Friday, June 29, 2007

Constitution Schmonstitution

The Australian reported today that:
A TOP-RANKING US judge has stunned a conference of Australian judges and
barristers in Chicago by advocating secret trials for terrorists, more surveillance of Muslim populations across North America and an end to counter-terrorism efforts being "hog-tied" by the US constitution.

That judge is none other than Richard Posner, a judge for the Seventh Circuit here in Chicago.


Yeah, that's the solution, secret trials, racial profiling and hey, just get rid of the Constitution. Oh, yeah, the Constitution. That's the document that was supposed to protect the people from the government.

A search of the "news" revealed that no one but the Australian had reported this story, even though it happened here in Chicago. Which is worse, the fact that a US federal judge advocates getting rid of Constitutional protections or that no one reported it?



Source: The Australian

Vacation Plans

So we finally set the dates for our annual trip out west. August 1 -15. Winter Park CO for a week and then destination unknown, looking at Salida CO, possibly NM (maybe Matt, but it's a longer drive.)

Last year's trip was Winter Park, then Flagstaff AZ for 2 road races and then Breckenridge CO. Lots of mtb and a little road. Not going to make it that far west this time.

Problem is, I haven't been on the mtb yet this season, just lots of road miles. Sad and lame I know, but riding on the road is much easier.

Before we had the kid, Tammi and I would mountain bike together almost every weekend. I would do the group road ride on Saturday and the Sundays was for the mtb. It was great. But, now with the kid, things become more complicated. We have to get a sitter ($12/hr.) to enable us to both go. Also, we enjoy doing things with all 3 of us and given the hours I work during the week, Sunday is usually that time.

Here in Chicago, it's easy for me to get out and do a 70 miles fast group ride and be home by 10:30 a.m. But to get on the mtb requires at least an hour drive each way. If we can't get the sitter, I can't just load up the car and say"see y'all later" and be gone the whole day, leaving Tammi and enjoying the trails.

When Tammi and I first got together, everyone said "It's so great that you both ride." I still think it is, but it is difficult. I am the more addicted rider. I get up at 5 a.m. so that I can do 25 miles or so during the week and get back by 7 a.m. We juggle the rest of the family duties so Tammi can get a ride in here and there, but it's sporadic

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Family Crash Palace

A long time ago in a galaxy far far away... no not that one. A long time ago, 1995 or so, when I was solely a mountain biker, we went up to the Kettle in Wisconsin almost every weekend.

Instead of parking at the John Muir side, we would go up to the Emma side and park there. After riding there so much, we began to give different parts of the trails names, like Shinbone Alley, so named because of the number of shins knocked when descending and then falling.

My favorite however, was Family Crash Palace, a section of trail that featured a longish rough down hill with alot of rocks and other stuff to navigate. Not a particularly difficult piece of trail, but it could be tricky.

I was ahead of the rest of the group and stopped at an intersection for them to catch up. Behind me at the top of the hill on the other trail, some riders started to descend. First was a boy, maybe 10 years old on a BMX bike. He made it through the first section but then hit a rock head on and bounced, then hit another and bounced and by the third rock, he was airborne, but he was still holding on to the bars. As he came down he hit the crossbar on the handlebars with his chest and bike and boy went into the trees.

Right behind the boy, a girl came down, she didn't fair much better and ended up in the woods. Next came a woman, presumably Mom, on a Trek hybrid, who upon seeing her 2 kids on the ground, lost control and crashed.

Finally, comes Dad, on a tricked out, very nice mountain bike, Camelbak... the works. He cleans the technical section, but sees his family in complete shatters and stops. The boy got up rubbing his chest, where the bar left a chest-wide red line across it and tearfully said "Dad I don't feel so good." Then, the daughter came up and said "Daddy, I crashed too." Mom tried to console the 2 kids, all the while giving Dad a dirty look of "You told me we wouldn't get hurt."

Dad got off his bike, carefully leaned it against a tree and looked at me. I said "He hit that crossbar pretty hard." It was the only thing I could think of. I asked if they needed any help and he said no, they'd be o.k. My group came up and we rolled.

