Monthly Archives: October 2015

Och and the $1,000,000 Triple Crown

This entry was posted in Comments about Cycling on by .
Share

I received a few texts, emails, and comments here about the “revelation” that Och knew about the exchange of money between Lance and the Coor’s Light Team after the Triple Crown in 1993.

Even Alexi came out from hiding to make a comment.  Alexi called Och a liar, saying he was there when the Coor’s Light team voted to sell out.  Here’s Alexi, confessing to having a “paper bag” full of money, calling Jim Ochowicz a liar.

Screen Shot 2015-10-22 at 9.52.14 PM

I think that really Velonews started this whole cascading surprise.  Velonews wrote this article about Lance’s testimony last week about “the deal”.

For me, this isn’t anything new.  I wrote a post about this whole episode nearly 3 years ago to the day.  You see, I was there and witnessed the whole thing.   It was so obvious that the race/races were fixed that it didn’t take a brain surgeon to know about it immediately.  What was/is amazing that they actually kept the whole thing quiet for nearly 20 years.

I think Velonews was being pretty dramatic in their headline –

Screen Shot 2015-10-22 at 9.49.18 PM

I very much doubt that is the truth.  I very much doubt that Jim Ochowicz fixed the Triple Crown, himself, as the headline implies.  I don’t know really, but this isn’t how these things work.  And really, it is impossible for one guy to do that.

Deals are made all the time in racing.  Vino is in trouble right now for buying a World Cup.  He is being charged in Belgium.  But, this one was different.

There was a million dollars at stake, maybe not really a million, but a big chunk of money.   And when this deal was made, there was the problem of insurance fraud. That is different than the normal trading of prize money, the guy sitting on saying he won’t sprint or any of a ton of different reasons that a race might seem fixed.

I wrote another post about a time when I was having some public issues about what seemed to be a bought race.  This is the link.  Buying and selling races has been going on forever.  But there is an etiquette involved and normally the best rider, or the rider that was going to win, will win.

Anyway, do I think Alexi is right.  Partially.  He is kind of implying that Och was at a team meeting of the Coor’s Light team and presented a deal.  Or at least that knew that Och knew of the deal.  He really doesn’t know that.  He knows he received some money from a deal made there, but I very much doubt he talked to Och or actually knows, for sure, that Och was involved.  I think that would be very had to prove.

I think what happened was exactly what Stephen Swart said.  I think that Phil Anderson probably came up with an idea to help Lance’s odds of winning all three races.  I assume that it wasn’t only in Philadelphia.  I think Lance won the first  race in Pittsburg on his own.  But, in West Virginia, the racing seemed screwy when Lance got away with Michael Engleman, Coor’s Light again.  From then on, it was pretty apparent.

These deals are usually done on the road, rider to rider.  This one was different because the million was awarded to whoever won two one day races and a stage race.  So, the negotiations probably took place off the bike, which isn’t normal. But, I still think it was riders to riders, not team director to riders.  And I don’t think it was team director to team director.  I think it was the “normal” way, rider to rider.

So do I think Och knew of the deal made during the Triple Crown to help Lance win all three races?  Absolutely.  Do I think that Och masterminded this whole thing?  No way.  If I were Jim Ochowicz, would I say to the media that I was knowledgeable of committing  insurance fraud 22 years ago?   Fuck no!

There are a ton of people involved in this whole thing.  All the riders and most likely most of the support of both the Coor’s Light and Motorola teams at the race.  That would include Alexi, Roberto Gaggioli , Michael Engleman, Davis Phinney, Roy Knickman, Ron Kiefel, Stephen Swart, Andy Bishop, Phil Anderson, Lance, obviously, plus other Euro guys.  Plus Len Pettyjohn, director of Coor’s Light and Jim Ochowicz.

