27 January 2013

Picture of the Day: Warm Winter Riding

Riding in January in Colorado

So far the winter has been unseasonably warm in Denver, Colorado, and I've been out riding my bike two times a week in glorious 45-65 F (7-18 C) degree weather.
My bike and I rode out to watch the ice fisherman on Bear Creek lake near the foothills of Denver
Warm also means dry, with the typical snow-covered landscape appearing solidly brown.
The brown hills of a snow-less winter in Colorado
Devoid of color, it still makes for good biking and I am not the only one out there. Every time I ride, I meet new people who are out doing the same thing - enjoying the beautiful weather during a Colorado Winter. Oh how I love a good bike ride in cool weather.

Related Pedal Dancer posts: Cycling Apparel

25 January 2013

I don't need a hero

Don't tell me who to admire

If social media and exposure has done anything in the past twenty years - it has removed our naivety to human failings. Nobody is perfect. Admiration emerges from the simplest places and nobody should be telling us who to consider a hero. Those most deserved of admiration are seldom those in the spotlight.

Months ago I had a lessons of life conversation with my 17-year old nephew Kevin. We talked about how being a good person should never be granted simply by public image. That there are plenty of people contributing daily who never receive fame or attention. That those without good grades and sports achievement should never be seen as lesser or bad people. Being a good person is separate from achievement. Kevin is blessed with smarts and amazing athletic ability (and a scholarship to Stanford next year), but an incident that happened to his classmates at school last year prompted our conversation about the need to cultivate integrity and honesty separate from attention given by others.

Poor Lance Armstrong never learned that lesson (and his Mother knew it long ago). I was disgusted this week when I read an article published at Bicycling.com stating that our new hero should be Greg Lemond (dribble). What? Out with the old, in with the old? I don't want Greg Lemond as my hero. I don't need a new hero. Offering admiration and respect is not something I want dictated, and am now more than wary of giving freely to public figures.

I am fascinated by the study of human behavior. The sport of cycling has given much to feed that interest of late, juxtaposed against the fact that bike racing continues, as if nothing ever happened, at the Tour Down Under in Adelaide, Australia and at the Tour de San Luis in Argentina. Yep the teams are back to racing and the 2013 racing season has begun anew. 

Back on US soil, next in line for an interview is Travis Tygart, who will share his side of the USADA story this Sunday on 60 minutes. Sure I am tired of Lance Armstrong (really tired) but I am not so tired that I would miss out on hearing Tygart's response to Lance's confession.

Travis Tygart on 60 Minutes on CBS news, Sunday, January 27, 2013. 

Achievement does not equate to integrity. Sorry, Lance confessed and Betsy is still rightly miffed at him and others (I almost expected Oprah to contact Betsy to discuss the art of forgiveness). At least we had the humor of George Carlin and Bike Snob: The Power of O to laugh over this past week. 

Let's move on, but please - no one ask Mark Cavendish about Lance - he fears Armstrong has tainted his sport forever and he is mad. I fear Armstrong has tainted the idea of heroes forever. I'm not mad, but I have a strong dislike of the color yellow. That is why the Tour Down Under is so cool - NO yellow jersey!

The Leader is in Orange!  Thomas Gerraint (SKY) in the Santos Tour Down Under Leaders Jersey.  
Photo from Team Sky Website News
I also liked Bradley Wiggins nun too emotional remarks made today:

Watch some bike racing - visit Steephill.TV Tour Down Under 2013 Live Dashboard for all the links, rosters, photos, and results from racing in Australia (finishes this weekend).

Current standings Tour Down Under (Australia):
General Classification after Stage 4
GBR  1  THOMAS, Geraint (SKY PROCYCLING)                          12:59:09
ESP  3  MORENO BAZAN, Javier (MOVISTAR TEAM)                   +  6
BEL  4  HERMANS, Ben (RADIOSHACK LEOPARD)                       +  8

