Monday, March 18, 2013

March Madness

All cycling fans know that March Madness isn't just a basketball tournament. It's time for the Spring Classics! The MONUMENTS of cycling! And they are happening NOW! I was devastated that there was NO coverage in the US for this last weekends Milan San Remo (MSR) race. I was all set to up my Dish Network package early this year, but looked on the NBCSports channel and viola...NO race. Nor was it on Universal Sports Network (USN). What the hay? I thought all the big classics were covered by NBC? But I thought wrong. However, here is their schedule (for those of you who get NBC Sports channel) of the REST of the classics season (and what the heck, I'll go ahead and give the REST of the season they are planning on broadcasting while I'm at it):

Sunday, March 24th: Criterium International, 1am
Sunday, April 7th, Paris Roubaix 8am
Sunday, April 21st, Fleche Wallonne, 10:30pm
                              Liege Bastogne Liege, 11:30pm
Sunday, May 5th, Amgen Tour of California (ToC), 5:30pm
Sunday, May 12th, ToC, Stage 1, 5pm
Monday, May 13th, ToC, Stage 2, 5pm
Tuesday, May 14th, ToC, Stage 3, 5pm
Wednesday, May 15th, ToC, Stage 4, 5pm
Thursday, May 16th, ToC, Stage 5, 4:30pm
Friday, May 17th, ToC, Stage 6, 5pm
Saturday, May 18th, ToC, Stage 7, 7pm
Sunday, May 19th, ToC, 1pm (not sure what this show will be)
                                       Stage 8, 6:30pm
Tour of Turkey (Dates To Be Determined)
Sunday, June 2nd, USA Cycling Pro Championships, 1pm
                             CriteriumDauphine Libere (CDL), 11pm
Monday, June 3rd, CDL, Noon
Sunday, June 9th, CDL, 5pm
Saturday, June 29th, Tour de France (TDF) Stage 1, 8am
Sunday, June 30th, Stage 2, 8am
Monday, July 1st,  Stage 3, 8am
Tuesday, July 2nd, Stage 4, 8am
Wednesday, July 3rd, Stage 5, 8am
Thursday, July 4th, Stage 6, 8am
Friday, July 5th, Stage 7, 8am
Saturday, July 6th, Stage 8, 8am
Sunday, July 7th, Stage 9, 8am
Monday, July 8th, Rest day (no coverage currently scheduled)
Tuesday, July 9th, Stage 10, 8am
Wednesday. July 10th, Stage 11, 8am
Thursday, July 11th, Stage 12, 8am
Friday, July 12th, Stage 13, 8am
Saturday, July 13th, Stage 14, 8am
Sunday, July 14th, Stage 15, 8am
Monday, July 15th, 2nd Rest Day (no coverage currently scheduled)
Tuesday, July 16th, Stage 16, 8am
Wednesday, July 17th, Stage 17, 8am
Thursday, July 18th, Stage 18, 8am
Friday, July 19th, Stage 19, 8am
Saturday, July 20th, Stage 20, 8am
Sunday, July 21st, the end, final Stage 21, 8am
Monday, July 22nd, boo tour syndrome kicks in BAD for the next few weeks of NO coverage
Sunday, August 18th, Pro Cycling Challenge (Tour of Colorado?) Preview Show, 3:30pm
Monday, August 19th, Pro CC Prologue, 4pm
Tuesday, August 20th, Pro CC Stage 1, 4pm
Wednesday, August 21st, Pro CC Stage 2, 4pm
Thursday, August 22nd, Pro CC Stage 3, 4pm
Friday, August 23rd, Pro CC Stage 4, 4pm
Saturday, August 24th, Pro CC Stage 5, 2:30pm
Sunday, August 25th, Pro CC Stage 6, 2pm
Sunday, October 13th, Paris Tours, 4pm (what is this?)

And there you have it. IF you don't already have NBC Sports Network on your cable/satellite provider, I'd suggest you GET IT. I know I will (I've already talked Jeannie into it...last year I waited until just before the TDF and I regretted it...this year I MUST see some of the classics!)

