Monday, October 30, 2006

some new wheels

Last night, Sunday, I was exhausted. I had weeded a part of my yard I hadn't weeded since I moved in about 14 years ago. As you might imagine, the weeds had suffocated bushes and small trees. Clearing it all up was an all day affair. I was bushed.

Then work called - in my real life I support financial type software. So when there are problems, people lose money. And when people lose money, they get pretty anxious. Makes my job a bit stressful sometimes. Of course they called right when I was about to get on the bike. Two hours later, at about 10 PM, done with work, it was time to ride. I was kind of tired by then.

I popped in a tape of the Tour (it happened to be the last day of the 2006 Tour) and watched the pros amble around the Paris suburbs for a bit. But I rarely pedaled hard enough to even pant and the mirrors around me were uninspiring to say the least. When I had to turn off the fan because it got me cold, I knew I wasn't doing anything productive, so I got off the bike.

I did some collarbone protecting shoulder lifts (military presses mostly). Then a couple curls because whenever you have dumbells in your hand, you gotta do curls. Skipped the deadlifts as ripping out dozens of decade old vines was worth a good 50 deadlifts. But I thought about it and bent over to pick up the bar.

When I did, I saw a couple Campy hubs that I bought a while ago. I knew I had the spokes in a box, the rims behind the stereo speakers, and the tools in my "wheel building supply box". It was too late to ride more and I was in that "too tired to do anything including going to sleep" mode. So I wasn't ready to call it a night.

The only thing holding me back from doing the wheels was that I didn't know the spoke lengths. But presto, I had my work phone, a Treo 650, downstairs. Normally I don't haul it downstairs with me, but with the recent call in mind, I had carried the phone around, "just in case".

The phone is cool and I especially like the part where you can save notes in the Notes section (go figure, right?). I save things like HR stats from workouts, gas purchase costs and mileage, car mod budgets, bike budgets, and, would you believe it, spoke lengths for some of the wheels I want to build. Including the wheels whose parts were sitting right there.

So I sat down on the floor in my dry bib shorts and started putting together a wheel. It'd been a while since I built wheels regularly but after a few fumbles and a bunch of "oh yeah, that's how you do that", I was off and lacing.

Wheelbuilding is both an art and a science. It's sort of unnecessary, like classic Aston Martins. You can get cheaper ones (wheels or cars), faster ones, lighter ones, whatever. But a good hand built wheelset is a joy to ride, just like a classic Aston Martin. Handbuilt wheels have the advantage of easier service since the builder probably used a black Park spoke key and some normal hub. Of course, if you're the builder, then you know the wheel intimately, the quirks in tension, the rim's unique character, etc.

A good wheelbuilder puts personal touches on a wheelset - they demonstrate the knowledge necessary to put those touches on the wheels. They also exhibit, for discerning experts, the builder's workmanship. Here are several of those touches:

1. Both rims should "read" the same direction, i.e. the letters on rim, on the bottom, should be readable from one side or another. Usually I choose the right side, i.e. the wheels read from the drivetrain side of the bike.

2. This means both hubs have to be oriented in a certain way. Many hubs are "left-right" unique, even though a front hub really doesn't have sides. The Centaur hubs in my hands had a locking dustcap on one side. In the rear, it was on the left side. That made the front hub's locking dustcap the "left" side.

3. The lacing should be such that the spokes next to the valve hole are parallel. This lets you pump up your tires without slicing your hands on the spokes when you pop the pump head off.

3a. The exception is on heavy-duty 24 and 32 hole wheels - in that case, if the rim seam is opposite the valve stem, you should cross over the valve hole. This will put the rim seam in the middle of four crossing spokes. This makes the seam a little more stable.

4. Use thin center-section spokes. The elbows are the weakest point of a wheel (when using standard spokes). The spoke midsections rarely break. So I try and use 14-17-14 spokes (2.0mm-1.7mm-2.0mm I think). Meat where you need it, light where you don't.

