Friday, July 31, 2009

Final Fantasy

You must excuse me for touting Romney’s Spain blog as the last of our trip. I’d forgotten there was another chapter; one that included castles, manors, and amazing food. How boy-ish of me! Enjoy the final installment of our holiday. Lisa is a great writer and this last report is my personal favorite.

Assault on Western Europe: Part VII. Final Fantasy

As this is a fitness blog, I’ll add that it’s been fun watching Romney turn into a climber. Until this trip, she just went climbing to tag along with me. Since returning, she’s flashed a bunch of 5.11s. She still doesn’t think she can climb because most of my friends are quite good (and have been climbing forever), but she’s stronger than most of the people who call themselves climbers ever will be. She seemed surprised when, yesterday, a woman saw her back and said “you must be a climber.” Her reply that she just gets dragged around by her husband is looking more like a rouse all the time. A couple more trips to Europe and she’s going to turn into my rope gun.

Climbing in four countries on one trip can do a lot for the psyche:


on the sea cliffs of swanage

like all the climbing areas in belgium, next to a castle and over a river.

climbing at Amiel in southern France...
with majestic views of penne's amazing castle.

approach via an old roman road, climb perfect rock, finish the day with excellent local food and wine. so easy to be inspired!
there's even climbing ON the castles

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Should We Tax Soda?

My health news posts are generally reserved for The Fitness Nerd but this one's too important not to use all viral means possible as it's the tip of what promises to be a high fructose corn syrup filled iceberg:

Food Companies Fight Soda Tax Proposal Despite Staggering Obesity Epidemic

On the heels of the Nerd's last post, where Denis stated "someone needs to seriously smack-down the American junk food industry", the smack-down has been proposed if form of a tax on soda.

To me is makes perfect sense. We tax alcohol. We tax cigarettes. Soda does more damage and costs society more than both of those things combined, so why not?

"Americans Against Food Taxes" present of few reasons in the above ad. It should be noted that these particular Americans work in the soda, sugar, and genetically modified food industries. Personally, I think we should de-classify soda and other junk foods as food. Beer has more food value than soda.

Here's my take on the subject in more depth:

The World's Worst Food

What we have brewing is a 50's era tobacco-esque showdown between Big Junk Food and the American public. Almost makes me want to sit in a board room clogged with smoke and contemplate the solution over cocktails... almost.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Next Year

My back is decidedly hit or miss. Some days it’s great; others not so much. Since a year was the projected recovery time (two for 100% without any missteps) I have to be happy with that and not too impatient about my athletic endeavors, so most of this year’s goals have been rolled over to next. On that note, how about that Tour?

So the Texan got smoked by the young guns. To those in the know it was no surprise. He did, however, look pretty good. He also seems 100% committed to trying again next year. This ensures us of another year of great coverage of bike racing. This short interview sets things up pretty well:

When I say great coverage, I mean that as in a lot of coverage. I don’t think the quality of coverage in this year’s Tour can be called great. I like Phil, Paul, and Bob Roll but, Christ, what a load of hyperbole they dish out. All this “Contador is a selfish rider” BS is ridiculous. He’s paid by his team to win the race. When was the last time a Tour leader sacrificed his chances of winning to help a cracked teammate try and hang on to a podium place?

Imagine asking any past Tour champion to do this. LeMond would laugh. Armstrong would sue. Hinault would punch you in the face. Yet Contador, Versus would like us to know, is selfish because he attacked his teammates (never mind that he was trying to put time into his rivals and actually attacking them.) Um, aren’t his teammates there to support him and isn’t their first and foremost goal to win the entire Tour? If someone finds me a sponsor who says they’d rather have the second and third spots on the podium than the first, I’ll give you my R3. Speaking of Cervelo, these guys don’t look particularly happy with second and third (those are not tears of joy, methinks).

If you were Contador would you want to roll the dice on your Tour chances in a time trial against Bradley Wiggins? Okay, so he bested Wiggins on that day but not many would have bet on that one, including Alberto himself.

Anyway, it all makes for great drama. Never mind that in the points of the race that showed strength Armstrong finished 6th. Versus says that if he hadn’t played the role of unselfish teammate he might have won. Never mind that Armstrong himself questioned Schleck’s superiority even though Andy pulled, in a headwind, up the entire Ventoux and still dropped Lance at the line. Versus says that if AC hadn’t attacked Astana would have swept the podium. Never mind that Contador is 26, Schleck 24, and that Lance will be surrounding himself with a group of dudes pushing 40. Versus tells us Radio Shack is already the team to beat next year.

And I’m down with all of it. Bring on the hype machine. Lance Chronicles: The Return, “It’s Not About The Bike, well, Okay, Maybe It Is A Little Bit,” “Lance Armstrong’s Revenge”… et al. I’m psyched. Let’s not split hairs; more bike racing coverage = good. And next year is going to be great.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009


With a Spanish winner in today’s stage of the Tour, along with a Spaniard in yellow, coupled with the success of our spring classic that happened during the summer, it seemed a fitting time for Romney’s final installment of our spring travel log: Spain.

Assault on Western Europe: Part VI. Escalada Conquistadors

In case you missed it, here are the final kilometers of today’s beautiful stage from Italy into France.

Astarloza’s attack, 2k out on a winding downhill finish, was picture perfect; the essence of why racing bikes is so cool. Enjoy.

We really loved our short time in Spain, as you’ll see from Lisa’s post. Until Spain, in fact, she’d never really cared too much for climbing. She pretty much just did it so she could travel around with me. A few days in Rodellar changed all that. Now she’s moving through the grades and training for our next trip.

pic: climbing in five countries in a month can improve your focus.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Beyond The Peloton

In honor of this weekend's Ronde van Salt Lake, check out this video series from the Cervelo Test Team, especially episode 5 on Flanders. Filled with juicy tidbits on what goes on behind the scenes in pro cycling, its required viewing for serious fans of the sport.

It also makes me happy to own a couple of Cervelos. The history of that company is inspiring. Part 1 examines the company history, which was basically two guys with no money, living a spartan lifestyle and trying to build bikes. Asked about the sacrifices they had to make during that period, GĂ©rard Vroomen answers "none". Follow your passion and things like food and lodging matter little. Great stuff.

Beyond the Peloton

Monday, July 13, 2009

Bike Racing

For your rest day entertainment, here's a good article on the doping and the difference between how cycling as sport is viewed in Europe compared to America. It's from SI, whose coverage of cycling is generally banal at best. This explains why, in part. Having read all the books referenced, I can recommend it as a short amalgamation of the lot.

Tour de France, cycling a clash of cultures for Americans, Europeans

Here's a taste:

"Any 7-year-old Flemish schoolchild," Bob Roll has written, "knows 100 times more about cycling than all Americans combined." They know the sacrifice -- that, simply to train, a pro will log enough mileage each year to circumnavigate the earth. They know the suffering -- that Rene Vietto's toe, lost to sepsis during the 1947 season, sits in embalming fluid in a jar over a bar in Marseille. They know the fate that four Tour winners have wound up suicides, and that 1998 champion Marco Pantani shot himself up vocationally and avocationally and, finally, tragically. Moreover, they know the positives, raids and confessions that have implicated at some point during their careers half of the 18 men to win the Tour since 1974. They've read the corpus of European journalism devoted to doping in cycling, some of which implicates Armstrong, and find it more human and persuasive than any clinical positive test. They've heard the testimony of repentant dopers like France's Philippe Gaumont, who rubbed salt on his testicles until they bled so he could get a prescription for otherwise-banned cortisone; Ireland's Paul Kimmage, who after describing a drug-riddled sport in his book Rough Ride returned to the Tour with a press credential and was advised to leave because organizers couldn't guarantee his safety; and Spain's Jesus Manzano, who after an against-the-rules transfusion mid-Tour, which turned out to be of someone else's blood, suffered a seizure that nearly killed him.

Friday, July 10, 2009

The Duty Free Sandbag of Andorra

Today's stage of le Tour finishes in Andorra. Looks beautiful, no? That's what we thought, too, but our experience was different.

Romney examines Andorra on her blog.

In part, "Andorra is a sandbag. If you took Las Vegas, NYC, and Vail and put all three areas into Little Cottonwood Canyon you would end up with Andorra la Vella - and that's the best part. Okay, the setting is lovely (you keep trying to think), but what the French politely describe as a "hard edge of tax evaders" was really just a beautiful geography made grotesque by money and greed. Driving through was disappointing, but the appalling nature of what is being constructed and the high end retail of fashion and cars allowed room for amazement, if not actual enjoyment. Instead of stopping in this place for even a souvenir magnet we stayed in bumper-to-bumper traffic to roll through as quickly as possible to the freedom, beauty, and sunshine of the Cataluya Region of Spain."

