28 July 2007

Why I must still like the Tour

I like the Tour de France for the cycling, the struggle and the determination of the racers. I’ve always like that; it was a family passion I shared with my dad during many summers. My father never even owned a bike—not sure he could ride one—well he could because in his only riding story from childhood he saw this elderly woman dressed in black at the bottom of a hill and when he began his decent said rather fatalistically: “I’m afraid I might run her over!” And he did, without any serious consequences, thank god, and as he claimed in his typical honourable manner: “Believe me when I say I never meant for that to happen.” Other than that he never owned a bike.

But summers without the Tour for us just would’ve been the same. Here in Spain we planned our lunch – and we have big lunches here – and even our siesta strictly around the Tour (well, except in the very flat stages where we could take a nap here and there without anything happening in the pelotón; heck, if they could rest why couldn’t we?) And so like my father I liked the Tour before I liked cycling. This is true. I didn’t know what a brand-name was and didn’t care whether someone rode an Orbea or a Cannondale or a Bianchi, or why they used culottes, gloves or energy drinks. I just loved those guys giving it their all, I thought. Who couldn’t respect guys like Mercx, Indurain or Armstrong defending those jerseys year after year. And who couldn’t just love some unknown cyclist giving those boys hell climbing the Pyrenees?

We were naïve I guess. We never gave much thought to doping or cheating or all the money that has eventually ruined the sport. Isn’t money the only “legal” drug that ruins all? Still, as disappointed as I am, I must still like the Tour. It’s like that member of the family that has gone astray; I’d like to take him back, you know, despite his errors and imperfections. If anything, I must like the Tour as mere payback for those lovely summer afternoons with dad. And in case this goes wrong, we still have the Vuelta! www.cyclingnews.com presents the 94th Tour de France

26 July 2007

¡¡¡ Adios, Monsier Rasmussen !!!

Rasmussen s'en va !

Is this fun or what?! Never mind who wins...let's just bet on who leaves. (What color do we make the YOU'RE OUT DOPE JERSEY?

24 July 2007

¡¡¡ Vino Positif !!!

Vino positif, Astana s'en va ! - Cyclisme - Eurosport: "Vino positif, Astana s'en va !"

Am I dreaming?


I was tired and chose between reading and taking a ride with the little one. The weather just cleared today after two weeks of basically winter weather. This is good and bad. The tourists came out of their hiding holes, hungry for summer and sun. The traffic getting to the bike path was nervous as though everyone were busy trying to get something out of this non-summer month. Behold summer! Then we end up not getting onto the bike path along the shore because some moron parks his car precisely on the entry way and there is no way I can lift Xabi and the bike together over the small fence. I wait there for a couple of minutes to see if this driver shows up – I really want to let him know how damn stupid he / she is.

A woman with a baby stroller on the other side of the path faces the same problem except she can’t get out of the path. We stare at each other like morons. Eventually we have to turn back because I can’t help her with her carriage and she can’t help me with my bike and baby. Oh well. I didn’t bring my cell phone so I can’t call the cops to have the car towed away. I swear I would have done it. Damn. So I take another route and try to enjoy the ride. That’s the beauty of cycling – and more so with children. In a second I’ve forgotten the incident ‘cause Xabi says some little word about seagulls overhead. It’s great to hear him try to make his first sentences. I know, son, it’s a beautiful day nonetheless.

19 July 2007

No Honks Among The So-Called Brutes

It was the third time I entered into a traffic circle improperly while riding my bike, luckily not at great speed. And three times I found courteous drivers – two male and one female, for stat purposes – who did not yell, scream or honk when they had to stop…well…so as not to run over me. I’m usually a very conscious and careful rider – or so I thought – so I’ve no idea what I’ve been thinking about lately. By the way, I apologized to the drivers on each of the three occasions, a little hand-wave here, a little I-know-I’m-dumb-look there. They even smiled.

17 July 2007


Now, I’ve no picture here ‘cause I’m a coward. You see there’s these dogs that have chased me on occasion. I’ve no idea why they’ve chased me and why they don’t chase me any longer. They are the same dogs. I’m the same rider (well...slimmer...handsomer...no doubt.) Does the moon have to triangulate with Venus on the Mars quadrant for them to chase me?

My astrologer doesn’t exactly know. My astrologer doesn't exactly care. Neither do I. Well I do, sort of!

Now, I could stop my bike right by the dogs – one sleeps on one side of the road opposite the other – like some kind of Cerberus joke and they open their eyes as I pass but do not make a move. Am I such boring prey? But, damn it!, I know they will eventually chase me…again. So I ride slow past them risking a bite – my ass! – instead of having them throw me off the bike. What’s worse?

What to do? I want a picture…just to show you how small they are and what a coward I really am.

12 July 2007

Those Days

Le Kazakh a perdu 1'20".

One of those days. It starts with the helmet not feeling quite right. The strap bothers my left ear (yet no one has touched the strap in months – it’s just today that it isn’t right!!!); the sunglasses aren’t as crystal clear as they should (how clear should they normally be?!!!); my shorts feel too lose (they are size large and I wear medium but I swear the medium was too tight when I bought these!!!); and, I’m breathing hard on the first little climb and my heart rate is barely 117 (whatever that means – I could be dying – it felt that way!!!).

The last time I felt like this I bonked pretty damn good. I didn’t bonk today, yet somehow I didn’t feel very hydrated. I ended up drinking 5 12-once cans of whatever Isotonic drink I had at hand. And I wanted more. I gotta blame something, don’t I?

Not a great ride. 34 kilometers (21.13 miles) in 1:34 hours. Oh well. It happens. Vino fell off his bike today!

11 July 2007

My Girl's Bike

Ready for all kinds of weather!!!

The little yellow helmet tells me this is circa 2005.