.
. home
diaries
frankie's history
coaching and camps
motivational speaking
questions for frankie
email
links
10/3/00

Oct 3

The Olympics are over! I at least did get to see some cycling. When I was in Europe I saw two days of track racing before I returned to America. Once I was home I was able to watch the road race twice. Once on CBC, a Canadian channel, and once on the overly dramatic NBC. I figure NBC must stand for "Not the Best Coverage." When I started watching the road race I didn't know if I was watching a bike race or a soap opera. I don't know who writes this stuff but they must laugh when they find out their script got approved for airing. I finally had to turn off the volume when Freddy flatted from the break and the announcer said that Freddy was picked out from the pack and struck like a bolt of lightening. It was so stupid I can't even remember exactly. With two laps to go I knew the road race was over. I saw three riders in the break and they were thinking the same thing I was. Three Telekoms, three places, and three medals. It was a no-brainer to ride as hard they could to make it to the line. Ullrich looked the strongest and Vini was in a no win situation no matter what conversation took place. Either the two Germans would attack the heck out of him or he accepts second and hopefully with a padded pocketbook. The race looked fast; every time I looked up it looked they were in a single line. I thought George was in a good break going towards the finish but then I saw Lance attacking and trying to bridge with a bunch of guys on his wheel. I didn't understand this since George was already in the front but it was later explained to me that this was part of the plan. I would have trusted George to get the result but the plan was for George and Freddy to get in some late breaks and wait for Lance to bridge up and then work for him for the win. The problem was that Ullrich, Vini, and Kloden snuck off at sixty km/hr and never looked back. For all the hype that the course was easy - some said the same as Atlanta - they were wrong. I suppose a 240km pro race can never be easy.

The time trial was a pleasant surprise. The win couldn't have gone to a nicer down to earth guy. To say that Eki is a true champion doesn't do him justice. This guy has been around a long time and when you count him out that's when he comes back the strongest. It's a shame he had already signed a contract with Postal because after this impressive win he deserves a nice bonus.

In all races there are winners and losers. It's just that this time in the Olympics the stakes are a lot higher. The stakes are higher not only for the riders but also for each country's cycling federation. Each country's results in the Olympics determine future funding from the US Olympic Committee (USOC) and from sponsors. Each gold medal is like money in the bank for the respective cycling federations. This year the United States' gold medal ride came from Marty Nothstein in the sprints. He flew to Australia in coach class, stayed with his teammates, and paid for his wife and kids to come over to see an experience of a lifetime. Marty's wife even had to buy her own tickets to attend the track events. The Federation's bigger gamble was with Lance. The Feds had to spend a pretty penny to take care of some of Lance's requests. I must admit I had my money on Lance also. Lance also had his wife, nanny, and son with him at the races. Lance's sponsor, Oakley, even went above and beyond their duty to make sure Lance's mom made it down to Sydney by paying for her roundtrip ticket. Lance did a great ride but like he said he went as hard as he could and it wasn't fast enough that day. It's very hard to hold top form from the end of June to the end of September. For anyone else a bronze medal would be a delight but for Lance and the US Federation they both had their sights a little higher.

The story below is by Odessa Gunn. She is scheduled to marry my teammate Levi Leipheimmer sometime in November. Her daily schedule for a professional cyclist might be just a little exaggerated but to some extent it's true for all of us. Her motherhood stories are all true.

"A Day in the Life"

I write this story while wrapped up in a big fluffy blanket in my favorite chair, where I have spent most of the day in a trance like state of both shock and recovery. For yesterday my friends, I saw the light. A side of the world I had not seen before up close. Not China, not Nepal or a Koala bear, but motherhood. Oh my goodness. I spent the afternoon with Betsy and Lil' Frankie. Now to preface my story I have to tell you that Frankie is the most well behaved beautiful little child I have ever met but he is a 17 month old boy. I have heard before that raising a child is a full time job but I didn't know they were being literal !! I have been a pro athlete now for two years and I am engaged to one (Levi Leipheimmer) as well. I thought myself to be tough and efficient but I guess I was comparing myself to a man only. In our house a standard day goes something like this.

