Friday, July 11, 2008

Random Tour Tech and other races.

Fugly stem. "aero"?

So you thought you had the "team edition" Selle Italia and were feeling pretty pro. Then you check out cyclingnews and bummed out when you saw this. Guess you aren't really pro if you have to pay.....

Today's stage was another good one. Cunego coming to grief was a suprise. Teams are riding so hard and it is only the first week. Legs are going to be trashed after the Sunday/Monday double header. And that is not even the half way point! Ouch.
Beltran is putting the tricky into his trikki nickname. Very disappointing and I hope this doesn't open a lid on a can of worms-especially since 8 other riders had irregular values. This race has been too good to be ruined by doping scandals. Read this in an old article recently and it is food for thought "Competitive sport begins where healthy sport ends."

Other tidbits, Rene Crash-albacher wins in Austria and no one gets hurt. Rock racing is rocking China. Although Tyler appears to have trouble with more rules here-what is up with those legwarmers? The kit looks like a Converge shirt. Sevilla should be a real threat for the overall here-funky gear or not.
Leiphemer spanks everyone at the TT in the Cascade classic, but can he hold the lead for three more stages?
One of my favorite things is to search for US riders in smaller races in Europe and today I found one Alex Howes racing for Velo Club La Pomme was 77th in the GP Internacional Torres Vedras in Portugal. Another Americn having more luck is Amber Neben who is sitting in 5th on GC at the ladies Giro and came in 2nd on today's stage Condor-Rapha is battling in Hungary which means the get to guys really named Zoltan, and this guy named Zoltan finished 5th on the day.


Black Metal and I have a strained relationship. Most of it is garbage, but on the fringes are some amazing records. I am compelled to search through all the junk for the gems. Of these fringe records have a lot more going on than corpse paint and upside down crosses(they also share the ability to push Aquauris Record's reviews into the top echelon of hilarity) . This Krallice record is one of them. Featuring dudes from bands I find unlistenable (Ocrilim,Behold... The Arctopus ,etc), Krallice put together an amazing galloping and shredding black metal record. Sounds good. Vocals are kinda buried. Riffs are catchy. Drumming good.
It is kind of sad when non-black metal dudes are able to drop "side project" records that are better than most of the black metal done by people who focus on nothing else. Some of the guitar tendencies from Ocrililm that made me seasick and want to barf work better in the full band format. Some tempo changes and vocals don't hurt either. Songs are pretty epic and sprawling with all but one over 9 minutes and the remaining song at 6. Beneath, behind, around the buzzing guitars and galloping drums is some additional furious riffing. Some of the guitar work is just insane.
The epic length and predominantly instrumental nature would make it perfect to be the soundtrack to a long drive. I would say a nice early am bike ride, but you might ride of a cliff.

Profound Lore is the label for this gem. And of course they have a myspace page.....

TDF Stage 6

Ricco comes through and redeems himself after a bad TT. White jeresy would be a good win for him, if he finishes. He is lucky to have Piepoli at his side all the time. Schumacher gets owned, losing 28 plus seconds in less than 200M. Bad Luck or Karma?
Can Kirchen hold this form for three weeks? Can he survive the big mountains? Very interesting tour. Kirchen and Valverde slug it out while Cadel sits in waiting.

Interesting development on rear derailleurs found at Velonews. If this works, why haven't any of the recently redesigned and improved gruppos adopted it? Did they miss out or is it more micro-percentage improvements like ceramic bearings?

Team Slipstream can't must have an rehydration ice-luge on their bus, cause they can't stay away from anything frozen. Will Frischkorn talks about ferrying bottles and "ice socks" here. Alan Lim is like the uber-nerd running around with fans and cooling devices-desperately seeking watts. Gotta love it.

But what about stage five? Did you forget the sprinters? Cavendish's sprint victory the day before yesterday was a rare one in a week marked by breakaways and GC contedors duking it out. When it comes to brash youngsters, I go with Ricco over the Manx-Express. But the kid is fast! This is a great tour. Fist Cat 1 climbs on Sunday. Followed by a killer stage on Monday. Buckle up, bike nerds.
Remember Hautacom in 2000?

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

TT results

Very exciting for a time trial. 1st off Schumacher win??? I am going to avoid comparing Schumi's drunk driving and recreatational drug penalty last year (non-existant) with the over the top sanction that Boonen got. But regardless he was fast.
Valverde takes the L today. He fell to 17th overall and will have to pull back 61 seconds to Evans and 25 seconds to Menchov. Cunego had a better time trial than Valverde! That is reason to worry.
Kirchen came out of the TT as a much greater threat.
Millar rode his ass off and hopefully beating Cancellara will make it worthwhile. With him and Cadel both 21 seconds back it is doubtful Millar can slip into yellow for a spell.
Sastre is also not in a great spot at a 1:23 back. Gonna need some Spanish fireworks in the mountains. Maybe that will force him to attack in the mountains.
Ricco went backwards in the young rider classification, but two of my favories-Lövkvist and Terpesta are in the hunt.
Shimano debuted some electronic TT shifters that look super cool. Gives the rider to spots to shift from.
It appears that Hincapie has someking of genital cooling device aimed at his junk in this picture.
Rumour is that Schumacher was on the German favoire Walser frame not a Specialized, but not conclusive photo evidence.

Cry, Puke, Continue

So my friend Brad moved out to New Mexico to some region called "4-corners" due to 4 land locked states bordering each other. No ocean doesn't make much sense to me, but he is answering to a higher calling (sustainable energy, not peyote ceremonies) He has been enjoying less oxygen and longer climbs for a couple months now. He has also started blogging. His most recent bike camping trip is well worth a read. check it
I have a hard time visuallizing all this open space without White Hen Pantries every 8 miles so I had to send him some follow up questions about how you survive riding in the heat and how do you carry enough water to survive(remember this trip took place in 97 degree heat with full sun)?

