Sunday, January 30, 2011
Not really related to cycling at all... but an interesting video.
In the United States, 26.6% of all adults are obese and 74.1% are overweight. Rising obesity will cost the U.S. healthcare system $344 billion dollars a year. Something needs to be done... step by step.
- The biggest news this week was... drum roll... the one year suspension of Alberto Contador for the positive clenbuterol test during last year's Tour de France. Contador held a news conference two days after the news broke about his suspension and promised to fight the sanction. My thoughts on the announcement.
- Earlier in the week, in another bit of doping related news, the Garmin-Cervelo team fired directeur sportif Matt White for referring Trent Lowe to a doctor with known ties to doping scandals. Garmin-Cervelo has been one of the teams most outspoken about keeping their riders "clean" and I applaud their decision. The story got more interesting when Garmin suggested that Trent Lowe tried to blackmail the team.
- The New York City Police Department continues their blitz on cyclists. The last report from a week ago is that over 1400 tickets have been handed out in the past couple of weeks.
- From a bike tech perspective, the Campagnolo 11-speed electric group won its first race at the WorldTour level during the Tour Down Under. Between the new Campy group and Shimano's Di2 group(s), things are going to get interesting (and expensive) over the next couple of years.
Wednesday, January 26, 2011
Alberto Contador has been suspended for a period of 1 year by the Spanish cycling federation (RFEC) and has been stripped of his 2010 Tour de France title, as reported by multiple news agencies. Since I make not pretense of being a reporter, I will leave the "news" for other websites.
The Contador controversy has been percolating in the cycling world for the past several months, ever since news of a positive blood test for clenbuterol surfaced back in the fall of 2010. As with any controversy, the debate that ensued amongst fans and followers of cycling was animated.
Monday, January 24, 2011
The New York City Police Department has decided that it is now important to hand out $270 tickets to cyclists in Central Park. The tickets are being handed out for failing to stop at red lights on the loop road located within the park. Okay, that sounds like something you should get a ticket for ... so let me clarify a little. The traffic lights are primarily there to allow pedestrians to cross the road when vehicular traffic is allowed in the park. During the times when traffic is not allowed, nobody pays attention to the lights. Cyclists ride through the lights, rollerbladers sprint through them, and pedestrians cross regardless of whether it says "Walk/Don't Walk". The lights haven't been enforced for as long as I can remember.
Sunday, January 23, 2011
- Sport Illustrated has written an article to be published in the January 24th issue reporting new findings about allegations that Lance Armstrong may have used performance enhancing drugs during his reign as seven-time winner of the Tour de France. Will this ever end?
- Floyd Landis has "retired" from cycling. Good riddance.
- The 2011 cycling season has started! The Tour Down Under kicked off earlier this week and quickly made news on stage 2 when both Tyler Farrar and Mark Cavendish went down hard in a crash. The race was dominated by many of the Australian cyclists, ultimately being won by Cameron Meyer of the Garmin-Cervelo team. As a side note, I think Ben Swift of Team Sky might have the coolest name amongst the young cyclists. Good thing he's fast....
- Nick Legan of Velonews wrote an interesting piece about the World Bicycle Relief's Buffalo Bike. Very cool. Remember, I'm riding for them!
Friday, January 21, 2011
Imagine you've had a long week and you're looking forward to blowing some steam off by participating in your local BMX race. This is not how you want to start it. Poor dudes....
But if you are going to turn some pedals over this weekend, enjoy!
Thursday, January 20, 2011
I've always been a numbers and data kind of person. I was the stereotypical nerd in high school... running off to math team with my Coke bottle glasses and my bookbag on the verge of bursting. And now a good part of my work involves research using strange statistics on very large data sets. I'm probably largely a product of my environment, seeing that I was born into a family of mathematicians.
But when I started cycling, I was blissfully unaware of what kind of data could be generated on the bike. Here's a timeline of my experience with cycling-related data:
Monday, January 17, 2011
When I first heard about Rapha jerseys, I was openly incredulous that anybody would spend $195 dollars for a woolen cycling jersey. Why would anybody spend such exorbitant amounts of money on what was essentially workout clothing? And upon further examination of their other products, I was flabbergasted to discover that they sold glorified handkerchiefs for $55 and "grand tour" cycling gloves for $160!! In my mind, I began to form an opinion that Rapha-wear was for those who had more money than sense.