I wake up a 7am
                -make coffee
                - check e mail, and respond to e mail.
                - Feed outside cats and inside cats
                - let cats in
                - make and eat breakfast
                - start laundry load #1
                - wash dishes from night before
                - play morning chase games with orange cat Elmo
                - make 2 or 3 phone calls
                - make Levi's oatmeal
                - let cats out
Levi wakes up 9am
                -  reads e mail
                - eats oatmeal

Between 9 and 11am, I - clean up from breakfast
                - let cats in     
                -  fill water bottles
                - put clothes in dryer and start laundry #2
                - dress for ride       
                - make bed
                - let cats out 
                           
           Levi -  Sits on line, still
                - dresses for ride

We both  do same ride from 11 to 3 and return home.

   I immediately - fold clothing from laundry # 1 and put it away
                 - shower
                 - let cats in
                 - put laundry #2 in dryer
                 - make lunch for two
                 - eat lunch
                 - feed cats
                 - let cats out
                                 
            Levi - showers
                 - eats lunch
     
At 4 pm I proceed to - Run to grocery store and fruit stand
                 - come home and start  making dinner
                 - finish laundry
                 -  break up cat fight
                 - put cats outside
                 - make dinner and set table
                    
           Levi  - lies on sofa watching t.v                  
                 -  eats cereal

        At 5 pm I -  Serve dinner
                  - let cats in
                  - eat dinner
                       
             Levi - eats dinner
                     
        At 6 pm I - clean up from dinner
                  - let cats out
                  - bake chocolate chip cookies
                  - watch some t.v while cookies bake
                 
             Levi - watches t.v and waits for cookies
                        
        At 7 pm I -  Wash dishes from cookies and serve them up
                  - answer inevitable telemarketing phone call
                  - let cats in
                  - eat 2 cookies
                              
            Levi  - gets angry at me for baking cookies
                  -  Eats 11 cookies and dozes off in front of t.v
                      
        At 8 pm I - clean cat litter
                  - check e mail again
                  - watch t.v                           
                  - stop cat from drinking Levi's milk
                  - break up fight between cat and Levi
                                 
             Levi - watches t.v

11pm we go to bed.
Now, it's because of this daily routine that I thought I was a typical durable woman capable of multi tasking and taking care of the ones I love. I was mistaken. I guess I'm okay for an athlete but as a woman I am soft core. I witnessed Betsy doing eight million things at once while keeping a constant eye on an ever moving toddler who gives perpetual motion a whole new meaning. I tried to help but I just felt like a fumbling useless master of inefficiency. The simple task of getting groceries and having lunch entailed folding strollers, little mini chairs, bags of baby stuff, something called wipes, little bottles of milk, constant entertaining, maneuvering through small doorways with all these things, cleaning up spills, and massive packages of water. I could go on but you get the picture. Then we had to transfer this entourage from the van, which had to be illegally double-parked on a tiny busy street, three floors up to the apartment. I have tried over and over again in my mind to figure out how she does it alone but for the life of me I can't figure it out. I sat in the car with little Frankie and we danced while Betsy made something like 8 trips upstairs with the groceries. Did I mention she is pregnant? Yeah, I know, freakin unreal. I can't imagine what she does when Frankie's on the road since she doesn't have any help. No wonder she's excited to get back home and to the grandparents! So I think I have a unique perspective on this sampling of every day life for a young mother. I am a woman yes but I am also a bike racer. I understand how tiring it is to train and race hard but let me tell you this. Training ends when you stop and races eventually end. Then you can seek refuge and relaxation in a meal and a sofa. Motherhood is FOREVER and it IS 24 hours a day. There are no sofas and mealtime is anything but relaxing. To Betsy and all the other mothers out there, I salute you. And for anyone who thinks they are ready for kids, spend a day with a Mom and her baby first. Levi and I are looking at puppies!!! Odessa Gunn


