Friday, September 17, 2010

Vuelta stage 19

Ok, I have been pressed for time so I skipped through the stage and kind of made my own highlight reel. I did watch the last 30 or so K, of a 231k stage; roughly 144miles. That is a classic, really that is a long race. Heck that is a long drive in a car.

I really don't want to write about this stage. Too much happened in the last 5k that it would take me too long to put it out in an intelligible composition with my poor excuse of journalistic dribble. That being said, there is something to be said for watching a stage on the interweb. Thanks Al Gore.

With a stage that looks more like a classic, you have to put your money on red -I mean put your money on the Rouleurs the hardmen the classic guys. In all reality it looked like a pancake flat sprinter's stage, well except for the bumpiness at the end and even some cobbles in there. The "pure" sprinters got taken for a ride in the last 5k getting drilled by the rouleurs stealing the stage.

I had money on Cav to roll with his momentum and take his fourth. I had not done my homework and did not realize how technically hard or how much elevation gain there was in the final 5k. Otherwise, having seen the results I would have picked Gilbert, yeah he won so knowing this he is/was my pick. I am a fan of Gilbert, what power, style, presence. He attacked the field last year at la Vuelta, then hid behind a wall as the peloton chased and then jumped on the end. Too funny. He can also win races. How do you like that?

Vuelta stage 18

Sorry folks, I am getting lazy with the posting. Don't know if it is the beautiful weather we are having, or the lack of bottled inspiration. Whatever it might be, I just have not felt like writing. Well I have felt like writing, just don't have anything to write. Is this writers block? Yes...good point...I would have to be a writer to have writer's block, that was a close call. I do have la Vuelta for a few more days. After that I am going to have to find something, Yeah like Worlds, Lombardia, and then CX season is cracking. Lucky me, I love CX, huge fan of the CX, you just will not see me out there on a skinny tire rig in the grass, mud, snow, sand. Off-road is MTB all the way for me.

Meanwhile back at the ranch (la Vuelta). Cavo is dishing out another view of his backside to the peloton with a little help from his team. And when I say his team, I mean his team. Everyone does their part to get Cav to the line first. Even Velits, who is sitting 3rd GC is taking monster pulls at the front to get Goss and Cav into position. Don't believe it? Check out the video, it's all there. HTC likes to win, Bob Stapelton likes to win. Look at their record. When they claim, Claim that they are the #1 team in the World, they really are the #1 team in the World. Please try and dispute that, they have the numbers to back it up, not just team members (men and women), but number of wins. 384* since 2008

Now that I am on the numbers train...Next stop Eddy Merckx. I had to pull out the history book on you, and drop some knowledge. Eddy has 525 W's. Most people will not get on a bike that many times in there entire life, much less win a race. Impressive. Next...History lesson. No, contrary to popular belief the King of Belgium is not Eddy Merckx.

*not sure if that is counting Cav's win yesterday?

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Vuelta stage 17

Sometimes great things happen when you are wearing the leader's jersey. Sometimes you get crushed by the weight. Rodriguez was crushed today like what he normally does to climbs. It is not hyperbole the red jersey caused Rodriguez to implode and lose so much time he is now in 5th spot on GC. Everyone said he would lose time, but I don't think anybody thought it would be this bad. Not that I know anything but I thought with the way he has been riding he had a chance to only lose 1-2min, which would be livable.

Biggest loser for the day had to be Rodriguez, so there is two sides to every coin. The biggest winner... Peter (pronounced Pet'er) Velits. Dude killed the TT. Everyone thought Fabian had put up the best time, even with a cold. That's right Fabian has a little cold and still managed just under 52kph for 46k. What the H? That is about 32mph. Slow if you are in your car on your way to work, but in a TT it is monster good. Well good enough for 3rd place. Menchov put up better numbers for 2nd, and Velits committed homicide for 1st. And...a podium spot, if he can hang onto it until Madrid.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Edge 500 (longer term)

I've had my Garmin for two months now, and I am getting used to it more and more. It is so easy to swap from bike to bike. I've used it on my fixie, and I have recently thrown it on my mountain bike. I am so geeked out with downloading a MTB ride and seeing it on a map. You are either rolling your eyes or you are a geek just like me.

