Friday, March 14, 2008


Check out Tyler Farrar's crash in the prologue TT at Paris-Nice.

The good news...he's ok. The bad last report, he was 123rd out of 132 in the GC.


Saturday, February 2, 2008

Friday, February 1, 2008

I know it's not about the bike, but...

...I'm pretty much in love with my new "stealth" ride.

All logos, no manufacturer IDs, no fancy colors, no nothin' (except for a couple of strategically-placed Paradigm Cycles stickers).

Check out the white bar tape. I know, I know...this is totally Euro, but what the heck. Just go with it.

The absolute best part...the new Shimano Ultegra SL groupo. I've never had a component set this good. Compact 50/34 crank, ten-speed shifters, full Ultegra SL brakes, front and rear derailleurs.

I'm not worthy!

Thursday, January 31, 2008

A Cold Contador

How cold was it at the Astana team training camp in Albuquerque this week? Check out Alberto Contador's pre-ride get-up...

The thermometer read 20 degrees for the morning ride. Most of the Euro-guys thought 20 was ok...until they realized that we were not talkin' 20 Celsius.

Welcome to America, boys. Enjoy the ride.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Ich bin ein Kloden

Astana at Albuquerque

This is a helluva looks like the cycling equivalent of the 1927 New York Yankees.Left to right...Levi Leipheimer, the current United States champion and 3rd in the 2007 Tour de France...Johan Bruyneel, the most successful cycling team director in history, with eight Tour de France wins...and Alberto Contador, the '07 Tour champion.

They're all training in New Mexico this week, along with Astana studs Andreas Kloden, Chris Horner and the rest of the Astana stable.

You'll be seeing more...much more...from these guys in the weeks and months to come. It's gonna be a fun ride.

Monday, January 28, 2008 Taking Shape

We've been working in semi-stealth mode, developing a new cycling news and information site.

It won't be like anything else currently out there. Part of the appeal of the site will be our efforts to "humanize" both the sport and the people who participate.

Here's a short teaser, below. Exceedingly human, yes?

Stay tuned. More...much come.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

The Angel's Wings Get Clipped

Remember Jana Ireton, the attractive blonde who wore the angel wings, blew kisses to the riders, and represented the Specialized bike company at the Tour of California bicycle race?

Well, I'm sad to report that Jana wil not be making a return appearance at the 2008 TofCA. Apparently Specialized has hired another girl to represent them at the race.


I got the following note from Jana earlier today:


Hello Bob,

Happy 2008! I hope all is well with you. Another great year of cycling is among us and TOC is less than a month away.

I was hoping to share the good news of my return as the Specialized Angel for the 3rd year, but Specialized did not ask for my return. I was heart-broken when they gave me the news that they decided to have another girl from Spain be the Angel at TOC this year. They thanked me for all I've done to make the Angel iconic and to not take it personal, but it was the majority opinion of having this someone be the Angel who spoke multiple languages and keeping it fresh for the press.

It was very difficult for me to imagine someone else in my wings. After all, I was the first Specialized Angel who the cycling industry was so taken with and I was so taken with them. Being that there has been one Devil (Didi Senft) in Europe for many years, I was dreaming whole-heartily of being the one Angel for the U.S. I do respect Specialized's decision for whomever they choose to be their Angel - I'm just disheartened that it will not be me.

I have to say as I told Specialized that I am truly grateful to have been the Specialized Angel all this time and will remember this amazing experience for the rest of my life. I've been able to embrace the cycling phenomenon like never before. I absolutely loved being at the KOMs, starts, & finishes blowing my signature kisses to all the riders, team cars, motorcades, police squad cars, caravan, and of course the fantastic fans. So a special thanks to you and Pez Cycling for featuring me these past 2 years and although you will not see me in my glorious wings, I will be along the sidelines cheering on the riders at various stages of TOC and enjoying every moment as I have always done. And yes, "I am Specialized"!

Jana Ireton

Monday, January 14, 2008

Return to the Risibisi Ride

I joined my peeps, both old and new peeps, on my first Risibisi Ride since the big crash. It was great to be out on the roads of Sonoma County again...but being this far out of shape really sucks.