10/10/00

The season is winding down and for some of us it's already over. It's time to sit back, rest a little, and take a little vacation. Or is it? All my buddies are bustin' out their cyclecross bikes and tearing up the trails. I just have a mountain bike but I figured it will have to do if I want to hang out with my cycling friends. The first cross race, here in Michigan, was last Sunday. I was all set to go and race my first cross race until I started thinking about the race the day before. I then realized that I don't know how to jump on and off my bike in a full run. When I have to get off my bike I usually come to a complete stop, unclip both feet, and then swing my leg back and over the saddle. If I were Italian, I would swing my leg forward and over the handlebars. If I were Belgian, I would push the bike out from under me while jumping off the back and grabbing the saddle. Back to the point - when I have to get off my bike I usually stop first. In a cyclecross race you have to be able to jump off your bike to clear obstacles while never losing your speed. It's a foreign concept to me. As I said before, I chickened out from the first cycle cross race because I realized I had no idea what I was doing.

I did have one part of the race down and that was the visualization part. You see, I saw a picture of Bart Bowen in Velo News from a cyclecross race. It was a still picture but it looked like he was flying. He had both legs on one side of the bike, his hand was already on the top tube to pick up the bike, and he was getting ready to clip out to jump some obstacle. This was my mental image for the next few days. I pictured myself crossing my leg over my bike while at the same time clipping out while at the same time picking up the bike to jump over a board and all while cruising at ten km/hr - the same as I saw in the Velo News picture. It was a different scene when I actually went out to practice my perfected technique that I had visualized. I took my mountain bike to the local park and found an obstacle that I could jump over - it was the parking curb. In my head I knew what to do and as I approached the curb I threw my leg over my top tube put one hand on the top tube and went to clip out without losing my momentum. That's when trouble stuck: my foot didn't clip out and I nailed the cement curb. I couldn't exactly put my foot out to stop me from falling and I nailed the ground as the back of the bike came crashing down on top of me. I don't know if anyone saw the crash so I took my time getting up. I'm sure if they had seen what I was doing in the first place they would have thought I was already a weirdo so it was pointless in trying to hop up and save some embarrassment. Like a good soldier I got back on the bike and tried again. This time I made sure to twist my foot a little harder to make sure it released and I was able to make it over the six-inch curb. If I wasn't trying to learn this cyclecross stuff I would have just stayed on my bike and plowed over it. After my one day of practice I figured I was ready to head to the next race and give it a shot.

After one week of beautiful weather my first cyclecross race was typical of the cycle cross pictures I've seen before- nasty! The rain made the course soft and it was freezing cold outside. Two elements I didn't need to deal with during my "vacation" time. I can't really complain because the course and weather turned out better than I expected. We had about thirty guys and I lined up in the fourth row. I didn't want to start right in the front because I didn't know what to expect. I could tell you that by the time I clipped in I was already thirty seconds behind the first guys and that I lost the race by only thirty seconds but that would be lying. The course had four sections of obstacles with three barriers in each section. In between each section there was a good amount of riding and that's what saved me -my technique did not. The race was one hour long and after the second lap I was already trying to figure out how many more laps I had to do. On that second lap I also found myself in a group of four. There were two guys up the road and in my mind they were out of sight so out of mind. I didn't even care about trying to catch them; I was doing everything I could just to stay with my small group. At each barrier I would lose a couple bike lengths on my leaders (my group of four). They would skim over the barriers like high hurdlers clearing the hurdles in the Olympics. I had, as one spectator put it, "a jump like a leprechaun." I would jump up instead of forward. They also could remount and clip back in to their pedals before I even got one leg over the saddle. By the time I would finish looking down to find my pedals to put my feet back in them I would lose three or four bike lengths. Luckily, I know how to pedal a bike so I could always catch back up. It didn't take long for the guys I was with to figure out what was happening and put the hurt on me by accelerating each time after the barriers. In the final lap I decided to attack them. There were two sets of barriers before the finish and if I wanted to win (from my group) I had to get a big head start. The first time I attacked it became a drag race to the corner, I lost. The second time I attacked I got a gap but they closed it on the stupid barriers again. Needless to say the last time over the final barriers I lost two bike lengths and got last (in my group).

