Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Lance to Ride Leadville.

Pssssst. Hey Floyd, word on the trail is Lance is gonna ride Leadville. Dust off your mountain bike and kick his arse for me ok? Oh, and tease him about that sleeveless thing he's wearing.

Right Side of the Road

Ahhh, late summer. Even now when August rolls around I start getting that antsy feeling with all those back to school sales and such. It's also a time when the racing season begins to slow down. What do you do with all that fitness? Cyclocross? Ohhh no no no. Time to find a ride for a cause. This year my family reunion is taking place at my Sister's in Ohio and she thought it would be cool if I did a charity ride. She's ridden this before it seems, and it's the same weekend, so I'm gonna do it too. 64 Miles, "Hills of Fire" (Ohio has hills?) for ALS.

I'm in.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Congrats Sastre!

The Yellow Jersey gave Carlos Sastre wings today, pretty much ensuring his victory in this year's Tour de France. After so many tries I think he deserves it. Evans is in 2nd for the 2nd year. I feel a bit sorry for Cadel Evans, but he's going to have to find a way to be more aggressive if he wants to wear the Maillot Jeune in Paris.

"Ride Lots" - Eddy Merckx

I was just reading Kyle's post on weight and training and found the blog entry and especially the comments pretty good, some a bit uncomfortable even. Check it out if you get a chance. That made me think of my own training plan for next year and how it's going to differ slightly from this year's plan. I happen to think I've done more right than wrong as far as my own riding (the racing not so much) this year so the it won't be that different. How can I possibly judge the plan's relative success? Easy. I'm still riding and it's almost August. Most of it's been based on the Chris Carmichael and Ed Burke books I bought last winter. They tend to have a pretty good practical approach for guys like me juggling a job and family as well as riding/racing, yet give me some focus I haven't had since my running days.

The most important part of it all? It's riding a bike. If you can't have fun doing that, don't bother.

Today's Ride: Friday's are generally my really easy recovery ride day. I ride for fun on Fridays or don't ride at all sometimes. It's the best training ride of the week.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

I Wanna be on Dutch Mountain.

There's something magical in those words L'Alpe d'Huez. In many ways it can be seen as the center of the cycling world. If I was there today I'd definitely wanna be hanging out with the Dutch contingent on Dutch Corner, listening to Euro Pop, drinking beer and waiting for the caravan, then the race to come through. Hey, my favorite color is orange and I'm part Dutch. Do you think they'd let me in?

Monday, July 21, 2008

Rest Day Goings On.

Filippo and Manuel HAVE to be roommates. Check out the Tri-Looking kit!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Comeback Criterium Race Recap.

Today my wife, two girls and I packed a cooler full of food, drinks and a few beers and ventured up to the Lancaster County, Pennsylvania town of New Holland. The place where they make some really great tractors and farm equipment like this. In fact, the course was laid out on part of the gigantic New Holland American Headquarters and factory campus. Doing this race was kind of spur of the moment, but with a few emails back and forth to Rich Rouff I was pre-registered and ready to go. Speaking of Rich, this was the first time I got to meet the man in person and he seems to be a great guy. I wish him the best of luck in his endeavor of bringing quality racing to the Mid-Atlantic region. This race was a beauty. Great location, great course, parking next to the course, smoothly run, and well attended. There's not much more I could ask out of an event. Ok, now onto the race.

CAT 4 Re-Debut: Re-Debut? Yep. I was a Cat 4 rider once before, when I was much younger and much faster than I am now. This was my first Cat 4 race in over 15 years and it felt good to be back. I've been training and racing now since December last year and though still overweight by a few lbs, (165lbs vs 148lbs back then) the legs and heart still seem to have some life left. This was my 7th race of the year and I'm having FUN! This Crit's name was The Comeback Criterium. How fitting as it was a comeback of sorts for me also, to Cat 4 anyway.

Start: I had a good warmup riding around in the brutal mid 90's heat and humidity with Dutch Wheelman Emmett Oberrender. We made it over to the start with a few minutes to spare but the line was already forming. I got out on the course towards the back in a field of about 30-35 racers. We got underway and I was able to check out the course for the first time. We were going to do 23 laps. Right after the start it made a 90 degree left followed by some long curves, two more lefts, a sweeping right, then up around a left direction semi-circle slightly uphill to the finish straight. The course was fast except for a pretty bad headwind on the back half of the course and some various crosswinds. I was mid-pack about halfway through the first lap but got shuffled all the way to the back of the field by the time the first lap was over. The feeling was that I'm going to have to be ALOT more aggressive out here and move my way up.

