Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Things are looking UP!

Yes, tomorrow the boyz go UP into the Mts! And I'm going to MISS IT! I drive over to Pahrump NV (picking up Greg down in LA on the way) as we head over to spend the weekend with our Dad who turns 80 on Friday. Our other brother Dave flew into Vegas (renting a car and driving over to Pahrump) he will already be there when we get in tomorrow.

It will be a grand time, and we so RARELY all get together...can't pass up the opportunity. There's just so many of those available.

Apparently the link I posted in the comments to my LIVESTRONG Davis pics didn't work (thanks Susie!). So, here is a different one...stupid Shutterfly...I emailed myself the link and then opened it up, seemed fine...maybe it still knows it's "me" ....anyway, here is another try...

 We'll see how that goes. Also Fatty has now posted parts 1 and 2 of his Davis writeup, and he was very kind as always...(though I'm still recovering from my being "stabbed to death" at the Hall of Fame on Friday evening with plastic forks (part 1). Fatty is SO funny! Here are the links if you just want a quick jump there:

Part 1:
Part 2:

 Also know that Fatty seems to somehow recall that I was almost always on the front pulling...I don't quite remember it that way, though I DID take a few longer pulls than most I guess. I think it's because of how Greg and I ride (together). Every ride is a race. Period. He (Greg) can say all he wants that it's just a 'fun' ride, but make no's still a race. EVERY TIME.

Think of Dolph Lundgreen (sp?) in Rocky IV I was it when he fought either Apollo or Rocky ...and at the very beginning of the fight when they bump gloves and he mumbles (use your best Russian Dolph Lundgreen accent in your mind here) "I will crush you" (or was it "I MUST crush you"? Either way, it's what Greg is thinking). THAT is how Greg rides. He will crush you, or die trying. He's been crushing me for the last 2 straight years. But back in late THAT was my year! I WAS Da' MAN! We did Livestrong San Jose and I was pretty good. And I kept on getting stronger. We did a ride down in his neck of the woods (to Balcom Cyn and back thru Moorpark) and I made him cry Uncle on the pull home, and then a guy swooped past us while we were doing a quick bike repair...I poured on the gas and passed him, leaving both him and Greg in my wake...and finally finished up at his house well ahead. We went on to Austin that year and I was poised to squish him like an inconsequential insect. Only he CONVENIENTLY (yeah, right!) forgot his helmet at the hotel back in Austin (a mere 1.5 hours away thru traffic). So...he finally finds a helmet to borrow, only he's missed our front of the line start. So I don't see him again until the SAG stop where the 70 and 100 mile routes join together...(he rode the shorter loop with Angie, aka Rocket Girl). Lucky for him he wasn't with me...I was riding my very best and did a sub-5 hour century (my first ever, though truth be told it was only 92 miles). Sadly, it's been all downhill since then for me, but I think that year I lit a fire under him and I haven't beaten him since. I think he's doping personally..,'s the only answer that makes sense. Surely he can't REALLY be stronger than me, can he?

Anyway....I"ll be offline the next few days, don't get back home till Sunday evening...and I most likely won't have seen ANY of the Tour during this next 3 days.

Also I get my stitches out of my eye tomorrow just before I head out to pick up Greg...and it's doing great. In fact, it's a total non-issue I believe. Of course the Dr. will give me the clean bill of health I assume, but will be good to hear from him that all is A-OK. It is a bit odd looking in a magnified mirror (Jeannie has a 10x makeup mirror mounted on the wall)...that eyelid only has about 6 eyelashes...being as the high density of them was in the middle, which is all missing now. But I don't think it will even be noticeable except by me. I'm ok with could have been SO MUCH worse. Thankfully it was the lower one, not the upper ...THAT would have been  a LOT less fun. Just this past weekend over in Davis I was surrounded by fighters and survivors, and I felt very humbled and lucky. And proud to help where I can.

OK..gotta run. Have a GRAND weekend, and here's hoping ALL the boy'z keep the rubber side DOWN!



