Wednesday, February 28, 2007

A Bit of Human Nature

Its been said that we never fully appreciate something (someone) until after its (they are) gone. Just a case of human nature, I guess. So with Jan Ullrich's retirement, it wasn't surprising to hear from his contemporaries and some of the all-time cycling greats praising a cyclist who was perhaps, as someone said, one of the most gracious and human in the sport.

From Velonews:
"Maybe Jan was too laid back but the fact is that cycling has lost a great name," Eddy Merckx

From Cyclingnews:
"Five-time Tour winner Miguel Induráin has declared that Jan Ullrich "was one of the greatest" according to Spanish newspaper Marca . Induráin also described Ullrich's retirement as a pity but said that the German's career was impeccable. "He is one of the few of my era who has always been on the podium, even if he failed to win more races."

From Pezcyclingnews (which had a whole page of quotables):
"I watched Der Kaiser race at both the Tour and the Giro. What amazed me most was how he would ride himself into shape over the course of those three-week events.

At last year's Giro, Ullrich was admittedly heavy and not in top condition, and his early results revealed more than a few flaws in his form. But as the weeks wore on, he just got better and better. While other guys were cracking, Ullrich was pulling it all together. At the TTT, from Piacenza to Cremona, Ullrich lead the T-Mobile train for much of the day, but he was pretty much spent as they rolled into Cremona.

Just one week later, in the Pontadera TT, it was big Jan's day to shine. He beat Basso for the stage win, and it showed that Ullrich was going to be a formidable force for the rest of the summer."
- Bob Cullinan

Here's a nice YouTube Tribute to The Diesel:

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Der Kaiser Tritt Zurück

The news was expected, but like most announcements, you're never sure until you hear it out of the horse's mouth. So its official, or as official as any athlete claims, the emperor, Jan Ullrich, is hanging up his enigmatic cleats. T-o-03 will have to find another whipping boy.

But before we've kicked him to the curb, here's a 1998 cartoon (Velonews, Patrick O'Grady) as a parting shot, one which T-o-03 would be proud, detailing Jan's infamous "off"-season training regimen.


And a classic quote from Jan's former T-Mobile Director Sportif, Walter Grodefroot:

"Unlike [Lance] Armstrong, [Jan] Ullrich doesn't have the killer instinct. He's not obsessed. It's too bad. Because if you mixed the professionalism of an Erik Zabel with the talent of a Jan Ullrich, you'd have an Eddy Merckx."

So where does he go from here? Jan had already thought about what he might do after he had turned a pedal in anger for the last time. Try this one on for size: Jan Ullrich Cycles. Plus he's also been linked to an Austrian cycling team, Volksbank (not sure in what capacity).

You could be the first one on your block...

Take Care Diesel! At least we had 2003!

Monday, February 26, 2007

Cyclist Killed - Going Green

You're probably saying to yourself, "Ah, great Granny...nice topic for a Monday!" Like the Boomtown Rats, Granny doesn't like Mondays either.

But honestly, unless you're really aware of the issues regarding bicycle use, in and around roadways, or unless you've been personally affected by this type of tragic event, you'd probably have a hard time even guessing how frequently the above happens.

Cyclist Killed...Any guesses as to how many cycling deaths occur each year nationally?

How about around 750 (2001 statistic).

What prompted me to bring up such a morbid topic this morning? I read in the Chicago Tribune this weekend that a 74 year old man was killed riding his bike near Chinatown (may require registration).

Two things struck me about this story: why was he on his bike in such inclement weather (for those of you outside the area, Chicago had a mixture of sleet, snow, and rain this weekend), and Al Gore's movie "An Inconvenient Truth." Now the first thought makes total sense; its an easy connection. But how in the world did Al Gore pop into my head?

The 74 year old man was Chinese. And back-in-the-day, China was probably one of the most "Green" countries on the planet. Remember seeing those documentaries about life in China, with thousands on bicycles communting to and fro, or massive groups of people in some sort of Thai-Chi pose? Well ever since China has become industrialized, commercialized, consumerized, and Westernized, it's fast becoming a glutton for fossil fuels.

Now an interesting fact is that more people are using bicycles, nationally let alone worldwide, these days than in 2001, but only very minute pockets of Western culture have truly embraced the bicycle, for all its function and simplcity, as a means to commute.

We always used to kid about what a billion Chinese people could do. Ever imagine what 1.3 Billion people could do to the environment, to the ozone, or to Global Warming?

Scary...
Before

Today

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Weekend Wrap - Down and Out in SoCal

With the end of the 2nd Tour of California coinciding with the 79th Annual Academy Awards, Oude Granny thought he'd hand out some early season awards.

Frontrunner
/Best Man - "Jennifer Hudson Award"
Levi, who else! Just like Ms. Hudson (who swept every single award in her category this award season), Leipheimer led the TOC from start to finish, winning both the prologue and the ITT in the process.

About Time - "Martin Scorsese Award"
Well I was going to give this one to any of the various sprinters who won in the TOC, Bettini, Haedo, Brown, or Ivan Dominguez. But this one goes out to last year's winner, Floyd Landis because it seems that the cycling community/fan base may finally get some resolution to his case before the next Tour de France (wishful thinking; don't hold your breath!) His Wiki Defense on the Floyd Fairness Fund website has certainly caused a stir with (more like raised the ire of) USADA, WADA, and the other powers that be as the court of public opinion seems to be painting a picture of incompetence of the testers.

Hard Luck - "Leonardo DiCaprio Award"
Oude Granny's "man love" (which in the "man world" is alright, unless you continually talk about it, then it becomes weird; not that there's anything wrong with that) doesn't extend to the actor (by the way, you gotta give it up for Leonardo, not only for the great name, but because he's been in some great movies, so his acting can't be that bad or his presence in great movies merely a coincidence, but I digress), but more to the recipient, George Hincapie. Oude Granny's "Guy for the Classics" broke his wrist this weekend and will be unable to participate in his beloved Classics. So like Leonardo, you have to begin to wonder, will he ever win the grand prize (Paris-Roubaix or Flanders)?

Still My Favorite Cycling Pic!
Photo - Graham Watson

Too Funny...

Not to Post!


Leave it to the marketers to make you laugh, to make you feel like you're a kid playing doctor for the first time, to make you feel like a perv, and to make you feel creepy just for having followed a link to this Ad that simply said, "PROTECT YOUR PENIS!" all at the same time.

