Sunday, July 30, 2006

Morden ride

Good day for a bike ride. Better day to jump in the lake after the ride. 34 C. with a humidex rating of 44 C while we were out. No wonder I felt like my head was going to explode. Even better day to get together for post-ride dogs and beers. Happy Birthday Jonny S.

Tuesday am ride: Tour de Nick's. Ride out to St. Fancis Xavier and beyond. Breakfast at Nicks Inn on the way back. Will confirm time etc. at post-ultimate gathering.

Average weather in Moab:

December: High 46 F; Low 21 F
January: High 41 F; Low 20F

Poison Spider Bicycles has this to say about the matter:
Winter mountain biking is Moab's best kept secret. Moab winters are mild and generally sunny. Snow storms are infrequent and accumulation usually melts within a day. Warm gloves, a rain shell, and a light hat that fits under your helmet will make the day. Conditions are great and you've got the trails to yourself.
This is follow-up from a conversation that took place in Jonny S's backyard this evening. It should be pretty easy to figure out what the topic was. To be continued . . . .

alleycat alleycat alleycat

time for another alleycat race. if there is enough interest (reply to this message) i'll set up another alleycat (messenger) race for next monday (aug. 6th), time to be determined. the thinking being that it is a holiday and we have no ultimate game so there should be enough people aroung who need something to do on that evening. dogs would be in order for a post event event.

ciao, alberto

Saturday, July 29, 2006


Ride tomorrow in Morden. Meet at Colert beach at 12 noon. The more the merrier.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Floyd and Larry

Floyd will be appearing on Larry King Live tonight. 8pm, I believe.

Also, pezcyclingnews has their usual interesting take on some of the latest developments.

I'm definitely up for a ride on Sunday. Where and when should we meet?

sunday, morden sunday

poor floyd - tarred and feathered before all the evidence is in. having said that, i am starting to agree with dave from evil cycling that pro cycling sucks. its getting hard to believe anymore.

for those who are going cycling on sunday - i called james and he would probably like to join up for any ride on that day. sadly, i will not be able to make it because i made plans for that day, hoping that it would be a saturday ride. so, make sure to call james before you ride. have fun

Thursday, July 27, 2006


This year's Tour was an emotional roller coaster right from the very beginning. Just when it looked like the wild ride had come to an end and some semblance of order restored, suddenly we find ourselves back on a train that is hurtling out of control.

Sadly, this will continue on for weeks. I won't even try to keep up. But it feels kind of odd to let it drop now. So a couple of noteworthy items.

Floyd has broken his silence in an interview with Sports Illustrated's Austin Murphy. As is customary in rider responses to doping charges, he says he didn't do it. I'll let you judge for yourself.

The media have been hounding Floyd's mother, whom they were celebrating only days earlier, even if in a patronizing sort of way. The poor woman. Here's some of what she has to say:
She said that she wouldn't blame her son if he was taking medication to treat the pain in his injured hip, but "if it's something worse than that, then he doesn't deserve to win. I didn't talk to him since that hit the fan, but I'm keeping things even keel until I know what the facts are. I know that this is a temptation to every rider but I'm not going to jump to conclusions ... It disappoints me."

Later on, after speaking to her son on the phone, she says: “He said, ’There’s no way,”’ she said in an interview with The Associated Press at her home in Farmersville, Pa. “I really believe him.”

Arlene Landis said it could take two weeks for the results of the backup test to be made public.

“Why couldn’t they take care of this before they pronounced him the winner?” she said. “Lance (Armstrong) went through this too. Somebody doesn’t want him to win.

“Why do they put you through two weeks of misery and spoil your crown? My opinion is when he comes on top of this everyone will think so much more of him. So that’s what valleys are for, right?”

'They like to make a good man look bad. If that's what they are doing, they will be disappointed,' she said just moments after speaking by telephone with her son from inside the family home in this tiny farming community.

Their conversation came just hours after it was disclosed that Landis had tested positive for high levels of testosterone during one leg of the race that ended Sunday.

'When he comes out on top of this everyone will think so much more of him. That's what valleys are for,' she said.

'He said he was sorry I was being mobbed,' the cycling champion's mother said as television trucks and press cars started to clog up the local road.

They spoke for seven to 10 minutes, said Landis' mother.

'I told him I'm praying intensely for you,' she said before driving away with a family member.
Finally, someone who seems to know a little something of the science and medicine behind the testing for testosterone explains some of what will be at issue over the next few weeks. The most interesting thing I've read is that anyone whose ever challenged the results of a negative testosterone test has been successful and fully reinstated. But then again the UCI and Tour de France are intent on cracking down in the hardest of ways these days in order to give the impression that nobody succeeds in cheating at cycling. The scary thing is that recent accounts--the Floyd Landis case aside for a moment--suggest they'd rather wrongly exclude someone than take the chance that they might beat the system.

So no matter how all of this turns out in the end, it looks doubtful that it won't be settled conclusively. That's too bad, because it would be nice to move on either way.

say it isn't so, Floyd

On Wednesday it was announced that a rider in the Tour has tested positive in his A sample. Also on Wednesday, Floyd did not appear at a post-Tour criterium in the Netherlands he was scheduled to appear at, citing his hip problem. Needless to say, this has raised all kinds of speculation that Floyd is the rider in question. Time will tell, I suppose. In the mean time, let's hope this turns out to be a case of the media jumping to conclusions.

See the stories at and VeloNews.

Phonak confirms Landis positive (courtesy of

The Phonak team has confirmed the speculation that Floyd Landis returned a positive A sample after his win in stage 17 of the Tour de France. "The Phonak Cycling Team was notified yesterday by the UCI about an unusual level of Testosterone/Epitestosterone ratio in the test made on Floyd Landis after stage 17 of the Tour de France," said the team in a statement. "The team management and the rider were both totally surprised of this physiological result.

"The rider will ask in the upcoming days for the counter analysis to prove either that this result is coming from a natural process or that this is resulting from a mistake in the confirmation. In application of the Pro Tour Ethical Code, the rider will not race anymore until this problem is totally clear.

"If the result of the B sample analysis confirms the result of the A sample, the rider will be dismissed and will then pass the corresponding endocrinological examinations."
Meanwhile, Floyd's Mom also believes that Floyd's astonishing ride on stage 17 benefitted from some "external" assistance. But she attributes God, not testosterone, for his superhuman breakaway.

I don't know what to say. I confess that I have no idea how the science behind all of this works. I hope those guys in the lab know what they're doing. I sheepishly admit that I hope this will all sort itself out yet, but I admit to feeling more than a little naive in saying that.

Having said that, it's noteworthy that several of the riders implicated in Operacion Puerto have been officially cleared of any involvement. It appears they were wrongly booted from the Tour. See the letter from Allan Davis, who was one of those riders barred from racing:
As you all know, I was forced to not take part in this year's Tour de France after being named in a list of riders that are implicated in the Operacion Puerto.

I have been wrongly named in this list. I do not know Dr Fuentes, I have never spoken to Dr Fuentes either in person or on the phone and I have never had any reason to want to meet Dr Fuentes. I have requested a copy of the documents which are meant to implicate me, but to date I am still not sure how and in what way I am meant to be implicated.

To date, I have preferred to be silent and wait for justice to prove that I have nothing to do with Operacion Puerto. I am now over this whole situation. I thought it was finally over last Thursday when the Judge of the Operation Puerto sent a certified letter stating that my teammates from the Tour de France and I have nothing to do with proceedings in Madrid. I now find that my team can not include me in the upcoming races as the UCI have stated that I am still part of their investigation.

I invite or even demand that the UCI, ACF, Spanish Judicial system or whoever needs to, carry out a DNA test to finally clear my name from all of this. I understand that this is my choice and every individual is free to do whatever he feels he needs to do.

Should the DNA test prove that I am associated to this case, I will hang up my cycling shoes the day after and head home to Bundaberg and start looking for a normal job.

All of this is very frustrating when all I want to do is ride my bike and be able to make a living for my wife, kids and myself.

Allan Davis.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

just because

hmmmm...maybe i need an afro and some gold boots

Monday, July 24, 2006

The story of Floyd

Expect more of this in the weeks (years?) to come. Strange Mennonite background, a wrecked hip, the implosion and dramatic comeback. Floyd's win will get him plenty of attention. Won't even try to keep up. But see the cyclingnews and VeloNews stories, as well as the New York Times article (may require an account--which is free--you should all be reading the Times daily anyway).

bike and swim

A while back I talked about a family day at Grand Beach – biking for those who wanted to bike and a day at the beach for others; seems like biking at Grand Beach is out for now. Word is that all back country travel in Provincial Parks is out until we get some rain, including any biking on the trails (Paddy and his crew were turned away at Grand Beach this last weekend). Another option would be Morden which has a fine beach and some good bike trails. What weekend and day would suit people best?

Also, Crash is dead; long live Alberto.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Floyd's beer

The beer over which Floyd's so-called suicide mission was plotted.

The last stage is under way. The riders are just beginning the first of eight circuits of the Champs Elysees. Almost there.

All the time spent watching the Tour has cut into my riding time a bit. 200 kms in the last two days, though, which feels good. Off to Winnipeg Beach until Wednesday for more riding.

Saturday, July 22, 2006


He did it! Unbelievable. How did he do it? "I think I'm a person who works hard and I don't like to give up," Landis said. "Otherwise I'm just another human being."

Hal, Dave, and myself celebrated with some grappa hooch from Slovenia. Yum--especially at 10 in the morning. That stuff really is rocket fuel. Forget scotch club.

See VeloNews and Pez for full reports.

Today's top 10:

1 Serguei Gonchar (Ukr) T-Mobile - 1.07.45 (50.48 km/h)
2 Andreas Klöden (Ger) T-Mobile - 0.41
3 Floyd Landis (USA) Phonak - 1.11
4 Oscar Pereiro (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne-Illes Balears - 2.40
5 Sebastian Lang (Ger) Gerolsteiner - 3.18
6 David Zabriskie (USA) Team CSC - 3.35
7 Viatscheslav Ekimov (Rus) Discovery Channel - 3.41
8 Cadel Evans (Aus) Davitamon-Lotto - 3.41
9 Bert Grabsch (Ger) Phonak - 3.43
10 Damiano Cunego (Ita) Lampre-Fondital - 3.44

General Classification:

1. Floyd Landis (USA), Phonakn - 85.42.30
2. Oscar Pereiro Sio (Sp), Caisse d'Epargne-I.B. - 0:59
3. Andréas Klöden (G), T-Mobile - 1:29
4. Carlos Sastre (Sp), CSC - 3:13
5. Cadel Evans (Aus), Davitamon-Lott - 5:08
6. Denis Menchov (Rus), Rabobank - 7:06
7. Cyril Dessel (F), Ag2r Prevoyance - 8:41
8. Christophe Moreau (F), Ag2r Prevoyance - 9:37
9. Haimar Zubeldia (Sp), Euskaltel-Euskadi - 12:05
10. Michael Rogers (Aus), T-Mobile - 15:07

killing time

While I wait for Floyd to start the ride of his life, may as well continue to revel in the glory of Thursday's epic ride:
Epic Landis "could not be held back" (from

By Hedwig Kröner in Mâcon

Opinions diverged in the press room on the unfolding of Thursday's last Tour de France mountain stage: with Floyd Landis attacking in the first climb of the day, able to turn such an impressive gear, didn't the rest of the GC teams commit a fatal error in letting him take the lead? Searching for an answer, Cyclingnews asked around within the peloton on the next morning in Morzine.

Polkadot jersey wearer Michael Rasmussen nodded. "It wasn't really up to us to chase Landis, as we're not the ones who have the Tour favourite," he said. "But there are definitely some other teams that made a huge tactical error yesterday - those who had their riders placed second and third on GC [T-Mobile and Team CSC - ed.]."

Then again, could Landis' attack have been just a tad too fast to follow? Cadel Evans, an excellent climber for his part, seemed to think so. "When Floyd went, I just thought 'what the hell is he doing?'," the Davitamon-Lotto racer said. "It tactically didn't seem like a sensible thing to do, but I didn't know he had the legs like that... nobody did! He went so fast from the start, he rode the whole peloton off his wheels! Nobody could follow."

Just one rider actually did: T-Mobile's Patrik Sinkewitz, ordered on the Phonak rider's wheel like a shackle. What did he think during all these kilometres, before getting dropped mercilessly at the foot of the final mountain, the Col de Joux-Plane? "I just thought that he must have had a motor hidden somewhere!" the 2004 Deutschland Tour winner said. "Usually, when you're on somebody's wheel, you can spare some energy - but I just couldn't yesterday. I was constantly in the red. The other riders couldn't follow him, either. He was just extremely fast."

What about the peloton, shouldn't it not have let him go? "Well, that's not what happened," he continued. "The teams behind didn't go soft, either - they knew of the danger Landis represented, and rode hard. But he was just a class stronger yesterday, nobody could hold him back!"

Even if T-Mobile and CSC had started to really chase earlier, wouldn't Landis have been caught? "Maybe they would have raced the first climb faster, but then there wouldn't have been any riders left to hold that pace afterwards," explained Sinkewitz. "That wouldn't have made a difference."

Evans' teammate Chris Horner, himself a climber and race tactics specialist, agreed. "It was epic!," he summed it up. "It was just legendary. Everybody was chasing yesterday. People have said 'T-Mobile should have worked sooner' - but no one could have worked any sooner! We were going as fast as we possibly could! And if we would have been any faster on the climb, there would have been no T-Mobile guys left!

"The only place T-Mobile could have done any work is when they did: through the valley, when they made up some time on Floyd. That was the only place you could go fast. The T-Mobile guys were stuffed just like anyone else. The pace the Caisse d'Epargnes set up in the climb was the fastest we could go."

Horner did evoke one last eventuality to counter Landis' move, but discarded it right away: "One possibility would have been for the Top 10 GC guys to all work together at a 100 percent, and that's it," he said. "But that has never happened in the Tour, and it's never happened in any other race I've done before - and it never will. It was an epic scenario, which I've never seen in my entire career!"
See also the interview with Floyd's trainer, Allen Lim, on the science behind Thursday's dramatic victory.

Another take on Floyd's monster attack attributes it to the beer he drank the night before. We here at FGBC have learned to appreciate how a good beverage contributes to bike riding. But this is unheard of in the pro peloton. Maybe they are slowly catching on. Of course, this is even further justification for the fact that Floyd has been named an honorary FGBC member.

To hear from the man himself, see Floyd's interview with Bicycling Magazine. Turns out it was not Skynyrd he was singing to himself for 163 kms on Thursday, but Metallica. That will do too.

In other news--not that anybody cares at this point--Jan Ullrich has been dumped by his team.

Thursday, July 20, 2006


First of all, I need to stress that I am not making any of this up. That needs to be said because today we witnessed a staggering, unfathomably dominant performance at the Tour. In fact, this has to rank up there as one of the most epic demonstrations of courage in the history of this fabled race. To say this stage was unbelievable is like saying that southern Manitoba is flat. I still find it hard to comprehend what I just watched unfold today in the Alps.

Left for dead just 24 hours ago, his dream of winning the Tour seemingly shattered, Floyd rode himself back into contention today. He could have been forgiven for throwing in the towel after yesterday's disaster. But Floyd says he came here to win the Tour, and apparently he's not going to quit until the final lap of the Champs Elysees on Sunday. He's got his bullets back and more.

Since he began the day a whopping 8:08 behind Pereiro, he had to make his move early. It was not an option to try and take back that much time by waiting to attack on the final climb, as we've become accustomed to in the Lance Armstrong era. It is definitely possible to lose 8 minutes in one climb, as Floyd showed yesterday. But to close that kind of gap over a whole group of contenders is simply not possible. So Floyd attacked at the base of the first climb, only 50 km into the race. Forget Armstrong. Floyd is an old school kind of guy, and this was an attack reminiscent of "the Cannibal," Eddy Merckx, whose son Axel rides on Floyd's team, and who apparently phoned last night to help plot the counter-attack. Others tried to hold on to Floyd's wheel, but none of them were able to keep up with his torrid pace. "He was like a motor bike. He was unbelievable," gushed T-Mobile's Michael Rogers. And once he got a gap, he just kept going faster and faster, like a great southern rock anthem. It must have been Freebird he was singing today, as he soloed his way over all the day's big climbs. The fact that today's stage was basically up and down all day long was no doubt a significant factor in Floyd's favour and a key part of his tactics for the day. There wern't really any flat sections for the peloton to benefit from drafting off one another. And unlike yesterday, he made sure to take on plenty of food and water today. It seemed like he was dousing himself every 5 minutes, keeping nice and cool.

