Wednesday, July 29, 2009

For you fans of individual sports (and yes, I know there are teams in cycling, but you could say Usain Bolt is on the Jamaican track team) here is another awe inspiring act of athleticism. But this talent is uniquely exceptional. Watch the hilariously cocky sprinter embarrass his competition, setting a new world record in the 200 meter sprint, in Lausanne, in the pooring rain. Bonus points if you can name the language of the commentary!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

TdF: final

Cavendish won the final stage on the Champs Élysées by a huge margin, just to have his teammate and lead-out man take 2nd on the stage.

Alberto Contador of course stayed upright and won his 2nd Tour.

Left to right: Pellizotti is "King of the Mountains", Norwegian Thor Hushovd wins the sprinter's jersey, Contador wins the overall, and Luxembourger Andy Schleck is the "Best Young Rider" (and 2nd overall).

Astana captured the "Teams competition", awarded to the team whose top 3 riders have the lowest riding time. They also won the team time trial, and Contador won 2 stages for them.

Contador on his special black and yellow bike:

Lance on his butterfly bike:

Yesterday, Armstrong said this about how he felt:
I can't complain. For an old fart coming in here and getting on the podium, not so bad.

If there was an "Old Fart" competition, it would go to Lance. He is the 2nd oldest rider to be on the Tour podium at almost 38 years of age. Poulidor, "The Eternal Second" took the record in 1976 at age 40.

It was a good day for the British as Bradley Wiggins (on the American Garmin-Slipstream team) became the highest-ever-placed Brit in the Tour (in 4th), and Cavendish (on the American Columbia-HTC team) became the first Brit to win aux Champs Élysées. 6 stage wins (plus 4 last year) is also a record for Brits, but Cavendish will most likely win more stages in future years. Good year for American teams too, I guess.

Final general classification
1 Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Astana 85:48:35
2 Andy Schleck (Lux) Team Saxo Bank 0:04:11
3 Lance Armstrong (USA) Astana 0:05:24
4 Bradley Wiggins (GBr) Garmin - Slipstream 0:06:01
5 Fränk Schleck (Lux) Team Saxo Bank 0:06:04
6 Andreas Klöden (Ger) Astana 0:06:42
7 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas 0:07:35
8 Christian Vande Velde (USA) Garmin - Slipstream 0:12:04
9 Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Liquigas 0:14:16
10 Christophe Le Mevel (Fra) Française des Jeux 0:14:25

To illustrate that sprinters, who may win lots of stages, are not threats in the general classification, Cavendish came in at 131st place, 3 hours 22 minutes behind.

Yauheni Hutarovich of Belarus was over 4 hours behind, in 156th and last place. Remember, 180 riders started the Tour 3 weeks ago. Finishing is an accomplishment by itself.

Japan's first Tour riders ever, Fumiyuki Beppu and Yukira Ashiro, were 112th and 129th, respectively.

Jane Moved Forward

Friday completed week one in the Tour de Hip for Jane Remington. No sprint wins however. And Dad is a prize domestique.

Mom returned home on Monday, following the successful hip replacement surgery just four days earlier. She said her doctor was wonderful. She was ready to get home to nights without hospital noises and food that was palatable. Though, her medication has delayed her taste buds returning to normal.

Each day, a therapist comes to check bandages, consult with the patient, and escort Jane through exercises and activities, such as walking through the house and maneuvering short sets of steps. She sleeps all night in her bed. Prior to surgery, she'd wake up in pain and move to the recliner chair to finish the night.

Jane is pleased with her progress, and delighted with the no pain hip. She moves about independently, though slowly and cautiously, with the aid of the walker. She is following her directions for rehab step-by-step.

It has been just one week, and she is thrilled with the progress and relief! The experts say it will be about a month for her to return to normal...driving and everything. She is gaining confidence in the hip's ability to function normally. Meanwhile, the walker and Solitaire will keep her company.

Dad is doing well, though ends the day tired. Friends from church have provided meals. My brother installed handles in the shower, which is wise under any circumstances.

