Monday, July 31, 2006

You know she's gonna leave you well done

I missed out on the coldest day of the year so I wanted to make sure I didn't miss out on one of the hottest. I filled up one water bottle with total ice water, and it was still warm half way home. The other one that spent the day in the parking garage was like drinking hot coffee, minus the coffee flavor. Nasty. I think I prefer it when my water bottle was caked with road salt and half frozen.

Date: July 31
Mileage: 23
Ride type/Bike: Commute/Jamis
July mileage: 292
Year to date mileage: 2114

Sunday, July 30, 2006


We've got houseguests for the weekend and upcoming week, but I've been able to slip away and read up a bit on testosterone. And the latest report from says that the testosterone found in Floyd's blood was exogenous. Which is making it pretty hard for me to believe Floyd.

There's a guy who's done a lot more thinking about t/e ratios than I'll probably ever do posting at Great reading, if for no other reason than to help me understand what the tests mean and why a positive IRMS for exogenous testosterone sounds darn near proof positive.

Thursday, July 27, 2006


Interesting read about testosterone in sport. From Drugstore Athlete, originally printed in The New Yorker, September 10, 2001.

Perhaps the best example of the difficulties of drug testing is testosterone. It has been used by athletes to enhance performance since the fifties, and the International Olympic Committee announced that it would crack down on testosterone supplements in the early nineteen-eighties. This didn't mean that the I.O.C. was going to test for testosterone directly, though, because the testosterone that athletes were getting from a needle or a pill was largely indistinguishable from the testosterone they produce naturally. What was proposed, instead, was to compare the level of testosterone in urine with the level of another hormone, epitestosterone, to determine what's called the T/E ratio. For most people, under normal circumstances, that ratio is 1:1, and so the theory was that if testers found a lot more testosterone than epitestosterone it would be a sign that the athlete was cheating. Since a small number of people have naturally high levels of testosterone, the I.O.C. avoided the risk of falsely accusing anyone by setting the legal limit at 6:1.

Did this stop testosterone use? Not at all. Through much of the eighties and nineties, most sports organizations conducted their drug testing only at major competitions. Athletes taking testosterone would simply do what Johnson did, and taper off their use in the days or weeks prior to those events. So sports authorities began randomly showing up at athletes' houses or training sites and demanding urine samples. To this, dopers responded by taking extra doses of epitestosterone with their testosterone, so their T/E would remain in balance. Testers, in turn, began treating elevated epitestosterone levels as suspicious, too. But that still left athletes with the claim that they were among the few with naturally elevated testosterone. Testers, then, were forced to take multiple urine samples, measuring an athlete's T/E ratio over several weeks. Someone with a naturally elevated T/E ratio will have fairly consistent ratios from week to week. Someone who is doping will have telltale spikes--times immediately after taking shots or pills when the level of the hormone in his blood soars. Did all these precautions mean that cheating stopped? Of course not. Athletes have now switched from injection to transdermal testosterone patches, which administer a continuous low-level dose of the hormone, smoothing over the old, incriminating spikes. The patch has another advantage: once you take it off, your testosterone level will drop rapidly, returning to normal, depending on the dose and the person, in as little as an hour. "It's the peaks that get you caught," says Don Catlin, who runs the U.C.L.A. Olympic Analytical Laboratory. "If you took a pill this morning and an unannounced test comes this afternoon, you'd better have a bottle of epitestosterone handy. But, if you are on the patch and you know your own pharmacokinetics, all you have to do is pull it off." In other words, if you know how long it takes for you to get back under the legal limit and successfully stall the test for that period, you can probably pass the test. And if you don't want to take that chance, you can just keep your testosterone below 6:1, which, by the way, still provides a whopping performance benefit. "The bottom line is that only careless and stupid people ever get caught in drug tests," Charles Yesalis says. "The lite athletes can hire top medical and scientific people to make sure nothing bad happens, and you can't catch them."

Innocent until proven guilty, or...

