Archive for the ‘CHL’ Category

Fallshadowing

Friday, August 26th, 2011

Can’t help but kick off a new season with this rockin’ clip (literally), courtesy of Signore King. It features “the Lynn Hill of the dog world.” Biscuit, you rocked my world.

Bitches be crazy!

RED, WHITE & A MILE HIGH: So, what did you do this summer? Were you in Colorado catching the US Pro Cycling Challenge the last week of August? Good for you!

While you stood at the side of the road, amidst breathtaking Colorado scenery, Europeans jealously watched you cheer on Tour de France podium finishers – all three of them – racing at high elevation US-style, baby. Lots of kinesio tape being passed around.

Evans sizing up SchleckYou do know Cadel Evans won the Tour de France, right?

Who?

Evans has been the one of the greatest threats you never heard of – other than reading his name in previous blog postings – to top the podium in a couple years. He’s finished the Tour de France 2nd, twice. This time, at 34 years old, he’s the oldest guy to win post WWII.

But he used to refuse to speak with the media. He’s a little "nervous" more often than not. Still, it was a well-deserved victory and the first time an Australian has won that race.

Alberto Contador, on the other hand, only shot off bottle rockets. He tried a couple moves on a stage or two, but was clearly not in a winner’s frame of mind. He did manage 5th overall.

The top American competitor, finishing 9th, was Tommy Danielson, riding his first Tour de France at age 33. This is a guy who, about six years ago, was touted as the next Lance after winning the Tour of Georgia – a label no one in his right mind would want so early in his career. Some call it the "Curse of Lance."

ENTERTAINMENT VALUE: Bobke quote –

A rider’s power is equal to his ability to endure suffering.

Here I’ve been thinking Bob Roll was referring to endless hours in the saddle. I’ve concluded it refers to the whole enchilada, though. Take, for example, the rampant phenomenon of male fans stripping to their tighty-whities, Borat straps, or bday suits and leaping out of the masses just in time for the TV cameras – aka the world and my mama – and the victimized riders, of course.

Nice tan lines!Plenty of hooch passed around on those hilltops.

Hooch is crazy!

If you need someone genuinely entertaining to follow on Twitter, check out @MarkCavendish. Love him or not, the man is funny. He just happens to be a pro cyclist.

GET THIS: Mike Tyson isn’t just vegetarian. He’s vegan. The man who stopped at no meat, including the extremities of human opponents, has gone peaceful. I’ve caught a couple interviews with him and I’ve decided, against my better judgment, to give the man the benefit of the doubt. Check out his pro-vegan billboard. That’s one of his cherished, pet pigeons getting some Ty-love.

TIMBITS: Grazie mille to Laura Matzen for the Tour de France photos used above!!!

The Central Hockey League is kicking off its 20th season. Even bigger news for Albuquerque readers is former CHL referee, Mark Lemelin, has made it to the big show. If you’ve played a summer beer league game at Outpost, chances are good you’ve whined to the likes of a National Hockey League official. Kudos to Lemelin!

By the way, beer leagues are crazy!

Still Here (for now)

Monday, June 27th, 2011

Harold Camping, the dude who calculated May 21, 2011 as the Rapture, must be kicking himself for not claiming the circumstances applied only to the southern Four Corners region.

We might have believed him. With fires burning all around, smoke causing the skies to appear as in The Fifth Element, ashes floating in the air and people wearing masks for outdoor exercise, the area bears an uncanny resemblance to select descriptions of Hell. It’s bringing me down, man.

Oh, wait. I’m thinking of the Apocalypse.

As for Camping, who accepted a reported $80 million in life savings and other properties from believers, karma seems to have caught him: he suffered a stroke a month after his falsely predicted Rapture date.

NON JE NE REGRETTE RIEN: The Tour de France begins July 2, broadcast on Versus. Be there. Alberto Contador reportedly will, though whether his results count for anything remains to be seen.

This year’s broadcast teaser is, “No Regrets,” eloquently sung by Edith Piaf, otherwise known as “that crazy Mexican singer” in the movie Bull Durham. Incidentally, she wasn’t crazy nor Mexican, though Wikipedia suggests she had quite the colorful life.

Before we move further with the Tour de France, tribute must be paid to Wouter Weylandt, who crashed and died this past May in the Giro d’Italia, Italy’s version of the Tour de France. On a downhill stretch, Weylandt looked over his shoulder to see behind him and came close enough to a stone wall to clip his bike, sending him to the road and fracturing his skull:

Some team officials said Weylandt could have been traveling as fast as 50 miles per hour. Jonathan Vaughters, team manager of the Garmin-Cervélo squad, likened the crash to jumping out of a car at that speed wearing only your underwear.

