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Letters to Cyclingnews — May 22, 2001

Here's your chance to get more involved with Cyclingnews. Comments and criticism on current stories, races, coverage and anything cycling related are welcomed, even pictures if you wish. Letters should be brief (less than 300 words), with the sender clearly identified. They may be edited for space and clarity. We will normally include your name and place of residence, but not your email address unless you specify in the message.

Please email your correspondence to letters@cyclingnews.com.

Recent letters

Geoff Frost's praise of Genevieve Jeanson produced a small flood of agreement from all quarters. If she continues to display the level of ability she's manifested so far, it does look like women's cycling may have another 'great' on its hands.

Also this week, letters on Scott Sunderland, shaving your legs, fixies, those Tour selections, Trek's possible new bike and a plea for help finding Euskaltel kit.

John Stevenson
Letters editor

Genevieve Jeanson
Scott Sunderland & Genevieve Jeanson
Shaving your legs
Tour selections
Fixie tech
Trek's new secret weapon?
Looking for Euskaltel team jersey/pro kit

Genevieve Jeanson #1

An interesting time perspective is that she won Stage 2 to Mogollon in 3:05:59. The Men's Cat 3 winner covered the same distance in 3:12:00. 120 riders in the Cat 3 field and it was fast enough 30-40 riders were dropped before the Cat 1 climb at the end. Myself included. Genevieve passed me with 1 Saturn on her wheel at probably the 50 mile mark. What's all that mean?

She was riding off the front of her group solo and put 6 minutes on the entire group of Cat 3 men who were working together.

Quite impressive to say the least.

Bret Sehorn
Wichita, KS
Tuesday, May 15

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Genevieve Jeanson #2

Relative to the Jeanson letter...What a surprise it was to be warming up for a TT in McMinnville TN this past Saturday afternoon on a trainer next to a sylph-like figure on her trainer doing the same thing when, to my utter and delightful surprise, I discovered who my partner in anticipation of suffering was: None other than Genevieve Jeanson. When a friend of mine and I requested a picture of each of us with her, she, though in rapt focus on her warm-up and soon-to-be TT, graciously stopped and let us take several photos with her fully dressed in that beatific smile of hers (remember Paul Newman's as Luke in "Cool Hand Luke"? Something like that, like she knows something the rest of us don't). Then she summarily ventured out to literally obliterate the field in a time that would have placed her in the top 10 of the pro 1-2 s!!

What she was doing in McMinnville TN in mid-May I have no idea. Perhaps as a training stop on her way back to Canada from Arizona? At least that was the implication from her coach, a gregarious sort himself.

You never know who is going to show up in your backyard.

One thing I do know...I'm a Genevieve Jeanson fan and I have on proud display in my office a photo of her and me for bragging purposes and for posterity. If she can stay motivated and relatively injury-free, the sky is truly the only limit.

Turner Howard
Tennessee Masters 45+ cyclist
Tuesday, May 15

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Genevieve Jeanson #3

I'd say that Jeannie Longo can now retire in peace, knowing that there's someone who may fill her shoes.

Phil Simpson
USA
Tuesday, May 15

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Genevieve Jeanson #4

Great letter on a great rider. My club, Racers of the Adirondack Region (ROAR) will have the honor of hosting Genevieve and her Rona team in their warm up to the Montreal World Cup when they compete in the Cloudsplitter Classic -- a three-day stage race held in New York State's Olympic Region (Lake Placid, Saranac Lake and environs)from May 26-28.

After seeing Jeanson lap a Pro, I, II field twice in a criterium in Burlington, Vermont at the age of 16, it was apparent she was going somewhere fast. Now we see where. Right to the top.

Joe Moore, President, Team ROAR
USA
Tuesday, May 15

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Genevieve Jeanson #5

Well said, Geoff -- ditto on all counts. Our first glimpse of her talent here in the States came two years back, when she romped up the savagely steep Mt. Washington TT climb in New Hampshire, crushing the existing junior men's record in the process. Even as a 17 year-old, it was clear that she was a once-in-a-generation talent.

What is really mind-boggling is that her hunger and drive appear to match -- or even exceed -- her exceptional natural class. It's staggering to speculate on how good this teenager might be when all is said and done.

