Monday, November 29, 2010

Oh, really?

Landis says clenbuterol is quite common in peloton
Again, I wonder why people keep giving Floyd a soap-box from which to spout. I suppose as an admitted doper, he has certain insights into the dark side of the pro peloton. But, where is his credibility? He lied for years, wrote a book about it, finally came clean (so to speak) earlier this year, and proceeded to implicate other riders. He never apologized, to my knowledge, for lying and misleading so many people.

Floyd, please do us all a favor and hush? Thank you.
You want to be listened to? Stop running your mouth, accept the blame for the choices you made, and commit to riding clean and transparent from now on.

Until next time, ride long and keep the rubber-side down.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Oh, for the love of...

UPDATE 11/25/2010:
There is always more to the story...
The Explainer: How do we get from aging dopers to the big names?

amateur: noun; (1) devotee, admirer (2) one who engages in a pursuit, study, or sport as a pastime rather than a profession ( The origins of the word are French, from the Latin and originally refer to love or the love of something.

News has come down the pipe at VeloNews that a masters racer from Michigan has been handed a two-year suspension from USADA for purchase and use of EPO.

I can't help but think there's something seriously wrong when an amateur dopes. Is winning that local crit or Tuesday Night Sprint series really worth the potential health problems and legal problems that will most likely arise? What really makes this case sad is that this guy didn't really have any results to show. Basically, he risked his health for nothing, and now he can't race for two years.

Let's file this one under "You've gotta be kidding me", shall we?

Until next time, ride long and keep the rubber-side down.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Um, what's the problem?

As a cyclist, I can tell you that few things are more frightening than a car zipping by six-inches from your elbow while you're riding on the shoulder. And many drivers of my acquaintance have told me that passing or even just seeing a cyclist on the road makes them quite nervous behind the wheel.

The number of commuters who ride bicycles to get to work and run errands are increasing and I doubt that will change any time soon, thanks to rising gas prices, etc. However, cars and trucks still outnumber bicycles on the road by a large margin; and some drivers don't like sharing the road. So, a bike lane sounds like the perfect solution, doesn't it? Drivers are able to pass cyclists with relative ease and cyclists have a lane where cars aren't allowed, therefore they can worry a little less about being hit. Great, right? Apparently, not.
New York Times: Bike Lanes' Growth in New York Brings Backlash

"And yet, I am unmoved." Now, I don't live on an island where there's finite space for everything and I've never had the pleasure of visiting New York City. From what I can gather, drivers are angry over losing a driving lane and parking spots. I'm also thinking that they feel threatened that with the growth of bike lanes, cyclists are somehow going to squeeze them out and make it harder for them to drive their cars.

True, there's one less lane for cars, cry me a river. Cars still get the majority of the road and an automobile still outweighs a cyclist by a few tons. Driving is a privilege, not a right; and if you can't deal with a repainting of lanes, perhaps you should consider changing your driving routes. It's hard to have sympathy for angry drivers who seem to think a cyclist don't deserve the same rights and considerations on the road as a car.

Until next time, ride long and keep the rubber-side down.

Saturday, November 20, 2010


I've crashed my bike a couple times out of the thousands of miles I've ridden. Pretty good odds, I'd say. And I got off fairly light injury-wise: Painful road-rash and multi-colored bruises. However, both times I messed up my shoulder something nasty. Shoulder Separations Explained
I think I had a Type I separation that first crash. Ugh, it took forever for that to heal.

When you crash, don't hesitate to go see your doctor if something isn't working the way it should. Better to go get it checked and find out it's nothing than to wait and make it worse by omission.

Until next time, ride long and keep the rubber-side down.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


not what I was hoping to hear.
Newspaper reports WADA unable to confirm Alberto Contador's tainted beef claim

Man, I don't know what to believe anymore. I really want to let due process take it's time to uncover and analyze the evidence available. But as more time passes, it looks worse and worse for Alberto.

And what's the truth? Is Alberto a doper? Or was this just the worst possible confluence of unfortunate and unintended circumstances?

I think I'll wait until the official report from UCI and WADA is released to pass any sort of judgement.

Until next time, ride long and keep the rubber-side down.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

What do you call it?

I use this little corner of the interwebs to draw attention to people, stories, et cetera that I believe others would benefit from knowing about. In the past two years, I've written my two cents about volunteering at huge bike races, the local cycling scene, play-by-play of races I've attended, doping cases of some of my heroes and former heroes, and a lot of other subjects.

