There are a ton of bike races in Florida. A majority of them seem to take place in the southwestern part of the state. I have been told by a lot of folks that most of the races take place in abandoned developments.
Sarah and I just discovered a hotel in St. Augustine, Florida called the Pirate Haus. The tagline for the hotel is, “Arrrghably the best deal in St. Augustine.” Now, I am obviously not a stickler for spelling, but how can you go wrong with a Pirate themed hotel that is Arrrghably the best deal in town?
Perhaps the best part about this hotel is the website. Nothing bodes confidence in securing a cheap hotel room than visiting a website that has the 1998 Geocities feel.
Wait, this is the best part. The best part is the video they have made for the hotel:
The only thing I can say, besides the fact that we have now booked a 14-night stay (in order to try out all of the rooms) is that they have an ALL YOU-CAN EAT PIRATE PANCAKE BREAKFAST!
A major tip of the hat to BQ over at Inside Minnesota Soccer for pointing out this amazing display of fan loyalty to the Chicago Fire:
The other night the Chicago Fire hosted the Seattle Sounders for a regular season match. Much has been made about the fanbase the Sounders have developed, but the Fire fans let the Sounders know that they were “old school” and what better way to show it than through a live action display of Mario Brothers?!
Sarah and I decided to head southwest to Tampa for the weekend. We took in the NSC Minnesota Stars versus Tampa Bay Rowdies on Friday night. We were lucky to be joined by my little brother, Zach, who decided to rock out in the all appropriate Minnesota Twins jersey!
The crowd was on the small side, but the Stars were on fire getting out to a 3-0 lead in the first half. All three goals were scored directly in front of us and the players came over to salute us after each goal. It felt great to be recognized by the squad after each goal.
We went out to eat with Zach before he had to head back to his beachfront condo and before we knew it we were on the road to Spring Hill, FL to spend the rest of the weekend at my folk’s house. They are in Maui on the company dime so we are having a huge KEGGER with no one in particular.
In all seriousness, we are doing some important grading and organizing for our jobs. Sometimes you get more done when you are not at home. The plan is for some tennis and a return to Gainesville while the Florida Gators beat up on the Kentucky Wildcats on Saturday evening.
Good times in Gainesville.
Hanging out with the Tampa Bay Rowdie mascot, Hoops McGee, a sock.
People told me that some down here still think the war is going on. Well, we saw this flag from miles away and it wasn’t for a Perkins. #cultureshock
Gotta give it up to Dr. David Laughner! At least he is retro in his insistence of the coming Russian war. There are a lot of these types of flyers around here. Roaming preachers doing some fundraising around the area and spreading the word of the coming demise of capitalism and all mankind. #cultureshock
I didn’t find this shocking at the Flea Market, but sometimes it doesn’t hurt to reiterate your citizenship to potential customers. #cultureshock
I have half day at work today, which works out perfectly as Sarah and I will be heading down I-75 to Tampa to take in the NSC Minnesota Stars game against the Tampa Bay Rowdies. We are extremely excited to see the team, and since they have already qualified for the playoffs the team has a lot less pressure on them going into the game.
On a side note, why would you ever go hiking near the border of Iraq and Iran?
Seems to me like that is just asking for trouble, and that is exactly the trouble three Americans have found them in since last year.
Just seems a little idiotic.
When Sarah and I go on vacation we think of places like Madison, or, Ottawa.
Can’t seem to remember ever thinking about the remote Iraq/Iran border.
Taylor Phinney, the real future of American cycling is leaving the Trek-Livestrong team for Team BMC.
This is great news for Taylor and this article from Cyclingnews sheds more light on the subject.
The part that stuck out the most to me was when Phinney describes his recently strained relations ship with the ever-classy Lance Armstrong:
Despite his excitement for the future, Phinney is sad to be leaving behind the relationships he made at Trek-Livestrong over the last two years, including his friendship with Armstrong, who Phinney revealed, had broken off all communication ever since Ochowicz made his first offer.
“I formed some really good bonds at Trek-Livestrong with the team and Lance and the riders – they were my family.
“However, we had a chat with Lance, Bart Knaggs and Johan [Bruyneel] just to let them know that Jim had put in an offer and Lance had to leave half way because I think Senator Kerry was on the other line. I’ve tried to call, email and text and I’ve not really heard anything.
Tonight I made my debut as the lead announcer for the Hurricane football team. I was a bit nervous as I picked up the mic and quickly learned that I would need to lead the 200+ in attendance in the Pledge of Allegiance. Well, nervous is an understatement. I was extremely scared that I was going mess it up and get fired on the spot.
Well, I didn’t mess it up.
The announcing was fun, but the run defense needs some work.
It should come as no surprise that with the recently increased snooping into Lance Armstrong’s past the story seems to be changing despite many repeated denials and assurances from the seven-time Tour de France Champion. What is surprising are the multitudes of his followers that still believe that he raced drug-free and wasn’t the ringleader of a cycling omerta that would make Don Vito Corleone proud.
The latest example of the pressure Lance must be feeling is from a recent LA Times article about the sworn-testimony of Betsy and Frankie Andreu a few years back in regards to a now-famous interaction between Lance, some doctors and his close friends inside of an Indiana hospital room during Armstrong’s treatment for cancer in 1999.
A summation of the story; Frankie and Betsy testified in an affidavit, in a lawsuit brought against Armstrong by a race promotion company, that they overheard Armstrong admit to a doctor that he used EPO, Testosterone and a few other drugs prior to his hospitalization. Naturally, in the time since this occurred the Armstrong camp has attempted to character assassinate, and ruin careers (see Andreu’s firing from Toyata-United).
Throughout all of this Armstrong has denied the conversation even took place, and has said as much under oath.
Fast forward a few years and we now have this damning piece of information from, none other than, Lance Armstrong’s own publicist, Mark Fabiani, “Lance was required to undergo an active steroid and EPO regimen as part of his post-operative treatment, which may give a reasonable explanation for their having been some discussion of EPO or steroids during her visit to the hospital, having nothing to do with any suggestion of use before he was a cancer patient.”
I just registered for my first road race in over four months. Well, technically, it is two criteriums, but it is all the same. I am a little nervous, but I figure I have nothing to lose as the racers here in Florida don’t know anything about my skills, or the skills that I lack.
The racing calendar in Florida takes a summer break over June, July and August as it gets awfully hot. As the temperatures cool down the racing gears back up with over 16 road races and crits to choose from prior to the State Road Race in late October.
While it will take some getting used to it is pretty cool to have a bunch of bicycle races to choose from.
Now, I just need to get my nerves back and step up my game!
It isn’t very often that someone you know ends up on the front page of Velonews. It truly isn’t very often when they appear under the headline; Duane Dickey Gets Lifetime Ban. Yes, you read that right. Dewey will is never be allowed to race a bicycle ever again.
As some of you may know I am the official number one fan of Dewey. This fandom started on a complete whim when I was toeing the line at the 2006 Durand Road Race. He was in the Pro/1/2 wave immediately in front of us and a teammate of mine told me that I should yell out some encouragement to the funny looking guy in the Grand Performance kit. So, I decided to yell, “give ‘em a taste of the DEW.” He was confused at first and as the rest of the riders around him started to laugh I just kept it up with even more nonsensical cheers, “Dewey, Dewey, Dewey, Dewey!” It was obvious that Dewey was uncomfortable and that made me think it was even more hilarious.
I did all of this without prior knowledge of his first doping offense, nor his battle with colon cancer or brain aneurysms. All I knew was that he was a goofy looking dude that was a damn good bike racer and a little socially awkward. Sounded to me like Dewey Dickey needed a fan club.
At first he completely ignored me. This made me want to step up my game more and more. Likewise, it got more and more ridiculous. I started blogging about the guy and coming up with all types of goofy crap, but then, one day he asked if I could hold his water bottle. I thought this was hilarious. Dewey had finally accepted the fan club! Woot!
Eventually, I was directed to this article, “Dewey Dickey Lives,” by a friend and I decided to push ahead with my unwavering support for the guy. I would always yell out his name at the side of the racecourse, and give him water in feed zones. My favorite time for the Dewey shenanigans was at the cyclocross races when there were large crowds and you were able to get everyone involved with the legend of Dewey Dickey.
As I got to know Dewey the more I became intrigued. He was always up front with me on his doping past and what is happening with his career as he navigated the minefield of Therapeutic Use Exemptions and his constant battle with a myriad of medical conditions that you wouldn’t wish on your biggest enemy. I learned that he made his living by selling Uggs on the internet and driving a school bus part-time in his hometown of Cokato. He told me of his super-secret training plan (ask me sometime), and he always was willing to put up with my shenanigans. Hell, he is a frequent commenter on this blog and has appeared in many photos:
In May I got an email from Dewey about his latest run-in with USADA. He told me his side of the story and what had happened. I felt bad for him, but at the same time I was extremely confused and saddened that he would take the risk and let himself and his fans down. Why would he be racing without a TUE when he knew that was illegal? Come on Dewey. Argh.
It was a crappy day when he told me what happened and it is an even crappier day today when I read the USADA press release banning him for the rest of his life from the sport he so dearly loves. Part of me wants to punch Dewey in the face for being so stupid and selfish, yet part of me wants to go for a ride with the guy and keep his spirits up.
The fact is, he is a good guy and I will miss seeing him at bike races. I will keep in contact with him and I will be seeing him in December when I return to the Twin Cities and call him up to get a bike fit. He is easily one of the best racers that the Midwest has ever seen and he is a good guy that loves his sport more than anyone.