Tuesday, November 17, 2009
MSG’s president surprised by Landis exit
- Kirsten Robbins
- November 18, 11:28,
- November 17, 22:32
Floyd Landis (OUCH) responds to an early attack.
OUCH funds replaced with new title sponsor
Floyd Landis and Momentum Sports Group (MSG) announced today the early termination of their rider-contract agreement, releasing Landis from OUCH-Maxxis Professional Cycling team before the end of the 2009 season. While slightly surprised by Landis’ departure, MSG President Thierry Attias wished Landis well in his future endeavors when speaking to Cyclingnews.
“There was no big climax,” Attias said. “He communicated his desire and game plan to move forward and we told him what our game plan was and it was in the best interest of both to allow him to meet his goals in the future.”
Attias admitted he expected Landis would sign a contract with the team’s management company for the 2010 season. Landis had returned to cycling at the start of 2009 with OUCH-Maxxis after finishing a two-year suspension following a protracted legal battle over urine test results from the 2006 Tour de France.
“We did expect him to ride in 2010,” Attias said. “We planned on having him on board. It was a little bit of a surprise but he is a big talent. When he is firing on all cylinders he is really strong and he thinks big. He is working his way back from that hip procedure. This was the first year back after two years and we saw glimmers of greatness in him.”
Landis has a desire to compete in longer stage races in Europe that better suited his former reputation of being amongst the top general classification riders in the world, according to Attias. The American rider recently ruled out a return to the sport’s top stage race, the Tour de France.
“He had more success in that area and he wanted to do more international races too,” Attias said. “Our team has a US focus. We wish him nothing but the best. He came on board and really helped us patch a hole, so to speak. We had a great season and we are sorry he won’t be with us next year.”
Landis’ presence on the squad brought title sponsor OUCH on board to void a financial hole left by former long-term sponsors Health Net. He underwent an unconventional hip replacement with OUCH Sports Medical Centre, needed after a case of bone death that resulted from excessive scar tissue which blocked blood flow to the hip joint.
“To have a guy that has won the Tour on our team was another level for us and he gave leadership and direction,” said Attias who expressed gratitude for Landis’ involvement with the team. “He has an all or nothing attitude. He gave his all and that gave something to the other riders to show them how to go all in.
“He was a solid guy all around,” he added. “He did a good bit of media for us. It was a positive and a learning experience for both of us. We’ve never had someone of that stature in our program. We learned how to work with that level and he learned how to work with us so it was a nice relationship overall. He was always friendly and brought great sponsors.”
Landis won the 2006 Tour de France with Phonak Hearing Systems, however was stripped of the title following a positive urine sample.
OUCH Sports Medical Centre will not continue to sponsor Attias’ team in 2010. While Attias said OUCH has been replaced by a new title sponsor to be announced at a later date, a recent Continental license application to USA Cycling had the team’s name as UnitedHealthcare presented by Maxxis.
“OUCH is not moving forward in 2010 with us. I don’t know what OUCH will do now,” he said. “We have a new title sponsor all lined up and we are just finalising minor details. We’ve kept over half of our squad and brought in a few young guys.”
Thursday, November 12, 2009
TD Bank confirms three-year extension with Philly
- Kirsten Robbins
- November 13, 11:08,
- November 13, 00:15
Riders pass under the Philly skyline.
Organiser promises rider prizes will be paid
TD Bank has renewed as title sponsor of the Philadelphia International Championships for a three year term. Dave Chauner, president of the event’s organising committee Pro Cycling Tour (PCT), welcomed the sponsorship extension after the economic downturn pushed the United States of America’s iconic 250-kilometre one-day classic to the brink of collapse.
“They worked with us and many of the same people with Commerce Bank realised what a valuable branding opportunity it was,” Chauner said. “It doesn’t make sense to do it for one year and keep changing. We insisted on a three-year contract with our sponsors. We are still crawling out of the economic downturn but we are seeing a lot of interest in other sponsorships. I’m very optimistic about next year.”
Next year will be TD Bank Philadelphia International Championships 26th season. Formerly the USPRO Championships, it has undergone three name changes in the last decade. It began as the CoorStates and was passed to First Union in 1998, and then Wachovia in 2002 and finally Commerce Bank in 2006. Last year Canadian bank Toronto Dominion (TD) bought the Commerce Bank and inherited the final year of a four-year term to sponsor the bike race.
According to Chauner, it costs two million dollars to run the TD Bank Philadelphia International Championships. The race fell into jeopardy in August of 2008 when the city of Philadelphia requested the PCT cover nearly $250,000 in costs for police road closures and other city fees. The event also lost $225,000 from long-term sponsors CSC and last year’s sponsor Rock Racing.
Furthermore the tough economic crisis precluded long-time broadcasters WPVI-TV from televising the race. “I think the race ran extremely smooth and it was as good of a race as we’ve ever had,” Chauner said. “In order to keep the event the way it was in the past, we have to get back to live TV. National and international coverage and that is what we’ve secured.”
The Pro Cycling Tour confirmed the development of a new media partner to be announced at a later date. “We restructured and worked a relationship with a major media partner to bring the race back to live status which will be a major support for the event,” Chauner said. “We are creating a broader interest and more awareness of this event. I think this new media partner is going to be huge.”
No contract has been signed to date but Chauner is optimistic that the media partner will sign the dotted line soon. “Yes, it’s for sure,” he said. “The ink isn’t on the paper yet but all deals are negotiated and the contract is in their hand. We have no reason to believe they won’t sign.”
Chauner admitted that the Pro Cycling Tour has outstanding payments to make and the majority of those debts are owed in rider-prize funds. “We will pay them,” Chauner said. “We have to wait anyway until all drug testing is back before we can pay prize money, usually in the fourth quarter. Its normal but, it is later than we would have liked and they will be paid.”
At this point in time PCT will not bring back the Triple Crown series in 2010. The series included three events held over one week that began with the Lehigh Valley Classic Classic followed by the Reading Classic and concluded with the TD Bank Philadelphia International Championships. “We have no plans to add the other two races back next year,” Chauner said. “We will keep our eyes open for additional sponsorship and we want to get that back on track for 2011.”
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Thursday, November 5, 2009
Friday, October 30, 2009
LA road-rage trial closing arguments wrap up
Prosecutors and defense attorneys made closing arguments Thursday in Los Angeles, in the trial of a former emergency room doctor accused of injuring two cyclists when he stopped his car suddenly in front of them.
Dr. Christopher Thomas Thompson's attorney said it was all an accident. "This was not an attempt to hurt anyone."
Deputy District Attorney Mary Stone said Thompson's actions "crossed a line you cannot cross."
Thompson is accused of assault with a deadly weapon, reckless driving causing specified bodily injury, battery with serious bodily injury and mayhem. The most serious charges stem from a July 4, 2008, incident on the road where Thompson lives. Other charges relate to a similar incident on the same road that did not result in injuries.
Stone said that, in the earlier incident, Thompson had three options when he caught up to cyclists Patrick Watson and Josh Crosby as they descended Mandeville Canyon Road. He could have driven behind the two cyclists at 30 mph (the speed limit and the cyclists' speed according to GPS data) or he could have passed them and kept driving. Instead, he passed them and then stopped, later saying that he wanted to take a picture, a claim Stone called “patently ridiculous.”
In that incident, Watson and Crosby said they narrowly avoiding hitting the rear of Thompson's Infiniti sedan when he stopped.