The problem with the unit not syncing with the PowerTap requires a little extra step when getting the bike ready for a ride. I will not turn my Edge on until I have spun up the rear wheel to "wake up" the PowerTap. So when the unit is searching for satellites, HR, and Power it has something to latch onto right away. So far this seems to alleviate the problem of the unit trying to talk to other ANT+ power meters. I will always check to see if the head unit is synced to my 'Tap by going into the menu under settings, ANT+ power, Sensor Details. Do not do a rescan with other power meters in the area, this will screw everything up. Do not calibrate unless you know you are connected to your power meter. It will show the same ID number every time, if it is not you have problems.

It did drop a whole one hour file last Friday. This is an issue that I cannot explain, and it is just a little annoying. No explanation, no fixes? Glad it was not a training ride.

One really annoying issue that I cannot figure out is pause time added. I am not sure, but I think this happens in the download to WKO+. It adds the stop time, ie...stopping at a convince store I will turn off the unit or just push stop. When I download the file the time that was spent off or stopped is added into the file, it is just flatline O's for all the metrics. Not too big an issue but it will Kill averages, and will inflate TSS. It can be solved with a little snip snip.

One function that I have not used and will try soon (when I think about it) is the ability to ride a course (or file) you have stored in the unit. I am going to have to do my homework on this, but it seems like a great way to "test", ie.. TT or circuit laps. It will allow you to "race yourself" from a previous ride. Like I said, I will have to do my homework on this and will get back with you. Now, all I have to do is to remember to do it. Good luck with that.

Stay tuned for my even longer term review.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Vuelta stage 16

Bow to the Queen
Today was the Queen stage. The finish was 10k at 8% avg grade, that is something like 2,600' in 10K. Yes, curse words are appropriate at this point. If you don't like cursing try "WOW, that's got to hurt". This was after 170k of saddle time, and one cat 3 climb and two cat 1s. That's earning your contract.

All I have to say is that I was very entertained, not because I like to watch climbing, but because it was so animated. No boring climbing stage here. I can't do it justice by throwing words out.

Frank was the Frank that I love to watch, and he was even more punchy than ever. I think he attacked three different times. His last attack was a thing of beauty, it was so smooth. Frank can fly and he can turn a climb into a flat. Too bad Andy was sitting at home with Stuy drinking 40s, Frank would have had some fun if he had his brother there to play. I finally feel like I got my money out of Frank, he did not pull very much time back on GC, but he did slot up into 4th.

Euskaltel put on a show. After loosing Martinez and Anton the lithely built team showed what it is made of...a bunch of skinny dudes that can climb and race bikes very fast uphill. Up hills that make mortals cry for their Mommies. They had one rider in the ten man break, and then sent three across the gap. That takes brass ones. Check out the profile. They wasted one to get two across and then had another wait at the top of the last downhill. The three then proceeded to catch the break and then launch Nieve to his first Grand Tour win. I'm sure they were thinking about their teammates sitting in the hospital. What a way to show your mettle. Bon Courage

Oh yeah the other stuff...Nibali cracked lost time to an attacking Rodriguez and Mosquera. Rodriguez took the jersey and about 30sec.

What's the frequency Kenneth?

Does anyone out there (in radioland) have a good radio station? Is there really such a thing anymore. Who killed College radio?

What's up with corporate America telling me what I should listen to? OK, OK, not everyone is stuck listening to the same old songs over and over or the same old new songs over and over. I am stuck in a radio black hole, yes I am sure that there is worse out there, but you would think that a place such as Tulsa would have better radio. We have a great music scene and excellent venues, but radio is a vacuum. Are we really that dense that we can't tell when they have played the same song at lest four times in the last five hours?

How many times can you actually play Sweet Home Alabama? Skynyrd does have a deep catalog, but Tulsa radio seems to think there is only one song. Don't get me started on Pink Floyd's Money, or Led Zepplin's Stairway. Come on people Classic rock is classic and there are hundreds of thousands of tracks to choose from, but yet we get the same 20 songs a day. The so-called alternative rock station wouldn't play a track from Sonic Youth, The Pixies, The Jesus and Mary Chain, or The Cure if you stormed it and took it over gorilla style.

