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Man in the Arena

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Well, file this under "news of the weird". Whiskey maker Jeremiah Weed is demanding an apology from Floyd Landis for blaming his 2006 testosterone positive at the Tour de France on drinking too much whiskey the night before the test.

 

From PR Newswire:

 

Jeremiah Weed Bourbon Whiskey Demands Apology From Floyd Landis

 

"Weed Does Not Cause a False Positive" Says Brand Namesake

 

WEED, Ky., May 25 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Today, Jeremiah Weed, the original Southern Gentleman and proud father of Jeremiah Weed Bourbon Whiskey and Cherry Mash Bourbon Whiskey, publicly demanded a formal apology from shamed cyclist Floyd Landis for falsely blaming whiskey as a possible cause of his positive test for synthetic testosterone in 2006, which resulted in the stripping of his 2006 Tour de France champion title.

 

"In light of Mr. Landis' recent admission that the cause of his positive test was indeed a result of his use of performance-enhancing drugs, I believe he owes the world of whiskey a formal apology for his careless defamation of our passion," says Jeremiah Weed. "Jeremiah Weed is a brand built on Southern Hospitality and good, clean fun. I said it then and I'll say it now -- Weed does not cause a false positive."

 

Mr. Weed further stated, "When Floyd Landis' camp made those allegations in 2006, we didn't know how whiskey consumers would react. Luckily, our loyal consumers were able to see through Landis's statements and continued to enjoy our Bourbon Whiskey and Cherry Mash Flavored Bourbon Whiskey. "

 

Jeremiah Weed recognizes how many individuals and groups were affected by Landis' allegations in 2006, as well as his recent choice to "come clean." The brand also recognizes that others in the sport may be tempted to blame whiskey should further positive drug tests come to light.

 

"Hopefully professional racing cyclists will think twice before trying to place blame for their transgressions on whiskey," said Mr. Weed. "But for those who try to besmirch our industry in the future, you're more than welcome to join me in my backyard to debate the issue while we sip some of the best whiskey our country has to offer -- responsibly of course."

 

Mr. Weed frequently speaks on the responsible use of his products and all alcohol beverages. He said that responsible consumption of alcohol is essential and that it is important that underage persons not have access to alcohol. His comments on responsible drinking can be viewed on You-Tube and on his website www.jeremiahweed.com.

 

ABOUT JEREMIAH WEED

 

Jeremiah Weed Blended Bourbon Whiskey is a 90 proof bourbon whiskey brought to the public by Mr. Jeremiah Weed, the original Southern gentleman. Born of a long Southern and Kentucky distilling tradition, Jeremiah Weed utilizes only the highest quality ingredients for a taste we think you'll find second to none. You can learn more about Jeremiah Weed Blended Bourbon Whiskey, Jeremiah Weed Sweet Tea, Jeremiah Weed Cherry Mash Flavored Blended Bourbon Whiskey, Jeremiah Weed Country Peach Sweet Tea, Jeremiah Weed Bourbon Liqueur and "The Legend" Mr. Jeremiah Weed himself at www.jeremiahweed.com or www.facebook.com/jeremiahweed. Mr. Weed reminds you to please drink responsibly.

 

ABOUT DIAGEO

 

Diageo (Dee-AH-Gee-O) is the world's leading premium drinks business and industry leader in promoting responsible drinking, with an outstanding collection of beverage alcohol brands across spirits, wines, and beer categories. These brands include Johnnie Walker, Guinness, Smirnoff, J&B, Baileys, Cuervo, Tanqueray, Captain Morgan, Crown Royal, Beaulieu Vineyard and Sterling Vineyards wines. Diageo is a global company, trading in more than 200 countries around the world. The company is listed on both the New York Stock Exchange (DEO) and the London Stock Exchange (DGE). For more information about Diageo, its people, brands, and performance, visit us at http://www.diageo.com/.

2,418 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: tour-de-france, floyd-landis, whiskey, jeremiah-weed

The media storm began to form late last night, with short briefs appearing online hinting at emails Floyd Landis sent to "cycling officials" that detailed his apparent doping while possibily implicating others. By this morning it was a full-blown hurricane of accusation.

 

Over the past several weeks, Landis sent emails to USA Cycling, anti-doping officials, sponsors and various media outlets confessing that he used EPO, blood transfusions, testosterone, HGH and other forms of performance-enhancing drugs dating back to 2002.

 

While this might not come as a shock to many considering his 2006 Tour de France positive and the subsequent, lengthy trial in which he fought to clear his name, it is the names that Landis cites as complicent in his doping schemes that will surely generate the most buzz around these revelations.

 

Among those he calls out are:

  • Lance Armstrong
  • Johan Bruyneel
  • Levi Leipheimer
  • Dave Zabriskie (the current overall leader of the Tour of California)
  • George Hincapie
  • Dr. Michele Ferrari
  • Andy Rihs (former owner of Landis' Phonak team)

 

Undoubtedly, the denials have been quick and assertive. Landis so far has offered no hard evidence--photos, receipts, recordings--just his word against theirs. However, that this story first came to light through two non-cycling-related media outlets, the Wall Street Journal and ESPN, underscores the accusatory nature of the confession. American cycling fans are all too familiar with the mainstream media concentrating only on doping allegations in cycling, rather than the sport itself. That Landis chose to talk exclusively to ESPN's Bonnie Ford (so far, anyway), and that the WSJ obtained copies of three emails while Cyclingnews only reviewed one suggests Landis knew his audience. His timing (sending the emails just before the Tour of California), indicates he knew when he'd make the biggest splash.

 

The immediate impact is that the Amgen Tour of California, a race shaping up to be the most exciting cycling event in the United States in a long time, has a rather unruly storm cloud hovering nearby. Whether it will pour down or just blow over remains to be seen.

 

Landis can't be admired for cheating or for lying. He's certainly hurt a lot of former supporters who donated to his cause to "Free Floyd" while fighting the 2006 TDF doping infraction. But will he become cycling's equivalent of Jose Canseco--the baseball player whose revelations on rampant steriod use in the Major Leagues were widely mocked and ignored, yet are becoming more and more believable as time goes on? Or will Floyd be exposed as a desperate man who played on people's willingness to believe in "An American Hero" (as his website calls him), yet finally left the sport clutching at straws? Undone by the road rash of his own attempt to throw others under the bus with himself.

1,501 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: cycling, floyd-landis, doping

That Mark Cavendish is presently one of the best cyclists in the world at sprinting to a stage victory is pretty much undeniable. Yesterday in Sacramento he proved it again, edging J.J. Haedo to win Stage 1 of the 2010 Tour of California.

 

So how does Cav train to cover a couple hundred meters faster than anyone else? Several months back VeloNews found out. In the article "Mark Cavendish's Secret to Sprint Training", the HTC-Columbia rider told Ben Delaney, "I just do a sprint, one or two sprints at the end of every ride. I do them over-distance. In a Tour de France stage you're looking at between 150 and 250  meters. But I always do 300 meters."

 

He went on to outline his routine: "I get to the bottom of a slight downhill, just rolling. I'm not  pedaling much, just rolling at about 40k an hour. Then  I hit it, boom! I hit it, and I go 70k an hour and I try to hold that  for 300 meters. I always die. And it's about dying and just trying to  sustain that to 300 meters. If you can do over-distance then you can  sustain 250 meters no problem. That's all it is, really."

 

Cavendish has always been one to credit his teammates for delivering him to the right position, and this time is no exception: "I trust them, you know? I race with such an experienced group of guys."

 

No doubt we'll see more of the HTC-Columbia leadout train over the next week. And there's nothing like a big-time bike race in your home country to get me to finish my commute home with a hard kick to the parking lot line.

1,301 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: cycling, tour-of-california, amgen-tour-of-california, mark-cavendish, htc-columbia

Race organizers of the 2010 Amgen Tour of California held a pre-race press conference in Sacramento on Saturday, May 14. Below are select quotes from riders, organizers, tv commentator Phil Liggett and city of Sacramento officials.

 

Lance Armstrong (USA) Team RadioShack

 

"The Amgen Tour of California is a big race for us.  It's no secret that this is a huge priority for us.  I might even take it a step further by saying it's second only to the Tour de France."

 

On the team's condition:

"Personally, I struggle to find the condition that I like.  There have been moments I thought it was getting better.  I like to think we're heading in the right direction.  This is an event where you can truly test yourself.  I do think it's a team sport and we bring a deep team. 

 

On Tour predictions:

"Anything can happen at the Amgen Tour of California.  We're excited.  We're motivated.  For me, it's good to be back with a great group of guys.  But from the team's perspective, our best chance is Levi.  We're going in with the sole purpose of supporting him.  But it depends on what the road dictates.  I'm happy to be here as a team rider."

 

On his emotional drive:

"My emotional drive is good.  When you have bad days, as we all do, your drive takes a hit.  If you asked what my emotional drive was after the Tour of Flanders, I would have said, 'I did a pretty good job for an old man.' I still believe that I can win the Tour de France." 

 

On his condition:

"One thing I've tried to do is simplify my life.  Life is hectic for me now.  Professional cycling, four kids with a fifth on the way, all the travel.  At the end of it all, people ask, 'How do you do that?'  It's not something that I can easily do.  I've tried to cut back as much as I can, but we have 50 days until the start of Tour de France, so I can't rest too much."

 

Levi Leipheimer (USA), Three-Time Defending Champion -- Team RadioShack

 

"There's a lot new about the Amgen Tour of California.  It's taking place in May as opposed to February.  The whole feeling about it is different because it's summertime.  The riders of the peloton are much more fit.  We're going higher in the mountains, in Big Bear.  I'm looking forward to seeing exactly what happens that day."

 

"I've always said that riding into Santa Rosa with the world's best riders in my hometown is really special. It's not something that everyone gets to experience, especially wearing the Amgen Leader Jersey.  It's an overwhelming experience."

 

"I'm ready for the race. Like the last few years, I'm ready to win."

 

"I've known Lance over the years. I know he's professional and I've seen him work for guys in the past.  Someone who wins the greatest race in the world knows he can't do it without the team.  When you have a teammate who can win the race and he has better form, you help him.  That's the way cycling works.  That's just the way it is."  

