Sunday, March 29, 2009
Friday, March 27, 2009
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
Liquored-Up Lance Loses It on Plane?
Today 1:15 PM PDT by Ted Casablanca
After crashing during the run-up to his stunningly ambitious eighth Tour de France, Lance was on a flight from Madrid to Atlanta. And apparently the sometimes-womanizer took his self-pity out on the other passengers. Perhaps he knew how bad surgery was going to be, what with that steel plate and those 12 screws he'd just had implanted in his collarbone, which was busted in four spots?
Regardless, an A.T. reader on the flight with L.A. contacted us and described how unpleasant the 36-year-old cancer-surviving cyclist was:
"He was such an asshole," ranted our onboard babe. "He was so wasted on painkillers, and he drank a lot. It was just obnoxious."
So how much did he chug exactly? "Enough to be cut off," the witness told us. And that was in first class, where the booze flows freely until passengers usually cut themselves off, honeys.
After bitchin' for a while, Lancey, who had his arm in a sling, finally went to sleep, much to the flight attendants' and other passengers' joy.
We get the guy is hurtin', but come on, man, no need to be obnoxious about it. Let's just hope he was easing the physical pain of the injury and not of Kate Hudson and Owen Wilson's supposed reconciliation.
After all, I pretty much adore Lance, and not just because he's got such great legs (which I've seen super up close). Surely he was having a bad day, nothing more?
UPDATE: A few hours after I originally requested comment from Lance's rep Mark Higgins, he responded:
"Thanks for the note. I have been in the surgery center just about all day with Lance and now back in the office. I saw the story that you posted. I can tell you that the only thing your source has right is that he was in a sling. On the way off the plane he took a photo with one of the tending first class attendants. I hope all is well."
Monday, March 23, 2009
Armstrong crashes out of Castilla y León
Lance Armstrong crashed hard in Monday’s opening stage of the Vuelta a Castilla y León and was transported by ambulance to a hospital in nearby Palencia, Spain.
Race organizers and the Astana team doctor confirmed that the seven-time Tour de France champion had broken his right collarbone after Armstrong underwent an X-ray at a hospital in the city of Valladolid.
“Lance suffered a fracture of the middle third of the right collarbone as well as some bruises on his right hip and arm,” said team doctor Pedro Celaya, who was with Armstrong at the hospital.
Armstrong left the hospital Monday evening and said he was "miserable."
"It has never happened before, I feel very disappointed," he told reporters as he left the hospital. "I feel miserable right now so I have to relax a few days."
He nodded when asked if he would return to the United States, telling reporters his participation in the Giro d'Italia in May "will be very complicated."
Armstrong's teammate Levi Leipheimer told VeloNews he did not see the crash.
"I was in the front. It was on really narrow, bumpy roads. It was a pretty bad road, super-rough and narrow. The edges were deteriorating, with cracks and parts missing, It was worse than typical (Spanish roads).” Leipheimer said.
The pack was roaring down a narrow farm road over rough surfaces. It appeared that riders clipped wheels, sending at least a dozen skittering to the ground. Armstrong was knocked off the road and was sitting on the ground, cradling his right arm, an indication that he injured his shoulder. Initial reports indicate a likely broken clavicle, but there are no official medical reports yet. A photo from Spanish TV can be seen here.
Astana teammate Tomas Vaitkus, who also went down in the pile-up, approached Armstrong, but he waved him off. Vaitkus remounted his bike and continued in the race.
The crash occurred on a narrow road as the peloton was ramping up its speed to reel in two attacking riders with about 20km to go in the 168.3km first stage from Parades de Nava to Baltanás in northern Spain.
The 37-year-old Armstrong waved to a race doctor and was helped into an ambulance. Race organizers told The Associated Press that he was being treated at the Rio Carrion hospital in Palencia.
Spaniard Joaquin Sobrino (Burgos Monumental) went on to win the stage ahead of David Vitoria (Rock Racing) and José Joaquin Rojas (Caisse d'Epargne).
Armstrong returned to Europe this month and completed the 298km Milan-San Remo on Saturday, finishing 125th. The Castilla y León race was his first European stage race since winning his seventh and final Tour in 2005 — and the first time he and 2007 Tour champ Alberto Contador have raced alongside each other as Astana teammates.
"It was a shame to lose Lance," said Contador, who has won here twice. "We could see that he wanted to use this race as part of his preparations. It was a good chance for us to work together."
Armstrong is scheduled to race the Giro d’Italia, May 9-31. In a statement issued late Monday, he said he would return to the States to decide on surgery options and his racing calendar.
“In 17 years as a pro I have been lucky to avoid one of the most common cycling injuries. The crash has put my upcoming calendar in jeopardy but the most important thing for me right now is to get back home and rest up and begin my rehab,” said Armstrong.
Riders with broken collarbones typically return to competition between four to six weeks after the injury. —Agence France Presse contributed to this story.
