In political communications & pr (from a former life) there’s an expression called “takin’ out the trash” which refers to dumping a bunch of reasonably uninteresting things out in the news at one time (generally with some nuggets that you hope the press doesn’t pick up on because they are too bored with all the nonsense that you just inundated them with). This pretty much always occurs late on Friday.

So here is our takin’ out the trash, but it’s exactly the opposite. It’s full of good stuff because so much has been happening lately.

First off, the second season of the Hüdz-Subaru cyclocross team is underway. Last weekend everyone hit the dirt and we brought home 5 podium spots including 2 wins for the weekend. Jake Wells showed solid form and grim determination by winning Saturday in Steamboat Springs, and Sunday in Copper Mountain. Matt Pacocha took third on Sunday after a crash/flat took him out of the lead with a lap and a half to go, and unfortunately Nicole Duke had the same problem after leading Amy Dombroski all day, she flatted with one and a half to go and had to settle for second ahead of teammate Lisa Strong who took third.

This weekend is Star Crossed, Rad Racing, Charm City, and Green Mountain #1 here in CO. We’ll have three squads racing and hopefully have some great results to show for it. Then on to Vegas and a quick turn around to Madison for the USGP. It’s a busy week in the CX world…

White SoftGrip Hüdz and savage climbing ability. What more do you need?

In other, probably much bigger news, Xacobeo Galicia are lighting up the Vuelta Espana. The BH-sponsored team has been using Hüdz all year and has the SoftGrip white on their new bikes for the Vuelta. How much the Hüdz have contributed to the team’s aggression in the race and the overall performance of 2nd placed Ezequiel Mosquera is open to debate. But, considering the days of bad weather that they’ve had in the mountains where Ezequiel has shone brightest, I’d say they’re doing their job quite well.

We’ll look forward to the last big days of racing this weekend and hopefully the Xacobeo boys can uncork a good one in the last high mountains to move Ezequiel into the lead. Even if they don’t it’s been a fantastic race for them and we are thrilled to have been a part of it.

Last, but not least, Hüdz will be sponsoring Katie Compton for the 2010-11 cyclocross season. We’re putting together a big package of SoftGrip and Original Enhancement Brake Hoods that will be delivered tomorrow before Katie’s bike profile on Cyclingnews.com.

Katie is one of the hardest-working, most-dedicated athletes in all of cyclocross and working with her is something we are very excited about. Plus, we see it as no small nod in the direction of what we are doing with our hoods that one of the most fastidious racers on the planet when it comes to equipment has asked to work with us…

At this point it seem that everyone knows that the hills outside Boulder, CO are on fire. Initially fire fighters said it would take 3-4 days to get the (at the time) 3500 acre fire under control. Then we had some wind, and then some rain, and then more burning. At this point the whole thing has burned about 10,000 acres and a number of homes. It’s not good, and despite the best efforts of fire fighters from all over the state and constant sorties by slurry planes and helicopters carrying hundreds of gallons of water, there doesn’t seem to be an eminent end in sight.

What makes things bad is the winds that have kicked up tonight. Gusts are apparently over 50mph and most of west Boulder has received notice that they may need to evacuate. Hopefully the worst won’t happen.

Since this is Boulder, I guess I’ll just say, “Send good vibes…”

My wife had the flu for about 10 days. It was gnarly, but fortunately my son and I were up in Breckenridge visiting my family for most of that time and when we got back the contagion was over… Or so I thought.

Saturday I woke up with the same sore throat that she had complained of a couple weeks earlier. Surely this wasn’t the same bug. But it was definitely a bug.

About mid-day I felt horrible: achy, weak, flu-like.

I started pounding vitamin C, Zinc, and Oscillococcinum. I slept 14 hours that night. Sunday I was tired and had a ripper of a headache, but really no worse than the day before. Today, I ahve to say I feel relatively fine.

I’m keeping up on the naturopathic regimen, but I may have stopped this one in it’s tracks.

Of course, my son doing his impression of Niagara falls with vomit this morning has me a bit nervous, but I’m hopeful.

Two and a half weeks to Vegas.

