Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Can't catch me, I'm the gingerbread man

You know with all the "news" on doping this year and the reactions to it as the road season is in recess, it's got me thinking.

Now correct me if I'm wrong but, the UCI and related groups (or the idiots who run cycling) want to stop doping. Also anyone who they catch, they hope will turn in anyone who was helping them or any other riders who are doping.

Now here is what I don't understand.

When you are caught and/or admit to doping you are banned from riding for anywhere from 1-2 years and banned from ProTour teams for an additional 2 years (not that the ProTour means much anymore). This is completely fair in my mind, however any rider who has been banned, except David Millar, seems to be finding it next to impossible to find a decent team to ride for, in fear of that team not being invited to the big races. Even riders not implicated in doping but talking to a doctor implicated in doping (ie Diluca) are caught up in this.

So my question for the idiots is this.

How does this encourage any riders to come clean and admit what they know? If you would be taking the chance that no top tier team would ever sign you again because they might not be invited to the classics and grand tours, I sure wouldn't admit to anything.

Another thing, maybe the UCI should just post all the documents they've received regarding Operation Puerto on the web. Let the general public decide if Valverde or anybody else is guilty. OR better yet let the general public do the research. People love that kind of stuff. Unless you are worried that some riders may be implicated in the documents that you haven't been hounding like you have Valverde.

Just a thought.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Endorphin Rush

I was surprised the other day when I went to the Fetus and the electronic section had been shrunk down down even more than it was the last time I was there. Apparently dance music was even more of a phase than I thought.

Even more surprising was the fact that they did not have the one album that I had gone there specifically to pick up-Burial's sophmore release Untrue. Now dubstep isn't exactly on top of the US' tongue, but his first album easily went beyond the standard dubstep crowd and appealed to a pretty large audience.

With this new album there was a lot of anticipation to see how it would sound and if it would be possible to hold a candle to the first one.

Ghost Hardware which was released a few months ago kindled some hope, but I wasn't sure if the entire album could keep up.

Well suffice to say that after listening to the new one several times already, it has matched and maybe even surpassed the first release. From the spaced out, future groove, 2-step of Archangel to the Pole-ish Endorphin, or the outer space funk of my personal fav, Homeless there is hardly a wasted moment. the use of vocals is brilliant in their capacity to draw you into these sparse, moody tunes.

You can find plenty of praise out there in webland, so I will leave it at that and definitely reccomend that you pick it up.

Season wrap-up?

Some might consider it laziness, while others-like my wife-might consider it common sense, but given the weather I have not been out riding in the past week and unfortunately it looks like I won't be getting on my bike unless it is attached to my trainer for the foreseeable future.

Given that it is getting dark at like 5 now, weeknight riding seems to be out, and the yardwork needed to get ready for winter kept me off the bike this past weekend, I should probably just accept it and give in.

I am hoping for some decent temps (45+ because I am a sissy) to hold out into next weekend however to maybe get one last weekend ride in. Otherwise it looks like I am stuck sprinting along to my Giro and spring classics DVDs in the spare bedroom. Probably fine for me, but Liane says that I make the room smell like sweat and that I should move the trainer downstairs into the unfinished basement.

Well I suppose this is the joy that is living in MN.

Maybe I can luck out and get my dream job in CA after school. Heck if I am dreaming, how about a nice marketing position in Italy or Spain?

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Last week on the bike

In what could very well be my last installment of a biking diary for the season I am very psyched taht I made my stretch goal of 1500 miles for the year this past week.

I went out Tuesday in what is looking like the last really nice day of the year (I know we have had 60 degree days in Nov. before, but I am not counting on it) and got in a nice 15 mile ride over the stone arch where I ran into someone else riding in a Quickstep world champion jersey to my regular Quickstep jersey. what was better was when I spilled out from the greenway onto the river road and there he was again.

If I hadn't been pushign the available time in my schedule already, I probably woudl have sat in with him but alas 'twas not to be.

Unfortch I was not able to ride on Saturday but did make it out Sunday for a short little 8 miler.

Despite the baselayers and shoe covers, the weather is looking like it might be beyond my self-imposed limit this weekend with highs barely in the 40s.

So for now anyway...

Week Total - 23
Season Total - 1509

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Last week on the bike

Finally in what felt like a reprieve, we got a break from the rain of the past month and I was able to get out for more than 1 day last week.

I went out for quick rides on both Wed and Thu up the cemetary hill and around the loop towards Roseville.

Sun I rode what is becoming the my new standard route, across the stone arch-along the LRT-up the greenway-and then some sort of loop of the river road, for a 16 mile ride.

I got to try out the shoe covers at last on Sun even though it wasn't that cold. I do think they will be nice, especially in the spring.

Almost at my goal of 1500. I will definitely hit it next week.

Last Week - 32
Season Total - 1486

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Can this passport be revoked?

So in yet another example of the controlling interests in cycling—not the riders or the sponsors mind you—dictating what they want to happen and how it should happen, we now get the blood passport.

Though it may sound like something out of Nightwatch or Moonlight, it is infact the new WADA plan to try to stamp out doping in cycling.

Now I will grant you I haven't dug into this enough to know if they have already answered my questions but I feel like there is a lack of safeguards for the riders and the incredible amount of bureaucracy this could create could create chaos.

How does rider prove they are innocent? Do they have the ability to retroactively challenge the original blood tests to the levels were not accurately captured? How long would this process take? And how advanced is our science in this realm or does WADA already have some of these parameters in place?

Another question I have is in regards to the effects of an entire season of training and riding on the body’s natural chemistry. Do we know what the effects of all this is on hormone and blood levels? Is it possible that some of these naturally might alter themselves?

If they really want to do something how about getting rid of all the exemptions that half the peloton has. I’m sorry but if you have asthma and it makes it hard to ride that is your own damn fault and you may not be able to race at the elite level. I don’t have the physiology to climb mountains all day long for days on end so should I be able to get a therapeutic exemption for steroids so I can compete with the pros in the peloton?

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Last week on the bike

The crappy weather continued this week with rain everyday except Saturday. At this point we have had rain every day but two in October.

Maybe I'm a sissy but I do not enjoy riding in wet, windy, 50 degree weather.

Given all this I was only able to get out Saturday morning for a trip down the river road and back, a little over 20 miles. It was a bit chilly and I am looking forward to the shoe covers I picked up today for the rest of my fall riding.

Hopefully I get the colder weather gloves on my wish list for Christmas too so that I can start riding earlier in the year next year.

Week Total - 20
Season Total - 1454

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Last week on the bike

Not the best weather this past week but I was able to get out a couple of times for some riding.

Thursday I went on a quick ride in the neighborhood, up Ridgeway pkwy and around by Terminal rd to the new diagonal trail. It would have been a nice cool weather ride except the brand new bike trail just opened this year has a big section that is now buried under 10-15 feet of sand. It looks to be in preperation of some new blacktop and a connection to Industrial/St. Anthony pkwy. What a waste though to pave the trail and then bury the pavement.

Saturday I went out in the AM for just shy of a 30 mile loop. out along the grand round from St. Anthony to Theo Wirth and connected to the Cedar Lake trail. I decide to cut across the kenilworth trail to the greenway and home since my feet were not appreciating the cold. Hopefully my shoe covers I ordered arrive soon.

Getting very close to my milage stretch goal this year. onyl 66 miles to go.

Week Total - 36
Season Total - 1434

Thursday, October 11, 2007

In Rainbows - in three parts

As I just downloaded my copy of the new Radiohead yesterday, I though I would share a triptych of sorts containing my thoughts on this new release.

Part 1 - Distribution

I think it’s great that the band took the whole process into their own hands. By recording it on their own, and choosing to distribute how they wanted to, it gives them much more control over the how they are represented.

I know some things I have read online have essentially called this a controlled leak of the album, but I don’t think that quite fits what they are doing. First the big thing is that they kept under wraps just how complete the album was despite giving regular updates on their blog. Second by not resigning with a major label it kept too many cooks from entering the kitchen. Is it a truth that albums get leaked all the time nowadays? Yes. But why are they leaked? Because it is a product of a giant corporation with thousands of employees and the possibility of one of these—or many of these—people leaking a copy to the outside world is fairly high. I think some of the negative reactions to this method of distribution can be looked at as being stuck in the traditional mode of music distribution. I will be the first to admit that this won’t necessarily work for all bands and I am not expecting the music industry to fall apart or evolve overnight, but I think that it is interesting in showing the possibilities. Imagine if bands like U2 began to do this?

To come full circle, Radiohead is able to release this album then to their fans when they choose to do it (not waiting for the optimal time for the record label’s profits) and letting the fans decide how much its worth to them is a great plan. I personally choose to pay 5 pounds which equated to $10 US, or about what I would pay for an album on iTunes or a new release at Target or the local record shop.

Part 2 – Sound quality

I do have one gripe in all this though and it is the quality of the download. I paid my money in good faith based on a certain expectation of quality and feel that the 160 kbps files do not live up to that expectation. In an interview with Rolling Stone, Johnny Greenwood stated that:

“We talked about it and we just wanted to make it a bit better than iTunes, which it is, so that's kind of good enough, really. It's never going to be CD quality, because that's what CD does.”

Personally I think this is a cop out. If you want to be picky about it I could argue that the DRM free music Apple does provide is encoded at 256 kbps. Since you downloaded it as a zip file there wasn’t much of a limitation on what the size of the file could have been.

Part 3 – The music

Regarding the music, I think it would be very hard for Radiohead to release something I didn’t like. That being said I do find this to be something a departure from recent work in that it feels more stripped down and “simple.” Kid A and Amnesiac were both very experimental in their approaches which seemed to be a great counterpoint to the songwriting. Hail to the Thief seemed to be a perfect marriage of this new experimentalism within a more “rock” format which again allowed the songs themselves this space to expand and grow in.

