Monday, June 26, 2006

Hincapie will make the podium!

bad for business
As a prepatore, I wouldn't want Ullrich as one of my clients, since it's obvious the techniques used on the fatty don't work! This is starting to get silly.
[ed.note-I started writing this on Monday before everything below happened!]

ASO to riders: "F-you, F-you, you're cool, F-you!"
Please let it be that Basso has only visited this d-head just for "nutritional" info. He and Ullrich denied having dealt w/ him so lying is punishable by termination of contract, especially in light of Tour participation. Please let it be that he won the Giro w/out "assistance". This is starting to make me sick.

Frank Vandenbroucke isn't on the list!
"Paco" Mancebo never really won anything, how could he be friggin' doping? It's good to see that Valverde's name hasn't surfaced. I'm trying to come up w/ things to say here, but as everything starts to settle it's starting to feel like a friend has died. That sounds weird but as a lover of cycling you watch these guys pour their lives out on the mountains and pave of these races and you begin to connect w/ them. It could be that you just like their effort, or you see things in them that you recognize in yourself. When something like this happens you can't help but to be devastated. I have hope that the sport will always continue to sort itself out and situations like this won't happen again, but we all thought that after the '98 Festina affair.

The glove is starting to fit.
You can't help but to think of all the times Lance has said, "I've never tested positive for doping." None of the BIG names on that list have ever tested positive (if memory serves me right). If those guys were doping, AND starting to train like Armstrong did...

Millar Time!
On top of all this is the re-start of one of my favorite riders David Millar. Back from a 2 year bid from taking EPO during the Cofidis scuffle, he's ready to rock the prologue in his first race action since 2004! After the field has been decimated, I think he's got a good chance. Zabriske is still riding so maybe we'll still have a good battle on our hands.

So maybe Big George actually has a chance to get the podium after all!

Sunday, June 25, 2006

i'm starting not to care.

what level do you hold your heroes?
I went through this agonizing period around this time last year as Lance was going through the thousandth allegation from some French bitch regarding his use of EPO. I started to separate myself in order to not be crushed when they found out that it was true. That was just recently closed saying that, well, whatever. It said that he wasn't doping in some round about way; like it always is.
There has to be something to Lemond's and the Andreu's statements. Plus, think about how much you'd let your guard down while you're on what you think at the time is your deathbed. You'd divulge as much medical info as possible. I always thought that he doped back in the Motorola days anyway, everybody did, so why not him.

I wanted to put together a funny post w/ images of all the Spanish douches, but it doesn't seem right now w/ the new allegations. I then wanted to do a retrospective of all the past "champions" who were confirmed dopers. You know, Coppi, Anqueteil, Simpson and a host of others that time has allowed us to get over. Why is that different than now? Why are we so high and mighty that we cannot accept anything less than perfect. Now all we want to do is search out and destroy all of our sporting past and present thinking that's the answer for the future. Who knows? I know that I have a bad taste when it comes to all of this.

That's why I'm starting not to care; at least about all that crap. I love cycling, regardless of who we find out to be cheat or not. We have Basso and Boonen at the moment that have not a hint of accusations being thrown at them so hopefully that will continue to hold. Cycling will always continue to produce stars, and it will always produce cheats.

I don't know where I stand, but I'm still standing.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

no, I'm not on the team; but I did stay at a Holida...

unobservant world
I've been having some strange interactions w/ the humans during some of my rides lately. As I was coming out of my building the other day this old dude was coming in. I got the typical gaping mouth, walking stupor look that is all too a familiar site from them. Except this time he actually said something instead of acting like I'm interrupting their lives by wearing colorful spandex and mirrored lens glasses. He asked, "Do you ride for the Postal service?" Unfortunately he continued by saying he thought I was the new Postal guy; meaning that I was the dude delivering the mail. My thoughts went from, "Wow, he actually knows about the Postie team!", to "Good God that was sad."
Later that day I had another question regarding my Postal (circa 2000) kit. They asked if I was on the team and if I was riding in the Tour. I responded by saying that unfortunately no, I wasn't because I'm too slow! I had to, it's just too much fun playing w/ the tourists down near the National Mall.

attack of the old dudes!