5. Use alloy spoke nipples in the front and on the left side on the rear. The right rear spokes see a lot of tension and alloy nipples are simply not as strong as brass nipples.

6. Spoke prep on the spoke threads. Lets you true a wheel but prevents the spokes from loosening.

7. Grease on the rim eyelets (where the spoke nipple sits). The spoke nipple should turn freely against the rim.

I started remembering all that stuff and started lacing up my wheels. About 30 minutes of relaxing, meditative work later, I had a pair of un-tensioned wheels. And I was ready for bed.

Tonight I'll tension them.

And maybe tomorrow I'll have an inspirational set of training wheels for my spring campaign.

So nice.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Refund?! Refund?! REFUND?!

Okay we are not trying to push the Corvette on you like Dave Stoller's dad in the classic movie "Breaking Away". But there is someone concerning refunds that should concern any racer out there.

Every year, rules are proposed, reviewed, and if accepted, adopted into the USCF rulebook. Some are fixes of muddy definitions - for example, specifying that an official has to be 18 years old versus "not a minor". They occasionally change the Junior age grouping, gear limits (that's on the table this year), and things of that nature.

But sometimes they come up with real doozies.

One of the proposed rule changes for 2007 is the guarantee that racers will get refunds for entry fees if requested. The person paying the refunds is the promoter.

This is how it breaks down:

1. Two weeks prior to the race, a racer can get 90% refund, guaranteed.
2. One week prior, 80% refund, guaranteed.
3. One day prior, 60% refund, guaranteed.
4. Day of race, no refund required by promoter unless promoter does not fulfill their promotion duties (i.e. have a course, officials, things like that).
5. Racers who are disqualified cannot get refunds.

If you're a racer, and most of the USCF members are racers, this sounds like a great idea. You can register for all races and use the following strategy. First, two weeks before the race, if you just don't feel like doing the race, just ask for your money back. Then, with 10 days to go, check for the 10 day outlook. If you want the latest weather hedges, wait till a week to go, and if the weather looks kinda iffy, just ask for your money back.

I mean we all talk about lactic acid and thresholds and stuff, but, rain? Forget it. Finally, if you decide you really don't want to race (maybe the 15 beers Friday night are still with you) then ask for your money back. Now you can be recovered, dry, and safe for next week's race. Oh, pending checking the weather first. And seeing if maybe you hang with the group on Thursday night, because otherwise racing Sunday wouldn't be a good idea. And on and on.

Gee, what a great idea, right?


The reason it's not a great idea is that this policy hurts the promoters, especially the smaller ones with fixed costs that have to be paid out. Promoters need to line up things like portapotties, police, finishline cameras, pay for permits, maybe a few "upgrades" in their online registration site of choice, course marshals, trophies, etc. I would never have become a promoter if this was a rule back when I started. The Series I promote struggled through making, on average, less than $30 a week at the beginning. If you consider all the volunteers, the time spent trying to convince the Town Selectmen that, no, we don't make a lot of noise (that seemed to be of great concern), sweeping the course with brooms, $30 would break down to about, what, like a dime an hour? Not worth it.

If you are a racer, think back a few years and list all the races that you had raced before that no longer exist. For me, I can name a lot, and some are national classics. Tour of Nutley (in 1983, it was the National Crit Championships - and my first race I ever watched). Oyster Bay Crit. The New London Crit. The Cheshire Crit (okay, it was more a circuit race). The different iterations of the Wallingford Crit. Putney RR (I think that's what it was called). The Barkhamstead Road Race. Heck, the Killington Stage Race. Salem Crit. Boston Downtown Crit. Mahwah. Peekskill. West Hartford. Bloomfield. Manchester (Great American Mall Crit). Andy Raymond's Firecracker in Middletown (my first race). The list goes on and on.

