Wednesday, May 30, 2007

What a hump...

The only thing worse than taking a standardized test: watching people take a standardized test. 150 minutes of tedium and clock watching, interspersed with riveting bouts of watching students fill in bubbles on test forms. Oh, the humanity...

Gibo won the Zoncolan today, but it looks like il Killer di Spoltore has the Giro pretty well in hand. Journos are remarking that the competition seems to be much "tighter" this year and that when a rider puts in a big day of attacking, he seems "tired" from the effort the next day. Interesting. Could this be a sign of clean racing? What I found even more interesting in the little nuggets of info on the web is the fact that DiLuca doesn't wear a race radio. Instead, he prefers to "use his mind" to figure out tactics and to read the race! Simoni even said that DiLuca has a much sharper read on the races and is much more tactically intuitive. Well, happy day! Riders actually thinking for themselves in a race! I really hope the UCI gets rid of this radio nonsense, it has made racing so much less exciting. I yearn for the old days of riders thinking tactically on their own...

Two more days 'til the weekend. Tomorrow is the science EOG, the longest test of the three we are giving. Wish me luck, it's gonna be a long day...

Monday, May 28, 2007

Mercy killing

Friday night was the 8th grade dance. Yeah. The music was poppy and terrible. Dancing was either non-existent or tending towards inappropriate, depending on the song. At the onset I predicted 5 songs that would be played at some point in the night, not because I'm the Amazing Kreskin or anything, this just happened to be my fifth 8th grade dance. Fifteen minutes after my prediction and smack in the middle of song number 3 from my list, I ambled over to the police officer doing security and sked him what I needed to do to have him shoot me.
"Just ask," was his reply. He then went on to suggest that he taze me, essentially producing the same desired effect (I get to go home), but with less permanent damage (no bullet wound to care for). In a word: tempting. But, I held strong and did not take the easy way out. I manned up and stayed until the dance was done. Okay, almost done.

So now, I am staring down the barrel of 3 consecutive days of standardized test administration. While I'm not suicidal in the traditional sense, I could see the benefits of a good accident right about now. To put it in perspective, if you ever have just one day to live, administer a standardized test 'cause it will feel like an eternity. The good news is that we are now into the single digits for days left in the school year. Oh sweet release for summer!

Took Owen for a greenway cruise with Golden and my parents on Saturday. My parents looked far more comfortable on their bikes than I had anticipated and Owen enjoyed the long ride to the point of unconsciousness! We rode all of the sections that link from Lower Creek, so it was a good 45 minutes of cruising around. We had the place almost completely to ourselves and it was definitely worth the soreness I've felt from it.

Tomorrow marks the final push in the Giro. Simoni better bring the angry 'cause he definitely needs to take back a chunk of time if he has any aspirations to the maglia rosa. Eddy Mazzoleni (Astana) is looking like a big danger man. He throws an interesting twist into the mix. And if he doesn't ultimately take the Giro, he'll just have to console himself thinking about his impending marriage to Ivan Basso's little sister.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Group hug

"Hello, my name is Bjarne and I am a doper."
"Hello, Bjarne."

The house of cards is really starting to tumble. With today's confession, the press can no longer say that Landis will be the first Tour winner to have doped. I guess that's a bright spot in all of this mess. There are still some major player that we have yet to hear from: Walter Godefroot (former Telekom DS) and Jan Ullrich (2nd in the '96 TdF and Riis' Telekom teammate). Officially, Riis cannot be disqualified due to WADA's 8 year statute of limitations, but there are some serious calls for him to symbolically give up his yellow jersey.

The bigger questions still remain. Like: what knowledge does Riis have of Basso's confessed doping plan for last year's TdF, while he was a member of Riis' Team CSC? That is a big head scratcher. Can Riis legitimately stay at the helm of a ProTour team given his confession of extensive doping? Lastly, is anyone clean? If everybody keeps popping up and confessing, where will it stop? Should I be seriously considering Thomas Voeckler as a GC threat for the Tour? It is all very distracting, but it's like a needed thing at this point. It's like the mafia war in The Godfather;
Every few years, we need this sort of thing. It clears out all the bad blood.

