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timv's blog

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Tour de France Rest Day: My Favorite Anecdote from Week One

During the rest day, I've been speed-reading through various reports and blog entries for the first nine days of this year's Tour. My favorite story so far comes from David Millar's Stage 5 diary account of rookie British sprinter Mark Cavendish on his first-ever hilly TdF stage:

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Stained Glass Colors and Churches in Prague

Rambling blogging and reminiscences follow, mostly triggered by Blake's comment on stained glass colors. It got me thinking of the glass in St. Vitus Cathedral in Prague, begun in the 14th century but not completed for almost 600 years.

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Hey, Entrepreneurs: Free Seminars

I followed a link to the Small Business Center at Rowan-Cabarrus Community College because they're offering two seminars on biodiesel fuel, which is what I'm working with in my current graduate research.
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Joey Cheek Honored at 14th Annual Iba Awards

It's nice to see the honors still coming for local skater guy Joey Cheek, and that his good works continue. Looks like this award was received on June 4 in Tulsa, OK, and was presented by the Rotary Club of Tulsa in memory of the legendary Oklahoma State basketball coach Henry P. Iba.

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Test of Image Tags: My Goofy Fixed-Gear Funnybike

This is a test of using an IMG tag to include a photo in a post.

I have a fixed-gear bike that began as my younger sister's Raleigh Record, which she got in 1973 when she was 10 years old.

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Jerseys Choices: Bland, Tacky, or In Between

Since getting my supersweet 2006 Roadskater.net jersey last fall, I now have exactly one really nice cycling/skating jersey. (The blue one that I'm wearing in my avatar image was borrowed for the photo. I only own a leafy green one.) I was riding last Saturday and noticing how comfortable it was on a warm and humid almost-summer late morning, and entertained thoughts of getting one or two more good ones to be able to accomodate workouts on back-to-back days and such.

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Thinking About Stuff

Things that have been on my mind, none big enough unto itself to warrant a blog entry:

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Knoppix recommends having at least 128MB of RAM "to use the various office products," but even 256 can be pretty painful if you do much of it, and 512MB is way better.

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Helmets: Is Cheaper Safer?

From The Recumbent Blog:

There is growing evidence that the new crop of hyper-ventilated helmets that are so popular these days are potentially less safe than traditional smooth-shelled designs. These "racing" helmets may pass the current Consumer Product Safety Commission drop tests, but recent accident reports suggest their squared-off edges and aerodynamic "tail" can grab the road, increasing the possibility of rotational brain damage, neck injuries, and helmet dislodgment.

Links from that post point to several articles on helmets.org, website of the independent and non-profit Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute.

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Found Poetry in my Email

Kinda slow here lately posting-wise so... I've been keeping a file of odd phrases in spam emails when they caught my eye for a while. Together they made a little random poem. (No "poetry" tag for InlineCafe?)

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Does being a Brave Soldier help road rash?

I was browsing a list of products on the Bike Nashbar website and something called "Brave Soldier First Defense" caught my eye. Blurb says that it was "originally designed to treat road rash at bikes races," and that it "cleanses and removes debris with a powerful, yet soothing antiseptic wash that doesn’t sting."

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Café si vous plait

True Inline Cafe post here, nothing whatsoever to do with skating...

I think it was last Thursday or Friday when I watched most of the old comedy The Mouse the Roared on TCM. It's a really funny film, with Peter Sellers giving terrific performances as three different characters. But I didn't recognize who the female lead was and I looked it up on IMDB.

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Peer Pressure and Finishing the Ride

I liked this little piece that appeared on Cyclingnews a couple of days ago:

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Vuelta a España

The 2006 Vuelta a España, the third and last of the three-week tours, begins this weekend in Malaga with a dead-flat 7.2km team time trial on Saturday. The field looks pretty interesting too. Tom Danielson will be the designated team leader for Discovery, unlike the situation in the Tour de France this year where there was no clear number one for that team. Alexandre Vinokourov and his Kazakhstan-based Astana team (formerly the Spanish Liberty Seguros squad) will compete after being shut out in France at the last minute. TdF de facto winner Oscar Pereiro and hard-luck crash victim Alejandro Valverde will lead the Caisse d'Epargne-Illes Balears team. And one of my favorite riders, Alessandro Petacchi, has recovered from the fractured kneecap suffered early in the Giro d'Italia and will be back to contest the sprints against Robby McEwen, Thor Hushovd, and others.

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Slow Food: Skate Fast, Eat Slow

I heard a reference to "the Slow Food movement" today. I did some Googling and reading and it turns out to be pretty neat.

Founded in 1986, in direct response to the opening of a McDonald's restaurant in Rome's famous Piazza di Spagna, the Slow Food Manifesto declares that:
A firm defense of quiet material pleasure is the only way to oppose the universal folly of Fast Life.

The Wikipedia article on the topic refers to it as "as the 'culinary wing' of the anti-globalization movement." Its projects include the "Ark of Taste," an effort to protect biodiversity and to "rediscover, catalog, describe and publicize forgotten flavors" threatened by industrialization, standardization, foods laws, and large-scale distribution. The above article describes Slow Food thus:

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TdF Blog: Carmichael and Armstrong Might Know a Thing or Two

In his Tuesday journal entry, Chris Carmichael made some rather prescient remarks about Tour de France strategy:
I was watching today's stage with Lance Armstrong and several other people, and at one point during the race, Lance and I talked a bit about the difference between racing conservatively and aggressively.
 
During his reign as Tour de France champion, Lance was adamant about seizing every opportunity to gain time on his rivals. The idea was to build a cushion between Lance and his nearest competitors in case he ran into problems later on in the race. A one-minute lead can turn into a three-minute deficit in just a few kilometers, and Lance and Johan Bruyneel always said they'd rather defend a lead than fight to catch up.
 
If you're in the lead, you have two options. You can follow other riders, and as long as you stay with them you don't lose any of your lead. Your other choice is to attack and build an even bigger lead. If you get into a situation where you're behind, there's only one option. You have to attack and drop riders who somehow gained time on you already, and there's never any guarantee you'll be able to do that.
 
The one thing that's certain about the Tour de France is that anything can happen, to anyone, at any time. Having the yellow jersey and several minutes of time in hand gives a rider a margin of safety; losing one minute of a six-minute lead isn't a cause for major concern. Losing one minute of a one-and-a-half-minute lead puts the yellow jersey in a stressful position and lends encouragement to the challenger.

I guess they pretty much nailed that one. It's a fair question to ask whether Floyd actually could have put more time into his rivals last week and early this week, and whether it would have been enough to matter when the bad day did come. But they sure did see it coming.

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