Saturday, July 31, 2010
Friday, July 30, 2010
6 Turns: Check
3/4 at 2:45pm: Check
Cat4 at 6:30pm: Check
A few lone wolves are heading to Indiana tomorrow in search of
Boogity Boogity Boogity, Lets Go Racin'!!
Note to fellow racers, when planning to race in Indiana consider the effect of time zones in your travel plan.
Thursday, July 29, 2010
Over next couple weeks I'll look at the options available to the top riders on the transfer market. Today I will focus on the biggest name on the market Alberto Contador.
Word out of the Contador camp is that negations with Astana are stalled (according to velonews), and El Pisterlo is ready to ride for a new team in 2010. So where will he end up?
Patrick Lefevre, Quick Step Director, was hot after Contador last year. So we should assume the same will hold true this year. Quick Step showed at the Tour they could compete at the biggest race of the year without its biggest star, Tom Boonen. With the addition of a few climbers, namely Navarro and Noval, this team could be capable of defending Alberto's back to back tour titles. Not to mention this Alberto would take some pressure off Boonen and allow him to focus on the classics, where he truly shines.
Riis Team (old Saxo Bank)
Next season Andy and Frank Schleck will be riding for a new team out of Luxembrog built around them. They are most likely going to take a bunch of the Saxo guys with them. So this leaves a large hole in the Bjarne Riis lead team. With Saxo Bank ending its title sponsorship after this season some new sponsors will be filing the void and the team will go on, at least that's the word on the web. One of the rumored title sponsors for next season is Specialized (along with Sunguard), Contador has a personal contact to ride Specialized next season, hmmmm...... And Rhis is the type of director who can lead the second half of Contador's career, seems like a really good fit.
Garmin - Transitions
rumors are that he would have signed him prior to the the 2009 Tour had Astana folded. So will Vautghers be able to sign him this time around? It seems unlikely. This team is influx, with CVV in the twilight of his career it looks as if the team is putting its resources behind Tyler Farrar. The fit wouldn't be great, but some pieces could be brought in to make a GC push for Contador. Not to mention they have a lot of money from the sale of Wiggo and you could always throw Ryder "weight of a nation" Hesjedal on the open market and fetch a pretty penny for him while his stock is through the roof.
(do you really want to go into 2011 with 36 yr old Andres Kolden as your top rider?) The team would be solid and the management would be steady. But then again if you read Bill Strickland's book Tour de Lance you would be lead to believe that all of Contador's ex-teammates don't really care for him. (And there is that whole investigation into the team's owner and director)
I think these are the only legitimate options for Contador now lets see what happens, my bet is on the Riis Team (Sunguard - Specialized). Let me know where you think Contador will end up next season in the comments section.
Monday, July 26, 2010
Favorite Domestique - A rider whose main job is to help the team leader win the day's stage, or the entire race. A domestique may pull the leader up to a breakaway, or pace them up a steep climb. If a team leader gets a flat, a domestique may even be called upon to give up their front or rear wheel and wait for the team mechanic, saving the leader precious seconds. (via Tour of Americas Dairyland website)
Jens Vogit - The only true hardman of cycling!
Favorite Sprinter - The guys who bang all the way to the line, they battle for space and explode out of gaps and make it look easy.
Favorite Team - No explanation needed, right?
Radio Shack, I really like Johan Brunyeel. He is a master tactician and succeeds a lot more than he fails. I like the American angle of the team too. Horner, Lance, Levi, Matt Busche and Taylor Phinney is on his way up too. They also did a nice job winning me some rouleurderby points in the Team Classifaction (now I can payoff my debt!)
road races in the international calendar. Most of the events, all run in western Europe, have been fixtures on the professional calendar for decades and the oldest ones date back to the 19th Century. They are normally held at roughly the same time each year. In the last few years, the five most revered races are sometimes described as the 'Monuments'.(Via wikipedia.com)
Big Tom Boonen, the three time Paris Roubiax winner hammers the cobbles like no other. He abuses other riders when the days get tough and if it comes down to a bunch sprint he is still one of the fastest wheels in the pack.
Favorite Grand Tour Contender - The guys who compete for the overall at the biggest events in cycling. .
