Monday, June 29, 2009


WTF? I just asked about the origin of the item. Why bother? Ummm, because I want to buy the item if it's a good deal, and you, presumably, want to sell it?


Before I started cycling, I played soccer, and attempted to play baseball (I was a lousy ball player!). I loved going to Pirates' games though, and also was an avid baseball card collector and autograph hunter!

I still enjoy an occasional night out at the ballpark; I'm riding my bike again, and my interest in autographs has returned. Rather than those of first basemen, however, I'm now taking an interest in signatures of WW2 fighter aces - specifically German Luftwaffe fliers! I've made a couple of very modest acquisitions, and have learned an extraordinary amount from one dealer in particular.

I'd like to heartily endorse AUTORAZZI91, whose Ebay store is full not just of pilots' signatures, but those of a whole host of famous and historical figures, including John McCain, Bill Clinton, Kevin Costner and even the driver of Field Marshall Erwin Rommel!

Stop by his shop, and browse an amazing collection. And why deal with this particular vendor? Well, besides his delivering a quality product, he has a great mentality. He himself told me:

"...The other reason that I like to offer signatures online is that I feel that autographs from veterans will permanently preserve the individual legacies of each of these extraordinary men. As the autographs that I have sold to customers from all over the world are passed down from generation to generation I know it will carry on the individual legacies of these remarkable veterans with them..."

Bravo! And to B.S.: I do think this is a controllable hobby, and the bike will remain my number one distraction from the serious side of life.

Vinokourov Reprised, as an Attractive Canadian

Minus the transfusions and Actovegin, of course...


Not Vino, but look at that back - flat as a board!

And the bike (Vino's, not the Canuk's):



Sunday, June 28, 2009

Friday, June 26, 2009

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Custom Decals for Your Carbon Bike

Let's say I'm facilitating the sale of a $2,500 carbon frame to you for only $280 + shipping and accessories (like a fork). Let's say that you're taking two, because the price is so reasonable - one you'll leave "black" but the other you want to dress-up. What to do? Well, you can troll EBay for decal sets, and there are some good ones - first see Greg in Oceania (he has some AMAZING reproductions) - or have your own custom decals created for you. This US-company seems to have done some work for L.A. and The Great Trek Bike Making Company.

Fake Twitter Followers

Can someone explain to me please what the deal is with the spam-like followers who occasionally decide to pursue me on Twitter? You know what I mean...they're "people" with seemingly real names and a picture who randomly start to follow you, but if you click back to their profile all you see in their updates are url's and references to porn and marketing stuff and blahhh. Here's one, for example:

Are these 'bots generating these accounts and haunting people, or an individual effort or what?

Renewal of Strength

A friend sent this over. Thought I'd share it with you.

Isaiah 40:31:

“Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall: But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.”

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

When I First Met Greg LeMond

I first met Greg LeMond in 1996 when he was doing some commentary or something for the Olympic Trials. He was lured to Pittsburgh to star in a bike ride near Settler's Cabin Park, but the majority of the small group of riders who attended seemed intent on riding fast and hard, and not basking in the opportunity to trade pulls with the athlete who'd been at the top of their sport for a decade. My friend and training partner Tim O'Toole and I were there for the spectacle, which for us was provided not so much by LeMond, but by the local amateur riders who seemed to take pleasure in attacking and trying to drop him! The weather was crappy, the course was hilly, and I don't think Greg expected to have to finish the ride/race with a 2km climb.

To my genuine surprise, all of the other cyclists but Tim and I had attacked LeMond at the base of the climb and were riding ahead of us. Tim and I hung back with the 3-time Tour winner and at about the half-way point, LeMond grabbed a hold of Tim's jersey and told him to pull! Now LeMond could have cracked any of these guys earlier, but in the spirit of creating a memorable experience, he let Tim pull him several hundred meters up the hill before attacking and flying over the top of the climb and plummeting down the descent.

The rest of the ride was a blur, since we were close to the cars, it was cold and wet and LeMond displayed more than one turn of speed to get the group home as quickly as possible.

