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Entries in Cycling (29)

Thursday
Jun152006

Tour de France 2006

Here's an updated collection of Tour 2006 info:

Tour Websites
Le Tour de France Official Website
Le Tour 2006 Stages
Le Tour 2006 Interactive Map
Le Tour 2006 Route
Outdoor Life Network (OLN) US Cable TV Coverage
Eurosport Tour Coverage
The Daily Peleton
VeloNews
Capure The Peleton (Photography)
Le Grande Boucle (Cool combo of text and other Tour infos)
NPR: Tour de France 2006 Coverage
NY Times Tour de France 2006 Interactive Reference

Tour Bloggers
TDFBlog
Martin Dugard
Fred Rodriquez
James Raia
Chris Carmichael
Rob Klingensmith
Peleton Blog
Cycloblog
Wannabe Bike Girl
Velogal's Race Blog
Frank Steele's Tour Guide for Beginners
TDF For the Rest of Us
YellowJersey.net
VinoVelo
Velochimp
Podium Cafe
Cyclocosm
Mike Papageorge
LOGOS Tourblog

Streaming
Eurosport (Audio)
CyclingFans.com guide to Live Streaming & Info
OLN's The Player (Online Video Clips)

Podcasts
Bicycling Magazine Tour 2006 Podcast (iTunes)
SimplyStu Tour de France Podcast
Discovery Channel Team Podcast
Velogal's Cycling Podcast

Tour Palm OS Tools
DeepWeb's LeTour2006 (English, with Datebook support & Wireless features)
Ullrich Riepert's LeTour2006 (French & German, elevation charts, jersey winner DB)

Books
Tour de France Quiz Book by John DT White (For trivia lovers!)
Tour Fever by J.P. Partland

If you have additional resources to share: websites, blogs. etc., please let me know, so I can keep this list updated.

UPDATE 2006-06-30 Looks like recent scandals and a Spanish report "Operation Puerto" have now knocked out Jan Ullrich, Ivan Basso, Francisco Mancebo and more. Full details in my dedicated post, Tour de France 2006: Ullrich, Basso, Mancebo, Beloki Out!

Oh man, it's only 2 weeks away...

July 1, 2006 is the start of Tour de France 2006!

Last night I had my Tour fire lit — now I can't shake it.

Here's how it happened.

Late last night, I visited Centripedal, the blog of fellow 9rules member Mike Papageorge. His post, Video from Hautacam, TDF 2000 has a YouTube video of the 2004 Tour, where Lance Armstrong shreds the field on a climb in stage 10, Lourdes-Hautacam. Lance reduces a 10:35 deficit the breakaway leader, Javier Ochoa had, down to just 41 seconds at the finish. Wow.

Then I hit YouTube to search for Tour videos, including the classic moment from the 2001 Tour, where Lance gives Ullrich "the look" before kicking in the afterburners to take the stage at L'Alpe D'Huez, eventually winning his 3rd Tour:

Next, the 2003 Tour, where Joseba Beloki crashes out on a sticky tar road (still makes me sick to see that crash), forcing Lance to take it off-road, barely evading the oncoming racers to join the peleton:

Or the scene on Luz-Ardiden, where Armstrong's brake lever caught on a spectator's bag, dropping him, his chain and pedals causing problems, and the attack that followed in his the 5th Tour win:

2003 is still my favorite Tour, because Lance had to fight for that 5th win, getting it by a minute or so, unlike most of his other multiple-minute Tour wins.

The Legend of Lance is a nice retrospective on Lance Armstrong's career at CyclingNews.com.

I have a feeling Tour de France 2006 will be much more like 2003. There is such a wide field of competitors this year, so the battles will be close until a leader emerges. Who will that leader be? Basso? Ullrich? Hincapie? Who knows! But it sure will be a blast finding out. :-)

Tuesday
Oct252005

An Autumn Ride

“Ready to ride?” Michael asks, as we sat in the warm sunlit front seat. “Yep. let's load up and get rolling” I reply, as we roll out of the car to unhook the bikes for an autumn Saturday ride.

Autumn Ride on Natchez Trace

My friend Michael has me on one of his favorite routes, following parts of the Old Natchez Trace in Nashville Tennessee. Our destination: historic Franklin, Tennessee to meet our wives for a bit of lunch.

