Not A Blog # 2

This Month’s Homilie:
‘The Schleck brothers sacrificed themselves, and that is actually the philosophy of the team ? sacrifice for others, and that is really great.’ Carlos Sastre after winning Stage 17 to Alpe d’Huez.

Column Soundtrack
First turn up the volume on your computer then close your eyes and Click Here for the soundtrack to this column. 

Best Tour Rumor:  Look for CSC to be riding Specialized bikes next year.

Press Release: Ritchey Design Launches Revamped Consumer Web Site with Online Store

Ritchey Design offers a wide range of “cockpit” components (handlebars, stems and seatposts) that help riders custom fit their bikes for a more efficient and comfortable ride, a philosophy Ritchey calls, “Fit Logic.” Ritchey Design also offers a complete line of innovative products ranging from saddles to carbon wheels for professional racers and the serious weekend rider. With the new Web site, consumers will be able to easily purchase Ritchey products with the help of Ritchey Design’s extensive network of authorized retailers. Click Here.


The day was July 6. It was a beautiful day out and I could’ve/should’ve/would’ve been out on my bike, but instead I was transcribing 22 pages of Bobke’s next story for Road Bike Action. It’s a crazy story, and not being able to imagine where the already wild story could possibly lead, I was forced to pause on page 15 to just shake my head in amazement. Only Bobke.

About an hour or so earlier I had been enjoying a tall Pikes at my local Starbucks when Bobke phoned in to leave me his daily TdF report from stage two. As I sat there transcribing his report on the rickety table, I got a special kick when he mentioned Joe Strummer. Of the many discordant things in life that draw Bobke and I close (Italy, motorcycles, and bicycles) Joe Strummer is chief among them. To me, there is no greater soothsayer in life than the Englishman born as John Mellor. After finishing up with Bobke’s stage two report I rushed home to post it on the web site. From there I jumped into the latest installment for the November issue and to ensure I kept a good pace going, first popped in ‘Give ?Em Enough Rope’ (how about Topper’s drumming on Tommy Gun?!).

So the day in & day out relationship I’ve had with Bobke and my cell phone thru-out the Tour has been an adventure in itself. Although Bobby usually called within minutes of the finish, it wasn’t ever a sure thing that I count on that so on some days it became a challenge to try and be at the ready with phone, pen & paper in hand. This was best exemplified on the day of Stage 7.

When the call didn’t come while I was at Starbucks I started driving to work on the 210 freeway. Not one to obey the tenets of current fashion (or state law) by only using a ‘hands free’ device while driving, I took the call on my handy, pressing it firmly against my ear with one hand while keeping the other firmly on the steering wheel?.well, when I wasn’t concurrently reaching for my morning cup of joe and actually steering with my knees. ‘Hands Free’ – yeah, like I would either want or need any more junk in my ears!

Knowing that there’s a notorious zone through the mountains where all cell coverage disappears, I started speeding up to get through it as quick as possible. Luckily, Bobke’s call came just a few miles shy of the dead zone. Tempted as I always am to multi-task while driving, transcribing a Bobke rant usually takes a bit of effort, so I actually decided to pull over. I don’t know about where you live, but in Cali it is illegal to pull over on the freeway just to talk to your pal at the Tour. Things were going smooth until I looked in my rear view mirror and saw Johnny Law rolling up with his cherry tops on bright. Aware that I was running afoul of the law on two counts, I interrupted Bob mid-sentence ‘Bobke, hold on a minute,’ as I dropped the phone from my ear as nonchalantly as possible. In the desperate attempt to avoid a ticket, I quickly (and simultaneously) rolled the window down to wave and hit the blinkers at the same time as I started to accelerate back onto the freeway. Just passing through! Miraculously, the CHP let me alone to drive off to the next legal exit where I pulled off and took down the rest of Bob’s report next to a field of abandoned cars. Nice. Anyway, that my good friends is how we roll at RBA!!

A Case Of A Kettle Calling The Pot Black?
Following Ricco’s positive test there was plenty of worthwhile condemnation of the Italian to go around. The one quip which seemed suspect came from Garmin/Chipoltle rider David Millar, a top rider who too has previously found himself on the wrong end of a hypodermic needle.

‘It’s just amazing. It’s irresponsible; this guy does not have any love or care for the sport.’

Just curious, would Millar say the same about himself? If doping equals no love for the sport, can the love ever be rekindled or is Millar himself going through the motions now in a loveless state?


Passing Judgement:  The Adverts During Le Tour
Grill Daddy ? how can anyone watching the Tour not salivate over the Grill Daddy brush which does such a superb job keeping your grill surface clean & shiny? With a special lifetime supply of brushes!!! I was also curious, how did spokesman Steve Harkey get the nickname ‘Mr. Do It Yourself’??

Versus ? no doubt the channel that made the Tour possible will be touting its own line-up, but there sure was a lot of fighting to promote. While the WEC adverts were violent enough, it at least looked like something resembling a real sport as compared to the asinine shenanigans of those idiots on Tap Out.