Thanks for your interest and continued prayers on their behalf.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

TdF: Mont Ventoux

The big news of the day is that the top 3 in the general classification stayed the same, as they finished together on the stage. Andy Schleck (in 2nd place) kept attacking Contador, but Contador always kept up. Spaniard Juan Manuel Garate won the stage.

Crowds were enormous. An estimated 500,000 lined today's route.
Lance says:
Ventoux done. What a day!! I have never (ever) seen crowds like that @ the TdF. Unreal!! I felt great too and kept my "podium" spot. Happy.

Things shouldn't change much tomorrow, as it is in Paris and the last day which is very predictable. Start in a neighboring town, then 10 laps aux Champs Élysées. This has been the norm since 1975. Usually the stage ends in a bunch sprint. Cavendish and his team will try for stage #6 for this year.

General classification after stage 20
1 Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Astana 81:46:17
2 Andy Schleck (Lux) Team Saxo Bank 0:04:11
3 Lance Armstrong (USA) Astana 0:05:24
4 Bradley Wiggins (GBr) Garmin - Slipstream 0:06:01
5 Fränk Schleck (Lux) Team Saxo Bank 0:06:04
6 Andreas Klöden (Ger) Astana 0:06:42

That makes Astana teammates 1st, 3rd, and 6th. Also notice that 4th and 5th places are separated by only 3 seconds, after 80 hours of racing.

Friday, July 24, 2009

TdF: Cavendish

Mark Cavendish won his 5th stage of this year's Tour after a hard climb 10 miles from the finish.

Not everyone could keep up with the sprinters at the end. Lance was the only GC rider who could, and got another 4 seconds on 4th place. That shouldn't matter much, but it shows Lance is always paying attention.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

TdF: Final TT

Today in the final time trial of the 2009 Tour de France, Contador extended his lead in the overall classification by winning the stage by 3 seconds over Fabian Cancellara. Lance Armstrong took 12th in the stage, and moved up to 3rd overall.

That's Contador under there.

It seems like Lance has a different bike for every occasion. This one's yellow. His bikes with custom paint jobs are going to be auctioned.

General classification after stage 18
1 Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Astana 73:15:39
2 Andy Schleck (Lux) Team Saxo Bank 0:04:11
3 Lance Armstrong (USA) Astana 0:05:25
4 Bradley Wiggins (GBr) Garmin - Slipstream 0:05:36
5 Andreas Klöden (Ger) Astana 0:05:38
6 Fränk Schleck (Lux) Team Saxo Bank 0:05:59

The major contenders may mostly stay together in tomorrow's mountain stage in order to save energy for Saturday's climb up Mount Ventoux.

Today Lance Armstrong announced that he will be sponsored by RadioShack next year. RadioShack said, "Beginning in 2010, Lance Armstrong will compete for Team RadioShack as a cyclist, runner and triathlete in events around the world, including the 2010 Tour de France."

Eclipse Pictures (click here)

This is a link to my friend Tom Horton's flickr site. He has several pictures of the total eclipse of the sun. Tom traveled to see it in person.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Is Barack Hussein Obama a U.S. citizen? Let's hear it...

TdF: Queen stage

Luxembourger brothers Fränk and Andy Schleck made today a very exciting day with its 5 climbs. Fränk won the stage while Alberto Contador came in second to maintain his lead, and Andy Schleck was 3rd.

Fränk won; yellow Contador 2nd; white Schleck 3rd:

Armstrong was 5th, 2:18 behind.

General classification after stage 17
1 Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Astana 72:27:09
2 Andy Schleck (Lux) Team Saxo Bank 0:02:26
3 Fränk Schleck (Lux) Team Saxo Bank 0:03:25
4 Lance Armstrong (USA) Astana 0:03:55
5 Andreas Klöden (Ger) Astana 0:04:44

If the GC stays the same, it would be the first time siblings were on the podium together. 3 Astana teammates in the top 5 isn't bad either.