THE DEVIL’S IN THE DETAILS: Here’s an intriguing piece, including a list of Tour de France podium finishers and whether they’ve been implicated or charged in various doping scandals. Most of the key names are there. Good to see Sastre and Evans are not (look for Evans in this year’s Tour).

Most notable of all, however, is the absence of 2010 Tour runner-up, Andy Schleck.

Someone leaked a Union Cycliste Internationale “hit list” (who to watch for doping). Essentially, if you’ve won or heck, even ridden in the Tour de France, your name is on it.

Duh, Lance is on the list – with this by his name:

A 2005 re-test of samples from the 1999 showed 16 samples to be positive for EPO. Six of those reportedly belonged to Armstrong. Due to several breaches of laboratory protocols and rules governing the handling of samples, the UCI cleared Armstrong of any wrong doing.

Former teammate Tyler Hamilton recently claimed on “60 Minutes” that Lance used EPO to win one or three Tours de France. So far though, only guys who’ve been caught and/or with books to sell are outing Lance. When George Hincapie says it, it’ll be credible. Oh wait – he did! Or didn’t he?

Man, bicyclists be crazy. Anyhoo, moving along.

HEAD TRIP: Jumping to the National Hockey League’s 2011-12 season, I suppose we shouldn’t be shocked Jaromir Jagr is returning. He’s only 39. Mike Modano is still in the NHL. At 41, he’s just old enough to play in Detroit with Lidstrom and Draper.

The Penguins need Jagr while Sidney Crosby recovers from concussion issues. By the way, Crosby turns all of 24 in August.

Scary, this concussion thing. Whether you’re a fan of Crosby or not, it seems a monumental waste to sacrifice such a young a player with undeniable superior skill and entertainment value.

According to this article, head trauma leads to things like the degenerative brain disease Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy. It discusses the case of former NHL enforcer, Bob Probert, who would have been 46 this July. He’s survived by his wife Dani, who will tell you it doesn’t end well at all.

TIMBITS: Here I thought race horses gotta pee bad due to diuretics. Turns out a lot of champions are boozers, downing frosty mugs o’ Guinness with their oats. The suds are cited as an appetite stimulant, though other nutrient claims include iron, calcium, B vitamins and fiber. I’ll take two, please.

Only last year, a wise decision was made to push the Tour of California from February to May due to inclement weather. Tempting fate, Day 1 of this year’s race was scheduled for Lake Tahoe. Fate complied, and the first day of the race was cancelled due to a blizzard.

Congrats to the Mudbugs for earning the 2011 Championship by defeating Colorado, who immediately announced it was ditching the Central Hockey League for the ECHL. The Mudbugs trumped that by announcing they’re ceasing operations altogether, as are the Mississippi RiverKings, while the Odessa Jackalopes have converted to an NAHL Junior A team.

Props to Rory da Man for taking our minds off Tiger.

In closing, may your summer be filled with activities resulting in callipygian (look it up – it’s worth it).

Phat Tuesday

Saturday, March 19th, 2011

Cactus League - Boyz of SpringWow. That’s the last time I crawl down that cave without a GPS. What is this – March? We’re living at lightning speed. Surely there are consequences.

But check out all this great stuff I found:

KOREA’S GOT TALENT: This even tops Ninja Warrior (narrated in German?) – a wacky, Japanese obstacle course show. The latest greatest extreme sport is apparently Spinning Gymnastics. It’s a combination of cheer, gymnastic, spinning, and stripper moves executed on a stationary bike, in this case to the techno version of “Knock on Wood.”

Wilson? Nooo. Romo!WILSON’S CRAZY: For those who couldn’t score tix to the 2010 World Series, the Giants and Rangers re-enacted the championship match-up at a Spring Training baseball game in Phoenix on Sunday, March 13. Giants won 11-8. Unfortunately, I spent the most exciting innings in line for American Cheese on Texas Toast – a personal, ballpark invention. Got an up-close look at the Giants’ attempt to tease the crowd by warming up this separated-at-birth pitcher in the bull pen. Look closely. He’s no “oddball” Brian Wilson.

Giants Tim “The Freak” Lincecum did make an appearance earlier in the weekend, showing off his unusual style against the Padres Friday night. No Posey to be seen.

WHATCHA GONNA DO? The Central Hockey League’s Colorado Pankewicz WITH a fight strapEagles assistant coach and former player (including a couple stints in the NHL in the 1990s), Greg Pankewicz headlined the list of major minor league meltdowns on Sports Center for stripping down to his chest hair after a game. Paid a high price for it, too (fined and suspended the remainder of the season). The League is considering sewing fight straps into the sport coats of players-turned-coaches in the future.