 

George Hincapie (USA) BMC RacingTeam

 

"The new team has been great so far.  We started the year with slight growing pains, being a new team.  But the team's really gaining some momentum right now and we're hoping to continue that."

 

Fabian Cancellara (SUI) Team Saxo Bank

 

"This is my first race after my break.  I'm happy to come back to this race but how good am I?  I don't know.  What I know for sure is I didn't have the best preparation for coming here.  What's important is that I'm getting back.  I think it's important that I am relaxed and I'm looking forward to this beautiful race.  Hopefully the weather will stay the way it is." 

 

"I have the energy that I need and the form to be in the top.  The most important thing was to rest after the Classics. The team is strong."

 

Mark Cavendish (GBR) Team HTC-Columbia  

 

"I'm excited to be here.  We're a great team, this is a great race.  We're looking forward to it."

 

Andy Schleck (LUX) Team Saxo Bank      

 

"We arrived a few days ago, so hopefully we can get ready for the race.  I heard there's a really hard climb ahead of us." 

 

Dave Zabriskie (USA) -- Garmin-Transitions

 

"I'm looking forward to racing in my new hometown, Los Angeles. But I'd be looking forward to it regardless if I was a resident or not."   

 

Andrew Messick, President, AEG Sports

 

"In our five years we've succeeded in becoming an increasingly exciting race on the international cycling calendar.  We are giving cycling fans in the U.S. the opportunity to see the very best cyclists in the world."

 

"We are really happy that the sun is shining and our move to May has put us in the heart of the cycling season.  It's also given us a chance to showcase new and more scenic parts of the state and give the fans of California blue skies and warm weather.  We are continuing to work with our partners to craft an event that we think will be competitively challenging for the riders and exciting for the fans to watch.  We have eight great days of racing and the best riders in the world with us."

 

Jim Birrell, Race Director, Amgen Tour of California

 

"We have 16 host cities that will let us grace their city with a worldwide audience.  As we hit the streets of San Francisco and head down the coast of California, you will see that this year's Amgen Tour of California will be more challenging than previous years." 

 

"We are heading to the home of L.A. LIVE and STAPLES Center where the time trial in Los Angeles will prove to be quite challenging compared to previous time trials.  Then we'll move close to the home of Amgen for another decisive stage, Stage 8, the conclusion to the 2010 race."

 

Phil Liggett, VERSUS Announcer  

 

"I felt it was a big gamble to move away from February.  It was a way of testing the strength of the organization.  Riders are not too willing to travel a long distance as they are preparing for the Tour de France.  The big teams, the big riders always come to the Amgen Tour of California.  This will be the fourth year VERSUS has broadcast the race.  This year, VERSUS has strengthened its coverage.  We're going live two hours every day.  We're going out to every continent in the world.  The Amgen Tour of California is on par with all of the great races in the world."

 

Stuart Arbuckle, Vice President & General Manager Oncology, Amgen, official race sponsor 

 

"One of the reasons we became the title sponsor is to help explain what Amgen does.  The title sponsorship allows us to tell our story.  It allows the opportunity to create awareness for the Breakaway for Cancer initiative, which is a program we started on the first day of our sponsorship.  Breakaway for Cancer is all about raising awareness about our non-profit partners that provide support from prevention to survivorship.  Amgen was born in California, we're headquartered in California and we're proud to sponsor an event that showcases this beautiful state."

 

Kevin Johnson, Mayor of Sacramento

 

"We're very proud to be hosting this event again. The Amgen Tour of California is something we look forward to every year and the impact to our local economy is huge.  The people of Sacramento are lucky to be able to participate in this event.  There will be about 100,000 expected attendees and to be able to do this in the month of May, we'll see a much better turnout."

 

Roger Dickinson, Sacramento County Board of Supervisor's Chair

 

"The City of Sacramento is so pleased to have the Amgen Tour of California here for the fourth year in a row.  We're especially happy to be in this partnership with Amgen and we hope our hospitality extends to all the cyclists and fans that are here to witness this great race."

 

"You really can't appreciate what world class cycling is all about just by watching it on television.  And for a long time, we only had that opportunity.  We now have the great opportunity for those who live in the Sacramento region to see this first hand and there's no comparison.  Since last year we've all been in training for this year's event, in our own way.  We know the tremendous benefit this brings to our region."

1,189 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: cycling, levi_leipheimer, george_hincapie, lance-armstrong, tour-of-california, amgen-tour-of-california, fabian_cancellara, mark-cavendish

This just in from the organizers of the Tour of California:

 

"Due to severe road damage on the Angeles Crest Highway (Route 2) above La Cañada Flintridge caused by the recent winter storms, we have been forced to change the route for Stage 6 of the 2010 Amgen Tour of California. This change is being made at the direct request of Caltrans, which has notified us that due to the potential safety hazards, the road will be unable to accommodate our race.  Stage 6, scheduled for May 21, 2010, will no longer start in Pasadena and we are working to secure a new stage start, which we are hopeful of announcing in the coming days.

 

Stage 6 will still finish in Big Bear Lake as planned and we look forward to a challenging stage in the San Gabriel and San Bernardino Mountains.

 

As long-term partners with Pasadena, we appreciate how graciously they have handled this difficult situation. We look forward to returning to Pasadena soon."

