09 July, 2009

Mass Market Bagels and Lance Armstrong

I thought about those cruddy round-shaped pieces of bread that are passed off as bagels when I got an email from Livestrong.com with the the title "Lance Ranked 2nd Overall After Stage 6."

Ranked? Yes, in the general classification (or gc or classment if you prefer the French), on which Lance has the second lowest overall elapsed time, Lance is indeed in second place, I couldn't help but be disappointed in the word "ranked." I would have preferred "Second Place" or even "2nd Place." I think Lance fans have enough sophistication in the ways of bike racing to understand Lance's position in the race.

I think of the bagel because it appears that many bagel makers decided to make their offerings taste more like traditional bread in an effort to gain a wider following. It hurt the bagel. Lance is big enough that his minions at Livestrong should use cycling terminology.

The picnic in the middle of each stage

Since there are no time-outs during a Tour stage, the guys eat on the go. No surprise there. But even a long time racer might be surprised by how much food the Garmin-Slipstream team says they pack per rider. I'm guessing that the guys don't eat everything. Six bars, five gels, four packs of bloks per rider is a prodigious meal even if the riders were much, much bigger.

Still, it's not the funniest part of hte packing list. Here are the items of greatest amusement:
.10 ml sun lotion/start oil depending on the weather
8 safety pins
.10 ml chamois cream
4 pages newspaper each long descent or/and wet day to pack in shoes.
0.5 caps laundry detergent
1 large bath towel for shower in bus
20 ml shower gel
0.5 cups massage cream
0.25 rolls of plastic tape to attach earplugs from race radio to their ears so it doesn’t fall out.

And now for the Question you've been too polite to ask

How Clean Is The 2009 Tour? The Associated Press answers.

On the one hand, the UCI anti-doping chief says it's cleaner. On the other, anti-doping expert Michael Ashenden says, “It’s clear that riders have learned to dope within the passport...I could write it down on a post-it note.” Apparently, micro-dosing of blood or EPO could work.

If it can be done within cycling, it makes you wonder about other sports, where they're not looking so closely.

What say you?

From far afield, a TdF Tea Party

While I think The San Jose Tea Examiner was struggling to come up with a Tour topic, she succeeded at doing something nobody else has. Design a tea party menu for those days when you're watching an epic stage with friends. Or in her case, a menu for when she's hosting Tour Fiends on her sofa. Know that the chef isn't a cyclist, but a foodie, so there are no variations on electrolyte drinks or jersey pocket food and no pasta plates to celebrate post-race binges.