Stone played Thompson’s 911 call, from after the July 4 incident, once again for the jurors. Jurors heard Thompson tell the operator, “They said fuck you; I slammed on my brakes.”
On the tape the operator asked Thompson if the injuries were serious, and he said, “They’ll tell you they are, but they’re not.”
“What a callous statement is that?” Stone asked. “He had no right to make that statement."
Stone reminded the jury how the first police officer to arrive testified that Thompson told him: “I wanted to teach (the cyclists) a lesson,” and “I’m tired of them.”
Those words did not fit with the profile of a man who, as an MD, “knows the fragility of the human body,” Stone told the jury.
Defense attorney Peter Swarth began by putting a sheet of paper on an overhead projector. It had a single word, “accident.”
“This was an accident that could happen to anyone,” he said.
Swarth portrayed the cyclists as at fault; they “endangered (Thompson) by not allowing him to pass,” he said.
“If you have even a feather of doubt, then you have reasonable doubt and you must acquit,” Thompson said.
In regard to the Fourth of July incident, Swarth asked the jury, “Where is the evidence of anger? The injury doesn’t make this criminal.”
He accused Ron Peterson and Christian Stoehr, the riders in the July 4 incident, of being dishonest and said of Stoehr, “He looked back at his friend Ron Peterson; he lost his balance and fell.”
Of Peterson (a cycling coach) he said, “This teacher, teaching his student about the dangers of the road, teaches him about anger.”
He referenced Stone’s statements about the permanence of Peterson and Stoehr’s injuries and then asked the jury, “Where does Dr. Thompson go to get his reputation back?
Next, he asked, “If you’re in a rage why are you going to get out of your car and call 911?”
Speaking of the 911 recording, Swarth said, “Did he choose the best words? No. This was not an attempt to hurt anyone. He wanted to get a photo.”
Swarth sought to convince the jury that Thompson was actively seeking to create a safer situation. “The universe is like that ... the thing you seek to avoid becomes the thing you can’t avoid.”
“The facts in this case don’t add up to a criminal act.”
The final word
In Stone’s rebuttal, she laid out an allegory of sorts, re-telling the three Mandeville Canyon incidents the prosecution presented during the trial.
First, she goes to a Trader Joe’s. Goes to the aisle where they have granola she wants. Someone is in the way, preventing her from getting her granola, so she swings a bat at the person, but doesn't hit him. With that, Stone held up a baseball bat, swinging in an abrupt arc.
Weeks go by. She returns to the Trader Joe’s and again there’s someone in the way, someone preventing her from getting her granola. This time she swings the bat at them and they duck just out of the way.
A few more weeks go by and she’s back at Trader Joe’s. Someone, she said, “is in my aisle, blocking me from my granola. So I blast his nose with my bat.”
“But of course, I get arrested.”
Then, donning a white doctor’s coat, she said, “But I shroud myself in this because I want to deflect what I did.”
The court is closed Friday. A jury verdict is expected early next week. If convicted of all charges, Thompson could spend up to five years in prison.
USA Cycling Professional Championships to be contested three weeks later than previous editions in Greenville
GREENVILLE, S.C. (October 29, 2009) – The Greenville Hospital System USA Cycling Professional Championships will return to Greenville, S.C. for a fifth consecutive year in 2010, with new dates set for September 18-19, 2010. The Championship weekend features the USA Cycling Professional Time Trial Championship on Saturday and the USA Cycling Professional Road Race Championship on Sunday.
USA Cycling, which owns and sanctions the event, has extended the licensing agreement for 2010 with Medalist Sports, a sports management company that specializes in the planning, promotion and production of professional cycling and fundraising events. Medalist Sports has produced the Championships since 2006. The Greenville Hospital System USA Cycling Professional Championships is part of the USA Cycling Professional Tour, a men’s-only, season-long calendar comprised of UCI events that determines the best professional rider and team on American soil. It is also one of 17 national championship events that USA Cycling, Inc. sanctions across five disciplines in the sport for amateurs and professionals.
“We appreciate the ongoing support of the city of Greenville and the Greenville Hospital System,” said Sean Petty, USA Cycling chief operating officer. “We also appreciate Greenville’s understanding and flexibility in adjusting the dates for the 2010 event. While the date change was out of our hands, the result is a good one as U.S. riders who are preparing for the World Championships will have the ability to do quality, final preparation at North American events starting with Tour of Missouri, followed by the Canadian Pro Tour events and the USA Cycling Pro Championships.”
The USA Cycling Professional Championships will be contested three weeks later than the previous editions in Greenville. The date change was precipitated by a number of changes to the international racing calendar. In 2010, two new UCI-sanctioned Pro Tour events have been scheduled in Montreal and Quebec City, Canada (September 10 and 12, respectfully), thus shifting the Tour of Missouri, to August 30 – September 5th. The USA Cycling Professional Championships will be followed by the UCI Road World Championships, scheduled for September 29 – October 3, in Melbourne, Australia.
“I’m very excited that the USA Cycling Professional Championships are coming back to Greenville for 2010 and the new dates should fit nicely into a very exciting fall schedule,” said George Hincapie. “I’m proud to have won the Championship for the third time and I’m looking forward to defending the title with my new team, BMC Racing. The only thing better than winning the stars-and-stripes jersey is being able to wear that jersey for the entire racing season. With my new team, I will focus on the spring classics, and the fall will be my second priority. It looks like my season will end up with great races like the Tour of Missouri, the new Canadian Pro Tour events, the US Pro Championships and the World Championships.”
Medalist Sports also announced today results and a summary of the 2009 event.
o David Zabriskie (Salt Lake City, UT; Team Garmin - Slipstream) repeats as USA Cycling Professional Individual Time Trial Champion
o George Hincapie (Greenville, SC; Team Highroad – HTC) wins as USA Cycling Professional Road Race Champion
o Greenville Hospital System as Title Sponsor and Duke Energy as Presenting Sponsor
o Over 80,000 spectators attended the event weekend
o Over $120,000 raised for charity by the Palmetto Peloton Project (over $400,000 in four years) by 750 riders, who represented 21 states and two countries
o Over 120 credentialed, national media covered the event
o Live television coverage in partnership with WYFF-4 (NBC)
o Website visits from all 50 states and 130 countries
o Partnership with the US Handcycling Federation (USHF)
“The amazing community support since being awarded the Championships in 2006 is one of the main reasons to stage the event in the Upstate for another year. In addition to world-class courses, a strong foundation has been built with the help of partners such as the Greenville Hospital System, Duke Energy, the City of Greenville and Greenville County,” said Chris Aronhalt, managing partner of Medalist Sports. “These Championships provide a first-class venue for the best professional cyclists in the country, and has now become an annual tradition for the Greenville community.”
Additional details regarding activities and event schedule for the 2010 Championships will be announced at a later date. All updates will be made available at the official website www.usacyclingchampionships.com.
Photo caption: Nearly 200 of the nation’s best professional cyclists took to the start of the Greenville Hospital Systems USA Cycling Professional Championships on Sunday, Aug. 30 in downtown Greenville, S.C.