The crash injuries linger. The shoulder gets sore afer a while on the bike, while the left hand is a source of constant pain. I'm headed back to the doctor Thursday to get it all checked out.

This photo kinda sums up my current condition. Nice, eh? If you want to see the rest of the photos from the ride, click on the red headline, above.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

The comeback continues

My thanks to Charlie Livermore and the folks at Endurance in Mill Valley for running me through the whole performance assessment test. I wrote about the experience in my latest column in the Marin IJ. Click on the red link, above, to read the piece.

The bad VO2 max and peak watts suck. Really bad.

The good news...I should get better.

Time will tell.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

The real deal

Every time I ride on the road, I'm continually amazed by all the people who think they're some kind of big-damn-deal on their bike. The humorless hammerheads who take it all so damn seriously, and do their best to bury anyone within their sights, no matter what the consequences.

Please...spare me.

Contrast that with the understated humility of a guy who actually is a stud, but doesn't feel the need to remind everyone at every turn.

To read my story on Doug Shapiro, click on the red headline, above.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

A week and a half later...

...and the recovery is progressing.


The left side of my upper body is no longer just one giant multi-colored bruise. The colors have faded, and along with them, the pain is not quite as intense.

Thanks to a bunch of Vicodin, the first few days weren't that bad. But once the "vitamin V" ran out, the pain settled in. A steady diet of Tylenol and Advil have taken a bit of the discomfort away, but the constant painful reminder of the crash is always with me.

I'm pleasantly surprised that I escaped with very little road rash. The scrapes that mark the spot where I landed on my left elbow have sealed-up and scabbed-over, and they're on their way to normalcy. But the two gashes on my right hand, one on the index finger and the other on the knuckle of my thumb, continue to bleed. I'm a bit concerned about both, but I'll give it a few more days before I flip out.

Both hands are still very painful. For the longest time I couldn't figure out why, but today it hit me (so to speak). I must have had both hands up on the brake hoods of the bike, and the sudden stop jammed the hoods back in to the crook of my hand, between the thumb and index finger. The pain is the dull, throbbing kind, not the sharp and stinging kind.

Aside from the constant pain in my left shoulder, the biggest discomfort right now is my inability to take in a deep breath without experiencing a real sharp pain in my back, in that small area between the shoulder blade and the spine. The x-rays didn't show any broken bones back there, but I'll wait until my doc takes a look at it next Thursday before I come to any conclusions about the origin of the pain.

But, all things considered, I do feel very fortunate. A few feet either way, and the outcome could have been much different. I don't want to be overly dramatic about all of this, but I could have been killed in the crash. The fact that I wasn't, no matter what the injuries and current discomforts, is truly a blessing.

Friday, November 16, 2007

How bad was it?

Here's what happens when a carbon fiber bike hits a metal car door, and both are going about 20 mph.

No wonder I'm a bit stiff and sore today.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

A life-changing moment

I was riding along, minding my own business Wednesday morning, enjoying the great weather and cruising down the road for a few easy miles.

Heading south in Corte Madera on Tamal Vista, just north of Tamalpais, I briefly glanced to my right to check out four little kids in a red wagon. I turned my head back, looked up the road, and...


A silver SUV, going north, made a left turn directly into me. I slammed on the brakes, tensed-up for the impact, and tried to turn to the right so I wouldn't hit the vehicle straight on.

I screamed at the top of my lungs as we crashed into each other. I was going about 20 mph, he was going nearly as fast.

The next thing I knew, I was sprawled out on the road. I landed hard on my left side, with my legs still wrapped around the bike frame. The front fork had been torn off, and came to a rest about 10 feet away.

I blacked-out for a moment, and when I came to, the driver of the vehicle was standing next to me. "Are you ok?" he asked. "No," I replied. I was too dazed to say, "Jesus, just hit me with your car...I'm laying here in the middle of the bike is in shreds...and you ask me if I'm OK? Are you freaking blind?"

Instead, all I wanted to do was throw up. I felt nauseous, and didn't want to move. At that point, I had no idea how seriously I'd been hurt.

