Tuesday, June 26, 2007

I see a bad moon arisin'

I just took the flower quiz at Grom's mom's 'blog. Come to find out:

I am a

What Flower
Are You?

I have no idea what that means, but a snapdragon doesn't seem to be such a bad thing to be.

The Tour de France starts one week from Saturday. I (naturally) have a couple of predictions right out of the gate: 1. Dave Zabriskie will take the prologue and the yellow jersey, 2. Alexander Vinokourov will win the Tour (provided he is not screwed out of starting again this year), and 3. Levi Leipheimer will finish on the podium. Only time will tell how brilliant or extremely idiotic I am.

Not to switch gears on you too fast, but there is a full moon this Saturday and thus, the return of the Luna Cycles Full Moon Sale. The sale will run Thursday, Friday and Saturday. If you are in the neighborhood, stop by and check out the sale!

Last, but not least, check out this little communique from Howard Hesterburg:

Shawn, If anyone up your way is interested, the TT is this Thursday. 1.4 mi to the top. Start is up the mountain a way from intersection of Church and Barrett Mtn Rd.
Recommended parking at Clayton Marcus furn. plant on Teague Town RD. near 127 for a 7 mi. warm-up. Thanks
See ya

If you feel the need to hurt yourself in an uphill sort of way, check this out!

Sunday, June 24, 2007

weekend update

The Lenoir criterium has come and gone for another year. Racer numbers appeared to be higher this year, but I think local spectator numbers were down. Seems that most people are on vacation right now, but that certainly didn't dampen the action.

There were a couple of teams of juniors this year. A vast improvement over the 3 total juniors last year. I really enjoyed helping the juniors out who came into the shop. It reminded me of when I started racing as a junior 20+ years ago.

The highlight of the day for me was riding shotgun with Chuck in the lead car during the Pro,1,2 race. I don't know the rider's name (Terry?), but on about lap 3 an All Star rider went for a prime, got a gap and held it all the way to the finish some 32 laps later. Having a front row seat for that kind of effort was truly amazing.

The fam ventured out of Caldwell County today. We headed up to Roan Mtn. to check out the rhododendron bloom. We did a couple of really cool hikes with Owen riding shotgun in the backpack. We also spotted Cecilio Cruz doing some secret squirrel training up 181. We had a great time and everything was going swimmingly until we started heading down 181. The twists and turns caught up with Owen and an epic bout of carsickness ensued. Pull over, change baby, clean car seat, all systems go...

Just read about some hinky test results from the Giro. Seems that DiLuca, Mazzolenni, Simoni and Ricco all had abnormally low hormone levels and CONI is looking into it. When will this end? Do doctors even have a good baseline of data to really understand the ongoing physiological changes that these athletes undergo over the course of a Grand Tour? AAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHH! The Tour is days away and we have these implications, we have the "men in black" crap that the WADA is feeding to the press, when will this mess end? I just want an exciting Grand Tour with lots of attacking, no certain winner and no drug innuendo for the victor. I thought the Giro fit that bill. Well, guess 2 out of 3 ain't bad...

Friday, June 22, 2007

Winds of change

The Crit is tomorrow from 9 to 4. I get the feeling that the fields will be a bit bigger and a bit stronger this year over last year. Being the second year of the race, I sense that there are more people willing to make the trip here and check it out. Hopefully, some good word of mouth for the strong job that Alex and Chuck did last year, has been passed around. Come down and check out the most exciting form of bicycle racing (for spectators, at least)! The shop will be open from 9 to 4 to take care of any last minute needs. We'll have bottled water on ice all day!

I've been out of town most of this week at a teaching workshop for my new position. Suffice it to say that I definitely got recharged and I am buzzing with new ideas. That is always a good feeling to have as a teacher. A truly remarkable thing happened today. A former student came into the shop and apologized for their behavior in my class. It was the first time that has ever happened to me and it definitely made an impression on me.

No group ride tomorrow, but we'll see you at the race!

Saturday, June 16, 2007

1 week to pain...

The Lenoir Criterium is one week from today! Here is the link to the official website, complete with race schedule. And yes, there is a kid's race!