Photo credit: Casey B. Gibson/USA Cycling
ABOUT MEDALIST SPORTS
Medalist Sports is a full-service international sports management company. Medalist Sports specializes in the planning, promotion and marketing of multi-day, multi-jurisdiction sports and fundraising events. The Medalist Sports team has experience in all facets of the successful management and promotion of world-class sporting and cycling events in the United States, Australia and China. Clients and event experience include the Amgen Tour of California, Tour of Missouri, USA Cycling, Inc. and the Lance Armstrong Foundation’s LIVESTRONG Challenge Series. Medalist Sports’ headquarters are located south of metro Atlanta, Georgia. The company website is www.medalistsports.com.
ABOUT GREENVILLE HOSPITAL SYSTEM
Greenville Hospital System is one of the Southeast’s leading healthcare providers, nationally recognized for advanced technology, innovative research and teaching excellence. The system's five campuses include a Level I trauma center, three acute-care hospitals and numerous outpatient facilities. GHS’ Cancer Center offers the region’s broadest array of cancer specialists, many working through the Oncology Multidisciplinary Center. This multidisciplinary approach to the effective management of cancer allows patients to meet with a medical oncologist, radiation oncologist and surgical oncologist to receive a comprehensive treatment plan all in one day. More information is available at www.ghs.org.
ABOUT PALMETTO PELOTON PROJECT
The Palmetto Peloton Project (P3), based in Greenville, S.C., exists to promote the advancement of cancer research and advocacy efforts locally, regionally and nationally through fundraising cycling events. Through support from local businesses and enthusiastic cyclists, the Palmetto Peloton Project has raised over $400,000 for cancer research and advocacy since its inception in 2005. In 2009 as part of the Greenville Hospital System USA Cycling Professional Championships, P3 will host the “Stars and Stripes Challenge” for a fourth year, a recreational cycling event to support local cancer research. For more information, visit www.palmettopelotonproject.org.
ABOUT USA CYCLING
Recognized by the United States Olympic Committee and the Union Cycliste Internationale, USA Cycling is the official governing body for all disciplines of competitive cycling in the United States, including road, track, mountain bike, BMX, and cyclo-cross. As a membership-based organization, USA Cycling consists of 64,000+ licensees including 1,500 coaches, 4,000 student-athletes, 2,200 officials, 1,800 clubs and teams, 350 professional cyclists, 200 certified mechanics, and 34 local associations. The national governing body sanctions 2,500 competitive and non-competitive events throughout the U.S. each year and is responsible for the identification, development, and support of American cyclists through various initiatives and programs. Additionally, USA Cycling conducts national championship events for all categories of amateur and professional cycling. To learn more about USA Cycling, visit www.usacycling.org.
ABOUT U.S. HANDCYCLING
United States Handcycling Federation, is an association of individuals and organizations that creates integrated cycling opportunities for wheelchair users and athletes with lower-mobility impairments, including disabled veterans and members of the U.S. Armed Forces. The U.S Handcycling Series, presented by the Paralyzed Veteran's of America, is the premier Para-Cycling racing series in North America and will feature more than 150 of the World’s top cyclists with disabilities, racing at major – integrated – cycling events across America. Shining the spotlight on the elite athleticism of Paralympic cyclists, this series focuses on the “ability” rather than the “disability” of its participants, most notably disabled veterans. Visit www.ushf.org.
Friday, October 23, 2009
Yup - that's america for ya -
Thursday, October 22, 2009
'I want to teach them a lesson." — Road rage trial resumes.
LAPD investigator tells jury in road rage trial he was shocked at a driver's comments.
A traffic investigator told jurors in the Los Angeles road rage trial this week that a driver’s comment at the scene of the incident “was so shocking his words burned into my brain.”
Dr. Christopher Thomas Thompson is on trial in Los Angeles Superior Court for assault and other charges related to an incident on a narrow canyon road involving two cyclists on the Fourth of July, 2008. Thompson also faces charges related to a similar, earlier, incident on the same road, involving a different cyclist. If convicted of all charges, Thompson could spend up to five years in prison.
Prosecutors say that after a brief exchange of words on the Fourth, Thompson passed the two cyclists then slammed on his brakes, causing the riders to crash into the rear his car.
On Tuesday, the jury heard testimony from a Los Angeles police traffic investigator, a doctor who treated the cyclists at the scene and a plastic surgeon who operated on one of the cyclists’ broken nose. The testimony was graphic enough that one juror had to leave the court room for a few minutes after feeling faint. Jurors also heard from the cyclist who says he had the earlier encounter with Thompson.
After a break Wednesday, testimony resumes Thursday.
’Burned into my brain’
LAPD traffic investigator Robert Rodriguez said he arrived at the scene on Mandeville Canyon Road with the fire department and asked Thompson what happened.
According to Rodriguez, Thompson said, “I just live up the road. I was driving to go to work. The bikers were in front of me, three across. I honked my horn and yelled ‘ride single file.’ The bicyclists flipped me off and yelled back. I passed them up and stopped in front to teach them a lesson. I’m tired of them. I’ve lived here for years and they always ride like this.”
Thompson’s attorney, Peter Swarth, questioned Rodriguez extensively about how he could recall the exact words, since Rodriguez did not write them down for more than 90 minutes.
Later, Deputy District Attorney Mary Stone asked Rodriguez in re-direct examination how he was able to remember.
Rodriguez replied, “That statement was so shocking his words burned into my brain.”
Stone asked, “Have you ever been to a collision where someone said they wanted to teach that person a lesson?”
“Never,” said Rodriguez.
Rodriguez said that after Thompson’s comments, he decided the incident was assault with a deadly weapon and called the department’s patrol division to take over the investigation.
Physician Bruce Rogen later testified that he came upon the scene while driving up the canyon to his home that morning.
Rogen said he approached Peterson, who was “sitting cross-legged leaning forward dripping blood. The piece of cloth to his face was sodden with blood. There was a fair amount of trauma. I identified myself as a doctor and asked a few questions. I was concerned there could be more damage.”
Rogen checked Peterson for a head injury. He checked the injury to Peterson’s nose and removed his own shirt and used it to apply pressure to the wound.
In listening to the description of Peterson’s blood loss, one juror began feeling faint and court was recessed for five minutes.
On cross-examination, Swarth asked Rogen about any exchange he had with Thompson and with the cyclists regarding Thompson — a former emergency room physician.
“(The cyclists) didn’t want him to treat them,” he said. “They didn’t want him nearby." Asked to describe Thompson, he said, “He seemed agitated, anxious.”
Geoffrey Keyes is the plastic surgeon who operated on Peterson. In his testimony he said Peterson’s injuries included a broken nose and broken internal structures as well as scars on his lip, chin and nose. He needed nasal septul reconstruction.
The surgery was performed under general anesthesia, required re-breaking the nose and using chisels to shape the bone and took an hour and half to complete. Displays included photographs taken before and after the surgery.
The earlier incident
Final testimony on the day came from Patrick Watson, a former professional adventure racer who filed charges against Thompson for an alleged incident that occurred in March, 2008.
Watson said he and training partner Josh Crosby were descending at roughly 30 mph —the speed limit for the road — when Thompson approached from behind. Crosby and Watson moved to ride single file, he said.
Watson said, “The car came so fast and so close I had to jump off the road. I did a bunny hop up the curb into the grass. When I jumped back on the road Thompson slammed on his brakes.”
Watson said he bunny hopped back onto the curb and stopped. He got off his bike and leaned it against a fence.
“(Thompson) drove straight at me and then he drove off,” he said.
Watson contacted the police and attempted to press charges, but ultimately, no charges were filed.
