Tag Archives: Tour de France

A blast from the past

Last night I took some time to watch a recording of stage 9 of the 2003 Tour De France.  You may not remember much else about it, but I bet you remember Lance Armstrong getting in some mountain bike action as he cuts across a field to avoid a fallen rider.  Pretty incredible stuff.

Two other things popped out at me while I watched.  One: the number of riders in the peloton who have since been discredited for doping.  Two: there was a moment near the end of the Versus coverage where a podium girl, dressed in the traditional yellow dress, is standing holding some jersey’s for the Lance Armstrong to sign.  I do believe she was the future Melanie Hincapie.

While I was watching, I found that there is about a month’s worth of posts over at GreenvilleOnline.com that I had not moved over to LowCadence.com.  A little history on that for you.  I started blogging quite awhile back.  At first it wasn’t about cycling.  I blogged about politics and life in general.  The blog was StackOfStuff.net.

However, I found myself getting drawn to cycling.  When a local cyclist started blogging for The Greenville News, I followed his posts.  It wasn’t long before his entries faded away.  I mentioned to an editor friend that I would be interested in taking over the spot.  Before long, I was posting my entries up to their site – and some to StackOfStuff.net as well.

The newspaper then redesigned their site and it became much harder to find my blog.  They also would not share with me the statistics of how many people were reading it.  I started to figure that I could do better by myself.  Only, StackOfStuff.net didn’t really strike me as the name of a cycling blog.

I searched through all sorts of possibilities.  Of course, most of them were taken.  Finally, I settled on LowCadence.com.  It was memorable and described my riding style.

I then began to move the archived posts from the various blogs into LowCadence.com so I could have a complete library of my past submissions.  Unfortunately, when GreenvilleOnline.com moved to the new site format, I lost access to those posts.  That is why I am currently trying to capture the current ones before they disappear as well.

Here are two posts that I put up last night.  It is kind of fun to go back and see what was happening nearly one year ago.

Landis
Tuesday, July 1st, 2008

I’m not condoning that. I’m all for a doping free Tour. I just think the “Take Back the Tour” slogan on Versus is a little naive. Then again, I’m feeling kind of grumpy today. I guess I’m just seeing the dark side in everything.

Two steps forward. One step back.
Wednesday, July 2nd, 2008

Not much to say after that. I just was watching Bob’s wheel in front of me. A couple of times I could sense I was losing it, but seeing him right there gave me motivation to keep going.

Thanks for reading.  When I think back to how long I have been doing this, I am amazed.  It is the fact that I know people are expecting something that often motivates me to my keyboard to keep the history moving forward.

Landis

Do I have to talk about Floyd Landis? I feel an obligation to say something, but it won’t be much. Really, is anybody surprised that he lost his appeal? I’m not.

You also think about what would have happened had he won his appeal. Landis says he is currently researching his legal options. Had he won I’m sure the UCI or ASO or whatever sports organization he is up against would do the same. The CAS ruling has not ended it.

I also doubt, in the current climate, he would have been able to find a ride. Kind of tough when the ads for the Tour de France have a scene where they reverse the video of him receiving his yellow jersey to make it appear they are taking it off. At the same time you see this year’s slogan “Take Back the Tour” flashing on the screen.

About that slogan – which Tour are we taking it back to? Seems like there has been some doping issue for as long as I can remember. It is just that recently there has been more public talk about it. To which Tour? 2006? 1996? Even farther back you read the stories of how riders unabashedly used external stimulants to help them perform.

I’m not condoning that. I’m all for a doping free Tour. I just think the “Take Back the Tour” slogan on Versus is a little naive. Then again, I’m feeling kind of grumpy today. I guess I’m just seeing the dark side in everything.

Oh, one last thing about Landis. He is off his suspension in January 2009. That is only seven months away. Has it been that long?

Two jerseys and a rainy day

Last night just before going to ball game, I connected with Precise Imprintable Products and picked up my Ride for Mike jersey. We were rushing to get it done by Friday evening so that I could have it this morning when I was to be presented a George Hincapie autographed jersey before the Sunshine Cycle Shop ride.

