Monday, June 30, 2008

No Silver Lining In Floyd's Cloud

Floyd Landis has finally played his last card in his appeal process and lost today when the CAS struck down his appeal. In what has been a two year struggle to clear himself of any doping charges, Landis has been dealt a final blow and will also have to pay a $100,000 fine to WADA to help cover court costs.

Perhaps now Floyd can do the right thing if not for himself, than at least for our sport; confess. If he were to look for examples of those that have confessed and came out on the other side of the scandal unscathed he need to look no further than David Millar. Millar was caught using EPO, confessed, and served his two year suspension. Since then has won both the Road and TT National Championships for Britain, as well as becoming part owner of the Garmin-Chipotle Cycling Team . It is time for Floyd to come clean, put the past behind him and sit out the remaining few months of his suspension. By January 2009 he will be cleared to ride again, and then he can bring back some swagger to the peloton. We may never see a ride like we did that July day back in 2006, where he launched a 130km breakaway, but at least he would be riding clean. Plus, the way ASO has been running Le Tour these last few years, I am sure he will never be invited again.

As for me I am glad to see that everything is over for his ridiculous case. It is time for our sport to close that chapter of its life, and look ahead to better days of clean racing. Don't get me wrong I would love for someone to power away from the field and pull out a surprise victory, I just want them to do it based on the same principals that my team and I base our racing on; hard work, discipline and sacrifice.

Friday, June 27, 2008

BBVP Announces 'Cross Team

As the 2008 cyclocross seasons draws ever nearer, BBVP would like to announce that we have created a cyclocross team to contest the Chi Cross Cup Series. If everyone stays healthy and injury free, we will be starting 10 riders at the September 21st Jackson Park event. The 2007 'cross season was our inaugural season and typically saw just three of us toeing the line after Jim suffered an injury at the Carpentersville event.

No doubt having up to ten riders starting each event should help to tip the odds in our favor. And since the official countdown has begun and we are looking at about 90 days until the first race, we are in the process of setting our goals and building our training plans. As the road season progresses and ultimately winds down, we will begin to hold "unsanctioned" training events, with more info to come as the time and place becomes known.

On another note in order to help defray the costs of racing and travelling as a team, the BBVP 'Cross Team is seeking additional sponsors. I know for a fact that members of the cycling industry periodically check out or webpage for info, and if there is anyone who would care to step up and help out, we are open to that discussion.

The 2008 BBVP Cyclocross Squad will consist of:

Elvis Falbo
Tony Rienks
Damon Nelson
Jim Jacobs
Joe Castello
Dan Bomben
Sergio Moreno
Patrick Morgan
Jorge Cerritos
Bob Murray

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Pre-Ride The Course

After all the miles and hours spent training and preparing for a key race, there is nothing worse than being caught out by a surprise and missing the key move. Missing the break because there was an attack that you weren't expecting is one thing, missing the move because you didn't know the course is something else all together. Perhaps the most important and useful tactic to incorporate into every racers bag of tricks is pre-riding the course. We learned this valuable lesson last month at West Lafayette. When it came down to it, we lost the race before it even started. Had we pre-ridden the course, we would have known how to attack the climb. We especially would have known what gearing to use. Instead, we started the race blind which led to us hitting the climb in the big ring. Big mistake!

Pre-riding the course not only highlights where the race may split apart, but it also reveals potentially dangerous corners or even places where an attack may occur. Bombing down a hill at 45 mph is not the best time to discover that there is a hairpin turn at the bottom covered in gravel. However, if you had pre-ridden the course you would have known this and taken the outside line while everyone else panicked and grabbed their brakes, not only staying safe, but potentially attacking during the confusion. This video highlights how pre-riding the course could have led to a succesful break staying away, instead it ended in an ambulance.

It seems as our first year as a team progresses we are better understanding what it takes to be succesful. Sure the victory column has been a bit empty lately, but with every race that we participate in, we learn something new. Every mistake and missed opportunity is another chance to learn something that may prove valuable in the next race. Of course we will still make mistakes, but hopefully they will be based on the fact that we tried to make a smart move based on experience, and not a stupid move based on emotion. In the next few weeks as Super Week draws near, we should be able to put our past experiences to good use. With the races scheduled, and the team committed to working towards a common goal, even if we don't win we will surely have triumphed.

