Tuesday, September 30, 2008

SMU cycling kit ordering routine

With the publicity and press we have received lately, Michael Vangeli and I are starting to get inundated with requests.

Here is what we will try to do for you. Leave your name, contact info (or e-mail me privately) with what you want to order and I will compile a list on the blog so that you can see the progress of the next order. When we get enough people who want an item, we will collect all the money up front, then place an order.
all prices subject to change (depending on when order is made)

SMU short sleeve jersey $75 ($65 for SMU Cycling Club i.e students)
SMU Long sleeve jersey $85 ($75)
SMU bib shorts $80 ($70)
SMU drawstring shorts $75 ($65)
SMU Winter jacket $130 ($120)
SMU arm warmers $35 ($30)
SMU skin suit $ 130 ($120)
SMU skin suit long sleeve $135 ($125)

The usual requirements are minimums of 25 of a style (25 shorts or 25 jerseys or 25 mixed with 6 of a particular style,
For example:
6 Winter jackets
6 L/ skinsuit
6 arm warmers
7 L/S jerseys

Lat year when I did an order like this, I had to compile over $5,000 dollars up front (I still owe some on that one!)

Let's hope we can track it on this site, and you can convince others to Pony Up!

Monday, September 29, 2008

Tragedy hits SMU

Anthony Mungioli, a 1980 grad of SMU, and former star of the Mustang soccer team was tragically killed this morning while commuting on his bike. The accident occured at the intersection of Greenville and Arapaho in Richardson.

Our deep felt condolences go out to his family, friends and the SMU soccer community who have lost a stalwart supporter and great friend.

Fabian clan riding together

Friday, September 26, 2008

Daily Campus discovers SMU Cycling

Check out today's Daily Campus!
Here is the story cut and pasted directly from the source.
SMU Cycling club works for a more cycling, environmentally friendly campus
John Coleman, Associate News Editor, jpcolema@smu.edu
Issue date: 9/26/08 Section:

The SMU cycling club is lobbying to make SMU and the greater Dallas community a more cyclist- friendly environment. Promoting more cyclists, they hope to ease parking conditions and the air quality in Dallas.The club began two years ago when Scot Montague, staff advisor and part founding member, was cycling in a race and saw multiple purple TCU biking jerseys and wondered why SMU did not have a club.When Montague inquired around campus he discovered that there were a number of cyclists on campus that weren't organized. Montague helped to organize the various student and faculty cyclers and even designed a jersey for the SMU team.The group consists of many different kinds of riders, some purely environmentally conscious, some preferring it to paying high fuel prices, and some loving the competitive nature of the sport, but with one common bond- a love for cycling."There are all different kinds of riders but we all come together on rides to enjoy the sport of cycling, regardless of motivation," Montague said. "It is just great to get with people that share your common passion for cycling."The faculty and staff on the team enjoy working with the students as it is a great opportunity for them to be an influence in the young riders lives."It is a great way to mentor the students," said Rob Walker, manager of the Norwick center for Media Services and cycling team member. "Even though they are often in front of us, it's hard to mentor from behind, but it really is a great opportunity to help the students."The club often gets together for Wednesday evening rides, and again on Sundays for various different ride-alongs. The club does however have competitive riders that compete on the national level. Samuel Weyand has been competing nationally by himself representing SMU at his own expense at the USA cycling National collegiate track championship and narrowly missed moving on to the next level due to scoring calculations. The hope is that fellow competitive cycler, freshman Jeff Klein, along with two other females can take a pursuit team to nationals. Pursuit cycling is the Olympic event that takes place on a circular track where the team members compete against another racer and the clock.

One of the goals of the club is to make the campus more cyclist-friendly by encouraging more students and faculty members to don the spandex in the morning rather than picking up the car keys.Greg Pulte, a BBA academic advisor and club member, rides to school every day but does not feel safe locking up his bike around campus."Ideally we could have more available bike lockers rather than racks to lock up our bikes," Pulte said. "It is so easy to steal a bike from these racks and without a safe place to store your bike, no one is going to ride to campus."Another grievance for Pulte is that biking to campus works up a sweat, and Pulte has to walk all the way to the Dedman center to shower, and pay for a membership fee to accomplish this. He feels that if showers were more readily available in buildings throughout campus, many more individuals would cycle to SMU."We would really like to encourage cycling to SMU for many reasons- it would alleviate some of the parking pressure as well as be good for the environment and air quality here in Dallas," Montague said. "As well as good for everyone' health on top of that."Walker attributed the hurdles in their way to the usual issue: money.To tackle this issue the cycling club has teamed up with the Campus Sustainability Committee whose focus is to streamline environmental moves on campus.Committee member Tiana Lightfoot said that their main focus is to target the SMU green buildings that are coming up for recertification. Every three years, green certified buildings, like SMU's Embry building, must re-meet certifications and one possibility is encouraging cycling for people that use the building. Lightfoot said teaming up with the cycling club was perfect for their effort as the club is already encouraging students and faculty to cycle rather than drive to campus.The club is exploring alternate incentive forms, such as putting the $26 a month that faculty pay for parking towards bike lockers. The cyclers that don't use the parking permit would be able to donate to the locker funds, Pulte said.Walker said that turning SMU into a cyclist-friendly campus is an ongoing process, but to anyone who decides to take up cycling, it is something that can be enjoyed for an entire lifetime."Cycling is a lifetime sport, it is something you can do as a boy and as an adult and share it with your dad if you wish the whole time," Walker said. "You can race in your 20s, 30s and now I am discovering in your 40s as well. It's really something you can enjoy almost forever."

