Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Sick of Cycling

Or should I say all the doping talk in cycling. At first I wasn't too bothered by it, but now there's just too much dilly-dallying going on that's it's getting so ridiculous to the point where I don't even feel like defending the sport anymore.

If you're tested and you get caught, then you go bye-bye. No probation, no nothing, you're gone from the sport for however many years and those years are the same for whatever you test positive for. Positive for weed, 2 years. Positive for EPO, two years. Positive for cocaine, dos anos. Positive for tainted chinese herbal supplement, 2 FREAKIN' YEARS. If you get tested and you pass then keep on racing. None of this, just in case we're gonna save this sample so we can come back to it 10 years later and see what we can come up with.

Just like in police work, if you're a criminal, then you might get away with illegal activity for some period of time and you might evade detection, but eventually you will be caught, either by the police, or by some other jealous criminal who doesn't want you stepping in on their turf and the higher you're elevated the harder that fall will be.

I think what really blows my mind is how incredibly scientific everything is becoming as it relates to cycling. When you read these articles to find out if someone it guilty or not, it's never that simple. It's always how much is this value or that value and do those values match the values from the last samples we took where the values were suspicious. Then when you look at stuff from a scientific standpoint, if these number don't match, then it must not be true or you must be guilty. I hate hearing about lab values because racing doesn't take place in the lab. I mean why doesn't Cavendish ever test positive. He's been tested in the lab and it's been found that he shouldn't be as fast as he is, but he is, and he's never tested positive, and he wins. Contador is a rail, which is good for getting up mountains but how is he able to motor along the flats? I mean science would have me believe it's impossible for Contador to win a flat time trial because he's so small, but he has, and he hasn't tested positive for anything. I think until scientist get good enough to catch everyone no matter what they are taking, in any given format of cheating, don't come at me with science number telling me someone is cheating or has cheated when they aren't testing positive.

I think what really blows my mind is that I was watching football this weekend and very casually, as the starting line ups were being reviewed the commentator just states, "He won't be starting today because he's serving a 4 game suspension for taking a performance enhancing substance." No big presentation, no picture of the guys mug on the t.v., no attacking his character or manhood or calling him an a**hole or jerk on all the blogs, no interviewing all his teammates or snooping through his locker to find out what was going on. He'll miss a quarter of the season, and then he'll be right back on the field earning his paycheck just like everyone else. Why is that?

I have no tolerance for doping. In the end I feel like unless they get the DEA involved or some other international agency and start setting up big sting operations and start using undercover agents and wiretaps and night vision and confidential informants to catch all these people then it will continue. Until then I'll keep racing because I love it, and if some doper comes along and they happen to beat me because they are on the sauce and they don't get caught then I hope karma will take care of them.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Farmersville RR

I was fully prepared to head up to Lancaster, PA for a road race in the rain. But, when I arrived in the area I was pleasantly surprised that I wouldn't be needing any rain gear. The weather was wonderful. Unfortunately, I didn't pack a gas mask because the smell was horrible, unless you like the stench of cow dung.

I was also happy to see that the race was pretty full. When I pre-registered for it, there where only 35 people on the list, by the time it closed there was 60+.

The course was 8 laps on a 7 mile loop, which was not very selective. I was still afraid that a break would establish itself so I tried to stay at the front as much as possible. After about 4 laps it was clear that nothing was going to stay away. Both Tim's from Harley were doing a crap load of work in the race. I will honestly say that they pretty much made Farmersville a "race". I dunno what it is about the other PA teams, but with as many bodies as they had in the race I couldn't understand why their teams weren't more active.

During the race I made the mistake of not taking a feed and on the last lap I really started to cramp so I entered survival mode. I underestimated how hot it really was, and overestimated how much fuel I was really taking in. I made sure I did the last lap without getting out of the saddle because I figured if my legs were going to lock up I would rather it be in the sprint when I could hold a position than early in the lap when I could lose position. An NCVC guy took a solo flyer earlier in the lap and it looked like it was going to stick so basically we were all racing for second place since no one was really willing to chase him down. Coming up to the last km, I was buried on the inside and I figured if I could sneak up the inside I would be golden coming out of the final turn, which was some weird uphill, banked kind of turn. As I was moving up on the inside I saw two Kelly guys lined up on the outside going pretty fast into the last turn. I matched my speed to theirs so that as I came out of the turn I would line up perfectly behind their leadout, and it worked. As we hit the final straight there was one Kelly guy leading out the other Kelly guy leading out me. Wonderful! The second Kelly guy came off his teammates wheel and took off himself. I just hung his wheel because I knew I could out sprint him. About 250 to 300 meters out I took off. As soon as I came out of the saddle my legs did not want to cooperate. I just kept pedaling as best I could, fighting the urge to sit back down. It almost felt like I was literally riding a bucking horse. I just threw my weight from pedal to pedal as best I could. I got a pretty good jump but because it was so hard for me to accelerate, a guy from team Pelotoni? jumped to my wheel and was able to come around me in the last couple meters so I ended up in 3rd.

I was pretty happy with my placing. It just sucked because I know I could've gone faster had I not cramped and it was completely my fault for not fueling myself properly. So that's my lesson learned.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Calling All Mont. Co. Riders!