Yesterday's ride was a good one if not a good schooling. Hard effort day. 45 minutes into the ride as I finally started to warm up but hadn't started to force the pace yet an old dude looking all Hinault passed me. Since I wasn't going fast I didn't think much of it. Yet as I started to pick up my pace I realized that I wasn't able to catch him. I was passing everyone else including other road bikers, but I couldn't bring back the gap that Hinault got on me. He never left my sight, but that was about it. Then as I was doing a couple of laps down at Haines Point I met up w/ another 60+ dude and we rode together for awhile. I mentioned that I was running at 170bpm while we were doing 20+ he responded that he was at 145! His max is the same as mine! Granted I haven't put in too much continuous effort days like this but DAMN! He was working on getting out his words like I was, but to be running that low is pretty good. I have some work to do.

The overall ride was run at over 16mph average, but it went down as I had to climb back up the hill to get home. I really want to get faster. I want to be able to keep up w/ the 12:00 rides that meet here daily. Very fast paceline riding. I have some work to do.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

a different kind of roulette.

Another ride w/ dramatics. yaaay (MP Holy Grail sounding). Just ready to get out the door when I discovered that the casing on my rear Vredestein tire was not cooperating. Meaning it was starting to bulge! It had a very obvious change in tread as it expanded sideways as well as making a bump. I wanted to start riding, so I didn't change the tire. I did however put a spare Challenge folding tire in my rear jersey pocket as well as the usual suspects (tube, pump, patch kit, inflater, Co2, levers, etc.) and headed out.

For most of the ride you couldn't distinguish the roots in the trail from the bump in the tire, but sometimes you could. I tend to focus on the thing that are going wrong; wanting to correct them at all costs (speed sensor...), but this time I continued on .

Blah, blah, blah, long story short, I got in 2 hours of a great upper zone ride when the tire finally blew. It was funny because I was expecting it but it still sucked to have to stop the ride.

The ride itself was great because I'm showing what I think is called, "form". I'm not sure, but something feels good when I pedal and I'm starting to recover from hard efforts during the ride. It may not sound like much, but when I say hard effort, I mean anaerobic. If you're unfamiliar you can look it up here, but it means going beyond your body's ability to provide oxygen and energy for your muscles so you're relying on muscle metabolism alone. I could do hard efforts but I'd pay for it in the end. Today I was feeling good at the end of my ride after several efforts like those above on some hills. I was also working pushing the big ring for a while. I haven't seen the need to do so as much of my training hasn't been at or for a high speed. It's based on HR and cadence. They're starting to go the opposite directions now. HR is going down w/ the same cadence at a higher average speed. Now I'm able to put it up there and maintain a normal HR at a decent cadence. I've been pushing a slightly bigger gear as I've had some achilles troubles lately, and a high cadence sometimes feels a little out of control. I can balance the lower cadence better allowing me to focus on not ankling through the stroke and stretching the tendon. These things are a BITCH to heal. You kind of use it all the time.

Image courtesy of my old ass phone.

Monday, June 12, 2006

worth the ticket!

Some hot Swiss action in the morning!
Stage 3 of the Tour de Suisse on Cycling.TV went from standard issue to absolutely storming! Lone breakaway caught w/ around 20-30k to go sparked the action that set the stage for the end of the stage. The "Cricket" Paulo Bettini started the fun w/ a storming attack that quickly was countered by none other than Der Kaiser himself, Jan Ullrich! The big guy was just testing out his Tour legs a little, but it still was a lot of fun. 4 guys ended up getting formed together to finish out the stage w/ Nick Nuyens from Quick-Step getting the best of the bunch.