Here is my RideforMike.com jersey! After riding in the rain…

I woke up to find it raining. Oops. Not sure we would ride, but I knew someone was going to be coming to the shop to present the jersey. So I loaded up the bike on my car and drove over. No one was there. As I started to drive away, Art (a Saturday morning regular) pulled up. We decided to wait and see if anyone else would show up.

That is when Kevin showed up with the jersey. We talked a little bit about Mike and the P3 ride. Since no one else was there, he went ahead and took a picture of me with the Hincapie jersey and went on his way. Shortly after, Tyler (a shop employee) showed up with his mother and the four of us rode an abbreviated course in the rain.

Got home and turned on the TV to check out the time trial of the Tour De France. What a finish! I’m so glad I was able to see it. Levi turned on the afterburner and to have just around 30 seconds between the yellow and third place is amazing after thousands of miles is amazing!

Just crossing my fingers on the doping stuff. There is a rumor that another rider has tested positive.

What a day!

I got home from work today to find a yellow Tour De France hat that might brother-in-law brought me from Paris. I looked at it and it felt anti-climatic. I had looked forward to getting it, but now I wondered if I would ever wear it.

It has not been a good week or so for cycling fans. All of the doping scandals made my bright yellow hat seem a little dull. Still, it is a cool hat and I’m sure it will help keep my bald head from getting sunburned.

I put up my hat and headed to the evening meeting at my church. Upon returning home around 9 PM, I turned on the TV to see a BREAKING NEWS banner going across the bottom. It was telling us that Michael Rasmussen had been removed from the Tour by his Rabobank team.

Whoa – that I didn’t expect. I was pretty bummed that Rasmussen held off the Disco boys. I had hoped today that Contador would tighten the screws and crack the Dane. I wanted Rasmussen out, but not from being withdrawn – but by getting beat!

We can only hope that this will be the Tour De Changement. Is it too much to hope that this will be the beginning of reformation in the sport? These riders have almost brought the Tour De France – and cycling – to its knees.

I guess I’ll put my hat on in hope of that…

You go, George!

I get kind of tired reading the Tour coverage in The Greenville News. They always want to give us an update on George Hincapie, but they don’t seem to know what they are talking about.

They only seem to think in terms of the yellow-jersey. “Hincapie looses two spots.” “Hincapie gains two spots.” I hate to tell them, but this experienced rider is not there to hold a high spot in the general classification.

What he is supposed to do is exactly what he did today. He got in the lead group to take a position in the front and then he sacrificed himself to put the hammer down to control the breakaway. Then he fell back to pick up Contador and Levi. Big George was clearing the way! I thought he was going to go and ride away from his teammates! What he did was deliver Contador with some fresh legs to extend time on the other GC riders (except Rassmusen).

Hincapie can sleep well. He did his job and he shares in Contador’s success. Everyone in the peloton knows he is one of the best lieutenants ever.

I was sad to hear that Fast Freddie had to drop out of the Tour. We don’t have a lot of American’s left! I don’t see Levi, George, or Chris Horner dropping out.

Dope and hope

Michael Rasmussen still holds the Yellow Jersey and the Tour appears to be headed for the uncertainty of another doping scandal. Only a few more days to see the jersey pass to another rider. I respect the fight Rasmussen has put up to retain the leader’s jersey, but I certainly don’t want to see the Tour have to face another year like last year.

Being American, I follow closely the Disco boys. As a Specialized rider, keep my eyes on the QuickStep Innergetic team with their rock star leader, Tom Boonan. Don’t think the QSI team has a chance at the Yellow, but Alberto Contador with Discovery Channel appears to be one of the best chances to take Rasmussen and doping off of the headlines. I guess at this point, I’ll be pulling for the Russian and hoping that Levi will pull off an outside miracle.

Of course, it would have been the story of the Tour had Alexander Vinokourov been able to back up his time trial effort from yesterday. Now, he is nothing more than a memory. In a week, the whole race will be a memory. How long will we have the doping cloud remain?