Current standings Tour de San Luis (Argentina):
General Classification after Stage 4
Pto  Dor  Nombre                                 Nac  Equipo                                        hh:mm:ss
 ~~~  ~~~  ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~  ~~~  ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~      ~~~~~~~~
   1º   3    KWIATKOWSKI, Michal     POL  OMEGA PHARMA-QUICK S 12:30:37
   2º  86   VAN GARDEREN, Tejay     USA  BMC RACING TEAM                  23
   3º  74   V.DEN BROECK, Jurgen     BEL  LOTTO BELISOL                          42
   4º 206  DINIZ, Alex                          BRA  FUNVIC BRASILINVEST           45
   5º  71   DE CLERCQ, Bart                BEL  LOTTO BELISOL                         54
   6º  21   CONTADOR, Alberto          ESP  TEAM SAXO-TINKOFF                01:10
   7º  11   DIAZ, Ricardo                      ARG  SAN LUIS SOMOS TODOS         01:12
   8º  95   ULISSI, Diego                      ITA  LAMPRE MERIDA                         01:12
   9º   2    CHAVANEL, Sylvain           FRA  OMEGA PHARMA-QUICK S      01:24
  10º  63  HERRADA, Jesus                 ESP  MOVISTAR TEAM                        01:24

Need a pick me up after the week? The well-grounded Ted King believes "...that the newest generation of riders is different." Read The Best-Kept Secret, then please follow his own personal blog (I am Ted King) where his unique writing style and humor shines through. 

I like Ted, Ted is my new hero. 
Well that didn't take long. 
The last time I saw my hero
Ted King at Cross Vegas, Las Vegas, September 2012. Photo by Pedal Dancer

17 January 2013

Cycling is in the News Big Time

A time to broaden our small world of cycling
The interesting point of having the topic of Lance Armstrong and the sport of cycling move outside of the usual cycling circle of journalists and bloggers, is that we get to read the well written words of others looking from the outside in. I hope you have been keeping up with articles in the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, The Telegraph, and other local and national newspapers. Their insight is helping to expand and expose the world of cycling beyond our regular cycling news sources, those sources which have often been intimidated into silence over the years. The infusion of fresh thought is greatly needed.

Being a cycling journalist, over the past fifteen years, could not have been easy. It is tough to try to hold onto a job while facing moral decisions. Access is everything in journalism, more important than exposing the truth I fear. I remember months (or was it years) ago I wrote a honest piece about what I believed was the writing on the wall of the impending fall of Armstrong (I believed he would be found legally guilty of perjury and might do jail time). My own father was so upset with me.

How could I speak out against a man who had done such good? I had family members struggling against cancer. How could I dare to speak up against him when Lance had "never failed a test"? I realized that some people would simply get very upset over the topic. For families who had been touched with cancer (more like hammered, and mine has) Armstrong was a spiritual leader, a sign of hope and strength. I learned to treat it like a political party preference, it was best not to discuss the topic of Armstrong's doping. 

Armstrong used his cancer leverage to shield his doping lies

According to the CDC, "Each year globally, 12.7 million people learn they have cancer, and 7.6 million people die from the disease. Cancer is the second leading cause of death in the United States, exceeded only by heart disease; it kills more than half a million Americans every year." CDC's Interactive Cancer Atlas (InCA). According to the National Cancer Institute, among the US population, "It is estimated that 1,638,910 men and women (848,170 men and 790,740 women) will be diagnosed with and 577,190 men and women will die of cancer of all sites in 2012."

These are shocking figures, but my point is this - Lance Armstrong is not the only person to have been inflicted with and survived cancer. The disease affects millions every day. Each one of them a hero for triumphing through their fear and suffering. Cancer is a terrible enemy and deserves to have an honest face to represent the battle. I appreciate what Lance Armstrong tried to do, and none-other had the platform he was given, he could have done more than good, he could have done great. But Lance Armstrong's time is over. A disease as horrible as cancer does not need dishonesty.

This is a unique time when excellent writers are writing about cycling. The sport is in the headlines.

I realize in devouring so many of the articles lately, that man, the best in the biz sure can write! At this point we need fresh ideas, new words, new actions, because I believe the inside of this sport is about as dirty as it gets. Spring cleaning is needed. 
I like these words:
