Sunday, September 4, 2011


I've missed cycling. Law school is a killer.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

The Battle of Brittany

Versus is currently running a commercial that equates riding a bicycle with flying. I can say, as a person who both rides and flies, they really aren't that similar. Let's say for argument's sake that both activities had certain qualities in common, I don't think many people would fly if the shared qualities occurred at comparable frequencies. Sure, in cycling as in flying you can go fast (relatively), feel the wind in your hair (if you're in an open cockpit aircraft and you ride your bike without a helmet), and explore new places, but luckily for those who tempt the gods of physics, crashing doesn't occur in flying nearly as often as it does in cycling. Case in point, today's stage in the TdF. Phil and Paul counted no less than ten crashes today. Two included pre-race favorite AC:

One forced Tom Boonen to fight just to make the time cut:

And one forced Shack rider Janez Brakjovic (who is not related to Erin Brockovich, or Julia Roberts who played her in the movie) to head to the hospital and eventually abandon the race:

The stage wasn't all blood though, as the peloton passed through the town of Saint Brieuc:

How would you like to live there? I can see it now,

You: Yeah, come on over for dinner.
Your Friend: Ok, where is your place?
You: It's the dull colored one, shouldn't be hard to find.

Just as I questioned Versus' comparison of cycling and flying, a couple weeks ago I questioned whether team Garmin-Cervelo would switch to a white kit for the TdF. Turns out they did:

I'm sure I'm not the only one who questioned (and secretly thought) if Garmin-Cervelo would switch to a "summer" kit. I guess professional cycling has become a little too predictable. And hey, wouldn't you know, Cavendish won another stage:

While Cav winning a stage isn't too out of the ordinary, winning a stage with an uphill finish in which the final sprint included classics extraordinaire Philippe Gilbert, most certainly is. Perhaps Cav is showing some of the form he showed in his 2009 Milan-San Remo victory.

On second thought, I'm not sure I should go so far as to compare two things that really aren't that similar.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Big Price, Big Expectations: You Don't Always Get What You Pay For

In my last post, I might have written that I would have another post on Monday, the 20th of June. Clearly that didn't happen. Lucky for you this blog doesn't cost you anything. Unlucky for me, this blog doesn't cost you anything.

While I was back east, my family and I visited the Mystic Aquarium. Seeing as how the aquarium is right on the shore (and the fact that each ticket was around $29), I had high hopes for what might have been inside. As the saying goes, always put your best foot forward, and that's exactly what Mystic Aquarium did:

Leading with their heavy hitters, the aquarium placed the whale tank directly inside the entrance. Needless to say the whales (there were three) were pretty cool. So how did the aquarium follow up? With this:

Yup, you got it, it's a frog. To be honest, it didn't get much better.

The next day we headed north up to Northampton, MA to do some sight-seeing. We visited the campus of Smith College, the largest of the Seven Sisters. As expected, the campus was beautiful. A scenic and calm waterway cut the area roughly in half. Crossing the foot bridge, we noticed a squirrel clinging to the edge of the concrete decking:

He moved around on the side of the bridge like a spider, until his grip gave out. At that point he fell, belly first, into the stream below. If he had started floating downstream I might have felt bad, but as it was he quickly climbed back up the bridge and scampered off into the woods.

On another part of the campus I noticed this graffiti:

I sure hope the artist's English teacher is for her. I'm no Slyvia Plath (who is, by the way, a Smith grad), but that is some horrible grammar. You would think for $53,460 a year even the freshwomen (yeah, I made that up, but I bet girls at Smith use something stupid like that to refer to themselves) would get some decent English training, as the clearly don't get much training in parking a motor vehicle:

On second thought, that horrible parking job might just be due to the driver being a woman versus any lack of training.

So, once again I visited a place that was expensive (luckily though I didn't have to pay tuition to walk to the campus) and in the end the product didn't impress as it should have.

Never fear though, as the day ended with a stop at the Northampton Brewery for a cold beer. I tried the Scuba Märzen (pronounced more like Mare-Tsen, not Mare-Zen) and completely enjoyed it:

Märzen, German for March Beer, is a lager that had its beginnings in Bavaria. The Scuba was caramel in color and had a delicious malty flavor - a great way to end the trip.

