Archive for the ‘Bicycle racing’ Category

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.

R.I.P., Laurence Malone

May 19, 2021

The details remain elusive, but it seems that five-time U.S. national cyclocross champ Laurence Malone died Monday in an automobile crash near Lancaster, Calif.

Laurence was the real deal. When he turned up in New Mexico back in 1990 or thereabouts he’d pin on a number and go round and round with the little people. But he never went Hollywood on us. He would race in the most outdated, anonymous gear you ever saw, and beat your ass with it, too. Sold lentil burritos, which he delivered by bike.

I knew him to say hi to, but that’s about it. Herself and I gave him a lift to a race once. Another time I saw him ride a sketchy, sandy descent to the pit with his spare bike slung across one shoulder like a messenger bag, and I thought: “Man. I want to learn how to do that.”

And I had the privilege of finishing second to him in the 1991 state road championships outside Albuquerque.

Laurence was good. I was lucky. I was actually riding OK for a change, and Laurence and I had both made it into the break coming into the finish of the masters-35 race. Everybody in there was better than me, so I thought I’d launch one of my patented, doomed, last-kilo’ attacks on Sedillo Hill, go down in a blaze of glory.

But it was everyone else who went down. Well, almost everyone. Cliff Loucks and Rick Quant got tangled up somehow, taking out Tim Schoeny, Neil Davie, and Louis Abruzzo, as the contenders jockeyed for position in what should have been quite a sprint.

I heard the clatter, looked around, and the only dude still with me was … Laurence Malone.

“Shit,” sez I.

And that, as they say, was that.

I should’ve been seventh at best, but instead I got to finish on the podium with Laurence fuckin’ Malone. I’ll remember it until the day we meet again on the Other Side. If I can catch him, that is.

Peace to Laurence, his family, friends, and fans. He left us way too soon.

The dirt on Earth Day

April 22, 2021

“This site is undergoing maintenance.”
How about getting to work on the state legislature next?

It’s Earth Day, and I plan to celebrate by staying on top of it, where I can keep an eye on things.

This ain’t always easy.

There is, of course, The Bug®. And I’ve had a couple close calls while riding trails this past week. No harm, no foul, but still, I think I might give that pasatiempo a rest for a while. A skinny trail can only handle so many remote “workers” before something gives. Our dirt arteries are dangerously clogged. That’s my diagnosis, anyway.

Speaking of keeping an eye on things, and dirt, here’s some bad news: My man Brook Watts has stepped down as organizer of the 2022 UCI Cyclocross World Championships in Fayetteville, Ark. Nor will he have any involvement in the UCI World Cup race there.

Says Brook:

“The situation in Arkansas remains problematic and unfortunately, I don’t see any satisfactory resolution. I have sincerely, but unsuccessfully, attempted to work out my concerns and differences with constituents. However, regrettably, we were not successful. I remain dedicated to continuing to use my position of influence in the cyclo-cross community to fight for equity in racing, and to ensure that the sport is accepting and welcoming to all.”

This is a goddamn shame, frankly. Brook is a righteous dude, a fine racer, and a top-shelf organizer. This can’t have been an easy call for him to make.

I haven’t tugged on his sleeve for more details because he asked for privacy after making his announcement. He deserves that and much, much more.

Some people build things. Other people, eh, not so much.

Talking about ‘Mons’

January 2, 2021

Msgr. Richard “Mons” Soseman.

Diane Jenks, a.k.a. The Outspoken Cyclist, has posted her chat with Charles Pelkey and me about the late Msgr. Richard “Mons” Soseman and his generous, thoughtful contributions to our daily coverage of the grand tours over at Live Update Guy.

Our segment kicks off about 33 minutes into the show. Steve Frothingham, editor in chief of Bicycle Retailer and Industry News, gets things rolling with a discussion of the year just past in the bike biz and what we might expect in 2021.

Thanks to Diane for giving the Padre, Charles, and me a little corner of her chat room. You can give us a listen by clicking here.

Just a few autumn leaves

September 22, 2020

You can trust your car to the man who wears the star. Or not.

• Skid Marx: “From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs.”

• Al Sleet lives: “The weather will continue to change, on and off, for a long, long time.”

• Raiders of the Lost Arkea-Samsic: “We have top men working on it right now.”

And they’re off!

August 29, 2020

You just knew there was gonna be some sunflowers involved, amirite?

Any bets as to whether they make it to Paris?

In case you can’t read The New York Times story, enjoy this howler from Le Tour general director Christian Prudhomme, discussing whether a squad with a shot at the yellow jersey might try to circumvent the race’s plague protocols should The Bug® join the team late in the game.

