Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Ross ist gut!

Grenchen-Nord, Switzerland

It has been a long, long day of travel and resetting the internal clock. It was really hot and humid when we finally got to our hotel beside a little airport. We drank some beer and watched the airplanes towing liders into the air for a good part of the afternoon. I went up to my room to just chill and ended up passing out within about 5 minutes of sitting on the bed. I woke up in a sweat due to the total absence of air conditioning in the hotel room and the building humidity. We hooked up with a lot of the other BMC folks for dinner shortly after I regained consciousness.

So far, the participants are from Slovenia, France, the UK, Benelux and China. There are others set to meet up with us tomorrow at the BMC facility, about 500m from the hotel. We are oing to see the new 2009 BMC line tomorrow and then go to Futek where all of the frames are tested to meet the EU safety requirements.

Tonight's dinner was a lot of swiss beer, horsemeat and salad (with these great pickles that tasted more like cucumbers), and pistachio ice cream for dessert. We head to Crans-Montana tomorrow afternoon and have already been served notice that we will be eating and drinking a lot tomorrow! Where we are headed is famous for its raclette, which is food that involves a great deal of cheese (like fondue but with more work), so I'll be giving it a full review.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008


I'm sitting in the Charlotte airport waiting to catch a flight to Switzerland. The shop won a trip to Switzerland for a corporate tour and to participate in the Gran Prix d'Alex Moos on August 1st (Swiss National Holiday) at the Interbike tradeshow last year. After a grueling selection process between Jeff and me, Jeff was originally awarded dibs, but has generously deferred the trip to me. This will be my first time out of the country (except for trips to Canada, which, let's face it, is a cleaner, nicer, cooler version of what the US could be) and to say I am excited is an understatement. I'm flying overnight to Frankfurt and then catching a plane to Geneva. The tour will take place on Thursday and then we will transfer to the Alps for the ride/race on Friday. There will be multiple hotels, restaurants and probably a healthy amount of German beer, since we will be in the German portion of the country. I will post pics and commentary as I can.

Several of you have asked for my thoughts on this years Tour and I have been contemplating it since it ended on Sunday. I have a lot of faith that the sport is lurching towards a dope-free future, but there are going to be some definite rough spots between now and then. I think that the strong performance of Garmin-Chipotle and Columbia have gone a long way to restoring some people's faith in the sport, but the outpouring of love and devotion to Ricardo Ricco show that cycling still has a long way to go.

David Millar was criticized by some for statements he made about Ricco, saying that he was "too good to be true". I don't think that Millar went far enough. Watch those stages that Ricco won. When you see the top riders in the world obviously riding at their limit and you see a rider right in the middle of them barely breathing hard, you're seeing doping in action. What's worse is that Ricco was an arrogant little prick and now there are reports that he may have begun doping at the age of 15. 15! Having just seen a bunch of wide-eyed juniors overflowing with energy lining up for our local crit series, I can't help but think about what may await them if they head over to Europe to pursue "the dream"...

For me, cycling is the same beautiful sport that I fell in love with 20+ years ago. I still remember running in the house from outside to watch Paris-Roubaix on ABC's Wide World of Sports. The Phil Ligget pre-written soliloquies, the John Tesh soundtrack, the way John Dockery butchered the pronunciation of every french town that the peloton passed through. Though I would come to learn that the spectre of doping hung thick and low over the riders in those days, I still hold strong to the idea that my heroes were clean. I'll never forget seeing Andy Hampsten sitting silently, holding his head in his hands at the end of an alpine stage of the Tour; coming to the realization that he wouldn't win the race... again.

We have come to expect the riders to be superhuman. In some ways we have made them become subhuman. We applaud their strength and cruelly hammer them when they show weakness. I long for the fragile hero, the quicksilver flash of brilliance that comes when I man finds some untapped power within himself and pushes to a new realm of pain and suffering. I yearn to see a rider throw it all out on the table in some hellbent-for-leather, go for broke attack that will spell everlasting glory or doom, like Icarus in his dash to the sun. I want a rider with passion and ethics.

