CHbLog – Inside Edge

Love (Kettle Corn) Is in the Air

Spring Training smack?

Cold-hearted orb that rules the night

Removes the colors from our sight

Red is grey and yellow, white

But we decide which is right

And which is an illusion

Since marijuana is, for the most part, illegal, a beer to anyone who can guess which band the above lyrics are from.

Moody Blues! (Yeay! Beer for me!)

In addition to the Rolling Stones, it’s the band I remember my mom listening to most when I was a child. Explains a lot, ya?

Moody Blues is touring this March and April. I’m sure the show will be an experience entirely unlike any other modern-day concert other than, perhaps, Roger Waters and The Wall Live.

SPEAKING OF ILLEGAL: At long, long last, the ruling has come down for cyclist Alberto Contador: guilty of doping (clenbuterol); two-year ban from racing, including the upcoming Olympics; stripped of his 2010 Tour de France title; his Saxo-Bank team possibly demoted, not meeting the qualifications of a UCI World Tour team if you subtract points earned by Contador.

Floyd can relate...Ouch.

ROLL BOUNCE: It’s early to plug this, but in case you need the heads-up to perfect your most groovy moves, Albuquerque will host the USA Roller Sports National Championships in 2013 and 2015, scheduled for three weeks spanning July-August. It’s predicted 8,500 competitive athletes, families and coaches will swarm the Duke City. The event will include inline speed skating and roller figure skating competitions. Divisions range from youth through masters/senior levels.

In the meantime, psych yourself up with this chillin’ soundtrack, including priceless gems “Boogie Oogie Oogie” and “Le Freak.”

MORE CYCLING: If you’re not into professional cycling, you’re gonna think I’m crazy to say the season is in full-swing. I’ll take my chances.

The cycling season is in full-swing!

To get numberswiki.com

you in the mood, here’s a tasty nugget of one of cycling’s most colorful characters, Bob Roll, born in Oakland, CA by way of San Ildefonso pueblo?!

Bobke sayz: “You get what you deserve in life.”

If you missed Australia’s Tour Down Under, it was won by Australian Simon Gerrans of team GreenEdge (a new Australian, World Tour-caliber team).

Sprinter Tom Boonen may be back on track after a couple rough years that dealt him rare wins and common crashes. He’s wrapped up the Tour of Qatar as victor overall a fourth time – his first since 2009.

HELL HATH FROZEN: It’s been brought to my attention the Rangers are jockeying with Vancouver for first place in the National Hockey League. No offense, but for the past decade or so I’ve taken for granted the Rangers were a mediocre team without the mettle to make it past the earlier rounds of the playoffs; that since Mike Richter and Mark Messier retired, nothing super great has happened.

The playoffs are about a month away. It’ll be fun to track the Rangers, perhaps to the final round….

If so, and Toronto is the next team to have an especially great season, I’ll have to concede that indeed, hell is a little like Yellowknife.

TIMBITS: I’ve saved a nibble of the best for last. Here’s a rockin’ little gem that puts a smile on the face and inspires two thoughts:

Thank you technology gods for improvements that assist those of us less willing to risk damaged bits.

And…

Work with what you have – you may be pleasantly surprised and amused.

Spring Training baseball is in progress! I can smell it – that irresistible combination of salt and sugar.

All I Want for [Winter Holiday] Is…

San Pedro Parks Wilderness, NM

But it isn’t all about me, so I’ve backed away from the eggnog and found these riveting stories to entertain you over the holiday:

Monique van der Vorst has endured several accidents in her life, but the most recent was the one that counts. Paralyzed as a teenager following botched foot surgery, the Beijing Paralympic medalist crashed in training last year, rendering her – wait for it – unparalyzed.

Yeah, I just used a word that isn’t in the dictionary, because it doesn’t happen.

Van der Vorst has since joined the Rabobank women’s cycling squad, with plans to compete in the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympicsnot Paralympics. Talk about a fast recovery. (The Rabobank men’s team competes in the Tour de France. Perhaps its current, most-recognizable name is Luis Leon Sanchez – he won a stage in 2011.)

Big BenSpeaking of the Olympics, the 2012 London Games are less than 225 days away.

GRATITUDE: Not to make light whatsoever of the status, but you have to wonder how many paraplegics are tipping their chairs since hearing of van der Vorst.

Jim MacLaren wasn’t so fortunate.  If you don’t know his story, it’s a read well-worth it. You’re just sitting at your desk waiting for beer o’clock to roll around anyway – am I right?