Within just a few seconds, one off-duty paramedic arrived, then another. Thank God. The first one asked me my name, the day of the week, and wondered if I knew where I was. I gave all the right answers (I think), so he proceeded to give me the once-over, to make sure I hadn't broken my neck or back.

When we were both confident that I could move without causing any more damage, I tried to get up. Forget it. I damn near threw up again, and as soon as I tried to move, I realized that my left shoulder was hurt badly.

After a couple more minutes, one of the off-duty paramedics told me that I should really get up and out of the middle of the street, so he helped me up. DAMN I was hurtin'. Left shoulder, right knee, both hands...all in major pain.

I limped over to a short rock wall near the sidewalk, sat down there, and tried to get my wits about me again. At about that same time, both the Twin Cities police and paramedics arrived. One paramedic gave me the once-over...again...while the other shielded my eyes from the sun. Off to the side, I could see the police officer talking to the driver of the silver SUV.

Someone took my helmet off my head, and noticed that it was cracked in three places. Great.

Minutes passed...I have no idea how many...and it was decided that I should go to the ER at Marin General. As a precaution, the paramedics put me in a neck collar and brace, lowered me onto a back board, strapped me in and put me into the ambulance.

As they were strapping my head, arms and torso down, I looked up and said, "I feel like freaking Gulliver. If I look up and you guys are all of a sudden real small, then I know I'm in trouble!" The paramedics laughed and remarked about the fact that I could keep my sense of humor at a time like this.

Always, boys. I'm never short on wise-ass humor.

The trip to the hospital took much longer than I expected, and the waves of motion-induced nausea made the ride pretty uncomfortable. Add to that the IV they stuck in my right arm, and the EKG leads they taped to my legs and body, and I was getting a bit freaked by all of it.

One of the paramedics told me, "The good news...because you were going more than five mile per hour when you were hit, you've triggered a 'trauma response'...that means that when we arrive at Marin General, about a dozen people will descend on you right away."

Oh, great.

The ambulance pulled up to the ER at Marin General, and as the paramedics were lifting me out, one of them said, "Don't worry...I haven't dropped anybody all day" which I replied, "Yeah, but it's pretty early in the day...don't start now!"

Once inside, I was impressed with both the quantity and quality of attention I received. The best news...the doctor, Jason Ruben, was a cyclist. We spoke the same language, so he understood better than anyone what had happened to me, and I knew the right ways to communicate with him.

I was still in my Paradigm Cycles kit...the one I got for my when they told me that they wanted to cut it off of me, I protested. But as I first tried to slip off the jersey, and then take the t-shirt off over my head, my left shoulder hurt like hell. The shock of the crash was wearing off, and at the same time, the pain was setting in.

We eventually got the jersey and t-shirt off, and the bibs down, much (I think) to the delight of the three nurses who were attending to me. I think I recall one of them saying, "You're 52?" while another said, "Wow...look at his calves!"

Thanks, girls.

Dr. Ruben wanted to get x-rays of my back, shoulder and left hand, so after a few minutes, the x-ray tech came to get me. She wanted to put me in a wheelchair, but I refused. So I walked through the ER, with my bibs half way down my butt, and limped to the x-ray room.

I soon realized that the injuries were getting the better of me. After a couple of chest x-rays, it was obvious that I was in pain, so they had me sit down for the remainder of the films. Good call. I felt like crap, and I was afraid that I'd pass out again.

I asked one of the techs how the x-ray looked, and she said, "We can't talk to you about that...the doctor will have to tell you." Great. That's never good news.

When they finished, they wheeled in the chair, and I gladly accepted the ride this time. I was rolled back to the exam room, and waited for the doc.

After just a few minutes (it could have been longer, but I was still a bit whacked so my time reference was off), Dr. Ruben showed me the x-rays, and explained that the break was both clear and clean, and it would be about six weeks until I was healed.

Ugh. long as I could stand the pain, I could get out and about. Remember...Tyler Hamilton rode most of the '03 Tour de France with a broken clavicle. OK, Tyler might have been on something stronger than vicodin, but heck, if a weenie like him could tough it out, I should be able to ride soon too, eh?

