Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Go Chris Go!

Big shout out to Chris Strout who raced the National 24 Hour MTB Championships this past weekend.

He finshed 8th, completing 257.1 miles in 24:43:45, missing 4th place by only 30 minutes.

Incidentally, this was his first 24 hour race.

My 2007 Tour de France reflection

1. The top 3 GC riders finished within 30 seconds of each other. 4th place was 7 minutes back, that's a huge gap. If Astana had remained in the race, a couple of their riders may have filled in that gap, but still. Some have said this is proof of doping by the top 3. Maybe, maybe not.

2. You can't talk about the Tour without talking about doping:
- Vinkourov tested positive for blood doping.
- Christian Moreni (Cofidis), positive for testosterone.
- And now, Mayo positive for EPO. Though, you'd think if he was gong to dope, he'd have made sure he won something, instead of finishing 27 minutes back. Maybe he needs to sport a t-shirt that says "I visited Dr. Fuentes and all I got was 16th place."

3 different riders, 3 different methods. Mayo's July 24 positive was announced yesterday, that's a 6 day delay. Don't be surprised if there's 1 or 2 other positives lurking out there.

3. Rasmussen is an idiot. Pulled out of the race by Rabobank for having lied about his whereabouts. Even now he won't give a straight answer as to where he was.

4. The racing. I have to say, even with the positive tests, I enjoyed the Tour. Cancellara attacking in the yellow to get that stage win was awesome. The last stage in the mountains was as exciting as any LA stage. Levi taking the last TT. Great racing.

What did you all think?

Monday, July 30, 2007

Lanterne Rouge - Final

137 Sven Krauss (Ger) Gerolsteiner 3.40.51
138 Gert Steegmans (Bel) Quickstep - Innergetic 3.41.38
139 Thor Hushovd (Nor) Crédit Agricole 3.41.57
140 Geraint Thomas (GBr) Barloworld 3.46.51
141 Wim Vansevenant (Bel) Predictor - Lotto 3.52.54

Wim Vansevenant by 6 minutes. 2 years in a row.

The Pre-ride


Before the weekend group rides a few of us meet about 20 minutes before start time to pre-ride, that is, to get some java and chill before the ride.
Post ride, regular coffee will do, but pre-ride, it's too hard on my stomach. For me it's the dopio. 2 shots of bliss. No milk, no sugar- straight.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Tired of...

Everyone who I know who is not a cyclist, but who knows that I am, asking what I think about the doping at the Tour. Over and over and over again. Like I bear some responsibility for some idiot in Europe.

Overheard

Riders are under suspicion even if they haven't tested positive. Greg LeMond casts doubt on Contador, from cyclingnews:

LeMond insisted that the riders know very well who dopes and who doesn't, suggesting that "it's obvious there are still dopers in the peloton." He explained that Contador weighs the same as Rasmussen, and both climbed at the same speed as Pantani. "That's sufficient for the red flag to come up." He also reminded us that Contador's name came up in connection with Operación Puerto, but was cleared
after the 2006 Tour
. "I am not pointing the finger at him [Contador]. I am simply saying if Rasmussen got caught then we also need to have a very close look at his competitors."


First, Rasmussen didn't get caught, his team let him go because of discrepancies as to where he was when he missed an out of comp test. Second, According to LeMond, if you climb as well as Pantani, you must be on something. The implication is either that no one could ever climb as fast as Pantani or if you climb as fast as Pantani, you're doped because Pantani was doped.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Overheard

Michael Rasmussen is refuting Rabobank's version of his firing stating:


I'm shattered. I'm on the verge of tears. I was not in Italy. Not at all. That's the story of one man who believes he recognised me. There is no hint of evidence.


If he was in Mexico for almost a month he should be able to prove it. Wouldn't he have receipts for say... lodging, food etc. How about an airline ticket? He didn't swim there! Wouldn't he also have a stamped passport? Since he's in the EU, he wouldn't have a stamp for going to Italy, but he would to go outside the EU.

Quote Source

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Fried Chicken Reflection

Wednesday. Time for the MidWeek Classic. The plan was to take the day off, watch the Tour, hang with the kid in the afternoon and then do the ride.

After the afternoon's bomb dropped, the only thing left to do was go ride. 40 miles of hammer time. Would the dopers really stop us from riding? Don't think so. They may cause us to stop watching them, but not from riding.