Check out the latest technology in cycling shorts from DESCENTE.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

New Year...New Look

Oude Granny decided to make an executive decision and update the look of the blog. As we approach our 500th post and 1 year anniversary, the TC hopes to bring you updates from all those who joined us on that inaugural Trek Travel Tour de France tour in 2003, information from some up-and-comers in the world of cycling, reviews and tidbits on new cycling products, and or course or own special "Cranky" view of the world.

A new feature on the blog:

Email a Post
- Below each post you'll find an envelope icon. Now you can send your favorite TC post to friends and family.

Cheers and Keep Crankin'

Friday, February 23, 2007

Policing The Police

Much has been made on this blog about Bad Boy Floyd, BBF, and the Floyd Fairness Fund, etc. To be perfectly honest, when T-0-03 wrote about the Fund, my initial and gut reaction was just as incredulous. How could such a high profile athlete go out there and solicit monies to what seemingly looked like an insurmountable doping case?

Then Oude Granny looked into it. Some folks out there believe I think too much, but I contend that I was given a brain for a reason so why not attempt to use more than merely the 10% (which by the way is a complete myth!) that is said to be used for conscious thought.

So what does Granny make of all this? Well, the short answer: send money only if you believe its a worthwhile cause (words of wisdom from Oude Granny, which I think you should employ when contributing any part of your hard earned money).

What about the "meat" of the argument? Ey, there's the rub!**

**Proceed only if you care to hear me on my soap box.

I'm somewhat of a rebel at heart. And as such, its easy to find fault with some of the systems set out for our use, whether they be laws or rules for everyday use or those policies set forth by some athletic governing body. So after much digging...yes, I am in research...here's why I think contributing to a Fairness Fund, Floyd's or anyone else's, isn't such an inane exercise.

For those who follow sport, I liken Floyd's situation, but on a much higher plane, to what mogul skier and part-time football player, Jeremy Bloom, went through with the NCAA. Without going into too much detail, Bloom was banned from playing collegiate football because he had received some endorsement monies as a part of his "amateur" athletic career as a Olympic caliber mogul skier. The NCAA, basically considered him a pro athlete.

So how is this at all relevant? Many cases are decided on an un-level playing field and frankly don't make much sense. For instance, the NCAA allows for two sport athletes, say in baseball and football, to sign a minor league contract (thereby getting paid), but still be considered eligible (as an amateur) to play football. Huh??? Exactly! So Bloom, never played another down for the Colorado Buffaloes, and ended up skiing for the US in Nagano and then trying out for the NFL. If only he had been a baseball player and not a skiier!

So how does this relate to Floyd? After looking into Floyd's defense on the Floyd Fairness Fund website, it's just another case of an athlete being subjected to the supposed judiciousness from his sports governing body, who for all intensive purposes isn't exactly concerned with what is "good" for the athlete!!! So where do the means come from to help the athlete fight for what he holds true or practical? From his own pocket!!! Hence the reason so many athlete's end up taking their lumps and end up leaving the sport they love even though their case might be a viable one. How can a resource depleted person compete with such a huge, well funded, and highly political machine. They can't, therefore, making the system one-sided. Are any pro bono lawyers listening out there?

To the heart of Floyd's case.

Since his test found a high ratio of testoterone to epitestosterone, this blog had a lot of traffic and opinions. For the most part, people have conceded that he's a cheat, therefore, I'm not backing a cheater.

But if you take a moment to look at Floyd's Wiki Defense, one which I read about in ROAD Magazine (and thanks to Liz "Roubaix Girl" Hatch, a magazine that I'll now continue to read; hopefully more on/from Liz on this blog soon), Dr. Arnie Baker, makes a very comprehensive and stalwart case in Floyd's defense (I urge all to look at this Powerpoint Presentation, in .pdf form, as you'll see a cover up of blunders a mile long). Not really "exact" science!!

Still not convinced in Floyd's favor...check out the latest from ESPN, where Floyd's case might get thrown out after all the lab blunders (pointed out by Dr. Baker). So if this case is dismissed, you have to wonder who's governing the governing bodies of sport (or for any other discipline for that matter). Allez Floyd!

Here's a vid of Floyd in NYC announcing at the NYVelocity, Love Crank (an annual indoor rollers contest with much alcohol) earlier this month.

Cricket Throws

That might sound like a headline on some supermarket checkout stand rag, but its exactly what happened at the end of yesterday's Stage 4 of the TOC. I can hear my coaches, Randy Walker (xXx-Athletico Racing) and Kevin Perez (Turin Cycles, out at Northbrook Velodrome) from last year talking about the importance of a good throw. And sure enough, there's an emailed photo from Randy exclaiming...now that's how you throw.

Still in the dark? A good throw of the bike can divide a winner from the field. A look at this photo shows just how close Paolo "the Cricket" Bettini came to being a runner-up on the day.

Photo - Phoenix Sports

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Crazy Legs...

Oude Granny would show off his "gams," but I wouldn't want to embarass anyone (especially myself). Recently, The Paceline, held an online contest to see if you could guess which Discovery team rider belonged to the set of legs in the photos. Below are the answers (check out the quad development on newly signed Allan Davis; think he might be a sprinter? Click on a section to enlarge. Photos - Liz Kreutz)

Golden Two-Fer

It was nice to see a rider like Jens Voigt, CSC (second victory in as many days), win Stage 3 of the TOC. Why you may ask? Because he's Old School, and like the great Eddy Merckx, Jens only knows one speed, FLAT OUT!

Photo 2007 - Jonathan Devich

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Dyno-Mite

If you're like Oude Granny, you'll remember the above as the signature catch-phrase for another JJ (Walker from TV's Good Times). Last year, JJ Haedo, riding for Toyota-United, dominated the sprinter's field at the TOC (53rd Tooth posted about JJ last year riding in Altoona). Now he's found his way to a big league team, CSC, and judging by this easy victory, it'll be fun to watch this Argentine take on the likes of Boonen, Petacchi, and McEwen down the line (as he easily destroyed a former TDF Maillot Vert wearer in Thor Hushovd; center, about 2-3 bike lengths back).

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Another Crash, Another Brown Win...

Alright, that headline/byline might be a little unfair, but it's accurate in its description as Aussie sprinter Graeme Brown (Rabobank) survived the carnage of the Stage 1 finish in Santa Rosa. Although he wasn't responsible for this crash, which ended Dave Zabriskie's TOC, Tom Steels has formally filed a grievance with the UCI for Brown's sprinting tactics during this year's Tour of Qatar, in which Steels was injured.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Home Cookin'

The 2nd Annual (that has a nice ring to it, I hate when people refer to the 1st running as "annual") Amgen Tour of California kicked off this Sunday much like it kicked off last year, with a Prologue win by Santa Rosa's own, Levi Leipheimer. On top of Telegraph Hill, he was greeted by his wife, Odessa Gunn, (see inset) who was a pretty darn good racer back in the day.

But perhaps the best thing about the Prologue was who showed up on the podium with Levi at the end of the day, Jason Donald (USA) Team Slipstream, and Ben Jacques-Maynes (USA) Priority Health Cycling Team, respectively. Now Oude Granny was as unfamiliar with Jason Donald as the next person, as he surprised not only himself but his DS, Jonathan Vaughters, as well with his effort. How surprising? Well to listen to the Versus telecast, it was as if Phil and Paul thought the world had suddenly stopped on its axis. Now for those unfamiliar with Ben Jacques-Maynes, you won't be for long as he's been steadily on the climb having showed his mettle during the inaugural TOC while racing with Kodakgallery.com/Sierra Nevada. Incidentally, his new team, a health insurance company based out of Grand Rapids, is Michigan's lone procycling team.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Granny's Grab Bag

For those of you out there in internet-land who personally know Oude Granny, you're all too familiar with my encyclopedic knowledge of useless facts. But for those of you who share the same passions as Granny, every once in a while that knowledge can actually "help a brother (or sista) out!"

So starting this weekend, I'd like to introduce a new Triple Crankset (TC) feature; The Grab Bag. In it we'll try to drop some of our knowledge on you, like products we use in our daily cycling lives, to new products we've tested. So without further fanfare, here's your first tidbit.

Scenario: Let's say you're that random person, who like most these days, has a busier than busy business schedule, but also plays as hard as you work, maybe does half a dozen triathlons in a season or needs to stay fit for the upcoming cycling racing season.

So what do you do in your down time? Well you're probably on your rollers, or on some fixed trainer, in your garage (on some cold floor where Granny's probably sat on before while I did some wrenching and lubing, you know who you are!) spinning or doing some intervals on the steed you use for your races. Do you at times feel that your road tires are heating up too much on the trainer or there is the distinct smell of burning rubber?

If you're the pragmatic sort, then you've already planned on putting on some new race tires for the outdoor season. But if you're also like Granny, who has to have good racing tires, you know that they cost some coin (or as another of Granny's minions refers to money, "pieces of meats and bones," as in you owe me "49 pieces of meat and 95 bones, $49.95 for those tires").

If you're the intellegent sort, then you only drop $24.99 and switch out your racing tires with Conti's (Continental Tires, yes they make car tires too) Ultra Sport Training Tire.

"With an indoor trainer and the UltraSport Hometrainer tire, cold and rainy weather will interfere with your indoor training sessions. Thanks to its special cold-running compound, the UltraSport Hometrainer tire doesn´t experience the heat buildup of your typical road tire, nor does it suffer the tread separation that the road tire is prone to under the special loads occurring when in cycling and braking on indoor trainer or rollers. This tire is not suitable for on road use. "

It's been said, (thanks Ma and Pop) to know Oude Granny is to love Oude Granny. But if you don't trust me how about these ladies down below. No this wasn't a clever German advertisement bit, these are some of the actual factory workers who produce some of the best racing tires on the market!

Friday, February 16, 2007

Front Row View From The Cheap Seats

If you're not a cycling fan, the story below is pretty cool. If you are a cycling fan, things just got a lot cooler. If you happen to be like Oude Granny, a cycling fan and a techno geek, then your brain just went nuclear.

Check out what some of the lads starting this year's Amgen Tour of California will be doing.

"During this year's edition of the pro cycling race, the Computer Sciences Corporation, or CSC, will outfit seven contenders with specially designed tracking devices. Information about the riders' locations and relative positions in the race will be made available as a map mashup during each of the tour's eight daylong stages.

CSC -- which is a sponsor of the tour and the title sponsor of Team CSC, one of 20 teams in cycling's elite ProTour league -- is hoping that its new technology will give cycling's rabid fan base a more immersive view of the sport.

"This is more than just GPS," says CSC's Identity Labs chief technologist Dan Munyan. "This is object field tracking. We want to be able to focus on a field of objects in motion, looking not only at where they are on the route, but also where they are relative to each other."

For the full article, check out Wired magazine.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

California Dreaming

It may not be July or France, but the 2007 Edition of the Amgen Tour of California is loaded with some of procycling's heavy hitters. For those who have always wanted to see high level cycling up close, but couldn't afford the ever escalating prices to do a cycling tour in France during the TDF, the Tour of California is quickly becoming a European favorite. Let's all hope that the shelf life for this American tour is longer than some of its predecessors, a la The (Red Zinger) Coors Classic.

Some of the notables:

Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team (USA)
Ivan Basso (I)
Antonio "Tony" Cruz (USA)
Tom Danielson (USA)
George Hincapie (USA)
Levi Leipheimer (USA)
Jason McCartney (USA)
Tomas Vaitkus (Lit)
Brian Vandborg (Dk)

Team CSC (Dk)
Fabian Cancellara (Swi)
Juan Jose Haedo (Arg) - Last year's Team Toyota-United sprinting surprise
Bobby Julich (USA)
Karsten Kroon (Nl)
Stuart O'Grady (Aus)
Christian Vande Velde (USA)
Jens Voigt (G)
David "Dave" Zabriskie (USA)

Quick Step-Innergetic (B)
Paolo Bettini (I)

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Happy Valentine's Day

For this Valentine's Day, Oude Granny's got nothing but love for ya...a little LOVE #3 that is, from one of the best steel frame makers around, Dario Pegoretti (of course the bike featured below has to be made of scandium!)





To sleep, perchance to dream...ay, there's the rub.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Dick Pound-ed

Oude Granny couldn't resist the headline...But WADA's head, Dick Pound, was recently (and finally) reprimanded by the IOC for his years of commentary against Lance Armstrong.

"According to the IOC's decision, dated Feb. 2, the organization's ethics commission recommended that Pound had "the obligation to exercise greater prudence consistent with the Olympic spirit when making public pronouncements that may affect the reputation of others."