In Rainbows seems a little more stripped down in approach and production and I am not convinced that this serves the songs as well as it could. I know it is bad probably bad form to compare the solo album to the group album but I feel that if you combined the production of The Eraser with In Rainbows it would be more complete.

As for individual songs:

Bodysnatchers is at once a reminder of the rocking numbers of Hail to the Thief and also Bends/OK Computer-era, which is interesting as Nude is from that earlier era but has been updated nicely.

Faust Arp feels like the weak link in the chain for me. It isn’t a bad song but the production being all strings and acoustic guitar just doesn’t feel like it fits in with the rest of the album. It feels more like b-side material.

Luckily, in my book at least, it is followed up by the strongest song on the album Reckoner. With its melancholy guitar melody, delicate vocals and understated guitar and drums, it is just gives me chills.

House of Cards is frustrating in that it reminds me of something/someone and for the life of me I can't think of who it is.

All in all a pretty strong album from a group that shows no sign of losing steam and instead a continuous stream of innovation

Monday, October 08, 2007

Last week on the bike

Last week was definitely a better week for riding than the previous week.

I was able to get out 3 days, which was good becasue I was sure that it woudl be 2 due to weekend commitments and weather forecast.

Tuesdays I just went out and rodethe Cemetary hill and around to the new diagonal trail for a quick half hour jaunt. I had a ton of homework so I figured that was good enough at least. Irritatingly the city has decided to due some sort of construction work next to the trail so there was a big patch of 3' thick mud that I had to ride through. NOT FUN!!

Thursday was a pretty nice day to ride and I was able to get out over the stone arch and along the lrt then back via the greenway and UoM.

Despite the heat on Staurday I was bummed to have plans which precluded me from getting out at all on the bike, so I went out pretty early on Sunday for a 10 mile ride down past the U and up the hill by the Weisman.

Then I rode another 15 miles round trip to brunch with the crew so Sunday turned into a pretty good riding day overall.

Week Total - 31
Season Total - 1398

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Last week on the bike

Last week sucked for biking. Now I don't mind riding in cold and windy conditions, but I am just not down with riding in the rain. Consequently I got out one single night for only 25 minutes and 6 miles-total suck.

This week isn't looking any better I have to say.

I did bust out the Kinetic trainer we picked up this summer but since I don't have a trainer tire or just a crap tire to switch with, I didn't want to ride it more than half an hour. I did make it to REI to order a trainer tire so I will be all set in a couple weeks.

In other crap news, the single speed is currently out of commission due to the cheap ass tire they came with shredding on the inside and losing the bead. Not good.

I did pick up a couple of replacements but have not had the time to actually put them on so that has been frustrating as well.

Week Total - 6
Season Total - 1367

Monday, September 24, 2007

Last week on the bike

Last week looked like it might be another mediocre week with very few miles but despite only 3 outings on the road bike, I ended up racking up a pretty good number.

Wednesday I snuck out between work and schoolwork for a 14 mile ride trying to find a new route that avoids the UoM area as much as possible. I found a decent route by going over the stone arch and along the light rail to the greenway and taking that to the river and then home. It offers a lot of options for distance so it might have to do until they rebuild the bridge and I can go the length of the river road again.

Didn't get out again until Saturday when Liane & I tried out a slightly longer version of my Wed ride. no big hills so it met with her approval, though we did throw in the hill by the Weisman as a spur of the moment addition.

Sunday was my big day though. I took off on my on around 9 and went along Victory to Theo Wirth, connected to the greenway and took that to the river, followed the river to Ford pkwy and around back to NE via the UoM for a total of 40 miles almost on the nose. I was pretty psyched that I was able to keep a 17 mph average for the whole ride as well.

Weekly Total - 70
Season Total - 1361

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Last week on the bike

Not the best week ever I'll tell you.

After crashing and ripping my only pair of long tights, the temperatures, combined with homework, made it a little difficult to get out earlier in the week.

I was able to get out for a 12 mile ride on Wed with 2 good hills. I did discover that riding on the UoM campus after work is next to impossible though due to traffic, so I am going to have to find a new after work route.

Sat Liane & I went out in the late afternoon for a 14 mile ride down to the marshall ave bridge and back. Sun we attempted to go down to minnehaha falls but Liane is having a issue with one of her pedals not releasing her cleat so we turned back after just 4 miles.

I did get down to the World Cycling Productions pro shop on Sat and picked up a nice pair of Castelli thermal tights for only $50 as well as another baselayer and craft windstopper skull cap so I am set for the next snap of cold weather.

Week Total - 33
Season Total - 1291

Tour of Missouri wrap up

No surprise to anyone Big George took home the win. Hopefully if he hadn't been injured for the spring classics, Johan would have gotten the team behind him then but at least he got his chance once this year.

Ivan Domiguez showed why he is the man this year in the sprinter's realm by wining another stage and wrapping up the points jersey. Big up to Rollin for taking the intermediate sprint and making him work for it though.

Speaking of Rollin way to represent by getting third in the stage and grabbing third overall over Canada.

and of course big up to Slipstream for getting 2nd overall with Frisckorn, best young rider with Cozza, and #1 in the team classification. All this without the big names even starting...nice.

All in all not a bad beginning to what will hopefully be a regular addition to the US racing schedule.

Final overall
1. George Hincapie (USA), Discovery Channel, 21:00:33
2. William Frischkorn (USA), Slipstream-Chipotle, at 1:38
3. Dominique Rollin (Can), KodakGallery-Sierra Nevada, at 2:09
4. David Cañada (Sp), Prodir-Saunier Duval, at 2:21
5. Michael Friedman (USA), Slipstream-Chipotle, at 2:46
6. Frank Pipp (USA), Health Net-Maxxis, at 2:51
7. Valeriy Kobzarenko (Ukr), Navigators Insurance, at 3:06
8. Andrew Randell (Can), Symmetrics, at 3:50
9. Stefan Parinussa (G), Team Sparkasse, at 4:26
10. Matthew Rice (Aus), Jelly Belly, at 6:16

2007 Tour of Missouri
Winner: George Hincapie, Discovery Channel
Points: Ivan Dominguez (Cub), Toyota-United
Mountains: Jeff Louder, Health Net-Maxxis
Best young rider: Steven Cozza, Slipstream-Chipotle
Team: Slipstream-Chipotle
Most aggressive: John Parr, Tecos

Tour of Missouri stage 5

Disco did that thing they do once again yesterday and made sure that the only riders to get into a break were not going to be a threat to the yellow jersey thus with the final stage being a circuit race George Hincapie essentially has the win in the bag.

Jeff Louder went in the break that finally stuck to sew up his hold on the KOM competition, but I have to wonder why it is necessary to have a KOM jersey when there are no mountains? I'm talking to you too Nature Valley Grand Prix. I mean the KOMs are essentially intermediate sprints on random hills. I mean the jersey and prize money are great I guess but....

I really thought that Kodak might try to pull the break back to set up Rollin for the sprint but they either waited too long or are counting on the intermediate and final sprints today. The battle for third should be the exciting part of today's stage.

Nice one to Danny Pate for attacking with 3km to go and making it stick for the stage win (surprisingly his first of the year). Slipstream is gonna rock next year.

Also big up to Justin.tv which has been providing me with a live video feed for free. yes it is small...yes it is pixelated...and yes the sound is sketchy or sometimes non-existent but unlike cycling.tv or wcsn.com it is free. though I htink my productivity at work will definitely go up this week (no vuelta and no ToM)

General classification
1 George Hincapie (USA) Discovery Channel 18.23.13
2 William Frishkorn (USA) Team Slipstream p/b Chipotle 1.40
3 David Canada Gracia (Spa) Saunier Duval - Prodir 2.22
4 Dominique Rollin (Can) Kodakgallery.com - Sierra Nevada 2.23
5 Michael Friedman (USA) Team Slipstream p/b Chipotle 2.48
6 Frank Pipp (USA) Health Net p/b Maxxis 2.57
7 Valery Kobzarenko (Ukr) Navigators Insurance Cycling Team 3.04
8 Andrew Randell (Can) Symmetrics Cycling Team 3.48
9 Stefan Parinussa (Ger) Team Sparkasse 4.20
10 Matt Rice (Aus) Jelly Belly Cycling Team 6.21
11 Andrew Guptill (USA) Colavita - Sutter Home p/b Cooking Light 6.25
12 Jonathan Garcia (USA) BMC Professional Cycling Team 6.34

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Tour of Missouri stage 4

Well I can't say that I was surprised by the way that yesterday's stage shook out.

It was obvious taht Disco wasn't going to let any of the GC contenders slip away and you could guess that Saunier-Duval would like to get a stage win.

Disco did their part and put up enough of a chase to keep the break close but not enough to cause problems for the race organizers.

I was surprised that the break couldn't stay away. My money was on Health-Net to take the stage with both Louder and Hesjedal in the break. It was not to be however and in the end Pagliarini was the man.

I think the big question is whether Rollin can push Canada off the podium with only a second separating them.

General Classification
1. George Hincapie (USA), Discovery, 13:30:26
2. William Frischkorn (USA), Slipstream, 1:40
3. David Canada (Sp), Prodir, 2:22
4. Dominique Rollin (CAN), KodakGallery, 2:23
5. Michael Friedman (USA), Slipstream, 2:48
6. Frank Pipp (USA), Health Net, 2:57
7. Valeriy Kobzarenko (Ukr), Navigators, 3:04
8. Andrew Randell (CAN), Symmetrics, 3:48
9. Stefan Parinussa (G), Sparkasse, 4:20
10. Matthew Rice (Aus), Jelly Belly, 6:21

In other bummer news, Velonews reported in their coverage of the Vuelta today that Navigators Insurance (as well as Kodak) will be pulling out of cycling which is a major blow to US cycling.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Tour of Missouri stage 3

Well I can’t say that I was too surprised with the result of the TT at the Tour of Missouri today.

Levi kicked butt and George gained another chunk of time on the dirty dozen challengers to his win. I really think that the Domestic squads messed up by letting the competition get whittled down as much as it has. Disco is right at home protecting the lead in an event like this.

