Friday, February 27, 2009

Sponge Bath

Not to get all summertime crazy clean or anything like that. But sometimes in the middle of winter you need to knock the mud down. So you can sleep at night.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Wish They All Could Be California Girls

Levi, you da man. Obviously. Good to be you. (Wish I was you. For the girl part, not the suffering part.)



Super nice ride, bro.

And thanks to Versus for introducing me to the freak sport of pro rodeo between stages.



They have a star named Ryan Dirteater. Honest.

(Meanwhile, all the pro rodeo fans are so excited about the freak sport of pro cycling.)



These two sports go together like peanut butter and ketchup. Nothing has ever made more sense, Versus.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Crash-A-Mania

Not to be outdone by the many crashes at the Tour of California this week, we've had our own crashfest here in Spokane.

I hit the deck on Thursday morning. Me and the bike walked away totally unscathed. Funny, I've "performed" almost the same exact crash that resulted in cracked ribs and a busted bike. Luck of the draw.

At about the same time, Mike went down, on his way to work, his first in a long time. Bloody elbow, probably torched a shirt while he was at it.

Then I read today that John had his first in a while, over on the bluff. Dinged-up knee and a dinged-up bike.

But the worst of the bunch was Jerry's crash on today's SRV ride. The ride had a nice start, with 12 riders showing up in the middle of February.



But just outside of Cheney, another bike swerved in front of Jerry and with no time to react, they collided and he went down hard and another rider went over the top of him. I was in front of them and didn't see it, but I heard it - the unmistakeable sound of a bike crash. Jerry couldn't go no mo' (shoulder, ribs, thumb, knee) and neither could his bike (derailleur shoved into the rear spokes, chain wrapped around all kinds of wrong stuff). His helmet is a no-longer-functional souvenir suitable for reminding us why we need to wear them. A really nice lady helped us out and gave him a ride back to a coffee shop in Cheney while he waited for a ride from Spokane. The blogger code of ethics prevented me from taking a picture of Jerry lying on the shoulder of Hwy 904 or his mangled derailleur, but it wasn't his super-funnest day.

Crashes are a risk inherent to cycling. When you're sitting on top of two skinny disks rotating in the same plane, you have to acknowledge the fact that shit can definitely happen, and in the blink of an eye. I deal with this risk through a variety of head games, not the least of which is denial. But suffice to say, it's a risk I'm willing to take in order to do something I love. Me and a bunch of you guys and a lot of other people.

Anyway, let's not dwell on it. I just hope we all have it out of our systems for a while.

And speaking of luck of the draw, here's a picture sequence from Levi Leipheimer's crash at the Tour of California, earlier in the week. He got up and jumped right back in the race.















Ride on, stay safe.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Slicker Than Snot

I've been getting a lot of riding in on the weekends, but haven't been commuting at all. With the first race coming up in just a little over 2 weeks, I need more bike time. I picked one helluva day to start.



The side streets were skating rinks. Ben Garnett was de-icer'd, but still a white-knuckle descent. Best thing I can say about this commute is that I only went down once.

I've been determined to insist that studded tire season was over a few weeks ago. I think I need to get real.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Amgen Tour of California Road Trip (25)

The Tour of California is amazing. In just four years it has become maybe the 5th or 6th most prominent cycling tour event in the world. It's not a grand tour yet, but it's a seriously legit international tour and it's got upswing momentum. The list of participating teams and riders this year just blows me away.

The production is immense. It's a huge rolling show that moves from city to city for nine days. In terms of the number of people that watch (1.6 million last year), it's the biggest sporting event in the United States. And yet it's way cool that as a fan, you can still get so close, and for free. We were 2 feet away from Lance and other cycling rock stars as they made their way from the team buses to the start house in Sacramento. Today, we were at the start line watching the entire field right in front of our faces. It helps that cycling is a sport that requires a lot of space, which means that you can spread huge crouds over a large area. I hope that the sport in this country can maintain that intimacy. People I know that are fans of NASCAR tell me that they have a great connection between fans and drivers and I know now that cycling has the same thing.

Words can't really do it justice, but here's a couple of videos.



ATOC Road Trip (24)

Stage 2 Pics

Moto dudes:





National Anthem chicks:



Big-ass event tent with a bike-art entrance:



Quindem??? The disc brakes seem like a good idea:



Some dude named Tyler:





(Rock Racing has it going on with the baddest kits, BTW.)

Some dude named Lance:





ATOC Road Trip (23)

We left right after the start of Stage 2 and drove straight through. I feel like I'm on a different planet than I was 18 hours ago. Excellent trip. Good to be home.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

ATOC Road Trip (18)

We can't work 24/7. Sometimes we need to take a break and do some post-race analysis. In this case it was every bit as clear as the picture.

ATOC Road Trip (17)



Headed south toward tomorrow's Stage 2 after a hard day of racing for them, a hard day of spectating for us.

Atoc (16)

Waiting . . . Waiting . . .

Atoc (15)

Downtown Santa rosa

Atoc (14)

Mandatory CA stop

Atoc (13)

On foot today, scoping out vantage points for tomorrow's stage

ATOC Road Trip (12)

Fun day for a ride.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Amgen Tour of California Road Trip Loose Ends (11)

What happens in Vegas apparently doesn't always stay in Vegas



The percussion part of a complete band on bikes



Ever try to get your dog to wear goggles?



Our pre-prologue ride





I hardly got any schwag today but I did get this super duper awesome chalk for writing Lance really encouraging messages on the pavement



The nightcap ride



Travelodge hospitality

Atoc (10)

Watching people watch Lance warm up

Atoc (9)

Atoc (8)

Tour is underway

Atoc (7)

Citizen ride

Atoc (6)

ATOC R/T (5)

Fueling up for the prologue

Friday, February 13, 2009

ATOC R/T (4)

LLVH&G (leaving las vegas hi & goodbye)