Monday, May 30, 2011

I'm done defending Lance, the judicial system, etc. I am now going to throw all my energy into getting Mrs. Palin as the GOP's answer to Obama."
Above is the link to a top notch paper written by two really smart guyz at Butler University. If ya get a chance check it out...based on the acronym CRITIC...
Whatz the Claim;
Whatz the Role of the Claimant;
Whatz the Information backing up the Claim;
Is the Claim able to be Tested;
Is there Independent testing available?
Whatz your Conclusion as to the Claim?

Apply and/or compare via Hamilton's Claim versus that of Lance's Claim; if ya wanna...Or Trump's versus Obama's...Or Socrates versus the State...Or Surgeon General v. Phillip Morris...or...

Friday, May 27, 2011

In this Country you have an inalienable right to a Trial By the Media...

The New “abridged version” of the Sixth Amendment to the US Constitution: In all criminal prosecutions involving Tour winners, the accused shall enjoy the right to a long long long drawn out pre-trial circus that may last for years, may not even result in a trial, and will be paid for by taxpayers monies, a partial jury consisting of the Media and convicted dopers accompanied by public relations attorneys, ghost writers, and talk show hosts, ...and to be not be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation...etc...

I know that I shouldn’t be, I should be use to it by now...but once again I am both dismayed and distressed at how easily the simple masses can be manipulated by the mainstream media. The notion that a convicted full-on "tattle-tail" doper with well-documented psychological and substance abuse issues can go onto 60 Minutes, shed a tear or two and subsequently turn public opinion against an iconic cycling champion that has never been charged with any wrong doing during his long cycling career, speaks well to the ever increasing fragile nature of this democratic republic. I hope that I don’t have to point out to you that at this point in the matter, it is irrelevant if Lance did or did not use drugs to win all those Tours of France. For the record I have NOT seen Lance do drugs...

“Four legs good, two legs bhaddddd.”
“Tyler good, Lance bhaddd.”

The presumption of innocence, sometimes referred by the Latin Ei incumbit probatio qui dicit, non qui negat (the principle that one is considered innocent until proven guilty) is a FUNDAMENTAL legal right of the accused in a criminal trial. The burden of proof is thus on the prosecution, which has to collect and present enough compelling evidence to proof that the defendant is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. In case of remaining doubts, the accused is to be acquitted. This presumption is seen to stem from the Latin legal principle that ei incumbit probatio qui dicit, non qui negat (the burden of proof rests on who asserts, not on who denies)...Source: Wikipedia.

Apart from the Trial by biased Media... 60 Minutes' public conviction of Lance is also based on simple faulty logic as exemplified below:

Charlie travels with a group of students to Wabasha, MN for the first time in their lives. They see 10 people, all of them children under the age of 14. Charlie asks a kid,"Any adults live here?" The kid says, "Almost everyone, nearly everyone, just about EVERYBODY that lives here is a kid." Charlie and his students return to Esko and report that there are no adult residents living in Wabasha. or....

The Non-cycling poorly informed, easily swayed public learns about systemic doping in professional cycling for the first time in their lives by watching Tyler Hamilton's heartfelt and tragic confession on 60 minutes last Sunday. Hamilton is portrayed as a victim of drugs and Lance is typed cast as the evil drug pusher. The American people return to their places of work and report that there are no " clean" professional cyclists. Lance Armstrong is a professional cyclist; so he is not clean. Lance is bad. Or...

Premise 1: Hamilton and Landis were professional bicycle racers and they hung out with Lance. Hamilton is nice.

Premise 2: Lance is a professional bike racer. Lance is mean.

Premise 3: Hamilton and Landis used illegal drugs and now they cry a lot because they had to use the drugs ‘cuz almost everybody else was using drugs. Lance even made Tyler use drugs, sorta...

Premise 4: Did I mention that Hamilton and Landis contend that most everybody in the sport used drugs, including Lance and that it makes them very sad to think about it now that they got caught (and Lance did not get caught). Did I mention that Lance is not nice to people that accuse him of being a doper or to Sheryl Crow or to LeMond.

Obvious Conclusion: Lance is guilty...Lance used drugs. Bad Lance. Bad Bad Lance and good, but poor Tyler...

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Save us....At least I think we need saving?

So anyway, like all wise men, shamans, and the like, through the eons of time, exalted spiritualists have from time to time attempted to enhance their take on things by embarking upon vision-quests. In practical terms, these vision-quests often rely on metaphorical imagery of which a wise man conveys to his less intellectually talented citizenry in the hopes of instilling into them some sense of the TRUTH. Through the annuls of antiquity, some relied upon long solo episodes into remote desert environs, others through fasting and meditation; for me I find that ingesting a large V.I.P. pizza complete with jalapenos and the full complement of spicy meats, chased by ample quantities of Bell’s Kalamazoo Stout has the effect of transporting me metaphysically into a different realm of time and space or even existence…offering essentially a venue by which to embark upon a metaphorical “vision quest.” Such was the case last night…

Having prepped accordingly, upon my trusty couch I lapsed into a vision quest...