Barring anything drastic it looks like the only rider who can challenge Hincapie is Slipstream’s Will Frishkorn who is 1:40 back in second place

Cyclingnews has an interesting article on the organizers trying to force a chase and the safety concern behind it. I know that at times yesterday the peloton was only clocking like 16 MPH. Heck I could keep up with that and I am a slowpoke.

General classification after stage 3
1 George Hincapie (USA) Discovery Channel 8.22.34
2 William Frishkorn (USA) Team Slipstream p/b Chipotle 1.40
3 David Canada Gracia (Spa) Saunier Duval - Prodir 2.22
4 Dominique Rollin (Can) Kodakgallery.com - Sierra Nevada 2.23
5 Michael Friedman (USA) Team Slipstream p/b Chipotle 2.48
6 Frank Pipp (USA) Health Net p/b Maxxis 2.57
7 Valery Kobzarenko (Ukr) Navigators Insurance Cycling Team 3.04
8 Andrew Randell (Can) Symmetrics Cycling Team 3.48
9 Stefan Parinussa (Ger) Team Sparkasse 4.20
10 Matt Rice (Aus) Jelly Belly Cycling Team 6.21
11 Andrew Guptill (USA) Colavita - Sutter Home p/b Cooking Light 6.25
12 Jonathan Garcia (USA) BMC Professional Cycling Team 6.34

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Tour of Missouri stage 2

Well I guess I shouldn't have opened my mouth because stage 2 of the ToM was just like stage 3 of this year’s Tour de Georgia with a small breakaway that had most team’s represented got so much time that the twelve riders in the break are now the GC contenders for the race.

So with a break that included George Hincapie, David Canada, Frank Pipp, William Frischkorn, and several others went the distance and Big George covered all the attacks in the final circuits to take the stage and in doing so the yellow jersey.

Notably absent form the break was Toyota-United and given the huge time gaps it looks like they will be fighting for stage wins only from this point on.

None of the domestic teams seemed to want to pull the break back but are content to try and take the yellow jersey from the select group that lead today’s stage. Personally, my money is on Disco taking George all the way home and winning all the big stage races of the US this year. I think the domestic squads made a mistake by letting the field get so narrow.

General classification after stage 2

1 George Hincapie (USA) Discovery Channel Professional Cycling 7.40.50
2 Dominique Rollin (Can) KodakGallery Pro Cycling p/b Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. 0.04
3 Frank Pipp (USA) Health Net Presented By Maxxis 0.07
4 Valeriy Kobzarenko (Ukr) Navigators Insurance Cycling Team 0.10
5 Stefan Parinussa (Ger) Team Sparkasse 0.11
6 Andrew Guptill (USA) Colavita/Sutter Home p/b Cooking Light 0.13
7 Michael Friedman (USA) Team Slipstream Powered By Chipotle
8 David Canada (Spa) Prodir-Saunier Duval
9 Andrew Randell (Can) Symmetrics Cycling Team
10 Matthew Rice (Aus) Jelly Belly Cycling Team 0.52
11 William Frischkorn (USA) Team Slipstream Powered By Chipotle
12 Jonathan Garcia (USA) BMC Racing Team 2.30

Well its tour time –Tour of Missouri that is

The inaugural addition kicked off yesterday, so let’s hope that it is a little more Tour of California than Tour of Georgia. Don’t get me wrong there was excitement at the Tour of Georgia, but letting a breakaway get 30 minutes ahead and not pulling them back is kind of ridiculous. I understand if there is a crash, bad weather, or a protest by a French trade union holds up the peloton, but seriously the whole “I’m not gonna chase ‘em, you chase ‘em” thing was a little ridiculous.

Anyway, enough of that.

Yesterday’s first stage saw Discovery help pull back a 4-man break in the finishing circuits but the sprint finish went to Toyota-United’s Ivan Dominguez over Zach bell and Kyle Wamsley. The US pro teams should have some good motivation to really push it with Discovery winning both of the other big stage races in the US this year. Let’s hope that Disco aren’t just coasting through their finale as a team.

General classification
1 Ivan Dominguez (Cub) Toyota-United Pro Cycling Team 3.05.27
2 Zach Bell (Can) Symmetrics Cycling Team 0.04
3 Kyle Wamsley (USA) Navigators Insurance Cycling Team 0.06
4 Luciano Pagliarini (Bra) Prodir-Saunier Duval 0.07
5 James Meadley (Aus) Jelly Belly Cycling Team
6 Charles Dionne (Can) Colavita/Sutter Home p/b Cooking Light 0.08
7 Philipp Mamos (Ger) Team Sparkasse
8 Charles Huff (USA) Team Slipstream Powered By Chipotle 0.09
9 Valeriy Kobzarenko (Ukr) Navigators Insurance Cycling Team
10 Danilo Wyss (Swi) Prodir-Saunier Duval 0.10

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Last week on the bike

I have a love/hate relationship with this time of year. on the one hand it isn't too hot and not too cold yet (though it has been a might chilly in the AM) so it is good biking weather. On the other hand it is fall allergy season and this one is a doozy.

This leaves me with a tough decision. stay home and avoid allergies somewhat or go out and the combination of riding and the ever present wind kick my allergies into overdrive. I have been trying to strike a balance somewhat and take days off when my allergies get really bad or the wind has really stirred things up.

Last week I got out on mon and tuesday for just short rides do to the allergies and avoided riding all together on Wed and Thu because they were so bad. Friday I toughed it out and checked out the newly paved "diagonal trail" in MPLS. IT is a short connection route that parallels New Brighton Blvd from Stinson and dumps you out on Walnut with a short ride into Roseville business district.

Sunday was the big day because Liane & I rode the St. Paul Classic. This was my third year and we rode the 30 mile loop for the 2nd time (last year we cut it short due to the rain). As always it is a mix of fun and irritation.

Fun because it is a 30 mile ride with virtually no traffic to even think about and you are surrounded by thousands of of cyclists.

Irritation because many of these cyclists seem to only get out on their bikes for this one ride (seriously about a dozen people I passed had the little sticker you attach to your handlebars from last year still on their bikes) and thus do not have great bike etiquette (or any bike etiquette). lots of people riding all the way to the left or 4 abreast at 10 mph, kids weaving along, etc.

Still in the end it is great to see so many on their bikes and the route is great with a couple of nice hills and lots of flat.

I had a little unwanted excitement about 20 miles in however.

All of the sudden my front wheel skipped and kicked to the right and down I went in a heap. Next thing I knew I was on the ground under my bike with a big rip in my full length tights. no one ran into me however and I was able to rinse off the road rash and after a quick bike check was back on the road. I have never hit the decks while riding before so I was a little tentative for the rest of the ride but I figure after 1000 miles once slight crash isn't too bad.

Miles will probably be light until I can put arm and leg warmers over the road rash, but by next weekend I will be back up to normal.

Weekly Total - 54
Season Total - 1258

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

cyclist struck from behind by bus

The star tribune had this little blip today about a cyclist getting hit by Metro Transit bus.

Luckily they were not killed but it doesn't say how badly injured they were.

they did say however that:

The bicyclist was riding when he was struck from behind by the bus.


even if they didn't have lights how do you hit someone from behind?

Monday, September 03, 2007

Last week on the bike - late edition

a little late here; this time not due to laziness, but out-of-towness.

went up to the in-law's cabin in Ely Thursday through Sunday and got in a couple of good rides up there.

Friday Liane & I rode out of Ely and around Shagawa Lake for a nice 15 mile loop with a few rollers in the mix.

Saturday we did an out and back from Ely to Babbitt that was about 31 miles and fairly rolling as well. Perhaps the worst part about it though was the headwind out that was just hard enough that you couldn't really coast down the hills once you climbed them. on the plus side however the way back was a breeze and we rode the route 15 minutes faster for a grand total of almost exactly 2 hours.

otherwise I only got in a short ride up the cemetery hill route at home earlier in the week due to school beginning and other commitments.

I'll be hitting 1000 miles on my road bike alone this week and it looks like I should have no problem hitting 1500 for the year.

week total - 52
Season total - 1204

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

any port in a storm

So it looks like the UCI finally realized that it has a big bundle of documents from the Spanish authorities in that Operation Puerto mess from LAST YEAR.

Today they announced that Alejandro Valverde is barred from competing at the World Championships next month in Germany. They issued a statement today that read in part:

"During the meticulous studying of the 6000-page Puerto dossier, the UCI has concluded that several documents may show the involvement of Alejandro Valverde in the affair."

Now the big question has got to be whether anyone will get barred from the Vuelta a tte last minute.

Developing I am sure

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Last week on the bike

Well for my last week before school starts up again I got in quite a bit of riding this past week.

Since I had stuff going on Thu And Fri, I went out Mon, Tue, and Wed. Ending with an almost 30 mile ride on wed that took in Victory memorial and Theo Wirth parkways before looping around the cedar lake/greenway and heading home. I felt pretty stiff for the first 45 minutes or so but was still able to keep over a 17 mph avg for the ride. Since my personal goal lately has been to keep over 17mph on all my solo rides, I felt pretty good about that.

Sat was rough as I went out on my own in the am for a 20 mile ride down the river rd to the falls and back, ran some errands on the bike, and then went out with Liane for a 10 mile ride in the evening. add onto that going out in the PM via bike to meet the crew at Jag and it was about a 50+ mile day all in all, including 5 climbs up the hill to our house. If I was keeping track of the miles on my single speed I am sure my total would be well over 100 miles this week.

Needless to say I was pretty sore on Sun and decided to take it easy for the day. Mon is a day off as well due to class, but Tuesday I will try and get 15-20 miles in and then we are off the the cabin in Ely this weekend and hopefully I can get in some good rides up there as well

Week Total - 80
Season Total - 1152

Thursday, August 23, 2007

People suck

the star tribune is reporting that a woman was raped in the hallway of an apartment building in St. Paul and despite several people witnessing it only one person attempted to intervene while no one else even called the cops.

investigators talked to one resident in the apartment building who said that a woman had knocked on his door in the middle of the night yelling "call the police!" The man said he didn't open the door or look out. He said he called police, but police said there is no record of that call.