Richard Burkholder
USA
Wednesday, May 16

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Genevieve Jeanson #6

Last year, I went to a race which was a time trial in Granby, Quebec. 18, 5 km, flat, but pretty windy. Every racer started 2 minutes in intervals. There was a guy before me. But in front of him, there she was. Geneviève Jeanson, in Kelme uniform... I don't remember her time, all I remember is that, of course, I never caught her, she went a little over 45 km/h and that put her in only 4th place among all the field which included the top guys in the Province of Quebec. Everyone was astonished at that kind of performance. Her legs are so tiny. It's incredible that she can push so hard with her legs. The comparison to the Cannibal, Mr. Eddy Merckx, is, so far, on the money.

Pierre Beaudoin
Brossard, Québec, Canada
Saturday, May 19

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Genevieve Jeanson #7

I agree - it is rare to see the type of aggressive riding she is displaying in an era when everything is so calculated and choreographed. We'll see if she can keep it up!

Kip Smith
USA
Wednesday, May 16

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Scott Sunderland & Genevieve Jeanson

First on Scott Sunderland: As a fan, I've been keeping an eye out for interesting and consistent riders this year--and I must say that I am very impressed with Scott Sunderland's results. Given what I've read in interviews, in his diary, and in the racing results in what I would see as an 'underdog' team, he seems to be one of the more interesting pro riders around these days. Perhaps I have just been disappointed with the Tour focus of Ullrich's, maybe I am bored with the other pros. Good on ya, Scott! It shows that people can recover well with proper rehabilitation and drive.

Now, Genevieve: Astounding results recently. I have just started following women's cycling and it seems that she isn't racing a lot of the World Cup races this year--or am I wrong? I assume Rona would be focussing mostly on North American races.

Is she just so much better, in terms of individual comparisons, then the rest of the female cyclists?

Good luck to her in the future. She should be a reason for English Canada to respect Quebec a bit more!

Peter Benda (Proud to be a Canadian living in Australia)
Collingwood, Victoria, Australia
Friday, May 18

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Shaving your legs #1

Rob Murphy , you have my sympathies. I too shaved in secret , only to find that my wife cut off access to my other favourite hobby as a result.

Andrew Torrance
UK
Tuesday, May 15

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Shaving your legs #2

Unless you have your own masseur/use waiting to pamper you after the race shaving is not worth the effort. It's just fashion.

Neil K.
UK
Tuesday, May 15

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Shaving your legs #3

I agreed somewhat with Jon's article, although my perception about shaved legs is simply one of vanity - there are no advantages, no road-rash preventatives, just image. Still, every Spring the hair comes off. As for the thigh rub, there are several options:
  1. get thinner thighs
  2. don't shave all the way up to your crotch (it looks weird, but you and your significant other are the only ones to see that far up anyway, I suspect). I leave a small zone of unshaved hair to prevent the chafing
  3. Shave every day, or even twice a day. Yeah, right...
  4. Waxing - it might get rid of the stubble for longer periods. I have found the new triple-blade razors are great (Gillette Mach 3).

As for girls digging it - not my girlfriend. She makes me wear long pj bottoms to bed now, because of the slight stubble. But the price is worth it. :) Oh, and Jon forgot one other reason - after the first shave or two of the season, while the skin is still sensitised, put on a pair of good slacks - the feeling is close to orgasmic! The first time I shaved, I suddenly thought "Now I know why women shave their legs".

Mark Rishniw
USA
Thursday, May 17

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Shaving your legs #4

Jon, nice story. I used to shave, but don't anymore. My girlfriend decided that she liked my legs better with hair. I do have a recommendation for you, however. Ditch that Lady Bic razor and throw down for the Silk Effects. It rocks!!! I used one for two seasons and NEVER once cut myself with it. (well, shaved off a couple of scabs, but that doesn't really count) Now here's a surprise, my girlfriend liked it so much that she stole mine. I'm telling you, a man's razor is never safe. Even if it's the one he uses to shave his legs.

Scott Lynch
USA
Thursday, May 17

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Shaving your legs #5

Excellent dissertation on the real, hidden reason we shave the legs. Now that my racing days are dwindling down to a few choice events a year, my choice to shave is primarily a contract with myself. My rationale: If I shave, I must train and ride to be worthy of shaving. Why shave just to be a poser? Sure, the same old reasons circulate amongst the cycling crowd about less resistance, road rash and cooler. But deep down we know it's just so cool to ride within the pack during a ride be accepted by your peers.

