Monday, February 27, 2012

Pinterest Style Post - Hour Record Edition

Instead of my own ramblings, follow this ramble I went on.  Just click on the links and see if you don't agree.

http://photoblog.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/02/17/10436213-100-year-old-cyclist-sets-record-for-one-hour-ride-in-switzerland

Wow.  Cool.

http://af.reuters.com/article/oddlyEnoughNews/idAFTRE81G16G20120217

Short blurb.  Still cool.

http://www.velonation.com/News/ID/11175/100-year-old-sets-first-ever-hour-record-mark-for-his-age-group.aspx

Some more details.  Funny.  No, it isn't a long way, but then again, think of the octogenarians and older that you know riding a bike 15+ miles in an hour.  Cool.  I wonder how far the Obree/Boardman/Moser/Merckx hour records are?

Answer:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hour_record

Wow, this guy holds the current hour record?  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ond%C5%99ej_Sosenka

Kind of a dick.  And what kind of cyclist gets caught for meth?


http://www.bikeradar.com/blog/article/save-the-hour-record-18316

Yep, I agree.

You probably do too.  Thanks for playing along.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

2+2+2+2 = Tired

On Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday I got on my trainer for 2 hours each day.  This thoroughly modest achievement is the biggest training block I have done in more than a year.  I don't think that I managed to do four days of riding in a row in all of 2011.  That's sad really.  Maybe I should go back through the calendar or my Garmin Connect records and see if that is wrong, but I would be even sadder to find out that it really was true instead of just thinking it was true.

Okay, I did just check and there was a single time in 2011 when I rode my bike four days in a row (thanks Garmin Connect!).  In September, I rode my bike to commute four days in a row.  On one of those, I didn't ride home, so the following day I got a ride to work and then rode home.  The total time on the bike those four days was under 4 hours and that included excursions on the way home.  How can I go on calling myself a cyclist?

Well, I guess that hope springs eternal and that in the spring, while a young man's thoughts to turn love, an older guy's thoughts turn to cycling.  Frankly, looking back at the Garmin records could get me off on a whole different tangent, but I will try to steer back to my original thought, as meager as that might have been.

In hopes of actually having a 2012 cycling season, feeling good on the bike and managing to keep up with the members of the River City Red team (on the flats, that is), I have been trying to embrace the chance to ride outside, even when it means my arse is being handed to me by fitter riders (everyone), and trying to get on the trainer.  This three-day weekend afforded me the chance to do so and I headed into it with the 2, 2, 2, 2 plan.  It seemed like enough time to be meaningful, but not so much time that I couldn't manage to do it again the next day (and the day after, etc.).  And, pleasantly, it worked.

The two things that sprang from relating this plan were 1) cyclists who said they can't stand the trainer and couldn't do that; and 2) cyclists who said that wasn't really training.

To the first group, I say, yes, it isn't nearly as interesting or fun as cycling outside, but the trick is to distract yourself and mentally commit before you get on the bike.  I have known people who can listen to music, and those who watch TV (even timing intervals to commercials or whatnot), but for me, the trick is a TV and cycling videos.  I can pay attention or not and the race on TV keeps moving, keeps me interested and provides motivation.  All I can say is that it works for me.

To the second group, I say, bah!  I can watch my heart rates, see the difference from day to day and certainly sense where I am in overall fitness depending on the year, season, or whatever.  There is no doubt that a group ride or race is harder; there is no doubt that you can't really duplicate the effort of a big hill (or the fun of downhill); there is no doubt that if I lived in San Diego I wouldn't put much time on the trainer, but that said, you cannot really doubt the training load if you get on the bike and do it yourself.  If it's too easy, ramp up the resistance, but really, just don't tell me that it isn't really training when my HR is high and there is a big disgusting puddle of sweat on the floor.  You're just not doing it right if it isn't training.

Me, I'm happy that I got in those few days.  If I just do that again for the next several months, I'm sure it will pay off.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Teaser - Sock Edition

We have place the order for our new team cycling kit and everyone, and I mean everyone, is excited.  I feel like the kid who has sent in his money and box tops and is now anxiously awaiting the mail delivery each day hoping that his prize will come.  In this case, however, it is a few more weeks.

Imagine my surprise then, when I got a Fed Ex package yesterday with a sample of our socks!  Only one pair, but I had to sign off on them before production of the rest proceeded.  So, without further ado, sock tops!



How cool is that? 

So, why not show the rest of the sock?  Because there is a surprise on them. 

Oh, all right.  You whining cry-baby, here is your damn surprise now.


Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Clarification - Plasticizer Edition

Yesterday I said that the plasticizers in Contador's blood samples were important to me and to the arbitrators.  Turns out that was wrong.  It was only important to me, or at least the arbitrators said that it wasn't important to them in reaching their decision. 

Here is my summation of the whole story:
Contador - I unknowingly ate contaminated beef, so you can't blame me for the clenbuterol in my system despite the strict liability of an athlete to know what he or she is ingesting.

WADA - A) Strict liability and B) the plasticizers indicate a blood transfusion that introduced clenbuterol.  Also, there was a .04% chance of getting clenbuterol laced beef in Europe.

Arbitrators - We reject transfusion and contaminated beer and think the most likely scenario is clenbuterol-laced supplements.

I think it's interesting that they decided on a scenario that neither the accused or prosecutors argued.  Anyway, I do think that there have been a lot of lower profile cases where the strict liability policy was enforced against athletes with completely clean and accusation-free histories, so it was fair to uphold that concept in this case.

