Sunday, August 28, 2005

katrina is coming

Just finished picking up the flower pots, the bird feeders, the bbq pit, the St. Francis of Assisi statue, etc. from the back yard. We've got candles, flashlights, water, and most importantly dvd's and beer. This Katrina is looking like a real bitch.

This morning the weather was great though for the Rocketkidz triathlon. My nephew Alex competed in his first multisport event and did a great job. Hats off to Baton Rouge Tri who did a whole lot with a little space. This race is a marvel of organizational efficiency. Within the grounds of the Pennington Biomedical Research Center they host a 250 yard swim, a 7 mile bike and a 1.8 mile run. All this with three different age categories all on course, eventually at once. It was a great time and Alex had a lot of fun.

I took the day off on Friday to run some errands and Amy and I caught Red Eye in the afternoon. It was pretty good, not what i had hoped. For some reason i thought it was a supernatural thriller, instead it was just good old fashioned terrestrial high drama. Still, a pretty good movie.

Finally, the Vuelta is in effect, and the drama of the Fantasy Vuelta is already starting. I think the new draft is going to work out well.

Also, i just read this note about Ullrich's wheel at the Tour of Germany. What a drag for Jan, this guy can't catch a break.

Well, when i started writing this it was dry and hot, now the rain has started, better get used to it.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Last Call for Fantasy Vuelta

Tonight at midnight is the deadline for registering for the Fantasy Vuelta 2005.

Currently there are 9 teams in the running which means 90 riders will be drafted. Since only 68 are "ranked" this means 22 riders will be picked up randomly from the remainder of the field. I think this might be pretty interesting.

Natalie Alexander 1991 - 2005

Our cat Natalie is finally at peace. Just recently, I joked about her ferocious lip-smacking in the blog but her condition began to deteriorate rapidly at the end of last week. She began to have difficulties moving, and she was staring into space a lot. It was a very tough call to make, but yesterday our super vet, Dr. Tim Armstrong, came by the house in the morning and put her to sleep while we held her. We set aside a special place in the back yard and buried her there.

Without Natalie, the house is much quieter. She was a loud cat who constantly meowed and "barked" at us. We think that Pekoe and Riley are in a bit shock because they don't know what to do without their noisy sibling. We're definitely adjusting to the quiet, which I imagine will change dramatically in only 48 days(!). Thanks to my folks who took us out last night to the French Picadilly, that really helped, it was good to laugh a bunch .

More on Lance

I love these quotes on Velonews. Especially the one from Laurent Fignon:
I don't give a shit. 1999? This is ancient history. What does this prove and what does this solve? What interests me now is keeping the next generation of cyclists clean and drug-free.

I was reading this very cool article about Oregon and saw that Lance will be on Larry King tonight with Bob Costas.

I can just see it now, "Next caller, Bob from New England, he wants to testicles...does it help?". This is an SNL skit waiting to happen.

Here is an enterprising angle on the whole fiasco, a German sports columnist believes that Ullrich should sue Armstrong for the damages he did to the German's career.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Fantasy Vuelta 2005

Back by popular demand! (and less fanfare and hype)

The Fantasy Vuelta 2005

Check out the webpage, not much there on rules, this pretty much assumes you've played before. The field is limited to 19 teams, shouldn't be a problem there. But if you want to get in on some friendly competition for little or no prizes, then shoot me an e-mail with your teamname and/or a revised draft list. I think this will be fun, but ultimately you'll be the judge of that.

This just in...

L'Equipe still makes the world's best birdcage lining.

Monday, August 22, 2005

starhill death march

Anybody who knows me, knows that i am meticulous when it comes to bicycle maintenance. I'm a stickler, i can't stand for my bike to be dirty in the least. After each ride, i clean my chain, wipe down the frame and inspect all visible parts for wear.

Of course the above paragraph is pure crap. I rarely do any of those things. I never clean my bike. The dust comes off when i ride in the rain. My handlebar tape has gaps in the wrap. I lube the chain when it gets noisy or on race day.

