Archive for the ‘Bicycle racing’ Category

Smoke gets in your eyes

August 8, 2021

Where’s the fabled New Mexico wind when you need it?

The smoke has finally paid us a visit here in the Sandia foothills.

The world sometimes feels like a very small place, and never more so than when a wildfire in Northern California can make your eyes sting in New Mexico.

“Very hazy, hot, and dry,” predicts the National Weather Service. The women must be happy to be first off this morning as the criteriums wrap up masters nats at Balloon Fiesta Park. It was already 63 in the Duke City foothills as racing kicked off down below, where the high temp should be challenging the century mark this afternoon.

A tip of the Mad Dog sombrero goes out to Colorado hardman Wayne Watson, who took the 70-74 road-race title yesterday with a solo break. Wayne was hard to catch Back in the Day® and it seems that this, unlike so many other things, remains unchanged.

Fire on the mountain, lightning in the air

August 7, 2021

Weather Underground ain’t got nothin’ on us.

Hot and windy for the old folks today as the USA Cycling Masters Road National Championships continue with more road racing northeast of Sandia Park.

The forecast is for a high of 88° with winds WNW at 10 to 20 mph. And the National Weather Service advises that we might expect some elevated haze since most of the western United States is on fire. Bother, wot?

Still, it beats Colorado, where Boulder meteorologist Russell Danielson advises that Saturday should be one of the worst days of the year in terms of fine particulates in the air.

Adds colleague Paul Schlatter: “We’re expecting very poor air quality throughout the day Saturday.” Cut me off an extra-crispy piece from the end there, Paul old scout. I like my air well done.

Speaking of very poor, after all the chin music about the fat stacks masters nats is expected to bring to our fair city, the homers aren’t covering the actual gold rush as far as I can tell. So you’ll need to keep an eye on social media, particularly Twitter, if you want to know who’s doing what to whom.

USA Cycling posts the bare minimum at the end of the day, basically writing off the results — I expect that other little event in Japan has been distracting the A team — and you can find the actual results at One2Go.

Meanwhile, our informal 15-mile foothills ride yesterday was a huge success. We saw a young Cooper’s hawk working the backyard doves before departure, and en route encountered quail, a bunny rabbit, and a six-pack of antlered bucks strolling through someone’s yard.

In the finale Herself won the driveway sprint when I stopped to check the mail. She’s sneaky that way.

Return of the Bostisaurus

August 5, 2021

Your Humble Narrator, failing to distinguish himself
in a time trial at Alamosa. Photo: Casey B. Gibson

The USA Cycling Masters Road National Championships kick off this morning with time trials on the west side of town, and the prodigal — fabled powerhouse Kent Bostick — has returned to the Greater Duke City Metropolitan Area to see whether he can carve another notch in his top tube.

Back in the Day® I raced in the same age group as Bostick, but not in the same class. Dude was 10 minutes — yes, that’s 10 minutes — faster than me over 40km at the famous Moriarty-Estancia course southeast of here. He still holds a few national records, though John Frey pipped him for the 40km with an astounding 47:35:37 at Moriarty in 1990.

These days Bostick apparently hangs his helmet in Knoxville, Tenn. But back then he was a groundwater hydrologist who lived in Corrales and commuted by bicycle to his gig in Albuquerque because he liked to log a lot of miles. A lot of miles.

Bostick and Frey both raced for Team Shaklee, and the Bostisaurus finally made it to the 1996 Olympics at the ripe old age of 43, if memory serves. He’s been racing national championships since 1977, when I was pedaling a Schwinn Varsity around Greeley in various outlandish and illegal states of consciousness.

There will be a few other fast old dudes out there today. Norm Alvis is one — he raced for 7-Eleven and Saturn, did the team time trial at the 1998 Olympics, set a U.S. hour record that stood for a couple decades, and tackled the Tour and the Giro — and framebuilder Rich Gängl is another. Shannon Fox flogged me more than once in cyclocrosses back in Colorado.

I still have a time-trial bike, but my legs seem to have gone walkabout along with my racing license, so the bike will stay on its hook in the garage. They’d be timing me with a calendar.

• Late update: Boy, if you’re not using the social media, USA Cycling makes it hard to find a basic race report and results. I finally had to back-door the thing through BRAIN’s Twitter feed. Here’s the news from yesterday’s ITT.

Show Low suspect behind bars

July 10, 2021

Shawn Michael Chock.

Finally, a bit of follow-up regarding the vehicular assault on the Bike the Bluff race June 19 in Show Low, Ariz.

According to the White Mountain Independent, suspect Shawn Michael Chock faces 20 felony counts — 10 counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument; nine counts of leaving the scene of a collision involving serious injury; and one count of unlawful flight from law enforcement.

Chock was charged in Navajo County Superior Court, but the state Department of Public Safety is handling the inquiry. No trial date has been set.

The suspect was hospitalized after being shot, presumably by police. He was shifted to the Coconino County slammer in Flagstaff on July 2.

Six of the seven cyclists hospitalized remain so, according to the Independent.

Law and ordure

June 30, 2021

She ran, but could not hide.

The gendarmes reportedly have collared the spectator believed to have caused that big pileup on day one of the Tour de France.

The charge — involuntarily causing injury — carries a fine of 1,500 euros. But race organizers and athletes have threatened legal action of their own.

So, yeah, could be an expensive day at the race for this person. Maybe Opi and Omi will chip in so their granddaughter doesn’t have to spend the rest of her life holding a cardboard placard at roadside, and sleeping there, too.

