Sunday, November 26, 2006

Aaron Olson Jersey Raffle

Details on my website here. Suffice it to say that all proceeds from the raffle, less PayPal transfer fees and the cost of the EZ Draw Random Number Prize Draw software will be donated to the Florida Immigrant Advocacy Center.

Photo (c), used with permission.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Secrets of the Peloton Interview

I recently had the pleasure of giving an exclusive interview to Secrets of the Peloton, home of Anthony Pope's Plastic Peloton People. I've been a fan of Anthony's wit and humor since I first noticed his work appearing in Pro Cycling Magazine and I appreciate having had the chance to speak with him.

On another note, I rode my bike today for the second time in four months. At first I thought that I was in even worse shape than I'd imagined, because my back and shoulders were so unfomfortable, but then I realized that Mike Fraysse had accidentally replaced my 12cm stem with a 13cm model after he'd loaned out my old Fuji while I was in Italy. Since Simone Biasci wanted 1800 euros for my 2006 Whistle team bike, a price I couldn't - and wouldn't pay - the only option after I came back across the pond was a 2 year-old Fuji team issue frame with Campag (and no Bora wheels). Thank god I didn't sell this Fuji during my liquidation sale.

I've been going to the gym regularly and getting back into good form, despite having two dinners on Thursday! Thanksgiving was nice, my brother David was in town with his girlfriend Jenn for a few days and we had some rare time together, and I also reconnected with the Bruns family in Mt. Lebanon. Dave is a great guy and I'm so proud of everything that he's achieved in his life, especially in light of all the grief he caught from me growing up. Ask him about playing Nerf football punt return in the backyard as kids...

Finally, I booked tickets to Mexico and points beyond. I'm leaving on December 1 and will be incommunicado for two weeks or so. Hopefully I won't turn up on CNN and can find some concrete answers to Yuliet's situation.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

The Phoenix


Though it may not seem so when you first encounter a serious blow, you can never lose two of the most important assets you have. These are the power of your mind and your freedom to use it. Once you have turned them to understanding what laid you low, you can begin forming new plans. You may not have the money you once had; you may lack the allies you had cultivated. But you still have the benefit of a universe that eventually rewards honest effort, as well as gaining the experience of mistakes you will never make again. Remember, no matter where you are now, whatever you can conceive and believe, you can achieve. Protect the most important thing you have.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006



Some setbacks are so severe that to give in to them means losing the whole ball game. When he assumed command of the Korean War, Gen. Matthew Ridgeway found his forces pushed far to the south, hard pressed by the invaders. Only a determined decision to hold the lines allowed the American forces to keep from being swept into the sea and to eventually regain all the territory they had lost. When a defeat strikes, you may not have the time to withdraw and contemplate your mistakes without risking further setbacks. Don’t succumb to paralysis. It is important to know at that moment what it is you truly desire and to act to preserve your resources and your hope. If you crumble utterly, you will take a blow to your self-esteem that will be hard to repair. Instead, stick to your principles, and you will know, at the very least, that you have protected the most important thing you have.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Sunset in Cuba

Santiago de Cuba, February 2005

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Chinese Chop Sticks and Champion System

My friend David Sommerville is a nice guy. He's a funny guy, too, and he has a great sense of dry humor. When we raced the Tour of the South China Sea together in January, he made photographs of examples of the misuse of English on public signage. The resulting collection will one day be featured in the Getty, I know it. In the meantime, Dave added the above photo of funny Chinese chopsticks to his website - check it out.

Two of my favorite signs from that trip are this one:

and this one:

Too funny. Anyway, I'm a bit melancholy to not be joining the boys in Asia this winter, though I'm sure that when Yuliet and I are finally reunited, December or January in USA won't seem so cold afterall. Still, I'll miss the chance to hang with Simon (Little Bear), Derek, Daniel (or whomever the Asian riders are this year), Louis and Scott, DS, JB and everyone else.

I have to say that my time with the Champion System team was the most harmonious racing experience of my life. Granted, it helped that we rode well, but we rode well and we had fun - because everyone involved with the program was nice, pleaseant and well-intentioned (even me!). I've got to make sure to write about that in my advice diary for you're united of purpose, success is all but guaranteed, and the trip is harmonious. Thanks Champion System, for a beautiful moment.

Friday, November 17, 2006

As the Toto Turns

This stuff is too funny. Even in dark, dark moments, it is good to laugh. Check out noir-Virenque! It's all at

Thursday, November 16, 2006


Without a plan for your life, it is easier to follow the course of least resistance, to go with the flow, to drift with the current with no particular destination in mind. Having a definite plan for your life greatly simplifies the process of making hundreds of daily decisions that affect your ultimate success. When you know where you want to go, you can quickly decide if your actions are moving you toward your goal or away from it. Without definite, precise goals and a plan for their achievement, each decision must be considered in a vacuum. Definiteness of purpose provides context and allows you to relate specific actions to your overall plan.

