Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Phil Sherwen - Two Heads Are Better Than One

While the UCI and various race organizers continue to argue with each other and Pro Tour teams bicker amongst themselves, the cycling world has been joyously treated to a long overdue union of arguably the sport's two most popular figures. In a short ceremony held before a Tour of California press conference in San Francisco, renowned cycling commentators Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen proudly announced to the world that they will be combining their names and will now each be known simply as "Phil Sherwen."

Phil Sherwen and Phil Sherwen

The announcement comes as somewhat of a shock to many cycling fans but will likely cut down the number of times each man is referred to by the other's name. "I really can't even tell you how many times I have been called Phil," said Paul Sherwen to the gathered media. "It's one thing to hear it every once in awhile, but it was getting ridiculous. I have pretty much responded to being called Phil for the last few years anyway."

Phil Sherwen and Phil Sherwen

Liggett continued to explain the motive behind the name change by claiming, "When Paul and I started working together many years ago we realized that people confused us all the time. But since we were both married and didn't want to deal with all the legal stuff...we put off combining our names until now. I never thought 'Liggett' was that cool a name anyway so I am looking forward to being called 'Mr. Sherwen' from now on."

Phil Sherwen

"We decided to go with Phil's first name and my last name for a few reasons," stated Sherwen. "First of all, he's been in the announcing game a bit longer than I have so I kind of had to defer to him there. But the main reason is that 'Paul Liggett' just sounds terrible. It's almost as bad as Frankie Roll or Richard Towle or something."

Phil Sherwen

When asked what the most difficult aspect of the name change would be, Liggett was optimistic. "I don't think it will be too hard to get used to. But I do have to have all the identity tags changed on my 'Suitcase of Courage' that I take with me to all the races. It has my old name on there and I would hate it if the airport lost it and couldn't correctly identify me."

"Yeah...there would be some serious argy bargy if they lost Phil's Suitcase of Courage," declared Sherwen excitedly. "The man by the name of Phil Sherwen would be dancing on the pedals...err...I mean the face of anyone who dares mishandle any of our stuff. Also, anyone that calls us by our old names will surely wear the mask of pain, trust me."

Friday, January 26, 2007

This Just In: Eddy Merckx Was Good

Most fans will argue about the "Best Ever" in many sports, naming any number of great athletes as deserving of the title. This is not the case in bicycle racing. There is only one name that ever crosses the lips of an educated cycling fan when discussing the best ever. Eddy Merckx and Eddy Merckx alone is the only answer. And it's really not even remotely close. Most pro racers would be happy with any one of Merckx's record 525 career professional victories as the pinnacle of their entire career. I am reading a book on Merckx and I have to keep reminding myself that it is not fiction. Considering the fact that most pros are happy winning a handful of times in their lives, the FACT that Merckx won 54 races in a single season is borderline comical. No wonder they called him the "Cannibal."

For reference, Tom Boonen led all Pro Tour riders in 2006 with an impressive 21 victories. McEwen and Petacchi were next with 13. And that was without challenging for any kind of Grand Tour results. Merckx would have had those totals by the end of April. Honestly, Merckx's numbers are so gaudy that I really can't fully comprehend them right now. I hope to have more to say after I finish the book but I think the following woefully incomplete summary of his palmares is just about everything you need to know:

World Championship: (3) '67, '71, '74
Belgian Championship: (1) '70
Milan-San Remo: (7) '66, '67, '69, '71, '72, '75, '76
Tour of Flanders: (2) '69, '75
Paris-Roubaix: (3) '68, '70, '73
Liege-Bastogne-Liege: (5) '69, '71, '72, '73, '75
Amstel Gold Race: (2) '73, '75
Tour of Lombardy: (2) '71, '72

Het Volk: (2) '71, '73
Ghent-Wevelgem: (3) '67, '70, '73
Fleche-Wallonne: (3) '67, '70, '72
Paris-Brussels: (1) '73
Scheldt GP: (1) '72
Henninger Turm: (1) '71

Tour de France: (5) '69, '70, '71, '72, '74
Giro d' Italia: (5) '68, '70, '72, '73, '74
Tour of Switzerland: (1) '74
Vuelta a Espana: (1) '73
Tour of Belgium: (2) '70, '71

Dauphine Libere: (1) '71
Midi-Libre: (1) '71
Paris-Nice: (3) '69, '70, '71
Mediterranean Tour: (1) '77

  • Most career victories by a professional cyclist : 525.
  • Most victories in one season : 54.
  • hour speed record (1972): 49,432 km.
  • Most stage victories in the Tour de France : 34.
  • Most stage victories in one Tour de France : 8, in 1970 and 1974 (shared with Charles Pelissier in 1930 and Freddy Maertens in 1976).
  • Most days with the yellow jersey in the Tour de France : 96.
  • The only cyclist to have won the yellow, green and red polka-dotted jersey in the same Tour de France (1969).
Any Questions?

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Have Brain? Wear Helmet.

Okay...this is something of a hot button topic so forgive me if I am exceedingly critical of my helmet-less brethren in the cycling community. But seriously...at the end of the day you either have to be dangerously foolish or incredibly vain to not wear a helmet every time you get on your bike in 2007. Those are really the only two options and outside of these two circumstances I cannot comprehend why anyone would think it was a good idea to ride without one.

Now, some of you may believe that you have legitimate reasons for not wearing a helmet but in short...you are wrong. There is no good reason. Ever. How long you've been riding or how good a bike handler you are is completely irrelevant. It doesn't matter. The times you need a helmet are the times when there is not a damn thing you can do to save yourself. Period. If you think you are invincible and can avoid any potential hazards...once again...you are either highly ignorant of human physiology and physics or so vain that you are willing to blatantly disregard your own personal safety in an effort to look cool and have the wind in your hair. Not to mention the needless suffering and anguish you will inflict on your loved ones should something happen to you that could have been easily prevented. But hey...you look like a real live Euro pro so it's worth it right?

Hopefully I don't have to explain all of the physics and physiology of what happens to your brain and skull composition when you crack your head on the pavement or dirt but in short...it's not real good for you. Even if you are an intelligent, aware human being and have a helmet on, it's not good. In fact, it's actually probably more damaging than we even realize. For example, new studies on NFL players and the effects of post-concussion syndrome and skull trauma on the pituitary gland are shocking and show serious hormonal and psychological problems for many players. Even though most cyclists are already suffering from some psychological issues (why else would we do this) it would follow that a few cracks to the melon (something virtually all racers have experienced) could do some serious damage. Why risk making something that is already inherently dangerous even more so?

