Friday, October 8, 2010

Tis the Season

Let's see...What is going on in this great metropolis we call Green Country aka Tulsa?  What is Tulsa Time anyway?  I have been here for 11 years and we have T-town this and Tulsa Time that, really if anyone can explain in 25 words or less I would love to know.  Educate me.

The Tulsa State Fair is in full swing, how is it that Tulsa can have a State Fair and so can OKC?  How does that work.  Kind of like Tulsa International Airport, should it actually be called Intra-national or am I just splitting hairs.  Back to the Fair, sorry State Fair...kind of like Vegas on a $250 budget.  I have not been to the Fair in a very very long time, actually I have never been to the Tulsa SF, my last Fair was in Amarillo TX at the Tri-State Fair.  Not sure which States make up the Tri, but it is a people watching extravaganza, any State Fair is a plethora of people watching.  That would be my draw to go to the Fair, not the fancy rides built by Billy-Jo-Bob, not the food on a stick, not the livestock with blue ribbons.  I love the humanity, if we had zoos with people in them I would probably pay to go.  Here we have the Wall St Banker in his natural habitat, over here we have the Subway token attendant, and over there is the State Fair Carny.

Cross season is here.  I had a lot of really funny lead-ins with that line, but I try not to offend with the written word.  My Grandmother always said "never put anything on paper that you cannot eat", I know this is not paper, but it still applies.  Dust off the cowbells, fill the coolers, and find your angry disposition, 'cause Cyclo-cross season is about to be in full swing here in NE OK.  There is a race in BA this Saturday, and you have two choices, 1) get the cross bike out and raise some hell.  2) Go to the race and raise some hell.  If you spectate at a 'Cross race, you had better set aside some bail money.  'Cross is crazy and the fans have to be crazy.  You have to get involved, Yell at the crazies on skinny tires, Ring that cowbell until it hurts, and drink until you are cyclo-cross eyed.  We as Americans will never be able to understand the true pageantry that the Belgians exude.  They love their, that's right THEIR, sport.

Do not forget Cycle Fandango.  Check out my blog on this subject.  Better yet don't read a word that I have written about Cycle Fandango.  Just Go Do It.  Don't listen to how much fun I had.  Go have your own.  You will thank me later.  You will.  I like dark beer, dark chocolate, long walks on the beach, and cash always makes a nice gift.  If you are going to Fandango to see me, I am sad, very sad to report that I will be working in the ATL (that's right).  So, I will be jealous of you and your Fandango.  There is always next year.  We will always have Paris.  I'll write from the road aka ATL.  The worst part is that I will not be taking a bike.

Get outside.  Stop playing on the interweb and go outside.  I'm talking to you.  Put down the half gallon of ice cream, walk away and nobody gets hurt.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Rally, Really?

I don't do this very often, but I am fully stocked by this guy.  I am by no means a "motor head", but watching Ken drive makes me want to pull on a nomex fire suit and shred some tires.  And, for some reason I really want a Monster, never had one but man, I sure could go for one.

Hold my beer and watch this...

Thanks to James for sending me this vid

Beating a dead horse to death

I'm about flippin' tired of all the Doping talk.  Every post, site, magazine and cyclists you talk to is all about doping.  I guilty, heck I'm doing it right now.  Bernard Kohl said that it is not possible to win the Tour without doping. Here is  a little something he had to say...
“I was tested 200 times during my career, and 100 times I had drugs in my body,” he said, according to the New York Times. “I was caught, but 99 other times, I wasn’t. Riders think they can get away with doping because most of the time they do. Even if there is a new test for blood doping, I’m not even sure it will scare riders into stopping. The problem is just that bad.”
It does not paint a pretty picture for our sport.  I wonder if I am getting too cynical in believing people like Kohl and Landis?  Surely there are Clean riders out there.  There are, Right?  Has the Clean rider become a thing like Santa Clause, Easter Bunny, Tooth Fairy?  I am being too negative, there is at least one cyclist in a Grand Tour that does not resort to breaking the rules just to race there?

I'm sorry, I was going to write about how much we talk about this whole doping issue, and how it is in the forefront of all things cycling.  It is shameful to cycling, to anyone who saddles-up and goes for a ride.  I was talking with a coworker about cycling and someone overheard us and the proceeded to ask us "what we thought about doping?"  It is so "out there" that even non-cyclists are talking about it, or at least know about it.