 

-- Andrew Messick

President, AEG Sports

 

 

It's a shame Pasadena won't be hosting again this year, as it's a great city to visit. But fortunately the finish at Big Bear Lake is still a go. I'm sure the organizers are working pretty hard to come up with a comparably challenging route. If you'd like to see the old route, go here: http://www.amgentourofcalifornia.com/docroot/media/2010/2010-stage6-map.pdf

1,558 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: cycling, pasadena, tour-of-california, amgen-tour-of-california

Enjoying the Olympics? Me too! At least now that I've discovered how the DVR on my TV can save me from NBC coverage insanity.

 

The irony that a network whose mascot is a peacock should cover the Games with incredible amounts of fluff and color (commentary) is not lost on me. And that's where my DVR comes into play. Take today for instance. I came home from work, parked myself on the couch and watched a recording of the tail end of last night's prime time coverage. Just the short track speedskating relay. I skipped the Flying Tomato. Then I switched over to a recording from earlier today of a women's biathlon event--a sport I'm tremendously in awe of. I imagine doing biathlon is similar to running stair sprints at a stadium, but every time you get to the top you have to stop on a dime and play Operation. If you buzz, you have to do an extra sprint. And if you're Scandanavian, you're entire country is watching you.

 

Following the 20 minutes of biathlon, I skipped the next hour and 40 minutes of women's halfpipe qualifying. Yawn. Next, my wife watched two-thirds of the women's USA vs. Finland hockey game. We then started tonight's prime time programming. We blinked and almost missed the women's super-combined. Rewind. Fast forward past the halfpipe finals. Oops, we're caught up to live. Time to watch yesterday's Colbert Report, where he may have threatened Bob Costas with bodily harm. Back to prime time, and it's men's figure skating.

 

Over five hours of Olympics condensed into three, skipping over commercials, montages from yesterday and Mary Corillo's polar bears the whole way. Now we can watch the hockey overtime shootout between Russia and Slovakia while recording the end of figure skating.

 

So if you don't have DVR and can't skip the How to Train Your Dragon interpretation of viking curling, take my Winter Olympics quiz instead! I came up with these questions for an Opening Ceremonies party we had. Disclaimer: I fact-checked these questions with the zeal of Johnny Weir researching the rules of hockey. So not much. And I just took them from whatever site came up first in Google--Wikipedia, IMDB, Urban Dictionary. So if any questions are wrong, I apologize. Answers will be posted in the comments section.

 

Round One: Olympic History

 

Who is the most decorated U.S. Winter Olympian ever?

 

a)    Bonnie Blair

b)    Eric Heiden

c)    Apolo Anton Ohno

d)    Peggy Fleming

 

Which of these sports has never been a demonstration sport at the Winter Games?

 

a)    Skijoring

b)    Sled-dog racing

c)    Co-ed luge

d)    Ski ballet

 

What year was the first Winter Olympics held?

 

a)    1924

b)    1938

c)    1908

d)    1898

 

Which city hosted the last Winter Olympics in the United States?

 

a)    Lake Tahoe

b)    Salt Lake City

c)    Lake Placid

d)    Detroit

 

How many athletes have won medals at both the Winter and Summer Olympics?

 

a)    none

b)    eight

c)    two

d)    four

 

What two current events has the U.S. never won a medal?

 

a)    Ski jumping and curling

b)    Biathlon and luge

c)    Mogul skiing and ski jumping

d)    Biathlon and Nordic combined

 

Which sport made its Olympic debut at the 1920 Summer Games?

 

a)    Figure skating

b)    Ice hockey

c)    Curling

d)    Ice dancing

 

Which of these countries has NOT hosted both the Summer and the Winter Olympics?

 

a)    Switzerland

b)    Japan

c)    Canada

d)    Italy

 

Round Two: How Well Do You Know the Games?

 

Which of the following is a real figure skating move named after a former Olympic gold medal winner?

 

a)    The Witt Twist

b)    The Hamill Camel

c)    The Button Hook

d)    The Yamaguchi Watootsie

 

What are the four Winter Olympic sports held indoors?

 

The biathlon combines what two sports?

 

a)    Ski jumping and cross-country skiing

b)    Bobsled and luge

c)    Cross-country skiing and riflery

d)    Cross-country and downhill skiing

 

What two sports make up the Nordic combined event?

 

a)    Ski jumping and cross-country skiing

b)    Bobsled and luge

c)    Cross-country skiing and archery

d)    Downhill skiing and mogul skiing

 

What the heck is the sport of skeleton?

 

a)    Sliding down a ski slope on a sled with two runners

b)    Sliding down a bobsled track in a bobsled with no sides

c)    Sledding headfirst down a bobsled track

d)    You’re just making that up.

 

Round Three: Odds and Ends

 

Which clothing designer created the gear the U.S. team will wear during the opening ceremonies?

 

a) Tommy Hilfiger

b) Hugo Boss

c) Ralph Lauren

d) Marc Ecko

 

Which sport were participants recently unsuccessful at petitioning the IOC and the Canadian government to have included in the 2010 Games?