Asked by Stone why he contacted the district attorney, Watson said, “I wanted to make sure they did something this time.”
Tuesday, September 1, 2009
Team continues mission of developing young talent while adding accomplished pro riders
BOULDER, COLORADO (September 1, 2009) — Team Garmin-Slipstream, the American professional cycling team dedicated to ethical sporting and developing the next generation of cycling champions, today announced six exciting additions to its 2010 roster:
Robbie Hunter – the South African joins from Barloworld and in his new role with the Garmin-Slipstream squad will be a huge asset in leading out sprinter Tyler Farrar. Garmin will also look to Hunter for various stage wins throughout the year.
Fredrik Kessiakoff – Kessiakoff is undoubtedly one of the most talented, though slightly unknown, climbers in the peloton. The Garmin team has a history of helping lesser-known riders blossom and believes Kessiakoff is no exception. The four-time Swedish mountain biking champion joins the team from Fuji-Servetto.
Michel Kreder – 21 year-old Kreder is a climber who can also sprint, and Garmin will look for him to perform in one-day races and stage races. His younger brother Raymond currently rides for Slipstream’s Felt-Holowesko Partners U-23 team.
Peter Stetina – true to its mission of developing the best young American talent, Garmin is calling up Peter Stetina from the ranks of its U-23 team, Felt-Holowesko partners. The two-time U-23 National Time Trial Champion has been with the Slipstream operation since the outfit started when he was just 15 years old.
Johan Vansummeren – the two-time top ten finisher of Paris Roubaix joins Garmin from Silence-Lotto, where he supported Cadel Evans. The addition of Vansummeren creates a triple-threat for Garmin’s Cobbled Classics crew, including Martijin Maaskant and Tyler Farrar.
Tom Zirbel – the number-one ranked rider on the domestic circuit, Zirbel is an accomplished time trialist and was recently second in the US National Time Trial Championships to Garmin’s own David Zabriskie.
“We’re poised for another exciting year with these riders rounding out an already strong roster,” said Jonathan Vaughters, CEO of Slipstream Sports. “We started the team with the goal of developing young talent, so riders Peter Stetina and Michel Kreder were natural fits for us. And this year we’ll continue to build on the success Tyler has had by giving him more lead-out guys, and the success that Christian and Wiggo have had in the mountains by adding talented climbers. But make no mistake, the riders on this list are all capable of stage wins and one-day race victories. 2010 is shaping up to be a big year for us.”
Team Garmin-Slipstream will unveil a full roster later this year.
Monday, August 24, 2009
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Saturday, August 8, 2009
Thursday, July 30, 2009
Planet Energy rounds out roster
Tour of Missouri organisers announced the Canadian team Planet Energy as the 15th and final squad for the September race this week.
The team will join ProTour teams Astana, Columbia-HTC, Garmin-Slipstream, Liquigas, Quick Step and Saxo Bank and Professional Continental teams Cervelo TestTeam and BMC. Domestic teams include Jelly Belly, OUCH presented by Maxxis, BissellPro Cycling Team, Colavita / Sutter Home presented by Cooking Light, Kelly Benefit Strategies and Team Type 1. BMC Racing, which is a Swiss and American based team, rounds out the field.
"Just as we have a commitment to top American teams, we have always tried to include a top North American-based continental team in this race to support the goals of the UCI," said Chris Aronhalt, managing partner of Medalist Sports, the tour's organizer. "Planet Energy is one of the top teams outside the U.S. in this hemisphere, and we are glad to reach an agreement to include them."
The 2009 Tour of Missouri begins September 7 in St. Louis and finishes a week later in Kansas City. The seven-stage race was won last year by Garmin-Slipstream's Christian Vande Velde.
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
Friday, July 17, 2009
Tour riders hit by pellet gun
Police have launched an investigation after two riders suffered light injuries when hit by shots fired from an airgun on the 13th stage of the Tour de France on Friday.
New Zealander Julian Dean of Garmin-Slipstream and Spaniard Oscar Freire of Rabobank were hit with pellets near the 165km mark of the 200km stage in the hilly Vosges region.
Freire, a three-time world road race champion, had to have a pellet removed from his leg by his team doctor after finishing the stage.
"He's got a bit of bruising but he will be able to start on Saturday," said his team boss.
Dean, the main lead-out man for American sprinter Tyler Farrar, was hit on a finger of his left hand, according to his Garmin team.
Police working on the stage were immediately alerted by the teams.
"Julian was shot by an air rifle or BB gun (pellet gun) at the top of a climb during the stage. He has a minor injury on his finger but he was able to finish," Garmin-Slipstream spokeswoman Marya Pongrace confirmed.
"(Tour organisers) ASO have asked police to open an investigation."
A spokesman for Rabobank said: "Oscar heard three shots and then felt a sting. A small shot was removed."
Tour organisers have confirmed an investigation had been opened and said both riders had given statements to the police.
German brothel offers discounts to cyclists
A Berlin brothel has come up with a novel way to offset the impact of the global economic crisis and target a new group of customers at the same time - offering a discount to patrons who arrive on bicycles.
Published: 12:59AM BST 14 Jul 2009
"The recession has hit our industry hard," said Thomas Goetz, owner of the Maison d'envie brothel.
"Obviously we hope that the discount will attract more people," he added. "It's good for business, it's good for the environment - and it's good for the girls."
Customers who arrive on bicycle or who can prove they took public transportation get a 5-euro ($7) discount from the usual 70-euro ($100) fee for 45 minute sessions, Mr Goetz said. He said the environmentally friendly offer was working a charm.
"We have around 3-5 new customers coming in daily to take advantage of the discount," he said, adding the green rebate has helped alleviate traffic and parking congestion in the neighbourhood.
Germany is one of the few countries in the world where prostitution is legal. It has about 400,000 prostitutes who, since 2002, have been allowed to enter formal labour contracts.
Missy Giove lived her life astounding those around her.
The iconic mountain biker, who resided in Durango for more than a decade, won 14 national titles and was the world champion downhill racer in 1994. She screamed down slopes on the edge of control, landing in either an ambulance or on the podium.
Her persona — she dangled a dried piranha around her neck and tucked her dead dog's ashes in her bra when she raced — and talent made her mountain biking's highest-paid athlete, earning her well over $2 million.
Then last month, six years after she formally retired from racing, federal agents busted the 37-year-old and an accomplice with 400 pounds of marijuana and $1 million in cash.
"Everyone in the circle of
According to authorities, on June 16, a team of federal drug cops watched Giove meet a confidential informant at a hotel in Albany, N.Y., and drive away in a rented truck pulling her own trailer. Cops had already found 350 pounds of marijuana in the trailer. Giove drove the rig to the Wilton, N.Y., home of Eric Canori, 30, where police found another 50 pounds of the weed and $1 million packed into a duffel bag in a hallway closet.
Mountain biking "rock star"
Giove bailed out of jail on June 22 on a $250,000 bond, facing a possible $2 million fine and up to 40 years in prison if convicted. She could not be reached for comment.
Days after her arrest, her public defender, Tim Austin, alleged the drugs were planted in Giove's possession, possibly by police. Her next hearing is scheduled Tuesday.
While it was shocking to hear of Giove's arrest, her friends say it is not that surprising that "Missy the Missile" would be found at the top level of anything she was doing.
"When she was riding, she was willing to throw it all out there. She was either going to win or crash hard," said Scott Montgomery, who, as vice president of marketing for Cannondale in the mid-1990s, enlisted Giove to ride for his team. "She was mountain biking's first rock star. She transcended the sport. She was larger than life."
She was sponsored by Reebok. She appeared on MTV, Conan O'Brien's show and David Letterman's "Late Show." She drew thousands of fans to formerly obscure mountain-biking events.
She was unquestionably gifted on her bike and carefully fostered her Dennis Rodman-esque image.
"That got her a huge amount of publicity, attention and money," said Alison Dunlap, a professional mountain biker who raced cross country during Giove's downhill blitzkrieg. "She knew what she was doing."
But she didn't roll like a rock star. Yes, she trained part time in the south of France. But in Durango, she drove a modest car and lived in a yurt behind a friend's house. It was her father, who died three years ago, who secured big dollars for his daughter.
Montgomery remembers a "shrewd and tough" Ben Giove, working with executives at Cannondale and Volvo on her sponsorship contract. She earned $250,000 a year after her world title in '94. In 1997, Cannondale-Volvo upped Giove's year-long contract to $450,000.
"The next year, (Ben) came back even more aggressively, and we had to cut her," Montgomery said.
Toward the late '90s, mountain biking's luster began to wane — and with it racers' income.
Invested in dad's restaurant
"She was still making some good money, and I think she took a lot of her money and invested it in her father's restaurant," said Brent Foes, who still has posters of Giove hanging in his Pasadena, Calif., bike-making headquarters. "If she had invested properly, she probably wouldn't be in the situation she is now."
By 2002, Giove's litany of injuries was catching up to her. By her own tally — reported in various bike magazines during her heyday — Giove suffered 33 fractures, including cracked ribs; broken wrists, collarbones, legs, vertebrae, heels, knee caps; and a cracked sternum. She endured concussions regularly. During the 2001 World Cup races in Vail, she went airborne, twisted and landed on her head. The blow knocked her unconscious and caused her brain to bleed.
It was "the very worst I have ever seen her crash," said Glaspell, who raced with Giove on the professional circuit for almost a decade. "I don't think she was the same since then."
Giove retired from racing in 2003 and left Durango. But she didn't stop racing. While she lived in the East, most recently in Chesapeake, Va., she would show up at local races, handily beating all comers. She briefly worked peddling indoor bike-training equipment at cycling shows.
"She really didn't know what she wanted to do after racing. She once said she wanted to be a rapper and this and that," said Foes, who would occasionally help her out with a bike to keep her racing.
Staunch drug foe
The most shocking aspect of Giove's arrest, say people who knew her, was her longtime anti-drug stance. Back in the early 1990s, drugs were part of the counter-cultural scene that went with mountain biking.
"Missy was always the one who was giving people crap about it, saying, 'Don't drink, don't smoke, stay clean and stay focused,' " said Montgomery, who now manages Scott USA's bike division.
As a fledgling racer in her early 20s, Giove coached other young racers on how to eat healthy and stay strong, Glaspell said. She pushed natural diets and meditation and a strict training regimen.
"I never ever, ever saw Missy smoke pot, never saw her do any drugs. She was always into super heavy hippy homeopathic (stuff)," Glaspell said.
That leads many to wonder whether, if the charges are true, the adventurous thrill of drug-running appealed to Giove.
"You are one step away from going to federal prison. The challenge of getting away with it, making money at it, I am sure that is incredibly invigorating and thrilling," said fellow bike-racer Dunlap. "Maybe for Missy, when she was used to that kind of feeling when she was racing, not having it anymore was a like a withdrawal from a drug."
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
The state funds for the Tour of Missouri have been given approval to be released, and the 2009 Tour of Missouri is on track for the most successful year yet!
Please plan on calling in to hear details on this momentous news at 4:30PM CST.
There will be no questions taken. This is to share the immediately available information.
Call is limited to 1000 callers.
Additional details of this fantastic turn of events will be available on the Tour of Missouri website soon - http://www.tourofmissouri.com
712-432-1001 Attendee Access Code 422623590#
Monday, July 13, 2009
Friday, July 10, 2009
A letter from Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder...
By now, some of you may have heard rumors regarding Gov. Nixon freezing state funds for the 2009 Tour of Missouri. I would like to share with you the details that we currently have:
On Wednesday, at the close of business, I was informed by the Division of Tourism that the money set aside for the Tour of Missouri was frozen by Gov. Nixon’s administration. The state’s commitment for the 2009 Tour of Missouri was $1.5 million. Without these funds, which are available and approved by the Tourism Commission, the Tour of Missouri will cease to exist.
At this time, I have requested a special meeting of the Missouri Tourism Commission to evaluate our options and decide what our next step should be.
As you know, we are very close to putting the final touches on the race this year. Our sponsors have invested and we are on track with our fundraising goals. Teams from across the world, the same teams now racing in the Tour de France, have been invited to our state, and communities across Missouri are making great preparations for the race. Contracts have been signed by the state, cities, sponsors and vendors and cutting this funding will leave the state susceptible to wasteful litigation.
Right now, I am urging cycling fans across our great state, and around the world to contact Gov. Jay Nixon at 573-751-3222 and tell him to release the funding for the largest sporting event ever held in our state.
I am grateful for the supporters, sponsors, volunteers and spectators who in the past two years have helped generate nearly $60 million in economic impact for our state, and brought over 800,000 visitors to the race.
With your help, I truly believe we can ensure the survival and success of the 2009 Tour of Missouri.
PETER D. KINDER
Lt. Governor, Chairman of the Missouri Tourism Commission
Call Gov. Jay Nixon at 573-751-3222 and tell him to save our race!Additional Contact Info: Emails can be sent to Governor's office at http://governor.mo.gov/contact/
Wednesday, July 1, 2009
Fun Facts to enjoy when you are not racing...
Sent in from my good friend Ken A.
Kentucky. If it was invented anywhere else it would have been called teethbrush.
Monday, June 29, 2009
Friday, June 26, 2009
American Chris Horner seemed to be a sure bet for Astana's Tour de France roster. After all, he put in a brilliant performance as a mountain domestique in the Giro d'Italia before exiting early after a crash with a broken tibia.
Yet when the team announced its final roster earlier this week, the Oregon resident was not on the list. Upset at the prospect of missing one of his last opportunities to race in the sport's big show, the 37-year-old's first reaction was to try to leave the team and find another squad which would bring him to the Tour.
Writing on his blog on OregonLive.com, Horner revealed the inner workings of team manager Johan Bruyneel's choice of nine riders for the Tour.
"Knowing there was no reason to get upset with Johan, I hung up the phone after thanking him for what I knew was a hard call to make, and for the fighting I knew he had done on my behalf with sponsors and riders on the team to get me on," Horner wrote.
Chalking up his exclusion to politics, he explained that one spot had to go to a Kazakh rider to please the team's sponsor, who scrambled to keep the team afloat after its financial crisis.
The top four riders on the team were given expected spots: Alberto Contador, Lance Armstrong, Levi Leipheimer and Andreas Kloden.
Horner explained that Haimar Zubeldia and Yaroslav Popovych were selected early as support riders, leaving two spots on the team. The first went to Gregory Rast, who is "a big guy who could help tackle the flats", and Horner thought he would surely get the final place on the team.
Instead, the place was given to Sergio Paulinho, who was Contador's choice as a support rider.