I remember the shock that everyone felt during the Festina Affair. Operacion Puerto was just so bungled at the beginning that nobody could view it as legitimate at the outset. But now, all of these guys purging their consciences, excorcising closeted demons from the past, it is mind boggling. I'm just afraid of the bureaucrats feeling a resurgence of hot air and a new to spew forth whatever drivel pops into their half-cocked minds. Ultimately, this will be a good episode in the quest for a clean sport, but I don't know that any sport can ever be truly clean. I mean, come on, they drug test curlers at the winter olympics! As long as there is money tied into competition, there will always be a pressure to seek any competitive advantage.

Each day, DiLuca is looking like he could win this year's Giro. This last week, however, could see Gibo put in some serious digs to knock The Killer from his perch. We'll just have to wait and see...

Went to the 8th grade dance this evening. Ugh, I think I have gotten my yearly quota of crappy pop rap music. The kids enjoyed it, everybody was dressed well, and the PTA really put in a lot of effort to make it a memorable evening for the kids.

See you on the ride tomorrow morning at 9!

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Stay tuned...

So all of these former Team Telekom riders from the mid-nineties are coming forward and admitting to doping. Yesterday, Walter Godefroot (former Telekom Directeur Sportif and current Astana DS) shrugged off allegations that it was a team run doping program and said that all of those stepping forward had questionable timing and motive. He added, "'s not like Erik Zabel is saying anything..." Well, blam!, who'd a thunk it, but none other than Mr. Zabel came forward today and admitted to using EPO for a week in 1996, while riding for Telekom. Udo Bolts and Rolf Aldag both admitted to it and even went so far as to say that they did it in order to make the '96 TdF team (the Tour that Bjarne Riis won). I have to say that the Sword of Damocles is hanging over some pretty high heads right about now. This little contagion of mea culpa is sure going to spread like wildfire leading up to the Tour.

Today was a really great day. We got a visit from the Pedro's Love Van. It is always great to get a surprise visit from some segment of the bike industry, but I have got to say, I was really impressed at how kind and helpful Jim was. It was also great to hear someone who sees a LOT of bike shops (330 last year!) say they really like your shop. I was also glad we got our hands on a sample of Chainj, Pedro's new biodegradeable chain lube! We'll be testing that out and letting you know how it works. Thanks, Jim!

Speaking of the environment and corporations trying to make a positive, green impact; check out this article on the founder of Interface, the company that Grom's Mom works for. It is really great to see companies embracing green policies and products as a way to improve profitability. This kind of action really increases the momentum towards a sustainable future. With that being said, please be aware that recycling in Lenoir is not a done deal as of this writing. Please let our City Council members know that this is something that we want and NEED in our town!
Lenoir City Council Members

David Stevens -

Joe Gibbons -

Marjorie Strawn -

Timothy Rohr -

Todd Perdue -

To top off everything else today, Owen's bike trailer came in! I put it together, hooked it up and came home to get him and take him for a ride. I have been dreaming about this day since he was a kidney bean in the womb! I think it went over pretty well, there was definite happy noises coming from the trailer and I kept turning around to see a two-toothed grin! This weekend, the Greenway!

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Mid-week crisis

The last days of school are here, and with it comes the most stressful time in any teacher's life: standardized testing. Take a pressure cooker and put it in a deep-sea decompression chamber, crank both up to "burst" and you will have an idea of what I am talking about. Oh, it's pretty subtle, but infuses every nanometer of nerve below the surface of the skin. Me, I'm pretty blase about the whole thing. Testing is the bare minimum of what you need to know to make it in the world, why aim for the bottom? The real travesty is that now, with "No Child Left Behind" there is no room in the school day to actually teach kids how to think...

I got this festering turd of a magazine called "Road Bike Action Magazine" and I gotta say, I don't think too highly of it. (ed - OK, festering turd is a bit harsh) In their, "2007 Tour de France contenders" article, their top pick is Ivan Basso - whoops! It is edited by none other than Zapata Espinoza, a whiny, self-promoting, overly tattooed and pierced, brown-nosing hack who seems to perpetually crop up in positions of hipster/bro' buddy style patrolling. The magazine is really just a mouthpiece for companies trying to shill products it is low in the actual content department and over-the-top in the "Review" department. Reviews kill me because they can make a product seem like the "it" thing to have, but they offer such a narrow view of what is available that it can ultimately be misleading. I met Zap once at Interbike in Vegas and wasn't very impressed. He seemed overly concerned with seeing and being seen in all the right places. It's just my two cents, but I think we all need to just ride and have fun - everything else is secondary.

We had an interesting ride last night. It started out nice and mellow for about the first 15 miles or so, then on 268, headed towards Setzer's Creek, Cecilio Cruz put in a gut wrenching pull. I, of course, got the ignominous job of pulling through when he was done. I tried gamely to put in the effort, but the fitness just isn't there yet. One thing is for certain, though, now that Cecilio has a new BMC Streetfire (to replace his 20 year old Cannondale) the guy is riding stronger than ever. And that my friends is a very scary thought, indeed. Our newest playmate, The Preacher, is no slouch in the I'm-gonna-rip-your-legs-off department. When he gets on the front and starts to ramp things up, you know you're in for a treat...

Have you been keeping track of all of the ex-Telekom guys admitting to doping in the '90's? Wait a minute - didn't Bjarne Riis win the TdF for Telekom in '96? Oooh, oooh - didn't Jan Ullrich win the TdF for Telekom in '97? Hmmmmmmmmmmmm.....

On to politics of a different sort. You have absolutely, positively got to check out this story about Democratic Presidential hopeful, Dennis Kucinich's, new wife. The word that springs to mind is: huh? But, you have to admit, it does point to some sort of karmic parity in this crazy world...

Keep an eye on the Giro! Luna Cycles foreign correspondent, Chuck Luddeke, is en route to Italy for some first-hand reporting. He will be riding the Zoncolan, so we will be able to get a first hand account of how a mortal rides this climb! I think that "The Killer" is looking really strong, but Gibo is waiting to pounce, if you want my opinion. I'm just glad that one of my favorite riders, Leonardo Piepoli, got a stage win. That climb looked beyond heinous. Guys were just collapsing at the finish. Sorta like me on my morning commute to school...

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Train wreck + circus = Landis hearing

First off, a quick apology for the paucity of posts right now. We are t-minus 6 school days until end-of-grade testing begins, so tensions are running high, time is running short and I am definitely looking forward to the summer!

First off, an open letter to Will Geoghegan:

Mr. Geoghegan,

You sir, are a moron. Why you would drunk dial Greg Lemond on the eve of his testimony was, at best, the stupidest possible thing that you could have done. I, for one, am appalled at your association with Floyd Landis and I have to seriously question Mr. Landis' judgement at having a moron such as yourself as a business manager. Your frat boy cum scary pervert prank call seriously taints the image that Mr. Landis has asked us all to believe in so strongly. While my belief in the innocence of Mr. Landis is not shaken, I feel a deep down icky feeling that anyone associated with Mr. Landis would stoop to such a vile, ultimately pointless, and counter-productive level.

All of this sideshow became more news than it was worth. No one seemed to really notice the new implication that Oscar "the man who would be king" Pereiro has been implicated in the Puerto debacle. RAI, the italian news agency, has published an accusation that Pereiro is "Urko" a name which appears on several blood bags. Pereiro has stated publicly that he will give a DNA sample to prove his innocence, but if asked for a DNA sample, he will quit the sport. Wha? Now, Dick Pound beats his bully pulpit, proclaiming these accusations as spurious nonsense dreamed up by the Italians. Interesting to note, that Pound has put all of his ethical eggs in Pereiro's basket in his tirades against the "deception" of Floyd Landis. Funny to think that the man he has publicly proclaimed as the true winner of the '06 TdF might just be a doper...

