Women’s cycling week… err, weak?

This year has been huge for the advancement of women’s cycling. But it underscores the fact that women’s cycling has been neglected. The very fact that it still needs “advancement” is in and of itself indicative of the problem. That is why I have really mixed feelings about cyclingnews.com declaring “Women’s Cycling Week.Keep reading →

An interview with Mandy Marquardt

Mandy_Marquardt_2016_Team_Novo_Nordisk_1
Photo © Team Norvo Nordisk. Used with permission.

It is, without question, extremely challenging to reach elite levels in any sport. Cycling has its own unique challenges. Couple that with the demands of managing a life long disease like type 1 diabetes and challenging can quickly turn into “daunting” or even “prohibitive.”

However, US track sprinter Mandy Marquardt is a fantastic demonstration that type 1 diabetes is not something to keep people from achieving their goals. Along with the help of Team Novo Nordisk, Mandy is spreading the word that diabetes does not have to be a limiting factor in our lives. We caught up with Mandy via email to talk to her about her experiences as a diabetic athlete. Keep reading →

Nobel Peace Prize for cycling?

Can you win the Nobel Peace Prize for cycling? Possibly. If you are the Afghan Women’s National Cycling Team. This tough group of women face challenges daily that will make your next urban traffic dodging exercise seem trivial.

They are already in the running for the National Geographic Adventurers of the Year award. But their story has reached new levels of exposure with the help of documentary film makers and the movie “Afghan Cycles.” But the nod in the form of a nomination for the Nobel Peach Prize has really garnered headlines. Keep reading →

My most well researched post to date

Lance who?

Will the real Greg LeMond Please Stand Up

Ahhh social media. Not only do you get provocative messages – you get provocative discussions about who the provocative messages actually came from.

Adding to the “intrigue” is the fact that the message was posted to the Greg LeMond timeline at least 13 separate times – the identical post – at the time of this writing. Speculation was already rampant that the posts didn’t in fact come from Greg himself.

Maybe, maybe not. But here’s the full text of the post in quesiton:

http://velonews.competitor.com/2012/10/news/kimmage-felt-rage-deflation-during-mcquaids-armstrong-press-conference_262474
Can anyone help me out? I know this sounds kind of lame but I am not well versed in social marketing. I would like to

send a message to everyone that really loves cycling. I do not use twitter and do not have an organized way of getting some of my own “rage” out. I want to tell the world of cycling to please join me in telling Pat McQuaid to f##k off and resign. I have never seen such an abuse of power in cycling’s history- resign Pat if you love cycling. Resign even if you hate the sport.
Pat McQuaid, you know dam well what has been going on in cycling, and if you want to deny it, then even more reasons why those who love cycling need to demand that you resign.
I have a file with what I believe is well documented proof that will exonerate Paul.
Pat in my opinion you and Hein are the corrupt part of the sport. I do not want to include everyone at the UCI because I believe that there are many, maybe most that work at the UCI that are dedicated to cycling, they do it out of the love of the sport, but you and your buddy Hein have destroyed the sport.
Pat, I thought you loved cycling? At one time you did and if you did love cycling please dig deep inside and remember that part of your life- allow cycling to grow and flourish- please! It is time to walk away. Walk away if you love cycling.
As a reminder I just want to point out that you recently you accused me of being the cause of USADA’s investigation against Lance Armstrong. Why would you be inclined to go straight to me as the “cause”? Why shoot the messenger every time?
Every time you do this I get more and more entrenched. I was in your country over the last two weeks and I asked someone that knows you if you were someone that could be rehabilitated. His answer was very quick and it was not good for you. No was the answer, no, no , no!
The problem for sport is not drugs but corruption. You are the epitome of the word corruption.
You can read all about Webster’s definition of corruption. If you want I can re-post my attorney’s response to your letter where you threaten to sue me for calling the UCI corrupt. FYI I want to officially reiterate to you and Hien that in my opinion the two of your represent the essence of corruption.
I would encourage anyone that loves cycling to donate and support Paul in his fight against the Pat and Hein and the UCI. Skip lunch and donate the amount that you would have spent towards that Sunday buffet towards changing the sport of cycling.
I donated money for Paul’s defense, and I am willing to donate a lot more, but I would like to use it to lobby for dramatic change in cycling. The sport does not need Pat McQuaid or Hein Verbruggen- if this sport is going to change it is now. Not next year, not down the road, now! Now or never!
People that really care about cycling have the power to change cycling- change it now by voicing your thought and donating money towards Paul Kimmage’s defense, ( Paul, I want to encourage you to not spend the money that has been donated to your defense fund on defending yourself in Switzerland. In my case, a USA citizen, I could care less if I lost the UCI’s bogus lawsuit. Use the money to lobby for real change).
If people really want to clean the sport of cycling up all you have to do is put your money where your mouth is.
Don’t buy a USA Cycling license. Give up racing for a year, just long enough to put the UCI and USA cycling out of business. We can then start from scratch and let the real lovers in cycling direct where and how the sport of cycling will go.
Please make a difference.

