Bicycles, Blogs, Brownies and Berto

If you've been following this story for a while you know that Velodramatic and thewashingmachinepost cooperate when the wind is blowing hard and take turns riding false tempo when the other is in a breakaway. At least that's what I do when Mr. Palmer is off the front. This week he took a flier with teammate Jez Hastings to visit the big island in search of material leaving yours truly to keep the peloton occupied.

It's a tall order. For reasons unknown, a day on the island of Islay seems to stretch far beyond 24 hours, how else to explain the torrent of stories, reviews and insights coming from that bucolic isle. Here's my theory. I believe that Brian's bike shed is home to a family of Brownies, benevolent Scottish faerie folk who he's taught to write, build wheels and service the company Colnago. It's no accident he travels to Debbie's several times each week. He must, to replenish the supply of cakes that keeps his Brownies happy.

The post will be back in the peloton Friday, in the meantime, I'll do my best.

Couple of things on my mind today. First, the forums were abuzz with fallout and speculation about LA's comments in L'Equipe about Alberto Contador's "nervousness." Assuming he wasn't misquoted by a publication that hasn't exactly seen eye-to-eye with the Texan in the past, I don't know quite what to make of it. I hoped to see more of the Astana solidarity on display in the ToC. I loved watching Lance ride unselfishly for Levi. In my mind an 8th Tour victory would be anti-climatic. The Armstrong legacy is secure, and could only be enhanced by a Giro win, even a Paris Roubaix podium would mean more in my eyes than champagne on the Champs-Elysées.

I'm not buying into the conspiracy theories and mind games yet. Even if LA is right about Contador (and he's got more cred than any of us to make that determination), I just wish he'd have pulled Alberto aside and told him privately. All the framing compliments about Alberto's talent won't stop the kid from being hurt by the critical judgment from his teammate. This is the first sour note in what has been a fantastic start to a cycling season full of promise.

In other news, several pieces from Rapha's Spring/Summer collection arrived for review and commentary. There's a confidence about these pieces that demonstrates just how far the brand has come. More to follow. The world economy may be in shambles but those of us who ride and still have a job to go to can always find a way to justify one more piece of Rapha kit. There's nothing wrong with looking good when times are bad. Just make sure there's a little something left over for charity.

17 Responses to Bicycles, Blogs, Brownies and Berto

  1. Chr15 says:

    Nice sentiments!

    I can’t help but feel the same way about Armstrong, ride for the Giro or a classics win really adding depth to the legacy, then, come July, show humility and solidarity and play the role of the “super domestique”. The role that so many times pulled out all the stops to create ‘the legacy’.

    Now if I could only warm to Contador as a rightful heir.


  2. Carp says:

    I thought we are compelled to give our first fruits to charity then buy Rapha with what’s left over!

  3. BR says:

    The drama isn’t close to Hinault & LeMond in 1985 & 1986 but this is about Astana as a whole. Johan B is driving the team to win in July – period. La Vie Claire was on the same mission in 1985 when LeMond was pulled back to ride tempo vs attacking (and winning) and jeopardizing Hinault’s 5th victory. Twelve months later Hinault, true to his reputation, fought hard for #6 despite any promises made a year earlier. Greg had to beat a teamate and mentor and he did it on his own. If Lance is called out in the press he will say that he is helping Alberto focus and build for July…Johan will say that the team is coming together….Alberto will say that he will focus on the TdF and arrive ready to win. Whomever arrives in July in the best form will get the support of the team but another rider may take that over on the road. Let’s say that both Lance and Alberto are on top form in July? That will be a great contest. I hope these guys really watch each other and ride the best TdF that they can.

    • All that’s true Brendan, but LA is engaged in bigger “mission” and that one is highly dependent on positive PR. With so many out to get him, he’d be wise to let his riding do the talking and stay well clear of sideshows like this. Lemond and Hinault were just bike racers.

  4. BR says:

    Agree…words are words and results are results. I guess that I pay next to zero attention to the press and more to results. Remembering back to the Hinault/LeMond drama it was pretty intense as it evolved and played out in the stages and not in the US papers at the time. The similarities are there where Lance is committed to delivering his very best for his boss. Alberto will do the same and that will make for a great race. I’d also guess that Johan will have some tough decisions to make on the road in July.

  5. Henry says:

    After seeing the coordinated Astana machine in action in support of Levi at ToC it was shocking to see Contador left on his own to defend against repeated attacks. He showed courage and class on the course and off not blaming anyone for his standing. He made it a race well worth watching.

    I thought it was pretty crappy of Armstrong to publicly criticize his team mate especially since neither he nor the team lifted a finger in Paris-Nice in support of the team’s leader. I’m a fan of both riders and think Armstrong is phenomenal and am excited about his return but after this I’ll be rooting for Contador in the Tour.

  6. BR says:

    I was disappointed that VS didn’t produce any race coverage – I thought they did last year? I wish Lance the very best in whatever he does but I don’t put him in the same category as Hinault or LeMond. Hinault has 200+ victories across the entire calendar and is probably the last all season winning rider. Let’s also not forget that LeMond was shot at close range while hunting just three months before the 1987 TdF and his comeback 1989 win against Fignon was truly historic, in my opinion. As the lonely American on a French squad he broke the French grip on the event that dominated in the late 70′s and early 80′s. Lance is no amateur in front of a camera/microphone so his comments were genuine and just made him look bad. Three cheers for Cavendish & Big George on textbook execution yesterday.

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  8. willy in pacifica says:

    Hey Velo,

    A few of us will be riding thru your neighborhood on Easter Saturday on our epic Fleche. A Fleche is a 24 hour ride that has to be at least 225 miles. Other rules are that you cannot stop for more than 2 hours at a time and the final 15 miles cannot be started until hour 22. The team has to have at least 3 bikes and not more than 5 and must finish with at least 3 bikes. These rules require that you keep moving along.

    Our route is from SF to Woodside
    Woodside up OLH and south to Summit Road & Hwy 17
    Summit Road south and down to Freedom south of Santa Cruz then to Salinas
    From Salinas back to Santa Cruz for a 2 hour break at Denny’s
    North on Hwy 1 thru HMB to the Pacifica Denny’s
    Then back to SF

    We should be in your area at Roberts in Woodside about 10:30 Easter Saturday. Come out to say hello. There will be a few very beautiful bikes in our group all rigged up for all night riding.

    willy in pacifica

  9. BR says:

    Hi Willy – Would love to pedal along for a few miles but Easter is out for me. What do you order at Denny’s? What is your fuel of choice? On or after big rides I am partial to Taco Bell and beer. Have a great ride.

  10. Tim says:

    I might be lured out for a Woodside rendezvous on that day, Willy. That’s one hell of a ride! Michael – want to make it a date?

  11. willy in pacifica says:

    Actually, the Fleche is one of the more enjoyable/easy rides since you have to ride it in 24 hours and the team members have to stay together.

    This weekend I have a 300k, next weekend is the SF 400k then the Fleche followed by the Santa Rosa or Davis 400k then in May I plan to ride the Davis 24 hour Time Trial.

    After that I have a 600k and I plan to ride the Davis 1,200k up to Oregon and back in July.

    This is all to get ready for the Furnace Creek 508 in October.

    willy in pacifica

  12. willy in pacifica says:

    The ultimate goal is to wear my legs out and to bounce my last check on the day I die.