First off we had a great trip to Vegas for Interbike. I love that place, pure and simple. The show itself is remarkable for how similar it is each year. Here is my oversimplification of what was going on at the show this year.
- Fixed Gear/Single Speed – Its gone big time…felt like everybody had something to show here and several smaller booths were specializing in this product line. The San Jose Mob are hardcore Hellyer-ites, maybe the rest of the bay area fixies will get inspired as the movement grows.
- MetriGear Vector Power Meter – Dude – it’s freaking Star Trek in its coolness. It’s james bondian in its size. It’s VHS ian in its importance to using power in your daily training. Most importantly … its NorCal born and bred. Can’t wait to see this puppy in action. It is going to be geek city once all the local pro’s start showing up with their beta versions, getting the local cycler-ati all jazzed up to go spend their money on these little guys.
Other than that the highlight for me was Cross Vegas – I wasn’t thrilled with the set up. It was harder to get beer and to traverse the course, but the crowd looked the same size even though Lance totally flaked out this year (pansy.) It was the best race I have seen there as two up and comers took the bull by the horns and shook up the US Cross Pros. Local Sac boy Chris Jones took it to the pack early and worked with Jamey Driscoll to stay away for the entire race and land himself a second place spot on the podium. With Wicks going all Mtn bking and the Jacque Mayniac’s focusing on the road it was sweet to have a NorCal boy on the podium at a big event.
In other news….
The news of Frank Vandenbrouckes death caught me by surprise. I figured he would be kicking around forever, making me giggle with his silly euro hair, and crazy new teams, and running naked through the yards of his Belgian neighbors. Underneath the drama and drugs was a sick man. It is hard to think of the Euro Stars as real people. The recent plight of Chad Gerlach was even more surprising and sad. For one Gerlach is local, and we have all heard about his heroic performances the last year. There is not small amount of satisfaction we take in watching our local pro’s excell and succed. Secondly the story was inspiring. For anybody that has battled the demons Gerlach had seemingly overcome it was a survivors tale that looked like it could give Lance a run for his money. The reality is, the set backs, and losses when dealing with addiction, mental health issues, and just regular life for that matter – outweigh the victories. For talented athletes who have such a propensity to win such challenges must appear easy, yet prove impossible. A quote from the Sacremento Bee’s article which broke the story stood out ‘Local drug counselor David Husid sees little hope for the fallen champ. “Until he… realizes he’s just an average guy, he’s never going to figure it out.”
As the news broke there was a lot of shock, and what can be interpreted as hope for recovery, in the NorCal cycling community. While the comeback started out as a great story the real win for Gerlach will be if he can find a more solid anchor for his life in his young new family.
Drugs, drugs, drugs…. I found it interesting that these stories were breaking around the same time as the AFLD announced “incongruous substances” found in medical equipment, which has lead to a broader investigation by French authorities. The phrase “French authorities” always makes me giggle since they seem to be more willing to make a fuss, but less willing to indict anybody than the Spanish authorities. I will give it to the Italians, CONI, at least they seem to be going after anybody when they get on the trail of somebody they think was a doper. With all that in mind, I am still pondering how to weigh harmony in cycling vs. exposing cheaters. The focus on Astana strikes me as a red herring since Bruyneel’s trade craft is so strong i find it unlikely that his team would get busted by equipment they turned over in a public waste disposal mechanism. Since AFLD’s revelation did not seem to have an immediate point, other than to embarras the UCI, i can only assume it is part of some long complicated plot being developed to catch Lance Armstrong in a lie.
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