Category: "Jack"

Blogging

by Jack  

After over 2 years of being a full time husband, father and holding a job, I will attempt to restart this blog. Don't worry, I am always up to date on the world of cycling even if I'm not writing about it. So stay tuned!

Happy Father's Day to Me!

by Jack  

So it's been almost 4 months since my last post. Four months!? Well...There's good reason for it. No, I haven't lost my love for cycling. In fact, I have gained even more love. On May 14th, my wife and I welcomed a new baby girl into this world. Her name is Siena, loosely named after the beautiful Tuscan hill town that ends the one day race, Monte Paschi Eroica. My heart just had to make room for the extra love and as those who have had children will know, your whole life routine changes. But today is Father's Day and we are celebrating my first as a father to Siena!

Soon after the Tour of California ended, it was time to get ready for the baby and for helping my wife around the house as she was getting increasingly immobile. Then once Siena came, the world stopped (though I was catching Universal Sports' coverage of the Giro thanks to DVR). Now that we've started to come into more of a routine, I'll be back at it just in time for the Tour!

Can you feel the excitement already? This will be one of the most watched Tours thanks to you-know-who and all of the expected infighting between his Astana teammates will make for a Tour just as dramatic as LeMond's 1986 win over Hinault.

...On to July 4th when the Tour starts in Monaco.

Happy Holidays!

by Jack  

Boy! What a year this has been for the pro peloton! One thing is for sure, all of the excitement that was generated in 2008 will be carried through into 2009 and more so. Is anyone else excited about next year!!?? The 2009 season could not be packed with more drama and anticipation. We have the return of cycling superstar Lance Armstrong (Team Astana) as well as his former rival, Italian Ivan Basso (Team Liquigas) as well as the return of the entire Astana team into ASO races (knock on wood) including the Tour de France. Spain's Alberto Contador will finally get a chance to back up his 2007 yellow jersey, or will he? The return of Armstrong does complicate things which makes it all the better for us fans. I'm not complaining.

And what about the Giro? Will the centennial edition of this race be THE race of the year? Race director Angelo Zomegnan's quest to globalize the Giro and compete against the Tour de France's popularity will finally come to fruition thanks to an all-star cast of cyclists. All of the big names, save for Alberto Contador, will ride the Giro, making it the most greatly anticipated Grand Tour of the season.

Besides the two obvious races, Le Tour and the Giro, to keep tabs on, the other big event I can't wait for is the 2009 Paris Roubaix. Will big George Hincapie (Team Columbia) finally win his elusive cobblestone trophy? We in the states are always on pins and needles every year we watch this race and hope that all of the stars do align for the South Carolinian. He's definitely not getting any younger and his current crop of rivals are just as strong, if not stronger.

Full story »

My Daily Dose

by Jack  

Like most cycling fans, your day is not complete until you have had your daily dose of what's what and who's who in the world of cycling. In my case, it deals mostly with the world of professional cycling. Therefore, I always make sure I am caught up with the latest news and rumors floating across the pond or Stateside as opposed to catching up on the latest writings about the sport in general (like other blog posts). Though, I do do that quite often as well. Since this is the off season, not too much news gets generated and I don't want to bore you with another Lance Armstrong post, I will give you the lowdown on how I receive my daily dose of cycling news.

This process is actually quite simplistic. I have a set of bookmarks in my web browser (Firefox) under the folder labeled "cycling". Within that folder lists my top websites in alphabetical order. My daily dose revolves around clicking on most of these sites multiple times throughout the day. The list is as follows:

Amgen Tour of California, Astana Cycling Team, Bike Radar, Cycle To, Cyclingnews.com, Cycling TV, Daily Peloton, Eurosport, Graham Watson, High Road Sports, LanceArmstrong.com, On Tour With Lance, PezCycling News, Podium Cafe, Team CSC, and Velonews.

Full story »

Swim, Bike, Run For a Cause

by Jack  

Link: http://pages.teamintraining.org/nyc/txtri09/lhughes

Recently, one of my very close friends embarked on a crusade to help a very worthy cause. About 138,530 people in the United States will find out they have leukemia, lymphoma or myeloma this year and a child or adult is expected to lose their fight against these diseases every ten minutes. Lamar Hughes has chosen to be proactive in his endeavor to help the The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society fight for a cure for these diseases while bettering himself in a search for a healthier lifestyle.

Lamar has joined more than 380,000 former volunteers of Team in Training to help raise awareness and money for research in exchange for training and resources for competing in an endurance event. On May 25, 2009, Lamar will compete in his very first triathlon. But this is not just any triathlon, it is an Olympic distance event that includes a 0.9 mile swim, a 24 mile bike ride and a 6 mile run. To make matters even more daunting, Lamar is 6'3" and 245 lbs of limited aerobic ability. Of course, he's going to kill me for saying that but this fact makes his effort all the more challenging and would be a personal triumph once completed.

Lamar's fundraising goal is to reach $4500 in donations. The concept is pretty simple. His friends and family agree to donate towards a positive cause while he endures months of hard work that culminates into a few hours of pain and suffering. But when the pain ends and the suffering subsides, he will have accomplished two goals. He would be comforted to know that he took a hands-on approach in helping to find a cure for these blood cancers while obtaining a healthier lifestyle for himself and his family.

I have to say that as a friend I am very proud of Lamar. If anyone can set a goal and accomplish it, it would be him. To be able to have the discipline needed to help not only yourself, but hundreds of thousands of strangers who are counting on you is a lot of pressure. But with the help of you and I, Lamar has nothing to worry about.

Would you help Lamar and I raise cancer awareness and donate to a good cause? Please follow this link to learn more about Lamar Hughes and his goals, updates on his training as well as to contribute your tax-deductible donation to The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society today.

Thanks for reading.

To help, please follow the link below:

Lamar Hughes Team in Training Page

Save The Legs!!! Store Now Open!

by Jack  

Link: http://www.cafepress.com/savethelegs

The Save The Legs!!! Store is now open! Thanks to Cafepress, show your support for Save The Legs and the sport of cycling by wearing or displaying your Save The Legs!!! apparel or product. There, you will find T-shirts as well as other apparel, stickers, housewares, hats, bags and pet products with the STL banner tastefully displayed.

Any profits earned through the Save The Legs!!! store will go towards maintaining and improving this website as well as the promotion of the sport of cycling. If you have any requests, please feel free to contact me. Thanks in advance for your patronage, you may click here to go to the store.

Post Tour Withdrawal

by Jack  

About a week after the end of this year's Tour de France, I have developed post Tour withdrawal. I'm left wondering what the rest of the cycling season will bring. The spring classics have come and gone, the Giro cemented Alberto Contador (Astana) as the best cyclists living and the Tour has finally confirmed Carlos Sastre (Team CSC-Saxo Bank) a winner that we had always felt he could be.

Every July brings a culmination to the cycling season. It is the cima coppi, if you will, of the entire sport. Too bad it is right smack in the middle of the season and not at the end. For potential Tour winners, their year effectively ends once they cross the finish line in Paris and any event they may ride in between then and the end of the season may be token. But this year may be different. Carlos Sastre has confirmed that he will ride the Vuelta a EspaƱa, setting up a potential showdown with last year's Tour winner Contador. Will there even be a match up? Contador has trained exclusively for the Vuelta while it remains to be seen if Sastre can muster the motivation needed to get through another 3 week race. Throw in the defending champ, Denis Menchov (Rabobank), whose participation is not yet confirmed, and Samuel Sanchez (Euskaltel Euskadi) and you have a race!

Full story »

Speaking of Greg LeMond...

by Jack  

Since Greg is part of the current poll on the right side, I thought you might be interested in this classic video. As a treat to cycling fans back in the late 80s and early 90s, I found this old commercial featuring the man at the time, Greg LeMond. Do you remember this? Are you rolling your eyes when you see this? Well, I can remember thinking, "Geez, that's a big helmet. Why is he wearing that ugly thing?" You'll remember helmets back then consisted of foam strips wrapped in leather, then tied to look like an outfielder's baseball glove and were quite popular for the non-helmet wearing pro peloton. Too bad they couldn't save you from a fall or make you look cooler.

Those of you around back then will remember that Greg was one of the first advocates of helmet wearing in professional races. He and his teammates would be one of the few who would wear helmets in the Tour, at least on the flat stages. A step in the right direction and setting a good example for our young.

Here's the video

Bike Month NYC 2008

by Jack  

Link: http://www.bikemonthnyc.org/

Did you know that May is Bike Month here in New York City? If you ride the subways you will see the ads plastered on the train cars. It's a great initiative to get people out and on their bikes. Bike New York's 5-borough tour, the ride my wife and I did last week was one of the major events. All of this bike talk reminds me of what my favorite NYC ride is.

The most thrilling bike route in Manhattan for me is on 5th Avenue from E. 90th St south to you name it! It was always a way for me to inject some excitement to the end of my ride in Central Park. As some of you know, riding around and around the park can be a bit boring, kind of NASCAR like. So when my ride ends, I exit the park at E. 90th and continue south on 5th. The thrill comes immediately. As I ride past 86th St, I know the transverse is near, meaning a boat load of cars wanting to cut me off. Then comes the Met, ah those tourists. The Met is very challenging in that you never know when a cab will want to pull over to the curb. Couple that with the ubiquitous tour buses and you have the game of Frogger! But that's not it. Do some of these tourists know to look both ways before crossing? Nothing is more embarrassing than crashing, I mean bumping, into a tourist after using your ninja-like reflexes to avoid a few tons of steel!

Okay, so that only gets me to E. 79th St, another transverse, ditto. From there, it's E. 72nd St. This intersection is not too hard because there's no transverse. You do, however, want to avoid those damn buses turning from 72nd and immediately gunning for that bus stop on 5th. But they have the right of way, you say? Duh! Red light = ride faster to avoid the oncoming traffic!

Please wear a helmet.

The ride can go on and on, but I chose to turn off of 5th to head home (no, I don't live on the UES anymore). Plus, you get the picture. And please, safety first. I don't recommend this unless you are a NYC bike messenger.

Do you have a favorite ride in NYC? If so, let's hear about it.

Bike New York - The Aftermath

by Jack  

We're back, we did it. In all, we rode for 51 miles today, including the extra miles getting to the start and getting home from the end. I'm too tired to write more. I will update this post later with some images.
---------------------------------------------------------------
Ok, I'm back. It's been 6 days. My wife and I have fully recovered though we can't commit to when we'll be back on our bikes again. This ride was indeed a personal triumph for us.

Full story »

Bike New York - 5 Borough Tour!

by Jack  

Link: http://www.bikenewyork.org

My wife and I are getting ready to do the 5 borough bike tour here in New York City tomorrow morning (see the link). We've been busy trying get some miles in for the last month. It's been hard, the weather hasn't been as warm as we'd like so we are very short on training. Of course, we've been trying to save the legs as often as possible.

For those of you that aren't familiar with this ride, it is a yearly event that takes ten's of thousands of riders through the closed streets of Manhattan, The Bronx, Queens, Brooklyn and yes, Staten Island. Though, we barely touch The Bronx and Staten Island. It is 42 miles through the canyons of Manhattan, the concrete of the FDR and the steel of some of New York City's most famous bridges. We start in lower Manhattan and travel up 6th Avenue, through Central Park, up into Harlem and over into The Bronx. From there, we return into Manhattan, ride south on the FDR and the cross over into Queens via the Queensboro Bridge. Astoria Park is next where there is a huge festival. Then it's due south through Brooklyn. We travel on the BQE making our way towards the Verrazano Bridge. From there, we cross over into Staten Island where the finish line is.

I'm out of breath, so wish us luck!