I’ll let you be the judge.

 

I’ve got an idea – name the hole that now exists

Ugh. I know. I probably shouldn’t be writing about Lance Armstrong now. Enough is enough. What I was really thinking about is all those folks that are now going to have to go over the record books with erasers, Wite-Out® and heavy black markers obliterating all occurrences of the name Lance Armstrong from the official record of winners. I think the ancient egyptians were good at erasing fallen pharos from the record too, so maybe we can take some cues from them.

But in our digital age, getting rid of records is a little trickier because any joker with a keyboard (say, like me) can write an article. And those articles will have undoubtedly used the name Lance, Armstrong or, if you’re not into that whole brevity thing, Lance Armstrong. But it becomes really awkward to just schwack his name from all the records. I mean, sentences wouldn’t even make sense.

For example: “…the federal investigation into seven time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong has been closed with no charges filed…” just doesn’t work with his name redacted. “…the federal investigation into seven time Tour de France winner has been closed with no charges filed…”  See – that just doesn’t work, because, well, there now is no one that has ever won 7 Tour de France victories.

Or how about this: “Despite the evidence, Lance Armstrong continues to maintain that he never used performance enhancing drugs.” Take out his name and “Despite the evidence, continues to maintain that he never used performance enhancing drugs” just sounds like a court transcript where the court reporter got lazy.

So it occurred to me that we need some sort of a place holder we can use to replace his name, and fill the gramatical hole created by redacting his name from the record. Something to fill the gap – fill the space left by the absence of Armstrong’s name. Something to fill the hole left behind by Armstrong – the Armstrong hole. Hmmm… Something to fill the Armstrong hole.

Oh! The A-Hole!  That’s perfect!

So now, wherever we would have said “Seven time Tour de France Winner” or “Lance Armstrong” or “Lance” or “Armstrong,” we simply substitute “The A-Hole” and it all works:

“…the federal investigation into seven time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong has been closed with no charges filed…
becomes…
“…the federal investigation into The A-Hole has been closed with no charges filed…

Likewise, “Despite the evidence, Lance Armstrong continues to maintain that he never used performance enhancing drugs.”
becomes…
“Despite the evidence, The A-Hole continues to maintain that he never used performance enhancing drugs.”

Nice thing is, this can become a handy twitter hash-tag too! In fact, I highly encourage anyone posting any tweet about The A-Hole to also include #theahole in the tweet, so that we can all easily find it without needing to type out the guys actual name.

Just a modest proposal.

Now every cycling fan is trying to be a lawyer

I’m not a lawyer, nor do I play on one TV. But I nonetheless found myself spending a whole lot of time yesterday reading over legal documents. It would be cool if I were trying to gain understanding into my legal liabilities if I lead a ride and someone gets hurt. Or perhaps finding ways my auto insurance is legally required to cover myself and/or bicycle in the case of an accident in the saddle. Or how about the technicalities of home owners or renters insurance and a stolen bike.

