Wednesday, January 30, 2013

cyclocross world championships

in Louisville this weekend!  This is a big deal:  the first time a world championship cyclocross race has been held in the U.S., and the first time that the top Euro talent such as Niels Albert and Sven Nys will be racing here.
This will be the best chance ever for U.S. riders to earn a rainbow jersey, as we have the home turf advantage for once.  And not only U.S. riders- local riders!
I really like Logan Owen's chances for a win.  Right now there are only a couple of Belgians that can beat him in his age group.  This is the kid that I try not to get lapped by in local races.  I used to beat him when he was 15 and racing as a Cat 3....

Zach McDonald, another local, recently decided to race the National Championships as an elite and not U23- and still took third place.  His form is perfect right now and he is a contender in the U23 race.

With the very best from Europe here, an American world cyclocross champion is a bit of a long shot- but the chances are better now than they were when Page got his silver medal.  Jeremy Powers will get a second row start I think- if there is a dry course and Powers has a great race, he could win.

Can't wait to see how this unfolds!

Friday, January 18, 2013

Don't give a shit about Lance Armstrong

What do you do you if you have a dark heavy secret that you have kept buried for so long?  Of course, you go tell Oprah (for a lot of money I'm sure)
I honestly don't care  about Lance- he is not the first and won't be the last professional athlete to cheat and then lie about it.  The bigger problem is that his national and international governing body helped him do it.  If Lance really did care about the sport, about the only thing he could do at this point is say: " I could only get away with this because the UCI and USA Cycling helped me."  Then we could get rid of the people in charge of those organizations and we  might see some real change in the sport.  Right now if I want a racing license I have to mail a check to USA Cycling or the UCI if I want to race in Canada.  Steve Johnson and Hein Verbruggen are still in charge and acting like nothing is wrong.  If the governing body of the sport is cheating, and everyone knows it, how can anyone ever take bicycle racing seriously?  Lance has not only screwed over his past competitors- he is screwing the next generation too because right now nobody is interested in sponsoring a bicycle racing team.  Can't say I'm surprised.
To those that say "Lance Armstrong still won those 7 tours because all his competitors doped too..." In a way they are right- I don't care about what place Basso would up with either.  What I do care about is that there was probably some poor Colombian kid that would have beaten Lance on a level playing field.  Any legitimate competition needs rules.  At this point its looking like a rigged game with the UCI in charge.  If some people are allowed to dope and others aren't, you might as well retroactively move the finish line.  Now bicycle racing is about as legit as WWF wrestling.
Screw it.  Unless there is change where it counts- I'll be riding in a wool jersey in any event that doesn't require a license from USA cycling or the UCI.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Sandy Hook

I've been ruminating on this.  I have a daughter in kindergarten; its hard not to.  Then I saw in the paper this morning that NRA's answer is "a good guy with a gun" in every school.  I liked McSchwinn's response the best:  "they have shown that they are clearly out of ideas.  Its time to stop listening to them".

"A good guy with a gun" is a good analogy, I think, for the way people view roads.   There are a lot of people that feel that in order to be safe, you have to be inside a larger chunk of steel than the next guy.  In a way, they are right.  But that is not a game that I want to play and not a world I want to live in.  Its true that I might get run over by a car, but it would be certain  that I'm fat and unhappy and suffer a coronary event with the alternative. Why not design roads and vehicles in a way that looks out for the safety of everybody?  I don't want a doofus with a gun in my daughters school for that added false sense of safety, and I don't want to have to rely on a two ton machine just to get to work or the grocery store in one piece.

By the way, do you know what was state of the art with respect to guns when the Second Amendment was written?  Powder and loose balls.  A rifle wouldn't be invented for 100 years.  How many kindergartners do you think would have died if that kid had to stop and reload after every shot?

Done with USA cycling

I've been disappointed with the governing body of bicycle racing here in the US for a while but this article at Velo News is pure gold.  So here is my first resolution of 2013:  I am not purchasing a racing license from USA cycling until there are some big changes and maybe Steve Johnson is gone.  I am conflicted about this  a little because I feel that at the local level, people have been putting on excellent races and series under the auspices of USA cycling- such as the Seattle Cyclocross series and the MVA.  I have also done OBRA and  MFG races though, and I know they are awesome and these people are making a tremendous effort on the grassroots side of the sport and it shows.  OBRA's approach is what is going to grow the sport of bicycle racing in the long haul.  Through hard work and a love of the sport, OBRA has developed the largest cyclocross series in the world by participation.  Its a bottom-up, people power approach.  USA cycling is a top down, republican-trickle-down-economics approach.  And interestingly a lot of professional riders are not happy with this approach either.  I'm not going to support USA cycling if they are going to actively interfere with OBRA or any other alternatively sanctioned series or event.

Sometimes I think bicycle racing is a pointless narcissistic endeavor that I should just abandon entirely. There are plenty of other ways to ride a bicycle.  But then on the other hand I think that it really is a beautiful sport, physically demanding, and a lot of fun.  I am proud of my modest achievements as an amateur bike racer, I have had fun doing it, and I am proud of the power in my legs.

So this year it might be MFG cyclocross races and the odd trip down south for OBRA road and track events.  I really wish WSBA would follow the lead of OBRA though- and ditch USA cycling.