Son, daughter, Mom in tears and Dad looking at me as if to say "save me" ... Family Crash Palace.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Non-cycling related post

Warning: if you only want to read about cycling STOP NOW.

I generally don't write about politics on this blog, but I read a story today in the RedEye about how soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan are having a difficult time entering their old lives and it is weighing heavily on my mind. Given the large numbers of people who have served, we may be looking at severe issues taxing an already underfunded and understaffed VA program. Upon returning home, they all stated that they had changed while the rest of the world back home had remained much the same. Many then face loss of their jobs, spouses, inability to get treatment etc.

Some numbers to ponder:

As of April 2007 there were 146,000 troops in Iraq.
As of June 25, 2007, 3,563 US soldiers have died and 25,830 have been wounded
Between 60,000 and 75,000 Iraqis have been killed.

Those numbers are staggering.

I don't really care if you are for, against or apathetic about the war, but I would hope that we would all consider the current and potential consequences of what is going on.

Source for casualties:
http://icasualties.org/oif/default.aspx and http://www.iraqbodycount.org/

Friday, June 22, 2007

A casual afternon ride

My bike
My bike with trailer
The cargo

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

A Change in Thought

Per the UCI, all Pro Tour riders are being "required" to sign the "Riders' commitment to a new cycling":


I do solemnly declare, to my team, my colleagues, the UCI, the cycling movement and the public that I am not involved in the Puerto affair nor in any other doping case and that I will not commit any infringement to the UCI anti-doping rules. As proof of my commitment, I accept, if it should happen that I violate the rules and am granted a standard sanction of a two-year suspension or more, in the Puerto affair or in any other anti-doping proceedings, to pay the UCI, in addition to the standard sanctions, an amount equal to my annual salary for 2007 as a contribution to the fight against doping.

At the same time, I declare to the Spanish Law, that my DNA is at its disposal, so that it can be compared with the blood samples seized in the Puerto affair. I appeal to the Spanish Law to organize this tests as soon as possible or allow the UCI to organize it.


Fine. I think a whole year's salary and what amounts to a 4 year suspension is steep, but so be it. Question though, where is the declaration for the team sponsors, managers, staff, doctors etc. What's good for the goose is good for the gander.

Cycling isn't going to clean up its act simply by having the riders sign a piece of paper. A fundamental change in thought and concept is what is needed. The current "nudge, nudge... wink, wink" business as usual MO has to go. While the riders have made the personal choice to dope or not to dope, that choice is/was not made in a vacuum. If there is going to be change, all involved in pro cycling have to declare their commitment.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Birillo denies that he is "by Basso's side"

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

June 19, 2007. Italy.

Today, Birillo, denied Ivan Basso's claim that he is still by Basso's side. La Gazzetta dello Sport and cyclingnews.com reported that when asked if Birillo was still by his side, Basso responded with a smile "Yes, always."

In a statement read by his attorneys, Birillo said:

I deny that I am by Basso's side. Once again Ivan has been untruthful. Ever since I filed my suit against Basso, I have been sleeping in the garage. I will not stay in the same room with him. It is true that he has been able to coax me to him with steak, but I am a dog and steak is steak. Other than those occasions when Ivan has used my own nature as a dog against me, I am not by his side. I do not support him nor will I offer him any comfort. I am anxiously waiting for the judge to rule on my request for emancipation.

Birillo's attorneys said that they anticipate a ruling on Birillo's request soon. They also said that Birillo is hoping for a decision before the Tour de France so that he can watch the race with his real friends and not with Ivan.

Ivan Basso declined to comment for this story.

Recent coverage of Birillo:
June 1, 2007 Birillo forms new advocacy group
May 8, 2007 Birillo files suit against Ivan Basso

Monday, June 18, 2007

Content to sit in?

Are you content to sit in ? What I mean is, if you're riding in a group, do you prefer to just sit in the group and stay on wheels the whole ride or do you like go to the front and work to keep the ride at a high pace.

