Paul Andrews

Archive for March, 2009|Monthly archive page

Daily Roundup: Drive to Work Day! Seattle shut out, More Sea Otter, Fluidride Cup this weekend

In Daily Roundup, Mountain Biking, Videos on March 31, 2009 at 9:08 pm

Cascade Bicycle Club is promoting “Drive to Work Day” on, er, April 1st. ‘Nuf said. But while you’re chuckling, duck on over to the Seattle cycling club’s site and, in all seriousness, take the 2009 “Report Card on Cycling” survey. It’s quick and will be of tremendous help in setting cycling’s agenda for our city.

Alas, Seattle was shut out in the League of American Bicyclists’ “Bike Shops of the Year” awards. Astoundingly so. I can’t think of a city with more diverse and numerous bike shops than Seattle.

The countdown to Sea Otter madness continues with updates from Mountain Bike Action magazine and Bike Rumor, which has the trailer to the world premier for Freedom Riders, a film about trail-building on Forest Service land. Worth the watch!

PinkBike has a Fluidride Cup photo mojo going, check it out…

Bend video re-posted

In Mountain Biking, Videos on March 31, 2009 at 8:37 pm

I’ve re-posted the Bend OR video in honor of its selection as Mountain Bike Action magazine’s “Mountain Biking Town of the Year.” My original video was mysteriously disabled, I’m speculating because of the Hoobastank sound track. It’s a shame, because that video and that song seemed made for each other. It’s been one of my most popular mtb videos.

Anyway, here it is….

New York Times confirms doubts on Lance and Giro

In Bicycle Racing, Bicycling on March 31, 2009 at 8:32 pm

It took awhile, but The New York Times has come back with a reality check on the hype surrounding Lance’s chances for the Giro. As we (and we alone) have been saying since Lance went down, Giro was a no-go. The Times, which earlier had merely reprinted the Armstrong camp’s hype without question, called in its longtime cycling reporter, the distinguished Samuel Abt, to set the record straight.

“For a rider with a fractured right collarbone mended with a stainless steel plate and 12 screws, the mountainous Giro d’Italia seems an impossible trek….”

We continue to believe that the Tour is in grave doubt as well. While we wish Lance the best, and a speedy recovery, we feel telling the truth is more important than spreading fairy dust just to keep sponsors happy. The Times deserves credit for righting its previous stenographical hype. Abt’s only omission was the failure to note the intense financial forces driving Armstrong to keep hope alive.

Deservedly so: Bend OR named top mountain biking town

In Mountain Biking on March 26, 2009 at 11:31 am

The May issue of Mountain Bike Action magazine (not yet available on stands) names Bend Oregon the nation’s best mtb town.

We’ve been riding Bend for years and love its mountain bike trails and culture. It’s certainly deserving. There are some new kids on the block that bear watching, too, places like Leavenworth and Bellingham, WA and Aptos CA. Ashland OR is relatively unheralded. Idaho has some great spots, e.g. Stanley and the Sand Point area, and of course Utah and Colorado are brimming, then there’s Arizona…oh well, you get the picture.

This is a competitive category! Throw in British Columbia (Revelstoke, Chilcotins, Rossland, Golden, Kamloops) and it’s a whole new ballgame. We’re fortunate here on the West Coast and in the Northwest to be blessed with a wealth of opportunities.

Anyway, I’m hoping to make it back to Bend sometime this spring. Best times usually are shoulder months, June and October, because trails go to sand in the summer. Here’s my video, shot a few years ago but one of the ones that seems to stick with folks.

Oops! It looks like YouTube has disabled my video, probably because of the Hoobastank sound track. I’ll have to sub the sound and upload it again. A shame they do this. Mountain biking videos are a great way to introduce people to songs they haven’t heard before, which leads them to actually search out new bands and buy their stuff. In the end, this hurts the band and the so-called industry.

Daily Roundup: Lance “multiple” breaks, Sea Otter madness begins, Bike blogger gets Bicycling column

In Bicycle Racing, Bicycling, Daily Roundup on March 25, 2009 at 6:45 am

New details keep surfacing in the Lance Armstrong broken collarbone mishap. Instead of the earlier reported “clean break,” it now appears the bone broke into “multiple fragments.” Lance is putting his best hype forward, saying he expects to … what? be ready? ride part of? win? … the Giro. It isn’t clear. But as long as he and the cycling community keep putting the words “recovery” and “Giro” together, we’ll all be happy as Pollyannas.

IMBA has issued an invitation to an organizational update and video premiere of “Freedom Riders” by KGB Productions for the Sea Otter Classic, starting in just three weeks. The madness begins…

Thanks to Bike Rumor for the pointer.

Bicycle Retailer reports that Bicycling mag will add two new columns, including one by a blogger, BikeSnob out of NYC. Congrats! Maybe they can do something to liven up motherly hubbardly Bicycling, which seems to be running the same articles on losing weight and chain care that I was reading as a youngun in the ’70s. (Now that’s just unfair! ;^)

Oops…

In Uncategorized on March 25, 2009 at 1:55 am
Still in the window at Gregg's Greenlake Cycle

Still in the window at Gregg's Greenlake Cycle

Today’s Ride: New Trader Joe’s in Ballard

In Bicycling, Today's Ride on March 24, 2009 at 6:50 pm
It's what's inside that counts

It's what's inside that counts

People have been talking about the new Trader Joe’s, so I figured on stopping by on a Tour de Ballard (pronounced the French “BullARD”).

It’s in a new building kitty corner from the Office Max on Leary Way, and directly behind Mars Hill Church. I’m not sure how a self-described Temple of Jesus got named after a barren planet identified largely with alien space invaders, but the place is booming. (I joke, here’s the deal.)

The place was jammed. My first experience with Trader Joe’s was in the ’90s in Silver Lake, Los Angeles. It was a funky, dark little place with weird bulk stuff for cheap. Over the years the chain has evolved into something along the lines of “good food, affordable prices.” Most of what TJ sells does have the advantage of tasting like food. I wouldn’t call it high quality, but it’s a cut above Safeway for sure.

One trademark of the chain is long lines at the counter. The lines move fairly fast, so there’s that. But if you’re in a hurry, skip it and come back at, say 10 a.m. on a Wednesday.

You have to be where? By when?

You have to be where? By when?

I wanted to pick up some Dubliner cheese and frozen wild blueberries, which are two of the half a dozen things I consistently buy at Trader Joe’s (sesame pita chips, Canadian Grade B maple syrup, organic catsup and frozen blackberries among the others). But the lines were outrageous. Church must’ve just gotten out.

So I hopped back on the bike and rode over to Fremont Puget Consumers Coop, where I’m more comfortable even if the prices are a bit higher. Still, if Trader Joe’s was publicly traded, I’d jump at buying the stock. All those people willing to stand in line must mean something.

Then it was back up Fremont hill for the third time in three days. Good training for when it gets warm ‘n dry out, eh? You say it’s only three and a half months till July 10th?

Daily Roundup: Goldbiker, Iron Horse redux, Hans ‘n Peaty defy belief

In Daily Roundup, Mountain Biking, Videos on March 24, 2009 at 5:36 pm
Do not try this at home

Do not try this at home

Bike Rumor: GT’s golden bike is missing! This is gonna be a tough sell even on eBay. Quite the bling, but it’ll show back up in a day or two.

Goldrider?

Goldrider?

Iron Horse on the comeback trail? Bicycle Retailer reports that nine former employees of the bankrupt bike giant have decided to start their own operation. Headed by Jeff Bruno, East Coast Cycle Supply formed Feb. 1 and is talking to the likes of Tony Ellsworth for licensing. Watch for ‘em!

You have to love Hans Rey and Steve Peat sneaking out for a bit of the ol’ poach. Environmental Graffiti calls it the most terrifying mountain bike trail on earth. No arguments, although you have to wonder what those two would do with the “DISMOUNT NOW! THREE RIDERS HAVE DIED HERE” section of Portal/Poison Spider in Moab.

Lance’s Chances: Degreasing the hype

In Bicycle Racing, Bicycling on March 24, 2009 at 12:13 pm

News reports following Lance Armstrong’s broken collarbone have emphasized that he still has a chance at “full recovery” to ride in the Giro d’Italia and Tour de France. We applaud the cycling community’s effervescent optimism. But let’s do a little reality-checking here.

We all know Lance is a tremendous champion and incredible physical specimen who has done great things in his career. But the guy is not Superman. Even without the injury, he was highly doubtful for completing both the Giro and Tour de France. Remember, at the top of his game, Lance didn’t even try to race both the Giro and the Tour. To suggest that he can come back from a broken collarbone to do much of anything in the Giro is simply wishful thinking. We can hope it will happen, but come on.

The Giro people understandably want to keep hope alive, especially given the PR value of Lance competing. But Lance himself already has cast doubt on the Giro. He may well “recover” in time, and may even be “fully” recovered. But recovered to where? At this point in the season he was in build mode, essentially training for the Tours. He still needs a bunch of road miles under his belt. A full recovery to this point in the season won’t be worth much in something as grueling as the Giro.

But health may be the secondary consideration to strategy here. If Lance rides the Giro, he opens the door to re-injury, whether by another crash or simply from riding in less-than-peak shape. If he suffers another bad break, it will put him out of the Tour for sure. Does he want to risk that? How much is the Giro worth to him if it means jeopardizing the Tour?

All this assumes some pretty big ifs as well. Broken collarbones do heal quickly. I had a similar injury at age 45 and was back on the bike, riding one-handed against doctor’s orders, within 10 days. After a month I could do pretty well. One thing about shoulder injuries is that they can actually make the shoulder stronger over time.

To suggest that Lance will be 100 percent within two to three weeks, though, is pushing it. The problem with a broken collarbone isn’t the healing, it’s the pain, especially standing and climbing. In the Giro, there’s plenty of that, and fairly early on.

Moreover, a recent crash does nothing for your confidence getting back on the bike. You cannot help but be a more cautious individual, your brain won’t allow it. I’ve seen this repeatedly with extreme sports mountain bikers. A bad crash or two pretty much ends their competitive career. In Lance’s case, the recent crash will play in his mind in any crunch situation, mitigating his past instinct to blast through.

There’s also luck. Lance had magical good fortune during his Tour years to avoid injury (he did crash a couple of notable times, but without hurting himself). The odds do catch up with you, especially as time passes and your skillz lose their edge, and your muscles their fast-twitch factor.

The relationship between steroids and other performance-enhancing medications and brittle bones also has been medically proven. To suggest a role here might be stretching it, and Lance continues to deny using anything. But many are skeptical, and the cloud of drug use over professional cycling throughout Lance’s career is well documented.

Finally there’s his age. Team doctors who say a rider can recover to top form within a month are talking about young riders in the prime of their career, and who are in top physical condition. Not only is Lance neither, he lacks the mileage base he could count on during his glory years. He hasn’t competed at world-class levels since 2005. That’s too long, no matter what his former accomplishments.

A sober, unflinching look at Lance’s chances suggests at the very optimum that he will show up for the Giro and ride till the going gets tough, then retire to focus on the Tour. As for the Tour itself, it’s all about the PR. Lance never did have a realistic shot at winning. But if he just shows up and actually finishes, especially given the injury, that will be a remarkable accomplishment in itself.

Breaking, er, in more ways than one: Lance Armstrong down!

In Bicycle Racing, Bicycling, Rider Down on March 23, 2009 at 10:51 am

Broken collarbone: “It has never happened before, I feel very disappointed,” he told reporters as he left the hospital. “I feel miserable right now so I have to relax a few days.”

This could jeopardize his Tour, but maybe not. He wasn’t going to win anyway. A break like this usually takes 4 to 6 weeks to heal, during which time he can still ride the trainer, etc., and which would give him nearly a couple of months to prep for the Tour. It all depends on how well he bounces back, how much his heart is in the Tour, and whether he can be fit enough by then. It does look like Giro d’Italia is out of the picture. Here’s Twitter for more.

HUGE promo opportunity: Matt Lauer and Lance on Today in slings.

Video here.

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