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

It's sexy time!

photo courtesy "Operators are standing by" under the Creative Commons license

The TdF is starting soon. Vino' just put the eastern bloc smackdown (with Adreij Kaschekhin) on the Dauphine field today. All of the Puerto names are supposed to be released on June 19th , so there's no telling who will be in it this year. Jason D pointed out that no Frenchman was a contender because they aren't testing positive ergo they aren't doping ergo they aren't willing to do what it takes to win the Tour! Cynical, cynical. More cynical though is the treatment of Bjarne Riis by the TdF organization. They have wiped his name from the record books and are entertaining the notion of not allowing him at the Tour this year. Interesting, given that the man presenting all of the jerseys on the stage at the end of each day's stage is 5-time, French Tour winner Bernard Hinault, who actually avoided a mandatory drug test and can reasonably be presumed to have not won all of those races on mineral water alone. He was also quoted as saying that no one wins the Tour without a good doctor...

I want to jump the gun on the Puerto announcement and go on record now that an American will test positive in this Tour, if they post a decent result. Odds on favorite according to the Luna Cycles cognocenti is David Zabriskie. He stands a good chance of taking the maillot jaune on the prologue tt and that kind of pou-pou ain't gonna fly with the French. I give Dave Z. a 5 to 1 chance of testing "positive". Dark horse in this competition is Levi Leipheimer. He will have to settle in a bit and prove himself a capable climber and dangerous late race tt'er to warrant a "positive" test. My odds are 25 to 1 for Levi. Now the real fun in this little pool is the question of when will they come up "positive"? When they win a stage? Take the yellow? Hold the yellow for a little too long for comfort? Or, hidden option number 4: before the race even begins? Why take le chance, eliminate them early. Let's see what machinations will come into play to insure a win by a "true" european!

June 23rd is the Lenoir downtown criterium. July 14th will be Trail maintenance day at the Aquatic center. And there is only 4 and a half months to 'cross season! See you on the group ride tomorrow at 6!

Monday, June 11, 2007

I was trying to sleep...

The Dauphine won't get interesting for another couple of days yet, so I thought I was in the clear for some non-procycling related quiet time. But then Eddie had to go and inform me that ALL of the names from Operacion Puerto are about to be released in time for the pre-Tour shenanigans that we are bitterly coming to expect. The question becomes: who will even start the damn thing? Frank Vandenbrouke has stated that he wants to make a speedy recovery from his suicide attempt; well, hell Frank, why not win the Tour? That would turn your frown upside-down and make a smile your umbrella! And VDB could have a legitimate shot if all the rumors about who is on the list prove to be true. Or not even true, just remotely plausible enough to cast suspicion and doubt on them and invoke the ethics clause and prevent them from starting the race. Let's not even discuss what might happen if Levi Leipheimer ends up a legitimate favorite... more on that soon.

Today was the Assault on Mt. Mitchell. A century held on monday that costs $80 to enter (after you do the requisite qualifying event the year before) and the thing still sold out in 8 minutes! 8 minutes! Well here's a ride that is cheaper and will leave an even greater lasting impression on both mind and body:

To our friends in the bike business:

The fourth annual Hurt, Pain & Agony Metric Century and Half Metric is coming up Saturday, July 28th, 2007 in Traphill, N.C. Could you please add our event to your ride calendar, post the attached flyer, and recommend our event to your customers?

If you’re not familiar with the Hurt, Pain & Agony ride, here’s what makes it special:

The Challenge: The Hurt, Pain & Agony Metric Century is 66 miles of pure hill! Riders will suffer from the get-go. The ride’s signature climb up the Eastern Continental Divide is six miles long, and it begins at the starting line! Riders will encounter grades as steep as 18% as the route winds through the Blue Ridge highlands of Alleghany County, N.C. and Grayson County, Va.

The Thrill: The Hurt, Pain & Agony ride ends with a rush...a swooping six-mile descent from the edge of the Blue Ridge back into the foothills.

The Cause—the Fight Against Cancer: The Hurt, Pain & Agony Metric Century is more than a bike ride…it’s a way to join the fight against cancer. Rider registration fees will help the American Cancer Society prevent cancer, save lives and diminish suffering through research, education, advocacy and service.

Registration for the ride is just $25 and includes four rest stops, attentive on-the-road support, a 2007 HP&A T-shirt, and the finest post-ride meal you’ll find anywhere…baby back ribs and all the trimmings provided by Sagebrush Steakhouse! Riders can register online for no extra charge at Active.com

Find out more about the 2007 HP&A at www.bmcc.us.