I’m not sure why they decided to single out  Jim Ochowicz.  They, as being Lance and Velonews. Lance must have his own agenda, which no one really knows.  Velonews, I’m not sure.  They could have just called up anyone of a few guys on the list above, that live either in Boulder or nearby.  Can you imagine the headline, “Davis Phinney fixed $1 million Triple Crown”?  That would be wrong, because, it didn’t happen.  It didn’t happen anymore than Och did it himself.

All the parties above were complicit in the deal. Anyone of them balks, then it doesn’t happen.One guy says he’s going to go public, then and there, it doesn’t happen.

I think it is strange that Swart and Gaggioli can’t come up, within $50,000, how much money they received.

And then the smoking gun. Lance’s statement –

Question: And how is it that you believe that Jim Ochowicz did that?

Armstrong: Because I heard that.

He said he heard that? And he went on –

Armstrong: — I don’t know if they competed — I don’t think they threw the race, but I don’t know — I was so new to the sport, and that side of the sport was so new to me, I wasn’t very clear on how that worked.

He was so new to the sport that he couldn’t understand if Coor’s Light was racing to win or not? That wasn’t the best answer.  Remember, Lance won the Pro World Road Championships later that year.  And he doesn’t know if they threw the race,  yet he paid them somewhere between 50-100K?

Lance saying that he was “so new to the sport” to understand the fix, is asinine.   I would have understood that deal when I was 10 years old.  Here’s money, let me win.  Pretty simple.

Anyway, check out the links above.  The first one explains what I saw originally.  You know, I’m sort of thinking that Jim Ochowicz wasn’t even at those races.  Don’t quote me on that, but I know that no one from the Motorola team wanted to leave Europe and go to the  US to race. Andy Bishop told me that.  He said that after Lance won the first two races, the rest of the team started getting real interested in the results, so ultimately, the prize split got diluted.  And kept getting more diluted as they had to pay out more and more of it.

There were a ton of guys, like 95% of the field, that was still trying to win that race.  I would have loved to have been in a position to win any one of the three races,  but wasn’t.  Obviously, this exchange of money increased Lance’s odds of winning a ton.  But it really wasn’t completely fixed.  Not like two boxers in a ring and one flops.  He still had to ride away from the field up Manayunk Wall.  And he did this like he was on a motorcycle.  (I’ll post about this later.)  Still, the odds were changed by money exchanging hands in a sporting event, so for sure, it fits the category of being “fixed”.

Anyway, I hope the statute of limitations is over for the legal aspect of this whole thing.  No one needs to go through any hardship because of what was done 22 years ago.  I’m not trying to make excuses for anyone here, especially not Och.

A lot of those guys are my friends.  It was, and is part of the sport, the behind the scenes part of the sport.  I realize, and they probably do too, that they stepped over the line. At least a line that had been made throughout the years in cycling.  I know I’m going to take a bunch of shit for that view, but that is how I feel.

 

 

 

 

Discarding Tubes

This entry was posted in Comments about Cycling on by .
Share

Yesterday I meet up with Joseph and Matt over on the RIver Road.  It is one of my favorite rides. They rode over most of the way to Topeka and I rode them back to downtown Lawrence.

On the way back, between Lecompton and Topeka, I came around the corner to see a inner tube laying on the edge of the road.  It really surprised me.  I don’t think I’ve seen a discarded tube or tire laying around for years.  I stopped, took a picture, then picked it up.  It is so wrong on so many levels that it was laying there.

I assume the person meant to leave it laying there on purpose.  I really can’t imagine a situation where someone would pack up all their stuff and forget to pick up the flat tube.  If it was a mental fart, that would be great.  But I’m thinking not.

Okay, let’s just forget the be friendly to the Earth deal.  If you’re riding on this road, you are doing it for the scenery and lack of traffic.   It is wonderful, tree lined, open fields, a view of the river from above. There is no place for people to be leaving trash laying around.  And this wasn’t really trash.  It was a tube that would be usable again with a single patch.  Whatever, it was an insult to all cyclists that ride this road.