After some stretching and final preparations, we're off, hugging the white lines of a beautiful winding band of asphalt through the Nashville countryside. The air is clear and crisp, leaves changing to hues of gold, tangerine and persimmon. I can smell a blend of asphalt, burning leaves and cool fall air as we make our way South. There's no place better to be on an autumn day than outside, riding.

The first few minutes of the ride challenge me, as they always do. My body is taking a little time to adapt to the aerobic level — particularly on this ride. I've not been on a bike much this year, so my concern is how I'll stack up to Michael. He's been a riding machine with many miles on his wheels. Only one way to find out: ride.

We're stopped now, checking out a stone bridge erected in 1800 for the Old Natchez Trace, 400 yards beyond, an old roadside home of the same vintage still stands. History seems woven into the fabric here in Nashville, in the shadows everywhere. Back home this is also the case — but when you live in a certain history, it seems to become part of the white noise.

Riding on now, catching glimpses of ancient hand-built stone fences, plantation homes and gorgeous views of the rolling mid-Tenessee countryside. As we pedal on, talking and enjoying the afternoon, I'm reminded that cycling for me is not about the destination so much as the experience of being on the road, in the fresh air, appreciating the ride.

Now we're in Franklin, locking up the bikes as our wives stroll up. Lunch at McCreary's: fish n' chips remind me of the fish n' chips at Heathrow with Andy. I'm enjoying the fellowship of good friends, tasty food and a view of shoppers on main street through the front window.

Fulller n' full of fish n' chips, Michael and I mount our bikes for the ride back to the car. We're carbo-loaded and ready for the curves and climbs ahead... we think.

We're doing well, approaching 75% of the way back to the car, when Michael tells me about the steep hill coming soon. The facts register in my brain, but reality is a sharp crack to the calves and lungs.

Fighting the sudden, steep rise, I'm cranking while trying to drop to the small sprocket. No such luck. High stress and a lube-starved front derailleur cable keeps me in the middle ring — no choice but to fight it out now. I dig in, talking myself into accepting the pain. It won't last long, just keep fighting!

I'm over the rise and happy to be past it, though the shock of the hill sucks my energy level down several notches. I'm glad to know we're nearly home, because my legs are starting to solidify like cooling carmel on a cold carmel apple.

Final slow-burn incline to the car comes up slow, but I feel good. I can see the red rooftop of the Cherokee Chief ahead as Michael climbs toward it. Now we're at the car, feeling the endorphin buzz setting in after a good hard ride.

I can see the level of my legs and lungs now, after 28 miles on the road. Michael's training base was clear to see as he walked away from me on the final climbs of the day. However, I feel good about my strength on this very off year for cycling.

We load up the bikes and head for Harpeth Bikes, the one local shop in town that carries Rivendell bikes and gear, hoping to make it before they close. We arrive at 5:59, sneaking in just before the doors are locked. There are 2 Rivendell Ramboulliet models on display — they are gorgeous bikes. So clean, classic, and functional.

We take time to talk with one of the owners who happens to be a Rivendell bike fan, who has met Grant (the owner of the company). We're talking steel frames, practical bikes and the joy of cycling. What great fun to meet someone who knows and loves the idea behind Rivendell.

On the way home Michael and I talk about cycling: how I'm now fired up to get my old Manta steel-framed bike back rolling and ready for spring... and maybe even get in a few cold autumn rides back home.

Our discussion veers to what cycling is all about and what it isn't about. Why do I as a cyclist buy into the idea that I need to dress like a pro rider wannabeee fanboy, with my fancy jersey, clipless pedals? Why when I ride at home do I often think about speed and distance, when I truly enjoy the ride and the experience of getting there?

Have I lost sight of what cycling is about? For me it's about fully experiencing the joy of being free, cruising through rushing wind, smelling the air and seeing the world from a different perspective.

I've lost sight of what cycling is about.

I've been caught in the simulated idea that cycling is about how I look to others, rather than how I feel when I'm out riding. I've traded impressing others for the knowledge that I can feel God's pleasure through my cycling.

I choose to experience joy in riding a bike, letting the moment unfold, rather than worrying what image I'm projecting to others.

I want to have it back: the joy of the riding that I felt on Saturday.


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Wednesday
Jul132005

Le Tour Heats Up!