Thanks for helping us spread the word!

Matt Daye for the Brushy Mountain Cyclists Club
Promoting Cycling in Northwest North Carolina
An IMBA and League of American Bicyclists affiliate

You've gotta love promo material that really makes a point of playing up the amount of suffering you're going to be paying for the privilege of feeling!

Today was spent doing paperwork at school and the shop. I'm going to start packing up my classroom tomorrow in preparation for moving out of my "home" for the last 5 years. I gave away a ton of stuff today to my colleagues. It was a good purge, a needed divestment of stuff.

Saturday, June 09, 2007


I am embarking on a major organizational overhaul in my life. With teaching, the bike shop, Owen the Wonder Baby and my various projects, commitments and hobbies, I have become unable to keep up with everything using my normal preferred method of keeping it in my head. My head is full and then some. I think sometimes I can feel my brain rippling from the sheer capacity of stuff I am trying to keep up with. It has proven to be exhausting and ineffective. I spent 4 hours today unearthing my desk at the shop. It was like when they do street work in Rome and they dig down through multiple layers of historical stuff and inadvertently make some accidental discovery of a house or some other important structure. It was like that, but with paperwork. One thing I know for sure is that it is now one less worry on my mind.

The group ride was a little less enjoyable for me today. I think it may have been due to the fact that I managed to not only not eat dinner last night, but lost track of time and went without breakfast this morning. I was pretty much running on fumes and decided enough was enough.

I got this email just a minute ago:

Did you happen to see the paid opinion ad on page 9 of the Friday News-Topic entitled "Why Block The City Streets As Often"? It was signed by Williams Produce Market. This was a very negative opinion on the one day a year bike race in Lenoir. It slammed us as "grown men playing with bicycles". They claim to lose $5,000 and merchandise because of the race. Somehow, I don't think one day will have a major impact on produce loss. Could they not simply open later and extend their hours or possibly substitute opening on one day that they might have planned to be closed on? You need to read this, and if you can't find a copy, let me know and I'll bring one by the shop. It was an insult to the cycling community in Lenoir. I know I will never shop at that store again!!!! I'm also going to make my opinion known to the city council members about the positive aspect of the race and encourage others to do likewise.


I actually had seen the ad this morning. It doesn't really come as a surprise as the same gentleman took out an ad in the paper last year for the same reason. I don't really want to say too much about it because I think that would give the gentleman's opinion more attention than it is due. I hope that downtown merchants recognize the opportunity for business that downtown events bring. What I can readily see in downtown Lenoir is a significant increase in the number of people shopping and dining here over the way things were when I moved here 5 years ago. When I came here in 2002, downtown Lenoir was almost completely vacant. I had really grown accustomed to visiting a town and immediately checking out its downtown area as a way to really get a feel for the town. I see downtown Lenoir really beginning to take on a vital and vibrant character. Speaking as a downtown merchant, the more people who come downtown, the more business revenue will increase. And while blocking off streets can be a hassle (ours was blocked off most of today to get the square ready for the Habitat for Humanity dinner), I know that most of the cyclists and their families who come to participate in the Lenoir Criterium (June 23rd!) will spend money at various downtown businesses. The net impact is positive.

Hope you keep the criterium in mind and also the trail maintenance day at the Aquatic Center (July 14th, Bastille Day). Also, keep an eye on the Dauphine Libere, this is the race that all the Tour favorites come out to do their final tune up in. Vino' will lead Astana and Leipheimer will lead Disco'. It will be really interesting to see Vino' since we really haven't seen anything of him this season. I think he has a couple of bucketful's of angry that he wants to unleash on the TdF after last years ousting. At least he'll make it exceptionally entertaining.

If you get a chance, check out the Caldwell County Pathways website. There is more expansion to the Greenway coming soon and the overall master plan is incredible. I am really amazed at the scope of this project and can't wait for it to be completed!

Friday, June 08, 2007

You better believe it...

You better believe I'm ready for summer! Today was the last day of school, o what a relief! A few more days of paper work and packing and then it's full-time bike shop. Very niiiice!

Looks like the Quickstep affair is much political ado about nothing. Two former riders, who as near as I can figure out, sold illegal doping products to each other, are about all that has come of it. Looks like Dedecker (the politico who caused this brouhaha) is just engaging in a little pre-election polemica. Could you imagine living in a country where cycling was a political issue? One can dream...