These races all disappeared for one reason or another. Money, time, energy, something. Putting on races is not easy. It requires a lot of time and commitment, and it's often done by only a couple people, with a few more people's help. I've been promoting a race series for about 15 or so years, and each year about 20 people actually help put on the race over six or seven weeks of races. This includes the guy that holds up a corner of the tent while we open it up and does nothing else to help for the rest of the series (but let me tell you that help is really appreciated!). A rule requiring refunds just makes the promoter's job harder.

A rule that requires promoters to refund entry fees is so ludicrous I can't even imagine who proposed it.

Perhaps if USA Cycling guarranteed refunds for all the expenses the promoter incurs, then the rule would be reasonable. For example, if a negative weather forecast persuades a lot of racers to ask for a refund and in turn causes the race to be cancelled, the promoter should be able to go to USA Cycling and ask for contingency funds to cover the expenses necessary to cover the promoter's commitments. So a promoter would be able to recoup the money already paid to do things like secure the course, the facilities, and the official stuff (permit fees, etc). I guess all the time, energy, and stress put in by the promoter would be a freebie.

Then next year the promoter can try once more with the race. Of course racers won't sign up since they'll say, "Well, last year the promoter cancelled for no good reason, so I'm not going to bother to register". And then the race will be cancelled again, this time for lack of funds, interest, etc., and the racers will say, "See? I told you this promoter is a loser!". Great. Another race down the tubes.

You know, we don't need doping to kill bike racing. This rule would undermine the foundation of all bike racing in the US - the grassroots promoter that feels that it's their mission to provide races for racers. No more Floyds, no more Danielsons, no more racers saying, "Yep, when I was doing that dinky crit in Nowheretown, USA, I was dreaming one day of racing here at the Tour/Roubaix/Flanders/Worlds/wherever. I can't believe I'm here, it's a dream just to compete against my heros."

You can do something about it though.

If you are a USCF member and you appreciate the various race promoter's efforts to put on a race, contact USA Cycling. You can get a list of the Trustees here. Email them, call them, write them, and tell them that you think refunds should be handled by the promoter, not the USCF.

Do it before this coming weekend, October 28th, because that's when the rules are accepted or rejected.

By the way, in case it wasn't clear before, I promote races. Our race welcomes pre-registrants. And if you email or call, up to the day before the race, and make up a good story, we'll gladly refund 100% of your money. If you want the (cheaper) pre-reg price applied to a later race, we'll do that too. 100% of it. We just don't do refunds after race day (we've been asked and said no).

All it takes is a reasonable promoter and a reasonable racer to work out these things.

You know what?

They're the ones we want to keep anyway.

mobile dope controls

I've been thinking about this doping thing. Obviously it's affecting cycling greatly - when the "best" cyclists don't show up for the Tour route unveiling, something is really wrong with the pro cycling scene.

It's really too bad too, because cycling is a fascinating sport. It combines a lot of elements - physical fitness, technology, and tactics, each subjects vast and limitless as far as discussion goes. In other words, I'll save those topics for another post :)

A friend of mine podiumed one year in the Elite (i.e. Pros and Amateurs). Incredibly, there was NO dope testing! Nothing! If a racer can win Nationals and not get tested, the system is broken.

In Europe apparently they have the "dope van", some yellow thing that drives around to pro's houses and takes samples. This led to a comedic episode where a racer, on his way home, saw the dope van sitting there. He took off, the dope van folks noted this, and, sort of like refusing to take a breathalyzer, he was found "positive".

Here in the US a dope van would be impractical. The distances too great, the chance of tracking it (via sightings, perhaps posted to a nice blog called "The Dope Van"), the mileage racked up substantial, etc., etc.

I propose a different solution. It would require some sponsorship as it would be a relatively costly thing (tests cost a lot of money). Maybe a nice benefactor, a rich cycling fan who also cares about the atheletes, not just winning. And an airline and a rental car company, maybe ones that are headed by people who need some nice, positive (pun intended) publicity. This is what would happen.