I called my long-time friend Tom Guerin to come and pick me up. Out of all the people I know, Tom has the least demanding work schedule..he lives semi-close to Marin General...and because he and I do a lot of riding together, he would be a good audience for my recap of the incident.

All things considered, there are many ways that this could have been worse. In a strange kind of way, I'm actually kinda glad that it happened. It reminds me how vulnerable and exposed we all are, and it also serves as a wake-up call for everyone on who rides a bike.

Life can indeed change in a moment. Savor every moment, and do all you can to ensure that those moments continue.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Bobke, on a Roll

I got a chance to spend some time with Bob Roll on both Friday and Saturday. Click on the link above to read about Friday's encounter, in Sunday's Marin IJ newspaper.

So, what's Bob Roll really like? Let's put it this way...some people march to the beat of a different drummer. Bob Roll has his own band.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Barack Obama on Saturday Night Live

This has nothing at all to do with cycling...but it's damn clever.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Nice crank, buddy

I really hope that this is true:

A man who admitted having sex with a bicycle in a Scottish hotel has been placed on the sex offenders' register for breach of the peace.

Robert Stewart admitted to the crime Friday in Ayr Sheriff Court and is to be sentenced next month, Britain's Telegraph reported Saturday.

Stewart was discovered last October by two maids who entered to clean his room during a stay at the Aberley House Hostel in Ayr, Scotland.

The accused was holding the bike and moving his hips back and forth as if to simulate sex, a sheriff's spokesman told the court. The shocked witnesses told the hotel manager who told the police.

Stewart, according to the Telegraph, is not the first person convicted of sex with an inanimate object. In 1993, Kar Watkins, an electrician, was arrested for having sex with pavements in Redditch, England.

Monday, October 29, 2007

A sight I never thought I'd see

If a picture is worth a thousand words...this one is good for a few million.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Col du Galibier kicked my ass

I rode from Valloire up to the top of the Galibier on Monday. I have never felt so crappy on the bike in my life.

Chalk it up to a number of negatives, all coming together at the same time. Ugh. Click here to read the full story on Pez.

But...after that ride, I have a whole new relationship with pain. My peeps better watch out.

Au revoir, le Tour de France

I've been a bit lax on the postings in the past couple of weeks, due mostly to the fact that I've been up to my neck in bikes, long drives, little sleep, no food, hot sun and drunken Euro-fans...and I've loved every minute of it.

If you want to catch-up on the latest adventures, check out my postings on Pez. I'm off to Nice, France for a couple days of R&R, then back home via London...and back to reality. Or whatever passes for reality in Marin County.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

On the podium at the Tour de France?

I had the distinct pleasure of meeting a whole bunch of the girls who present the various jerseys to the daily winners on the Tour de France podium.

The good news...they are very cute, and incredibly nice. The bad news...none of them are Rhodes scholars.

But...they are willing to play along.

Check out my Pez story on all the podium popsies, here.

Monday, July 9, 2007

The beauty of le Tour

Forget the dopers, and the crashing, and all the weasels with the money that dictate the rules and regulations. This is still a beautiful sport. The shot above is from today in Diksmuide, Belgium.

Absolute poetry.

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Making a deal with the Devil

Greetings from the Tour de France!

Y'all can write your own caption to this one.

Friday, July 6, 2007

Vive le Tour...vive la France!

I'm off to Europe today to follow the Tour de France. First to London, then into Belgium, through France, all the way to the stage finish in Briancon. Watch for my reports on Pez, starting Monday July 9th.

It's going to be a bit of a sad, interesting Tour this year. With the looming cloud of continuing doping suspensions hanging over the race, there's no telling what the actual competition will be like. Personally, I think it will come down to a battle between the Astana boys, Vino and Kloeden. They'll probably end up attacking each other. Fine by me.

But...I'm secretly hoping that the suspensions will see more riders booted from the race. Why? Well, I figure that if the suspensions reach deep enough into the peleton, I've got a shot! I'm taking my helmet and my pedals with me, just in case!

Yeah, that'll happen.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Happy Birthday to me!

Another trip around the sun has been completed. 52 down, who knows how many left to go!

Riding' with Rachel

Check out today's column in the Marin IJ, here.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Tears Dry on Their Own - Amy Winehouse (new clip)

My new favorite girl singer. OK, she's a bit quirky, but you've got to like her originality. See for yourself.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

"Wind in the hair...lead in the pencil!"

OK, I stole the line...and the photo...from Garrett Breedlove (Jack Nicholson's character in "Terms of Endearment").

I had the most amazing bike ride today. Riding alone into the headwind out Sir Francis Drake and Nicasio Road was not a lot of laughs, but once I made the turn on Petaluma Road and headed up toward Novato, everything changed.

The headwind was now a tailwind, and it was blowing at just about the same speed as I was going. The result...complete silence. It was amazing...instead of the steady whoosh of wind past my ears, all I heard was the hum of the tires on the road. And if I rode right on the white line that separates the bike lane from the traffic, the tires rolled along without making any noise at all. Damn, what a day!

Is this heaven? No, it's Marin.

Want to see the GPS stats from the ride? Click on the red headline, above.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

On the road in Italy

Want to see something pretty cool? Want to feel what it's like to ride on the road that runs along Lake Como, between Como and Bellagio?

Click here to see it. It will spawn a QuickTime player. If you don't have QuickTime, it should prompt you to download.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Vive il sogno!

Yup, I'm "living the dream" for the next ten days, reporting from the Giro d'Italia for Pez Cycling News (

The first stop...Reggio Emilia. I need a couple of days here to get my act together and get rid of the jet lag. I've spent the last 24 hours wanding around the town, not sleeping much, and falling in love at every turn.

Maybe it's just my perspective, but every woman I see is better looking than the last. But...and this is a BIG but...they all smoke. Without exception. Forget it! I'll just keep my distance and look, thankyouverymch.

Oh, and the sign above? The direct translation is "to come down from the bicycle." I think it means "don't ride your damn bike here!"

But, in truth...this is a very bike-friendly town. I think that at birth, everyone here is handed three things:

1. A bicycle

2. A cell phone

3. A cigarette

Too bad only one of these things is actually good for you.

Watch this space...more to come.

Monday, May 7, 2007

Ivan Basso...why did you lie?

From VeloNews:

Ivan Basso on Monday confessed to the anti-doping prosecutor of the Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) that he was involved in the OperaciĆ³n Puerto blood doping scandal.

CONI said the 2006 Giro winner came to them of his own accord and offered to cooperate with their investigation and clarify his part in the scandal.

The 29-year-old Basso now faces a ban from cycling of up to two years and an additional two-year exclusion from riding on ProTour teams. If his doping is connected to his 2006 Giro win, authorities could also strip him of that title.

"He wasn't feeling good and he wasn't calm, and he wanted to lift a weight off his conscience," said Basso's lawyer Massimo Martelli. "During the interrogation he was shaking, but then he regained his composure to show great character."

Ivano Fanini, owner of Italian cycling team Amore and Vita, was happy to see Basso come clean.

"I knew it would finish this way and it could be a great chance for things to change," he said. "Basso has shown his intelligence and understands that this is the right road to take.

"He mustn't only think about saving himself, and I hope that what he has done proves to be important."

Basso, last year's Giro d'Italia winner and a pre-race favorite for the 2007 Tour de France, is one of dozens of riders implicated in the Puerto investigation.

The scandal erupted before last year's Tour De France when Spanish police uncovered an alleged blood doping network run by doctor Eufemiano Fuentes.

Police discovered bags of blood and doping products on a raid on Fuentes's laboratory in Madrid, along with codenames of cyclists and documents which suggested the doctor had been paid to manipulate and store blood.

Last year, Basso's implication in the scandal cost him his place at the Tour de France.

UCI president Pat McQuaid expressed his dismay at hearing the news.

"Most of all I am very sad that a talented rider like Basso seems to have been involved in some illicit practices," he said. "On the other hand I'm trying to look at this news in a more positive light. Our constant efforts, with our other cycling partners, to put cyclists under pressure are paying off.

