Friday, June 29, 2012

It's THAT time again! Lets get ready to rumble!

Holy smokes....July is HERE! Well, almost. I can't BELIEVE the TDF starts TOMORROW! I am SO unprepared.

Work has been unusual...we have more and more work dropped on us, with fewer people and assets to DO the work. So I've been somewhat stressed as of late. Pretty much have NO time for anything BUT work (GASP!). I'm SO not used to this...usually by now I'm stoked and ready...but not this year. Sadly, I have no idea what's been happening in the cycling world...and I mean even less than last year!

No idea at all who to pick or even root for. Andy's not riding and he would have been my choice. I'm not really a huge Wiggo fan (maybe it's those sideburns that just irk me for some strange reason). Cadel...well, what can I say...he came thru last year and I can't take anything away from him, but I wasn't really rooting for him (I REALLY wanted Andy to stay away and get his time back!). Don't really see any sprinters winning the overall...I'd say my top rider will be Horner, tho I'm not sure what shot he realistically has at the top podium spot...not that I wouldn't love it if he made it. If he falters on RSNT, it will fall to Klodi...who has the creds also but not sure how high up on the GC he can place, even w/ full team support. Who else....Sanchez, just don't see it. CVV...gosh, that would be cool...but as much as I'd like it, not sure that I see it....but just making podium would be HUGE.

So lets top few GUESSES (in no special order): Cadel, Wiggo, Horner, CVV, Sanchez, can't forget Levi with his new team....not sure how that will turn out, but he is certainly a podium candidate... and hey, maybe Menchov (is he even RIDING this year?) If he is, he has the stuff to make top 5...just needs a few lucky rabbits feet or something (as does the entire RSNT team!)  And don't forget Ryder Hesjedal...he has the stuff too. It would be something to see Frank Schleck somewhere up there, but he STINKS at the TT, and there's a LOT of that this year. So he's out I think. But as high mt support for Horner or we're talking! Just not sure how he will play out. Not sure if anybody is picking Voeckler to be up there somewhere in the top 5...he sure surprised a LOT of people for a LOT of days last year, that's for sure!He and Mr. Barb wire Johnny Hoogerland will be fighting tooth and nail for the Polka dots I think.

As for the sprints, it will be interesting to see how Sky handles having both Cav AND Wiggo....Cav is used to having an entire team at his disposal....sure won't be getting that this year if they truly think Wiggs will have a shot at the GC win. Maybe he's been watching old videos of Rocket Robbie...he won SO MANY races with almost no support....just being in the right place on the right wheel and making his move in JUST the right matter which team it is, a leadout is a leadout. Sad that Robbie won't be there...those days when P&P would be looking for him, nowhere to be seen and suddenly there he was eeking out of the peleton...those were surely exciting races! Anyway...w/ Sky riding primarily for Wiggs, it should really open up the sprints for the others...maybe Tyler can score more than one this year. And Griepel and  Renshaw  and Goss will surely be nipping at the front. And Sagan...he proved a lot at the ToC (the one that I was six THOUSAND miles away from, dang it!) I figured Boonen wold be a threat for the green, but he won't be there either. Concentrating on the Olympics...hmmm....what better training is there than racing?

In the TT's, I'd sure like to see Spartacus come thru...he is SUCH a class act! Wiggo will surely be a threat..he's proved that already. Tony Martin will surely be a threat there too. And don't forget Sagan who cleaned up in the ToC!

Maybe this year a new star will emerge....a wildcard. Remember out of the blue when Contador stepped out of nowhere? If Horner can't do it, then maybe I'd like to see a new star step up into the grandest stage.

OK...well, hang onto your's Tour time! I hope to get jazzed quickly...I upped our Dish Network package just the other will get the entire month of July w/ NBC Sports...( many titles will this channel have? OLD, Versus, now NBCSports? What's next?) I just hope they have some great wacky Bobke commercials! I missed those last year!

And of course, I must root for BIG GEORGE! Maybe a stage win? I still get goosebumps on that day when he stayed away and won the queen stage...that was quite a thrill! I have to think this might be his last very sad that will be if true.

