|Cyclingnews TV News Tech Features Road MTB BMX Cyclo-cross Track Photos Fitness Letters Search Forum|
Letters to Cyclingnews - October 29, 2004
Armstrong and Simeoni #2
I do not profess to know the intimate details of the issues between Armstrong and Simeoni other than what I have read in the media so I will not offer opinions as to their dispute. I will, however, take issue with much of the legal wranglings and letters regarding Lance's actions towards Simeoni during this years Tour.
There undoubtedly exists a code of conduct within the peloton and riders for the most part abide by this code or risk the wrath of their fellow pros. While this code of conduct cannot overrule the strength and will of the best riders, it can determine winners and losers among the also-rans. Ultimately, the race is won by the strongest or smartest rider for that day. This is what we as fans want to see. Leave the scripted results for the ranks of professional wrestling.
So when Lance chased the move of Simeoni that fateful day in July, he was simply exacting the code of the peloton, which he can write because he is the boss. If Simeoni was strong enough to ride away from the break and shake Lance in the process then more power to him, he would be the strongest that day and take a deserved win. If, however, he is not the strongest, not the best, and must rely on the ethics of the peloton, well then let him suffer whatever fate the peloton chooses to deal. In cycling, as in most sports, the strongest, fittest, smartest, and best determine the outcome and that is what we all want to see.
Armstrong and Simeoni #3
Simeoni is not an overly popular rider - it appears he is not happy with what is happening in the peloton and has no problem expressing himself. I am not a fan of his because of how he does it. He manages to piss off more people than make headway in expressing his opinions. Maybe a sign of his immaturity.
What LA did was not right, but it also was not criminal. All mature people - and I am not sure how mature LA is - make mistakes and do immature things. When he did it, I applauded it, which was my immaturity coming out. It is ridiculous to prosecute him for a single act that really did not effect the outcome of the overall race. European's tend to come down on America for overstepping our bounds - sometimes rightly so. But it appears they shouldn't be throwing rocks.
OK, I think Lance is a putz, pure and simple so I look upon his proclamations with definite suspicion and bias. This one I couldn't pass up (from recent interview in CN): "The World Championships, I didn't watch, but just read the results. It wasn't surprising; Freire is a classy rider and can win just about anytime, anywhere. The Spanish team exemplified how you're supposed to ride the (World Championships): put the best riders in and come with your best man. Contrast that with Italy; a guy like Rebellin, I don't know how you ever leave Rebellin out of the World Championships, in Italy. That does not make any sense... and you take certain guys who absolutely don't deserve to be there. Somebody should be held accountable for that."
Someone should be held accountable for that? Can we hold you accountable for staying home from the World Championships AND Olympic Games as the USA's best rider? I know, I know, you were injured. Although not bad enough to abandon the tour so what gives? Oh ya, I forgot you only race to win one race a year. Your cherry picking is killing pro cycling. Oh, and I'm sick of the excuses from cycling's "greatest" rider. If you are so good why so many excuses?
Well, based upon the CN interview, my hope for a Lance Armstrong Giro/Vuelta double will not happen. The legal authorities in Italy have made it impossible for Lance to even go into Italy right now, and Lance doesn't sound very interested in in ever going to the Giro.
Maybe they can resolve the situation and the Giro officials can make him feel better about coming back. We won't know until late this year.
I would think he is leaning toward the Tour for 2005 with his situation in Italy.
Part 2 of your interview with Lance includes the lines: "We have yet to sit down and figure out what Discovery wants; if they want, for example Tour Down Under, since Australia is a big market for them. So we haven't figured it out. But if I start training November 1, which I want to do, I can adjust my training to the calendar."
It seems that this might be the best year for Mike Turter to get Lance and the boys down here for the Tour Down Under - what an added attraction that would be!
Please let it be so!
Thanks for printing the great story from Davis Phinney on the Ride of the Roses. What a great perspective on Lance Armstrong and the man he really is. This is exactly why I won't believe he's a doper. I defy anyone to come up with a more selfless, determined and dedicated person in modern sports, maybe even in this generation. The strength that he lends to this Cause he lives is exactly the same strength that he uses to defeat his competition in the mountains of France. With this amazing depth of character to plumb who would imagine that he would want, let alone need, to take drugs. At the risk of paraphrasing the Beatles, and absolutely no offence intended, he's almost bigger than Christ right now!
Come together - no other two words could adequately describe the atmosphere and integration of the 2004 Australian Bike Show in Melbourne, yes Extreme, MTB, Road, Track and Cross on show under one very elegant and historic roof.
Top marks to the organisers for support across all sectors, especially for the public with trail rides and free secure and friendly bike parking (courtesy Bicycle Victoria), and well laid out flowing exhibits.
This show has an intimacy missed around the world, the celebrities were there, sure, but also the owners, manufacturers and importers, not just their minions, but the butts out from behind the desks, the seats of power, and they actually do talk and listen attentively. Such as a heads up on new track bikes (Leggera) for 05, or refinements to that niggardly seat post set back you always needed (FSA) , or just why carbon is the road to try and as they say (forgive me) once you try black you never go back! (ANON.)
Good to see Gerard Knapp on hand to chat about the world of CyclingNews.com too, and the .com's reach into the echelons of sports administration here in Oz and around the world. Thank you for being there GK, good to discuss Mr Coates again, hopefully we will get some fresh air in his hallowed circles soon, or at least a fresh attitude of positive encouragement and acceptance of the supreme achievements of cyclists in the face of the a print media feeding frenzy on anything controversial or fabricated to be such!
My highlights, well, John Kennedy's cycle fit seminar was enlightening and positively focused on riding for health safety, performance and pleasure, then the "On-One" single-speed-amalgam-cyclo-cross-look-alike bike right at the front door, very sweet, superbly crafted , light, strong and oh so different to anything else in the hall. Well worth a feature. OH! and not to forget the amazing sight of a walking mini skirted and bare mid-riffed superbly tanned specimen handing out something, can't be sure what it was, I got 8 of them, but never did get to read what they were... funny about that!
The show was a winner, the ride home a motivated breeze, and now, well where are those 8 thing-ame-jigs, what do they say?
That was the letter of the year. We should all keep sight of the joys of cycling (even if we can't all have a Colnago) instead of collectively wringing our hands about parts of the sport out of our control.
2004 Cycling Spouse of the Year #2
Okay, I am also going to have to nominate my wife Beth. We both met at Texas Tech. I was a sports sciences major and she was a biology major trying to get into Dental school (which she did!). At the end of our senior year the subject arose on what we wanted to do for jobs. This was also less then a year before we were getting married. I informed her out of nowhere that I wanted to be a professional cyclist. After the initial week of pure shock she has been amazingly supportive and helpful. She always wants to come to the races and do something for me (water support, food, screaming at me, etc.). She also has made it a point that during any season that requires gifts, it be cycling related. She just got me an iPod with the base period in mind and I now have more books on the tour de France history that I ever could imagine. What makes her so extraordinary to me is that cycling or sports in general really isn't her thing. But the concept of me in cycling make it worth wild to her. I could not imagine trying to make it in this sport without the support of my closest friend.
2004 Cycling Spouse of the Year #3
I want to nominate my wife for this award.
I met my wife in Ireland and moved late last year to Atlanta. In moving I had to sell my beloved bike to have money to move to have the wedding and generally settle in America. I spent 6 months unable to work due the paper work requirements and with little or no money to purchase a bike. It was extremely depressing frustrating and very annoying both being unable to work and also being unable to jump on a bike just to spin around the block.
Christmas time came and we had little or any money to get anything. Little did I know my wife had saved since we got married and she presented me a new Giant bike - better than the one I had before. It was amazing jumping on the bike out riding around spinning and generally trying to work off the donuts !! It was the best Christmas ever. - Thank you Keri Leigh
2004 Cycling Spouse of the Year #4
Having a wife on your side for cycling is amazing. While my wife may not have been as generous with a gift, she did something else which was the sign, that she was the one.
Having never owned a road bike, Helen bought one to do some riding with me. A year later, accompanied by my father (who introduced me to the sport in 1974 via the World Championships in Montreal) and my friend Phil Houstoun, she completed the Rideau Lakes Cycle Tour, which is a two day ride almost 350km long. The weather that year was horrible, and the drop out rate was the highest in the 25 years it had been run, yet she pushed on, and completed it. She was not going to quit!
We will be married 9 years this October 28th.
Now we have three wonderful children, and instead of getting a sitter so we can go to dinner, we get one so we can still go for a ride together on Saturday mornings. The best ride of the week is with my wife. She and I are looking forward to the day when the family can ride together! How cool will that be?
Again I say congratulations to you James, for I know the joy you have in your soul for knowing you have a mate, that is truly a part of you. By the way... nice ride!
I wish you and yours all the success in the future.
Michel van Musschenbroek
2004 Cycling Spouse of the Year #5
Hmmm... upon closer examination the bike seems to be the right size for Adrienne!
I had my left hip replaced March 15, 2004. On March 27, I went for a ride! Yeah, it hurt, and yeah, my doctor freaked out, but it was OK. I kept upping the mileage by 2 miles per ride, and by June, I was back to around 200 miles/week. Through the whole recovery process, I discovered that I had some bike fit issues that were tweaking my knee, and after resolving those problems, I feel really good. The speed (what little I had!) is back, I can stomp around all I want, play with my little kids on the floor, work around the house, etc, all without pain. I'm really glad I did it... and I've got almost 4,000 miles on the new joint so far this year. It's all good.
I opted for a ceramic/ceramic bearing surface with titanium carrier pieces. Theoretically, it won't wear out. The work was done through a 6" slice on the side of the hip. The only negative is that racing in crits is probably out of the question. The surgeon thinks that if I crash on the operated side (which for some reason is the only side of my body I've ever hurt, either road racing or mt biking) my femur will snap, Simoni style. Since I'm a 46 year old Cat 4 with five kids, is racing really worth it? I'll settle for TTs and maybe some of the tamer road or circuit races, keep the rubber side down, and just enjoy riding... forever!
My hip got trashed by running marathons due to a slight bone defect I knew nothing about. There was no pain until it was too late. If you run and ride, my advice is to decide whether or not you can live without riding... because competitive running will eventually injure you.
Now if it would just quit raining... I don't want to get my new Orbea wet!
What about Zabel's no-radios philosophy? I suggest we could develop this idea further, to races with no team cars (just neutral support), and indeed, no teams, where the strongest rider, or the one who reads best the race. I think it will reduce the amount of over 200km races ending in yet another bunch sprint. Individual tactics could be as exciting as team tactics, if not more. Maybe someone could enlighten me: were there such races in the past?
Laurent, maybe you should Ask Jeeves about the dangers of a blood transfusion. This stuff is centrifuged down to contain less plasma and then re-injected. Your blood pressure can go through the roof. But the best part is that when you are flying up that hill and your now much thicker blood starts getting tangled up in those pesky arteries and ventricles. BOOM... heart attack.
I sympathize with Mr. Whittle's plight. Missing any training due to injury or illness is always a depressing and discouraging event in the life of a bike geek (yes... we're all bike geeks). I, too, missed several weeks of training this summer due to a lovely case of adult-onset chicken pox (you couldn't tell where my skin ended and my KOM jersey began).
I seem to recall Greg LeMond having his arm cast in riding position so he could continue training while broken bones were knitting. I'm shocked that Mr. Whittle's physician did not offer him the option of having a cleat incorporated into the bottom of his cast. Hell, what is a few extra pounds of plaster when grinding up a hill with broken bones? Have you, Mr. Whittle, considered suing your physician for gross incompetence? Think about the potential here. A typical donation for a charity ride might garner $.10 per mile ($.062 per km). Knowing a guy like Mr. Whittle trains 600 miles a week (so do I!), his six week hiatus would be worth... $360 in lost mileage alone. Add to this pain and suffering, you are looking at roughly $2,546,244.39. That would be almost enough to buy that bike specced with aero quick release nuts and carbon fiber grease. I recommend contacting the law firm of Hammer, Attakum & Bonk.
Mr Whittle, feel better soon. We're all pullin' for ya, brother. And for God's sake, enjoy the narcotics while you can. You'll surely be dope tested on your next club ride.
Injured and missing it #2
I've been there, Barry. I don't know the particulars of your injury, but if you are wearing a standard walking cast or boot, here is a quick and easy suggestion (using road pedals) for staying on the bike during convalescence, even if it is just to go around the block a few times.
Take the cleat (I used an old set of Looks with the clunky plastic cleats -- the bigger the better) and screw it to the edge of the bottom of a piece of wood roughly the size of your new footprint. You will need to play around with the placement of the cleat vis a vis the fulcrum of the pedal spindle and you will want to take care that the back edge of the wood does not ding your chainstay. Then clip this platform into the pedal, et voila . It feels a little awkward the first time you try to flip it over and get moving, but you will indeed have a rather elegant and simple way to rest your injured foot as you pedal.
If the injury has affected your range of motion, you can also do the following in order to use the platform: with a drill press, drill out and tap (for the pedal spindle) a series of holes in a cheap crankarm that start a few inches from the center bolt and descend toward the actual tapped end of the crank -- the closer you get to the center bolt hole of the crank, the less of a circle your leg is turning, relatively speaking. You can then keep moving the pedal down the crankarm until you are back to normal. (And aluminum cranks are very easy to drill, although you will notice the wobble if you are not precise and centered.)
Both of these suggestions might not make for much meaningful riding, but if you want to turn a few heads on your way to the coffee shop or you need your bike to get to work or what have you, then tinker away. On the other hand, depending on where you live, you may just want to layer up and hibernate for a few weeks, which may be what the doctor ordered. Of course, I wouldn't have this info to share if I had listened to the doctor...
