Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Oprah Grills Marion Jones

Today is the airing of the Oprah show where she sits down with Marion Jones who just got out of jail after serving a six month prison sentence. Here's my play-by-play calls of the interview as they happen. I've got it on Tivo so I can pause it while I spout off...

  • First off, where's the audience? It looks like they did this on a closed set. Marion, are you too scared to face the questions in front of others?
  • Geez, ladies, enough of the "You smell good...yes, you smell good too" comments!
  • Jones, you said you had days in prison where you felt "empowered". Empowered to clean laundry and make license plates? Your explanation of being in prison for "a reason" is tell more.
  • I can tell you why you're in got caught doping and you lied.
  • Hmm, interesting to find out she can't vote. McCain, heads up, the corporate felons of America can't rally to save your election.
  • Marion didn't know what "the clear" was. Apparently it wasn't "introduced" to her as such. How was it introduced to you? Marion, try this new moisturizer, it has a nice fresh scent to it that will also make you run faster.
  • At the split second she decided to lie, Marion had a million thoughts running through her mind. Apparently none of them were causing her inner voice to say, "Hmm, telling the truth is probably the best option you've got lady."
  • "Infor-way-tion" - not familiar with this term Marion. Inform me, provide me more information.
  • You've got to be kidding me. Marion can't remember exactly what her coach called "the clear" when she received it. She knew it was a supplement, but doesn't remember the name of it.
  • Oh wait, Oprah, thanks for lending a hand and reminding Marion. Apparently it was flaxseed oil.
  • You take the pill containing "the clear" and put it under your tongue, leave it there, then swallow after a while.

  • The story of how Victor Conte saw Marion take the drug is different from Marion's version of the happenings
  • "Knowingly" - interesting to see how Marion hides behind this word to somehow justify her own actions.
  • 31 minutes into the interview and we have it...the first tears
  • So who are the lucky people who got the bronze medals from those events...those athletes who came in 4th?
  • Ouch, her teammates had to give up their medals too. I'd be pissed if I were one of them.
  • ...and Marion didn't specifically apologize to those teammates. The least she could have done was to say "I'm sorry" to them.
  • Ok, Oprah is giving Marion a chance to speak to the camera and apologize. Hmm, I'm not too impressed by Marion's lack of effort.
  • Lowest points - missing the birthdays of her children. I can sympathize with her on this would be hard.
  • Apparently her stay at prison wasn't too harsh; she didn't have to watch her back for the lady with the home-made knife.
  • I'm perplexed. Marion says that when you took away the facade of "Marion Jones the athlete" she was ashamed, not as self-confident. She was having a hard time living up to the persona of who people thought she was.
  • So Marion, if you're energized by this "next chapter" of your life, I'm interested to see where this takes you. Do you know what it will be?
  • I actually take Marion's side while she's ready her letter. Pretty heart-felt stuff that brought a tear to my eye. Not as an athlete, but as a parent and knowing that you're missing out on watching your children grow.
  • Yo MC, Marion's a rapper, "I'm happy with the skin that I'm in." Throw in the human beat box!

So it's done. Interview complete. Interesting enough, but only time will tell what will happen next.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Hard Roller

While I was rolling up to Henry Coe Park for the SJBC Winter Series hill climb, I missed Taylor rolling over for her first time. And so goes the innocence of her being stuck in one place and not moving. Life is about to get more interesting as her mobility catches up to that of her older sister and brother.

As for the bike ride I shaved 2+ minutes off my previous best. I only do this climb once a year (I really should do it more) and it happens that each year I improve by about the same margin. Like they say, you get faster but it still hurts. I'm sure this will be the case next year too.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Sightings of the Day

There must have been a convention of domestic pros over in Los Gatos today. On my way over to my weekly flogging up Hwy 9 I came across somebody from the Bissell team (and yes, they did have their Pinarello too) and BMC. Not sure exactly who they were but you could tell they were enjoying the nice day. My best guess to their identity would be Ben Jaques-Maynes and Jackson Stewart. Had we all been riding in the same direction I'm sure they would have liked staying on my wheel in my vortex draft coming off my sweet big-guy rouleur profile.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Being Thin

Over the past three years my body has gone through a pretty big transformation from being a basketball player to a cyclist. I've lost 40 pounds and most of my muscle from the upper regions of my body has trimmed way down. Plus I lost a bunch of fat and leaned up too. I actually weigh less than my collegiate playing days (better endurance too).

But I thought this picture was interesting to see. Amazing how thin a pro cyclist is when you strip away the jersey. I'm sure not everybody is like this on the pro tour. So to my friends out there who worry that I'm "wasting away", don't fret. I don't look like this.