I could run a radio station and not play the same track in a week, and that is commercial free. I need a pirate radio a la Pump up the Volume. I'm not in the car enough to need satellite radio, but my guess is that it is not much better, and you actually have to pay. Stop the bleeding.

I grew up listening to college radio, Amarillo College 89.9 on the FM dial. That ruined me for life. Punk, Velvet, Rock, Electronic, Indie, you name it they played it, seriously you could call them up and request a song and if they had it, it would be on the air within the hour. My favorite was Alamosa community college's station. I actually was able to spin some CD's one night after snowboarding at Wolf Creek with the South Fork Crew.

I don't think that Video Killed the Radio Star, corporate America Killed the Radio. I would like to take Morrissey's advice and Hang the DJ, but it's not their fault, they are just doing what they have to, to keep a job. The only personality a DJ has is there on-air voice. No longer can we tell what music the DJ actually enjoys playing, it is a job and we killed the soul.

I hope if you are outside the listening area of the greater Tulsa area that you have real radio, the way radio should be, the way radio was.

Photo: Unknown, Seattle Weekly

Vuelta stage 14 & 15

I don't care who you are, cat 5, touring, bike messenger, pro. It hurts when you fall. Crashing is a byproduct of cycling. The old saying "it's not a matter of if, but a matter of when". This is a risk that we all take when we ride, race, or tour.

Igor Anton knows this all to well. Yesterday while wearing the leader's jersey he crashed out of la Vuelta, one of the better climbers and contender for the top step in Madrid. What do you think hurt more hitting the tarmac or getting into the team car?

With Anton in the car opportunity came knocking for Nibali and Rodriguez. Rodriguez and Nibali attacked the field and Rodriguez took the stage, Nibali put on the jersey.

Stage 15
What a nasty nasty stage in profile and weather. The hot sunny days that they have been enjoying turned into rain and fog. The wheel swinging Barredo is pretty good at actually riding the bike. With the poor weather and climbs Barredo attacked the break-away group and soloed to a stage win. Short and sweet.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

These are the days

No I'm not going to quote Natalie of the 10,000 Maniacs. I am talking about the weather that we are having. These are the days that we live for here in NE Oklahoma. This is the perfection that we get for a week or two in the spring and then in the fall. Take your pick.

I don't know if I have a favorite, fall is great because we are getting the changing of the seasons, the leaves are turning. The crisp arm warmer morning air at the beginning of the ride, followed by the warm sun at the end of the ride. It starts out cool, then the warm up, then the heat of a sun headed to the South for winter. The colors seem cleaner, brighter, rich. The heat rays gone from the summer, brings a clarity. Maybe it is just the absence of sweat dripping on sunglasses or the stinging of salt in the eyes. The air is cool as it enters the lungs, no longer having to breath in a blast furnace. We use the word Fall to often, Fall to a cyclist is a bad thing, we should say Autumn. Saying Autumn is a pinkie raised drink of coffee.

Spring is the new birth of a season, winter is ending and life is being breathed back into the Earth. Flowers are blooming, birds are blah blah blah... I'm not going there. We start to get longer days the sun is getting warmer, the layers are coming off. Spring rains and thunderstorms make a check of the radar a must when wondering too far from home. Frozen toes and non-working fingers are a thing of the past, braking and shifting is something that you can actually feel. Spring is the beginning of a new season of racing. The first few races can be cold and windy, but no matter the weather they always hurt. Shaking off the long days on the trainer indoors. Learning to ride elbow to elbow, shoulder to shoulder. Drafting. It all comes back...Just like riding a bike.

These are the days that you cannot miss. I want to bottle days like today, so I can open one up in the winter and savor it like a good Amber Ale. Whatever you do, don't waste these days. They are few and far between, and they make living here worthwhile, albeit brief. Get out and ride, go for a hike, walk the dog, have your morning coffee outside. These days are like life itself, they are enjoy.