Ok, so first off... my head is still all whacked out from traveling to Taiwan last month. I haven't hit a regular sleep schedule yet! Dammit!
I love this time of year. I love Spring. Spring rocks! You know why? Because people start riding and racing again. Bikes come off the trainer and onto the roads. Races are happening all over the place. People are showing up in their new team kits to rides and races. AND... it's time for the Spring Classics! I love the Classics! Roubaix, Flanders, Liege, Milan San Remo, Amstel. Even the "mini/ semi" Classics like Gent-Wevelgem, DePanne, E3, etc, etc. Don't get me wrong, I love the Tour de France, Giro d'Italia and all the smaller major stage races like Paris-Nice... but nothing makes my heart skip a beat like the Classics. Belgium in the Spring is kind of like Hell on a bad day. It could be sunny at the start of a Belgian Classic and then it starts to drizzle... then it starts to hail... then it starts to snow... and then you hit the cobblestones! I mean, the most epic of cyclings images come from the Classics each year. Who will forget poor George Hincapie last year when his fork steerer tube snapped off as he was in the leader's group and looked like a possible winner, finally, at Roubaix? Who will ever forget the image of Tyler Hamilton winning Liege-Bastogne-Liege on a long solo break? Or all the wins by King Kelly, Rik van Looy or Merckx (the King)? Images of Museeuw on the tough, steep climbs of Flanders are burned into my memory. The years when Roubaix is dry, the field is treated to horrible dust storms and/ or clouds of dirt on dry, slippery cobbles. The years when Roubaix sees rain, the riders are hit with slimy, slippery cobbles... covered in a wet spray of mud and cow poop. I love the Classics!
WTF? Didn't Ulrich say he'd never been involved with Doctor Fuentes? Why has it been confirmed, through DNA testing, that it was in fact his blood in the bags at Doctor Destruction's office? How is that possible? Could that have played a role in his decision to retire from the sport? Hmmm...
Track Worlds? Did you catch any of the racing? Dammit! Great racing this year! As much as I love the Classics, track racing is even bigger to me... like you didn't already know that about me. The British team simply dominated the event this year, with Australia a very respectable second. The US team got two medals this year- one from Sara Hammer repeating her win in the Pursuit and the other from relative newcomer (to Worlds) Brad Huff taking third in the Omnium. It was actually a good year for us US fans. We didn't totally suck ass. The funniest thing to me, was reading that the Australian team was being given a hard time for not doing better- with 5 medals- because the Aussies have gotten so used to dominating track events for the past several years. I mean, they have been THE powerhouse team that all others have tried to copy for a very long time. They still got 5 medals, including a World Record (Anna Meares- 500M time trial), but people are questioning whether the team is going to be ready for the '08 Olympics in Beijing... what? Theo Bos continues to prove that the new archetype for sprinting is here to stay. Bos simply dominated the Sprint and proved that he is the man to beat... still. He repeated as champ and has now taken a gold in each Worlds he's been in since '04. Not bad. Still, my favorite is Victoria Pendelton from Great Britain. Not only is she quite cute, but she's THE woman to watch heading to the Olympics- 3 gold medals in the sprint events; Sprint, Keirin and Team Sprint. She not only dominated, she humiliated. Mark my words- barring injury, she's the money favorite in 2008. All in all, the racing was superb this year and the level of racing has gotten really good among more than just a few countries. England, Australia, France, Netherlands and USA all did well. But countries like China, Cuba, Malaysia, Germany, New Zealand, Russia and Spain all had riders either on the podium or making things happen in the races. It's a great time to be a fan of track cycling.
Go listen to The Spokesmen Podcast. We recorded on Monday morning and Jon Maus broke the story about Nike and Trek parting ways and Nike getting out of the cycling market (or so it appears).
Go read Bike Biz Babe. It's the "new" blog from my long-suffering coworker and Haro MTB Brand Manager, Jill Hamilton. It's worth checking out, so go give her a read and then leave her a comment... but remember to tell her you are only there because I told you to do it... she'll love that.
Details are not all confirmed yet, but Friday night at Sea Otter, a blogger meet-up is being planned. If you wanna come play with the rest of the cool kids, make sure you drop me or Tim Grahl a line and let us know when is good and also a good location.
I had more stuff... but my brain is fried. Creating the best damned bikes on the planet is tiring work, let me tell you!