Unfortunately, a teammate flatted just over halfway. So I and a couple other guys stopped. Tried to get back on, but even taking some shortcuts didn't help.

I care whether the PROs are clean because I want to believe in a clean effort, an even chance. The bike is an equalizer. The effort required by each rider is dependent upon power, endurance. I know I am naive.

Does Rasmussen being fired change my view of the stage today? Not really. It was still incredible. If Rasmussen had been gone today, maybe Levi and Contador could have gone 1,2? Who knows.

Fried chicken Part 3

You know who I feel sorry for- the rest of the Rabobank team: Menchov and Boogard pulled the whole way today.

Fried chicken part 2

Eurosport reports that Rasmussen has been fired by Rabobank because he was not in Mexico as he had previously said when he missed an out of competition test- he was in Italy.

Hey any of those "doctors" live in Italy?

The chicken is fried

Rasmussen pulled from the Tour by Rabobank.

http://www.cyclingnews.com/road/2007/tour07/news/?id=/news/2007/jul07/jul26news

Pathetic.

Take the day off

During every Tour de France since 2000, I have a taken a day off work, invited some guys I ride with over, have coffee and donuts and watch one of the pivotal mountain stages live. Kind of a tradition.

Today was that day and I could not have picked a better stage.

Finally, Levi attacked, not once, but a number of times. Not for his own glory, but for Contador. Disco played their team card well, but Rasmussen proved to be the strongest climber at the Tour. Maybe they shouldn't have let him go on the first day on the Alps??

5 hours of live cycling. The GC 1, 2, 3 and 4, alone on the last climb- attacking. Great, great cycling.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Overheard

Apparently, David Millar was in the middle of a press conference when the Vino doping news broke and was immediately asked for a response:

Jesus Christ - there you go, that's my quote. What timing, huh? This is just fucking great.

That is a surprise. I don't know what to say. Vino is one of my favourite riders. He is a guy of class. Given what we have done, with our current situation, we may as well pack our bags and go home.


Millar then started to cry.

The sad thing is that Millar's team, Saunier Duval, had called the press conference to talk about the team's charity program to plant 1 million trees in Mali. So now, no news about a team's righteous charity work, only doping.

Quote source.

Just Go Home

Damn, damn, damn. damn, damn, damn, damn... I knew this year's Tour was too good to be true.

AP and cyclingnews.com : L'Equipe has reported that Vino tested positive for a blood transfusion after his TT win on Saturday.

Supposedly, Astana has left the Tour.

Some observations:

Is Vino really that dumb?

Astana went 1-3-4 in that TT! Astana leaves the Tour, possible admitting knowledge or at least fear that others might test positive??

Damn, damn. damn, damn, damn, damn

U.S. to be In Iraq until at least 2009

So says the New York Times.

Riddle me this: when will the Iraqis be ready to take over? Or is this a case of- we really don't want them to govern themselves?

2 more years!?

Apology

Sorry to the guy on the Cervelo time trial bike who caught me at the very beginning of my ride this a.m. and asked how I liked my six13.

5:30 a.m. is way to early to talk about carbon vs. aluminum.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Friday, July 20, 2007

Lanterne Rouge- Update

After stage 12- Vansevenant still "leading."

162 Aleksandr Kuchynski (Blr) Liquigas 1.51.08
163 Nick Nuyens (Bel) Cofidis 1.51.28
164 Anthony Charteau (Fra) Crédit Agricole 1.52.14
165 Rik Verbrugghe (Bel) Cofidis 1.54.10
166 Wim Vansevenant (Bel) Predictor - Lotto 1.57.10

Is the Chicken on Cow Blood?

Pro cycling starts to border on the surreal. In a feature entitled "VeloNews Exclusive: Ex-cyclist levels doping charges at Rasmussen", Velonews reports that in 2002 Rasmussen supposedly tried to get a fellow cyclist to bring a cow blood based substance into Italy for him. Rasmussen allegedly told this guy the box had a pair of cycling shoes in it.

Cow blood? I'm just going to stop because I think I'm going to puke.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Overheard

Christophe Moreau on Astana's stage 11 tactics:

What Vino did was not unfair. Settling scores is part of the sport. When I attacked [in the Alps] he was not well. Today I was the one who was not that well. But the Tour is far from finished. It could have been even worse. I was well-supported by my team, because at one moment I was near a breaking point.



I got give Moreau credit for being honest. What goes around, comes around and all that.

Quote Source

MWC- the rainy edition

I hate riding in the rain. Hate it! Mostly because I am my own mechanic, so a ride in the rain means extra time cleaning the bike.

Last night at the Mid Week Classic, it rained. Started to rain just before University and really didn't stop until we got home. It slowed down a bit at times, but basically just poured on us. Thunder, lightening, the works, it felt more like hail than rain. Surreal is the only word to describe.





Funny thing was though, it was one of the best rides... EVER. I can't explain it, but despite being wet to the bone with water-logged shoes and the rooster tails blinding me, I felt great.

Even with the rain, our average speed was 22.7 mph, high was 33.1.

The smile on my face stayed even while I started cleaning the bike last night.

Doppler photo borrowed from Spicyride.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Overheard

Erik Breukink (Rabobank team manager) commenting on Denis Menchov's performance during stage 9 to Briancon:

Denis dropped the ball but there is nothing you can do about it. He just did not have a very good day and you cannot get away with that on this level.

Quote source.

Nothing like standing behind one of your riders.

Tattoos of the Peloton #20 - Mauricio Soler

Mauricio Soler, 24 year old Barloworld rider, won yesterday's mountain stage of the Tour. I couldn't find a better picture than this one from cyclingnews.com. During the Vs. coverage I also saw another tattoo on his right bicep, but no photo of it.



Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Overheard

Michael Rasmussen after stage 9 today:

I am very happy with today. Now there is no doubt about who is the captain of this team is. I stayed close to Valverde because he had another teammate up there. I felt like it was a victory for me to be able to fight back the 25 times Valverde tried to attack. I felt very clear in the head today seeing the tactics of the race. It was disappointing that Menchov couldn't get his ass over the Galibier. I think it's a climber's Tour.

Me thinks Rasmussen's no longer on Menchov's Christmas card list.

Quote Source

Quest to Go Faster

There is a great piece at cylingnews.com entitled "Top-level teams and riders get their way in the name of going faster" about teams/riders using equipment form a source other than a team sponsor.

I wonder what Zipp thinks about its wheels being covered with Easton stickers or what Time thinks about having its forks put on Specialized's bikes, especially since Specialized outbid Time to sponsor Quickstep.

The Lanterne Rouge

The award to the very last rider who finishes the Tour de France.

The 2006 recipient Wim Vansevenant said:

Lanterne rouge is not a position you go for. It comes for you.


Current standings in the "race" for the LR, Vansevenant is leading:

167 Anthony Charteau (Fra) Crédit Agricole 1.41.46
168 Leif Hoste (Bel) Predictor - Lotto 1.41.55
169 Aleksandr Kuchynski (Blr) Liquigas 1.42.23
170 David Zabriskie (USA) Team CSC 1.42.49
171 Wim Vansevenant (Bel) Predictor - Lotto 1.45.23

Monday, July 16, 2007

Overheard

Michael Rasmussen, commenting on his time trialing skills:

Two years ago I came pretty close to ending up on the podium if I hadn't been fiddling around on [the] pavement.

Quote Source

TdF stage 8

Not sure I understand Discovery's tactics on the first tough mountain stage. I heard both Levi and Johan Bruyneel say that the plan was to have Popovych and Contador be aggressive and go ahead and have Levi ride steady, it's a 3 week race blah, blah, blah.

In the LA days, the whole team would have been around LA; if he had a bad day, they had a bad day. He would never have been alone, unless the rest of the team was behind him.

Seems to me Discovery is making Levi prove himself at the Tour before they will throw their full support behind him.

Tattoos of the Peloton #19 - Bradley Wiggins

Bradley Wiggins, Cofidis. Accomplished track rider, taking two world championship titles as well as medals of each color at the 2004 Athens Olympics.



Spotted the photo at Soiled Chamois.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Can't Help Myself

Prior to the start of the Tour this year, I had convinced myself that I wasn't going to watch it. With the doping issues ruining every positive cycling moment recently: take your pick, Floyd, Landis, Puerto (Basso, Ullrich etc.), I didn't want to be let down. I thought I might read some of the updates, maybe watch a mountain stage or two, but I wasn't going to dive in and commit.