Wow, what a wild couple of days it's been in the Tour. I've been enjoying the action, as this year feels much more like the wild year of 2003 than last year's less intense rivalry. From the individual time trial and Zabriske's win until now, I'm very much enjoying the 2005 Tour.

Starting in stage 9, things got interesting as Lance got caught alone, and had to fight off attack after attack on the mountain. Then came stage 10, where The Discovery channel boys hammered the field with an amazing pace, shedding riders off the back, until only Lance and Valdeverde remained to battle for the win.

Then today's stage 11, VInokourov takes flight for most of the day, beating out only Botero at the line, after cracking spectacularly in yesterday's stage 10. It was amazing to see the DIsco Boys hammering today, to reduce Vino's 3-some minute gap all the way down to 1:15!

I've been impressed with Rasmussen and Valverde, as they seem able to match Armstrong so far. I suppose that the real test is, how long can they stay with him through the Alps and Pyrenees? But that's the fun of it all — seeing guys like Vinokourov dropped one day, only to rise and attack the next. I expect the fireworks and attacks will continue tomorrow.

I don't have any idea what might happen over the next few weeks, but judging by the first week and a half, it ought to be quite exciting.

I'm always amazed how much I learn each time I follow the Tour, especially hearing Phil Ligget and Paul Sherwen making the call on OLN TV. I love their background information and insights, because it's an opportunity to discover even more depth about cycle racing, what each attack or move really means in the scheme of things.

I've also been enjoying The TDF For The Rest of Us blog, by John Hay, Jr. who also does a nice job of explaining what the moves of the day meant, and how they play into the overall picture of the Tour. Great stuff!

I stumbled across a good interview with Eddie Merckx at SpIegel (in English) I wanted to share here (via TDF blog). Eddie talks quite a bit about Lance Armstrong and Jan Ullrich, and what he sees as differences in their attitudes. Merckx seems convinced that Lance is destined for the overall 7th win. It's a good interview, worthy of a read.

Finally, if you haven't yet checked out Eurosport's live streaming, do so. While I truly relish hearing Phil and Paul each stage, the Eurosport team of David Duffield and Sean Kelly do a very nice job. Here are the links for WIndows IE and a direct link for Windows Media (including Mac users).

Eurosport's Live Le Tour Audio Stream (IE Win Only Webpage)

Eurosport's Live Le Tour Audio Stream (Direct WinMedia Link)

Enloy the next few weeks cycling fans! :-)


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Monday
Jun272005

Tour de France 2005

Looking for the latest Tour 2006 info?

Visit my updated entry for Tour de France 2006

It's that time of year again — time for Tour de France 2005! In preparation for the 92nd Tour, which begins on July 2nd and runs through July 24th, I've gathered a few tidbits for fellow cycling fans, including websites, blogs and Palm applications.

If you have any additional resources to share: websites, blogs or apps for mobile devices, please let me know, so I can keep this list updated.

Tour Websites

Le Tour de France Official Website

Le Tour 2005 Flash Map

Outdoor Life Network (OLN) US Cable TV Coverage

Outside Magazine's Tour 2005 Coverage

The Daily Peleton

VeloNews

Capure The Peleton (Photography)

New York Times Le Tour 2005 Coverage

International Herald Tribune Le Tour Coverage

Fox Sports Tour Coverage

Le Grande Boucle (Cool combo of text and other Tour infos)

Streaming Audio

Eurosport's Live Le Tour Audio Stream (IE Win Only Webpage)

Eurosport's Live Le Tour Audio Stream (Direct WinMedia Link) thanks Matt G!

Tour Bloggers

TDFBlog

Maillot Jaune

LOGos Tourblog

Le Tour Delicieux

Peleton Blog

Cycloblog

Wannabe Bike Girl

Velogal's Race Blog

Frank Steele's Tour Guide for Beginners

TDF For the Rest of Us

YellowJersey.net

VinoVelo

Velochimp

Digital Peloton

Martin Dugard

Alex Trautwig

Kevin Livingston

John Robson

Phil White

Tour Palm OS Tools

DeepWeb's LeTour2005 (English, with Datebook support & Wireless features)

Ullrich Riepert's LeTour2005 (French & German, elevation charts, jersey winner DB)

Bike Races TV Calendar

Books

Tour de France Quiz Book by John DT White (For trivia lovers!)