Lance says:
St 17 done. Tough day! Got caught out on some attacks on the col de romme but managed ok from behind. Had some cramps @ the end. No fun!!

Tomorrow's 25-mile individual time trial should separate the pure climbers from those who can time trial as well. I think Contador showed us all that he can do both with his 2nd place in the stage 1 time trial this year. Lance could take back his podium place. However, Saturday's stage up the infamous Mt Ventoux is pretty hard too, and Lance might slip back to 4th. We'll see!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

TdF: stage 16

Even through today's 2 big climbs (notwithstanding one being Le Petit St Bernard), the top of the GC stayed the same.

Spaniard Mikel Astarloza won the stage. Astarloza was especially enthusiastic when crossing the finish line, and long-time cycling commentator Phil Liggett said, "The joy on his face was pure and refreshing to see":

Initially Lance couldn't keep up with his peers in the standings, but he attacked his group and bridged the gap on the road, so he didn't lose any more time today. Lance tweeted,
St16 done. Pretty tough day w/ 2 loooong climbs. Felt a lot better today. Team did an excellent job of controlling the race. 3 countries too
German Jens Voigt crashed on a descent and fractured his right cheek bone and suffered a concussion, but is improving at the hospital.

This Tour is unusually close with the top 10 being separated by a scant 4 minutes with only 4 real stages to go. Tomorrow will be a very hard day due to its 5 big climbs.

In other cycling news, Lance says:
Making a very cool announcement on Thursday re: a new American partner for our team in 2010 (and beyond). Stay tuned!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

TdF: El Pistolero

Today's stage 15 saw Alberto Contador take the yellow jersey back by winning the stage, 43 seconds ahead of 2nd place.
The Spaniard is called "El Pistolero" and fires an imaginary pistol when he wins big races.

Other Astana riders came in 8th and 9th, 1:30 behind Contador. Lance is now in 2nd place int eh general classifcation behind teammate Contador. He said today that his Tour is lost, and now he knows that Alberto is clearly stronger, so he'll only work for him.

General classification after stage 15
1 Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Astana 63:17:56
2 Lance Armstrong (USA) Astana 0:01:37
3 Bradley Wiggins (GBr) Garmin - Slipstream 0:01:46
4 Andreas Klöden (Ger) Astana 0:02:17
5 Andy Schleck (Lux) Team Saxo Bank 0:02:26
6 Rinaldo Nocentini (Ita) AG2R La Mondiale 0:02:30

Nocentini, who wore the yellow jersey for so long this year, has finally relinquished it. Expect Contador to stay in yellow till Paris.

Astana currently leads the teams classification, and could have 3 riders in the top 5 in Paris.

Lance tweeted:
St15 done. Ouch! Verbier was as hard as I thought. Alberto - super and had great punch/power. A heartfelt congrats to him. Rest day 2morrow!
Yes, today was hard, but there's a rest day tomorrow.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

TdF: stage 14

Today was another flat stage with a breakaway riding away in the subsiding rain. 34-year-old Russian champion Seguei Ivanov won the stage alone.

American George Hincapie was in the day's escape, and hoped to wear the yellow jersey in tomorrow's mountain stage, but he missed it by a mere 5 seconds, disappointing him utterly. The 36-year-old wore the yellow jersey in stage 2 in 2006, after coming in 2nd in the prologue, <1 second behind. That was after helping Lance win all 7 of his overall victories, but is now on another American team. Lance said today: "Noone, and I mean noone, wanted George in yellow more than me."

Hincapie riding in the breakaway

Hincapie disappointed to find he didn't have the 5 seconds.

Other TdF news:
Yesterday, Spanish sprinter Oscar Freire was shot in the leg with an air rifle pellet. He heard the blast of the gun as he was riding and felt the pain. He continued today and should be okay. Lance Armstrong called this act "sick", and said if he had seen the bad spectator, he would have beat him up.

Today, an elderly woman tried to cross the road when the race wasn't around, but a motorbike hit her. She died at the hospital. Two other spectators were airlifted to the hospital after the same motorbike hit them, being out of control from the impact against the woman. They should be ok.