The race was hard. It's a whole different sport than road racing. I had a blast and I am planning on beating the guy's in my group next time. I figure this cyclecross thing will either get me fit or kill me. Considering my legs feel like I just lifted weights for the first time, meaning very sore, I would say this first cyclecross raced killed me. I guess it's time to end my "vacation" so next time I'll gain the advantage of getting fit.


10/17/00

Back home in Michigan we have a dream that we are trying to make come true. We used to have a velodrome in Michigan. To be exact, it was the Dorais Velodrome located at Eight Mile and Mound.

Those who have ridden the Dorais Velodrome know the location; it's not a place you forget.

It doesn't matter when you rode the velodrome, even if it was when it first opened in 1969, you'd remember. It's not like the Los Angeles or Indianapolis velodrome in or near a college campus.

It's not like Kenosha or Northbrook that are located in a nice park. And it was never like T-Town, which is the cream of the crop for track racing.

No, our Detroit track was located in one of the "not-so-nice" areas. The drive to and from the track provided lots of scenery. Eight Mile is known for its irreputable dance places and the night brings out the corner workers.

The track had no boards at the top; if you got taken to the top you could just ride along the grass at the top of the track and hop back in.

The same could be said if you got pushed well below the pace line. The track had no bridge and it had no tunnel to get to the infield. Then again, no one wanted to go into the infield.

Everyone would park around the outside of the track where you could sit in your car and watch all the races and training rides. You could even look down on the burned-out cars, old tires, and dumped appliances that littered the infield.

When the velodrome wasn't being used as a track for bikes the locals took it upon themselves to use the track for their drag racing.

You could even see the skid marks on the track from these cars.

One time during a training session, we heard a police car chase. Low and behold if we didn't see the guy running from the police come running up, over and through our track to escape the police.

If it weren't for us riding on the track, I'm sure the cops would've driven onto the velodrome without much hesitation.

Training was free on the track but after what I've explained you can understand why no one ever rode unless it was a scheduled training day.

There was one mandatory item that each rider had to bring to ride on the velodrome: a broom. The first steps on the track were with the broom to sweep off all the glass, rubber, and parts littering the track.

It may have been a cycling track but to the locals it ranged from everything from a dumping ground to a car racetrack.

Our project is to get another cycling track but this time only for the cyclists.

The ground has been broke and the shape of the velodrome is starting to take place. The velodrome is being built on donations, hard work, and lots of volunteers.

On Saturday, I went out to the track to help rake and seed the area around where the track will be built. There were about 40 of us trying to dig up the dirt so we cold plant the grass.

I don't want to complain or anything, (Betsy, my wife, would say it's too late for that) but I got some nasty blisters from chopping up that dirt and clay. I might not have the toughest looking of hands but I do have some calluses.

It's not like my nickname is Madge and I soak my hands in Palmolive each night. I don't know what the problem was, but my hands got shredded.

This manual labor thing was not for me. I had to stop and rest every 10 or 15 minutes. The volunteer next to me never even stopped. SHE made it look easy.

Thanks to Michigan Caterpillar, who donated a bulldozer for the work.

The track has taken shape and the next step is digging 400 holes for the steel support pillars for the track. Thank God we have a machine to do that!

After the pillars are in place the building materials should start arriving and construction will start. The project is still about $50,000 short of reaching its goal.

Hopefully, the track will be up and running in the spring of 2001. This time the track will be in a nice area, in a nice park, and we will even let the locals use it--as long as they're on a bike.

Worlds

The worlds took place this weekend. I know about as much as you do from the Internet. What I do know is that there were a lot of tired riders at the worlds and they experienced some bad weather.

What else would you expect from the north of France in the middle of October? (Meaning they should change the date!)

The United States did score one world champion with Mari Holden's win in the women's individual time trial. That's a lot better success than the U.S. has had in some of the previous world championships.

I also read an article on the U.S. team's bad results from the Olympics. There is one thing that has to be remembered: they are the best that we have with arguably a couple of exceptions.

You can't totally blame the athletes; they tried their 100 percent and that is all we can ask from them.

The problem with results would have to come from the development of younger riders, lack of better races in America, and of course USA cycling. Onward

My next race is Coconut Grove in Florida on October 21 and 22.

I then am attempting another first, a classic mountain bike race in northern Michigan: the Iceman Cometh.

New events, new races, and new challenges.

If you are interested in helping out the Velodrome project please send donations to:

The Community Foundation of Greater Rochester

C/O: Mike Walden Velodrome Fund

P.O. Box 431

Rochester, MI 48308-0431

You can find more information at:

www.lmb.org/velo/


10/24/00

Years ago the coolest race around was held in a small town in California called La Jolla. The La Jolla Grand Prix was on a wicked fast course, had crazy prize money, and had the best of the best racers. Even as fast as the riders were they had a hard time keeping up with the city known for its outlying hot party spots. La Jolla was trendy, hip, cool, artsy, and expensive all rolled into one six block area. The La Jolla race may not exist any more but this weekend I returned to to what is now the coolest race around the block. I say returned because this race also fell to its demise as La Jolla did many years ago. Only now, mostly because of Lee Marks, a local attorney and avid cyclist, has the race returned to its full bloom. If you want great restaurants, great night clubs, beautiful women, fast cars, and - oh yeah bike racing - come to Florida. Not just any part of Florida but Miami; and not just any part of Miami but Coconut Grove. For the last three years the Great Coconut Grove bike race has returned and claimed a stake it lost a long time ago as the race to end all races. It's a party weekend where the riders spend more time napping then they do training and they spend more time up at night then they do during the day. Drinking is not taboo and Mexican food is part of the daily intake. It may be a cycling race but the rules have changed.

The resurrection of The Great Coconut Grove Bicycle Race happened three years ago but because of my Euro schedule I could never make it down. I had heard through the grapevine how much fun this weekend was so I decided to take the trip with my family. We went down a few days early so that I could visit my relatives in the Boca and Miami area. At the races I had my own personal cheering section. If you would have yelled, "Hey, Andreu" half the stands would have turned around to see you. Saturday's road race was a new addition to the Coconut Grove race weekend. The race was held on Key Biscayne which is a small island connected by a bridge just off of Miami. This was the first time for this race and it might well be the last time also. The race course went back and forth over the bridge and because it was the only way on and off the island the road was not completely blocked. They kept one lane open for the traffic which, looking back, may have been the mistake. Because there was only one lane open for cars the traffic tie-up became a mess. What normally is a quick jaunt from Miami to the multi-million dollar mansions on the island became a standing parking lot. Wealth and patience doesn't mix well. Once the saturation point of phone calls were received by the police department they had to postpone the race to try and get the flow of traffic back to normal. That's a bad thing about cell phones. Normally, no one would have been able to complain until they got home and by that time the whole event would have been over with. Anyway, not helping the matter was that twenty minutes into alleviating the gridlock a truck dropped its rear axel completely blocking the one lane that was open for traffic. This caused even some more delays but eventually racing did get underway. We were scheduled for ten laps but because of a time constraint we were shortened to six laps of the five mile circuit. No one seemed to mind as we all looked at the dark clouds and straightened flags that were around us. The main obstacle of the race was the bridge but the biggest difficulty did not come from the rise in the cement but rather from the wind. In each direction across the bridge we had cross winds and like most races we had cones separating us from the traffic. Cross winds and cones - you can figure out the rest. With about three laps to go a break of seven went up the road. The peloton never really got organized and the group never caught the break or the eventual winner: Ivan Dominguez (Saturn).