It's stage action like that, that helps you remember why you love this sport. Regardless of your country or team affiliation good bike racing is just that! Lance and the boys started to change how the Tour is ridden when you have a super team, but to be honest that shit is boring! It's nice to have him win, but looking back on the rest of the 90's (I dont' have any tapes from before Indurain) and at least the first 2 years of Armstrong, there was always some dynamic action where it seemed anything could happen.

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Sunday, June 11, 2006

this is insanity!

Watching the Tour de Suisse this morning on Cycling.TV you can see the differences between the different countries attitudes towards cycle racing. France, Italy, and Spain close the roads during tour stages, while the Swiss allow ROLLING STOPS! That right, there are moving cars on the course! Are you kidding me? It's almost alien to see them driving as the peleton is racing towards them at 30 miles an hour.

The other crap they have to endure is all the traffic "furniture" the Swiss use. There are splits all over the place as they enter towns and cities. And so far, it looks as though there hasn't been anyone warning them like the French Gendarmes do w/ the yellow warning flags. You can be riding along when suddenly the peleton starts to split and there's traffic pylons blowing their way through w/no warning!

I know it takes a lot to organize the closure of roads, but it's a MAJOR TOUR! It's been considered 4th in line behind the big three. You think they'd give a little more effort.

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Friday, June 09, 2006


I finally was able to successfully transfer the image of my bike into the digital realm. No mean feat as I've bled for my quest... Strangely enough I think the picture is out of focus; or at least I think the pedal is in focus, and everything else is just out. I hate my camera's viewscreen.

Anyway, you can see I'm riding a 2001 Trek 5500 OCLV Postal Service model (built in 2002). I purchased the frame and added the rest. This is close to the original model the main difference being that I'm using boundaries Aero's whereas the OEM spec was Mavic Ksyrium SSL's. The Mavics were lighter, but the rear did what all Ksyriums do when they fail, they pulled the spokes through the rim. The Bonty wheels haven't budged. Mavic told me that it will cost me $180 to repair something they know is a problem and is well documented. Whatever.

The frame is lugged carbon deep from the mines of Waterloo, Wisconsin. OCLV is great stuff. I won't spew anymore Trek kool-aid today. The ride is balanced as you would expect of a design that hadn't changed much since its inception. It corners predictably and is super comfortable on long rides. And yes, it does feel like dead wood. That's how carbon feels. If you don't like it enjoy your Rivendell or Bob Jackson or whatever it is you ride, I don't want to hear it. I added the LOOK HSC4 fork simply because I thought the Bonty version looked and rode like crap. I'm not a fan of straight forks both for looks and for their lack of vertical compliance. The Bonty fork has a strange crown that dives in and doesn't touch the Cane Creek S-6 headset in a flush manner. The LOOK obviously does. That being said, don't say a word when you see my Gunnar built up w/ a XXXLite Bonty fork. I didn't have anything else. Forks are expensive. Besides the OEM fork that came w/ the frame was a weapon! I think it was the Race model and that thing isn't light!

Shifting is a combo of Shimano Dura-Ace, and Ultegra. Dura-Ace shifters are way too expensive for normal riding, and don't last as long as Ultegra. I'll keep telling myself that as I cry myself to sleep thinking of the buttery action of Durace. So Ultegra shifting, Durace front and rear mechs, and Ultegra brakes (another huge expense).
My FSA Carbon Pro Isis cranks were some of the first off the line and definitely the first that I'd seen on any bike. Now they're on everything. Good God FSA has become a bunch of whor... I digress; it's great for the company and it's forced the industry to watch what they're doing and catch up.