On the Saturday Judson ride after going to the front and taking a few pulls in the paceline, I drifted back to the middle of the pack (40+ riders). Maybe it was a loss of concentration, I don't know, but I found myself on the far right, 3 abreast, not my preferred position. A rider to my left who I did not know said "This is great, getting towed along at 30 mph. Not having to do anything."

I smiled and thought to myself, "but I want to do something, I didn't come out here for an easy ride." I looked aver at the guy and said "I gotta move back up front," he said, "come on over," let me in and I did.

Yet again, cycling illustrates life. "Sitting in" or going to the front? Letting someone else work for me or doing some of the communal work myself. Sometimes, physically, all I can do is sit in, but when I am able, I want to go to the front.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Confirmation

Today's PEZ, Discovery is riding the new Madone at the Dauphine:

This is an all day PRO tour level bike with attitude, I spoke with Discovery Channel Pro Cycling team rider Levi Leipheimer about his new Madone and he was very excited that the new bike would debut at the Dauphine and would contest it’s first Tour De France in July.

The Truth

ASO President Patrice Clerc was reported as stating:




What is clear it is that Floyd Landis did not win [the 2006 Tour], at least for the Tour organization. ... But the UCI has yet to remove his title, and I suppose that Landis is going to go to all the courts he can to defend himself.

What an ignorant comment. Until the USADA (and if necessary the CAS) issues its ruling, Landis is not guilty of anything. This comment illustrates one of the main problems with the way these cases are carried out, namely, that the cycling powers that be shoot their mouths off until the appropriate court has ruled.


Given what is at stake for Landis, of course he will appeal if he loses. That is precisely why there are appeal rights. My fear though is that even if Landis wins his appeal it will not vindicate him.

As most of Landis' arguments were based upon improper testing procedures and protocol, his case will most likely be decided on the basis of a technicality, not on whether he is really innocent.


Look at the case of Euskaltel cyclist Iñigo Landaluze. He was found to have high testosterone levels during the 2005 Dauphine Libéré.

The arbitrators found that the technician in France involved in analyzing the B sample was also involved in analysis of the A sample, in violation of the international standards for accredited laboratories, therefore the result could not be considered a "positive" and the rider could not be sanctioned. This is the same French laboratory involved in Landis' case.
In their opinion the arbitrators specified:

even though Iñigo Landaluze benefited from this flawed procedure to be acquitted, the CAS decision does not constitute a declaration of his innocence.

Here's the rub. If the CAS (I have no hope of Landis winning at the USADA) follows its own precedent, Landis should win. Unfortunately, that won't mean he didn't do it. Only Floyd knows the answer to that.

Cites: Landaluze info from Velonews.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

MWC

Last night was my first night out on the Mid-Week Classic this season and I have to say I have missed it.

Wednesdays starting at 6:00 p.m. from Turin Bicycles in Evanston heading north/northwest and back for a total of just over 40 miles. Basically covers the same route as the Judson weekend rides with many of the same riders, but with a much smaller group. The ride's speed is about the same as the weekend rides, but more consistent, smoother, so there is less yo-yoing and jumping to grab wheels.

"Game on" seems to have a new meaning during the MWC. On the weekends, the group seems to spend a little more time getting up to speed, but at the Mid-Week, as soon as we clear the first set of lights, BAM, it goes. Maybe its because we have a limited amount of daylight so everyone feels a sense of urgency, or maybe its just because it is the Mid-Week and it has a life of its own. It's the kind of ride that at the end, I am grinning from ear to ear.

To quote the text message I received from a friend this a.m.
Good to have you on the ride last night. Such a good ride.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

The New Madone in Action?



Is Discovery riding the new Madone at the Dauphine Libere? In this picture from today's stage, Hincapie appears to be riding the same kind of bike as Leipheimer, not the stars and stripes edition from earlier in the season.

Monday, June 11, 2007

8/24/07



Rage Against the Machine. Alpine Valley.