FLIP-FLOP: If the last time you tuned in to cycling news was at the end of the Tour de France in July, you might remember Spaniard Alberto Contador winning overall. If it was January, 2011, you’re likely believing Contador has been busted for being naughty, testing positive for clenbuterol, punished with a 1-year ban from racing and stripped of his 2010 Tour de France title. If you’ve read anything about the drama since February, you already know Contador has been cleared of the allegations and will race this season.

Unless the World Anti-Doping Agency appeals.

Peoria at sunsetTIMBITS: Big news for big baseball fans in Albuquerque. The 2011 Triple-A Baseball National Championship game will take place at Isotopes Park September 20 in the Duke City. The game will be nationally televised on Versus.

Saw an interesting drink recently: a Bloody Mary with a spear of asparagus and a sizzling strip of bacon. Gotta call that one a meal. Sounds about right for a post-party woozies cure. Got your hair of the dog, sodium-infused protein and a complex carb or two. Let me know how it works.

Resolutions

Sunday, December 19th, 2010

In the spirit of a new year, below are a few New Year’s resolution suggestions for certain people:

Brett Perve might resolve not to be such a Farve in the coming year.

Alberto Contador, 2010 Tour de France winner “allegedly,” should seriously consider resolving to be vegetarian.

On a similar note, it seems the world of professional table tennis has been rocked by the news of its own elite athletes taking similar, illegal risks as cyclists to get that competitive edge. One might wonder, how is a quad shot not enough?

New Florida Gators football coach Will Muschamp is likely resolving not to match his predecessor’s record of players arrested. Really, how hard can it be to hold the team to less than 30 in six-ish seasons? Harder than you might believe. Georgia had no less than 11 player arrests in 2010 alone.

Graham Watson, photographer to the cycling stars, could resolve not to be so passive-aggressive. Not so much a Greg LeMond fan, Watson begrudgingly “fixed” his sly bit of name-calling. WARNING: If you’re offended by the ish word (sh*t if you’re not up on the urban slang), don’t click on the link.

BAD-ASS IN STRIPES: Dying to know if Central Hockey League linesman Kai Magnussen, a former CHL player, has resolved to expand his repertoire of the perfect comeback, or if it’s all good.

Magnussen played 120 career CHL games (159 PIMs and god knows how many off-sides) with Tulsa and Rocky Mountain from 2007-09. Considering some of the charm I heard when I officiated the league I played in, I’m betting the man has adopted a self-deprecating sense of humor to go with requisite thick skin.

POWER FOODS: Prickly pear margaritas should be the undisputed drink of choice for hard-core athlete partiers the likes of rugby players, hockey players, and mountain bikers. Studies indicate prickly pears help stave off hangovers and delayed-onset muscle soreness (the sort you get the second day after a super intense workout). Don’t let the magenta color put off you burly types.

The Albuquerque “Sun[air]port” sells scorpion-flavored lollypops. Ingredients: malic acid, scorpion, artificial flavor, artificial color. My question is, does the lollypop company breed scorpions specifically for the candy? And they breed them for flavor? Apparently, they’re real. But ya don’t exactly want your little ones running around the desert catching them for you. (That’d be child labor, silly.)

WHO’S A MILLIONARE? For those of you into horse racing – you know who you are if you placed a bet on Mine That Bird just because of the New Mexico tie and now you’re a freaking millionaire – a movie based on the race will be filmed in New Mexico.

TIMBITS: Saw these crazy wheel thingies in Spain this past May. Took ‘em six months to show up in Albuquerque. Tip up onto one under each shoe, then rubberleg your merry way down the sidewalk.

Albuquerque’s very own Canadian, Olympic mountain biker Geoff Kabush, talks about the 2012 Olympics, thinning hair and other considerations. In November, Kabush took first in the late-season New Belgium Cup in Colorado.

Down Time

Monday, August 2nd, 2010

World Cup soccer is long over, the Tour de France is finished – what to do, what to do? I liken this state of withdrawal to an addiction. Symptoms include crooning pathetically, “I’m going to diiiie,” as i writhe on the living room floor, unable to fill the entertainment void, pull myself together, and get on with my post-Tour life.

I’ve kept a journal. Here are things I learned during the Tour de France:

If you have trouble regulating your core temperature while cycling, swallow an expensive little thermometer capsule – and hold strong coffee intake to a minimum. The capsule alerts your team manager when your core temp gets too high. When it does, he can drive up next to you and hand out pantyhose stuffed with ice cubes you can slide inside the back of your jersey to cool down. Aaaah.

HOT DOG: On a hella tough stage when his teammate, Andy Schleck, needed Jens Voigt to work hard, Voigt burned 6,000 calories in a single day. Six THOUSAND. One of the commentators said that’s as many calories as most of us burn in a month of exercise. “No way!” I thought. Then i did the math.

Three or four super-size meal deals at his favorite fast-food chain oughta replenish those calories lickety-split.