As we come to end of today's post, I must once again inform you of a leave of absence I will be taking. My wife and I recently moved into a new home and as such we have been busy, and will continue to be busy, getting completely moved in. I hope to be able to get back to regular posting next Monday with updates from the TdF.

Look on the bright side, whether I'm back on Monday or not, you aren't out any money.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Heading East

I will be traveling east this week, and as such will not be posting anything until next Monday. What will I post tonight? Just a picture that some smug zoo keeper, who clearly hates it when people confuse tortoises with turtles, put up in the tortoise enclosure:

I'm not one to correct the mistake of a fellow human being (of course I am), but when said individual clearly thinks everyone confuses turtles and tortoises and while correcting them makes TWO mistakes; well, I just can't pass up that opportunity.

Enjoy the week.

Friday, June 10, 2011

There's a Time to Walk Away and Then There's a Time to Ride Away Ringing Bells

There has been much written about the use of doping products in sports, and in cycling specifically. We've read about those we followed, routed for, and believed in test positive for PEDs. In almost every case the accused has rallied the troops, fortified the defenses, and vehemently denied any and all accusations. The arguments have ranged from the classic half-truths (I've never tested positive - which isn't the same as never using drugs), to the completely asinine (vanishing twin brother).

We've seen athletes who have been caught doping come clean (only because they were caught) and attempt to use themselves as a sort of positive example for other riders (Of course not without blaming the team and those around them for their doping in the first place. Egos, what a terrible thing to break - probably what led you to dope in the first place).

On top of all those you have Phil Zajicek - a rider who not only got caught doping and lied about it, but made others lie for him as well. What a douche. If that was the end I wouldn't mind so much. But read what he wrote in an email to Velonews:

“Today, I have accepted a lifetime ban from the sport of cycling. I have had an enjoyable and successful career which has taken me to all corners of the of the globe and I’m grateful for everything cycling has given me. It’s time to walk away from the sport and begin the next chapter of my life with the tremendous support of my wife, family and friends behind me.”

Seriously douche, people walk away from things where they have the choice do do that - you were forced out. I understand that he could have kept fighting, but a lifetime ban isn't something you 'accept', it's something that is imposed on you. Hopefully he eventually 'accepts' the fact that he not only ruined his cycling career, but he did no favors for those he had lie for him (I see the parallel argument here between the Millar video and him being 'manipulated' and those that lied for Zajicek - both parties had the option to not choose what they did).

Speaking of crazy stories, as I was in the first paragraph, everyone's favorite former Alaskan Governor (or really the only one anyone outside of Alaska can name), Sarah Palin sure came up with one about the midnight ride of Paul Revere. I'm pretty sure that Paul Revere's ride on the 18th of April, 1775, wasn't to warn the British or that he used bells to do so, but then again I'm no presidential historian or history professor like this guy. Wait, what did he say there at the 40-second mark?

Did he just say Revere's ride was on April 8th? This whole time we've had it wrong. Good thing CNN got this guy to set the record straight for all of use, not just Palin:

I guess what this all proves is that it doesn't matter if you're a professional athlete, former governor, or presidential historian, you don't always get the facts correct the first time around.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

The Other Shoe has Dropped, and It Appears to be Worn Out

What could be more fitting to write about in this, my 100th post, than the man who really got Americans (ok, only about seven of us) excited in the sport of cycling - Tom Boonen. Seriously, he used blow while at least some other riders in the pro peloton were turning to EPO, CERA, testosterone, Fluff, etc. When he finally takes off his lycra shorts for the last time and calls it quits, he most definitely has a spot in Hollywood. Truth be told Boonen is my favorite rider and I wish him all the best - go get 'em Tommeke, just lay off the white stuff.