Andy Schleck showed me something this year. He brought it this past Saturday in the Time Trial even pushing Contador to his limits. If it had not been for a slipped chain and a terrible prologue the tour may had ended differently. Better days are ahead for Andy Schleck, I will even predict that yesterday was the last day Alberto Contador will ride into Paris in Yellow. 2011 the Year of Schleck!
So Copy and Paste this list into the comments and fill it out.
Chicago Cycling Team
Favorite Classics Rider
Favorite Tour Contender
Sunday, July 25, 2010
Based on my recent twitter readings, it seems that Christian VdV will be headed to the Vuelta. Maybe a Chicagoan on a podium? Plenty of climbing to come...until then.
For the love of the suffer,
Thursday, July 22, 2010
Without his brother by his side he continued to impress. In the Alps he launched a vicious attack during stage 8 that pushed his competitors to their limit (including a certain Spaniard) resulting in his first stage victory of this years Tour. He took yellow after the rest day on stage 9 by launching several attacks aimed at Mr. Fingerbang. Finally after trading attacks they called a truce and pushed the pace to the finish in order to put time into the rest of the field. He wore Yellow for 6 days losing the jersey due to a debatable attack from Mr. Fingerbang. It been discussed enough so I will leave it at that. (Photo: © Sirott)
Mr. Fingerbang off his wheel with countless accelerations. The Spaniard didn't flinch matching each of the accelerations, and finally countering with an acceleration of his own with about 4k to go. Schleck quickly closed the gap with about 3.5k, but his tank was empty. In a class move Mr. Fingerbang didn't contest a one up sprint with Schleck at the top of the Tourmalet, giving Schleck a unforgettable victory. (Photo: © Roberto Bettini www.cyclingnews.com)
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
Jens being Jens. If you look up hardman in the dictionary you get this picture.
So then the broom wagon pulled up and was like, “Do you want to just get in?” And I said, “Oh no, I don’t need YOU!” But there I am with blood spurting out my left elbow and no bike. Finally, the race organizers got me a bike, but it was this little yellow junior bike. It was way too small for me and even had old-fashioned toe-clip pedals. But that is the only way I could get down the mountain, so I had to ride it for like 15-20 kilometers until I finally got to a team car with my bike.
Beyond The DebateMy struggle is that for seemingly every defense of one argument, there’s an equally valid counter-argument. There really doesn’t seem to be one answer that’s clearly right or one that’s clearly wrong. In the end, and even though it’s directly contradicted by the Lance/Ullrich situation on Luz Ardiden in 2003, if I had to make a decision today I would say that it would have been nice to see Contador wait for Schleck, but I don’t think he was obligated to. The decision to press on, however, may well haunt Contador later in this race or in the future.
The peloton has its own sense of justice, and if the riders feel that Contador was wrong, they may find ways within races to let him know. I don’t mean they’ll do anything malicious like push him off the road, but they may decide not to work with him in a breakaway, or that they’ll chase him down to prevent him from winning when they otherwise would have cooperated with him. Perhaps in next year’s Tour, or in a stage later in this race, a rider who might otherwise work with Contador in a small group will decide to just sit on.
You have to remember that even though many fans only see riders like Sammy Sanchez or Andy Schleck once a year during the Tour de France, the riders see each other week in and week out for years. Many of the men in the Tour have been racing each other for the better part of a decade, some even longer. Many have raced together on the same teams, or will in the future, as contracts and sponsors change. The actions you take in races determine how you are perceived in the peloton, and over time you build a reputation based on fairness, competence, safety, work ethic, and friendliness. The night after a stage like today, we can all talk about the immediate implications that Schleck’s mechanical problem – and Contador’s response - had on the race. But right or wrong, the long-term consequences of Contador’s decision will be decided by the peloton.
Wednesday, July 14, 2010
Q: How do you spell Lantern Rouge?
A: Lanterne Rouge
Q: What does Wikipedia know about the Lanterne Rouge?
A: The Lanterne Rouge is the competitor in last place in a cycling race such as the Tour de France. The phrase comes from the French "Red Lantern" and refers to the red lantern hung on the caboose of a railway train, which conductors would look for in order to make sure none of the couplings had become disconnected. (Couldn't have said it better myself.)
Q: Who is currently in last place in the Tour?
A: 181. Adriano Malori (Lampre) at 2:02:29, respectable.
