Thursday, May 27, 2010

Full Steam Ahead

Quick Hundo Training Update: 3 rides, 2 crashes.
I am now the proud owner of a 29er mountain bike. I've taken it out on two rides so far and have only crashed once. Not a bad percentage for me. It is a ton of fun and I've been riding the trails with a perma-smile. I can't wait to explore some new trails.
The fundraising for Trips For Kids Denver/Boulder has been going great as well. With the donation of my old mountain bike (est. $200?), I believe nearly $1000 has been raised so far for my Bailey Hundo Charity Ride/Race! In no small part due to General CB Lee's generous donation for the ride. Sir, thank you Sir! If you'd like to help get us into the quadruple digits, please go to the Bailey Hundo website and click on "Donate", then I guess just mention my name in the comment section. Thank you to everyone who has helped out.
And um, regarding my comments on this Landis drama - these are just my beliefs/opinions and you should treat them as such. I've never seen anyone dope in my life and I'm by no means an expert just because I'm serving a suspension. I just believe that doping in cycling was the norm a few years ago but also that it is the exception now. I may be wrong on both accounts for all that I know, but this is what I believe based on all that I've seen and heard over the years. There's my disclaimer.
Thanks for following.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

My Thoughts

It's usually bad policy for me to react to something that I'm passionate about before sitting on it and having a think. But that's what is going to happen now, so you've been warned:
I think Floyd Landis is a good person who f'ed up. I believe the content of those emails is truthful and accurate. I think he's probably doing this out of a combination of guilt and unfairness. Guilt because he brought too many good and honest people along with his lies. And the unfairness is that too many other cheaters are getting away with it while leading happy and successful lives. His happiness and success were taken away from him and while that in itself may be fair, it's completely unfair and arbitrary that others of the same ilk or still being worshiped as heroes. So, how can I see him as a good person? Because I can see how the sequence of events could lead to him making the decision to dope. If he had successful, charismatic people mentoring him and showing him the ropes, it's easy to see how he would follow that path, especially when you consider that it may have been the 'norm' in that era. If everyone you are racing against is doping, is it still cheating? Cheating means getting an unfair advantage - what if you're just trying to level the playing field? These arguments are nothing new and I'm not condoning his actions, but I can understand how it happened and I don't think that every doper is a POS. Most are, though. :) Especially now when it seems as though cycling is making a concerted effort to clean up the sport.
So what are my emotions this morning?
Anger. I'm pissed (like Landis) that people are out there cheating (or have cheated) and racing their bikes and having successes. I'm angry that I am sitting here at home in my athletic prime and not in Italy or California racing though I never knowingly cheated in my life.
Fear. I'm worried about our sport. How is this going to affect sponsorship? How will cycling be viewed by the masses? Will people realize that doping is rampant in EVERY sport where significant money is at stake but that cycling goes further than perhaps any other sport to rid cheaters from the ranks?
Pride. I'm proud of the fact that I have achieved all that I did with a clean body and conscience. Who knows how many people who have beaten me over the years have done so dirty. However, I have thought about the possibility that whatever was found in my system did illegally enhance my performance but then I think about the facts surrounding my test. Tour of Utah TT victory, negative urine test - 8 days later USPro TT I was blown out of the water, pos. urine test. I don't think there was much performance enhancement happening that day.
So there you go. That's my reaction to the latest scandal to hit our wonderful sport. My stomach has been in knots all morning thinking about it and part of me hopes that Landis will be shooed aside as a disgruntled, lying cheater. That way we can go on thinking that the world is just and fair - that those who cheat get caught and those who don't get to go for the glory.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Mental Training

Not much mountain bike training going on here (still lacking a working/fitting bike but that should be taken care of by Fri.) but Sarai Snyder, who will be representing TFK at the Bailey Hundo as well, her friend Johnny and I got some mental toughness training in yesterday. We found ourselves descending on road bikes during an intense hail storm that was passing through the front range at the time. It wasn't too much of a surprise, we saw the black clouds coming but we decided to roll the dice and try our best to avoid them. Nope. We got hit at the worst possible time - descending Lee Hill (a steep and fairly technical descent that leads back into town). However, Sarai gets the gold medal for toughness for not stopping even though she had nothing but a short sleeved kit on. Try to imagine hail hitting your bare skin at 50? mph. Think pins and needles or maybe paintball gun shooting range. We passed lesser men on the side of the road taking cover under trees. It was an experience. We were entertained afterward by showing each other our welts (battle scars). And it was Johnny's first ride in Colorado so I thought it was fitting. By the time we got home, the sun was shining.
The fund raising is going well and continues to exceed my expectations. Again, thank you to everyone who has contributed to Trips For Kids Denver/Boulder. I believe some technical mountain biking is in my future so I will keep you updated and try to take pictures (hopefully not of my resulting injuries).
Thanks for reading!

Thursday, May 06, 2010

On Our Way!

THANK YOU to everyone who has contributed to Trips For Kids for the Bailey Hundo charity event. I am told that donations with the "for Tom Zirbel's Bailey Hundo ride" designation are pouring in. Well maybe not 'pouring' in, but I'm definitely impressed with the level of giving thus far. For each person who has taken the time and money to contribute - a thousand thanks!
The course has been posted for the ride: 40 miles of single track and over 14,000 ft of climbing. And I'm happy to report that my mountain bike training has begun. I bought a cheap front wheel and tuned up my Cannondale Jackyl as best as I could and went out on a technically easy route the other day (Marshall Mesa) and crashed about 10 min. after hitting the trails! Seems my pedal clearance isn't as high as on the CX bike and I clipped a pedal on a rock going about 15 mph. Sprawled out on the ground with a few minor cuts and bruises, I decided that was enough mtn bike training for day 1. One ride, one crash. It can only get better from here!