Tomorrow's mountain-top finish should open up some gaps in the Tour, and we'll see who's strong. Astana direction Johan Bruyneel said this about tomorrow:
Tomorrow we don’t know what will happen. I’ve no idea who will be in yellow tomorrow night. Not the slightest idea.

Friday, July 17, 2009

TdF: stages 12-13

Not too much happened on stage 13 with the GC. Nicki Sørensen won the stage solo after attacking a breakaway:

This is Sørensen's 7th Tour participation, and this was his first Tour stage win.

The only major thing that happened was a crash 1.5 mi from the finish line, which included Levi Leipheimer, who broke his wrist after hitting a curb. He unfortunately did not start the next day (today).

A team press officer said:
[Leipheimer] wasn't too bad last night but this morning, the pain was too much. We took him to the hospital in Vittel, where scans revealed a transversal fracture of the scaphoid bone of the wrist. He is still in hospital now. He will certainly want to go home as soon as possible, but we haven't organised a flight yet.
He is scheduled for surgery today, and will be missed by his team.

Friday's stage 14 returned to some major climbs, but again it was a breakaway of "insignificant" riders that prevailed in the rain. Heinrich Haussler broke away from his breakaway companions to win the stage, and was crying as he crossed the finish line.

Lance is still 8 seconds back in the overall classification.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

TdF: stages 10-11

Mark Cavendish won both stages 10 and 11, and is again leading the sprinters' points competition. General Classification hasn't changed. Lance is still 8 seconds behind.

Stage 10

Stage 11

Race radios were banned in these 2 stages to make for better, more exciting racing "like in the old days", without the team directors in the cars just making it so mathematical. Riders unofficially protested by riding slowly instead. I don't know when radios became normal, but it was Lance and Johan Bruyneel that first used a TV in the car in 1999.

Cavendish could win again tomorrow, but Friday's stage is mountainous and could shake up the GC.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Grandma back home

Grandma has now left the hospital, a nurse taking her to her car in a wheelchair. She musht take 9 shots (2 a day). She is learning about some exercises especially for the plane flights.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Grandma Pete at hospital

Mom (Audrey) got a call today from Grandma Pete (Doris), who has had pains recently. After going to Urgent Care, she was sent to the hospital with deep-vein thrombosis.

She would rather not have something like this happen right before a trip to Ohio, but certainly it's better than it happening during the trip.

Better-informed family members may correct and update as needed.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Stage 9

Stage 9 was quite similar to the eighth stage yesterday. Mountains early in the ride to make everyone tired, without mixing up the GC.

A few years ago Lance's coach Chris Carmichael called a stage early in the race with mountains early in the stage "a waste of calories". This year a rider said about the Tourmalet, a big climb, "A 25mph average for a stage that included the Tourmalet? It’s weird. You still suffer up the Tourmalet, but it was a strange day, very strange."

Pierrick Fedrigo won the stage. He is Italian by heritage but French by nationality.

Lots of fans

One more note from yesterday: in one of the stage recap videos, they said riders reached speeds of 110 k/h -- that's 68 mph!

Lance is still in 3rd place overall, 8 seconds behind. Tomorrow (Monday) is a rest day for the riders. The next few stages have no major climbs in them.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

TdF stage 8: tactics

Stage 8 of the Tour de France was a good lesson in tactics. It was a mountain stage, but since the last climb was followed by 30 miles of downhill and flatlands, the major contenders mostly stayed together while someone from the breakaway won the stage (a Spaniard named Luis León Sánchez).

Stage winner Luis León Sánchez

You may have thought that Team Astana wanted the yellow jersey. It turned out today, however, that Team Astana thought it wise to save their energy by helping the current race leader to keep his maillot jaune. Since the team that has the yellow jersey is under more pressure to defend it, Astana wanted to wait for later. Of course, to some riders (everyone that can't plan on winning the Tour), the yellow jersey is always a bonus-- to the team, the sponsors, and their own bank accounts. Nocentini then obviously wanted to keep the jersey, but was unable to keep up the whole time, thanks to team Saxo Bank, which put pressure on Astana by putting favorites up the road. Astana had to chase to avoid losing time, but they sent one rider back to Nocentini to help him get over the climb. (I've never seen this before.) In the end, Nocentini keeps the jersey, and the general classification changed little.