Q: Does Adriano have a large enough gap this early in the Tour to hold off 180. Anthony Roux, FDJ, at 2:00:46?
A: I have no idea...
Q: Does it make you proud that an American has never come in last?
A: Hell yea!!
Q: Are you going to get a loan @rouleurderby to bet on it?
A: Hell yea!!
Special not appropriate @work question...
Q: Did @NeilRoad tweet something special tonight?
A: No comment
Keep the rubber side down,
Tuesday, July 13, 2010
My teammate Drew took 2nd, which was great because it at least made the trip not a total waste.
Really enjoyed hanging out with the Rhythm Racing guys before the race watching Andy Schleck throw fire on the field at the tour (I really don't want to see el bitchelero in yellow in paris), thanks to 2 Bici for the accommodations.
Well after 15 races in 26 days not to mention a trip to Matteson for the Tuesday Night Training Races I think its time for some rest. One more good day of training and a couple of High Lifes then I am putting the bike down for at least two days followed by a rest week next week.
Monday, July 12, 2010
Superweek is always tough racing. When people drop $40 to race their bike its seems to add speed and aggression, these aren't always the best things in a 4/5 race (more on that tomorrow).
The course was interesting to say the least. Two of the corners were made of bricks and the third turn was terrifying. There was a downhill off camber right hand turn into a narrow street, amazingly in our race everyone seemed to navigate this corner without anyone touching the ground.
We prepared for the race by trying to combat the heat, which was tough. It was sooo hot we had to use a mitten full of Enzo's buttonhole for extra protection (it smells like thin mints!)
A full field of 75 took to the line, this race was loaded with newcomers which was evident early on in the race. I staged well, but in retrospect I should have lined up behind Dan or Drew. Something I will make sure to do in my next race.We all rolled off the line for a 25 lap race, ohhh the joy of superweek. Due to a failed clip in I was swarmed when the official started the race (pretty sure the clip-in this is a mental block at this point).
As we hit turn 3 for the first time it seemed that everyone puckered up good, but somehow despite trying to jam three or four wheels through the turn we all made it. As the race went on we got better at taking this turn, but the hardest part was that there really wasn't a clean line through it. This seemed to be the consensus from everyone I talked to; including Phillip Mann a Bahati Foundation rider who finished top ten after being off the front for 75 laps!
I raced pretty well, I moved up a couple spots each lap. I knew superweek races are long and there was no reason to blow up early. I took advantage of my ability to power up the hill and moved up four or five spots each time. After a couple laps the attrition started and riders were being shelled off the back, about 4 or 5 guys a lap.
The group remained extremely strung out all day, something that rarely happens in a 4/5's race. My teammates Drew and Dan raced amazing, they held top 15 position all race. This is something I really need to focus on, until I figure out how, my race career will not progress. I dodged a couple solo crashes and managed to chase back on with ease. I was feeling good as the laps passed.
With about 5 to go I knew I needed to move up, I was sitting about 5 wheels back from Drew and Dan with 2 to go. I moved up again on the hill and started to try to navigate my way to Dan's wheel. I was moving up the left side looking for a clear lane to start to set up for the sprint. At this point the field had been whittled down to about 30 riders. As we approached the final turn all hell broke loose. From what I gathered someone tried to put a wheel where it had no business being. Bumping occurred, someone freaked out, and the next thing I knew bikes and bodies were flying in every direction.The sound of a crash is horrifying, the sight of your friends from other teams laying on the ground is depressing and the fact that this happens almost every week is ridiculous. I was able to find a path through the carnage by grabbing a fist full of Ultegra breaks and throwing my ass back in order to stabilize myself, but a gap had formed. I could see Dan and Drew had made it through, what a relief!
At this point I was with Bryan from Verdigris, we took turns trying to pull ourselves back into the race that was running away from us but we had no such luck. I was extremely jittery after seeing what had happened the lap before. I did my best to make the turns as clean as possible. Bryan and I simply wanted to make it to the line safely, as we did just that. He crossed 16th and I followed close behind 17th.
Having a teammate win is a incredible feeling. Now I only wish I could have done something to help him out during the race, well maybe next time.
Drew remains the overall 4/5 leader after his stellar weekend.
Drew and I will be heading out to Willow Springs to tackle the road race.