Thursday, March 19, 2009
Madera Stage Race 45+ 1,2,3
The Crit is the standard 4 corner, windy RR track crossing - easy. 40min. race.
30min. into the race Bubba goes w/ a Morgan guy. Bubba is clever as he waited to make sure I was boxed, so he goes before turn 1 and it was as we approached the 55+ group we were about to lap. i waited till he was around the corner and went. As I came around the corner I could Bubba on the left side / front of the 55's and the Morgan guy getting gapped off. I slid next to the 55 group on the right and watched Bubba as he was looking over his shoulder to see if any one was coming..... as soon as he turned around I hit it and crossed the front of the 55's - so he's drilling it and realizes someone's on his wheel, then he starts yelling he's a 45 and waving me off..... as soon as he turns and sees its me he sits up and stops. This is 10min into the race, and I'm thinking "ok, we go back..." so I say to him "ya wanta go?" and he's all "ya! fuckin go!" So we go.... and I know our boys are straight to the front keeping things in check!
30min of this and somehow I'm sequenced to the ft before the final turn.... I take that, as Bubba is for sure one of the main guys in all these crits with a thousand wins.... bow to the king.... kiss the ring.
So my preference is to take it into the cement gutter on the right before the last corner - a right hander. We ride in there till the last turn where I hit it and got the gap and just rode that gap till he got a bit closer and went again for the win. However fun to win from the front position, I hate this part of the race where you have to turn on your break partner, and I like Bubba.
20sec bonus + 5sec for prime = 20sec We have the yellow-
The TT - About 2 yrs ago I sat down with Floyd and asked him to explain just how to TT. He gave me his min by min ideas but I could never get it together..... till my coach Mark really got it across to me. And it all worked as good as it could in the TT. I had a solid run and felt I played it just right, 23:02, got Bubba by 8sec. but Dan Smith (Morgan) had a great time of 22:30 so in the end I was still in yellow by :11.
The Road Race - all we need to do is keep in contact with our key players as we have a pad of :11 to the closest guy - Dan Smith MS -
Sooooo, here is the race primer as to how we fucked up the whole w/e loosing the overall race:
To set the stage, at mile 11 on the first lap I flat. I asked Jess if it looked like I was going low? no, so I move to the ft and am starting to feel it going. I get to Peter and tell him i have a flat. OK, so at this point lets just freeze the picture as these next few sec. start the domino's falling..... What I did, was ride off the front and get out a quick fill foam canister and then off to the side and stop.
What I should have done, was go to the front and announce I had a flat and would they ease up and wait for me to get back on. Typical GC leader courtesy.
What happened was, I pulled off without a word and tried to do the quick fill - foam went everywhere but into the tire. Peter came back and gave me his wheel (a gesture that was huge! leaving himself out in the middle of nowhere, truly a selfless act - thanks Peter!!!!) Jess pulled over up the road and waited for me. The whole stop and change took a bit over a min. While we were doing this, the later reports were the field attacked, they yelled "GC is off the back, go go" and other notes via email from the pack of not waiting have been received. Good to know who you are racing with, and now I know!
What should have happened was,
1)We should have had a rock solid plan for an issue like a flat since we had the yellow.
2) I should have gone to the ft and put the load on them to race fair - who wants to win on a mechanical? Morgan Stanley won.
3) Anyway, the team should know what's going on. Jess knew, Peter knew but Tony and Jonathan stayed with the pack.
4) With all the thousands of miles I've spent covering the pro races, one thing is always the same and we should all know this. When your main guy has a flat etc... and needs to be paced back on, the team staggers along the route. That's to say, for example, Jess goes far enough up the road for me to ride a solid 1~2min. drilling it. When I get to him he should already be up to full speed (never should you arrive faster than the next man and this is his responsibility to be up to speed) and I should not have to pull. Then we get to Tony who is watching us come and he has the time to bring it slowly up to full speed and then he pulls to the next guy and the next etc.... if we are out there for long enough the leader can now (recovered) take over pace making and a rotation can develop. Keep in mind you don't need to blow yourselves up but continue to keep closing.
This is not what we did - Jess and I worked together to the bottom of the hills where I had to leave him.
5) In the planning for a mishap, we should have known who would be giving the wheel - in our haste, we took Peter out of the race and he was a main team mate for that stage. And subsequently we took Jess out as well as he was left in no-mans-land and out of the race. For me, chasing 50 guys for 40mi was never going to amount to much - and it didn't....
6) Jonathan and Tony were left in the field with Jonathan in 5th overall GC. The race has changed and they were in position to still win it. A break got away and in it was the 6th place GC guy, but Jonathan missed it. I don't know if he found Tony and tried to get into it - if nothing else they had to chase it down. I'll let them write this part of the report as I was not there... one thing is for sure, we all need to know what's going on at the front 100% of the time!
I'd like to say thanks again to all the guys - they did a great job all the way thru to leading the race and as a good team, we all went down with the ship together! ;-)
And now I'm a different racer.... never forget who your racing against. Never.
