Monday, January 31, 2011

An Excellent Interview of Floyd Landis From Paul Kimmage

I know that this blog dangerously skirting the line of becoming a fan boy site for Floyd Landis. And while that isn't my intention. When he is in the news its hard not to pay attention. I think he is a fascinating character. On top of all that I think Paul Kimmage is an excellent writer. I've found not only Kimmage's cycling articles through the years fascinating. But his book Rough Ride is excellent. I put it high on the list of great cycling books. If you haven't, do yourself a favor and go read it.

I think one of the biggest beauty's about this article is that it is unedited. Which makes all the difference in the world (as a writer I can attest to being edited can suck all the life out of a piece). So cozy up to your computer screen and read it. You won't be sorry.

The Nyvelocity article. 

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

A Very Plausible Reason For Drug Use In Cycling

I just wanted to give credit to this youtube clip to Neil Browne. I blatantly stole this from his blog. Thanks Neil....

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Why Am I Not Excited?

Travis Meyer (Garmin-Cervelo) leads the peloton in pursuit of the break.

So professional cycling is back! With a brand spanking new season. Tipped off with the Santos Tour Down Under (That's in Australia. For those of you not in the know.)

So why am I not excited?

I can't figure it out. All the big pro teams were there. The racing was~

 A couple pretty spectacular crashes (Not that I really like looking at those. They just make me cringe and curl up in a ball.)

Mark Cavendish was one of the day's victims.
Like pour Mark Cavendish here in stage 2.

And it was Lance Armstrong's (supposed) final international event. Paul Sherwin and Phil Ligget were in the announcers booth doing the play by play. All should have been right with the world.  But still nothing...

I don't now what my problem is.

Was it the fact that the racing played out as predictably as any flat stage would in the first week of the Tour de France? Could it be that instead of showing some of the truly amazing beauty that Australia has to offer they kept it to very simple urban routes?  And that often times they would do several laps of the same area?  Lulling you into a haze similar to watching the dryer spin round and round at the laundry mat?

I think it was all these plus some. Please don't get me wrong. I'm glad that Australia has a pro tour (Or whatever they are calling it this week.) race. I'm glad to see bigger races in all different parts of the world.  But I think that even the most hardened racing fan would agree that pretty scenery helps the hours of a stage roll by when there isn't anything tactically interesting going on. But when you look at scenery like this~

The peloton en route to Angaston in stage 1.

When you could be seeing stuff like this~

Or this~

It just seems like a serious let down. 

I know that Australia is a huge continent. And that just like a Tour of America it would be a logistical nightmare to try and show all parts of it in a given year. I just wish they could find somewhere to race that the people could still come out and see. And have some of the breathe taking views that I know Australia has a ton of.

Okay. I guess I'm done for know. 

Next stop! Tour of Quatar....

Sweet Jesus get me through to the spring classics!

Rubber side down,

Big E

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Floyd Stops Being a Pro

Sorry that I haven't posted in a while. I've been slogging up the false flat hill of lots of other crap to do. But I think that I've got most of that taken care of now. And I should be back to posting on a little more consistent basis. Hope all is well and that you haven't forsaken me totally yet. Thanks to you guys that haven't.

Floyd Landis at the New Pathways for Pro Cycling conference in Australia

Floyd Landis announced that he if quitting professional cycling immediately. He told that he was quitting because after months of trying he couldn't find a paying gig in cycling. And rather than keep beating his head against the wall (my words, not his) he was just going to throw in the towel.

A lot of you I'm sure know my stance on Floyd (if not, you can read it here). I don't think there are very many top level pro's out there that haven't touched the hot sauce as Jonathan Vaughters liked to call it. And there have been a lot of confessed dopers out there that have done their time and come back to the sport without much fuss. And maybe because of the level at which Floyd's busting occurred (I mean the Tour de France is pretty much the pinnacle of cycling's existence). It just put such a bad taste in everyones mouth that Floyd just was never going to be able to come back from it. Or maybe it just shows how strong the omerta in cycling really is. That if a guy dares to bite the hand that once fed him. That the backlash would be swift and permanent. 

I do know that when anyone brings Lance Armstrong into a doping conversation that he is a VERY polarizing figure. I've gotten in talks with people that were both really intriguing and completely disheartening when the subject of Lance's innocence comes into play.  I don't think anyone will deny all the impressive things he's done in cycling or for the cause of cancer. But when people's beliefs in something comes into the conversation it's no longer rational. Morality and rationality rarely play nice together.

So I guess what I'm trying to say with all that round about talk is that Floyd is just to hot to touch for anyone in the professional ranks. Which is to bad. Because I think he has a lot to offer a team. I don't really think he'd ever have made it back to the Tour de France. Not because of fitness, but just because of politics.  I believe he's still a wanted man in France. And that would certainly put a damper on any European campaign he might have wanted to do.

In his interview with he said he didn't want to come across as bitter about leaving cycling. And I don't know if it was how the piece was edited or not but it still seemed like he was a bit. Not that I could blame him on that front. It's got to be like seeing something that you once loved and adored broken to bits on the floor knowing that there was no way to put it back together again. Mostly of your own doing. Which probably makes even that much harder.

But with Sports Illustrated coming out with guns a blazing for Lance. Maybe Floyd could see the writing on the wall. And got out while the getting is good. Which ever way you slice it it's not good for cycling. If it's all true, it's damning and if it's not. Well then its just dragging cycling through the mud some more.

