h o m e 't o o n s w o r d s c a m s t u f f r a d i o   f r e e   d o g p a t c h

daily dog archives 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002

By Patrick O'Grady
Mad Dog Media

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McCain's insane

  Looks like Mister Straight Talk has been swimming in Lake Havasu, too: He thinks the Constitution established the United States as a Christian nation. Search that crucial document, which the Pachyderms have been using as toilet paper, and see if you can find the words "God" or "Christian" in it anywhere. As Steve Benen at Talking Points Memo notes: "John McCain has been in Congress for several decades, and he's sworn to uphold the Constitution on more than a few occasions. One would like to think he's read it enough times to know this is nonsense."

  This is not nonsense. It's about drinking tequila. Gracias and a tip of the sombrero to Andy B.

  And Paolo Bettini defends his rainbow jersey in Stuttgart. He is a hard individual, so hard he has muscles in his shit.

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Hinterbike, Day 3

  Ignored it. What can I tell you? I was busy tossing off a Foaming Rant about the proposed Tour of America for VeloNews.com. VeloNews.com was all over iBike, though, tossing up the latest in another series of photo galleries. Coverage this year seemed a tad mountain-bike heavy to me, to say nothing of short on words, but what do I know? I wasn't even there. And a good thing, too, judging by what I've read over at BicycleRetailer.com, where the daily quote has been heavy on recounting problems with the Riviera, surprise surprise. The Casino of the Living Dead, as I wrote last year.

  Big Jonny at DrunkCyclist, meanwhile, has plenty of amusing words for you regarding his visit to Sin City, where the hot items were Cougars and the Asshand. Would I lie to you?

  News of the Weird: A killer amoeba that lives in lakes can swim up your snoot and chew on your brain 'til you croak. The latest death, a 14-year-old kid in Phoenix, is blamed on a swim in Lake Havasu. Say, you think Rush Limbaugh's been playing Navy SEAL down there? It would explain a lot.

  Late update: I found myself with a little downtime today, so I did a little maintenance on the site. Gone is the Dog Doin's page, which hadn't been updated since, uh, forever, and in its place is a new page called "Mad Dog Unleashed," which at present is an archive of my 2007 columns for Bicycle Retailer & Industry News. I've been writing filth and nonsense for the BRAINiacs for quite a while now, and I'm thinking about compiling some of the worst bits into a book that I feel certain would sell simply dozens of copies, if only to libel lawyers and Homeland Security agents. Your thoughts, Hobson?

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Hinterbike, Day 2

  Chapeau to Ryan Trebon and Lyne Bessette for winning the inaugural CrossVegas in Sin City. Cyclocross Magazine has a brief report here. Across the pond, meanwhile, Fabian Cancellara slew all to defend his crown as world time-trial champ. Dave Zabriskie, alas, could manage no better than 12th.

  Here in Bibleburg, meanwhile, we're staring down the barrel of another gorgeous fall day. Sixty-something by 9 a.m. with the promise of 72 by the time I break the shackles binding me to VeloNews.com, where we're juggling Interbike in Vegas, cyclo-cross season worldwide, and the world championships in Stuttgart plus legal action over same, all at the same time. Lots of heavy balls in the air, and we're bound to drop one or two, probably on our heads. The world's in particular have a depressing Police Gazette air to them.

  But once all the various precincts report in, I'm off for another longish 'cross-bike ride , maybe south this time, now that the trail is finally open past Bijou. Super Tex famously said "it's not about the bike," but it's not about all this other extraneous bullshit, either.

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Hinterbike, Day 1

  In an ordinary year, today I would be arising far earlier than is my wont, eating not much for breakfast, and humping a backpack full of electronica over to the Sands Expo & Convention Center for day one of the Interbike trade show. Instead, I got up around 7, enjoyed a couple cups of java and some cereal with fresh strawberries and almonds, and scanned the news online. Next up is a leisurely 'cross-bike ride through the Air Force Academy, followed by a massive lunch, grocery shopping, powerful beverages, and dinner. Fat city.

  Still, I'm not as frisky as I might be this morning. Turkish — a.k.a. Big Pussy, Turk the Jerk, Whitey the Wonder Weasel, the Turkinator, Turkenstein, et al — decided it would be fun to rocket around the house like a racquetball smacked by Barry Bonds just past midnight, more or less permanently interrupting my beauty sleep. The fun continued today, with the giant furry swine ambushing me from within an empty wine box when I stalked into the kitchen trying to figure out what the hell all the racket was about.

  In other sporting news, a North Carolina sports-management firm is allegedly planning a Tour of America, a monster of a stage race that would last a month and run from coast to coast. A press release says Aqu Inc. will provide further details during a press conference Thursday at Interbike. Such as, maybe, what kind of drugs these guys are taking (if we decide to dope-test them, let's not use the French lab, OK?). Noting the length of stages one and two as listed on a preliminary website that since has mysteriously disappeared — 220 miles and 244 miles, respectively — a colleague proposes changing the name to "The Tour de WTF." A monthlong, 27-stage, 22-state race in America, in September? Up against the Vuelta, Tour of Missouri, world roads and the start of the UCI cyclo-cross season, with more miles than a moon launch? I'll believe it when I see the first rider roll out of the start house and he's not Gregg Bagni, who has been known to pull some hilarious gags come showtime in Sin City.

  Late update: Harvest moon tonight, which may explain Turkenstein's monstrous behavior. Rode to Baptist Road (yeah, we have one, who'da thunk it?) and back and saw three snakes sunning themselves, which as Jim Harrison might say is a sign of nothing much other than three snakes finding themselves a tad chilly on a brisk fall morning. One was a good-sized bullsnake, which I might have run over had a mountain biker not seen him first and waved me to a stop. He was parked in a blind corner and taking up more than his fair share of trail. The bullsnake, not the mountain biker.

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The Gipper redux

  Rolling Stone's Matt Taibbi discusses Fred Thompson: "Thompson may act like a blank slate — a homespun version of 'Being There' hero Chauncey Gardiner running on a platform of 'Whatever you say' and 'I'll get back to you on that' — but he represents something else that no one, after seven years of George W. Bush, could possibly have expected: a new low." Swallow that with your morning java, if you can.

  Late update: The editor of Colorado State University's student newspaper, The Rocky Mountain Collegian, has apparently gotten his journalistic tit in a Young Republican wringer over a four-word editorial: "Taser this: Fuck Bush." The Coloradan, a miserable pile of Gannett cage-liner, has what it thinks is a story here; The Denver Post has one here. My sympathy is entirely with the editor on this one, as I got run out of a gig scribbling for the University of Northern Colorado Mirror by a ravening pack of Bible-beating brownshirts for drawing filthy cartoons, many of them describing the adventures of a stoner superhero named "Loadedman" (a lame combo of Gilbert Shelton's "Wonder Warthog" and "The Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers"). One particularly appalling full-pager was titled, "For Sure God Gets High." And yeah, it was as bad as you think.

  Neither J. David McSwane nor I showed particularly good judgment as college journalists, but freedom of speech means dealing with murderous lies from the Oval Office and insane bullshit from Mahmoud Ahmadinejad right alongside expletives directed at the Leader of the Free World or hamhanded attacks on organized religion. So fuck a bunch of Young Republicans, fuck Tasers, and fuck Bush, too.

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Art imitates life

  "Las Vegas Under Siege by Zombies and a Mutant," read the headline. Is Lance Armstrong joining the the industry's best and brightest at Interbike again? No, it's just the latest installment of the "Resident Evil" series.

  In literary news, Richard Russo has a new book out, "Bridge of Sighs," which Janet Maslin of The New York Times calls "a novel of great warmth, charm and intimacy, but not one of earth-shattering revelations." I'll wait for the paperback, thanks. I much preferred "Nobody's Fool" to the overwrought, Pulitzer Prize-winning "Empire Falls," which I bought in hardback.

  The Denver Post, meanwhile, has condemned Floyd Landis as a cheat, scoundrel and all-round blight on the sport of cycling. Would that the editorial board were so eager to take on a slightly more prominent cyclist, one Alfred E. "Worry!" Bush, for his multiplicity of high crimes and misdemeanors. No doubt the Trust But Verify pootbutts are pissing their knickers in impotent rage.

  And while we're on the topic of cycling, check out what the big dogs were cyclo-crossing on this past weekend in Washington state. These boys got carbon on their carbon, cranksets that cost more than all three of my bikes, SRMs, the works. Somebody comes up with a carbon-fiber cyclist, now, we'll really have something.

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Veni, vidi, bicicletti

  Behold, someone having more fun than us. Well, me, anyway. And I could be riding my bike in Italy just like that if you could get there by Subaru, or maybe teleportation.

  Meanwhile, turns out Karl Kiester did win the 45s at yesterday's cyclo-cross here in Bibleburg. The fields were a tad small throughout, according to the results, but field size hardly matters when the likes of Karl and Brook are kitted up and feeling hungry. Whether the turnout is 10 or 10 times 10, these guys go through a field like beer through an Irishman's kidneys.

  In other news, that photo I snapped of Landis Court, the one VeloNews.com turned into a visual "Foaming Rant," is still generating mail and blog comments, which gives me a near-fatal case of the tee-hees. Some readers obviously thought it was Photoshopped, suggesting that the cross street should've been 17th, for the 17th stage, but the bugger is exactly what I saw through the lens — no more, no less.

  Depending upon the reader's personal bias, the photo is either a cheap shot at Floyd, a brilliant attack on WADA/USADA, a jab at the lab, a fervent plea that all this drug nonsense stop, a clever way of avoiding taking an actual stand on the issue, a chickenshit way of avoiding taking an actual stand on the issue — you pays your money and you takes your choice. Me, I just thought it was amusing.

  Now I wonder whether minimalist artists hang around the gallery on opening night, snickering at the lofty interpretations of their work: "'Man's inhumanity to man?' No, what it is is a shitload of acrylic on canvas. I remember having a big tube of red, a bricklayer's trowel and a skull-crushing hangover that day. Fourteen hundred and it's yours."

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Oboy, cyclo-cross!

  Pikes Peak Velo put on a cyclo-cross today over at Bear Creek Regional Park, so I dropped by to spectate, as carbon isotope testing was not required in order to determine the various winners and losers. Plus I like to hang around the technical bits and provide incisive commentary, like, "Hey, that looks just like cyclo-cross, only slower," or, "Say, how many of you guys are on dope?"

  I chatted with a number of old comrades, among them Lee Waldman, who won his second consecutive 55-plus 'cross this season; Karl Kiester (forgot to ask how he placed, but he won last week's Brecktobercross in the 45s); and Brook Watts, who finished second in today's 45s. Come Sunday, Brook will be Vegas-bound to help Chris Grealish put on the Excel Sports CrossVegas during Interbike, and don't I wish I was going (to CrossVegas, not to Interbike). But it's too late — I've already shipped the cartoons for BRAIN's Show Daily and promised to help push pixels over at VeloNews.com during the show. So if you're in Sin City, hit CrossVegas and have a pic or observation to share, drop me a line — maybe we'll cover the sumbitch from a distance.

  I was roundly criticized for spectating rather than racing, which is fair. And I met a couple junior racers, one of whom was sampling 'cross for the first time and digging it, and the other — well, he was a second-year 'crosser from Clovis, New Mexico, and planned to race twice to make the trip worthwhile. If that ain't good news, I don't know what is.

  And speaking of CrossVegas, word comes from the Grealish camp that BRAIN's Interbike issue has gotten the start times wrong — the women race at 7:30, with men hitting the course at 9. And there will be beer, courtesy of Sierra Nevada. So drink up, cab home and have more fun than me.

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A cheap shot

  Seeing as how I haven't actually written one in months, we decided to slap the photo below up on VeloNews.com as this week's "Foaming Rant." The photo is drawing nearly as much comment as if I'd actually written something, which has caused me to revisit my overly generous opinion regarding my literary skills.

  Letters to VN.com in general are running heavily pro-Floyd, which is to say anti-reality. Fanboys give me a shooting pain in the tuchis. How much dope would you take to make $29 million a year if you knew your professional career was likely to be a short one — unlike Scott Moninger's, which lasted 17 years? Plenty of us would eat, drink, snort, shoot or cram up our tailpipes whatever it took, from salbutamol to freshly harvested human organs, then kick back and pay some hack to ghost-write our biographies before tearfully confessing, just after the statute of limitations expired, that we weren't exactly racing on mineral water. Maybe that's what it takes to win the Tour; I don't know. But I do know this: All it takes to write a witless letter to the editor is a computer and an Internet connection.

  Meanwhile, here's the column I would've liked to have written. It's by Sam Abt, who has more chops but also seems to be perilously close to running out of ways to say, "Doping sucks."

  And in other news, Joe Galloway takes a giant shit on Gen. George Armstrong Bush so I don't have to.

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The picture that saved me a thousand words


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  Business name of the week: Morning Wood, seen stenciled on the back of a Dodge 2WD pickup riding ominously low on its springs. The outfit apparently delivers wood, perhaps to Bibleburg's multitudinous Repuglicant family-values sky pilots, maybe even the sort used in fireplaces and woodstoves. Who could know? Don't ask, don't tell, that's my motto.

  Meanwhile, in case you were wondering, yeah, John McCain is an insane asshole. He and DINO Joe Lieberman helped scuttle a straight up-or-down vote on Jim Webb's measure to require that troops spend as much time at home as they do overseas before being redeployed. Then he offered up another of what Josh Marshall correctly derides as a "please" resolution begging this administration to throttle back — an outfit that wants more war, not less (that got croaked, too). Fuck that noise. Here's Josh:

If they're not ready to make a law they should just shut up. It's pathetic. Stick to the home renovations and sweetheart house deals.

  This obstructionist nonsense is not a recent development, of course. The Pachyderms complained vociferously about it when the Donks used it as a tactic. But the Elefinks are doing a better job of getting away with it, thanks to a slovenly press corps, as Kevin Drum points out here.

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Pulp non-fiction

  Canceled the Gazette subscription today. Christ, what a horrible piece of bumwad, especially since the latest redesign. Another tree will grow in the wild woods. But what will I read in the crapper after the morning java? The MacBook is a tad hot on the thighs. The Nation? Too heavy before breakfast. The Victoria's Secret catalogue? Too, um, stimulating. Decisions, decisions.

  Meanwhile, a Nebraska state senator has filed suit against God. The Almighty declined comment.

  And in shiny-toy news, anyone out there own an iPhone? I dropped by an AT&T store to play with one for a while today, and the ooooh cool factor was off the charts. We're already AT&T customers (rollovers from Cingular), so swapping one of our Stone Age phones for an iPhone would only hike the monthly extortion payment another 20 smacks for data services (after shelling out three C's for the low-end, 4GB model, which both AT&T and Apple started blowing out after the Black Turtleneck-in-Chief croaked it and slashed the price of the 8GB edition to $399).

  I need one of these things like I need more hair on my back, but goddamn, it's a cute lil' booger. And Herself, who unlike me is disclined to fetch a laptop hither and yon, has expressed an interest in a CrackBerry or some such gadget. Any other suckers out there? Let's get those bouquets and brickbats flying.

  Late update: Just for purposes of comparison, I've been dicking around with my Samsung SGH-c417, trying to check mail, browse the web and take-slash-email photos, instead of using it as a phone. This is not unlike trying to build a Starfleet tricorder interface out of stone knives and bearskins. Is this what working on a PC is like? No wonder all you people are insane. I feel like a blind man on acid in a DMV office full of zombies.

  Oh, yeah. And George W. Bush doesn't worship at the altar of Cthulhu, no matter what that old dingbat Alan Greenspan says. Nevertheless, if you hear W muttering something like "Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn" * at his next press conference, run for it. I'm not kidding.

* Google it, f'chrissakes. I'm sick and tired of doing all the work around here.

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Fall back

  Yow. A brisk, damp day, with leaves already turning yellow and slipping off the trees. I made a giant pot of chile con carne against the chill, blending recipes from Mom and Dad while chucking in a couple twists of my own, including organic ground beef and hot Italian sausage, navy and black beans, and multiplying everything by two because I like leftovers. Dump a scoop of rice and crushed corn chips in the bottom of the bowl, top with chile and grated Black Diamond cheddar, and serve with a side of salad and a glass or two or three of rosé. Subsequent glasses of Spanish rioja may or may not be a good idea. I'll let you know tomorrow.

  Elsewhere, Sen. Ken Salazar (D-Colo) has decided that it might be a good idea to slam the congressional wallet shut on Gen. George Armstrong Bush and Little Big Surge. How much of this is principled stand and how much chin music aimed at the electorate, I have no idea. Salazar has voted with the administration on some mighty slimy issues, and I'm disinclined to give him the benefit of the doubt.

  And Mario Valdes, former honcho at KRCC-FM, has died of complications from lung cancer at age 54. I remember Mario from my days at the Gazette Telegraph. You could call the man up at any hour, no matter how drunk, and ask him to play something insane like "Broad Black Brimmer of the IRA" — a bit from the Wolfe Tones that could've been written by Merle O'Haggard if he were (a) an Irish Republican and (b) particularly hammered — and Mario would play it. We chatted a few times via phone or e-mail, especially when Herself and I lived in Weirdcliffe and signal strength was an issue, and he never failed to take care of business. As a consequence, we've been loyal KRCC supporters with ears and wallets for years, and our condolences go out to his friends, colleagues and family. There will never be another Mario, more's the pity.