  1. Susie, I meant to comment on all of your good questions (many of which I was wondering about too)but then I came to the new page and had to read all about the Team Fatty takeover of the Livestrong event and now I can't remember what they were anymore - I'll look at them again tomorrow :)

    Oh, one of them was about PhilGil. I was going to ask the same question. I don't know much about him but he is definitely a force to be reckoned with. I was extremely impressed, of course, with his classics this year but haven't seen much of him before that. If he can get over the mountains to claim the sprint points that Cav can't get to, I think he'll be a real challenge for the green jersey. I liked seeing Cav clearly thrilled on the podium receiving the jersey today. I think we almost saw the tears again.

    Fatty has such a way with words. His reports on the Davis event were fantastic and I can see why you guys had so much fun. He's becoming quite the famous cycling celebrity too ;)

    That video of Lance was nice, too. The guy speaks from his heart when working for his Livestrong events and makes quite an impression. That is impressive fundraising - way to go Team Fatty!!!

    Have a great trip Matt and really enjoy the time with family - there is nothing more important in the world.

    My little girlie turned 6 today and she wandered into my bedroom this morning and said "you know.....when you've been 5 for so long you sort of get used to it and I'm not sure I want to turn 6" Then the tears started "I just loved being 5 so much". Took everything I had not to cry along with her and to reassure her that 6 would be fantastic. What a sentimental little soul. What I didn't tell her is that I'm not sure you ever get over that reluctance to move on to that next year ;)

    Mountains tomorrow! Fireworks?? Can't wait!!


    Before I get to today's stage (Stage 12, Thurs), have a GREAT time, Matt & wish your Dad 'Happy Birthday' for me! Also, you & Greg (henceforth nicknamed 'Drago') kill me with your 'to-the-death' bro rivalry! :)

    Alrighty, to da Tour! 1st, I need to warn my fellows IAers of yet another 'Sign of the Apocalypse' - during the last 3K of today's stage, there I was, shouting "COME ON, FRANK! GO FRANK!" So, prepare accordingly... ;)

    Ok, some Good & some Bad, as in terrible today. In the 1st column, we have Cattle, Basso, the Schlecks, AND Tommy D, yet another of Garmin's yearly Tour GC "surprises". TD didn't quite end up with the other 4 at the Finish, but not far behind. I think he will get LOADS of confidence from this & if no crashes take HIM out, he looks good for a possible Top 10. Whoo-hooo!

    Now the Bad. WHERE do I begin?! Easy - it's confirmed now that Radio Shack has seen Elvis as they are not just staying at but have moved in, lock, stock, & barrel to HEARTBREAK HOTEL! On the descent of today's 1st climb - Klodi went down & injured his shoulder, elbow & knee (is there any part LEFT unhurt on the man?!). I've looked at the tape a bunch of times & I THINK it was Yellow-jersey wearer Voeckler who was the culprit - he lost it in the corner, swerved his bike all over & took out the EE guy behind him, who was next to Klodi & boom. Which is why *I'm* not too thrilled that TV stays another day in yellow. (Although I have to admit his staying up with the GC faves was pretty amazing). It's also amazing that poor Klodi finished, but his hopes for the GC look over. At least Levi spit in the eye of the dastardly Crash Fairy as HE stayed upright all day (NO crashes!) & almost finished with the top 5 (lost about a minute & a half).

    It just kills me to think what SHOULD have been - with the 4 Shackers in the front group. Today's outcome would have been very different. :(

    Also in the Bad column - CVV (lost over 10 minutes; his multiple crashes taking a toll too), the 2 HTC guys, Gesink, & my boy Thumper. It's possible that the Leos are saving Jacob for Saturday so maybe he didn't really have a "bad day".

    Of course, the BIGGEST in the 'bad' column is that AC could not keep up with Cadel, Andy or Basso during the final 1K. He only lost 10-30 seconds to the various fellas, but the very fact that not only did he himself not attack but was dropped at all is significant. However, I wouldn't get too overconfident if I were the other guys! Remember last year when Andy got away on the 1st mt? Contador could make up 1-2 minutes on these guys in 1 stage. EASY. But if he doesn't attack Sat or again loses even 10-20 seconds, THEN maybe I'll think he can't actually win. Although, the ALPS are THE true battlefield this year, so it's possible he could still pull it out! Keep vigilant, Cattle! Don't get too cocky yet, Schlecks!