At one point I grabbed onto the wheel of Ken my teammate as he sped by and we moved up the inside towards the front about 5 laps into the race. I saw Emmett doing alot of work up there in the wind so I went around him to the front and did a hard pull to see if these crosswinds could break up the field into a more manageable chunk. I was up there all the way to the start/finish line, and pedaled hard through the first curve before looking back over my shoulder. I was all alone! Where'd everyone go? So I put my head down and continued on my own. On the back straight I noticed two guys trying to bridge the gap, That made my day since help would've come in handy. One I recognized from Spinners and some other guy on his wheel that looked dead already. I yelled back to them to get on my wheel so we could work together and the Spinners guy pulled them both up to me. Spinners guy and I started trading pulls and worked pretty well together. The other guy dropped off our wheels and drifted back to the pack I guess, so it was just the two of us. We built a pretty sizable lead and it looked like we JUST might be able to keep it going. I was feeling good and Spinners guy was strong. We worked well together, lapping guys and trading pulls until about 6 laps to go, but with the headwinds and the 2 vs 20 odds, soon we noticed a group of 10-12 trying to bridge up to us. Damn! But,... I did whittle down the field.

They caught us with 5 to go and I hopped on the 3rd wheel behind a Shirk's Jersey and some other guy. The pace picked up, but I managed to get some recovery in anyway after that long breakaway so things were going nicely at this point. I just sat in for two laps recovering when two guys took off FAST up the road. I was looking around and nobody looked like they wanted to chase. Further and further up the road they went, I could see the race slipping away so I jumped and bridged up to them. I looked back and noticed that I had towed the wheelsuckers behind and it was up to a bunch of 12 again for the mad finishing 2 laps. The pace got really fast now and nobody could shake anyone. I was pretty spent at this point but dug deep, stayed with the front group and actually passed a few guys at the end to finish 8th.

Reflecting on the race I probably could've played it smarter and ended up with a better finish overall maybe, but I'm happy that I was able to be a deciding factor in the race. I started the decisive breakaway, staying away for 8-10 laps, hanging on after being caught by a smaller bunch, and finishing top 10. I'm itching for the next chance to race and feel like my form is really coming around now. Kinda late, but it still feels good. What I really want is a race with hills.

Tour Anticipation.

I was just thinking it's morning in France right now. People are having their morning coffee, reading the morning paper and taking their dogs out for their morning walk, if they do that kind of thing. Today's stage 15 (Embrun to Prato Nevoso) will be crossing over into Italy and includes two major climbs. With a rest day following, I have a feeling it's going to be a decisive stage. Let's see what happens. Go Christian Vande Velde! By the way, congrats to Oscar Freire on his stage 14 win. It looks like he'll be wearing green all the way to Paris.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Riding for the Fun of It.

Tonight I went out for just over an hour for an easy spin. After two pretty hard days in a row it felt great to just ride for fun. I think I might take a drive up to Lancaster County Sunday for the Comeback Criterium. I haven't done a crit yet this year so it should be fun.

Sure, The Doping Sucks, but,...

When you see images like this it's easy to fall in love with bike racing all over again. Amazing.

Ebay Find of the Day.

While browsing ebay earlier today I ran into this "almost new" Scott Addict Team Edition with custom "Cobra" paint job. They say it's so light and responsive it makes you climb like you're an Italian cycling superstar on EPO,... oh wait.

Except for the total cheese cobra motif and the ugly cobra seat it's pretty cool.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Ride Fast, Fix Flat, Ride Fast.

Tonight's group ride had it share of fast riding and Tour Talk, but the highlight for me was definitely the flat tire, NOT! Thanks for the CO2 Clark to get me back on the road relatively fast. I owe you one. Anyway, with the ride to and from the ride to home I figure it was about 2.5hours and 50 miles. I think I'm gonna try getting into a race this weekend. I need to race more.

Ricco's a Freakin Bastard!

The Doper Riccardo Ricco Blows. Throw the asswipe in a Turkish jail and let him rot.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Poor Cadel.