"Right now it's not easy to break the rules," he added.

Last week Basso parted company with the Discovery Channel team after CONI had called him to a hearing to answer doping charges.

Up until now Basso had protested his innocence. He was initially acquitted by CONI of any involvement in the scandal due to what Italy's governing body for sport described as insufficient evidence.

But CONI reopened its investigation after German officials matched blood seized in the Puerto raids to 1997 Tour winner Jan Ullrich.

Until now, Basso had refused to submit to DNA testing, but in recent weeks the pressure to do so was increasing.

Sunday, May 6, 2007

Before there was Lance, there was Greg

Greg Lemond is the first American to ever win the Tour de France. But his victory in 1986 was overshadowed by a serious hunting accident in April of 1987. He came back from that incident even stronger, winning the Tour again in 1989 and '90.

His eight-second win over Laurent Fignon, in the time trial that ended on the Champs Elysees in Paris, is still one of the all-time great moments in sport.

So, anyway...Greg was in Yountville on Sunday for the Tour de Cure. It's a fund-raiser for the American Diabetes Association, and Greg is the national honorary chairperson.

For a stud athlete, among all of these bike-wankers, he was amazingly gracious. He shook every hand, posed for every picture, and generally made himself available to any and all who wanted to chat.

He especially liked the girl with the pink hair.


Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Auf wiedersehen, Europa

This was my view as I walked backed to my hotel from the get-together/dinner at the Carbon Expo in Cologne.

The food was good...the view is better.

I've been told that this is the most-traveled railroad bridge in the world. No wonder the Allies blew the hell out of it in WWII.

Back home tomorrow...then back in Europe for the Giro d'Italia on May 17.

I can't wait.

Today's version of "Where's Waldo?"

Can you spot this intrepid reporter amongst the gaggle of bikes at the starting line of Sunday's Liege-Bastogne-Liege race?

Hint: I'm wearing black.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

What`s the deal, Dave?

Michelangelo's classic sculpture of David is one of the great works of art in the history of mankind. It signaled the beginning of the Renaissance in Italy. The clean lines, semi-erotic form and unmistakable power were unlike anything the world had ever seen before.

So, what the hell is this? A full-size version of The David stands in Cologoen, Germany, between the Cathedral and the Rhine River. It draws crowds like files to...well...honey.

But...a pink David? Somewhere, a great artist is spinning like a lathe.

Alone in Cologne

Those of you who know me well know that I'm not a ig-time religious guy. It's my feeling that religious beliefs should be a basically private affair, so many of the trappings of modern-day religions (regardless of denomination) kinda give me a rash.

But...I could not helped but be awed by the giant cathedral in Cologne, Germany. When you exit the main train station in Cologne, the church is right front of you. It's pretty impressive.

I did a bit of research...apparently, construction was begun in the mid-1200s, and wasn't completed until some 600 years had passed. And I was pissed that my contractor couldn't get my carpet installed in two days!

Apparently the allied bombers that pretty much wiped-out Cologne in WWII had specific orders NOT to hit the cathedral. The building did sustain some collateral damage, but no direct hits.

Pretty amazing.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

La Redoute...French for "the fear"

We hit the climb up the legendary Redoute about half-way into our 52-mile ride today in the blazing Belgian sun.

It starts out pretty mild...a few twists and turns, on what amounts to little more than a bike path along side the freeway. About a third of the way up the 2.3km hill, there's a granite monument memorializing something that I didn't understand.
After that, the climb gets tougher...and tougher...and tougher. Leg-breaking sections that, I swear, must have hit at least 20%. And I'm going up this beast on a rent-a-Ridley bike. I'm accustomed to grinding up the hills on a 52-42-30 triple, but this machine is equiped with a 50-34 compact crank. It's OK, but with my knees, it's a real struggle.

The good news...I didn't have to get off and walk, like a lot of the other mortals who were on the same attack. was tough. Not as tough as yesterday's climb up the Cote de Stockeu, but a real bitch all the same.

"The Fear"...yeah, they named this thing correctly.

For the record...three days, 178 miles, at least a bazillion feet of climbing, and temps in the 80s the entire time.