Actually, the man I speak of is none other than Lance Edward Gunderson, better known to the world as Lance Armstrong. With all the allegations from former teammates, including Tyler Hamilton and Floyd Landis (George Hincapie is said to have given some pretty damning testimony to a grand jury about LA's, and his own, drug use), it is harder and harder for people that use reason to believe that he never used PEDs. In this article, author Renee Gough describes how her son - who is/was a huge LA fan - comes to grips with the Hamilton interview on 60 Minutes. Gough uses the metaphor of her son's favorite pair of shoes, a set of Livestrong Nikes:

I'm not sure what's worse, the fact that she uses as her subtitle, "Lance Armstrong's Livestrong apparel may be unraveling at the seams" - I fear that 'unraveling' is a bit of an understatement:

Or her son's response to the allegations made by Hamilton. In what Gough claims was an expertly reasoned response, her son's retort to the allegations was, "I’ve read Lance Armstrong’s book, the reason he did so good is because before he had cancer he didn’t realize how much he wanted it.” Sure, if will power is all it takes to get a person from a hospital bed and chemotherapy to winning the TdF, than I would have slept with so many girls as a young, 20-something roaming the streets of New York City. Bringing the story full circle, as well as tying (yeah, like laces, I'm in on it as well) together the shoe metaphor/unraveling pun, Gough says she is happy for the first time in her life to go shoe shopping to replace her son's Livestrong Nikes. This is where the story gets fishy; a woman who claims she hasn't been excited to go shoe shopping before? I'm not buying it.

While I understand her desire to replace the shoes, a physical reminder of LA, she falls in the same trap as just about every other person who discusses the issue of LA doping - that the Livestrong Foundation has cheated the same way LA (possibly) has. Hitting close to home, KC's soccer team - Sporting KC - has a new stadium that the writer of this article seems to believe links them directly to LA. I don't know if Livestrong has ever done anything illegal or if LA was involved, but what I do know is that no matter how horrible a person LA may turn out to be, the foundation he started is one that has an honorable cause. LA and Livestrong will always be linked, but transferring the negative aspects of the person onto the foundation is ridiculous.

No matter what happens with LA, Livestrong will most likely take a hit, but in the end people will realize when they pledge money to Livestrong or purchase Livestrong themed articles of clothing, they will be helping those with cancer (as well as hurting those children who work in Chinese sweatshops). In the end this all would be much easier to sort out and result in a much neater clean up if LA had just joined Boonen for an eight ball instead of (possibly) injecting himself with drugs. It's not as if he couldn't afford to waste a few hundred dollar bills to make straws.

Monday, June 6, 2011

I Got 99 Problems, But a Post Ain't One

I must say this weekend was not as relaxing as I first had imagined. The float trip got off to an ominous start as we waited for the bus to deliver us to the drop-off point:

There's always one.I for one was hoping anything that did happen during the weekend only happened by accident. What I do know for sure though is that jorts don't happen by accident. We'll discuss accidents a little later.

Besides our public service announcement, hats seemed to be all the "rave" prior to our departure:

Yours is indeed bigger than mine.Once we were on the river, a few of us engaged in the creation, or curation as BSNYC might say, of our very own wizard staffs. For those of you that read my last post, you will understand the reference to wizardry now. Anywho, I got the idea from one Stevil Kinevil over at AHTBM. It apparently is a new concept here in the Midwest. With that in mind, here is the first attempt, but not last, as we have now determined that float trips are not very conducive for engaging in wizard staff creation:

Good thought, poor execution.Is that a Bud Light Lime in there? No doubt.

The floating took much longer than I had anticipated and even included some bridge jumping. I must warn you though, the bridge wasn't really that impressive as it was a mere six inches off the water:

In all fairness it was a little more than six inches, but not much. The night was topped off by an expertly cooked meal of jerked chicken, corn-on-the-cob, and rice, all cooked by the executive chef at Pacha Mamas in Lawrence, KS. Here is his hand cutting the chicken that he cooked on an open fire:

It was delicious. Ok, enough of that, back to cycling.

On multiple occasions in the last few days I've seen different variations on the phrase, "If you aren't crashing/bleeding, you ain't trying hard enough." I'm going to take a stance here today and say that that saying is ridiculous. Clearly no one would argue that the opposite is true - "If you are crashing/bleeding you are trying hard enough." If that were the case, Christian Vande Velde would be the hardest working cyclist in the Pro Tour Peloton. Seriously though, I understand if the saying were, "If you aren't sweating, you aren't trying hard enough." I will completely agree with that. But while crashing is an inseparable part of cycling, it is not an indicator of effort. What is an indicator of effort is a sweet pair of jorts, and a love of all things safety.