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Sunday catblogging

  Hey, if Kevin Drum can do it, so can I. Here's a shot of Turkish — a.k.a. Whitey the Wonder Weasel, Turk the Jerk, Big Pussy, et al — sharing a Kodak moment with his evil twin. At first I thought it was Ghost Kitty, a ratty white mirage of a cat that slinks around yowling at all hours like some evil spirit. A closer look revealed the same black widow's peak that Turkish sports and an astoundingly similar set of facial features (though Evil Twin's eyes are yellow while Turk's are blue, and Evil Twin doesn't have a freckle on the snoot). So since we got Turk' from someone Herself knows from work who lives here in the 'hood, we suspect that this is either one of Turkish's littermates or perhaps his mama, in no small measure because when Ike approached to check the stranger's credentials, Big Turk' went and got all medieval on her ass.

  Speaking of big pussies, I skipped the first race of the Colorado cyclo-cross season today. And I'll probably skip the rest of them, too, because I suck. I did an hour this morning on a grassy loop I've laid out at a nearby former middle school, and I looked like a brain-damaged crackhead who'd swiped someone's bike but couldn't remember how to ride one. And now I feel like a new fish after his first shower in prison.

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From the You've Got to Be Shitting Me Department

  Southwest Airlines has gotten its corporate tit in a wringer for demanding that women whom its flight attendants deemed "unsuitably dressed" change their clothes or leave the plane. Reports The San Francisco Chronicle::

While no airline admits to an official dress code, wardrobe issues do fall within the range of customer issues negotiated by flight attendants and crews on a daily basis. It is technically within the rights of an airline to deny service to people based on what they're wearing (or on the basis of body odor or inebriation).

Patrick Smith, an airline pilot who writes a column for Salon magazine called "Ask a Pilot," said in an e-mail that a number of conditions help to create confusion about flight etiquette.

"Rules about passenger dress are usually subjective, allowing employees to use judgment and common sense," he wrote. "You've got more and more people flying - and that includes many people who, in years past, would have driven or taken a Greyhound.

"Granted, people rarely dress up to fly anymore, but there are certain standards and certain protocols, however casual."

  That patrician, elitist attitude is what has turned air travel into the prison-camp, cattle-car clusterfuck that it is today. Fuck you, Paddy me boyo. I'll let you Junior Birdmen tell me what to wear when you can move the flights in and out on time, stop overselling the aircraft and get me out of O'Hare in under 48 hours. Oh, yeah, and bring back the free booze. That, plus the occasional overstuffed halter top, are the only things that make air travel worth the hassle.

  Meanwhile, in other entertainment news, here's a snarky little bit from The Plank noting the similarities between fallen ingenues George W. Bush and Britney Spears.

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Meet the new plan . . .

  . . . same as the old plan. I'd love to know how many Americans (not counting the working press) watched Gen. George Armstrong Bush's latest rewriting of the script for Little Big Surge (hunker down, never mind the Injuns, the cavalry is a-comin'). Alexander Belenky over at The Plank boils this stale, recycled bullshit down to a thin paste here.

 Meanwhile, you'll be pleased to learn that cycling isn't the only sport plagued by lying, cheating sacks of shit. From The New York Times comes word that McLaren Mercedes, the leading team in the Formula One championship, was fined $100 million on Thursday and excluded from the constructors' title in a spying scandal:

The International Automobile Federation, the sport's governing body, found the McLaren team guilty of cheating by using data obtained from Ferrari, its main rival, to improve its own car, the federation said in a statement issued following a hearing in Paris.

The team may continue to race, however, and its two drivers — Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso, the top two in the points standings — will be allowed to keep their points and will be eligible for the driver's title.

It was the harshest punishment given to a team in the 57-year history of the sport.

  And over at the NFL, the league has fined New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick $500,000 and ruled that the team will forfeit its first-round draft pick in 2008 if it makes the playoffs for violating league rules after a Patriots staff member was discovered videotaping signals by Jets coaches during Sunday's season opener at the Meadowlands:

"This episode represents a calculated and deliberate attempt to avoid longstanding rules designed to encourage fair play and promote honest competition on the playing field," Commissioner Roger Goodell wrote in a letter to the Patriots.

  Well, at least they weren't on dope.

  In other news: My fellow scribe Chris Coursey is calling it quits after 27 years with The Press Democrat in Santa Rosa, California. We went to college together at the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley, where we majored in mind-altering substances and minored in journalism, and worked together at what then was called the Colorado Springs Gazette Telegraph before going our separate ways in 1980. I bounced around like a bad check, driving a series of editors and publishers witless before settling down into the frenetic, pointless masturbation that is free-lance cycling journalism, while he settled down at the PD, doing real journalism, getting married a couple of times and helping to create and collect a houseful of kids.

  Come Monday, I will still be jerking off for fun and profit. But Chris will be flacking for the SMART rail district, "explaining to anyone who will listen why passenger trains are important to our future quality of life around here." We always knew he would wind up pulling trains somewhere in Northern California, but we thought it would be in the Castro down in Gay Bay. Happy trails, Bub. I'll hoist an IPA to you tonight.

  And in still other news: The second Bike-A-GoGo, a women's bicycle demo day and expo, is slated for October 20 at the Genoveva Chavez Community Center in Santa Fe.

  More than 30 companies, including major bike brands such as Specialized, Voodoo, Trek, and Kona, will display their wares, from road and mountain-bike products to nutritional goods and apparel.

  There will also be seminars on a variety of bike-related topics, including a presentation on bike maintenance by a female mechanic from a local bike shop, a tire-changing clinic by Betty Bike Gear, and a workshop on combining Pilates core strength with bike fit by Cycling Essentials.

  And last but not least, Bike-A-GoGo will include contests, prizes and an after-party at Second Street Brewing, one of my favorite dining and drinking establishments. Hell, I may attend the Bike-a-GoGo with Herself just to down a few frosty pints of Second Street IPA.

  The event is conducted by the Pedal Queens cycling club and sponsored by Women¹s Health Services. For more information, visit the Bike-a-GoGo website.

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It's that time again

  With all respect to the victims of September 11 and the people who loved them, I'm not going to dwell on that 6-year-old attack today. There have been plenty of tragedies since that have gone largely unnoticed, not the least of which is the gradual dismantling of our Republic by a gang of neo-monarchists with dreams of empire. Crimes and casualties pile up unabated as a flabby electorate focuses not on what is done in its name, but rather on Britney's potbelly, Michael's faith-based dog-fighting, Craig's suspiciously light loafers. So bow your head for a moment, then move on. Look forward, not backward. Things need doing. Don't believe me? Put down the remote and read any newspaper's front page. Then take a stiff drink and think about walls and people up against same.

  In lighter news, the infamous Big Jonny of Drunkcyclist.com is in Bibleburg for a week, and he has already managed to slander my hometown in a vile post on his own site. "Graveyard with lights," indeed. The actual phrase, as employed in the late Seventies by Rusty Mitchell, former food editor for the Gazette, is "cemetery with lights," although she occasionally used the slightly less pejorative "suburb without a city."

  But things have changed since then, and today you can easily find a church or two on every corner, cheer a flak-jacketed cop thumping a peace activist, or casually discriminate against an ominously swelling population of various disgruntled minorities, including a handful of Democrats. Chain hog troughs ring Super Sprawl-Marts like portly courtiers surrounding a syphilitic king, and every city block sports a traffic signal, none of them timed. Instead, an emaciated speed freak controls each and every signal through banks of video cameras and toggle switches, and he will see to it that it takes you at least a half hour to back out of your driveway and a half day to make it downtown, even if you live there. This is why natives treat red lights as advisory only, and why tourists die in droves.

  Late update: Big Jonny and his henchmen descended upon Dog Manor this evening bearing powerful thirsts and tales of prowess in battle and bibulousness. Thank God I had a couple sixers, a half-dozen bottles of wine, a pair of pizzas the size of 29'er wheels and a little China White to take the edge off their ravenous appetites. Otherwise there could've been mayhem, and the neighbors are already grousing about how far property values have fallen since "the Irish" moved in. More as it develops. The Drunkcyclist mob has discovered that Bibleburg is home to a number of establishments whose menus expand upon the standard wafers-and-wine theme, and I am to be tour guide.

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Harbinger of fall

  The days have been growing shorter and cooler, but it wasn't until yesterday that I saw the first definitive sign of fall — a sweatsuited jogger. Normally, you can't get these people to wear more than a wisp of butt-floss, an iPod and a pained expression.

  Me, I had to add a long-sleeved jersey and knee warmers to my kit for an all-too-brief ride into the Air Force Academy and back. The Vuelta is chugging along in Spain, and VeloNews.com is covering same. Plus there are 'toons to be drawn — many, many of them — for VeloNews and the Show Daily that Bicycle Retailer & Industry News assembles for Interbike, which comes up later this month.