I'll prob be up early tomorrow watching the prologue, then need to get out for a RIDE! I am in the WORST condition that I've been in since I started road riding! W/ all my travel this year, it's been hard to get any kind of rhythm's been real hit and miss. I know I really enjoyed the ride up at Davis last weekend (and it was my longest ride of the year by 42 miles!), but I  really wanted to stay with the fast group a bit longer (like the entire WAY!). It was a pretty flat 100...just 2 years ago I would have been up there hammering. Oh well..lots of excuses...but the simple fact is I'm not getting the saddle time. And our weather...sheesh. June is supposed to be all Gloomy (June Gloom is what we call it here in the Central Coast). Can't get the gloom when the wind is's like the wind found out I was away on travel and just waited. Lucky me. But at least I have my ace in the Mt bike. If the wind is howling I'll just hit the dirt. There...take THAT stupid wind! (tomorrow is forecast to be around 15mph...sounds like knobbys are the ticket AGAIN!)

OK..need to get to bed early if I'm to be up at 5...I always forget how tired I get in July, getting up early even on the weekends....and then w/ the Olympics coming up...urgh. I need to take the entire month of July off of work...boy wouldn't THAT be something! Watch the Tour early, then go for a long ride EVERY DAY! What a dream that would be. But alas,a dream is all it is.

So there, I have nothing more to say at this moment...Let the Tour BEGIN!



  1. Hi Matt - long time, no post. I tried to keep up w/ you folks (and your wild work schedule Matt) over the last couple seasons, over on the ol' tumblr site. And you are right––let's get ready to rumble!! Gives me the chills every time I hear that.

    Haven't picked faves yet either but some thoughts:
    -after years of rooting for my Cranky Cadel, I was super happy for him last year. Wishing him nothing but the best and maybe even a few meltdowns for entertainment, you know, keep him sharp, get his blood boiling, that sort of thing.

    -and it was so amazing how pleasurable it was to hear Paul and Phil's distinctive pitter-patter from my living room, as I made some coffee. Ahhh, July. In my area, it's cool and misty rain so coffee and Le Tour are pure heavenly use of time!

    And CathyM–– so very sorry to hear about your friend in Colorado. That is one frightening situation. Remember when that happened to you (almost) but you had to get the pets out on your own!? Wishing your friend all the best.

  2. Hi Jessica....LOOONNNNNNGGGGGG Time, no hear! Welcome back! I agree w/ how NICE it was to hear P&P....(my wife HATES the sound of Phil's voice...I think it's THE VOICE OF CYCLING!) Yes...July...early mornings, late nights, less sleep, TOUR TOUR TOUR! Ahhhhhhhhh!!!!

    And thanks for the Update on your cousin Cathy...I still can't hardly believe he was hit right here on Foxen Cyn...(that's w/in 30 miles of my backyard road even!) VERY SCARY!! Sure hope he makes a full recovery someday. Keep us posted, and YOU get some sleep yourself! (and feel free to toss out any insider tidbits that won't get you in trouble).

    Happy TOUR Everybody! (that's like "Happy Christmas" for the Brits)

  3. Whew...and the sleep deprivation month has BEGUN! Sat eve, and I JUST finally finished watching the prologue (had to get out for a ride this morning, and after that life just was in the way).

    WAY TO GO SPARTACUS!!!! I was rooting him on like a crazy man (and it was TIVO'd and over by like 9 hours when I watched it finally). Wiggo did real good too, but Fabulous Fabian..what can I say! RSNT may not really want to defend the yellow, but what a team boost to have it! They surely needed a kick in the tour pants! (LOL Susie!) A few surprises...Tony Martin and his TWO bike changes...he might have been 2nd, don't think he was going to beat Fabians time, but I do think he would have nipped Wiggo. Menchov did pretty good...only 13 seconds back...I'd say that wasn't really expected but a nice surprise. Sad that Z-man didn't do better. And HEY... Ryder did pretty good too. Of course, this is only the first FOUR MILES Of a LONG LONG LONG LONG LONG LONG race..but nevertheless...there's just nothing like day ONE of le Tour! So much possibility...theoretically ANYBODY can win at this point!

    OK...I'm off to bed..must start a strict sleep regimen if I"m to survive le Tour AND le Olympics...AND get some bike rides in!