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
Sunday, March 8, 2009
We had a good mix of riders. Tony, Jeff, Dylan, Eric, and myself. Other big teams were Webcor, Lombardi, Sierra Pacific, Cal Giant, then some pros like Andy JM, Dan Hollaway, and Jackson Stewart. A pretty solid field overall.
A break of 6 riders (Hollaway, Joel Roberts, Fabrice, Chris (UC Davis), myself and on other) got a good size gap on the rest very early in the race. We were moving well and I was thinking there is no way the pack can bring us back. Then we hit a few primes. I challenges Hollaway and got him in a two up fair sprint. Thinking back I should not have done this. It actually put Hollaway on the defensive and he stopped pulling hard in the break. He was marking me for the next few primes and it was killing out rotation. Eventually, we lost all the time we had opened up (maybe 30 seconds) and we were smothered.
The next move had Eric representing and they kept the field strung out hard for about 3 laps. Eric was started up though and just sat at the front stringing things out. I was about 15 back and launched off the high speed just to change it up. No sense burning up our legs without hurting others. That started a chain of move after move, and we always had someone up there. Even Jeff was starting to get into the action with a move that stuck for a few laps and stole a prime. Jeff took it, even though he though he was just pulling through his teammate who was actually sprinting for the prime and the pack about 5 seconds back going bizurk trying to pimp them both at the line. Nice when your hard tempo can win sprints. ;)
That took us up to about 8 laps to go, and the next exchange was a two man break with myself and Fabrice (Webcor). We hung out there for two prime laps and I took them both by lighting up the last 200m to which Fabrice couldn't challenge. We got caught on the back stretch by a patchy, strung out field. The pace had now been hot for lap after lap after lap. A few more stale moves and we were all back together with 3 laps to go. Jeff was up near the front, I was about 7th and then I saw both Eric and Dylan also in the top 12. Holly crap, this looks awesome. Jeff knew both myself and Dylan were up there and kept the pace high with a hard move. After the catch I called to Eric who was in the front to go. He took us for a full lap and both myself and Dylan were in perfect position. Eric let us off after turn two of the last lap and now the problem was no once took the bit. Shit. The corners were uneventful, but then on the back stretch there was the usual swarm of riders. Jeff was moving up but didn't have the legs left. I thought of going, but I lost sight of Dylan and it would have been a dark attack for maybe no reason. I survived the swarm and was at about 5th wheel into the final corner. Hopefully, Dylan not far behind. The rider in front (my friend Jan) skidded his back wheel and caused me to break. I got passed by a bunch on the right and saw Dylan tucked in the fold. I was caught out and had to actually sprint into the wind for about 200m to reach Dylan but couldn't get in front of him. Just as I made contact at about 400m to go someone finally opened up the sprint for good. I think Dylan was about 6th and me 7th at this point. This was a pure fitness sprint, long and fast. Perez was in front of Dylan and wasn't giving him much draft in his super low seated track sprint. Hollaway and Andy were pulling away from Perez and Dylan was unfortunately losing contact. Instead of being able to help Dylan I had to use the momentum to try and challenge. I got past Pelez for 5th and almost to 4th at the line. Just a cluster mess. The crap that slowed myself and Dylan down caused two crashes in the final straight. It was a sprint of luck and if you were not in the top 3 you were fighting the swarms. I made it out but was white knuckled for doing so, Dylan definitely has the sprinters touch and he held position without even thinking it was that hard. He will become our fierce pack sprinter, I don't doubt it at all. With the horse power of the rest of us I think there are quite a few wins up for grabs this year. Knowing his positioning ability now I would have hit the back stretch hard and taken him to the final corner on a good train. He would have held his own again Andy, Hollaway and Pelez.
Jeff can comment more on Dylan's pack ability. They teamed up a few times late in the race and Jeff helped move Dylan up in the pack. The bmx skills were easy to see.
So, at the end of the race we stole 4 of the 7 primes (girl scout cookies, money, Gu) and ended up with a 5th and 9th. Remove the two pros and you get 3rd and 7th. They also awarded the most aggressive rider award to some crazy canuck. Damn foreigners!
Great team racing, lost of positives to take away. The kits also looked frigg'in awesome! The red arm-warmers make it so easy to find riders in the pack.
Tuesday, March 3, 2009
A WINTER STORM WARNING FOR HEAVY SNOW AND STRONG WINDS REMAINS IN
EFFECT UNTIL 4 AM PST WEDNESDAY.
* SNOW...HEAVY AT TIMES THROUGH WEDNESDAY MORNING.
* TOTAL SNOW ACCUMULATIONS: 14 TO 28 INCHES AT LAKE LEVEL BY
WEDNESDAY MORNING. 3 TO 4 FEET OF SNOW WILL FALL ABOVE 7000 FEET
WITH UP TO 6 FEET ABOVE 8000 FEET NEAR THE SIERRA CREST.