of hair out to give to a reporter. None of this new evidence is conclusive, it is all circumstantial.

Tyler Hamilton suggested forming a pro racer union during his fight to clear his name. What would a union do for the riders? First and foremost, it would ensure a fair process for all discipline. While a players union ala the NFL or MLB has at times been a drag on doping reform, all of those issues e.g. banned substancecs etc. are part of the collective bargaining process. Given that the UCI and WADA already have an extensive list of banned products and methods, it is unlikely that a riders union would change any of that.


A union would ensure that a rider could not be suspended or banned until there was proof, not rumor, not innuendo or speculation, but proof that they had committed an infraction.


Basso and Hamilton have said test my DNA, so do it. Let's get to the bottom of it.