 

a) Women’s 4-person bobsled

b) Men’s doubles figure skating

c) Synchronized freestyle skiing

d) Women’s ski jumping

 

After winning a World Cup race in Val d’Isere, France, in 2005, Olympic skier Lindsey Vonn chose this prize instead of taking $1,200 in additional prize money:

 

a)    A cow

b)    A 4-foot wheel of French cheese

c)    Her body weight in chocolate

d)    A dozen cases of Champagne

 

In the movie Cool Runnings, a character played by Doug E. Doug says the line “Feel the rhythm! Feel the rhyme! Get on up, its bobsled time!” to pump up his Jamaican teammates. What was that character’s name?

 

a) Mellow Johnny

b) Sanka Coffie

c) Soupie Cambell

d) Slim Jimmy Morrison

 

What is the name of the Vancouver Games’ sasquatch mascot?

 

a)    Sassy

b)    Quatchi

c)    Harry

d)    Burpee

 

According to Urbandictionary.com, Vancouver is “that city where if you own a house already, you can sell it and buy two of the same in Toronto, or three in Calgary, or ______ in Winnipeg.”

 

a)    A whole block

b)    A maple syrup factory

c)    The mayor’s house

d)    An entire street

 

In the movie Miracle, who played U.S. Olympic hockey coach Herb Brooks?

 

a)    Tom Hanks

b)    Patrick Swayze

c)    Kurt Russell

d)    The dad from Malcolm in the Middle

 

Which of these Olympians did NOT appear in the movie D2: The Mighty Ducks?

 

a)    Wayne Gretzky

b)    Greg Louganis

c)    Kristi Yamaguchi

d)    Kerri Strug

 

According to the kids from South Park, when Brian Boitano was in the Alps fighting grizzly bears, he used his magical _________ to save the maidens fair?

 

a)    Laser skates

b)    Sequined sword

c)    Salchow stunner

d)    Fire breath

 

Final Question

 

In figure skating, a salchow is a jump done from the back inside edge of one foot and landson  the back outside edge of the other foot. How do you spell “salchow”?

1,460 Views 1 Comments Permalink Tags: olympics, winter-olympics, brian-boitano, nbc-coverage-really-stinks

It's not unusual for me to get ticked off on my daily ride to or from work. Bad/ignorant/distracted/antagonistic drivers abound. Generally, those rides end with me calming down by rationalizing "At least my bike still works and I'm not in the hospital."

 

It's days like today, however, that can leave a lasting p.o.'ed pit in my stomach.

 

It all started when I stopped at a four-way intersection. The car next to me went left, I made to go straight. That's when I saw a cyclist approaching from the right. I had the right of way and continued on, but he blew through the stop sign, realized I wasn't stopping, swerved to avoid me, and then made a wobbly turn to the right. Only a few feet in front of me and struggling to stay on his bike and regain momentum, he completely ignored me as I rolled up beside him.

 

"You know you had a stop sign, right?" I said, holding back a lot more. He responded by turning slightly and with a smirk said "Yeah." Then he rode off.

 

Now angrier than before, I wanted to throw a stick in his spokes (the same feeling one might have if you were cut off on the highway and wanted to just give the offending vehicle a nudge with your own car). Then I started to laugh. Here was a big, pudgy guy on a mountain bike running stop signs and proud of it. He didn't fit the usual stuck-up-sponsored-cyclist profile that I usually see doing the same thing. He reminded me of the grinning buffoon in the Enzyte commercials. And then it hit me: maybe that's why he's doing it.

 

"Other ED pills not packing your suitcase of courage? Having trouble even attracting a podium girl of your own? Put a shove in your chamois by Running Stop Signs! Yes, that's right, the high of this meaningless display of living dangerously is also a natural enhancement--not to mention it's good for the environment!"

 

That wouldn't be the only incident of the day, however. After watching this jerk ride (not even roll) through a couple more stop signs, I saw a car beep its horn at him. I then stopped at an intersection only to have some silver-haired roadie in a Stagecoach Century jersey fly right past me and the car that had just beeped at the big mountain biker with the little gear.

 

That driver has now seen two cyclists blow through stop signs, he probably drives through that neighborhood often and will undoubtedly forever associate me with them.

 

In an interesting coincidence, when I finally boarded the train for the ride up to Sorrento Valley, I flipped open the May issue of Bicycling magazine to find Bob Mionske 's new column, Road Rights. In it he addresses the issue of cyclists running stops.

 

What stood out for me is this: "If you are injured in a collision, and your own negligence–-for example, failing to stop at a signal–-contributed to that injury, your ability to be compensated for your injuries may be severely curtailed, even if the driver was also negligent. In some states, you may not be able to recover damages at all. In short, the legal consequences for failure to stop can be quite severe, so it's in your best interest to stop."

 

That made me face facts. If I saw a cyclists get in an accident after blowing through a stop sign, my report to the cops/insurance company would begin "I watched him/her ride through the stop sign without stopping..." What choice do I have? That's not out of malice toward the offending cyclist, but out of respect for the law that would protect me as a driver should I be on the other side of the wheel.

 

The bottom line is: Drivers, please don't lump me in with flagrant riders. I don't do the same with you and drunk drivers. And cyclists, having a leg to stand on when confronting government about improving cyclists' rights means obeying the law.