2.5 weeks to get the ‘cross team ready to impress. 16 days to have Hüdz sorted. 377 hours to have the intellectual property and product development for things we want to sell to other companies perfected.

Zero time to be sick.

Time has come to do the shake-out rides on the ‘cross bikes. I still haven’t gotten the single speed out to play with like I’d want to. Part of the reason is that it has a seat tube that must be cut to measure and I don’t want to lop that off until I’m 100% dialed in on the geared bikes with standard seatposts. The other part is that I have a couple bikes that could conceivably be raced this year that are ahead of the single in the line-up of doing shake-out rides.

What I’m loving so far are the new Fizik Antares saddles (replacing San Marco Zoncolons), and the Rotor chainrings – they keep the traction on the back wheel up even on steep, loose sections where I would normally spin the back tire like a roulette wheel.

Also, with more time on them and more fine-tuning adjustments, I’m loving the ALINE insoles and the Northwave Razer shoes. The combination makes me feel much more connected and stable than last year running custom-molded Shimano shoes with Your Sole insoles (also heat molded).

What I can’t wait for is the arrival of our new clothing from Curve. Last year the ‘cross program went with Veloce clothing on the recommendation of a friend that had used them. Aside from the issues we had actually dealing with the company and their various mistakes with the kits, the shorts are the most uncomfortable that I have ever used and have caused more chafing this year than I have encountered in the last 20 on a bike.

Lots of work to still do, and it’s likely that I won’t actually be able to race Cross Vegas because we will be doing the big Hüdz display at the race and I have a ton of meetings and drop-bys that are coming. It’s not a decision yet, and it may not be until the night of, but reality of running a business has set in again and right now I have to put that in front of getting spanked by every other member of the industry that got an entry…

A couple weeks ago at the Rocky Mountain Bicycle Festival I met the guys at A-Line insoles. I was intrigued because I have D2 shoes on the road that have been better than anything I’ve used previously, but wasn’t interested in throwing down for two sets of D2 cx shoes (plus they have a heavy vibram sole and seem to take a couple adjustments to get them to fit quite right).
So I went and got fitted for the A-Lines (basically they put an attachable shim to cant your foot properly once you have been measured for the overall size – I’m an R, whatever that means). Walking around for the first few hours was interesting (I put them in running shoes to try and figure out how they worked for me). They said try them for an hour and bring them back if I didn’t like them.
Well an hour was enough time that I was intrigued. I bought them.
Yesterday I got in my first shake-out ride on one of my cx bikes since re-building it. Put the A-Line soles in my mtb shoes and went for it. The long and short of things is that I’m thinking about pulling the insoles out of my D2 shoes and giving these a whirl to see if I can make the D2s feel as good as the cx shoes did. Last year I had such a hard time going from the D2 shoes on the road to my mtb shoes for cross with the stock Shimano insoles in them. Then I tried Your Sole heat moldable insoles, and Superfeet, and everything short of having Don Lamson make me some D2 insoles for them. This year, I think I’m going to have a problem going the other way.
They are not light but not inordinately heavy. I haven’t weighed my set, but they add a noticeable amount of heft to your shoe (probably a couple ounces). And the cost falls in the range of fair, but not cheap – I payed $60 for them. But in terms of making the rider-pedal interface much, much better they were a huge score.

In Italian instead of saying good luck or break a leg you say “In bocca al lupo” – into the wolves mouth. The response is ‘Crepi la lupo,’ or bleed/kill the wolf.

Why is this relevant?

Well, on Saturday at the Rocky Mountain Bicycle Festival my two partners in Fasterisbetter Technical Consulting and Product Development (part of Applied Cycling Labs, Inc. which owns Hüdz) decided that the three of us would have to race ‘Cross Vegas together in the Wheeler/Dealer race.

Tom is fit. He’s been riding with Jake Wells and a lot of other strong guys all summer and he’s calling a top 5 finish. Eric is fit too. He’s been running and riding all summer.

I’m not fit. I’ve been working at it, but loosing 20 pounds still doesn’t get me what I’d consider fit.

This is definitely going to be charging into the wolf’s mouth. It’s gonna hurt. Like hell.