I don't know why I did it or where I found the courage, but after the ride I walked over to Greg and point-blank asked him if he would trade watches with me - and he didn't know me from Adam. But we both had Tag Heuer's, and while mine was from a slightly pricier line (haha! a fact that Greg didn't hesitate to point out, saying, "Are you sure you want to do this? I think I'll be getting the better deal here!"), I think I would've traded a Rolex for a Timex if it has been his, because LeModn was - and still is - The Man. Twice Champion of the World, Thrice winner of the Tour de France...a career such as his doesn't need chronicling here. With grace, if not a bit of surprise though, Greg agreed and we traded watches. And I still have LeMond's slightly-battered Tag Heuer in my watch collection, which now includes that Rolex, an IWC, Baume&Mercier and more than a few Tag's...none of which have the sentimental value of the watch I traded for with the greatest US cyclist of all time.

I was fortunate to meet Greg several more times after that first ride, and am happy that he and I have worked together recently in the pursuit of clean sport. I am tired, though, of the LeMond-bashing that followed a speech Greg gave earlier this month, which is posted at The fact that LeMond DOESN'T have a slick PR machine behind him is all the more reason to give credence to the value and truth conveyed by his words. It's when someone needs to "stay on message" and dress up their speech with extreme makeovers performed by media consultants and handlers that you should be very suspect of the veracity of their defense or counter-claims.

Carbon Fiber Road Frames - $280

Contact me for details. Three models to choose from. De-badged top-of-the line frames. Kinda like those paper back books you could buy at the supermarket with the cover ripped off for $.25, though these come with a 1-year warranty.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Max Mosley vs. FOTA

"A defiant Max Mosley has told the FIA that he now has no option but to consider standing once again as president, in light of what he sees as an 'unjustified' attack on the governing body by Formula 1 teams and manufacturers..." Read more.

FOTA is standing for the core values of F1. Max Mosley and the FIA do not.

Max Mosley and Nazi hookers, that's a different story, always worth dredging up...

Save $15 @ Giant Eagle

1. Watch a video.
2. Save $5 x 3 @ Giant Eagle.
3. Not bad.

Tip o' the hat to RyanB.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Real-life FAQ - What kind of Clients do You Have to Deal With that This Enters Your FAQ?

"If you have a problem with anything we are more than happy to help you. But if you choose to call me a Punk in an e mail, or call and say some 'DICK' messed up my order, I will just laugh and delete it or hang up. Some people don't have the patience to let us help them."

Q: "Do you have Japanese Naval Paratrooper uniforms in size 58 X-short? How 'bout a Damascus dagger for $100? Come on, you sure you don't have one hiding in the back somewhere??"
Use your heads people. We get seriously nutty requests all the time. If it's not on the site, we don't do it! Many characters seem to think that we have a special hoard of hard-to-find or super rare items that we forget to advertise, but if they hassle us enough, we'll give in and share the treasure. We may be rude, but we aren't stupid.

Why does your FAQ sound so obnoxious?
A: For some reason, helmets seem to inspire or mesmerize people in ways that other militaria does not. Some guys lose all sense of logic an
d reason when it comes to "their helmet". "Their helmet" is the only one in the world, the last of a dying breed and it should be treated with distinction. It is more important than their children, pets or Playboy collection. The only thing that can dislodge "their helmet" from it's exalted perch is..... a new helmet. Basically, many otherwise rational humans go ape-shit (kind of like teenage boys after their first grope) and act like complete nitwits if they think that their helmet is in any sort of danger for a split second. Dealing with this temporary psychosis has resulted in our semi-draconian helmet policies.

"I want a perfect specimen, with no dings, blemishes or wear of any kind. I do not understand why you morons don't have anything less than pristine specimens. That's what I WANT and the customer is always right. Don't you inbreds know that???"
Nearly all of these have dings or small dents. We have complained bitterly to Reichminister Speer's office, but have as yet to receive satisfaction. There is no reason that a military helmet should acquire any imperfection over such a short period as 55 or 60 years.