1,391 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: cycling, commuting, obey-the-law

Stage 8

1. Frank Schleck - Team Saxo Bank 3:48:39

2. Vincenzo Nibali - Liquigas +0:02

3. George Hincapie - Team Columbia-Highroad +0:40

4. Rory Sutherland - Ouch Presented By Maxxis +0:40

5. Grischa Niermann - Rabobank +0:40

 

Overall Standings

1. Levi Leipheimer - Astana 31:28:21

2. David Zabriskie - Garmin-Slipstream +0:36

3. Michael Rogers - Team Columbia-Highroad +0:45

4. Jens Voigt - Team Saxo Bank +1:10

5. Thomas Lovkvist - Team Columbia-Highroad +1:29

6. Vincenzo Nibali - Liquigas +1:37

7. Lance Armstrong - Astana +1:46

8. Robert Gesink - Rabobank +1:54

9. Thomas Danielson - Garmin-Slipstream +2:24

10. José Luis Rubiera - Astana +2:48

 

King of the Mountain Standings

1. Jason McCartney - Team Saxo Bank - 39 points

2. Tyler Hamilton - Rock Racing - 22 points

3. Serge Pauwels - Cervelo Test Team - 21 points

 

Sprint Standings

1. Mark Cavendish - Team Columbia-Highroad - 36 points

2. Vincenzo Nibali - Liquigas - 22 points

3. Frank Schleck - Team Saxo Bank - 19 points

 

Best Young Rider Standings

1. Robert Gesink - Rabobank 31:30:15

2. Kevin Seeldraeyers - Quick Step +1:03

3. Bauke Mollema - Rabobank +3:50


Team Standings

1. Astana - 94:28:50

2. Team Saxo Bank +1:40

3. Garmin-Slipstream +1:49

3,315 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: cycling, levi_leipheimer, tour-of-california, amgen-tour-of-california

Rock Racing's Francisco Mancebo crashed out of Stage 7, causing the King of the Mountains jersey to be awarded to Team Saxo Bank's Jason McCartney. McCartney leads Rock Racing's Tyler Hamilton in KOM points 29 to 22. Sunday's Stage 8 from Rancho Bernardo to Escondido includes four opportunities to earn KOM points, including a ride up the Palomar Mountain featuring a seven-percent average grade and 4,200 feet of climbing.

 

TEAM STATEMENT

 

From Michael Ball, Rock Racing Team Owner

Regarding Francisco Mancebo

 

Pasadena, Calif. (February 21, 2009) - "Following his unfortunate crash during today's stage, Francisco Mancebo is currently receiving medical attention at Huntington Memorial Hospital in Pasadena. While we are still awaiting confirmation, we believe he has suffered a concussion as well as a broken hand and elbow. The fact he is unable to continue the race does not in any way diminish his accomplishments or those of the team. Attrition took its toll and we lost two incredible riders in Paco today and Victor Hugo Pena after Stage 4, but that's bike racing. This is such an exciting team and I am incredibly proud of everything we've achieved this week."

1,387 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: tour-of-california, rock-racing, amgen-tour-of-california, tyler-hamilton, francisco-mancebo, saxo-bank, jason-mccartney

Will Levi Be Challenged?

Posted by ManintheArena Feb 21, 2009

Levi Leipheimer's time trial performance yesterday was the kind of statement cycling fans have come to expect from him in Solvang. In his past two Tour of California victories, Leipheimer cemented his hold on the yellow jersey after a dominating ride in the time trial. As Odessa Gunn, Levi's wife, told our own Bruce Hildenbrand, "This is one of his favorite days. Certainly in the race, but in general. He loves this stage. He loves this town. He loves time trialing."

 

But in the past there has only been one stage to follow the TT. Never two. And both Stage 7 and 8 have significant climbs. With Garmin-Slipstream's David Zabriskie only 36 seconds back and Columbia-Highroad's Michael Rogers 46 seconds back in third, will either attack for the yellow jersey?

 

In yesterday's press conference, Zabriskie was mildy pessimistic at his chances: "It would take a lot of screwing up on their (Astana's) part. With the experience that they have and the depth of the team, they know what they’re doing. Like I said, it would take a huge screw up."

 

His assessment of today and tomorrow left some hope, though: "Tomorrow's stage is the same as last year.  It's not crazy. It's fairly gradual, so it's probably going to be a field sprint. Everyone knows that stage. We did go down and checkout the last stage; it's very challenging and things could happen. It will be interesting."

 

But for "things to happen", Zabriskie would most likely have to take out a sizable chunk of time from Levi today.

 

As for Michael Rogers, he was a bit more optimistic in his St. 6 press conference quotes: "I think the race is not over until Sunday. You've got some tough mountains coming up. I'm sure it's going to be tough. I think maybe the general classification is starting to open up a little bit more, but anything can happen.

 

"There are some hard climbs coming. I haven't been over the last two stages, but I have a few teammates that have been over the course, so I'm sure they'll keep me well informed. With the experience that Levi and his team has, it is going to be hard to do something, but we never say never. We are just going to take each stage as it comes. We're always on the lookout to do something, so if the opportunity arises, we'll do it."