I'm quite bummed that I had to READ about Milan San Remo....Fabian was THAT CLOSE! And Boonen...he didn't get back on his bike after the bus/break, and supposedly had harsh words for the organizers! I guess his reign of classics truly is over...hate to be a hater but I just don't think he was going to do it over both Sagan and Fabian...I was SHOCKED that they both got edged out in the sprint...and speaking of edging out in the sprint, WHAT A RIDE Gerald Ciolek, a racer on a pro continental team no less! It was the race of a lifetime for him! The conditions were just about as bad as they can be and still have a race...almost half the peleton didn't restart after the bus trip around the snowed over climb...and HEY! Speaking of races of a lifetime, what about Taylor Phinney? He was suffering as badly as ANYBODY, yet he continued on in the race and jumped away from the chasing peleton in the final kilometer, which fueled the final sprint by the leaders (as they did NOT want him to catch them)..and he took 7th! That kid is something, and he WILL win this race one day, mark my words! I was able to watch the final 3k on the internet via stepplechase...but I REALLY REALLY wanted to record this and watch the whole race (we were out of town or I would have watched it on the internet).

And so...along with cycling, March is indeed the home of college basketball...I'm not a huge BB fan I must admit, but some of these college tourney games are OH so exciting! And one thing I DO like about the March Madness tourney: ANYBODY has an actual chance to be Number 1! Any tiny school...if they do well enough and get into the tourney, even in the very last slot #64, yes....they have a chance to win it all. THAT is what makes the big tourney so exciting....I long for those Cinderella story upsets of the big high seeds by tiny unknown schools. Reminds me of the US Olympic Hockey team in Lake Placid beating the Russians...and those are great moments in sports.

OK...I'll end this post with one picture Jeannie found when she was reminiscing the other's me with baby see, I had been out to sea and had JUST pulled back into port (on Valentines day even...we were living in Hawaii at the time) and I surprised Jeannie showing up unannounced as she didn't know we were back. She had just gotten PG from the shelter a few days earlier. And so, without further adieu, my very first picture with our little bundle of joy!

Just look at the size of those EARS! Jeannie wanted to call her "Princess" and I thought she looked more like Gizmo from the movie Gremlins...and thus she became Princess Gizmo, or PG for short. She sure was a cutie! I'll also pass along that she is doing WONDERFULLY on 3 legs...very fiesty, pretty much back to normal.

Hope everybody had a great St. Patty's day! And I also hope Spring has finally sprung for you. Get out there and RIDE!



  1. Matt, the problem with the NBC coverage is that it is rarely live so while I tape them for my husband to watch later (and to support the channel) I usually have to watch live on Eurosport each morning. It's free so just because it isn't on TV in USA doesn't mean you can't watch it. I'm covering Catalunya live every morning right now.....

    1. Hey Cathy...I MUST record them, as I have almost zero chance of seeing them during the broadcast. And I have pretty much zero chance to watch it live on the internet..thank goodness for my DVR!

  2. Nice to hear that the 'princess' is doing well. Looking forward to our rendezvous in Davis! I may have to put you in charge of the pie since Wife#1 says she's doing the 100 no matter how long it takes. Keep up the riding and the reports, and thanks for the schedule. just what need. Now nothing will get done around the house!

  3. I'm stoked your wife is coming this year...we FINALLY get to meet! (it's like we already know each other). Good for her doing the full 100...THAT'S determination! I think I felt that way last year...wasn't in very good shape in June, and I suffered mightily on that ride (but I made it). I think the pie's pretty much do themselves...maybe one of the 'fast ones' (ie: Fatty, Lisa, or my bro Greg) can put them out...I'll do better this year but still won't be leaving any flames on the road. But I'll gladly help out any way I can!

  4. Love love love this part of the racing season! Even though a few of my favorite pros aren't really in top form or aiming for these races, some of the best ARE, and the races are beautiful in themselves. But what horrible weather so far! I hope that things moderate a bit for tomorrow!

    My work schedule isn't cooperating with the racing schedule though so I am contemplating actually spending the money to get the DVR (I think it will be an increase of about $20/month). I can't quite remember how to get my old VCR to work with the digital signal from the cable company (I do still have the signal converter that I used before I bought the new TV). However, that doesn't help when the race won't be on NBCSports and I have to work when it is streaming live. I've missed most of Catalunya so far, missed MSR (gahh, THAT sounded incredible), Dwars and will miss E3, and for sure can't stay up until 1 am to see Criterium Internationale!

    This was Taylor Phinney's second hard man performance this spring-- what an impressive kid! Sure seems like we've got a great bunch of youngsters coming up through the ranks, with Phinney, TJ, Bookwalter, plus a slew of young and exciting euro-pros! This shoud be a great season!

    Great news about PG!

    1. Hey Rae...yes, the classics are certainly a special group of races...the Grand Tours get all the accolades but the REAL races are in the unpredictable weather on ancient pave. And HEY!!! I didn't get to see a lick of the race yesterday, but how about Fabian! I KNEW he could do it! And going head to head w/ Sagan and riding away from him too! Typical Spartacus hard-man riding there...pull away sitting down on a cobbled climb...GOSH I hope somebody televises that! I just upped my Dish channel package last night, and lo and behold this morning Universal Sports was broadcasting Milan San Remo! And a network called BEIN is showing the Tour of Catalyuna!(sp?)Though the NBCSports schedule that I printed above is already wrong...they aren't boradcasting the Crit International until Monday, not Sunday (I got the schedule off their website). But that's ok...I record all the races and watch them when I get a chance. Fabian is lining up tomorrow too...we'll see how he does...I'll be rooting for him! GO FABIAN!!!!

  5. Great to see continued good news for PG!! Thrilled :)

    Crazy number of races going on right now and I'm also missing most of them. With work and the 2 kids there is ZERO possiblity of being able to watch them online and not much has been on NBC so far. The DVR is absolutely worth it Rae!!! I got mine about a year and a half ago during the Tour - just because it came with the pkg when I switched from cable to DirecTV - and it has been priceless. I can't believe I ever got along without it. It is for sure my favorite piece of media in the house and is almost the only way I watch TV ever.

    Some great races so far (from reading the reports). The picture of Sagan and his wheelie over the line today is fantastic. I love that kid. Oh, and Dan Martin is looking great and riding with real smarts. And of course I was thrilled that Fabian took a win already - so glad he's back and healthy for the spring races this year.

    Thanks for the schedule Matt! Made me even more excited for the season to come! CANNOT wait!

    If I don't get back here before the weekend - Happy Easter everyone!!

  6. Okay, Matt and Janann, talk to me about Dish and DirectTV! Especially you, Janann, your weather is much more like mine....are there problems with signal reliability with the satellites? are there any other downsides? and what do you do for internet access?
    I have a cable/internet (15mps) package that now runs $82/month (they just started tacking on a $4 "surcharge" for providing local broadcast stations).

    None of the 3 cable companies in my area offer Universal Sports, which might entice me to whichever provider carries it (Dish?)

    And I wish you all happy and blessed Easter, as well as joyous Passover!


    1. Hey Rae...we have Dish...we used to have Direct TV...but those TV commercials about how they raise their rates after you sign a contract are true...I think we NOW pay right at $80 a month and we have "America's top 250" channel package (this package has NBCSports and the BEIN network which also shows bike just broadcast Milan San Remo last weekend). Also there are a LOT of HD channels which is great, and we don't pay extra for them I believe (Direct does I recall). We don't have Universal Sports tho...that is still on yet another higher level package. Anyway...I didn't care for Dish's DVR at first (after switching from Direct), however I now realize that it's mostly due to being new, not necessarily better...(I had to re-learn a new DVR, and was annoyed at that). Dish now has the super DVR (the Hopper) that lets you record up to like 5 things at a time, and watch anything on any tv in your house...right now we still have the older one with two tuners...but the one box still controls both our tv's so we can watch anything on either TV...can stop a DVR playback and continue watching it on the other TV, which is handy). We've now been w/ Dish for over 2 years, and now that our contract is fulfilled we need to upgrade (hopefully for free) to the Hopper DVR. that would be cool...often times we are watching something and the tuner needs to change to record something scheduled...the hopper would eliminate that totally I believe.

