"I just ordered Tyler Hamilton's new book on Kindle. It's going to automatically download as soon as it's released in 28 minutes."
Now, some of you may realize that yesterday was the first COMO Cyclocross race of the season. And for me - this was the first competitive type of bikey thing I've attempted since 'jacking up my shoulder real good' in July and also obliterating a bone in my little toe about 3 weeks ago while chasing the COMO CYCO dog through the living room. (Who would have guessed that the material properties of my pinky toe bone were no match for the cheap pine that my coffee table leg is constructed of?). The evidence:
So, about the time Pickle was texting me about Tyler's new book, I was soaking in the tub, nursing my bruised ego, my swollen pinky toe, and my deviated collar bone, which these days protrudes so prominently under my skin that it looks like my shoulder is trying to conceal an erection. I responded to Pickle nonetheless:
"Dude - do NOT stay up all night reading that thing!"
Pickle replied, "Can't. Too effing tired from cross. Gonna crash any second!"
As if we needed more reasons to ride bikes, or race cross, here was suddenly another one staring at me in the face....to escape the bullshit of the real world, if only for a brief time. When you are talentless, weak and have a center of gravity that is way, way, way too fucking high to be taking a downhill off-camber right angle turn over tree roots at full speed, you tend to suddenly not give a shit if Lance Armstrong doped, or what Tyler Hamilton has to say, or if you accidentally left the oven on....you just don't want to go over the handlebars one more time and make the tent that your shoulder is pitching obscenely reveal its inner bone by finally poking on through the skin.
However, as all things pass with time, so too does the mind-emptying bliss that one can only feel through sheer physical exertion, and slowly we start to re-occupy our brains once again with the news of the day. Such was the case for me this morning when I tried to take a peek at what was going on in the Vuelta. I had heard a rumor that today would be the ultimate showdown between Joachim Rodriguez and Alberto Contador (who were sitting in 1st and 2nd on GC) - and I was eager to catch a little of the action of the end of today's stage. Logging on to Cyclingfans.com, this is the Eurosport feed I got.
Now, you may not have noticed, but if you look very closely, you will see, coincident with an interview of Alberto Contador, that there is a very subtle commercial for what appear to be a group of Asian women who want boyfriends. This is what is known as subliminal advertising, and has proven to be very effective in gently convincing your brain that you desire something by showing mere hints and glimpses of the subject matter. Regardless, I am generally happy to see Bertie do so well today and to be back in the peloton after having served his doping suspension. This year's Vuelta is proving to be quite possibly the most exciting of all the grand tours this year. Who can be sure, really, if he is juicing now - but regardless of his activities, I will say that that the Asian ladies that I'm being warned "will pursue" me on Eurosport definitely appear to have been on some serious performance enhancing programs.
And speaking of performance enhancers, there is more good news in the Lance Armstrong camp today. First and foremost, a couple of very prominent athletes are speaking out in his defense. The first is former professional baseball player Jose Canseco. You may remember Jose as not only an accomplished designated hitter, but also a professional athlete who admitted to using performance enhancing drugs who wrote a book about it called: Juiced: Wild Times, Rampant 'Roids, Smash Hits and How Baseball Got Big. Well in a recent article, he comments on Lance,
"Just leave the guy alone and let him be the best there ever was or will be.....Liquor and tobacco will kill you, and of course they're legal. But steroids, growth hormones, and enhancement chemicals that have the potential to help you live better and longer [are] illegal just like cocaine and heroin. That needs to be changed soon if we want to continue to push the human body to its physical limits."
Well said, Jose. Oh yeah, did I mention Canseco wants to be a Vampire as well?
"One thing I never understood is why anyone wouldn’t want to be bitten by a vampire. It’s like, what the fuck? Are you kidding me? I’d become a vampire in a heartbeat. They’re immortal, they can fly, and they can time-travel… what’s so bad about wanting to become one? What’s the worst thing that can happen? You have to eat a few people now and then? "
Ever hear of Hep B, Jose? And also - hold the phone for one cotton-picking minute! Vampires can time travel? Since when? And who said anything about them eating people? I don't know, man.....the time travel shit could be cool - but the eating people? Anyway - as if having Conseco's endorsement isn't enough, Lance also got the support of Barry Bonds. The former pro-slugger, who happens to have been recently found guilty of felony obstruction of justice for lying during an investigation into his own steroid use said this of Armstrong just yesterday,
"I think if it wasn't for him, U.S. cycling wouldn't even be here. He was the greatest cyclist of all time."
I couldn't agree more with Bonds on this issue. Marshall "Major" Taylor? Never heard of him. Andy Hamptsen? Chump. Greg LeMond? Overrated. Davis Phinney? Isn't he the father of somebody famous?
Who the hell is that? Not Lance - that's who.
Well Jose and Barry aren't alone, apparently. Word in today is that 23 Californian state senators have petitioned the two U.S. Senators from California to request a formal review of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency. The petition never mentions Armstrong, but does say,
"The United States was founded under the fundamental premise that everyone has the due process right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. To that end, we respectfully request that you call upon the Office of National Drug Control Policy and the appropriate oversight committees of the United States Congress to develop appropriate constitutional protections and conduct a comprehensive review of USADA's operations and finances, with special attention to USADA's unilateral changes in the rules for dealing with athletes who have never failed a drug test."
What a coincidence! And how timely is it that these Californian senators decided to look into the USADA now of all times. I know what you are thinking....sure Judge Sam Sparks already said that USADA was within its rights to charge Armstrong and is not acting "unconstitutional." And absolutely, Lance waived his right to an arbitration hearing. And yes, Lance agreed, just like everyone in the US who gets their license through USA Cycling, to adhere to the rules of the USADA. But come on....we can bend the rules just a little bit for him - can't we?
I mean - Jose and Barry said he's cool - so he gets a pass right? Just think of the vampires. The world needs its blood suckers to live in perpetuity, right?
Man - how many days until the next cross race? I need to seriously forget about this shit.