  I mentioned a while back that I won't be attending Interbike this year, but never explained why. The long and short of it is that I just can't work up the requisite enthusiasm for wasting any part of another gorgeous Colorado fall in Las Vegas, that glittering monument to American greed, sloth and suppressed sexual urges. I don't care to schlep 50 pounds of electronica around the Sands Expo & Convention Center, pretending that I care deeply and personally about carbon-fiber this and 10-speed that when I ride steel and eight-speed Ultegra. I won't spend another night in a nicotine-stained cell at the Riviera.

  If I could attend the show as an observer rather than a participant, staying where I chose, coming and going as I pleased, I might take another crack at it — especially if Interbike were moved to a cycling-friendly location, like Portland. I'd like to play with the bikes at Outdoor Demo, watch a cyclo-cross and a crit, drink beer with my pals. But then I'd have to cover my own expenses, and we all know how I feel about that sort of thing.

  Here's an extended riff on the same topic, written for the October issue of Bicycle Retailer.

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Not on drugs

  Herself takes a break from a bracing cyclo-cross outing aboard her Soma Double Cross, a bike so nice we bought it twice (one for her, one for me). Hers is green, mine is black to match my aura. The venue is Palmer Park, the background is Pikes Peak, and the jersey is Pedal Queens, long may they reign.

  The fit is not ideal — Herself's is a tad large, while mine is a tad small — but regardless, the Double Cross is a fine, inexpensive way to dip a toe into your local 'cross pond this fall, so if you have a few Dead President Trading Cards that lack previous commitments elsewhere, you could do worse than send them to San Francisco.

  Speaking of commitments in foreign lands, The Surge® will be a hot topic of conversation, dissimulation and propagandization next week as Bush's fall guy — excuse me, Gen. David Petraeus — explains to Congress how things in Iraq don't suck as badly as they appear to. Not even The New York Times is buying this, and neither should you. As Kevin Drum notes:

I think it's worthwhile for proponents of withdrawal to be honest about the likely aftermath of pulling out: an intensified civil war that will take the lives of tens of thousands and end in the installation, at least in the short-term, of an Iran-friendly theocracy. This is obviously not a happy outcome, but neither is it the catastrophe the Chaos Hawks peddle. The alternative is to babysit the civil war with American troops, spilling blood and treasure along the way, without truly affecting the course of events in any substantial measure.

Politically, this is the key battleground now. As long as the Chaos Hawks are able to panic the public into believing that withdrawal will result in a Middle East in flames and ten dollar gasoline at home, no Congress will have the backbone to defund the war and force a pullout. This means that it's time for more sensible regional professionals to screw up their courage and tell the truth: pulling out won't be pretty, but if it's done prudently neither will it be Armageddon. The sooner we figure this out, the sooner we can leave Iraq.

Until then, though, our foreign policy will continue to be held hostage to a senseless war that does us no good. Al-Qaeda will continue to recruit and grow, Afghanistan will slowly slip away, a shooting war with Iran will become more likely, our military will continue being stretched and drained, and our country will become less and less safe. And all for nothing. It's way past time for us to start formulating a sane national security policy for an age of terror. Leaving Iraq is the first step.

  Read the whole post. Kevin's nailed Bush's hide to the barn door.

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Third time's a charm?

  The rumor mill is working overtime in DeeCee, whispering that the Busheviks are peeing their pants in eagerness for a war with Iran — you know, because the two we already have going are working out so nicely. Chris Hedges at Truthdig, envisioning a series of airstrikes aimed at 1,200 targets that could destroy Iran's military capability in three days, asks the obvious question: "And then what?" Ray McGovern notes that the usual media suspects are busy retailing the White House's bullshit (Talking Points Memo points the finger at, surprise, surprise, Darth Cheney), but thinks war can be averted if enough of us get off our asses and demand that the House instigate impeachment proceedings. And Counterpunch says the whole scheme could be furthered by naming Joe Lieberman to replace Fredo Gonzales at Justice, which would leave Connecticut's GOP governor free to appoint one of the red boys to replace Lieberman and thus return control of the Senate to the pudgy, manicured pinkies of the Repuglicants.

  Anyone feel like moving to Canada?

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Labor daze

  The year is on the downhill side and carving the corners toward winter. How the hell did it get to be September so damn' fast? It feels like we shot from New Year's to Labor Day in less time than it takes a Republican legislator to cruise a one-stall restroom.

  Meanwhile, Gen. George Armstrong Bush is visiting Little Big Surge in advance of the much-anticipated report on same, which seems mostly to be giving the Shiites time to cleanse themselves of Sunni annoyances. Heckuva job, Davey.

  Here in Bibleburg the constabulary is all shook up over hip-hop, the same way their predecessors were over rock 'n' roll, the foxtrot and coming down out of the trees and walking upright. No racial profiling here, thank you just the same. Colorado Springs doesn't judge a man by the color of his skin, but rather by the volume of his bass.

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Mr. Tight Jeans and Mr. Dropped Trou'

  There's no point in working at being funny anymore. The amateurs are covering all the bases of weirdo news nuggets that you just can't make up. And this Larry Craig deal is a self-operating, Bizarro World gold mine. From The New York Times comes this:

If Senator Larry E. Craig yields to calls for his resignation amid allegations that he solicited sex in an airport bathroom, his successor would be chosen by a fellow Republican who once entered a tight-jeans contest — and won.

Gov. C. L. Otter, known as Butch, was lieutenant governor when he won the "Mr. Tight Jeans" contest at the Rockin' Rodeo bar here in the state capital in July 1992. A few days later he was arrested, and eventually convicted, for driving under the influence of alcohol.

Now, after having gone on to serve three terms in the House of Representatives before being elected governor last year, Mr. Otter knows better than most what voters in this deeply conservative state will tolerate when it comes to the private behavior of public officials.

"As a public servant who has made mistakes in my private life, I am mindful that you don't really know who your friends are, until you stumble," he told reporters here this week.

  Top that? Are you kidding? I won't even try.

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War is (c)heck

  Here's a fun story, if your idea of "fun" is watching tax dollars spiraling down the Mess O'Potamia toilet. And be sure to read this for extra credit. Anyone who calls himself a conservative and doesn't chisel off the Bush-Cheney 2004 sticker on his bumper immediately upon reading these appalling pieces should be immediately interned at Gitmo as a threat to the Republic. Whoops, too late — the Republic has already fallen. We return you now to the reality-avoidance mechanism of your choice.

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Restroom Romeos

  Man, the tailors in DeeCee must be working overtime sewing kneepads into Repugnicant congresscreeps' slacks. Now, I don't care if these weenie-waggers like to spend their spare time dressing up like Carol Channing and Liza Minnelli and flogging each other into a frenzy with feather boas dusted with Viagra. Whatever floats your teensy weensy little boat, sez I. But please, spare us the family-values chatter during working hours on the public nickel. Now, if only we could catch the Cheerleader-in-Chief and/or Darth Cheney playing tonsil hockey with Mitt Romney, a couple of teen-age male pages and a black goat in a White House crapper. . . .

  Meanwhile, speaking of pricks, W has paid yet another visit to still-struggling New Orleans, where his minions say he will ask for the $5 billion in federal money needed to help strengthen the Big Easy's levees against the next 100-year storm. Guess how much he wants for Little Big Surge? That would be $50 billion. Keep those pirogues and slickers handy, y'all.

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Fredo deep-sixed

  Ho, ho. The Chimp-in-Chief says Fredo's good name has been "dragged through the mud for political reasons." Valerie Plame, Joe Wilson, Al Gore, John Kerry, Max Cleland and the ghosts of Ann Richards and Molly Ivins all must be having a good snicker over that one. In a righteous world, Gonzales' entire sorry ass, not just his name, would've been dragged through the streets in a tumbril, bound for the guillotine. The man had the legal mind of a pimp and the integrity of a hyena in a gut pile, and he would've cheerfully sent his mama to a concentration camp if The Decider ordered it. He reminds me of Junior Leyba in John Nichols' "A Magic Journey" — the prototypical coconut (brown on the outside, white on the inside) first elevated and then unleashed by a honky power structure against his own working-class people:

Like a man driving at night, hypnotized by bright headlights into veering toward an approaching vehicle, Junior joined all the lawyers, real estate dealers and hustlers effectuating the Betterment of Chamisaville.

  The difference being, of course, that Junior Leyba was both venal and competent.

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Napoleon Bonehead

  Juan Cole draws an interesting parallel between Napoleon's occupation of Egypt and Gen. George Armstrong Bush's stand at Little Big Surge. Notes Cole:

"Above all, the leaders of both occupations employed the same basic political vocabulary and rhetorical flimflammery, invoking the spirit of liberty, security, and democracy while largely ignoring the substance of these concepts."