      As to the weather problems I can't really in CA we don't get storms very often..most likely bad storms would affect your reception. Cable is probably best for that, but I bet they cost more for the same service...I know around here cable is quite steep...Dish is the best deal as to what you get for your money. And I'm quite happy with their service...we never have outages (I probably just jinxed myself!), and you can change your programming in moments (you can do it online or right on the TV). Also Jeannie likes to get the "on Demand" movies now and then...there are lots out there and it's just charged to your monthly bill...quite convenient on say a weekend day when it's bad weather and you're bored. Don't even need to leave the house, and can watch pretty much any new release at nearly any time.

      That's about all I know...good luck!

  7. Just watched the NBC Sports playback of the Criterium International (was recorded on Monday evening). Bobke is one of the announcers...don't know the other guy...Froome is looking pretty good for a run to win at the TDF...I think there will be a few guys gunning for it this year, should be quite exciting! I hope Andy is back in form, but so far not looking too great. He's got 3 months tho...we shall see. The reset of the classics season should be AWESEOME with the big guns fighting tooth and nail...good for us!

  8. Tour of the Basque Country is on live every morning this week at 7AM California time - Universal (625 on Directv if that helps)

  9. Boy is it saddening to see the struggles with crashes and overall recovery for Tommeke! Sounds like he is out of Paris-Roubaix this year now.


  10. I just upgraded our Dish package 2 weeks or so ago so we have NBC Sports (also the BEIN network)...however Universal is the NEXT higher we still don't have that...last year Universal was in the same package as NBC. Oh well..easy come easy go.

    And HEY! How about Spartacus!!!! OMG he was FABULOUS! I can't wait to watch it (NBC will broadcast it next Monday).

    And also, I'm back up in Sunnyvale...for a month this time...just drove up today (Monday). I brought both bikes with me (MTB and road) however we will be working a LOT I'm I'll ride whenever I can. Slipped in a MTB Ride this afternoon after I got checked into the's been raining up here I bike is now all gooky, so I left it in the truck rather than bring it into the room like that (my rental is a Ford Expedition...nice vehicle, but kind'a big for me). Thought about taking it into the shower, but that's actually a lot harder than you think...(I've done it before in my travels, and it's a HUGE pain). Once it dries a lot of the muck will just fall off (I hope).

    I'm sad that Boo boo is out...he's having Fabians luck from last year...guess it was his turn! But WAY TO GO FABIAN! Showing the kid (Sagan) how it's done...he'll have his turn I'm sure, but for NOW it's looking like Spartacus is BACK! LOVE IT LOVE IT LOVE IT!!!

  11. I was stoked that Fabian took that win! Thrilled to see him really back after his awful spring last year, though I am sad that Boonen has seemingly inherited that luck.

    About the TV:
    Around here both Dish and Direct TV have great initial package rates for the first 2 years and then they go back up after that. We only have one cable option (Mediacom) and no possibility of over-air signal because of the hills, so either were a MUCH better option than the cable company which was getting more and more expensive - with terrible customer service. We went with DirectTV because the mid-price pkg included Versus (at the time) and was just slightly less expensive with the number of TVs we had and the promotional pkg offered. My folks have Dish and have been pretty happy with that as well. Even at the end of this summer when my DirectTV rates go up and will be close to what cable costs - I will NOT go back to cable! The customer service from Direct has been 100 times better than that from cable and they are by far the most helpful media company I've dealt with. We also have the DVR that records 2 shows at once, but the 5 channel ones are now being offered. We can watch the DVR from any tv in the house. We get NBC sports but not Universal either - it is offered in the most expensive pkg. As for the weather....I've not been able to watch tv when there was bad weather on 4 occasions since July of 2011. That's not to say that it may have been affected more often - but just not when I was trying to watch. In my area I was also able to bundle with Century Link for internet and phone which saves some additional money. I think you'd love it!! I'd be happy to answer anything else. I'm caballista9 and on gmail :)

    Spring is FINALLY here! It hit 50 degrees this week and most of the snow is now gone! Hooray!!!!

