Thursday, September 6, 2012

It takes a smack to the head....

I've gotten a little banged up on my bike this summer....but despite my injuries and mishaps, I think I still faired better than the chap driving this boat on the Lake of the Ozarks this past weekend (you might have to watch a crummy commerical before it plays).

That guy goes down quicker than a Vegas hooker. 

And speaking of having the world come up and smack you suddenly in the face just when you think you are cruising along fine, comes the story in Cyclingnews that Jonathan Vaughters let fly the admission that Tom Danielson had previously doped prior to coming to Garmin while commenting in one of the discussion forums. He also mentioned Christian VandeVelde and David Zabriskie - but rumor had already circulated about them in regards to the USADA case against Lance Armstrong - so the real revelation was the news about Danielson.  Actually - this wasn't a revelation to everyone.  Kansas racer Steve Tilford responded today in a post saying that he knew Tommy D was juicing all along.

"I’m not going to rip Jonathan [Vaughters] again for this. He is full of shit. Completely full of shit. I’m going to rip Tom Danielson. Here’s my personal observations and history of Tom Danielson, with a few jabs at Jonathan during the rant, probably.  Ever since I heard the guy’s name, Tom Danielson, it has been associated with doping. From square one."
If you would like to read the rest of Tilford's self-titled rant, you can do so over on his blog, where he is entirely entitled to voice his opinion and make comments like..."the guy was a tool," and, "he stuck around the US long enough for just about everyone with any knowledge of the sport to realize he needed to leave our continent," and my personal favorite, "I'm hoping most of the people in Durango that support cycling think much of the same way I do.  Maybe the Durango Herald reporter will feel as strongly as I do and rip Tom a new asshole.....and [he will] decide to move to his little place in Maui instead."
I wish I could get condemned to Maui.
Anyway, many have questioned why Vaughters would "out" VandeVelde, Zabriskie and Danielson with such apparent carelessness, when he himself, got to wait until well after he had retired to pen an op-ed piece and publicly come clean about his own doping past.  Obviously, a lot of the who's who of dopers are about to be revealed to the world as part of the USADA's evidence and in Tyler Hamilton's book. And maybe the mention of current Garmin riders was not accidental, but rather all part of a cleverly schemed plan of executing a slow release of admissions of doping in a more casual way, to avoid any single bomb-dropping media event. But if Vaughters was 'drunk dialing'  the cyclingnews forum and slipped up by releasing this info, then I think he was out of bounds and really didn't have the right to rob Danielson of his opportunity to come clean if he chose to do so.   But, therein lies the problem.  To speak of "rights" and "bounds" in the same breath as "admissions of doping" seems a little silly.  After all, there is no honor amongst thieves, correct?  Well of course there is: hence the omerta....the code of silence.  It's pretty clear that if you got busted doping, you kept quiet and served your suspension, and in time, you would be let back into the peloton (see Millar, Basso, Vino, Valverde on and on).  But regardless of whether or not you doped - if you sang, you would never work again (see Landis, Jakshe, Bassons, Simeoni). 
Lovely sport, this.  The more you learn, the uglier it gets.
Tyler Hamilton was interviewed by Bill Gifford for Outside Magazine yesterday and was asked the question:
BG: Do you miss bike racing?
TH: "Once in a great while I miss the racing, the feeling of winning. That rush. That adrenaline. The rest of the bullshit—no, I don’t miss it. My nephew told me he wanted to be a pro bike racer a couple of years ago, and I felt sick to my stomach, knowing what I do......"
I keep reading analyses from cycling "experts" about how professional cycling will survive the massive purge of dirty info we seem to be on the brink of learning.  Quite honestly, it survives because of dumb-asses like me who continue to read and write about it - looking for some deeper meaning, or greater purpose, or posturing about the "beauty" of the sport. 
It's kind of like watching the boat video above.  A lot of people have commented how dumb those people were to being going that speed, and to be sure, their desire to go fast certainly seemed to trump good judgement.  But I'm the one who kept hitting replay to watch it happen over and over who's the biggest dumb-ass?

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Vampires, bitches.....time travelling vampires.

Last night at about 10:32 PM, I got an urgent text message from Pickle 2.