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Alms for an old ex-leper?

  Former New Life Church pastor Ted Haggard, who fled to Arizona in disgrace after a dubious relationship with a meth-dealing gay hooker, is at it again. This time, he's begging for money to keep him and the family in bacon and beans while he "ministers" to the downtrodden and attends college in Phoenix.

  According to the Gazette, Haggard has been paid $338,000 since the beginning of 2006 and owns a home here in Bibleburg valued at more than $700,000, but still finds himself a tad light in the wallet pocket (in addition to the loafers). In an e-mail posted on KRDO Channel 13's Web site, the grounded sky pilot wrote:

"It looks as though it will take two years for us to have adequate earning power again, so we are looking for people who will help us monthly for two years. During that time we will continue as full-time students, and then, when I graduate, we won¹t need outside support any longer."

  Uh huh. Right. This two-bit Elmer Gantry will be proffering the old collection plate as long as he has the strength to lift it. The sad thing is, the simps will keep filling it. I'll give Ted a little something — the same advice my dad gave me. You want money? Get a fuckin' job.

  Meanwhile, we have a new entry in the ongoing Dumbest Town in America competition — New Haven, Connecticut, which managed to turn a Hash House Harriers duo's use of flour to mark a running route into a massive law-enforcement clusterfuck triggered by fear of bioterrorism. Mayoral spokeswoman Jessica Mayorga said the city plans to seek restitution from New Haven ophthalmologist Daniel Salchow, 36, and his sister, Dorothee, 31, who are due in court Sept. 14 on charges of first-degree breach of peace, a felony. ''You see powder connected by arrows and chalk, you never know,'' she told The Associated Press. ''It could be a terrorist, it could be something more serious. We're thankful it wasn't, but there were a lot of resources that went into figuring that out.'' What, like a non-union janitor armed with a broom and dustpan? And what could be more serious in this day and age than stupidity? Expect a dramatic decline in hopscotch as a consequence.

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The dog days of summer

  Come August, I invariably find myself sick of the sound of my own voice after seven months of screeching like a cheap set of maladjusted canti's at VeloNews.com, Bicycle Retailer & Industry News, and here. A road trip is indicated. As Jim Harrison has taught us, "Do not scorn day trips. You can use them to avoid nervous collapse." (See "Going Places" in his collection of essays, "Just Before Dark.")

  My bolt hole of choice is Santa Fe, a place that annoyed me greatly when I lived there but is oddly restful as a short-term getaway. Despite its reputation as a playground for the rich and famous, it can be a cheap date if you know how to cut corners.

  For starters, I generally stay at the Hilton, which is a short walk or bike ride from nearly everyplace I want to go. Herself and I have Hilton Honors Visa cards, and purchases build points that can be used for free hotel stays. The downside of this is that, prime location and free lodging aside, the Hilton mostly sucks. It must be the last hotel in the universe that lacks premium cable and free wireless internet, and the money-grubbing sonsabitches charge $15 a day for parking. So in future I'm considering taking a whack at the reasonably priced El Rey Inn or the Santa Fe Motel. It's only money, after all.

  You can eat and drink cheaply and well at Second Street Brewery, Il Vicino, Tia Sophia and La Choza (its sister restaurant, The Shed, is niftier, pricier and generally besmirched by hipper-than-thou service due to its prime location just off the Plaza).

  Take your exercise on the Dale Ball Trails, where you can easily put together a two-hour mountain-bike ride. Well, not easily. The buggers are steeper than health-care costs. In a dry year you can ride the Dale Balls on a broadly geared 'cross bike, but it's been unusually wet this year and I had plenty of trouble navigating its steeps and switchbacks on the fat-tire flyer, in part because I've always been an incompetent mountain biker and as a consequence I've ridden the fucker about twice in the past two years.

  Soak out your aches and pains, whether acquired athletically or alcoholically, at Ten Thousand Waves. It's not cheap anymore — $20 for a soak in the public tub — but you can spend hours there, rotating among the hot tub, cold plunge and dry sauna, until you regain a flickering, half-hearted interest in continuing to live. Plus there are naked women to hold your attention (and naked men, too, if that's what floats your boat).

  If you have the time to drift north to Taos, Eske's Brew Pub and Restaurant is a pleasant place to wait for the Plaza's perpetual traffic jam to clear. On the north end of town, Orlando's is well worth a visit — great service and even better food. Try Los Colores, an enchilada platter with one cheese covered with chile caribe, one chicken in green, and one beef in red, plus beans and posole on the side.

  The idea of a getaway like this is to quit thinking about things you can't fix, like the state of the nation and/or professional bicycle racing. Flush out your smelly old headgear. Remember why the Buddha is often pictured as laughing his ass off. And don't forget to apologize to all the friends you didn't visit as you stumbled blindly along the path.

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Laterally stiff yet vertically compliant

  For anyone who's read one too many cookie-cutter road-bike reviews (or written one too many), we hereby present the Bike Snob NYC 2008 Dream Bike Shootout. Keep a change of underwear and some baby wipes handy while you read it. Me, I develop an unseemly craving for carbon, I sharpen a pencil and snort the shavings.

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And now, the good news

  Food prices are rising, some of them in double digits, thanks to the cost of gasoline, the crackdown on farm-working migraciones and the nation's sudden fascination with gasohol. Also on the upswing are health-care and other costs. And the White House — not Gen. David "Why the Hell Did I Take This Job?" Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan "Ditto" Crocker — will write next month's Petraeus-Crocker report on "progress" in Iraq. You may now proceed to the nearest reality-avoidance mechanism of your choice.

  Mine include strong drink and cyclo-cross, and you can get both at the Full Speed Ahead Star Crossed presented by Gerk's Alpine Hut on Sept. 22 at Marymoor Park in Redmond, Washington. The UCI race, first in the United States this year and the kickoff to a series of West Coast events, has a new sponsor this year — Deschutes Brewery, the official beer-garden sponsor and one of my favorite craft breweries.

  Four days later is the Excel Sports Cross Vegas, brought to Sin City by Colorado's very own Chris Grealish just in time for the Interbike trade show, which I will not be attending this year for a number of very fine reasons, none of which involve the police, restraining orders or a sudden come-to-Jesus moment shared by a pair of bike-mag publishers. But don't let that stop you from going. I have it on good authority that Elvis and Miss Nevada are gonna be there, and if there is not someone tugging on a tap there for fun and profit, well then, I'm a Republican presidential candidate.

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More fat in the fire

  Rep. Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) is out of there, too. As Hunter S. once said, it makes a man's eyes damp, for sure. Or not.

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Fart Blossom wilts

  The so-called "Boy Genius," Karl Rove, is leaving the White House at month's end. One wonders why now, and what's he gonna be up to? Roadie for Van Halen?

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Aorta know better

  Went for a spin through the hills of the Broadmoor with O'Schenk today, and since I was using a heart-rate monitor and he was not (the reverse of normal), we decided to see if we could cause my drink-swollen ticker to leap from my ribcage like a drunken salmon flailing upstream to spawn. I managed to top 182 beats per minute twice for brief periods on one steepish stretch of road, which was an educational experience, considering that I used to time-trial in the high 170s/low 180s back in the day when I was a man instead of whatever it is that I am now.

  I don't do that sort of thing much any more, for obvious reasons (for starters, it hurts). Still, it's interesting to test the depth of the old fight-or-flight reserves from time to time, especially if you write and/or draw things that piss people off. Mine appear to be those of a centenarian staring at the icy steps between him and the mailbox containing his Social Security check.

  Speaking of which, that centenarian is likely to find a set of bloodshot eyeballs staring at him from deep inside that mailbox should he survive the journey.

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Better late than never

  I finally get around to squeezing out a post-Tour rant for the fine folks at VeloNews.com and poof goes another irate Refuglycan magazine subscriber. These fleawits are dumber than a sack full of ass hair. An infrequent opinion piece on a free website puts their panties in a twist, so they drop an Old Media mag full of useful and entertaining information. Small wonder the country's in such a pickle.

  The screed was actually my second on that topic in a week, as Bicycle Retailer & Industry News was on deadline, too. Look forward to seeing that little ditty lying crumpled next to a bike-shop toilet near you sometime in late September, when it will be as fresh as last year's ice-cold horseshit. It's a poorly executed, thinly veiled, misdemeanor ripoff of Jonathan Swift's "A Modest Proposal."

  It's getting harder to write these things because there is no solution to the doping issue, other than removing the gateway drug — money — from the mix. If history teaches us anything, it's that some people will do anything for a fat sack of filthy lucre. So as long as people are paid to perform, they'll cut any corner to get to the finish that little bit faster.