Q:How did I carry enough water to get myself 8 liters?
A:A lot of the roads have mile markers so when you get in car accident or are getting shot at you can identify how far down the road you are. I started on mile 0 of Navajo Dam Road. At mile marker 4, I stopped to have dry heaves, not sure why the raisin bran didn't come up. Maybe if it had I would have turned around. I decided to push on and suffer until Navajo Dam where I could camp at a car camp place and continue the next day. Got there and the road settled down a bit, but then had to climb the dam wall road - 15% for a long time. Cry. Puke. Continue.
I started with two bottles in the cages attached to the bike frame, 750mL each. I couldn't find my 1L nalgene bottle, so I used a 600mL spare, tied to the panniers.
At mile 15 I was out of the first 2 liters. I knew I had a gas station for a refill there.
At mile 30 or so, I was out of water. 10 miles or so to Ignacio, roughly 25 miles without a water stop.
Mile 40 I saw a woman selling tamales on the side of the road. Two of them at $2.25 each was brilliant. Hot, spicy, and REALLY GOOD. Love Her! She is in Ignacio on the side of the road every Friday. I will be back.
Getting lost and wandering, left me out with no more water stop options until mile 75 or so. I was dead by then. Totally bonked. Sunburned face. Blood shot eyes from the sweat pouring into them all day.

Just want everyone to return to the end of the first paragraph "Cry,Puke,Continue" That is a training philosphy you should all get behind.
Hopefully I can get some more ride reports from him in the future. Otherwise save your pennies so he can do your solar panels when he gets back.

Found a mapmyride loop in the general area he was riding here if you want to investigate. You know you are in trouble when roads are called "Road 4050".....

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Badger in Action

So what do you do when some protestor jumps in front of the pint sized Sammy Dumoulin and tries to steal his thunder? If you are the Badger, you attack. Doesn't matter to you if the maniac is as big as Jaws(seriously-look how he dwarfs Sammy in photo one).
Another reason why this tour rules.
Whose money isn't on Cancellara today?

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Random thoughts on humidity, riding, and bike paths

Managed to ride 3 days in a row for the first time since I was brought low by the lyme disease. Nothing epic, but my legs were recovering better than they had in a couple weeks. Hopefully that means I am back on track.
Down on the Cape for the weekend and I find this a really hard place to be motivated to ride. Drivers are worse than Boston. There are also a lot more cars from PA here this year-and they seem to suck more than the NY usual suspects. Go home.
Basically when I am down here, I have 2 choices turn left(up cape) and turn right (down cape). Yesterday was left and today was right. Going right means you can always jump on the bike path. Now I know a cardinal rule for serious cylclists is stay off bike paths, but there is no shame in my game. When it is time to chill or you are trying not to hammer-nothing keeps you in check better than a bike path. So that is my 2 cents on the subject. Amazingly, I am riding back from Orleans and I jump on the bike path near Nickerson. Within 5 minutes, I see 3 riders coming towards me-2 in line, 1 riding in the center. As we approach, middleman makes no attempt to move over. Not a huge deal, but not very polite either. As I pass him I see he is wearing a Quad Cycles jersey. Even here in the middle of Brewster, the Quad curse can strike. Just to be clear, I have no problem with Quad the shop or the Quad racing team, but the club/group ride folks are a notorious/infamous menace. They can simultaneously have 4 riders shoulder to shoulder on Mass Ave (at 16MPH) while the tail of the formation struggles to hold wheels and scream "Single File!!!!". Imagine if their group ride in the shape of a tear drop or sperm cell. It's like the MS ride every weekend and good luck if you get stuck behind them.

So it is some serious swamp weather. Overcast, scattered downpours, and some serious humidity. No sun for how long? Wouldn't mind is this was Oregon, but it's supposed to be summer.
Signs it is humid
1.Clammy chamois-nothing drys. Yesterdays gear is still moist-especially those gloves you balled up in your jersey pocket.
2.That nice moist stank that rises from the pile of gear on the floor(or even worse-jammed in your bag)
3.Soggy potato chips. You know it is bad when chips start to wilt within moments of the bag being opened.

Lastly, my day started right when the first TDF race update I read had Jens attacking at the gun. Don't think he got away, but hopefully that is a sign they will give him the freedom to ride. Last 30K is on VS now. Nice

22 Dreams The Expansive Paul Weller

The modfather delivers after a a spell of writers block and disappointment over slow sales of his last record. Through this adversity he triumphs and continues to break new ground. Double album over 70 minutes in length with spoken word and a song dedicated to Alice Coltrane. Ricky Ross isn't the only one pushing it to the limit!
There are some very pastoral elements to this -the folky stuff he has been dabbling with, the artwork, etc, but his photos are pure unbridled mod brilliance. I dare you to rock that haircut at 50! A lion in winter perhaps?
The battle lines are drawn with Mr.Weller. You either got off the train at the Jam or you have hung in through the Style Council and his last 8 solo records. If you are still a follower, you will not be disappointed. I think my biggest fear is that he will turn into some kind of Gen-X Michel McDonald, but so far he handles the singer songwriter and blue-eyed soul thing with little problem.
Highlights for me are "cold moments", "push it along", "song for alice" which has some amazing piano work and a nice understated funky groove, "echos round the sun", and "a dream reprise" which has massive Stax review horns battling with some backwards masked tape loops and a wicked groove. So good. Plenty of nods to the orchestrated psych-pop of the English past. The "spoken word" thing is more Streets than Ginsberg and not too bad.

Cold Moments video here.