UPDATE 2005-07-07: Matt G has kindly left a direct link to the Eurosport's Live Le Tour Audio Stream (in Windows Media) in the comments, which I've added to the Streaming Audio section. I'm testing it now on OS X and it seems to be a replay of today's stage — it works! :-)

Jon in the comments left the OLN TV contact info phone number: (203) 406-2500 if you want to call and request OLN bring back web streaming.

UPDATE 2005-07-06: I've added a link above for Eurosport's streaming audio of the TDF in English, however it seems only to work properly in IE on Windows. If someone can sort out the direct URL for the stream, please leave a comment with the link!

UPDATE 2005-06-28: The DeepWeb folks and Jean-Paul Horn, chairman of the Dutch Palm User Group informed me that DeepWeb's LeTour2005 application is also available. I'd mentioned the app last year and really liked how well it worked for me. Both Ullrich Riepert and DeepWeb's Palm OS apps seem good, so be sure to check them both out.

As in years past I may post about things as I get more into the Tour. Generally I mention the wilder stages or interesting turn of events, though I'm certainly no Tour expert — simply a fan of the Tour.

I can't wait to hear Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen calling each stage live! I'm hoping OLN will provide audio streams the stages this year, though it seems we have OLN on our low-end cable package, so I might just fire up the TV in the next room and listen while I work... we'll see.

Just think, in a little more than a week it's Le Tour time again! Whoo hoo! :-)

Go Lance!


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Thursday
Aug192004

Stingrays and Typhoons

StingrayDrag races. Chase on bikes. Motocross racing. Transportation. Street credibility. Freedom.

These were the things a bike meant to every kid in my neighborhood. For us, bikes were something we lived on, especially during long summer breaks from school. You might say that our lives revolved around our bikes, though at the time we really didn't realize it.

On any given summer day in our neighborhood, you could find our crew of boys having a drag race, or playing bike chase (where one person is deemed "it" and the rest get a minute lead to try and evade that person within the chase boundaries) or maybe having a dirt bike race wherever we could scratch out a route in our cement jungle.

Now, all of my neighborhood friends all had the Corvette of kid bikes — the Schwinn Stingray. The Stingray was a very, very cool bike to have. Combine a 20" rear slick, coaster brakes, a banana seat and sissy bar handlebars, and you had a stylin' kid-ride. Interestingly enough, the Schwinn Stingray is enjoying a comeback.

I nor my family had the money to buy a new or even a used Stingray, but early in my kid-life, I was fortunate to land cousin's old, blue Schwinn Typhoon, which needed a bit of work. The Typhoon's frame and structure was nearly identical to the Stingray, except that the crank gear was about 15-20% smaller.

With my dad's help, wasn't hard to turn my Typhoon into a very respectable street bike that looked just like a Stingray. In fact, over its lifetime, my Typhoon was also turned into a cool BMX bike (for the time) with knobby tires, BMX handlebars and an off-road seat.

What I came to love most about the Typhoon was its smaller crank. Initially, I thought it a disadvantage, since Stingray riders were able to ride with less cranking. However, as I adapted to my smaller gear, I began to build more leg muscle and developed a high cadence. In drag races, I was the quickest off the line and generally smoked Stingray riders at the finish.

On longer tours, races and chases my improved muscle tone kept me riding easily with the Stingray boys and allowed me the ability to launch an attack even at full spin on a hill, while my Stingray riding pals were left pumping for dear life.

The Typhoon's small gear has even impacted my road and mountain bike riding today, since I can maintain a good cadence on various terrains, and can still kick in the afterburners when they're needed.

Unfortunately, my Typhoon has been lost, and I don't know where it is. Could be buried in my parent's garage somewhere, wheelless and rusting. Once I moved to a 10 speed and mountain bikes, I apparently lost interest. I'll have to do some searching at mom & dad's place next weekend and see if it's still there.

My post here really has no point other than to share fond memories, inspired by the renewal of the Stingray. I suppose the new Stingrays will be bought by guys in my age range, trying to relive the good old Stingray days. I have to admit I'm tempted. Still, I hope some young kids manage to get a few and experience the fun of riding one too. Maybe I should start thinking about a bike for Nathan? ;-)

So what are your memories of biking as a kid? Did you have any fond experiences of "living" on your bike? If so, I'd love to hear about them.