Sid Carter
Atlanta, GA, USA
Thursday, May 17

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Shaving your legs #6

For the past couple of years I have been a mountain biker but this season I am giving road racing a try. As a mountain biker I never felt a need to shave my legs. However, now that I am racing on the roads I felt the need to "buff my pegs" like everybody else does.

I don't enjoy shaving my face so I wasn't looking forward to shaving my legs. I started thinking, if my wife gets her legs waxed why can't I? I made an appointment and had it done. It did not hurt as much as I had expected (the back of your thighs is the most sensitive area.) The sound of the ripping when they pull it off is a little disturbing (kind of like Velcro.) The woman that does it for me thought I was a little strange at first but now she loves me. She was surprised to see me come back a second time.

The second time I got it done it was much less painful than the first and the hair grows in thinner. It lasts four to six weeks and costs $35 to $45 (American.) I would recommend waxing as a viable alternative to shaving.

Sean C. Cahill
USA
Tuesday, May 15

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Tour Selections #1

While I feel sorry for the riders in teams like Mercury-Viatel, and overjoyed for the mediocre riders in a team like CSC, it is difficult to feel anything for the likes of Zulle, Escartin, Dufaux, Pantani, and though it pains me to say it, Cipollini. Mercury-Viatel came over to Europe this year with a point to prove - that there can be two US teams. Ever since 7-Eleven, and then Motorola, and finally the latest inception (USPS) there has only ever been one US team in Europe. I know that Subaru-Montgomery were hanging around the back of the peloton for a while, but that is all.

Such international teams are surely the meat in Hein Verbruggen's "global cycling" sandwich - and in order for this to become a reality, foreign sponsors in lands where cycling may not be a mainstream sport need the coverage that the Tour de France can give them. For example, in the UK (until Channel 4's abhorrent decision to stop screening the race) the Tour de France was the only race on terrestrial TV. Local French squads like Bonjour, AG2R, and Les Francaise des Jeux do not demand this coverage (which is just as well, since they aren't likely to get any unless the camera motorcycle gets stuck behind the peloton or some hapless domestique tumbles into a ravine).

In defence of M. Le Blanc the decision to leave out Team Coast, Mercatone Uno, and Saeco are fully justified, if the excuses offered from certain corners are a tad too cynical given Festina's selection. From the point of view of Team Coast, I can't possibly see why anybody would like to see Zulle in the race apart from the fact that he finished on the podium once or twice. True, he did, but a) he was riding for Festina with a soigneur called Voet, and b) he followed wheels all the way to Paris. He, and Escartin, knew the risks of joining the new team, and after weighing up the pros and cons for a few seconds opted for some late career loot rather than a punishing three weeks in France. Mario Cipollini on the other hand can have no defence as he has never lasted longer than a week, and whilst entertaining, he can't be taken seriously. Nor could Laurent Dufaux. Marco Pantani's squad is simply Pantani and a few hangers on. So if Pantani does nothing then the team does nothing. There is certainly no evidence to prove, on current form, that he will do anything.

All this aside, the spectacle of the Euskatel guys in orange scything their way through the peloton in the Alps and Pyrenees, will leave the likes of Pantani, Dufaux and Zulle a distant memory. A great selection here, Jean Marie.

Finally, all those who think the Tour de France will be a lesser race without the likes of the omitted titans should remember that it is the terrain that makes the race and not the riders. So long as I can gasp in awe at the size of the mountains these guys are having to cross, wonder at the speeds achieved in the finishing sprints, and agonise over the minutes lost in a crucial stage due to illness or bad luck, the race will be great.

Vive le Tour!

Andy Carter
London, UK
Tuesday, May 15

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Tour selections #2

In response to "Leblanc secret Armstrong fan"... I don't think the Americans want to take over European cycling. But in the United States, European cycling is not widely viewed as a "real" sport. Riding mountain bikes is the biggest fad for SUV driving yuppies (I call it the "bigger is better" syndrome). Ask them who Marco Pantani or Jan Ullrich are, and they won't have a clue. Ask them who Lance Armstrong is, and there's a much better than 50% chance they still won't have a clue. The only reason the people around me know these names is because I blab on about them all the time from what I read on cyclingnews.com. For those of us that love the sport, it is frustrating... having Mercury-Viatel in the Tour would have only had a positive effect on cycling in the United States. And isn't in the best interest of the sport for it's popularity to grow worldwide? Yes, perhaps there is a bit of a crisis in French cycling. But if there was as little interest in the sport in France as there is in the US, it would be called major crisis.