Acts of Random Happiness

Taylor is almost four months old and she's crossed over from being a docile infant to the realm of unexplained happiness. It used to take a bit of work to get her to smile, but now she's throwing out smiles like a politician wanting to shake every hand at a rally. It's a nice change as now I don't have to work hard making high-pitched baby sounds to get a reaction.

She also has the kung-fu leg kicks going too. Poor Tate and Logan may get one of these kicks straight to their heads if they're not paying attention. I fully expect this to happen to Tate as his luck with his head has been pretty low of late. First he accidentally closed the car door on his head (how does anybody do this?!? ... don't worry, the door was closing very slowly) then he ran into a chair at my in-laws dinner table. He takes life "head-on" apparently...

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Pet Peeve - Earbuds

I own one and I'm sure you probably do to. They're great to have and make things so, so much more convenient. Yeah, I'm talking about the iPod. Whether you've got the Nano, the iPod or the iPhone I do marvel in how it makes my library of 400+ CD's all come together so seamlessly.

But enough about my man-crush on this device. I'm peeved and here's why.
I'm not a fan of these things being used by cyclists.

The other day I was climbing up Hwy 9 out of Saratoga and came passed a cyclist. As usual I gave him some words of encouragement and kept motoring along. Next up was another cyclist about 300 yards ahead.

Upon reaching her I gave her some encouragement as well, but it fell on deaf ears. Ok, not deaf, but ears that were being occupied by the iPod earbuds. So my kind words were not heard, and then when I passed, I get this incredulous look from the rider as if to say, "At least you could have said you were passing me?!?"

Come on! You had your iPod blasting who-knows-what into your cranium and you decide to give me that look and attitude?!?

So that's just my most recent experience. I actually have had teammates tell me of stories where people listening to music have turned into traffic and/or other cyclists passing from behind because they can't hear what's happening around them.

But hey, who am I to tell people what to do. You just go ahead and get that love tap from the Ford F150 next time...just let me know if it "snuck" up on you and pounced unexpectedly from behind.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Not Surprised

Read this little news bit this morning. For some reason I'm not surprised. Seeing guys come out of nowhere is a pretty clear sign that something might be in their blood. I'm just glad CERA is getting detected and actions are being swift.

Maybe Kohl and our California governor can get together and swap dopping stories...

Sunday, October 12, 2008

SJBC Winter Series is Here

Once again the cooler morning temperatures is about to bring out those hardy souls for some Fall and Winter racing at the Winter Series ( The past two years I've done these events I used them as major training rides to build up the old engine. This year I'll have none of that. Ok, maybe a little, but I'm not going to be putting my nose out there for the sake of trying to peak again in February. I'd rather peak later in 2009.

I'll still be doing most of the events, but might just hang out with some of the new riders and do some mentoring. That might be exactly what I need.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Getting back on the bike

Last year I was coming off my L4/L5 back injury and was itching to put in hard rides and get my fitness back. This year it's a completely different story.

I hit my goals and have pretty much sat on my butt enjoying some time over the past month doing stuff around the house. It's amazing how much you can get done when you're not racing. I did do one great ride that was new to me during this time. We spent a weekend down in Cambria for a wedding. Upon the recommendation of a teammate I decided to ride up Santa Rosa Creek Drive and explore the canyon. Nice little road until you hit the 'wall'. Yes, the road literally jacks up from a nice meandering ride and points skyward. Boy, that was a gut check. Those extra pounds on me reared their ugly head.

Looking forward I'm pretty excited about next season. I've taken delivery of a TT bike and I'm hoping to focus on TT events in 2009. Between the SJBC Winter Series, Beat the Clock and those events on the NCNCA calendar I'm hoping to spend quite a bit of time doing these.

I'm also tossing the idea around of getting a coach. This is a hard call for me to make. I do enough research to arm myself with information to be a pretty well-informed self-coached athlete. But on the other hand, I'm sure working with a coach would help me. It will be interesting to note which voice in my head wins. In the meantime I'll be easing back into the bike and taking it easy during the Winter Series.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Palin - I can't wait for SNL

Saturday Night Live is going to be great. How do I know? Sarah Palin is dropping some great sound bytes during the debate. So far this is what I've seen:

  • Winking at the camera
  • Calling out Joe Sixpack and Hockey Moms
  • Her north-of-the-border accent gets accentuated when she's under pressure and trying to answer a hard question

And this was in the first 5 minutes of the debate. I might actually pay attention to this election due to the fact that so much comedic material is forthcoming.