Friday, June 3, 2011

It's the End of the World and We Blew It

As I wrote in my last post, I was scheduled to return on Wednesday, the first day of the month of June. Clearly that didn't happen. I almost felt bad about it, but then I remembered that I'm not the only person who has made a prediction that has failed to materialize recently.

Last weekend I went with the in-laws to Table Rock Lake for a couple days of relaxing, fishing, and water sports. First on the agenda (and first in the previous list) was relaxing; which was a complete success. I managed to catch an average of 1.4 naps per day - some in the hammock, some in a recliner. As for the second item of the to-do list:

It was this big!Despite the poor quality of that picture (of which I take no responsibility), you can see that the one fish I caught was about two inches long. This wouldn't be so bad if I wasn't fishing in a river stocked with trout that every other fisher was pulling fish out of almost by the minute.

Relaxing - check. Fishing - half check. Water sports - no check whatsoever. And what is that? A combination of dam management and rain conspired to flood the lake and cut power to the boat dock. Here you can see some of the flood's work as Murphy takes a swim in the neighbor's backyard:

I think it's time to mow, buddy.So, in retrospect the weekend should have been solely focused on relaxing and it would have been a huge success. Perhaps I could have gotten in over two naps per day. As it is, I enjoyed the weekend and the much needed break from the hustle and bustle of doing nothing. In order to get back into the daily grind, I am taking a float trip this weekend. It should again be a relaxing weekend (though I'm not sure I can squeeze in any naps while canoeing down the river, but I'll try) filled with good food (a friend who is a chef will be preparing dinner), wizardry, and decent (according to the reviews) beer.

I'll be back on Monday, unless once again my math is off, in which case just crack open a beer and wait for me.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

With the Conclusion Forgone, I'm Gone

With the lovely weather we've been having here in the Midwest over the last few days, my in-laws have decided it would be a good time to head down to the lake and spend a few days together. Besides the facts that the lake is flooded, the boat lift has no power, and the weather isn't supposed to be particularly nice this weekend;

Break out the hibachi and the flip flops.I will also have no access to the thread that keeps society from collapsing into all out anarchy - the internet. Due to this, I will be unable to watch the last three stages of the Giro as well as report on them. I will be back to posting next Wednesday, the 1st day of June, though without any mention of how the Giro ended because by then no one will care anymore about the second best grand tour. What I can do for you now is recap the past two stages and give my most educated guess at who will be wearing the maglia rosa on a shopping spree in downtown Milan on Sunday.

Tuesday's stage 16, a 'mountain time trial', provided the opportunity for climbers to chip away at AC's seemingly insurmountable lead. French mountain goat and AG2R rider John Gadret, already a stage winner in this year's Giro, seen here communicating telepathically with his bike and praying that his knees don't fall apart on the course:

Don't fail me now old bones!Was only able to muster a 16th place finish 1:27 back of the eventual stage winner and alien impersonator AC:

I won again!AC's other competitors, including Italians Vincenzo Nibali and Stefano Garzelli didn't fare much better:

Better luck next year.
At least the green looks good.Nibali stopped the clock 34 seconds adrift (technically he stopped the clock 5:26 before AC, as the last 15 riders were separated by three minute intervals and Nibali was two riders ahead of AC, but that is neither here nor somewhere other than Italy) and Garzelli was 12 seconds slower than that. As the race continues to unfold, it becomes more and more evident that the Giro erupted on Etna as AC stormed to the stage victory and put his mark on this, the 150th anniversary of Italy's unification. In celebration of that fact, Aqua & Sapone rider and current Italian National Champion, Giovanni Visconti, is wearing bib number 150, instead of wearing bib number 151 which the team leader would normally wear (team leaders wear bibs ending in 1, the first one or two digits differentiate between teams). Despite his climbing ability, he posed no threat in stage 16 and finished over 2 minutes off the pace:

Classic Italian.Of course, he could have been saving his energy for today's stage in hopes of joining the day's break and pulling off the stage victory. Actually, after watching the stage I have a feeling that is exactly what he did. Unfortunately, while he did cross the line first today, he didn't win the stage. It is true that rubbing is racing, but shoving the guy in front of you out of the way isn't considered rubbing by the UCI:

This is my spotlight!After race officials reviewed the tape, Visconti was relegated to third and the stage victory was awarded to Lampre's Diego Ulissi.