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry
Sunday, July 11, 2010
Today was a tough stage to watch... Our American hopeful for this year’s tour seemed to have all of the good luck from 7 previous tours reverse in a treacherous Karmic pattern. As the stage went up, the Lance of old was no where to be found. It begs the question: When should heroes call it quits….????
Lance pic: pez
Jordan pic: a popular search engine
Saturday, July 10, 2010
Just as I predicted in an email to my teammates yesterday (see below)
1125 am a spidermonkey rocks the top spot of the podium
Dan Pollard raced incredibley holding top ten postion nearly the entire race crossing the line 5th, about a inch or two behind the 4th place finisher.
I avoided crash after crash to finish with another top 20 (17th) and Matt "DJ Wheel Crusher" Reizman held tough as he works to integrate himself into the competitive Chicago 4's race scene.
A race report and some thoughts about the Cat 4 crashing problem tomorrow.
Thursday, July 8, 2010
Sweet Goat Neil!
After posting addition
Neil has asked that I also add his "GQ" picture, so here you go Neil. Then again he is probably drunk so he won't even remember the request, the Tour De France drinking game got crazy today when we added "drink every time a rider throws a bottle". Check out tomorrow's live tdf chat, its really fun especially on a flat stage
Wednesday, July 7, 2010
Another factor that made today's sprint incredible was the winner was not inevitable. Over the past two seasons when it came down to a sprint finish we all knew what was about to happen. The HtC/Columbia/High Road lead-out train would get on the front of the race and deliver the monster from the Isle of Man to the line. It would game over once Cav's made his jump from Renshaw's wheel.
Today things changed, the HtC train was intact with 2km to go, three strong men driving to pace setting up their leader (he does wear 11). And then something happened; a bunch of other teams got involved. With 1.5km to go Lampre jumped to the right, HtC tried to tact onto the wheel. Then all the teams starting getting involved. Sky thought they had a chance at a much needed win (screw Rupert Murdoch and his empire), Thor and company started trying to find position to gobble up more points toward his the green jersey defense, not to mention Garmin threw the kitchen sink at the field using all of Farrar's lead-out as sprinters.
For a moment Thor and Cavs bumped as their lead-out men gave a last effort. Petacchi jumped, McEwen followed and it was clear Cav's couldn't match their monster acceleration. Petacchi crossed the line and blew a kiss to the sky.
It was everything a sprint should be, chaotic, tense and unpredictable. We should have more of these in the coming days and I look forward to it. Especially since the result is uncertain now that is no longer a king of the sprints.
Photo credit © Roberto Bettini
Tuesday, July 6, 2010
Oh yea, the mayor's name is Detrainge Yves...what a stud!!
And although the King maybe down i don't believe he is out, all it takes to change the race is a mistimed flat....
On a sidenote today was not a great day for my rouleurderby bets!
Monday, July 5, 2010
Quick Step pulled on some non-blue and white jerseys today as Sylvain Chavanel took the wet and wild Stage 2 out of an original 8 man break including teammate Jerome Pineau. Pineau fired rockets with Matthew Lloyd (Omega Pharma-Lotto) and Rein Taaramae (Cofidis) towards the polka-dot banners and claimed the KOM jersey. Something tells me they will have some champagne flowing tonight at team dinner. Chapeau!!
Safe to say Quick Step showed up to make some week 1 statements.
ToInfinityandBeyond will have further 'Making Statements' throughout Le Tour.
Sunday, July 4, 2010
Now here's my beef with versus, they are calling this tDf the "most epic tour ever". How can that be, we are one stage and a prologue into this tour, we don't know if it will be epic! Versus you are better than that.
Now stop calling this race epic its the most over used word in cycling!!! I might write more on this later in the week.
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry
Velonews says tomorrow has the potential for a big surprise ie breakaway win. Not to mention we need to watch for who crashes out. If guys starting going down on the big teams that could be a game changer.
I love July!