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Clyde awes all with tire changing skill!

After last week's massive showing, this week was still a good turnout. Beth and Bruce were both inundated by school responsibilities, so they opted out despite having their bikes and gear at school, ready to ride. Noah had a couple of tests that he had to study for. Jeff is also feeling the pressure of school commitments. After delivering a new jersey to Travis, we were a unified group wearing red and blue.

On University, a Suburban looked like it might take out Mike Vangeli since he was on point. No one else was threatened, so it was just the fear of witnessing calamity that spooked everyone else. Getting to the lake was without incident after that. Travis was pulling most of the way to the lake and to the sprint point. Youthful vigor means you do not have to count your matches.

I had to chase Travis and Mike and just as I was about to catch them, Mike neutralized the sprint because they came up on a car. Nearing the sprint line Travis comes around and passes me, but does not realize Kevin is coming up and neutralized or not, flies by us.

Mike chastises us again (by neccessity he does it every every week, the ride would not be complete without a transgression being addressed) and we continue on to Flagpole Hill where I wisely sit in on Travis' wheel up the climb (saving matches). Everyone gets to the top pretty much together, then we roll through the following hills where I was really proud of Kevin for his show of defiance climbing the last hill. He used the downhill to get his speed up and attacked really hard on the hill, only fading at the last 1/3 of it. Soon he will have it dialed in to get to the top with enough left to raise his arms.

Caryn was riding tempo the whole ride with Clyde and Greg, so they rode a consistent pace all evening. We had another car violate our space again, this time rolling through the street after we had the green light. A moment where the thought of a defibrilator enters your mind. A dog yelped at us, and Greg said that was scarier than when Mike was almost hit by the Suburban. Interesting. Mike might have to chastise us less often.

Mike was on point again and takes us down the road to the Bath House, and judging by everyone's body language, I think the other route is preferred (by Erykah Badu's house.) Kevin chooses to do another flyer and I had to chase, hard. So we drop most everyone else and I stuck to Kevin's wheel (to show him what a powerful advantage wheelsuckers have in a sprint.) We stop at the 7-11 and wait for Caryn, Clyde and Greg. It becomes apparent that we did not fly that much faster than they did, so we began to think that a mishap occured. We ride back toward the spillway, and here they come. It wasn't until later I found out they had a flat. We did have to wait a few minutes, but compared to our other flat tire changes, this one must have been F1 Scuderia Ferrari quality. Greg had a flat, and after they avoided a recumbant rider on one of those really low bikes, Clyde removed the tire and changed the tube in such an effortless manner, he impressed all. Sometimes the skill of a cyclist manifests itself in small things like that.

Loving? Travis stuck real close to my wheel, really close. I almost forced him to the curb before I realized he was there. Later, seeing him maneuver between us at a stop sign, there should be no worries. He was watching my line and followed right behind. When we finally passed Kevin just before the turn, he sounded frustrated. Each climb he gets farther and farther up it before being caught, nothing like progress! It is too bad that cars on the street between the hills separated Travis and myself, it would have been fun trying to chase him up the next two. He dogged it a little, and when I finally got close, he accelerated strongly and I looked at Greg (middle hill skipper!) and just had to admit defeat. We decided to go back to SMU through Lower Greenville and the M-Streets. A lot like playing Frogger, as Mike said. Abrams, Skillman, Matilda, Greenville, 75, Mockingbird are real annoying to cross!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

SMU "Vintage" Jersey

I've been working a little bit on a mock up of an SMU vintage jersey for the club. It is inspired by an American racing team's classic jersey. I'm hoping to get funding, perhaps from the SMU Alumni Association, to defray costs (hence the "AA" on the left chest panel, like the original).

I think this would be a really cool jersey for us older dudes.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Wednesday ride report

We are going to have a photo shoot every week if that is the turnout we get! Unfortunately, Tony Tillman arrived just a few seconds late, so he did not get in the picture. Bummer, since he makes the SMU kit look really sharp. We met a couple of new students who want to start racing, so we are getting the start of a team. Travis Mossy was one of the new students, and Nicky (fill in blank) from Engineering and the B-School. We even had a student on a fixie and a Discovery jersey, and I was so inundated with new faces I don't remember his name, but we will get it and let you know.

