Friday, January 30, 2009

Milan Cross Action

Last weekend was spent filming and shooting the final round of the CX World Cup in Milan. I was mightily impressed with both of my guys. Franzoi and future Cannondaler Fontana didn't have the best of starts, but nether did Boom. Luckily, they all managed to make it to the lead group in the second lap. Franzoi eventually fell and chased back to a 13th finish. fm@ (Fontana - and a quick fix to my previous postings of m@f) rode with the front group of world champions, even attacking them much to the delight of the home crowd. It really was impressive and a good sign for our 2009 mountain bike season!

With Franzoi and Slongo pre-race. Nice national champ kit!

fm@ rides in between two world champions who just knocked into each other and had to dab. I guess it happens to the best of us!

Franzoi in action, pre-fall.

So today, Paolo is driving up from Treviso to Hoogerheide. I lucked out - he has to pass Basel and I have to return the camper that the Nine-Ballers are using after the race. I get a ride, he gets a break in the 12-hour drive he has to make! More to come, check the Twitter feed as I hope to do some very Cannondale-specific race updates!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Everything's Gone Green... again

Here are the new green bits that have found their way on Liquigas' team bikes. Granted, they look a bit nicer on the new team colorway which has less green in the vicinity and used as an accent. Anyway - here they are on my old Synapse. I won't even post the green shifter cable housing I just installed. Let's just say there are many shades of green in this range! It certainly looks better than the old "red" ones (and I say "red" very loosely).

Fasnacht... it's VEISHEA all over again!

Fasnacht is Basel's version of Carnivale - but with some VERY local nuances. We've been lucky enough to have befriended some locals who in turn invited us to become honorary members and to march with them and their clique. They were also glad to hear that I was quite the styrofoam carver of bird heads in my day. That's right - in college, I carved a few Cy heads for VEISHEA and homecoming displays. After some hours of work, my next creation, after a seventeen year absence... my Vulture head is almost done.

Friday, January 23, 2009

His Name Was Piero

I've been silent on the blog this past week. Normally, my work trips to Italy give me good fodder for writing, but what happened yesterday has left me lost for words a day and a half later...

After a LONG drive to the Tuscan coast and an even longer night getting to a hotel that was still open (the team's hotel was closed and gated shut), I managed a few hours sleep at the Pisa Holiday Inn (an old standby). The next day (Wednesday) was full of work with the Liquigas mechanics, followed by a nice three hour ride alone on flat roads near Cecina.

On Thursday, the guys were to do six(!) hours. I left with them and enjoyed a chat with some of the guys in my usual position at the end of the group. We discussed important topics like the fact that UFC champion Fedor Emelianenko's trainer is named Vladimir Miholevic (the same as Liquigas' Croatian workhorse). We also took the chance to make fun of the noise coming from Gorazd Štangelj's shoes, and other pressing topics of the day.

I had some work to do, so I turned around at San Vincenzo and headed into the wind alone. In Donoratico I met up with a group of about 20 locals, some young, some old. Being in full poser team kit, they took interest in this Italian-speaking American and took turns saying hi as I crept towards the front to take a pull. 

A half hour into riding in this group, I experienced something that will surely wake me up from the deepest sleep in the future. As I pulled over, I knew something had gone horribly wrong.

As told by the guys at the back of the group, one of the older men in the back had either swerved to avoid something in the road, or had a physical problem which caused him to lose control of the bike. As written here, he crossed lanes and was hit head-on by a coming truck, killing him instantly. The events after are a blur. I remember passing my cell phone to someone, running forward to control coming traffic until the police came, seeing Piero and his shattered carbon bike still in the middle of the road, and then the impossibility of riding the final kilometers back to my hotel.

I still feel shaken about this, and it certainly isn't about me, but I've got to make sense of it somehow. We ride because we love to ride. We argue about comebacks and race results and brag about whose bike is lighter. But does any of this matter to those who are at home waiting for us to return safely?

PLEASE - next time you return home and take off your helmet (I don't think I'll EVER ride without one again), make the most of your time at home with family and friends as much as you do your time in the saddle. It could all end tomorrow.

His name was Piero...

Sunday, January 18, 2009


There's a sort of election that will be held in May and my choice for the green party is...

Friday, January 16, 2009

A Second Look From Argentina

Looks like Basso got some good TT training prior to San Luis. That reminds me, Saint Louis was pretty good to Francescho Chicchi last summer. Here's hoping the Argentinian version is as well...

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Schwag, part II

This is my favorite piece... my Liquigas lamp! It was an award from 2008 and now resides in my office.

And a couple of mini's for 2009. Mavic is back on board! The era is a bit in the past, but the Mavic bikes are, of course, Cannondales!

