Tri-Sports!!!

So last night I was riding home from watching the fireworks under the Ravenel bridge.

As I was pedaling down SC 61 a teenage packed SUV blew by me screaming “get on the f!#%ing sidewalk!” They revved their engine and sped away. I’ve grown really intolerant of ignorant and aggressive drivers. They came so close to me that I could feel the heat from the engine. Yes I am riding at night, but I’m telling you, I was lit up like a Christmas tree, or Minora if you like. Momentarily, distracted I missed my turn for my road. I lifted my head and caught a glimpse of the little pricks rounding the bend. I lifted my self up out of the saddle and began flicking through gears like a man possessed. As fate would have it, they hit a red light and I seized on the opportunity. Shifting through even more gears I sped off in their direction. I caught up and came to a screeching halt beside them. They looked terrified, I don’t think they expected in a million years that I would catch up to them. “What’s that again bro?” I said. The kid who yelled at me was sitting in the front passenger seat and wouldn’t make eye contact with me. I continued on “First off all it’s illegal to ride on the sidewalk. Second, it’s dangerous as hell!!”. The female driver began to apologize profusely, and in her defense I don’t think she really had anything to do with it. “Don’t listen to him, he’s an idiot” she said” “Yeah, he looks like one” I said. “Look I’ve had way too many buddies hit by idiots like you. We both belong on the road and we gotta respect each other. So next time you think about harassing a cyclist, think again alright? Just be cool to each other” The kid still didn’t say anything, or even so much as lift his eyes. The female driver, who was actually pretty cute, sped away, chastising her friend as they did.

I felt like a total badass, even though I’m probably the least threatening looking person out there. I don’t know, maybe it was all the skin-tight lycra that intimated him. Anyhow, moral of the story, don’t be a jerk on the road. Please.

The past couple of weeks have been a crazy time for sports with The World Cup, Wimbledon, and The Tour de France, all coinciding around the same time. I hardly know what to watch. There have been some really great and surprising moments in all three events.

How about Nadal coming back from his persistent knee problems and climbing back to the top?!?!

And Rodger Federer being knocked out before the semis?!!?! Has the Maestro finally fallen?

It’s always gone back and forth between these two Tennis greats, but with Nadal’s win at Wimbledon, he will be seeded number one, bumping Federer out.

In Soccer news, Team USA made to the final Sixteen by way Landon Donovan’s goal in the final minutes of the Algeria game!

GOOOOOAAAAALLLLLL!!!!!!!

Unfortunately we were stopped short by South Africa’s last hope, Ghana. Though, Ghana has since been dispatched by Uruguay in dramatic fashion. It was probably the most exciting game of the World Cup yet, and I missed it!! It went into extra time and then came down to Penalty picks. Ghana had a chance in regulation to put it away with a penalty kick due to a handball from Uruguay inside the goal box, but the shot went over the cross-bar. In the end Uruguay came away the win. They now face the Netherlands who have been dominant over some very strong teams like Brazil.

Germany is another team that has been a force to reckon with and is my pick for taking the cup this year. I gotta root for my heritage! They have been brutally physical and absolutely dominant in controlling the ball. In their last two match ups with England and Argentina they managed to keep the ball in their possession over 60% of the time.  It almost wasn’t fair. They walked all over both teams, though truth be told, England was robbed of a goal outright. Would that have changed the games dynamics? Possibly. I’m sure England fans will argue the point until the next World Cup and beyond.

There have been some really controversial and out right bad calls made in this tournament, which is a little unusual given that it’s the world cup and the refs are supposedly the cream of the soccer crop. Hey, everyone makes mistakes, but unfortunately the mistakes that some of the refs have made this go around have been at really key moments in some big games. This might not be a problem if FIFA would loosen it’s stance on Goal line technology and Video Playback. Though every other organized pro sport uses some form of this technology, the governing body at FIFA has been against it since it’s inception and introduction into pro sports. Their arguing point is that it would change the dynamics of the game. Soccer is a fast paced frenetic action packed game, and video replays would detract from that dynamic. I agree with them and I don’t think we need to replay every single challenge and call, but I think there is absolutely a place for goal line technology, and perhaps some sort of “coach’s challenge system” like the one used in the NFL. People make mistakes and get calls wrong, it should be made sure that each game is played out cleanly and fairly and that the right calls are made on the field. If technology can assist in this, I’m all for it, and I think it can be implemented in such a way where it does not impede on the game dynamics as a whole. That’s my take anyhow.

