Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Contador Goes Down Swinging

I've never been much of an Alberto Contador fan. It's not that I "like" or "dislike" Contador; it's simply that I have a hard time relating to a fully-grown man who weighs about 125 lbs. I can't imagine what racing a bike feels like to a guy who'd get slaughtered in an arm-wrestling match by a jockey. A FEMALE jockey. I relate much better to racers like Thor Hushovd, who is 6' tall, weighs 185 lbs, and STILL wins mountain stages of the Tour de France, which is absolutely phenomenal. For those of you who have never raced bicycles, a guy Hushovd's size winning a mountain stage of Le Tour is the cycling equivalent, in inverse, of a 12-year-old girl playing power forward in an NBA game and dominating. It's impossible in theory, but he did it. Twice in the 2011 Tour, alone.

Last year Contador won Le Tour 2010 but subsequently flunked a blood test. His blood sample was found to have traces of Clenbuterol, not itself a performance-enhancing drug, but rather a masking agent. Contador claimed he injested the drug from tainted beef brought to the team dinner from Spain. This is cycling's version of the "dog ate my homework" defense. His defense was accepted by the Spanish Federation, but that verdict is currently under appeal by the UCI and WADA. Contador may still lose his 2010 Tour title on appeal.

I really don't know what to make of cycling's drug cases. On one hand, if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck...you know the rest. On the other hand, there is so much corruption and incompetence in the governing bodies of most of the sports I'm involved with (cycling is worse than most), to me neither side has much credibility. As a result, I simply assume those who have not been convicted by due process are clean, and those who have, are dirty. Period. So Contador, to me, is not guilty until proven otherwise.

Notice I did not write innocent until proven otherwise.

Anyway, last week Contador was climbing some ungodly mountain in Le Tour (I think it was Col du Telegraphe or Alpe D'Huez, I forget the exact spot), in the midst of a massively gutsy uphill solo attack, and a maniac wearing surgical garb and carrying a fake transfusion bag ran up beside him and gestured like he was giving Contador a transfusion. Contador soloed on. But then the guy reached out and grabbed Contador's arm, and Contador clocked him right in the face.

I've never tried to punch anybody while riding a bike up a steep mountain road, but I've tried to do other things from that position (put on a jacket, take off a jacket, throw a water bottle at a menacing dog) and - trust me on this - doing almost anything other than controlling the bike is extremely difficult. Contador didn't flatten the guy, but I think he got his message across. And he didn't crash. Didn't miss a beat.

I could get to like this fellow Contador.

Thursday, July 21, 2011


My latest attempt at purrrrrfection: Dynafit Stoke, 191 cm, 134/108/122, 24.8m radius.

I currently own about a half-dozen pairs of skis, but my 188 Coombas (right) are by far the best skis I've ever been on. Nevertheless, I carry on a never-ending personal vision quest for something better. Not because the Coombas aren't insanely great, but (A) because I can, and (B) The fun is in the discovery.

I mean.....even the guys who married Cindy Crawford and Elle Macpherson eventually got divorced.

Early-rise tip. Not as radical as "rocker" tip, but the efficacy of rockers whilst climbing on skins is controversial. The Coombas have conventional tips, although the more recent "CoombaCK" model has full rocker.

It's The Stoke, eh?

Designed in cooperation with Greg Hill, a backcountry legend from Revelstoke, British Columbia.

Trust me. If you're a real skier and you haven't skied Revelstoke......go there. Soon. And whilst you're there, ski Rogers Pass too....if you dare.

Specs written on the tail of the right ski.

Hergestellt am Ă–sterreich

Austria. Where skiers are REAL skiers, and sheep are afraid.

A Canadian flag maple leaf on the tips, in tribute to Greg Hill and Revelstoke.

Pre-drilled, reinforced inserts for Dynafit bindings.

Dynafit has redesigned their touring heels for 2012, and the 2012 touring bindungen are not available yet, so I'll just have to wait a few months to get my hands on a pair of FT's.

Mounting instructions for Dynafit bindungen. No drill needed. Just a screwdriver.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Really, REALLY Cool Engineering Project

A 200-mph, remote-control model car.


I wonder how the speed is captured? You'd have to put your photocells directly on the tarmac. At 100 m/s, the vertical tail fin isn't large enough to trigger a circuit closure in an average photocell, even with the potentiometer settings maxed out. At half a meter long, even the entire fuselage would still be a mighty small object to capture with a photocell at that kind of speed.

"Thou art a boil, a plague sore, an embossed carbuncle in my corrupted blood."

Show them how truly pissed off you are, in iambic pentameter.

Shakespeare's most vitriolic insults:


No wonder the Poms were so appalled by John McEnroe. They hadn't heard anything like his infamous "YOU CAN'T BE SERIOUS, MAN" rant since 1616.

Monday, July 11, 2011


For those of you who may be wondering what my ingenious nephew is up to these days, he's finishing up his PhD in computer science and is well into his 2nd summer fellowship at Microsoft Research.

Beats the hell out of skateboarding around the US Open site, dissing umpires.

When The Going Gets Tough, The Tough Get Weird

Prior to the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, I had a difficult time explaining to my friends on Austria Ski Team how in the great State of Utah ("the beehive State"), one can walk into a store at 3AM and walk out with a fully automatic submachine gun and a case of ammo, but it is impossible to walk into a convenience store or supermarche and buy a bottle of beer.

Well, sports fans, in Utah the situation has just gotten weirder.


Monday, July 04, 2011

The Most Expensive Golf Shirt In The World?

Joe Saward, my favorite F1 journo, posted this mind-blowing photo on his blog today.


Currently the Louvre is hosting an exhibition entitled “L’Art de l’Automobile", featuring Ralph Lauren's personal car collection. Joe stopped by to see it.

He (as I too would have done) just about fell over when he saw the price tag on this ordinary cotton golf shirt with some ostentatious embroidery.

For €125, it better come with a blowjob from a gorgeous French girl.