The affidavit also said the building manager gave officers videotape from a surveillance camera in the hall that shows Ibrahim standing over the victim, removing his pants and getting on top of her. Several people are seen in the hall but no one intervenes

seriously people what the fuck.

I think that anyone who witnessed this and didn't do anything should be charged in this crime as well. How could you not get involved in something like this.

About 6 years ago I was walking in downtown and heard a couple arguing. Soon enough the man started to viciously beat the woman. I immediately yelled at him to stop, started calling 911 on my phone, and started going over to them to stop it. Not that hard to do.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

a perfect storm - last week on the bike

After last week I thought that I was well on my way to my goal. Not necessarily the 100 mile a week but at least being at 1200 miles by month end, however I was not counting on the perfect combination of family being in town and rain all weekend long. Now it looks like it might be raining the better part of the week, which might put me a full week behind.

I was able to get out both monday and tuesday which were a little miserable due to wind but not too bad.

Saturday I woke up early, looked at the weather, and figured that if I didn't ride early I wouldn't ride at all so I had a quick bite to eat and just rode the quick little Cemetary Hill in TT mode and was about a block from home when it started to rain. From that point on it rained pretty much all weekend so that was it for me.

It sounds like I wasn't the only one affected by the rain however as the National Criterium Championships and the warm-up races for them in Downer's Grove were also beset by rain. Congrats to Kirk O'Bee(Health Net-Maxxis) on taking the stars and stripes jersey in the Pro Crit Championship Sunday despite coming in second. Lucky for him the overall winner was Kelly Benefit Strategies-Medifast Martin Gilbert a Canadian and thus not eligible for the jersey. I hope the stars and stripes jersey will make an appearance in this neck of the woods in the next year in the Nature Valley GP.

I did discover the showroom for World Cycling Production on Saturday though so that was a plus. I was able to get a nice Castelli thermal long sleeve jersey for half price so I am set for the fall now with 2 jerseys. I would definitely reccomend checking them out as all last season merch is up to 50% off and current merch is 10% off. With that in mind I also picked up "A Sunday in Hell" the awesome documentary of the 1976 Paris-Roubaix classic.

Week Total - 41
Season Total - 1072

Thursday, August 16, 2007

surviving the city

I just finished reading The Art of Cycling by Robert Hurst a couple nights ago and it was a pretty interesting read.

It is basically an overview of his view of how to ride a bike in an urban setting in the safest manner possible so it includes info on navigating in traffic, common obstacles in the street, and a few other topics.

Though it borrows very heavily from John Forester's principle's of vehicular cycling, it differs in an important way that I tend to agree with.

The vehicular cycling crowd will tell you that bicyclists fare best when they act and are treated as vehicles with the same rights and responsibilities that motorists have. Hurst however argues that the problem with this view is that you are putting responsibility on motorized vehicle drivers for your safety, and that a small mistake on their part can have massive consequences for cyclists up to and including death. His solution is one of taking all responsibility for your safety when on the road. How do you do this? Through a combination of vehicular cycling, altering your route to include roads with less traffic when possible, utilizing bike paths when convenient, and even being ready to bail onto the sidewalk if necessary.

In addition, he goes over common hazards in the roadway (form potholes to railroad tracks) and how best to avoid rapid introductions to pavement of any kind. He also discusses topics as wide ranging as the effects of air pollution on cyclist and how best to mitigate.

The ultimate message however is to take control of your fate when riding and PAY ATTENTION (he argues that getting distracted from the task at hand is a large factor in bike accidents).

I don't know if I would reccomend buying this but definitely worth getting form a friend or the library.

Next up is The Book of Dave.

On the nightstand currently:
Book of Dave (in progress)
Essays – George Orwell

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

of detours and men

In irritating news for those of you in nordeast and probably other locals around town, the wonderful city of MPLS is seal coating streets right now. For those that haven't already groaned at the sight of those words, this now means that potentially some of your favorite streets for riding/commuting/whatever are now coated with a fun layer of gravel.

In my hood, Johnson is coated from 18th to probably 37th, St.Anthony parkway between Stinson and New Brighton Blvd was done the other day, and who knows what else I discover as I try to avoid the mess.

In other better news, the Cedar lake commuter trail doesn't detour over by the walker anymore. They have laid some fresh asphalt that kicks you out right on the corner by Lee's, so at least that stupid detour through the city vehicle refueling station is over.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Last week on the bike

Well my goal was to hit 100 miles for the week and while I didn't hit it, I came damn close.

If you count the days I commuted, whether to work or for errands, I rode every day this week. Since the new single-speed doesn't have a computer on it I won't be tracking the mileage I log on it, so my mileage will be strictly on the road bike.

I did make a couple of attempts at new routes this week to make up for the old west river road route I was riding with regularity before the bridge collapse. So far what I've come up with is going directly to the U riding the east river road to either Marshall or ford pkwy and then coming back on the other side crossing back at Franklin. Not too bad but I had to go down by the Weisman to get a hill climb in.

Thursday I rode the Googly Moogly through TCBC and it was a blast. I ended up rolling out with the fast group and it was rough for the first few miles until I warmed up a bit. Once I did however, I couldn't believe how I was able to keep up. We were rolling down the transitway towards St. Paul at 24 mph and a kind of semi-pro paceline going on. Though we slowed down a bit going through the residential areas by Lake Como, the overall ride was by far the fastest I have gone for the distance which was 24 miles (avg was 17+ usually at any distance over 20 mph I am lucky to get up to 16 mph). I guess I am ready for the A/B rides after all.

Sunday Liane & I rode the gateway trail from the Ramsey county court bldg on White bear ave which was a good time. nice to log a decent amount of miles while taking it pretty easy, though it seems no matter how hard we try our rides end up at about 15.2 mph avg speed. Hopefully we can get enough miles in to make the Snooze Button Metric TCBC ride pretty easy on the 26th.

Weekly Total - 88
Season Total - 1031

Friday, August 10, 2007

holy crap vol 2

Discovery Channel has announced they are stopping their search for a title sponsor and Tailwind Sports will end the cycling program at the end of this season.

Velonews article here

Cycling news article here

So this puts a number of high profile riders out of a job at the end of this season and after many teams have already made their moves for next year.

We know that Big George is going to be at T-Mobile, but what about Levi, Tom Danielson, Contador, and the rest? Levi seems to be a sure bet to land at another ProTour squad but it should be interesting to see what develops. I wonder if this is why Contador had his big press conference today where he denied the swirling accusations about doping.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

everybody's got one

So I was checking out the whole controversy caused by Elizabeth Edward’s comments on media coverage for her husband or reasons for the lack there of via this guy and in the comments at Feministing I came across this:

“Thanks for posting this, and for the clarification. I think a lot of the time young feminists can see that something is wrong in a statement or event, but they're not sure exactly what it is. Putting your finger on the heart of the problem is really helpful.
Posted by: manathe”

I really hope there is some sarcasm on display here that I’m missing because this is a perfect example of what irritates me about all sorts of people lately.

I have a novel idea…how about we think for ourselves? How about we learn to form an opinion on our own? Is there something wrong with her statement or not? what should I have for dinner? It seems like so many people are afraid of their own feelings and opinions.

Oh my, what if my opinion isn’t right? What will I do? what will people think about me? Just ridiculous.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

A sinking ship

Seems like every day it's more bad news for the Astana team.

They lost their bike sponsor, their clothing sponsor and now today Velonews is reporting that Andrey Kashechkin has tested positive for homologous blood doping in an out of competition test Aug 1.

Yet another blow to the team and one has to wonder how long they can last or even if the UCI will pull their Protour license now that they have had 3 positive drug tests in the last few months.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Last week on the bike

well I might as well not have ridden at all last week given the minuscule amount of miles that I logged, but at least I have good reason being on vacation and all.

Monday I was busy and both Tues and Wed were too hot with temps over 90 during the time I had available (thank goodness I didn't ride Wed as I had been planning to ride the River Road).

So the only ride I got it was Sunday evening after getting back into town. Liane & I rode the NE Cemetery Hill+ loop for 8 miles. Not a lot but enough to stretch my legs after being on a plane.

My goal is to log 250 miles for the rest of August and now that my new bike is ready to roll but doesn't have a computer, I won't be logging commuter miles only road miles so it will be a little more challenging.

Week Total - 8
Season Total - 943

Catching up

Haven't checked in in a few days as I have been in NYC on vacation. It was my first time there and it was a good time. The only thing I am bummed about is that I didn't get to check out any music shops, but you can read about the rest of Liane and my adventures here

In other news I finally finished The End of Poverty and within a couple days finished The Polysyllabic Spree

The End of Poverty is a great book that makes a good case for the reasons certain countries cannot get out of the trap of extreme poverty (living with less than $1 a day). Jeffrey Sachs make some very good arguments for what needs to be done to solve these issues and why the west, and especially the US, needs to make the investments he calls for. He is a firm advocate in the idea that capitalism can help everyone provided they are helped onto the lower rungs of the ladder that leads upwards out of poverty.

The Polysyllabic Spree is a completely different kind of book but that should go without saying. It is a collection of Nick Hornby's monthly essays for Believer Magazine which were an influence in my checking out the magazine in the first place. I have found that I tend to like his prose a little better than his fiction but I will be giving High Fidelity a chance here in the upcoming months (provided it doesn't keep getting bumped down the list).

On the nightstand currently
The Art of Cycling (in progress)
Book of Dave
Essays – George Orwell

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

HOLY $%&!

WOW...I am at a loss for words right now.

Seeing the images of the 35W bridge collapse is just jaw dropping. I got home from dropping off a bike at the shop and turned on the news to see the chaos ensuing just a couple miles from my house.