Prudhomme dismissed such concerns, arguing that it was “everyone’s responsibility” to respect the protocols. “I don’t see how people wouldn’t respect the rules,” he said.

Ho, ho, etc. Laugh, I thought I’d die.  I was born at night, Christian old scout, but it wasn’t last night.

La Grande Bollocks

August 23, 2020

Remember those fabulous Nineties? There was some question about whether the Tour would make Paris in 1998, too.

“A Tour like no other:” That’s William Fotheringham weighing in on Le Shew Bigge, which starts Saturday in Nice.

How far it gets is anybody’s guess.

As Fotheringham notes:

In fact, it’s hard to see as far as Paris. For the next four weeks, the world of cycling and all of France will be living in hope, watching for the first positive test and the first cluster. By mid-September, running this Tour could look either like an act of calculated daring resulting in the biggest sports event of the year or it could be clear this was utter folly and delusion.

I don’t have a mutt in this hunt, as I no longer earn a portion of my meager living off the bicycle racing.

But if Lawyer Pelkey and I were LUGging this one I’d wear a mask from start to finish and deploy my feeble witticisms from a bathtub filled with bleach.

Will the riders have any vital fluids remaining after testing for La Grande Bug and the usual controlled substances? Might full-face helmets become en vogue in the peloton? How does one manage a socially distant sprint finish? Could post-stage interviews be conducted via drone?

Incidentally, some jagoff was flying one of those buzzing annoyances above the cul-de-sac yesterday and I longed to have a go at it with the Ruger 10/22.

I resisted the impulse. It seemed unwise. Here’s hoping ASO doesn’t come to regret taking its shot.

LUG rides again!

May 14, 2020

Remember this guy? He’s gonna be on Zoom and ESPN.
And here I always thought he had a radio face, too.

This time around, the acronym stands for “Legislative Update Guy,” and the live updates will include a video component.

No, not old “Monty Python” clips. Go and boil your bottoms, sons of a silly person.

My old Live Update Guy comrade Charles Pelkey and his fellow Wyoming state legislators will be participating in a special session via Zoom beginning Friday. And yes, we can watch. And without having to drop any of our DonnyDollars® into the Tip Jar!

Bonus! Winning! So. Much. Winning.

Charles rang me up last night to wish us a belated happy wedding anniversary and we spent a few minutes catching up. In addition to attending virtual special sessions of the leg’, he’s continuing to practice law, and while he’s not exactly burning up Wyoming’s roads on the old two-wheeler these days, he is finding time to do a bit of walking.

He’s also appearing in the latest HWSNBN documentary, “Lance,” as you can see from the screen grab above, which I liberated from the trailer.

Filmmaker Marina Zenovich has directed works on Robin Williams, Richard Pryor, and Roman Polanski. I don’t believe I’ve seen any of them, and I don’t believe I’ll be seeing this one either, having exactly zero interest in the latest version of Ol’ Whatsisface’s “truth.”

But it was cool to get a live update from an old pal.

Three weeks in … when?

April 14, 2020

Apparently not. …

Surprise, surprise — the Tour de France will be postponed, at the very least.

On Monday, according to The Guardian, President Emmanuel Macron announced that he would be extending France’s lockdown until May 11, and that no large public events would be allowed before July 11.

Le Tour had been scheduled to kick off June 26 in Nice.

Now, according to CyclingTips, the Spanish newspaper MARCA reports that the Tour could get shifted to August, with the Vuelta a España in September and the Giro d’Italia in October.

That would be a rough ol’ nine weeks, no? Looks like this is not the year to resurrect Live Update Guy.

Non-Race-Related Blah Blah Blah®

April 2, 2020

Well, it seems sports podcasters have finally caught up with what Charles Pelkey and I were doing all those years at Live Update Guy.

With everyone staying home and the athletic world as a whole looking a lot like the middle 75km of a flat Tour stage, they’ve resorted to (wait for it) Non-Race-Related Blah Blah Blah®, a LUG specialty. As Caroline Crampton writes at Nieman Lab:

“As well as covering how players and support staff are handling the situation, [The Anfield Wrap] is dipping into comedy, history and broader fan culture. Iain Macintosh, chief executive of Muddy Knees Media — best known for The Totally Football Show and other associated podcasts — spoke of similar plans. His team just has “an inexhaustible supply of new feature ideas,” he said. “We’re not trying to replicate what we did before, because we can’t, but rather see it as a chance to go through all those things that we’ve talked about doing that, you know, real life has got in the way. Now we can get them out there and give them some air.” That includes a forthcoming “Pundit World Cup” as well as film reviews, documentaries, and quizzes.”

Maybe it’s time to revive LUG as a podcast. With no irksome bicycle racing and TV images of same to cramp our creative style, we could really focus on just making the whole thing up.