Archive for October, 2008

To All You Haters

I get agitated when I hear people otherwise ignorant of cycling refer to it as “just a bunch of dopers”.

Truth be told, cycling is doing more and punishing harder than the NFL or MLB would ever tolerate.

Briggs articulated it better than I can, but it’s nice to hear an accurate description of the sham that is drug testing in the big four sports here in the U.S.

For too long the strong unions fought testing in the name of privacy, but in reality they were only trying to hold up their free reign to dope.  The unions want the players to get bigger contracts, the leagues want “better action”, and turn a blind eye when ratings and branding increase.

Can you imagine the NFL imposing the same punishments on their players that the UCI places on their riders?  On an all-pro, no less?

Well if Shawne Merriman had to endure it, he’d just be getting back this week.  Two prime years of his career – gone.  Oh yeah, he would have also forfeit his contract that year and would be struggling to get one for this year; no slap on the wrist.

I hate when I hear about another great performance being attributed to EPO, CERA or whatever.  But it irritates me on another level when I hear ball sport honks put my sport down for it, all the time knowing that they have their heads in the sand.

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Baby It’s Cold Outside

It happens every year.

Today marks the last outdoor ride of the season.  It was a nice 41 mile excursion to the north lasting about 2 hours and 15 minutes.  The temp at the start was 56 and I think 51 when I got back home.  Cold enough to get that “this might be a bad idea” feeling during the warm up and painfully numb toes at the end.

I was still able to enjoy it; the cool air is better to breathe somehow.  I smelled more wood burning as people are turning the heat back on.  As I rode past Lakeside Farms, I was able to enjoy one last whiff of fall goodies – cider donuts mostly.  Yum!

I did my best to savor these sensations as this is probably the last day over 55 degrees (my lower limit) until spring.  Now I turn my attention to staying fit on the trainer, a process eased a bit this year by adding a few new Spinervals videos to the mix.  I add these to my collection of 5 or so DVDs and 7 “Do the Tour” CDs.  I was able to score the 2006 Do the Tour series, so at least I get to hear Bob Roll.

I also am being promoted from the basement to the penthouse suite.  Mrs. Stallion decided to make a workout room out of a spare bedroom, so now I won’t be freezing at the start of those mid-winter trainer sessions.

I used to hate leaving the road for the trainer, but that feeling has mellowed considerably.  It will be nice to keep the sensation in my toes and get in a good workout in 90 minutes or less.  I am also better able to control when I ride.  My schedule is the big obstacle here, not mother nature.  It seems since Labor Day I haven’t had any great weeks on the road.  I think only about 4 or 5 rides over 2½ hours and several rides separated by more than 4 days.  Once I’m on the trainer it’s pretty consistent 3 or 4 rides per week.

The road will be a memory turning into a dream over the next 20 or so weeks.  I’ll do my intervals, watch my videos, listen to Bob Roll’s stories again, watch the leaves go away and the snow pile up and curse BTL for living in Florida.

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Separated At Birth?

Taxes, Healthcare, what?  All I could take away from last night’s debate was how much “Joe the Plumber” reminded me of Bjarne Riis:

  

I can’t be the only one thinking this.

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Views on Vuelta on Versus

I really enjoyed being able to follow Velonews’ live coverage of this years Vuelta.  It was the next best thing to being able to watch it on TV.  I don’t know what the next best thing after that is, but about 5 below that was Versus‘ one hour wrap up broadcast this past weekend.

Where do I start with this?  The most obvious is that this recap aired about three weeks after the race ended.  Anyone interested enough to watch it already knew what happened for weeks.  I don’t know who green lighted doing a one hour summary of a three week grand tour, but they should be subjected to this for 21 days.

Phil Liggett did his usual engaging commentary, but the audio was terrible.  For a moment I thought he literally phoned it in.  Disappointing, Versus.  You could do much better.

I know that the Vuelta is the red-headed stepchild of the Grand Tours, but still; how about a weekend show like you did for the Giro?  At least it was somewhat timely, and I had the feeling you were actually there.  For all I know, you just read the Velonews Live Update for the Vuelta when I did (which was totally not at work).

I was able to cleanse the palate today with Paris-Tours.  It was better than I expected; nice action for what should have been a snooze-fest of a sprinters classic.

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Proper Riding Nutrition – Eat To Win!

I ran across this today: the Tour De Cupcake.  Eat for time bonuses.  It might just motivate me to race!

I admire their business model.  They must have poached it from the Tour De Donut.  I guess nobody has to worry about bonking.  Can you feel the love?

(thanks, Fritz)

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Refreshingly Epic

As I have mentioned before, I love fall rides.  Today’s conditions consisted of a start temp of 60 degrees and a stiff west wind at about 18 mph and gusty.  Oh yeah, intermittent rain as well.

It ain’t Belgium, but it’s about as miserable conditions I will consider riding in.  It helped that my schedule won’t allow me to ride again for at least 3 days, so I was a little more desperate to get a ride in.

I’ll never consider myself the second coming of Stuart O’Grady, but as I was riding the route into Charlton, I couldn’t help but feel gritty.  These are the conditions that usually keep most riders at home waiting for better weather.  The first half of the route is mostly due west – directly into that headwind.  That was tough, but I knew that I was going to have that at my back after the turnaround.  When it rained, I was annoyed and concerned.  I hate riding wet roads because everything gets slippery under my 700×23 tires.  Also, it was COLD; I was generating just enough heat to keep from getting badly chilled.  My toes were numb, but that’s par for the course.

The turnaround point at the end of Charlton Road was a great relief.  Instantly I had a strong wind at my back.  I sped up to 26mph spinning in a 53×15.  Easy speed.  At this point it was about five o’clock.  The sun was getting low and it was mostly cloudy.  Brr.

The wind was still a factor; at intersections I had to slow down and even the tailwind was chilly now.  The red light I had to wait for at route 50 was tough.  My Gatorade felt like it was right out of the fridge!

I got back just after 6:00 – 3 hours and 52+ miles; not bad.  I was tired and well chilled.  I have to admit that I felt refreshed.  The cool weather truly brings out another dimension to the rides.  It’s like a slap in the face to wake you up.  I think that was the last hurrah for Epic rides this season.  I can’t see myself taking time off from work two or three times a week just to get in 3 hour rides.  I think the run of the mill 2-hour ones will have to do.

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