Until Mr. Speer gives us an answer, we'll have to resign ourselves to the sad fact, boys and girls, that these are original steel helmets, that happened to go through something called a "war". Now, since many of you don't see
m to comprehend just what a "war" is, let us give you a very basic idea. People from different countries, do their utmost to hurt each other very badly... sometimes they even kill each other. They use a variety of devices, including guns, cannons, bombs, chemicals (nasty ones), and occasionally they still throw rocks. Helmets are used to protect the participants' (soldiers') skulls from damage from flying metal, debris, bricks, stones, tree limbs and sometimes parts of small animals or other participants. As one might imagine, with this many bad things flying around during a war, some evidence of use is inevitable.

Yes, we sound condescending. But after being lambasted by legions of crack smokers who think these things were stored in a padded vault, lovingly wrapped in shock-proof Teflon containers awaiting to be unsealed only when the discerning collectors beckoned, we're just a little jaded. These helmets are not heavily damaged, but a small ding or scrape is to be expected. OK?

Used with permission

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

If You're in the OOC Testing Pool and USADA Asks You to Update Them on Your Whereabouts...

So, first arrives via email a gentle reminder that the deadline to submit whereabouts info is approaching, and I've yet to submit mine... Despite Todd Wells's complaining to the contrary (he gets paid enough that he should be able to handle this not-so-herculean task), at least in the USA it's all pretty easy, friendly and professional; after awhile I'd even become Facebook friends with the Doping Control Officer (DCO) who collected my samples, so often did we interact professionally. Of course, it's possible that if the DCO is jerk, the sample collection process could be tense and unpleasant (just as it would be if the athlete was a scheissekopf). But if you have a DCO who is "cool" at best, or professional at worst, and you're not a stronzo, it actually is about as pleasant an exchange as could be expected. I remember one time while trying to hydrate enough to pee (using BEER of course, which the DCO refused when I politely offered him a bottle - I think it was a Chimay or some other Belgian trappist), we were listening to new music on Itunes and he was giving me music suggestions while my kidneys and bladder did their stuff.

[Note to USADA: DCO's like the guy you send to collect my samples are the kind of people to continue to employ! Not, by comparison, someone like the Euro-tester who broke Kevin van Impe's balls. The Quick Step rider was at a crematorium in Lochristi, Belgium when a drug tester showed up demanding the rider provide a sample, and warned that he would face a two-year suspension if he refused...] So then you gotta hustle over to the USADA website and log-in.
Lots of good, supplemental info. I'll give USADA credit...they certainly play fair with athletes if there is no violation to adjudicate! No complaints about the website and the material available therein.

Then you're into the inner sanctum. At least they tell you what you need to know in order to make the process go smoothly. SWEET! The system will pre-populate for me!

Now there is still a lot left to do, but I'm tired. But I'm trying to show all the fans out there that I personally am playing fair (even though I'm just training right now with no competitions scheduled), I'm not an hijo de puta, I'm trying to walk the straight and narrow, USADA is not the nefarious organization that Floyd Landis and co. have made it out to be, etc. I really wanna go to bed so I'm going to hold off on filing my Q3 info until later. If you want to see more of that process, let me know...I'm happy to share. The only hard part for me is remembering to update my whereabouts when my schedule changes...

I envision being out one night in say, Miami, and connecting with some beautiful Latina named Sandra and going back to her place, only to realize at some point later during the night, "Hijo de puta! I have to update my USADA whereabouts because if I don't it's guaranteed that tomorrow will be the day they show up at my house at 6AM to control me and I'll be curled up in a bed here and not at the address that is listed on my form! Now how the frakk do I use the SMS-feature to update USADA? [The 'mood' is killed and several minutes pass as I plod through my BlackBerry trying to find the note I took for myself on the topic of remote updates via text, for just this occasion.] Finally, I figure it out, and then ask, in a manner that will always be awkward no matter when or how it is phrased, "Oye, mi amor, que es tu dirección? Necesito avisar a mis reguladores en USADA que si mañana vengan a las 6 de la mañana para pedir que hago peepee, ellos deben pasar por aca en vez de mi casa. No te preocupes! Soy ex-deportista infame y la gente tiene ganas de saber con quién ando! Ellos son como mi propia Papparazzi!"