I first read of MacLaren in a superbly written article by Elizabeth Gilbert for GQ in May, 2002. She explained how MacLaren was an athlete who’d lost his left leg after being hit by a bus.

GQ May 2002Following rehab, he resumed competing. It was during an Ironman race eight years later, when MacLaren was 30 years old, that he was hit by a van.

No freaking way. MacLaren broke his neck. Quadriplegic.

Here’s an informative blog post on MacLaren and the incredible work he did, written by the author of Sixty Seconds, Phil Bolsta.

An amazing, inspirational person, MacLaren died in August, 2010. In his honor, as MacLaren requested in his own, final blog post,

If you could just take 30 seconds close your eyes and take a huge breath all the way from your stomach and filling your lungs. And feel grateful.

Then again, if a wheelchair accident was a “cure” for paralysis, I suppose Mark Zupan and the folks from the movie Murderball, documenting paraplegics playing full-contact rugby, would have walked long ago. (Zupan’s book, Gimp, is another riveting read.)

On a much lighter note…

BABY, YOU’RE A FIREWORK: If you’re a fan of the Schleck brothers or cycling in general, this 18-minute interview with them by Ushi Hirosaki is a must-see – all the way to the conclusion. Consider it holiday therapy.

Don’t worry. The English (so-so) kicks in after the intro. If you like this sort of thing, more interviews can be found here.

After you watch the interview, google “Wendy van Dijk.”

TIMBITS: Thanks to Volkswagen and its Passat commercial, not another sleepless night will be spent pondering the lyrics to Rocket Man: “burning out his fuse up here alone.”

Until now, I’ve been singing, “burning up the streets of Avalon.” Oh come on – what did you think the lyrics were?

On your knees, boyIf you’re stressing over what to do with all those Winter Holiday vacation days, I have just the thing: Tebowing. And to all you crankies sick of hearing about Tebow, pull it together. You’re blessed. How else can you explain you’ve been chosen to witness a modern-day Miracle each time the Broncos pull off a fourth quarter – even overtime – rally?

If vino is more your thing, here’s a trio of movies to stream on New Year’s Day: Bottle Shock, Mondovino, and Blood Into Vine, in that order.

Bottle Shock is about a California wine beating out a French wine in a 1970s competition. That’s the equivalent of an American team beating a French team in the Tour de France.

Oh wait – that happens a lot.

It’s also about family dynamics and business, interracial sex, and sweet, sweet victory.

Mondovino is a two-hour documentary, but it has intriguing commentary on the global politics of which wines are deemed best, if you’re curious about that sort of thing. It’s hard core. Drink espresso while you watch.

Last, but not least, Blood Into Vine is about Maynard James Keenan of the band Tool producing wine in podunk Northern Arizona. Keenan is a rock star. Of course the movie is quirky and good fun.

Consider yourself entertained. Best New Year Ever to you all!

Happy New Year! (JK)

Firenze

This time of year flies by, doesn’t it? Better hold on to your hat and take a moment to admire the sunset, each and every single day. Easier to do – I know – when you’re on vacation somewhere like, oh, say Italy!

SO MUCH TO EAT, SO LITTLE TIME: Now you know where I’ve been, but that I simply couldn’t bring myself to abandon you forever and live among the impossibly intricate and glorious architecture, hVino rosso e paneeavenly delicious wines, amazing shopping and soul-nurturing food…. Check this out:

You know me though – I gave it an honest try to find sports and related adventures to tell you all about. For that reason alone, I chose to stay in a junior suite at the Hotel Chiusarelli in Siena, which happened to include a balcony overlooking A.C. Siena’s premier league team soccer field. Check this out: A.C. Siena inside the wall

Didn’t get a chance to see the team play. My agenda near-missed the games there and in Milan. Visited the team stores, at least.

THE FRINGE: Does chess count as a sport if the pieces are nearly life-sized? It’s certainly a workout. Outdoor chess, using those giant pieces, is pretty popular in Switzerland. Check this out: Make the final move count...

Also rented a scooter in Siena and found this nice park with a little section of, we’ll call them fascinating, exercise machines. The labels on many of them say they encourage range-of-motion for the elderly, but that didn’t stop me from getting my pump on and I wasn’t the only one. The exercises were also perfect for people who’ve been sitting for periods of, say, 14 hours as they fly over the ocean, followed by walking, oh, about 6 miles-a-day several consecutive days….Frontal plane flexibility

This means you, ya tourist. Check this out:

Competitive cheerleading has a lot of supporters clambering for it to be considered a sport. If you can pull it off in the Piazza del Duomo in Milan, you have my vote. Check this out:

Ready! Oh-kay!When all else fails in a person’s hunt for live sports or a little resistance training on the road, there’s always the ol’ standby of bicep curls. (Request the larger wine glass.) 