I admit, I have been guilty of leaving tires on the road.  But that was a different time and society’s views on pollution was vastly different, really in its infancy.

When I was a kid, we all trained on sewups.  When a tire was completely done, either by just being worn out, or a catastrophic sidewall cut, if we were near a telephone or electric wire, while the guy changing the tire did his thing, we’d mess around trying to throw the tire up on the wire.  I think this was because throwing gym shoes on the wire had become a cool thing, I’m not sure.   I remember one tire hanging on a wire for 2 or 3 years.

I can’t imagine doing that now, just as I can’t imagine someone just leaving their tube out on the road.  I going to patch the tube and use it.  I guess it was just my lucky day.

The tube.

The tube.

It took me less than a minute to roll it up and put it in my jersey pocket.  Guess this guy didn't have an extra minute.

It took me less than a minute to roll it up and put it in my jersey pocket. Guess this guy didn’t have an extra minute.

I made french toast this morning with fresh bread.  It was super yummy.

I made french toast this morning with fresh bread. It was super yummy.

I was starting to collect the stuff I need for Berryman this weekend and Andrew came by to put his "new" bike together.  We only had to put on the bars, cables, and tape the bars.  It didn't take long and was fun.

I was starting to collect the stuff I need for Berryman this weekend and Andrew came by to put his “new” bike together. We only had to put on the bars, cables, and tape the bars. It didn’t take long and was fun.

Santa Monica Mountains

This entry was posted in Comments about Cycling on by .
Share

You’d think if you were staying on the beach, smack in the middle of LA, North to South, that it would be pretty difficult to get a good training ride in.  That isn’t really the case.  Of course, most of your rides are going to be in an urban setting, but you still can get out and ride where there is almost no one.

On Monday, I did a ride that headed up the coast from Manhattan Beach, thru Venice, Santa Monica, Malibu and then turned off the coast hwy at Latigo Canyon.  It is one of the climbs that is on the Mike Nosco Memorial ride that is November 3rd.

We rode up Latigo, descended, then turned on Mulholland back towards LA.  We took a little 4 mile kicker back up over the top of the mountains, Stunt Road, then descended back to the coast.  It was a little over 80 miles total, with 6000 feet of climbing.  Not a car passed us when we were riding up Latigo.  Is that crazy?  Maybe a 9 mile, 2000 foot climb, connecting to the coast and no one drove by.  Amazing.

I was hoping be more creative today, but am a little off.  I was riding pretty good the last few days, but my thumb is throbbing some now.  Enough to wake me up.  Today I guess I should get it x-rayed to see what damage I did.  Shit.  It has been a week.

I have been looking for some twist shifters to put on my mountain bike.  Does someone make 10 or 11 speed twist shifters?  I know I can get 9 speed shifters that work with Shimano, but I could just change the whole rear drivetrain I suppose.  As of now, I probably can’t use a thumb shifter.

It is supposed to rain all day Friday and Saturday for the Berryman Epic.  I guess that just makes it that much more epic.  I’ve ridden the race right after a deluge.  It holds water amazingly well, but there are a ton of rocks on this course, so it is tricky.

Okay, I think I’ll go back to bed and try to get some more sleep.  Here are some photos from the ride on Monday.

Manhattan Beach pier.

Manhattan Beach pier.

From the top of Stunt Road looking towards the ocean.

From the top of Stunt Road looking towards the ocean.

The famous Rock House on Mulholland.

The famous Rock Store on Mulholland.

The Getty Villa up above Malibu.

The Getty Villa up above Malibu.

This is Marc Lewis' family. Marc called me out of the blue, just wanting to meet up and say hi. I didn't know him. I was riding back thru Santa Monica and I met up with him. Super nice guy. Very good experience.

This is Marc Lewis’ family. Marc called me out of the blue, just wanting to say hi. I didn’t know him. I was riding back thru Santa Monica and I met up with him. Super nice guy. Very good experience.