We were all a bit shocked at the great turnout, and pleased. Samuel even showed up to get in the picture (and promptly left, Wednesday is his off day.) Unlike Olympic swimmers, he did not chop off his mane to make himself more aero at Nationals. I think Rob commented on his Merckx era glasses from the picture I posted earlier. I brought a couple of spare jerseys so that we could really display our colors.

Beth Newman brought her husband, Bruce Levy out for his first ride with us. I didn't even get to say hello, with all the activity swirling around. I didn't even notice that she was in the group until we were riding. I was so used to seeing her in a "Team in Training" jersey, it threw me off to finally see her in SMU's colors. Not knowing what jersey Bruce usually wears, he fit right in.

We also welcomed Paul Escamilla, who rode with us for the first time. He is new to SMU, and is a welcome addition to the Perkins School. I hear he has an 8th grader who he rides tandem with. That alone is quite an accomplishment. He is also the author of the book "Longing for Enough in a Culture of More"

Kevin makes it to all the Wednesday rides, yet I was only able to say a few words all day to him. So many people to navigate through, and I always want to shepherd the students through the first ride. The guy on the single speed had some issues with his chain, Dallas roads caused it to pop off a few times, but to his credit he would reattach and get right back in the group. It must have been contagious, because I dropped a chain just as we got to the lake, so I wasn't going to be a player in the sprint. Caryn won it, but Rob was there, he just felt a little guilty he had to have a lane violation to get in position to win it.

Next we had a sloppy transition to Northwest Highway. You have to go from the right lane across three lanes to the left to be in the correct lane, and this guy in an Acura comes up on us a bit fast. I sprint up to his car to let him know he was travelling too fast. He argued that we were all over the road. Yes, but he still went too fast. He also claimed to be a cyclist, but his behaviour showed he was more a motorized vehicularist than a cyclist! He was also a Longhorn. Even though I spent some of my best years at UT, I'm starting to lump them in with the paper clips (OU) and the "I'll graduate with all D's" (LSU) in my list of least popular fans to run into. Our argument was primarily him saying "Dude" and I mocked his use of "Dudes" as a device to use in the discourse. We seem to have a run-in with a motorist every 4 or 5 rides.

The new guy, Travis responded quite well to my acceleration on the climb to Flagpole Hill and so did Nicky (like get to the top before me.) The student who rode the single speed had dropped his chain again, but finished the climb with the rest. Michael and Suzanne were doing a great job hanging back to ensure we all stuck together, except Mike and I were so overwhelmed with new faces, we lost Bruce, George and Rob! It took Beth a while to realize Bruce was lost. He is a strong rider but where did he go? We still are confused about that.

Michael did his best to keep us together, as did Noah. Go to http://www.ponyfans.com/ "other sports" since Noah put our picture out for all the Mustang Nation to see, plus the note to "call Scot for jerseys" I might have to ask him to help coordinate uniform sales! He is another student who is always here on the rides and if he had more time we're sure he would do a great job racing.

We survived Kevin's usual attack and then Michael told me to regroup at the 7-11, however the lure of Loving caused me to block that message out of my consciousness. I wanted to see what the new guys had and they didn't disappoint. My experience carried the day, but more than getting to the top first, my favorite moment was when Michael asked about the hill work, fully expecting me to acknowledge that Travis and Nicky beat me to the top. He was crestfallen to discover I had tricked them and wouldn't have to admit defeat (at least not this week!)

As we left the water fountain by the Boat House, we ran into another former Mustang who has been searching in vain for an SMU jersey. People, just google SMU Cycling (or TCU Cycling) and we pop up. After Tony and I tell him to look on the web site, it was just a few seconds before Tony's back tire chooses to go from 120 psi to 25 psi. After repairing it, we ride back to SMU in the dark. We even ride past Tony's house, but he has to go to SMU to get his car (he left it at school to get in the picture he didn't get in.)

Caryn pedalled at walking speed for an interminable time thinking we were going to catch up. She was in the dark blue skin suit, which at night is more stealthy than the F117's she used to work on (no, she worked on F15's and F16's)

She rode back slowly, but beat us by two minutes. Michael was very kind to stay in his office for a few minutes to make sure we got back. What an adventure! I have no idea who won the sprint at the city limit sign. Did Kevin or Michael clue anyone else about it to ensure victory?

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Michael's back and he's got some stories to tell

I talked to Michael, who is fresh from the Tour of Missouri. Armed with his Daily Campus press pass, he was able to get close to the riders, photographers and journos in this major bicycle race.

Suzanne annoyed Cav by asking if he would beat Boonen if he was also at this race, since word out on the tarmac is that Cavendish is pretty cocky. So Suzanne asked the tough questions, eliciting a testy response (I just wonder what kinds of questions she would ask T.O?)

Look forward to an inside the Tour account coming soon...