Who the hell was I kidding?? Here I am reading the live updates as they come in and watching the race as soon as I get home each night, suffering through Al's stupid questions and Bob's meandering thoughts.

And why? First, because there's bike racing on my TV every night for 3 weeks straight. It is the only time we get this much coverage. It is a cyclists dream.

Second, it's the goddamn Tour. It is the fastest, most difficult, most dangerous bike race there is. Everyone one wants to "win" something. Even if its just being in a suicide break or wearing one of the jerseys for just one day. The Giro, Vuelta, P-R are all great races, but they are not the Tour.

Finally, the racing has been awesome. The yellow jersey attacking out the peloton to take the stage. Last night's mayhem.

The first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem. I admit it, I am addicted.

Overheard

CSC team director Kim Andersen "irked" by a reporter asking if CSC had tried to elimnate Vino after he crashed:

No way did we ride [to get rid of him]. Nobody waited when Carlos crashed. Stop that bullshit. That was the race. My team didn't know that he had crashed. And CSC was not pulling the most, it was Liquigas and Rabobank. It was just the race; the peloton needed to go fast then, because if not, they would not have caught the leading riders. The leaders were taking time at that moment.

CSC quote

Maybe. Maybe not. Like when Postal dropped the hammer at the 2004 Tour when Mayo bit it on the cobbles.

Johan Bruyneel said of that day:

It was a bad day for some guys... and it was expected. For sure today you can not win the Tour de France, but you can lose the Tour de France. Nothing is finished yet, but almost four minutes for Mayo is a very, very important gap. Still, nobody waited but it was too nervous over the last 60km... Nobody waited for the Maillot Jaune either, and he was also behind.

Johan quote.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Numbers

Cycling is a sport of numbers. We are obssessed with them.

How fast, how far, how long, how many watts, maximum HR, average speed etc.

Since April 1, 2007 I have ridden 2,558 miles.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Overheard

Dave Zabriskie, commenting on the finish-line crash into Ghent.

I am tranquilo. I wish everyone else would relax a little bit.


Tranquilo. You see this word often when PRO cyclists describe how they are feeling. Often it is translated to English as "calm", but a quick use of an on-line translator revealed that the Italian word tranguilo denotes a more complex feeling:

untroubled, philosophical, easy going, noiseless, cool.

Source

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Dunno

Joerg Jaksche was invited to appear at the finish of Stage 2 of the Tour by the German public TV channel ARD to talk about his "experiences."


I think this is the most startling quote I've read from Jaksche's "confession":


I was completely in the hands of the doctors and I can't even say what they did to us exactly. I'd simply hold out my arm and allow myself to be injected. It's possible that they gave me everything, I don't know and I don't want to know.



Why would you let someone inject you with something and not be the least bit concerned about what it was? That makes about as much sense as the "Wookie defense."

A Wookie on a planet with Ewoks- that don't make no sense. (See South Park.)

Quote: Velonews

Overheard

Floyd Landis to his fans at a recent book signing:

I appreciate the support and to see you all out here. But let's cheer the guys [in the Tour] on now.


Source

Monday, July 9, 2007

Unlucky

George goes down, again. Hincapie has got to be one of the unluckiest riders out there. Stay the hell up George!

Photo: cyclingnews.com.

Friday, July 6, 2007

Just 2 years old

I took yesterday off and took Elora out of daycare to spend the day with her. We went to the coffee shop first and then walked around with her in the backpack. I like the backpack better than the stroller; she tends to just shutdown when she's in the stroller. In the backpack though, she talks. Non-stop. Here's a "conversation" from yesterday.

Me: See the firetruck?
E: Yah.
Me: There it goes. (Elora covers her ears)
E: It's vrooming?
Me: Yes.
E: It's going bye-bye.
Me: Yes.
E: Where'd the firetruck go?
Me: I don't know
E: Where'd the firetruck go?
Me: I don't know, maybe to put out a fire.
E: Where'd the firetruck go?
Me: To put out a fire.
E: Where'd the firetruck go?
Me: To put out a fire.
E: Where'd the firetruck go?

Me, desperate for a new topic: Elora, see that doggie... wow, that's a big dog.
E: Whoa, a big doggie. He's sniffing the ground.
She laughs. The dog turns the corner away from us.