Unfortunately (for my bank account), sometimes curiosity gets the best of me. So when I had a chance to buy a Rapha jersey on sale (still expensive), I decided to see why people liked their products so much. The problem with expensive products that are well-received and highly-reviewed are that... well, they're really good. It turns out that consumers tend to be pretty smart most of the time.
Sunday, January 16, 2011
- For the first time in more than 30 years, the Vuelta a Espana returns to the Basque country! For many years, the Vuelta was associated with the Franco regime by the people of the Basque region and was not welcomed. But it's back! And this year's route includes the awesome climb of the Angliru!
- Team RadioShack revealed their 2011 kit. It's a big improvement from the 2010 colors, which were just grey and uninspired. There's a nagging concern in my head that this team will lose its sponsorship at some point, given how badly RadioShack is struggling financially.
- The Tour of the Battenkill lost its UCI status this week because it was unable to secure a sponsor, which is really unfortunate. I had the chance to ride the course last year and it's awesome, complete with climbs of 18% on gravel and some beautiful scenes of the New York countryside.
- The 2011 cycling season officially gets underway with the Cancer Council Helpline Classic down in Australia, won by Matt Goss today. Admirably, all the riders in today's event agreed to donate the winnings from today's race to the victims of the flooding in Queensland.
Thursday, January 13, 2011
Wednesday, January 12, 2011
One of the nice things about riding in cold or inclement weather is how empty Central Park can get. I took the above photo last night and there's nary a person in sight. Typically, this loop road is packed with runners and cyclists, even in the winter. But yesterday evening... empty. A lot of it probably had to do with the blizzard we were expecting. (You can see the snow starting to fall around the lights in the photo.) New York City seems to have become extremely nervous about snowmagaddons after our last blizzard.
Sunday, January 9, 2011
Rewind the Cassette is a short weekly feature covering some of the more interesting bits of news from the cycling world. It is not meant to be a definitive feed of all thats happened in the prior week... just some of the bits that caught my eye.
- The winner of the 1939 Paris-Roubaix, Emile Masson Jr, died on January 2 at the age of 95. Can you imagine what it was like to ride over the cobbles of l'enfer du Nord in a steel bike?
- Team Leopard-Trek was finally announced. I had some very superficial thoughts about the announcement.... and their wardrobe choices.
- Movistar's Andrey Amador was robbed and beaten in Costa Rica as thieves stole his team issue Pinarello Dogma 60.1. The bike was equipped with the prototype Campagnolo electronic group and is therefore fairly unique. Hopefully he recovers quickly and the punks are caught.
- The Cervelo S3 was voted by Cyclingnews as the Best Team Bike. I have a soft spot for Cervelos... great aero frames that don't beat you into a pulp.
- Contador vs the cow has taken an unusual turn. Instead of rendering a decision on their own, the Spanish cycling federation (RFEC) has asked the UCI and WADA to help. Interesting....
Thursday, January 6, 2011
Despite the fact that I had hoped they wouldn't do it, the Luxembourg Pro Cycling Project today announced their official name. Team Leopard-Trek. Frankly, it's actually not all that bad. After all, the snow leopard is a freaking cool animal. And it seems that the team had the good sense to not dress their riders in some outrageous animal print kit.
Wait, I feel like I've seen something like these jerseys before.
Wednesday, January 5, 2011
I had a chance over the weekend to sit down and review my totals for 2010 (starting in February and extending to Christmas Eve). My final numbers:
Distance: 3783 miles
Total time on bike: 224 hours
Total ascent: 147,322 feet
Minimum temperature: 25.4 F
Maximum temperature: 102.2 F
As I looked at the numbers, the one that struck me the most was the number of calories (supposedly) burned. 270,000 calories? Sounds like a lot. But it's not all good. Here's why:
Sunday, January 2, 2011
Cycling is largely an individual endeavor. We often ride in groups but the goals we set are ones that we typically achieve by ourselves. Some achievements are small (fixing your first flat) and some are much larger (completing your first century ride). We don't often get the chance to ride for something more than our own sense of personal achievement.
My plans to participate in the Etape were initially motivated by my desire to test myself and to see if I could finish just a single mountain stage of the Tour de France. But while thinking about this little adventure, I thought it would mean so much more if I could make this ride bigger than just a cycling challenge.