    Plus, Frank especially needs at LEAST 3 minutes on AC before the TT. And Andy probably needs at least 2.

  3. Other Stage 12 musings.

    I'm a little concerned that Cadel didn't have 1 teammate with him during the last 3-5K. Liquigas were 2, Leos were 2 of course, & Saxo were 3 OR 4. (Which makes me laugh at the people who bemoaned AC's "bad team". As far as I can tell, Contador's employing the same plan as last year - his main helpers lost BIG time on every stage last year before the mts, always finishing MINUTES behind. I remember thinking - hah, these guys are terrible! Well, boy did *I* feel stupid when there they were with AC on EVERY mountain until the last 2-4K. The one guy was like the friggin Energizer Bunny!)

    Hopefully, Cadel's main mt helpers just had a bad day (common on 1st mt days it seems) & will come on strong later. Also, I was a little sad that Cadel didn't get away with Frank in the final 1K. Not overly concerned as Cadel can ALSO crush Frank in the TT, but he doesn't want to be giving Frank 20 seconds here & 20 seconds there.

    I'm also concerned about Sammy Sanchez. WHY did they let that guy get away? He finished 4th last year! I think he's still about 2 minutes behind Frank, but still. He's not a guy to underestimate.

    The biggest mystery to me at this point is WHO really is strongest between Andy & Frank?! I also wonder if Andy might sacrifice his own chances for Frank to win. Because how many more Tour routes will have as little Time Trialing?! If Frank Schleck can ever win the Tour, it would have to be THIS year. What do you all think?

    Oh, Phil kinda irritated me today as he seems to have forgotten that the old Saxo/CSC (current Leo) team ALWAYS tried to kill off everyone on the NEXT to last mountain! That's their MO. And largely responsible for Sastre winning in 2008.

    Alright, gotta scoot!

  4. I was surprised that everyone was willing to give SS that much time today, as well. He has it in him to challenge everyone in the mtns. Can he TT?

    Frank looked really good today and Jens has been saying all along that he thought "Frankie" was having some of the best form of his career. Speaking of Jens.....did you see him pull the peloton up almost the entire Tourmalet, down the other side, and part way up the next mountain?? I laughed at the end when Frank said that he thought they'd keep Jens riding for another 4 years (Hooray!!!). We'll have to hold him to that. Seriously though - that was an unbelievable amount of work he put in.

    Hats off to TommyD! I kept looking for his little blue helmet bobbing up and down in the ever decreasing pack. P&P didn't even seem to notice him until the very end of the climb. He looked great today, coming in right after Voeckler. Who - wow - I didn't expect to finish THAT close to all the GC guys at the end of the day. I suspected that he would fight with all he had to keep that yellow jersey, but didn't expect him (or his awesome teammate - not sure of the name) to be able to hang with the attacks there at the end. Nice ride for Geraint Thomas today too - I was cheering him up the hill, but it wasn't meant to be.

    You're right Susie - AC could definitely gain back all of the time in one big mtn attack, but it was good (at least for me) to see that he is fallible and *can* be dropped. Cadel looked great and I liked to see him take the bit in his teeth and lead taht small group chasing Frank at the end. Basso also looked pretty comfortable up there today - could surprise us if he is up for attacking.

    Poor Klodi. I think that it was indeed TV who first locked up his wheel, though I'm not sure if he actually caused the chain reaction or if there was something on the road there that would've taken guys down anyway. On the topic of RS - Johan tweeted that he had a breathalizer test done DURING the race today. Has anyone heard of this being done before? As if driving while looking at maps, handing out bottles, using the radio, and talking on the phone weren't taxing enough - they thought he was doing that while drunk?? Maybe they test the drivers all of the time, but I hadn't heard of that before.

    Oh, and Hoogerland is one of my new heros. Attacking in the polka dot jersey (with 33 stitches in his arse) after barely being able to limp across the podium yesterday is just plain guts.