First, there would be a testing crew or two or more. Each would consist of at least one male, one female, and a third person (harder to corrupt three than two). These might be part time folks who have other jobs for most of the year (school teachers?). The number of crews is a highly variable thing and can be fluid, changing as demands require. For example, in the period building up to the early season races, there might be 3 or 4 or 5 crews. After many of the races are over, and it's, say, the holiday season, it might be just one crew.

Second, there would be an airline sponsor. Since the US is so big geographically, it would make no sense wasting time driving the equipment around. Instead, there would be a modular dope control station which breaks down into checkable luggage size components. As far as I can tell, since blood and urine samples are the primary things collected, it would be reasonable to have a compact kit. The biggest thing would probably be some kind of cooler type thing, mabye with it's own climate control.

Third, there would be a rental car company sponsor. The other day I rented a car from Hertz. Originally I asked for a Ford Taurus, seeing as it fit five and it was $41 a day. But when I got there, I couldn't resist the temptation of renting the Dodge Magnum wagon - 350 HP, all wheel drive, and fits five as well. The last feature was critical because it allowed me to justify renting the street legal rocket sled. All for less than five cups of really expensive coffee a day.

Back on track... The rental car company is key because the car would not be identifiable. One day, a (ahem!) Dodge Magnum would show up. Another, a Chevy Aveo. Maybe the aforementioned Taurus. No yellow dope van here, just a standard, plainclothes control center on wheels.

(On a side note, I hope local law enforcement doesn't take this idea in hand as it's hard enough to spot the undercover Camaros, SUVs, and the like on the way to work.)

Anyway, that's my proposal. Mobile units, self contained, kind of like little commando units. They can land anywhere, take samples, and within hours be somewhere else. Armed with a list of events, they can pick random ones and show up there, flash their "dope control" certificates, and test, say the top 3 as well as 5-10 randoms. Maybe some finger pricks at the start line for unusual hematocrit values.

One day it might be a big event with headline racers. Another day it might be a small local race. In between, maybe some rinky dink midweek training races. And for the racers who've already aroused the suspicions of the authorities with "abnormal but within limit" readings, some nice personal face time at their home or wherever they might be staying.

Part of the kit would have to be a video camera, to record the proceedings. The tape (or electronic file - it could be captured to a hard drive) would be handled like a sample so there would be evidence that the racers didn't tamper with the samples. Or, as the case may be, that they did. And, ideally, it wouldn't end up on YouTube after a day or two since it's considered "confidential". If such procedures were in place, there might be videographic evidence of racers, say, dropping some powder into their urine samples. It would be harder to pull the stunts that Willy Voet describes in his tell-all book, Breaking the Chain.

There would be some costs associated with this setup. Uniforms, sample taking equipment, maybe a banner or three, the video camera, a case of video tapes (or DVDs or a laptop), food, fuel, the aforementioned modular cases, a tent, etc. I'm sure at least one of the testers would have to be certified, if not all.

Once all that foundation stuff is in place, the system would incur costs for travel and testing. The cost per week may be something like the following for each team:
3 x $130 - one way tickets to some location
1 x $200 - one week rental of some vehicle
7 x $200 - one week of hotel or motel rooms
(n) x $300-$600 - cost of testing per test

The cost of catching an unsuspecting doper at a rinky dink local midweek race?


Monday, October 23, 2006

cornering lines

I read yesterday that Boonen was talked out of racing a Porsche 996 in a 10 hour race. It's a pity. First off, I think Boonen would have had a blast. The Porsche is a reliable race car, and many pure drivers (i.e. car racers) own one, regardless of whose car they race for work. Secondly, I think that driving a race car would be incredibly educational for a bicycle racer. The reason is that, from what I can tell, pro cyclists know not too much about cornering lines. And cornering is one of the keys to descending.