A former teammate once rode my bike a short way and the stopping power of my brakes led him to conclude "Dude, you're not a bike racer, you're a stunt man". Ouch.

I've had numerous consults on this, but i can't seem to change. A clean bike is a beautiful bike it's true. But given the choice between riding or cleaning, i go with the former.

Now cut to Saturday's ride, Maybe 20 or more riders showed up at Starhill for what Tom touted as the "hottest day of the year". I haven't heard if this was accurate but it felt that way. I figured with so many riders it would be a semi-relaxed ride with lots of folks sharing the love. Not exactly, it seemed like we started shedding people pretty early on. Numerous times there was talk of "slowing down" but i never really saw it happen.

While the majority of riders opted for 40 or 60, for some reason, i decided to stick it out for the whole 85ish with 4 other sadistic types (Tom, Jerry, Trey and Stan). Somewhere in the rough stuff near Solitude, my rear tire exploded in two places. I had to swallow a lot of jawing about what crappy condition my tires were in, while everyone sweated buckets and watched my spare explode because duct tape failed to seal the deal. Luckily for me, Stan had two of these things in his kit. BUY SOME TODAY. I know i will, along with new tires. They held everything together for the final 15 miles.

I wouldn't exactly describe it as a fun ride, but Trey did tell me about this place which needs to be visited.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Mistaken Identity

Classic case of mistaken identity this week, Jeff of Gonzales, LA wrote a great letter featured in velonews but they gave the credit to a Jeff Robert Gonzales of Los Angeles, CA.

I agree with Jeff about Lance, and i don't know who Alydar is. Personally, i'm a bit of a Bobby Julich fan, even though he did push my wife into a rose bush when they played little league baseball together way back in the day back in Glenwood Springs, CO. This is all moot (moots?) though because who really reads velonews anyway?

THIS JUST IN: Jeff stirred up the pot pretty well, folks are chiming in right and left. My question, isn't that what "arguably" means? That it can be argued and is worth arguing.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Fantasy Vuelta Prototype

Ok, here's my idea for the Fantasy Vuelta 2005.

The goal here is to ease administration (on me) and assist everybody to get a semi-balanced team.

I'll compile a list of riders ranking them in order of their points earned from last year's Vuelta. Then remove those riders not riding this year, and add in riders of note who didn't ride last year with my own personal ranking. This list will be your default "pick list".

Each team captain is free to modify their ranking list and submit it to me by say August 25th. On that day, the draft will occur. This means that each rider can only appear on one team. To help illustrate this better, here is a list of the top 20 point earners from last year.

1 Santiago Perez Fernandez 593
2 Roberto Heras Hernandez 547
3 Erik Zabel 478
4 Alejandro Valverde Belmonte 475
5 Alessandro Petacchi 455
6 Francisco Mancebo Perez 446
7 Stuart O´Grady 408
8 Oscar Freire Gomez 351
9 Félix Rafael Cardenas Ravalo 288
10 Eladio Jimenez Sanchez 278
11 Denis Menchov 209
12 Isidro Nozal Vega 204
13 David Zabriskie 193
14 Floyd Landis 193
15 Leonardo Piepoli 181
16 Carlos Sastre Candil 180
17 Constantino Zaballa Gutierrez 178
18 Victor Hugo Pena Grisales 170
19 Manuel Beltran Martinez 161
20 Javier Pascual Rodriguez 160

So you can see that the top point earners are scattered among sprinters, GC riders and climbers which makes it interesting. Anyhow, the draft would occur much like Yahoo Fantasy Football. Let's say there are only three teams, and these teams didn't make any modifications to their pick lists, the draft would go something like this. The pick order would be randomly determined. For our case, let's say the pick order is Team 1, Team 2, Team 3.

Team 1 Perez
Team 2 Heras
Team 3 Zabel
Team 3 Valverde
Team 2 Petacchi
Team 1 Mancebo
Team 1 O'Grady
Team 2 Freire
Team 3 Cardenas
Team 3 Jimenez
Team 2 Menchov
Team 1 Nozal

etc. until each team has 9 riders.
Then this is your set team for the whole Vuelta, no more picks.
Points accrue the same as they did last year.
What do you think?