I subscribe to the Napoleon Hill Foundation’s “Thought of the Day,” and above is today’s meditation. Could there be a more appropriate topic for my current situation? I think not. Through the end of July, when I was training and racing full-time, my plan was distilled down to the hour, always with the intent of bringing me to peak physical condition in time for a particular event. I had every tool and resource at my disposal to ensure that I was always moving towards my goal of being fit and racing well.

Now I’m in a very different contextual situation - I am no longer racing my bike or training full-time (will I return to that life? I don’t know) - but the fundamental need for a plan remains. This is an incredibly frustrating moment, because I am a man of action, someone who thrives in an environment that is fast-paced, dynamic and yet still constrained or contained within a broad matrix of short-term, medium-term and long-term goals. Right now, however, I find it almost impossible to do anything other than short-term planning because of the utter lack of control Yuliet and I seem to have over our the timeline for our reunification. And yet at the same time I need to plan and take action to create an environment that will be fertile for building our life once we are together again. Is this a paradox? I don’t know, but it certainly feels like I’m “stuck.”

Why did I stop racing full-time when I was at the zenith of my career, racing for an Italian team in Tuscany? There are several reasons, but in large part I pulled the pin because my wife escaped from Cuba and I wanted to create as quickly as possible a stable situation for us so that we wouldn’t be scrambling for support upon her arrival in the USA. We needed a place to live, money in the bank and a steady source of income so that we could establish ourselves after a period of true upheaval. And yet at the same time, my inner self was in a state of turmoil and complete chaos.


Because I didn’t have a well-developed plan for my life after cycling that I could put into effect at a moment’s notice. I didn’t even have an emergency plan to get me through a one or two month transition period in case I was injured or some unforeseen event knocked me off-course. I intend to write a comprehensive diary entry for that will probably be my last of the 2006 season. In it, I will examine this theme in greater detail with the intent of offering pertinent advice and guidance to the new generation of riders who are contemplating going “full-time” for cycling. It is a beautiful sport, and worthy of the commitment and dedication that are necessary components of success in it. But there is often a disconnect between the reality of “the bike” and what is “real life.” And that’s what I want to help other riders avoid, or overcome.

I’m no self-help guru or enlightened wise-man. I am in the trenches every day, however, and I am quick with a pen, so maybe I can do some good and work through my own demons in the process. The phoenix is my new inspiration.

All is not chaos or bleak, however. Yuliet and I have more contact, I'm benefitting from my work with futureDESIGNstudio, and I recently renewed a relationship with a long-lost friend. This last item is significant, as this person was very important to me and I welcome the chance to have him back in my life. Good friends are hard to find.

"Those truly linked don't need correspondence, When they meet again after many years apart, Their friendship is as true as ever." - Deng Ming-Dao

Wednesday, November 15, 2006


Taken from the original meaning, in colloquial speech, "limbo" is any status where a person or project is held up, and nothing can be done until another action happens.

FYI: I'm still alive, Yuliet is still alive, she and I are not reunited, I have not traveled to Cuba and we are definitely in limbo, waiting for action by others before we can move forward.

Hopefully in the next 36 hours Yuliet and I will have a better idea of what the current dynamic is within the Cuban government, and we can take that information to the press and to the US government in hopes of accelerating this process and finally being reunited. As I've said one million times before (but it never seems like enough), thanks to each and every single one of you who has called, emailed, inquired through friends or commented independently about what Yuliet and I are suffering through.

On the internet, I especially appreciate the unwavering support of the CB and KC, and Val. Between them they have two excellent blogs that approach coverage of Cuban affairs from very different perspectives and in very different styles. Alas, I'm not a partisan, and I could never choose between them if forced to do so, because for me they've all been the best of friends.

My brother David sent me a link yesterday from the Wall Street Journal concerning the Cuban military's involvement in economic development on the island. KC and CB comment on it here while Babalu writes it up here. Again, I just want to recognize both of these blogs as being on my daily reading list, and I am hugely indebted to all of the men and women who write about the reality of Cuba in 2006.

As I'm sure you can imagine, with a family member basically being held hostage by the Castro regime, and her status subject to the vagaries of the political climate in, and the relations between, Cuba and the USA, I tread far more lightly than I otherwise would be inclined to do.