"I just ordered Tyler Hamilton's new book on Kindle.  It's going to automatically download as soon as it's released in 28 minutes."
Now, some of you may realize that yesterday was the first COMO Cyclocross race of the season.  And for me - this was the first competitive type of bikey thing I've attempted since 'jacking up my shoulder real good' in July and also obliterating a bone in my little toe about 3 weeks ago while chasing the COMO CYCO dog through the living room.  (Who would have guessed that the material properties of my pinky toe bone were no match for the cheap pine that my coffee table leg is constructed of?).  The evidence:
So, about the time Pickle was texting me about Tyler's new book, I was soaking in the tub, nursing my bruised ego, my swollen pinky toe, and my deviated collar bone, which these days protrudes so prominently under my skin that it looks like my shoulder is trying to conceal an erection.  I responded to Pickle nonetheless:
"Dude - do NOT stay up all night reading that thing!"
Pickle replied, "Can't.  Too effing tired from cross.  Gonna crash any second!"
As if we needed more reasons to ride bikes, or race cross, here was suddenly another one staring at me in the escape the bullshit of the real world, if only for a brief time.  When you are talentless, weak and have a center of gravity that is way, way, way too fucking high to be taking a downhill off-camber right angle turn over tree roots at full speed, you tend to suddenly not give a shit if Lance Armstrong doped, or what Tyler Hamilton has to say, or if you accidentally left the oven just don't want to go over the handlebars one more time and make the tent that your shoulder is pitching obscenely reveal its inner bone by finally poking on through the skin. 
However, as all things pass with time, so too does the mind-emptying bliss that one can only feel through sheer physical exertion, and slowly we start to re-occupy our brains once again with the news of the day.  Such was the case for me this morning when I tried to take a peek at what was going on in the Vuelta.  I had heard a rumor that today would be the ultimate showdown between Joachim Rodriguez and Alberto Contador (who were sitting in 1st and 2nd on GC) - and I was eager to catch a little of the action of the end of today's stage.  Logging on to, this is the Eurosport feed I got.
Now, you may not have noticed, but if you look very closely, you will see, coincident with an interview of Alberto Contador, that there is a very subtle commercial for what appear to be a group of Asian women who want boyfriends.  This is what is known as subliminal advertising, and has proven to be very effective in gently convincing your brain that you desire something by showing mere hints and glimpses of the subject matter.  Regardless, I am generally happy to see Bertie do so well today and to be back in the peloton after having served his doping suspension.  This year's Vuelta is proving to be quite possibly the most exciting of all the grand tours this year.   Who can be sure, really, if he is juicing now - but regardless of his activities, I will say that that the Asian ladies that I'm being warned "will pursue" me on Eurosport definitely appear to have been on some serious performance enhancing programs.
And speaking of performance enhancers, there is more good news in the Lance Armstrong camp today.  First and foremost, a couple of very prominent athletes are speaking out in his defense.  The first is former professional baseball player Jose Canseco.  You may remember Jose as not only an accomplished designated hitter, but also a professional athlete who admitted to using performance enhancing drugs who wrote a book about it called: Juiced: Wild Times, Rampant 'Roids, Smash Hits and How Baseball Got Big.  Well in a recent article,  he comments on Lance,
"Just leave the guy alone and let him be the best there ever was or will be.....Liquor and tobacco will kill you, and of course they're legal.  But steroids, growth hormones, and enhancement chemicals that have the potential to help you live better and longer [are] illegal just like cocaine and heroin.  That needs to be changed soon if we want to continue to push the human body to its physical limits."
Well said, Jose.  Oh yeah, did I mention Canseco wants to be a Vampire as well?
"One thing I never understood is why anyone wouldn’t want to be bitten by a vampire. It’s like, what the fuck? Are you kidding me? I’d become a vampire in a heartbeat. They’re immortal, they can fly, and they can time-travel… what’s so bad about wanting to become one? What’s the worst thing that can happen? You have to eat a few people now and then? "
Ever hear of Hep B, Jose?  And also - hold the phone for one cotton-picking minute!  Vampires can time travel?  Since when?  And who said anything about them eating people?  I don't know, man.....the time travel shit could be cool - but the eating people?  Anyway - as if having Conseco's endorsement isn't enough, Lance also got the support of Barry Bonds.  The former pro-slugger, who happens to have been recently found guilty of felony obstruction of justice for lying during an investigation into his own steroid use said this of Armstrong just yesterday,
"I think if it wasn't for him, U.S. cycling wouldn't even be here.  He was the greatest cyclist of all time."
I couldn't agree more with Bonds on this issue.  Marshall "Major" Taylor?  Never heard of him.  Andy Hamptsen?  Chump.  Greg LeMond?  Overrated.  Davis Phinney?  Isn't he the father of somebody famous?
Who the hell is that?  Not Lance - that's who.
Well Jose and Barry aren't alone, apparently.  Word in today is that 23 Californian state senators have petitioned the two U.S. Senators from California to request a formal review of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency.  The petition never mentions Armstrong, but does say,
"The United States was founded under the fundamental premise that everyone has the due process right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.  To that end, we respectfully request that you call upon the Office of National Drug Control Policy and the appropriate oversight committees of the United States Congress to develop appropriate constitutional protections and conduct a comprehensive review of USADA's operations and finances, with special attention to USADA's unilateral changes in the rules for dealing with athletes who have never failed a drug test."
What a coincidence!  And how timely is it that these Californian senators decided to look into the USADA now of all times.  I know what you are thinking....sure Judge Sam Sparks already said that USADA was within its rights to charge Armstrong and is not acting "unconstitutional."  And absolutely, Lance waived his right to an arbitration hearing.  And yes, Lance agreed, just like everyone in the US who gets their license through USA Cycling, to adhere to the rules of the USADA.  But come on....we can bend the rules just a little bit for him - can't we? 
I mean - Jose and Barry said he's cool - so he gets a pass right?  Just think of the vampires.  The world needs its blood suckers to live in perpetuity, right?
Man - how many days until the next cross race?  I need to seriously forget about this shit.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Cyclocross comes to Columbia