TRAIL BLAZING: Each year, a friend of mine asks if anyone in the Tour de France is Black and each year, i tell her no. However, one of the very first, very best cycling sprinters of all time was an African American named Major Taylor. The son of a slave, Taylor won the 1899 World Championship “oval” (track) competition and another track competition in France in 1906. Wonder how he’d fare against Cavendish….

Much more recently, African American Erik Saunders competed in the Tour de Georgia in 2003 and ’04 and there was a Black man in the 2010 Tour de France if you count Joshua Rosby. The winner of a TdF contest to ride the route with Bob Roll, Rosby turns out to be a competitive cyclist living in Baton Rouge.

Yukiya Arashiro was the lone Japanese rider in the Tour de France and (appropriately named) Ryder Hesjedal was one of only two Canadians (Michael Barry was the other). Hesjedal kicked it with the big dogs in the mountains and time trials, earning a 7th overall finish. Write “Hesjedal” on your 2011 calendar for next July.

Lance Armstrong‘s string of odd luck continued, and he finished his final Tour – for real this time – 23rd. (I’d link his epic wreck footage on YouTube but the ASO has made a copyright claim to Tour de France-related video.)

LET IT OUT: Even smack talkin’ sprinters like Mark Cavendish are in touch with their feelings these days, crying on an international stage. Joel Stein got it right in his little piece in the July/August Women’s Health. Men are crying in public more than ever – a point lately evidenced by a slew of elite male athletes. Contador, winning his 3rd Tour de France, squeezed out a tear on the podium as well.

Better tears than rage. I’m thinking Floyd Landis could use a good cry. The man has issues. Turn that pointing hand around, brother. Mix in a little therapy. If it can work wonders for Ron Artest, it can work for you.

Speaking of rage, Carlos Barredo and Rui Costa had a fist fight after one of the hotter stages of the Tour de France. Not often you see that in cycling.

TIMBITS: Women in the Hockey Hall of Fame! A woman in the Tour de France! (Not racing but still, she’s the first female Ardoisier = motorcycle timekeeper.)

The Rapid City Rush will host the Central Hockey League’s 2011 All-Star game on January 12.

A 2007 survey listed Florida as the most dangerous state for cycling.

And for you readers in the Duke City, Brent Bookwalter of team BMC in the Tour de France was born in Albuquerque, NM. (These days, he’s living in Athens, GA.) While he finished far down in the overall standings, he got his 20 seconds of fame in a pre-stage interview during Versus’ Tour de France coverage. His notable success was placing 2nd in the Prologue (opening time trial) of the 2010 Giro d’Italia.

Epic Summer

Wednesday, June 30th, 2010

Sweet Jesus. The Tour de France begins Saturday.

Lance is ready. He’s also twittered it’s his last TdF. But what could be as equally intriguing to see unfold as the rivalry between Contador and Armstrong, is the level of cooperation between Contador and Vinokourov.

BUSY BEE: I don’t remember the World Cup overlapping the Tour de France and being so close to Wimbledon. Chrissakes, I’ve barely recovered from the emotional NBA and Stanley Cup championships. Guess once the next event begins, the past is stale.

Some is worth recapping:

On June 9, the Stanley Cup Championship game was won (read: “ripped from the hearts of Philly fans on home ice”) by the Chicago Blackhawks. Jeremy Roenick and I cried with joy together for the team who last won the Cup 49 years ago.

On June 17, the Lakers beat the Celtics for the NBA Championship. This series drew tears too – from Derek Fisher – while Ron Ron thanked his psychiatrist, bless his heart. That’s a lot of tough emotional and physical work, man.

The World Cup in South Africa has been screaming along since June 11, which brings me to my latest hypothesis: Americans prefer football over soccer because, in a sense, football is a celebration of the powerof Fatman, while soccer is a celebration of the prowessof Fitman. The last thing the American man needs is his woman seeing, in slow-motion replays, Fitman running, Fitman diving for the ball, Fitman taking off his shirt after a game. Sweet Jesus.

SHIRTS-N-SKINS: If you appreciate the male physique and are a fan of Spain, Torres walking off the field shirtless after a 1-0 loss in the opening round made it all better. Just like when Donovan of the US nearly pushed his shorts off after the game when the referee waived the legitimate US goal.

Now i understand the point of cheerleaders. Skin makes it all better.

Why yes, he does fly. Watching replays of goaltenders making saves in soccer, the kind where they fly through the air all Eeeeaglllllle! is spectacular, eh? In basketball, they float up. In soccer, they fly over.

Does anyone else break into O Canada during Portugal’s anthem?