It is, however, quite steep. Today's finale should be painful for the riders and fun to watch. But for once, I'm actually glad I'm not there.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Ronde van Salt Lake

Sunday, July 19th, 2009 is going to be the first annual Ronde van Salt Lake. Come join the fun. We'll meet at Blue Star Coffee House, at 2300 E and the 80 (right off the freeway if you're heading east from SLC, at 7 for coffee. Roll out around 7:30

This was a rousing success. As far as I could tell, a good time was had by all. The course is great, and even more Flanders-esque in a group. The "cobbles" and bergs were hard and took their toll as the day wore on. Big thanks to George at Blue Star Coffee for the post-ride refreshments. We finished just in time to see the final climb of the day.

Looks like this is going to be some kind of event. We'll shoot for spring next time, as it's supposed to be a spring classic. In fact, we'll probably even hope for some of the opposite of what we faced over the weekend, replacing the 100 degree temps with snow flurries. See you in April!

Here's a route map where you can enter GPS coordinates and such:

I've marked most of the course. There will be two versions of this ride: An easy-ish 100k-ish loop and a hard 150k-ish loop (NOTE: "easy" ride is about 100k, the hard ride is 96.9 miles). The latter has the steepest climbs (Zane is registering 26%) and most of the cobbles. Both are beautiful and circle the Salt Lake valley. In addition to marking the course I'll have some maps with the course drawn in, and verbal descriptions, at Blue Star. Detailed description below.

For now, go here for the info:

Best Urban Ride in the US

Some other FAQs:

How hard is the ride? Not super hard. Even the long version has short climbs. Steep, but short. The "cobbles" don't add up to much mileage. This ride isn't nearly as hard as doing a few canyons in a day because there isn't that much sustained climbing.

What are the "cobbles" like? They are mainly sections of the Jordan River Parkway that haven't been paved. A few are on the Bonneville-Shoreline Trail. They are mainly very short. If you've never been mountain biking you could find these kind of grim. But if you have, even easy mtn biking, then they aren't technical. You can just pedal your bike and steer. You don't need great bike handling skills. For the most part they aren't nearly as hard as riding over Belgian cobbles. The last sector, through Parley's Nature Park (or Tanner dog park as many call it), has one little hill that is fairly technical at the end. If you get off and walk, it'll only be for a minute or so.

How are the climbs? Short. Some are quite steep. Zane is supposed to be the steepest street in town but it's probably barely 20% and two blocks long, with a break (cross street). Again, if anything is too hard, you won't be walking for more than a few hundred feet, tops.

Will I get punctures on the Jordan River Parkway? I've ridden it twice recently and not had one. Not only that, the bike trail is in good condition and most, if not all, vegetation can be avoided. I'll ride it again this week and report but I'm thinking that most of those "puncture" rumors are in the fall when the goatheads are out. They should still be soft and green. Bring a patch kit and inflate your tires (to avoid pinch flats) just in case. Rode it yesterday. It's fine and clean. Did get a puncture but I think it was from riding off the path to place a route marker. The pavement is very clean.

Will the course be marked? I'm going to mark it with the above signs next week. Hopefully most of them will survive til Sunday. I'll post a map and long verbal directions next week as well. There is a basic route description in the comments of the above link. It's an EASY course to follow and NOT GET LOST. You may get off course but since it's a circle around the city if you have a map you'll find your way back on it, or you can just ride home.

Why should I do this ride? It's awesome! Over its entire length there aren't too many places where I don't think "this is SO cool", especially when I look around. It passes many of SLC's most famous landmarks. It's challenging. It's gorgeous. I can't imagine any city in the US could come close to matching it.

Are you sure I won't get lost? Hopefully there will be at least a couple of small groups. The course is marked with the above logos. However, some almost certainly will get removed. View the detailed description (on the link and I'll post another later in the week). I'll have some general maps at the start. In general, for the signage, a sign on the right means go right, on the left means go left. Across the street means straight. If it's a dead end the marker will be placed in the direction you should go. If there are "bike route" signs you generally follow them. Once you're on the Jordan River, always take the fork that keeps you next to the river.

Basic Route Description:

From Blue Star, head up the frontage road past Parley's (dog park) and right onto 2700E. Follow this to 4500 (44-something at this point, a light). Turn right then left onto Wander Lane. Follow Wander (wanders but marked and is obvious) to Jupiter, a natural place to turn right. Head down to Holladay Blvd. Turn left. Continue straight past 6200S (Cottonbottom is here if you already need to imbibe). Follow bike route signs onto S. Big Cottonwood Cyn Rd. Climb up past the Mill to Ft Union. Second chance for a drink as Porcupine Pub is across the street.