  5. Hey Janann, I had planned to write this at the end of my 2nd comment yesterday but then had to stop abruptly : your daughter is so d*mn cute! Awwww, I would have bawled along with her. Hopefully, she'll like 6 as much if not more than 5! Give her bday kisses from Aunt Susie! :)

    And Jens was fanTAStic! I've been more than a bit worried that this was his last Tour & think he will be SO missed not just by his teammates but by his fans & everyone who loves cycling &/or the Tour. I know he can't go on forever but hope he can be here at least 1 more year. Whenever he does retire, I hope he stays in cycling & we can still see/hear him at the races & especially the Tour. I think he'd be a great team manager or PR guy. But, I think those guys are away even MORE from their families than the riders & with Jens' 6 kids, I don't know if he'd be interested. Has he ever mentioned what he might do after he retires?

    And I also agree with you about Tommy D & the blue helmets! I LOVE those blue helmets because you can pick out the Garmin guys even from the heli footage! :) But I'm still so very sad for CVV. After the last 2 miserable years, I was HOPING he'd be able to be right up there with the top guys again. Hey - did you see Vaughters' comments today - that Tommy D was Garmin's MAIN GC guy all along?! Whaaaaaa?! Hmmmpft. I didn't think Ryder was going that good this year & maybe CVV was injured & the public wasn't told, but if not, WHY would you pick a Tour ROOKIE as your main GC guy when you had 2 Tour veterans that have finished 4th/8th & 7th?!


    Stage 13 - Friday

    I have to tell ya, I'm having a kind love/hate relationship with this year's Tour! Who isn't?! We've had sucky weather & seemingly never-ending, horrible, race-ending crashes for most of the days, especially decimating the GC contenders. And when I think about Team Radio Shack, I am a combo of shocked sadness. HOW could ALL those things happen to so many of their riders in ONE Tour?! It's redundant to even say "unbelievable!" any more!

    And who could forget that my, ahem, 'fave' rider is even IN the race & of whose presence I MAY have just let 'slip' I wasn't so thrilled. ;) ;)

    And I'm also not that thrilled with the Tour's route this year. The sprinters have really been given the short end & some of the roads the ASO selected have been definite contributing factors to the carnage.

    And yet. And yet. Almost every stage has been exciting if not an outright shock! Of course, much of the shock has been due to all the crashes but there have been some HAPPY shocks too - like today! Pretty much every cycling fan thought there was a good chance that a break would succeed today but WHO would have guessed THOR the secret BORG would have won a stage featuring the Aubisque?!! I haven't seen much of the stage yet but did listen to much of the final 2 hours & saw most of the last 15K. WOW! CanNOT wait to see how Thor descended down that mt & caught the other breakers! Felt a bit sorry for the FDJ break (natch) guy who was passed & came in 3rd, but seeing the current World Champion, who is not exactly a MT guy, win today was more exciting than having a French guy finally win a stage. (Plus, they are in the yellow jersey for the 3rd day!)

    Man, what a day & Tour for both Thor & Garmin! Even though Thor has won the Green jersey twice I think & has had some spectacular sprint wins, I think THIS Tour is by far his most impressive. What do you all think? A couple years ago when he went off alone on that semi-mt stage to rack up points was really impressive too, but this year just HAS to be THE career highlight.

    And speaking of Thor - do you think he'll stay with Garmin? I've thought since the forced merger late last year that he'd leave after a year & he certainly was not happy after Paris-Roubaix. Plus, I've never thought he really "fit" with the other Garmin guys, but maybe they really are a big happy bunch. After this Tour, he will certainly make more MONEY wherever he ends up! Don't understand why BMC or Saxo would want him though. You can't be going ALL out for the Tour win & have a guy like that on your team who plans/wants to win stages. Maybe if he converts himself into a SUPER SUPER domestique like Spartacus has at the Tour these past 4 years, but I don't see Thor willing to do that yet, do you?

    One of the reasons Cadel loves being on BMC is that they are dedicated to helping him win the Tour. UNLIKE his servitude on Lotto when the team was split as a sprinter/GC team. I'd be willing to bet - IF Cadel wins the Tour this year, Thor wil not be joining BMC. Sure will be fascinating to see how it all plays out. :)

  7. Oh & I could barely believe my eyes when I saw Johnan's tweet about being stopped by a cop DURING the race?! WTF?! Maybe they were worried he couldn't take anymore of RS's "luck" & was hitting the bottle! ;)

    Seriously, I've never heard of such a thing either. DURING the race?! I mean, COME ON!