TIMBITS: Congrats to Sue Falsone, just announced as the first female head athletic trainer and physical therapist for Major League Baseball, with the Dodgers. Here’s what she has to say about it.

Mz. Leslie Jackson of the NM Mustangs, you’re next!

SportSlant Athlete of the Month: Jimmy Graham of the NFL’s New Orleans Saints. Take the time to watch the video of his story on his ESPN NFL page. Talk about defying odds….

AND: Fauja Singh, the 100-year-old man who recently completed the Toronto Waterfront Marathon in 8 hours, 25 minutes. That’s 26.2 miles, people. He typically walks/runs 10 miles a day. Started running marathons when he was 89. Most people are dead by then.

SportSlant Team of the Month: Fugees soccer team of Clarkston, Georgia. Read their inspiring story in the New York Times. If we each had an ounce of the vision and initiative of founder Luma Mufleh, this country would have no conundrums.

Pace (Peace) Out.

Fallshadowing

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!

Tour de Carnage (10 Days in the Tour de France)

This year’s Tour de France has not been for the faint of heart – and I mean for the viewers.

THE BAD: We’ll get this out of the way first.

The crashes have been exceptionally consequential and gruesome. If you’re looking for visual, graphic proof, see this article and accompanying photos/footage. Be warned. One of the photos appears to be a cyclist mauled by a mountain lion that loved him some booty for lunch and lycra for dessert.

Lance Armstrong’s former team RadioShack is all but out of the Tour. Granted, they started with more than their fair share of top contenders, but they’re down from four to barely two. Rolling over the finish line a few stages ago, RadioShack’s Chris Horner had no idea what had happened to him and why he was being taken to the hospital – suffering a concussion and broken nose after a crash that left him unconscious in a ditch. His young teammate, Janez Brajkovic, was taken to the hospital two days earlier with a concussion and broken collar bone. Teammates Levi Leipheimer and Andreas Kloden are riding on, battling their own injuries.

THE UGLY: You gotta feel for the hockey team down 6-0 in the third period, having to play out the final minutes of the game ‘cause people paid to see it. RadioShack has nearly two weeks and 1,000 miles to ride before it’s over. Anything can happen, right?

Several other teams are down by a couple riders or have lost top contenders and sprinters like Tom Boonen and Alexandre Vinokourov, who crashed on a descent and broke his leg bone (femur). Vino says this was his final Tour, regardless.

Defending champion Alberto Contador crashed no less than four times the first week, losing over a minute Day One and more often than not, is included in the daily tally of disasters overshadowing the strong performances of the race thus far.

Winning the Tour de France takes uncompromised focus. One has to wonder if Contador is distracted by his upcoming doping hearing.

Certain riders have suffered epically, willing a month’s worth of recovery out of the single rest day this past Monday. Most notable is Johnny Hoogerland, the one who looked like he was attacked by a clawed animal. In fact, he catapulted into a barbed wire fence after a media car swerved and hit cyclist Juan Antonio Flecha in front of him. After cringing to the finish line, blood streaming down his legs, tears in his eyes on the podium while he received accolades for Best Climber, Hoogerland was whisked to the hospital for 33 stiches.

Hoogerland’s father was there to escort him at the finish of that stage, himself in tears. It was a scene that makes your heart clench every time it’s replayed. I can only imagine the distress of Hoogerland’s friends and family as they watched on television. Courageously, Hoogerland is back on the bike, as is Flecha, and said his resting heart rate the second morning after the crash was 50 bpm, up 10 beats from his usual 40 due to his heart “working working working” to heal the injuries.

THE GOOD! Sprinter turned climber, Norwegian Thor Hushovd, continues to earn his nickname “God of Thunder.” Spectacular in yellow for more days than anyone could have predicted (seven), he inspired the observation that only in the world of cycling can a 5’11” 170 lbs man be referred to as a “big guy.”

To get a little perspective on the stature of the typical cyclist, note that during podium ceremonies, the cyclist-of-the-day stands on a step while the podium girls do not, yet the three heads are even. Evans is a befitting example. Any stage now, he’s likely to get the yellow jersey and you can see for yourself.