Friday, June 20, 2008

SuperWeek Schedule

After the team ride last night we finally sat down and figured out which SuperWeek races we would be doing as a team. We quickly came to a consensus as to which races we would focus on and could actually win, the list of these races is as follows:

Saturday July 12th-St.Francis Hospital Blue Island Pro-Am
Sunday July 13th-Homewood Cycling Criterium
Monday July 14th-Ray Basso Bensenville Criterium
Tuesday July 15th=Ray Basso Bensenville Criterium
Sunday July 20th-Evanston Northwestern Healthcare Grand Prix of Cycling
Wednesday July 23rd-Whitnall Park Road Race
Friday July 25th-Chase Food Folks & Spokes

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

The Weather Gods Were Not Smiling

Sunday June 15thwas scheduled as the 3rd stop on the HomeMade Pizza Co. Chicago Time Trial Series, but apparently the weather had a different agenda that day. What was supposed to be a great time trial on perhaps the most picturesque course in all of Illinois, turned into a bunch of soggy volunteers and more than a few grumpy racers.

The course came together nicely, the start house was being set up corners were being marked and swept and then the skies turned black. It actually looked like the clouds were boiling at one point as the winds began to reach the 40mph mark. Still, preparations continued, there was a lot of work to do. The KoM signs were put in place, registration was under way and then the rain came. At this point, as most of the signs were beginning to blow over things were not looking good, but still we were optimistic, a lot of work had gone into this and a little rain wasn't going to stop us. Then came the lightning.

With only about 20 minutes until the first rider was supposed to be sent down the start ramp a conference call with Dave Fowkes from USA Cycling was initiated. While the weather seemed to be letting up ever so slightly, the radar indicated that two super cells were present in the region and causing damage. After several tense momements and discussions with officials it was decided to cancel the race. I am sure most racers were partly relieved at this point but also a bit peeved as well. First Monee was cancelled, now Willow Springs, will we ever get a chance to run a race?

As promoters our first concern is always the safety of the rider. At the same time however, we are racers as well and want to see a successful event planned, organized and executed. As the day wore on and blue skies emerged I am sure a lot of people second guessed our decision to call the race. But as we were packing up the trailer with all of the race assets a quick drive of the course revealed downed branches and limbs as well as much debris washed onto the course. The course was a lready a technically demanding course on its own, the added element of rain and wind would have made it dangerous.

As of today, it appears we will reschedule for Saturday July 19th. Also at this point I would like to thank everyone involved this past Sunday who came out and lent a hand including Steve and Monica Hansen, Dave Fowkes, everyone from BBVP, especially Jeni, Lydia, Rita, Yolanda and Nicky, everyone from BBC who tried to make it but got caught in the deluge and tried to wait it out, the Willow Springs Police Dept., and everyone that helped us pack up the trailer so we could hurry up and get into some dry clothes.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Team Issue

As a team, we have been extremely fortunate to find two sponsors who have been more than generous with us. Beverly Bike & Ski and Vee Pak, Inc. have been great to us all year long, never batting an eye or turning down a request, no matter how large.

This week saw the team recieve their new cycloross bikes courtesy of Paul at Beverly Bike & Ski. We will be racing the 2008 season on Cannondale's Optimo. So far it looks like these will be incredible bikes. Aggressive geometry, a stiff frame and a few component switches will ensure a few podium finishes for the boys from Beverly this fall. It looks as though these bikes can be built up into the 16 lb range, surely this can only help us build on last seasons successes.

The other important factor we will each be able to look forward to this fall will be the fact that we can each have a pit bike available to us now that we have the new bikes. Pit wheels is one thing, but having the option of taking a fresh bike half way through a muddy race should pay dividends. Also on order for most members for the fall will be 'cross skinsuits. While not a huge technical advantage, you can never be too comfortable. Too bad 'cross season is 102 days away, but who's counting right?

Race For Free!-Volunteer

Volunteers are still needed for the Willow Springs stage of The HomeMade Pizza Co. Chicago Time Trial Series on June 15th.
Pre-registartion is already closed, and if you plan on racing consider volunteering as well. By volunteering you can race for free as well as recieve a free lunch. If you are unable to volunteer but still want to race for free, bring a friend or family member and have them volunteer on your behalf.

The more volunteer course marshalls we have the safer the event will run. So think about it and consider volunteering some time to supoort a great event and even better series. For more info, drop me a line at

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Just A Reminder To Ride Your Bike

Racing Returns To Matteson June 10th!

After nearly a one month hiatus, the Tuesday Night Criterium Series presented by the South Chicago Wheelmen will return on Tuesday, June 10th at 6:00 pm. Due to the recent construction there is quite a bit of mud and dirt, and Michael Kelly is offering free racing for the evening to those who bring a broom and lend a hand. Do your part if you can, the more of us that help out, the faster we can get racing again.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Pre-registration Still Open for Chicago TT

Just a quick reminder as well as a bit of shameless self-promotion for the team, that the online registration is still open for the Willow Springs stage of the HomeMade Pizza Co. Chicago Time Trial Series. The earlier you register, the earlier your start time will be. If your wife still doesn't know what to get you for Father's Day, tell her to sign you up. Besides how many more "Worlds Greatest Dad" coffee mugs can you really fit into your cupboard?

On-line registration closes at 1:00 am on Sunday June 9th.