    I LOVE JULY!!!!

    Happy TOUR!

  4. Yay Tour de France!

    First, Matt, I want to say that you ARE awesome for your work with Team Fatty and I'm so glad that you are able to enjoy the Davis event!

    Cathy, thanks for the update, on both your cousin and for RSNT. I really hope that the team is able to land on its feet, get some awesome results and pull through to next year.

    I missed yesterday's stage due to the aftereffects of the big storm Friday evening -- we had 85 mph wind and the power and cable were out, some people lost their land line phones too. My neighborhood was restored yesterday pm, but the neighborhood just south of mine is still out. fortunately, I was lucky again, just as I was in 2008 (although I was without power for 8 days then) and had no damage other than a few blown over flower pots and broken branches in the yard. Oddly enough, a gazebo that I had bought at a yard sale which is only partially put together (because it turned out to have 3 broken pieces, grrr!) stayed upright and intact through the storm even while my potted fruit trees were blown over, and large trees were snapped in two! LOts of people are whining about having no power in this unusual heat, but my gosh! Our homes haven't been burned down, or flooded, or completely blown away.


  5. My picks for the tour --- I have to hope that Cadel pulls off the win again, but I have to say the Wiggo has been in super form and has to be considered the favorite. I'm like you, Matt, I hated the way he seemed to diss Garmin and have never warmed to him since so I would like to see almost anyone else win. CVV would be so awesome; I think that it would be expecting a bit too much for Ryder after the Giro; Tommy D surprised with his high finish last year, I wonder if he can surprise us more this year? Of course I have to cheet for Chris Horner too. Remember, also, that Frank S. has podiumed twice and won on a high mountain (L'Alp D'Huez?)
    I would also love to see Voeckler finish on the podium (but he has been injured) Love that guy! Oops, I have too many favorites--no wonder I have such truoble putting together my Fantasy team for the NBCSports contest. Still working on that.
    Funny, isn't it, that no one seems to consider Ivan Basso a contender anymore? Even though he has won the Giro since his return? Once upon a time he seemed the heir to LA's throne.


    For green, I would love to see Gossie get it--he is such a nice guy,overshadowed by Cav on HTC, but have to give the edge to Sagan and Cav.

    Of course Fabulous Fabian for the TTs, although the competition is heating up! Wiggins is riding out of his skin, and Martin is challenging all the time.
    Seems that Dave Z has lost his edge for the big race TTs. Even though he scorched everyone in Cali, seems to me that he really hasn't been competitive in the big races since his medal at worlds a few years ago. Wonder if the cumulative effect of his injuries these last 2 years has taken a toll. But, he has been improving as a stage racer at the same time -- winning Missouri, finishing on the podium at Cali...
    Trying this AM to settle on my 25 riders for the game. Trying to pick a contender for KOM is the hardest part!

    1. Hey Rae...glad your house is safe...losing power sucks...amazing how much we depend on it. Hope your fruit trees are undamaged!

      I must go now to the NBC site and work on MY's so hard every year. My teams always suck...(I pick them based on who I LIKE, not who will necessarily get me points).

  6. Matt, Tony only had one bike change, it was just the way they replayed it on camera. He hit some glass and got a flat. Bad luck for sure, and then a crash this morning.

    Yay for Fabian! Always gives the team a boost. We'll try to defend for a few stages for sure - wish us luck!

  7. Hey Cathy...oops! It sure looked like he had two bike changes...(no wonder...Phil was saying he only lost about 20 seconds, and to me it looked like MUCH longer..that explains it). How on earth can there be glass on a TDF TT course? Somebody really messed up...unless it was fresh since the race started, and then SOMEBODY REALLY MESSED UP!

    Like that IDIOT w/ the camera on today's stage...standing about 2 feet IN the road! Would have served him right to get knocked into next week! Caused a crash...and he prob walked away from it. Spectators...sure can be stupid!

    But WHAT A STAGE! Fabian Fabian Fabian...what can you say! I didn't see Wiggo out front going for the win...and Fab didn't have ANY help, yet he STILL beat out BosHag...only Sagan was able to take him at the line. Can't really blame either of them for not helping (tho I sure wish they had, so-as to open up even a small time-gap on the main field)...but that's racing...Fab was going for the win and time, and they were just going for the win.