E: Where'd the doggie go Papa?
Me: He went home to his house.
E: Where'd the doggie go?
Me: Home to his house.
E: Where'd the doggie go?
Me: To his house.
E: Where'd the doggie go?
Me: Home to his house.
E: To Elora's house.
Me: No, to the doggie's house.
E: The doggie went to his house.
Me: Yes.
E: He went to his house to get a snack?
Me: maybe.

Then she is quiet for a moment.
E: Elora wants a snack.

A friend and fellow parent recently commented that dealing with a 2 year old is like dealing with a very stoned person. I see his point.

Blah!

That's how I feel about the Tour. Nothing about it really excites me.

I entered Smithers' pool mostly because I like to gamble almost as much as I like to ride my bike. But, there was no enthusiasm in making the picks.

Here's my pool picks:

1st Place Final GC, 100 points Vino
2nd Place Final GC, 50 points Sastre
3rd Place Final GC, 25 points Levi
Green Points Jersey Final, 30 points R. McEwen
Mountains Jersey Final, 30 points M. Rasmussen
Team Final, 10 points Astana
Prologue Stage Winner, 10 points D, Zabriskie
Col d'Aubisque Stage 16 Winner, 15 points M. Rasmussen
Champs-Elysées Stage 20 Winner, 20 points T. Hushovd
Yellow Jersey on Rest Day July 16th, 5 points Contador
Yellow Jersey on Rest Day July 24th, 5 points Vino

Maybe some French guy will take the yellow jersey out of nowhere and make it exciting.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

CANE Supports "Bella"

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CANE (Canines Against Needles and EPO), rushed to show its support for Bella, Joerg Jaksche's now deceased dog after Eurosport reported that the rider had admitted that he used the dog's name to conceal his blood doping. Jaksche admitted that three 0.5 litre bags of blood labelled "Bella" - and "number 20" confiscated during Operation Puerto were his.

Bella, a Labrador, died three years ago.

The group's spokesdog, Birillo, stated:

Once again a dog has been betrayed. We ask 'what will it take for these cyclists
to stop the slander.' Why are we made to suffer? We have done nothing but be
loyal friends and we are rewarded with this? Our good names dragged through the
dirt. It must stop. We demand to know how many other riders used their dog's names to hide their cheating and dishonesty. We will avenge Bella, by any means necessary, we will avenge Bella.
When asked if he felt Jaksche's doping had caused Bella's death Birrillo said:

We don't know for sure, but the shame Bella must have felt for all those years would affect any dog.

Regarding his own case against Ivan Basso, Birillo said that he is still waiting for the judge to rule on his request for an order emancipating him from Basso's ownership.

Recent coverage of Birillo and CANE:
June 19, 2007 Birillo denies he is "by Basso's side"
June 1, 2007 Birillo forms new advocacy group
May 8, 2007 Birillo files suit against Ivan Basso

Monday, July 2, 2007

Cyclist killed at Proctor Classic

From the Peoria Journal-Star:

Elizabeth Kobeszka, 24, of Chicago was riding with a pack of cyclists west on Brimfield-Jubilee Road about 9:30 a.m., about three miles from the finish
line, when a competitor collided with her. The impact sent her into the eastbound lane, where she was struck by the truck, according to police reports.

I didn't know Beth. From the statements from some of her XxX teammates, she sounds like a great person and a great teammate.

On Form

There's that point in each season when one feels incredible on and off the bike. Many riders try to arrive "on form" for a certain race or period or month as in LA and the Tour.

My riding and training is not scientific. While I have hard days and recovery days, I don't follow a set schedule of intensity or intervals. I ride when I can, paying attention to the feedback my body gives me. When "on form" rides feel easier: gaps easier to close, pace lines easier to pull through. I am able to move anywhere in the group (although breaking away and staying away from the group remains a mystery.)

I think I hit my form this weekend. Two Judson rides, Saturday's faster than Sunday. Saturday, I felt great, able to do whatever I wanted. Sunday, despite the Saturday efforts, felt good until the last 10 miles and then my legs let me know they had had it. But that was after after almost 120 miles over 2 days.

The group rides feel faster now. Maybe everyone is on form. That's a good thing; it gets us home faster for java.