TOM Stage 7 St. Louis

The final podium came as a surprise to Mr. Cavendish (Team Columbia) because for the first time since March of this year someone passed him from behind on the way to the finish line. Francesco Chicchi (Liquigas) poured on the gas leaving behind a shocked, disappointed, and perturbed Cavendish. Tyler Farrar (Garmin/Chipotle) claimed third over Ivan Dominguez (Toyota-United). Dominguez lost his lead-out man, Henk Vogels, yesterday on the road to St. Charles and he was left to fend for himself after Chris Wherry finished his turn on the front of the peloton at the 3k mark. The final podium answers the question race fans have been asking all season, “Can Cav be beat?” This was a downhill sprint to the line and even though he may have misjudged, went too early, or is tired at the end of his season – Cavendish and the Columbia train were bested on Stage 7.

Garmin/Chipotle defended Vande Velde’s yellow jersey all the way to the finish. Dominique Rollin (Toyota-United) claimed the overall KOM jersey. Of course, Mr. Cavendish did take home the sprinter’s jersey. Jeff Louder (BMC) was awarded the most aggressive rider’s jersey and Roman Kreuziger (Liquigas) the best young rider’s jersey.

Nine different teams were represented in the top twenty places of the general classification at the end of the race. Team Columbia lead the teams classification with BMC and Team Sparkasse right behind them.

For such a young squad (5 of 8 were in the Best Young Rider competition), Rabobank, did well to claim stage 5 at Jefferson City. It will not be a surprise to see Boy Van Poppel, Michael Van Stayen or some of the other young riders win future stages of major races. Steven Cozza (Garmin) and Roman Kreuziger (Liquigas) and the other young riders from the Tour of Missouri will certainly be riding in the front of the peloton over the coming years. Vive le Tour!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

TOM Stage 6 Herman to St. Charles

Even though the road to St. Charles started out hilly and included three KOM opportunities. All three were taken by Carlos Oyarzun (Tecos) in the break but no one in the break threatened Dominique Rollin’s KOM lead. The course flattened out toward the finish and the peloton caught the break of eleven riders. The attacks continued to come from Columbia up to the finish even with the average speed for the day being over 27 MPH. Michael Barry made a solo move a couple of miles out and was able to gain 45” but he was never quite out of sight of peloton and was soon caught.

Through the last few turns the speed surged and as the leaders pushed to the outside of the last right-hand turn yesterday’s winner, Boy Van Poppel (Rabobank) ran out of room on the road. His cyclo-cross skills gave him an option and he hopped up on to the curb riding the sidewalk for a few hundred meters before regaining a place in the peloton.

The long straight finishing stretch gave Columbia the time to position Cavendish behind Hincapie for the finishing dash. Later in the press conference Cavendish said he told George to go and he went hard but it was too early. Cavendish continued his efforts beating his next closest contender, Ivan Dominguez (Toyota-United) by a little more than a wheel at the line. Dominguez sat up 5 meters before the line realizing that Cavendish had him. Jelly Belly’s Brad Huff finished a strong third and our young pro from yesterday, Boy Van Poppel finished 8th.

1. Mark Cavendish, Team Columbia
2. Ivan Dominguez, Toyota-United Pro Cycling Team
3. Brad Huff, Jelly Belly Cycling Team
4. Michael Van Stayen, Rabobank
5. Luis Hernandez, Tecos de la Universidad Autonoma de Guadalaiara

In Sunday’s final stage Christian Vande Velde (Garman-Chipotle) will need to stay upright in the rain-slick streets of St. Louis to keep his yellow jersey from the hands of the nearest competitors: Mick Rogers (Columbia 18” back) and Svein Tuft (Symmetrics 48” back). Each of the intermediate sprint zones have a 3” time bonus for 1st place and the end of the stage has 15” for first place but it is unlikely any attempt by Tuft to take these would go unanswered by Garmin-Chipotle and even less likely he could beat all the other sprinters in the fast downhill finish.

Vande Velde said it has been a great experience for Garmin-Chipotle to take on the challenge of defending the leader’s jersey day after day, especially with the number one ranked team in the world, Team Columbia, throwing everything they could at them. Vande Velde gave an honorable mention to his young teammate Steven Cozza who labored selflessly at the front working to keep the race under control. Even Mr. Vande Velde mentioned how high the average speed was today and during the entire race. He commented on the high caliber of racing this late in the season and said he would be back next year, “If my schedule will allow.” Then he added, “It will allow.”

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Collegiate Nationals update

I have been checking the results of the event on line through
www.usacycling.org and was able to discern that the weather made for a long
and draining weekend.

It was a mixed weekend for Samuel. Sometimes the stars align in your favor
and sometimes not. The rain in Colorado Springs caused a lot of rearranging
of events so that the organizers had to shuffle and then reshuffle the
schedule. Originally scheduled for Thursday night, the Kilo was moved to
today. Sam was ready to do the kilo and then had to prep for the match
sprints instead.