As promised, here is my pick to win this year's Giro d'Italia (drum roll please):

Michele Scarponi.

Call me crazy, but I just don't see CAS upholding the RFEC's decision on AC. I personally don't think he cheated (yes he broke the rules by having clenbuterol in his system, but with cheating there is an implied sense of deliberately performing/not performing an action in order to gain an upper hand. If his story of the tainted meat is true, than his ingestion of the drug was not intentional), but I find it hard to see how CAS can overlook the rules in the case of the sport's biggest star when there is so much talk about how cycling needs to clean itself up. We'll see, hopefully AC is cleared and goes on the win the TdF and pull off the double. As much as a little parody in cycling would be good, it would also be 'epic' to see a rider pull off the double in this day and age.

Of course if he does go on to win both races this year, I actually wouldn't have watched it because I'll be in Backwoods, USA this weekend with no connection to the world.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Doubling Up over the Weekend

Today's rest day at the Giro d'Italia was a welcome respite for everyone not named Alberto Contador or wearing an orange jersey. With the last week of the Giro presenting the riders with only more mountains to climb (save for the final time trial in Milan), it is unlikely that we'll see many other names or colored jerseys on the stage podiums from here on out.

On Saturday, Igor Anton of Euskatel-Euskadi was able to power away from Alberto (the first rider able to do that all race) and take the stage on top of the Zoncolan:

Igor was visibly excited about his win. I'm not sure what gearing he was using heading up this most ridiculous of mountains that maxes out at 22 or 23% on all three routes, but word on the street is that AC had a 34x32. It would seem that with a gear that low, professional riders would be able to ride up the side of a building.

Sunday brought a repeat of Saturday in that the team from the Basque Country was again victorious, this time with Mikel Nieve:

7 hours; what took you so long?Slumped over his handlebars at the stages finish, Nieve was clearly worn out after the 229 kilometer, seven and a half hour "epic." It would have taken him over eight hours, but anyone would ride fast if they were being chased by this guy:

The rapture will begin May 21st!  What, it didn't happen?  Shit. The big loser on the day was Italian rider Vincenzo Nibali who took a flyer and paid for it in the end. His compatriot, Michele Scarponi leap-frogged him in the GC. Heading into the final week AC has a solid lead of 4:20, and if he continues to ride anywhere near as well as he has been, this race was over after he first donned the maglia rosa.

Of course, the big news from the weekend was Tyler Hamilton's interview on 60 Minutes. Naturally Armstrong's camp categorically denied all of the accusations leveled at him in the interview by stating that Hamilton has no credibility. It even created a horrible website that is the equivalent of a school-aged child responding to his classmates poking fun at him by saying, "na ah!" What I noticed was how whenever Hamilton accused LA of doping, he always turned the gun on himself and expressed how it wasn't simply an interview to inform the world of what LA did, but also what Hamilton and a bunch of other riders in the peloton did.

This interview is huge news, as it is another of Lance's former teammates, and this time one of his former top domestiques, coming out and telling the world what they saw. How will this all unfold? I'm not sure. Will the truth ever be revealed? I hope so, if not for the sport of cycling, at least for the fans. Will Livestrong feel any negative repercussions? Perhaps, but only because the LA supporters who also support Livestrong can't seem to differentiate between fighting cancer and cheating. Will I ever stop asking questions of myself and answering them poorly? Yes, you can't count on that happening - now.

Friday, May 20, 2011

The Grossglockner is Etna; Etna is the Grossglockner; LA used PEDs?!

What do you do as a sprinter knowing the stage you are racing will be your last in this year's Giro (because the road tips up and it isn't worth the effort if there aren't any sprint stages left)? You tell your teammates to go to the front and destroy the field for you:

All aboard the pain train.If all goes your way you win, like Cavendish did for the second time this Giro:

Who said the English can't count?In his excitement, Cav decided to use his fingers to create a visual representation of the number of stages he has won. Either that or he has jumped on the hippie bandwagon and is asking for peace. I only say that because his visual sign this year is a bit different from last year's.