    Spent the last few days at a waterpark in the Wisconsin Dells with both sets of grandparents (which I thought was very brave of us). We had a great time, but my daughter came down with strep along with a croupy cough while we were there - so she is pretty miserable right now and no one in our room slept while we were up there. Poor thing - I hate to see them so sick :(

    Looking forward to the racing this weekend!!! Hope you are all doing well and that spring is taking hold where you are.

  12. Thanks Matt and Janann for the feedback! If Universal is a higher cost tier for both satellite services, then I guess there isn't much point for me to switch (cause I am cheap and only want to pay for the "basic" tier). I get NBCSports now, although some of the races aren't on until very late night for me (which is good for you, Matt!)

    But, YAY! I was so bummed that I was going to miss Paris-Roubaix due to work tomorrow -- but I see that they are going to rebroadcast ALL 3 HOURS on Monday evening!! ( Tomorrow night too, but too late for me) Oh how I hope that they really do!

    Yes, Janann, I am so glad that spring has arrived! Kind of tardy, even on Thursday it was still only in the low 30s. But Friday was so great, sunny, 60, I went for a long hike! I am hoping that with warmer weather I will get motivated to start running and riding again. Each year it gets harder, and I am forming a close friendship with ibuprofen...but I just finished reading a book about the 2009 Race Across America. Not that I am inspired to attempt THAT craziness, but just to read how many of the contestants are middle aged+ does inspire me -- I want to be really fit again! (btw, what those guys go through really does verge on crazy...even to the point of making contraptions to hold up their heads while they ride because their neck muscles have given out, while hallucinating from sleep deprivation! )

    Matt I hope that you can get some rides in up there in Sunnyvale. I do believe that my kitchen would fit inside a Ford Expedition. I would be so fearful of leaving my bike out in the car overnight, although the reason that I bought my Versa hatchback was just so I could have my bike securely in it when I stopped for a coffee or lunch.

    Oh, and Janann, I do hope your little one is feeling better! Strep is miserable!


  13. Well...tomorrow is the BIG one...Paris Roubaix...GO FABIAN!!!!

    Been a long (Saturday) was my 'short' day...worked only 10 hours so was able to slip in a quick road ride up a nice 7 mile some of the cobwebs out of my legs. Working tomorrow too (bittersweet...I get doubletime, but it's won't get a long ride this weekend). Oh well..I'm up here to help pay off the babies surgery...(speaking of surgery, Sweet Peak goes in this coming Friday to have 3 tumors removed (skin type...I think they are all Mast cell). She will be miserable as she's SO afraid of anybody she doesn't know (that's everybody on the planet with the exception of 6 people). She'll be a wreck...but I'll be happy to have those nasty beasties gone..and hopefully they don't spread (I think the one she had years ago was a type 2 of 3 types...2 is the medium agressive/spreading form...1 being the least, 3 being the worst. But she's gone years w/ no resurgence until that's good. Gotta keep those vet surgeons kids in good schools you know!

    So ANYWAY, I won't get to watch the race, but it will be DVR'd and maybe I can watch it on my slingbox on Tues eve or so...(the slingbox lets me use the internet to connect to my DVR from anywhere in the was a godsend last year in England). I can control it with a virtual remote control just by clicking the buttons on my just like I was in the room with it. But it's not HD, nor even Medium def...but still WAY better than nothing!

    OK...bed time...I'm beat...getting up at 4:30am EVERY morning that I work (which so far is EVERY day I've been here, and hopefully I can do that the entire month).

    JD/Rae, glad to hear spring is finally arriving...I can't imagine living in real winter areas anymore...10 years in Hawaii and 10 years in Cali...I'm NOT a winter guy any more.

    Later gaters!

  14. Not a whole lot of time (need to sleep...4:30 comes early!)..but WAY TO GO FABIAN!!!!

    OK..that's all I wanted to say for now. I HOPE to slip in a new post this week...boy, being on the road is tough (when you work 7 days a week anyway).