BAD CALL: I’m as frustrated as the next non-European fan (which is to say, a little less than European “football” fan). But there are factors to consider. No referee chooses to look like an idiot on an international stage, should he have a choice. Any human being can have a really, really bad day (Coulibaly looked like he had a cold. Antihistamines, perhaps?) A referee doesn’t have the option to say, “Man – i suck. Someone take over for me.”

Does every referee have the opportunity to gain the critical experience necessary to officiate at the level of the World Cup? He better. A couple seem to have less impressive resumes.

And while waiving a goal can have such significant consequences, both emotional and financial, so can not scoring a goal, or bobbling a save. We quickly forget something significant a player botched (unless he’s the last line of defense). How many chances did Ronaldo get before he got it right – sort of? We stay forever furious at a referee who does the equivalent. Since pay is often brought up in related topics, i’m betting Ronaldo earns more than a referee.

I totally back the whole “FIFA needs to get with the times and utilize goal-line technology to confirm goals.” Duh.

TIMBITS: Wondering what the heck the magic cure-all spray is at the World Cup? Me too. Here’s a pretty good explanation. Soccer trainers work apparent miracles with the stuff. It even heals the emotional scars that caused the player to dive in the first place. The label on that can says, “ER” (ego restorative).

Here’s what i found about players exchanging jerseys with opponents at the conclusion of a match.

It’s a given. Advertising is evil. This shouldn’t surprise us.

The Double-A Central Hockey League has merged with the International Hockey League for the 2010-11 season. The three-time defending IHL champion Fort Wayne Komets oughta stir up some good rivalries with the top dogs of the CHL….

True to my pursuit of things the less competitive “sports” fan might find interesting (it’s called gentle recruiting, folks), check out this amazing custom kite design website. It’s chock full of artistic lovelies, from gorgeous kites to vibrant art. Even nipples….

Get Your Fresh Veggies Hee-ya!

Friday, April 2nd, 2010

March meant Spring Training baseball in Phoenix, AZ, to see how  Cactus League teams were shaping up. I’m talking Mariners, A’s, Brewers, Dodgers, Padres, Royals, Reds, etc.  Of the four teams i specifically choose to see, the A’s came closest to earning a W. (Sigh)

Let’s just say the C-Reds are looking sharp.

My buddy RoJo tells me whether the A’s stay in Oakland remains to be seen.

FOODIE SCOOP: The latest snack option in places like Camelback Ranch stadium and Maryvale is Island Noodles. Holy moly – an opportunity to get your daily veggies at a baseball game?! What’s this country coming to?

Seriously, it’s wok fried noodles with loads of broccoli, carrots, green beans, peppers, asparagus, yams – you name it. Good stuff. No worries about the sodium – you’ll sweat it out during the game.

If that leaves you hankering for another stop on Nutrition Lane, so to speak, order sweet potato fries at Goodyear stadium, where they’ve stretched the definition like Coke and Happiness, listing the fries under “Healthy” options.

“One more. One more!” your taste buds beg. That would be the garlic fries at Camelback Ranch. Mmm fresh garlic. Just ask my friends. If i could have breathed on Manny, his hit may have flown a couple more inches and out of the park. (See? I watched the game while i ate.)

By the way, Goodyear stadium is in Goodyear, AZ – wha? I assumed the business bought naming rights to the town in the last decade or so, when everything seems game for corporate sponsorship naming rights. Why not a town? Turns out while Goodyear is indeed named for the Goodyear Farms cotton industry (cotton was used to make tires), it’s been incorporated as such since 1946.

There’s a weekend’s-worth of games left, if you have time to chase down some spring. Good crowds this year. Or you could see the Mariners vs. Rockies in Albuquerque, NM April 2 & 3 (if the weather cooperates).

CYCLING (Sort of): If you’ve been feeling a hollow emptiness about the start of the cycling season with the Tour of California moved from February to May 16-23, there’s a trend of pre-season stage races in the Middle East emerging and they drew some quality names this year. Tour of Qatar (north of the UAE) was Feb 10 and included American sprinter Tyler Farrar, Canadian Svein Tuft (forgive me for re-using a link but this is the guy who was lured from a simple life of peddling through the wild to earning a paycheck for peddling through the countryside), and a man with impossible TT skills and a conscience, Fabian Cancellara, who stashed his empty GU wrapper in his jersey pocket rather than tossing it into the barren desert.

Otherwise, you’ve already missed the week-long Paris-Nice, won by Alberto Contador, as well as Lance and Contador both tanking – you might say – in the Criterium Internationale. Otherwise referred to as a mini-Tour de France, the CI included a wicked-hard climb everyone assumed Contador would conquer. Instead, he finished well behind the winner, reportedly suffering from allergies while Lance finished over 3 minutes behind Contador, still regaining his form after a bout of stomach issues.

Both put in a respectable time trial the following day. Overall, Contador placed 15th and Lance 47th. Seems March’s hero might be July’s zero as well…. Our man Chris Horner placed 7th.