    Sagan will be a name we will be hearing lots more of I interesting when we see him and Cav head to head in a fair shootout. I think Cav will not have the stellar year like last...but we will see. And Griepel...he just disappeared, and seems like everybody was saying it was his stage to win. get up EVERY DAY and have racing on...Life is GOOD!

  8. One way to stay in touch with the tour is to play the NBC Cycling Tour Challenge, Yes I am a bike Dork as a matter of fact, check it out at it still in the "practice" rounds through tomorrow July 3rd.

    1. Already have my team...tho I always stink at this's so hard to pick a team....If I could flip a coin I'd prob do better...but that's a lot of coin flipping to get down to 15 riders...(and then the salary cap thing to contend with). You can pick maybe 3 top riders, then just a few middle rank, and then everybody else is the pawns who go out on get lucky and pick one or 2 of those, especially on a breakaway day that stays, and you really have something.

    2. The question for me: do I spend my budget on those who are (pretty)sure to finish at the very top (Cav, Wiggo)& fill out with 4/5 pointers that stay on the bench, or would it be smarter to take more less expensive guy who can still finish well up?


  9. Spartacus has been FABulous, Cav proved he can win without his train, Sagan (the new PhilGil) has already won 2 stages, & unfortunately, the usual crashes of Week 1 came roaring back today - Tommy D may be out entirely & CVV lost 2 minutes in a crash. Crap! At least I think Levi was unscathed. Speaking of Levi - kinda shocked at his subpar Prologue. Anyone read if he was sick?

    Let's just hope this year is NOT a repeat of last year's Week 1 - the worst I can ever remember. Every year, I worry & worry until we get to the mountains & things start to settle down.

    And Matt - I think Horner is just being a super domestique this year - taking care of Frank & team duties to keep Fabian in yellow as long as possible. BTW, loved reading your Livestrong write-up & was very happy to see that you had a FANTASTIC time! Was Lance there this year? Changing topics - how's Sydney? All healed up?

    And Cathy, I'm so very sorry to read about your cousin. I had just been thinking about him the other week & wondered how he was doing. Every time I read Matt & Fatty's cycling escapades I worry about something like that happening. Please take care everyone when you're out on the roads. And so sorry about your Colorado friend too. Except for California, I never seem to think large cities can be at risk from major forest fires & of course, that's wrong! I've been so caught up in the Olympic Trials, Tour, & our thunderstorm from Hell Friday night (which caused massive power outages in Washington area) that I don't even know if the Colorado fires are under control. Anybody fill me in?

    What do you all think of Scott Moninger & Steve Porino on the NBCsports coverage? I'm TRYING to keep an open mind but every time Scott speaks into the camera, it's like he's officiating at a funeral. And Porino replaced Robbie & Frankie?! What the heck is wrong with NBC! At least Frankie is doing the Tour Talk videos with James at again & I LOVE those! BTW, anybody else think Frankie has a self-portrait hidden in his attic?! The guy barely seems to age!

    Hope everyone has a Happy & safe 4th of July! Watch the Tour, try to stay cool & hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!

    1. Hey Susie....yes, Syd is all healed up (had the staples taken out the LiveStrong Davis weekend). However, she scared the Be-JESUS out of us this last Sat...

      Around 4pm Jeannie makes a run (in the car I mean) to the local market for a few quick things...comes back in about 10 minutes, I've been playing on the computer for an hour or so collecting all my Garmin data from my England trip and loading it onto both my laptop and desktop computers (I had to go online to the Garmin site to re-load the info, which I had cleared from my Garmin GPS unit).

      ANYWAY...about 10 or 15 mins after Jeannie gets back I figure it's time to take the babies to the the hall closet where the collars/leashes are kept, and boy are they excited..only no Sydney! We look and look, she's not in the house or in the yard...we can't for the life of us figure how she got out, but gone she is.