I'm a big fan of the esoteric and Stella Azzurra hits that mark. I've been riding the ViceVersa Aluminum stem and Brianza bars since day one (some changes here and there). They're not the lightest in their line, but they sure are strong. Remember I used to be 215+ in the weight category! The bar tape is Stella too.
The rest of the cockpit is rounded out by more Italian luxury items: Selle Italia TurboMatic 4 saddle, and a Selcof carbon straight post. I change these the most as I have a ton of saddles, posts and stems. I always want to screw w/ things when they're already fine, just because I can. I originally started w/ a Deda Black Stick Mag carbon seatpost and a Selle San Marco ASPide saddle. So light, so gucci! Unfortunately the Deda post uses notches to hold it's saddle tilt position and no saddle I've used has the right tilt; it's either nose too far up, or too far down. As for the saddle, I wore that thing down until I discovered that it wasn't comfortable for 6 hour rides. I kept seeing the Turbo being used by a lot of the experienced pros (Jalabert, Hushovd, Voit, and a bunch others) and decided to give it a try. Damn that thing is comfortable! It's almost 3 times heavier than the ASPide, but what the f#$% does that matter if you can't be comfortable on the bike for more than 2 hours. Hell Boonen has been using a Rolls! He changes that too, but I think that's more from the sponsors wanting to see him on the latest greatest, but they want comfort in the end. I got caught up in the weight race to have the latest, lightest saddle but I'm finding that the old standby works the best. Other than the Flite, I think it's one of the oldest saddles in Selle Italia's line. You have to search to find them though; they don't show it on their website, but they still make it. Pro's would stop riding if they didn't make it anymore!

As for the wheels, Bonty Aero's aren't light, but they roll. We all like light things, but when you feel a set of aero wheels get up to speed and start working for you then you know. Why do you think that teams are still riding Mavic Cosmic Carbones? Those things are STUPID heavy for the price and that they're (sort of) carbon. But they ROLL! Outer rotational weight is great for everything except for the high mountains. I change tires all the time as well; until I stopped working in the industry. I used to get flooded w/ everything that was available just to test and see if I wanted to bring them in. I haven't ridden a tire that costs less than $50 in over 6 years! I won't go back, I'll just ride them longer; you know, when they wear out. So right now I'm shod w/ the Vredestein Fortezza Tri-Comps. These are very supple, sticky and actually wear pretty decent for a high-end racing tire. I'll talk more about tires some other time, as I have a TON of info to divulge.

Foot interface is achieved through Time's new RXS pedals. I originally was using Look, but they haven't changed how you walk on their cleats, and Time has; it's much easier. Plus, the pedals are super-light, and they're freaking cheap! They're also French made so you get all the above and they're not out-sourced to Taiwan. They have a little more input from the retention spring vs. the slippery feeling the Looks give you while clipped in. I didn't know I'd like this until I tried them. Now I like it.

Bottle cages were originally Tacx Tao, and they fit the bike perfectly. One of them broke, and I can't stand not having things matched, so I put on the Profiles I had sitting around. I actually like the way that an open design releases the bottle vs. the Tacx closed version. The other problem that arises from that style is you need to have the right sized bottle to fit inside, and you wouldn't believe how bottles vary from company to company.

Sorry I'm so lazy in not adding the links, but you can do some work for a change. When I built this bike it was pretty dope, and while it's still an absolute joy to ride it's starting to show it's age. Just like me; although I am getting faster!

funny I should mention...

Mayo Flayo!
Iban Mayo nearly caught the nameless French guy who won the stage today (still a great and deserved win) w/ a display of his old climbing self last seen in this race 2 years ago. He even crashed early on and managed to pick himself up and prove himself a protagonist on the stage! I may have called him a bitch, but I still think he's an amazing talent that I wouldn't want to see wasted by a fragile morale. Iban has one of those climbing styles that makes you want to be on your bike doing the same thing. It's got a snap to it when he's on form, and it constantly looks like he's going to "light the blue touch paper" and shoot off making everyone look like "club cyclists". [ed.note-managed to paraphrase from the "Book of Paul" twice in one sentence] You always want to see good riders riding great, so "good on ya mate"!

Christophe Moreau is looking decent too. Not bad for a 35 year old Frenchie also w/ a fragile morale. He admitted it himself. Would've been nice to see him get a win instead of Menchov a
s he did a majority of the work, but that's how it goes.