Tomorrow's stage is quite similar to today's. It may or may not see some more change in the general classification.

Sprinters can win the sprinters' classification by amassing points in various parts of a stage. Cavendish (winner of 2 stages this year) couldn't keep up on the climbs, and lost his lead. Hushovd got in a breakaway and scored some more points, so he now leads in the race for the green jersey.

Friday, July 10, 2009

TdF, post 3

Stage 5 was another windy day in southern France, but the peloton stayed together. Thomas Voeckler was in the breakaway and won by the 7 seconds the charging field let him have. Cavendish took the bunch sprint for 3rd place for more points in the sprinters' green jersey competition.


Stage 6 started in Girona and finished in Barcelona. There was plenty of rain, but again the stage ended in a field sprint, even if it was uphill. Norwegian Thor Hushovd won.

Thor Hushovd

Stage 7 from Barcelona to Andorra was the first real mountain stage, finishing at the Arcalis ski station at 7300'. Frenchman Feillu won the stage (from yet another breakaway group), while general classification contenders mostly stayed together. Cadel Evans, twice runner-up, attacked in the last kilometers, but no one could stay with Alberto Contador when he flew out of the group. Astana teammates Lance and Levi had no reason to chase, and just stayed with the others.

Cancellara is out of the yellow jersey, as expected. Unexpectedly, Rinaldo Nocentini, a rider that got ahead in the breakaway and stayed ahead till the finish (but behind stage winner Feillu), now has the lead and the maillot jaune. This should be good for Team Astana as it will keep them from doing more work to keep the jersey. Nocentini's French team will now have to work harder. Nocentini is not a threat in the overall classification for the whole race.

The race for yellow now stands thus:
1 Rinaldo Nocentini (Ita) AG2R La Mondiale 25:44:32
2 Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Astana 0:00:06
3 Lance Armstrong (USA) Astana 0:00:08
4 Levi Leipheimer (USA) Astana 0:00:39
5 Bradley Wiggins (GBr) Garmin - Slipstream 0:00:46
6 Andreas Klöden (Ger) Astana 0:00:54

Feillu forgot to zip up his jersey to show his sponsors' logos. At least we know his legs are tan...

Contador crossing the finish line

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Stage 4 TTT

Team Astana won today's 24-mile team time trial by averaging 31.25 mph. Cancellara is still in yellow, but he is less than 1 second ahead of Lance Armstrong. This means that if Lance takes a time bonus tomorrow, he'll take the yellow jersey. Friday's stage 7 mountain stage will most likely facilitate the next big change of lead.

Here is the current general classification, with Astana riders taking spots 2-5:

1 Fabian Cancellara (Swi) Team Saxo Bank 10:38:07
2 Lance Armstrong (USA) Astana
3 Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Astana 0:00:19
4 Andreas Klöden (Ger) Astana 0:00:23
5 Levi Leipheimer (USA) Astana 0:00:31

Astana thus increased their lead in the teams classification.

Monday, July 06, 2009

OK, about the Tour

The Tour de France started with a 15.5km (9.6-mi) individual time trial in hilly Monaco (Monte Carlo). Team Astana (Lance's team) showed their cards with 4 riders in the team placing in the top 10, namely, Lance Armstrong (10th), Levi Leipheimer (6th), Andreas Klöden (4th), and Alberto Contador (2nd). Lance has won the Tour 7 times before "retiring" for a few years, Levi was 3rd in the 2007 Tour, Klöden was 2nd in 2004, and Contador won in 2007. Cancellara won the time trial, which means he wore the maillot jaune (yellow jersey) the next day. (Cancellara also won the opening time trial in the Tour in 2004 and 2007.)