    Also, does anyone know Wed's code word? I missed it. It's the one between 'izod' & 'domestique'. Today's is 'feed zone'. Thanks! :)

  8. Oh Janann, so sweet --and you make me miss MY little girl too.

    I was sooooo torn between wanting to see Thor win the stage and wanting Roy to succeed! Roy has been in SO many breaks this race, and worked SO hard for it! At least he did get the KOM jersey today. And I was so sad for Klodi--seems he's never had the chance to really show what he could do, although I think that I read once that he didn't really like to be team leader.

    I've also read that Thor has gotten the word out that he is willing to transfer. This last spring, having Tyler and Thor both didn't work well, as they both go for those races. I think Thor is looking to be more of a classics type riders in the future; he did mention that he felt he couldn't compete in the sprints so much anymore. Speaking, of, why didn't he go for the intermediate points today--would it have made a difference in his ability to win the stage? He actually seemed to drop intentionally to the back of the group.

    Great to see TommyV keep the yellow another day. Both he and Gilbert started their great runs of form last fall--PhilGil was winning everything it seemed, and I really thought he had a brilliant chance at the worlds then.

    I read that Jens said that he hoped to stay in cycling--as he said that his degree (in engineering, I think) was so out of date as to be useless now.

    I like the new Garmin kits altogether. Much better! Still keep that Cervelo e but more argyle, and the helmets make it so much easier to pick out. Overall this years, the jerseys are distinct enough that I am finding it easier to know which team I am seeing. Now if they all would only start putting the rider's name on, as Sky does!

    Code word--I don't write them down in order, so it could perhaps be cadence or echelon?


  9. I've learned that I need to watch the morning show, since the past 2 evenings when watching after work I've fallen asleep and missed the finish! And no, it is not because watching the Tour is boring!



    The only thing exciting about today's stage was seeing a new climber emerge, and T-Blanc fighting tooth and nail to keep yellow. If he's secretly learned to time trial in the last few months, there will be quite a party in Paris in 8 days.

    LT put everyone up front so early in the stage - why? It only netted Andy three seconds in the end, it used every member of his team (all through the Pyrenees, really) and left the other top contenders with fresh teams for the Alps. Would have made much more sense to save all that energy for the bottom of Plateau de Beille, break everyone's legs in the first 6k and then deal with who is left. Their tactics didn't work on Thursday and was very surprised to see them try the same again today. Was the cost too high? Obviously only time will tell but I'm beginning to wonder if they have the tactics to win. Both Schlecks looked strong in the end, but they couldn't dump anyone before the finish line. And Basso...quietly beautiful as always. Willing to lead from the front and set his pace. He's feeling good.


    Stage 14 - Saturday

    Well, even though there WAS a SHOCK, I have to say I was disappointed with today's stage. All those mts & nothing except the double-scare of seeing Jensie crash (TWICE! but thankfully ok!) to keep you entertained until the final mountain & even then, NO fireworks! Where's Katy Perry when you need her?!

    The so-called 'Battle of the Beille' ended pretty in much a freakin TIE & this ain't SOCCER (er, "futbol"), people, so we don't wanna see more of that!

    At least this stage did whittle down & more fully reveal the true podium contenders - Cadel, Schlecks, Contador, Basso, Sammy Sanchez, &....Voeckler. Yes, VOECKLER! Can you friggin BELIEVE IT?! I was having a cow on my couch (yeah, kinda simpatico with Cadel & AC ;) yelling for them to "DROP VOECKLER! FOR GOD SAKE DROP VOECKLER!" Really, WHO would have put money on Voeckler to possibly make the podium?! Well, I screamed at them last Sunday for letting him in the break & now it's really gonna bite them in the a$$! They assumed (well, so did everyone, including moi) that Tommy V would be dropped on Thursday when the race entered the Pyrenees but he's like a piece of gum on the bottom of your shoe! Can't-get-it-off! Shake it-scrape it-still-can't-get-it-OFF!

    So, if the French populace are not going crazy with excitement NOW (& hopefully, they'll stop whining/moaning how they haven't won a stage yet) then they should change the Tour's name!