"We likely will not have a definitive answer to most of these questions at the conclusion of the interview. We might have clues, but the truth will lie in gray areas that will become clearer as Armstrong carries this burden for the rest of his life. Apologies are promises to change. Like promises, we cannot judge them fully in the moments they are spoken. Wrongdoers need time to search for the deepest values that orient their lives and to begin rebuilding their futures with habits that honor those principles. Although it may not make for good television, this sort of persistent growth creates good people. Moral development does not occur within a news cycle." By Nick Smith in the Wall Street Journal

I like this reaction:
"I love a good myth. (So did those guys in that bar. They ended up acknowledging the magnitude of Armstrong’s lies, but had a tough time walking away from them, though, like me, they eventually did.) And I should say, as I have here, here, and here, that I bought it all for many years, and no doubt hell also hath no fury like that of a gullible, humiliated fanboy." By Michael Specter in the New York Times 

I am happy to see possible changes. Meanwhile I will be out pedaling my bike, and watching races in Australia and Louisville, Kentucky. Because riding a bicycle is still an excellent thing to do.  

Again, if you are interested in watching the Oprah Winfrey interview of Lance Armstrong tonight, links can be found on my post from yesterday: The Interview 

16 January 2013

The Interview

He is attempting to reset his image

Lance Armstrong, featuring Oprah Winfrey in a planned orchestrated pre-taped interview

Will you watch the Lance Armstrong confession interview with Oprah? It is after all scheduled during prime time entertainment hour on TV. Which I am grateful for because most of Europe, and the world, will be asleep and will not have to endure seeing how gullible Americans can be. Still I am curious. I only wish the interview had been in front of a live audience and the TV screen could show a graph similar to our presidential debates with viewer reactions of sad and pitiful / somewhat believable / total BS / LIAR.

Where to watch the Oprah interview with Lance Armstrong: The interview is now spread over 2 NIGHTS, Thursday 17 January and Friday 18 January. Tune in on your OWN (Oprah Winfrey Network, find OWN on your TV) Channel or watch the interview on Oprah.com Live stream at 7pm MST (9pm-10:30 ET/PT). 

In addition, Discovery Communications (owner of OWN) will make the Internet stream available to Comcast, DirecTV, Verizon, and DishNetwork, which will offer access to it on their websites. I signed in to find 'watch live TV online' in the right column. Also rebroadcast on the radio at Oprah's XM (111) and Sirius (204) radio stations. The interview is not truly live, the broadcast is live, the interview was taped last Monday.

In the UK the interview may be seen on Discovery Channel UK on Friday 2AM & 8PM (Sky520 Virgin212)

What we have learned 

Armstrong used performance enhancing drugs
We already knew this, but now we get to hear his side of the story. Keep in mind that truth usually comes in degrees after a long lie, so we will learn more in the future beyond this 2-part interview. Video: A discussion about Lance Armstrong's doping confession

Lance Armstrong was not the best endurance athlete ever
If we've learned anything it is that an unremarkable athlete is made more remarkable by drugs (a talented athlete made outstanding), and that there is no fairness in cheating or doping. The only leveler is truth. Time to kill off the myth that Armstrong was an exceptional athlete.

Livestrong.org is not cancer research
Don't refer to Livestrong as cancer research when Livestrong.org is patient advocacy and support. "The LIVESTRONG Foundation unites, inspires and empowers people affected by cancer." See Where the Money goes at Livestrong.org. Livestrong.com is a for profit website. The Livestrong Cancer Research Center was not started until April 2012, odd timing. Outside Magazine wrote an enlightening piece on the Livestrong Foundation It's not about the Lab Rats.

Armstrong is carefully targeting his audience for forgiveness
Remember when the Inner Ring blog informed us, "Do you know who the biggest watchers of bike races are in France, Spain, Belgium, Italy and Switzerland? The over-60s. And the second largest component of the audience? Women aged 35-55." Do you know that the Oprah Winfrey Network's favored audience is women age 25-54. Lance Armstrong chose Oprah not only because they both have places to stay (Oprah has a home) in Hawaii and she is kind, but because her audience might likely also be kind and forgiving. If he was serious about making right from wrong he would have privately walked into Travis Tygart's office to confess.

He will race again
Ok this just scares me, so I'd rather ignore this truth. 

Lance Armstrong will continue to manipulate

