Monday, July 23, 2007

Second Hand Smoke Sucks

One of our local riders once said that he doesn't trust air he can't see. Well, for the past week our valley has been filled once again with smoke from surrounding wild fires. Combine the poor air quality with temperatures in the low 100's and you have the makings of a beautiful summer. Not really, but it does serve as another reminder that Utah is a state of extremes. It wasn't long ago that we suffered through a long stretch of below average temperatures during the winter months and now it seems we are doing the same this summer. Luckily my mountain bike provides a nice escape from the heat without which I'd be tempted to call it a season.

With regards to the Tour I'm not sure what to think. On the one hand it's certainly been an entertaining race thus far and Contador's relentless attacking has been nothing short of amazing. That Rasmussen was able to respond as well as he did today leads me to believe that he could very well ride into Paris in yellow. It's almost as if we have two races carried out at two different speeds: The race for yellow between two riders absolutely flying who so far haven't fallen victim to a bad day, and the race for the final podium position carried on by the crowd who seem unable to do anything besides follow wheels and complain about being left alone at the end of the race. On the latter subject, I must admit I was warming up to Cadel Evans after his solid TT and willingness to suffer in the mountains. However, his comments after today's stage turned me off:

"Twelve km from home and I am on my own, what am I supposed to do," the Australian complained. "Today I rode to conserve a little. Unfortunately the team hasn't got the budget to hire a rider who can close those gaps for me."

Uh, maybe it's just me but if you can't take care of yourself during the last 12km of a 196 km mountain stage perhaps you're not cut out to be a team leader? If Cadel had been fetching bottles and taking care of teammates the entire Tour like Chris Horner's been doing I wonder if he'd be in the lead group with 50 km left in the stage?

One other observation: Is there any meaning to the fact that, if Rasmussen hangs on to win the '07 Tour, the last two winners came from a mountain bike background? Throw Cadel in as a possible podium finisher this year and it seems that riding trails is the path to later success on the road!

No comments: