Bread and Circuses

***update***

While I agree with the decision of the ASO and UCI to take the times from 1k to go…Chris Froome broke the rules. He committed an infraction and should be penalized, period. Inconsistencies, special favors and bribery are the reason the UCI is one of the most corrupted enterprises in sport, right next to FIFA.  Froome ran WITHOUT his machine and the time he ran is the time he should LOSE from the 1k point. #BullShit #BanTheUci

Opinion piece-

When we look back on the #TdF2016 we will easily see that Froome won the Tour on stage 8, nearly the same as last year when he won on stage 7. Of course there will be many who will deny the stage 8 statement, that is until the peloton is on the ChampsÉlysées

The 2016 edition was supposed to provide a royal battle between the big GC contenders…so it was said. When I looked at the route, I really thought that it was going to be a massive battle in the Pyrenees and Alps. I was telling my fellow Tour fanatics that the mountain stages and the hairball descents were set to make for a great Le Tour!

So much for paper predictions eh?

So far most if not ALL of the fireworks have been provided by Sagan, Cav and Froome (Not a fan by the way of the South African or Sky- yeah, that’s right, Froome is NOT British, you just don’t change passports and BECOME something else. UFB) But big props to Sky management and Froome for taking the proverbial bull by the horns and wringing its fucking neck. By stark contrast to the lethargic and apathetic BMC and Movistar.

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I contend that if nothing changes after stage 12 today, (attacks by BMC, Movistar, etc or a crash, mechanical or illness to Froome) BOTH Movistar and BMC management should be fired by the sponsors. These are seasoned veterans, former knowledgeable, savvy riders who have been sitting in their team cars with their thumbs up their asses watching Sky and Froome just play with the peloton.

It’s as if this is BMC’s and Movistar’s FIRST Tour de France! Are you fucking kidding me?  Unlike some other outside shots at the podium or even the win (though it’s a long, long shot)  who have been riding their guts out day in day out. Huge shout out to Adam Yates and Orica, Etixx and Dan Martin for trying! At least Etixx are making a serious attempt to get on the GC podium, rather than just half-heartedly cruising to maybe a second or third placing basically by way of default. Rolling eyes… (cough, cough wink, wink – BMC and Movistar)

To say that BMC and Movistar have been NOTHING but a massively and huge DISAPPOINTMENT so far is the understatement of the 2016 cycling season. It’s simply inexcusable and unacceptable from so-called professionals. Utterly disgusting performances on the climbing stages. Hey, I hope I am wrong come stage 12 through 20, but I just don’t see anything changing dramatically.

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I’m not hopeful of any big changes for stages 12 through 20, but perhaps Nairo or TJ will grow a set of stones at some point, take off the skirts and wake the F up! It’s as if they are in a slumberous state, stumbling around the roads of France. That goes for their management as well. At least TRY to get some results and go for it. Better to give it your all, ride until you puke, try and fail than sit in like a bunch of scared school girls. For fucks sakes, it’s the Le Tour de France, it’s Le Tour!

#tourdefrance #viveletour #tdf2016

Grand Départ 2014 – Yorkshire

A little late with the summer holiday photos, but better late than never as they say! Somehow I managed to forget posting my pictures of the trip I made to York back in July. Which happened to coincide with the Le Tour de France…

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You’ll notice, that there are no actual photos of the historic and grand race, or the riders for that matter. Why you may ask? Ahhh yes, the cluster fuck that was Stage 2 in the 2014 Tour…nothing short of a massive cockup by the local government or guardianship if you will. Proving their wide-reaching incompetence on a world stage, that subsequently packed an insane amount of fans into the narrow city streets, with nary a view from any vantage point other than street-level.

Needless to mention, I was fucking fuming at this discovery on the morning of the stage coming through. I’m over it now, (mostly :D) but man was I one angry Mo-Fo…What’s funny is that the administration of York pat themselves on the back for doing a ‘bang-up’ job. And to that I say, bugger. York simply did a horrible, horrible job at hosting Stage 2 of le Tour.

“A stunning walled city brimming with history and numerous attractions, including the Minster, the fascinating Shambles and surrounding shopping streets, the ancient York City Walls, the National Railway Museum, York Castle Museum, Clifford’s Tower and the Jorvik Viking Centre.”

Indeed, York was amazing. One of the BEST places I have ever visited. I absolutely loved my time and the people there. I cannot express enough how incredible the city of York truly is and how friendly all of the locals were.

http://www.letouryorkshiredales.com/the-yorkshire-route.asp

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Lest I forget too mention…the delectable, delicious Scones and Clotted Cream! Man oh man, was that one awesome dish! I do hope to go back to York in the near future! Cheers mates!

Maillot à Pois Rouge

Update 7/31:
Well, it’s finally over. The KOM TdF Challenge (6/29-7/31) has ended and after the four weeks, I have finished in 17th place out of 125 competitors world-wide. I completed 23 rides (‘stages’) with 796.3 miles and 69,390.5 feet of ascent.

Cannot say I am disappointed, dropping out of the top 15. But my original goal was to
finish in the top 25, so from that perspective, not too bad. And it was also a marked
improvement from my 44th place in the Maglia Azzurra Challenge for the Giro.


Update 7/21:

After three weeks, I am 14th of 116 competitors.
16 (‘stages’) rides and 513 miles down with 49,793.1 feet of climbs.

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Update 7/14:
After two weeks, I am now sitting in 13th place of 108 competitors.
16 (‘stages’) rides and 410 miles down with 33,179.11 feet of climbs.
Two more weeks to go in the KOM challenge and one more week for Le Tour!

I don’t know about most cyclists or bike riders, but I need inspiration from time to time. So, when the Le Tour time comes around, there are usually various riding Challenges
issued by a number of cycling sites to pick and choose from.

Last year, I was in the Ride with GPS 1/4 TdF Challenge and that was fun. I was able to complete the 1/4 distance and then some. It kept me motivated all of July which carried over into August. Sadly, this year, RwGPS didn’t put on the challenge.

But I did find one that is more to my liking, in the form of BikeRadar’s, KOM
Le Tour de BikeRadar K.O.M. Challenge. What I really appreciate about this challenge is that isn’t based on just miles or speed, but rather strictly on climbing. Which suits this old and slow guy perfectly!

After just over one week and 8 rides, I’m holding up in 10th place of 88 competitors, with 6,974.4 meters of ascent. Prior to the start I was hoping for a top 25 and that is what I’m aiming for. Prizes are random and though it’s no big deal, it provides me the motivation and a good kick in the ass to go out and keep climbing!

It’s not too late to join in, as long as you upload all of your rides from June 29th to July 31st, you’re golden! So sign up and start ascending…

Adieu…

Vive Le Tour!!!!!

Hommage de l’étape 18 et le Col du Calais

In paying tribute to Stage 18 of Le Tour de France, I give you…today’s ride. 60 miles, climbing 5,700 feet, ascending Mont Harmonie Twice and featuring the Catagory 3 climb of the Col du Calais.

http://ridewithgps.com/trips/1516768/elevation_profile

Following the quiet, semi-rural roads of Bernardsville, Mendham and Randolph on an
absolute beautiful day. 90 degrees and 59% humidity as Sol’s bright orange and yellow rays illuminated the Summer sky…

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I rolled out, solo as usual, to the first low uncatagorized rise of the day, Meeker Rd. Which would then lead me to Mont Harmonie, the first catagorized climb and the first of two
ascents up the famous (and only) switchback in the Hills of Bernardsville.

My next challenge would be a portion of Hardscrabble, Woodland and then on to Jockey Hollow hill. The sun was shining and I was feeling pretty good so far, but I knew that Calais was looming…the first half-mile is very steep, kicking up to a tough 12+% in the beginning, with an average gradient of 7.1%!