The way Cadel is handling the pesky media while holding the yellow jersey will either fire him up for once, or diminish his chances. Johan Bruyneel seems to think it's too early for Cadel. I agree. I still think he'll win though.

Beware the Guy Smiling.

Is it me or is Christian Vande Velde smiling here. I mean, it's the end of the stage, these guys have been hammering away for hours and hours up mountains that would kill mere mortals, and Vande Velde is smiling? Don't look over that sore shoulder of yours Cadel or you just might see this and crack.

Nice Day for a Ride Wednesday.

I went into work early today so I could get an early start on this evening's ride. What a perfect day out there. I've been busy losing stuff lately. First I lost my helmet, then I lost the keys to my car yesterday at work. Helmet's gone, but I got the keys back thanks to the security guys at work. Anyway, it wrecked the time I did have for my ride last night so I was itching to ride tonight. I went 2.5 hours (47-50 mile-ish) and felt pretty good out there, saw a lot of other riders, horses and even a few artists painting next to a barn along the route. That's always a nice site.

Anyway, a couple hours riding beats a couple hours watching TV any day of the week. I'll take it.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Tour de France Day Off.

Have you ever wondered what they do on their day off? Wonder no more as I've got a scoop that at least one team (Caisse d'Epargne) uses their day off with paintball wars. Here's Valverde and his custom made Pinarello mini-tank. When we caught up with Alejandro this morning he was getting ready to battle against the Schleck brothers in their Cervelo Panzer (they ride together, how cute!) and George Hincapie in his Pershing.

The Schleck brothers were in the middle of an argument as to who should drive so we headed over to the Caisse d'Epargne encampment for a statement instead.

Alejandro had this to say. "Some guys go out clubbing, but since Tom Boonen isn't here the disco scene kinda lost it's allure, and let's face it, discos in France are still stuck on ABBA. In Spain we are more into Tiesto Shakira Remixes. So,... we brought our paintball tanks along for the tour. Plus, this gives me a chance to get back some of what I lost out there on the road the last few days."

I never tried paintball myself, but this sounds like fun.

Results Update: It's 9:16PM local time in France and it looks as though Jens Voigt, forgoing the mini-tank for a paintball blowgun and fighting totally nude except for team CSC/Saxo Bank Camo bodypaint has won the 2008 paint wars battle. "It was tough, but after 8 hours, Bernie finally threw up the white flag." said Jens. Bernard Hinault couldn't be reached for comment, but vowed he'd return next year to "take back the title." The mostly French crowd of spectators was nonetheless proud of Hinault, as he lasted longer against the German than all of France did during WWII.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Giro di Coppi Reschedule

I got the news that the Giro di Coppi is being rescheduled. For me, it turns out not to be that big of a deal. Personally, I was really hoping to do this race as it's tough course would be a welcome change from all the crit style racing that goes on around here and up in PA. Me, being a complete bonehead signed up for the CatV then proceeded to upgrade to CatIV, basically putting me out of the race due to it selling out faster than a U2 concert.

Maybe by some miracle I can get in the CatIV, but at this point I'm not counting on it.

Tonight's Ride: 1.5hours semi-easy. Tomorrow should be a hard ride if I feel up to it.

Boring? Maybe, but He's in Yellow.

After yesterday's near disaster fall for Cadel Evans, you just knew it was gonna be interesting today. Well, Cadel answered most questions people may have had as to his condition with a brave performance today to take the yellow jersey by 1 second over Frank Schleck of CSC/Saxo Bank. My new favorite Christian Vande Velde of Garmin-Chipotle came in with Evans and is still holding down the 3rd spot.

Observations: Ricco is a serious threat as long as there's mountains to be climbed, but can he TT well enough? Evan's made a few jumps today to try and drop his group but was not successful. Is he in trouble? People aren't sure what to make of Vande Velde right now but the longer this race goes with him hanging around like this,... Who Knows? We may have seen the last of Valverde today, unless it was just a bad day and he comes back after the day off with a big one.

Except for the stupid positive drug test for the Liquigas rider Beltran, this tour is turning out to be VERY exciting.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

How Far Will He Go?

