Wednesday, March 16, 2011


Injury is almost a given when you partake in a sport that pushes the body to the limits.  We know this, we sometimes talk about it, but we choose to do what we do anyway.  Everything has a graduated scale, and when it comes to injury it is no different.  We push our bodies to limits that break and tear-down, and then we have to recover.  This is normal, well... probably not so normal if you are on the outside looking in, but trust me I stayed at a Holiday Inn Express.

A good friend of mine, and teammate took a nasty spill in the race last Saturday and broke his collarbone.  When I say broke, I am talking about doing everything possible to a bone short of poking it through the skin kind of broken.  He is one tough Mother...shut your mouth...I'm just talkin' about Shaft.  No, really he is my pick to walk down a dark alley and come back in one piece brand of tough.

He has surgery scheduled for tomorrow, and I just wanted to mention him in the blog.  A micro-tribute to a teammate that is missed.  It is a giant void to not have him on team rides.  He has always been a constant, sometimes a little late, but a pillar of the team. 

I had the privilege of racing with him in Mineral Wells a few weekends ago and it was a boost for me to look back at one point in the race when I thought I was all alone, and then there was a black and white jersey coming up behind me.  When I saw I had help, he and I took over the front of the chase group and went to work. He got fifth, and I have a race that I will never forget.

Mike,  Thank you for everything that you do, and everything that you have done.

Heal quick, heal strong, I'm ready to go to work.

if it's too loud

What are you listening to right now, no not this instant, but what is your "mix tape"?  What is your "go to" music?  Look at your collection, or should I say play list, and see if you are like me and are heavy into artists that you grew-up listing to.  I'm talking about grade school through college (or college years). 

My playlists are laden with late '80s through the '90s alternative "college radio" artists.  This would be the years that I would consider my growth years.  The years that I was influenced by friends, parents, my sister, religion, and anything else shiny or sparkly (I was a teenage boy).  I am just curious to know if other audiophiles have the same tendencies, a prevalence to go back to the roots?  I do listen to new music, but you can easily draw comparisons or six degrees of separation from the "then" to the "now playing".

I think for me it is easy to listen to my music, because it is my blanket my comfort food for the soul.  You have that one song that reminds you of your first slowdance, kiss, break-up, or hook-up.  There might be some songs or artists, maybe an album you can't even listen to anymore because of the emotional flood that it conjures up with every cord and verse.  TSA has their NO Fly list, I have my NO Play list.

I hate to admit it, but I am at an age, or more of a turning point where I don't like the music of the "next" generation.  Maybe it's not that I don't like it, it is I just don't get it.  I listen to music that came before my generation and have several go to artists that produced albums 10-20years before my birth.  I have found very few "new" artists that I like or can tolerate, and find myself always turning back to my faithful tried and true.

Somehow we emotionally tie time and space to music.  Some songs are tied to a specific memories, others are woven into a time period.  Try it.  Put on a playlist sit down and listen to your music, let the memories come rushing in.  Warning, some songs might not be all Shiny Happy People memories. 

Monday, March 14, 2011

Paris - Nice stage 8 fin

Paris - Nice 2011 was awesome, and the final stage capped off a great week of racing and craziness.  the weather was great and then it turned as if to say "not this year boys".  The race to the sun, is now known as the race from the sun.  Deal with it.  De Gendt's early exploits in the jersey, twice.  Tony Martin's untouchable time trial.  Voeckler's hard fought breakaway that made it to the end.  Matt Goss picked up his seventh win in a drag race.  And, don't forget all of the crashes, yes the wet weather claimed some skin and expensive machines, but the crosswinds and twitchy handling were just as much to blame in the early stages.

That brings us to the finale with Martin holding onto the leaders frock, and the cycling gods unleashed cold and rain just for fun let's throw in some cat 1 climbs.  Now your talking. 

I'm not going to say "I told you so" but I did mention something about Thomas Voeckler and his Europcar team.  Check it out if you don't believe me.  Voeckler is for real, and this guy is speaking volumes with his legs.  He represented his sponsor well with numerous appearances in the breakaways and with two stage wins.  Once a multi-day yellow jersey wearer at le Tour, Voeckler has again given his countrymen something to celebrate.  Panache.  That word  has been used to describe the way in which Voeckler picked up the final stage win in Nice.  I would have to say that is the way he is riding, we here in the West would say he is riding with "swagger".   Chapeau! Thomas Chapeau!

I can't forget Tony Martin, he did win the thing.  He crushed the TT and then rode in defence of his jersey all the way to Nice.  You have to give it to him for being such a well rounded rider, GC material.  Don't get me wrong...he did not do it all by himself.  HTC highroad knows how to ride and race.  Did you see Matt Goss setting tempo up the climbs?  That's right Mr. Sprinter (7 wins so far) was setting pace up a climb, you do what you gotta do when you are protecting the jersey.  Let's not forget Tejay Van Garderen.  Tejay turned himself inside out and then outside in when he was setting pace.  Sacrifice.  Work.  Pain.  Victory. 

Paris - Nice stage 7

First of all I was racing in a crit when this race was aired, and I did not get to see what happened.  I did see a very very short recap.  Would have enjoyed watching this race, minus all of the carnage, because I admire the strength that these riders posses when it comes to enduring bad weather.  I know this is their vocation, but sometimes you just have to say no.  No, I will not ride a bike in this foul weather, thank you and good night.  Beer me.

And then you have the guys that thrive in horrible conditions.  Classic conditions.  The weather this year at Paris-Nice has been a little opposite starting in the sun and ending in rain and clouds.  Remy Di Gregorio (Astana), Who?  That's what I said, Who?  Anyway Di Gregorio put it down in the race and soloed it in from about 2k out and only 25sec in hand.  Di Gregorio is a magician.  Hi is able to take certain death and turn it into an excellent bike save.  Try and find footage of that.  How much do you hate painted road surfaces? 

1 Rémy Di Gregorio (Fra) Pro Team Astana 5:46:23
2 Samuel Sanchez Gonzalez (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi 0:00:05
3 Rigoberto Uran Uran (Col) Sky Procycling
4 Andreas Klöden (Ger) Team RadioShack 0:00:07
5 Tony Martin (Ger) HTC-Highroad
6 Rein Taaramae (Est) Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne
7 Janez Brajkovic (Slo) Team RadioShack 0:00:09
8 Bradley Wiggins (GBr) Sky Procycling
9 Xavier Tondo Volpini (Spa) Movistar Team
10 Maxime Monfort (Bel) Leopard Trek 0:00:11