Radios, Disc Brakes & Lance’s Lawsuit

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I saw a couple weeks ago that USAC ruled that we, as in all Cat. 1/2’s can use radios again in all races.  I hate that.  I don’t like much anything about radios in bike races.  The idea that radios make a race safer is total BS.  It is a way for team directors making their riders robots.  Or plain dumb riders viable.

I’ve written posts about radios before, so I don’t need to dwell on it.  Here is probably the one that explains it the best.  At least from my perspective.  I have a whole box for of radios in a closet.  I’m really not sure where they are.  By whole box full I’m lots.  I guess I’m going to have to pull them out and see if any of them work.  Stupid.

Somewhere else said that the Professional Riders Union was protesting the use of disc brakes in road events.  I don’t know about this.  I don’t much like the idea of mixing disc and rim brakes in races, but that is how it is going to have to be.  My problem with disc brakes in road races is the same as it is in cross.

Actually, worse than cross.  We all have to get a whole garage full of equipment. Bikes and  wheels that go with these bikes.  Most of us that have been in this sport for a while have collected enough equipment that is interchangeable.   Not with disc brakes though.

And the real problem is getting wheel changes in events.  Or just changing wheels between bikes.  It doesn’t seem like anyone has standardized the rear axle width and even if that number ends up being 142 or whatever, getting different discs to line up with you calipers on different wheels is tricky.  Especially on the road when time is important.  Once they get the calipers more usable for wheel changes, then I’ll reconsider my position.

And finally Lance’s deal.   The case is going to trial.  All the judgements have been done and it is happening.  The government says the total is something around $32 million damage, so with the tripling thing going on, the most he’ll owe is $96 million if he loses big time.

It kind of surprises me that he hasn’t settled this.  Maybe it is that time.  But when you read what Lance’s attorney says, maybe not.  “There is no actual evidence of any quantifiable financial harm,” to the Postal Service,  so the government may now proceed to a trial that, as a practical matter, it cannot win.”  Elliot Peters.

I forgot what Floyd gets out of the whole take, but it isn’t the same as before the government took over the case.  For some reason 1/4 the total comes to mind, but don’t quote me on that. But 1/4 of 0 is still zero, so he should probably proceed with his new enterprise in Leadville.

My doctor’s visit went alright on Tuesday.  Yesterday was exactly 4 months since I fractured my skull.  Seems like a really long time to me, but when she asked me how long and I said 4 months, she said it is still super early.  I guess that is a good thing.  Better early than this is the final outcome.

Not that I’m complaining.  It could have been a ton worse.  Like I’m not on the planet Earth anymore worse.

Vincent is down in Arizona doing the 24 Hours of Pueblo with Lance and his old Postal Service gang this weekend.  Vincent isn’t riding on their team or anything, but he’ll be riding around with them in circles for a day.  I make a bet that they aren’t just there to “have fun”, like George said when asked.  I bet they ride pretty fast.  They probably win the 4 person team event would be my guess.  Maybe 2nd, but probably win.

Okay, I didn’t ride for two days, thinking that maybe I would feel better if I didn’t.  That didn’t work, so I am planning on going out today.  It is “only” gonna be 50 degrees today.  I say only because it is going to be in the 70’s the whole next week.  Probably mild for February in Kansas.

Weather the next week.

I worked on my van yesterday. Somehow this got bent. Not exactly sure when or how.

I had to pull the fender off, which involved taking off the front clip with the headlights. I got it pretty straight. Just need some paint now. The whole process got me a little dizzy, but not horribly.



30 thoughts on “Radios, Disc Brakes & Lance’s Lawsuit

  1. Larry T

    100% with you on the radio idea. Nothing more than a control issue from DS’s who want to run the show from the car. I read somewhere that TV screens will now be banned from the front seat of the car, so now we’ll have the DS at the wheel turning around to the mechanic in the back for race updates while driving the car and yelling into the radio. THAT oughta reduce the chances of riders being hit by the cars, eh?
    Disky brakes? You are right again – “We all have to get a whole garage full of equipment. ” which is the bike industry’s wet-dream since everyone already has a road bike, aero road bike, gravel road bike, endurance road bike, ‘cross bike, hard-tail MTB, full-suspension MTB, fat-bike…etc. Nothing like making all those $10K plastic road bikes obsolete since you can’t retrofit any disky brakes to ’em
    BigTex on trial? Finally! Only if he loses big time will justice be done and an example made of the sport’s biggest cheater. Otherwise, there’s not much incentive to race clean if you can make lots of $$ and keep most of it even when they catch and ban you.

  2. channel_zero

    Thom Wiesel, the guy behind the scenes who set up and ran the fraud, still runs USA Cycling. What a dirty sport.

    I recall one of the many times Armstrong litigated his side settled the day of the decision, or something like that. I’m sure he’ll claim he has “no money” to pay the Feds.

