Blog Archives

Episode 100: The second week in review – Tour ’15

Another rest day podcast! We review the 2nd week of the Tour and look forward to the last week. Plus, if cycling was a Lifetime movie, what would its title be?

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Episode 99: The week in review – Tour ’15

As promised, back again this week! We come up with a new format for deciding the world champ (hint, it involves ALL the bike skills, not just one), Anna does a dramatic reading, and we come up with a fictional show where Peter Sagan and Tony Martin are besties.

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Episode 98: Tour de France Preview

After a hiatus, we’re back with a Tour de France preview! Jeff reveals he’s been lonely, I mean, LAZY all these months away. We had some technical difficulties while recording (mainly, Anna forgot to hit the record button…), so please excuse our intro.

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Episode 96: Back from the Dead

We’re baaaack! Anna is sad Contador is leaving, Boonen is OUT, what will become of MPCC, now that Lampre is out? We talk about all the fun of  Omloop, KBK, Strade Bianche and Paris Nice. Jeff comes up with another name for those one week races: mini Grand Tours. He also tries out his Lance Armstrong/Clint Eastwood voice. Kat makes an appearance.

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Episode 95: 2014, The Season That Was

It’s that most bittersweet time of year when we reflect on the season that was. We talk about our favorite moments and our favorite riders. We were impressed with the Colombians and the youngsters the most! The future looks bright!

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Episode 94: Goodbyes

We say goodbye to Andy Schleck and the racing season, as we reminisce about Andy Schleck and recap Worlds and Lombardia. We also wonder if we’ll look back and see Oleg as the “Idea Man” who saves cycling and discuss whether Astana is playing the UCI and MPCC.

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Goodbye, Andy

Andy SchleckIt’s no secret that Andy is the reason I got into cycling. I’ve told the story a hundred times; after the 2010 Tour de France ended, I hadn’t gotten enough of this cute cyclist who lost the race by 39 seconds, stolen from him by the dastardly Alberto Contador. With a little research, I found the Eneco Tour, and even though Andy wasn’t racing, I stayed glued to the computer and a cycling fan was born. So, even if it’s “old” news, I would be remiss if I didn’t offer words to close the Andy chapter of my cycling fandom.

It’s perhaps a little disingenuous to say that he’ll be missed by me, now that he’s retired, since he’s hardly been present for ages. But I will miss what he represented: a young man with untapped potential. How exciting to watch him rise up the ranks and prove himself! How exciting to imagine what he might do as he grew into his talent! I loved the thought of this young man, with his infectious smile, easy laugh, and unbreakable bond with his brother winning the Tour de France outright someday. But then…. life. And a lesson on placing too much expectation on one person.

12_schleckIf we placed heavy expectations on Andy, imagine what he placed on himself. As much as we joked about, and were disgusted by, the “Schleck-chute”, all I could wonder is how the disappointment felt to him. To know that people expected so much of you but you were unable to deliver, for whatever reason- how demoralizing that would be. To once be able to fly like a bird up the mountain to being barely able to finish a bike race- that must have weighed on him. And he knew how good he was. He had experienced the best of the best days on the bike. I wonder when, or if, climbing on the bike became a challenge for him and how it felt when that day finally came. How terrible to perhaps fall out of love with your bike- or at least, fall out of love with racing your bike.

Andy was easy to mock, as he seemed fragile, breakable- very unlike the ‘hard men’ cycling lore loves to honor.  And the high expectations placed on his abilities that he didn’t live up to did not convince Twitter to go easy him, as much as it was outside of his control.

However, I’ve wondered if his ‘protege’ status didn’t contribute to his downfall. He was able to rely solely on talent for much of his career. However, there comes a point during an athletic rise that img_1232_2_600sheer talent isn’t enough, but for some reason, Andy never seemed to develop the tactical smarts necessary to continue his climb. Although it’s possible that the development of those skills was stunted because of all the physical hurdles he had to overcome- it’s hard to focus on tactics when your tailbone makes it impossible to sit on a saddle, or when a bum knee makes it impossible to pedal, or when you’re on a disorganized new team. And yes, there was plenty of time when he wasn’t injured when he could’ve worked on this skill, but developing the nose for tactics takes lots of practice, trial and error, and in race experience, especially if it doesn’t come naturally. And I don’t think he was ever given that time to develop- I definitely think trying to set up a new team hurt him instead of helping him.

pcy140.schlecks_600But I think he will be remembered fondly, perhaps because of his faults and vulnerabilities. I was pleasantly surprised to read the Twitter comments on the news of his retirement: most people expressed sadness, disappointment and sympathy. His tear-choked press conference could have put a lump in the throat of the hardest critic- you could tell he was devastated to leave, but knew to stay would only lead to more stress and disappointment. In the end, I admire his decision to close the door on competitive racing instead of “waiting and seeing”. It has to be hard to let go of dreams and admit you won’t live up to expectations.

The criticism often put his way seemed to have an undercurrent of sadness to it: “Oh, how I want to see you succeed and it kills me to think about what could have been!” But in the end, it is what it is. Let us not dwell on what was not, but think about what was; whether it was his “stomach of anger“, his win on the Galibier, his win at LBL, “chain-gate”, or his commitment to his brother, I imagine many people have a favorite Andy moment and I hope this is what people remember when they think back on his career as a cyclist.

And I leave you with our podcast, where we  spend time reminiscing over Andy: what was and what could have been.

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A good recap of Andy’s career in pictures, over at Pez.

A touching goodbye from Rouler Magazine.

Episode 92: Farewell, Vuelta

As I was preparing for this week’s recording I realized I didn’t post last week’s episode! So, here you go: A Vuelta wrap up!

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Episode 91: Froome Surprise

Want to find out what “Froome surprise” is? Listen and find out! Also, Jens Voigt and the hour record, Tyler Farrar is leaving Garmin?? Plus, we recap the first week of the Vuelta.

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Deep Thoughts: TdF ’14 Stage 14

Nibali is sending a message. And that message is “Oh, you’re going to attack me? That’s cool, as long as you don’t mind me attacking you right back SO HARD your face will fall off and then I’ll go win the stage for fun. So, you know, go ahead and attack me!”

  • However happy I am that Nibali won another stage, I do kind of wish he would have let either Majka or Koening get the win. I’m often of two minds about ‘giving away the win’, but for someone who’s already got two stages AND will most likely win the overall, the win might not mean as much as someone from a smaller team or someone who’s a domestique.
  • Pretty sad to see Porte drop out the back :/ I liked him and enjoyed watching him get some time in the spotlight.
  • Tejay was pretty great today! Was impressed with his climbing and the way he stuck with Bardet. He’s now moved up to 5th!! Maybe he could move up into 3rd? But the French are strong right now- will be a battle to topple them, I think.
  • I’ve seen a little chatter on my timeline about how some people think, after seeing Nibali perform, that Froome or Contador being there wouldn’t have made a difference. I disagree to a point- who knows what could’ve been. It’s all coulda, woulda, shoulda at this point. I think fitness-wise, he’s a good match to Bert and Froome. But he would have to pit his Astana team against the super strong Sky and Saxo teams. And I’m less sure his team would have been up to battling those teams.

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