If you would like to read an actual analysis of this case, written by an attorney and long-time cycling journalist, check out Charles Pelkey's take on this in his Explainer column now found at the always excellent Red Kite Prayer website - The Explainer: Thoughts on the Contador Case

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Contador and Armstrong

Truncated thoughts on a complex topics.

Contador - I'm not happy that it came down this way, but I would have been very unhappy if they excused him with no "proof" of the source.  And why are all of the mainstream sources ignoring the plasticizers.  Seems pretty important to me and it certainly was to the arbitrators.

Armstrong - I wouldn't be happy if he and others had been indicted, but I do think the way this happened basically stinks.  Think there will be some follow-up on that?  Yup, I think so too.

Check out this article from CyclingNews.com:

Concerns over closure of Federal investigation into Armstrong and US Postal

US radio station National Public Radio (NPR) has raised concerns over the decision that saw the United States Attorney's Office in Los Angeles close down a two-year investigation into allegations of fraud and doping that involved the US Postal Service Team and Lance Armstrong. Armstrong has denied ever taking performance enhancing and welcomed the decision to close the case. He may still face investigation from USADA.

NPR has alleged that sources in the FBI, FDA and US Postal Service were ‘shocked, surprised and angered’ and that federal authorities only had 30 minutes notice before the United States Attorney's Office released a press release to the media on Friday afternoon.

According the NPR, sources indicated that charges were close to being brought against a number of individuals, which included fraud, witness tampering, mail fraud, and drug distribution. One source, NPR says, said there were ‘no weaknesses in the case’.

However, NPR also adds that a person with knowledge of the decision said that US Attorney didn’t agree that there was sufficient evidence of crimes.
Cyclingnews spoke to a source who had co-operated with the federal investigation. The source indicated that the NPR reports held weight.

“I talked to someone within the investigation but the reason why the case was shut down was due to a one-man decision. The evidence against those involved was absolutely overwhelming. They were going to be charged with a slew of crimes but for reasons unexplained he closed the case saying it wasn't open for discussion,” the source said.

A press release from United States Attorney Andre Birotte Jr. stated his office was "closing an investigation into allegations of federal criminal conduct by members and associates of a professional bicycle racing team owned in part by Lance Armstrong."

Armstrong stated: “I am gratified to learn that the U.S. Attorney's Office is closing its investigation," Lance Armstrong said in a statement. "It is the right decision and I commend them for reaching it. I look forward to continuing my life as a father, a competitor, and an advocate in the fight against cancer without this distraction."

Cyclingnews attempted to contact federal investigators and Armstrong's attorney for comment.

 

Friday, February 3, 2012

I'm impressed

Some people have better balance than others. Some are more willing to accept risk than others. This guy is on the other side of both of those scales from me. And yes, he does have a motor on his two wheels, but don't hold it against him.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Guest Blog - New Season, New Bikes


Back around the dawn of man's existence on the planet, but sometime after blogger was created, I helped co-found a bike club with two other guys.  We started small and stayed small.  Until this year, that is, when we took a big leap.  In the process, we have switched around a few things, including our bike shop sponsor.  As a result, though, we are just now getting back to contributing together to a bike blog.  And thus, we have the return of Rider One, the primogeniture, if you will, or at least the guy who grabbed the number one spot on the roster and has been sitting comfortably there for many a year now.  And, just to be clear, he deserves it.  He has a long and substantial bike resume, not to mention a few other good qualities. And so, without further ado, I am glad to re-introduce the writings of Rider One.

New Season, New Bikes

I was 16 years old when I got my first team bike. That is, a bike I wasn’t asked to pay for. That Gios Compact, which my father still rides by the way, was soon replaced by a Tomasso when I switched teams the following year. We were sponsored by 10 Speed Drive Imports, and Tomasso was one of the brands, along with Guerciotti and Rossin (I think) that they distributed.

Without going off on too much of a tangent, that Tomasso wasn’t really a Tomasso, it was a Gitane. You see the year before the team was sponsored by the French bike manufacturer. So when Tomasso came on board, the Gitanes were sanded, sprayed red and new decals were applied. That bike was up there with a friend’s Vitus [http://secondat.blogspot.com/2008/12/vitus-bike.html] I once borrowed for a few days—a bike so flexible that even as a junior weighing in at a whopping 150 pounds, I consider one of the most hair-raising bikes to descend on. That said, it never seemed to hold back this guy. [http://www.cyclinghalloffame.com/riders/rider_bio.asp?rider_id=49]

After college I worked for a pro road racing team, following up by a few years working for Trek Bicycles, managing its professional MTB teams. Yes, I had access to lots of really cool bikes. Stock bikes. Prototypes slated for testing by the team. One off concepts that never made it to production. Fun stuff! And the whole build cycle for new gear was quite a thing to watch. I remember organizing a delivery from Shimano, with two shipping pallets filled with XTR and Dura-Ace components.

Yet here’s the thing. Getting a new bike never got old for me. I suppose there was a general awareness that it was yet another bike to carry a rider, but I got bit by the bike bug in a big way as a teenager, and while my enthusiasm for riding has indeed waxed and waned over the years, I’ve never gotten tired of beautifully made frames.

So, transition to this year, when some of my teammates will be on new BMC bikes. These should be in within the month, and I can guarantee that the boys are excited. Unfortunately River City Red’s negotiations with Philippe Gilbert fell through so we won’t have the fly Belgian National Champion paint job that’s highlighted in the video below from VeloNews.

It’s going to be a fun year. Enjoy.