In what seemed to be a replay of stage 9's climb of Etna (except today's stage was in Austria, was rainy, and was an entirely different stage), AC and the little Venezuelan (no not Hugo Chávez) José Rujano broke from the pack on the last climb. Unlike stage 9, Rujano won the stage - though it would probably be fairer to say that he was gifted it by AC:

Why do I say that it was a gift? For one, Rujano looked back at AC three times in the last 50 meters to see if he was going to pass him. For another, look at how short this guy is, there's no way he could have held off AC if he had wanted to accelerate and take the stage:

I'm not entirely sure, but I think that step is about three feet tall.Fun fact - Rujano has won more races as a jockey than a bike rider.

The next question one would ask is why would AC let him win? Rujano has been the only person who can stay with AC on the climbs and is almost six minutes back in the GC so he posses no threat. The other riders who everyone thought could pose a threat? Look at these gaps (and add that to the 50+ seconds he took on Etna) and you'll see that as of right now they pose about as much threat as Donald Trump does to President Obama's chances of being reelected in 2014:

After watching it's hard to believe the gaps were that little.With today's effort AC is now leading in the GC, mountains classification, and points competition. You'd think the way AC has been riding despite his case being decided by CAS would be the big news in the world of cycling, but it's not.

In a 60 Minutes interview, disgraced Olympic Champion and former teammate of Lance Armstrong, Tyler Hamilton admitted he took performance enhancing drugs as well as saying the he saw LA use EPO. The response from LA's camp is the same one we heard when Landis made his claims of LA's drug use; "he has no credibility." So how did team LA respond to the news that his most trusted lieutenant and friend, George Hincapie, testified that he used EPO and testosterone with LA while with the Postal Service Team? They insinuated that since the reports are anonymous they are false - I guess that means that Hincapie still has some credibility. Another former USPS rider, though he left the team before LA arrived, has come forward and stated that he was offered PEDs while a team rider. The next, and probably last, big piece of the puzzle is Levi Leipheimer, another of LA's "inner circle" crew.

So what do you do when you are the greatest TdF rider in the history of the sport and it looks like this just may be your last race? You send your team to the front and hope you can pull out a victory.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The Bikes of Babel

In my travels throughout Europe, it never surprised me when a Frenchman spoke fluent Spanish. Or when a Danish woman was able to converse in perfect German. Heck, it was no big deal at all when a Scottish guy spoke with an accent I could understand. It was a big deal when a German could understand a Swiss guy. Just kidding, that never happened - no one understands Swiss except the Swiss. With all those experiences of multilingual Europeans, I don't know why I was so shocked when after his sprint victory in stage 10, Mark Cavendish gave an interview in Italian. Needless to say, I wasn't at all surprised that he won the stage:

Were you expecting someone else?I guess perhaps I have some preconceived notions about native English speakers and their knowledge of foreign languages. Yup, that's it.

Anyway, besides the surprise of a Manxman speaking Italian, stage 10 treated us to a rare sight, AC eating:

Have the team's nutritionists looked at that?Rumor has it that AC has had horrible nightmares since his positive test at last year's TdF and has refused to eat anything at all. But as the old saying goes (something like this) - champions always get back up and fight through the difficulties. Of course champions don't wear pink, that's for girls. This is what men do:

Consider me Miles Davis!In case you're having trouble understanding what is taking place in this here picture, a rider from Quickstep has crashed. The four riders on the left of the road have quickly pulled over to point and laugh, as well as mark the tree as their territory.

Stage 11 was a nondescript stage with many (relatively) smaller climbs for the riders to face. In the end, former mountain biker and Frenchman (I have no idea how good his Spanish is) John Gadret timed a perfect attack on the uphill finish to take the stage victory:

Nice tat.He dedicated his victory to Wouter Weylandt, whose funeral was held today in Ghent, Belgium. The race organizers were apparently so moved by Gadret's dedication, they wanted to give him something memorable:

So they gave him a yellow jersey. In a race that awards no fewer than eleven awards, not a single one is a yellow jersey. I wonder if the race organizers perhaps got the Giro confused with another European race that takes place in July.