Also this year, no entry fee and no prizes! maybe one will show up.

Let me know what you think of the format.
Here are the previous years
Fantasy Vuelta 2004
Fantasy Vuelta 2003

tuesday night cycling news

Last night i drove lead vehicle at the training race. Nothing gives you more perspective on the training race, then driving 400 yards in front of it at 24mph for 90 minutes. I'm telling you, it's a real joy to watch cars blow by the pack then you at 70, while you pray to God that they didn't misjudge the gap between you. Something about being anaerobic masks this fear to a degree when you're riding. I do have to say, what i could see of the A race was very well-behaved. Folks minded the centerline and kept things very safe. After the A race finished, I jetted, but i learned later that there was an accident at the finish of the B race where somebody broke their collarbone, hate to see that.

In much better cycling local cycling news, Gary McCrary who survived the most extensive injuries i've ever heard of in a cycling accident, was back on his bike last week. Here's a link.

fortune cookie reads...

Make sure you like your life insurance agent a lot. That's all i'm saying.

If you're going to spend hours with a guy, talking about ...
what will happen when you die or your wife dies.

or how things are pretty much taken care of if your wife dies, but if you die you need to have more term insurance.

or how if both you and your wife die at the same time, your unborn son will need to be taken care of.

You really need to like this guy, otherwise you could get even more depressed. Our agent is great, he's more than great, he's super-friendly and knowledgable and he looks out for us. But geez...

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

weekend wrap-up

Constantino Zaballa won the Classica San Sebastian on Saturday. I really hoped that this would be covered by OLN but no dice. I think if it doesn't involve Lance, or a rerun of Survivor or a large bull stomping on a cowboy, OLN doesn't cover it.

This race is awesome with the climb of the Jaizkibel and now they've added another climb, the Alto de Gurutze, to spice things up toward the run back into town. I was happy that Saunier Duval won with Zaballa and not Horner who was active toward the end and finished 12th. For some reason, Horner has always bugged me the way that Virenque did.

cool tool

So djw sent me this very cool tool that integrates with Google Maps to determine the distance of a run / walk / bike ride / swim / boat trip / hover craft ride, etc. It gives you the bird's eye view and let's you measure distances even when there may not be roads listed on the map.

Have you ever run to your office and not known the mileage?

Or been on vacation, ridden sans bike computer and wondered how far you went?

I think it is super cool, but maybe just because i always manage to break cyclocomputers.

Friday, August 12, 2005

dead cat walking

So this is Natalie, my beloved cat of 14 years who was recently diagnosed with CRF. It's terminal, but you can help buy your cat some time by subcutaneously injecting fluid into him or her daily.

At first she didn't mind being injected, but recently she's grown a bit tired of that and in order to stick her you have to bribe her with a healthy serving of tuna, salmon or other available fish parts.

This alone isn't funny, but while she eats, she smacks her manky mouth, lips and tongue so loud you can hear it throughout the house, and i didn't think anybody would believe that, so here it is for your Friday afternoon listening pleasure. Don't get too grossed out...

fav shoes

Here's an interesting article on my new favorite shoes, the Nike Free. I don't run in them yet, i just think that they are cool and comfortable.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Liggett inspired report of Tuesday Night

On the roads of the training race, pain is not a stranger.
It comes often and to some more often than others.
And so it was on Tuesday night, a virtual symphony of pain,
led by the maestro himself Chris Alexander.

Last night's training race was fierce with what seemed like a surplus of evil cross and head winds. Chris, my "brother by another mother", is getting ready for a stage race in French Guyana and he demo'ed some of his fitness. It was fun going that fast but brutal, i feel sorry for those other teams. I heard in the last stretch before everyone chilled out we were doing 34ish. I believe it, i was pegged in the 50x11 which i hardly ever use.

I stopped with Norm, Tom and Steve to catch some water at the church and nobody else did. It's pretty bad when you elect a team time trial effort over riding in the pack, but it was easier and good practice.