Once it sank in what had happened, I almost needed to sit down. I drive across that bridge practically every car trip I take and perhaps more frightening I ride underneath it several times a week-usually around 6 O'clock.

MY favorite bike routes take me under that bridge along the river road and the only reason I wasn't riding today was that I was lazy with my trip coming up tomorrow and let the heat talk me out of it.

My heart goes out to all those injured and killed in the collapse and I just hope that no one was on the river road at the time either in a vehicle, jogging, or from our extended cycling family here in the twin cities.

more to come I'm sure

Monday, July 30, 2007

look deep within yourself

I realized as I searched through my archives that out of the 100+ posts I have written, the overwhelming majority are about cycling.

what's interesting to me (and probably not you) is that this was really intended as a vehicle for me to write about music and the occasional other topic I was interested in.

I guess it's just funny how you can start down a certain path but don't always arrive where you thought.

Anyway description is updated to hopefully better suit the content, so if there's anyone out there enjoy.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Le Tour - wrap-up and more



In the end the "gentleman's agreement" stood and Alberto Contador rode into Paris and became the youngest yellow jersey winner in approx 25 years with Cadel Evans and Levi Leipheimer rounding out the podium places.

Tom Boonen came in 5th today behind stage winner Daniele Bennati and all his main rivals, which was all he needed to do to win the first green jersey of his illustrious career.

As the tour wound to a close Jonathan Vaughters put an end to some of the rumors and announced that David Millar, Christian Vande Velde, and Dave Zabriskie will be riding for Slipstream next year. Slipstream is really starting to make a strong case for a wildcard next year. It will be interesting o see how they do the rest of this season and next.

Now how about those Hincapie for T-Mobile rumors?

UPDATE: Cycling news is reporting that Iban Mayo has tested positive for EPO on the second rest day of the tour and has been suspended by his team pending the B sample results.

2ND Update: According to a Bicycling Magazine podcast, David Millar will nor only be riding for Slipstream next year but will also become a part owner of the team.

Last week on the bike

Despite the heat I was able to get a decent amount of miles in last week.

Tuesday I tried to go pretty hard after work and was just blown by the heat. I made it up the hill on Ridgeway Pkwy and was just gasping for breath-not good.

I was rained out on Thu when I attempted to go on the Googly Moogly TCBC ride, but finally completed a TCBC ride Sunday when I went on the NE Whirl. Considering it left from a parking lot less than a half mile from my house how could I miss it? It turned out to be a similar route to one I have ridden many times going up Victory Memorial to Theo Wirth and then the greenway. I met a couple very congenial riders and had a very good time. Since I have done the route many before and I may not ride it again but I was glad I went.

In other bike news my single speed arrived on Thu and I am in the process of getting it set up. I need to pick up a freewheel for the flip-flop hub and do some other fine tuning but it should hopefully be ready to go this week though I am not sure if I will get many miles this week as I travel to NYC on THU and I may have a minor groin pull that coupled with the heat may keep me off the bike this week. Boo!!

Last week - 73
Season Total - 935

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Le Tour - Stage 19

After all the drama of the past three weeks it finally came down to this one stage.

Who would be the fastest in the "race of truth"?

IN the end it did live up to the hype with LEvi absolutely crushing the filed and almost taking 2nd place over Cadel coming up just 9 seconds shy.

Meanwhile Cadel slowly took chunks of time of of Contador but in the end it wasn't enough and Contador finished the day 23" ahead and essentially secured the overall victory and the white jersey as well.

The only thing left to be decided may be the green jersey in which it is conceivable that Robbie Hunter could get enough points to overtake Boonen, but it is highly unlikely.

This is definitely one for the record books whether we want it to be or not.

p.s. the rumor of a positive turned out to be just that. and can be blamed on the overactive imagination of the French media.

General classification after stage 19
1 Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team 87.09.18
2 Cadel Evans (Aus) Predictor - Lotto 0.23
3 Levi Leipheimer (USA) Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team 0.31
4 Carlos Sastre Candil (Spa) Team CSC 7.08
5 Haimar Zubeldia Agirre (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi 8.17
6 Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne 11.37
7 Kim Kirchen (Lux) T-Mobile Team 12.18
8 Yaroslav Popovych (Ukr) Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team 12.30
9 Mikel Astarloza Chaurreau (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi 14.14
10 Oscar Pereiro Sio (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne 14.25

Points classification
1 Tom Boonen (Bel) Quickstep - Innergetic 234 pts
2 Robert Hunter (RSA) Barloworld 210
3 Erik Zabel (Ger) Team Milram 206
4 Sébastien Chavanel (Fra) Française des Jeux 161
5 Thor Hushovd (Nor) Crédit Agricole 156

lo-fi overdriven blues

Went to the Clubhouse Jager this evening with some friends to chuck some darts and have a few drinks. Now I haven't been there in a couple months, but the music especially on Fridays and Saturdays has always been pretty borderline (typically DJs playing disco, various eighties, and the like).

I have to say though that I was really surprised when I walked in. The group playing when I walked in was pretty good. Guitar and drums with a vocalist playing rough lofi blues rock a la Black Keys. After a few songs they were done and the next couple of groups confirmed my feeling about the music there, but then Wolf & MY Bad Self went on and WOW. It was the same guitar/drums duo but now the guitarist was singing and I liked them even more than the first combination.

They aren't breaking any new ground but are a good time. I would definitely recommend checking them out sometime. They apparently play monthly at Jitters and at the Jag so there you go.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Le Tour - Stage 18

Another day of recovery ahead of the Decisive TT by the peloton today.

a break that included Merckx, Lefèvre, Casar and Boogerd was able to stretch out to a 17 minute lead at one point before Casar took the stage ahead of Merckx 9 minutes ahead of the peloton. This after crashing into a dog earlier in the stage (what is with dogs and crashes this year?).

IN the bunch sprint for the remaining points Boonen once again took the top spot over Hunter and Zabel sealing up his lead even more. The perhaps big news of the stage was that the final sprint split the peloton and Evans gained 3" on Contador who was left in the second group (does this mean anything for the TT? hmmmmmmmm).

In more depressing news, Cyclingnews.com is reporting that on the final mountain stage one of the jersey wearers tested positive in their doping control. The cast of characters includes Rasmussen, Contador, Soler, and Boonen. They are reporting that it is Soler and that the police have been at the Barloworld hotel.

After putting in such a string showing this is very depressing news indeed and will only go on to further undermine cycling in the world's view.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Le Tour - Stage 17

Today was a fairly low key day with the peloton allowing a break to get up the road a little bit and once the break knew they were free Voigt put in an attack and was followed by Fothen, Bennati and Elmiger.

In the end Bennati to the stage 9 minutes ahead of the peloton, but the sprinters were out on front of the peloton anyway to grab the remaining point with Tom Boonen getting the largest share remaining to consolidate his green jersey lead even further.

In other news no one wore the yellow jersey today but due to the top contenders all finishing comfortably in the group it was awarded to Contador following the stage.

Also the remaining Rabo's did start today but Menchov decided to abandon in the feedzone. That's really too bad as he had hoped to be an outside contender for the yellow or at least a podium before he started working for Rasmussen.

It looks like it will definitely come down to the TT to decide the winner and I have to give Evans the edge over Contador, BUT I think this will also play into Levi's hands as well. Hmmmmmmmmm.

General Classification After Stage 17
1 Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team 80.42.08
2 Cadel Evans (Aus) Predictor - Lotto 1.53
3 Levi Leipheimer (USA) Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team 2.49
4 Carlos Sastre Candil (Spa) Team CSC 6.02
5 Haimar Zubeldia Agirre (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi 6.29
6 Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne 10.18
7 Kim Kirchen (Lux) T-Mobile Team 11.36
8 Yaroslav Popovych (Ukr) Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team 12.50
9 Mauricio Soler (Col) Barloworld 13.31
10 Mikel Astarloza Chaurreau (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi 13.42

Points Classification
1 Tom Boonen (Bel) Quickstep - Innergetic 212 pts
2 Robert Hunter (RSA) Barloworld 190
3 Erik Zabel (Ger) Team Milram 187
4 Sébastien Chavanel (Fra) Française des Jeux 143
5 Thor Hushovd (Nor) Crédit Agricole 140
6 Daniele Bennati (Ita) Lampre - Fondital 125
7 Robert Förster (Ger) Gerolsteiner 109
8 Fabian Cancellara (Swi) Team CSC 93
9 Cadel Evans (Aus) Predictor - Lotto 85
10 Gert Steegmans (Bel) Quickstep - Innergetic 83

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

another day, another doper (stage 16 wrap-up)



...before I could even find the time to write about today's very exciting final mountain stage, word comes out about another rider testing positive.

Turns out that Cristian Moreni of Confidis has tested positive for testosterone and the entire team will be leaving the tour a la Astana. They are also foregoing the B sample test so he must have admitted it to the team once confronted.

It's really to bad for the rest of the team but I think that this is really the way to go as it will hopefully begin to ostracize the riders who do cheat and will hopefully make the other riders more likely to come forward.

UPDATE: Well I suppose I should have seen this coming but Rabobank has pulled Rasmussen from the tour and fired him. Apprently there is evidence that he purposely lied of his whereabouts while training to the UCI and was in Italy when he said he was in Mexico.

It's really too bad because today was a brilliant display of tactics on his part to let Contador blow himself trying to stick an attack. It also showcased another young rider in Soler who has ridden incredibly well the whole tour and rightly deserves the polka dot jersey he now has. Meanwhile Disco now has 2 podium spots and only has to be careful of Cadel Evans (who it must be reminded is the new winner of the TT since Vino tested positive).

More to come tomorrow

Tuesday, July 24, 2007



Well this just f-in sucks!

Vino has tested positive for blood doping after his TT stage win.

Apparently the entire Astana team has withdrawn from the tour following the news.

Of all the people to test positive it had to be him, and after winning 2 out the last 3 stages in the tour.

