Sunday, December 10, 2006

Postal/Disco: This is your life!

Doesn't play well w/ others
Don't get me wrong; I love my American based team as much as the next full-kit wearing lunatic, but this is getting out of control. [ed.note-I don't have the ugly ass Disco kit though!] It seems as though we've been excluded from the gentleman's club known as the International Professional Cycling Teams (IPCT). I'm too tired to get into all the politics regarding this, but my initial reaction is that it's going to kill cycling in the States. We were all ready to go to bat for the cancer-miracle from Texas, but no one is going to back one of the Euro poster boys of OperaciĆ³n Puerto. While we were making a hero out of Floyd the invalid Mennonite during the '06 Tour, we were cataloging Ivan Basso and Jan Ullrich as the scourges of the peloton. Technically the only reason that Basso is allowed to ride is that he can't be made to provide a DNA sample in order to determine if the OP blood bag is his or not. DNA testing is a little more accurate than the EPO test now in effect. So that basically says he's guilty...of bad judgment. Sorry, didn't want to get the litigators after me.

Now we wait for the stupidity of Disco to truly show through by fighting this in a "legal" process.

Legacy of Dopality
It's scary to look back through the years of Postal and Discovery seeing all the proven and alleged doping stories. The biggest are obviously all those concerning Lance. How many times have we accepted the "I've never tested positive..." proclamation over the years, never truly questioning the semantics of that statement. Also, are you saying that every lab that has tested his samples has gotten it wrong when they came up positive, but got it right when they're negative? Think back to famous quote during the '99 Tour as he was exiting doping control, " was a simple case of skin cream..." In light of the recent case regarding those retested samples it takes on a completely different tone.

Next is Tyler. He's back in Europe riding for Tinkoff Credit Systems. What a douche.

Floyd is still in full denial mode. We're still in "there's got to be a reason" grassy-knoll mode.

Don't forget about Roberto! Heras still is claiming innocence to this day.

Frankie Andreu admitted EPO usage, as well as another unnamed rider.

So a large number of our biggest riders have been implicated or tested positive in doping cases. This is a far cry from the halcyon days of yore when we were knee deep in Tour mania. Heh, I said halcyon! I still don't know where my vocabulary has come from; I haven't read a book in years!

Oh, I almost forgot, Basso was surprised tested by WADA while attending the Disco training camp in Austin. Levi and some others were tested, but it was interesting to note that they're implementing a new test for HGH (Human Growth Hormone.)

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Wednesday, November 15, 2006

U.S. Cycling taste so bad!

Floyd Files
Can this crap get any more bizarre? If Floyd has anything to do w/ the hacking other than having an idiot friend who thought they were doing him a favor, he needs to be put out of his misery. All this is pissing me off. Why are our athletes continuously putting themselves in positions that aren't explainable. I don't see Jens Voigt having to deny charges. You don't see Thor claiming that a French lab sucks and has his wannabe hacker friend muck things up further. You don't see it because they're not putting things into their bodies that produce positive test results.

Did you notice how fat he is now?

A Basso in Discovery clothes
Once again I have to say that I'm both excited and repulsed by our new Disco signing. I really wish things weren't as screwed as they are right now, so we could just enjoy having a rider of this caliber join our team.

I know Graham Watson CorVos is just doing his job, but knowing his feelings about the state of the sport he's got to be a little sick. This seems more like a tabloid shot rather than what it should be. (Graham was there shooting as well.)

And now for something completely different...
What the hell is going on here? No wonder people think cyclists are strange. I met Fracesco Moser at Interbike never expecting to see the former Giro champion in his Euro skivvies. Now we know he's putting in the miles by his fantastic riding tan! Maybe he and Eddie are training to put together a super team of ex-pros to take on the new drugless peloton. Perhaps we all have a chance now!

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Images courtesy of

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Basso to Disco!

Not the same as before.

It feels a little dirty now, and I don't know if all of the ramifications have been thought out. It would've been nice to have signed Ivan last year when he was on the market, then again, it would've been us going through that crapstorm.

I can't help think about Levi; they sign him w/ the intentions of him being an American grand tour leader, and now we sign a foreign rider under drug suspicion. That can't do anyone any good to their morale.

Anyway, he's signed so now we wait and see how the legal things turn out. Hopefully this will be a nice little story, and Discovery comes out smelling like roses, but I'm not holding my breath. This is going to be a turbulent off season.

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Monday, October 30, 2006

Party's over.

End of season blues.
The teamcars are parked, the busses have been mothballed, the espresso machines cleaned, and the blood has been stacked in the refrigerators. Part of my reason for not posting is the end of season blues, but in addition to the ridiculous amount of time I've spent on my website, I've also acquired quite a hangover from all the crap we've had to endure this year. In fact, I'm not going to get into any of it. I just can't wait for the training camps, and whether or not we're (Discovery) is going to hire Ivan Basso.

I promise that I'll get to some product reviews and opinions. I also promise I'll migrate this to my Media Temple/ Movable Type account as well, but I've got a ton on my web plate, and this is not a top priority for movement.

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Monday, October 09, 2006

Fall riding gear guide

Ahh, Fall; leaves are changing and there's...
Any good article that deals w/ the changing seasons of summer into fall typically says something about there being "a chill in the air". I've always hated that description simply because everyone uses it. Funny enough, here I am trying to write something about the change in the weather, and all I can think of is the damn chillin' air!

The best thing about this time of the year is the riding gear. The worst thing about it is: putting it all on before going out! The main thing to remember about outdoor clothing is layers. This is the same for cycling. Summer you simply throw on some spandex and you're out the door. Fall and winter involve so much more; it's about building a system.

