Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Grasshopper #1: Old Caz

--This weekend I went out and rode dirt again near Occidental. It was the first Grasshopper of the year. Seemed like there were about as many people there as the last one I did, probably 100-150. Basically, it's a small gran fondo. You show up, pay $20, and they give you a map. Then, they blow the whistle and you're off. Levi (@levileipheimer), a regular to the series and a local, was there, too.

The ride started out with a decent climb, a long descent, and then me trying to hang on in the paceline with a bunch of guys on cross bikes, while riding a full suspension MTB ("two banger" as a dirt guy called it). (Okay, it was the Santa Cruz Nomad with Edge wheels that Henry let me borrow. So yes, I was handicapped, but mostly by my fitness, not the 26 pounds of bliss I was riding.) After that we hit some more climbing, more descending, climbing, a river, stopped to eat like four Clif bars, memory gets hazy on this part, more climbing, me riding alone, rednecks whizzing by in 4x4 trucks bought to cover up [or magnify??] insecurities, long flat stretch, finally caught someone--a girl, albeit with a bent rear wheel--and the last climb of death.

The ride clocked in at a little over 50 miles with about 4500 ft of climbing. I was completely wasted by the end.

Oliver had finished about 15 minutes ahead of me, Bob a little before Oliver, and Billy had taken a shortcut which I can't believe I missed. We rode down to the cars, got changed and headed to the only thing that carried me through the last 25 miles, Wild Flower Bread. It's a small bakery in Sebastopol with the best bread in the world. I gave them $40, they gave me a bag full of bread, and we were on our way.

I could barely pull the bike up to my apartment when I got home.

--Good news! I'll have the Joao Correia interview up soon. I received a few questions on the last post but if you have any others please leave them in the comments section. He'll be out here in the bay area soon so we're planning a PRO/BRO ride. Let me know if you're interested.

Also, Joao is just the first in a series of interviews I'll be doing. I've got a list of guys but could always use more. Any other PROs out there want to do an interview? Shoot me an email and I promise I'll tell everyone I begged you to do it. Oh and if you know any PROs and can make introductions, I'd appreciate that as well.

--For those of you living under a rock (or only reading VeloNews), Sports Illustrated just rocked the completely desensitized world of cyclo-fan-dom with this article. I'm not even going to paraphrase. Just read the first paragraph, you'll be hooked.

Needless to say Lance wasn't too thrilled about it. When questioned, Lance asked the journalist if he was stupid. He then broke the suspense by apologizing and affirming the man was not, in fact, stupid.

Elsewhere Bill Stapleton and Brunyeel were both asked about the drugs found Popovych's house (see first paragraph of SI article). Brunyeel had no comment. Stapleton, however, apparently knew something SI didn't because he responded with "But, it's not true." Whew!

--Looks like there's another clenbuterol positive for a rider who raced in Mexico. Colo was also busted for "clen" after racing in Mexico. The only weird thing is the test was in April 2010 and the team was just now notified. Hmm.

Either way, the message is clear, racing in Mexico is now the equivalent of smoking cigarettes to cover up the smell of pot...

--McQuaid continues to impress with his apt and graceful leadership of the UCI. Last week he told cyclofans that it was unlikely Contador (whose case is still undecided) would race the Tour de France. Well, once we got him talking he just won't stop!

"I don't want to speak about the affair before it is concluded. But naturally, the fact that the Clenbuterol was found overshadows last year's Tour de France. Whether he is guilty or not, Contador has damaged us very much."

He went on to say:

"This sport is bigger than Lance Armstrong, bigger than Floyd Landis or Alberto Contador."

Seems like just months ago he was defending Lance's $25k, I mean $100k, gift to the UCI. Now he's throwing him under the bus. Then, he mentions Landis. You'd think if his goal was to stop doping in cycling, and a guy came forward with details of doping in cycling, McQuaid would want to hear from him. That's if his goal really was to prevent doping. Yes, Landis lied about doping. Yes, he could be lying now. But I'd bet you 10 Livestrong bracelets some of what he says is true. Instead, Mcquaid is busy calling Landis a liar every chance he gets.

Well, McQuaid, although you tend to change your tune with every new Sports Illustrated article, I think we're starting to hear you loud and clear. What you're saying isn't that you're commmitted to preventing doping in cycling, it's that you're committed to preventing anyone from thinking you or the UCI has any fault in doping in cycling. Got it.

--Lastly, I'll leave you with this amazing commentary on the SI article, courtesy of La Gazzetta.

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