Monday, February 23, 2009

An exercise in a forgone conclusion

I must admit that despite my previous statements that most of the cycling you see on TV is somewhat boring, the last few stages of this year's Tour of California were a little more exciting than I thought they would be. But just a little more. Wrapping up my series, what follows are my observations and musings of Stages 6, 7, and 8 of the ToC. Brace yourself.

Stage 6, The Race of Truth
* Both Tyler Hamilton and Fast Freddie Rodriguez have mechanical issues with their bikes during the time trail. Rock Racing immediately issues their "Our TT bikes suck, not like those kick @ss TT bikes that Astana rides" Special Edition team kits. Now available for the low, low cost of your first born child, or your immortal soul.

* Speaking of technical issues, did there seem to be a lot of technical problems with the Tour itself? It seemed that the team directors were constantly gripping about the inaccurate info on race radio. And this might have slipped by a lot of you, but they seemed to have problems getting pictures of the actual racing if it even thought about raining. My favorite moment came during the time trial when they posted a split time for Michael Rodgers, a full 2 minutes before he reached the split.

* If you're an opposing cyclist, and you're whole strategy depends on making up time on Levi in a time trial, you might as well pack up and head home. It ain't gonna happen.

Stage 7
* While it's nice to see another mountain, with a 9 mile descent and 5 finishing circuits in town before the finish, it would appear that we're in store for another bunch sprint. Would it just kill them to finish on a mountain top just once? Heaven help us if they held a mountain stage that might actually impact the overall GC ranking.

* Is there anybody who knows even just a little about pro cycling, who doesn't think that George Hincapie is a really nice guy. Love his cycling clothing line too. Team Bikin' jerseys are Hincapie. Plus, he married a hot podium girl. So he's got that going for him.....which is nice. (That would be a line from the funniest movie of all time, Caddyshack.)

* There seems to be a greater variety of knuckleheads dressed up in costumes on the side of the road at the Tour of California, than you traditionally see in a European stage race. Once again, USA #1. No offense to my European readers. (Don't laugh, I actually do have European readers.)

* It would seem that George Hincapie was awarded the Most Courageous Rider jersey by the media, after yesterday's time trail. How exactly does one determine a "Most Courageous" rider after a time trail? Did the media have some sort of inside info that George was the only one really trying yesterday? Did he have to fight off some road bandits during the stage?

* Versus just did a story about Team Type 1, the team made up of diabetic riders. I had the pleasure of meeting one of the team's founders, and riders, Phil Southerland, at a Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation bike ride in Whitefish Montana a couple of years ago. He's a very impressive young man. If you ever get the chance to hear him speak, I strongly recommend you do. I'm not diabetic, but despite my longstanding policy against buying and wearing pro jerseys, I might just have to suspend that rule and buy a Team Type 1 jersey.

* Well, just to show how much I know about pro cycling, apparently hell froze over today, because the breakaway survived to the end. (Just so you know, I could have erased that first observation from my Stage 7 comments before I published this post, and no one would have been the wiser. I should get some points for publishing my own dumb assertions.)

Stage 8
* I wonder if Phil and Paul find Craig as annoying as the rest of us do. They just have to.

* Apparently, I'm losing my mind. I could have sworn I just heard Craig Hummer say that he rode the climb up Palomar Mtn a month ago. I'm afraid I'm going to have to call B*ll Sh*t on that. Assuming that Craig Hummer could complete that climb, there's still snow on the ground now. How much snow must there have been on that mountain a month ago?

* Bob Roll interviews Lance again. Lance seems very relaxed these days. I would seem that cutting Cheryl Crow loose has lifted the weight of the world off of his shoulders.

* Just saw a couple of streakers on the side of the road. This, among so many other things, reconfirms the widely held belief that California is truly the land of fruits and nuts.

* Oscar "Baby Face" Selvilla was on a solo breakaway today. He might have survived if race officials hadn't made him stop, to see if he had a note from his mother excusing him from school today.

* I particularly enjoy watching fat guys, who normally couldn't run across my living room without having a heart attack, attempt to run along side the riders. These guys are cardiac incidents looking for a place to happen.

* Another certified nut sighting on the side of the road. This guy was wearing a pair of black bikini briefs, a black mask, a red cape, and a heart rate monitor. Why was he wearing a heart rate monitor??? I'm guessing that he's trying to pace himself for a long day of looking like an idiot. Don't want to expend all of your energy making an idiot of yourself in the morning, and not have any energy left to make an idiot of yourself that afternoon.

* Rock Racing finished 7th out of 16 teams in the Overall Team classification. They immediately issued their "We suck less than over half the teams in the Tour of California" Special Edition team kit. Price to you, one pound of uncut diamonds.

One final thought
Coming into this year's ToC, I didn't think much of Levi Leipheimer. Yes, I know he had won the two previous ToC's, but to me, he did it in a very boring, unglamorous manner. It seemed that he was content to just get whatever time he could out of the other GC contenders in the prologue and the time trial, then just hold on to their wheels during the regular stages. I don't ever remember seeing him go on the attack.

But after this year's Tour, I have a new found respect for Levi. Not only did he gain his time in the TT's as usual, but he actually went on the attack in stage 2. He actually rode off the front, and dared anyone to go with him. None of the GC contenders could. That's the mark of a true champion. Not only winning, but taking it to your opponents.

Given that Team Astana is probably going to ride for Lance during the Giro, and there probably going to ride for Alberto in the TdF, I for one, would love to see the entire team get behind Levi for the Vuelta. I'd love to see Levi on the top step of the podium at the end of a Grand Tour. Call me a bandwagon jumper if you must, but I'm officially a Levi fan now.

Peace out.....Nearly Famous Fred


Bryan said...

Great thoughts on the TOC. I really enjoyed this year's tour as well. As a Type 1 diabetic, I love with Team Type 1 is doing. You gotta buy the jersey!

Nearly Famous Fred said...


I definetly see a TT1 jersey in my future.

I also saw your comment about RBM and you experience shopping with them. You'd be amazed how many people have contacted me with the exact same experience.


pabiker said...

Do you have a link to that Special Edition Rock Racing jersey you mentioned. That sounds way cooler than the diabetes one.

Nearly Famous Fred said...


One of my cycling buddies here in Dallas attended U of Maryland.

Fear the Turtle!!!