I read with great interest the entire 48 page PDF Arbitration document regarding Kirk O’Bee’s recently delivered LIFETIME BAN from competitive cycling. It’s not just a bunch of legal mumbo jumbo. It reads like a good mystery story, complete with a woman scorned, forensic hard drive analysis, and lots of names of other cyclists who now are going to have to do some ‘splaining. I’m talking about you, Nathan O’Neill. I’ve raced in a few races with O’Bee back in the day when I was still trying to race with the big boys. Got my ass kicked by him and many others. But I guess I was one place better than I thought. I have good, close friends who were at one time team mates with O’Bee. I wonder if their salaries would have been a little better had O’Bee not been on their team? How much team budget did this jackass eat up? What races did they not get chosen to go to, because O’Bee was on the roster? Who knows. What I do know is this, regarding the money we pay in license fees and club fees to USA Cycling, too much of it is going to attorneys tied up in arbitration hearings for dopers! We the dues paying members are paying for this shit! I propose to USA Cycling, that every time a cyclist is sanctioned, results nullified, and ordered to pay back winnings, they should also have to pay back every licensed rider and club a portion of the legal fees incurred by USA Cycling. That’s where the money is going. What do you think?

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I missed this moto ride this past Monday, sometimes you just have to get the bills paid. Here is a little treat from Darth Nater, taken with his iPhone.

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1. Cyclocross, Cyclocross, Cyclocross. That’s all I could think about. Even though I recently bought a Specialized Crux Pro, I saw at least 6 different bikes I’d be stoked with. LaPierre, Stevens, Focus, Ridley, Scott, Van Dessel. On the custom artisan side of things, The Argonaut custom bike in the Enve (formerly Edge Composites) might have been my favorite, only slightly ahead of the the Gold Speedvagen.

2. The Lion of Flanders lion symbol is all played out, folks. I’ll admit, I thought it was cool. It’s totally medieval. But for the most part, none of us are Belgian, as much as we want to be associated with toughness, cobbles, and trappiste ales. Ridley can own it because they actually are a Belgian bike company. Ritte is trying really hard, and their bikes look good, but I’m not sure I can think of anything less Belgian than a bike company based in Santa Monica. There were dozens of other cases of misplaced fire breathing lions icons gratuitously peppered on various head badges, banners, logos, etc. Time to find a new coat of arms folks. This one is already taken.

3. When you bump into Eddy Merckx and he is stuffing a sandwich in his cheeks, he’s just a regular guy, just like you and me. Bullshit. He is still Eddy Merckx. And even though I didn’t have my mouth full of panini, when I awkwardly stepped in front of him as he was trying to retreat into the inner bowels of the Merckx booth, I was tongue-tied because I was in the presence of greatness.

4. Alessandro Petacchi doesn’t look as big  in real life, and yet he is still larger than life. Ale Jet looks lean and thin, more liking a climbing all-arounder than a dominant sprinter. It was cool to see him casually hanging around the Willier booth. All smiles, just hanging around.

5. Cavendish this. Cavendish that. Everything was all about Mark Cavendish. There were more Cav impressions spread throughout the show than any other cyclist, methinks. It was cool to see one of his sprinting missiles in the PRO booth. A Scott Addict with his new signature PRO stem and bars. Very impressive.

6. Long live the show special. Chrome messenger bags, Chrome shoes, Look Keo or Quartz pedals for $40 a pair. There were ample opportunities to whip out your credit card and bring a little piece of Interbike home with you.

7. A lot of people were happy to say this was the last year of Interbike in Vegas, but the sad thing is what will happen to Cross Vegas? Seriously one of the coolest cyclocross races I have seen. Will there now be a Cross Anaheim event? Tons of spectators, huge international field, UCI status. How long will that take to build up in Anaheim?

8. Can’t figure out why Edge Composites changed their name to Enve. Their new logo just looks like jibberish. Branding fail, big time.

9. Skipping lunch and just doing the buffet lines at Power Bar, Hammer, Clif Bar, etc will only get you so far.

10. Shimano DI2 is still hot. It’s now over a year old in the eyes of the public, and yet there was as much buzz this year, almost as if it were a new product. Maybe people were waiting to see how it worked after a year in the marketplace, but it seems the industry is embracing it bigtime. The winner of Cross Vegas, Francis Mourey, was riding a DI2-equipped LaPierre. Sick.

I really like bikes. It never gets old. Any one of these topics could surely be mined a little deeper as a separate post. Hopefully when I get a little time, I’ll dive a little deeper. More photos coming later.