Thanks for reading, folks. But before I go, please let me give a tip of the hat to Tanya L. for her love of Chimay, my cousin Robert for manning-up, defending his PD's honor and finally trying a Chimay, D.S., for significant consulting services rendered on an upcoming cycling-related project, and Phil I., for keeping me entertained with stories from OZ.

But alas, before I go, there is a wag of the finger to a certain is easy to speak ill of someone when they are not present, but to do so repeatedly, in the presence of friends and acquaintances of he who you seek to malign, is disappointing and embarrassing - for you. Even the walls have ears (and sometimes , like Davide Rebellin learned much to his horror in 2001.). What do you get out of incessantly bad mouthing someone? I knew a guy who once was so desperate to win a race in Gotham that he offered this other guy a lot of money to sell him the win. The other guy, who had already been corrupted by the sport to some degree, incongruously still thought it unethical to buy and sell races, so he politely declined, yet never mocked the rider who ultimately finished a dejected third in front of his big money sponsor. And he certainly didn't expose him publicly for being a fraud who would criminally seek to cause a race to finish in a way other than on its merits. While the guy who won was no saint, neither was the guy in third, and what was worse was that he didn't seem to realize that he stood only to ruin his reputation for having violated this rule:

"1Q2.General Misconduct. The following offenses may be punished by suspension or lesser penalties: (a) Acts of theft, fraud or grossly unsportsmanlike conduct in conjunction with a sporting event; (b) Entering competition under an assumed name; (c) Offering, conspiring, or attempting to cause any race to result otherwise than on its merits."

I am required by USADA to submit the information discussed in the pages above because I violated significant rules, codes of ethics, tenets of socially accepted behavior and the codes of honor and morality under which I was raised and educated. I pay the price for my serious errors in judgment every day, but I do my best to hang-on and fight towards arriving at a time and a place in the future where the events of 2006-2007 will no longer exert such a negative influence on my waking hours. I saw a lot of stuff on the bike - not the kind of horror experienced by soldiers on the battlefield - but cycling's own unique forms of corruption and destruction and betrayal and hate and violence and criminality and duplicity and pettiness and scorn. And yet it took place across the backdrop of some of the most beautiful places in the world, through fields of flowers in " Pescia, Italy (click through on that link if you can), along the Caribbean, through the Alps, across the pampas of Argentina, here in Pittsburgh, apparently in New York City and even in Wyoming of all places. And I still love to ride my bike.

I'm sorry to those who I disappointed, I lament that I deprived your of diaries that some of you found to be entertaining for what I conveyed outside of the race; I'm sorry to those clean riders - wherever you were - who didn't finish in the money...I'm contrite. I'm paying my dues more than you know. I'm happy to fill out USADA's forms and share with them what I knew about former teammates and squads and riders from Chile to Cesenatico to China. I can't control what people say behind my back, and I have little time these days to waste swatting away the juvenile insults that seem so popular with the the bike groupies.

Neo-Pros and Stagiaires: How to Swear in All Languages

You will want to study this...I found it quite valuable against my foreign opponents, though actual Italian cussing is not well-covered:

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

General Notice to Anyone Who Runs into Me on a Road Ride

You do not have to ride uncomfortably fast because you think I want to ride faster than you. I am an EX-racer, not current racer. I am old and slow. I don't like climbing above my AT. Really, we can just cruise. If you WANT to hammer me though, b/c you have a grudge, just let me know ... I'll try to stay with you until I crack, and then you can claim moral victory.
Sent from my BlackBerry® wireless device.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

WWII Relic Hunting

I want to go World War II relic hunting someday... I don't want to be blown-up though, of course. That goes almost without saying. Ever since I was a little kid, I've liked military history and the idea of digging up cool kit from WW2 on the battlefield. Leaving aside discussions of policy, the Holocaust, Gitmo, warrantless wire-tapping - all that sh*t - there is something so cool about the treasure-hunting aspect of it...finding and connecting with a physical reminder of this world's very, very complex history. If any of you have done this, gone relic hunting on WWII battlefields, drop me a line or leave a comment.