Christian Vande Velde is sitting in 3rd and seems to be hanging on pretty well so far. I wonder how far he can go? I'll be cheering for him. Top 10 would be amazing.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Bike Review: Trek Madone

One of the more interesting bikes introduced over the last year for me was the new Madone series of bikes from Trek. Over the last 10 years I always kinda saw Trek road bikes as competent yet somewhat pedestrian looking compared to some other top of the line bikes. Lance's tour wins aboard them surely helped sell a lot of bikes but it was time for a change. I'm no expert reviewer of bikes but I thought I'd share my views from a recent 50+ mile evening I had aboard a new Trek Madone 5.1.

First off, it's my understanding that 5.1 has been discontinued by Trek and they will replace it with the slightly less expensive Taiwanese built Madone 4.7. Having said that, I believe the ride characteristics of this bike will very much follow every Madone whether it's made of OCLV White, Black or Red series carbon, especially the 5.2. The weight differences are not that significant in the frame and the geometries are similar, coming in Pro fit and Performance Fit. The Performance fit models have a 30mm taller head tube for added comfort. The 5.2 Madone is the one Alberto Contador and Levi rode in last year's Tour de France.

The Ride: My ride started out when my wife dropped me off at the bike shop to pick up the bike. The mechanic at the shop used my bike as a guide to set up the seat position, handlebars, reach and swapped pedals. It was waiting for me when I got there. He got close with everything except for the seat to handlebar drop. The longer headtube on the Madone did not allow for as much drop as there is on my current race bike.

Soon I was walking out the door and heading across the parking lot towards the road. I immediately noticed the slightly more upright position. My first thought wasn't oh crap this is going to catch a lot of wind, but more like,.. Hey this is comfortable! More on this later. Shifting through the Ultegra gearset was as smooth and precise as I thought it would be, with very little slop in both the braking and shifting motion. Typically good Shimano. In fact, it's oh so close to Dura-Ace I'm thinking the new Dura-Ace better be a BIG improvement or their gonna sell a lot of Ultegra SL based bikes.

After 5 minutes of weaving through traffic I finally made it to some good riding roads. I wanted to ride on one of my normal training routes so the memory I built up riding my current bike would be a good comparison. As soon as I got off Reisterstown Road and started uphill for the first time I immediately noticed one thing about this Madone. Every bit of energy you put into this bike wants to push you forward. Straight Forward! I guess I would attribute it's stout bottom bracket and head tube for it's almost total lack of lateral movement. Speaking of which, Trek has a few novel ideas in the bottom bracket, head tube and in the seat tube/seat post area. I won't get into that except to tell you to head to their website for more info if you wish there. Personally, I'm more interested in what you feel riding the thing.

I crested the hill and powered along some flats before coming to the next real test on this ride. High speed downhill corning. Here again is a place the Madone shines. This bike tracks completely predictably and inspires total confidence. Holding a line through a curve is a total no brainer. You think, it goes where you want it to go with an almost eerie smoothness. I believe it can help you descend faster because of this. At Lance's Madone intro press conference he mentioned something that I found amusing at the time but understood now. He said the bike feels like a motorcycle. That's NOT a bad thing in this case, and as a motorcycle rider myself, I know the feeling. Sweeping through corners on the Madone at 45mph downhill is fun!

OK, you're thinking Motorcycle? heavy. This bike is not heavy. In fact, I say if you traded in it's relatively heavy stock Bontrager wheels for some great lightweight climbing wheels it would be ideal for a rider like me who is more of a climber, rouleur wanna-be.

Soon I was out in horse country on deserted country roads. Turns, rollers, smooth roads, potholed roads, gravel and hills. The Madone ate up the miles in comfort. This bike is both faster "feeling" yet definitely more forgiving in bumps than my Alu/Carbon framed bike any day of the week. Oh, about that more upright position? With the Madone (performance fit), there's an easy solution, spend more time in the drops. You'll be comfy down there all day, and when you want even more comfort? Head for the brake hoods. If current fads dictate, I suppose most people will opt for the Pro Fit Madones. That's fine, but I think that's a shame since the comfort you have on this bike, just 30mm higher up front is impressive to say the least.

Looks: The new Trek Madone is a huge step up in the looks department over the old Madone. It looks faster and more modern all the way around. Having said that. It's still a step or two behind the exotics out there like the Pinarello Prince. I think it's not because of the frame or graphics. Both are extremely well done and modern, but in the choice of colors. If you noticed the Astana Treks and the Pink Madone Contador had at the Giro, it's obvious the frame and graphics are spot on. Looking through the stock color combos though, they are a bit conservative for this rider. I want something that looks MEAN!

