Saturday, September 4, 2010

Vuelta stage 7

Questions, questions, questions? What's up with Cav? Is he missing Renshaw? I am. Is he tired, sick, injured? He has not looked like himself at all in la Vuelta. Bad for him, but good for watching. It has been totally unpredictable, betting lines have been thrown out the window. We get a new stage winner every day. It's a stage winning Christmas.

187k of racing and of course it followed the program to a T. One categorized climb that even the sprinters made it over. So no worries there, the peloton pulled in the break right about 5k to go.

Petacchi had a lead out train and used it textbook style. Cav was there, but looked a little boxed in. Is he saving for Worlds? Petacchi took the stage and Cav took the green jersey from Anton, so there is a little up-side for the Manxman. Bad news is that he only leads Tyler by a few points. The battle for the points leader's jersey has begun. Speaking of jerseys, Gilbert should lose the GC today.

If you have a chance to watch, today would be a good day if you like pain and suffering. The climb today, I'm not even going to try and spell it much less say it, is going to be a separator, and we should see a big shake-up on GC. I think it is even going to hurt to watch.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Christmas time

I never got a bike for Christmas, but I do remember getting my first bike. Cherry Red Stu Thompsen bmx bike. Man, I loved that bike. Wish I still had it to hit some dirt jumps...yeah right. I had a department store bought bike and my friends had LBS purchased bikes. The birth of bike envy. I rode bikes for two or three years and then I just stopped.

I started skateboarding a few years later and that was the "gateway drug" to my snowboarding addiction. Had it so bad that I moved to Utah. Somewhere in my short stay in Utah, I decided that drinking by the pool was not good enough for summer training. It usually took me a month to "get back" to where I was the previous season. So there I was having a "man soda" in the pool, and I had a realization. Utah has mountains, same mountains that I snowboard on, and you can ride bikes in them there hills. Who knew?

So being a snowboard bum, I had my parents buy me my first MTB. Still have the frame in my attic. That is where it all started. I rode that bike all over SLC and even rode some in the mountains on the most beautiful trails I have ever ridden. The rest is history, and I have owned a few bikes since then. Now I have a new bike being built-up and I feel as though it is my first bike all over again. To be honest, every new bike I get is "just like my first bike."

I went to the shop yesterday and saw my new ride out of the box and ready to be built. Anticipation is a killer and I am a victim. Hope the build is done today, and that the trails dry out for this weekend. Because I can't wait. Worse case scenario, trails will be too muddy and I will have to wait a day or two. Hope to see you on the trails this weekend.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Vuelta stage 6

I have still yet to be disappointed by la Vuelta. I will admit that it does follow the typical Grand Tour format, it is a Grand Tour. The attack happens early, forms a break, the leader's team does the work keeping the gap down, sprinter's teams take over for the catch and bada bing bada boom we have a stage in the books.

Sure sounds great on paper, now throw in a cat 2 climb and soften up those sprinter's legs. Only climbers, rouleurs and hard men can make that kind of climb and still have the legs to sprint it out after 151k. OK, scratch the climbers on the sprinting, but at least they are still there in the end.

Now that we know what kind/type of rider is going to be at the finish we can now take auditions for the finish. Cavo, Tyler sorry not your kind of day...have a seat in the autobus. Alright, who is left? Oh yeah we have Pozzato, Thor, Bennati, Gilbert, and some others. Mix these guys together and you have a classic, Fabian was in the autobus with the sprinters (who's wanting some rainbow stripes this year?).

After the catch was made it was a free-for-all, with the sprinters MIA there were no trains leaving the station today. It was "a stage hunting we will go." Gilbert had a lead out of one, and he put on a good show, but with Thor et al on your wheel you are pretty much doomed to no-podium. Thor took full advantage of the lead out and scorched the field. Thor may not be the straight-up sprinter of Cavo and Tyler, but he is a classics guy who can light it up in the sprint. Head to head Cavo can take Thor, but if Cavo is 12min back it is no contest. I was pretty harsh on Thor in le Tour, so I have to give him credit where credit is due. Impressive

So here is something to "talk amongst yourselves": Best it the guy who is most consistent, or is it the one with the most wins? Consistency is taking points in intermediate sprints and finishing in the top 5. Most wins, hope you can figure that one out on your own. So which is it going to be?

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

fitness, lack of

I was sick for about three weeks off and on with something, let's just say it was not fun. This started in Hays, KS on the way to Copper Mnt Co. I know, lucky me. I did salvage the trip by getting two days of lift served MTB, and the fact that I was there with my crew, that helped keep me from curling up into the fetal position and crying.

So last week I got back on the bike, and I have been doing some rides and some MTBing, that being said tonight was the "WNR" or Wednesday Night Ride. I rode from the house to get some extra miles in to try and make up for lost time. I rode with the team and they worked me over. I was getting schooled, HR in a different zone yet to be discovered, and I was having out of body experiences. Here is the sad part...They were out for a casual ride. I was on a hammerfest and could not keep up.

Thankfully I am part of a great bunch of teammates and when I was dropped (repeatedly) one or two would come back and bring me back into the fold. Thank you Guys, and G. -You rock. Thanks for the post ride "recovery 'man soda'" G.

My point to all of this is how fast we loose fitness from sickness, travel, work, TV, Kid Taxi, etc. It is so fickle, it takes so long to build it and then it is so easy to lose. Poof it's gone like a bad magic trick. I'm throwing in the towel on this season. As Juels said "I'm in a transitional period", I'm not going to "walk the Earth" but I am going to take it easy and enjoy the fall.

Vuelta stage 5

Well la Vuelta finally got boring. If you believe that then I have a hammer with your name on it. Send me your address and I'll get that shipped out to you.

Flat stage, which means bunch sprint, which also means in la Vuelta rolling hills. Seriously nothing is flat in Spain. The peloton has been inundated with heat and climbing, so they were content letting the break of four get a 6:30 lead, but then Gilbert sent Omega to the front to keep them within a usable gap. The sprinter's teams also helped keep the break to a workable gap, with bunch sprint on the menu today.

14k to go the break was consumed by the peloton and the sprinter's teams went to the front to push the pace into the 50kph+ range. Taxi please. That is fast, even for a short distance, but 13-14k to go at 50kph+ after being in the saddle over 150k. I can't wrap my head around that. ????

Cavo has no lead out, HTC used all their matches and left Cav to fend for himself. It worked for him after he lost Renshaw in France. Cavo launches at about 400m and is gone, but then Tyler launches on the left and brings Fernandez with him. Tyler and Fernandez catch Cav just before the line and take One Two from him. Way to go Tyler.

Now don't believe the hype, or should I say excuses. No excuses, you either do or you don't. Tyler won and that is all there is to it, no water cooler talk about this or that. Watch the highlights, and be your own judge. I will tell you that in cycling you are only as good as your last race. Period.

Photo: © Roberto Bettini

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Post Ride Recovery Drink

glassware: Twin 6
contents: New Belgium Brewing
Hoptober Golden Ale

Vuelta stage 4

Same ol' story, I'm starting to sound like a broken record. La Vuelta is awesome, it is starting to look like there are no flats in Spain, they keep going up and up and up. Today's stage was (what is another word for awesome?), yeah I know just like yesterday, except it keeps getting better. As soon as I post this I am going to watch the last 5k for the third time. 1k to go--the road turns into a path just wide enough for two motos to ride too close to each other, and it turns heavenward. How does 27% sound? Hey!!! there could be children around...wash your mouth out. That had to hurt, that's why I am going to watch it again and probably again. Why? Because it is so unbelievable... 184k two cat 2 climbs one cat 3 and then the finish from hell. What else you got????

Oh, do you want to know what happened? Hold on, I'm going to watch it again and I'll be right back.

Luis-Leon Sanchez started the gunfight firing off the first attack, he was caught and then his teammate, Rigoberto Uran launched a textbook counter. Somewhere while everyone is trying to shift into a gear not on their cassette, Igor Anton hits the JATO and is gone. Nibali, P. Veltis, Rodriguez, Gilbert, and Van Garderen follow but are unable to match the ferocity of Anton. to watch it again.

Here is where I am impressed...1) Nibali looked lackluster yesterday when Glibert took him to school on a 5%er. 2) Gilbert is rocking it up a finisher that has 27% in it. 3) Tejay Van Garderen so far is living up to his billing. 4) Peter Veltis can climb, you would know this if your name is Bob Stapelton.

What a great day for la Vuelta, but under a cloud of sadness with the passing of Fignon. He would have enjoyed the stage, he was a fan of a sport that will forever remember him.

adieu champion

The Professor lost his battle with cancer this morning. We lost a cycling Great, France lost a son, and many in the peloton lost a fierce competitor and brother.

Laurent Fignon was an amazing cyclist, I wish I would have been able to see him rival LeMond and Hinault --Back when I knew nothing about cycling. He won le Tour in '83 and '84, and was second step to LeMond by 8sec in '89. The Professor had a Giro in '89, he also scored back-to-back victories at Milan-San Remo in '88-'89. He has too many victories for me to list, so look him up on the great fantastical web. You wont be disappointed.

Although, I did not know Fignon or follow his career, I feel that he has left a void in cycling. Laurent has gone from being a part of our cycling world, to being part of it's rich history. He was taken too soon from us, and will be missed. The Professor is a part of cycling's recent history, and he has help shape the way we know cycling as it is today. His hands no longer on the hoods, his legacy will remain on the roads of France, and in the hearts of the people who saw him race.