  I used to break out the occasional column defining sport via a series of rules (must have a finish line or points awarded impartially for specific actions, and so on and so forth). I haven't resurrected that one in a while because it no longer obtains. I see only one defining factor now: If you're paid to do it, it ain't sport. It's business.

  Meanwhile, the summer monsoons have done a Rolling Thunder number on all my favorite trails, first eroding them and then camouflaging their treacherous ruts and gullies with robust greenery. Every time I go for a little 'cross-bike ride these days I pick up a couple bucks' worth of inedible salad on both handlebars from trailside foliage. So today I decided to do my second cyclo-cross workout of the pre-season over at East Middle School, where the grass has been growing like that list of subpoenas the White House keeps ignoring. Oh, Lord. I felt like I had been recorded at 78 and played back at 33 1/3.

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Shorter Hamid Karzai


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Noah crashes block party

  Our annual neighborhood block party got flushed down the loo by a monster rainstorm last night. The band got a song or two in, maybe someone managed to gobble a hot dog or some potato salad, and then boom! The sky giants start bowling and the rain just comes a-pissin' down. We hid out at a neighbor's for a while, drinking a tasty Lirac and shooting the shit, but we finally had to cave when it became apparent that God had more water than we had wine. So we went home and snapped a pic of our alleged kitten, Turkish, who has assumed monstrous proportions (this one's for Tanya).

  More of the same is bucketing down as we speak, foiling my little scheme of grilling a couple of steaks on the back deck. So it's beef enchiladas prepared indoors, probably some spuds, a salad and some more of that French rosé that's been tasting so good lately.

  Meanwhile, if you feel sorry for the "working-class millionaires" of Silicon Valley after reading this, then please scoot on down to the Red Cross at once. You're a natural-born blood donor.

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Elefinks in Donk duds

  Jesus H. Christ. Why do we bother sending Democrats to Congress if all they're going to do is act like Republicans? And Congress wonders why it has all the popularity of that fabled burning, itching sensation. We need to put the arm on this crowd. Chase the bastards out of their faux Roman enclaves in DeeCee and let them have their little Robot's Rules of Order clusterfucks in tin-roofed shacks in Appalachia, abandoned warehouses in Kansas, tents in Yuma, and pass out sacks of spoiled produce, dog turds and rotten eggs to the gallery. Give the swine some perspective, if such a thing is possible. Either that or bring back the Coliseum and toss the sonsabitches to the lions.

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The parting glass

  Ah, Jaysis. Tommy Makem has gone west. I saw him and the Clancy Brothers, said to be the four most famous Irishmen in the world, once in Denver. The promoters, God love 'em, were selling Guinness in the lobby of whichever venue it happened to be (the memory for some strange reason eludes me), and the crowd was singing right along with the lads, if slightly less well. The Clancys and Makem led me to Planxty, the Dayhills, Clannad, the Battlefield Band and many another outfit, and so I raise the parting glass to Tommy. Asked recently if he had any plans to retire, he replied, "Yes, of course, I retire every night and in the morning when I awake I realize just how lucky and privileged I am to be able to continue doing the things I love to do." We should all be so fortunate.

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It's beer-thirty

  The 2007 Tour de France is over, and just as I had predicted, it was won by someone riding a bicycle. You may now return to the secondary reality-avoidance mechanism of your choice. Mine, tonight, is beer — Mirror Pond Pale Ale, to be specific — and oh, how good it tastes on a warm summer night after three weeks in that big yellow barrel.

  Tomorrow I have to dash off some class of cartoon about this year's romp around Frogland, and then I have the rest of the week to catch up on my cycling, which went all sideways as the wheels came off for Alexandre Vinokourov, Cristian Moreni and Michael Rasmussen, and Astana and Cofidis found themselves shitcanned from the Tour. It will be a week filled with press conferences, charges and counter-charges, "silly season" team-swapping, sponsorship implosions, preening, posturing and lawyers, and I will pay it no mind whatsoever.

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The accidental Tourist

  The 2007 Tour de France is over tomorrow, and it feels like school's letting out for summer. The sonofabitch has been running on a loop, like something from a script tag-teamed by Rod Serling, Ray Bradbury and Harlan Ellison; you don't know what's lurking around the next corner, but you know it's gonna be large, ugly and full of jagged yellow teeth.

  We had technical issues today, with a VeloNews.com contractor and my own e-mail provider, which got swarmed by a spammer, and so covering the stage was extra fun. There was some discussion of suicide and/or day drinking, and we all agreed to settle for the latter until the Tour is finally over.

  Still, it's amazing how much shit a very thin herd can lay on a mighty big pasture. We got news, features, analyses and results from staffers and contractors both abroad and here at home; photos out the wazoo from Graham Watson, AFP and my homeboy Casey Gibson; plus podcasts and video. Lucky me, I only have to deal with text and pix. As you know, the Irish have few marketable skills beyond drinking, holding a grudge and writing short fiction.

  Whether anyone's consuming all this infotainment is another question altogether. I quit taking it even semi-seriously when Alexandre Vinokourov made the Dope-O-Meter go bong bong bong and Michael Rasmussen turned into the International Man of Mystery. I mean, does this marked yellow deck even have a top to deal off of, or any cards other than the Joker?

  Chapeau to anyone who raced the race clean and made it to Paris. Alberto Contador may even be one of them. But if you think he won this Tour, you haven't been paying attention. He's just going to be the guy with the nifty yellow shirt. It's not the same thing.

  Elsewhere, another Alberto — Attorney General Alberto Gonzales — is in the mierda right up to his Old Glory lapel pin. Nobody loves him, everybody hates him, but the chances are slim of his eating worms anytime soon. Gonzales has been W's Tio Taco for far too long and thus knows too much (although it doesn't show in public), and W knows he'll never get another so pleasingly pliable peón from a marginally Democratic Senate. So unless the Senate miraculously grows a pair of huevos and impeaches this pendejo, Fredo will continue to roast like a chile on the Devil's grill. ¿Qué triste es la vida, no? And quién sabe? W may prefer that Fredo get roasted, peeled and chopped; the distraction might give him and Darth Cheney a chance to scuttle off to the DeathStar before the mierda hits the abanico.

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Scrap irony

  Check out the estimated finishing time for tomorrow's stage of le Tour. That's right — it's 4:20. Once again, satire finishes a very poor second to reality, which subsequently tests positive for exogenous irony and is unceremoniously tossed from the Vuelta a la Vida Loca.

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Man bites dog

  Nobody tested positive or got kicked out of the Tour today. Break open the champagne, and plenty of it. I'm beat. Long day in that big yellow barrel full of dope. We pushed a whole bunch of pixels over at VeloNews.com today, almost none of it the usual sweetness-and-light one expects of a sporting publication (the fraternity of sportswriters consisting largely of fanboys who get paychecks for obsessing over their sweaty activity of choice).

  I really should write something noisy and filthy about all this, but I just can't work up the requisite level of outrage. A colleague forwarded this link with the observation, "Hard to believe this was 10 years ago . . . might as well have been written yesterday." And he's right. I've been singing out on this particular topic since 1989, when I first started playing bad piano in this whorehouse, and my voice is giving out.

  Richard Pryor laid down the definitive riff on this state of mind in "Live on the Sunset Strip," talking about how difficult it was to get back to performing after nearly killing himself acting the fool: "Maybe I ain't funny no more, you know? Like, maybe I ain't angry at nothin', for real, in my heart. I'm just not mad about it. I don't get it. You motherfuckers want to kill yourselves, that's your business. Just don't do it on my porch."

  I haven't endured nearly what Rich' did, and as a consequence ain't nearly as funny. But I'm still alive, and I don't want these motherfuckers lying around dead on my porch, stinking up the neighborhood.

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Fried Chicken

  Or maybe that headline should be "A not-so-great Dane." Whatever. VeloNews.com has the breaking story here.

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In Vino', veritas?

  Aw, shit. These swine keep playing me like a drunken hillbilly's stolen fiddle, and I'm getting awfully sick of it. Rasmussen is even better at playing dodge-the-narcs than he is at climbing hills, Vino' apparently has too much blood in his blood, and we're still waiting for that third shoe in this annual Race of the Mutants — Floyd Landis — to drop. Jesus H. Christ.

  Naturally, I had a deadline to meet, and of course it fell before the news about Vino'. So I wrote a snarky column about Rasmussen when I should have been trying to unhorse a Kazakh. Here's a non-specific sample that could apply to both of them:

Speaking of things that fail to pass the smell test, helping VeloNews.com cover the 2007 Tour de France has once again set me to thinking about finding some less shameful way of earning a living. Drug pusher? No, been there, done that. Male prostitute? Too old, too ugly. White House press secretary? Too much like being a male prostitute.

  I used to tape every stage of this race. This year, I didn't even bother to have the cable plugged in. Instead, I saw to it that I got up early and went for a run or a ride every morning before I clocked in and went to work, sans kneepads and health insurance, in the big yellow barrel.

  Go and do likewise, is my advice to you. The Tour de France has all the legitimacy of the 2000 U.S. presidential election without, happily, the horrific international consequences. In the final analysis, it's only a fucking bike race. There are plenty of them. Go find one, enter it and have yourself some good, clean fun.

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Stop the presses!

  Well, the Gazette finally put Le Tour on the Sports cover today — and why? Because of the doping rumors swirling around Michael Rasmussen, of course. Keep up the good work, boys. This is why people interested in sports that don't involve sticks and balls read specialty publications, like VeloNews.

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No light at the end of that tunnel

  I understand Gen. George Armstrong Bush is scheduled for a colonscopy on Saturday. Think they'll find his head up there somewhere?

  Speaking of chickens, The Chicken, otherwise known as Michael Rasmussen, presently leader of the Tour de France, has run afoul of the sporting press. My colleagues over at VeloNews.com are leading with a story about a former amateur mountain-bike racer who alleges that Le Poulet tried to sucker him into fetching a box full of "hemoglobin-based oxygen carrier" — that's cow blood to you and me — to Italy for him back in 2002. The story quickly grew monstrous feathery legs with big yellow feet on them, getting picked up by Sam Abt over at the International Herald Tribune, The New York Times and any number of other news organizations. The Chicken must be looking forward to tomorrow's time trial, when he will go backward faster than a Young Republican who has a few too many at a frat kegger and finds himself returning to consciousness at a Marine Corps recruiting office, with pen poised over the dotted line.

  Big props to the gang in Boulder. But don't expect any chatty getting-to-know-you rides in the Rabobank team car anytime soon.

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Jeez, light a match, can't ya?

  So the temps inch up toward the century mark once again and I relocate the office to the basement, which is easily 10, maybe 15 degrees cooler than the upstairs. And what happens? Turkish lays a monstrous stink-bomb in the litter box and chases me right the hell back upstairs. I'm tellin' ya, my eyes were burning.

  Fun piece in The New York Times today about how you can be a great fat bastard and still ride a bicycle. I'm surprised nobody contacted me for my perspective, as I am the poster porker for that demographic and have a friend at The Old Gray Bitch (he rides a nifty carbon Ibis and is the furthest thing from a great fat bastard). No, they talk to Andy Hampsten, who carries not an extra ounce of adipose tissue of which I am aware. My right butt-cheek weighs more than his whole family.

  Across the pond, meanwhile, T-Mobile's travails continued as Marcus Burghardt T-boned some dipshit spectator's unleashed dog. The friggin' thing probably belongs to Jan Ullrich, who no doubt was sprawled half-conscious on a blanket at roadside with a keg of St. Pauli Girl, a bushel of pommes frites and a 55-gallon drum of mayo'. Neither dog nor cyclist sustained any serious injury, if you believe the sporting press.

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Hot enough to boil a monkey's bum

  Ninety-freakin'-four degrees. Ay, Chihuahua. It's hotter than a buggerin' meeting of the Philosophy Department of the University of Woolloomooloo. Makes a guy want to drink all his meals. Like an Irishman (or an Aussie philosophy professor) needs any encouragement to do that.

  I got out for a run this morning before the asphalt began to bubble like a licorice pizza, adding a few nodules to the old melanoma collection while sweating so much that trailside plants were dying from the salt. I should've gone for a ride, as I'm back in the big yellow barrel starting at 9 a.m. tomorrow for Stage 9 of Le Tour, but I rode so poorly on Sunday that I couldn't bear the thought of an encore. Plus my chain lube has evaporated, my tires have melted and my bikes' handlebars are drooping like a catfish's moustache.

0 7 | 1 5 | 2 0 0 7

T-Mobile hung up

  Jeez, we sure put the evil eye on T-Mobile with our extensive coverage yesterday — they lost three riders on today's stage, including team captain Michael Rogers, who ate it on a descent. They'll never talk to us again. Rum go for the Aussies, too. In addition to Rogers, m'boy Stuey O'Grady broke just about everything and Robbie McEwen got shelled by the time cut.

  Here in Bibleburg we're not falling off our bikes, but we're not eager to get on 'em either. Ninety-two it is right now, and the past couple days I've been working indoors with the shades drawn 'cause it's just too bloody hot. Plus the new neighbors have pulled down this ugly-ass old shed that used to form about half the fence dividing our yard from theirs, and their children and dog are a tad active for a guy who's frantically chasing a herd of typos across an LCD. The new fence starts going in tomorrow, but there's no relief from the heat in sight — looks like 90-something all week. Maybe I'll slip down to Dogtooth Coffee and enjoy their air conditioning.

0 7 | 1 4 | 2 0 0 7

Bastille Day

  The Froggies took another hiding from the Heinies on their national holiday as Linus Gerdemann (T-Mobile) took stage 7, the maillot jaune and the white jersey as best young rider. Me, I filled in as chief VeloNews.com web guy in Charles Pelkey's absence and took my own vicious beating. Good God, I don't know how the man does it, day in and day out. I edited 13 stories and wrote one; sized and posted 24 photos; and hand-coded a shitload of results that make our conversion tool go boy-yoy-yoinnnngggg. All before 2 p.m., mind you. Now I'm trying to jump-start my dead ass with a Clif Shot and a cup of Joe so I can go out for a ride before the afternoon thunder-boomers strike. Only two more weeks to go.

0 7 | 1 3 | 2 0 0 7

Friday the 13th

  It being Friday the 13th, I had to deal with Jason today — but happily it was Jason Sumner over at VeloNews.com, and he wasn't wearing a hockey mask and brandishing various razor-sharp implements, unless you count his wit.

  The big Belgian beefcake Tom Boonen finally got a stage win today, which was timely, as tomorrow Le Tour heads for the Alps and the big boys will yield center stage to the skinny runts. Astana's Alexandre Vinokourov and Andréas Klöden will have a rough day of it, as between them they sport more bandages than a platoon of Invisible Men with leprosy. Plus it's Bastille Day, and the Frogs will be a-hoppin'.

  Elsewhere, Gen. George Armstrong Bush is still staggering around at Little Big Surge with arrows sticking out of his ass and claiming the natives are friendly. Yes, and the sun sets in the East, there's a pot of gold at the end of every rainbow, and not every Republican elected official is a hypocritical troll. Just most of 'em.

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And now, in health news . . .

  The good news is, all the self-absorbed yuppie swine who insist on wearing their iPods everywhere like cheap white plastic jewelry will soon be small heaps of smoking ash, courtesy of The Great Zot. The bad news is, if you go outside to exercise, even without your iPod, you should refrain from breathing. Expect an even more virulent infestation of the iPod People at the local health club as a consequence. Maybe we can chain these bliss-ninnies to their exercycles and treadmills, retrofitted with dynamo generators, hook the whole shebang up to giant storage batteries and generate a little electricity, which would allow us to shut down a few coal-burning power plants, take down the old carbon footprint a size or two. That's my happy thought for today. Thanks and a tip of the Mad Dog Media tinfoil beanie to Craig Maxwell for the iLectricity link.

  Meanwhile, back at Le Tour, seems that everybody was falling off his bike today. "Too much chablis in the water bottles," theorizes a colleague. Me, I'm into the rosé lately (a clink of the glass to Avery for nudging us off in that direction). Anyway, Astana was left sucking the wet end of the mop after Andreas Klöden and Alexandre Vinokourov both hit the deck; Klöden may have collected a busted tailbone and thus an early exit from this year's race.

  I did not fall off my bike today. Indeed, I set a new world record for the Sinton Trail individual time trial. Clipped 30 seconds off the old mark. Thousands cheer. Endorsement contracts await. Must be the rosé.

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Is this a Congress or an oil painting?

  'Cause I think I've seen more life from an oil painting, even if it was of Elvis, on velvet, and being sold at roadside south of a suburban K-mart by a person of questionable immigration status. "Executive privilege" my large, Irish ass. If these yahoos can't remember diddley or won't talk about it, let's clap the sonsabitches in irons until their memories and mouths regain their functioning capacities. This isn't about who's gonna be the next congressman, senator or president — it's about the underpinnings of the Republic, which this administration has been chopping away at since day one. Bring impeachment proceeds against Fredo Gonzales, Darth Cheney and Gen. George Armstrong Bush, and do it now. Christ on a crutch. These bozos are jerking us off so regularly, none of us will have to get laid for the next 10 years.

0 7 | 1 0 | 2 0 0 7


  Hey, lookit me, I'm, famous! Jef Mallett's velo-janitor Frazz is wearing a Mad Dog Media jersey in today's installment of the newspaper comic strip. I had the good fortune to meet Jef a while back, and I can report with authority that he is a better cartoonist, cyclist and person than I am, although none of those bars is exactly a high jump. Plus he likes to drink beer. If I have an edge on him anywhere, that's probably it, thanks to a giant spongelike Gaelic liver. Thanks and a tip of the MDM cycling cap to Michael O'Schenk of Eon Studios, who both tipped me to the 'toon and designed that stylish jersey.

  And now the bad news for those of us who love a good laugh: Editorial cartoonist Doug Marlette, creator of the comic strip "Kudzu," was killed in an auto accident this morning. Marlette won the Pulitzer in 1988 for his editorial cartooning at The Charlotte Observer and The Atlanta Constitution, which he had joined the year before, and credited his biting approach in part to "a grandmother bayoneted by a guardsman during a mill strike in the Carolinas. There are some rebellious genes floating around in me." He was all of 57 years old.

0 7 | 0 9 | 2 0 0 7

Ascent of Man

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Sign of The Times

  The New York Times puts a belated arrow into Gen. George Armstrong Bush's 10-ring:

President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney have used demagoguery and fear to quell Americans' demands for an end to this war. They say withdrawing will create bloodshed and chaos and encourage terrorists. Actually, all of that has already happened — the result of this unnecessary invasion and the incompetent management of this war.

This country faces a choice. We can go on allowing Mr. Bush to drag out this war without end or purpose. Or we can insist that American troops are withdrawn as quickly and safely as we can manage — with as much effort as possible to stop the chaos from spreading.

  Meanwhile, that three-week race around Frogland is in full swing, albeit in Britain, and as a consequence I have reopened the fabled Mad Dog Media Communications Empire outdoor office (above), complete with patio umbrella, frosty beverage and venerable G3 PowerBook 500. If a guy's got to spend a lovely summer morning pushing pixels around someone else's web site for fun and profit, he might as well be outdoors.

  Europe being some eight hours ahead of us, I find myself clocking in around 9 a.m. like a guy with a real job instead of a ne'er-do-well exemplar of the permanent underclass. This, in a word, sucks. My usual M.O. is to arise at a civilized hour; inhale some java and a bite of breakfast; do a bit of work from around 8 to 10; slip out for a ride or a run; have a light lunch; do a skosh more work in the afternoon or run some errands; fry up some fellow Earth creature for dinner; and then start pulling corks until my head caves in. But the Tour flushes that leisurely schedule right down the loo.

  Today I clocked in around 8 and didn't get that ride in until after 1 p.m., when it was hotter than a two-dollar shotgun and a stiff wind was blowing what looked like a promising rainstorm out of town and all the pollen in my ZIP code right up my snout. So I dicked around in undistinguished fashion on a 'cross bike for 90 minutes or thereabouts and headed home to find out one of our incoming stories had fallen victim to gremlins en route from London to Colorado. Just seven or eight characters, which spelled no word with which I am familiar, survived the flight across the Atlantic. O, the pain.

  This doesn't sound like a lot of work to anyone shoveling poo in the cube farm, I know. But we're still talking about editing seven or eight stories and a dozen photos, which is a full shift on many a newspaper copy desk. At least I can serve my time on the back deck with KRCC-FM streaming on the laptop and a yard full of cats chasing butterflies.

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Feeling lucky, punk?

  It's 7/7/7, said to be the luckiest day of the century, if you believe The San Francisco Chronicle, whose Julian Guthrie writes thusly:

As numbers go, seven is a big one. There are seven days in a week, seven notes on a musical scale, seven colors of the rainbow, seven wonders of the world and seven deadly sins. Catholics celebrate seven sacraments and seven virtues. Buddha was said to have walked seven steps at birth. And in Islamic tradition, seven symbolizes infinity.

  The Tour de France will be hoping for a little luck as it gets rolling today in London. Last year's winner, Floyd Landis, is stateside, waiting to learn whether he'll be taking the next two years off, and a number of other big names thought to have taken that quick shortcut to fitness through the pharmacy will not be rolling out of the start house for the 7.9km prologue.

  But the day began with snake eyes for Levi Leipheimer — the French sports mag L'Equipe did not pick him as one of this year's contenders for the overall, according to VeloNews European correspondent Andrew Hood. And Agence France Presse reports that Le Tour itself was snubbed by the German daily Berliner Zeitung, which announced that it will not cover the race this year, preferring to focus instead on "the fundamental problems of the sport: the Tour, doping and organized crime." Ain't nothin' but a party.

  Late update: The numerology didn't work for m'boy Stuart O'Grady, who overcooked a corner and stacked it. But his teammate Fabian Cancellara kept the rubber side down and smoked it. The good news is, nobody's tested positive for dope yet.

0 7 | 0 6 | 2 0 0 7

French fried

  That little ol' race around France starts tomorrow, but I can't seem to work up any enthusiasm for it. I'll pay close attention, because I'm paid to, but it feels like the bad old days, when I earned my living editing stories about school boards, city councils and petty crime. I didn't even bother having cable installed so I could watch the Phil and Paul show on Versus. Frankly, I'd rather be riding my bike.

  The trick, I suppose, is to treat this gig like any other. You don't have to love garbage to be a garbageman. It's just a way to put food on the table and clothes on your back. But damn it, I did love this garbage once.

0 7 | 0 4 | 2 0 0 7

Forth on the Fourth

  Happy Fourth of July to you and yours. Take a minute between barbecues and bike rides to remember what a great country this used to be, and can be again, if we remember that we, the people, are supposed to be in charge, and start acting accordingly.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just Powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new guards for their future security. . . .

  Meanwhile, for your holiday reading pleasure, here's a Los Angeles Times piece on what the Busheviks thought about tough sentencing for obstruction pre-Scooter Libby (Hint: They were fer it afore they were agin it). There's more on this sordid topic here, courtesy of The Washington Monthly.

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Reign of error

  Any lingering delusions you may have had about one person being as good as another in this country should have been swept away by yesterday's proclamation that Scooter Libby would do no jail time after being convicted of perjury and obstruction of justice in the CIA leak case. Steve Benen at The Washington Monthly gets it exactly right here:

I don't doubt that conservatives will quickly argue that the nation, which strongly opposed Bush coming to Libby's rescue, just "get over it." And perhaps, in time, this will just be another bullet point on a long list of Bush's disgraces.

But some offenses are impossible to forgive. Manipulating the rule of law and the U.S. system of justice to serve personal and political ends is one of them. Indeed, in a reasonable political world, it's an impeachable offense.

  Nothing is reasonable in BushWorld, though. And with the Donks focused on 2008, don't expect our invertebrate Congress to suddenly grow a backbone and start walking the walk.

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Robert Pigeon, R.I.P.

  My father-in-law, Robert Pigeon, went west just past noon today in Knoxville, Tennessee, after some nine months struggling with cancer. Bob loved to travel, hike and garden — he puttered around on our properties in Westcliffe and Colorado Springs when he wasn't tinkering with his own in Arizona or Tennessee — and the disease robbed him of those joys in his final spring, which he spent in hospice. Condolences to his wife, Peggy, and her family, who spent so much time with him as he slipped away; to his ex-wife, Mary, and their daughters Beth, Heather and Shannon; to the grandchildren, J.C. and Katie; and to the rest of their extended family.

To own a bit of ground, to scratch it with a hoe, to plant seeds, and watch the renewal of life — this is the commonest delight of the race, the most satisfactory thing a man can do. — Charles Dudley Warner, My Summer in a Garden

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Bike Month is in the books

  And the numbers are as follows: I rode a total of 545.1 miles during the month, 134.15 of which were my version of "commuting" — rides to the grocery, the grog seller, the bakery and the bike shop. Of the commuting miles, 85.2 were logged on the Green Machine, the Bianchi Castro Valley, including a ponderous trip to the King Soopers and back for a hundred smacks worth of grub stuffed into two panniers and a rack trunk. The remainder were on the Soma Double Cross for light, messenger-bag duty, like fetching bottles of sidewalk-softener, loaves of bread and holy-shit-missing-ingredient trips to the neighborhood Safeway.

  As I mentioned earlier in this mini-saga, it was surprising how short most of my working trips were — not a single one of 'em topped 10 miles. Another stunner is how little gasoline I didn't consume — less than five gallons, worth about $15 at today's prices. The biggest blow was discovering what a wanker I've become. I quit keeping a training log some years back, even pulled the computers off all my bikes at one point 'cause I was sick of tracking mileage, average speed, heart rate, perceived exertion and so on. But I wanted data for this little experiment, and holy shit, are we talking about some teensy little numbers here or what? No wonder fat people shun mirrors like Dracula. Nothing to see here, move along, move along.

  The good news is, I reclaimed a notch on my belt. That's something, right? Right?

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