Downsides? This bike is Not MEAN! (All Caps) I think a hardcore crit rider or the Tom Boonen types out there might want a more twitchy bike. To me, this bike is an all day road race or stage racing bike. That's not to say this bike couldn't do great in a sprinter's hands. I don't doubt it could, but over the last 10 years with Lance and now Alberto/Levi, you know Trek went more stage racer with the Madone. I think it's obvious in the way it rides and shows where Trek feels most comfortable making bikes.

At about 30 miles into my ride it started to rain so I began working my way back towards home, enjoying every minute of the ride and the Madone. I was thinking to myself, it'll be hard to return this bike tomorrow. I can't be sure if I'm faster on the Madone than I am on my current bike, but I will say this. After 50 miles I "feel" faster and definitely arrive home more fresh on the Madone.

If blistering acceleration, confidence inspiring high speed cornering, smooth ride and all day comfort is what you are looking for. Check out the Madone.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Thursday Night

Remember back in college when Thursday nights were reserved for PARTAY at the Frat Houses? Bah! I was too busy racing bikes and running back then for parties. Ok maybe a few.

Well, now my Thursdays are for group rides with the team, and some guys from other teams. It was a great night for a ride. One guy went down and banged up his brake lever, but other than that it was cool. I got to ride with a new guy (to me) named Chris that has one heck of a strong TT style. It seems like he can just pull and pull and pull.

I tried some jumps on the hills and a couple sprints tonight. Overall, a great ride.

Racing Update: It seems like a bunch of guys are racing up in PA this weekend, Good Luck! I'll be busy training on some SERIOUS mountains for a change back home in PA, it'll be my last chance to get 2, or 3 days of long sustained climbing in for awhile.

Great Stage 4 Story.

Here's a recount of one rider's Tour Stage 4. If you've raced long enough you'll know EXACTLY how this feels. Something similar to this happened to me at the Mt. Joy race this year. Watching the pack pull away from you as you blow yourself up in the wind trying to latch back on is not fun. It's also a great example of teamwork. Yeah I ripped the article but I want to keep it handy on my blog.

By David Millar, for

...There was another episode that day that showed how well we ride and look after each other. Anyone who watched the stage may have seen a little moment just as the peloton got split up in the crosswinds where there was a helicopter shot of three Garmin riders hovering off the back of the front peloton. This was due to a stupid momentary lapse of vigilance by me. We turned left out of a roundabout into tail crosswind, and I still can't fathom what I was doing so far back, but I was too far back. There was a horrendous crash right next to me as we turned into it, we came sprinting out of the roundabout and had our heads down, at the last moment I hear a yell and the guys in front of me split either side of a central reservation. I was on the left already so I was OK but the guy next to me had his head down sprinting as hard as he could and went straight into a road sign. He stopped dead. It was a horrific and I can still picture it perfectly in my head. I don't know how he got back up again and finished but he did, Nicki Sorenson is a hard bastard.

So that crash then set cat amongst the pigeons and strung it out even more. I was feeling good and didn't think there was any real danger, just as I was thinking this Danny pulls up next to me and tells me he's going to take me up. He then sprinted for about 500m and somehow managed to move me up the line out. At this point I realized that the shit was hitting the fan, and it became more apparent as I saw Fedrigo pulling out of the line further ahead, then Cobo, then Kreuziger. This is when I knew that all hell had broken loose. When riders of that quality can't hold the wheel you have to face the fact that the race is ON and you're on your own. I could see the main peloton drifting away and knew what I had to do. I paused for a few seconds and then went as hard as I could for as long as I could. On the file downloaded from Garmin that evening Allen Lim was able to see that I did 4.1km in 4 minutes 12 seconds averaging 533 watts at an average speed of 58.7km/h. So if you ever wonder why it splits in a crosswind, that's why. I was the last rider to make it across, but even that effort didn't quite get me there. I got to within 50m of the back of the group, and this was the worse bit, which was tightly packed and protected itself from the wind, the guys at the back of the group were oblivious to the carnage behind.

