Looking back: The good, the bad and the pretty
With the lack of racing this week I’ve had to make do with news of race announcements, race cancellations, team announcements, doping allegations, very creative graphs and of course new electronic gadgets to lust over. So yeah, it was a full week for me.
First off we’d been hearing rumbling earlier this week that the UCI had Louisville, Kentucky on the short list for the cyclocross world championships for 2013. Louisville and particularly the U.S. Gran Prix of Cyclocross have a good reputation of promoting and running a high-level race. I attended the November USGP in New Jersey a couple of months ago. It seemed well run but I can’t be sure, we were all pretty drunk for most of that weekend. Tim Johnson Skyped me yesterday from Tabor, just prior to going to diner (and massage) to tell me how pumped he was about the race being awarded to Louisville. This will give the sport of cyclocross some legitimacy here in the States and hopefully a wake-up call to USA Cycling that they need to throw some dollars at this discipline. As a warm up the UCI also granted Louisville the Master’s Cyclocross World Championships in 2012. I’m planning on being there and probably mostly sober. I’m told that the Louisville Park and Recreation Department is planning on building a cyclocross park. How cool is that? I say take a hunk of property and make a BMX track, cross course and a velodrome. At least that’s what I’m going to do when I win the lottery and I’ll name it The Browne Eye Sporting Complex.
And speaking of rumblings, I’d been hearing for a while about the formation of a cycling team with Yahoo as the title sponsor. With ex-Rock Racing rider Haldane Morris directing, this northern California based team is an elite amateur squad. I was far too optimistic and hoped it was going to be a pro team. Morris wants to take the team to a professional level, unfortunately half of his squad is over 30 and two of those riders are over 40. Those older guys would need to be jettisoned like used water bottles in order to satisfy the UCI’s rule on the average rider age of a team. Also there’s the fact that Yahoo, the company, hasn’t had that great of a 2009. While I like the idea of an elite team being formed with a well known company as a title sponsor, I’m not so excited seeing that half the team are master racers. We need to develop young riders, not guys who are still living the 12k dream.
One race cancellation that hit me hard personally was the Paris Mountain time trial here in Greenville. Apparently there was a very strong chance of snow, ice and rain putting the race into the Jens Factor 5 zone. So for safety’s sake the time trial was postponed till March. I had been planning for weeks to make a run at my personal best up the hill. I had been doing interval training and marking off timing landmarks on the 2.2 mile road (at the halfway point where the road slightly levels off I had hoped to be at 5:50). Now I’ll be reduced to training indoors. However I have a great excuse to try out an indoor training video from Suffer Fest. They sent me a copy of Fight Club and I’ll let you know how that does, but I can guess it will be ugly.
Speaking of weather, as a very-recently-former Californian I am still wrapping my head around the fact that there is adverse weather conditions. And by adverse I mean the temperature drops below 60 degrees. But like a cockroach I have adapted and survived in the often inhospitable 40 degree temperatures that I’ve been reduced to riding in. But to make sure I’m not riding in too inhospitable weather conditions I consult my Jens Factor chart from the Cyclocosm site. Cyclocosm designed a graph that tells you what factor of climatic hell you are about to ride in and how you should dress. This chart is so important that I have created a spot on my training log to record what Jens Factor I rode in. As someone who has had his fair share of chemistry classes and is a well known bike dork, I’m mad at myself for not creating the Periodic Table of Professional Cycling that Cyclocosm also created. He has taken all the major, and not so major races, and broke them down into the periodic table with the three Grand Tours at the top going all the way down to races no longer on the race calendar such as the Tour de Georgia. Do yourself a favor and don’t waste your time printing them. Just go to his site, purchase the posters or a shirt and fly your bike dork flag proudly.
Not too shocking is that Riccardo Ricco’s girlfriend, recent mom and second place finisher in the Italian cyclocross national championships, Vania Rossi was popped for CERA. Ricco was all set to return to professional cycling on the Flaminia team, but I have to be thinking that the team is going to unleash the lawyers and get rid of Ricco before it’s too late. I can’t wait to hear some kind of public statement from either one of them. “She was doing what? I had no idea what those viles in the fridge were for. I assumed it was breast milk!” My career advice would be for Ricco to return to teaching Spin classes to cougars and not ride a bike professionally. Ever.
Finally the biggest hype of the week goes to Apple for their launch of the iPad. I won’t even go into the well publicized fact that they couldn’t have chosen a worse name for a product. Regardless, it won’t do flash, it isn’t a phone, has no USB or HDMI ports, no camera, no multi-tasking and yet I still want one. Damn you Apple hype machine!
LATE BREAKING NEWS:
Well I said it was going to happen and it did, Tom Zirbel’s “B” sample came back positive for DHEA. Tom says on his own blog, “There will probably be a hearing in a few months whereas I will proclaim my innocence. We all know the drill! How many times have we been through this with this sport? I even secured one of those lawyer fellas to help me through this. We are still attempting to figure out how this happened and I’m optimistic that we’ll have an answer in time for the hearing.” Unfortunately we do know the drill. I hope Tom can mount some kind of defense and explain how it happened, but he’s done.
Vania Rossi issued a public statement regarding her positive for CERA! “I’ve never taken banned substances and I especially haven’t done it now because I’m a mum and I’ve been breast feeding my baby boy since last July.” Apparently she’s going with the tried and not so true, ‘Just had a baby so no way would I take anything to harm my child’ defense. All I know is get an eye on that kid when he gets older. He’s going to kick ass!