Had a beautiful Goldilocks ride yesterday. A nice 50 miler out to Anthony's Creek and back. It wasn't too fast, wasn't too slow, the pace was just right. For those of you not in the "know" or considering joining us for a group ride, here is the lowdown:

Monday: 6pm Beginner/Recovery ride. This is the perfect ride to do if you haven't done a group ride, haven't had much time on the bike this year, or want to spin the legs after a tough weekend of training/racing. No drop rule in effect.

Tuesday/Thursday: 6pm Spirited/Aggressive pace. Okay, we are all big boys and girls. Come join us on this ride, but do not - I repeat DO NOT, get discouraged if you get dropped. The only way to get better, is to ride with people who are better than you! We do set routes and we can tell you exactly where we are going and even give you ideas on shortcuts and regrouping points.

Saturday: 9am Come as you are/Ride how you want pace. This is usually a longer ride, but splits into different groups depending on the length of time each person wants to do. Pace is steady, but can included some "entertaining" moments.

All rides meet at Luna, and we try to be punctual on the ride time. The more people we have coming out, the more likely it is that we can divide into more manageable ability groups and everyone will have a good time!

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

a quickie

I am really pushing the limits of my laptop battery, so this will be short and sweet. Road tonight with very heavy legs from Saturday's fun. It'll be nice to get all of the lactic acid out...

Floyd's trial is in day two, read all about it here. The guys is wearing a yellow tie everyday of the hearing. That's too punk rock for words. Keep an eye on this hearing 'cause maybe if the whole world watches, actual justice will be done. Looks like Greg Lemond may be a witness in the coming days.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Cycle to Serve debrief

Cycle to Serve was Saturday and I dare say, it was highly successful. Almost everyone I talked to remarked at how pretty the course was and how well organized the event was. It was great to hit some of our best routes with 150+ other riders and get their reactions to our little "playground".

My ride went pretty well. I am definitely not in shape and it showed on the Dug Hill climb. I got dropped and gamely chased from there (about 50+ miles to go) with Jack Brown, Cecilio and some out-of-towners. We made good progress and kept a good pace, but with about 5 miles to go, I bid Jack and Cecilio adieu as I couldn't hold their wheels anymore. I still felt like I had accomplished something by finishing the 65 miles in about 3:12. Who knew parenthood would take up so much of my time? ;)

Well, if you haven't heard, Floyd's trial began today. VeloNews promised live coverage, but I have yet to find it. As soon as I do, I'll post the link so you can follow along. At least this hearing is public, unlike Hamilton's. don't count on any great revelations, this thing is surely destined for the Court of Arbitration for Sport; a process that will surely drag into next year.

Scandal not withstanding, I am truly engrossed in the Giro d'Italia. My fantasy team is doing pretty good (it would be doing better if I had filled in all my slots for stage 1 - newbie mistake). I vaulted over 300 places with yesterday's outcome, so fortunes can change quickly. You can still register and compete on an equal footing until stage 6! Check it out at

My butt has finally stopped hurting from Saturday's ride, so I'm looking forward to Tuesday's group ride. The ride times have changed since we have more daylight in the evening, so we now start the Tue/Thur rides at 6 pm. In additional shop news, we are now an official Blue dealer. We also will have Luna Cycles socks/bottles coming soon (early summer) and we may be getting some Luna Cycles jerseys and shorts. I'll keep you posted on those developments

Friday, May 11, 2007

The rundown

Looks like Floyd is caught in the middle of something much bigger than himself. He announced today that he had been offered a deal if he gave information about Armstrong. More and more it looks like Landis' chances of a fair hearing are slim to none.

The Giro start list is evolving on a daily basis as more and more riders are given the no-go on starting. Tinkoff announced suspensions, Serhiy Gonchar is suspended from T-Mobile for some hinky blood test results from Liege and Romandie, 30+ spanish riders are working out a deal for themselves in the Puerto affair and Basso has gone back to CONI for a third interview. Whew, this is picking up steam right as the Grand Tours start rolling out. All of this on the eve of the Giro...

If you are like me and still have the passion for pro cycling, then check out the Giro fantasy game and try your hand at team management. I'm running team "Mean and Clean", just in case your interested in following the suckiness of my skills...

Tomorrow is Cycle to Serve. I am really looking forward to riding my favorite roads around here with a bunch of other people. It isn't to late to join in as registration is still open. Join us tonight for the pre-ride dinner (courtesy of Sledgehammer Charlie's), live bands on the stage beside the shop and an outdoor showing of American Flyers. The shop will be open until 8pm to help with those last minute needs. See you there, hopefully.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

I am the walrus

Basso is both Birillo and "No. 2". Michelle Scarponi is both Zapatero and el presidente. The big important difference between these two Operacion Puerto secret agents is that Scarponi is going to name names. Add to the list of non-starters at this saturday's opening stage of il Giro: Tyler Hamilton, Jorg Jaksche and Danilo Hondo.

"Oh, the heads, they are a'rollin'..."

Floyd's case with USADA is starting monday, the 14th. Given the apparent predisposition of the panel, don't get your hopes up for this to resolve anything other than clarifying the lengths to which everyone is willing to go to make sure that the anti-doping crusade works, guilt or innocence not withstanding. This is going to go all the way to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, regardless of USADA's decision.

Don't you love how people are praising Basso for his honesty. Sure, he denied any involvement in this mess for the last year, but when they finally had his back against the wall, the blindfold on and the guns locked and loaded, he stepped up and took it like a man. Think about it, Basso had no choice. Cop to this attempted doping and hopefully, nobody gets too nosy about the '06 Giro win that Basso swears up and down was won cleanly.

Gianni "il Diablo" Bugno, secretary of the rider's union, was pretty clear when he said that Basso's confession changes nothing. Team owner's and Team sponsors will still pressure riders to dope and cover up as much as they can. Notice how Bruyneel and Riis are both being pretty adamant about the distant nature of their relationship with Basso. The whole apple is rotten, not just a little part of it...

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

benzina, erba o fica; nessun cavalca liberamente!

Basso has come out and admitted to everything. Okay, not everything, but you've got to admit that stepping up and saying that you thought you might think about doping at the '06 Tour is a pretty big admission of guilt. Yeah, right. File this one under the "I'm just trying to hold onto my Giro win" tab in your computer.

Now, let's see. You systematically store your blood in key locations around Europe and, let's not forget, that you have to remove this blood during competitive cycles in order to maximize the amount of red blood cells AND that removing this blood will negatively impact your performance at the time that you remove it. But you were just thinking about doping...

Let's face facts, Basso was willing to cheat at the '06 Tour by his own admission. The only thing that stopped him was the fact that he wasn't allowed to start! Now, we are supposed to believe this half-assed mea culpa. This is pure damage control as Basso is trying to keep from having his '06 Giro title stripped from him. Remember that Simoni described Basso's riding as inhuman, and that guy is no slouch in the ability department.

I think that a lot of heads are going to roll on this investigation. Dick Pound will get the vast conspiracy that he has been dying for. Riders will lose their careers. And absolutely nothing will change. There is too much money involved in this thing for riders to not have outside pressure to dope.

As more Operacion Puerto unfolds, don't forget to keep an eye out for the private kangaroo court that Floyd Landis is currently embroiled in...