Friday, November 10, 2006

La Ostia

Jordi Riera Valls, ex-Kelme pro; Eneas Freyre, current US-pro get silly at the 2004 Vuelta a Cuba. We are in the hallway of our floor in the Hotel Santa Clara, in Santa Clara, Cuba. This was a great trip. I wrote about it for here. Here is a link to a photo of Eneas. And one of Jordi.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Life Koan

I have a new Life Koan

What Would Your Career and Life Look Like If You Knew You Could Not Fail?

Wednesday, November 08, 2006


Most of us have two basic questions about others when we enter into a relationship. They are: Can I trust you? And Do you really care about me? Depending upon our previous success in partnerships with others-personal or business-the answers may be slow in coming. Confidence in another is often developed gradually as those involved in the relationship commit themselves to each other’s success and happiness. Although trust and confidence are the basic underpinnings of all successful relationships, they are fragile. A relationship that has endured for months or even years can be irreparably damaged by a few unkind words or a single thoughtless act. Don’t allow yourself to act in haste or to lose control of your emotions in important relationships.

This positive message is brought to you by the Napoleon Hill Foundation. Visit them at

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Where is Yuliet?

This is Where Yuliet Is:

Reparto Mulgoba

I want to go there on Friday and find her.
Phone Message from Yuliet.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

It Seems Like a Such a Long Time Ago...

It Seems Like a Such a Long Time Ago...

GF Selle Italia, May 2006, Cesenatico, Italia. 3-man break, including my bro' Matteo Cappe (in Bianchi kit). It's ironic that in the race in which they BEST picture of me ever was taken, I felt my worst. But we look good, don't we? Yes, those experiences in Italy were worth everything. Well, that's not entirely true. They were not worth the decision to stay in Italy and continue racing instead of flying to Russia to resuce my wife when we had the opportunity. But in the spirit of:

"The Past is Gone and it doesn't matter any more or any longer. And what could have been is what never was and what should have been is what wasn't and now you let that go and focus into the future..."

Damn, we looked good.

DTJ Taborville

For those of you who don't know what DTJ is, I'd like to take a moment to give you a brief explanation.

The initials DTJ stand for "Delnicke Telocvicne Jednoty" or "Workers' Gymnastic Union". DTJ as an organization is a part of the great Labor Movement as the translation implies. It is an International organization, whose program consists of training the youth of the world to enable it to take part in the great movement for a better and more just organization of human society.

A Little History

The DTJ organization was formed by a group of tailors in Prague, 1897. The group was sympathetic towards the Social Democratic movement of that period. Gym work was started immediately, classes being held wherever room could be found, mostly at the Inns.

The first DTJ group to be formed in America was founded in Cleveland, Ohio by members of the Lassalle Senior Club in 1909. Soon after another group was organized in Chicago, Illinois. An organization affiliated with the DTJ is the American Sokol of New York. Although the D.A.S. has a sick and death benefit provision in its program, there is possibility that it will come in closer contact with the DTJ of the future.

-DTJ Taborville website. (Beware Czech music!)
Photo and a Cuban Saying

"El que madruga...
encuentra todo cerrado"

Ciao, Grande!

Friday, November 03, 2006

2002 UCI Pan Am Masters Championships - Havana, CUBA

This is what they consider a "blast from the past." Comments below, please.


Juan Torres, Juan Pablo Dotti, Joe Papp (l-r) in Montecatini Terme, Italia 2006


Job pressures are overwhelming.
Responsibilities are heavy.
When I close my eyes,
The demands of others are all I see.

...If you are fighting on the battlefield, or fighting in the office, or fighting in your home, or fighting in your mind, theire is no such thing as being with Tao. If you are involved in this type of life, then you must content yourself to face your problems bravely - until you can do nothing other than renounce it...the best you can do is to remember that our stress is not absolute reality.

-Deng Ming-Dao
Yuliet - Candid - Santa María del Mar

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Y Que Me Pasa - Mickey Taveras

Ay amor
mirándote a los ojos sé
que eres diferente y sé
que te pareces mucho a lo que yo sueño.

Ay amor, lo que te digo es verdad
yo hablo por hablar
te pareces mucho a lo que yo sueño.

Esa risa que me aloca
tu mirada encantadora
y tu forma de ser me pone a pensar
mucho más en tí.

Y que me pasa
que últimamente pienso mucho en tí

Y que me pasa que a mis amigos les hablo de tí
que mis oidos buscan tus palabras
y en las mañanas cuando tengo frío
me acuerdo de tí.

Y que me pasa
que últimamente pienso mucho en tí

Y que me pasa que a mis amigos les hablo de tí
Y de pensar en tí yo me sonrío
Y en las mañanas cuando tengo frío
me acuerdo de tí.

Me acuerdo de tí,
Me acuerdo de tí...