Damn, I love Belgium!

Friday, April 27, 2007

Wust is no wuss

German uber-stud cyclist Marcel Wust joined us for our second day of riding in Belgium.

This guys is the real deal...he's won stages in the Tour, the Giro and the Vuelta. He retired in 2000, but even at age 40, he still kicks some major ass.

The truly amazing thing...Marcel should be dead. He had a big-time crash back in '00, and it left him with major skull fractures and only one eye. He was touch-and-go for a number of days after his crash, but he pulled through.

These days, he rides just for fun, but he's stayed in great shape. How good is he these days? Well, on Friday, we were crusing along, about 50 miles into our ride in the Belgian hills, and he decided to draft a passing truck...uphill...on a 3% grade! He hung on the guy's bumper for about a 0.5km, then let him go.

"Wust-ie" came back to our group, and I said (in my best broken German), "Du bist krank in der kopf!" (You are sick in the head). He replied, in English, "No, not sick...just a little crazy."

Marcel, you have my utmost respect.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

A big day in Belgium

Let's see...just over 66 miles, more than 8,700 feet of climbing...and did I mention that it was 83 degrees for most of the day? Welcome to global warming, my friends!

But this is a whole lot more enjoyable than what Belgium is usually like this time of year. The "spring classics" are traditionally greeted with big-time wind and rain. The change this season has the locals a little flipped-out, but what the heck...if this is Thursday, it must me Belgium!

Hit the red headline, above, if you want to see all the stats from today's ride.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Safely on the ground, ready to ride

I've safely arived in Belgium for a few days of riding and then the legendary Liege-Bastogne-Liege spring classic on Sunday.

There are already a few rumblings of the race already. The Palais de Justice is decked out in signage for Sunday. By the time the actual race rolls out, it should be full-on nuts here.

And by Sunday, I'll have 170+ miles of Belgian hills and hollows in my legs.

Oh, pick for the race? Paolo Bettini. You heard it here first.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Euroweather this week

It's looking good for southeast Belgium for the next few days. ..highs in the upper 70s, lows in the mid 50s. Tres bien!

Monday, April 23, 2007

Stupid is as stupid does

Nearly every day, I pass Coleman Elementary School on the way home from my morning ride. On most days, the kids are out on the playground when I ride by, and I usually go unnoticed.

But today, when I was cruising past Coleman, one of the kids bolted from his group, ran over to the fence, looked at me and yelled, "Pedal, Forrest...pedal!"

I laughed so hard I nearly fell off my bike.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Bound for Belgium

I'm off to Belgium this week, for an up-close-and-personal look at the last of the big spring classic races, Liege-Bastogne-Liege (for more on the event, click the headline above).

Springtime racing in Europe is unlike anything we have here in the US. The weather can be mean and nasty...and so can the riders. This photo from last week's Paris-Roubaix race is a great example of the grit that a race like this extracts...and deposits...on all the competitors in the field.

Watch this week for my reports from Belgium.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Bubba and the Band

This is from Leah Garchik's column in today's
San Francisco Chronicle:


Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Bill Clinton was here this weekend, and "everyone just loved him,'' said Cindy McCullagh, who organized what she called "a gathering of old friends'' Friday night in his Fairmont suite. The roughly 20 guests included Google guys Sergey Brin and Larry Page with Lucy Southworth, Steve Jobs and Laurene Powell Jobs, former Defense Secretary Bill Perry, Herb and Marion Sandler, Dick Blum, Gavin Newsom, Susie and Mark Buell, Martha Whetstone, Walter Shorenstein and former Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers Laura Tyson. Clinton was in blue jeans.

After a Saturday morning hike to the Embarcadero and up the Filbert steps, Clinton put in his appearance at a KCBS health event. The Eyewitness Blues Band performed a few numbers before his arrival, but due to over-schmoozing, there wasn't time for music later, and organizers' dreams of a Clinton jam didn't come true.