Still plenty of Spring Classics to catch.

Two of my trigger-happy friends are already anticipating the Tour de France. That’s like asking if you’re ready for Christmas. One day at a time, sweet Jesus!

FULL DISCLOSURE: When it comes to magazines, i’m a packrat. Here’s my excuse: I was recently flipping through a 2005 issue of ESPN The Mag when i see a photo of a MotoGP rider and think, “Gee, that mischievous looking fella looks just like the cyclist i had my photo taken with at the Tour of California last year.”

Turns out it was none other than Nicky Hayden, indeed the MotoGP racer, who’d stopped by to check out the bike race. This blogger, who recognized Hayden there, chatted with him and said he seemed “down to earth.” In 2002 at 21 years old, Hayden became the youngest champion in the history of AMA Superbike.

See what i could have missed had i tossed that old issue?!

CHL: It’s playoff time! Tops dogs going in are Odessa, Rapid City, Colorado and the Allen Americans of TX. In other news, the CHL has assumed operations for the Arizona Sundogs until new ownership is secured.

Did anyone see the piece on the Today Show about Cameron Hughes, the professional crowd warmer, during the Olympics? I’d bet money he was at the Scorpions season opener a few years ago. I even scored one of the T-shirts he threw to the crowd. Should have had him autograph it. Hughes worked the Vancouver Winter Olympics and in addition to NHL arenas, hypes the crowds of minor league hockey venues. Catch him at a game in your neighborhood.

Enduring curiosities from the Vancouver Olympics:

Another hair separation at birth! Def Lepperd singer Joe Elliott and Russian Olympic figure skater Evgeni Plushenko, ya? Their faces are eerily similar as well.

We can all breathe a sigh of relief they found the missing stick and glove Crosby used to score the game winning goal vs. the US.

Props to US goaltender Ryan Miller for shaking the loss and enjoying the closing ceremonies.

Mmmm, Olympic coffee…. Vancouver Olympic bronze medalist in Women’s Freestyle Moguls, Shannon Bahrke, aka Mrs. Happe, sells coffee!

And these words of wisdom from Bode Miller: “You don’t have to define success the same way everyone else does.”

Amen, brother.

TIMBITS: Hula hooping does not cure the hiccups.

ANCIENT HISTORY: Here’s what my Saints cheerleader buddy, Jacqueline, had to say about the Super Bowl:

The game was generally incredibly intense and we could feel how high the stakes were. Thankfully, Darren Sharper’s pick-six put a nice bow on an amazing game and a Saints victory!!!

The coolest thing about the experience was just being on the field for the biggest sporting event in the US. It was incredible to see the hype and energy that surround the game, and then be dancing a few yards from the heart of it before kickoff. The Lombardi Trophy was carried away by Coach Sean Payton right in front of me!

17 Days, 86 Events, 15 Disciplines and 153 Calories per Labatts

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

Man I’m stoked the Saints won in the Super Bowl. Here’s why:

1 – There was a survey a few years back that confirmed the sort of person you are according to your favorite NFL team. We all know Raider fan is, well, Raider fan but Saints fans are fun. All 98 million or so. I’d supply the link, but i’d have to scroll down through 21,200,000 references to find one not related to the Super Bowl. That’s just not fun.

2 – The Saints have the bestest cheerleader of all. No, i’m not gonna introduce you. You’ll have to take my word for it.

3 – New Orleans is in my blood.

Props to Sean Payton for being creative, coaching his underdog team to the top with lay-it-on-the-line strategy making for not only a great game, but a dynamic game. Turns out creativity is Payton’s style.

Check out my favorite Super Bowl ad. OK so it’s not a Super Bowl ad, but it should have been. If it weren’t for Mark Sanchez assuring women who watch football they’re important to him, i’d have figured advertisers were hoping i was out getting a mani/pedi. Then again, the multiple ads of dolts in tighty not-so-whities didn’t portray men as all that, either.

So, i calculated the number of calories i consumed while watching the Super Bowl. Oh Yes I Did. I ate 100 calories each of corn chips, guacamole and melba toast, plus some hummus, most of a mini-cupcake (scraped off some icing), a spinach quesadilla with a sprinkle of cheese, a bunch of plain veggies, and drank two Abita beers. Total Damage = ~1,000 calories.

If you ate things like Doritos and Lit’l Smokies and drank Bud Light, your calorie intake was surprisingly comparable with an exercise in portion control. You did exercise portion control, right? Bit higher in saturated fats and orange food coloring. Lower in nutrients.

See how fun I am?

OLYMPIC NEWS: This just in – Shaun White‘s hair and Bon Jovi’s hair were separated at birth.

