Friday, July 25, 2008

It's a GO

Looks like I won't need to be around this weekend. I'm heading off to PA in a few hours to do what will largely be an impromptu century. I've been riding and all but haven't really been on a focused training plan since Tahoe. That being said, I still think I have enough fitness in me to handle 100 miles.

I think I may have to pass on the hot lunch though. That sounds like a recipe for a belly bomb.

Ride report and pictures hopefully on Sunday.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Tick Tock

So I'm hoping to ride the River to River Century this weekend. Unfortunately the Senate has yet to announce whether we will be in session voting on Saturday, which might or might not effect my plans for the weekend - depending on what we're working on and who is working on it. Its all very frustrating .... its keeping me from mentally getting in the zone for the ride.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Western White House: August 2008 Clean Cycling Event

There should be the following ceremony at the Western White House in August:

The President should invite all the members of Team Garmin and Team Columbia to Crawford to celebrate their recent clean performance at the TdF. Attendees should include:

John Burke President of Trek and Chair of the President's Council on Physical Fitness
John Walters, Director of ONDCP
Team Garmin/Chipotle (including of course JV, Allen Lim, Danny Pate, Christian Vandevelde, and Will Frischkorn )
Team Columbia (making sure BIG George Hincapie is there)
And of course the President

This would be a perfect opportunity for the President and the leaders of the American cycling community to make the point that you can compete clean and you can win. As of latest count Cavendish has four stage victories, Garmin had the yellow numbers for a few days, and Christian Vandevelde is in a podium position, among other highlights from the season.

These guys have competed at the top of their sport, in the hardest athletic event on the planet all while staying dope free. Particularly hard considering the pressure there is on the Tour to cheat.

The doping over the last couple years has been demoralizing for alot of fans. Bringing these teams out to Crawford for a press conference and a ride with the leader of the free world would be a great way to turn the story around! Heck it might even put some pressure on more mainstram U.S. sports to get serious about weeding out their cheaters.

I try not to mix my interest in politics and cycling too much, but I think this is a decent exception to that rule.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Listen to Millar

David Millar's got some important things to say about the recent doping scandal at the TdF. In an posting on his blog he cut to the quick

But there are also heroes. Christian Vande Velde is one, Mark Cavendish is another. And there are many others, some whose names you will know and others whose names you will never hear or see but who will be on their own heroic journey through the hardest race in the world. These men, and boys, are the biggest victims of the dopers because their names are sullied simply because they are sharing the same profession and taking part in the same event. That is not fair.


He cuts to the tragedy of the doping scandal. Its good to see that the officials are catching the dopers - hell its certainly better than the alternative - but still at the end of the day people - people who we've marveled at them pulling amazing performances out of their ass - are cheating. Its demoralizing. It engenders a skepticism in every performance. Every time we get up out of our seats and yell GO GO GO at a mass sprinit something sneaks into the back of our head wondering if the guy who's legs are bunring like hell to win the stage took something to give him a little edge over the guy a 1/2 a wheel lenght behind him.

Simply it just makes the race less fun to watch.

Fortunately it seems to happened pretty early on and the officals seem to be on top of it. Even better for us on this side of the pond, Vandevelde the other American riders and the American teams are performing well. I'm partical to Garmin/Chipotle, but boy is it fun to watch Kirchen in those crappy baby blue jersey to tear things up. Or Cavendish stomp on it at the end. And Vandevelde watching him hold third and wonder whether he is going to be able to deliver in the Alps makes the ride really exciting to watch.

Lets just hope the worst of this is behind us. I don't want to have to turn the Tour off before Paris. I did that last year when Vino sucked the heart out of my ride. I'm cautiously optimistic that I'll be cheering through Paris. Hopefully some shithead won't ruin it for me.

Read Millar's article. He puts things in the right perspective.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

F*ck

That's all I can come up with.........
Tour de France drowns in new drugs scandal - Cycling - Yahoo! Sports
The Tour de France lurched into yet another crisis on Thursday when Italian climbing specialist Riccardo Ricco tested positive for the blood-boosting drug EPO.

Found the burritos

So I asked in my last post where the burritos were, and by the time I got to this post, well here they were:
ChicagoTribune.com: Burrito break a welcome relief
Where else can I eat a burrito prepared by the owner and founder of Chipotle? It was the best burrito I’ve ever had — and in France!”

I suspect that eating a burrito while riding might cause a little tummy distress. you know, that sour cream and all. ;-)

Eat to Ride / Ride to Eat ??

The Feed Zone: Vande Velde the Eating Machine
On an average day, each rider drinks about 8-10 bottles. That is about the same for Christian. As for food, normally they each have about 3-4 CLIF bars (Mojo, Nectar, Luna and the original - just depends on what their taste buds dictate that day!), 8 CLIF Gels, 5 packs of CLIF Shot Bloks, 2 fresh panini, and 5-7 of Allen Lim’s special rice cakes. Sounds like a lot, no?

Well we had to double that for Christian on stage 10 (and well most days)!!! He was an eating machine! And still hungry at the end of the race! He ate a CLIF Builder’s protein bar and drank 1.5 liters of CLIF Shot Electrolyte drink!


Dude, this is alot of food. But they are the only team in the tour that I can think of that is sponsored by a food company -- am I missing anyone??

I would love to find out what are in the panini! And where are the burritos?? Why no burritos??

Seriously though, if you're interested there's a video on the Slipstream page showing how to make Allen Lim's special rice cakes. Unfortunately I can't seem to embed the video in my blog. Anyway, as a big favor to you I've watched the whole 5 minutes of the video and have transcribed the recipe for you.

3 eggs scrambled
Cup of sushi rice to 1 & 1/2 cup Water - simmer for 20 minutes
dump sushi rice into a pan
toss the eggs on top of the rice
toss some bacon/ham on top
top with some parmesan cheese
maybe a little soy
mix it all together with a fork

Then smush it into the corner of the pan and pack tight.

After it cools cut into squares and wrap in aluminum foil.


I think I'll have to try a couple of these for my next long ride.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Where should I ride???

Well folks, as you may have seen in my post yesterday, I've got alot of places to choose from to do some rides.

I've been given a permission slip from Noel to go ahead and pick a ride the two of us can do on the weekend of September 20th or 21st. There are a few options that I have discovered. They are:


So here's the thing. The first three are pretty darn far away. The lakes one is 5 hours, the heartland one is at least 4 and the Tri-State one is 8. Way too far to drive.

Now the NYC one is 3 1/2 hours away, but probably a bit more expensive to find a place to stay. But being an NYC ride should have a big turnout and will be super well supported. And they have bagels.

The Three Creeks ride will certainly be a bit smaller and the support might be a bit less, but the ride should be fairly pretty and it will be alot cheaper to find a room up there. So folks! What do you think? Which ride should I pick?

As you can see I don't know a ton about these two rides, so if you have some thoughts on the matter leave a comment and let me know what I should do.

Even better, go to the side of the blog and cast your vote!!!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Another good week

I got out and got in a hundred mile week last week. The highlight had to be hitting the road on Saturday and putting in a nearly 50 mile ride with Tahoe teammate Sally. We started out down at water street and headed up the CCT for about 4 miles and then jumped off the CCT and got onto MacArthur Blvd and headed out to Rockville. McArthur was a nice ride with relatively little incline except right before Falls road. I had jumped on with two guys heading out to Falls Road and was pulling for a while. I came off the front and figured I'd let these guys pull for a while. That worked fine until we hit the hill. These guys were clearly in better shape than me and when we hit that incline they spit me out really quickly. I'd like to think it was because they had lighter and better bikes, but the fact of the matter was they were just stronger than me.

We then headed across through various roads in Rockville and down beach drive.

DC is an interesting city topographically. If you spend all your time in the downtown area, you'd think it was as flat as a pancake. But once you get away you find quickly that there are a bunch of places for good climbs. DC is a bit of a basin, with low level land in the middle and then lots of nice climbs to get you out to the relatively flat edges of the rim.

We took Tilden Road out of Beach Drive for a nice 300 foot climb up to Wisconsin Ave and the Cathedral area. It ended up being a 3 1/2 gradient over two miles. Nothing earth shattering but a nice way to cap off a ride.


I am on to now to trying to figure out my summer centuries. Take a look at the Google Map below and let me know where you think I should ride.

View Larger Map

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Tom Boonen Specialized Roubaix Commercial

I almost feel bad for Specialized. This commercial has been running during the Tour de France lately. As you may have heard Boonen got kicked out of the TdF a couple weeks ago because for reasons likely only known to him he thought it was a good idea to do a little cocaine a couple weeks ago -- what was the likelihood he'd get caught. Its not like anyone is paying attention to dope.

So Specialized gets screwed. Surely they contracted with Versus months ago for the commercial slots and I imagine they didn't have a decent commerical in the can to throw up in place of the Boonen commercial.

Hopefully companies will realize Boonen is an ass and won't sign him on for sponsorships. Certainly being kicked out of the TdF and not being able to get any big wins there will reduce his sponsorship appeal.

Certainly not fair to the folks at Specialized.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Liveblogging the Tahoe Start

In case anyone was wondering what liveblogging actually looked like....

TV interfering with my reading


Not in the way you think. If you look at the screen shot of my blog reader on the right you see that I've got quite a few blogs that I try to read from. I've carved them into four distinct groups: biking, food, general, and politics ... comprising most of my interests. (if for some reason you're interested in reading what I think is interesting click here and subscribe to the RSS feed)

Anyway so back to my problem. As you might have guessed I am a bit of a biking fan. As you also may know this weekend started the Tour day France. I very much enjoy the tour and provided no knuckleheads decided to take some banned substance I will enjoy three weeks of the hardest sporting event on the planet.

So here's the thing. I work for a living ... well I'm employed by the U.S. Senate. we can debate whether or not you want to call what I do all day work ... but none the less, my bosses would be upset if I spent the next three weeks watching the TdF at the office. So since Noel is awesome and got a TiVo a while back, when I come home every evening a TiVo-ed version of the TdF is waiting for me. ---An aside, TiVo on Versus is much better than Versus live - ya know why - because Saab was born from jets.

So here's my problem. I like to read the blogs. But all the good biking blogs will burst my bubble by announcing the winner some time in the middle of the day (the french being 6 hours behind) - and I will unfortunately know ahead of time that Thor G-D of Thunder eeked out the win in the Stage 2 sprint. Sucks a little of the fun out of it.

So here's what I've had to do. I'm resorting to reading things by category which is really not as much fun because I like the chronological mix up of blog posts...but if I let the biking post sneak in I'll be without the thrill of wondering who is going to surprisingly do something great or who is going to blow up on some Col somewhere. So it looks like my bike reading with have to slow for a bit - it'll just give me something to do with all the hopefully post-tour biking enthusiasm.

BTW: check out the commercial below. As with all Versus commercials they are overplaying it(playing too many times), but its really well done.


Thursday, July 03, 2008

Team Garmin-Chipotle H3O debuts new kit

Team Garmin-Chipotle H3O debuts new kit
Team Garmin-Chipotle H3O presented the new team logo and kit today in Brest, France at the Penfeld Parc des Expositions. The new kit creatively blends the ubiquitous argyle with Garmin’s colors for a clean, modern design. Stay tuned for live shots of the new look from the Tour de France team presentation later today.

Noel bought me the old Slipstream Chipotle jersey for my birthday and it is awesome. I think I like it better than the new ones. but the new ones are still great as well. Anyway, I'm planning on donning the jersey of the top U.S. racing team and heading out for a celebratory 4th of July ride tomorrow.

America's Most Beautiful Bike Ride - Ride Report

I've been a total slacker.  It's taken me forever and a day to get around to writing a ride report from Tahoe.   Apologies to everyone. 

Let me go through a quick rundown of the ride.

First and most importantly - THANK YOU! 

Team in Training raised $7.5 Million for leukemia and lymphoma research at the ride.  The National Capital Team, which was the largest of any in the country, raised $388,872.28!! This is all money that will be plowed back into supporting research and education for families and patients fighting blood cancers.  It was really amazing to be part of a such a great effort and be around 1900 people who had focused six months of their lives on working for a cause and making a difference.  All of my Teammates made huge personal improvements and it was great to be a part of that. 

A quick run down of the ride.  If you're interested, there is extensive live blogging at the site at:  http://528000ftbyjune5.blogspot.com/

The ride basically breaks out into four parts:  Emerald Bay, Spooner Junction, everything in between Emerald Bay and Spooner Junction and the Finish.  

Emerald Bay is a gorgeous spot in the "corner" of Lake Tahoe.  It is the first of two significant climbs in the ride.  The climb consists of a set of switch backs (see the little zig-zags on the map) that takes you up to a crest over looking a cove in the lake.   Now while it's no Alpe du Huez it is a pretty decent climb and will get the blood flowing in your legs. It's hard. 

I was really pleased with the way I climbed this year.  I made it up to the top of the climb feeling solid and much better than I've felt any of the other years I've done it.  The training this year combined with dropping 25 lbs really helped make the climb much easier and more enjoyable.  While I wasn't quite smiling when I got to the top of the hill where the photographer was I wasn't suffering as bad as I could have been.

The area in between Emerald Bay and Spooner was relatively flat and pretty darn enjoyable.  I was able to jump onto a pace line into the rest stop at the midway point and felt really good when I got in.  Coming out of the midpoint was a little less fun.  We were pace lining to help knock down the wind and make the ride a little easier on the way out (to conserve energy for the climb to Spooner).  Unfortunately during the pace line we got a little ragged and the pace line piled up on itself.  Three riders went down, but no one was hurt and the only casualty was Coleman's tire.  We were back on the road and heading towards Spooner in no time. 

Spooner is clearly the most challenging part of the ride.  It's an 8 mile climb at a roughly 5 % grade.  In the past it had really kicked my butt.  As hard as I had tried it had really torn me up and killed my legs.  Fortunately this year it was by and large, unremarkable.  I sat back, chatted with my teammate Sally and pedalled up the hill.   It was long and hard, but it wasn't as exhausting as I had remembered it.  I finished it feeling really good and ready for the ride back into the finish. 

And if I had known there would be a bucket of Jelly Bellys at the top I would have pedaled much faster.  {In addition to being a great cycling team sponsor, they taste great - popcorn of course being the best!} They were oh so satisfying at the end of a long climb!  And btw check out those great cycling jerseys!!!  Jelly belly's should be everywhere!!

The ride to the finish was pretty smooth.  You'd think after the 8 mile climb to Spooner that you've finished the hard stuff but the route throws in a couple more climbs just for kicks.  These climbs aren't hard per se but your legs have 90 miles on them and they're getting relatively close to feeling like jelly.   The hills definitely felt harder on Sunday than they did on the warm-up ride on Saturday.

Happily, I rolled across the finish line and felt great.  It was without question my best ride ever and I'm looking forward to doing it again next year.

We had a great and amazing team this year.  92 people came out of the ride and made it a huge success.  We did alot of great work while having a really good time.  You can see all the photos from the ride at my flickr site.  

Thank again for all your support.  I couldn't have done it without your help and support.

Thanks so much,
Tom

P.S. if you wanted to still donate to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, Noel, is working to raise $10,000 this year and you could donate at: http://pages.teamintraining.org/nca/nattri08/nturner