In cycling news….Vive le Tour!!!!!


Cycling’s premiere event is on and it is offer to a crazy start. This year riders will ride through 20 stages and one Prologue, a distance of over 2,100 miles over the course of three weeks!

Before I go into too much crazy detail and jargon perhaps I should offer up a quick crash course in Cycling.

First some Terms.

The Peloton: The main group of riders, or “The Pack”

Breakway: A single or group of riders that have “broken away” from the main field. Breakways often don’t succeed because the Peloton has a huge aerodynamic advantage. The more cyclists work together, the faster they can go with less effort. It’s almost impossible to out run the Peloton, but on certain stages with right conditions it can be done, and each stage riders will try their luck in hopes of succeeding. It’s usually on hilly stages where breakaways succeed and huge time gains can be made.

Chase: A rider or group or riders chasing after the breakaway. Sometimes there will be one two or ever three chase groups.

Being dropped: Sounds like what it means. A rider is unable to keep up and is consequently dropped.

Sitting Up: Basically sitting up, meaning that you’re not going at it hard and it’s not your day to win.

Slipstream and Drafting: Drafting is where you are riding literally inches behind another riders wheel taking advantage of the rider blocking the wind, riding in their “slipstream” A rider can save over 30% of his energy by doing this. This is how breakaways succeed. Riders will work together, taking turns at the front and then dropping back, to work as one cohesive aerodynamic force. This is action is called pacelining.

The Yellow Jersey or “Maillot jaune” (sort of pronounced M-I-Yo-Journ): This jersey is worn by the rider with lowest overall time at the end of each stage. Lance has worn it a lot.

The Green Jersey: This jersey is worn by the rider with most points in the sprint competition. In each stage there are sprint check points if you will. These are different points in the stage that riders try to reach before anyone else to gain points. Points are also awarded at the end of the race for crossing the line 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and so on.

Mark Cavendish

The Polka dot Jersey: This jersey is worn by the rider with the most points in the King of the mountains competition. In each stage, unless it’s flat-out, there are several climbs that riders face. At the summit of each climb points are awarded to riders for crossing first second and so on. The number of points available and awarded also depends on the difficulty of the climb. There are five categories of climbs. Fourth (the easiest) , Third, Second, First, and Beyond Category.

Egoi Martinez (not from this tour)

The White Jersey: This jersey is worn by the youngest rider with the best time. Contador once wore this jersey.

Tony Martin

The GC: General Classification, or the overall standings.

Now a few random rules:

When crossing the line the whole pack of riders get the same time. This is to prevent things from getting insanely crazy at the end of each stage, as riders would be challenging each other for mere seconds off the clock. In previous tours time bonuses were sometimes given to the first few riders crossing the line, but I think they’ve done away with that, or at least they have for this year’s tour.

If you crash within the last 3km you still get the same time as everyone else. This is quite common since teams are jockeying for position at the end of a stage trying to get their best man into position for a sprint finish. Though everyone in the pack is getting the same time, sprinters are going full-out at the end for points toward the green jersey. Some riders are actually in it just to win the green Jersey and likewise with the Polka dot jersey.

I think that’s enough to get started.

In this years tour de france there is something like 20 teams with 9 riders per team. Each team has a designated captain. This person is usually the teams best hope in the GC. In other words its the rider with the best shot at taking the whole thing. Though there is certainly more than one way to win in the Tour!

Lance is back once again, with his new team RadioShack.

Note* Alot of guys ride for RadioShack but only 9 are riding in the Tour.

After some serious falling out amongst teammates from Team Astana last year, Lance left and took just about everyone with him, including head coach Johan Bruyneel. Last years Tour saw a bitter rivalry form between Lance Armstrong and Alberto Contador, (a rivalry that Versus TV has delighted in building up) the new leader of the Tour, and one of the most dominant figures in pro racing today.