The Jan/Feb 2010 issue of Outside magazine had some interesting Olympic profiles. Kris Freeman is the first person with Type I Diabetes to compete at the Olympic level in an endurance sport. Doesn’t stop the man from looking calendar-ready.

General Motors Place, where the Canucks play, will be renamed Canada Hockey Place during the Olympics. Meanwhile, the displaced Canucks will play the longest road trip in NHL history.

Here’s how USA women’s ice hockey superchik Angela Ruggiero has tweaked her diet to support that laser slap shot of hers. We’re talking powerful enough that she was the first female defenseman in a Double-A Central Hockey League game back in ’05. Here’s what she had to say about the game [http://hockey.teamusa.org/athletes/angela-ruggiero]:

After the first period, we thought that was the end of it. But I was happy to be able to get back out there again in the third period and just be one of the boys again. On that last shift, the guys were telling me to jump into the play. Luckily, I was able to get my stick on the puck and set up that goal.

CYCLING ALREADY? While D.C. sits under a couple feet of snow, pro cyclists have the first major race of the 2010 season under their spandex waistbands. Lance (5’9.5″) wasn’t impressive in the Tour Down Under in January, finishing 25th overall. As my buddy Keith says, “January’s hero is July’s zero.” And since we know Lance to be July Man, all seems well in camp Armstrong.

In a recent interview on Versus, Armstrong said he wouldn’t be competing in the 2010 Tour de France if he didn’t believe he could win it.

Other noteworthy names in the TDU included George Hincapie (12th), Cadel Evans (6th), sprinter Robbie McEwen (4th), and our buddy Big Jens Voigt (6’2″).

TIMBITS: This from the 1/15 CHL presser:

The Wichita Thunder are a team in the rare spot of trying to stay out of the record books when they play the Allen Americans on Friday night in Texas.  The Thunder has lost 20 straight games, one shy of the CHL record set by the Memphis RiverKings in the 1999-2000 season.  Wichita has not won a game since Nov. 20 when they beat Arizona, 3-2, and have won just three times this season…. 

Checking the CHL web site, looks like the Thunder stamped themselves solidly in the record books by losing that game 4-2 (though it was on Saturday the 16th) and their next game as well. They did finally win their fourth game of the season on January 22, 4-1 against Tulsa. That’s a loooong season, Wichita. Might as well enjoy a Labatts.

Man, I love college

Sunday, November 22nd, 2009

Female referee... representin'! Fat apologies for my lapse of monthly posts. Once again, i’m challenging the world of academia to teach me something good – way good. Of course, quality comes with a price and that price is the consumption, metabolism, and synthesis of ATP (click on the link. i dare you) and the excretion of all my “free” time.

SCHOOLIN’: If you haven’t already guessed, i’m taking Exercise Science and Human Anatomy & Physiology + Lab.

Wait wait! I money-back-guarantee if you stick around, you’ll read an amusing tidbit or two in the next few lines.

Let’s start with sports fans. Most of us fanatics have heard some version of the explanation that we love sports ’cause essentially, we imagine ourselves as the athletes while we’re caught up in the passion of the game. Now there’s proof. Cutting-edge research explains that “Mirror Neurons” are probably why we’re addicted to sports. Starts out a little cheesy, but here’s a good explanation and some entertaining monkey and sports fan footage (can you can tell which is which?).

On to the fitness crowd. In my A&P lab – i kid you not – Activity 7 of the Muscular System chapter says:

Choose a male student to be “muscle painted.” Obtain brushes and water-based paints from the supply area while the “volunteer” removes his shirt and rolls up his pant legs. Using different colored paints, identify the muscles listed here by painting his skin. If a muscle covers a large body area, you can opt to paint only its borders.

Man i like college! My question is, who paid this “volunteer” ’cause i assure you, the boy works out. (Just kidding. Our instructor told us to skip this activity. For real though, it’s in the lab manual.)

Finally, i’m catching all sorts of biology references in the world around me. You know how it works – once you’re looking for them…. For example, in the wise words of Bonnie Raitt, “We can choose you know we ain’t no amoeba.”

HOCKEY AFAR: So – is anyone paying the season-ticket price to have televised access to as many Central Hockey League games as you can stand to watch? Three Benjamins, to be precise. I’m dying to know how many fans have signed up.

Paul Farias: Backup duties New Mexico Scorpions fans with less hockey to watch this season can check in on former Scorpions coach Randy Murphy and former Scorpions Equipment Manager assistant-type, now the Equipment Manager, Paul Farias, working in Huntsville, Alabama.  As of November 18, the Havoc are tied for first in the Southern Professional Hockey League, a sweet, 7-team league in its sixth season. Since you asked, Farias is a Chicago native who moved to New Mexico before Huntsville. Talk about a tri-cultural experience, eh?