 

The climbs up Palomar Mt. and Cole Grand Road during Stage 8 are in the first half of the stage, early enough to cause many to say they won't be much of a factor. But if someone has the legs? Is it too early in the season to hope for some final-stage fireworks?

 

Astana is beast of a team. Zabriskie hit the nail on the head when he said "they" would have to screw up. It's not likely Lance, Levi, Chris Horner, et al are all going to have a significant lapse in judgement and tactics. But never say never. I'd love to be a fly on the wall in any of the Astana, Garmin-Slipstream or Columbia-Highroad buses as they plan their strategy. What wild cards will they have stashed in their jersey pockets?

1,240 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: cycling, levi_leipheimer, lance-armstrong, tour-of-california, slipstream, astana, amgen-tour-of-california, garmin-slipstream, david-zabriskie, michael-rogers, columbia-highroad

It's been a rough road for Lance Armstrong in his return to American bike racing. The seven-time Tour de France winner hasn't found his first Tour of California to be a walk on the beach (not that such a walk in California would be all that fun right now anyway).

 

After learning that his time trial bike had been stolen in Sacramento, Lance embarked on the rainy, cold slog called Stage 1. Following the finish, Armstrong updated his Twitter with this: "Holy hell. That was terrible. Maybe one of the toughest days I've had on a bike, purely based on the conditions. I'm still freezing."

 

It can't get much worse than that, right? Well, Stage 2 from Sausalito to Santa Cruz wasn't much drier, warmer or safer. Lance's updated LIVESTRONG page revealed he had a crash with a photographer's motorcycle.

 

 

Yet despite all this, Lance sits just 30 seconds back in the overall standings. Levi Leipheimer has quite the domestique! Tomorrow's stage, from San Jose to Modesto, opens with the nearly 2,000-ft. climb up Sierra Road within the first five miles of the start.

 

By mile-60, however, the stage becomes flat with few turns. After watching on Versus as Lance put on a clinic on how to take off a jacket and put on a vest while riding next to a team car, I think this part of Stage 3 could be the perfect time for him to demonstrate how to Twitter while riding a bike. Lance is so proficient at the social networking phenomenon he's attracted over 100,000 followers and growing.

 

I think Bike Snob NYC put it best: "Lance Armstrong is a prodigious Twitterer. In fact, he's sort of the Lance Armstrong of Twitterers."

 

So I'll be keeping my eyes on the Texan whenever he's near his team car, hoping someone hands him a phone. Hopefully the photographer's motorcycles stay out of his way.

3,736 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: cycling, levi_leipheimer, lance-armstrong, tour-of-california, amgen-tour-of-california, twitter

If anyone thought they'd wait until Solvang before paying close attention to the 2009 Tour of California, they might want to start tuning in. After only the Prologue and Stage 1, the story lines are starting to develop.

 

Let's recap:

 

Fabian Cancellara wins the Prologue just two seconds ahead of defending champ Levi Leipheimer, then fails to start Stage 1 due to an illness. The absence of Cancellara, a strong contender for the overall, means there's more room at the top for someone to slip onto the podium.

 

Overnight, the Astana team is the victim of a robbery. Thieves get away with several bikes, including Lance Armstrong's time trial bike.

 

The race rolls out from Davis under inclement weather, bad enough to delay the Versus cameras from showing actual racing for about an hour. Cycling fans get pretty familiar with the network's bull-riding promos.

 

As we finally get to watch Francisco Mancebo makes his break, a chase pack starts revving its engines. Mancebo manages to hold them off to take the win and the overall lead. Will Rock Racing keep their man in the yellow jersey? Will they be allowed to?

 

Monday's Stage 2 across the Golden Gate Bridge and to Santa Cruz could be a doozy.

 

In the meantime, I'm going to rewatch Lance Armstrong's Friday press conference exchange with journalist Paul Kimmage. "You are not worth the chair that you are sitting on with a statement like that."

 

http://www.news10.net/video/default.aspx?aid=70159

1,320 Views 1 Comments Permalink Tags: cycling, lance-armstrong, tour-of-california, rock-racing, amgen-tour-of-california, fabian_cancellara, francisco-mancebo

Lance is back. So is Floyd Landis and Ivan Basso. Tyler Hamilton is ready to suit up in his new National Champion kit and ride in a race that banned him just days before the start last year. And don't forget two-time winner Levi Leipheimer, looking to make it three in a row.

 

Then there's the slugfest that could ensue between the teams of Saxo Bank, Astana and Garmin-Slipstream. The Argyle boys won the team overall last year, just 16 seconds ahead of a Lance-less Astana.

 

All in all, the 2009 Amgen Tour of California is shaping up to be an exciting nine days.

 

So how can you catch the action?

 

First, Versus will be televising all the action live and on replays throughout the day . You can find preview video on their Cyclysm page .

 

For those with jobs (and internet connections), Cycling.tv is showing the race for free! Not sure what feed they'll use, so if you need your daily dose of Phil and Paul, you may have to stick with Versus.

 

VeloNews.TV will have behind-the-scenes video, features and stage highlights.

 

For those of you who like the metric system, Eurosport will be showing live broadcasts of the race. You can also listen to their live audio feed, found under the Related Video box on their cycling page .