No, I don't think the Americans want to take over European cycling. Rather, I think the American fans were hoping European cycling would take over the US. Perhaps next year...

Patrick Tuxbury
Middletown, CT, USA
Friday, May 18

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Tour selections #3

What is the point of having UCI points assigned to riders if they can't be used to get in the tours. Like say Mercury or Coast? The UCI points appear to be useless.

"The Kytolas"
USA
Friday, May 18

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Fixie tech #1

I have just ordered myself a nice custom fixed-gear-only road bike from Rock Lobster Cycles in Santa Cruz. I ordered it from Paul Sadoff there, as he has been in business for some time, and he sealed the deal with the ultimate big man's retro/fixed-gear prize- a set of 180mm Campagnolo Nuevo Record cranks! Yeehaa! Thanks Paul!

I figured it's about time I took the plunge, since I am going to start racing again after some time off, and since I am always berating my athletes to use one (they usually ignore me). I understand, as these days, it's a bit harder than it used to be to get a good fixed gear bike. Or, at least harder to use your main road bike as a fixed gear bike- dropouts being what they are now.

To demonstrate my belief in the fixed gear way, I should tell you that when I raced years ago in Florida, I once did a 9 hour fixed gear ride. In the middle of this ride I met up with several hardcore mileage freaks who were intent on beating each other up. In my 39X16, I kept up OK, even at 25mph, but only got dropped on the descents! Not the sort of easy trip I had planned, and I rode the last 30 miles with hunger flat. Because it was there, I guess...

So, soon I will have a track-width-dropout-purpose-built fixie for me to become once again sincerely acquainted with my saddle.

Long live the simple life!

Regis Chapman
CA, USA
Tuesday, May 15

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Fixie tech #2

Is that a rear brake on your steed? That may be acceptable in your half of the world, but not in NYC. Not sure why, though.

Phil Simpson
USA
Tuesday, May 15

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Trek's new secret weapon?

In the past few seasons, US Postal seems to "debut" a new goodie into the Trek line-up in the Tour de France. Whilst I was reading April's edition of pro-cycling magazine I clearly noticed what seemed to be a "compact" style OCLV Trek frame in an article on the team. In an oncoming group photo, the lead rider seems to be riding a white Trek with a sloping top tube, also the bike Roberto Heras is straddled on also has an unusually long seatpost. Here in New Zealand, we do not get any coverage of the early season European racing therefore haven't seen if the "Posties" are using any new special frames. Can these photo's in the magazine be a preview of the special bikes Trek are unveiling at the Tour??? Is this a new secret weapon which is even lighter and stronger than previous models???.......or am I just seeing things

Martin Sparrow
New Zealand
Monday, May 21

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Looking For Euskaltel Team Jersey/pro kit

Having trouble finding the pro kit for the "warriors in orange". If anyone knows where I can purchase the kit please let me know. I have tried the banner links at cyclingnews.com but none of the providers carry Euskaltel.

Cheers

John W. Senkier
john.senkier@webcom.com
Santa Cruz, CA USA
Tuesday, May 15

The last month's letters

  • May 15 – Genevieve Jeanson, Shaving, The ultimate fixie, Tour wildcard reactions
  • May 9 – Tour wildcard reactions, part one; part two
  • May 3 – Tour wildcard reactions
  • May 1 – Tour de France: CSC & Pantani wildcards, Domo's P–R victory, Hincapie, Postal's ambitions, Australian TV, ONCE on Klein?
  • April 26 – Domo's P–R victory, Hincapie, CSC & Pantani in the Tour?, Camenzind, Who suffers most?, Fixies across Asia
  • April 24 – Domo's P–R victory, Hincapie, Would-be Flahutes, Who suffers most?, Tyre sizes, ONCE TT bikes
  • April 19 – Hincapie: Stay or go?, Paris–Roubaix, Who suffers most?, Breakages, Tyre sizes
  • April 17 – Hincapie, Breakages, Women, Who suffers most?, Tour of Sydney, Custom Shoes
  • Letters Index - The complete index to every letters page on cyclingnews.com