I have looked at 200m times throughout the past weeks, and knew Samuel was
amongst the very fastest collegiate cyclists (top 3.) Because of the rain,
the communiqué was changed to include the top 12 only. Sam shouldn't of had
any problems, but he was only able to make the 15th fastest time. When I
talked to him, he was understandably disappointed.

The track in Colorado Springs is a 333M track, but the Superdrome is a 250M
track, so that caused some difficulty because of the lack of experience. Sam
said he had too fast of a windup and this resulted in a significantly lower
TT. Further, the rain and the schedule did not allow enough time to practice
the 200 on that track.

He was confident that if he had made it to the match sprints he would have
beat most of then in the sprint rounds, short of Daniel Espinoza, who was
the champion on the day. Matt Fox of Wichita Falls MSU did a fine job to get

The kilo was Sam's last event, rather than his first. Over 70 cyclists
competed in the kilo TT and he ended up getting 12th. Samuel's PB was
previously a 1:12.67 at the Elite Qualifer, but he even exceeded his hope of
a 1:10, taking 4 seconds off of his best time, finishing with a 1:08.68.
Getting your personal best in such a big event and after a weekend of
frustration due to weather and inexperience with a larger track, we should
all be extremely proud of what he accomplished at Nationals. He has one more
year to compete, and we need to make sure that throughout the next year we
are able to send him again, and to make it even less of a financial burden
on him.

So let's "Pony up" by riding more, growing both clubs more and supporting
the Boulevard Crit initiative! Making SMU Cycling bigger and better can only
help Samuel, Noah, Lisa, Jeff, Noelle, Brent, Nicky, Travis and our other student cyclists.

Stage 5 TOM St. James to Jefferson City

Rain threatened all day but the only thing that materialized on the way to Jefferson City was a 12 man breakaway and even that faded, but held together long enough for Mr. Cavendish to re-secure the sprinter’s jersey, after Eric Baumman’s one day stint. He took the first two sprint zones without any fanfare, merely rolling through at the front. As the break approached Jefferson City, Cavendish sat up and rolled back into the peloton.

The break disintegrated before the city limits sign and the peloton thrilled the crowd with two circuits around the Capitol. Today’s stage featured only one KOM point and [even though it would not be called anything other than hilly it] the rolling hills presented constant challenges. Each roller strung the peloton out on the downhill and compressed them again on the next upslope. The finish line was also up hill.

Young Boy Van Poppel surprised the field by moving into the top ten with a teammate as they approached the 300 meter mark and pushing up and over the hill to claim the stage win. Van Poppel is the son of Jean-Paul Van Poppel, a formidable cyclist from an earlier generation. The hill may have taken something out of Cavendish as he faded to fourth. As he was sprinting for the line, Van Poppel said he thought he was going to be passed by a rider to his left so he stood up out of the saddle and powered to a stage win, the first for this lanky Dutchman.

Friday, September 12, 2008

DMM Account (not so different?)

12:57 AM CDT on Friday, September 12, 2008
MATT BAKER / The Dallas Morning News mbaker@dallasnews.com
Throughout Thursday night's TX Tough Grand Prix near Victory Park, the public address announcer called Heath Blackgrove an Australian.
By the end of the 75-minute plus five-lap criterium, Blackgrove made sure everyone knew he was from New Zealand.
Blackgrove led the final six laps and coasted to a two-and-a-half second win over Ricardo Escuela and Chad Cagle.
"That's why I got fired up – you called me an Aussie, and I'm a Kiwi," Blackgrove joked before stepping on the podium.
Blackgrove, 28, took the lead for his Toyota-United Pro Cycling Team at the 75-minute mark, leading with five laps left and winning a $1,000 prize. He expanded his lead in the next three laps to 15 seconds.
"I saw the opportunity to go for the prize," Blackgrove said. "I went for it, saw the gap, and that was it."
The field cut the lead to three seconds in the last two laps, but Blackgrove won comfortably, pumping his fist at the finish line.
Cagle finished as the top amateur rider behind Blackgrove and Escuela, a member of the Successful Living Pro Cycling team. The Tulsa, Okla. resident said he was thrilled with the result.
"There toward the end, the group surges," Cagle said. "I tried to play the surge right and find my way to the front.
"I work a 40-hour-a-week job. It was fun for me to race out here with the big boys."
More than 90 professional and elite amateur riders started the event, but as darkness fell on Victory Park, the field dwindled. Only 36 riders finished the race.
New Zealand's Heath Blackgrove won Thursday's TX Tough Grand Prix by two-and-a-half seconds.
Several hundred (there were close to a 1,000) fans lined the 1,500-meter course looping around Victory Park. As riders shot out of the fourth turn, those fans saw riders emerge from the darkness of Houston Street and burst into light from the big-screen TVs in front of the American Airlines Center.
Euless resident Nick Kiernan said he was excited to race through the streets of downtown.
"This is the greatest race I've done," Kiernan said. "Great crowd. Great course."
Victory Park will host another TX Tough event Sunday. More than 1,500 cyclists will race five different courses on a charity ride benefiting Children's Medical Center.