So, since I'm writer and maintainer here at VeloGirl, I'm writing an absolutely shameless plug for a local non-profit organization I deem worthy of such an honor: Twin Cities Robert Emmets Hurling Club.
I suppose this will require some explanation.

Despite what you may have gathered from this blog, I do a lot of stuff that has little to do with cycling. I write (of course), devour Victorian-era mystery novels, enjoy action movies with friends, sing with the music in my car, and run around on a soccer pitch with a three foot piece of Irish ash in my hands chasing a leather ball in all sorts of weather [playing hurling], among other things.

We have a fairly large Irish community in the Twin Cities metro area and one thing that binds a community is their sport. The Gaelic game of hurling is approximately 2,000 years old and has been played in one form or another in Ireland all that time. The way I describe the game to the uninitiated (and they are numerous) is it looks like a combination of field hockey and lacrosse, but quicker and with less padding (helmets are required, cleats are highly recommended, and shin-guards are optional). A lot of American players have backgrounds in lacrosse, soccer, ice hockey, baseball, and golf to name a few.

I fell in love with hurling two summers ago while walking around a park in Saint Paul. A bunch of people were running around a makeshift field with what looked like axe handles, knocking into each other and smacking what looked like a baseball around. I was intrigued and was allowed to "puck around" on the field after the game was finished. Uh oh. I kept the game in mind when I visited Ireland this past spring and even commandeered our house's television to watch an inter-county match between Galway and Cork, over the groans of my family. I was determined to put some serious thought into playing the game when I got back.

The game is gaining popularity outside Ireland in England, Australia, the United States and is primarily, but not exclusively by Irish immigrants and people with a love for and/or connections to their Irish communities. Games are usually played on a soccer pitch with temporary up-rights attached to the goalposts, as true hurling pitches are curiously hard to find in the US.

Our local hurling club, the Robert Emmets (so named for an Irish patriot) is a 501(c)(3) organization, meaning they're non-profit. They subsist totally on donations from sponsoring companies and dues and equipment fees paid by playing members. Granted, there isn't a lot of equipment, but playing field fees are expensive and the club does travel out of state in the summer to regional tournaments and Nationals.

Anyway, today is Give to the Max Day through and some companies are matching donations to certain organizations. If you are so inclined, click on this link and give. Any amount is greatly appreciated and will be hoisted onto our shoulders. Come check out a match in the spring once the snow melts and the club is allowed back on the pitch.

Until next time, ride long and keep the rubber-side down.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Darwin-ism In Action

I find this rather unsettling.
Cat 6, Competitive Commuting Turns Bike Rides into Races
I truly hope this author had nothing else to write about that day, because commuting isn't a race and if you turn it into one, you're being moronic. Bike lanes and multi-use bike paths are meant for efficient, predictable riding; not for shouldering past a riding buddy to win a sprint or pulling a dick-move and not letting a quicker rider pass. Racing while commuting is like high school kids drag-racing: It just isn't a good idea.

Now, if you want to see if you can beat your best previous time commuting to work, knock yourself out, but please don't be a jerk when others try to pass you, okay? I ride my bike for fun, so forgive me if I don't want to spend my ride playing a stupid game of leap-frog/chicken with a guy tucked into his tri-bars (I'm sorry, but it's always tri-bars) who doesn't want me to pass him on my blue bicycle.

BikeSnobNYC: BSNYC Friday... Nice to know I'm not the only one who thinks that this racing while commuting is akin to playground antics and "which one is bigger".
It's Not A Race: The Unspoken Game This is a site dedicated to the ridiculousness that is the Unspoken Game, shhh!

Haters gonna hate, as the saying goes. I say, póg mo thóin! Thank you.

Until next time, ride long and keep the rubber-side down.

Bad Barrier, Bad!

I get the the feeling that that isn't the way it's supposed to work. Hey, face! This is what the course looks like up really close!

Todd Wells battered, unbroken after botched bunny-hop For the record, I think Todd handled that better than I would have.