I know that he has always seemed to care more about himself than his teammates, but this goes well beyond any of that because now it affects the entire peloton. When added to the accusations about Rasmussen the media is only going to be talking about this for the rest of this tour.

There has been a ton of exciting moments and now it all boils down to doping.
He better not be signed by another team ever again and I hope that he is never allowed to compete at a professional level again.

Update: The more I think about it, I fell that in the future any team that has a rider test positive should be immediately barred from the remainder of the competition they are in. Maybe that would drive the fight against doping a little more via peer pressure.

The one positive thing I have to say though is that he cheated and he was caught. This is the point of the controls. Plenty of track and field athletes have been caught for doping and yet you don't here the same things about those sports.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Le Tour - Stage 15

Well at this point I have no idea what to think of Vino. He crashes loses enough time to go out of contention. Then wins the TT to give himself a very outside chance. Then finishes almost 1/2 hour behind the next day. And what the hell wins the next stage in a very convincing manner.

It's great to see him not giving up but maybe he could help out Kloden since that appears to be Astana's only GC hope however remote.

Once again Contador and Rasmussen showed they are the two strongest riders in this year's tour. Unfortunately for Contador he needs some help or he will not be able to catch Rasmussen. As much as I would hate for Levi to give up his ambition, he might have to attack big time Wednesday to try and draw out Rasmussen so Contador has a chance as the TT probably will not provide him enough to catch up.

Meanwhile buses from Rabobank, Team CSC, Discovery Channel and Astana squads were pulled over and searched by French customs agents but nothing was found. Not to be cynical but I think teams probably learned from the Festina affair.

Rest day tomorrow so I might get more done at work.

General classification
1 Michael Rasmussen (Den) Rabobank 69.52.14
2 Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team 2.23
3 Cadel Evans (Aus) Predictor - Lotto 4.00
4 Levi Leipheimer (USA) Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team 5.25
5 Andreas Klöden (Ger) Astana 5.34
6 Carlos Sastre Candil (Spa) Team CSC 6.46
7 Haimar Zubeldia Agirre (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi 7.27
8 Andrey Kashechkin (Kaz) Astana 7.54
9 Kim Kirchen (Lux) T-Mobile Team 8.24
10 Mikel Astarloza Chaurreau (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi 9.21

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Last week on the bike

Got a fair amount of riding in this past week. Adding in my commuting days I rode Tues and Thu-Sun.

Tuesday I got a nice ride with two good hills to switch things up a little.

Thu we went to the velodrome which doesn't have anything to do with riding itself other than inspiring me to, not necessarily race but definitely increase the intensity of my riding. It was also great to see Sarah race and hang with Brian during the event.

The unfortunate thing last week was my aborted attempt to go on a TCBC group ride Sat. We showed up and was ready to unload both L & My bike and she informed me she had forgotten her shoes at home. OY. We went home and rode from NE to the cedar lake-greenway and back. A nice 30 mile route but not the ride I was hoping for.

This week I think I will try and go on the Googly Moogly TCBC ride Thursday, so hopefully the forecast is a little off as it is looking to be hot. Also this is the last week of class, so I should start going over 100 miles per week soon.

Weekly Total - 77
Season Total - 862

Le Tour - Stage 14

how to lead off....

....Don't call it a comeback/stick a fork in Vino/Astana asplode?


....and then there were 2?

The first stage of the Pyrenees definitely offered some excitement and I am kicking myself that I couldn't get somewhere to watch it but was instead stuck with the audio and text feeds (better than nothing I suppose).

The Plateau de Beille has played kingmaker or at least king confirmer in it's previous appearances in the tour with Armstrong and Pantani the only rides to win atop it, but today it looked like a break populated by spanish riders hoping for a win close to home would provide the winner as Astana's Antonio Colom held on until on 6.8km to the finish.

Meanwhile the race to replace continued today-the race to replace Levi that is. Once again Contador was the man to watch as he was part of the game of cat and mouse that went on in the final group that was eventually whittled down to only Rasmussen, Evans, Sastre, Contador, Leipheimer and Soler. This group was itself whittled down to just the men in white and yellow with Contador accelerating away in the final 300m for the stage win.

Will this stage continue as kingmaker? Did Contador or Rasmussen push too hard today? We may find out tomorrow with another brutal day of climbing ahead.

the updated GC looks something like this:

General Classification After Stage 14
1 Michael Rasmussen (Den) Rabobank 64.12.15
2 Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team 2.23
3 Cadel Evans (Aus) Predictor - Lotto 3.04
4 Levi Leipheimer (USA) Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team 4.29
5 Andreas Klöden (Ger) Astana 4.38
6 Carlos Sastre Candil (Spa) Team CSC 5.50
7 Andrey Kashechkin (Kaz) Astana 6.58
8 Mikel Astarloza Chaurreau (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi 8.25
9 Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne 9.45
10 Yaroslav Popovych (Ukr) Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team 10.55

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Le Tour - Stage 13

The first TT of the tour had a number of surprises not the least of which was Rasmussen keeping the yellow jersey and Vino absolutely kicking ass and winning the stage. Moreau and Valverde were surprises of a different sort both turning in disapointing times.

With a blast of rain for the middle chunk of riders, times were slow due to safety or more commonly due to crashes, though both Kloden and Kash managed to finish 3rd and 4th despite their crashes.

Cadel Evans had a great TT putting himself into second overall just a minute back.

Meanwhile over at Disco, it looks more and more like Contador is their man, doing better than expected while Levi did worse than expected. Given that they are both in great position and there is still a TT left to go so it remains to be seen what Levi can do.

Tomorrow begins the Pyrenees and Vino has promised to attack in the mountains, but will it be tomorrow? Who knows. Personally I think it's time for Levi to take it if he really wants it, but I am not sure if he can do it.

General classification after stage 13
1 Michael Rasmussen (Den) Rabobank 58.46.39
2 Cadel Evans (Aus) Predictor - Lotto 1.00
3 Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team 2.31
4 Andreas Klöden (Ger) Astana 2.34
5 Levi Leipheimer (USA) Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team 3.37
6 Andrey Kashechkin (Kaz) Astana 4.23
7 Carlos Sastre Candil (Spa) Team CSC 4.45
8 Mikel Astarloza Chaurreau (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi 5.07
9 Alexandre Vinokourov (Kaz) Astana 5.10
10 Kim Kirchen (Lux) T-Mobile Team 5.29

Friday, July 20, 2007

Le Tour - Stage 12

Well, well, well...another stage win for Tornado Tom (and the 4th for Quickstep) prior to the first time trial and the "fun" of the Pyrenees.

I missed the whole stage due to a very badly placed 2 hour meeting at work, so I don't have a whole lot to work with, but...

The peloton let a two man break get a good amount of time until just before the final climb when Liquigas decided to reel them in, but it wasn't until Lampre, Française de Jeux, Quick.Step, and Credit Agricole started pulling that they were finally able to bring in just about the 1km marker.

From there Quickstep did what they do best and led out Boonen for the win over Zabel and Hunter. With the win Tom got a big boost towards locking down the green jersey, but missing out on any points yesterday will still leave a little wiggle room for Zabel and Hunter to try and fight.

Also in big but probably way too early news, Tom told Velonews that he is planning on racing the Tour of California next year (I think I need to book my flight now-woo hoo)

No movement in the GC today but with the time trial tomorrow, don't expect Rasmussen to be in yellow tomorrow night (with all the rumors and accusations going around will he even finish the tour?).

General Classification After Stage 12
1 Michael Rasmussen (Den) Rabobank 57.37.10
2 Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne 2.35
3 Iban Mayo Diez (Spa) Saunier Duval - Prodir 2.39
4 Cadel Evans (Aus) Predictor - Lotto 2.41
5 Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team 3.08
6 Carlos Sastre Candil (Spa) Team CSC 3.39
7 Andreas Klöden (Ger) Astana 3.50
8 Levi Leipheimer (USA) Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team 3.53
9 Kim Kirchen (Lux) T-Mobile Team 5.06
10 Mikel Astarloza Chaurreau (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi 5.20

Points Classification
1 Tom Boonen (Bel) Quickstep - Innergetic 195 pts
2 Robert Hunter (RSA) Barloworld 175
3 Erik Zabel (Ger) Team Milram 174
4 Thor Hushovd (Nor) Crédit Agricole 132
5 Sébastien Chavanel (Fra) Française des Jeux 127

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Le Tour - Stage 11

Well how do you like that my prediction that Robbie Hunter would take the stage turned out to be correct after all.

In something of a surprise the peloton seemed reluctant to let any break get away and kept the pace pretty high. Eventually a small break was able to make it off the front until the Astana boys revved it up so high that the peloton split. The big losers turned out to be Zabel, Hushovd, and Moreau who couldn't keep up and may have burned up too much energy today trying, unsuccessfully, to catch back onto the main group.

Meanwhile Quickstep helped keep the pace high to stop any attacks from the peloton (Vino tried his luck with 4k to go to no avail) in hopes of getting another stage from Boonen. Unfortunately my boy got caught up in a crash with less than 1km to go and ended up out of the points chase.

From there Hunter was able to hold off Cancellera for the stage win and more proof that Barloworld was worth the invite. The win also puts him ahead of Zabel into second place for the Green Jersey.

General Classification After Stage 11
1 Michael Rasmussen (Den) Rabobank 53.11.38
2 Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne 2.35
3 Iban Mayo Diez (Spa) Saunier Duval - Prodir 2.39
4 Cadel Evans (Aus) Predictor - Lotto 2.41
5 Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team 3.08
6 Carlos Sastre Candil (Spa) Team CSC 3.39
7 Andreas Klöden (Ger) Astana 3.50
8 Levi Leipheimer (USA) Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team 3.53
9 Kim Kirchen (Lux) T-Mobile Team 5.06
10 Mikel Astarloza Chaurreau (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi 5.20

Points Classification
1 Tom Boonen (Bel) Quickstep - Innergetic 160 pts
2 Robert Hunter (RSA) Barloworld 149
3 Erik Zabel (Ger) Team Milram 144
4 Thor Hushovd (Nor) Crédit Agricole 110
5 Sébastien Chavanel (Fra) Française des Jeux 108

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Le Tour - Stage 10

Well as might have been expected as the first day after the Alps, today's stage didn't see a whole lot of action and in the end a break was allowed to slip away and take the stage. Of course the heat also put a damper on the peloton wanting to do more than keep the break on a shortish leash (about 10 min it looked like for most of the day).