More Interesting WWII History Footage

For the WWII history buff, this content is fascinating:

[link deleted because it was giving me trouble]

"WORLD WAR II SHOWN FROM GERMAN PERSPECTIVE. Mostly TV Documentaries and History books only shows the Allied´s side point-of-view of the conflict. In this channel, we show the point-of-view from Axis´s side.

This material is taken from German Wartime Newsreels, Wehrmacht training films, 16 and 35mm footage. All videos are in original format and sound."

Here is another great link: WWII in Color

"Welcome to a great collection of World War II photographs on the Internet. Experience World War II like you never seen it before by viewing some of the most dramatic photos taken during the war. Contribute to history by posting your comments on each photo. Videos are coming soon."

Ich hatt' einen Kameraden

"Der gute Kamerad" ("The good Comrade"), also known as "I had a comrade", is a traditional lament of the German Armed Forces. The text was written by the German poet Ludwig Uhland in 1809. In 1825, the composer Friedrich Silcher set it to music. "The Good Comrade" plays an important ceremonial role in the German Armed Forces and is an integral part of a military funeral.

The song has also become traditional in obsequies of the Military of Austria, the Austrian firebrigades and the highly prussianized Chilean Army. It is also used to some degree in the French Army. When the song is played, soldiers are to salute, a custom shared only by national anthems. Occasionally the song is played at civil ceremonies, most often when the deceased had been affiliated with the military. It is also commonly sung at the funerals of members of a Studentenverbindung. Finally, the song is often played on Volkstrauertag, the German Remembrance Day, at memorials for the fallen.

"I once had a comrade,
you won't find a better one.
The drum was rolling for battle,
he was marching at my side
in the same pace and stride.
A bullet flew towards us
for him or meant for me?
It did tear him away,
he lies beneath my feet
like it was a piece of me.
´wants to reach his hand to me,
while I reload my gun.
"Can't give you my hand for now,
you rest in eternal life
My good comrade!"

Friday, June 12, 2009

CyclingNews Forum

Yes, it's really me posting there.


What Does a Smile Signify?

2004 Tour of Connecticut Photo (c) JS McElvery

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Cyclists Killed by Motorist

From VeloNews:

"Two amateur racers died Tuesday while on a training ride after being struck by an SUV near Tulsa, Oklahoma. Another rider was seriously injured in the crash.

The driver of the SUV, 38-year-old Tausah Borland, was detained Tuesday evening on suspicion of drunk driving..."

Full Story Here. My sympathies to the families and friends of the dead and injured. May God have mercy upon the soul of the driver who killed two fellow human beings, seriously injured a third, and yet kept driving down the road until she was forcibly stopped by other motorists.

Carbon goodness

Gavia '88

Not sure who the photo credit goes to, but hats off to him, and the poster creator.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Martin Brundle Drives Williams F1

After 25 years as a racing driver, ITV-F1 pundit Martin Brundle investigates the physical effects of driving a Formula 1 car. In this feature, he performs a series of laps in a Williams Toyota FW29 racecar, demonstrating the mental and physical challenges, including the G-force effects simulated by state of the art graphics, a Formula 1 driver faces during a Grand Prix.

Monday, June 08, 2009

Student of the Week

I hear I'm profiled (in a good way, not like America's Most Wanted) as the Chatham grad student of the week. I haven't seen it yet but the link should be below. Let me know if they show my good side! Haha.

Joe Papp
VP of Finance
Graduate Student Assembly

Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

Friday, June 05, 2009

Decals Needed - Design Help Requested

Can anyone reproduce these non-vinyl decals for me (but enlarging the downtube decals) in a format suitable for application to a black carbon frame that's already been clear-coated?

Weather - Thank God

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

The Religious Right Didn't Kill George Tiller
- The left tries to smear 'Christianists' as akin to Islamic extremists.

"There is no appreciable number of people in this country, religious Christians or otherwise, who support the murder of abortion doctors. The same cannot be said of Muslims who support suicide bombings in the name of their religion."


Landis case twist: hacking lab computer

Landis case twist: hacking lab computer

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