Sunday's criterium race was the famous circuit in downtown Coconut Grove. It's a one mile loop with seven corners and perfect viewing for the spectators. The first race went off at nine in the morning and my wife, son, and I ate breakfast while watching the juniors race around. I'll let you know there are some big juniors down in Florida. I must have sat outside watching two-thirds of the races that went on that day. It was great seeing old faces, new faces, and young faces. My race was a one hour long timed event and again the wind was mighty strong. I felt like the race was fast but it wasn't that hard to sit in the group. The hard part was trying to stick my nose in the wind once in awhile. It's amazing how hard bike racing is when you have not been training. One person who obviously was fit and on a mission was Ivan Dominguez. From the start Ivan was on the front controlling the pace and making sure he was in any important moves going up the road. When the winning break did form it didn't contain Ivan but he managed to change that in about a half lap. Ivan bridged up to the break, rode with the guys for three laps and then dusted them in the sprint. With the kind of big motivation and big fitness Ivan had, it was no wonder he made it look so easy.

The weekend was not without incidents. On Saturday, there were plenty of crashes from riders trying to avoid the cones. I even crashed on Saturday. I was riding right behind George when a crashed happened on our right. As we swung left a guy fell right behind George and right in front of me. I fell over and for some stupid reason couldn't figure out how to get my chain back on (brain lapse.) The next day in the criterium, with four laps to go, Freddy and George drifted to the back of the group. They figured it was better to stay out of trouble in the back then to risk the craziness of a field sprint. With three laps to go in the first corner George saw this blur going past his left side as he was entering into the corner. He yelled at Freddy to watch out but it was too late as the guy entered the corner twice as fast as anyone else and took out Freddy straight on. George again made it through. The conclusion of these tales was that George is bad luck to ride next to in a race.

All in all it was a great weekend with some great races. I first started racing when I was nine years old; it was great to see the organizers had racing for all the age categories and not just the older or best racers. I remember when I was young I used to love watching the Cat. 1s race after I had finished racing. I hope the younger racers as well as older racers got a kick out of watching us pros this weekend as I did when I was young. I couldn't have picked a better race for my only criterium finish here in America.


10/31/00

OLN

I know I looked stiff but you have to remember it was my first time. The whole time I was thinking what to do with my hands, should I smile or not smile, which way do I look, and what the hell am I going to talk about. Trying to cram a whole Tour de France into ten seconds is not easy. This weekend I was invited by Outdoor Life Network to participate in their 2001 Tour preview show. I jumped at the opportunity. This was something I've always wanted to try. Bob Roll, Jonathon Vaughters and I were the expert commentary but the real expert was Bob Varsha the host of show. We were experts in cycling but Varsha was the expert in tying together a show that had a strict time schedule. If you have never done any television then you probably think it's easy like I did. Boy, was I wrong. The whole program is laid out into timed segments. Each guy has a very finite time to explain his thoughts and like I said try explaining an entire Tour in thirty seconds. Each segment we would do our spew and usually one of us would screw something up. Yes, even Varsha. Someone would either go brain dead and forget to talk, stutter a few words, or look towards the wrong camera. We then would have to start from the top and try to get it right. Some segment took us six or seven times until we all flowed with the words correctly. My mistake was trying to fit everything I could think of into my short ten seconds. My mind would race ahead of my mouth and then gibberish would come out. Next time, which I hope there is one, I need to pick one or two topics and not rush it so much. As it was we were in the studio from nine in the morning to six at night. The reason we went early was to watch the live announcement of Jean Marie Leblanc announcing the Tour. Then once the course was revealed we all had to figure out what stages to focus on and what important topics to cover. When we finished at six at night the editing crew had three hours to piece everything together and send it out to the viewers. I give OLN credit for making a huge effort to give you the Tour preview on the same day as the Tour announcement instead of you reading or hearing about it three days later. As mentioned earlier, and as my wife pointed out to me, I looked like a smiling statuette in some scenes. Next time I'll try to do better so feel free to unload about the show. The show is being made for the viewer so let us know what you needed but didn't get.