I in the meantime was dangling 50m off the back nuking from the effort and those 50m may as well have been 10km, I felt like an astronaut whose tether has been cut. Then I saw Martyn and Maggy at the back of the group, I shouted on the radio (what Maggy would later describe as screaming), 'Maggy, Martyn, LOOK BEHIND!'. The first time they didn't turn, the second time I screamed Martyn looked behind. Without hesitating he dropped out of the safety of the group and came back to me. At this moment I was literally blowing up, I couldn't even hold his wheel as he tried to accelerate me back into the group, after trying three times, he turned around and reached out his hand. It was a ballsy move as we were going very fast and it would transfer all his energy to me leaving him stranded and on his own. He did it though. I took it and he slung me as hard as he could, by this time Maggy had dropped out of the group and was awaiting me a little further up the road, the momentum Martyn had given me allowed me to get onto the accelerating sanctuary of Maggy's wheel and he towed me back on. The relief to find myself back in the front group was almost as strong as the few minutes of fear and pain I'd just put myself through.

I spent the next 25km disgusted at myself and much more vigilant, but it wasn't fun, in the meantime, Will was up the road almost winning the stage clueless to the chaos behind, that's always one of the interesting things about this race. There are so many different races and experiences being lived each day, dozens of stories and events for each and every stage. That's what makes it what it is I suppose...

L'√Čtape du Tour: Left Nut of the Week!

After a brief hiatus, and it being Tour de France month, I'm reviving my Left Nut of the Week. This week, my left nut is going not to a product, but to an event. A real once in a lifetime kind of event that I must do someday. The L'Etape du Tour in France allows the amateur cyclist a chance to test his/her legs on a real honest to goodness stage of the Tour de France. This year they did the 156km stage 10 route from Pau to Hautacam.

Oh how I would have loved to be there. Ahhh someday.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

What If?

Just imagine for a second what the Tour de France would look like if the NFL or the WWE ran the show.

I heard the NFL tried to do a random drug test once. The testing machine went into a roid rage, busted up the lab and shot a guy.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Group Ride Night

Fairly uneventful ride tonight. I took it easier after last night's fast ride. Enjoying a Negroni Zimbabwe and some excellent pasta with home-made sauce my wife just whipped up for me. YUM!

Monday, July 07, 2008

Stronger Every Day.

I went for a two hour ride on one of my most familiar routes tonight. I was killing it out there. I don't use a computer on my bike but can tell how I'm doing based on what gears I'm using at different points in the ride. It feels good to be back in the swing of things. Tomorrow I'm due to go hard, but after tonight's ride it may be time to step back and take it easy. This was my third day back and it's getting better every day.

Now to go find some more races to enter.

You Don't Mess with the Badger!

Anyone who's been a fan of the tour and bicycle racing long enough knows who that guy is on the right up on the podium since, well, forever. That's right, Bernard Hinault (The Badger) really earned his keep today at the tour. Notice the pencil neck geek trying to make some sort of statement up on the podium in the first pic. Then, notice how The Badger jumps on the scene layin down the most aggressive bouncer move I've ever seen on the poor punk.

Greg LeMond's exploits back in the day just earned more of my respect after witnessing this smackdown. Imagine racing against that day-in day-out. No,... You don't mess with the Badger!

Way to go Garmin Chipotle!

Today's Tour finish to me was one for the ages for several reasons. The Breakaway lasted, Will Frischkorn of Garmin Chipotle took off at the start (2km) and lasted till the end, and that absolutely UGLY sprint reminded me of myself!

You just knew the first three riders were all deathly afraid of the sprint by the way they attacked and attacked in the last 3k. Samuel Dumoulin won the "sprint" eventually, but all anyone really saw was three suffering guys pedaling squares for what seemed like eternity. I believe Will could've had the win if he started his "sprint" earlier. Samuel was dying fast out there.

3rd place finisher Romain Feillu took the Yellow Jersey away from Valverde, at least for today. I bet he's walking on air right now.

The Power of Marketing at the Tour.

There is no doubt that product placement in events like the Tour de France work. You want proof? My sister-in-law in France just called up my wife yesterday after watching stage two (The race happens to be taking place in her neighborhood). Now she wants a set of spiffy shades like the guys wear at the tour. I'm not sure if she even knows how to ride a bike, but the Oakley's are cool. We'll keep an eye out for a sale on them Sis.