Nope – as you probably guessed, I was all wrapped up in the USADA Reasoned Decision in the Lance Armstrong case. Across the internet, everyone seems to be writing that as “Reasoned Decision” – in quotation marks – as if it is a sarcastic remark.  Turns out that a reasoned decision is actually a specific type of document that the USADA was required to release. From the publication itself:
Keep reading →

I’m glad Lance isn’t fighting

I’m quite frankly sick to death of hearing about Lance and his apparently inexhaustible ability to be targeted by, and just missed by, doping investigations. More importantly, I’m tired of it being the only story the main stream american media seems able to cover related to cycling.  Well, that and a cyclist killing a pedestrian. For americans this was an amazing year in bike racing, but you barely heard anything about in on the talking picture box. Two major pro level stage races in the United States. An American team battling it out in the olympics. American cyclist Chris Horner apparently inheriting the reigns of Cycling Media Ambassador for the american Audiences. These are exciting times for those of us in the states that are paying attention. For the rest of the population, apparently cycling is only about allegations of cheating from over a decade ago.

With all of this hoopla, you think that the Armstrong events were absolutely critical to the sport of cycling. But what impact with the USADA / Lance debacle actually have?  Well, only one of two.

Scenario One: The (still) immortal Lance

There will be continued bickering, lawyering-up and public statementifications (read that carefully) until ultimately, some obscure court that no one has ever heard of will completely side-step the doping allegations, In this scenario, the Court of Arbitration for Sport will decide that the USADA has no authority to strip medals and wins. If this happens, historians will need to rewrite the name “Armstrong, L. United States” across the white out they just recently placed across his name.

Scenarion Two: Lance only had 9 lives (and already used up 8)

Alternatively, the ruling may stand. Lance may be stripped of his wins for all posterity. The sport will be cleansed of the evil dopers – oui? No. In fact, almost all of the 2nd place finishers that would be promoted to first if Armstrong is stripped of his titles are themselves accused and/or convicted dopers. That’s progress, right?

Lance’s characterization of these allegations as a “witch hunt” may be true. However, unlike the madness in Salem of oh-so-many years ago, this time around thar be real witches in the woods.

is Cavendish really that bad?

It happened today.  I’ve felt it coming for some time – even thought about why it may be happening.  But there I sat on the edge of my couch.  I’d carefully planned my lunch break (I was working from home) to coincide with the mid-day Versus presentation of the end of Stage 5 of the Tour de France.  It was another flat stage – so all down to the sprinters.  The last few kilometers showed the normal dominance of the HTC Columbia lead out train (more on that choo-choo later)  But wait – Garmin snuck in there.  Things were getting interesting.  It was coming down to the line…  could go any way…

That is when it happend.  That is when I realized that I was not cheering on Tyler Farrar, hoping he could overcome his fractured wrist and take the win.  I wasn’t hoping for Thor Hushovd to win (as he should, if for no other reason than his name is Thor)  What was I hoping to see?  I wanted to see anything but Mark Cavendish riding across the line with his arms raised.  For a large number of reasons, I found myself rooting against someone rather than rooting for someone.

How the hell did that happen?

My wife thinks it is because he always wins.  That may be true.  I’ve definitely got an “always cheer for the underdog” type of mentality.  It is boring to look at the elevation profile for a stage and know “Yup – that’ll be Cav fumbling with his green sunglasses again…” (by the way – can anyone find video of that online?)

Is it because I’m completely sick of hearing the term “Lead Out Train”?  Yea – that might just be it.  Seriously need to call it something different.  It is almost as infuriating as the “Manx Missle” comments.  Makes me want to form my fingers into a gun and shoot them all in the head.

Mostly, I have to be honest and say it is unfair of me.  Sure, the guy is cocky, but all those stage wins gives a person at least some justification for being cocky.  I tried to be really mad at him for the Tour de Suise crash – but I’m still not sure I objectively think he was actually in the wrong there.  From now on maybe I’ll just salute him on every win the way he saluted folks

Rough start to TdF for riders – and me

This has been a tough start to the Tour for me. First off I spend the first three days without internet access and spotty-at-best cell coverage.  I mean – how in the hell am I supposed to properly enjoy and communicate about the tour without twitter??  Imagine my horror as I look on suffering alone, in isolation, as my pick for the overall win Andy Schleck cradled his arm, looking as if we wouldn’t be able to get back on the bike.  Or waiting on the edge of my seat for a smallest nugget of information out of Phil Liggett regarding the state of Tyler Farrar.  This tour is already started with precious few sprinters to challenge Mark Cavendish.

Keep reading →