Turn right, then left on Nut Tree. Follow it around right, then left and up to Brighton. Left and up Brighton to Bengal. Left and up the hill. Look for a back alley in the parking lot to cut off the corner of Bengal and 3500E. Take 3500 to Wasatch, merge right. Follow this to the Little Cottonwood Cyn fork and take the left (uphill) option. Climb up to the neon sign and turn right. Scream downhill, cross Wasatch, and make the first left on 9710S. Make the first left and go left again at S 3100E. Turn right then left on Dimple Dell. Head downhill for a while. Right on 1300E, then left pretty quickly at Sego Lilly (first light). This short section sucks for a couple of blocks. Head downhill to the trolley tracks and turn right onto the bike path. At 9400S, carefully cross the street and take the road next to the bike path. At 9000S, again carefully, cross the median to go left and head down 9000. Go under the freeway (another sucky section) and turn right on the frontage road. At its end, turn left and in a minute or so turn right and enter the Jordan River Parkway.

After a mile or so, be careful crossing the road, and go left to get back on the path. The bike path does cross under the road but it's super muddy. Unless you want your bike to look like you've ridden Paris Roubaix in the rain, it's easier to cross the street.

The next 10 or so miles are on the bike path. All major streets are crossed with bridges or underpasses, at least until you're back in SLC proper. I've marked every important turn. If the signs are gone, always FOLLOW THE RIVER. This will never lead you too far astray.

The first cobble sector is where the path is closed around 2100S. Go left on dirt for about 50m, then take the first right through the construction zone, then right again on the detour back to the bike path. After going under the river, take a right fork at a golf course away from the river. Carefully crossing active trolley lines. Again, follow the path with is now back on the river. At Franklin Elementary, leave the path (just before it end at I-80 anyway) and go right for a couple of block. Turn left and head under I-80, then take the first right onto 200S.

Turn left off of 200S where the trolley tracks turn left in front of you. Make the next right and cross under the Gateway Arch. Go left in front of the Gateway Mall and right onto S. Temple. Follow S. Temple through downtown, moving left through the short construction zone (almost a cobble sector--ride fast). Stay on S. Temple to 700E. Stay in the right land and turn right, then turn left on 100S (in front of Wasatch Touring).

If you're hungry, turn right at 800E and go south two blocks to the corner of 300S. Cafe Niche awaits.

Get back on 200S and head uphill. The first steep berg is just before the university. Go straight through the light at 1300E and right on University. Turn left and climb up past the stadium. Try not to get hit by a train (what kind of cobble ride would it be if trains weren't a factor?). Stay on this climb to the top of the university. Go left at the light and continue uphill (right at the Wasatch fork) til the road ends.

For the short version, turn right and finish the ride from the Medical Center climb. For the long version, turn left and then right on Federal Heights and descend into the avenues.

Left on Virginia for a block then right at 4th. Turn right climb into the cemetary on Central. When it forks, go left, keep climbing to the left on Main, which is steep a windy--a beautiful and hard climb. Left on 11th, then quickly right on K Street. After a brutally hard two blocks, follow it left and head straight to the end of the road. Wind down Capitol Park to D. Turn right, cross 11th, and head downhill to 3rd. Turn right and head into Memory Grove Park. Turn right on Canyon and climb up through the park. At the top, go left and then right behind the capitol. Right on Columbus (Victory) and head north, downhill, to Beck St.

Head north on Beck. Turn right on the Bike Route into the quarry. Re-enter the road (now Hwy 89), take the diagnal shorcut before Center (light). Then left on Center. Follow Center until it's possible to enter the Jordan River Parkway (so don't cross a river). Go left (south) and take the JRPW til it "ends".

Keep going into cobble sector 2. This is overgrown and narrow. When you can exit onto a road. After a 100 meters or so take a dirt path off right. Sector 3 is long. Follow the markers right at the fork and over a bridge, then right (west). Back on the pavement, go left then right onto 2100N. Take this til you can turn right on 3200W. Sector 4 is a long dirt road that's part of the Hell of the North bike race. At its end, turn right at 3300N and right on 2200W. At 2100N, turn left. At the end go left and right and back onto pave sector 3. Sector 5 stays right at the bridge and ends at Redwood Road. Carefully cross this and enter the Jordan River Parkway. Follow the parkway until it turns to dirt. Sector 6 is an easy dirt road that follows the river and ends on a golf course. Stay left on the grass until the next road. 7/16: Sector 6 is close. Go left at the bridge and right and down the bike path. Turn left at the road 1000 N and take this until it bends and meets 600N. Turn left and follow 600N this over the I-15 and down into West Capitol Hill.

