Friday, June 13, 2008

Riding not Thinking

A lot of my rides lately have been shitty. Equipment issues. Repair issues. No time issues. You name it. More stressed out and jammed in where they can fit, rather than epic, poetic, mega etc. Yesterday I got out for only an hour, but it was a sunny, early evening and it ruled. Usual loop through Concord. About half way through,I realized I had reached that perfect zone of "riding not thinking". Just hammering away enjoying shadows and scenery. The setting sun and breeze making all the fields look cool.
I also realized it was the kind of day I had been begging for in winter and spring training posts. A "just change into shorts and a jersey and go out the door" day. No additional gear needed. Perfect. Cool enough to avoid the salt stained, sunburned corpse look(that will be for Saturday), but warm enough to make dressing a no brainer. The kind of day you don't want to head for home.
Bike is back(new and improved). Tan lines starting to pop in. Nice.

Let Levi Ride.... Backwards

So reading these quotes from Velonews, really makes me think Leiphemer deserves the scorn he gets for being a wheelsucker and boring racer.
Exhibit One: How did things go for you up the Joux-Plane, it looked like you were OK before Valverde attacked and almost got back on?
Levi Leipheimer: I’m recovered now. I just had a bad moment.

Obviously you are recovered now, the stage is over and you are doing an interview. The question was why did you crack on the Joux-Plane. A good answer would have been you were imitating Armstrong's meltdown on this climb. If only Andrew Hood had asked him a follow up, along the lines of "No what happened, did you want to puke or did you just give up?"

Exhibit Two(which might be borrowed from the Quotable Hincapie)VN: Evans said he attacked when he saw you suffering a little bit, how was it up the final part of the climb?
LL: I don’t understand what Cadel was doing. People who win the Tour de France don’t race like that. He was just doing Alejandro’s job for him. Now he has second instead of third. You have to race to win and he wasn’t obviously doing that

Where to start? He attacked because you were in pain and he was behind you in GC. So yes now he is second and you are third. How exactly do you "race to win" by not attacking? To win you have to be faster than everyone so you either A.wait for everyone else to crack or B.Attack. You were both in the most elite and final selection of the day and most likely the race. That isn't the time to wait, it is the time to make it or break it. Evans tried. You didn't. End of story.
As far as "people who win the TDF...", don't I vaguely remember Contador(a person who has won the TDF) relentlessly attacking Rasumussen in the mountains last year? And isn't Levi a little unqualified to speak about "people who win the TDF"-he should stick to people who win the "Tour of Missouri" or "people who win the Dauphine"

Exhibit Three:
LL:It looks like Evans is just racing for second. He figures he can’t beat him.

And you know this because what? Because it was your strategy? If he has another "bad moment" he better hope that Gesnik, Trofimov, or Dessel don't start to "race for third" or he will be off the podium.
There is nothing worse than an athlete refusing to show respect for a rival's strength or simply acknowledging their own poor performance without throwing out the excuse net or trying to talk "tactics". Chris Horner doesn't win a lot or races, but he understands racing and when he talks it makes sense. Levi not so much.
At this rate the new campaign had better be "Let Levi Whine"

Thursday, June 12, 2008

More blogs.....Greasemonkey

Ever wonder what it would be like to be a mechanic for a pro-tour team?, then read GreaseMonkey and find out.
What happened to all the T-mobile gear when they became HighRoad? Find out.
Unreal photos, killer shop reviews. This blog rules.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Boonen vs Rick James?

1.I might be missing something here, but with what little facts there are about Boonen and cocaine, I don't understand why everyone is bugging out. Is it a well known, yet unspoken fact that Boonen has a Rick James like coke problem? The VanHoppen accusations didn't seem to stand up when he got busted a year ago.
The whole speeding and drunk driving thing may tie into a pattern of him coming off the rails, but it's not conclusive to me.
We should at least give him half as many chances as we gave Darryl Strawberry or Vin Baker(nice playoffs reference!). If he isn't a bugged out Pookie level coke head, he just shot his contract negotations in the foot. You know LeFevre is crossing out zeros as we speak and if Boonen sits for the TDF, he will see a serious paycut from Quickstep and probably not to many competing offers.

2.For some reason right now I am more excited about the Tour de Beauce than the Dauphine. A Hincapie stage win doesn't get me any more interested either.Even if it means the appearance of three words rarely associated with each other "George Hincapie Attacks..." Next few days of the Dauphine should be goood despite my lack of interest. Valverde is looking good. Beauce is always good for a breakout performance by someone, but the Euro presence isn't quite as stong this year.