I don’t know who thought it would be a good idea to pair these two together. I mean, what did you expect to happen when you put a guy who has come back from three different types of cancer and gone on to win 7 Tours in a row, with the new blood of the Tour who has two consecutive victories himself along with several other grand tour wins. For what it’s worth, I don’t like Contador. His tactics last year sucked. More than once, he attacked and hurt his team in doing so. He didn’t seem to appreciate the effort put in by his team, and I don’t think the team was behind him, though they did end leading him to victory, and never once did I hear him express any sort of gratitude. I also hate the little pistol shot me does when he crosses the line victorious. Hey buddy, the proper procedure is throwing your hands to the sky, and or kissing a good look charm you’re wearing around your neck. It was always about him. Cycling is very much a team sport, and if you don’t have a solid team behind you, you don’t stand a shot, no matter how strong of a rider you are. That’s why I think Lance has an excellent chance of taking the crown back from the arrogant little prick. Though in fairness, Lance was probably just as cocky and arrogant when he was Contador’s Age. (early/mid 20’s)

Whatever, I don’t like the dude and I’m pulling for Lance and RadioShack. With guys like Leipheimer, Kloden, and Horner acting as lieutenants, I think he could pull this off. RadioShack is a much stronger team than Astana in my opinion, and it’s the stronger and more efficient team that’s going to have the yellow jersey.

So far a prologue time trial has been ridden and two stages. It’s been an absolute crazy start, laden with crashes. The Prologue time trial saw Fabian Cancellara, Swiss Time Trial Champ, absolutely kill it, taking first on the day by more than 10 Seconds. Lance also did very well taking 4th on the day. Contador placed 6th, losing only a few seconds off of lance, which really won’t matter in the stages to come but I think the psychology of being up on Contador for the time being could play into lance’s favor.

On stage 1 there were a couple of nasty early crashes, once of which was due to a dog running out onto the course. There were also several pileups at the very end of the race that saw major riders like Mark Cavendish, quite possibly the fastest man on two wheels when it comes to the sprints, go down.

It hurts when you fall. Imagine falling at close to 30mph!

Stage 2 saw even more crashes. With torrential rain pelting the peloton, riders were going down left right, litterally. Even Contador and Lance weren’t spared the brutality. All is well though, and both riders saw only minor superficial wounds. I mean if you can, imagine riding wheel to wheel with over 200 riders for five hours at avg speeds of 22-25 mph and then add to that pouring rain, you can only imagine the carnage that would ensue. Teams do their best to keep their lead guys safe by riding towards the front of the pack, but sometimes it’s unavoidable, and massive pileups caused over half of the peloton to go down in Stage 2. Vande Velde had two nasty falls which has forced him to abandon the tour early on, which is a shame because he was worked really hard to get into form on having a really difficult injury laden season. I feel you Christian! Tyler Fararr for Team Garmin Transitions also went down hard twice. He suffered a sprained elbow and fractured wrist but is still starting the stage tomorrow. Cyclists are the most hardcore athletes on the planet!

The carnage in the back actually allowed a breakaway to succeed. It stared as a group of 8 riders but then one Sylvan Chavenel broke away from the breakaway and ended up taking the stage getting his 2nd stage win in his career, and getting almost 4 minutes on the Peloton. This means he will dawn the yellow jersey at the start of stage 3 and most likely keep it for a few days as the GC standings shouldn’t change much over the next few stages. Though, crazy things have been happening, and with the cobblestones in stage 3 tomorrow, maybe I shouldn’t hold my breath. I’ve definitely got to rethink some of my picks for my cycling fantasy team, especially considering some of them have broken wrists!!

Vive le Tour!!!

Advertisements

~ by glennikin on July 6, 2010.

2 Responses to “Tri-Sports!!!”

  1. personally i don’t really care about pro soccer, tennis, or cycling….but dude, that first story is awesome. you rock. mary and i got what seemed like an angry honk as an SUV sped past us when we were biking yesterday. how dare we ride bikes on the same road they’re driving on? hopefully you changed the minds of at least a couple of people. nice work.

  2. You should try cart pushing sometime…

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

 
%d bloggers like this: