Monday, March 23, 2015
Monday, March 16, 2015
Thursday, March 12, 2015
Thursday, March 5, 2015
Friday, February 27, 2015
Astana: about to be sacked. http://velonews.competitor.com/2015/02/news/uci-requests-withdrawal-astana-pro-team-license_361773
It's just sad, really.
Sadder, though, is the hard truth about the effects of that kind of shit in a sport like cycling which, predicated on drafting and teamwork, can be spoiled by one bad apple.
This, from the diary of Ben King at the tour last year:
"Stage 18: 145 km
After yesterday's breakaway attempt I'm determined. I follow six moves in a row, twice believing we've established the gap. Then the road tilts uphill, and riders swarm around me like I'm going backwards. It feels like Astana brought in five fresh riders. The speed they hold for the first sixty km blows my mind. The first of two climbs on the menu is the legendary 17 km Touramalet. I pick my way into good position, find my rhythm and feel good for ten km until there are forty guys left. All of the sudden I'm bad. Really bad. I don't even notice the thousands of fans screaming in my face. I back off, collect myself and continue at my own pace. At the top a group passes and I latch on. We bomb the downhill, and collect a big group of riders. Ahead, atop the Hautacam, the final 14 km climb, Nibali cements his overall victory.
At night, I'm too tired to sleep."
Those despicable fuckers.
People who don't understand cycling can't grasp how simply throwing Astana out, results and all, doesn't actually fix the problem. When someone dopes - even just one person or team - the entire race is altered, and you can never go back to make it right. There is no instant replay, no red flag the coach can throw to say "hey ref, you got that one wrong." The call stands and Ben's big break didn't get away. It's a difficult concept to translate into the immediate-gratification sense of fair sport that most modern American fans use when they, say, watch a replay on the jumbotron. The ship is immediately and permanently overturned, but it's subtle at first, until suddenly you notice that good guys with huge talent like Ben aren't household names.
It's maddening, enough to make you do some crazy shit if you ever, say, saw Vinokourav in the airport, or had a chance to hit him with your car. And that's just me as a fan. For Ben - and all the guys like Ben - the impact is so much greater. I wonder how guys that are racing clean can even stand to train, knowing what they are up against.
And still, there he is. Smiling, giving interviews, riding as hard as he can. Outside of his God-given talents and lactate threshold, maybe it's the ability to just put adversity in its place and pin it anyway that makes a legit pro a pro.
Thank you, Ben.
I hope you can someday find a level playing field on your way to the top.
Up, up, up.
Wednesday, February 25, 2015
Lately, I've actually been doing that on short rides too. Just folding after about 45 minutes or so, borrowing food, and limping it in. Could be the annual spring mileage increase. These bonks, like the rest of the bumps in the road of life, they tend to come in threes I've been told. So hopefully I'm turning the corner.
Taking stock, as one tends to do at a milestone such as this, I'm pretty happy with the way this has all played out. Me eating your food and demanding that you push the forces of the invading Persians into the "hot gates" and you, there, sort of wondering what I mean by "it's rolly, but trending downhill."
But that's enough celebration, and in the spirit of getting back to normal, let's night ride. Tonight at Timberwood, rolling by 9 PM. Here's my note to the in-crowd, but please, if this is the sort of thing you'd like to partake in, know that you are a twisted individual - but you are not alone - and shoot me an email to be added to the list. Or just show up and stake your claim.
"Just bizarre conditions to try to plan a night ride. Bunch of snow on the ground right now, though melting fast, and sort of maybe re-freezing by 9 pm ish? I guess it's possible that enough will melt today to make riding possible, but then the re-freeze will make for a decent surface. Could go wrong either way - too hot or too cold - and the drag here is that with more snow on the way tonight, this is about as good as it's going to get.