Contador, time trial champion of Spain (hence the Spanish colors)

Stage 2:
I think stage 2, the opening road stage, was a pretty normal 4-1/2-hour opening road stage, with a 4-man breakaway out in front most of the day, caught just in time for the sprinters' teams fight it out for the stage win. Cavendish won the stage by three bike lengths. He's on an American team, but is British, and won 4 stages in last year's Tour.

Cancellara in all yellow:


Stage 3 was more dramatic than expected. Certain 'workhorses' on Team Columbia-HTC didn't appreciate how the other sprinters' teams didn't want to work to reel in the day's 4-man break (there was another today), so they decided to make everyone work. With the strong winds, the team dropped all but 27 riders, who finished 40 seconds before everyone else. Cavendish again won the stage, but this time the general classification changed. Yellow jersey Cancellara was in the front group without any teammates; Lance was there with 2 teammates. Teammates Contador, Leipheimer, and Klöden, however, were not.

Cancellara retains his lead and yellow jersey. Lance is now 3rd, 40 seconds behind. Astana is on top in the teams classification.

Wednesday's stage 4 is the first team time trial in several years. Astana (Lance et al) could take the lead here (but we'll have to see).


We've heard nothing about tht race yet this year

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Grad Party Lost & Found

Anyone claim either item? These were left behind at the Graduation Party last Sunday.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Jane's Hip Replacement Surgery

My mom is having non-traditional hip replacement (as described below from the Cedar-Sinai website) on Friday, July 17th at a Cleveland Clinic Hospital called Hillcrest. If you'd like additional information, please read the details that follow. That helps avoid repeating these details over and over to various folks.

Please pray for her, my father, my brother (Ric), and Donna as they care for her and household duties post-surgery. Donna is her good friend, and a former nurse.

Total Hip Replacement: A Minimally Invasive Procedure

This is a high-technology, minimally invasive hip replacement surgery technique that can significantly reduce overall surgery trauma and recovery time. The procedure, called the MIS 2-Incision Hip Replacement, involves the use of two small incisions, 1 ½ to 2 inches long - one over the buttock and the other in the groin. With two incisions, surgeons have the advantage of being able to optimize access to both the socket and the femur with minimal soft tissue trauma and no cutting of the tendon.

The small incisions enable the surgeon to see the hip joint from two different angles and maneuver smaller instruments within the small spaces. Tiny fiber-optic lights guide very small surgical instruments, in order to place the ball and socket joint prosthetics very precisely between muscles, tendons, and ligaments. This avoids having to cut through soft tissue. The rounded head of the thigh-bone, or femur is then cut off, and the arthritic bone is removed from the socket. The ball and socket are then replaced by two prosthetic devices, which are tightly fitted into the bone of the femur and the pelvis.

Benefits of the minimally invasive procedure trypically include:

  • Patients experience less pain after surgery due to less manipulation and more precise placement.
  • Eliminates the amount of cutting we have to do to replace the hip joint, patients recover more quickly
  • Hospital stay is typically 2 days versus 4 to 6 days.
  • Less time is need for rehabilitation therapy
  • Return to work and normal activities usually within a couple of weeks versus up to month or more.
With traditional hip replacement, surgeons cut a six to 12-inch incision along the thigh, cutting through the muscle and tendon, to reach the hip joint, causing more blood loss. In addition, surgeons performing traditional hip replacement must dislocate the hip by pulling the leg into an extreme position, which causes additional soft tissue trauma.
My mom has been in a lot of pain and has had limited mobility for months due to a bone-on-bone hip situation. We are all looking forward to her being back to a pain free, active life style again in a month or so. She is 85 years old and passed both stress tests she was given to qualify for the procedure.

Glen is scheduled to have some cutting done this day as well, to get "clear margins" on a face spot. He is expected to walk again within hours of the procedure. None the less, still gets you a little nervous!

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Feeding lorikeets

Brianna had a great time feeding some birds yesterday at the aquarium.