Base layer.
You can benefit from a light, mesh base during the summer, but psychologically it feels too hot to me. During the fall it's a necessity. The idea is that you're creating an area directly on the skin that is as dry as it can be. The material wicks the sweat from the skin so you're dry, and you're able to naturally regulate your body temperature. Something like cotton soaks up the sweat essentially becoming a sponge. Then you have cold sweat directly on the skin keeping your core temperature down as well as preventing the skin from breathing. This gets worse the colder it is outside. Worse case scenario, you can bring on hypothermia prematurely.

I've been using a bunch of different brands that all have different fabrics, which (go figure) all do different things. Typically a cycling base is a tank-top but most companies offer a t-shirt version as well. I like the tank because it doesn't bunch up in the sleeves when you put the jersey on. Plus you can start using it for warmer transitional weather. Here's who I've been using, and what looks good:
  • Pearl Izumi- Most shops carry PI. They use a broader, open knit that has less surface contact. Some might say that is better for summer, but there's also an argument that the spaces allow for more heat to be trapped. (men/women)
  • Defeet Un-D-Shurt- Very fine weave. Feels super soft, and does the job whether hot or cold. (men+women)
  • Under Armor- Surprised how well this works. Closer to a jersey weave, and definitely fits tight to the body. You can feel the perspiration on the outside of the material. (men/women)
  • Craft- Swedish made goodness. I've been using their windblocking baselayers too; the WS brief is hot! They've added Gore this year for their WindStopper material. (men+women)
The first thing most riders reach for when the temp dips are warmers. No brainer. In fact, it's such a no brainer that I'm not going to spend too much time on them. You'll find your favorites. What I will spend some time on are the specialized versions. I'm talking about the windblockers, and the woolies.
  • Campagnolo- Textran arm/leg warmers (and everything else). Feel weird as hell on the skin, but they're windproof, and waterproof and they're Campy! I usually break these out when it's truly getting down there (your temp will vary) and I run 'em over my Giordana arm warmers that are super thin. They have a ton of product to wade through.
  • Salsa- Wool arm/knee warmers. 100% Merino Wool (the best, not itchy!) regulates your temperature better than any man-made fabric. Keeps you warm when it's cold, and cool when it's warm. Plus wool has the capability to absorb 30% of its weight in moisture before you feel it! High-tech sheep.
  • Rapha- Sportwool armwarmers. Uber-cool low key cycling wear w/ an emphasis on the good wool. Hella expensive and hella cool. Makes it a bargin doesn't it? Check out the rest of their site, you'll love the retro attitude that exudes from these guys.
  • Capo- Capoforma Retro Warmers. More Euro-cool products brought to you by the guys at the Upland Sports Group.
Like I said, you'll find your favorites and what works for you, but these are some tried and true examples of cool/cold weather gear. I'll have some examples of shoe covers, socks, gloves, etc. before it gets too cold out there. Remember, there's no reason not to ride in the winter!

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Saturday, September 30, 2006

Interbike 2004?

I was thinking back to some of the experiences I've had during my time in the bike biz, and one of them having to do w/ Interbike, was bittersweet. I was scheduled to attend I-Bike 2004 when I received news that unfortunately I wouldn't. (long story, but good in the end). This was literally days before we were going to fly out for the festivities.

Other than the obvious loss of having a great time out in Vegas; there is more to the story. I had an invitation to the hottest party in town: the Sinclair party! I did a lot of work w/ Sinclair and the rep was nice enough to reward me w/ the coveted ticket. If you know anything about the event, it is like an Oscars (Grammys, MTV, whatever) afterparty! You get to party w/ the pros'! You've seen the pictures of Hincapie, Millar, Simoni, etc., all enjoying the end of their season in wonderful debaucherous fashion. To make it worse while speaking of Simoni, I was also invited to dinner w/ the Sinclair guys and their guests of honor were none other than Gilberto Simoni, and Damiano Cunego! We were all going to be sitting at the same damn table! If you also remember, that was the year that Cunego won the Giro ahead of a pissed-off Simoni, so I imagine that the suspense at the table would've been awesome!

How far I've fallen. Whatever, I wouldn't have been able to understand anything they said anyway. Plus I quit drinking in 2003, so an open bar wouldn't have done me any good. And, I had just gotten engaged, so there wouldn't have been any...I'll stop there.

I've got some other brushes w/ cycling fame that I hope I can remember.

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Thursday, September 28, 2006

Interbike 2006

Bar none, my favorite memory and part of managing a bike shop was getting the opportunity to attend Interbike, International Bicycle Expo. Going there for the first time is like being a child all over again, and walking into a toy store for the first time! Your eyes get big, and all you can do is stare w/ your mouth wide open! It's friggin' huge! By the way, it's at the Sands Expo Center, in VEGAS BABY! Overload to say the least.

This is mostly the reason why I want to get this blog to a larger level. Of course I want to force, uhh, share my opinions w/ all of you out there, but I love product and I want to get my hands on the latest and greatest. Ultimately, I'm aiming to attend the show again, but this time as a member of the press. I still love this industry, and I know I still have a lot to give for my country!

As Cyclingnews and Pez stroll through the visual smorgasbord of the tradeshow, I'll provide some of my thoughts on the things they've shown. I know I'm reporting on a report, but it's a start. It's not much different than reporting on a live race that someone else is doing the color commentary on. If you haven't been paying attention, Eurobike, and the EICMA have already passed, and a ton of product has already been posted. I've seen some nice things, and I've seen some "what are they thinking" things as well.

As for Vegas, think about what it's like normally, then think about an entire city overrun w/ a bunch of crazy bike nuts from all over the world. It's a HUGE party. And cyclists love strip clubs. Vegas has the best!

Ummmm...strip clubs!

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