Go through the lights and turn right on Wall St (the end). Get psyched. Follow Wall until a steep road angles up at left. Take it (Zane) for two very steep blocks. Turn right at Columbus, left in front of the capitol, right on State, and left onto E Capitol Blvd. Climb up past the capitol and straight into the one-way street, staying in the right lane (bikes and peds only). Wind around to 11th Ave. Go left and up to I St. Go left and climb. After three horrible blocks it gets easier. Wind around to the top. Right on Terrace Hills and go steeply down. Just before you hit 11th, look for a street veering off left (Chandler). Take this. Up at left is Karl Malone's old ridiculously large house. As you begin to climb, on your left is the end of the Bobsled bike trail. Over the top, take the first right on Virginia and descend to the stop sign. Left on Popperton Park Way. Climb up and get on the bike path at the gate. Climb over the top and enter sector 7 as it turns to dirt. Follow this down around right (past Cold Canyon). Take the second left dirt road (the flat one), and look for a very small but smooth bit of single track splitting two wider roads. Take this down to a parking lot. Turn right then left to exit it.

This is where it meets up with the short ride. Turn left and climb up under the Cancer Center. Go left into the higher parking lot and go straight til it ends at the Bonneville Shorline Trail. Enter this. Sector 8 is short but has a short loose climb. Stay left on this and follow the dirt road. Turn right after 100 meters or so onto the road (construction is straight ahead). Descend to Chipeta (first big street). Go left and downhill to Arapeen. Go left to Sunnyside.

Turn left and climb up past the zoo. Turn right on Crestview, climb and follow the Bike Route signs. Left at Kennedy, right at Vista View and follow the bike signs, which keep you high on the bench. Eventually the pavement ends at the Bonneville Shoreline trail. Enter this and look for a short steep climb heading off left. Take it, then follow the single track to its end. Descend the "Bike Route" to Foothill. Get on the sidewalk going against traffic for a block until you can enter the bike path. Follow this down and then steeply up to the bridge.

For the short ride, turn left and head down through Parley's back to Blue Star.

For the long route, keep climbing until you exit at Wasatch. Take the first left (Warr). Climb to Cascade, turn right, then left on Plateau, then veer left on Teton. Go right (down) at Monte Verde, then left (up at Crestview). At the end, go right and left on Astro, and down to S. Mill Creek Rd. Left and across E. Mill Creek (4-way stop), and start climbing. Stay to the left and climb Parkview. Turn left at Park Terrace, right on Zarahemla, and crest the road looking up at Mt. Olympus. Turn right at the first street and follow it down (Cumorah and Oakview). Turn right at Jupiter (stop sign, school on left), and follow it down to Wasatch Blvd (light). Turn right and follow Wasatch back towards the bike path. Right at 3300 S, back down the bike path. Take the bridge (that you didn't take climbing up) and descend to Parley's Nature Park.

Careful entering sector 10. It's loose gravel for a hundred feet or so (easily ridable). Turn right and follow the main trail down, across the bridge, then back up. The last bit of the climb is loose and very rocky. Dismounting won't lose you much time but if you're racing you'll lose, because at the top you turn right and ride down the hill to the finish at Blue Star.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Johnny Rock

John Bachar passed away over the weekend. He died doing what he loved, and ironically did better than perhaps anyone in history, soloing. He was 52.

Though I’ve known John for over 20 years he was never more than an acquaintance. I wasn’t sure whether to post something about him or not but it just seems wrong not to. There’s a thread at Super Topo with comments from many of his closest friends. If you knew him or are interested in his life, it’s the place to pay your respects:

Super Topo

Oddly enough, I had a small group of friends in town the night he died. As climbing is a small world, most of us knew him. We raised our glasses and told Bachar stories all night.

John was a hero of mine when I started climbing, as he probably was for everyone who began climbing in the 80s. This pic adorned my wall for most of my formative years in the sport. When I first met him it was like meeting a rock star for me. Coming from LA, I’d met a lot of celebs. He was, by far, the one that meant the most. But climbing celebrity is different. We sat in front of the Mountain Shop in Yosemite, alone, talking for an hour or so about the world of climbing. He didn’t know me at all.