Meanwhile, on this side of the pond, it’s been a week since I’ve seen any followups on the Show Low incident. Has the driver been charged? Not that I can see from my perch high atop the Duke City Innertubes.

I know Arizona has a couple dozen wildfires raging, plus an ongoing “election audit” by Ringling Bros-Barnum & Bailey. And Bike the Bluff isn’t exactly Le Tour.

But still, damn. You’d think this dude would’ve been written up for an illegal lane change or littering by now.

The sky ain’t cryin’

June 28, 2021

Big, and bad, and bupkis.

Waiting for rain around here is like waiting for a Republican to grow a pair.

It huffs, and it puffs, aaaaaaaand … that’s about it.

Nevertheless, the clouds have helped keep us delightfully cool. Unlike the Tour de France, which so far seems to be a searing symphony of skidmarks and blood trails, scored for ambulance sirens.

Some pundits have been calling for a return to an “opening prologue” to mellow everyone out in the early going of Le Tour. Which might be smart, if we overlook that “opening” nonsense. A prologue is a preface, an introduction, a preceding event or development.

Have you ever seen a prologue three stages in? You have not.

Anyway, prologues are far from foolproof. Chris Boardman crashed in the 1995 prologue. Stuey O’Grady did likewise in 2007, as did Alejandro Valverde in 2017.

But it’s true that the carnage tends to be retail rather than wholesale in an “opening prologue.” A racer gets taken out by a tight corner, a slick descent, or a roadside eejit, and a writer gets taken out by the copy desk. Le Tour goes on.

It’s (not) alive!

June 26, 2021

Yes, yes, yes, it’s that time of year again, and Charles Pelkey and I are … still not doing our famous Live Update Guy thing.

I always feel a twinge of guilt and sorrow over having turned my back on the one what brung me to the freelancers’ dance — bicycle racing, and specifically Le Tour — but I sure do enjoy having my mornings free for bicycling instead of blathering.

Charles, of course, wouldn’t know what a free morning was if it bit him in his billable hours, which it would. He’s lawyerin’ away like crazy up there in Wyoming, and confesses via email that, like me, he doesn’t have any idea who the top men in the Tour are anymore.

But all that NRRBBB®* sure was fun while it lasted, wasn’t it?

* That’s Non-Race-Related Blah-Blah-Blah to you, sonny.

DUI yi yi

June 21, 2021

Imagine my surprise. The douchenozzle suspected of driving his Ford pick-’em-up into the masters race at Bike the Bluff in Arizona apparently has a history of overly happy motoring, among other things, reports The Associated Press.

Courtesy Arizona Department of Corrections.

Shawn Michael Chock, 35, has quite the rap sheet, according to Maricopa County’s online records. Some gentle soul matching his name and age has been fucking up like a champ since 2007: Aggravated assault, disorderly conduct with a weapon, three DUI-related charges, shoplifting, and violating parole, before finally doing a year and a half in the stripey hole beginning in May 2013.

Maybe he wanted to go back? Some people like it in the joint, I hear. I didn’t care for my one overnight stay in Denver City-County, but there’s no accounting for taste. Could be he’s the Aryan Brotherhood’s version of the Brown Truck Dude and got the word that his kindred needed a buttload of one thing or another.

“Just get your ass in here, Shawn, we don’t care how. Earl needs a cellphone.”

Perhaps he wanted to appeal his case to St. Peter? Didn’t quite make it to the Pearly Gates, did he? But then that Ford of his was full of bike parts and bullet holes and neither it nor Shawn was rolling all that well there at the end.

Meanwhile, we have a half-dozen cyclists in various hospitals around the Southwest who probably would like to know why the hell this had to happen to them. We’ll all know more than we care to before long, I expect.

The Deuce of Clubs is not always a winner

June 19, 2021

Clubbed.

Here’s another strong argument for staying indoors and playing your game of choice under the Fedders window unit.

Some shitbird in a Ford Super Duty drove into the masters 55+ category at the Arizona state road championships this morning in Show Low, Ariz.

According to various media reports the driver took out at least six racers, then fled the scene; the John Laws caught up with him and busted a cap in his ass. Everyone appears to be alive, but hospitalized; four cyclists and the driver are in critical condition, according to the Arizona Republic.

Irony of ironies: The Bike the Bluff race is sponsored by Show Low Ford.

The White Mountain Independent has a photo that will take a few years off the lives of anyone who rides the roads.

The voice of the Wet Mountain Valley?

June 5, 2021

The Wet Mountain Valley with the Sangre de Cristos for backdrop.
| Photo: Hal Walter

I’ve gotten in the habit of listening to Desert Oracle Radio on Saturday mornings, while I inhale a few cups of java with one bleary eye half-focused on whatever news broke while I was bagging Zs.

So naturally I thought it was an acid flashback this morning when Ken Layne mentioned Westcliffe while running down a long list of places recommended to him for a Western hideout come August, when even the most hardened Mojave Desert rat starts to feel painted in not enough sauce but laid out on the grill anyway, working up a nice blackened crust.

He got a hundred or so suggestions, and Westcliffe, a.k.a. Weirdcliffe, was right there in the mix, rubbing shoulders with Santa Fe, Flagstaff, Salida, and any number of other places with better PR.

Someone even shilled for Albuquerque. Probably some flack at USA Cycling, which will be bringing its 2021 Masters Road National Championships to the vicinity Aug. 5-8. I don’t think any of their geezers will be zipping up the jerseys and fretting about frostbite when the road race tackles Heartbreak Hill.