Thursday, May 03, 2007


I saw an suv with a bike rack strapped on the back of it when I was going to exchange some videos. And there on the rack, were propped two examples of the greatest travesty to ever befall the creation of the two-wheeled transportation known as the bicycle: LandRiders. If you have never seen one of these things, they are bikes that shift automatically. They are, of course, advertised via infomercials that prey on those who have never actually ridden a bicycle with any semblance of modern gears. "It just looked like it would be so easy" I have heard more than one customer say. Well, the fact of the matter is that the "auto" shift bike was probably first developed shortly after the first derailler.

If you know anything about the history of the modern bicycle, then you will certainly be aware that Campagnolo was the first company to introduce a mechanism to shift gears at the rear hub. It was known as the Paris-Roubaix gruppo and it did not work well. It featured several levers, one of which would loosen the hub in the dropouts (allowing it to move and thus accomodate the chain length change), while the other lever was used to pick up the chain and lift it on to the appropriate cog, all while riding, mind you. Legend has it that Fausto "il campianissimo" Coppi was the only rider to ever master it.

Well the LandRider works almost as well as the Paris-Roubaix gruppo did. It uses this centrifugal force device to sense the time to change gears. There is one slight flaw to the system: you're never in the right gear. It forces you to spin at such a rate that a track cyclist would get spun out. Those poor retirees (invariably) perched on the bike, look positively worked as their feet spin around like hamsters in a workout wheel. Please, please, please if you know someone who is contemplating getting one of these things: Do not hesitate in getting them to the nearest bike shop and showing them the "modern" wonders of indexed shifting!

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

This thing of ours...

There are two bike shops in Fayetteville. When I started riding, it was the norm that you aligned yourself with a shop. In return for being a loyal customer, they watched out for you, hooked you up with deals every now and then and generally, did what they could to be worthy of your loyalty. Those times seem to be changing. I guess the Wal-Mart effect has made it to the local bike shop.

More and more, I think people feel like if they aren't getting a "deal" they are suckers or chumps. Often, what they don't realize is that the old adage "you can't get something for nothing" still holds true. I've had people come in wanting my opinion on some internet or mail-order carbon framed, dura ace equipped bike that basically costs what the gruppo should retail for. Now, I'm no genius, but if the cost of the bike is equal to the cost of the parts, then you're getting a carbon fiber frame for free. Well, exactly how good is a free carbon fiber frame?

It is interesting the sort of almost adversarial dynamic that people can take towards their local bike shop. Now, I'm not commenting on your local IBD, but speaking for our shop, we try to view every customer as a potential relationship. Some of those relationships are that of a person we want to go riding with, others are people that we just want to see out on a bike, cruising the greenway (one more person on a bike is a good thing!). As a bike shop owner, it can be disheartening, almost heartbreaking, when you begin to see that customers are more interested in the "deal" than the long-term relationship. I guess I'm naive, but I see the bike shop as the hub of a community; a community of people with a shared interest or passion, even. One thing is a certain and immutable truth for any cyclist: at some point, your local bike shop will save your butt. Whether it's advice, catching some difficult to spot, dangerous issue or just having (or getting) a part that you need, your bike shop will (hopefully) always try to prove itself worthy of your loyalty.

Alright, my pick for the green jersey winner for the 2007 Tour de France is:

Yes, Sean "the cannibal" Kelly. Sure, Boonen has like 20 years on him, but Kelly is the type of guy who can get things done. I'm choosing experience over youth on this one. Plus, the Skil-Shimano team still uses the same kit. Kelly could just wear the old wool and acrylic and fit right in. Plus, at his age he should be able to get a TUE for human growth hormone. And just imagine what the guy could do on a modern carbon frame. I mean, come on, the guy sprinted like a demon on Vitus (nee Alan) carbon frames; frames whose stiffness could best be described as al dente.

Sure I'm joking(?), but I think Basso is just the tip of a big ol', hopped up iceberg. It is going to be interesting just seeing who is eligible to start the Tour. In the coming days, I'll tell you why I think 2007 could finally be Raymond "the eternal second" Poulidor's year to finally win.