Floyd said he didn't think that professional cycling could be fixed. That the problems were to deeply ingrained. I hope he's wrong on that count. However I don't think racing will ever stop. As long as there are to guys and a finish line people will compete. Weather its an equal competition or not is certainly up in the air.  But considering cycling history. I kind of doubt it..

Good luck Floyd. I hope you find what you are looking for.

Rubber side down,

Big E

Thursday, January 6, 2011

A Crash and The Basic Rule of Cycling

So Tuesday night I went out and did the usual Scott's ride. And besides figuring out my frozen foot dilemma.  It was a pretty generic ride.

We had decided to take the north loop, but backwards for something a little different (I know! You don't want to party with us. We're crazy!). I pulled as we were headed out of town. It was cold but dry and really  a pretty decent night to be out on two wheels. As we got to one of the regroup points I pealed off and went to talk to one of my friends in the back. We had one more regrouping area before we got back into town. All was right with the world. Until....

We were just coming into north Kiezer and I was towards the front of the main group. About five people had created a bit of a gap (maybe 20 yards). And one of the regulars was next to me and about to put in an effort to catch the back of the group ahead. I told him not to worry about it and we would catch (The consistency of people holding a high speed in this group doesn't last long.).

He started to explain that he wanted to get in a little sprint. And as he was doing that he started to drift to the center of the road. Simultaneously, another guy, who was across the yellow line (which I would have chewed his ass about had he not crashed. And I told him so later.) was coming up on his left.  This criss cross action. Not to be confused with these guys~

Caused an over lapping of wheels. And the guy that was next to me went down and then (after a serious death wobble) the guy who was across the line went down too.

I really don't think the blame could be placed on either one of them individually. I think it was a mutual cock up.

Luckily both guys rode their bikes away from the accident. I'm sure they're sore and scrapped up. But it didn't appear any permanent damage was done.

In my mind this gets back to the basic rules of cycling in a group. More specifically the first rule~ Always ride in a predictable manner. As Muzzin says from American Flyers, "Hold your line man!"

It always amazes me how quickly a bike ride can go from a great time to a squirrelly mess in a matter of a twinkling (2.5 seconds).

So the lesson to learn here boys and girls is to  relax, have fun, but pay attention and hold your line.

Or Muzzin may try and push you off the cliff of cycling nirvana. I'm just saying...

Rubber side down,

Big E

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Riding In Cold Weather

So this last weekend I got invited on a ride with a bunch of the faster guys in town. Which was both flattering and a little concerning. Because depending on the terrain and distance quite a few of those guys could drop me like a stone if they really felt like it. Not that I think they would do something like that. But it was still a concern to myself that I would get squirted out the back of the group never to be seen or heard from again.  I would have to start a new life in whatever fictitious town I was near. Places like Scio or Millersburg...

But happily I managed to hang on for the majority of the ride and didn't get dropped until Matt and Sage decided to up the speed to something I could no longer manage about a mile or so from where I turned off to go home. But it's all good. I had a fun time and it was a beautiful day. Now you are probably wondering if all this rambling has a point and I guess the short answer is yes. Gosh you're impatient!

You see this ride started out when the ambient air temperature was about 28 degrees Fahrenheit and finished at a balmy 34 degrees.  Now I knew all this before the start. At least that's pretty close to what the monkey that they have throwing darts at a board at the Weather Channel had to say.  So I got dressed up in what I would wear at that temperature. Figuring that everything would be fine.  But everything ended up not fine.

Unfortunately the ride started straight out of the house with about 10 minutes down hill.  So my extremities were already cold by the time we got to the meeting point. And I would love to say that it improved from there, but it didn't. My hands eventually warmed up some although there were several times when they would get cold for a spell and then they would be fine (Why do body parts do that?). I don't really understand why. But my poor toes froze on the way down and just got worse from there.

At about hour three I was getting concerned. I could still move them but I couldn't feel them. I had been using a pretty tried and true method for keeping my feet warm on extra cold rides. I have on wool cycling socks, my shoes, Defeet Slipstream over socks, and then a neoprene booties over the top of that. But one of my booties zippers died a couple weeks ago so I was trying a new Bontrager booty .  And I can tell you that while they do a pretty good job they certainly aren't as warm as the neoprene.

So by the time I got home after 4 hours on the road (about 3 1/2 hours of that with numb toes) I was a little nervous on what I would end up seeing underneath. Lucky everything was okay (I was going to put an image of some frostbitten toes (not mine) here but they're just gross. So if you really want to see. Look here.). I didn't jump straight in the shower though because I have felt that kind of pain before. So I let my toes come back half way to life before I made the plunge. And after a luke warm start all the way to an orgasmically scalding end I felt human again.

The next ride was last night for me. And the temps were still below the freezing mark (started right at freezing and ended at about 28).  So I wanted to try something different so I wouldn't end up with the same results. I tried some of those toe warmers on top of my shoe and underneath my over sock. And man, those things are awesome! I don't think they last as long as they advertise. But they helped keep my tootsies nice and toasty the whole ride. Big thumb up from me!

You maybe asking my why I just don't sit my ass on the trainer or go to the gym or something? And that's a fair question. But to me those things are unpleasant at best and completely unbearable at worst. So I try to avoid them as much as humanly possible. Kind of like ditch digging or wrestling alligators. Sometimes its necessary, but most of the time they can be avoided.

Another interesting thing happened on this group ride. But I think I leave that story for tomorrow (You see what I did there? That's called a hook.).

Rubber side down,

Big E