I do love that not one of the riders I selected made it into the break. Once the break whittled itself down to the five who would contend for the win I was hoping that Jens Voigt could do it, but it as the stage wound down it seemed that unless he was bluffing Cedric Vasseur was a prime candidate for the win. He kept his pulls down to a minimum and let the others (mainly Voigt) where themselves out before a nice move in the sprint to take the win (the third of the tour for my boys in Quickstep).

There were no changes to the overall with Rasmussen staying in yellow, and it looks like Boonen made sure to come in ahead of Zabel and Hushovd for some of the points that remained on the stage so he maintained the lead in the green jersey as well.

Tomorrow is a VERY flat stage so my money is on Robbie Hunter to finally pull one off and matcher Soler in getting a stage win. Of course I would like to see Tornado Tom pull off another win, and Zabel will be hungry for the stage as well. It should be an exciting finish

General classification after stage 10
1 Michael Rasmussen (Den) Rabobank 49.23.48
2 Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne 2.35
3 Iban Mayo Diez (Spa) Saunier Duval - Prodir 2.39
4 Cadel Evans (Aus) Predictor - Lotto 2.41
5 Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team 3.08
6 Christophe Moreau (Fra) AG2r Prévoyance 3.18
7 Carlos Sastre Candil (Spa) Team CSC 3.39
8 Andreas Klöden (Ger) Astana 3.50
9 Levi Leipheimer (USA) Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team 3.53
10 Kim Kirchen (Lux) T-Mobile Team 5.06

Points classification
1 Tom Boonen (Bel) Quickstep - Innergetic 160 pts
2 Erik Zabel (Ger) Team Milram 144
3 Robert Hunter (RSA) Barloworld 114
4 Thor Hushovd (Nor) Crédit Agricole 110
5 Sébastien Chavanel (Fra) Française des Jeux 108

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Le Tour - Stage 9

Thankfully Cyclingfans.com updated the link to Eurosport's live audio coverage so I was able to listen to the tour AND get some work done this morning.

Huge win for Barloworld with Soler attacking and staying away despite Contador and Popovych doing their best to bring him back. Contador was impressive as well just taking off from the group of favorites on the Col Du Galibier.

For Vino however a different story. He couldn't respond to an attack by Valverde on the final climb and ended up finishing 2:30 minutes back from a group containing most of the GC contenders. Unfortunately that attack also dropped my pick for the stage Moreau, though he did fight his way back in the end (at least I was right that Rasmussen would keep his hold on the yellow jersey and most likely will for the next couple of days at least). Then Valverde attacked again at the end to finish 2nd over Cadel Evans who also looked very strong today.

For those wanting another American winner, I have to say I haven't been impressed by Levi at all. Maybe it is some grand strategy to slowly let the other contenders wear themselves out before he attacks in the Pyrenees, which would make it seem like Discovery can't come up with a new strategy post-Lace, or maybe he just can't do it. He was dropped by Valverde's final attack on the finishing climb but he is in the top ten so it remains to be seen.

For tomorrow I think Popovych could do it if he didn't kill himself today, otherwise maybe Schumacher, Chavanal or even Millar.

General Classification
1 Michael Rasmussen (Den) Rabobank 43.52.48
2 Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne 2.35
3 Iban Mayo Diez (Spa) Saunier Duval - Prodir 2.39
4 Cadel Evans (Aus) Predictor - Lotto 2.41
5 Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team 3.08
6 Christophe Moreau (Fra) AG2r Prévoyance 3.18
7 Carlos Sastre Candil (Spa) Team CSC 3.39
8 Andreas Klöden (Ger) Astana 3.50
9 Levi Leipheimer (USA) Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team 3.53
10 Kim Kirchen (Lux) T-Mobile Team 5.06

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Le Tour - Rest day wrap-up

well being out of town I fell a little behind in my Tour updates but today's a perfect time to catch up and recap.

so on to stage 5:
well first I may be done trying to predict as I was completely off. I really thought that Valverde might flex a little even if he didn't try to win, but no. In the end it was typical of the previous stages this year and a break got away and was pulled back in time for another unorganized sprint finish with Filippo Pozzato taking the stage win. The big news however had to be Vino crashing hard AND Kloden crashing.

Stage 6:
Well what more can I say except I finally was able to watch a stage of the tour and who wins? That's right Tornado Tom. I only caught about the last hour, but Bradley Wiggins had an awesome solo break that went for almost all of the stage. IN the end it didn't look like Boonen had a chance as the Quickstep train seemed to be having problems getting together but Boonen didn't let that stop him. The man who has been criticized for not being able to produce in the more chaotic sprints did just that. It looked like 100m or so he was cut off and had to break but he cut back inside and took the win and the green jersey back. Awesome.

Stage 7:
I was also able to watch the first mountain stage of the tour and it was another great day to watch some cycling. Linus Gerdeman held his own in a break that you expected him to be dropped from and instead after bridging up to an attack from the leading group he took off like it was nothing on the final climb of the day. After getting to the top in front of a fast pursuing LAndaluze, Gerdeman just bombed down the descent and took the stage and the yellow jersey. Awesome stuff. In other news all the favorites kept pretty much together making it look like most are waiting for the Pyrenees.

Stage 8:
One word Rasmussen or do you prefer Chicken. Once again proving his mettle in the mountains, Michael Rasmussen owned this stage taking over both the climbing and the yellow jersey. Gerdeman gave a respectable ride to try and keep the yellow but to no avail. In other parts of the peloton, Christophe Moreau was attack after attack out of a small gruppo with Cadel Evans, Valverde, Iban Mayo, and Fränk Schleck but he couldn't seem to get away. Meanwhile Iban Mayo was able to escape and finish second ahead on the stage. Perhaps the biggest news was Michael Rogers crashing out of the tour from the breakaway. the way he was riding he wouldn't have caught chicken but probably would have gotten the yellow jersey.

Also Stuart O'Grady had a frightening crash with reports he broke several ribs, punchered a lung, broke his collarbone and shoulder blade as well as several vertebrae. Sounds like he is doing ok in the hospital and is in good spirits. Hopefully he will have a quick recovery.

I have to say it was surprising that Levi didn't do more to distance himself from Vino but instead is "waiting" for the Pyrenees. He should be attacking while Vino is hurt but maybe he really couldn't. In other Vino news, Kloden should have left him behind but apparently is loyal enough not to. too bad for him.

Finally, I have to say massive props go out to Robbie McEwen. I have felt that despite being incredibly talented he is also incredibly cocky, and thus haven't been a big fan of his. However I have a whole new respect for him after this tour. First he crashes on stage 1 and then just destroys the rest of the sprinters to win the stage and then in stage 8 even though he knew he couldn't finish the stage in the time limit, he still refused to abandon.

The tour is really starting to seem wide open and more exciting than it has been for years, so I will make a prediciton for Tuesday. I see Moreau attacking again and maybe holding out for the win, but Rasmussen will hold the jersey for another day.

So there you have it.

General classification after stage 8
1 Michael Rasmussen (Den) Rabobank 39.37.42
2 Linus Gerdemann (Ger) T-Mobile Team 0.43
3 Iban Mayo Diez (Spa) Saunier Duval - Prodir 2.39
4 Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne 2.51
5 Andrey Kashechkin (Kaz) Astana 2.52
6 Cadel Evans (Aus) Predictor - Lotto 2.53
7 Christophe Moreau (Fra) AG2r Prévoyance 3.06
8 Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team 3.10
9 Frank Schleck (Lux) Team CSC 3.14

Points classification
1 Tom Boonen (Bel) Quickstep - Innergetic 147 pts
2 Erik Zabel (Ger) Team Milram 134
3 Robert Hunter (RSA) Barloworld 103
4 Thor Hushovd (Nor) Crédit Agricole 101
5 Robbie McEwen (Aus) Predictor - Lotto 97

Last week on the bike

Last week was pretty minimal in the riding department as I left for Chicago on Thu and did not return until Sun afternoon (surprisingly in a good way I saw tons of commuters).

That being said I was able to get out Tuesday after work for a short ride in the awful wind (25-30 mph and swirling) and I began commuting on Wed now so I can get home form class earlier.

Then tonight L & I went on a short easy ride just to stretch our legs after being cramped up in a car for 6 hours.

I plan on logging a lot of hours this week and I think we are going to the velodrome on Thu as well.

Weekly Total - 33
Season Total - 785

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Le Tour - Stage 4

Well so far I have been wrong about every stage winner until today. I don't know why, but with about 90km to go I looked at the course and the previous winners and of course crashers and figured it was about time that Hushovd won a stage and look what happened. And with the time bonus for the stage win he is in second overall (though that is looking likely to change tomorrow).

Today was pretty similar to yesterday's stage only with a few bumps, granted bumps rated cat 4 but looking ahead to next week's climbs, bumps they were. So we got a small break that stayed away for most of the stage and then were caught in time for the mass sprint.

It was nice to see Chavanel not take the max points on the last climb to leave Auge in the fabulous polka dot jersey.

It remains to be seen if all this work protecting the yellow jersey by CSC will come back to haunt them in the mountains, but it's nice to see Cancellera still in yellow.

Tomorrow's stage is being compared to Liège-Bastogne-Liège so it might be a chance for Valverde to show that it isn't just hype (of course just finishing would be a big step for him I guess). personally I'm gonna go with Velonews' other possibilities-Schleck or Schumacher.