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry
Saturday, July 3, 2010
I was accompanied by my teammate Mike Meyers, this would be the first time he turned the pedals in anger all season (I now owe Phil Liggett a nickel for use of his favorite saying)
Cat 4's Race
Mike and I took the line and I felt good. The Chicago boys were in the house, Sean and Q of Project 5, Joe and Rob of Psimet and Bryan Fuller of Bicycle Haven. Not to mention an army of Tower Racing fellows in their sharp new kits The course was very similar to Sherman Park (no turns) however it was in a neighborhood. I love a neighborhood race where the front yards are filled with people watching the sport I love for the first time and that was the case today.
The race wasn't the most exciting race ever but good enough. Without corners it was more about if you could do a long burning effort as opposed to the constantly sprinting out corners like I did at ToAD. So when they called the first prime about 5 mins in I went for it. I attacked about 3/4 of a lap from the finish. I fizzled out and the pack caught me about 150 meters from the line (better to have tried and failed then to have never tried at all (word of wisdom from a veteran racer).
I decided I would sit in for the rest of the race and see what I could throw done the in the sprint. Sean and Q of project 5 (our gracious host for the day) took fliers and each held they gap for about 2 or 3 laps. These are guys I like racing with so if they can hold an extended break I was willing to concede the win and go for it in the field sprint. So with one to go we were all together. I knew I needed to move up, and I did but I moved way too far up. I was know on the front dragging the field around the course on the last lap.... not a good thing. I really didn't know what to do so I figured I would ride a steady tempo until I saw guys come around me and try to grab a wheel and take it to the finish. This seemed like a good plan, until it actually happened. Guys swarmed me on each side and when I got out of my saddle it was over. I didn't really have a kick left. I rolled in 19th, another top 20, but I wanted more today. Mike rolled in one spot behind me, well done sir!
Great learning experience, lessons are noted and I will take it to the start line next time I line up.
1/2/3 Race (the big boys)
So whenever I have an opportunity to test myself against what I consider superior racers I jump at the opportunity. So I was excited about throwing down with the 3's today. The surprise that the 1/2's would joining us was pretty exciting. I mean there was some fire power at the line. Cesar from Iron Cycles, Luke of CBR fame, Ryan Freund of VzW and ToAD Stage winner (his photo graces the month of July on my CBR calender which hangs in my kitchen) and a guy from Helen Cycles who had raced the entire ToAD Pro series.
So we started, and I quickly realized that I was still in my small ring! This could quickly become an issue, but after a couple failed attempts to shift up to the big gear I was there. I was at the back of the pack so I needed to move up. It was easy to move around on this course so I quickly found myself towards the front of the race. It appeared that the Helen Cycles racer was making a move about 2 laps in, I thought what the hell, I'll give it a go. We got a little off the front but we were quickly pulled back. (goal one of the day was to make an attempt to get in a break, check).
I was actually pretty tired at this point. The 1/2's races are crazy when guys are trying to get a break off the front. After several failed attempts to form break a group of about 8 or so got clear including Ryan, Luke and Cesar (I think Q was in there too). After a few laps of chasing the gap had grown and the group was out of sight. I thought the pace had slowed so I asked the xXx racer next too me "did we just concede the break?" He replied "yep" I said, "Thanks, I'm new to this having a break up the road, that doesn't happen in the 4's". At this point I didn't have aspirations on a strong finish. For me a pack finish behind the break would be an incredible accomplishment.
I took a pull or two. I could the Helen Cycles racer was getting frustrated, so pulled through again and took my last pull and moved myself to the back of the field. With 1 to go I tried to find a comfortable spot to hang out, and then it got hot! I mean really hot!!! These guys fly. I was quickly was funneled to back and realized I wouldn't be sprinting today. I rolled in with the pack and a smile on my face. The congrats from my friends after the race was my reward. I would be re-missed if i didn't mention Alex from the Recycling Team, he was a great familiar wheel to follow all day, which really helped ease my nerves.
I rolled around the course to cool down and chatted with Luke, I was so proud of what I had just accomplished and I am pretty sure it was written all over my face. Looking back at today I realized just how far I have come in a year, it actually makes me kind of emotional to think about. I have always loved sports but until I found cycling I was never really able to compete at a high level in any of them but thanks to countless hours in the saddle I can push myself farther than I ever imagined.
I took one more lap around the cousre and made sure to thank all the locals for letting us race in their neighborhood.
(Now I am getting on my high horse) Everyone should be doing stuff like this, as races disappear from the calender with greater frequency we as a cycling community need to do everything we can do be good citizens where ever we race. The responsibility lies with each racer to be an outstanding citizen and give back to this great sport.