Descending doesn't take fitness. EPO won't help you descend. Neither, at a certain level, will testosterone, HGH, or any othe performance enhacing drugs. It's brains that help you descend quicker, knowledge and understanding about cornering, G-forces, and inertia. It seems that during that fateful stage in the Tour, Floyd gained much of his time on the descents. This was apparent watching the peloton's lackadaisical descents during the stage (heck, the whole Tour) as well as Floyd's downhill lateral-stress-test wheel descents where it looked like he was riding skiis, not a bike. He was visibly faster than his opponents.

I don't know who decided to take it easy on the descents but when someone sitting upright, coasting, braking, and basically going as slow as he can - Mick Rogers - can't help but pull away from the field on a descent, something is very, very wrong. Where did the flowing marbles look go, the one where you see various switchbacks full of racers zigzagging across the screen, led (in many cases) by a tucked and flying Lemond? I dunno but in general the Tour descenders this year looked pretty tame. Floyd excepted.

Why is that? Descending in a straight line is easy. It's the turns that count. If you watch the timid descending in the Tour, you'll see all sorts of elemental cornering errors. You'd think the pros would know how to corner - late apexes, double apexes for variable radius turns, things like that. A lot of the racers make the most basic, elementary error when cornering - the early turn in. It's the worst move for a motorsports racer unless you're protecting your line in a tight crit (and face it, most pros in the Tour are not too worried about protecting their spot on a descent). An early entry point puts you on the inside of the turn, going sort of straight, when the turn isn't even half done. You have no room to maneuver, no room for error.

On the other hand, a late apex is the racer's dream. Maybe a bit slower in but you can accelerate out, possibly even before the "apex" (since you're apexing a bit early), you are pointing down the next straight halfway through the turn, and you are not at your cornering limits at that time - so when people start bouncing off the outside wall of the turn because of their early apexes, you can dive to their inside.

On a bicycle, it's hard to press home these kind of concepts since you're going so slow that mistakes rarely result in more than some road rash. But in a car, finding yourself driving off the course at 100 mph because you turned in too early on that long sweeper could mean a really nasty crash. If you make it through your mistake, you'll be sure never to repeat it again.

It's as if the pro cyclists have forgotten the basics and focussed only on the engine (i.e. the whole doping thing). A thousand horsepower car is useless if you don't harness that power. Okay, fine, it goes really fast in a straight line. But not much else. Formula 1 cars peaked at 1300 HP in the mid 80's. Drivers said the way to drive them was point the car down the straight, floor it, brake, creep around the corner, and repeat. The cars were virtually undriveable due to the inherent imbalance between power and handling. The 750-800 HP cars today are faster than those untamed power monsters because the current cars are so much better balanced - they can corner as well as "go".

Unfortunately, the old F1 cars are like modern day bike racers, except the racers don't have that much wattage to spare. The pros seem to focus on only how fast they can climb, not how to actually race a bicycle. They hammer up the climbs, bank some time, and trade time for their lack of descending skills. You get these guys who are lean, strong, fit, but have no clue about "how to race". It might be the earpieces spewing commands or something but a certain intuitiveness is gone from the racing scene. The back markers, the ones that lose time on the climbs, they're the ones descending like mad. They have to learn because they don't have the engine to climb at, say, Floyd's pace. (Just so you don't misunderstand, please note that I mentioned earlier that Floyd knows how to descend as well as "go".)

Instead of dissuading Boonen from doing the 10 hour endurance race in a Porsche 996, his team should have brought all his teammates and made them all race. Or at the very least gotten them on some nice 70+ mph karts at Spa or some other reasonably famous outdoor course. Or failing that, do what Jelly Belly did a couple years ago - get a nice corporate discount and go karting, as a team, indoors at a serious indoor karting venue.