I was not a fan when the Festina affair broke in 1998, so I have no reference point to what that did to cycling at the time.  I do feel like something big is about to bust open.  We have Landis and his claims, Contador and his positive, people like Kohl coming out of the woodwork.  Everything seems ripe for an explosion.  I hope that there will be some sort of resolution that cycling can come up with, but my faith in the system and the riders is at an all time low.

Once again I am being a negative Nelly, so don't get me wrong, I do love cycling and I am a huge fan.  I guess it is like any other sport out there, in that you can't turn on the TV and watch a game and think everyone out there is on a level playing field.  Well, that is, if they are all juiced then I guess it is level.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

I regularly switch between my road and mountain bike. I threw a leg over the mtb yesterday and went to the trails. As soon as I left the pavement all bets were off. I was skittish.  I couldn't handle the bike, it felt like I was going to kill myself. Then I realized something... I'm riding a Mountain bike, not a skinny tire Road bike. Ride it like a mountain bike, don't worry about all the dirt, rocks, and roots. Point it and go, it is made to go over just about anything in your way.

Riding on the road you are always looking for the smoothest lines devoid of potholes, glass, rocks, cracks, dirt, and gravel. People are always pointing out things to avoid, on the road it is straight out point to point speed. Railing turns on a two centimeter patch of rubber requires a tuned ride and skill on the part of the rider. It is fairly mindless work to ride the road, without too much bike-to-rider interface. Grip it and Rip it.

When you are accustomed to riding on the road and the handling characteristics of a road bike, switching to the mountain can sometimes be a shock to the system. MTbikes will eat just about anything you throw at them, they are perfectly capable machines. Sometimes the rider is the problem with why the bike will not do what it is told. I tried yesterday to ride my mtbike like a road bike, until I realized what I was doing. Once I got "right" with my bike everything worked itself out.

Picking lines is an art form, and sometimes the smoothest line is the roughest looking. I always say "flow" everything has to flow like water. Water is said to take the path of least resistance, tell that to class V rapids. In respect to rocks, water does not always go around them, sometimes it goes over them. Such is life on a mtbike, you can't always go around the rocks, and sometimes it is best to go over them.

So whenever you find yourself faced with rocks in life or out on the trail...just "flow".

Monday, October 4, 2010

You gotta have Faith

The doping issue has always been an issue, and a non-issue.  It is an integral part of cycling, it is a cornerstone of cycling.  It is the dirty little family secret that sometimes comes out when too many drinks have been consumed.  We will never know a cycling without drugs, as long as there are ways to cheat there will always be cheating.  There is no way to stop people from cheating, as soon as a new detection system comes out someone is already trying to find new ways around.  It is an industry, not just in cycling but in anything where there are rules or governing bodies.  People have to fight rules just because there is a rule in place, they believe they are above the rules.  You have seen it, it is out there.  It is the criminal mindset, one of working outside the rules for an undeserved gain.

I can sit in my easy chair and throw stones, because I don't typically break the rules to get ahead.  Yes, I do drive over the speed limit every time I get behind the wheel of a car.  I don't practice unfair business practices at work, I pay my taxes, I don't steal my neighbors cable, I don't rip movies off the internet.  I for the most part play by the rules and try to live a lifestyle of "the righteous path."  I don't think there are legitimate reasons for someone to cheat, compelling arguments can be made, but when it comes down to it cheating is cheating. 

Motivation to break the rules does not change the fact that rules have been broken.  I feel for people who are trying to provide for their families and they are having a tough time being the sole provider.  When we apply this to professional cycling it really makes no sense. Until we realize doping is part of the job, just like having to buy a uniform for work, there will always be someone getting busted or a team scandlal.  Doping has been a part of cycling for so long that it is standard operating procedures.

Does everyone dope?  Is it as prolific as Landis would like for us to believe?  Will I be crushed when I find out that Armstrong was on something? No.  I however, will lose all faith in cycling if George or Jens turn up tainted.  Two of the hardest working uber-domestiques in all of cycling; it would kill me to know that something was not right with what they have done.  I have created heroes out of workers, workers that attain victory not for themselves, but for their team leader.  Is it just part of the job to cheat?  Should we try and eradicate it, or should we turn a blind eye and just police it the best we can?