      I figure it HAD to be when Jeannie went to the market (cuz I went for a bike ride earlier and all the babies had bites from my chicken sandwiches I made for my late lunch). We go outside and start roaming all over the place, calling...or neighbors Louie and Anna help too...Anna jumps in her truck and is driving all over the place...Louie is on his bike, I'm on foot, Jeannie is in my Syd. We look for over an hour...figure she's gone (I'm SURE Jeannie was ready to burst into tears but holding it back). I'm in the car w/ Jeannie by now, as she picked me up many blocks away...and we're discussing where all to put our reward posters...(and I'm nervously searching the streets for signs of a dead dog, as Syd has NO common sense and will wander right out into the street at any time)...

      We come home and there is Louie w/ Syd...the neighbors down the street found her (they had seen her earlier walk right by their place, and then she cam back apparently, so he called her and walked her down to the house). It's a MIRACLE! We figured she's SO friendly somebody will open their house or car door and have themselves a dog...she'd walk right in.

      I finally figured why she ran...when we FIRST had her, she would walk right out of our yard and keep on walking..had no idea to STAY w/ us and the other I finally got a remote control shock collar, only had to shock her once and she figured it out REAL quick. It also has a 'beep' that you can beep, shock or both...I'd use the beep to get her attention and if she would keep walking away I'd do both. little Garmin unit makes a beep when plug it into a computer...that must have terrified her and she was prob out in the garage and when Jeannie opened the door to leave she slipped right out. I feel SO bad..but we are SO thankful! I must be very careful when downloading my Garmin from now on. Poor Syd..that must have REALLY traumatized her!

  10. yeah, think Scott M. seems to need an antidepressant! Just nerves? Steve Porino hasn't been too bad--compared to Craig Hummer (did you see that atrociously insensitive interview he did with Tyler F.? And didn't even pronounce Wouter's name correctly). I wonder why no Robbie and Frankie. I still don't understand, either, why they seem to feel that they need someone to act as an M.C. in the studio. Waste of time.

    I am sooo sad at Garmin's bad luck so far--they've inherited Radio Shack', but so far all going well for RSNT so that is a bright spot.

    I haven't seen ANYTHING about Levi; I too was surprised at his finish. Like the old Gerolsteiner Levi is back.

    1. I have yet to watch the prime time show...I only record the live version w/ P& is the prime time? I know in the mornings we get a bit of Scott...was wondering where they found Mr. Personality...(is he the son of the NBC chairman or something? Just can't figure out how he got this job!)

      Missed yesterfdays stage totally (I have hit recorded, but I worked a 14 hour day..and 10 today so might not get all of todays stave viewed either). At least they are flat stages...SOOO Boring...I can usually fly thru on 3 or 4x speed and see if I'm missing anything..then watch the last 10k or so...but I hate to miss any good Bobke commericals!

      And speaking of Bobke commercials, I have now seen THREE good ones so far (and I've only seen the prologue and stage 1!)I LOVE IT that they are doing those again! BTW, who are all the cyclists in the hippie van that picks him up (besides Geroge (w/ cereal coming out of his mouth, LOL!)?? Is that first guy who talks Levi? And who is it that's driving who says something about Hinn-CAPP-E? at the end??

      And then there's the one w/ the truck driver eating Chili who picks him up...hope they have a bunch more!

    2. The truck driver is Jens Voigt! and Levi is that guy, but I don't know who the others are. Funny!


    3. Hi All, The hippie on the left is Brad Huff (I think), the hippie on the right is Levi and not sure of the driver...FUNNY STUFF! Especially the one where Jens is a truck driver eating chili and uses his "American" accent!!

      It's been a great start of the Tour for us. Really a turn-around of the season for us, that's how big the Tour is. It's been fun writing about the team and seeing them at the front so much and just knowing things are going well does my heart good!

      Also on Wednesday Jakob Fuglsang won a stage at Tour of Austria and took yellow, so we are leading two races at same time. It made me think Johan knew exactly what he was doing by not putting Jakob on the Tour team. At the TdF, he'd be working his ass off each day to defend yellow. In Austria he's WINNING!!!

      Scott is Scott Moninger, one of the winningest American cyclists ever I think. He retired a few years ago, rode for HealthNet teams for a long time. Not Mr. Pizzazz, is he??!!