Yo pienso que son tan inútiles las noches que te di.
Te marchas ¿y qué?
No pienso discutírtelo. Lo sabes y lo sé.
Al menos, quédate sólo esta noche.
Prometo no tocarte, estás segura.
Hay veces que me voy sintiendo solo porque conozco esa sonrisa tan definitiva.
Tu sonrisa que a mí mismo me abrió tu paraíso.
Se dice que por cada hombre, hay una como tú.
Pero mi sitio lo ocuparás con alguno igual que yo o mejor (lo dudo).
Por qué esta vez agachas la mirada.
Me pides que sigamos siendo amigos.
¿Amigos para qué? ¡Maldita sea!
A un amigo lo perdono, pero a ti te amo.
Pueden parecer banales mis instintos naturales.
Hay una cosa que yo no te he dicho aún que mis problemas ¿sabes qué?, se llaman TÚ.
Sólo por eso tú me ves hacerme el duro, para sentime un porquito más seguro.
Y si no quieres ni devir en qué he fallado recuerda que también a ti también te he perdonado.
En cambio, tú dices lo siento, no te quiero, y te me vas con esa historia entre tus dedos.
Me basta ver.
Busca un excusa y luego, márchate, porque de mí no debieras preocuparte.
No debes provocarme...
Que yo te escribiré un par de canciones, tratando de ocultar mis emociones, trantando pero poco, en las palabras
te hablaré de la sonrisa tan definitiva, tu sonrisa que a mí mismo
me abrió tu paraíso...
Hay una cosa que yo no te he dicho aún que mis problemas ¿sabes qué?, se llaman TÚ.
Sólo por eso tú me ves hacerme el duro, para sentime un porquito más seguro.
Y si no quieres ni devir en qué he fallado recuerda que también a ti también te he perdonado.
En cambio, tú dices lo siento, no te quiero, y te me vas con esa historia entre tus dedos.
A New Iron Curtain

Forget no-fly lists. If Uncle Sam gets its way, beginning on Jan. 14, 2007, we'll all be on no-fly lists, unless the government gives us permission to leave-or re-enter-the United States. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (HSA) has proposed that all airlines, cruise lines-even fishing boats-be required to obtain clearance for each passenger they propose taking into or out of the United States.

It doesn't matter if you have a U.S. passport-a travel document that now, absent a court order to the contrary, gives you a virtually unqualified right to enter or leave the United States, any time you want. When the DHS system comes into effect next January, if the agency says no to a clearance request, or doesn't answer the request at all, you won't be permitted to enter-or leave-the United States.

Consider what might happen if you're a U.S. passport holder on assignment in a country like Saudi Arabia. Your visa is about to expire, so you board your flight back to the United States. But wait! You can't get on, because you don't have permission from the HSA. Saudi immigration officials are on hand to escort you to a squalid detention center, where you and others who are now effectively stateless persons are detained, potentially indefinitely, until their immigration status is sorted out.

Why might the HSA deny you permission to leave-or enter-the United States? No one knows, because the entire clearance procedure would be an administrative determination made secretly, with no right of appeal. Naturally, the decision would be made without a warrant, without probable cause and without even any particular degree of suspicion. Basically, if the HSA decides it doesn't like you, you're a prisoner-either outside, or inside, the United States, whether or not you hold a U.S. passport.

The U.S. Supreme Court has long recognized there is a constitutional right to travel internationally. Indeed, it has declared that the right to travel is "a virtually unconditional personal right." The United States has also signed treaties guaranteeing freedom of travel. So if these regulations do go into effect, you can expect a lengthy court battle, both nationally and internationally.

Think this can't happen? Think againit's ALREADY happening. Earlier this year, HSA forbade airlines from transporting an 18-year-old native-born U.S. citizen, back to the United States. The prohibition lasted nearly six months until it was finally lifted a few weeks ago.
Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union are two countries in recent history that didn't allow their citizens to travel abroad without permission. If these regulations go into effect, you can add the United States to this list.

For more information on this proposed regulation, see

-by Mark Nestmann, Wealth Preservation & Tax Consultant and President of The Nestmann Group

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Sports agent accused of paying for smuggling of Cuban players into Florida

Sports agent accused of paying for smuggling of Cuban players into Florida

By Vanessa Blum
South Florida Sun-Sentinel

A California sports agent known for representing Cuban baseball players paid to have five prospects from Cuba smuggled to the United States in 2004, federal prosecutors said Tuesday.Gustavo "Gus" Dominguez, of Chatsworth, is accused in a 52-count indictment of financing fast-boat trips across the Florida Straits so he could profit from representing the players.

The Cubans were apprehended on their first attempt to reach the United States. In August 2004, they made it to Florida and were driven to California, where Dominguez paid for their apartment, meals and clothing, prosecutors said.

Read the full story here.