Archive for the ‘VeloNews.com’ Category

That was absurd, let’s eat dead bird

November 23, 2011
Mia and Turkish

Mia and Turkish watch as Buddy (not pictured) gets a grooming from Herself.

The mighty river of VeloNews finally slowed to a trickle today. I fired off an invoice to Corporate and slipped out for a short ride.

Several impatient motorists seemed in dire need of a brisk hosing down with a fire extinguisher full of tryptophan on this day before Thanksgiving. I tallied exactly 349,392 moving violations intended to kill me before abandoning the count.

Plenty of static violations, too, my favorite being the bulbous land yacht parked smack dab in the middle of the bike lane, right under the “No Parking In Bike Lane” sign. This appalling lack of reading comprehension is not encouraging to those of us who earn our meager livings from wielding the English language.

Oh, well. At least I got my big ass out in the late-November sunshine (this is not strictly accurate, of course; it was wearing bib shorts). Herself and I took the critters out for an airing, too. Field Marshal Turkish von Turkenstein, Miss Mia Sopaipilla and Banzai Buddy the Japanese Wonder Chin all scored themselves a little free vitamin D, which can be hard to come by this time of year.

That’s a little something to be thankful for in trying times when we 99 percenters hear the distant ring of carving knives clashing rhythmically against sharpening steels and wonder if we’re what’s for dinner.

And if that doesn’t get your drumstick throbbing, raise a glass to longtime Friend of the DogS(h)ite Boz, who notes in comments that he’s back to working for The Man.

From our family to yours, happy Thanksgiving.

Food for thought

November 22, 2011
1, 2, 3, 4. ...

Whose peppers? OUR peppers!

There may be an upside to working five days a week, in addition to the obvious (a heftier paycheck): I spend more time reading cycling news and less time reading real news.

That’s got to be good for the blood pressure.

For example, today I got up at 7, grabbed a cup of Joe, assumed the position before the iMac and began the process of rerouting the contents of my in-box toward the sprawling server farm in Spaminacanistan that hosts the VeloNews.com website. This took the better part of quite some time but upon reflection seems very little like working for a living when compared to covering the interminable GOP “debates.”

The day’s chores included rewriting a press release; editing, augmenting and posting a few Agence France Presse wire-service stories; uploading a couple tech pieces; editing and posting a half-dozen bits from staffers and contributors; finding art to illustrate all of this; changing the marquee pic; and putting the finishing touches on a weekly e-mail newsletter The Company sends out.

I also managed to communicate electronically with distant colleagues in San Diego, Boulder, Laguna Hills, Brussels and Leon, Spain, without once using the word “fuck,” which may be a first.

So I didn’t get around to noticing that our friends at Fox News had decreed pepper spray to be “a food product, essentially,” until pretty late in the day, as I was self-administering a mild sedative that the French supply in liquid form without a prescription.

Pepper spray. A “food product.”

Well, shit. Don’t tell her momma, but it appears that I stealth-sprayed Herself last night. Slipped four dried red New Mexican chile pods into the posole I whipped up for dinner.

She never knew what hit her, the little commie.

Chilly Bibleburg, hot Vuelta

September 4, 2011

After what seemed an eternity of hot, damp weather the furnace clicked on this morning.

“It’s not even Labor Day yet. Am I gonna have to start wearing pants already?” I thought as I pushed pixels for investment capitalists who think “velo” is the French for “EBITDA.”

Nope. I closed a couple windows and surrendered to the urge for socks, but the pants remain in the closet for now. Real Coloradans don’t pull on their trousers until the snow flies, and sometimes not even then.

The heat was on during today’s Vuelta stage, too. It always is when the peloton tackles the Angliru. Bradley Wiggins collapsed like a cheap clincher full of goatheads and Juanjo Cobo peeled the red shirt right off his back with a performance that some skeptical types quickly dubbed extraterrestrial.

Who knows? As many dipshit fools as there were lining the climb today, Cobo could have been getting Madison slings that entire last 5km. At least two motos went down in the melee, including the camera bike watching the GC group, and Eurosport’s house Limey was peeing his pants trying to get word of Wiggo’s whereabouts as Cobalt blew up the Vuelta.

Meanwhile, Boom-boom Boonen hit the deck again and broke his left hand, which probably means there will be one less Belgian at the worlds in Copenhagen. Dude must think some ex-girlfriend put the mojo on his ass. He’s spent more time on the tarmac lately than the entire Euskaltel-Euskadi team, guys who are spastics without peer on anything other than a solo flyer up a 28-percent grade.

I bet Boom-boom could fall into a barrel of tits and come out sucking his thumb. Only way he’s gonna see a rainbow anytime soon is if Monaco hosts a gay-pride parade.

The VeloHerd thins

August 1, 2011

It took a while for the word to filter down to the cycling press, but it seems that even a blind dog finds a Milk-Bone now and then — Bicycle Retailer and Industry News reports today that John Wilcockson and Charles Pelkey both got the heave-ho last week from Velo (formerly VeloNews) and VeloNews.com. They followed Velo editor in chief Ben Delaney out the door shortly after the 2011 Tour de France wrapped. Ben was not pushed; he jumped.

I’m not a staffer with Velo or VeloNews.com; never have been. I’m a free-lancer — an “independent contractor,” in the parlance of our times — and my contract with San Diego-based Competitor Group Inc., now the owner of Velo, VeloNews.com and a number of other publications and events, bars me from discussing any “confidential information” that I may come across in the course of doing my little bit of business with the company.

Given that the information about the sacking of John and Charles has become generally known — throughout the industry, anyway, via BRAIN, for whom I also perform my one-ring circus act  — I no longer feel compelled to refrain from discussing it, albeit with some circumspection. Like John, Charles and Ben, I have bills to pay.

John has covered more than 40 Tours and Christ only knows how many other races in his years with VeloNews and other publications. He is a walking, talking VeloHistory book, so crucial to the chronicling of the sport that I even forgive him for having been born a Limey instead of an Irishman. He and the original Trio — the other two being David Walls and Felix Magowan — hired me as a cartoonist in ’89, and the work that they and editor Tim Johnson kicked my way when I quit my last newspaper job in 1991 helped keep food on the table, beer in the fridge and the wolf from the door.

Charles, in his 17 years with the company, not only covered a ton of races, he became a respected authority on cycling’s governance, the abuse of performance-enhancing drugs and the arcane testing/appeals process. He wrote a popular online column, “The Explainer,” and assembled a worldwide audience of devoted fans who attended his live updates from the Tour and other events as if they were papal addresses from St. Peter’s Square.

The silly sod also routinely got up at 3 a.m. to post cycling news from Europe. You might get me up at that hour to face a firing squad, but probably not. “Fuck it, just shoot me here. Bring me a cup of coffee first. And a newspaper. And Elle MacPherson. Not necessarily in that order.”

Charles and are old pals who tag-teamed the VeloNews.com op’ for a lot of years, and I always worked the late shift, because I was not born a German and have no children to interrupt my sleep. Being old newspaper guys, we have the sort of professional relationship that lets us shout “Fuck you!” at each other without anyone’s feelings getting permanently hurt.

I’d say we’ll miss these guys, but that seems kind of obvious.

Every dog has his day

July 24, 2011
The dog formerly known as Sweetpea

Oh, sure, yeah, right, now he sleeps. ...

Chapeau to Cadel Evans for finally making it onto the top step of the podium in Paris. He was not spectacular, but he was as strong as an onion-and-horseradish sandwich in a very tough Tour, and when it got down to the leg-breaking he was serving up pain by the plateful.

Things got a bit hectic around here the past few days. I made a quick trip to Boulder on Friday to say adieu to Ben Delaney, who stepped down as editor in chief of VeloNews. Then yesterday it was back to the VeloBarrel for the time trial that saw Cuddles clock the Schleck sisters.

And finally Herself decided that Chez Dog required an actual dog, so we paid a visit to the Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region, where she volunteers a couple days a week, and bailed out a 6-year-old Japanese Chin she’d had her eye on.

The shelter people were calling him Sweetpea, and I was calling him Motherfucker when he woke us up at 4 a.m. today, but at the moment he remains nameless, though I’m leaning casually toward Buddy — an anglicization of Budai, the laughing Buddha — because the Japanese Chin appears to be smiling all the time.

When they’re awake, anyway. I think I’ll sneak back into the kitchen and wake the sonofabitch up, see if he’s grinning when I give him a taste of the old cowbell.

Pizza, love and understanding

June 19, 2011

It’s been heavy lifting over at VeloNews.com this weekend. You know you’re in for it when the memo describing the tasks to be performed bears the subject line, “Glad I’m not you. …”

Cactus flowers

I slipped out for a quick ride and saw that the recent light rain had lit up the Palmer Park cacti.

Tour de Suisse, Route du Sud, Ster ZLM Toer, Giro del Trentino, Giro della Toscana, Nature Valley Grand Prix, Harlem Skyscraper Cycling Classic, Nevada City Bicycle Classic, Tour of America’s Dairyland, Tour de Grafton, Tour de Beauce, the Race Across America — I’m telling you, the party never stopped. I’m still waiting on stuff and here it is wine-thirty already.

Speaking of parties, I had to quick whip up another tub of pico de gallo for a friend’s 60th birthday yesterday, between bouts of frenzied pixel-pushing, and naturally I was missing a few key ingredients and had no time to leg it to the store. So I subbed a couple jalapeños for the missing serranos and some Deschutes Twilight Summer Ale for the traditional Mexican beer and you know what? It didn’t suck.

But I could do with a break from the kitchen tonight, and thus Herself will be fetching a Luigi’s pizza home after her stint at the local Humane Society, where she spends a couple days each week helping lonesome critters find happy homes.

Me, I’m still helping Mr. Microsoft find a few typos that spell-check can’t handle.