At one point, his lead swelled to over 9 minutes. That's when Carlos Sastre, sitting 2nd on the GC, 6:15 ahead of Floyd, at the start of the day, dropped the rest and tried to salvage his own chances. Sastre was able to cut Floyd's time gap to just over 5 minutes by the time he crested the last climb of the day. But Floyd is much better than most at going down a mountain, and he was able to increase his lead by another 40 seconds by the time he got back down to the finish in Morzine. Combined with the bonus time he picked up by winning the stage and all the intermediate sprints along the way, Floyd almost took back the entire deficit he had to Sastre heading into the day! Pereiro was able to hang onto his yellow jersey, but just barely.

Floyd now catapaults back up to 3rd place, 30 seconds behind Pereiro and a mere 18 back of Sastre. Incredibly, he's back to 2 minutes ahead of Kloden, Evans, and Menchov, who appeared to be the main challengers only a week ago. It's tempting to say that their hopes for the podium are over. But given the rule of anarchy governing this year's Tour, it would be wise to wait for the fat lady to start bellowing before making any decisive pronouncements.

Yesterday Floyd conceded, "I don't expect to win this Tour anymore." But at the same time he vowed not to give up, saying "It's never easy to get back eight minutes but I'll keep fighting to the end and try." Interviewed after the stage today, Floyd says he now believes he can win this Tour. At the very least, he refuses simply to give it away: "I told everybody last night that if somebody wants to win this race, they're going to have to earn it." All of a sudden, the burden of proof seems to have shifted once again and the stage is now set for a thrilling showdown in Saturday's 57 km time trial. Floyd is a much better time triallist than either Pereiro or Sastre: Sastre finished 1:11 behind Floyd in the first TT, and Pereiro was 1:41 back. "I'm confident in my time trialing, if you saw today, then you probably agree with me," Landis said. "I want to win the Tour, whatever I've got to do. If I had a bad day, I had to make up for it." It looks like he just might be able to pull it off.

No matter how this plays out, it's fair to say that Floyd has made this one of the most exciting Tours ever. Not to take anything away from his dominance, but Lance Armstrong took all the suspense out of the Tour for seven years. This year, however, with the jostling of positions and the makeup of the GC changing almost daily, a sense of dramatic tension has been restored in a big way. This Tour is an emotional roller coaster, and there are still three days left to go.

Some post-race quotes:

Floyd Landis: “Yesterday had nothing to do with pressure. I felt bad from the beginning and it was not a day that you wanted to feel bad, there was no point on the course that you had any time to recover. It was a disaster. It may not have looked as though I was trying but it was as hard as I could go. I’d like to say that I was just trying to make the race exciting but that was all I had. I didn’t spend too much time thinking during today’s stage. The plan right at the beginning was to do what we did.

"After that, all I could do was hope that, behind me, they were disorganised or not strong enough to catch me. I didn’t have a whole lot of information, only the time differences every now and then but it’s hard to tell what’s going on behind. When the time gaps stay the same for a long period of time, I was pretty sure that they were working as hard as they could and that I was going to be OK. It wouldn’t be any fun if I told you what was going to happen next. What I hope happens is obvious, I’d like to win therace. The only decisive day left is the time trial and I’m fairly confident in my time trialling ability – assuming I didn’t overdo it today, and there’s a chance of that… but we’ll have to wait and see.”

Carlos Sastre
: “I think we’ve done all we could, what happened today was that Landis was just very impressive. He’s got himself back into the race and he can now win it like the rest of us. The final time trial will show how much strength we’ve all got left, the desire we’ve got to win and it will depend a little on how well you go in that discipline.”

Phonak team manager John Lelangue: “Last night after the stage there was a catastrophic atmosphere but we were quick to respond. After dinner there was a bit of time to reflect everyone was really motivated to do something in the stage today. My father called me and said that we had to try everything and attack on the Col des Saisies. After all, we had nothing to lose. To finish sixth or 26th… it’s the same thing, so why not? Then this morning, Eddy Merckx called and told me the same thing, so we decided to do it. Now Floyd is in a really good position and has a big chance to win this race but something else can always happen… even tomorrow.”

Today's top 10:

1. Floyd Landis (USA) Phonak - 5.23.36 (37.175 km/h)
2. Carlos Sastre (Spa) Team CSC - 5.42
3. Christophe Moreau (Fra) AG2R-Prevoyance - 5.58
4. Damiano Cunego (Ita) Lampre-Fondital - 6.40
5. Michael Boogerd (Ned) Rabobank - 7.08
6. Frank Schleck (Lux) Team CSC - 7.08
7. Oscar Pereiro (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne-Illes Balears - 7.08
8. Andreas Klöden (Ger) T-Mobile - 7.08
9. Haimar Zubeldia (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi - 7.08
10. Cadel Evans (Aus) Davitamon-Lotto - 7.20

Top 10 Overall:

1. Oscar Pereiro Sio (Sp), Caisse d'Epargne-I.B. - 80:08:49
2. Carlos Sastre (Sp), CSC - 00:12
3. Floyd Landis (USA), Phonak - 00:30
4. Andréas Klöden (G), T-Mobile - 02:29
5. Cadel Evans (Aus), Davitamon-Lotto - 03:08
6. Denis Menchov (Rus), Rabobank - 04:14
7. Cyril Dessel (F), Ag2r Prevoyance - 04:24
8. Christophe Moreau (F), Ag2r Prevoyance - 05:45
9. Haimar Zubeldia (Sp), Euskaltel-Euskadi - 08:16
10. Michael Rogers (Aus), T-Mobile - 12:13

See PezCyclingnews and VeloNews for full reports, pictures, and complete results.

And don't forget: Never mess with a mad Mennonite:

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Gimme Back My Bullets

If Floyd did have a Skynyrd song going through his head, this was definitely the tune of the day. But mustering up so much as a meagre hum looked like it was well beyond his capacities today. Stage 16 was rated the Queen stage of the Tour--the hardest stage--with two HC climbs and another uphill finish. And it was clearly one mountain too many for Floyd. He ran out of ammunition on today's last climb. He was completely and utterly out of gas. I'm not sure whether the appropriate metaphor is that he exploded or simply wilted away. But either way, his performance today was epic in all the wrong ways. And so his dream of winning the Tour comes horribly, devastatingly crashing down to earth with the brutal thud of limp and lifeless corpse. Struggling to drag his body up that last mountain Floyd looked like he was dead today. In the end, he lost over 10 minutes to the stage winner, Michael Rasmussen, and plummeted 10 spots to 11th overall, now sitting at over 8 minutes back. Pereiro is back in yellow, and everything remains up in the air as to how this is finally going to play itself out. As sad as it was to watch today's stage unfold, this is the most exciting Tour in years in terms of the race itself.

PezCycling News has the best report. Bobby Julich assumes that Floyd simply bonked. But Floyd's trainer, Allen Lim, says that's not what happened. But most significant of all are Floyd's own reflections on the day. He seems to be handling it about as well as one could possibly expect. Hopefully he can bounce back tomorrow, and maybe even win the final time trial.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

back in yellow

The general consensus among the commentators all along has been that the three hard days in the Alps will determine the winner of this year's Tour. After the first of these today--a mountain top finish on Alpe d'Huez--once again it looks like the Tour de Floyd. Frank Schleck won the stage, proving to be the strongest of a 20 man break that was out in front most of the way. Floyd's strategy seems to be to let the contenders set the pace and he just rides behind the one who goes out the fastest. Today that was Andreas Kloden. The two of them rode up the last 5 km together, having dropped Cadel Evans, Carlos Sastre and, most significantly, Dennis Menchov. So Floyd's back in the driver's seat and it's up to the others to attack. There will be plenty of opportunity for that over the next two stages. But the way Floyd is riding right now, that looks like it will be a tall order to gain any significant time on him. Look at his face compared to that of Kloden in the picture above. It's almost as if he's just crusing along singing himself a Skynyrd song in his head. Maybe Gimme Three Steps or perhaps Am I Losing? No Floyd, you're not losing. You're about to win the Tour de France! See the brief post-race interview with

Top 10 on the GC now reads as follows:

1 Floyd Landis (USA) Phonak - 69.00.05 (41.535 km/h)
2 Oscar Pereiro (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne-Illes Balears - +0.10
3 Cyril Dessel (Fra) AG2R-Prevoyance - 2.02
4 Denis Menchov (Rus) Rabobank - 2.12
5 Carlos Sastre (Spa) Team CSC - 2.17
6 Andreas Klöden (Ger) T-Mobile - 2.29
7 Cadel Evans (Aus) Davitamon-Lotto - 2.56
8 Michael Rogers (Aus) T-Mobile - 5.01
9 Levi Leipheimer (USA) Gerolsteiner - 6.18
10 Haimar Zubeldia (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi - 6.20

The biggest concern of the day is the fact that my cable cut out with about 5 kms to go. Nothing but static. Fortunately, LeAnn came through as a backup so that we could catch the finish. But it appears that the TdF headquarters will be out of commission for a while. Shaw says they'll get right on it and have someone out Friday afternoon. Great. Thanks for the concern, guys. Given that I only have cable hooked up for one month out of the year, this is shaping up to be a rather sour customer service experience.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Floyd's gamble

Floyd gave away the yellow jersey yesterday. He let a breakaway get a long way up the road and decided that his team would not ride too hard to defend it. Since no other teams were willing to work to bring them back, the yellow jersey now sits on the shoulders of his former teammate, Oscar Pereiro, who began the stage a whopping 28:45 minutes behind Floyd. This was a tactical move, designed to save the team from the pressure of having to ride to defend the jersey for the next several stages. Floyd is apparently pretty confident that he can get back in the lead during the three killer stages in the Alps that start on Tuesday. Others not so sure that this was the right move. See the diary of CSC rider Bobby Julich. See also the discussion with Floyd and his team manager on We'll see whose right soon enough.

Holy shit! As I'm writing this, two guys in today's six man breakaway just overshot a corner and went somersaulting over the barriers. Another went skidding across the road before he slammed into it. Nasty. One rider, Matthias Kessler, was able to continue, but it looks like the other two are on the way to the hospital and out of the Tour. Sounds like Ric Verbrugghe has a broken leg and David Canada broke his collarbone. Boom. It's over.

Friday, July 14, 2006

fixies are for fakes

So it looks like fixed gear bikes have hit the mainstream. I suppose we should have seen this coming. We've seen them popping up all over the place. There are 5 or 6 on my block alone. And here we thought Winnipeg was just a cutting-edge kind of place. I think there may even be a few FGBC members who ride em. That bike in the picture looks really familiar. But now the onus is clearly on their shoulders to show that they're not just cheap posers or a bunch of sorry refuse-to-grow-old guys looking for an adrenaline fix. When the Wall Street Journal runs an article on fixies, their cool factor takes a serious hit. Bummer. Maybe gears don't signify loserdom after all. Anybody wanna buy a cheap fixie?

Correct me if I'm wrong, but is it even possible to find a mountain bike with 28 gears given current configuration possibilities?

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Floyd takes charge

The major players layed down their big cards today at the Tour. And Floyd played the biggest card of all. The time for bluffing is over. This was a killer stage, with 4 Cat 1 climbs and 1 HC mountain. Floyd took a page out of his old boss's playbook today. Just like Armstrong always used to, he made a decisive statement in the first hard mountain stage. He finished 3rd in an exclusive lead group of three, alongside Dennis Menchov and Levi Leipheimer. And in the process he put time into some of his major rivals. Cadel Evans finished 17 seconds back, and Andreas Kloden conceded a minute and a half. It was Kloden's T-Mobile team that turned up the heat on the second last climb, forcing everyone with aspirations for the overall victory to get serious. The pressure ended up whittling the lead group down to 18 riders. And on the final climb Menchov's Rabobank team took over. Rasmussen and Boogerd kept up an infernal pace as the lead group continued to shrink one rider at a time until only 5 were left. Finally, Landis and Menchov stepped on the gas, spitting Evans and Carlos Sastre out the back end.

Almost as exciting is the fact that Discovery Channel seems to have completely imploded. Heading into the Tour with what they claimed were 4-5 potential contenders, it doesn't look like they've got any left at this point. Jose Azevedo is their highest placed rider at 7:27 back. Their man for the future, Popovych, is 9 minutes down. And as for all the talk about George Hincapie as a potential GC guy: he's over 23 minutes back. And Savoldelli is still further behind. They've had a good run for the past 7 years, but this year it looks like it will finally be sombody else's turn. I guess they should have tried a little bit harder to keep Floyd a few years back.

The top ten of the GC now looks like this:

1 Floyd Landis (USA) Phonak 49.18.07
2 Cyril Dessel (Fra) AG2R-Prevoyance 0.08
3 Denis Menchov (Rus) Rabobank 1.01
4 Cadel Evans (Aus) Davitamon-Lotto 1.17
5 Carlos Sastre (Spa) Team CSC 1.52
6 Andreas Klöden (Ger) T-Mobile 2.29
7 Michael Rogers (Aus) T-Mobile 3.22
8 Juan Miguel Mercado (Spa) Agritubel 3.33
9 Christophe Moreau (Fra) AG2R-Prevoyance 3.44
10 Marcus Fothen (Ger) Gerolsteiner 4.17

For a full report, see VeloNews. See also the post-stage interview with Floyd from cyclingnews, which includes this incredibly stupid exchange:

Q: Does the religion of your mother allow her to watch television - will she have seen her son take the yellow jersey?
FL: It's not so much that she can't watch television; it's more that they don't have the desire to have it in the house. But she will be watching from somewhere, I'm sure.

Q: Can you give us a quick briefing on your childhood, your family, what got you into cycling and the motivation behind that?
FL: Nah, I probably can't give you a quick briefing on that... I grew up in a very religious family, I have four sisters and a brother, all of whom are wonderful brothers and sisters. I have exceptional parents; I happen to be a little bit high-strung for that lifestyle (laughs) - dunno if you can use that about yourself - anyway, a friend of mine and I got into mountain biking when we were 15-16. We started doing local MTB races, which led me to... this. I skipped a lot there, but you get the idea!

Q: Did you parents support your bike racing?
FL: For a while, they were not so happy about it. But they've adjusted, I think. Why? The Mennonites tend to stay away from professional sport, and anything generally... famous, I guess. I don't know. That's a tough one. But they're fine with it now.

The top picks for the podium now look to be Landis, Menchov, and Evans. Too bad for Leipheimer that he had such a disastrous time trial. He'd be right up there too. But after a few relatively flat stages over the next few days, the Alps are still looming on the horizon and it's always possible that this could change yet.

Most importantly, Floyd rode today like he's planning to win the Tour. Doesn't he look nice in yellow?

always ride prepared

From a recent profile of Floyd in ESPN's Magazine:
When Landis–who spends much of the racing season in Spain–churns out 100-mile (or more) training rides through the mountains near his home in Murrieta, Calif., he’s accompanied by his wife’s 18-year old brother, Max Basile. Max follows in a small SUV, and next to him sit the tools of his trade: a can of Mace and a stun gun. These are meant to protect Landis in case someone on these back roads, maybe a redneck type with spandex issues, messes with him. But wouldn’t just one weapon of mass deterrence suffice? ‘No,’ Landis says, as if the idea borders on blasphemy. ‘We need ‘em both. That way we can blind ‘em before we shock ‘em’.
I could have used some of those weapons last time we rode out at Tinker. Tomek came flying by me cussing up a storm, and right behind him a couple of pissed off dogs snapping at our heels. Fortunately, they weren't able to counter our acceleration. But a stun gun sounds like more fun.

If the x-rays of Floyd's hip were for Penner, this is for Unger. Floyd's training advisor Allen Lim is writing a daily column for Bicycling Magazine's coverage of the Tour, providing a glimpse of some of the science involved in bike racing. See, for example, this analysis of Floyd's performance in the time trial. Also interesting is the interview with Lim in

In case anyone still cares, the LA Times recently did an in-depth article on the latest round of doping allegations against Lance Armstrong.

I discovered a new road riding route last night. I often ride out to Headingly. This time I continued to St Francois Xavier (the white horse) and beyond on Hwy 26 to Pigeon Lake. The road follows the Assiniboine River and has plenty of trees for wind shelter. It has a paved shoulder, the surface is as smooth as fine scotch, and there's almost no traffic. Did my first 100 km ride of the season. Felt great. Getting ready for that La Rivierre ride later in the season.

slovenija 3

another off-road ride yesterday, absolutely beautiful. one small problem - two flat tires which meant a 2.5 km hike home.

a quick note on how my riding days start. get up in the morning and have coffee, hot-chocolate, bread, nutella, prosciutto, and cheese. go and ride. come home have more cheese, proscuitto, wine and beer. about as close to heaven as you can get without dying (i get close on some of the climbs one has to do).

for fun laura and i went tandem paragliding yesterday. oh-my-god. running off an alpine meadow attached to a parachute/wing and then gliding around the mountains - absoultely mind-blowing.

chris you really need to get here. we drove over a mountain pass (vršič). 1611 meters high, with km after km of switch-backs. just nuts. a ton of cyclists on the road trying the pass. if you climbed it in one effort you would achieve lifetime stud status. have pictures.

ciao, alberto.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Garbage Hill Ride

Sorry for the short notice on this one. Darryl, Joshua and myself are heading to Garbage Hill tomorrow (Wednesday) to see how are climbing legs can handle the heat. Plan to leave from my place at 11am. Arrive earlier to watch the first mountain stage of this year's Tour if you like.

I'll likely be doing a longer road ride in the evening as well. Others welcome.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Floyd's Hip

Note the apostrophe. These can be tricky, in part because of the difficult case of its and it's. My students just can't seem to get that one down. In any case, I'm not declaring that Floyd is hip. That has already been well documented, given his penchant for Skynryd and ZZ Top, his moustache, etc. I'm talking about the hip of Floyd. Back in January of 2003, Floyd hit a patch of gravel on his way back from a training session, fell hard and broke his hip. He had surgery immediately and was able to recover in time to ride the Tour in 2003. But apparently all is not as well as it appeared. Turns out he's got the same degenerative condition that derailed the brilliant career of Bo Jackson. He's scheduled for hip replacement surgery right after the Tour. Perhaps this will give him some extra motivation to go for it all this year. Although his team and doctors are making optimistic claims about a full recovery, the future has to be a big question mark, especially in light of Jackson's inability to recover. But there's reason to be optimistic, I suppose. His trainer, Allan Lim, puts it this way: "He will come back and be much, much stronger than he is now. People haven't seen more than 80 percent of Floyd." Interesting that we haven't heard any of this come up before. Remember that Floyd doesn't have much use for excuses. But now that it looks like he has a chance to win the Tour de France, the media is on the hunt for material. And the Lance Armstrong formula has proved to be near flawless. Though this story is hardly of that magnitude, everybody seems to love a good tale about overcoming the medical odds. No doubt these stories tell us more about ourselves than Floyd. At any rate, check out the story by Samuel Abt as well as the longer profile by Daniel Coyle, which includes this great quote from Dave Zabriskie: ‘‘There aren’t many guys in the peloton’’ — the main pack of riders in a road bicycle race — ‘‘who are willing to tell Lance to go screw himself,’’ says David Zabriskie, a top American who rides for the Danish CSC team. ‘‘Floyd just didn’t care.’’ Today is a rest day at the Tour, so Floyd held a news conference to address the matter. See the report from VeloNews. It even has an X-Ray, which will no doubt get Penner excited.

slovenija 2

just when you thought it could not get any was a 1.5 hour ride in the hills of slovenija (the correct spelling). un-f#&$ing belivable. i am definately coming back. in fact, i propose that we should make a trip to this country for the ultimate spring ride. will do another ride tomorrow.

watching italy win the world cup in italy...well let's just say it was crazy. have video and will post later.

ciao, alberto (my brother-in-law, told everyone this is my name because the ˝h˝ is to hard to say, and that alberto is easier to pronounce).

Sunday, July 09, 2006

from slovenia

quick note to say that went for a 40km (1900 ft of vertical) bike ride today. unbeliveable. for the first time in my life i actually wanted (and it pains me to say this) a road bike. felt like the tour de france. the scenery was outstanding (will post pictures later). the ride included 5km climb and 4km downhill with 16% grade (if you have the yaichees a 100kmph would be possible). it also pains me to say this, but gears are needed. too many other stories to tell. off to italy tonight to watch the finals of the world cup.

later, crash

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Floyd's TT

Floyd didn't win the TT today. He finished 2nd to Sergei Gonchar (not the hockey player) by a minute. But as far as the GC goes, he was clearly the day's big winner. Gontchar is a TT specialist and no threat to win the Tour. So at the end of the day Floyd gains time over all the significant contenders. And he also beat some pretty solid TT riders: Current World TT champ Michael Rogers was 23 seconds slower, and Dave Zabriskie was about a minute back. We've had to endure lots of hype about George Hincapie as a GC contender due to OLN's zealot-like devotion to Armstrong's Discovery team. But he finished almost 2 minutes behind Floyd. And all of this despite some more mechanical misfortune for Floyd. His handlebars cracked while out on course and he was forced to switch bikes, which likely cost him somewhere around 10-20 seconds. He was also forced by the UCI rules committee to alter his riding position just before the start, but it didn't seem to bother him too much. The big loser of the day was Leipheimer, who conceded over 5 minutes to Floyd, and probably any chance of winning the Tour. Bobby Julich also had a horrible day. He took a corner too fast and went down hard, bouncing along the curb for about 20 meters. His Tour is over.

He didn't become the first Mennonite to don the yellow jersey today. But Landis now has to be considered a big-time favourite. But there is of course the small matter of the mountains that remains. It's easy to lose 15 minutes on a hard mountain stage if you have a bad day.

Current overall standings look like this:

1 Serguei Gonchar (Ukr) T-Mobile 30.23.20
2 Floyd Landis (USA) Phonak 1.00
3 Michael Rogers (Aus) T-Mobile 1.08
4 Patrik Sinkewitz (Ger) T-Mobile 1.45
5 Marcus Fothen (Ger) Gerolsteiner 1.50
6 Andreas Klöden (Ger) T-Mobile 1.50
7 Vladimir Karpets (Rus) Caisse d'Epargne 1.52
8 Cadel Evans (Aus) Davitamon-Lotto 1.52
9 Denis Menchov (Rus) Rabobank 2.00
10 David Zabriskie (USA) Team CSC 2.03

Friday, July 07, 2006

stages to watch

I'm aware that not all FGBC are as geekily dedicated to watching the Tour daily as I am. So as a public service to those who might be considering watching a day or two, I offer up some key stages.

1) Saturday, July 7 - Time Trial: the first big shakeup of the GC standings
2) Wednesday, July 12 - this is the first mountain stage, which could prove significant. But since the last 40 kms are downhill, things may come together before the end.
3) Thursday, July 13 - This stage ends with a long uphill finish, and includes 4 cat 1 climbs, plus one that is rated HC (beyond classification). If Lance were still racing, this is where he'd make a decisive statement.
4) Tuesday, July 18 - L'Aple d'Huez: a legendary climb. Everyone dreams of winning here.
5) Wednesday, July 19 - final uphill finish stage: last big chance for the climbers to gain some time, though the next stage might provide some opportunities as well, with the HC Col de Joux-Plane just 12 km from the finish in Morzine.
6) Saturday, July 22 - final TT on the 2nd last day. If things stay relatively close, which they are likely to do, this is where it all gets settled.

After a week to get the legs warmed up, it all starts tomorrow.

And of course, another article on Floyd.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Floyd's goal for the TT

This is how Floyd responded to a reporter's question concerning his approach to Saturday's important time trial: "The time-trial? What do you want to know about it? It's long and I'm going to try and win it. I just don't know if I will." Sounds like a reasonable objective.

Meanwhile, cycling god Eddy Merckx has tabbed Floyd as a favourite to reach the top step of the podium. Check out the story at

And finally, an article on the bike Floyd will be riding while he crushes the competition in the TT.

Go Floyd!

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

another Floyd article

That cyclingnews interview with Floyd in the previous post kind of sucked, I know. But since OLN still seems bent on smearing their collective lips all over Lance's filthy ass, there just isn't much coverage available right now. There's more nostalgia there than a Bob Costas baseball game. In any case, here is an article that is worth reading, if only because it's written by the legendary Samuel Abt.

The first big day is Saturday. There may be minor shake-ups during the next two stages, but things will really start to get sorted out in the first time trial.

TdF update

Stage 4 is under way. Floyd currently sits 7th at 16 seconds back. See his interview with here. With the GC contenders continuing to fall, this one is shaping up to be a bit of a last man standing affair. Alejandro Valverde got KO'd yesterday. A touch of wheels in the peloton and he ends up with a broken collarbone. Freddy Rodriguez got knocked out too as a result of a crash with Erik Dekker, who mangled his face and lost a bunch of his teeth. Stuart O'Grady fractured a vertebrae, but he took to the start today to see if he can continue. Life at the Tour can be a bit rough. A few excerpts from
A crash with 54 km to go took out Davitamon's Fred Rodriguez and Rabobank's Erik Dekker. Both abandoned the race immediately, and although Rodriguez didn't break any bones, he suffered heavy concussion. Dekker suffered concussion and serious facial injuries: abrasions, facial trauma, a contusion, a ripped upper lip, as well as a couple of broken teeth. He was kept unconscious on Tuesday night so that his face could be cleaned. Thus ended what is almost certainly his final Tour de France.
Sandy Casar (Française des Jeux) finished 137th in yesterday's third stage after being taken out by a drunken spectator at the foot of the Cauberg. The spectator then got into an argument with Casar's DS Marc Madiot, while others tried to steal the Frenchman's wheels. Although Casar lost several minutes, he was credited with the time of the first group (five seconds behind winner Kessler), and therefore is just 39 seconds behind on GC.

Critical Mass Report

This is from Kenton. I don't believe we have a portfolio for activism, but perhaps he should be christened the director of civil disobedience. Then again, that would not be in keeping with the "leaderless" philosophy of critical mass. In the spirit of our "self-governing collective," maybe activist figurehead makes more sense. But that sounds rather toothless. Any suggestions?

It was my first critical mass and I expected to be surrounded by anarchists and what the Free Press called "neo hippies"... While I am not sure what either of those two sweeping categories look like, I was really surprised to see such a broad cross section of our city out on Friday. Young kids in chariots and older folks who look like they came from Whyte Ridge. A leaderless group is something to behold and the train of bikes got off to a slow start from Central Park to the Leg. By the time we hit Broadway things were worked out and we took all three lanes, with the peloton stretching from Union station to the Leg buildings! I suspect the police estimates of 300 were drastically understated for sure. The highlight was Portage and Main where the critical mass stopped the long weekend Friday traffic for about ten minutes, cyclists raising their bikes in the air while letting only transit buses through (see attached photo). It really was a different feeling to be among so many other bikes on the same streets where I am normally paying rather close attention, lest I be side swiped by a bus or by a car that simply is not looking for a cyclist. All in all an empowering bit of civil disobedience that I would strongly recommmend to others. As expected with such a large turnout, the police were very low key and well behaved. My favorite tshirt in the crowd read "cycling is a moral act!"

Saturday, July 01, 2006

wake up Floyd!

Floyd has a reputation for being nonchalant and easy going, but this is taking it just a little too far. He failed to show up on time at the start ramp today. Must have been waiting for a ZZ Top song to finish on his ipod. In a time trial, the clock starts at regular intervals whether a rider is at the gate or not. So by the time he actually started, 8 seconds had ticked off the clock. This really sucks, becuase he missed winning the stage by 9 seconds. The good news is that he rode a great race. He's clearly on good form, and now sits in 9th place. Right there with the rest of the contenders for the GC. Thor Hushovd--likely the coolest name in the peloton--takes the win. Hincapie was 2nd, less than a second back. And the winner of last year's opening stage, Zabriskie, took 3rd. Valverde was right there too at 5th. Definitely a threat to win it all.

So we're off. The next several stages favor the sprinters. Look for some long breakaway attempts and plenty of finish-line crashes. Coverage starts tomorrow at 7:30 am.