Armstrong lauded the IOC's stance against Pound.

"It's not common that the IOC comes out and issues a reprimand or a warning about one of their members at all," Armstrong told The New York Times by phone Sunday. "This is as close to a censure as it could get."

For the full ESPN story...Click Here

Friday, February 09, 2007

Discovery Channel to Drop Sponsorship in 2008

Lucas Jackson/Reuters
Lance Armstrong and the other owners of the Discovery Channel team will have to find a new primary sponsor for next season.

I'm surprised.
But should I be?

Discovery Channel will drop its sponsorship of former Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong's team after this season.

Maybe that's why Discovery Channel is dropping the team after just three seasons: The team is still referred to as "former Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong's team" two years after Our Boy Lance retired.

Obviously, the team has not created its own identity since OBL called it quits.

The team will still race under the Discovery banner in 2007, including the Tour de France, but must find a new sponsor for 2008, according to Bill Stapleton, Armstrong's long-time agent and general manager of the team. Stapleton said the change coincides with this week's resignation of Billy Campbell, president of Discovery's U.S. networks.

I guess the new folks don't bike.

Discovery took over title sponsorship from the U.S. Postal Service before Armstrong won the Tour de France in 2005, the last of his record seven consecutive victories.

Discovery had a poor season in 2006 when Armstrong retired, but the team has been aggressive in signing top riders, including Ivan Basso, who finished third in the 2004 Tour and second in 2005.

Stapleton said it will be harder to find a new title sponsor with Armstrong retired. Armstrong remains a co-owner of the team. "He's still incredibly commercially marketable and viable," Stapleton said. "And beyond that, our team is going to be really good this year. We'll be the favorite to win the Tour de France."

They better hope so.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Is That George?

Big George in/around Solvang
Photo: Liz Kreutz

Sure this post probably falls somewhere in the "inane" category, but Oude Granny had to wonder: The glasses match the new US National Champion kit, but what's George Hincapie without his signature Oakely Racing Jackets?

Bad Boy Floyd Takes Himself Out

Tour de France winner Floyd Landis definitely won't be a repeat winner in 2007. Bad Boy Floyd Thursday said he would not take part in this year's race, the French Anti-Doping Agency announced.

Apparently, that's what the French wanted, because the AFLD postponed their disciplinary hearing into Landis scheduled for Thursday after the American promised not to participate in any race in France until the end of 2007.

Obviously, banning BBF was a done-deal BEFORE the hearing, so the French allowed the American cyclist the graceful way out: He took himself out.

Race organizers said Landis tested positive for the male hormone testosterone from a sample taken during his come-from-behind 17th Stage win in the 2006 Tour.

"Mr. Landis has asked the AFLD, in a letter read by his lawyer during the hearing, to have the possibility to first defend himself in front of the American disciplinary body (the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency)," AFLD said in a statement.

"He says in this very letter that he promises not to take part in any race in France until the end of 2007, in particular in the 2007 Tour de France.

"The AFLD subsequently decided to postpone the examination of his case to a date that will be set according to the course of the procedure before the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency."

Landis, who is 31 (his competitive clock is ticking), has also been charged with a doping offense by USADA and will have a separate hearing on May 14, his representative, Michael Henson, said on Wednesday.

If found guilty, Landis faces a two-year suspension from the sport and the possibility of becoming the first Tour winner to be stripped of his title.

Landis's lawyers say the samples were mislabeled by the French laboratory which conducted the tests, the testing process was unreliable, and the rider never in fact tested positive.
A very American response to a very French situation.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

D-Day for Bad Boy Floyd

Here's a news flash:
The French Anti-Doping Agency will rule Thursday whether to ban Bad Boy Floyd Landis from racing in France for up to two years after his positive doping test at the 2006 Tour de France.
The nine-member panel, headed by AFLD president Philippe Bordry, will meet in Paris. Bordry insists Landis will receive a fair hearing.
Right.
"It's not because someone is positive that he must be automatically suspended," Bordry said Wednesday. "The rights of the defense are very important."
Right.
To review:
Landis' urine sample after the decisive 17th stage of the Tour de France was found to contain elevated testosterone to epitestosterone levels. He risks being the first rider in the 104-year history of the race to be stripped of his title.
Tour director Christian Prudhomme has already said the Tour no longer considers him the winner, just in case you have any questions about French fairness.
Landis was not expected to attend the hearing but may be represented by a lawyer.
Under French law, the AFLD has the right to "sanction by one or two years suspension on French soil," Bordry said. That would exclude Landis from this year's Tour, and other events such as Paris-Nice and Paris-Roubaix.
"The college (AFLD) will pronounce itself freely," Bordry said. "We are applying French law."
Sounds ominous to me.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Holy Costume Party Batman!

For those of you who haven't noticed, and I'll say that there are a lot of you out there who haven't, the procycling season kicked off this past week with the Tour of Qatar. And picking up where he left off last year was The Tornado. Tom Boonen and Quick-Step again dominated this event with Boonen winning decisively in the sprints that he contested, while teammate, Wilfried Cretskens, took the overall prize. Photo AFP.

In Asia, the Tour de Langkawi, an event Discovery's Tom Danielson won while riding for Saturn, began its 12th running, signaling the start for some of the less notable Pro Tour and Continental teams.



But perhaps the most notable start came in Europe, where the GP d'Ouverture La Marseillaise's start list included Tyler Hamilton (Tinkoff Credit Systems) and a Unibet.com squad who was banned from wearing their logo because of some squirrelly French law that bans the advertising of foreign gambling and betting houses. Huh? So what does the Unibet.com team do? They come out dressed like Frank Gorshin's Riddler from the old school Batman TV series and win the whole darn shooting match. C'est la vie.

POW!

Monday, February 05, 2007

Damn It's Cold...

Outside Kalamazoo College

Oude Granny wasn't just imagining that Phil, from Punxsutawney, or Chuck, the Buckeye variety of the little fuzzy season predicting rodent, didn't see his shadow 3 days ago, thereby signaling an early Spring, right?

Regardless, its all us Midwesterners (and other parts of the US) can hope for as those thoughts of a global warmed November and December have suddenly swung to the other side of the temperature pendulum in February.

To our hardcore cycling brethren who are still on two wheels, whether out of love for cycling or out of necessity (huge shout out to my former teammates and Chicago messengers), stay warm!