Until next time, ride long and keep the rubber-side down.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Fanning the Flames

More reaction from the cycling community, et cetera about the Erzinger case in Vail, Colorado. Yummy!
Vail Daily: Hurlbert stands by plea bargain
Vail Daily: DA explains controversial plea bargain
Good. I hope he gets thousands more e-mails asking him where he put his brain when he made that [now] infamous comment; especially if it doesn't reflect the "real" reason he offered the plea deal. Last time I checked, it was the prosecutor's job to represent the interests of the law and the victim of the crime, not the fact that the defendant "could write a check and his case would be dismissed".

Vail Daily, Editorial: Judge should reject plea bargain
The Explainer: Is having a Mercedes an affirmative defense?
"In what has to be the most boneheaded public comment made by a prosecutor in recent history, Hurlbert noted that 'felony convictions have some pretty serious job implications for someone in Mr. Erzinger’s profession, and that entered into' his decision."

Read this whole write-up; take note of what happened a woman gave her Leadville 100 race entry to a friend and that friend was entered in the wrong age group. *wince* I'm not sure this prosecutor has his head screwed on correctly. Fudging a bike race entry, getting caught, returning the award, etc. is more serious than a hit-and-run offense? Okay, that's f***ed up.

Until next time, ride long and keep the rubber-side down.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

This Is November? Okay!

Yesterday's high was 64 degrees F. Today's high was 66 degrees F. Tomorrow's high is projected to be 63 degrees.

Perfect riding weather for November, don't you think?

I was late getting out of work this afternoon, so I couldn't throw my leg over my bike until four o'clock. Next time, I'm packing all my stuff in the car and leaving right from the office.

Adding to the fun was a road closure on my way home. A water-main broke and crews were finishing patching up the road where they had to dig. No cars allowed; but the worker watching the road block let me through. ^_^ Oh, boy! It was about two miles of two-lane road with absolutely no cars, bliss!

Until next time, ride long and keep the rubber-side down.

Monday, November 8, 2010


UPDATE 11:42pm
This thing has gone viral. Check out the Huffington Post article, note the explanation within bottom two paragraphs. If the DA's goal was to limit potential impact to this guy's job, he mis-calculated; it's blown up in his face.

This makes me sick.
Vail Daily News: Alleged hit-and-run driver may not face felony
Summit Daily News: DA Hurlbert won't press felony charges...

New York Times: Cyclists Fault Prosecutor's Decision Another black-eye for bikes in Colorado
BikeSnobNYC: Wheelsucking...

Wait, because this guy manages million-dollar accounts and being charged with a felony "could jeopardize his ability to pay restitution", he gets a pass on hit-and-run charges? Mr. Erzinger will be charged with misdemeanor traffic violations, but won't be charged with a felony for leaving someone broken and bleeding at the side of the road!? How is nearly killing someone with your car only a traffic violation? That's attempted manslaughter in some places! WTF!

I like BikeSnob's response to this news. A nearly perfect blend of sarcasm, anger, and his trademark dry wit: "Also, the District Attorney who dropped the charges doesn't want to cost the doughy money manager his job because 'justice in this case includes restitution and the ability to pay it.'
In other words, treating him like the criminal he is might make it slightly more difficult for him to buy his way out of this and any other future vehicular assaults, and that would be downright un-American."

I don't care what this guy does for a living; this should be about a driver hitting a cyclist, severely injuring him, fleeing the scene of the accident, and not reporting that accident to the police. Did Mr. Erzinger really think no one would know/find out what happened? What if Dr. Milo had died as a result of the crash? Would the prosecutor decline to press charges then? I rather doubt it.

Ugh, I'm going for a ride. If you hit me while I'm out there, please stop and make sure I'm okay. If I'm not okay, call the paramedics. Thank you.

Until next time, ride long and keep the rubber-side down.

Bike Paths = Perplexing Conundrum?

As a person who studied recreation and resource management in college, I'm quite interested in the problem(s) voiced in this article:
Grist: We Need Real Bike Paths for Real Bike Transportation

This is a problem that has challenged recreation professionals for as long as the "multi-use path" has been around. How do we accommodate everyone and their respective preferred uses? How do we handle the resource when problems, such as crashes with injuries, occur? It's a hard set of questions to answer and one that planners, lawmakers, and users will have to deal with a lot more as traffic on these paths increases past the trails intended capacity.

And you thought recreation planners and other professionals got to run around outside and play all day. Nope, they make sure you have the spaces you run around on all day.

Until next time, ride long and keep the rubber-side down.