You never know how narcissists with power will react or behave because they just don't think like the rest of us. That is why I really don't know what will be in this interview. I do know he has master-minded this event just like every other. People are always ready to forgive, but Lance Armstrong's legacy might indeed be to teach us what we will not tolerate in sports. Forgiveness or not, he has changed the sport of cycling for the worse. (status with IOC)

Don't be fooled, he intends to change your mind about him

Redirecting image is a far cry from a moral confession. Lance Armstrong is not a changed man, nor is he a living example of trying to do right. There is another motivation for his recent tactics and that is what I am waiting to see discovered. Sure Armstrong laid low for awhile, but you can bet every recent news leak, every meeting or sudden appearance was planned and calculated to either test the waters or lead us, the poor unknowing ready to forgive folks, down the path Armstrong wants us to walk.


"You don't hold the keys to my redemption," he (Armstrong) said, according to the person familiar with the meeting. "There's one person who holds the keys to my redemption," he went on, pointing at himself, "and that's me."" These words were spoken as recently as last month to Travis Tygart at a meeting between Armstrong and Tygart in Denver, Colorado, as reported in an article by The Wall Street Journal (Behind Lance Armstrong's Decision to Talk). Armstrong had requested the meeting to gauge if Tygart would be willing to reduce his life-long band of competing in Olympic sanctioned sports. The meeting didn't go so well.

I believe we have been fed leaks through the media with the intent to lesson the blow, to test public opinion, to soften the real news when released. As my brother said, "it's as if they formed focus groups and tested the effectiveness of statements or scenarios." What do the people want to hear, what will it take so that we will again admire Lance Armstrong and return his power?

Lance Armstrong needs our admiration and he needs the freedom to continue his pursuit of anything he wants. I believe he is solely interested in himself. Surely there are plenty of triathlons he could race, evidenced by the number of Triathlon events last year willing to dump the USAT backing to allow Armstrong to compete (and increase entrance numbers and thereby money). Armstrong could have taken his millions and built another parallel Ironman series and competed in his own races. Are a few triathlon competitions worth the millions he will surely pay in legal suits and fees?

Watch for manipulation

A decent person with integrity does not go around saying what a good person they are, they don't need to, their behavior speaks for itself. Armstrong has had some terrible behavior in the past 15 years. A decent person also does not bring others down with him, they stand on their own failed heap and take responsibility. Don't believe Armstrong if he attempts to tell us that everyone doped, that all pro sports are corrupt, that he followed his teammates, managers, and doctors. Don't believe him when he talks of the good he did, how his competitors would say he deserved to win the Tour de France. He cheated, he harmed, he repeatedly lied. (Video compilation of Lance lying).

Good tough men can win without being a loser

Please remind yourself prior to and during the interview that Armstrong has sued, mocked, intimidated, harassed, coerced, bribed, bullied, and lied to not only a select few, but to all of us. Everyone. Over and over again. Sure he carried some people along, those who took advantage of their connection to Armstrong to promote their coaching, nutrition drink, books, photographs, apparel, bikes, or health causes. He also inspired individuals facing their own battle with cancer. But in his wake he left many real individuals with shattered lives.

I like a tough sportsman, give me the Badger on a bike (Bernard Hinault) any day and I will show him great respect, but I will not give respect, forgiveness or absolution to a man who does not truly understand what he did wrong. Even if the words are there, there is something missing in Lance Armstrong that makes him powerful, but not a man I would want as a friend and certainly not as an enemy, and never again as a hero.

Can't he just go run bike and swim in private?

Do we need to offer Armstrong our forgiveness? Do we need to let him orchestrate and determine our opinion of him? I think we are smart enough, even if somewhat uninformed or not privy to all the details, to make up our own minds. I am tired of Lance Armstrong, tired because others are more deserved of our attention. But I would like to say this - Lance you are wrong about your redemption being in your hands - it is in ours. Each one of ours. People forgive but we do not forget.

Is cycling done?

Last night's interview on Charlie Rose with David Epstein (Sports Illustrated), Daniel Coyle (Author), and Juliet Macur (NYT) was exceptional in it's content and clarity. Please watch this interview video: A discussion about Lance Armstrong's doping confession