Texas Tough at Victory Plaza

Signor Vangeli might be in Missouri watching Toyota United, Columbia, Jittery Joe's and Garmin Chipotle, but those of us in Dallas were treated to a 1st caliber race last night with some of the same teams. One of the race announcers was 1310 "The Ticket's" Craig Miller. Strange, he sounds much more knowledgable about cycling than the couch potato sports he normally covers. I have never seen him out on the roads, but he is supposedly a very competent rider.

The course was 1500m around the W, American Airlines Center and Victory Plaza. The HD screens were a huge plus as most of the race course was covered by cameras, so the remarkable accelerations for the $250, $500 and $1000 dollar primes were impressive to watch. So was the moment I said to Caryn, "you're on TV" and she ducked away so fast it was like watching the sprint for a $1000 prime! I have seen races at Fair Park (7-11, Alfa Romeo were the big teams) and the Tour of Texas at City Hall and Flag Pole Hill in Dallas and Trinity Park in Fort Worth (Davis Phinney, Taylor's dad won, 7-11 again dominant) and this venue was top notch!

The RBM guys that we see around town mixed it up quite nicely with the national teams. Garmin's Pat McCarty (last seen helping to win the TTT at the Giro D'italia) was off the front grabbing some of the big primes. He is originally from Allen, so it was rewarding to see a rider from the Dallas area ripping off some impressive laps.

After 20 minutes of racing, a few guys were shelled out the back. A few laps would go by and you know you would have been able to hang with the group on this lap or that lap, but every lap? The guys who were never in front but able to hang around are to be lauded, because the pace on every lap was high, some laps it was Audi RS8 worthy. After 50 minutes a few more did the finger across the throat, (the universal sign for 'I'm finished, I rode like that Scot guy usually does") Some of the faces in the group, RBM, GS Tensing, and Park Place teams are guys that make us hurt on many local rides, so seeing them hurt makes it so much more intense, and puts it in perspective.

The prime laps? It is shocking to see in the middle of a race someone gaining 10-15 seconds in just 1.5 k to claim the money. The race would usually reintegrate, but crits are not only about the finish, but about the inumerable races within the race. Heath Blackgrove of Toyota United appeared to be able to go off the front whenever he wanted to, and had some able teamates such as Justin England and Ivan Stevic able to slow down the peloton when needed. About half of the field looked like they would not argue with that strategy.

Pat McCarty claimed a prime that after he passed the start/finish, the announcers couldn't remember if it was $250 or $500. That part of the race is so "side-show," and gives the riders so much more to think about than following that wheel in front of you (like strangling the announcers, who to their credit did less of the "bike race 1101 section 001" than usual)

With five laps to go Heath Blackgrove of Toyota United built a 10 - 15 second lead and we were to find out that his motivation was to get to the podium and tell the announcer that he was "Kiwi" not Australian! Awkward foot in mouth moment at the end was to follow after the kiwi reached his goal, with time to zip up and raise his arms in triumph.

During all of this, I was expecting the text message from Samuel regarding the Kilo in Colorado Springs' 7-11 Velodrome. I found out later that rains have delayed many events until today.
Expect updates as the day progresses....

I think my reporting is less polished than Michael's. I will let him cover big time races in the future!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

TOM Stage 4 Lebanon to Rolla

With Rogers (Columbia) and Tuft (Symmetrics) within a minute of the yellow jersey and George Hincapie (Columbia) only 1’03” behind, Garmin/Chipotle had a tough day in the saddle defending Mr. Vande Velde’s yellow jersey. The day took its toll on the leader and he missed the press conference due to dehydration. He was quoted as saying, “The attacks were just relentless today. Our strategy was always to keep control.”

Most of the peloton lagged 10 minutes behind and the officials kept them out of the finishing circuits until the race was decided leaving only 23 riders to contest the finish but it was already too late for most of them. Michael Barry (Columbia) made the right attack at the right time to stay away from the chasers and show that he was back on form even with the high average speed of 27 to 28 mph. He commented later that the rolling terrain, relentless climbs, and aggressive field made for tough racing and Garmin did the best job they could while Columbia kept attacking over the top of them after each break was caught. He looked fatigued, yet obviously buoyed by the stage win.

Yesterday Vande Velde mentioned, “I can’t sprint myself out of a paper bag,” and today he was just outsprinted at the line for the remaining time bonuses. Eric Baumann (Sparkasse) captured enough points (31) with his second place finish to rob Mr. Cavendish of his green jersey. Baumann’s new jersey is far from secure with Cavendish only one point behind.