Hincapie looked better on this climb although Levi is still the dominant American so far. Landis Mayo'd (old Mayo) his way up the climb again today, so hopefully he's saving himself for the Tour. Floyd came in second to El Capitan de Austin in this race so he knows what is needed to get from here to July.

It's weird how long it feels to get through the off-season and through all the early season races, but the moment the classics start it's suddenly June! So much good stuff packed in such a little amount of time. After the Tour the season is a letdown. At least w/ Cycling.TV we'll be able to see the late Summer and Fall classics to tide us over. I'm not a big fan of the Vuelta, although it can be a good race, it doesn't have the power that the Giro and the Tour have. It's still a bike race!

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Images courtesy of

Thursday, June 08, 2006 so nice!

Got to watch the Ventoux stage of the Dauphine Libere this morning (6/8) on Cycling.TV. It's great to have an available source for LIVE coverage of Euro races (other than OLN TDF coverage). The race for those that don't know is a great prepartory race for the TDF. It's a good indicator in most cases of where your form is for the beginning of July. Although that's a source of debate these days due to Lone Star (Spaceballs voice!). Lance decided to contest the race in 2003 and said that's where the trouble started as he went to far into the red; he won both in the end, obviously. In 2004 Iban Mayo blew Armstrong out at the Ventoux climb, winning the race convincingly only to find himself taking a walk up the first real mountain stage in the Tour. I really thought that he was going to hurt Lance that year, but he turned out to be a big bitch and hasn't done a thing since! He is however looking a little better this year, but his team is treating him like a mental patient out on leave waiting for him to go awol and stick him back in the white van!

Back to Cycling.TV. It's well worth the money subscribing to the Premium Channel as the free content suffers from MASSIVE bandwidth problems (more than likely on purpose!) You can go back and watch all the races that they've covered including Roubaix, Het Volk, and others. The archived material is available at any time.

I'm still getting used to the commentators voices, but that's because we're so used to the dynamic duo of Phil Ligget and Paul Sherwin. They do a good job, and have some good insight to the racing. Anyway, racing on your computer when you want it; can't ask for much more!

Tuesday, June 06, 2006


I've been riding, but I really don't have any time to post anything as I'm still working like a dog trying to get my resume site up and running. The other reason I'm not posting my rides, is that once again, I'm not ABLE!

The other day I was having a great ride and I had brought along my camera to get some shots of my bike and the saddle I'm riding right now so I could do some reviews. I was able to also get some shots of a snapping turtle that had decided to camp out on the path as well. I will say that I was having some issues w/ my Polar (what a suprise) speed sensor. It unfortunately has started to crack at the slots for the zip ties and it moves around. It kept hitting the magnet on the wheel; ANNOYING! I would stop and try to situate it; this happening many times during the ride. So after my turn around it started to happen again, so I started fiddling w/ it while moving (you know where this is going) and inevitably my fingers slipped and PING, my fingers hits the spokes (bladed)! There's that moment before you look at the wound that you decide what it's going to look like from the sound and the pain and I thought I was going to see part of my finger hanging off. It happens that I just grazed the middle finger, but there was a chunk of skin flapping followed by the sweet crimson flow of my innards. I was more worried about getting blood on my white bar tape and my shoes than I was about the actual wound! I was able to stop the bloodflow pretty quickly and continued my ride.

When I got home I wanted to see the pictures I took and as I stuck the card into my card reader/usb hub everything went haywire! The computer froze, and after I restarted I was able to see the card but it was saying that it wasn't formatted! The reader zapped my card! I lost the day's ride as well as my cousin's wedding and my nephew's communion. I tried a recovery tool and the images weren't there. I was however able to recover my honeymoon pictures, even though I have them backed up on 3 hard drives and 2 hardcopies...SWEET!

The story gets better. It turns out that incident has also fried my motherboard as my computer is no longer getting through post! I just built it, and it's dead! This would be a perfect time to update to a SLi compatible motherboard, no money, no upgrade! Hopefully this will correct the issue as I'm pretty sure that the problem is w/ the board, as there is no way to truly isolate it. So much fun!