During the interview, in one brief inhale, Charlie Rose made the statement, "okay, so cycling is done," then carried on to the next question. What, cycling is done? How sad. How tragic. To me the word cycling has always described far more than professional cycling. When I think of cycling I think of kids and their first bike, I think of friends meeting for a weekend ride together, I think of the fun of bike maintenance, or the good of exercise.

Still I believe Frankie Andreu is correct in saying that Lance Armstrong holds the key to cleaning up the sport of cycling because he was the leader, he knows how it was done. I refuse to think the fate of cycling rests solely on Lance Armstrong. Just as we hold the decision of Armstrong's redemption, I would like to think we collectively hold the future of cycling. 

I'm not sure which quote applies more for the day

"The flame that burns Twice as bright burns half as long." or "Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me"

There was no Oprah couch at the 2.5 hour interview, which was moved to a Hotel in Austin, Texas, with nice decorative glass bottles. I can't wait to hear what was said in that room.
A lot of background history to read prior to the interview tonight: Analysis: What USADA’s case file means to those involved. By Neal Rogers for VeloNews

13 January 2013

Pedal Dancer Recommendations

Cycling Links and Resources 

I have recently updated my Recommendations and Resources Guide Page on this website. This page, located in the right column (or under the dropdown tab at the top when using a phone), may easily be found at any time.

I offer recommendations to online news sources, bike blogs, photographers, cycling tour companies, accommodations, nutrition and training blogs, cycling humorists, rider blogs, podcasts, tumblres, and more recommendations in the world of cycling.

I will, of course, be adding more recommendations over time. If you have any favorites or recommendations you would like to share, or have me add to this list, please let me know. For all the hard work out there, it is helpful to let cyclists and fans find and appreciate the good stuff.

Recommendations and Resources (follow this link)
Topics include recommended:
  • Cycling news sources 
  • Websites for cycling news links, video links, photos, routes, team rosters, race results
  • Cycling news bloggers
  • Bike equipment review websites and blogs
  • Area cycling blogs or websites
  • Online cycling magazines & newsletters
  • Bike blogs 
  • Cycling columns
  • Nutrition, health and training blogs
  • Cycling coaches
  • Cycling race route news
  • Cycling humorists
  • Pro rider blogs
  • Pro team blogs & news feeds
  • Travel blogs
  • Cycling photographers 
  • Tumblre 
  • Podcasts 
  • Bike Tour Companies 
  • Cycling Accommodations 
  • Sources to buy bike equipment, gear, and apparel 
  • Good Deeds to Do
Let's hear it for a job well done, for the hard working folks who make our lives as cyclists, if not more exciting, well at least more informed. 

11 January 2013

2013 Pro Teams, and Social Media links

Links to Pro Team Websites, News, Facebook Pages, Twitter Pages, and Youtube Pages

Interested in following your favorite pro team through their 2013 racing season? I have compiled the ProTeams' links to their websites, news or blog pages, facebook pages, twitter pages and youtube pages. You may easily select any teams you wish to follow, or add to your bookmarks or reading list.

The professional cycling teams have become their own rolling marketing extravaganza with photographers, videographers, bloggers, and riders who tweet. We fans might as well go straight to the source.

I have also updated the PRO TEAM Pedal Dancer information Guide Page located in the top right hand column of this blog, so that you may easily locate this information at any time in the future. 

2013 UCI ProTeam Cycling Teams (and links to team websites & Social Media)

List of ProTeam websites to bookmark: see team rider profiles and pictures, view team bikes and sponsors, read current team race results and news.

UCI Professional Continental Team

Professional Cycling Teams - blogs & news feeds

Pro Team News: Follow the ProTeams through their race season. Add these links to your reader. Also a very good source for seeing recent team photos.

Professional Cycling Teams on Facebook

List of Pro Teams on Facebook: If you are a fan of Facebook, follow your favorite professional cycling team on Facebook.

Professional Cycling Teams on Twitter

List of Pro Teams on Twitter: Read tweets as the teams share updates and photos on Twitter.

Professional Cycling Teams on Youtube

You can go directly to the team library of videos on youtube. No need to wait until someone else discovers them for you. List of Pro Teams on Youtube: watch videos made or shared by the teams.

07 January 2013

Tip of the Day: Bruges and Brews

Continuing Education and photos from Belgium