Dominique Rollin solidified his lead for the KOM jersey. With only 1 KOM on the road tomorrow, Toyota United will work for a stage win Ivan Dominquez (fair weather) or Rollin himself (all-weather, as in San Luis Obispo). The incoming weather may split the field and a tough Canadian like Rollin or Tuft may thrive in those harsh conditions while Garmin keeps a weather eye out for the contenders within two minutes of the lead.

Tonight the Kilo, tomorrow the 200m and the Match Sprints

I called Samuel to see what is his program for the weekend. I asked him to text me (and if you know me, you know what an accomodation that is!) with the results of the events this weekend.

Last year Sam finished 18th in the 200m which just got him into the match sprints, and finishing 9th was a remarkable accomplishment. This year with some luck (and his hard work all year) we look forward to seing what he does against the rest of the nation.

Wednesday ride: Old broke down...new hotness

Borrowing a line from Will Smith in Men in Black 2, that is the story of the ride. From reports I have heard, Jeff Klein ripped everyone's legs (and lungs) off yesterday. Nursing a soccer injury (knee is sore from coaching Isabella's team last Tuesday and a 20 minute practice with Katarina's team on Friday. I did score two goals and assisted on another to Katarina, and then was immediately yanked for "aggressive" teaching techniques)

Kevin was waiting for us where everyone gathers at the flagpole (actually under a nearby tree.) Caryn and I had spotted Jeff just outside the Owen Art Center adjusting his front derailleur. The story is that he had been doing a ride with his dad two weekends ago and suffered a crash, the most gruesome part of it was that the following bike ran over his neck, just missing his larynx. Ouch. Bruised, but back on the bike and still riding.

As everyone was meeting, Noah rode up and we discussed the plans for a Boulevard crit next spring, so anyone who wants to start assisting in the logistics....

Off they go and I'm feeling a bit envious that I'm missing the festivities. Ask Noah and Kevin if I missed anything, though. Jeff "trained" specifically this past week to rip my legs off, so he had Caryn, Kevin and Noah as victims. I think Tony thought it was going to rain, as he was not at TP hill. The wind was at their faces going north on Lawther and the group was tucked behind Jeff. As the others peeked around and had the wind hit them in the face, a quick tuck back to the friendly confines of the peloton (such as it is.) Jeff was pulling at a good 24 mph into the wind.

Caryn did her best to stay behind Jeff during the Flagpole Hill climbs and felt pretty good that she finished only a few meters behind. No rest for the weary though, as it was then hard tempo that would have even made Vangeli hurt a little bit. He always goes to the front and rides tempo, and it usually takes a stoplight to get him to stop.

Back at the lake, Kevin chooses his escape with the regularity of a Rolex. A bit of mud just past the FDR era CCC worker statue caused the pursuit to slow a bit, and then it was full gas to chase Kevin down. Another escape, pursuit and then catch, it is becoming very "Jacky Durand" like, Kevin's escapes. Kevin's wife told me he was disappointed that he was caught, but you have to try over and over and then one day, freedom! Happiness!

All that is left is the lovely Loving Hills. Caryn said that Jeff accelerated up the first with stunning speed, then waited at the top with a "I forgot, where do we go?" The second one they climbed together (I'm thinking that the convuluted way needs more than one trip to learn the path) and then the last drag up the third. Jeff sees an SMU jersey and says, "Look, who is that?" Caryn said "someone has cheated!" a Jeff takes off after him. Caryn then finds that her nitrous bottle was empty and the turbo refused to spool up, so her valiant effort to keep up failed. At the top the three who have made it (the two chasers and the "direct route taker" see a tandem as discuss how silly most people on a tandem look, yet both Caryn and Jeff discuss how fast they can be with the right combo. Jeff's dad has threatened to violate style man's directive about jersey choices while riding a tandem, just to throw speed and power in the faces of those they speed by. Kevin's earlier efforts have cost him, so his arrival causes him to say "So did you have lunch or what?"

When Caryn got back and relayed the account of the trip, she was spent. The trip from SMU to Loving had only taken an hour. Ouch. Maybe my hurt knee will stay hurt a bit longer! Kudos to Noah and Kevin for hanging in and returning with legs and lungs still attached. And to those who read this and might get a bit scared, pain produces speed (the next time out!)

I will keep everyone posted on Samuel's trip to Colorado Springs, where the Collegiate Track Nationals are happening this weekend. We are very excited about Sam's progress on the track and hope he sends ripples of excitement throughout the weekend.

Convalescing with trepidation....

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

TOM Stage 3

When asked last night team physiologist Dr. Lim said, “Pate is ready.” Danny Pate, Steven Cozza, Tom Danielson, David Zabriskie, and Christian Vande Velde were all ready finishing in the top twenty. Of course, Mr. Vande Velde took the stage by 21 seconds over Mick Rogers of Columbia. Cozza’s efforts put him in the best young riders’ jersey with a 3 second lead over Roman Kreuziger of Liquigas.