For those of you that only speak English (and live in America, where it is acceptable to only speak English), there is another race underway this week - the Amgen Tour of California. I have been watching it (and if you haven't than you missed senior citizen Chris Horner destroy the field today up Sierra Road), but I decided not to write about it this year. This is mainly due to time constraints and my desire to just enjoy the race as it unfolds on my TV screen. I did find out a friend has VIP passes to the finish of tomorrow's stage in Paso Robles, though I'm not sure exactly what that gets him. If he gets a chance to meet any of the riders that would be pretty cool. Hopefully he meets one from the US, Canada, UK, or Australia so he doesn't have to worry about speaking a foreign language with any of them.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Struggling to Catch Up

Due to what seemed to be a technical issue with Blogger, I was unable to post last Friday; with that in mind today's post will cover the last four Giro stages save for Saturday's stage 8. I was unable to watch that stage on account of the fact that I was flying a cross-country trip. For those of you wondering, cross country only means that the flight has three legs and the legs are longer than 25 miles. So that took up my Saturday morning. In other news of flying, I soloed last weekend so now I am able to fly by myself to train for my private pilot flying test I plan to take this summer. It was a little unnerving at first, realizing that there is no one else in the plane with you, but I've almost gotten used to it.

Back to cycling. In stages 6 and 7, Rabobank's maglia rosa wearer Pieter Weening (yes, once more!) somehow worked it out to have two Italian teams put in the work to catch each days' break:

Why are we doing this again?
Did we learn nothing from Farnese Vini?
As I stated earlier, I was unable to watch stage 8, but I'm sure Weening (it never fails to humor me) had Androni Giocattoli do all the work to close down any gap that may or may not have developed. Weening's (it's not as funny in the possessive) strategy obviously worked well as he kept the leader's jersey until the race headed to Sicily and Mount Etna during stage 9. But I'm getting ahead of myself. Stage 6 saw a second stage victory this year for Movistar's Francisco Ventoso as well as Campagnolo's electronic group.

Ale-Jet had some engine trouble.After the stage the media didn't seem to care about talking with the stage winner, but instead Italian sprinter Alessandro Petacchi. I understand that there are a lot of media outlets, but who would hire the guy on the right:

Excuse me, is my scarf straight?Seriously, did that guy just get off the douche tourist bus? Actually, after more thought he looks more like he could be a rider on LEOPARD-TREK.

Stage 7 was won by Omega Pharma-Lotto's Bart de Clercq after he broke away from the peloton up the final climb:

Don't ahve a cow, man!And while that is all well and good, the big news of the day was CSF-Colnago's Federico Canuti demonstrating some amazing descending skills ala Vincenzo Nibali:

Better luck next time Freddy.Unfortunately, unlike Nibali, Canuti attempted the "alternative" descending on a day that was dry.

Stage 8 happened, I think. I didn't watch it so I'm not so sure that it actually took place, but if it did, Weening (yes!) kept the maglia rosa for the race's visit to Sicily and Europe's most active volcano. Mount Etna was sure to shake things up, and that was easy to see on Weening's (ugh) face as he was clearly cracking:

Get a bigger bike.While the maglia rosa was suffering off the back, 2008 champion AC was destroying all but the smallest of riders up the mountain. After his initial break from the peloton, AC quickly caught and shed every rider up the road except Androni Giocattoli's José Rujano and some crazy Italian wearing a brightly colored kit and pink hat:

A very select group.The crazy Italian was soon dropped and it was only AC and Rujano up to the top. As expected, AC won and (warning: made up word ahead) imaginaringly shot the chef who gave him the tainted beef from last year's TdF. Here is the aftermath of the imaginary murder:

Feed me tainted beef, will ya.When the smoke had cleared, not from the volcanic eruption that was taking place but the absolute destruction AC caused in the peloton, AC had ridden into the maglia rosa and gained almost a minute on his closest rivals:

DamnToday saw the first rest day, which I know the riders need, but makes for a slow Monday for me. A day off also gives me time to reflect on the horrible commercials Sidi produces and are shown on Eurosport. Last year it was a shot of AC in all white tapping his shoes against his chest. This year's commercial involves Liquigas rider Ivan Basso chopping up and cooking his shoes, which he then serves to his teammate Vincenzo Nibali:

Eat up, bitch!That commercial is about as awesome as Blogger having technical difficulties or the sales has on its sunglasses:

What a great price, one for the price of one!I'm not one to pass up a sale this good.