Doing a little climbing in the park

I don’t feel good. Maybe it is because I’m seeing the cardiovascular power of those Tour De France riders! When they are tooling along at 100 bpm, my heart would be banging away at 160 to 170 bpm.



I have not had a regular training routine in several weeks. This week I was off the bike Sunday through Tuesday because of my Grandfather’s funeral. Tuesday I managed to get on the trainer (I’ve converted my ProFlex 757 into a stationary bike) and put in about 20 miles. I did the same on Wednesday evening. I couldn’t wait to get back on the road!

What I found was that I am not nearly as in shape as I was before my surgery. Before the break, I really had to work hard to get my heart rate into 180s. The last two times out I have hit a max of 191 bpm. I can power up a climb over 20 mph, but then I feel like puking at the top as my HR soars.

I guess I just need to get back in the saddle and build my base miles up again. By the way, on my ride tonight, I crossed the 3000 mile mark since last August.

I’m typing this while watching the TDF. They were just talking about Hincapie just a few moments ago. Old Bob doesn’t even know how to say “South Carolina.” He calls it “Southern California.” Then they have the audacity to think we don’t know how to say, “Pla d’Adet.” Who has trouble saying things? Either way, I enjoy watching the Tour da frantz.

Cycling news is not just in Europe

On the day that the riders of the Tour De France were making their first short ride in the French countryside to enter Belgium (there is some beautiful scenery in Belgium!), the 2007 road race and time trial courses for the USA Pro Cycling Championships were announced here in Greenville.

The road race will begin at 1 p.m. on September 2. The route is slightly modified from the 2006 course. It’s total length is 110 miles made up of four circuits of a 22 mile main route with six shorter (just under 4 miles) loops of downtown and Cleveland Park. This means the riders will only have to cover Paris Mountain four times instead of five like they did in 2006.



Want to ride the course? Well, you start at the intersection of Broad and Main St. Right there by the Greenville News and the Peace Center. Head west for about fifty yards and take a right on River Street. Take the next right on McBee and then follow the map above down to and through Cleveland Park back to the start/finish line. You’ll need to do that loop three times before heading out on the main circuit. Ride the large route four times and then finish up with three more loops of the in town course.

This is the same route that the riders of the Palmetto Peloton will be taking this year. We are supposed to go on the course and see how many laps we can complete before the pros come out. Looks like we may only have a couple of hours to get it in. I need to find out if they plan to have us do the start and finishing loops as well. My guess is we won’t – but will stick with the primary 22 mile loop.

Well, now back to Europe… George busted up his knee yesterday in that big pile up. Hope he will be okay. He seemed more frustrated than physically hurt. Guess we’ll find out today…

More Hincapie

I guess Following Hincapie will become Following Landis. Of course, I’m still keeping up with George, but there is no way he will now win the Tour. Landis is the American best in position to take the yellow on the final day. Sure wish he rode for an American team, but I guess I’ll have to pull for Phonak.

According to Rich Hincapie, his brother came into the tour too light. He seems to start out the stages just fine, but then fades. It was obvious during the time trial that there were going to be problems. Don’t give up George!

Hincapie follows Hincapie

I’ve been following the Tour de France pretty closely again this year. It is actually kind of nice not to have Lance in the mix. There is a huge question mark this year. Eight to ten riders seem to have a legitimate opportunity to win this year. It could even be someone not on the radar (though I doubt it).

There is still a long way to go and the mountains still loom in the distance. I’m hoping that Hincapie can save up his strength and then pull an Armstrong when we get to the mountains near the end of the tour.

Yesterday the Greenville News started a blog written by George’s brother Rich. I hope it will really be a worthwhile blog and we can pick up some insights that you don’t normally get from the media more focused on all the riders. You can find the blog here: Hincapie follows Hincapie.

Yes, I have not missed the irony of a NASCAR fan following cycling in France. I guess it is an example of the changing demographics in the sport – both sports.