Friday, June 8, 2007

Could Manzano Be Right?

Jesus Manzano levelled some pretty insidious accusations yesterday, including the claim that doctors working for a UCI accredited lab in Spain were tipping off certain teams, namely Kelme and Postal, that they would be tested the next day.


He was right about Fuentes. I shudder at the thought of his being right now.

iPod Heavy Rotation

With RATM's imminent announcement:

1. RATM "Renegades"
2. NIN "Year Zero"
3. Phish "Live Phish 02"

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Bulls on Parade


Rumors have been circulating regarding a Rage Against the Machine reunion album and tour since they played Coachella in April. Hell yeah! It is upon us!


There are 2 countdowns at their website. The first expires in 3 days- probably the announcement. The second expires on August 24, 2007, either the first date or album release date.

There are some dates announced with the Rock the Bells Tour, in late July, none in Chicago though.


Who's with me?

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Di Luca's Custom Paint jobs

Di Luca's custom painted System Six for Giro .



And Fizik custom "Killer" saddle.


Then, for the last stage, another new paint job, pink rear triangle.


Photos: cyclingnews.com

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Good to Go

The reality of being a cyclist is that we cheat death. Well, maybe not death itself, but at least serious bodily injury. Whether it's clearing a piece of trail strewn with slick rocks, navigating a 30+ mph sprint, or dodging a Starbucks high SUV driver, a crash and resulting damage can be imminent.

Last week at the Mid-Week Classic a friend broke his pedal, shearing off the axle, leaving part of it still in the crank. He was only going about 10-15 mph, but he was up, out of the saddle when the axle snapped causing him to go straight down to the ground.


I wasn't there, so when I asked him what happened and how he was, this was his response:

I broke my helmet, other than that, I'm good to go.

Good to go. Damn straight, good to go!

Monday, June 4, 2007

Antelope

What a great weekend of riding. Rain and storms threatened all weekend long, but held off so that i was able to get 2 fast group rides in for 140 miles.





Set the gearshift for the high gear
Of your soul, you've got to ride like
An antelope out of control

Friday, June 1, 2007

Birillo Forms New Advocacy Group

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

June 1, 2007. Milan, Itlay.

In response to the La Gazzetta dello Sport story linking retired Classics star, Michele Bartoli, to bags of blood, marked with the name of his dog, 'Sansone', Birillo, Ivan Basso's dog, announced the formation of a new advocacy group, CANE (Canines Against Needles and EPO). The man responsible for administering the Operation Puerto doping ring, Dr. Eufemiano Fuentes, gave many of his clients pseudonyms based on their dogs' names

Birillo, through his attorneys stated:


After reading about Sasone, I contacted him and he agreed that we needed to take action to protect our good names. We can no longer sit by and allow this kind of slander to continue. Sasone and I are old friends, when Ivan and Michele were on Fassa Bartolo together and later CSC, Sasone and I would take long walks in the woods. I know him well. He has been deeply affected by this story and is no longer calm.

CANE (Italian for dog ed.) will also be a support group, providing couseling services to those dogs whose trust has been betrayed.


As the group's first official action, they have petitioned Spanish authorities for access to the 6,000 pages of Puerto documents. The group expects to be granted access just as the UCI and the AIGCP (International Association of Professional Cycling Groups) have been.

Birillo stated:

Once we have reviewed the documents with our attorneys, we will take appropriate action, including filing a class action suit against all riders who used their dog's name and Dr. Fuentes for aiding in the slander.

We have also initiated a worldwide search for dogs who think they maybe
implicated in the scandal.

We are in contact with PETA and the ASPCA. I have talked to some of the other dogs in the Pro peloton, including Tyler Hamilton's dogs, who at this point have no comment. We have surveillance on Floyd Landis' home to see if he has a dog, although we will not approach him until after the USADA has ruled on Landis'case.



A ruling on Birillo's motion for a temporary restraining order in his pending court action against Ivan Basso is expected soon. Go here for the press release on the filing of Birillo's suit.