I firmly believe that Andy Hampsten left the guaranteed success of La Vie Claire for the complete roll of the dice of 7-Eleven because he knew that you didn't have to dope to win. He said at the time that he wanted to do things his way and I believe that way was clean. Hampsten embodies the ideal of the Grand Tour rider for me and I saw that again this year with Christian Vandevelde. Vdv's 5th place was a confirmation for me of how things should be. Next year, instead of the top 10, Christian will hopefully be aiming for the podium.

Sunday, July 27, 2008


Lenoir, NC (LC Press)- A thrilling and dramatic finish along the Champs Elysees saw one last shakeup in the standings of the Luna Cycles Fantasy Tour de France presented by Uncle Chuck's Depilatory Cream for Men, "For all your hard to reach hairy places!". With the performances of Thor Hushovd and Robbie McEwan, DS John McMenemy's team was able to slip into the top 3 ahead of Charles Bennett's Team Far North.

The final podium of the 2008 Luna Cycles Fantasy Tour de France presented by Uncle Chuck's Depilatory Cream for Men, "For all your hard to reach hairy places!"

1st place - Howard Hesterberg, Team Birra Carolini
2nd place - Charles Hicks, Team High Life powered by Miller
3rd place - John McMenemy, Team Meatballs

Complete Results

Saturday, July 26, 2008

LCFTdFpbUCDCfM Newsflash: Time trial may render final decision

Lenoir, NC (LC Press)- With a huge victory in today's stage, Sylvain Chavenal moved Team Birra Carolini in to first place in the Luna Cycles Fantasy Tour de France presented by Uncle Chuck's Depilatory Cream for Men, "For all your hard to reach hairy places!" DS Howard Hesterberg has shown the skill and savvy that he has gained over his long fantasy cycling career. While not a commanding lead, the odds are in Team Birra Carolini's favor as they have a deeper pool of talent for le contre la montre than Team High Life presented by Miller.

Current Standings

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Queen stage proves no lady

Lenoir, NC (LC Press)- French riders David Moncoutie and Sandy Casar put in phenomenal top 20 performances on Alpe d'Huez proved decisive in the standings of the Luna Cycles Fantasy Tour de France presented by Uncle Chuck's Depilatory Cream for Men, "For all your hard to reach hairy places!". Tomorrow's stage has not appeared on the radar of any reporters as being one of significance, but it seems like the kind of stage that could prove dangerous given the right aggression from the right rider.

Complete Results

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

LCFTdFpbUCDCfM Newsflash: Hard day in the mountains may cause difficulty for riders who can't climb well

Damiano Cunego denies rumors that he's ill prepared for the Alps today. Photo courtesy Jason Darden

Lenoir, NC (LC Press)- Today's difficult stage in the Alps could see another day of fireworks amongst the top GC contenders. A strong showing by french riders could spell upset amongst the teams contending the Luna Cycles Fantasy Tour de France presented by Uncle Chuck's Depilatory Cream for Men, "For all your hard to reach hairy places!". Stay tuned for updates throughout the day.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Really tired guys rest after actually racing their bikes.

Lenoir, NC (LC Press)- After a stage that some have described as the best day of racing they have ever seen, the Luna Cycles Fantasy Tour de France presented by Uncle Chuck's Depilatory Cream for Men, "For all your hard to reach hairy places!" takes the day off. The top 6 are all in with a shout as they are all within less than a minute of the golden fleece.

The LCFTdFpbUCDCfM team competition has tightened up after the disqualifications of 4 riders for positive doping tests. Frenchman Sandy Casar has singlehandedly boosted the standings of several teams with a strong showing in the mountains.

While the French riders seem to be aggressive and are finding some success, they still have not performed at a level that would make recent criticism unwarranted.

Complete Results

Saturday, July 19, 2008

LCFTdFpbUCDCfM Newsflash: A lot of guys go really fast in final kilometers. Really, really fast guy wins!

Lenoir, NC(LC Press)- Stage 14 is in the books and little has changed in the overall standings. Tomorrow's mountain stage should toss things up a bit. The biggest news is that Mark Cavendish looks like a man about to leave the race as he struggled to maintain contact today and was nowhere near the front at the end.

Complete Results

Friday, July 18, 2008

LCFTdFpbUCDfM update

Raise your hand if you're doping...