Trek ? with their Astana team racing everywhere in July except in France, Trek needed to do something to remind people of their Wisconsin made race bikes. What they came up with were some pretty sophisticated and moving ads that used ol’ what’s his name to tout the brand.

Saab ? Face it, when you’re watching the same cable channel every day for three weeks, some of the ads can get repetitive. Especially the ones that use repetition as a theme. ‘Turning repetition into joy…’ goes the Saab turbo selling point?’For the perfect balance of fuel efficiency and perform?’ yeah, yeah we know already!’

Mogoscooter ? They tell us that the push scooter is an ‘international movement.’ Really? An international movement? Right up there with the Internet and democracy?

Cannondale ? I admit to never having seen an advert from Cannondale, but the boys in the office did and they swore it was the worst of the bunch.

Just A Bit Of Word Play:
Just curious, as much as way too many people try to mimic Phil Ligget’s speech pattern by pronouncing France as ‘Fraawnce’ (but only when they say in conjunction with ‘The Tour?’, I was wondering on how many Americans would also start using Paul Sherwen’s language for a jacket ? ?racing cape’ (made famous on Stage 15) or Ligget’s refusal to use an article when saying ‘He’s off to hospital’? What happened with using ‘the’?? He’s off to the hospital!!! Okay, so even if it’s a Euro thing?.will I really have to suffer from a bunch of little American Liggettes going on about their friend who was ‘taken to hospital’?

I am happy to announce that Chris Stoughton from Georgia was the randomly chosen winner of last month’s inaugural Win Zap’s Schwag contest. Chris won a full Giant kit, plus a sweet Marmot backpack which I picked up at their 2008 media camp in Mallorca.  You too can have a shot at winning this month’s contest below ? if you play along. Here’s a note from Chris telling us a little bit about himself along with the correct answers.

Dear Zap,
I really liked doing your “contest”. I was out on business yesterday and was sitting in the hotel bored. It just so happened that I had brought that edition of the magazine with me and was checking out the new website (which I like by the way). So it was fun looking all the information up. Instead of watching the TV and wishing I was out riding, which was a much better way to spend part of the evening.
I am a territory manager for Case New Holland, which is a farm equipment and construction equipment manufacturer. I’m 41 years old, and have been riding most of my life. I ride 60-80 miles a week around the great two lane roads that rural Georgia has to offer. I ride for my health, happiness, and general well being. I also race on our local velodrome – Dick Lane Velodrome. Head down to Georgia sometime and you’ll find four bikes in my stable:
1. 2007 Felt F2 (my main ride)
2. 2006 LeMond Versailles carbon spine.
3. 1969 Eddy Merckx
4. 2006 Fuji track pro
I want you guys to know that I look forward to your magazine every other month. I think it is great! I just wish you would go to a monthly release instead of making us wait so long.

Here are the answers to the questions you posted.

1. What manufacturing process does Giant use to build the TCR Advanced SL?
Answer: “Hand built at the Giant factory in Taiwan, the SL model uses what they call their ‘Fusion’ technique where the frame endures a second round of mold time after the tubes have initially been molded and co-wrapped together.”

2. How many new models did Giant unveil at their press launch in Mallorca?
Answer: 7 new models

What rider is featured on page 36/37 in the Sept. /Oct ’08 issue of RBA?
Answer: George Hincapie

Who is Bob Dylan singing about in song # 6 from his seminal work, The Times They Are Changin’?
Answer: “Only a Pawn in Their Game” is a song written by Bob Dylan about the assassination of civil rights activist Medgar Evers in June of 1963. It is also about the racism long ingrained in the Mississippi judicial system and throughout society in the Southern US which, for many years, allowed Evers’ killer to remain free.

The lucky random reader who sends in the correct answers to the questions below will be on the receiving end of a sweet Fizik Team Edition product package that includes one of our fave saddles, the Fizik Arione CX plus some matching team edition bar tape, which also happens to be among our most favorite. This $200 value package can be your ? yes yours ? if you answer the following questions correctly and send them to me at [email protected]

How many colors of bar tape does Fizik offer?
2. What place did Bob Roll consider ‘The Promised Land’?
3. The crazy Fizik Arione K:1 saddle weighs how much and uses what kind of rails?
4. According to I-Tunes, song # 5 on the newest Kings of Leon album is one of the least popular ? what’s the name of the album and song?


The 2008 Team Replica Limited Edition Saddles and Tape Kit offer six two-color versions of fi’zi:k’s new Arione CX with team issue fi’zi:k logos and k:ium rails. The kits retail for $199 US dollars and include matching microtex fiber tape with fi’zi:k logos, available exclusively in the Limited Edition Team Issue kits.
Weighing 199 grams, the new Arione CX saddle features a new lightweight foam formulation reducing the overall weight of the saddle by 30 grams. Technically, the foam has a greater density while using less bulk, yielding a lower and sleeker profile without sacrificing comfort that is analogous to the Arione saddle. The Arione CX 2008 Team Replica saddles features Wing Flex technology and k:ium rails.

Quote Of The Month

“Jon, if you don’t have any escalators you may as well be a slave!”  Larry Wilmore on the Jon Stewart Show, 7/24/08

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