After flying to New York for the OLN taping I flew to Reno, Nevada and met up with George Hincapie, Christian Vandevelde, and Steve Larson. Sinclair Imports and Carnac were taking some photo shoots and having a party for some of their clients. We took some sprint photos and then some climbing photos. They won't be what you expect so I hope they turn out well. The last day in Reno we did a ride with a bunch of Sinclair's dealers and friends. Considering Steve, Christian, George and I have all not ridden in more than a few weeks we let everyone else do the pulling. It was a nice change.

At the end of September I went to Las Vegas and let me tell you what a difference in these two cities. Reno is an old run down city compared to Vegas. There are no huge flashy casinos, no statues coming out of the buildings and when you cross the railroad tracks here in Reno you definitely see the difference. The outside may have been different but the insides of the hotels are the same- lots of lights, machines, and gambling. I stayed at the Eldorado and my room, it felt like a small apartment, was incredible. I only wish my bedroom at home could be so big and nice. On Saturday the hotel had a huge Halloween party. We didn't have any costumes but Christian and I did come up with an idea. We thought we could each sport our US Postal Service jerseys, put on a helmet, some clear Oakley's and voila a costume. For us it wouldn't really be a costume but for everyone else it would work. Our outfit would not be that of just any cyclist. If someone asked who or what we were supposed to be our standard answer would be "Lance Armstrong, you know the guy who won two Tour de France's."

In Vegas the guys went and played golf. In Coconut Grove the guys went and played golf. In Reno here the guys went and played golf. I knew I wasn't any good but when I don't play for awhile I sometimes have to go play to remind myself how bad I really am. Not a problem, I proved it easily as I repeatedly shanked, hooked and sliced every ball I hit. That's when I got lucky and hit the ball.

I suppose I can touch on the Festina affair and Virenque's court battle in France. Actually, I don't think it is much of a battle but more of a confessional. I don't believe it comes as much of a surprise to anyone that Richard admitted to taking doping products. I mean there were nine guys on the Festina Tour team and seven all admitted right away that they were wrong. They were all given a six-month suspension. Pascal Herve, although admitting nothing, also took a six month suspension in support of his teammates. What a nice guy! Now two years later, when the sport was heading in the right direction, the whole drug fiasco gets dragged out again. This time Virenque admitted he used banned substances and so did Herve. Now the question is what will happen to the two. Does Herve get another suspension since he already took a voluntary one two years ago? Will Virenque retire? I believe Richard didn't have a team and couldn't find a team at the time of the court trial so he had nothing to lose. A six-month suspension when you are not racing isn't quite a problem. If anything maybe Richard feels cleansed by his admissions.

World Championships, what World's? The track championships were last week and I have no idea what happened. The Olympics took so much energy and emphasis from everyone that I think most forgot there was still a World's this year. I mean this from the spectators and fans as much as from the cyclists. Besides, its freaking Halloween, how ridiculous is it to have World's so late in the season.

Next week The Iceman Cometh. I got my NORBA license the other day so now I'm all ready for my first mountain bike.. I can't wait it should be a lot of fun. Thanks to Scott Par and Mavic I'm set up with the incredible new Mavic tubeless mountain bike wheels. At least if my legs go flat in the race I won't have to worry about the tires going flat.

After next weeks article I get a small vacation from writing. There will still be all the other great weekly columns but I will not return until the start of December. I know many of you are curious about my team situation and as much as I would like to tell you something I can't. Nothing is done yet. I will not be on Postal Service because they made it clear that my services are no longer needed there. All I can tell you is that as soon as I know something you will know something.

© 2012 Benka Web Design