He was, without a doubt, the best climber in the world for a period of time in the late 70s and early 80s. He was an odd dude, a bit of an enigma, but I also found him honest and straightforward. I always liked him.

People say that he mellowed with age, but I’m not sure that’s correct. My last few conversations with him centered on government conspiracies that, the more I learn, the more I’m likely to believe. He had a “Bush Knew” sticker on his truck, which is probably at the edge of that spectrum, but it’s pure Bachar. Opinionated and controversial; a position he’d defend with passion.

I think my favorite Bachar story is one I just read in Jerry Moffat’s biography Revelations. Moffat, too, found Bachar confusing; “capable of some of the most frustrating and incomprehensible behavior I have come across. At the same time, …also capable of the most amazing displays of generosity.” He could be cold, aloof, and downright unfriendly if you were crossing his personal line of ethics (which many did in the climbing world). Moffat wasn’t sure if Bachar liked him or not, until he got injured and couldn’t climb. Unable to heal his injury, he got a call from Bachar who recommended he see a specialist in LA, who treated pro athletes. John paid for his treatments.

Bachar was a soul climber; someone who doesn’t just climb for fun, but to live. Like an artist who paints or a writer who writes, whether they’re being paid or not, Bachar went climbing. I think it’s fitting he died this way. Too early, too gruesome; but fitting. He will be missed.

“Every day I go out and climb, like a dancer who works on his dance. He probably has some goals, some pieces he would like to perform, but his main goal is to work on his dance. This is how he expresses himself. Both he and I are interested in the same thing. It’s the dance that counts.”John Bachar 1957 – 2009

Friday, July 03, 2009

Le Tour '09

Since I’ve been asked, I guess I’ll write a Tour preview. Interesting year, for sure, and I’m not even going to mention doping. The return of the Texan is the major headline but the course is very strange. There are more “easy” stages than normal, and the hard bits happen during the first and last week. This means that someone could be peaking in week one and fade by week three. The result is that no lead will be considered safe. This should make the drama higher than usual.

monaco teams presentation
The common tactic is to arrive at stage 1 at maybe 90% peak fitness and build towards week three. Young riders, in particular, seem to have trouble with this, which is why it’s rare to see youth win at le Tour, even if they’ve been dominating everything else (Valverde is a prime example). We generally don’t get a true glimpse at the GC until around stage 10.

This year, however, you could easily lose too much time to make up. The first week has at least three stages where significant time gain be gained or lost. The interesting aspect is that no one seems to be very sure how it will go. Certainly the major players have their private thoughts but it’s all feigned confusion in the press. And this is adding greatly to the fun.

Throw in all the confusion and leadership issues at Astana, the last-minute loss of Dekker, the addition of Boonen, the exclusion of Valverde, the sudden verve of Evans, the mind games of Riis (not to mention Armstrong), the cool of Sastre and the quiet of Menchov and you’ve got intrigue galore. I can’t wait for tomorrow. I with, like my friends Bruce and Alisa, I were there.

Demand Media Video -- powered by
the texan perspective

Armstrong’s return means that there is no lack of press in the US. For straight reporting, and will still rule the day. should not be missed, either, as they grab video feeds from around the world. is also broadcasting a lot of pro-Lance stuff. If you can get your head around that, it’s pretty cool. I think personal daily reports from any rider doing the Tour is worth a look. Armstrong is more measured, more practiced, and probably cagier than your average rider but he’s still out there racing and suffering. It’s a pretty cool bonus.

As for who will win, who knows? Lance, Evans, and even Andy Schleck seem confident. And they’re all looking at numbers, so they must have some idea because those reflect their chances. Lance tipped Sastre and Menchov, who are certainly in the picture. Menchov looked unbelievably strong at the Giro and Sastre had better be dispatched by the Ventoux because he’s always strong in week three and climbs like an angel. But Lance didn’t mention Contador, who climbs even better and just crushed everyone in the Spanish time trial championships. No matter how I try, I can’t see him losing.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Limbaugh: Exercise To Blame For Health Care Problems

When I'm engaged in a debate with a crazy person I like to sit back and let them have the stage because, eventually, they'll end up burying themselves in the argument. Here is a prime example of how this works. Apparently, no one has shown Rush any statistics on heart disease and diabetes.

Thanks to Debbie for the head's up on this. Limbaugh isn't generally on my reading list for health news.

And in case you need a counterpoint, here are a few obesity epidemic stats. Maybe Rush needs to chip in and tell us how it's all really Colorado's fault.

Fat Stats