Horner did not place blame on Bruyneel, instead he thanked him, saying to his fans, "don't be too hard on him -- he has a difficult job and was stuck in an impossible position."
Thursday, June 25, 2009
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
Nevada City Classic promoter Duane Strawser has been working with Lance Armstrong's manager to coordinate the potential entry of Lance Armstrong, Levi Leipheimer, and Chris Horner into the race. Thirty minutes ago Lance twittered that they would, indeed, be coming to the event (https://twitter.com/lancearmstrong). We can't guarantee this will happen, but Lance certainly intends to be there.
Monday, June 15, 2009
Thursday, June 11, 2009
PARIS (Reuters) -- This year's Tour de France will be the most scrutinized sports event ever by anti-doping authorities, International Cycling Union (UCI) president Pat McQuaid said on Wednesday.
More than 500 tests will be carried out during the world's greatest stage race featuring 180 riders, with 50 of them set to undergo more tests than the others.
The 50 riders have been targeted because they are either top contenders or because their biological passports have raised suspicions in the UCI.
"The Tour de France will be the most tested event in the history of sports," McQuaid told a news conference, adding the UCI would work in collaboration with the French Anti-Doping Agency (AFLD). "It is enormous".
"The 50 riders were picked on a sporting basis, among the favorites of the Tour de France, and also from the knowledge we have got from the biological passport.
"What is important is not the number of tests, but the fact that we target riders," said AFLD president Pierre Bordry.
He added the names of the 50 riders would not be made public.
All riders will give two blood samples on Thursday, July 2, two days before the start, which will be analyzed and stored for possible further testing. UCI doctor Mario Zorzoli said eight to 11 riders would be tested every day.
Bordry said the UCI and the AFLD would work closely together to zero in on cheats following a first collaboration during the Paris-Nice stage race in March.
"I want to state that those who dope will have to be very careful because we will be extremely thorough," he said.
In October, 2007, the UCI and the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) announced they would collect blood samples from all professional riders to create a medical profile, or passport, that would be compared to the data registered in doping tests.
The Tour de France has been marred by doping scandals in the past three years.
In last year's edition, top Italian rider Riccardo Ricco was kicked out of the race after failing a test for the new generation of EPO called CERA (Continuous Erythropoiesis Receptor Activator).
Austrian Bernhard Kohl, third overall and the race's top climber, as well as Italian Leonardo Piepoli and German Stefan Schumacher were also found guilty of using CERA following retroactive tests carried out in September.
Tuesday, June 9, 2009
Monday, June 8, 2009
One more quick thought about this....I'm not clear on the timing of the officer's employment as a cop and his DUI's, but... aside from the incident of running over the cyclists, how does ANYONE with two DUI's either keep their job as a cop or get hired as one?? A person who's job it is to spend most of his day driving around, enforcing the laws of the road!?
On Sun, Jun 7, 2009 at 3:27 PM, Mike Berry
I am outraged at the decision that two people can be killed by a police officer who then has to sit at home and watch TV for four months as his punishment. Not only do I no longer feel safe to ride my bike on the road, I don't feel safe having my children walking on the sidewalk knowing that anyone can drive right into us, claim they fell asleep, and get to watch TV for four months as their punishment. This is an affront to justice, sets a horrible precedent, increases the fear of the population, destroys the reputation of the police force, justifiably inspires the anger of victims, and causes us all to lose confidence in the fairness of the judicial system.
I would ask that the case be appealed to a higher court and that a proper, far more severe sentence be leveled upon James Council regardless of whether he feel asleep at the wheel or not. I further ask that the law be changed so that anyone involved in a fatal crash be required to submit to tests at the time of the accident to see if they are under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
And what were the results of the drug test that was given to Council by the Sheriff's office? How come this has never been made public? With two DUI's on his record already, not revealing this information certainly smells of conspiracy, or at the best gross negligence, in the case of the worst crime. Many people will feel that the Thin Blue was never crossed, to the joy of Council's family and the tears of the families of the lives he took.
Bay Area cyclist and father
Article referenced: http://www.sfgate. com/cgi-bin/ article.cgi? f=/c/a/2009/ 06/06/BAK7181IQE .DTL&type=printable
[copy: Santa Clara Sherriff's office, Santa Clara District Attorney's Office, Peninsula Velo cycling club, all Supervisors of the County of Santa Clara]
Wednesday, June 3, 2009
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
This came in from a guy who showed up for a group ride with a race team...
Comments: To the Ranchos cycling team in Escondido
Thanks for waiting up for me!
This Memorial Day weekend I spent the weekend with family in Fallbrook, CA and thought I could get a ride in with some of the locals. I emailed the Ranchos cycling team and they let me know where to meet them for a Saturday ride. They sounded like a great group to ride with and their website encouraged riders and newcomers to ride along…” If you want to ride with a group of riders that are safe yet fast, serious yet willing to wait for you if you flat, who are willing to teach and learn, and just all around fun, come out and ride with the Ranchos.”
I arrived in Escondido only to be snubbed by the person that I was corresponding with. Only one person took the time to chat a little. They didn’t give me any indication that this was going to be a “race to the finish” type of ride. They did inform me of the distance, which was no big deal, but during the ride there were no riders that took me under the wing. I’m not looking for pity, but they could’ve said, “ hey dude, this is gonna’ get pretty tough we got big hills ahead be prepared” or even “ you might want to think about turning up at this next street ‘cause we’re gonna’ be taking this hill full sprint for the next few miles.”
…They’re not a group willing to bring anyone new along. If they were training, as a team, for an event then they should have let me know and I could have rode with someone else. I would never recommend riding with this group of guys who don’t mind leaving riders behind and there is definitely no “willing to teach and learn” aspect.I was lost in the hills and climbed out a gruesome hill called Cole Grade Rd. They need to change their website and I discourage people coming out to ride with them. Pricey outfits and bad sportsmanship is all you’ll get. http://www.ranchoscycling.org
So, I relied-
Wow David, that's a bummer. I read your "review" of the ranchos and I have to say I've had a polar opposite experiences with them....
Like you, I live in Norcal and have family in Escondido. Same deal, I looked em up, saw they were a racing club, made contact, and showed up..... same reception as you met with but I have ridden with a bunch of these groups and its ALWAYS the same - some kinda guy thing- once you prove yourself, your in. Now I go out with them and make sure we all hurt-
As it turns out, over the yrs of riding w/ them whenever I'm down there, I've made some friends in the group and am very close with the person heading up the team- Same prick was cold to me till he was in oxygen debit! And then he was great - ;-)
From the Ranchos site: If you want to ride with a group of riders that are safe yet fast, serious yet willing to wait for you if you flat, who are willing to teach and learn, and just all around fun, come out and ride with the Ranchos.
Am I missing something? Where is there any commitment to hand holding?
In looking at their website, its clearly a race group. Which is necessary when your looking for a group to ride with to know this. If I went to a site and saw pics of guys w/ helmet mirrors or riding recumbents I would know this is not what I'm looking for- I find it hard to believe you would not see this on their site - or when you showed up just look around at the guys there and know you are in the wrong place.
Maybe not so fair to slam them but write something to those other riders in your situation on how better to assess a group ride and your current fitness fit to a ride?
This could be a better resource for future rides:
National - League of American Bicyclists
The League of American Bicyclists promotes cycling for fun, fitness, and transportation and works through advocacy and education for a bicycle-friendly American
Just my .2 cents, hope it helps- no offense
Monday, May 25, 2009
This is the best course yet! The video kinda changes it a bit but the DH into the left was 45mph if you were fast!
I soloed for the whole race to win, so I had full access to the speed of the DH which was worth the price of admission!
(the video was from someone in the cat 4 race - note the pre-race injury on the guy riding..... scary)
Thursday, May 21, 2009
Thursday 21st May 2009 - Cycling Weekly
Former world-class road and mountain bike professional Steve Larsen collapsed and died during a training run on Tuesday, May 19, aged 39.
Larsen was running at a local track in Oregon when he suddenly collapsed. Initially a heart attack was suspected, by the exact cause of death has yet to be confirmed.
Larsen had a varied career in cycling, and was a well-known and much admired figure in US cycling. He was part of the Motorola and US national road squads in the early nineties, but it was in mountain biking that he was probably best known.
Larsen was the US NORBA (national MTB series) champion in 1998 and 2000, and was a regular on the international mountain bike World Cup circuit. He later switched to racing in triathlon events, where he also excelled. From 2003 he ran an estate agency, Steve Larsen Properties, in his hometown of Bend, Oregon. Larsen leaves a wife and five children.
Many current riders knew and were influenced by Larsen, and tributes have been posted by riders via Twitter.
Lance Armstrong, Astana
"So sad hearing about the loss of Steve Larsen. Leaves a wife and five kids. Terrible. He and I were on national team and Motorola together."
Levi Leipheimer, Astana
"Heard this morning the tragic news of Steve Larsen passing away, didn't want to believe it but unfortunately it's true. Very sad news."
Christian Vande Velde, Garmin-Slipstream
"Just read about Steve Larsen. Thoughts are with his wife and family. He was one of my idols growing up."
Monday, May 18, 2009
Thursday, May 14, 2009
Hi everyone! I got this note from Kristy Gough's mother today. If you have an opinion about the case, I would encourage you to attend the sentencing.
"Hi Lorri - as you may have heard, the man who killed Kristy will be sentenced soon. The DA has reached a deal to give him 4 months of house arrest and 800 hrs of community service. ALL her friends are able to speak in her behalf before the judge sentences him. It may make a difference. I know the biking community realizes what a travesty of justice this is. Please get as many of them to come as possible. Even if they do not speak, just being there will make a difference. It will be on June 25 at 1:30 at the San Jose Court House, Hall of Justice, Dept 30 on the 4th floor. There is a parking structure just across the street. Let me know what you think. They have set aside a little over 3 hours for this hearing so everyone can have a chance to speak. Karen"
Lorri Lee Lown, founder & coach
USA Cycling Coach
ACE Personal Fitness Trainer
specializing in bike fit, skills instruction, and program design
USA Cycling Club of the Year: 2003, 2004, 2006, 2008
City Sports Magazine Best of the Bay: 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005
Thursday, May 7, 2009
California tour moves to May next year
After four years of racing in February, the 2010 Amgen Tour of California will be held May 16-23, during the same time slot as the Giro d’Italia.
America’s biggest stage race will move from its winter dates into the spring, taking dates on the UCI calendar occupied this year by the Volta Ciclista a Catalunya ProTour event.
The race's organizers discussed potential dates in April, May and June with the UCI road commission before deciding on the late-May time slot, a source close to the matter told VeloNews, adding that the Amgen Tour of California will not be a ProTour event in 2010, but will be starting in 2011.
Asked for comment Wednesday, Andrew Messick, president of race owner AEG Sports, said only, “it’s premature to make that announcement.”
Levi Leipheimer, the race's three-time winner, said he was excited about the change.
"I think we can expect some big mountain climbs now that the ToC is in May," Leipheimer said in an email to VeloNews. "I wouldn't be surprised to see even bigger crowds as well, due to the better weather and classic mountain stages we normally see in a Grand Tour. I'm excited about this change, I know Santa Rosa is gearing up for another year."
Leipheimer, who is currently in Italy for the Giro d’Italia, has won the race three years consecutively after American Floyd Landis won the inaugural event in 2006.
After the race’s first two years were held in sunny, warm weather, the last two editions have been marked by harsh winter weather, precipitating the calendar move.
With the date change, the race will have the option to travel into California’s mountains, including the Lake Tahoe area and the High Sierras.
Although the California race will conflict with the world’s second-biggest race, the date change will allow riders preparing for the Tour de France to recover from the spring classics season, race in California, and return to Europe to prepare for June’s Tour de France warm-ups, the Critérium du Dauphiné Libéré and the Tour de Suisse.
Wednesday, May 6, 2009
Tour of the Gila – 2009
A play in 6 acts. Some shorter than others.
ACT I – Hope
It’s a 12 hour drive from the
I went with the former.
Riding Monday and Tuesday I felt great, especially scouting the Sapillo creek climb, the poison fang of the “Gila Monster” final stage.
“I feel good” I told the guys I was riding with.
ACT II – Desertion at the River’s Edge
Stage One, “Mongollon”, 72 miles. 5600 feet of climbing. 50 or so miles of flat, then a few rollers, until the right turn at mile 66 to start the final 6.7 mile category one climb.
Wednesday morning came with a 5:00 AM alarm and a chill in the air. Eat, catch another hour’s sleep, then put on the kit and sign in.
Before we roll out I have to answer nature’s call. Several times. We have a “natural break” (NB) during the early part of the race, which I use to full advantage. This is a bit unusual for me, I’m not a camel but it’s rare I need to go during the race.
Several brief attacks, then at mile 40 Steve Holland goes off the front followed a few minutes later by Tom Bain. Both begin to get some distance.
I ask Phil Sladek, Tom’s teammate on Geri Atrix and a member of our unofficial
No immediate response, so I go to work. In a couple of minutes I catch Tom, and we work together to quickly get to Steve. After we start rotating I can feel my legs just aren’t right. Like having a crimp in a garden hose, you know there should be more force there, but all you get is a weak flow.
The lawn still needs watering, so I keep my head in the break, and hope somehow the faucet gets turned up.
Some dude in a “Ride Clean” kit bridges up and as he begins to take his turns at the front, it’s clear he’s super strong. Both Tom and Steve are having trouble just hanging on, and the rotation begins to come apart. His presence also animates the field, Mike Carter, I was told later, goes to the front and begins to go hard.
A quick word on Carter. Won the Master’s class at Gila the last two years running. Rode professionally for Motorola, mostly in smaller races like the Tour De France, the Giro, the Vuelta, the Worlds…that sort of thing.
I later found out that the guy who Carter was chasing and who was ripping our little break apart was Jamie Carney. Carney also raced smaller stuff like the 2000 Olympics, where he missed a medal by two spots.
This would become a recurring theme. As my teammate Kevin Barton noted “Man, everyone you talk to is some kind of ex-pro, ex mountain bike pro, or PRO”.
We get gobbled up, and calm prevails. We’ve got 20 miles before the climb and are tooling along when my eyeballs begin to float.
I gotta go bad.
I see Carter pull out of the field start the slow one-handed roll along that indicates passing on the right might get you wet, so I pull out myself and take yet another NB. It takes a while.
I finish up and begin to ride back to the field when I notice they have sped up.
The field is strung out single file, and it takes me almost 10 minutes to finally get back on. When I arrive I find out both Carney and John Korioth (40-44 National road race champ) had headed up the road without me. Or “us” for that matter.
They would eventually arrive at the bottom of the climb with a 3 minute advantage.
Our group hits the rollers a few miles before the climb and attacks start in earnest. I still feel like how a baby treats a diaper but make the selections until I’m in a small group just a few seconds behind Carter and Roger Worthington.
A quick word on
We come through a throng of cheering spectators (Lance and I can draw a crowd) and brake for the turn to begin the climb. I stop pedaling as we start to corner and my right thigh muscle cramps hard.
Try to pedal.
My calf locks.
Then my right buttock.
Then my back.
I unclip and try to shake my leg loose. No luck.
I’m in agony. Pull out of the group and jam on the brakes. Spend several minutes doubled over in pain watching the race vanish up the mountain. Finally my leg unlocks, and I remount.
“Demoralized” is probably putting my mental state lightly at this point.
Months of prep down the drain. GC gone. As I roll I wonder if I should just soft pedal and deliberately drop time or try to get back what I can. I opt for the middle ground, and ride legs that have gone from bad to worse at tempo past people who are also suffering.
I pass one guy and we exchange a few words. I tell him I cramped at the bottom of the hill. His comeback, in accented English, stuck with me:
Carter wins the stage, Carney’s 3 minute head start puts him in second, Korioth comes in a bit less than 3 minutes behind Carter for 3rd.
I’m 24th and 8 minutes down. Kevin rides well for 15th.
ACT III – Escape
It’s pretty clear the altitude is hurting me. Fluids are a problem so I cut out the morning coffee, throw my usual caffeinated drink mix back in the suitcase and stop taking nervous sips of water prior to the race start.
The guys have bucked me up the prior evening and I’m going in like Old Lodge Skins in “Little Big Man”:
“Today is a good day to die”
We roll out and as soon as the race gets the green light I attack. A few rollers later I’m joined by Al Senft, last year’s 35+ runner up. We pound into a headwind up the first categorized climb, cresting at 12.5 miles alone. Phil tells me later that he started to bridge, but shut it down when the field jumped on his wheel.
Thanks my friend.
Al disappears backwards as we descend, and at mile 20 Carney and Carter rocket past me. I look back and there’s just eight of us, other than Al it’s all the top GC guys. We start the second categorized climb and it’s clear my volume knob still only goes to 8. Al has disappeared from the group at some point, he tells me later that he pulled over to vomit several times.
We go down the infamous Sapillo Creek descent, which we’ll be going up in the final stage, and I resurrect my old Moto GP skills to hit the bottom ahead of the group.
I’m taking any freebie I can.
The next 38 miles are a blindingly fast rotation, I have to sit out turns and explain to the guys that I’ll give them what I have, but that I spent most of the prior evening removing knots from my leg. Sitting between Carney and Carter at one point, I’m just grinning at how butter smooth a rotation can be.
The time checks are getting into the double figures, at 14 miles to go we hit the final feed zone and Carter rides off. I get detached, fight my way back on, and with 12 miles of rollers and nasty headwind to go, I come off for good. Put my head down and TT my way past what seems like most of the Cat3 field. Cross the line for 7th. Carter wins.
Later that evening I find I’ve gone from 24th to 7th, with 55 seconds on 8th place.
ACT IV – All by myself
Stage 3, Tyrone TT. 16.15 miles, 1050 feet of climbing
When the pros go off in the morning, there’s barely a wisp of wind. By time we’re ready to race it’s blowing so hard I pull off my 100mm front wheel and stick on my 46.
The top ten riders will start at one minute intervals, inverse order. I don’t feel great, but I slowly catch my one minute guy, who has just caught his one minute guy. Blow past several other riders on my way to the finish, using the 56 tooth front ring to hit 49 MPH several times.
It’s an even effort; only a few watts difference between the “out” and “back” legs. It’s 30w down from my better efforts though.
Damn knob is still stuck on “8”
39:05 is good enough for 4th, a scant 3 seconds ahead of Korioth, who is bumped to 4th on GC by David Zimbleman. Kevin drops the hammer on the new
4th on the stage, still 7th on GC.
ACT V – Can’t Dance That Dance No More
Hide for most of the race. Get caught out a bit on the last lap move; shoulda known better. Jump across two gaps to the lead group and blow like dyno-mite when they hit the gas. Volume knob slipping to 7, which is where I finish. Kenny Wehn, ex pro mountain biker wins our little chase group sprint.
Carney beats Carter.
Watch the Pro’s crash into the pavement like the best Cat5’s in their race, including my much respected Chris Horner.
7th on the stage, 7th on GC. Did gain a whopping 2 seconds on 6th.
ACT VI – Kill the Lizard
Stage 5, The Gila Monster. 72 miles and too much climbing to even think about
I’m in trouble: the knob is at “6”. Any acceleration hurts like heck. Fortunately only Phil is willing to take a serious flyer, he goes into the headwind 20 miles or so into the stage and is helped out when the field slows to let Korioth get back on after he flats.
It’s a nice bit of sportsmanship before we start slicing each other up with straight razors.
I can’t wish any bad luck on the guys ahead of me, which would be the only way I’d move up. 8th place is Bill Stalhuth, nearly three minutes down but he starts chucking out ill-conceived attacks that we have to answer right before we hit the base of the Sapillo climb. Things shatter here; I watch a large group ride off and pass some people looking pretty dead, including John Korioth, who’s fighting to get back to a podium spot. Stalhuth cracks also.
Kevin’s in the group ahead and I try to keep him in sight figuring we can work together if I can reach him.
I do, because as he said later: “The lights went out”.
Behind me Korioth, Stalhuth and two other riders have regrouped; as the climb flattens out they are reach me and we pick up a couple of stragglers.
Our chase rotation simplifies: John and the bigger guys drill it on the flats and downhills, I do the up stuff and the really technical downhills, then hang on by my teeth the rest of the time. At one point I see Stalhuth is in trouble and I hit it hard during one of the few moments I feel like the volume knob might be coming unstuck.
With a couple of miles to go we can see the front chase group, I ease off a bit knowing I’ve locked down my GC.
They’ve barricaded the last 200 uphill meters and people are lined three deep on both sides. I ride through a cacophony of cowbells and cheers across the finish line. The lizard stuck his poison fangs in, but I survived.
Carter won. Surprise surprise.
Kevin gutted it out and while he dropped to 16th on GC, a top 20 in this field is a big ride.
Oh, and remember that guy who went OTF 20 miles in? Captain Barbed Wire? We didn’t catch Phil until the top of the Sapillo, he hung with us all the way to the finishing hill.
I end up 7th on GC. Hardest race I’ve ever done, made harder by my vanishing form. Had my parents “gotten busy” two months earlier I would have taken 2nd in the 50+, so I guess I’ll have to give it a shot next year.
43 of 55 starters in our field finished the race.
Final GC Standings: http://www.tourofthegila.com/2009race/day5men40plusgc.html
Thanks to the Gila crew for putting on a great event, Lance for drawing the crowds, and SRAM for tossing in much needed funding.
Thanks to Phil, Tom, George, Frank, Kevin, and the Bicycle Heaven crew who were there with words of encouragement, logistic support, and vital race info. I got dozens of calls and text messages during the week from friends keeping my spirits up, which really helped to keep me going. And Karen was always on the other end of the phone reminding me that it’s only a bike race.
But what a bike race.