Lenoir, NC (LC Press)- The Amoury Fantasy Sports Organization has officially declared all results by Moises Duenas, Ricardo Ricco, Manuel Beltran and Leonardo Piepoli void and has recalculated all results for affected riders. Further, a fine of 1 double iced Americano is levied against Team Not Caught Yet and Team Far North. It is not necessary for either team to completely withdraw from the Luna Cycles Fantasy Tour de France presented by Uncle Chuck's Depilatory Cream for Men, "For all your hard to reach hairy places!" at this time.

Complete Results

More Manuel

"Dancing to rock around...
To rock around...
it's right on time
it's tricky.
It's Tricki, Tricki, Tricki..."

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Unimportant action dominates stage

Lenoir, NC (LC Press)- Today's stage of the Luna Cycles Fantasy Tour de France presented by Uncle Chuck's Depilatory Cream for Men, "For all your hard to reach hairy places!" made little impact on the overall standings of the teams. As men of little consequence were given room for fleeting glory, the real players in this poker game on wheels marked each other and called as the bet came to them. In the coming days, we shall see these men throw "all in" in an effort to win the maillot jaune and distance themselves from the competition.

Moises Duenas, however, will not be in the mix as he has been very naughty with respect to illicit substances. Not only did he pop positive for EPO after the stage 4 TT, but a subsequent search of his hotel room found lots of things he shouldn't have possessed. Isn't it interesting though that we are seeing climbers getting doping positives for time trial stages. After targeting the 10 riders with suspicious blood values, 2 have now come up positive. Who will be next?

Complete Results

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Rest day

Lenoir, NC (LC Press)- The only thing guaranteed to be more boring than a Tour de France with Lance Armstrong racing in it is the Tour rest day. But in what has become a Tour that defies categorization, the rest day proved to be full of theatrics as well. Today, all 17 ProTour teams participating in the TdF announced that they would not renew their ProTour licenses. This sets up an interesting set of scenarios with regards to the current anti-doping crusade within cycling.

Firstly, a rider like Floyd Landis who serves his two-year suspension (ending in Jan. 2009) now finds himself capable of returning to the top end of professional cycling since the Pro Tour Code of Ethics banning riders from riding for Pro Tour teams is no longer applicable if there is no Pro Tour. Could Landis be spared banishment to the doper's purgatory of Rock Racing?

Second, in an effort to appear completely, 100% squeaky clean, above reproach, "this isn't about money, it's about integrity", anti=doping the teams shut out riders like Landis, who legitimately serve their two year suspensions and want to return to the sport. This would be incredibly bad and, one could argue, short-sighted given the extreme anti-doping stance of David Millar, a convicted doper who served his suspension and returned to the forefront of pro cycling.

Third, the whole sport comes crashing down and next July I'll have to content myself with play by play of Extreme Cage Fighting on Vs. Good god, I hope somebody does something to make everybody come to their senses before that happens...

Monday, July 14, 2008

Changing of the guard

Lenoir, NC (LC Press)- Team Far North leapt into 1st place on GC today after strong performance by Ricardo Ricco put him in both the maillot a pois and the maillot blanc. Strong showings by Ricco and Sandy Casar also gave Team Far North the stage win on Hautacam today. Team Baisez-vous! began their march to the top of the GC today with a strong second place showing in Hautacam.

*Reporter's note: a birthday celebration for Mike McClinton turned ugly as several directeurs sportif drank more liquor than would normally be advisable. Your humble reporter was definitely in the course de la tete and paid dearly for his efforts on Sunday. Thus, no posting until today.

Complete Results

Friday, July 11, 2008

Tricky, tricky...

Lenoir, NC (LC Press)- Howard Hesterberg continues to dominate the Luna Cycles Fantasy Tour de France presented by Uncle Chuck's Depilatory Cream for Men, "For all your hard to reach hairy places!", in what is shaping up to be a wild and unpredictable race.