Venice Beach. Crazy place.

Venice Beach. Crazy place.

 

Monday

This entry was posted in Comments about Cycling on by .
Share

I kind of want to/ have to / cut this a little short.  I am heading out to ride soon.  I still plan to post more about the weekend, but that is going to have to be when I have a little more spare time.

Yesterday I spent most of it on my bike trying to secure a new Di2 internal battery.  It was a long process, but my bike shifts again.  I’ll have to do a post on the whole ordeal when it is all said and done.  It wasn’t pretty.

I had ridden up to Santa Monica and then decided to go explore the hills west of Beverly Hills. I’m not exactly sure what that area is called, maybe Brentwood, but the place is unreal.  A spiderweb of meandering streets.  Many were dead ends, but sometimes they kept going up and up.  I finally ended up on dirt, west of the Getty Museum.  The grade was getting pretty steep and I only had one spare, so I decided to turn around.  Pretty great view though.

I got to catch up with my friend, Ed Bauman finally.  Ed sort of got me into bike racing back in Topeka.  He moved out here over 30 years ago.  Ed is the same as always.  He said he thought he might get on a train and head to Austin for the F1 this weekend, but hadn’t really thought about it.  That is pretty much how he lives, one day at a time.

I’m riding north today with some guys.  Over to Latigo to climb some.  It is a lot of city riding before finally getting up to Malibu, but I don’t mind that so much.  I like riding through new areas, exploring.

Did you see the World Cup results from yesterday?  Mainly the US women’s results.  Kaitlin Antonneau was 2nd and Amanda Miller was 5th.  Pretty unreal.  I’d bet they are both super stoked.  The men didn’t fair so well, with Jeremy Powers finishing a lap down.  It was nice seeing Brian Matter’s name there too.  I hope he enjoyed the experience.

Okay, I’m back in Kansas tomorrow and then going to Berryman on Friday to race the Epic on Saturday morning.  I’m a little worried that my thumb is still pretty valueless from crashing on Thursday.  You pretty much need your thumbs for MTB shifting.  I think that is way they call them thumb shifters.  It’s only been 4 days, so I still have a few more for it to feel better.

Ed.

Ed.

These trees were crazy. Maybe fig trees? I'm not sure.

These trees were crazy. Maybe fig trees? I’m not sure.

What most people would considering a typical LA street. This is up by Santa Moncia.

What most people would considering a typical LA street. This is up by Santa Moncia.

Some of the canal area of Venice Beach.

Some of the canal area of Venice Beach.

Riding towards Venice yesterday.

Riding towards Venice yesterday.

 

Donut Ride

This entry was posted in Comments about Cycling on by .
Share

It has been a couple day whirlwind.  I landed at LAX and got to the hotel just in time to get my bike together and go for a ride.  My ex-team mate, and friend, Roy Knickman, was getting married and was having a pre-wedding beach gathering about 18 miles away from Manhattan Beach, so I thought I’d head over there to say hi.

I got about halfway there and my Di2 shifting stopped.  No light at all on the indicator.  I assumed that during the flight, or pre-flight, someone had yanked my internal wiring and that it had become disconnected at the junction box.

Anyway, I keep riding and got over to the backside of Palos Verdes around 6 o’clock.  I showed up and instantly saw another ex-team mate, and friend, Doug Smith.   Doug was on the Wheaties box when I rode for Wheaties/Schwinn.  I was surprised to see him.

Doug and I caught up some, Greg Randolph was there.  I hadn’t seen Greg for a while either. Roy had apparently gone to get some more wine.  Michael Aisner was there, so I went over to say hi to him, but it was starting to get dark and I needed to get going.  Roy finally came back.  I told him congratulations.  His, now wife, Jan, is super and they are going to be super happy.