For local Denver cyclists who enjoy travel, art and beer - I discovered this course titled Bruges and Brews at our local Denver University. It will be offered 4 nights - January 28, February 4th, 11th, 18th, including 3 in-class sessions, plus 1 session at a local restaurant for tasting. The class is presented by a associate professor of Art History through the University College at University of Denver (DU) non-credit enrichment program, $175 (including the beer and food tasting dinner at the last class). Thirty (or more) students total, with only 12 seats available as of tonight (Update: sold out). read more

I like Belgium, it is truly a cycling mecca with the best beer in the world. I think it enjoyable to continue learning about a place, even after visiting. There is much more to be learned beyond a 2-week fly-by vacation which seems to only wet the whistle. As much as I scour the internet, read guide books, learn maps and investigate before any trip, I never have a sense of a place until I have been there, until I have walked the streets. Very true about a trip to Belgium.

I was in Bruges last spring, it was my 3rd visit to Belgium, every visit being completely different. I was just 21-years old upon my first visit with my Mother, we took in the arts. I was 31 upon my next visit to Bruges with my husband, we took in the arts, food, beer, and visited friends. Last year I returned to chase bike races (Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix) and learn more about Belgian beer, bergs and countryside.

I completely missed the arts during my last visit, although I more than covered the bergs and brews. I thought this course could fill in some of the gaps and continue my education, prepping me for my next travel vacation to Belgium. At $44 a night for 2 hours of entertainment, it is a bit steep, but far cheaper than the thousands of dollars (for Americans, hundreds for Europeans and Brits) spent on airfare, car, hotel, and buying more guidebooks!

This course description caught my attention: "From its historic Trappist monastic breweries to its array of splendid art and architecture, Flanders boasts preeminence in many artistic fields, though perhaps none more divergent than the odd couple of fine brewing and oil painting. We invite you to explore the rich cultural heritage of this region by combining into one course Belgium’s artistic richness, beer-brewing superiority and tasty culinary traditions." That's university level lingo for Let's drink beer!

I'm in! Each night I can be reminded of my recent travels and relive the adventures, while learning even more about Belgium. Traveling in Belgium was the highlight of my year in 2012. I say why not travel cheap by searching for continuing education language, art and travel classes in your own city.

Read some Pedal Dancer posts from visiting Belgium in 2012:
More from 2012
Enjoy some photos of Bruges, Belgium - in search of friets, beer, and waffles (all photos by Karen at PedalDancer.com) click any image to enlarge :
The endless choice of delicious beers in Belgium.
Beers at De Garre in Bruges, tucked away down an alley. Fun!
More beers at 't Brugs Beertje in Bruges
So many options for beer tasting in Brugge
food and drink at Brasserie Cambrinus in Bruges
Grand Cru Rodenbach
Walking the streets of Bruges with frites en (Andalouse) mayo
Beautiful architecture in Bruges
Boats in Bruges
Witloof (Belgian Endive) in the market
Mini hot waffles from the morning market in Bruges
Sculpture and Pond at t'Zand square Bruges
Enjoy some other photos of Belgium (all photos by Karen at PedalDancer.com) click any image to enlarge :

Lion of Flanders
Mur de Grammont
The Manneken Pis in Geraardsbergen thought to be the oldest
Is this art? Bike Sculpture on a roundabout in Brakel, Belgium
The start of the Paterberg climb and typical countryside in Belgium
This is Tour of Flanders country (Ronde van Vlaanderen)
Expecting crowds on the Koppenberg, two days before the big race
Such beautiful country to pedal through
I learned it's best not to say "I'll eat anything" while in Belgium
Chances are you'll see some world champion cyclists. Team BMC in Kortrijk.
Bernhard Eisel, Matthew Hayman, Edvald Boasson Hagen of Team Sky before a training ride
Yum, pies and torts in Belgium
Cheeses in a storefront window in Ghent, Belgium
Belgian Easter chocolates
Strolling the streets of Gent

Trappistes Beer
When a bike race takes over the city of Bruges. Start of Tour of Flanders.
Belgians love cyclists almost as much as their beer
Or is it beer as much as cyclists? Cycling fans
Watching the Tour of Flanders on the Kwaremont
Tom Boonen, the winner of both the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix in 2012
The Menin Gate in Ypres
Tyne Cot, British war memorial cemetary
The rough cobbles of Carrefour de L'Arbre (Paris-Roubaix race, France)
Beautiful scenery along a bike ride in Belgium near Kerkhove
Mmmm, oh the memories of walking with a fresh hot waffle to go