Oh, by the way, way to go Pierre on the commuting to work! There aren't many better ways to start your day. That hellish Brittany wind looks like it'll be a workout for you.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

A Ride in the Country.

The last day of vacation, hmmm.

What a vacation right? I get two great days of riding in then a week of robot walking with some weird neck injury. I'm not gonna complain too much though. Time off work with no plans is a great vacation in my book. I did have to promise to make it up to Huey with a "proper" vacation later in the year some time. Hope she finds it in her heart to forgive me. Anyway, my neck feels great now. Just in time to head back to work. Yippee.

Last day. So what do I do? After watching the tour on the computer I went for a ride of course. It must've rained just before I left home because I got soaking wet out there on the road. Today's ride was hills, hills, and more hills. The hills north of Baltimore aren't long, but they make up for it somewhat in steepness and quantity. It's all up and down around here if you know where to look. So I did 2.5 hours in the hills.

Last day.

Thor "The Tongue" Hushvold!

One of these days a rider is going to hit a pothole in the road in this state and they'll be searching for his tongue for a week. It was another crazy finish at the tour today with Thor AKA "The Tongue" taking the sprint.

Saturday, July 05, 2008


I got to watch only a small portion of today's first stage of the tour but it sounds like Valverde could be the man to beat. He came out of nowhere to take the first stage.

My First Day Back Riding: Today's ride was about getting back in the saddle and testing the waters after my freak neck injury last week. I had to take 5 days straight off the bike so today would be a bit of a crap shoot. I felt pretty good actually except for some pretty dead feeling legs. I did 2 hours fairly easy with a couple harder uphill runs. I saw a lot of other riders out there which is always nice. I'm slowly going to ease back into my routine and hope to schedule some races in July and August. We'll see how it goes. I may even try to find a 3/4 race to see how they feel compared to the 4/5 races I've been doing.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Fresh Start.

Tomorrow I Ride!

My neck is just about 100% on this July 4th. Amazing how just a few days ago I was in pure Hell. Tomorrow I start riding again. Yippeeeeee!

Thanks Al Gore.

I'm having my morning coffee right now on this July 4th and am thinking of all the ways I'm grateful for the USA. As far as I know, it's the best country on earth for a complete idiot the average Joe to make something of himself and live pretty comfortably doing what he "wants" to do rather than what he "has" to do. Going all the way to the top sometimes, changing the world even. Whether it's throwing a little round ball through a hoop, dropping out of school and starting a computer company, or even making up stories about drowning polar bears and getting enough sheep to listen. It's just wonderful! I mean that.

Alright, to bring this post around to cycling. I have to give a special thanks to Al Gore for creating the internet. You see, back when I was a kid falling in love with bicycle racing for the first time, getting news on European bicycle racing was about as hard to come by as Chinese food in Fargo, North Dakota. It just didn't happen. That is, until my mom drove me to Radio Shack with the money I earned working on my Uncle's dairy farm bailing hay. I picked up a spiffy new shortwave radio for one reason, to listen for Tour de France updates!

Every night I would tune into the BBC world sporting news update at 6:45pm to hear the results from the tour and other big races throughout Europe. I remember thinking that if I could just learn French, I bet I could listen to it live on that little radio also.

Fast-Forward to today with Satellite TV and Internet streaming races live from points all over the world right into my living room. Think about that for a minute, compared to just a few short years ago where we've come.

Thank you America. Thank you Al Gore!

Jimi Doin It.

Happy Independence Day!

Happy July 4th everyone!

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Freak'n Broken Neck Update.

I took this week off work and this is what I get. Damn!

It's been 3 days of no riding now with Excruciating neck pain. Can't Walk, Can't Turn, Can't Lay Down, Can't Sleep, Can barely open my mouth to eat,... I say barely, because I'm eating like a pig. Ice Cream, Beer, You name it.

Today I'm finally getting a bit better I think. I can stand up and sit down without help. I even laid down a bit earlier with not much discomfort. This Totally Sucks. My brother Dan thinks it's Stress related. I think it's just some weird freak training accident that happened while out riding. I did pretty well over 100 miles on the weekend.

Anyway, I think I turned the corner. A couple more days of no riding and taking it totally easy and I'm hoping it'll work itself out. I haven't had any real time off the bike since January so I doubt it's doing much damage to my riding. It could even be helping at this point in the season. We'll see.