Mark Cavendish has won three of the sprinters’ stages and came in a close second. Loosely quoting Cavendish in an interview:

If you aim for a target, you hit it. If you look at who to beat, you hit a lamppost.

That lamppost was Andre Greipel, as Cavendish shot a glance his way a fraction of a second before suffering that second place finish. Greipel is Cavendish’s former teammate and current rival.

American sprinter Tyler Farrar has finally won his first stage in a Tour de France!

Frank and Andy Schleck and Evans have been blessed with no incidents. If their good luck and heads-up riding lasts to July 24, they will surely occupy the winners’ stage.

TIMBITS: Wondering why the heck several cyclists have nose plugs during their time trial warm-ups on the stationary bikes? Carmichael Training Systems sayz:

nose plugs have an oil or blend of oils (like eucalyptus for instance) to help riders dilate their airways.

Despite consuming 5-7,000 kcal a day (about what they burn), cyclists in the Tour de France generally finish the three-week race about 5-10 pounds lighter than when they started. There’s a contest called Map My Ride for which you can compare your training rides to the routes of the Tour de France.

I’m thinking they should have a Count My Calories contest, for which you try to eat as many calories in a day as a Tour de France cyclist. Sounds like fun, right? I’m betting by the end of the first day, you’ll be in as much pain as you would had you ridden the miles. And, of course, about 1.5 pounds heavier.

Props to American Tommy Danielson for staying safe in his first Tour de France, earning him the top-spot among Americans in the first 10 days.

Over the past weekend, Tejay van Garderen became the first American to wear the polka dot Best Climber’s jersey. See?

Our buddy Brent Bookwalter is in his second consecutive Tour – the guy who was born in Albuquerque. This year’s minute of notoriety came when cycling commentator Phil Liggett shareded Brent had told him he’d dropped his toothpaste in the toilet that morning. Bookwalter rides for BMC with Evans, so perhaps he’ll get future press attention for that.

On to the mountains!

Still Here (for now)

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

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

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.

Back 2 Schoolin’

Mooo! ("Airabelle" at Balloon Fiesta 2010) What is up?! A very good October to you!

I’ve brought my Friday attitude with me today. This gnarly Red Bull Rampage video did the trick. This is totally the kind of stuff i do when i mountain bike, Mom.

Football football football!

The final Grand Tour of the year, the Vuelta a Espana, is a wrap. Second place winner of the Tour de France, Andy Schleck, gave us a little gossip after being ejected from the Vuelta for having a night cap.

Guess that pales in comparison to the news that overall winner of the Tour de France, Alberto Contador, recently tested positive for a banned substance. Could he be one of the very few – the only? – cyclist to test positive for something he didn’t willingly ingest? His team hopes so. If suspended, Contador says he might just quit for good.South Boundary trail, NM

Only because this is primarily a sports blog, i’m commenting on a few products athletes might be tempted to use:

1 – Women have been shaving and plucking for decades. Apparently, it’s time for dudes to feel that pain with a little manscaping. Get that chest (etc.) nice and smooth with Nivea for Men Active 3. It’s easy! After shaving your chin, move on down to the chest (etc.), just like the guy in the commercial shows you.

2 – Nothing screams, "We don’t give a flip about the environment or the masses of garbage being dumped into the oceans" like using a new Kleenex brand towel each and every time you wash your hands. "Your hands are only as clean as the towel you dry them on," the ad cautions.

Mix in a little soap, people. Do some laundry from time to time, chrissakes. We aren’t talking underwear, here (even those can be turned inside out).

3 – You’d have to be a loser not to buy a product that boasts (caps theirs), "INSTANTLY the ultra-fresh gel visibly revives and firms skin for an anti-fatigue BURST OF ENERGY effect on your look. EACH DAY facial features appear visibly rested….” You get the point. Sounds like 5-hour ENERGY for the face.

BACK TO SPORTS: Football football football!

So this guy walks up to a garage sale… and buys a bike for $5. Turns out it was custom-built for Tour de France winner/doper Floyd Landis a few years ago and is still worth upwards of $5K. Sweet deal! Makes me wanna take up garaging. (Is that what it’s called?)

TIMBITS: For those of you near and/or dear to Albuquerque, the city shares the honor of a Bronze Level Bicycle Friendly Community again with 18 other US communities, designated as such by the League of American Bicyclists.

Here’s the way i plan to get around in the coming decade.

Football football football!

And how can you not open an account with these folks? (Be sure to mouseover the horse’s face.)

I’m Looking forward to hockey season. You?

Down Time

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.