 

And when the race is over but you're still finding it hard to concentrate without knowing where a pelotonany pelotonis, head over to Steephill.tv, which has listings for coverage options for the entire season of racing.

2,530 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: cycling, levi_leipheimer, floyd-landis, versus, lance-armstrong, tour-of-california, amgen-tour-of-california, tyler-hamilton

"Never judge a day by its weather. Sunshine is uplifting; rain, nourishing; wind, exhilarating; snow, cleansing; hail, stimulating. Any weather is better than none."

    -- author unknown

 

This optimistic quote appeared in my inbox this morning, courtesy of Adventure Cycling's Bike Bits newsletter (which anyone who likes bikes should immediately < a href="http://www.adventurecycling.org/bikebits/index.cfm" target="_blank">sign up for</a>, toot sweet!). But it just served to remind me, however, how soft I've gotten after living in San Diego for two years.

 

Case in point: last night, channel 6's Aloha Taylor warned me that impending rain that was going to hit the county. Now I've ridden in the rain plenty of times. Like the quote above suggests, I find it kind of nourishing. But lately, I'm beginning to think it's not such a good idea in San Diego. The roads get super slick from all the oil that hasn't been washed off and, quite frankly, people out here don't know how to drive in the rain. I'd feel safer riding in a snow storm in Boston.

 

So I postponed plans to commute to work. This morning I awoke to clouds in the distance. Flipping on the TV, I couldn't find Aloha (who, incidently, named her daughter Taylor. Hmm...Do you think her daughter's full name is Taylor Taylor?), so I listened to Chrissy Russo on channel 5 tell me that the rain wouldn't come until later today. She seemed truly excited by this, bouncing around the set and pointing her legs out in a sort of slow-mo version of Elaine's dance from Seinfeld .

 

Thanks to Chrissy, I hopped on my bike and headed for the train station. (Chrissy, incidentally, when asked who she'd want to be stranded on a deserted island with, replied "[David Duchovny for obvious reasons | http://www.fox5sandiego.com/pages/anchor_reporter_bios]." What reasons, exactly? His monotone voice or his admitted addiction ? There's a Lost plot thread waiting to happen.)

 

Fast forward to now. Rain's comin' right? So I made arrangements to get picked up from work at 7:15 by Emmy. I'll stay later, get some work down, stay dry. Well...Chrissy! Aloha! Where's my rain?!? It's bone dry out there. If I get lapped in my next bike race because I skipped a day of riding I'm holding both of you responsible. This was supposed to be Big News! Sigh...it wasn't like this back when Brick Tamland was doing weather.

 

And now I have to live with the fact that I've turned into a weather riding wuss. Gol-durnit!

1,684 Views 1 Comments Permalink Tags: cycling, commuting

Cross Chain Traffic

Posted by ManintheArena Jan 13, 2009

Turns out I made a New Year's resolution but didn't realize it until today. After learning that train fares were being increased to $5.50 each way starting on Jan. 1, I decided to commute by bike more. Though I'm a big supporter of public transportation, I'm also a big supporter of going out to dinner more than once a month. Additionally, I also have some bike races I'd like to do, and this would be good training for them.

 

So last week I rode to work twice. This week, I'm determined to ride in Monday through Thursday. Two days down, two to go. It's still too dark to ride home, though. The trip is about 18 miles on city streets, bike paths, highway and sometimes a dirt service road.

 

Yes, highway. It must have been a proud day in the San Diego transportation authority's office when they realized there weren't any feasible bike routes connecting Sorrento Valley with the rest of the city and that they'd have to open up the freeway (as they call it here in Cali...take that Fast Lane owners!) to bicycle traffic.

 

Actually, it's one of the safer sections of my ride. The shoulder is wide enough to give me ample room away from the 70+ mph traffic. This is in stark contrast to some of the other roads I ride on, where cars go the same speed, but there is barely a shoulder to cry on (I'm talking to you, people who work at the Anheuser-Busch Distributor on Santa Fe St. One might think your job was to taste the different batches of beer all day; in which case I'd drive 70 mph to work, too).

 

One benefit to riding on the freeway allows me to see how fast I can go. With my new Treck ACH bike computer now finally installed, I try to hit 40 coming off the Genesee exit. It's a slight downhill, but I've got to get into the big ring and peddle as hard as I can to reach it.

 

 

My bike computer is definitely an upgrade from my old one. In addition to an odometer, speed reading and trip time, I've now got cadence, heart rate (which I have yet to use), temperature, altitude (which I can't quite figure out what it's telling me) and percent grade. It took me over an hour to figure out how to set everything, even though there were directions in about a dozen languages. It had me wondering if, at that same moment, there was a confused Dutch cyclist doing the exact same thing.

 

Speaking of temperature, my ride started at 6:50 a.m. with a temp of 48 at my house. In Rose Canyon, the temp read 42 degrees, though I imagine the wind chill of going 17 mph made it slightly colder. By the time I hit the office around 8ish, my bike was telling me it was 60 degrees out. (Sorry mom, but today is supposed to hit 82. How's Connecticut?)

1,185 Views 1 Comments Permalink Tags: cycling, commuting
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