If you're a team director, next time you see your racer dive into a turn only to brake, desperately stick their knee inside, leaning over the bike to try and keep it on the road, think of this post. And if they go flying over a guardrail because of their erroneous cornering line, don't get mad. Buy them some driving lessons.

And email me.

I'll be glad to drive with them.

it's tactics, stupid

So today I get a feeder mail (those are emails that seed blog entries). Apparently Floyd gained most of his time on that infamous stage on the descents. The output on the climbs, while substantial, were not "phenomenal".

The Link

So Dr Allen Kim (Floyd's doctor and the one that loves to quote PowerTap numbers, PowerTap being one of Saris's products) says that at 390 watts Floyd gained time on the peloton. At 380, he'd stay even. At 370, he loses time. According to the article, he gained time on only two climbs. The intial one, the Col de Saises, where he attacked, and the third one, the Col de Columbiere. The other three climbs he rode under 380 watts and lost time.

He also poured about 55 bottles of cold water on his head during his break. It's something that improves everyone's performance on a hot day. I didn't know how till I read the article. Blood is used to cool the body as well as carry oxygen. I guess it's like coolant. So if you're overheating your blood is busy bringing heat energy to your skin surface and not as concerned about feeding those oxygen-deprived muscles. Pouring ice cold water on your body will keep your body cooler (the blood at the surface can dump a lot more heat energy per unit of blood) and free up some vital blood for oxygen carrying duties. Floyd had the luxury of doing this during his break since he was alone. His chasers couldn't and so lost some of those precious blood cells to heat-moving duty.

They don't say what wattage he gained but it would be a messy but simple experiment - ride a trainer at your threshold, note wattage and heart rate, and dump some cold water on your head. See what happens to power for a given heart rate. My reverse experiment is the "don't drink water and put the big fan just out of reach" type, where I overheat because I don't feel like climbing off my trainer. I typically saw a 50+ watt difference when I would turn the fan on and drink some cool liquids.

Okay, fine. It seems pretty scientific. Okay. Fine. Just one thing.

As I mentioned before, I have a Cyclops Electronic Trainer. It's the floor-anchored version of the PowerTap hub. And until it started smoking like mad, I really liked using it. Got it a couple years ago when I was desperately trying to get in shape. I figured relative wattage would be a good thing to know when training. And it worked. I compared some notes (threshold wattage, max wattage, etc) with a few sources - a few tests I did on a friend's MG Technogym (ha and you thought it was just a team!), old Velodyne info, a couple threshold tests done at a training center, and a friend of mine that has an SRM. My wattages seemed reasonable.

I used to do 1 minute, max power intervals on my trainer. I found that, with really loud music, a big fan, a lot of psyc-up deep breaths, I could just barely sustain 400 watts for a minute. My form nose-dived in the last 15 seconds - if I was on the road, I would have ended up in a ditch. They were so taxing mentally I rarely did them since it took me a while to recover from that. Like a month.

Floyd, on the other hand, sustains that 400-ish watt figure for 30 or 40 minutes at a time. With a few bottles of ice cold water, some electrolytes, and a whole lotta people yelling and screaming at him from the side of the road.


Maybe I'll put down a tarp tonight and see how that ice cold water thing works.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Doping, of course

So the original reason for this blog was to comment on some of the happenings in the cycling scene. Of course a lot of gossip surrounds the doping scandal. There are also discussions on some of the race tactics in the big Tours - but then again, doing a Monday review of a Sunday race has its advantages.

When the NY Times article with Frankie Andreu and the "anonymous" USPS rider came out, it was almost like one of those logic puzzles. The anonymous ex-Postie said he was still in the cycling game so had to stay anonymous. But they gave a couple hints - on the 1999 team, seems english, be somewhat outspoken about things, and must be in touch with Frankie (or at least get along with him) to be willing to be interviewed with him. In the interview, the anonymous rider is quite careful to state facts and not implicate any others - for example, they refused to name names.

This is how the logic puzzle worked out for me:

The Tour team from 1999 (courtesy

US Postal

Manager: Johan Bruyneel (BEL)

181. Lance Armstrong (USA)
182. Frankie Andreu (USA)
183. Pascal Deramé (Fra)
184. Tyler Hamilton (USA)
185. George Hincapie (USA)
186. Kevin Livingston (USA)
187. Peter Meinert-Nielsen (Den)
188. Christian Vandevelde (USA)
189. Jonathan Vaughters (USA)

So who is the anonymous ex-Postie?

Andreu is out (since he's already being interviewed), so is Tyler (he maintains his innocence), Pascal (not in the cycling world), and Peter Meinert-Neilsen (ditto). Leaves:

Hincapie - highly unlikely as he appears to be a Lance person, i.e. FOL (Friend of Lance)

Livingston - likely as he was put on the sh*t list and left the team. Not really involved in cycling though.

Vandevelde - likely as he was put on the sh*t list too. however, not sure if he would speak out as he is on CSC which appears to be a rather unclean team (purely speculative - based on the bleached needles/bags found a couple times as well as just the plain history of some of their racers/directors).

Vaughters - likely as he also was put on sh*t list. I vote for him as he's been critical of Lance in the past and he is the director of TIAA-CREF and they are strongly anti-doping. this would encourage him to stay anonymous.

After the "IM Gossip" came out, it only reinforced my belief that Vaughters was the anonymous ex-Postie. Vaughters is too vulnerable to a campaign by FOLs based on what he does for a living - i.e. direct a team that has to get a license from USA Cycling (run by FOLs), try and get entry into races promoted by people that are FOLs, etc. It would have been nice if he could have said something in such a way that you can tell he wants to tell, but that for legal reasons he just can't. But alas, he says his whole IM chat was simply gossip.

All this "he said" stuff is ridiculous. Without concrete details, names, schedules, things like this simply muddy the waters. It would be better at this point for Andreu to actually name names, methods, locations, maybe open up his training diary or something. Or maybe have Betsy (Andreu) do it. She seems to be good at that.

What is kind of funny is them talking about Moreau - and how Moreau never doped, his hematocrit was 39 (isn't that abnormally low? My hct is 46-49% and God knows I don't dope). If it's true, then it would reveal why he never broke into the top tier of the Tour. I watched a stage of the 2006 Tour last night while sitting on the trainer (first time in 3 weeks!) and saw the first 3 mountains annihilate the field. Moreau was in there, hanging on for dear life, and Bob Roll says "That's a good ride for Moreau". Next shot is one of Moreau coming off. Kind of like a Charlie Mottet who was also allegedly clean (as written by Willy Voets, the infamous Festina soigneur who got caught with a carload of dope). And Mottet, poor guy never had the edge to put him at the top. Okay, he was ranked #1 for a short time, but he never won Worlds, the Tour, or the season long cup (Pernod, Prestige, etc).

Another note on Credite Agricole - I wonder if that's (their cleanliness) one of the reasons Saul Raisin is racing for them? But then again, that was a little while ago that Moreau raced for CA. Moreau, if he is Mr Clean, is racing for A2GR, which is vocally anti doping (they don't want Mancebo back, for example). They seem pretty reasonable too as they keep blowing up here and there and they can't climb with the best of them. To me that's a sign of an honest team - blowups and only a few good days in the mountains. My fiancee brought home a couple French cycling magazines. Moreau and Dessel were prominently featured in one of the magazines. You don't see that here.

Whatever. I'm glad I don't have to worry about that stuff. I think training a little more or losing 20 (or more) pounds would be much more effective than bumping up my hematocrit a few points.

Monday, October 16, 2006

A tactical victory

Rule: always throw your bike at the finish. If you don't know how, learn and practice. It's the placings you lose when you don't throw your bike that will haunt you forever.

The Leadout Begins

Sitting at the end of the leadout train as the wind-up begins.