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

A Bit of Human Nature

Its been said that we never fully appreciate something (someone) until after its (they are) gone. Just a case of human nature, I guess. So with Jan Ullrich's retirement, it wasn't surprising to hear from his contemporaries and some of the all-time cycling greats praising a cyclist who was perhaps, as someone said, one of the most gracious and human in the sport.

From Velonews:
"Maybe Jan was too laid back but the fact is that cycling has lost a great name," Eddy Merckx

From Cyclingnews:
"Five-time Tour winner Miguel Induráin has declared that Jan Ullrich "was one of the greatest" according to Spanish newspaper Marca . Induráin also described Ullrich's retirement as a pity but said that the German's career was impeccable. "He is one of the few of my era who has always been on the podium, even if he failed to win more races."

From Pezcyclingnews (which had a whole page of quotables):
"I watched Der Kaiser race at both the Tour and the Giro. What amazed me most was how he would ride himself into shape over the course of those three-week events.

At last year's Giro, Ullrich was admittedly heavy and not in top condition, and his early results revealed more than a few flaws in his form. But as the weeks wore on, he just got better and better. While other guys were cracking, Ullrich was pulling it all together. At the TTT, from Piacenza to Cremona, Ullrich lead the T-Mobile train for much of the day, but he was pretty much spent as they rolled into Cremona.

Just one week later, in the Pontadera TT, it was big Jan's day to shine. He beat Basso for the stage win, and it showed that Ullrich was going to be a formidable force for the rest of the summer."
- Bob Cullinan

Here's a nice YouTube Tribute to The Diesel:

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Der Kaiser Tritt Zurück

The news was expected, but like most announcements, you're never sure until you hear it out of the horse's mouth. So its official, or as official as any athlete claims, the emperor, Jan Ullrich, is hanging up his enigmatic cleats. T-o-03 will have to find another whipping boy.

But before we've kicked him to the curb, here's a 1998 cartoon (Velonews, Patrick O'Grady) as a parting shot, one which T-o-03 would be proud, detailing Jan's infamous "off"-season training regimen.


And a classic quote from Jan's former T-Mobile Director Sportif, Walter Grodefroot:

"Unlike [Lance] Armstrong, [Jan] Ullrich doesn't have the killer instinct. He's not obsessed. It's too bad. Because if you mixed the professionalism of an Erik Zabel with the talent of a Jan Ullrich, you'd have an Eddy Merckx."

So where does he go from here? Jan had already thought about what he might do after he had turned a pedal in anger for the last time. Try this one on for size: Jan Ullrich Cycles. Plus he's also been linked to an Austrian cycling team, Volksbank (not sure in what capacity).

You could be the first one on your block...

Take Care Diesel! At least we had 2003!

Monday, February 26, 2007

Cyclist Killed - Going Green

You're probably saying to yourself, "Ah, great Granny...nice topic for a Monday!" Like the Boomtown Rats, Granny doesn't like Mondays either.

But honestly, unless you're really aware of the issues regarding bicycle use, in and around roadways, or unless you've been personally affected by this type of tragic event, you'd probably have a hard time even guessing how frequently the above happens.

Cyclist Killed...Any guesses as to how many cycling deaths occur each year nationally?

How about around 750 (2001 statistic).

What prompted me to bring up such a morbid topic this morning? I read in the Chicago Tribune this weekend that a 74 year old man was killed riding his bike near Chinatown (may require registration).

Two things struck me about this story: why was he on his bike in such inclement weather (for those of you outside the area, Chicago had a mixture of sleet, snow, and rain this weekend), and Al Gore's movie "An Inconvenient Truth." Now the first thought makes total sense; its an easy connection. But how in the world did Al Gore pop into my head?

The 74 year old man was Chinese. And back-in-the-day, China was probably one of the most "Green" countries on the planet. Remember seeing those documentaries about life in China, with thousands on bicycles communting to and fro, or massive groups of people in some sort of Thai-Chi pose? Well ever since China has become industrialized, commercialized, consumerized, and Westernized, it's fast becoming a glutton for fossil fuels.

Now an interesting fact is that more people are using bicycles, nationally let alone worldwide, these days than in 2001, but only very minute pockets of Western culture have truly embraced the bicycle, for all its function and simplcity, as a means to commute.

We always used to kid about what a billion Chinese people could do. Ever imagine what 1.3 Billion people could do to the environment, to the ozone, or to Global Warming?

Scary...
Before

Today

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Weekend Wrap - Down and Out in SoCal

With the end of the 2nd Tour of California coinciding with the 79th Annual Academy Awards, Oude Granny thought he'd hand out some early season awards.

Frontrunner
/Best Man - "Jennifer Hudson Award"
Levi, who else! Just like Ms. Hudson (who swept every single award in her category this award season), Leipheimer led the TOC from start to finish, winning both the prologue and the ITT in the process.

About Time - "Martin Scorsese Award"
Well I was going to give this one to any of the various sprinters who won in the TOC, Bettini, Haedo, Brown, or Ivan Dominguez. But this one goes out to last year's winner, Floyd Landis because it seems that the cycling community/fan base may finally get some resolution to his case before the next Tour de France (wishful thinking; don't hold your breath!) His Wiki Defense on the Floyd Fairness Fund website has certainly caused a stir with (more like raised the ire of) USADA, WADA, and the other powers that be as the court of public opinion seems to be painting a picture of incompetence of the testers.

Hard Luck - "Leonardo DiCaprio Award"
Oude Granny's "man love" (which in the "man world" is alright, unless you continually talk about it, then it becomes weird; not that there's anything wrong with that) doesn't extend to the actor (by the way, you gotta give it up for Leonardo, not only for the great name, but because he's been in some great movies, so his acting can't be that bad or his presence in great movies merely a coincidence, but I digress), but more to the recipient, George Hincapie. Oude Granny's "Guy for the Classics" broke his wrist this weekend and will be unable to participate in his beloved Classics. So like Leonardo, you have to begin to wonder, will he ever win the grand prize (Paris-Roubaix or Flanders)?

Still My Favorite Cycling Pic!
Photo - Graham Watson

Too Funny...

Not to Post!


Leave it to the marketers to make you laugh, to make you feel like you're a kid playing doctor for the first time, to make you feel like a perv, and to make you feel creepy just for having followed a link to this Ad that simply said, "PROTECT YOUR PENIS!" all at the same time.

Check out the latest technology in cycling shorts from DESCENTE.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

New Year...New Look

Oude Granny decided to make an executive decision and update the look of the blog. As we approach our 500th post and 1 year anniversary, the TC hopes to bring you updates from all those who joined us on that inaugural Trek Travel Tour de France tour in 2003, information from some up-and-comers in the world of cycling, reviews and tidbits on new cycling products, and or course or own special "Cranky" view of the world.

A new feature on the blog:

Email a Post
- Below each post you'll find an envelope icon. Now you can send your favorite TC post to friends and family.

Cheers and Keep Crankin'

Friday, February 23, 2007

Policing The Police

Much has been made on this blog about Bad Boy Floyd, BBF, and the Floyd Fairness Fund, etc. To be perfectly honest, when T-0-03 wrote about the Fund, my initial and gut reaction was just as incredulous. How could such a high profile athlete go out there and solicit monies to what seemingly looked like an insurmountable doping case?

Then Oude Granny looked into it. Some folks out there believe I think too much, but I contend that I was given a brain for a reason so why not attempt to use more than merely the 10% (which by the way is a complete myth!) that is said to be used for conscious thought.

So what does Granny make of all this? Well, the short answer: send money only if you believe its a worthwhile cause (words of wisdom from Oude Granny, which I think you should employ when contributing any part of your hard earned money).

What about the "meat" of the argument? Ey, there's the rub!**

**Proceed only if you care to hear me on my soap box.

I'm somewhat of a rebel at heart. And as such, its easy to find fault with some of the systems set out for our use, whether they be laws or rules for everyday use or those policies set forth by some athletic governing body. So after much digging...yes, I am in research...here's why I think contributing to a Fairness Fund, Floyd's or anyone else's, isn't such an inane exercise.

For those who follow sport, I liken Floyd's situation, but on a much higher plane, to what mogul skier and part-time football player, Jeremy Bloom, went through with the NCAA. Without going into too much detail, Bloom was banned from playing collegiate football because he had received some endorsement monies as a part of his "amateur" athletic career as a Olympic caliber mogul skier. The NCAA, basically considered him a pro athlete.

So how is this at all relevant? Many cases are decided on an un-level playing field and frankly don't make much sense. For instance, the NCAA allows for two sport athletes, say in baseball and football, to sign a minor league contract (thereby getting paid), but still be considered eligible (as an amateur) to play football. Huh??? Exactly! So Bloom, never played another down for the Colorado Buffaloes, and ended up skiing for the US in Nagano and then trying out for the NFL. If only he had been a baseball player and not a skiier!

So how does this relate to Floyd? After looking into Floyd's defense on the Floyd Fairness Fund website, it's just another case of an athlete being subjected to the supposed judiciousness from his sports governing body, who for all intensive purposes isn't exactly concerned with what is "good" for the athlete!!! So where do the means come from to help the athlete fight for what he holds true or practical? From his own pocket!!! Hence the reason so many athlete's end up taking their lumps and end up leaving the sport they love even though their case might be a viable one. How can a resource depleted person compete with such a huge, well funded, and highly political machine. They can't, therefore, making the system one-sided. Are any pro bono lawyers listening out there?

To the heart of Floyd's case.

Since his test found a high ratio of testoterone to epitestosterone, this blog had a lot of traffic and opinions. For the most part, people have conceded that he's a cheat, therefore, I'm not backing a cheater.

But if you take a moment to look at Floyd's Wiki Defense, one which I read about in ROAD Magazine (and thanks to Liz "Roubaix Girl" Hatch, a magazine that I'll now continue to read; hopefully more on/from Liz on this blog soon), Dr. Arnie Baker, makes a very comprehensive and stalwart case in Floyd's defense (I urge all to look at this Powerpoint Presentation, in .pdf form, as you'll see a cover up of blunders a mile long). Not really "exact" science!!

Still not convinced in Floyd's favor...check out the latest from ESPN, where Floyd's case might get thrown out after all the lab blunders (pointed out by Dr. Baker). So if this case is dismissed, you have to wonder who's governing the governing bodies of sport (or for any other discipline for that matter). Allez Floyd!

Here's a vid of Floyd in NYC announcing at the NYVelocity, Love Crank (an annual indoor rollers contest with much alcohol) earlier this month.

Cricket Throws

That might sound like a headline on some supermarket checkout stand rag, but its exactly what happened at the end of yesterday's Stage 4 of the TOC. I can hear my coaches, Randy Walker (xXx-Athletico Racing) and Kevin Perez (Turin Cycles, out at Northbrook Velodrome) from last year talking about the importance of a good throw. And sure enough, there's an emailed photo from Randy exclaiming...now that's how you throw.

Still in the dark? A good throw of the bike can divide a winner from the field. A look at this photo shows just how close Paolo "the Cricket" Bettini came to being a runner-up on the day.

Photo - Phoenix Sports

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Crazy Legs...

Oude Granny would show off his "gams," but I wouldn't want to embarass anyone (especially myself). Recently, The Paceline, held an online contest to see if you could guess which Discovery team rider belonged to the set of legs in the photos. Below are the answers (check out the quad development on newly signed Allan Davis; think he might be a sprinter? Click on a section to enlarge. Photos - Liz Kreutz)

Golden Two-Fer

It was nice to see a rider like Jens Voigt, CSC (second victory in as many days), win Stage 3 of the TOC. Why you may ask? Because he's Old School, and like the great Eddy Merckx, Jens only knows one speed, FLAT OUT!

Photo 2007 - Jonathan Devich

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Dyno-Mite

If you're like Oude Granny, you'll remember the above as the signature catch-phrase for another JJ (Walker from TV's Good Times). Last year, JJ Haedo, riding for Toyota-United, dominated the sprinter's field at the TOC (53rd Tooth posted about JJ last year riding in Altoona). Now he's found his way to a big league team, CSC, and judging by this easy victory, it'll be fun to watch this Argentine take on the likes of Boonen, Petacchi, and McEwen down the line (as he easily destroyed a former TDF Maillot Vert wearer in Thor Hushovd; center, about 2-3 bike lengths back).

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Another Crash, Another Brown Win...