TIMBITS: Props to female NBA referee Violet Palmer. The first female to officiate at the “majors” level of US professional sports (they are very few and very far between), it turns out she’s been there over a decade. Having recently retired as an ice hockey referee of kids’ and co-ed adult games, i’ll attest it can be a pretty cool experience – if you’re up for a challenge. No giant ego required.More representin' for female officials

Props also to the New Mexico Lobos football team for earning its first win in over a year, 29-27 against CSU – as predicted. Had a female linesman working that game as well.

Someone recently said to me, “Wow – i can’t believe how soon the Olympics begin.” They weren’t kidding. So if you haven’t solidified Easter plans, you’re too late.

Personally, i’m looking forward to some Olympic sledge hockey.

The Good the Bad and the Ugly: Le Tour and Other Summer Fun

Friday, July 31st, 2009

 Strike!

They say we never remember who wins second place.

I’m betting the average American will not only remember who placed third, but might believe he in fact won.

Of course I’m talking about Lance Armstrong, who will likely, as he repeatedly does, buck odds by lingering in the minds of news-watching (though not cycling enthusiast) Americans as having won the 2009 Tour de France after coming out of retirement.

For real - Contador's in yellow (shades)He did ride hella-good. To finish third after aging four years, plus the broken collar bone a little over three months before the Tour, is phenomenal. But in reality, Armstrong finished behind Andy Schleck, who placed second to Armstrong’s teammate (and rival) Alberto Contador.   

Back in September, hearing of Lance’s come-back, i mentioned losing respect for athletes who retire and then return to their sport. Gotta admit Armstrong’s presence made the Tour more riveting than i’d figured.

Sir JohanWay to go Lance for increasing Tour viewership over 50-percent this year and securing a new American team sponsor for next season in RadioShack (with Johan Bruyneel at the helm, of course). I can hardly wait for 2010. 

Until then, I suppose it wouldn’t make as good a story for Lance and Contador to follow the leadership of Cavendish and Hushovd and end their spitting contest. Sure, Contador was selfish in the Tour but from what i remember, a certain Texan was equally so at a comparable age – “brash” and “headstrong” being two commonly-used words describing the pre-cancer Lance.

A SHOUT-OUT TO MY PEEPS: Samuel Dumoulin was the Tour’s smallest cyclist, at 5′ 2.5″ and a buck twenty. That didn’t stop him from carrying his fair share of the workload in several breakaway attempts, including one for the final stage in Paris. [Photo included to indicate his height on the podium in relation to the woman not on a step – not her panties. Bonus!]

Ryder Hesjedal was representin’ for Canada, finishing 49th in his second Tour of duty. In his blog, Hesjedal described how his teammate, Julian Dean, suffered one of the more odd incidences in this year’s Tour:

My teammate, Julian Dean, was unbelievably shot at with an air gun during today’s stage and was hit in the hand. It goes without saying that it’s not something you really expect in a cycling race. Maybe it was kids being stupid or we’d hit a small French town that had never seen the Tour and decided to open fire on a moving peloton, but anyone having that kind of intent is scary. Who knows what the meaning of that was?

In the breakaway on the Champs Elysees was Japan’s Fumiyuki Beppu. He and Yukiya Arashiro were the first Japanese to complete the Tour, ever.

Yauheni Hutarovich illustrated his mad time-keeping math skillz by earning the oddly strategic Lanterne Rouge (dead last overall). Hooty presumably stashed his remaining energy for the final stage in Paris, placing 5th in the sprint.

NOW I’M DONE: Alas, my prediction about Randy Murphy going to Colorado has gone unsupported. He’s accepted the coaching job in Huntsville. That goes for all y'all!

Albuquerque hockey fans felt abandoned long ago, but unfortunate for all 500 Rio Rancho fans, the Scorpions go dark for the upcoming season [Team Presser, 7/2/09]:

The New Mexico Scorpions have announced they will not take the ice for the 2009-2010 season. The current ownership group was unable to secure additional investors to make the coming season a possibility….

Ownership will continue to pursue the sale of the team in hopes to have hockey back at the Santa Ana Star Center in the future. All current players will immediately become free agents.

Luckily, Blades can fit about 500. As i’ve mentioned, it’ll host the NM Renegades Junior hockey team in 2009-10.

Throws... like a girl?C’MON, BOB: I’m wondering when Bob Costas last lived in a small market city with limited access to Big League personalities. Tasteless though it may be, I attended one of the games Banny Ramirez made an appearance in at Isotopes Park in Albuquerque. Why not? Didn’t cheer for him or anything.

TIMBITS: [Oh no she didn’t!] If you’re still stumped on how to effectively dress your junk, I recently saw this helpful Trojan Ecstasy commercial on the teli. Gosh – some of us didn’t get that kind of information outside of a California Sex Ed. class!