Of course the upside is that I’ll have street cred for the year with the team. I’m thinking I’ll do it on the single-speed. That way when I get shelled in the first minute I’ll be able to just cruise around and use the ‘only one gear’ excuse. Plus my sscx looks so cool that people can’t give me that much crap… At least I hope so.

So on Wednesday next week we’re going to start the weekly ‘cross tune up riders (one week before the regular ride starts). In Boulder the weekly ride is known as Wednesday Worlds. With the calibre of riders that show up, it really is. The number of National Championship jersey winners that show up to this ride is more than probably anywhere else in the country. If nothing else, this will get me used to taking my beating like a man…

See you out there.

Andy Schleck won the Tour de France in my book today. Or he at least finished on the same time as Alberto. Had AC not broken the rules and attacked when Andy had a mechanical the 39 seconds that he gained would not have been there at the end of the stage today – his winning margin on GC. Alberto probably would have won the overall and the race would have been much more exciting with no overall time difference. I think the question would have been would the count back go to best TT performance or stage wins?

So in Paris tomorrow Andy will get another white jersey and hopefully next year he’ll come back and crush AC like a bug…

Anyone who watched the Tour coverage from today could clearly see Andy Schleck’s rear wheel hop off the ground after putting in an attack that left Alberto Contador in the dust. The hop was the result of a mechanical that Contador  – who was sitting 4 meters behind him – absolutely had to see. There was no question that Schleck was slowing and unclipping from his pedals when AC came around him on his counter. It was a move that garnered jeers and boos at the podium ceremony and it rightfully should have.

There has not been a more class-less move in recent racing memory. There is an etiquette among riders that you don’t attack when someone has a mechanical – and you absolutely don’t do it at the Tour when the guy with the mechanical is in the Yellow Jersey.

I’ll admit that I have never been a Contador fan. His rise to prominence was just too suspicious. One year he’s loosing 4 minutes in every time trial he does, the next he wins most of them. Does that sound odd to anyone else?

But today he firmly cemented himself as a rider that I will never respect. Of course he says he didn’t know about Schleck’s mechanical. But there is no question that he saw it from the video. He may win the Tour this year, he may win it by far more than the 39 seconds he gained today. But he will never be a deserving winner. This year’s race will always be the one where he disregarded the rules of the peleton and stole the yellow jersey from a much classier rider.

I never expected anything positive from AC, yet his actions today were truly disappointing.

And good on Andy for chasing back on the climb like he did. That was a display of absolute courage and defiance that I think everyone loved seeing. If he had been behind a motor like Sammy Sanchez on the descent, he probably could have caught Alberto.

Sylvan Chavenel never looks pretty on a bike. He always has this grimace of deep suffering on his face when the real racing begins. But the joy he had today taking the yellow again probably makes up for all those grimaces…

My wife pointed out that Thomas Voeckler looks like McFly today. I’ll never look at him the same.

Quote of the Tour so far: James Huang’s caption from a photo of the mullet-shorn Vladimir Karpets, “Yes, it’s true: Vladimir Karpets (Katusha) is now all business.” Classic.

Have a nice weekend. I’m getting in a good ride tomorrow…

Today’s stage of the Tour de France has been a fairly controversial stage from the day it was introduced. Many of the usual Grand Tour Contenders say that cobbles have no place in the Tour. They say “It’s not Paris-Roubaix…”

My quick question is this, “Who said the Tour was your race?”

I think it was a brilliant idea. The point of the Tour is to challenge riders to be their best and to be complete riders. Since most of those riders usually skip the best classics (RVV, P-R, etc.) as a matter of “safety” or ‘preparing to peak in July” I think it’s an excellent challenge to throw in there. Eddy Merckx wouldn’t have complained, he probably would have attacked and put a minute or two on the pure climbers.

With Andy Schleck, Alberto Contador, and most of the other favorites complaining about stage 3 the man who gets the most street cred from the whole thing is Lance Armstrong. He hasn’t whined, he road Flanders, and hopefully he will hit out on the end of the stage with his team and put some distance between himself and the riders who said that cobbles had no place in the Tour.