Laurent "The Professor" Fignon

Aug 12, 1960 - Aug 31, 2010

Monday, August 30, 2010

Vuelta stage 3

When I tuned in it looked like the break was going to stick. Serafin Martinez exuded smoothness and was drilling it. He had three chasers and then a 1min gap to the peloton, it looked great. He was looking for the first win of his pro career. (you have to pull for a guy like that) Then out of nowhere his gap was down to 36sec. Poof. It's over. Please find a place somewhere in the peloton, thank you for effort, but we have it from here. Should get most aggressive, you have my vote. I'm a sucker for the break sticking. Yes, I'm a fan of the breakaway.

Oh man, this was a great finish to this stage. A 5% power climb to the finish, hard man style. Omega, Liquigas, and Katusha all had representation at the base of the climb. Nibali made a move that looked good, but Gilbert was all over it. There was some more shuffling and then Gilbert gassed it, FULL Throttle. Dropped Nibali and proceded to teach a class on how to power climb and win a stage at la Vuelta. The only student in attendance was Rodriguez, but Gilbert kept him at a 3sec arms length. Like I said "hard man style". Gilbert is a classics guy, his DS said that this stage was built for him. -good call.

Once again la Vuelta is edge of the seat. Try and find the finish out there on the interweb. I was yelling at the monitor so much so that I scared the dogs. It's OK, they think I am Touched.

I am so disappointed at the amount of non-exposure that la Vuelta gets. Should we put Tour de Spain out there so that people will be fooled into tuning in? France is cool with le Tour, but last time I checked there are three, 3 Grand Tours. 3!!! Tour Day France as Bob Roll likes to call it, the G-Row, and then the Vuelta. So how do you say Vuelta? Vwell-ta, good job now you are hooked on phonics, put a la in front and you are golden. Now that you can say it do yourself a huge XL-American sized favor and WATCH IT, or just read my words and hope to your God that I know what I am talking about.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Vuelta stage 2

I started watching with 33k to go and the break was already over the summit. Moto 1 with the break showed 80+kph. Johnny Walker with Footon was riding with no regard to personal safety sitting on his top tube on the descent. When you have to get aero you have to get aero -your boys be damned. You have to love that name.

HTC was well in control doing their duty to keep the break in check, but also doing their work for holding the leader's jersey.

You have to give props to the Andalucia rider getting into the break and getting the sponsor some love. Speaking of sponsors, I cannot tell you how nice it is to watch la Vuelta without someone trying to sell me a Cadillac, Nissan, or Lance selling Michelob Ultra. Commercial free is the only way to go. I'll pay you to not inundate me with stuff I will never buy. Oh yeah, this just solidifies how much I hate the VS coverage. I am willing to pay for all of my cycling viewing pleasure. It is worth it, trust me.

I'm going to get some haters on this, but... The commentary is few and far between, and I like that. Just enough and not TOO MUCH. There is a great deal of "dead air", sometimes silence is golden. Sorry Paul and Phil. It is also a breath of fresh Lance Free air, I've been watching for over an hour and no mention of the Texan.

6k and everyone is back together. Bunch sprint. Blood is pumping sitting on the couch, need a HR monitor on, TSS score high just from watching. What happens next, I don't even want to tell you. It is crazy, you really should watch it for yourself, so go to youtube or cyclingfans. If not keep reading...

All of the sprinting "heads of state" are lined up, Tyler, Cavo, Petacchi. Tyler goes with Cavo on his wheel Petacchi is following. Cavo goes Petacchi on his wheel unable to come around. Cavo goes around Tyler for the win...WAIT there is a white kit coming up on the left side that pips Cavo at the line by a half-wheel????????? What? Who? How? Yauheni Hutarovich of FDJ. Yeah me to, I'm going to have to do some research on this guy.

So far la Vuelta is better than expected, and I had high expectations.

Don't call me Snob

There is snobbery in cycling, and yes everyone is guilty. Just like the old saying... "there are two kinds of liars. the ones that say they quit and the ones that say they never did." So which one are you. Being a bike snob is relative, no not like family. Relative to your situation. You may be a snob to someone but there is someone who is a snob to you. That is life. Don't try and change it.

OK, now that we have that out of the way. Cyclists=Snobs. Don't fight it, it is gravity, you can't win. Even though we are snobs when it comes to riding bikes, we are...when you strip down all the layers...all the same. We ride bikes. It does not matter how much your carbon fiber, hand painted, Kobe beef fed, Italian made, Cuban cigar smoking, limited edition, one of a kind bike cost. It is a bike and it does the same job as a Wal-Mart special.
(Hate Mail...just post your comment)

It is TRUE, A to B just the same. I know I know, I would not be caught dead on a Next, not without a dare or lots of "man sodas" involved. Anyone who throws a leg over a top tube joins a society. We do it for fun, fitness, transportation, to save the earth. Whatever your reason for pedaling a bike, it makes us all the same. We are a family. Sometimes [a lot of the time] we lose sight of this.