I always find myself getting riled up about helmets around this time of year when team camp photos are being plastered everywhere and nearly every pro is shown cruising around without a helmet. What gives? It would be one thing if it were just a publicity and visibility issue but that's not the case. Granted, I am not a professional cyclist but I have raced for a long time and never understood the concept of training without a helmet when you are forced to wear one in competition. It just doesn't make sense.

And what about the helmet sponsors? Doesn't Giro or Bell or whoever care that these pre-season publicity rides rarely have their products displayed? These companies must be aware that their sponsorship dollars are being minimized by the fact that the riders they support would rather show off their latest skullcap or hairdo instead of a pro-quality helmet that is likely responsible for saving thousands and thousands of lives. The large helmet companies need to put their foot down and demand that all publicity shots be taken with helmets on. I mean, why not? Otherwise they are not getting proper value for their investment and diminishing the importance of their product. I've always been surprised that it is not a bigger issue for sponsors.

I happened upon a cycling team's website recently that was openly against a proposed helmet law in Canada. Their statement was: "We don't like riding with helmets, helmet use should be a choice, not a law."

Okay...roughly translated from Canadian, I take that to mean: "We are boldy foolish and choose not to be intelligent, responsible people. And no matter how hard you try, you cannot legislate intelligence. Because even though we won't take minimal steps to ensure our own safety and well-being, we sure as hell will fight those who attempt to force us out of our questionable decision making."

Sadly, I totally agree with them, but really only as it pertains to choice. The old joke when motorcycle helmet laws were being formed was something to the effect of: "A brain so feeble that it does not seek protection is hardly worth saving." Self preservation is likely the most critical of the basic human instincts and those that lack this intellectual component will probably not be missed too much by society as a whole. But someone will miss them...or at least have to help feed them for the rest of their lives.

I can safely say that I would not be alive today if I didn't wear a helmet. At least that's what the doctors told me. I don't really remember anything about the accident. Or the days before and after it. The lady in the car said she never saw me and I'm guessing there probably wasn't a whole lot I could have done about it even if I saw her. Which I'm guessing I did right before my face and forehead dented the hood of her car beyond repair. Again...just guessing here but I think I probably saw her. The scary truth is that the times you need a helmet are the times when you can't do anything to save yourself.

So, in conclusion...please wear a helmet. Well, but only if you want to. As adults we have a choice but if you choose to use your brain when making the decision of whether or not to wear a helmet...you may find that if you listen carefully there is a little voice in there pleading with you to help protect it. Listen to that voice. It's smarter than you are.

Monday, January 22, 2007

The Epiphany Ride

Author's Note: This is the beginning of the Tour of California warmup. I wrote this a little over a year ago and am trying to remember what I was talking about. After a month of freezing temperatures and deep snow, I am anxious for the epiphany ride this year. This piece was written right before devastating floods ravaged Marin County and Northern California last year and way before I had to start dealing with the freaking Blizzard of '06/'07 in Colorado.

e·piph·a·ny : A sudden manifestation of the essence or meaning of something.

I had the “epiphany” ride yesterday. I think every relatively serious cyclist knows what I’m talking about. You know, the one where the weather is perfect, the roads are open and the legs finally display a willingness to work with the bike instead of against it. It happens every season that I start to train seriously and is truly one of the most enjoyable experiences you can have on the bike. Generally it happens in the winter too, so there tend to be fewer cyclists out and you feel like you’re getting away with something, which makes it even better.

I had modest ambitions when I went out. It’s too early in the season to ride hard so I just wanted to peg my heart rate at about 70% and enjoy the scenery. A few hours, no really hard efforts, just get in the miles and burn off some of the holiday pounds. There was a chance of rain in the afternoon that I wasn’t too excited about, so I wanted to get out while I could. I got home six hours later and never even had to put my jacket on.

Marin County is arguably the most beautiful place in the world. Granted, I am biased because I was born and raised there but I challenge anyone to find me a region that can provide as many different landscapes in such a small area. From the rolling hills of northwestern Marin to the steeps of Mt. Tam and the Headlands, you really can get just about anything but a flat ride in. Additionally, there are very few places where you can ride through redwood forests, spin along rocky ocean coastlines and roll along the bay overlooking one of the most beautiful cities in the world on a single ride. Throw in the fact that I was riding in the middle of December with just leg warmers, and a long-sleeved jersey and it becomes idyllic. No thermal booties, no skullcap, no jacket. I even took my gloves off after a few miles.

It’s always difficult for me to keep my heart rate down when I ride. Even though I haven’t raced in a while, I still find myself pushing too hard. It’s like there is something in my brain that just makes me expect pain during my rides. I guess I had always thought that if it doesn’t hurt, I’m not going hard enough. With this in mind, I forced myself to take it easy and it was actually really nice. It’s amazing how much fun riding your bike can be when you don’t have lactic acid coursing through every muscle in your body for hours.

I guess you can’t truly take it easy in Marin though, and I ended up doing way more climbing than I had wanted to. It’s kind of frustrating, but unless I figure out some way to ride my bike on the San Francisco Bay, I basically have do at least three to fifty climbs that are over 7%. Some of them are pretty short but they still get me way above my base target of 70% of max. Needless to say, over the course of six hours I spent a lot of time climbing but I kept it under control pretty well.

The result of it all was that I got to experience over one hundred miles of Marin County’s best roads and scenery with the wind in my face and loads of sweet, sweet endorphins coursing through my veins. The euphoria of spinning a 53x11 at 35 mph on west Sir Francis Drake. The roller coaster of Highway 1 overlooking Tomales Bay between Marshall and Pt. Reyes. The perfectly paved pain and spectacular vistas of Bolinas Ridge. The stunning San Francisco cityscape from Paradise Drive in Tiburon. Even my cool down along Shady Lane in Ross was perfect.

This is why we ride. This is what cycling is about. I never really forget why I love to ride, but sometimes it takes that special day when everything clicks to shake me out of my regular routine. Cycling is such a labor-intensive sport, it can sometimes get a bit robotic so it’s always good to rediscover the meaning of it all and why we subject ourselves to the risks of riding. The freedom to see, smell and feel your surroundings under your own power, with the speed and efficiency of two wheels, is truly one of life’s great pleasures. So, appreciate your rides and be grateful that you know what I'm talking about.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Cycling to Baseball: One Fan To Another

Welcome to our world baseball fans. It can be an ugly place at times, littered with rumors and accusations, confessions and admissions. It is a world immersed in a constant haze of skepticism, where great feats are tarnished by an ever-present cloud of doubt. This is the world of a fan who desperately wants to believe that the field of play, whether a diamond or road, is level and that those we cheer for are deserving of our support.

Fans of baseball and cycling can now find common ground. We have both succumbed to the paranoia of DRUGS and have been forced to witness the embarrassing exposure of our chosen sport’s dirty little secret. Our pure sport, our fair competition, the one with clear-cut winners and losers, the one that rewards hard work and dedication, has been replaced by something far less noble. It has been transformed into a tabloid story of abuse and deception, being dragged through the mud of the mainstream media. We want to know, but we really don’t. We want to believe, but we really don’t.

One of the intriguing things about sports is the lure of an inherent truth in athletic competition. In “real” life, the rules are blurry and myriad factors collide to form the outcome of everyone’s existence. In sports, the conditions of play are clear and not subject to change depending on societal differences. There is something very refreshing about such clarity, as there is so little of its kind in other aspects of life. All human beings are at the mercy of circumstance to some degree and the world of sports is often viewed as one of the few arenas where anyone, regardless of race or class or any of the things that generally define us, can succeed on merit alone.

Exceptional athletic skill has the uncanny ability to break down the barriers that society has built up over generations, as witnessed by the likes of Jackie Robinson, Jim Thorpe and Babe Didrikson. It does this because it is irrefutable. No one can argue that Billie Jean King beat Bobby Riggs or that Jesse Owens decimated Hitler’s best in Munich. The truth of athletic competition often reveals the deception and hypocrisy of society, which is part of why we love it. And part of why we hate it. Despite what the commercials try to make you believe, athletes – even the ones that truly inspire us - are susceptible to the same pitfalls as everyone else and the truth of sport reveals that they are just as flawed.

As they say, the truth hurts. It hurts that not all of our heroes play by the rules. It hurts to realize that the sports world is no different than the “real” world, where people routinely cheat and lie to get an advantage. It hurts to lose faith in the achievements and integrity of athletes that may be clean but are cast in doubt by the actions of others. And it hurts that our children are watching and listening intently the whole time.

The truth is that the sports world has always been suspect. We just want to believe that, in athletics, the sanctity of fair play always takes precedent over ill-gotten success. Unfortunately, it does not and never has. Virtually all world-class sports, in virtually all eras, have had to deal with drug abuse in some form. The products and athletes have changed but the rationale and motivation behind the use of performance enhancing substances is the same and as old as competition itself.

The truth is that the lure of fame and fortune is often stronger than the shackles of one’s conscience and the fear of being caught. When using drugs could mean the difference between signing a $100 million long-term contract or fighting for a spot on the team, morality can occasionally take a backseat to a pill or syringe. I can’t be certain, but I would be willing to wager that Jason Giambi is not planning on giving back much of his $13 million per year salary after having admitted to steroid use. Even though he did say he was sorry.

Cycling fans have dealt with this issue for some time and know how baseball fans are feeling right now. Jose Canseco is just baseball’s version of disgruntled ex-pro racer Jesus Manzano. Giambi and disgraced World Time Trial Champion David Millar are very similar characters by way of their lengthy denials, subsequent admissions of guilt and remarkable transformation back into relative acceptance and praise. Barry Bonds and Lance Armstrong, the most dominant athletes in their sports, have both been under constant scrutiny due to accusations of drug use. Bonds will likely break the career homerun record and Armstrong holds the title for the most Tour de France wins, but their legacies seem largely dependent on the outcome of ongoing legal investigations into their supposed use of performance enhancing substances. As records continue to be broken by contemporary athletes, the cloud of suspicion grows and further envelopes all who compete, whether clean or not.

So what does this all mean to cycling and baseball fans? Well, not much really, depending on your perspective. It is frustrating to hear the rumors and disheartening to see the confessions but the ugliness of the situation cannot obscure the drama and excitement of the sport. We may be more skeptical of the legitimacy of the performance but we are still fascinated by the thrill of the competition. One of the most beautiful aspects of the sporting world is that it provides continuously unscripted drama, played out in front of our very eyes and the fact that the players may be on drugs doesn’t really take that much away from the immediate excitement of the event.

We true followers of sport, purely because we are fans, experience the same euphoric highs and gut wrenching lows we always have, even when those we cheer for or root against might be juiced. The critical factor is that we ultimately don’t know who is guilty and who is innocent until they either admit it or get caught. And we need to be okay with that. We may choose to speculate as to whether or not certain athletes are clean, but the essence of sport, from baseball to cycling and everything in between, is stronger than the actions of its participants.

So take heart baseball fans and heed a lesson from your cycling brethren. The game is bigger than the players and we should not turn our backs on the sport that has given us so much. Of course it would be wonderful if we knew that all professional athletes were clean, but we never have and in all likelihood, never will. True sports fans are able to see beyond the transgressions of the few and focus on the essence of the sport as a whole. We did not become passionate about baseball or cycling because of Jason Giambi or David Millar and we should certainly not lose that passion because of them or those like them.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Reduced Greens Fees When You Can't See The Ball...

...but your shovel counts as a club.

Bike riding in the snow can be challenging but golf is really hard.
Sometimes I miss California...

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Local Cyclist Discovers Fossil In Pain Cave

This hard hitting journalistic account is largely indebted to Race Announcer Dave Towle, the voice behind many organized pain cave expeditions and as far as I know, the inventor of the term.

Boulder, CO

Local cyclist Howard Rosen recently discovered the fossilized skull of a triceratops while digging deep into his pain cave at the end of a long training ride according to Boulder authorities. Archaeologists from the University of Colorado are analyzing the specimen in greater detail but have confirmed that it is, in fact, a real dinosaur.

Archaelologists study the skull found in Rosen's pain cave

The surprising discovery came as Rosen climbed the final steep pitch of Old Stage Road after a long training ride in the mountains northwest of Boulder. “I was coming back from a big loop through Allens Park and Ward and decided to really give my all up the last part of Old Stage coming back into town” said the 32 year old Category 4 racer to a crowd of local media gathered at the University of Colorado. “As I got to the last few hundred meters my heart rate was really high and I was kind of starting to swerve around a little bit. Then, all of the sudden, I heard this sound behind me like something had fallen out of my jersey pocket. I looked back and there was this huge fossilized skull of a triceratops lying in the middle of the road. It really caught me off guard.”