It was nearly dark by the time I left.  I didn’t have any lights, but wasn’t too concerned.  It was actually really fun riding back around PV in the dark.  Descending into Redondo Beach, it instantly got light.

Anyway, I borrowed an internal battery and my bike was functional again.  So, yesterday morning a few guys met me at my hotel and we rode over to the Donut Ride.  I love doing big group rides that I haven’t done before.

We rode over to a Starbucks a few miles away and there were a bunch of guys, maybe 50.  And more showed up.

They have been doing some variation of this ride for over 40 years.  It goes over to Palos Verdes and climbs to the top a few different ways.  3 times up.

The group was going pretty consistently quick, but super organized.  I really didn’t know what to expect when I got there.  We eventually got over to the “other side” and started riding up some switchbacks.  The group started thinning out and the better guys got to the front.  But it didn’t go super crazy or anything.  Just steady tempo up a gradual climb.

The top of the climb was just a dead end.  I wasn’t really sure where the top actually was, so I was just sort of following wheels.  Derick, a guy that rode me over to the start of the ride told me it was about a k to the top.  I rode pretty steady hard and then a couple guys jumped by to sprint.  I wasn’t sure what they were sprinting for, but it was a good effort.

And then we repeated this a couple more times from different directions up the climb.

The best part of the ride was that it was really organized for what seemed like it might be a no-holds-barred ride.  These guys were super nice to each other, complimenting others about how well there were climbing compared to usual.  There wasn’t any egos or attitude, which I really expected doing a LA ride.  It was super refreshing to see.  I was surprised.

The ride ended up being near 60 miles for me in a little over 3 hours.  Pretty quick considering how many lights and stop signs were involved.

I had enough time in the afternoon to go by a local shop and plug in my battery.  It is dead.  I ended up doing another 30 miles over at PV, just because it is super pretty and I had the time.

Then last night I went over to the South Bay Cycling awards banquet, but I will post about that tomorrow hopefully.  I need to ride up to Santa Monica to fetch a new battery now before it gets too late.

Roy, Doug and I at the beach.

Roy, Doug and I at the beach.

Michael Aisner and Roy's daughter Emma.

Michael Aisner and Roy’s daughter Emma.

The Donut Ride group heading around PV.

The Donut Ride group heading around PV.

Michael Smith and Seth Davidson climbing the 2nd time up.

Michael Smith and Seth Davidson climbing the 2nd time up.

California decor.

California decor.

Little Beat UP / TGIF

This entry was posted in Comments about Cycling on by .
Share

Yesterday wasn’t that long, just 4 hours, but I got a little beat up riding over to Lawrence on gravel and then riding the white trail, just for a bit.

The Clinton trails are great.  I didn’t realize they had a “fun” section with bridges, teeter-totters, etc.  I plan to head back when I have some more time and explore them more.  But, I was a little off balance yesterday, a couple times and did some tommy-tipovers.

I didn’t exactly crash, I just came to an abrupt stop and couldn’t get my foot planted by the time I needed to.  That is pretty much the worst part of my broken left hip, trying to plant my foot to the side to stop side motion.

Anyway, it could have been worse.  My right thumb got the worst of it.  I must have squished it between my bike and a rock because I couldn’t really use it after.  And still can’t.  It’s all swollen up black and blue and hurts pretty good.

My bike, thou, rides great.  At least on a trail like the white at Clinton.  It is super technical, with lots of rocks pointing in all directions.  I wish I would have taken a photo, it is intimidating.  And really amazing that you can actually ride a bicycle over them.  This bike makes it so much easier. I really haven’t ridden a newer model dual suspension bike before.  They are so fun.

I ended up using the lockout nearly as much as shifting.  I hope to get a couple more ride on it before Berryman next Saturday.

The big news, interesting at least, is that there has been a new governing body for cycling in the US established.  The North American Cycle Sport, a business, that seems, is in direct competition with USAC.  It will be interesting watching how this turns out.  I doubt these guys will be able to gain too much traction with established racing.  But gran fondo and other unsanctioned events might be up for grabs.