Alright, that headline/byline might be a little unfair, but it's accurate in its description as Aussie sprinter Graeme Brown (Rabobank) survived the carnage of the Stage 1 finish in Santa Rosa. Although he wasn't responsible for this crash, which ended Dave Zabriskie's TOC, Tom Steels has formally filed a grievance with the UCI for Brown's sprinting tactics during this year's Tour of Qatar, in which Steels was injured.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Home Cookin'

The 2nd Annual (that has a nice ring to it, I hate when people refer to the 1st running as "annual") Amgen Tour of California kicked off this Sunday much like it kicked off last year, with a Prologue win by Santa Rosa's own, Levi Leipheimer. On top of Telegraph Hill, he was greeted by his wife, Odessa Gunn, (see inset) who was a pretty darn good racer back in the day.

But perhaps the best thing about the Prologue was who showed up on the podium with Levi at the end of the day, Jason Donald (USA) Team Slipstream, and Ben Jacques-Maynes (USA) Priority Health Cycling Team, respectively. Now Oude Granny was as unfamiliar with Jason Donald as the next person, as he surprised not only himself but his DS, Jonathan Vaughters, as well with his effort. How surprising? Well to listen to the Versus telecast, it was as if Phil and Paul thought the world had suddenly stopped on its axis. Now for those unfamiliar with Ben Jacques-Maynes, you won't be for long as he's been steadily on the climb having showed his mettle during the inaugural TOC while racing with Kodakgallery.com/Sierra Nevada. Incidentally, his new team, a health insurance company based out of Grand Rapids, is Michigan's lone procycling team.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Granny's Grab Bag

For those of you out there in internet-land who personally know Oude Granny, you're all too familiar with my encyclopedic knowledge of useless facts. But for those of you who share the same passions as Granny, every once in a while that knowledge can actually "help a brother (or sista) out!"

So starting this weekend, I'd like to introduce a new Triple Crankset (TC) feature; The Grab Bag. In it we'll try to drop some of our knowledge on you, like products we use in our daily cycling lives, to new products we've tested. So without further fanfare, here's your first tidbit.

Scenario: Let's say you're that random person, who like most these days, has a busier than busy business schedule, but also plays as hard as you work, maybe does half a dozen triathlons in a season or needs to stay fit for the upcoming cycling racing season.

So what do you do in your down time? Well you're probably on your rollers, or on some fixed trainer, in your garage (on some cold floor where Granny's probably sat on before while I did some wrenching and lubing, you know who you are!) spinning or doing some intervals on the steed you use for your races. Do you at times feel that your road tires are heating up too much on the trainer or there is the distinct smell of burning rubber?

If you're the pragmatic sort, then you've already planned on putting on some new race tires for the outdoor season. But if you're also like Granny, who has to have good racing tires, you know that they cost some coin (or as another of Granny's minions refers to money, "pieces of meats and bones," as in you owe me "49 pieces of meat and 95 bones, $49.95 for those tires").

If you're the intellegent sort, then you only drop $24.99 and switch out your racing tires with Conti's (Continental Tires, yes they make car tires too) Ultra Sport Training Tire.

"With an indoor trainer and the UltraSport Hometrainer tire, cold and rainy weather will interfere with your indoor training sessions. Thanks to its special cold-running compound, the UltraSport Hometrainer tire doesn´t experience the heat buildup of your typical road tire, nor does it suffer the tread separation that the road tire is prone to under the special loads occurring when in cycling and braking on indoor trainer or rollers. This tire is not suitable for on road use. "

It's been said, (thanks Ma and Pop) to know Oude Granny is to love Oude Granny. But if you don't trust me how about these ladies down below. No this wasn't a clever German advertisement bit, these are some of the actual factory workers who produce some of the best racing tires on the market!

Friday, February 16, 2007

Front Row View From The Cheap Seats

If you're not a cycling fan, the story below is pretty cool. If you are a cycling fan, things just got a lot cooler. If you happen to be like Oude Granny, a cycling fan and a techno geek, then your brain just went nuclear.

Check out what some of the lads starting this year's Amgen Tour of California will be doing.

"During this year's edition of the pro cycling race, the Computer Sciences Corporation, or CSC, will outfit seven contenders with specially designed tracking devices. Information about the riders' locations and relative positions in the race will be made available as a map mashup during each of the tour's eight daylong stages.

CSC -- which is a sponsor of the tour and the title sponsor of Team CSC, one of 20 teams in cycling's elite ProTour league -- is hoping that its new technology will give cycling's rabid fan base a more immersive view of the sport.

"This is more than just GPS," says CSC's Identity Labs chief technologist Dan Munyan. "This is object field tracking. We want to be able to focus on a field of objects in motion, looking not only at where they are on the route, but also where they are relative to each other."

For the full article, check out Wired magazine.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

California Dreaming

It may not be July or France, but the 2007 Edition of the Amgen Tour of California is loaded with some of procycling's heavy hitters. For those who have always wanted to see high level cycling up close, but couldn't afford the ever escalating prices to do a cycling tour in France during the TDF, the Tour of California is quickly becoming a European favorite. Let's all hope that the shelf life for this American tour is longer than some of its predecessors, a la The (Red Zinger) Coors Classic.

Some of the notables:

Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team (USA)
Ivan Basso (I)
Antonio "Tony" Cruz (USA)
Tom Danielson (USA)
George Hincapie (USA)
Levi Leipheimer (USA)
Jason McCartney (USA)
Tomas Vaitkus (Lit)
Brian Vandborg (Dk)

Team CSC (Dk)
Fabian Cancellara (Swi)
Juan Jose Haedo (Arg) - Last year's Team Toyota-United sprinting surprise
Bobby Julich (USA)
Karsten Kroon (Nl)
Stuart O'Grady (Aus)
Christian Vande Velde (USA)
Jens Voigt (G)
David "Dave" Zabriskie (USA)

Quick Step-Innergetic (B)
Paolo Bettini (I)

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Happy Valentine's Day

For this Valentine's Day, Oude Granny's got nothing but love for ya...a little LOVE #3 that is, from one of the best steel frame makers around, Dario Pegoretti (of course the bike featured below has to be made of scandium!)





To sleep, perchance to dream...ay, there's the rub.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Dick Pound-ed

Oude Granny couldn't resist the headline...But WADA's head, Dick Pound, was recently (and finally) reprimanded by the IOC for his years of commentary against Lance Armstrong.

"According to the IOC's decision, dated Feb. 2, the organization's ethics commission recommended that Pound had "the obligation to exercise greater prudence consistent with the Olympic spirit when making public pronouncements that may affect the reputation of others."