Jonathan Vaughters mentioned during the press conference that the team tactics would shift to protect Vande Velde’s yellow jersey. Vaughters offered, “Tyler [Farrar] had his shot on the first two stages.” Now the rest of the team will ride to support the yellow jersey.

Columbia will look for additional opportunities in the next couple of stages for wins, but stage four holds its own challenge with approximately 6000 feet of climbing up and down Missouri’s punchy little rollers. Stage 4 has three opportunities for KOM points and Dominique Rollin (Toyota-United) and Frank Pipp ( Health Net) may be out in the hunt for points. Rollin retained the KOM jersey sponsored by Michelob but things may heat up over the next two stages.

Now for those of you looking for the peloton’s reaction to Lance’s return to cycling it can be summed-up as: nonplussed. Lance has some logistical issues to tackle before he can gallop into the peloton again -- getting on a team invited to the Tour de France. Not-withstanding his return will validate the efforts of riders like Vande Velde but only if Lance attains the same form he has shown in his last seven tour wins. The tour has never had two tour winners on the same team in the same tour, and it is unlikely this pattern will be broken. After sitting on his hands during this year’s tour, would Contador carry water bottles for Lance?

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

TOM Stage 2

After Cavendish’s American sprint debut on Stage 1 in Kansas City he secured the leaders jersey for Columbia to defend on the way to Springfield. The five men who decided to gamble for the win spent most of the day in front of the Columbia juggernaut. Sayers (BMC), Guptill (Colavita Sutter Home), Schillinger (Team Sparkasse), Mumford (Kelly Benefits), and Randell (Symmetrics) had all rolled the dice to stay out in front for the afternoon. None of the break riders seemed to be in contention for sprint points so maybe they were thinking of last year’s stage when the peloton let the break run away with the race. Not this year. Sayers attacked before the last sprint zone, it was, in fact, the last gasping efforts of doomed men.

Columbia waited, biding their time, finally reeling in the break at the start of the finishing circuits taking the entire peloton on a parade route for the several thousand fans packing the finish area. In the final meters Bernhard Eisel led big George and it was fait accompli for Mr. Cavendish.

In the press conference afterwards Cavendish provided a most gentlemanly answer on tomorrow’s time trial in Branson, he will be putting forth his best effort to keep the yellow leader’s jersey even though he clearly will be struggling through the hilly time trial. (to honor the race organizers’ efforts??)

Brad Huff with Jelly Belly joined the conference as the local hometown hero and Andy Guptill as the most aggressive rider for the stage. Lance rumors still bounce around without any real meaning to the riders. They all suggest it would be great to ride against him but they seem to shrug their shoulders and ask, “What about the rest of us?” Huff expressed a little Lance fatigue while Cavendish put it in perspective, “he was an inspiration to me when I was growing up.”

What else can one expect from a young man who in addition to the yellow race leader’s jersey also holds the best young rider, and green sprinter’s jersey. The attached photo is what the peleton saw of Cavendish as he crossed the line.

LAF Foundation sends me an e-mail to announce Lance's un retirement

To think Dara Torres would have such a far reaching influence! Don't read my comments yesterday, since I have been proven wrong! I find it interesting that Cycling News has a story about the demise of the Tour of Georgia, and Lance announces plans to ride the Tour of Georgia the next day. What is that all about?

Samuel is leaving for Colorado Springs for the Collegiate Nationals. Follow the event on www.usacycling.org or VeloNews or hopefully The Daily Campus!

Monday, September 8, 2008

Tour of Missouri

Why aren't you here?

Looking at the start list for the Tour of Missouri (TOM) http://www.tourofmissouri.com/start-list.html you need to ask yourself that question. Some of the highlights for today's stage near KC are: Hincapie, Cavendish, Nibali, Vande Velde, Farrar (hell all of TSL), Tuft, Jacques-Maynes, Creed, Dominguez, Vogels, O'Bee, Pipp, Bajadali, and Huff just to name a few.

We are camped out in Branson to catch the end of tomorrow's stage in Springfield and the hilly time trial here in Branson. This town can't help but make you feel young. I'm looking forward to getting some great shots with my new D90. Time to look for a route along the Shepherd of the Hills highway, should be challenging.


Michael V.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Another casualty of Gustav (not Klimt)

For the first time (during daylight savings) in two seasons, the Wednesday ride was not contested. First Clyde said he was not able to make it this week (told me on Tuesday). This morning it was Noah who said he was sick then the other stalwarts called me, first Kevin (a meeting) then Michael Vangeli regretfully said he would not make it. Shortly afterwards, Jeffrey sent me a similar e-mail. I think a trend developed. I called Greg to see what his status was, and his line was answered by someone who said he stayed home today (HIPPA regulations notwithstanding.) Are all of you wanting to watch Gov Palin tonight? Can she match Obama's oratory? That must be what is going on...

I actually packed my long sleeve jersey just in case there was some rain, but I guess it will be just Caryn and myself.

See you next week!