Here’s how I see what is currently happening in cycling; drugs have always been here. I was flipping through a TDF picture book and came across a picture of Eddy merckx, Freddy maertens, Roger devlamink, all walking their bikes in protest of random drug testing in the TDF.. in 1968!! So drugs have always been a part of the sport.. in fact all sports. But why the attack on cycling? Here’s my theory; pro cycling contracts are getting bigger than the sport and its sponsors can support. So someone high up the ranks decided it was time to thin the herd. Armstrong was a one man show in cycling for a healthy chunk of time. No one was going to touch him and no one, while he was around, was going to make that amount of money.. not even close. Then he retired. The sponsorship bar was raised extremely high. The almighty American dollar entered the sport.. then contracts opened up.. doors were wide open for Lance’s replacement. But too many new names came in making demands of sponsors and team management to build teams with strong rider to support key guys. Let’s remind ourselves that everyone at this point is doing drugs. Now, have a closer look at cycling compared to a stadium sport like football. Where is the sponsorship return? Is there a return? There are no ticket sales to bike racing, at least not enough to quantify the sport’s existence. Football, however, banks on it.. we build massive stadiums, sell tons of logowear, tickets and consession on top of it. The marketing monster behind the American stadium sport is an economy in itself. Cycling isn’t, nor are a number of other “euro-alternative” sports. Do football players use drugs? Of course! But why would you slow down that money making machine? I was just watching Ken Burns “10th Enning” on PBS.. this show was an epiphony for me. A decade ago now, baseball struggled with the drug issue.. there’s was a little different. A battle for new records by players, again, making millions.. way more than they deserved. Not just one player (ala Lance) but three!! McGuire, Sosa and Bonds. Super stars.. all busted in time using performance enhancers. Did it impact ticket sales and viewership? Nope. Back to cycling. What now? Cycling will right itself. In time anyway. Just like it did after the Festina affair of 96/97. The contract/sponsor dollar will correct itself and we’ll get back to good old fashioned doped up bike racing!
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I’m inspired finally.. Been a while since my last post.. lots going on and lots to post. But i was recently made aware that my 4k team pursuit team of Casper, Tainter, Cullen and myself scortched a new local track record of 4:38.44. I think I may have posted a record for my age group as well in the 3k pursuit (40-44). Awesome work gents.. even faster in 2010!
The first time I ever rode the track was with Joe parkin and Scott Flanders. Tom Lee was the Velodrome manager at the time. He got the moto out and motorpassed us.. well, them as it was too much for the 3rd guy in line. But after reading his article on the IOC I realized Joe has done it all; WC Cross in Europe, Pro road, Domestic Road, Pro Mountain, bar rides, BMX and the track. I wish more pros, active or not, would be more vocal on the subjects that effect the future of our sport. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mqSI7w2D4MQ
Cancellara’s rig.. Michael Hutchinson’s rig.. that earned most of these.. Tony Martin’s rig.. Boardman’s record setting pursuit bike.. circa 1992 3-speed fixed gear Big cookie
The season finally wrapped up for me at the Tour De Gruene in Texas last weekend. A great time and a great event. Saturday was a 16 mile time trial with a 27 mile 2 person team time trial on Sunday. The race has been made famous by Lance Armstrong’s presense but he was busy auctioning his bikes in NYC. It didn’t detract from the event though as it’s been around since ’84. The tt course was one of my all time favorites; 8 mile, sinuous out and back course along the Guadaloup River and made for the fixed gear. I turned a 50-14 to a 37:16 for the 16 mile race (26.6mph ave). Some of Texas’ fastest were in attendance so it was good for 7th in my category but considering my fitness I was exstatic. I stayed on a nice rythm, passed 3 racers and was never passed myself. I undergeared to accomodate my lack of fitness and it was perfect. There were numerous photographers and small pockets of cheering crowds along the course really adding to the excitement of the race.
Early the next day it was 2 person time and HED Mafia boss Vince Rosetta and myself attacked the course for second in our division. It was a variation of the tt course but add a climb and a stint on a roughly chip sealed highway which limited us to a 25mph average speed.
HED is making a huge dent in the bike wheel scene in Texas thanks in part to Vince, Mellow Johnnies and a hoste of great shops in and around Austin and San Antonio. Probably second to our very own Twin Cities.
There was a healthy chunk of time before this event without much riding and no racing. Chequamegon was the last race where I pinned on a number. One of the fsatest on record and I felt it. I got a little over-concerned with weight loss and ran the tank to empty a little too early in the race but as always a great event to participate in. The start is about as stressfull as a race can get.. I just have to figure out how to conquer the Birkie Trail rollers.
A work trip to London and Cycle Show UK provided for a great experience. Quite a bit smaller than Las Vegas’ Interbike but a better invironment; more time triallers, good conversations and a more efficient booth space; 1964 VW bus.
Kelly, Merckx, Backstedt, Malcom Elliot and Barry Hoban (missed phot opp) autographed the VW.
So, a super long season is behind me. A great season despite some of my results. Racing and training on a fixed gear has been a revelation and I’m looking forward to seeing how far I can push myself on it in 2010.
The two man ttt is a unique event. The pros have and have had a number of events on their calendar for years. First there was the Baracchi Trophy in Italy that goes way back and the Duo Normand that still exists today.
As they say about team time trialling; you are only as fast as your weakest member. So in a 2-up ttt compatability is key. Who better to match my ability than Dan Casper. We’ve battled out all season long at nearly 25 events including Grudge match pursuits and worked together in a team pursuit with Jim Cullen and James Tainter. So i’m no stranger to his wheel. We decided on fixed gear bikes. Knowing we could both ride faster given the right conditions and course profile. We had both on this day; calm conditions with high humidity and a rippin fast course profile that tempted me with an individual effort. However, this was a welcomed challenge. Unlike road racing you don’t need a full field to have a good race. Attendance was low but the competition strong from Flanders duo Mark Skarpohl and Mike Woehl. Last year Aric Hareland and myself lost by a wheel length to Gordy Paulson and Lance Niles.. less than a seond seperated us in the 30 minute event. Our goal was to simply go faster. We did rolling a 30:18. It was hard. I felt good going out and Casper said after that he struggled but he never missed a pull. That effort caught up with me on the way back and Dan had to take longer pulls so I could recover. I can smell a sub 30 minute effort and I hope we get the chance again next year. It’s a great venue.
Next up is Chequamegon Fat Tire 40
Just finish 5 days of racing in 6 with a Friday off. It started with the Ride & Glide TT finale. A perfect evening provided for a fast time on the fixed gear breaking my own course record by a handful of seconds. Next year I suspect the time will attract some attention and it’ll come down, if not by me anyway. Thanks to the Ride & Gliders for the series and if the weather cooperates this winter I may make part 2; the R & G XC Ski tt.
Photo: Robbie Halvorson
Wednesday was the Black Dog tt finale. Gear choice may have cost me the race but a PR would be a stretch after the previous night’s efforts so a 2nd place by 4 seconds was all I could muster and a 3rd overall in the series. But my 14:07 will stand as the fastest fixed gear time.. until it gets broke next year, if not my me anyway.
Thursday was the State Points race championships at the NSC Velodrome. 80 laps under the lights on a perfect night. Fall is in the air and I was first across the line but 4th on points behind Crosby, Bergman and Tainter. Taking a lap from those guys was a tall order.
Saturday was the Big Ring Fliers TT. 19-ish miles on great roads. The weather was harsh with a north wind and cool temps. Bjorn Selander and Ian Stanford were in the hood raising the bar and dropping the winning time. I was 4th with tired legs but still love the event and hope it continues to attract racers of all levels.
Sunday closed out my series of races with the State Road Race on the Sibley County Road course.. a course I’ve been riding since 1992 and one of my favorites. A great team effort had me feeling fresh on the last lap but I wasn’t alone. Five of us seperated ourselves from the field on the last climb to battle out the uphill sprint finish taken by Doug Swanson. It was a disappointent to not finish off the great team effort with a win but i’m no sprinter and 5th was all my tired legs could muster.
The Fuji Team RC will be traded in for Fuji C10 Mountain bike. The RC is a great bike. It was everything I could ask for from a road bike. If you are interested in it contact NOW Bikes in Arden Hills. It will be in near perfect condition, race ready and pre-installed with good karma.
Next up; more Thursday night track racing, The Henderson Two Person TTT, Chequamegon Fat Tire Fest and closing out the year at the Tour de Gruene