Good luck to the Herrings heading down south.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

only two more episodes...

of the most depressing television show ever created, sure i'm addicted to it. I can't stand to miss an episode, like the way you can't help but look at a car accident when you pass it. but i swear the only thing that keeps thousands of viewers from committing suicide each week is that Da Ali G show comes on right after.

Monday, August 08, 2005

epo cranks

Dr. John got a set of these and i got to take a closer look at them last night. Interesting idea, he agreed with this review that they definitely help with timetrialing and climbing. The results in the review were impressive to say the least, $700 for the crank and bottom bracket. Is this a better investment than a disc?

Sunday, August 07, 2005

mangi mangi

Amy and i hit Monjunis, thumbs up. Sweet tomato sauce, great menu, fantastic atmosphere with grapes hanging from the rafters. terrific veggie muffaletta.

Next up was Babies-R-Us for looks at baby strollers, baby beds, baby changing tables, baby car seats, baby rocking chairs, baby ottomans, baby clothes, baby backpacks and many many more. We had a lot of fun though and learned just how good a $700 rocking chair can feel.

Last night, we finally saw Super Size Me which was powerful stuff that i can't get out of my head. Definitely required viewing. After we caught System of a Down on SNL. I'm not sure if it was the movie or their performance that killed my appetite. I mean what is that? speedmetal/reggae fusion? What's next speedmetal/bluegrass/buena vista social club tribute? I hate to do it, but on this band i have to agree with noel gallagher.

No racing for the first time in a while, instead i did a group ride in the Felicianas, then a loop on River Road with my nephew Alex who is planning on doing a youth triathlon later this month.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Lance Interviews

So i caught the Phil and Paul interview on OLN and i thought that was great. Lance seemed relaxed and their questions were great. I really liked when Lance talked about Jan, "Yeah he is a really nice guy, maybe too nice."

Last night i turned on the Charlie Rose interview and after about 3 minutes i had an allergic reaction to it. I just knew he'd ask something like "Do you guys ride at night in this thing?"


Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Delta Stage Race Report

Last weekend was fun, I didn't expect to race since we were putting it on, but decided to right before the tt started. Thanks to our new uniforms and my new disc and aero helmet, i looked euro-pro but ended up riding a la computer analyst.

The turnout in the 1,2,3 was low, with no Herrings but we had 5 Deltas (Josh, Jerry, Norm, Pat and me) which is rare, add in a few S'ports, a few TCFs, Ben from NBO, two NOBCs and the flying dutchman. With so few it would be tough. Off the line Frank B. attacked and pulled the first mile, the remainder of the first lap felt like a points race on crack with everybody trying to get off in the inevitable break.

The S'ports were wired for sound, so you could watch Russ reach for his mic and then guess who would attack next. Our team was all over everything, it was great. Pat stuck Russ like glue. Finally a break got off with me, Jerry, Frank, Realdo and s'Port Patrick. We started rolling and got a good gap. Patrick was punching tickets at the back b/c his teammate was leading after the tt. We couldn't shake him so we all just worked smoothly and left him back there. Jerry told me he was hurting, but the more we rolled, the better he rode.

The gap was up to 1:40 at one point. In the feed with two to go, Frank got hit by a bottle in the brow bad enough to start bleeding but he kept going. With one lap to go, i got dumped on the hotspot sprint and had to tt to catch back up to the other four. It took a while to get back to them and hurt a bit, so i tried to recover but at this point i was really flat. With about 5 to go or so, Frank attacked, everybody jumped and i couldn't respond. At this point, i just did what i could and managed to finish 5th, 12 seconds ahead of Russ and Dave from S'port. Jerry got 4th, and Patrick won, taking over the lead from his teammate.

hello world

Your world frightens and confuses me ... I know nothing about your threadless forks or indexed shifting ... sometimes when i'm riding i wonder if the little elves that live inside my hubs and help them spin quickly ever need to be fed ... i don't know! my little mind can't grasp these concepts ... but if there is one thing i do know, ... it's hello world.