Jeff has his new BMC SLC01 in the Astana team colors. It looks amazing. Look for that rig on the road soon. I put my new Pace carbon fiber rigid fork on my BMC mtn. bike. I now have sub 22 lb. mtn. bike. Jeff is afraid I'll catch air and float off! We also got a bunch of new Blues in stock and they are all very impressive. Last, but not least, please check out our new site sponsor in the sidebar.

A few riders are off to the Roan Groan tomorrow, Wish them luck if you see them and think about their suffering as you ride tomorrow! A date to keep in mind: let's do a trail maintenance day at the Aquatic Center trails Saturday, July 14th. I'll talk about it more as we get closer to the date and drop me a line if you are interested in helping out. 9am group ride, see you there!

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Round 2

Team members of Quickstep have had their houses raided by the police and preliminary reports indicate that doping products were found. The Oil-for-Dope scandal has reemerged and both Danilo DiLuca and Eddy Mazzolenni are under suspicion. Valverde's name keeps coming up in conjunction with Operacion Puerto. Remember, we're still 4 weeks from the TdF, so I think we have a lot more of this in store. The bright side is that maybe a frenchman will have a chance to win now. Keep an eye on the cycling news to see what happens. The bad thing is that now, politicians are starting to use this as an issue for the election season. The timing of these new rides seems to be linked to the Belgian election cycle. Political posturing is the last thing needed in this situation.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

It's gonna be a long night

There's a thunderstorm rolling in. It isn't a bad thing, we need the rain something fierce. The problem is the thunder and lightning. Jenny, our black lab, goes absolutely batshit psycho during storms. Paces around with those dog nails going "click, click, click" across the hardwood floors, settles down for a few seconds and then jumps up like she's been shot, only to start pacing again. Then there is the constant weird licking and swallowing, over and over and over again... fun.

Played in the faculty vs. students soccer game today. First time I've ever played soccer. At some point, a kid caught me across the bridge of the nose, making bleed a bit. I guess I looked a little intimidating with blood dripping down my face. At least to a middle schooler, that is. Game ended in a tie, 2-2.

Yesterday, I played some 3 on 3 basketball with my students. Towards the end I was really on fire and by on fire, I mean I managed to hit the backboard and even scored a couple of times. A kid asked me what sports I played in school. I said, "Cycling". He said, "I didn't know that was a sport, I mean, isn't it just riding a bike around?" Hey, why don't you bring your bike out for a group ride hotrod and we'll see if there's maybe a bit more to it than "just riding around".

I don't know if you can hear the distant whistling of a large incoming shoe about to land, but the cycling media is sure mum and much new information about the recent doping allegations. It feels like the calm before a storm. I'm a little concerned about Vinokourov. It certainly doesn't look good that he started riding for Telekom in 2000, the same year they sort of swept the Olympics. His name seems to be clean, but there is just so much proximity to prominent examples of doping that some overzealous bureaucrat is bound to start an inquiry. And in this sport, an inquiry can oust you from a Grand Tour in a heartbeat. Vino' is the current odds on favorite at 3.5 to 1 for winning the TdF. He just needs to make it to the line.

Sunday, June 03, 2007


We finally got some rain today. Things were starting to get pretty desperate. My lawn (a secret blend of unidentified grass and really hardy weeds) was starting to look a bit piqued. There was a really nice tannish brown strip right down the path I ride to the back of the house. The downside is that now I'll have to mow for the first time in two weeks.

Good ride Saturday. Had about ten playmates join the festivities. Spotted Cecilio heading back in from some secret squirrel training session. Caught the Preacher on the descent of Goat Hill and he joined up for the final mailbox sprint. I appreciated the compliments for having a good day. Alex called it "the return of the OPG (old pasty gangsta)". Regardless, it hurt, just like usual. I always try to spread the words of Greg Lemond to new riders: "It doesn't get easier, you just go faster." That about sums it up.

Well, this week is the final push for school. It could be relatively easy, or it could be a downhill slide disorder and disrespect. Either way, I just have one more week of teaching middle school and then it is off to high school!

How about the Killer? DiLuca pulled out a big win at the Giro, Schleck was a revelation and Mazzolenni clawed his way back on to the podium with the final time trial. It was a riveting Giro, with lots of aggressive riding. Maybe the Tour will regain some passion...