    On the other hand, now that Voeckler has actually stayed up with the GC faves TWICE, the French are now going to EXPECT him to at LEAST be on the podium. Much more pressure & stress. And not just this year, from now til he retires. And from what I read the past 7 years, his 10day hold on the yellow jersey back in 2004 almost crushed him with expectations the last 6 years.

    Of the other guys - AC did not attack but did not lose time. I guess it's possible he really does have a knee injury but I also think he's gonna be able to FLY in the Alps. And that his sandbag show the past 3 days will have given the other GC guys a VERY false sense of security. Although I have to admit that even though AC looked much better today than Thurs, he still doesn't have that butt-swingin-dance thing he usually does up mountains, so maybe he really is hurting or exhausted from that insane Giro.

  12. ****MORE STAGE 14 SPOILAGE!****

    As for the Schlecks, Andy looked better today but I think he & big bro should have carried out Act 2 of the 'Frank & Andy Show' & they didn't. Maybe 1 or both weren't feeling that strong today & that's all they could do. I did find out that Thumper (Jacob) is having back & hip problems so that must be why he hasn't been around on at least the lower part of the final climbs.

    Cadel looked good & consistent but I wish he would attack a little more to put more time into the others, especially AC. I'm afraid he's thinking he only needs to maintain with the Schlecks in the mts & then slay 'em in the TT. Which is actually a prudent plan if they were his only threat. BUT, AC is not out of it! And depending on the day, Pistol Punk is even a better TTer than Cadel.

    And now of course, they ALL have to get rid of Voeckler! I don't even know how he time trials, do any of you?! Hopefully, he will finally "scrape off" during next Thursday's three, count' em, THREE, HC mts, if not before. Otherwise, Alpe d'Huez will look like it did in 2004 for its uphill TT! It was CRAZY! INSANE!More people than I ever remembered before or since.

    And as for the Leo tactics of using their team to push the pace HARD on at least the 2nd to last mt, that's exactly what they've done since 2008 as CSC & then Saxo. Although, I don't think quite as much last year since Frank was gone by the mts.

    Anyway, thanks Rae - it was 'cadence' I was missing! And oh, did you realize those KOM podium outfits are...wait for it....CULOTTES! I think they ARE something I sewed back in 7th grade! When culottes were tragically all the rage. O.M.G.

  13. THRILLED for Thor yesterday, heartbroken for Roy. That has GOT to be his most impressive victory.....EVER. I read that they downloaded his Garmin and it said he was going 69 mph on the descent. Holy cats! I don't think - no, I know - I wouldn't be doing that in my CAR on those twisty roads. Amazing. He was so very happy on the podium too. Nice to see.

    Voeckler. He was not just following wheels and trying to survive on that huge climb today amidst the best climbers in the world. No....he was pulling back the attacks and attacking once himself! Andy seemed ticked off at him once for chasing back after he attacked. I was yelling at the peloton, too, that day that they let him get so much time. NOT smart. I know that everyone says its a 3 week race and he might not do as well in the Alps - but these are also the same people who said that he would undoubtedly lose the jersey on the FIRST mountain stage. Leads to exciting racing though :)

    I can't believe that the Schlecks didn't have an "act2" today either. I was sure that they were ready to finish things off and try to put some serious time into Cadel. Either one or both of them started not feeling so well at the top of the climb or they're too concerned with getting BOTH of them onto the podium instead of making sure that one of them is on the TOP step this year. They have the ace in the hole with not one but two such talented climbers, but will have to actually use that advantage by possiby sacrificing one of them in order to put serious time into the others. That pack of 6 are just all riding at such a similar level.

    I thought that CVV looked really good working for TommyD today at the bottom of the climb. I'm sad for him also and hope that he could get in a long break on a mt. stage or something now that he has recovered more from all of his crashes.

    Rae, I had also heard Jens talk at some point about riding for as long as someone pays him to do it and then finding a job in cycling. I remember feeling relieved! Cycling NEEDS Jens! He about gave me a heart attack today with those crashes and then I look up to see him pulling the entire peloton up that climb while blood was pouring out of his elbow. He is truly one of a kind.