3.Campy going to 11 speed seems like a bad move. More pointless than necessary. Not sold on these new hoods either. And as far as bringing back Super-Record? I will wait and see, but am expecting more excess than increased performance. The made a huge move when they finally abandoned the square taper BB. Hopefully these next advancements are another push forward.

4.In totally random racing news the Tour of Prince Edwards Island has a team from Cycle-loft/NEBC racing in it with their rider Leda Cox in 5th overall. Which given the Celts loss last night and Okijima's continued 8th inning struggles, may be Massachusett's best athletic performance.

5. The Tom Danielson climbing video making the rounds online is not really that impressive. Everyone knows the kid can ride alone uphill fast. Show me some footage of him successfully battling for position on a narrow road. And ditch the P.O.D, this is cycling not Ozz-fest. TD seems to have the video blog bug cause he just made another one??

5. Can this fucking heatwave wrap up already???

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Jonathan Vaughters coaching apprecation

"Rule 2: Don’t be self-conscious.
Suffering isn’t pretty. It isn’t meant to be. If you are going about your business of climbing properly, you will be breathing like a water buffalo, sweating like a chain gang, and probably have snot dribbling off your chin. If this is not the case, you aren’t doing this correctly. Over the years I’ve ridden with so many people who are always worrying about breathing too hard in front of their buddy. You’re supposed to be in pain and you’re supposed to be breathing hard, I mean the harder you breath the more o2 you’ll get to your muscles, so let the image thing go, and get down and dirty with the hill. Anyway, if your buddy is two miles behind you, he can’t hear you breathing anymore, can he?"

This rule comes from Jonathan Vaughters Climbing guest blog post here. This NY Times based blog is no Samuel Abt, but it is not bad and the remainder of JV's post is worth your time.
This reminds me of a recent Bicyling magazine article JV was responsible for about how not to train. It was both funny,true, and effective. It may be one of the only good things to appear in bicycling (recently?,ever?). "Ride until You Puke" is pretty much a mandatory workout if you want to get faster. Try it you'll like it.

There is no way around it. If you want to get faster you have to suffer. The slow kind suffering(no food, no beer,losing weight), or the fast kind of suffering(I want to puke, I want to die, I want to stop, etc). Pick your poison, but if you want to have those magic days on the bike, you gotta be ready for a few weeks in the pain cave. JV may be a little to nattily dressed to take seriously(the knot on his tie is usually bigger than his head-he needs to talk to Paul Weller about how to carry a look better), but he has his head on straight when it comes to coaching advice.
Was talking about intervals this morning with Billy. He gets tunnel vision and thinks he pissed himself when he is pushing it. As for me, I get the tunnel vision zone out and then just kind of stop thinking-almost like my brain is just slowwwiinngg down. I want to think, but can't. Don't even ask me my kids names when I'm doing those over/under drills. I usually snap back to reality just as the bile and lactic acid tries to use my throat as launching pad.

PS It took a lot of self-control not to use the infamous and run into the ground wasp-sting swollen face pick, but the guy deserves to be known for something more than that.


Some people have a gift for finding trouble, and some people,well, trouble just finds them. Earl Simmons and Frankie Vandebrouke have that in common(if nothing else). Then again drugs,success,tattoos, dogs.....Maybe there is more than meets the eye connecting these two.....
1.VDB breaks out in 99 winning Leige Bastogne Leige and Het Volk. DMX drops his third #1 album "and then there was X" in 99 featuring his biggest hit"Party Up" Both VDB and DMX take these lyrics to heart and try their hardest to lose their minds in the coming months and years.
2.DMX gets arrested (frequently both west and east) for abusing his pitbulls. VDB gets arrested (regularly but not with the gusto of X) with drugs that are "for his dogs".
3.DMX gets busted using a false name at a hospital. VDB gets busted racing in Italy under a false name.
4.VDB writes and autobiography called "I'm not God" and DMX records a gospel album.

Since Earl had is reality show, we can only hope that VDB gets a chance to go where only the Planckaert's have been before him in Belgium. Or maybe, dare we dream, VDB could start a career acting in action flicks a la X and the OG Muscles from Brussels Jean-Claude VanDame! Maybe a VDB/DMX movie together?
So if you are wondering WTF? These are the things I think about when out doing training rides on Monday nights!
This is also dedicated to the newest Belgian Cocaine Cowboy... Tom Boonen. The huge techno record collection should have been a tip off!

Monday, June 9, 2008

Subscription Cards in Magazines

One thing I have always hated (not to get all Andy Rooney on you) is the stupid subscription card(s) that fall out of any magazine you buy. It was annoying when there were two. Now most magazines have 2-4 loose ones and a couple fixed in place usually with some space age snot like adhesive. This sucks. I have never been convinced I needed to subsribe to a magazine by having an annoying useless piece of paper fall into my lap-or onto the floor. I am laying in bed trying to read a magazine and getting covered in cards asking me to subscribe. Not so effective a strategy-piss of the customer. So they suck, but what amazes me is when they are still jammed into magazines that arrive at my house because I do subscribe to them??? WTF? How can my home copy have a uniques "subscription cover", but still have the stupid cards in them??? Get your shit together.


With its sacred tenants of trebly production, sloppy drumming-or worse drum machines, and the fear of straying from the kult/orthodox forumula, it is hard for a record to remain groundbreaking and stay "black metal".
I had alwasy written off Nachmystium as a 2nd tier band. Leviathan will always hold the crown in my book for US Black Metal and there hasn't been much competition.
With this new record "Assassins" they have released a real catchy classic that stands up to repeated listenings. It may not be kult to crank this driving around in your car, but I am too busy to listen to stuff that only sounds good in my parent's basement. Assassins is quality metal for people on the move! (now that is a tag line)
This has got all the elements of classic black metal, but weaves in some NWOBHM riffing-think Maiden, some depressive melodic elements, and most surprisingly some Santana/Mahavishnu influence complete with Saxophone???? Allrightso the sax playing is more in line with the Stooges than Coltrane, but I was surprised to hear it in any style. It even has a repetitive math rocky quality in some parts that makes me wonder if they are into other Chicago area bands in the Touch and Go world.
In addition the production is good and everything sounds heavy and powerful. Drumming is human and well done.
Like seemingly all bands now adays there is video documentation of what they do. MetalKult has it here.


In the years before the Internet it wasn't so easy to find out about new bands. Maximum R&R wasn't in every Barnes and Nobles or Borders-and it was mainly independent bookstores back then anyway. If you had a cool record store near you you might find MRR, but you couldn't count on it.
You could always count on finding Thrasher in the skate shop though, and if you were lucky there would be a Puszone column.
It is easy to forget how central a figure Pus was to the core scene. From album covers,flyers, etc to Septic Death and Pusmort. The man was on point for many years and you were guaranted a treat following his recommendations. Besides that Puszone always had contact information for mail order(stamps,envelopes, money orders,waiting!-no paypal and priority mail!)
I was digging around online looking for scans of the old Puszone. I found this Pusfan site that has transcriptions of them which is cool, but there was something so rad about the newsprint pages and blurred band photos that accompanied the Zone in its printed form.
He tapped out in 90 and left with his unofficial Top 100 records list. Being a stat nerd, I had to break this list down.
Since this is a 100 record sample, these are also your percentages of distribution.
81-84 holds the title with 81% of the top 100 coming from these 4 years.
year releases
1980 3
1981 22
1982 19
1983 24
1984 16
1985 3
1986 2
1987 6
1988 1
1989 4

Pus didn't transition gracefully into the 90s,even though he caught onto the East Coast NYHC and Youth Crew thing. Some questionable post punker grunge and metal bands did creep into the Zone. So it is no suprise that this list is heavy on the early 80s. Can't really argue either. The core that came out of those years is pretty unstoppable.

As far as distribution across the globe:
country releases
usa 59
uk 19
japan 7
canada 5
sweden 3
finland 2
germany 2
holland 2
australia 1

A few surprises here-where is Italy(Negazione,Delclino,Raw Power)? Where is South America(attaque frontal, Ratos De Porao)? I am also suprised that Sweden wasn't more heavily represented.
What is amazing is that even with 59% of the records coming from the USA, Pus overlooks the entire state of Texas. What? No Big Boys,Dicks,Really Red, DRI, MDC or Offenders??? This is almost criminal. Also absent is Chicago -Raygun, Effigies, etc.
Don't mean to knitpick, but damn.
Gotta dig out those old Thrashers and see what other bands I forgot about.