I have to head off to the airport in about 30 minutes, so have to cut this short.   Time is always short it seems.  I wonder why that is?

BIll and Andrew heading back towards Topeka last night.

BIll and Andrew heading back towards Topeka last night.

I was bleeding, just a bit, in quite a few places.

I was bleeding, just a bit, in quite a few places.

I saw this guy drive by yesterday.   KInd of looks like he is driving.  He sure looks happy.

I saw this guy drive by yesterday. KInd of looks like he is driving. He sure looks happy.


  
  
At the airport. 

New Bike – First Ride

This entry was posted in Comments about Cycling on by .
Share

As a guy in love with bicycles, it is always super exciting riding a new bike.  I don’t care if it is the exact some bike as I just had, a new frame, wheels, etc. always ride just a little different than the previous one.

But, that isn’t the deal here.  I finally had time to put together that new Eriksen (Bingham design) dual suspension frame I got a couple months ago in Steamboat Springs.  It took me a little while to roundup the components and I’m still a little short, missing a XTR rear brake and top pull derailleur, but I had enough to get it together to ride.  The bike is full XTR, with 650b wheels, and a Fox CTD shock and fork.

Assembling bikes take a lot more than when I worked at Gran Sport Bike shop when I was a kid. I used to assemble bikes there and received a dollar a bike to put them together.  My brother, Kris, first had this job, but I took it over eventually.  After a while, when reflectors became law, the pay went up to $2 a bike.  I could assemble 3 an hour before reflectors.  After, it was a lot slower, around 2 an hour, so it was really just $1 an hour raise, which was still substantial.

This “build” took me a couple days.  I’m not exactly sure why.  Just a lot of stuff to deal with. Cutting the hydraulic brake lines and bleeding them takes longer than cable brakes. Plus stuff I hadn’t done before, putting the remote lockout kit on the Fox shock for one.  I have a dual lockout, which locks the front and rear suspensions together with one lever.

Whatever the reason, I was standing in the garage for hours.  I got it done about 1 am and had to take it out for its virgin ride.  I just rode down across the footbridge and headed over to Washburn University to ride on the grass.  I haven’t ridden a dual suspension bike in a really long time.  Man is it smooth over rough stuff.  I don’t know exactly how smooth, but it is pretty smooth on bumpy grass.

Tomorrow I’m heading out to LA to ride with the South Bay wheelmen on Saturday, the Donut Ride, and then go to their annual club banquet.   One of my first big road trips was out to Manhattan Beach to stay with my friend Ed Bauman, so I’ve ridden the ride a few times.  It has been going on for over 40 years.  If you’re in the area, come out out at 8 am Saturday morning. It should be a really good time.

I’m racing the BT Epic next weekend and this new Eriksen should roll those trails super quick. Berryman is a super fun race, but I didn’t do it last year, due to my broken hip.  They changed the course up a little, so I won’t know about a 1/3 of the course, not that I remember much of the other parts I’ve already raced.  It takes a lot of concentration doing that race.  It is over 50 miles and has lots of pretty technical riding.

Today, I plan to ride over to Clinton Lake and ride the trails there today.  Clinton has some pretty crazy rocky sections, especially on the white trail.  This bike should be perfect for that.  I’ll let you know how it works out.

Not the best photo, but this shows the linkage for the dual suspension.

Not the best photo, but this shows the linkage for the dual suspension.

It seems like there are lots of cables with the extra two for the remote lockout.

It seems like there are lots of cables with the extra two for the remote lockout.

Here is a picture of Pat and Gwen, with their prizes for winning the Filthy 50 gravel race last weekend. Pretty great prizes, meat.

Here is a picture of Pat and Gwen, with their prizes for winning the Filthy 50 gravel race last weekend. Pretty great prizes, meat.