I came down with "Lone Atrial Fibrillation" about a month ago, and until I had a cardioversion last Friday, felt as though I had aged thirty years. An avid cyclist for the better part of twenty-five years, the last health problem I imagined would sideline me was a dysfunctional heart. My cardiologist in New York City told me that he sees two or three cyclists a year with this problem, some of whom ride to his office directly from Central Park. I would be very interested in hearing about other cyclists heart troubles, and their ensuing training regimens.
Dan, it looked worse in the pictures than it actually was. At the Voler booth (I'm the NorCal rep), we had a poster signing with Gina Grain and Lauren Franges of Victory Brewing. There were very few booths that used cheesecake of any variety to sell their wares. And women oriented cycling companies (Terry, Shebeest, etc.), and women's specific cycling products were at quite a few places. I've been in the cycling industry for about 20 years, and things really have improved.
I think you just answered your own question.
While women are a growing number of cyclists, cycling is still a male dominated sport. I've worked in the industry, and the ranks of salesmen, engineers, buyers, and shop owners is even more male dominated.
Believe it or not, but the cheesecake models and free beer generate traffic the booth. Press take pictures and buyers take notice.
Wow – I can’t believe it. I am (almost) speechless, but will attempt to express my gratitude. THANK YOU, Dan!!!!!! And I thought I was just being an overly-sensitive female cyclist.
I have participated in the Etape for the last two years and on both occasions have registered through the web-site in January and made my own travel arrangements. It was only quite by chance this year that I saw on the Etape website that there would be a new system for registration for non-residents. On visiting the Graham Baxter web-site I saw that they had 100 spaces available for entry only. I understand that this was subsequently increased to 200. These places along with most of the package Tours seem to have sold out week ago. Like the writer of the initial letter, I have no desire to participate in an organized trip but being that I have tremendously enjoyed the event on the last two occasions I was willing to pay the non-refundable amount of £100.00 to secure a place without even know where the route would be.
From memory the entry fee was previously of the order of 60 euros (roughly £40 GBP). On the basis that the entry fee has more than doubled it would seem that someone is making a fairly tidy amount of money from the new registration system.
Furthermore, my feeling is that the new registration system will only serve to preclude many of the international entries who actually contribute significantly to the character of the event. Perhaps making the event more locally biased is what the ASO are aiming to achieve? Judging by the amount of British participants in the past I also suspect that there will be a great many people who have not yet bothered to check the Etape website and will be very disappointed when they try and register in January.
l'Etape du Tour registration #2
I too am not happy with the ASO's new policy for the L'Etape du Tour sign up for the 2005 edition of the event. They require even those of us who have participated in the event in past years to only go through a travel agency in the USA, and other non French countries in order to enter the event. This creates a larger cost than I will incur with my own travel, a forced itinerary some may not wish to partake of, as well as the whole group aspect which some of us do not care for. I have been to Europe often enough, I have finished the event in 2004, and I do not require the hand holding of a travel agent's agenda. I can and have planned my own travel agendas just fine, thank you. I look forward to taking one day in 2005 for the event, then relaxing in the beautiful French countryside with my wife, catching a day of the Tour de France, doing rides of my own design, staying at hotels of my own choosing and eating meals that appeal to me.
Also, for those of us who have finished the event in 2004, we have "paid" our dues, and showed that we are capable of finishing the event. It is pure speculation, but I have to question as tough as the event can be, what type of rider will now spend the money to partake in the group tour format? Every year over one thousand riders are cut out of the race at time checks along the course. It is the ASO's prerogative to deal with entries as they want. However, I had a number of 7236 and placed a corrected position of 1203. A good USA friend of mine won his age group in 2003 and came in third in 2004. It seems like having a 2005 sign up format for the past year's participants who finished, and even placed, could be accommodated in a better and more equitable fashion. In past year's, supposedly one's race number reflected how they performed in the prior year's event. Even if I did spend the money at the listed travel group, how am I assured my number will reflect my 2004 placing or my friend who podiumed? I agree that the ASO needs to reconsider the way they run the 2005 sign ups, unless they want to truly discourage non French participants.
Douglas "Paco" Lindsay
I might as keep the "what ever happened to..." thread going... where is my man Rahsaan Bahati? He won three national (US) titles, was one of the 25 hottest bachelors in "People" magazine, rode with Saturn, and then disappeared once the team folded. Any clue to his whereabouts... Is he still at Indiana University?
This is one we can answer.
Recent letters pages