When Operación Puerto hit the Tour, it hit both the presumed guilty and the innocent bystander. The biggest examples of the presumed guilty are Jan Ullrich and Ivan Basso, both top contenders who were not allowed to start the Tour because they were under suspicion of doping. It also had collateral damage effects, best illustrated through the Astana team. Astana had five riders implicated in Operación Puerto. And while Alexandre Vinokourov was not named, he was also not allowed to start because his team did not have enough riders. Collateral damage in the war on drugs, or something to that effect.

In many conversations about Operación Puerto, the theme I noticed most often was that people were surprised that the riders were suspended. Here in the land of the free, raised under the idea that we're all innocent until proven guilty (unless you're a suspected terrorist, of course), the idea of suspending suspected riders didn't seem to sit well with most folks. And it didn't sit well with me either.

Today, the five Astana riders were formally cleared of any involvement in Operación Puerto. The Spanish court issued a statement confirming that "there are not any type of charges against them nor have there been adopted any type of legal action against them." Too bad, so sad, sorry Vino you missed your Tour for nothing. In more ways than one. But hey, this is a war. And if a few people get screwed it's worth it to have a clean race, right?

Maybe not. Also on the news wire this morning is a story that a "high profile rider" is said to have tested positive for testosterone after Stage 17. You remember Stage 17 as the stage where Floyd Landis went crazy and took back nearly all of the 8 minutes he'd lost the previous day. And while the UCI won't reveal the rider's identity until the B sample comes back and the accused rider is given the opportunity to have a counter-analysis done, The Times has made sure that Floyd is the #1 suspect until proven innocent. Landis' name is mentioned seven times in the article. Total of other riders who participated in the Tour that received a mention? None. It should be interesting to see where this goes.

Date: July 25
Mileage: 23
Ride type/bike: Commute/Trike
July mileage: 269
Year to date mileage: 2091

Monday, July 24, 2006

Tour wrap-up

Saturday night my wife told me that she was keeping up on The Tour by reading about it in my blog. This is the news equivalent of keeping up on what's happening in the middle east by visiting MySpace. I can't even make accurate pre-race predictions. Though considering Operation Puerto pulled two of my podium favorites, I did OK. I had Floyd picked to place second, and Basso first. Since Basso didn't start, Floyd automatically slides to first and I should get credit for that pick. Right? I did nail Rasmussen in the Polka-Dot jersey, but Boonen was a major disappointment. He was probably too intimidated by McEwen's Jolly Jogger celebration to do anything. And I should also probably get half credit for Cunego taking the white jersey. He doesn't have a mullet, but I've never heard of him.

Call me an American fan-boy if you want, but I was glad to see Floyd pull of his win. I root for the US in the Olympics too. I guess I'm just a root-root-root for the home team kind of guy. And I hope Floyd keeps piling on the wins. If for no other reason than to see more of Amber Landis. Rrrow.

In other American cycling news, there's some changes afoot at Team Discovery. I'm sad to see that Eki is retiring, but at the same time wondering who they're planning on signing. According to Chris Brewer (registration required), they're announcing something tomorrow morning. Stay tuned...

Edit: Discovery announced tonight that they've just signed Levi Leipheimer. Via I wonder if they're done...

Date: July 24
Mileage: 23
Ride type: Commute
July mileage: 246
Year to date mileage: 2068

Friday, July 21, 2006

Suitcase of Courage

Mr. Landis, the bellhop has your luggage waiting outside.
floyd landis suitcase of courage

Date: July 19
Mileage: 23
Ride type: Commute
July mileage: 200
Year to date mileage: 2022

Date: July 20
Mileage: 23
Ride type: Commute
July mileage: 23
Year to date mileage: 2045

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

It's Comcastic!

So I get home from work yesterday, make a couple of minor tweaks on the trike and pick up the kids. They want to ride on the new tag-along bike I picked up this weekend. So I hooked that up and hauled 7 year olds around behind me for about an hour and a half. That's not a lot of mileage because we were just cruising the neighborhood, but it does make for 3 1/2 hours on a bike yesterday. I cooked dinner, we ate, and I cleaned up. Nancy is reading Prince Caspian to the girls, so while they started in on their latest chapter I snuck downstairs to catch some Alpe d'Huez action. And, horror of horrors, the cable is out! So is internet. So I call Comcast, and long story short there's a guy coming to the house this morning between 8-9 to try and figure out why. But I missed all of possibly the best stage of the Tour. Man.

On a positive note, I was sitting at a stoplight on the way home yesterday afternoon and a little pickup truck pulls up next to me. The driver leans over and says, "How many miles per gallon does that thing get?" I said, "As many as you want." He laughed and laughed at that one, and we both went our seperate ways as the light turned green. Nice to have some pleasant interaction with my fellow travellers once in a while.

Date: July 18
Mileage: 23
Ride type: Commute
July mileage: 177
Year to date mileage: 1999

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Race Report: TransPhalen

Saturday it was hot as blazes. Or as we used to say, 'wicked hot.' I drove to Lake Phalen for the annual TransPhalen Regatta, a race between all the instructors and instructor assistants in the Red Cross Sailing Program. I've raced this race for the last 6 years and have never won. Other than the heat, it was a perfect day. The skies were blue and the wind was blowing. We rigged the boats and hit the water at 11:00.

The course was set up with a buoy at each of the four "corners" of the lake. The route was a one time circumnavigation of the lake in a counterclockwise direction, cross through the start and once again in a clockwise direction. Normally I botch the start somehow, and then spend the rest of the race trying to catch up. But not this year. This year I had a fabulous start. I crossed the line second and headed on my first tack right behind the guy who has won the race the last two years running. When I came about the first time is where things all went to hell. I tacked, but it seems like the wind shifted at the same moment. So the boat turned, the sail crossed, but I was sitting there doing nothing. So I started falling off and finally found the wind. I sailed that tack but gave up way too much of the lake and fell behind. And after that, I spent the rest of the time trying to catch up. In reality, I spent the entire first lap trying to figure out what the hell the wind was doing.

Once we changed directions I felt much more in tune with the boat and the wind. I had fallen to fourth place by this point, and I knew that first or second was out of reach unless one of those guys capsized. So I just raced my own race from that point. I had several great tacks where I was hiked out the full length of my body. It may not be the fastest point of sail, but it's one of the most exciting, especially on a Sunfish. I managed to make up some time and did pass the third place sailor. She's fairly petite and the wind was really pushing her around, so I think I passed her based on weight, not skill. I held on and finished third.

This was my first regatta of the year and my first time out on a boat this year, so I was really rusty. And it showed. I'm happy with the finish, because usually I finish further down, but lack of time on the water really showed. But the most important part is that it was a blast, as always. The people who volunteer for the program are great, and it's always fun to get to see them and sail with them.

If anybody is interested in learning to sail, I can't say enough good things about the Red Cross program. For a mere $100 you get 8 three hour training sessions (that's only $4.16 per hour), and with the exception of the first night every session includes time on the water. If you would like more info about the program, feel free to contact me.

Date: July 17
Mileage: 23
Ride type: Commute
July mileage: 131
Year to date mileage: 1953

Date: July 18
Mileage: 23
Ride type: Commute
July mileage: 154
Year to date mileage: 1976

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Sorry, Paul

Conversation I had with my daughter this evening:

Daughter, after coming downstairs and finding me in from of the Tour: Oh, you're watching bike racing again?

Me: Yes.

Daughter: Who's that guy talking?

Me: That's Paul Sherwin.

Daughter: Can I make fun of him?

Me: No!

Daughter: Oh. OK.

Date: July 12
Mileage: 23
Ride type: Commute
July mileage: 89
Year to date mileage: 1911

Date: July 13
Mileage: 19
Ride type: Commute
July mileage: 108
Year to date mileage: 1930

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Nice rack!

Over the Fourth of July weekend, I made an effort to get a rear rack for the trike, but exhausted my professional options. So here's a recap of how I made my quick and dirty pannier rack for the Sun EZ Tad. First, I made a trip to Home Depot and bought a bar of aluminum flat and four 5mm bolts, two longer and two shorter.

I got out the drill and drilled two holes in the aluminum that line up with the two eyelets on the rear of the trike. Then I trimmed the corner of the aluminum with a hacksaw so it could clear the rear quick release. Here's the results after cleaning up the cut with a dremel.

Then it was time to test fit. I mounted the flat on one side. So far, so good. Then I test fit one of the panniers. Again, good.