A First Look From Argentina

Liquigas is enjoying the balmy 30º (C) weather in Argentina. Scirea sent me this photo today of the boys on an outing during their first full day in South America. Basso and Nibali lead the team here, with modest hopes of getting some racing form and not aiming at any real result. Read my full report at

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Franzoi Reclaims Italian Cross Title!

Wins Ahead Of Fontana In The Mud

Team Liquigas' Enrico Franzoi won today's Italian national cyclocross title after a year without the tricolore due to injury. Modena's Ferrari Park hosted the Italian cross star's race of redemption after being forced out in 2008 due to an ankle injury. The muddy conditions favored the Venetian rider, who typically is strong in the fango.

"I usually fly in the mud," proclaimed a happy Franzoi Sunday evening post-race. "I took off on the first lap and rode alone from there." Coming in second was Marco Aurelio Fontana, the young mountain biker who was fifth in last year's Olympic cross country race. Fontana will have something in common with Franzoi, as he will switch to the Cannondale Factory Racing Team for the 2009 mtb season. "I'll have to be careful of him next year - he's likely to be faster on a Cannondale!"

Franzoi will now head to Roubaix, but not to prepare for his favorite road race. The coming weekend is the World Cup race in Roubaix, followed by the Milan round and finally Franzoi's main goal of the season - the World Championships.

Posted by me at

So for my blog readers - I am psyched for Franzoi. He was super-pumped on the phone tonight. Here's hoping he has a killer result in the coming three races. I am, however presented with a bit of an issue for next 'cross season. The Fontana-Franzoi showdown should make for a nice bit of PR!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Tucker Gets Another X-Ray

So my boy gained a bunch of weight in the past two weeks and started groaning and complaining a lot. A little Tucker primer - he has seizures and takes heavy medication. He also has kidney stones (2 surgeries so far) and a bit of back trouble (common in weiner dogs). In addition, he's smart as a fox and almost as clever as his sister Daisy. He's also known to do wild launches and somersaults if there is food nearby he can get his alligator-like jaws on. So, he's a ferocious weiner dog in a very small package, but also very lovable.

We took him in to the vet for a check and ended up taking blood, getting an X-Ray, the gamut. The things we do for our dogs...

Cold Training!

Today I did two hours in France in the freezing cold. It was zero when I left Basel and the sign in Leyman said six degrees on the return home. That said, I'm pretty sure my training won't be as closely followed by the press as that of Ivan, who ventured out in the Milan snow this week. La Gazzetta was there to follow it, and I was able to post it not long after. For you loyal readers, here's an extra photo of Ivan not yet posted, and for grins, the similarly glamorous shot of me from my iPhone.

And that's not a headphone cable poking out of my jacket!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

To Zero G this thing or not?

I have a new frame headed my way (can't say too much about it yet) and I was wondering what the most you could spend on a light set of brakes is. Then I saw an ad for this and thought (yet again) 'there are worse things to spend your money on - ok, maybe not that many things'. So I quickly threw my best Liquigas color mix onto them and have yet to click the 'order now' button. C'mon, $570 for a set of road brakes? Why not?

Saturday, January 3, 2009

2009 Road Race Calendars!

After getting motivated by a Tweet from Carlton Reid, I figured I better do some import/export magic, data scrubbing, and make a nice 2009 UCI Road Race calendar for iCal (and also the final .csv file for you unfortunate PC users). Mountain schedule coming soon. These are pretty basic and based on the calendars posted on I don't plan on putting more detail in these or continually updating them, but I have also published it for subscription.

iCal iCal calendar for Mac users (click to download ics file). Or here to subscribe to it.
Excel Excel .csv to import into Outlook for PC.


So I'm a bit of a schwag hound. I love to show the colors whenever/wherever I can. I have a pretty decent collection of cycling team stuff, so here's first in a series of Saeco/Liquigas stuff I've picked up on the travels.

I have a collection of these Saeco-Cannondale espresso cups and saucers from 1997... the Saeco machine broke down years ago and was recently replaced with a Nespresso - highly recommended! Espresso and cappuccino is perfect from the first cup, and hot (unlike the old Saeco machine which had troubles with the temp).

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Feeding the Social Monster

SO I'm an admitted tech geek, but this is crazy. This past week, I found a way to update my three SN footprints all at once.

That last post, for example, was authored on my iPhone with an image from its iPhoto app. I sent an email to my blogger mobile address. That posted it to my blog. Using twitterfeed, it automatically created a tweet with a tinyurl link to the article. Both of those actions created items on my Facebook page: a status update and a note.

I was an early adopter of mobile computing. First a Psion, then a number of Pocket PC's (remember those?), and on to the ultimate with the iPhone and iPod Touch. THIS is what mobile computing is all about, and it's only going to get better! I'm now looking for ways to employ this more with my work and not just toying around with it here... should be fun.

So my question is... how did you find this article?