Armstrong lauded the IOC's stance against Pound.

"It's not common that the IOC comes out and issues a reprimand or a warning about one of their members at all," Armstrong told The New York Times by phone Sunday. "This is as close to a censure as it could get."

For the full ESPN story...Click Here

Friday, February 09, 2007

Discovery Channel to Drop Sponsorship in 2008

Lucas Jackson/Reuters
Lance Armstrong and the other owners of the Discovery Channel team will have to find a new primary sponsor for next season.

I'm surprised.
But should I be?

Discovery Channel will drop its sponsorship of former Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong's team after this season.

Maybe that's why Discovery Channel is dropping the team after just three seasons: The team is still referred to as "former Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong's team" two years after Our Boy Lance retired.

Obviously, the team has not created its own identity since OBL called it quits.

The team will still race under the Discovery banner in 2007, including the Tour de France, but must find a new sponsor for 2008, according to Bill Stapleton, Armstrong's long-time agent and general manager of the team. Stapleton said the change coincides with this week's resignation of Billy Campbell, president of Discovery's U.S. networks.

I guess the new folks don't bike.

Discovery took over title sponsorship from the U.S. Postal Service before Armstrong won the Tour de France in 2005, the last of his record seven consecutive victories.

Discovery had a poor season in 2006 when Armstrong retired, but the team has been aggressive in signing top riders, including Ivan Basso, who finished third in the 2004 Tour and second in 2005.

Stapleton said it will be harder to find a new title sponsor with Armstrong retired. Armstrong remains a co-owner of the team. "He's still incredibly commercially marketable and viable," Stapleton said. "And beyond that, our team is going to be really good this year. We'll be the favorite to win the Tour de France."

They better hope so.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Is That George?

Big George in/around Solvang
Photo: Liz Kreutz

Sure this post probably falls somewhere in the "inane" category, but Oude Granny had to wonder: The glasses match the new US National Champion kit, but what's George Hincapie without his signature Oakely Racing Jackets?

Bad Boy Floyd Takes Himself Out

Tour de France winner Floyd Landis definitely won't be a repeat winner in 2007. Bad Boy Floyd Thursday said he would not take part in this year's race, the French Anti-Doping Agency announced.

Apparently, that's what the French wanted, because the AFLD postponed their disciplinary hearing into Landis scheduled for Thursday after the American promised not to participate in any race in France until the end of 2007.

Obviously, banning BBF was a done-deal BEFORE the hearing, so the French allowed the American cyclist the graceful way out: He took himself out.

Race organizers said Landis tested positive for the male hormone testosterone from a sample taken during his come-from-behind 17th Stage win in the 2006 Tour.

"Mr. Landis has asked the AFLD, in a letter read by his lawyer during the hearing, to have the possibility to first defend himself in front of the American disciplinary body (the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency)," AFLD said in a statement.

"He says in this very letter that he promises not to take part in any race in France until the end of 2007, in particular in the 2007 Tour de France.

"The AFLD subsequently decided to postpone the examination of his case to a date that will be set according to the course of the procedure before the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency."

Landis, who is 31 (his competitive clock is ticking), has also been charged with a doping offense by USADA and will have a separate hearing on May 14, his representative, Michael Henson, said on Wednesday.

If found guilty, Landis faces a two-year suspension from the sport and the possibility of becoming the first Tour winner to be stripped of his title.

Landis's lawyers say the samples were mislabeled by the French laboratory which conducted the tests, the testing process was unreliable, and the rider never in fact tested positive.
A very American response to a very French situation.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

D-Day for Bad Boy Floyd

Here's a news flash:
The French Anti-Doping Agency will rule Thursday whether to ban Bad Boy Floyd Landis from racing in France for up to two years after his positive doping test at the 2006 Tour de France.
The nine-member panel, headed by AFLD president Philippe Bordry, will meet in Paris. Bordry insists Landis will receive a fair hearing.
Right.
"It's not because someone is positive that he must be automatically suspended," Bordry said Wednesday. "The rights of the defense are very important."
Right.
To review:
Landis' urine sample after the decisive 17th stage of the Tour de France was found to contain elevated testosterone to epitestosterone levels. He risks being the first rider in the 104-year history of the race to be stripped of his title.
Tour director Christian Prudhomme has already said the Tour no longer considers him the winner, just in case you have any questions about French fairness.
Landis was not expected to attend the hearing but may be represented by a lawyer.
Under French law, the AFLD has the right to "sanction by one or two years suspension on French soil," Bordry said. That would exclude Landis from this year's Tour, and other events such as Paris-Nice and Paris-Roubaix.
"The college (AFLD) will pronounce itself freely," Bordry said. "We are applying French law."
Sounds ominous to me.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Holy Costume Party Batman!

For those of you who haven't noticed, and I'll say that there are a lot of you out there who haven't, the procycling season kicked off this past week with the Tour of Qatar. And picking up where he left off last year was The Tornado. Tom Boonen and Quick-Step again dominated this event with Boonen winning decisively in the sprints that he contested, while teammate, Wilfried Cretskens, took the overall prize. Photo AFP.

In Asia, the Tour de Langkawi, an event Discovery's Tom Danielson won while riding for Saturn, began its 12th running, signaling the start for some of the less notable Pro Tour and Continental teams.



But perhaps the most notable start came in Europe, where the GP d'Ouverture La Marseillaise's start list included Tyler Hamilton (Tinkoff Credit Systems) and a Unibet.com squad who was banned from wearing their logo because of some squirrelly French law that bans the advertising of foreign gambling and betting houses. Huh? So what does the Unibet.com team do? They come out dressed like Frank Gorshin's Riddler from the old school Batman TV series and win the whole darn shooting match. C'est la vie.

POW!

Monday, February 05, 2007

Damn It's Cold...

Outside Kalamazoo College

Oude Granny wasn't just imagining that Phil, from Punxsutawney, or Chuck, the Buckeye variety of the little fuzzy season predicting rodent, didn't see his shadow 3 days ago, thereby signaling an early Spring, right?

Regardless, its all us Midwesterners (and other parts of the US) can hope for as those thoughts of a global warmed November and December have suddenly swung to the other side of the temperature pendulum in February.

To our hardcore cycling brethren who are still on two wheels, whether out of love for cycling or out of necessity (huge shout out to my former teammates and Chicago messengers), stay warm!