  3. Son of a Gun Gunderson

    The sooner Lance is reunited with his father and drinking sterno in a trailer home in east Plano Texas, the better.

  4. totally lance

    you dont like disc brakes because you have a garage full of rim brake shit that you probably didnt pay for. got it.

  5. Rope a Dope

    Pizza cutter Disk Brakes?! Good job on that Van Repair it looks like a Andy Paulin crushed it jk. Lance aint gunna lose his case the USPS made a shitload of money when his dope ass was winning! Global Warming WTF. The earth is turning into a Popcorn Ball

  6. Rich W.

    Quick legal lesson:

    Judges make decisions as to the law. Juries make decisions as to the facts.

    The judge has made certain legal decisions (essentially that the False Claims Act applies to Lance and his cohorts). It is now time for the jury to decide whether Lance and his cohorts broke the law.

    Both sides have come forward with experts (and other evidence) that support their respective case theories. Lance has one that says USPS got its moneys worth. Gov’t has one that says USPS did not get its moneys worth (partly because you have to consider the post-admission fall out).

    It is not the judge’s role to decide which expert is right. The jury will decide whose case (and whose expert) to believe.

    The statement by Lance’s lawyer is just spin.

  7. Steve Tilford Post author

    totally lance – Is that what you got from the post? I don’t like the rule because the average team, here in the US needs to interchange equipment between their riders and when there isn’t a standard, then that isn’t possible. Plus, they don’t have the wheel change problem figured out. Even at Joe Martin, there isn’t cars full of extra bikes for each rider following the race, so we rely on wheel exchanges. I can hardly get my own disc brakes working on a stand, let allow during a race situation. So, no, I don’t think it is good for US racing and I agree, that it isn’t to the point of using it in international racing either. Does that explain it better?

  8. Randy Legeai

    So I was at USAC last weekend for the officials symposium and we had a session with Mark Barfield, the UCI Technical Director. He said that their investigation of the crash last summer that suspended the disc brake trial showed that the injury was not caused by a disc rotor. He referred to the current situation as a reinstatement of that disc brake trial with the requirement that rotors have rounded edges. Said they are working with technical support people about the issues surrounding wheel and bike changes during races. My sense was that it’s not a done deal, but that UCI is not seeing any huge issues with disc brakes. There’s more going on with wheel and frame safety testing and the possibility that once that’s in place they will be able to remove the weight limit.

  9. KrakatoaEastofJava

    As much as I hate Lance, I think it’s absurd to claim that the USPS was somehow damaged by what he did. They wanted publicity and they got it. I don’t see their contract defining publicity as positive or negative (and paying only for the positive). They didn’t use a “pay-for performance” model, but rather a flat fee.

    Whatever good was said about the USPS team in the media during the good times was already said (and realized in vakue). Whatever value they felt they took out of it was re-affirmed each year that they chose to renew.

    They were already several years past the end-date of their contract when Lance’s fraud was exposed. And by that time, the USPS moniker was not the name on trial. It was Lance’s name. In other words, no one walks into a post office, thinks about EPO and then does an about-face and head over to the UPS store (in protest). My point is: What is the REAL damage here to the US government? I don’t see any.

    And does Floyd Landis deserve to gain 1/3 of the final award? Hardly. He only flipped after he personally hit rock-bottom (after years of lying and fraud of his own).

    Yes, I hate to see Lance Armstrong wealthy and secure. But I’ll also hate seeing his kids suffer though the pitfalls of his future bankruptcy. There’s an old saying. “Eat it. But I hope you choke on it!”

  10. The Cyclist

    “Like I’m not on the planet Earth anymore worse.”

    So where would you go? Personnaly, I always thought it would be cool to be catapulted into deep space. An endless trip across the universe until you burn inside a star or get sucked in into a black hole. Hopefully rockets will be more affordable when its time for that.

  11. David Berkowitz on behalf of Postal Union Local #348

    In 1999, when US Postal Service bike team began, only 6 billion emails were sent annually.

    By 2005, that number had increased to 70 billion.

    That’s 65 billion times .34 cents or $22 billion dollars straight out of the USPS.

    Lance is responsible for every penny of that deficit.

  12. Pipped Lance at the Line

    He shouldn’t have had children like he was setting up franchises.

    Besides most of the damage that can be done to the Armstrong children is already being done by daddy dickhead.

  13. Tony

    My guess the average US citizen would not even know what team lance was on. So effect on postal service is nil. I say community service. Punishment is work at the Post Office

  14. KrakatoaEastofJava

    Oh God, I remember that painful video. All because he didn’t place as well as he wanted.

  15. Hemi

    The van: Check the spot welds on the door skin. Might be broken causing the outer skin to flex on the door frame when opening then bind on the fender when opening door.

  16. conrad

    Yes, what a crappy situation. I won’t purchase a usac license until those people are gone. It’s starting to look like usac will die a slow painful death and be supervised by a different organization.

  17. William Stevenson

    I honestly have to say that before the United States Postal Service sponsored a cycling team I was unaware that this “mail” thing even existed. I would routinely drive across town or at times to neighboring states when I had a note or information that needed to be delivered to someone. Bear in mind that I was not the only one: friends, family, co-workers and business associates would also engage in this practice as well.

    Any talk that the USPS did not benefit monetarily from their sponsorship of the USPS Cycling Team is pure and utter rubbish.

  18. Larry T

    Perhaps there are some real lawyers on here who can explain this, but I thought the case was one of fraud. USPS handed over $30+ million to BigTex and Co. in a contract that called for them to try to win races like Le Beeg Shew and create publicity for USPS while following the rules of the sport. This meant they couldn’t CHEAT. Tex could have generated a pile o’ publicity for USPS by murdering someone in cold blood while wearing the team jersey, but that (as well as cheating, which Tex has now admitted doing) was not part of the contract the parties signed, so the amount of any “value” generated is not the issue. By cheating to win Tex and Co. violated the terms of the contract, meaning USPS should get their money back. His claim that USPS should have known “everyone” was cheating and that one had to cheat to win is just BS – part of Tex’ “the end always justifies the means” rationalizing, same as it ever was. I assume a jury will not decide whether or not he broke the contract, but what damages (if any) is owed to USPS since the contract was broken?

  19. Rich W.

    It is an issue of damages. The difference in value between what USPS reasonably expected to get under the contract and what USPS ultimately got under the contract. Valuing media impressions and the like is pretty subjective, so both sides will present experts. You can also put a negative value on unfavorable media impressions (i.e. not all media impressions are created equal). It will be up to the jury to decide. The one thing that Lance should be scared of is the fact that juries can be unpredictable. Jurors are free to think that the USPS was not ripped off but if Lance comes off as a total asshole, they may nevertheless decide against him. And, appellate courts do not delve into the minds of jurors when it comes to appeals (unless there is absolutely no rational basis whatsoever for their decision–a rarity).

  20. daveeckstrom

    It’s obvious why the USPS sponsored a cycling team, when you think about it. Between the advent of email and the competitive disadvantage the post office had with UPS and Fedex, they needed the expansion into international markets. The EU is a huge economy and your name on a winning jersey in a race that transfixes Europe every summer was a brilliant way to boost that expansion.

  21. channel_zero

    Don’t we all wish. One of the fundamental problems here is USAC still has customers, willing customers despite a horrible product. The emphasis is not on participation and certainly hasn’t been for a few decades.

    Even if no one bought a license, and they shouldn’t, they are funded annually by the USOC and they’ve been granted a monopoly like the other Olympic sports, MLB, NFL…

    The bigger problem that needs addressing is, people keep buying.

  22. Craig

    I have to agree Steve. Hydro discs for mtn, cross, gravel and road bikes are the sh*t… love em. However, for racing I cannot imagine what a nightmare this is going to be. Crits should be fine if the riders presetup their stuff but otherwise, flat and out.

  23. KrakatoaEastofJava

    Rich W:

    So the USPS sponsorship was already in-place before Lance won a single tour, so it cannot be argued that they came to do business with Tailwind because of Lance Armstrong’s TDF wins. Additionally, at some point before his last TDF victory, the USPS sponsorship came to an end and was taken-up by the Discovery Channel. IE, they no longer cared about Lance’s reputation. A further seven YEARS passed after the final TDF win before Lance made his admission. Are you realistically trying to say that USPS’ reputation with its customers was damaged due to negative media attention at least 8-9 years after their business relationship came to an end?

    Does Nike deserve its money back from Tiger Woods because he was an asshole? Do Giants fans deserve their money back after seeing Barry Bonds play ball?

    Like I said, I agree that Lance is an asshole, but I honestly don’t think he owes USPS a dime. If anything, the government should seek compensation from the idiot within the USPS organization that thought it was a good idea to blow $32MM of taxpayer dollars on the sponsorship of a cycling team. That was the true crime.

  24. Rich W.

    Krakatoa–I just framed the issue that the jury will be asked to decide. I expressed no personal opinion. We know what side you are on. At this point, it only matters which side the jury lands on.

  25. KrakatoaEastofJava

    That’s what they always SAID back in the day (as far as rationalizing the sponsorship). But I’m not exactly sure what competitive services they offered to potential EU clients back then (or now). Did they wish for people to consider using USPS to ship items from the EU to the USA?

    If so, help me out here. Using USPS, calculate the cost of sending a bike part from
    Frans Schachtstraat 29, 1731 Asse, Belgium
    1750 E Boulder St, Colorado Springs, CO 80909

    Can it be done? I’ve tried finding European-based websites for USPS and have only found US-based ones. Because my IP address is in the USA, they don’t even offer the ability to calculate in my desired direction. Only the other way around.

    In other words, did USPS REALLY have anything to gain by sponsoring riders over in Europe?


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