October 24, 2012 — Ride

It’s been a minute since I rode last, so going out felt tough right from the go. It was good though. The weather was perfect and getting some air recuperative. But when I rode at my height in about 2005, I could feel every day I took off, so take two weeks off and you feel it bite you.

I got three flats today —— almost unthinkable —— but I had great scenery as I fixed the first two. I got a double flat on Ivy Hill Road from a bump so hard that both tires went flat in seconds after hitting it. And with no additional spares, I flatted closer to home. I must say, that maybe it was a sign to bring some of the scenery home with me once I was finished spouting my four-letter words.


Cycling As We Knew It — An Elegy

Cycling As We Knew It — An Elegy

George Hincapie website posts statement on use of banned substances.

Hincapie website comments range from supportive, to shock, to vitriol.

With the publishing of the USADA case, the drama continues to surge with the documentation of a healthy contingent of American riders admitting to PED use. The web weaves thickly for those who claim innocence, and one thing is for sure: an age of innocence must now be put to bed by everyone.

With Hincapie’s statement: a man said to be one of the sport’s most respected cyclists, there is a real sense of “selection” when, as cyclists call it, one gets dropped on a climb.

Heartbreaking, it is to see the spectrum of comments on his website, where some range as I mentioned from shock and disappointment and others, anger and vitriol. But they represent the spectrum of thoughts to the sport. Much respect to Hincapie’s team for not editing them, because for sure, the discussion is less about George Hincapie, per se, but the era of cycling. It just may be us, the public, that can’t handle the truth.

Anger, understanding, vitriol, support?

I don’t know which response has the most validity. Clearly, Hincapie has been a favorite within the peloton, the sport and mine, personally. That said, even taking into account the statements of Jonathan Vaughters whose op-ed was publicized recently in the New York Times, that a 2% performance gain denies the ability of some–including perhaps one of the Hincapie-commenters pictured in these screenshots. Not to be too quick to claim that fellow’s success, but it calls into question who, early on, got picked to move on into the ranks or, a bit later in the career, go to stay there.

Yes, these guys are talented enough and one couldn’t be a couch potato and suddenly win or even compete at the pro level. But, the other side as we hear in the admissions that came out this week that there is the point where the murky reality revealed itself for these guys, and it occurred to them if they wanted to be grown-ups in this, they had to leave that sense of innocence behind, and I guess, I have to as well.

Fortunately–I guess–I was never paid to ride and allowed to suffer my own racing disappointments with the knowledge that my best efforts wasn’t something that would starve my family. I couldn’t imagine–nor can I really judge those who do. Yet, the reversals, the scandals pick apart at the inspiration I felt watching and recreating in my own rides.

Debate Reaction …

The rare political comment, on Facebook no less, … As an independent who despises modern-day politics … (wife made me watch the debate) …

“Hi all … Scott, first comment: funny. Lisa: I’d like to know which president was not learning on the job. (not a dig) but I think there was an unfortunate thing that went on. I think it’s right to perceive the president as having lost, but I got the sense that the two combatants has (had) agreed on a format and agreed that the moderator would moderate the actual debate. But neither happened.

How long do you stand in line when people who cut the line get in the door? I think the president was caught in that dynamic. So, there were times when Obama looked at Lehrer for clarity on whose turn it was. I would have rather they just agreed to have a bar room argument for 90 minutes. But in a sense this may have been Obama’s weakness all along… Not knowing exactly when to ‘break bad’.”

Schumacher Retires …

New York Times Article

Not a shock, nor a disappointment.

Schumacher’s time in F1—this second time—was marked with an other-worldly expectation of the unheralded success that he achieved the first time around and, while the haters hated, it was good to see him speak about how much he enjoyed (and really cherished) his time in the paddock.

The thoughtful, introspective Schumacher comment has always been rare, but it’s refreshing because some indicate that he learned alot, if not more about himself in losing than the hard-wired and scripted win-machine we knew him to be in the early naughts.

I agree that it’s time to step down—and one cannot say that the time has come “early”—because the sheer proof of Schumacher’s past results is overwhelming. He may still have the highest win-to-race percentage of any pilot in the sport. His latest foibles and race issues hearken back to his early time at Ferrari when nothing seemed to go right and his will seemed—too very often—to push circumstances into a sloppy, if not controversial affair. But it was the never-say-die emotional drive of that Michael that I loved

Only this time, there generally wasn’t even the hint of the possibility of the win. And what was controversial before has been spoken as “embarrassing” now as if they don’t remember the old Michael who would push even his most loyal teammate into the wall at 180mph.

So much more has the sport changed. From the tires down, to even the “Schumacher chop”, the expectation has become normalized that the cars will fight in close quarters and the close made-to-order tire partnerships that helped usher Ferrari into the best car do not exist the way they did. Schumacher’s talents were groomed and cut in a different era and that does not diminish his greatness, but even for him it’s results that count in F1.

Thank goodness he didn’t take the Sauber drive, not that it wouldn’t have been good to see him some more. But, in lieu of the fact that he chided his own brother for considering a lesser drive when Ralf was released from Williams, it’s at least a sign that he heeded his own advice and made his way while it was still reasonable.

From his comments the sense is he left something on the table, but shouldn’t he?