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Jersey worthy? Not a chance…but hey, it does look cool…

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After slogging up Calais, I had a brief respite of about 7+ miles, with a bit downhill and some rollers…until the next climbs of the day. But before I tackled them it was time for the second food and water stop. Cesar’s Deli in Peapack-Gladstone offered up cold drinks, some bananas and an well deserved ice cream sandwich!

Hydrated and fueled, I threw a leg over the top tube and clipped in my shoes to take on Campbell, Clark and the second ascent of Mont Harmonie…Re-energized, I headed off with enthusiasm.

Alone on the road, my thoughts turn to the Tour and today’s awesome Stage 20.
The protagonists battling it out on the slopes of the Alps, as hundreds of thousands of crazed fans cheer on the riders. A stark contrast to my serenely quiet journey through rural suburbia.

After the 2-mile climb of Campbell-Clark, I descended Douglass Ave at a blistering 2:07, my fastest time to date and I slotted into a tie for 3rd place. The second time down
Douglass, I was much slower, taking some pictures and searching for those wild road-side Raspberries!

One last small hill on Route 202, then the last climb up Liberty Corner and onward home…great day in the saddle, nice long ride with a lot of climbs. I was tired and
starting to get hungry, it was perfect timing.

Allez, Allez, Allez!!! Fantastique!!! Oui!!!

Rivière Noire

54.6 miles/87.87 km – 5,100’/1400m

Today’s ride was my 40th of the year so far. So, “Stage 40” took me around the outskirts of the Black River Park and Environmental Center in Chester. The Black River cuts a swath and meanders through Somerset and Morris counties of NJ. 12 miles long, it twists and turns and flows down along the bucolic towns of Pottersville and Chester.

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Along today’s route, I passed through the quiet, scenic and hilly roads of Far Hills, Peapack-Gladstone, Pottersville, Chester, Califon and Bernardsville. Beginning in Somerset, rolling through Morris and touching the edges of Hunterdon county.

The ride featured one of the biggest climbs of the day, Black River Rd or Rivière Noire as I like to call it- in honor of the Le Tour…it extends for 3.5 miles, ascending 830′ up with a mean rise of approx., 5.75%. A fairly arduous climb, one of those up and down unrelenting hills…that can just take it out of your legs on a 98 degree day!

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As Phil and Paul would say, the roads of Black River are ‘heavy roads’ bumpy, broken and rough pavement for most of the 3.5 mile ascent. Between the brutal heat, oppressive humidity and the craggy roads, I was in damage control mode all the way up…

The highlight of the day wasn’t the long and distant beautiful views of the Allamuchy the Kittatinny Mountains, but rather a stop at the Chester Wendy’s- for an cold Vanilla Frosty! After my creamy smooth frozen treat, I was recharged for the remainder of the ride.

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I still had the local switchback of Mt Harmony and a few smaller climbs ahead of me before the promise of a cold shower and recovery meal back were waiting at home. By days end at 5pm, I was thoroughly done. Hot, tired and hungry! As I hung the bike back up, I took a brief moment to reflect on the miles and the route taken, the roads more or less traveled you might say. Blue skies, bright sun and feeling of being alive…

Rapha – A Throw Of The Dice

Something of an off-beat short by Ridley Scott.
This short film was inspired by Johann Museeuw’s
Paris-Roubaix wins, as well as the war-torn history of Roubaix

“Shell-holes one after the other, with no gaps, outlines of trenches, barbed wire cut into one thousand pieces; unexploded shells on the roadside, here and there, graves. Crosses bearing a jaunty tricolour are the only light relief.”

“From Doullens onwards the countryside was nothing but desolation. The shattered trees looked vaguely like skeletons, the paths had collapsed and been potholed or torn away by shells. The vegetation, rare, had been replaced by military vehicles in a pitiful state. The houses of villages were no more than bare walls. At their foot, heaps of rubble. Eugène Christophe exclaimed: ‘Here, this really is the hell of the North.”