In other race news: Manuel Beltran became the first positive test in the Tour this year. If the B sample confirms the result, this will set Team Liquigas back a cool 100,000 euros in ASO fines. Beltran's positive nullified his placing in the fantasy race, moving frenchman Sandy Casar up to 35th place. Also of note, Team Basez-vous! lost half of their team with Christophe Moreau and John Gadret failed to make the time cut off and are now out of the race.

*Reporter's note: My apologies for the lack of daily reports. I have been in a secluded retreat, preparing for today's Grizzly metric century. Up until now, I have been adhering to a rigorous training schedule that focused on positive visualization and active rest. I felt it necessary to take a break from this regimen, clear the important chakras and detach myself from this physical reality in order to arrive at the line refreshed and ready. Now that The Grizzly is done, I can get back to my real fantasy job of reporting on fantasy cycling.

Complete Results

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Huge win for Hesterberg!

Lenoir, NC (LC Press)- The sensations were more than good for Team Birra Carolini today as they approached the start ramp of the first individual time trial of this year's Luna Cycles Fantasy Tour de France presented by Uncle Chuck's Depilatory Cream for Men, "For all your hard to reach hairy places!" with all cylinders firing. Remarkably, all 4 riders for Team Birra Carolini placed in the points with Sylvain Chavenal earning an incredible 140 points for his performance.

True to form, Team Not Caught Yet has indeed been caught and passed by Birra Carolini for the top spot in the GC. Further danger is posed at the head of affairs by Team Crawford Complete Auto as they muscled their way into the top 3 on the GC.

Despite huge points gaps among the competitors, Birra Carolini's performance today shows that huge point gains are possible in a single stage and that this year's Luna Cycles Fantasy Tour de France presented by Uncle Chuck's Depilatory Cream for Men, "For all your hard to reach hairy places!" will continue to excite and delight with its remarkably volatile nature.

Complete Results

Monday, July 07, 2008

The 7th Seal

Lenoir, NC (LC Press)- Fantastically, improbably a Frenchman won the third stage of the Luna Cycles Fantasy Tour de France presented by Uncle Chuck's Depilatory Cream for Men "For all your hard to reach hairy places!". Not only did a Frenchman find his way to the line before anyone else, but now a Frenchman has donned the maillot jaune. Could Romain Feillu be the next Bernard Hinault? Or is he the next Jean-Francois Bernard?

After this reporter's assessment of Team Crawford Complete Auto came out with all cylinders firing. Their stage win netted them 140 points, moving them into 4th place overall. DS Jason Darden did not react well to the criticism of his team, but his fire may have been the catalyst that his team needed.

Team Not Caught Yet is still leading the GC, but 3 teams are rising fast and now the difference between the top 4 teams is only 60 points.

Complete Results

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Winkler maintains early lead, devasting team implosion likely

Lenoir, NC (LC Press)- John McMenemy's Team Meatballs took an impressive win in today's stage of the Luna Cycles Fantasy Tour de France presented by Uncle Chuck's Depilatory Cream for Men, "For all your hard to reach hairy places!". However, the special classifications bonuses are proving to be the decisive factor in the General Classification competition as Team Not Caught Yet maintain their lead in the overall.

Directeur sportif Eddie Winkler's team is known for surprisingly fast starts, but their performances this year leave little doubt that their success is just a phase that they will soon ride their way out of.

Also of note is the meteoric downfall of Team La Negro as they shoot down the rankings. Having seen a glimmer of success in the opening stage, they have overcome this out of character performance and gotten back to their tried and true method of mindlessly turning the pedals as if out on a coffee ride. Perhaps they will stumble upon another successful performance at a later date.

Aging veteran DS Jason Darden also finds himself saddled with also rans as Team Crawford Complete Auto has yet to find any good sensations in their legs or anywhere else for that matter.

Not surprisingly, the all french team Baisez-vous! finds themselves in last place with a vengeance. While the press concentrates on the anti-doping efforts of such high profile teams as Columbia and Garmin-Chipotle pb H3O, Baisez-vous! may turn the tide and show the downside of all the anti-doping hysteria. Perhaps next year the french riders will get TUE's for lacking talent...

Complete Results

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Tour underway

Lenoir, NC (LC Press)- An unorthodox and nervous start to this year's Luna Cycles Fantasy Tour de France presented by Uncle Chuck's Depilatory Cream for Men, "For all those hard to reach hairy places!", has already seen one French rider abandon. Herve Duclos-Lasalle lost a fight with a musette in the feed zone, breaking his wrist in the process. Frenchman Jerome Pineau got lost in the bunch and discovered himself at the head of affairs, netting himself an improbable 3rd place on the stage. Otherwise, things were decidedly ordinary as no other Frenchman managed to make it into the top 40.

As for the day's stage, Team Not Caught Yet has taken the lead in the Luna Cycles Fantasy Tour de France presented by Uncle Chuck's Depilatory Cream for Men, "For all those hard to reach hairy places!", despite being beaten for the stage win by Team Birra Carolini. Surprisingly, directeurs sportif Charles Hicks and Jeff Welch sit in 2nd and 3rd overall, signaling a reversal of fortune for their teams which have, thus far this season, sucked.

In other news, the Amoury Fantasy Sports Organization announced today that 100 points would be awarded to any team whose French rider wears the maillot jaune. Further, they announced harsh fines for any team who has a rider test positive during the Fantasy Tour. If a fantasy team loses a rider due to a doping violation, the directeur sportif must pay a fine of one (1) double-iced americano with cream. Their hope is that this will make directeurs sportif "think twice" before allowing a suspicious rider on the fantasy team.

Complete Results

Friday, July 04, 2008

Fantasy Tour de France entry deadline extended

Lenoir, NC (LC Press)- The Amoury Fantasy Sports Organization has announced that the deadline for team entries in this year's Luna Cycles Fantasy Tour de France presented by Uncle Chuck's Depilatory Cream for Men, "For all your hard to reach hairy places!", has been extended to midnight tonight. There are currently 11 teams entered.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Independence Day

Each summer since we have lived here, Golden and I have had some big thing planned for each summer. Cross country road trips occurred a couple of times, but mainly we have been staying closer to home and concentrating our efforts on big home improvement projects. The one constant of our summers in Lenoir has been that I usually do something pretty stupid, but manage not to do any permanent damage to myself.

This summer is no different. The big project, currently underway, is building a new porch on the side of the house. Now the old porch and me... let's just say we have some history. Ever since the porch tried to kill me, I've had it in for it.

It was July 4th, about 3 or 4 years ago. G and I had gone for a 3ish hour ride, planning to grill steaks and drink beer and generally enjoy the holiday. We got home, put up the bikes and decided that she would shower, while I got the grill started.

Now, let me preface by saying that I am a long time devotee of gas grills, so our new charcoal grill was a bit of a new experience for me. I put in the briquettes and tried to light them. No go. I tried to use kindling a la campfire starting. No go.

For anyone who knows me, it probably isn't readily apparent that I am an analytical thinker who considers problems carefully before enacting a solution. So I considered my problem of how to start the charcoal without the use of lighter fluid, since I didn't have any and didn't especially want to make the trek to get any.

I remembered that I had Coleman stove fuel. You know the big gallon metal can of white gas. Owing to the fact that I have had an unfortunate incident with this very substance which nearly started a forest fire in the White Mtns. of eastern Arizona, I was naturally cautious about how to approach the proper use of the fuel in this situation.

I went down and got the can, brought it up to the porch where the grill was located and proceeded to pour a small amount into the cap of the metal can. I poured the fuel onto the charcoal and tried to light it. A little tiny, infinitesimal flame barely licked one of the briquettes . Now I thought to myself, "Just pour a little more on and it should be all good, but be CAREFUL!" So, I tipped the can up and just poured a dash of the gas onto the briquettes.

I distinctly remember watching the little tiny nothing of a flame grow very large and travel up the stream of gas towards the can in my hands. I distinctly remember thinking, "OK, don't panic. This isn't a problem. You can deal with this." There was now a flame at the opening of the can. I knew that the solution was to just set the can down, and put the lid on it to deprive the flame of oxygen and smother it out. I slowly put the can down, but somehow the bottom edge of the can caught in the space between two of the porch decking boards and caused it to tip over, spilling flaming, white gas all over my porch.

The neighbor across the street immediately yelled, "You got a far!" To which I thought, "No s*it, I'm in the middle of a burning lake of fire." I ran inside the house, yelling, "Call 911! Call 911!" Golden looked at me, fresh from her shower, and said, "What have you done?" in an eerie deadpan. I called 911 and got the firetrucks on the way.

I went back outside, where I discovered a small crowd of people had gathered in the hopes of watching my house burn down. One of them was my neighbor from a few doors down, who a co-worker of mine had always referred to as "Dumbass David". It is completely relevant to this story to tell you that David drove a riding lawn mower everywhere because he was no longer allowed to ride moped due to causing an accident to an ambulance while chasing fire trucks on their way to a call. In southern parlance, David is someone who would be referred to as "simple" and would usually have "bless his heart" uttered after his name. As in, "Oh you know David, bless his heart, didn't mean to run over that dog with his lawn mower."

David came right up to me and said, "Where's your hose?" Realizing pretty quickly that a probable pyromaniac of questionable mental ability was probably not anyone's number one pick for go-to guy in this situation, I said we should wait for the fire department to arrive. Sure enough, red trucks with lights and sirens come blasting down the street. A bunch of guys pile out, hoses are pulled out and I walk up to them and say, "It's a white stove fuel fire." Hoses go back up, chemical extinguishers come out and after about 30 seconds, I'm no longer barbecuing my porch.

The head guy from the fire crew came over to me and asked me what caused the fire. I replied, "I was doing something stupid." I like to think that the expression that flashed across his face was an appreciation of my blunt honesty, but I can't be sure. Needless to say, however, is that that was the day the porch tried to kill me and I swore that I would kill it first.

So now porch is torn off, but hidden by its decrepitude was a 10ft. section of rotten sill that ran from the front corner of my house to the midway point of the wall. I had no choice but to cut it out and replace it. This meant jacking up the corner of the house from underneath and then cutting the board out and putting a new one in. A touchy, tricky affair, but doable.

This brings me to an inescapable rule of carpentry in the Moore family: I will hit myself in the head (one of the balusters from the porch railing) and my Dad will, at the very least, bleed profusely from some wound that he is completely unaware of. So, here we are, father and son, carefully preparing to undertake this daunting task. We are prepared to stick the sawzall into the hole in the board and we get my Mom to do a final check to make sure we won't cut anything but the sill. Mom gives us the all clear from down in the basement and we start cutting.

If you have never used a sawzall, I highly recommend trying it out. Pick some unneccesary wall in your house and just cut a big ol' hole in it. It is immensely satisfying, I assure you. Anyway, we are cutting right along and we hit a little something and a spark jumps out. Dad stops cutting and we figure he must have hit a nail. He starts cutting again and my Mom runs out of the basement, yelling "Stop! Stop!"

Let me pause here and tell you that we have been trying, unsuccessfully, to kill my father for many years. Like the Terminator, nothing seems to phase him and his cutting through a 220 volt, live electrical wire with the sawzall, was no different.

It seems that my Mom giving us the all clear, was part of a grander master plan to, for once and for all, dispose of my Dad in an "accidental" way. We got the sill replaced, but now my Dad is truly convinced of his invincibility and my stove doesn't work until the electrician comes to rewire it.

So, enjoy your Independence Day! and don't do anything that I would do...

Tour kicks off this weekend!

Lenoir, NC (LC Press)- Both the Tour de france and the more prominent and better known Luna Cycles Fantasy Tour de France presented by Uncle Chuck's Classic Depilatory Cream for Men, start this weekend. The most talented and hard working directeurs sportif have been working hard to finalize their rosters for this, the most important event in the cycling and fantasy cycling world.

But this wouldn't be a Tour de France (fantasy or otherwise) without a scandal and a small contretemps has already arisen for Charles Bennett and his Far North Team. Mr. Bennett tried to circumvent the new rule requiring at least 1 french rider per team by including the french-sounding Phillipe Gilbert on his squad. A warning letter was sent to Mr. Bennett by the FUCI, but he has yet to respond.

Other than the deception of Mr. Bennett, no issues have arisen from the team submissions and all riders are fit to compete for their respective teams. The deadline for team rosters is Thursday at midnight.