General Classification
1 Fabian Cancellara (Swi) Team CSC 19.49.55
2 Thor Hushovd (Nor) Crédit Agricole 0.29
3 Andreas Klöden (Ger) Astana 0.33
4 David Millar (GBr) Saunier Duval - Prodir 0.41
5 George Hincapie (USA) Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team 0.43
6 Bradley Wiggins (GBr) Cofidis - Le Crédit par Téléphone
7 Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Cofidis - Le Crédit par Téléphone 0.44
8 Vladimir Gusev (Rus) Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team 0.45
9 Tom Boonen (Bel) Quickstep - Innergetic 0.46
10 Vladimir Karpets (Rus) Caisse d'Epargne

And of course my boy Boonen held onto the Green Jersey for another day

Points Classification
1 Tom Boonen (Bel) Quickstep - Innergetic 98 pts
2 Erik Zabel (Ger) Team Milram 86
3 Robbie McEwen (Aus) Predictor - Lotto 84
4 Robert Hunter (RSA) Barloworld 81
5 Thor Hushovd (Nor) Crédit Agricole 79

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Le Tour Stage 3

Well that was a surprise.

After perhaps one of the most boring TDF stages I have ever followed--hours and hours of yep those 2 guys are still ahead by 3 minutes or is it 4--it ends with some excitement after all.

With Auge and Willems attacking and eventually joining the other attack on the road, I thought that one of them was going to kick a little mud up in the faces of the complacent big boys of the peloton for not actually working today, but out of nowhere Cancellera takes off and leaves the rest of the sprinters in his dust.

Awesome. I think we all know that he won't be holding the yellow jersey once the tour hits the mountains so it's great to see him put enough time into the rest to hold it until then. I also love that it shows he is moving beyond just being a prologue guy in the tour.

Oh and add in Boonen coming in several places up on McEwen to increase his lead and hold onto the Green Jersey

General classification after stage 3

1 Fabian Cancellara (Swi) Team CSC 15.12.08
2 Andreas Klöden (Ger) Astana 0.33
3 David Millar (GBr) Saunier Duval - Prodir 0.41
4 George Hincapie (USA) Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team 0.43
5 Bradley Wiggins (GBr) Cofidis - Le Crédit par Téléphone
6 Vladimir Gusev (Rus) Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team 0.45
7 Tom Boonen (Bel) Quickstep - Innergetic 0.46
8 Vladimir Karpets (Rus) Caisse d'Epargne
9 Thor Hushovd (Nor) Crédit Agricole 0.49
10 Mikel Astarloza Chaurreau (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi

Points classification

1 Tom Boonen (Bel) Quickstep - Innergetic 80 pts
2 Robbie McEwen (Aus) Predictor - Lotto 74
3 Erik Zabel (Ger) Team Milram 62
4 Romain Feillu (Fra) Agritubel 57
5 Fabian Cancellara (Swi) Team CSC 54

Monday, July 09, 2007

Le Tour Stage 2

As expected stage 2 ended in another exciting sprint, but the surprising part was who won the stage and who he beat - Gert Steegmans over Tornado Tom.

This flat stage across parts of Belgium looked to be a perfect opportunity for the Quickstep to flex in front of the home crowd. I haven't seen the video from the finish but it sounds like either Boonen didn't hit it quite hard enough or that he gave the stage to Steegmans. At least that second explanation is the one they're going with. In the end Tom took over the green jersey from McEwen and it remains to be seen whether he can hold onto it before the tour hits the Alps.

Meanwhile several riders appeared injured in the crash that happened just inside 3km to go-Cancellara being chief among them but perhaps more importantly given who they support Freddy Rodriguez and George Hincapie looked pretty banged up as well.

General Classification
1 Fabian Cancellara (Swi) Team CSC 8.36.13
2 Andreas Klöden (Ger) Astana 0.13
3 David Millar (GBr) Saunier Duval - Prodir 0.21
4 George Hincapie (USA) Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team 0.23
5 Bradley Wiggins (GBr) Cofidis - Le Crédit par Téléphone
6 Vladimir Gusev (Rus) Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team 0.25
7 Tom Boonen (Bel) Quickstep - Innergetic 0.26
8 Vladimir Karpets (Rus) Caisse d'Epargne
9 Thor Hushovd (Nor) Crédit Agricole 0.29
10 Alexandre Vinokourov (Kaz) Astana 0.30

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Le Tour begins

Well Robbie McEwen did it again.

After a prologue that wasn't overly surprising except maybe for hope well Kloden did. He is the favorite in my book to win the tour this year. I just think that Vino will crack, as will Valverde in my mind. also as much as many on this side of the pond want him to, I just don't think Levi can pull it off.

I wouldn't mind seeing Evans or Moreau on top of the podium in the end, but I wouldn't put money on it. I think we'll have a better ides though after stage 8 or 9.

Meanwhile today's opening stage, wow. You would normally think that crashing and hurting your wrist 20km from the finish would rule you out for a stage win but Robbie showed why he is the favorite to win the green jersey in my mind today. I watched the highlights of the sprint finish and it was just sick how he accelerated past everyone like they were standing still. Unfortunately that included my main man Boonen who was also beaten to the line by Husholvd. With a mediocre Prologue, it's would take a lot for Boonen to get the yellow so I think he'll have to concentrate on stage wins and just surviving the second week.

Hopefully McEwen will be OK after his crash today as I would hate for something like that to take him out of contention for the green jersey.

Last week on the bike

despite my experience on the group ride and the heat this week it was a very good week on the bike.

I wasn't able to get out on Tuesday, but L & I rode about 20 miles on Wed morning. Was a good pretty fast ride until L hit a bump while eating her powerbar and dropped it. She had waited too long to eat and this did not help things. Oh well, we took it easy and got home fine without someone getting too crabby.

I was able to commute on Thu and Friday this week which was nice and add in my ride Thu night and rides both Sat and Sun and it was a hectic week.

Of course I won't be getting hardly any miles in this week due to a trip to chi-town thu-sun but week after it'll be back in the saddle hopefully with at least one group ride to show for it (and I better not flat on that one)

Weekly total - 81
Season total - 752

Saturday, July 07, 2007

If something can go wrong...

So I have been thinking of trying out some group rides for a while as I kind of feel plateaued in my biking as well as wanting to learn some new rides.

With some prodding from a friend (thanks sara) I decided this weekend was it and I wasn't going to put it off any longer. So I went on the Sonny Side Up ride through TCBC today. I figured it was only 25 miles and a "B" ride which is the level I have been riding alone, so perfect.

Well the group splintered immediately with some faster riders just taking off and I missed that bus but I was definitely faster than the B pace so i settled in with some people that seemed to be going my pace and everything was fine. I kind of lost people when we climbed Franklin St hill on the river road, but I am so used to that hill by now it doesn't even faze me. Eventually another rider caught up and we were having a good conversation when I heard a hiss coming from my back tire.

yep wouldn't you know it, my first group ride and I punctured halfway through. Luckily the guy I was with stayed to help out as I didn't realize how inept I was at changing a flat (patch didn't want to stick, co2 cartridge didn't fire, etc.).

so I had to bail out as the trip home was closer than the finish.


hopefully my next attempt goes a little better

Friday, July 06, 2007

Tornado Tom

We'll see if I can get this to work, but velonews had some video of Tom Boonen's pre-Tour press conference. I found his comments on the UCI rider's pledge to be interesting. AS many other commentators have noted, it's kind of ridiculous that riders don't have some sort of union or say in all of this. Good goal, but bad methods

Edit: Well this didn't work out quite as I would have liked as I can't seem to be able to shrink it down to fit in the normal space. hmmmmmm. anyone with any suggestions can feel free to chime in. thanks

long and winding road

I just finished reading The Road and though many other people have sung it’s praises (it’s an Oprah book club selection after all), I have to add my 2 cents as well because it’s been a while since I was so taken with a novel and could barely put it down. Due to my school, work, and biking schedules I don’t have a lot of free time to read but I made time for this book staying up way later than advisable to finish it in 4 days (fast when most books of similar length take 3-4 weeks usually).

What I found fascinating is that when you boil it down, it is a simple timeless story of a father trying to understand his son and raise him the best he can. It reminded me of the relationship that I have with my own father in a way or at least the relationship.

When I finished high school I seemed destined for the standard path of a college degree before I knew what I really wanted in life and then some job and probably a house in the ‘burbs, but at the last minute I veered off that path. Convinced my parents to let me attend school for recording engineering which wasn’t really what I wanted to do but was closer and seemed like a good option. I then began to get a little more serious about DJing and trying to make a go at that. All this time my relationship with my father went from mediocre to rocky. Once I wasn’t in school he kept trying to convince me to get a job that would pay me good money but wouldn’t necessarily leave time to pursue a DJ career. His view was that you needed to work hard and make money first and then if you had time or energy you could pursue “fun” stuff.

From my view, it was important to follow your passion and to not settle for something because you were afraid to fail. Though we did have fights over this, since I rarely saw him it really just made us drift apart even more and I found less and less time for him which only exacerbated it.

What does this have to do with a novel about a father and son struggling to survive in a post-nuclear holocaust landscape? I guess I just connected with the father doing what he knew how to do—survive and keep his son safe. This while his son gives people the benefit of the doubt despite everything he has seen. The father thinks his son is just being naive about people but it may be that his son is looking at life in the only way that can bring people together instead of tearing them apart even more.

Beyond that I found Cormac McCarthy’s descriptions of the landscape and the people within it to be both breathtakingly and heartbreakingly real. I wasn’t too sure if I wanted to read this when it came out last year and when I did put it on my amazon list finally, the following week it was announced as the next Oprah Book Club selection and that made me rethink it, but I figured that she had selected quite a few other good books, so what the hell. Very glad that I did read it and if you haven’t I HIGHLY recommend it.

My current book queue:
The End of Poverty (in progress)
The Polysyllabic Spree (in progress – balances the dry second half of End of Poverty)
Book of Dave
Essays – George Orwell