Interviewed onstage Saturday by KCBS' Mike Sugerman, Clinton got testy when Sugerman interrupted his history of Iraq to ask what he would do. "After 15 minutes, I wanted him to get to the point,'' Sugerman said Monday. "I'm CBS, not NPR.'' The newsman, who'd just seen a tape of a Clinton set-to with Chris Wallace, says Clinton gave him "exactly the same look, (pointing) with the exact same finger. It was scary.''

Later, Sugerman was driving home when Clinton called, wanting to explain -- despite various cell phone blips and the need for repeated calls -- his concerns with health care and with heart problems they'd both had. "So e-mail that story of yours to my foundation, and next time I'm out here, I'll prepare and I'll play my horn with you guys,'' he said. But "he never gave me his e-mail'' address, Sugerman said. "How is he going to get my story?''

(The calls to Sugerman prove my theory. Difference in professions aside, Bill Clinton is Tony Soprano: undisciplined, passionate, powerful, approval seeking and irresistible. Smart Hillary/good girl Carmela loves him and the power of being attached to him.)

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Sea Otter update

Chris Holland, the guy I wrote about in the Marin IJ newspaper last week (see below) survived his first race, the Cat 5 circuit event at the Sea Otter Classic on Friday in Monterey.

Before the start, I hooked Chris up with a couple of riders from the local Village Peddler team (note: Thanks, Eric!). Chris hung with them on the first eight-mile lap. He was in the lead group, but then on the second of five laps, he got dropped.

Still, Chris finished in the middle of the pack overall. Not bad for your first race, against some pretty tough competition. And considering where he was less than a year ago, it was a helluva accomplishment.


OK, this has nothing to do with cycling, but it's still pretty cool.

I spent part of the day on Saturday with Bill Clinton. Yeah, that Bill Clinton. I was there to take pictures for my friends in the "Eyewitness Blues Band" (if you want to know more about the band, click on the red title above).

I admit...I was not a big Clinton supporter while he was in office, but when you meet the guy face-to-face, you can't help but be sucked into his charisma. And when he turns and looks directly at you, and says, "Here's what you can do..." you can't help feeling a bit awe-struck.

As I told someone last night, "Clinton is like Elvis...without the drug problem and the silk scarves."

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Haulin' Holland

Ya know, sometimes I actually enjoy this job.

In today's Marin IJ newspaper, there's a story on Chris Holland. His dad Mike and I have been friends for years, and in a very round-about way, I'm sorta responsible for Chris' passion for riding a bike. It's a long story...I'll spare you the details.

Chris has a better story to tell. It's a story that can help us all put life and struggle into a new perspective. Click on the link above to read all about it.

Sunday, April 8, 2007

Risibisi Rain Ride

It was a great Saturday! 60+ cyclists...the open roads of Sonoma County...enough undulating hills to keep everyone honest...and spitting rain for the first hour. OK, the last part was a real bitch. But the rest of it was great!

Check out the photos by clicking on the red headline, above.

BTW...the next Risibisi Ride is set for Saturday, May 12. Mangia, mangia!

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Yawn Ullrich

Reports out of Europe say that experts have been able to match the DNA in samples taken from cyclist Jan Ullrich and the DNA extracted from bags of blood products siezed in Spain as part of the "Operation Puerto" affair.

If this is true, it means a number of things:
1. Ullrich is a cheater
2. Ullrich is a liar
3. Ullrich's past accomplishments as a cyclist will now all be questioned
4. Ullrich ain't the Lone Ranger...many other cyclists are probably just as dirty

Recall the words that Ullrich spoke when he announced his retirement earlier this year:

"I never once cheated as a cyclist. I still don't understand why I was not allowed to compete in the Tour last year. My life as a cyclist collapsed that day. I've been painted as a criminal while I've done nothing wrong."

Yeah, OK. And Nixon wasn't a crook, either.

Be Like Mike

I admit it...I've been a bit lax with the blog postings of late. OK, I didn't post a damn thing during the month of March. But...I did put 872 miles on my bike in March. That should count for something, yes?

Well, now that I'm back, I wanted to share a story...the story of an amazing guy that I met recently at Peet's Coffee in Novato. I wrote about him, and a few other items, in my column this week in the Marin IJ. Click on the title, above, to read all about it.