Big thanks to Chip Gray for coming out and rolling around with the 4's after his master races in order to help our team by coaching us through the race, you are constantly giving back to a group of young racers and it doesn't go unnoticed.
Also thanks for all the encouragement from the sidelines during the 1/2/3's race, it was amazing to hear.
In response to allegations that Lance and fellow US Postal riders took part in private strip shows and cocaine use (by his lawyer Tim Herman).
"Mr Armstrong had no contact with strippers or cocaine."
Wasn't Tom Boonen on postal about that time....
Most interesting revelation: US postal allegedly sold team issued Trek bikes to fund the doping program. Landis alleges that team bikes (about 60) were sold to raise funds for the team doping program and not given to riders as they should have been. Trek admitted some bikes were sold, but nothing more.
Floyd said "not a jet, I want a bicycle. That's not too much to ask for?" In response to a jab by Armstrong referencing the personal jet lance utilized (and landis rode in on occasion)
Hardest thing to read:
"I believe it because I have seen it personally.... Its just a systematic thing" in response to the landis allegations.Chad doesn't accuse anyone in particular.
Now here is my take, Landis is spiteful. He admits he doesn't understand why he is the only one who doesn't get a second chance (he should call ricco or rasmussen they could both relate. I feel that spite and revenge are his true motives.
However, its clear through failed tests and countless rider accounts that there was a couple decades in cycling that were really dirty. I've come to terms with that as a fan. I choose to look forward to the next three weeks of racing with child like excitement and not focus on the past, its a lot more fun that way.
Not to mention i got a bunch of rouleurderby bets going!
Full disclosure I am a fan of Lance Armstrong.
Friday, July 2, 2010
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry
Thursday, July 1, 2010
10) ToAD makes your kit and shoes smell, I mean really bad! If you plan on doing a long race series make sure you have multiple kits!
9) Mental exhaustion is harder than physical exhaustion. A race series is stressful and the mental grind really starts to take its toll towards the end of the series.
8) Have a book to read throughout the series. You need to recover each night and sitting around reading a book with your feet up worked really well for me. I read the new Bill Strickland book "Tour De Lance"
7) Take time to meet the people in the pack. I made sure to try to get to know some of the Wisconsin racers, and that didn't hurt when I needed a helping hand in the pack. It was great to get to know Dave Racine Hampshire Cycling Club throughout ToAD.
6) Try to sleep. Its hard, you hear free wheels when you close your eyes, you dream about the post up you want to do the following day. Find the time to sleep, I was really bad at this probably averaging around 7hrs a night (at most)
5) Write race reports, every race is a story and without a race report you may forget some of these stories. And believe it or not people read them, really people do read this blog it not a joke. Don't be afraid to utilize twitter as well. Twitter is strongest tool for updating people on races. It is also the key to the future of this sport in this country, in my opinion (more on that soon).
4) Buy air fresheners from Cosco. You are going to need to stock up on these because your car is going to stink! If you played football in high school think about the smell of your locker room, that's what my car smells like.
3) Be a host family. It's actually really fun. My parents will concur after hosting myself and 5 Chicago racers from 4 Chicago teams last saturday night (even if your basement floods the day your are suppose to host its still fun). My parents are considering hosting a pro team next year.
2) Thank everyone. I mean everyone, from the women your checked in registration daily to the announcers who tried to make every race exciting even when they were far from it. Make sure to thank the officials who stand in the sun to watch sprinting lines and the SRAM neutral support guys who are willing to help keep your bike in top shape. Most importantly thank the locals. Say good morning to everyone you pass, show them that you are thankful that they opened up their town for you that day.
1) Have fun, the growing focus on points and upgrades can really take the fun out of racing. It important to remember that racing your bike is a blast. If its not fun then all you are doing is riding in circles. Note this upgrade obsession is a Chicago thing, I didn't hear one Wisconsin rider talking about upgrades all week. (well except that we were all glad Travis was going to have to upgrade after ToAD).
My final thought: This was an incredible experience, not only did I learn a ton about racing I learned that I can push myself past my limits. I realized I am a strong racer, I just need to remind myself of it and go for it. Well now its time for the rest of my season.