While it is fairly common for serious cyclists to enter their pain caves on a regular basis, it was the depth to which Rosen dug that was the likely cause of his remarkable finding. “I’ve really never gone that hard before,” said the Account Manager for a local tech company. “I was really struggling toward the end there but I have to say it was worth it. I mean, it’s not often that you can produce a nearly perfect triceratops skull from your pain cave as a Cat. 4. The really good fossils and hieroglyphics are usually found in the pain caves of much more experienced riders.”

When asked if he felt his pain cave finding was an indication of good form going into the 2007 season, Rosen was measured in his response. “I really can’t say if I’m going to do well this season or not. It’s kind of tough to tell. Maybe the fact that it hurt so much and that I had to go that far into my pain cave is an indication that I actually kind of suck right now. Normally I get up that hill a lot easier.”

Aftermath of previously documented dinosaur pain cave finding

Archaeologists from the University of Colorado were baffled by the discovery but confirmed that it was a legitimate finding. “I have never seen anything like this before,” said Dr. Michael Koctostin, an expert on cycling-related dinosaur bone findings. “It is not uncommon for many of the local cyclists in the greater Boulder area to bring us small fossils and bits of precious metals found in their pain caves from time to time. But the size and startlingly good condition of Mr. Rosen’s triceratops skull is truly unique. I’m glad I wasn’t riding behind him at the time, that’s for sure.”

Rosen finished the press conference by answering questions about the logistics of his production and transportation of the skull. “Honestly, I don’t really know where it came from. I checked my jersey and shorts and everything was fine. I felt a weird twinge in my lower abdomen right before it came out but seriously…the shorts and everything were left completely intact. Trust me on this one, I was as shocked as anybody that this happened. And it was really hard to carry back into town.”

It is unknown whether Rosen’s findings will lead to other local cyclists using Old Stage Road as a launch pad into the nether regions of their pain caves but residents of the area have noticed small nuggets of coal, quartz and numerous other minerals on the side of the road with more frequency. “I found a few chunks of raw hematite in my driveway the other day after a large group ride came through,” said Sam Fletcher, a long-time resident. “The guys in the front were doing okay, but I think it was the two or three guys at the back of the pack that were responsible.”

Fletcher’s accusations have not been confirmed but I think you probably know who you are.

Stay tuned for The CaliRado Cyclist Interview with Bob Vila discussing the proper construction of a Wattage Cottage.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Astana-Wu-Tang Cycling Team Press Conference

In a recent press conference conducted in Staten Island, the East Coast hip hop group Wu-Tang Clan announced that it will continue its sponsorship of the Astana-Wurth (Wu-Tang) professional cycling team for the 2007 season. As a result, the team will continue to wear the multi-platinum group's famous red logo on their team gear and casual clothing.
The Real Wu-Tang Logo
Group founder The RZA, also known as Bobby Digital, led the press conference by expressing his satisfaction with the success of 2006 but quickly addressed the unfortunate typo that resulted in the team clothing and marketing information displaying the word "Wurth" and not the appropriate "Wu-Tang" as seen above. "I was quite unhappy with that particular situation" stated the clearly disturbed producer and MC. "It is fortunate that 'Wurth' is a direct Kazakh translation of 'Wu-Tang' but on sheer principle, the Wu simply will not tolerate such an egregious error and we are currently in the process of rectifying the situation accordingly. Let's just say that rather careless employee will not be riding a bike any time soon."
Beloki and Jaksche Representing The Wu
The RZA expressed his frustration at having the logo on the team gear misspelled but took comfort in the fact that Wu-Tang Clan record sales in Kazakhstan have quadrupled since the group began sponsoring the team. "I am confident that the average cycling fan knows the Wu-Tang logo when they see it and are not fooled by the 'Wurth' thing. So most people just naturally associate the mainly Spanish and Kazakh professional cycling team with hard core East Coast hip-hop and assume that the team is representing Wu-Tang to the fullest" said the man responsible for such albums as "Enter the 36 Chambers". "And when they roll up to races in that pimped out turquoise and yellow bus with the stereo turned up, blasting phat beats...man you know people see that red "W" and know that the Wu has something to do with it."
Method Man calling Vino to ask if he has his pipe in the 2006 Vuelta
The Astana-Wurth (Wu-Tang) cycling team experienced a tumultuous season in 2006 which included everything from numerous rider bans in the wake of Operacion Puerto to the victorious ride of Alexandre Vinokourov in the Vuelta a Espana. The RZA was joined on stage by several other members of the Wu-Tang Clan including Method Man, The Genius, Cappadonna and Ghostface Killah to congratulate the team and discuss the goals for 2007. Notably absent was Wu-Tang member Raekwon the Chef who is widely known as a huge fan of Kazakh rider Andrey Kashechkin and can often be seen wearing a gold medallion with the rider's name spelled out in diamonds on stage. Members of the group could not confirm Raekwon's whereabouts at the time.
The press conference ended quickly as an argument broke out between the various Spanish and Kazakh entourages resulting in multiple gunshots being fired. No one was critically hurt but the Wu-Tang clan members were fearful of their safety and unwilling to remain in the venue with such a questionable crowd of cycling journalists and racers. Look for Method Man's new album "Vuelta Victory" in stores soon.

Cycling Jerseys Transport Local Man Back In Time

There is always a first...and for most cyclists, there is nothing like the first team jersey. While the excitement of flying the team colors for the first time is something most racers enjoy, there is often a certain letdown when you catch that first glimpse of yourself in the new kit. Even if the jersey is cool, the acquisition of new gear does not always ensure that one will cut an imposing figure on the start line.

For reference, this look back at some team jerseys from my Junior racing career may not be used for psychoanalytical purposes relating to the residual effects of wearing the following articles of clothing as a teenager.

I had done a couple races unattached before being fortunate enough to get hooked up with the Marin Cyclists as a youngster for my first official team jersey. With an understated silhouette of Mt. Tam on the chest and a very mellow color scheme, this jersey was pretty sweet in retrospect. I didn't appreciate the importance of the latter element at the time but would come to remember it fondly in the following years. Here's why:

Okay, the Morgul Bismark/Killer Loop team was great but the kit left a little something to be desired. Maybe it was the fact that we had Killer Loop as a primary sponsor that made them want to make the jersey as blindingly bright as possible. Not sure. Regardless, operating out of Davis Phinney and Ron Keifel's shop on the Hill in Boulder and run by Randy Gaffney, the team was one of the best in the country for a while and well worth the day glow. This was also at the time when everyone was rocking the flourescent yellow however, I can't look at the above photo without thinking of the high-lighters on my desk. I am missing the Morgul Bismark jersey design that followed this one because none of the platoon were able to make it home from the battlefield intact. It was a doozy too but compared to my next team jersey and first foray into mounatin bike racing...it was great. On to the world of dirt...or rocks since I raced in Colorado and the Rockies:

The Salsa/Cycle Logic team was excellent in most respects, but the the initial jersey design was not one of them. Don't get me wrong, I was incredibly proud to race for Salsa Cycles. We got bikes and a lot of other great stuff from the sponsors so I am not proud of criticizing the kit but...
...engineers have confirmed that there were some design flaws from the beginning. The alternately colored sleeves were especially perplexing to me and continue to baffle me many years later. I also believe Salsa was working on some new "Pepper Man" designs and used our team as a test group. The above design was not highly recommended by this rider. So then we got to rock these as an alternative:

This jersey design has actually aged well but I often felt as if I was leading the Mountains Competition of the Tour de Jamaica. I was recently watching the 1989 Tour de France DVD and noticed that the RMO jerseys, worn most notably by Charly Mottet, were strikingly similar. Somewhat less Rastafarian but similar nonetheless.

The two elements of this jersey that I was never able to get a straight answer on were the "Peace" sign and the seemingly random homage to Stevie Ray Vaughn on the back right pocket. The era of this jersey was shortly after Vaughn's death but it was amazing how many people asked me about it on startlines and group rides. The peace sign just seemed like an afterthought and didn't help me get riled up for battles I was taking part in. I blame the peace sign for many, many losses.

So the moral of the story is that bad team kits are kind of like family. You can't really choose them and sometimes you just have to accept them and hope that the next year is better.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Laurent Brochard Spotlight - A Photo Essay

Many cycling fans know Laurent Brochard for one reason and one reason only. Despite a long and successful career, fans can often recall Phil Sherwen (they may as well be one person at this point) calling out Brochard in the peloton by pointing to one very distinctive element of his appearance. Evidence of what he is known for can be seen in the photograph below:

As you can see, the French rider is the proud owner of one of the most distinctive visual elements in all of professional cycling: The rainbow stripes of World Champion on the sleeves of his jersey. There is absolutely nothing else about his appearance that is strange or unique or deserving of attention. Further evidence of his very unique visual style can be seen in the photo below...on the collar of his jersey. Again, nothing else about his style is worthy of note.

In addition to his attacking style and obvious flair for style and fashion (note the exquisite manscaping of the chin...its laser precision and consistent rate of curvature a sure testament to his work ethic and attention to detail) Brochard has accumulated an impressive list of victories over the course of his career. His biggest victories came in 1997 when the rider from Le Mans won a stage of the Tour de France and became the professional World Road Champion in San Sebastian. The fact that he was implicated in the Festina affair, won a World title between the likes of Johan Museeuw ('96) and Oskar Camenzind ('98) and had only moderate success after '97 doesn't take any of the lustre off those stripes on his jersey though. People still just focus only on those stripes and no other feature of his appearance.
Here are those famous World Champion stripes again in a photo that is obviously focusing only on Brochard's famous jersey style and not anything else on or growing out of his head. Off the subject completely is the fact that Brochard is a huge fan of the French comic book character Marsupilami, as evidenced by the headband he is wearing in the above photo. But once again, there is nothing else unique about the head or appearance of Laurent Brochard.

The only other thing that cycling fans recognize Brochard for is the phrase that he famously uttered after a Tour de France stage in 1996. When asked what is was like in the peloton Brochard commented "It's business in the front, party in the back."

Brochard will be racing for the Bouygues Telecom squad in 2007 and although he still has the World Champion Stripes on his sleeves and collar...something just seems missing. The beard?

Friday, January 12, 2007

1998 UCI Promotional Poster

The CaliRado Cyclist will be posting its 2006 Review and 2007 Preview shortly. For now, enjoy:

I know these guys have been vilified lately and somewhat rightfully so, but man was it fun to watch them play. Except when they beat the Giants in the '89 World Series. That was not fun at all. And the whole forearm bashing thing was pretty lame. But come on, they were in Oaktown 357 so odd behavior was somewhat guaranteed.

I was born and raised a Giants fan but I had an elementary school teacher named Mr. Zander that used to give A's tickets away during recess football games so I saw these guys play a lot. I was young but I think everyone knew back then that these dudes were doing something fishy but nobody cared. They were such a fun and exciting team to watch and Canseco and McGwire were like super heroes. Except when Jose kept getting busted for driving his Lamborghini down the highway at 135mph and beating his wife. That part wasn't so super...but he could still hit the ball a long way and play mediocre right field when necessary so most people loved him.

All I know is that the recent demise of both mens reputations has not affected the many pleasant memories I have of watching them crush balls into the bleachers at Al Davis Field or whatever the heck it's called now. They may be labeled as bad guys currently but it's impossible to erase all the smiles they put on a lot of peoples faces back in the day. Except when they beat the Giants, of course. That did not make me smile at all.

But neither does watching them (especially McGwire) get torn to shreds in the media when the general public virtually condoned it and supported it for their entire careers. Something is wrong here. Why the hatred now?

Thursday, January 11, 2007

75% Of Professional Cyclists In Colorado To Switch To Cross Country Skiing In 2007

A recent study conducted by the CaliRado Cyclist has determined that as many as 75% of all professional cyclists living in Colorado will compete in cross country skiing events instead of bike races in the coming year. Numerous reasons can be sighted for this large-scale change in discipline but most insiders believe that many of the racers will have forgotten how to ride their bikes by the time the snow melts after the numerous blizzards of late 2006 and early 2007.

Current meteorological data does not predict a complete thawing of the Boulder, Denver, Colorado Springs and Durango areas until mid 2008, leaving many of the professional cyclists without much to do. "You can only ride the trainer so much before you go crazy," said Claire Rogers, a professional racer out of Boulder who has switched to cross country ski racing for the 2007 season as a result of boredom and potential starvation.

"I tried to ride my mountain bike on one of the two cleared streets in the entire state the other day but didn't know how to keep my balance without a support stand after spending so much time on the trainer. So I just put on the skis back on and headed off. Considering I haven't even been able to drive to the store to get food in like three weeks now…it was a good thing I could ski to the market so that I didn't starve to death. Yeah, skiing is okay by me, I don't think I'll be on the bike much for awhile. After all, I do like to eat and be able to purchase goods and services without killing or seriously injuring myself in the process."

In addition to the need for transportation, many of the cyclists find themselves drawn to cross country skiing due to the lycra skinsuits worn during competition. "As long as I can find a sport that is brutally difficult and allows me to wear skin tight gear from head to toe…I'm a happy camper," exclaimed Jared Connor as he readied himself for an afternoon consisting of 50 laps around North Boulder Park. "I especially like it if I can wear my spandex in a fairly public setting. It's great when I can ride my bike around town but a lot of people will see me out here too."

Despite the appeal of cross country ski racing, many cyclists are saddened by the recent weather and career changes. Durango native and professional mountain biker Eric Kippelman was philosophical about the forced change in his occupation. "It's a bummer that El Nino or whatever had to dump all this snow on us and make me become a crosscountry skier. But that's cool, Mother Nature is a tough lady and I guess that's what I get for living in freaking Colorado. Duh."

Lloyd Flandis Ready To Win 2007 Tour de France

San Diego based cyclist Lloyd Flandis is coming off the best season of his career and is hoping to win the 2007 Tour de France. While his participation in the event has yet to be confirmed, Flandis’ ability to compete in the event may be compromised by the on-going legal issues concerning Floyd Landis, winner of the 2006 Tour. Landis was fired from his Phonak team after news of his questionable positive test was leaked to a horrible French newspaper. Flandis claims to have never raced professionally but is really, really good according to everyone who has ever ridden with him including Lance Armstrong, Tyler Hamilton and George Hincapie. Rumour has it that Oscar Periero and Andreas Kloden think he's pretty good too.

Lloyd Flandis (not to be confused with Floyd Landis)

Floyd Landis, not Lloyd Flandis, supposedly tested positive for an elevated epitestosterone -to-testosterone ratio after his HEROIC effort during stage 17 of the 2006 Tour de France which brought the former mountain bike racer and Mennonite back into contention for the yellow jersey. Landis is appealing the result and is hanging in legal limbo until someone at the USAC, WADA, UCI or CAS decides to take their heads out the sand or other dark places.

Lloyd Flandis however, has been quietly building his form over the past few years and is certain that he can compete at the Pro Tour level and possibly even win the Tour de France in 2007. “I’m really anxious to get back to racing professionally and hope to repeat my performance…er…I mean Floyd Landis’ performance at the 2006 Tour and repeat…er…I mean win the event for the first time in my career” said Flandis at a press conference held in front of Floyd Landis’ house in a suburb of San Diego.

“I had wanted Floyd Landis to be here to dispell any rumours that we are the same person. Just because we ride together a lot, have the same bike and clothing and look almost identical to one another. But unfortunately he had to go to a rehab session for his hip surgery which, remarkably, I just had performed on my hip as well. We even went to the same doctor” explained Flandis when asked why the press conference was being held in front of Landis’ home.

Floyd Landis (not to be confused with Lloyd Flandis)

While Flandis claimed to understand the apparent confusion between himself and Floyd Landis, he was quick to point out differences from the embattled 2006 Tour winner. “Okay, I know I have the same address and my wife and daughters names are the same as his…but come on…that’s just a coincidence. The biggest difference is that I am from an Amish community and Floyd was raised a Mennonite. I blame Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen for screwing that one up all the time” said Flandis as he fitted his Oakleys to his backwards hat and adjusted the collar on his “Free Floyd” t-shirt.

The press conference ended with Flandis going into a detailed explanation of the differences between Mennonite and Amish beliefs as well as a slide show of Landis' medical and scientific defense presented by Dr. Carnie Banker, an associate of Landis’ and Dr. Arnie Baker who is assisting with the on-going legal efforts. “The sooner Floyd Landis wins his case, the sooner Lloyd Flandis can retire and stay home with his wife Amber. Amber Flandis that is” concluded Banker.

Flandis is hoping to be able to sign with a Pro Tour team for 2007 as he continues his rehabilitation from hip surgery. He will be working with Robbie Ventura and Alan Lim as well as using Cycle-Ops, Specialized, Speedplay and Oakley products as he regains fitness while cursing the names of Dick Pound, Oscar Periero, Pat McQuaid, the French and all of the other people he hopes to make taste it when he wins again. Hopefully.

Floyd Landis was not available for comment.

Tuesday, January 9, 2007

Breaking Away News: Ullrich To Race For American Team


WADA Chairman Dick Pound Publicly Criticizes Your Grandmother And Favorite Childhood Pet

World Anti-Doping Agency Chairman Dick Pound (For reference, that’s his real name…not an alias or porn star title) publicly criticized both your Grandmother and your favorite childhood pet in a recent interview. It is unknown whether Pound has ever met your Grandmother or favorite childhood pet but somehow they were included in widely published claims of drug use and illegal performance enhancement by the I.O.C. member.

When questioned about your relationship with both your Grandmother and favorite childhood pet, Pound was dismissive. “It’s a great story,” Pound said. “Wonderful. But if it seems too good to be true, it probably is.”

Claiming that the careers of both your Grandmother and favorite childhood pet were influenced by the use of performance enhancing drugs, Pound was firm in his belief that out-of-competition testing and possible DNA profiling is a necessary step forward. Despite the fact that your Grandmother has never tested positive for banned substances, Pound said it is clear to him that she had cheated. “It’s like they used to say about pornography. You know it when you see it.”

A good buddy and protégé of former I.O.C. president Juan Antonio Samaranch, Pound was personally chosen for the role of WADA Chairman in 1999. The creation of WADA was supposedly an effort to establish a global anti-doping code for use in all Olympic and many non-Olympic sports. Pound also served as the I.O.C. Chairman of the Television and Marketing Committee from 1983 to 2001. During this time the I.O.C.’s TV rights have risen from $100 million to $2 billion.

Somewhat lost in the on-going soap opera that is the I.O.C. and WADA is the fact that Samaranch was rather close to one Franciscso Franco, the Fascist, Nazi sympathizer and associate of Adolf Hitler who served himself as dictator of Spain from 1939 until his death in 1975. These facts are lost as Pound casts dispersions over the entire professional cycling peloton and regularly lumps all racers into the group of convicted doping offenders. We are judged by the company we keep and Dick Pound thinks that your Grandmother, your favorite childhood pet and all bicycle racers are bad people.

While Pound understands that even though he is publicly criticizing your Grandmother and favorite family pet without any real proof of wrongdoing or formal sanctioning, he is quick to justify his outbursts as they pertain to his overall mission of offending any and everyone who cares the least bit about the process of justice and fairness in drug testing and sports as a whole. Randomly claiming that your favorite childhood pet had epitestosterone-to-testosterone levels exceeding the arbitrarily stated WADA minimum of 4-to-1, Pound reverted to his pattern of grossly childish and ignorant comments. “You’d think he’d be violating every virgin within 100 miles. How does he even get on his bicycle?” It has not been confirmed whether your favorite childhood pet can even ride a bicycle.

As a Canadian (that can mean whatever you want it to mean), Pound is understandably bothered by the United States and finished his presumably drunken rant with a parting shot directed at anyone south of his Canuck borders and even threw in a little primitive chest thumping and profanity. “There aren’t too many people who are prepared to point the finger at America and say: ‘Hey, take off the [expletive] halo. You’re just like everybody else.’ That’s a problem in America. America has a singular ability to delude itself.” One of Pound’s assistants later explained to him that since Canada is in North America it is technically considered “America” too. The assistant was promptly suspended for two years for having supposedly “juiced” during his 2nd Grade Geography lesson on the Continents.

The interview concluded with a Top 10 list of WADA Chairman Dick Pound’s claims and beliefs:

1) Your Grandmother and favorite childhood pet are rotten, dirty cheaters

2) Anyone who has ever even considered bicycle racing is a rotten, dirty cheater

3) Juan Antonio Samaranch is a good guy

4) Francisco Franco thought Samaranch was a good guy…and he felt the same way about Hitler

5) People with high epitestosterone-to-testosterone levels are prone to defiling virgins – but only within a 100 mile radius

6) It's perfectly okay to make baseless, exhaggerated and randomly profane claims as long as they are published and you are an I.O.C. or WADA official

7) It's especially okay to make outrageous, inflammatory comments if you have written a book titled "High Impact Quotations" and are named Dick Pound

8) It is not okay to say the slightest negative thing about WADA, Dick Pound, Canada, Ben Johnson (who Pound defended in court) or any poorly run, leak-riddled French laboratory

9) Canada, Mexico and all of the other countries in North, Central and South America are not part of the "America" that apparently wears a "[expletive] halo." That distinction is saved for the United States

10) Dick Pound is actually a socially acceptable name. Richard or Rich or Richie or Rick or Rickey or ANYTHING ELSE is not as good as DICK Pound.

* Author’s Note: While the basis of this article is satirical, it should be noted that every quote attributed to Mr. Pound is accurate and can be found in the following NY Times article. See for yourself.

Monday, January 8, 2007

Overweight Man To Spend Thousands Of Dollars On Lightweight Bike Parts

According to recent reports, significantly overweight local cyclist Bob Krantz is planning to spend thousands of dollars on a wide range of lightweight carbon fiber, titanium and aluminum bicycle parts and accessories in 2007. The recreational cyclist, who rides his $6,000 pro-quality racing bike around town approximately twice per month, will be searching for any product that can reduce the weight of his bike to below that of the UCI minimum of roughly 16 pounds.

"It is really a shame that the UCI has made weight restrictions for professional racers. But since I am not a pro, I am able to take full advantage of lightweight technology and really make the most of my strength-to-weight ratio," the 5'8", 215 lb. Krantz stated shortly before sitting down to a mid-ride meal of a chocolate chip muffin, steak sandwich and a 24oz bottle of Yoohoo at the local coffee shop.

The 55-year old accountant estimates that he has spent approximately $30,000 over the last four years in an effort to keep up with the advancing technology but claims the benefit to his performance has been worth the expense. "You'd be surprised at how much of a difference I feel riding my 16 lb. Cervelo Soloist with the new Zipp Wheelset and carbon fiber compact crank by FSA compared to my chunky old 16.4 lb Pinarello with lousy Kyseriums and crummy standard alloy Campy crankset from back in 2005. I mean, after I did all of the calculations for how much that extra 0.4 lbs was costing me on the climbs around my neighborhood and on the way to the coffee shop...we're talking about some serious energy savings" said Krantz as he zipped up his recently purchased XXXL Team CSC skinsuit and slipped some sparkling white lycra shoe covers on his new pair of $350 Sidi's. Additionally, Krantz chooses not to wear a helmet due to the excess weight and a claim that his masterful bike-handling skills allow him to avoid accidents. Furthermore, the rider boasts a "sixth sense" for trouble as a result of his dozens of hours on the bike over the last five years.

When questioned about the possible ramifications of getting the weight of his bicycle beneath the current UCI minimum Krantz was realistic, stating "Yeah, I could probably start drilling out some of the components to save an ounce or two but honestly, I'm starting to worry about compromising the structural integrity of the bike. After all, I am a few pounds over my ideal raceweight, well...like about 75 or so if you want to be specific, but carbon fiber and titanium are pretty strong so I'm not too worried. I rarely get up over 15 mph anyway, so even if I break another frame or burst another skinsuit...I should be okay."

Those interested in viewing Bob Krantz's pro-quality lightweight racing bicycle up close can usually see it leaning up against a table outside of the local coffee shop every other Saturday and occasionally on Sunday before the NFL season starts.

Saturday, January 6, 2007

McLane Pacific Cycling Classic Recap

The McLane Pacific Cycling Classic is one of Northern California's early season monuments and has been around as long as I can remember. Generally consisting of a road race around the fields and hills of Merced and a downtown criterium around the city park, the race has been a fixture on the early calendars of most domestic pro teams and this year came on the heels of the overwhemingly successful Tour of California.

The weather wasn't quite as nice as it had been during the ToC but as I write this shortly after the third 1'+ snowstorm in the last three weeks in Colorado...I have to say it was pretty nice. Merced is the last real town (Central Valley Sliding Scale applied) before Yosemite so it can get pretty chilly in early March but the downtown crit was fine until the afternoon when the men's pro field got after it. I think the weather for the road race the next day was brutal...but I could only handle one day and opted for the three-ish hour trip back to Marin. The road race is almost always windy, often rainy and for most part is out in the middle of nowhere. Good race though and the winner almost always really deserves it.