Hey there.  What are you doing tonight?  What if I told you that you could embarrass the shit out of yourself by trying to ride your bike through an illogical maze of barrier tape strewn across a tick-infested field that has been baked in the Missouri sun all summer, and soaked by the remnants of a hurricane all weekend, dismounting to jump over indiscriminately placed pieces of lumber, falling and being trampled by people you once considered your friends, while being relentlessly heckled by complete strangers.....all for five dollars?

Let me rephrase the question.  Do you own a cross bike that you use to leisurely stroll down the KT trail, or to commute to work....or just to look like this guy?
(Holy shit - is that Tony Rigdon's long lost twin brother?)
If the answer to that question is 'yes,' might I suggest that instead of going home after work this evening, you strip the Velo Orange hammered fenders and panniers off of your cross bike and use it the way God intended - as an instrument of self-humiliation!  Come race cross tonight!  "But PooBah," you say, "tonight I was going to curl up on the sofa in my Snuggee and sip on a Bartles and James pomegranate wine cooler and watch the Chronicles of Narnia on HBO!"  Well if that was your original Tuesday night plan - by all means, please don't deviate.  But if you were going to spend the evening paying bills, or fixing the bathroom sink, or getting caught up on some paperwork, skip all of that adulthood crap and come out and play. 
Come on!  Doesn't this look like fun???
Here's the skinny:
Tonight is the first night of a regular Tuesday night 12-week training series in all things Cyclocross right here in Columbia.  Yes you heard me right.  Here - in Columbia.  No driving to Hermann, or St. Louis, or Jeff City.  Cyclocross is here.  Now.  I know, you just got that child-like twinge of excitement that makes you wonder if you have to poop and you have lots of questions:
Where do I go?  Socket Telecom LLC (2703 Clark Lane). map
What the shit is cyclocross?  Here is quick tutorial: link.
What time? A training session will be held for beginners at 5:30 PM.
How long are the races? There will be two 20 minute races.  Race 1 begins at 6:00PM.
How much does it cost?  $5 if you have a USAC license.  $15 if you don't.  (It will be worth it to buy an annual license for $60.)
What do I bring? Yourself, your cross bike, cowbells a camera and a thick, thick skin (and save your race number after tonight!).
What do I NOT bring?  Your dignity, your typical roadie attitude, and your false allusion that coming in first is actually considered winning.
What will I win if I do come in first?  Most likely a PBR shower, and possibly a kiss on the lips from the unofficial Como Cyclocross podium girl Ethan Froese - depending on what kind of a mood he's in.
But I literally have no idea what I'm doing!! That's OK - hecklers don't discriminate - everyone will be made fun of equally.  And look at it this way, if you are knocked unconscious - then the course just got an extra barrier - so it's a bonus!  But if you want to brush up on your Cyclocross knowledge prior to coming out - you can take a refresher quiz here.
But won't there be some really good racers there?  Absolutely - that's the point.  Learn from literally some of the best cross cyclists in the state and come to appreciate the beauty of this sport!
Where do I go for more information?
Visit the official website here:
See you tonight, kids.