From there, it was basically lather, rinse, repeat. I bent the aluminum twice so the remaining portion went back toward the other side of the frame, cut it to length, drilled matching holes and cut a notch. Here's the whole thing bolted on.

And finally, the entire deal with both panniers mounted.

After about 65 miles, including two commutes, I'm quite pleased with the results. It seems pretty solid and the panniers are staying where they belong. And what's more, it doesn't even look like it was slapped together by a halfwit in his driveway.

Date: July 11
Mileage: 23
Ride type: Commute
July mileage: 66
Year to date mileage: 1888

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

The Tour

I've been off work since last Thursday, and today is my first day back. My routine, since Saturday morning has been:
Roll out of bed, usually around 8
Make coffee
Turn on Tour coverage
Drink coffee, read blogs and watch the Tour until 11 or so
Get on with the rest of the day

So now, do I try to avoid any tour coverage during the workday and watch the updates in the evening? Or do I keep hitting refresh on the live update sites like an addicted lab monkey trying for his next fix? Either way, my employer shouldn't be able to require me to work between 7:30-11am during the month of July. It's inhumane.

Date: July 5
Mileage: 23
Ride type: Commute
July mileage: 43
Year to date mileage: 1865

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Shakedown Street

The rear rack I ordered for the trike came in last Friday. I picked it up at Calhoun Cycles and immediately noticed that it had no support for a pannier's bottom clip. I talked to the guy from Calhoun and decided to try and take it home and make it work. He told me if I couldn't make it work at home to bring the rack and trike in once it was mounted and they could fabricate something. Over the weekend I took the rack out and realized that the folks at Sun decided that including enough bolts to mount the rack to the bike was not a needed feature. Since I would need to make a trip to the store anyhow, I decided to take everything back to Calhoun and see what we could come up with.

So Monday I loaded the trike in my van and drove to Calhoun. A different guy was working in the shop but he came out to take a look. His lack of enthusiasm for this project was immediately apparent. He mentioned a few things, and expressed his surprise that Calhoun would have even supplied this rack. When I mentioned that it came without the lower mounting bolts he went inside. I waited outside for at least 10 minutes before I went inside. He said, "I've got two 5mm bolts for you there [edit: I needed 6mm]. You can have them for free if you don't ask me any more questions about that rack." Ok then. I asked about fabrication. He said that it would be minimum of $30 plus parts and would be ready Friday at the earliest. Less than impressed, I headed for home.

I stopped off at Home Depot and purchased $8 worth of parts and spent an hour or so in the driveway and whipped something together. By this time it was about 6:30 and I told my wife I was going for a shakedown ride. I took a quick peek at my bike map and decided to ride down Highway 13, cross the Minnesota River on the bike/pedestrian bridge, head back on the west side of the river, cross back on 494 and then home.

I'd never crossed the pedestrian bridge near Highway 77, but I knew it was there from time spent exploring the nature preserve. The bike map said to follow Kennebeck Drive. I rode down 13 and never saw a sign for Kennebeck. When I got to 77 the shoulder ran out, so I turned around and started doing some exploring. I finally found Kennebeck but still couldn't figure out how to get to the bridge.

After yet another dead end I saw a security guard walking down the road. He worked for the Seneca Water Treatment Plant. I stopped and asked him if he knew where the road to the bridge was. He pointed toward the plant and said it was down that way, but he couldn't let me go that way. But, he helpfully explained, if I were to come from the other direction (meaning going up to 494, crossing the river, riding down to the bridge and crossing from west to east) I could gain entry to the plant and he would then be authorized to open the gate to let me out. But he was not authorized to open the gate and let me in. They couldn't let just anybody in because of the possibility of terrorists. He was very earnest, and I didn't want to cause him concern by pointing out the obvious. So I thanked him for the info and decided to ride that loop another day. Instead I headed east, wound around and eventually found 149 which I followed back home.

I had one stop to readjust my camelback, because the mounting position I started out with caused the fender to rub against the rear tire when the bladder was full. But all in all a successful test run. I think I'm ready to commute on the trike.

Date: July 3
Mileage: 20
Ride type: Shakedown
July mileage: 20
Year to date mileage: 1842