The crit course is kind of a modified "L" shape that wraps around the park and has a cool little chicane in front of the Town Hall and temporary beer garden. There was a crash in the early part of the race that took down, among others, Alex Candelario (CU Buffalo and one of the only pro racers that rocks mad facial hair) and Uber-Kiwi Greg Henderson who actually ended up breaking his hip. Bad news at first but Henderson was on fire at the end of the year and likely used this bad luck as a source of inspiration later on in the season.

A break ended up forming with McCormack, So Pro Mike Jones, Jackson Stewart and a few other guys. Everyone thought they were going to get caught including the ever-entertaining Dave Towle on the microphone. The locals actually step up in Merced despite a healthy dose of farmishness and the criterium usually has a pretty good crowd which Towle kept well informed throughout the event. Historically, everyone always gets caught and the race usually ends up in a scattered field sprint which seemed to be the likely scenario again. Despite the efforts of Toyota-United to reel them back, the break ended up staying away and Mike Jones jumped off the front at the end to win solo. Good finish and entertaining post-race interview with Towle and Jones, not a huge winner but a strong rider who could be up to some things now that he's with Jelly Belly in '07 and will have more chances for himself.

As of early January, the website for the McLane Pacific Cycling Classic is down and it appears that the event has come to an end. Apparently unable to generate the funds necessary for NRC sanctioning, the race may be gone for good. I truly hope that the McLane Pacific Cycling Classic can come back and continue its rich tradition. If not...then Mike Jones will be a good final winner and Merced will still be a good place to stop before hitting El Capitan and Half Dome. Farewell McLane, hope to see you again.

Thursday, January 4, 2007

The Joys of Winter Break in a College Town

Life in a college town can be kind of strange. Depending on the time of year in Boulder, there can be a very rapid population drop of about 20,000 people over the span of a few days. And considering that most of these people are students (the segment of the population that I find by far the most bothersome) these occasional 20% drops in the amount of cars on the road, people on the trails and everything else are usually my favorite times of the year.

Now, I'm not going to completely dissmiss the college kids because I was one of them once. Well, a few times actually and for quite awhile when you add up all the semesters. Maybe a bit too long if you ask the Federal Student Loan Bureau.

But anyway, the best thing about the University of Colorado (besides the quality education of course) is the campus itself. And the best thing about the campus is that it stays here when all the chumps paying out-of-state tuition get on planes and fly back to California, Texas, New York and wherever else they think it's okay to pay private school prices for a public institution.

Most importantly, these breaks in class schedules provide locals the opportunity to cruise around the campus unencumbered by the throngs of coffee-toting, iPod-wearing kids wandering all over the place during the school year. This is really a good thing. Especially when there has been 3.5' of snow in a little over a week and the miles of cleared walkways and paths around campus are easy to run and ride on.

These photos are just a few random shots I took while C-Mac and I were running up there a few days ago. We were out for a little over an hour, did a few circuits of the campus and saw a total of two other people running. Nice.

Don't get me wrong, I have had the opportunity to visit a number of beautiful schools including Stanford, Pepperdine, Berkeley, Oregon and Washington. But honestly, none of them even comes close to CU for location, views and consistently impressive architecture.

Furthermore (although completely off the subject), CU is to collegiate cycling what UCLA and Notre Dame are to basketball and football. What else do I need to say?

Wednesday, January 3, 2007

Retirement Of Lance Armstrong Dramatically Reduces Number Of People Who Act Like They Know About Bike Racing

A recent study conducted by the CaliRado Cyclist has confirmed that the retirement of seven-time Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong has dramatically reduced the number of people who act like they know anything about bike racing. While the study shows that the number of people racing bikes has actually gone up over the last 12 months, the amount of people claiming to know anything about cycling or faking that they care about the sport has dropped significantly.

The vast celebrity status of Armstrong as a cancer survivor was widely credited with increasing the popularity of professional cycling in the United States during the last decade. However, further analysis has determined that many so-called "fans" of cycling during the Armstrong era were never interested in the sport at all and are still unable to name a single professional race besides the Tour de France. In fact, a startling 75% of the millions of people that purchased LiveStrong bracelets could not name one of Armstrong's teammates from any of his seven victorious Tour de France squads.

"While I am disappointed that so many people apparently faked caring about the sport of cycling, I have to tell you it's been nice to not have to explain the complexities of bike racing to a bunch of people who really only care that I lost a testicle to cancer and dated Sheryl Crow" Armstrong stated in a recent press conference for the Discovery Channel Cycling Team of which he is part owner.

Former teammate George Hincapie echoed Armstrong's sentiments, "You know, after seven years of repeating myself over and over again while discussing simple tactics such as drafting, I'm finally at peace with the fact that most Americans have little to no concrete understanding of bike racing. The best part is that I no longer have to listen to fat ass football and NASCAR fans try to discuss the sport I have dedicated my entire life to. Now that Lance has retired, it's almost like they forgot cycling is even a professional sport."

The decline in people that act like they know anything about bike racing has affected more than just professionals like Armstrong and Hincapie. Local Category 3 racer Andrew Milton has noticed that his co-workers don't say ignorant things about bicycle racing to him nearly as much as they did when Lance Armstrong was winning the Tour and having his love life plastered all over the tabloids and entertainment shows.

"This one guy at work kept asking me why I wasn't racing in the Tour de France. He said that if a cancer survivor could win then someone who hasn't had cancer should be able to win easily. This other guy kept saying that Lars Ullrich was a loser and would never win the Tour again. I had to keep reminding him that it is Jan Ullrich and that Lars Ullrich is the drummer for Metallica. That same guy also said that Bo Jackson could have won the Tour if he trained for a few months. Man, I hated talking to those fools" Milton recounted.

"Don't even get me started on all the times I had to explain what the freaking Yellow Jersey signified. 'Overall accumulated time. It's not whoever wins the stage. IT'S OVERALL ACCUMULATED TIME DAMMIT!!!!' I would always say. Now that Lance is retired nobody really asks me anything or seems to care much anymore. Well except for the whole Floyd Landis drug thing...but most people forgot about that pretty quickly because he's not dating anyone famous and has all his junk still intact. Well, at least I think he does. Probably."