As Montgomery County residents know, Montgomery Co. is facing a record $779 million gap for fiscal year 2011, which begins July 1, 2010. County Executive Ike Leggett has had to make difficult choices in his proposed operating budget, including a recommended 13.5% or $14.5 million reduction to the budget for Montgomery Parks. Such a drastic cut is a real threat to the quality of services you have come to know and expect at parks and park property within the county limits. With these cuts, it will be harder to keep service at its current level, and within Montgomery Parks, other affects may include closing parks and facilities, postponing new parks and upgrades to current ones, shortened hours, higher use fees, and staff reductions in most categories and by staff reductions you are safe in assuming that that means the Park Police and the maintenance staff.

Beautiful, safe, accessible parks, and an outstanding school system are the two most popular reasons people and businesses give for locating in Montgomery County. We have enjoyed strong support from our political leaders in the past, and appreciate that they are faced with difficult decisions to balance the needs of our community.
Now what does this mean for us as a cycling community? Imagine trying to commute on the Capital Crescent Trail or on Beach Drive or Sligo Creek Parkway, and now imagine that because of budget cuts police officers have been laid off and now there aren’t enough units to adequately patrol these trail ways. Not only that, but because of cuts, they’ve laid off maintenance staff and now the trails and roads aren’t being properly maintained. How would this affect your feeling of safety? I know lots of people who park their vehicle in our parks to go for bike rides. Would they still feel safe doing that knowing that the parks aren’t able to be as frequently patrolled as before? The Capital Crescent Trail is already a handful for the patrol units that we have, so how would customer service improve by taking away those patrol units. This also affects groups like MORE who frequently host trail rides on park property. This affects rides like the Goon Ride that meets at Veirs Mill Park and stays on park property the entire ride. The 7am and 10am ride meets at East West Hwy. and Beach Dr., where several people park their vehicle on park property.

If you are a resident of this county, I respectfully ask that you write a letter to the County Council, thanking them for their past support of Montgomery Parks and encouraging them to continue their financial support at the highest possible level.
Petitions or other written material may be mailed or delivered to the Council's Office of Legislative Information Services, 5th Floor, Council Office Building, 100 Maryland Avenue, Rockville, Maryland 20850. All written material becomes a part of the public hearing record.

If you would prefer to call or send an email message to your Councilmember, following are phone numbers and email addresses:

• Phil Andrews, 240/777-7906,
• Roger Berliner, 240/777-7828,
• Marc Elrich, 240/777-7966,
• Valerie Ervin, 240/777-7960,
• Nancy Floreen, 240/777-7959,
• Mike Knapp, 240/777-7955,
• George Leventhal, 240/777-7811,
• Nancy Navarro, 240/777-7968,
• Duchy Trachtenberg, 240/777-7964,

Now that that’s done, time to get back to racing!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Chantilly and Carl Dolan

What a windy weekend of racing!

The short of it is, I pretty much struggled through Chantilly. Which I couldn't figure out why because my legs felt pretty good. On paper Chantilly should have been easy but the wind made it quite difficult. Early on in the race I tried to go in a break with Joe D. and that was a big mistake. I burned a few more matches than I wanted and of course that break didn't stick. I spent the rest of the race trying to recover for the inevitable field sprint. On the last lap I was too far back and didn't really have the energy left to try and sprint. Oh well.

Sunday was Dolan. I wasn't looking forward to doing this race after Chantilly because I figured if that was hard for me, then Carl Dolan would be killer. Actually Carl Dolan felt easier than Chantilly. But, I as well as my whole team, missed the break. Game over. Finished in the group on the field sprint.

I sit here now and play through all the shoulda, coulda, woulda's in my head and it sucks. Still waiting for that good result, that will come, I'm sure, when I least expect it. Until then I'll just keep working hard and hope lady luck doesn't take too long to come knocking on my door.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Grabbing the Bull by the horns!

First off, a big thank you goes out to Jared and the Haymarket crew for letting everyone in on this ride. Also thanks to the lady driving the sag wagon, I don't know her name.
This was an awesome ride and a welcomed change from doing the 7am and 10am ride. This ride was also more difficult than the 7 and 10am combined. No wonder those Haymarket guys are riding so strong if this is the course they've been training on.
I was actually pre-registered to head down to Smithfield for the HAMmerfest, but I really couldn't stomach the 3.5 hour commute plus I really didn't want to miss this ride again. I went into this Bull Run ride fully expecting to have my butt handed too me, but I actually hung in there pretty strong, that is until we got to the gravel.
Once we hit that very loose gravel section, I almost crapped my bibs. I've never ridden on anything like that before. I figured I'd just try and stay as smooth as possible but then I dropped my chain. I dunno if you've ever tried to re-clip into your pedals, going uphill, on extremely loose gravel, but it ain't fun. After watching about 5 to 6 people roll past me, I finally got clipped in to find out that my chain was stuck in 18 tooth cog. On regular pavement, this wouldn't have been a big deal, but on loose gravel there was too much torque to my back wheel, which just kept slipping and slipping as I pedaled uphill.
Eventually I was able to get going. As I rode along the gravel, I passed Fuentes who had flatted, which sucks because I know he was up in the front, then Nieters, who had flatted, then Sean Barrie, who I think flatted as well. After that I was riding alone...for what seemed like forever. The difficulty of every gravely climb was only magnified by the fact that I thought I was lost. I kept stopping just to make sure that I was really seeing tire marks on the gravel trail.
Eventually I made it off of the gravel but ended up at a "T" intersection. Fortunately there was a lady standing there who had to told me she'd seen cyclist go to the left. So off to the left I went where I was eventually joined by another Haymarket rider, Chris and we ended up riding in to the finish together.
All in all, this was a super exciting, tough ride that I definitely look forward to doing again, and again.