Amid tempestuous winds and unsettled skies, high upon a bluff there stands a lonely tree. Below there is only the unbridled chaos of godless wolves attempting to engage in collective bargaining as the rest of the animals wither in various stages of starvation and disease. The nest rests high high high in this lonely tree. In the nest is a cacophony of obviously hungry and agitated Robin hatchlings, their weak mouths agape in anxious anticipation of a meal, any meal for they are in the depths of despair and hunger. There is supervision present, but alas the adult bird in the nest is not a Robin as expected (or as it should be), but instead a black ominous Raven sits. A Raven from a far-way land. The Raven has only thorns (and the like) to feed the pitiful hatchings. In forlorn desperation the baby birds try as they might to eat the thorns, but we all know that it is a hopeless endeavor. Suddenly as if Providence finally hears their cries, a Robin clad in the Stars and Stripes lands standing on a limb next to nest. He stands tall and true, very tall and very very true, courageously tall and courageously truthful. Soon the brave Robin chases off the Raven. The hatchlings are saved as the newly arrived Robin, still standing tall, momentarily bends down ever so slightly to feed the grateful hatchlings a bountiful feast of rotund and truthful worms…(Did I mention that he was clad beautifully from tail to beak in the Stars and Stripes and that he alwayz tells the truth)…the skies suddenly break a bright ocean blue and a rainbow appears….but just for the nest...

I am suddenly and shockingly awakened from my trance by the Man-dog, Loki, who is calling for my immediate assistance. I have significant heart burn. I will leave the interpretation of this vision-quest to you, my Dear Readers.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

The Royal 162 did not disappoint. Chris Skogen, The Force behind this event and a catalyst for this wonderful movement, is famous among the Midwest gravel crowd for putting on a flawless, meticulous race, and this one was no different than the several others I have participated in over the years. Given the fact that the last couple of these things have been commenced in fast, idyllic spring conditions, I guess we were due for some tough riding.

If the truth be known, the Duluth Boyz were even quietly excited about the prospect of riding in weather that we have come to consider status quo. WE are use to riding in this stuff…During the course of the last six months or so, seems like every time we have gotten together to do a group training ride the weather has been inhospitable, implausible, even downright un-American…“When will it get warm?” “Can you believe this wind?”“Will I ever ride my bike in shorts again?” “I am so tired of being miserable.” “How are your feet doing? Mine are numb again?” “I am so sick of being cold!””Will it ever get nice out?”—Are just a few of the common themes of conversation during our rides up in Duluth over the last six months…

So in planning for this thang, we figured on having to dress warm, but in packing on Thursday night, I forgot to bring both adequate hand and leg gear which meant that I had to start wearing just shorts and a pair of light wool army-surplus gloves. Misery ensued. The overall suffering can best be summed up by two rather disturbing symptoms of my stupidity. One involved the realization that my hands were so numb by mid-race that I was unable to muster enough strength to squeeze the liquid from my bottles. Thus, in a desperate effort at improvisation, I was forced to revert back to my early infancy attempting to suckle the nipples on the water-bottles in an effort to retrieve the life-giving sustenance. The second occurred towards the end of the race when riders are faced with wading across a significant stream (that hit me at about mid-to-high calf), I was worried for some time that this crossing would really cause me to get even colder, but my legs and toes felt nothing; to my surprise they were completely numb. I remember thinking, “thatz weird!”

The pace at the start, to me, seemed pretty fast and I knew when we hit the first hill and I struggled to hold on with the group that I am use to riding with— that I was going to have a long long day. Have you ever been in a race where you feel like you are working way harder than you are suppose to and yet you are still getting dropped? It was that kind of day for me. It got so that I became convinced that my rear brakes were rubbing. I stopped and checked this several times and each time the brakes were fine. Then I became convinced that I was struggling because of a slow leak in my rear tire. I stopped and checked my tires—they were fine…I began to obsess that my cleats were coming undone, that my frame bag was rubbing on the front wheel, that my front brakes were rubbing, that I had somehow hooked into an iron anvil (initialed with the letters T.I.) and was towing it behind me, I fought with the zippers on my jacket and on my frame pack, my glasses blatantly worked against me…and so on and so on…

Eventually I made my peace with my situation and adjusted or transitioned to a “survival mode” approach to the challenge. I may be gettin’ slower, but I still know how to grind ‘em out to the finish…Slim as it maybe; I always like to start off thinking that I have at least a mathematical chance at finishing with the top guyz. But now at this point in my racing career, I am not the kind of guy that goes down with the ship in a blaze of glory. In other words, after about ten miles or so of burying myself to try and stay with the front row, I pulled back on my harried forlorn effort to hold on and instead dug in for the long grinding haul.

Plus, given the tough conditions, I knew that it was a statistical likelihood that many of the guyz in this race, ahead and behind me, would not finish and so I figured that if I could just hang in, I’d at least get a Top 10 spot. After awhile I was fortunate to end up riding a lot of the course with young Robert Held from Rice Lake and then we joined up with Ben Doom from Saint Cloud (proprietor of Revolution Cycle & Ski). Note: Revolution Cycle & Ski is a great store, so if ya ever in Saint Cloud stop by and spend a ton of money.

Young Held was the driving force for me early on and I am confident in submitting here in public that if he keeps it going he will be a force to be reckoned with in the near future. He has all the tools to be a total long distance hammer-head! Yet, it was hard to draft off of him (or to draft anyone) due to the constant mud spray. Ben Doom is an experienced and fast cyclist that could be a top tier talent in any of the sub-categories of bike racing, but instead has begun to forge a path that will lead him to be one of the top endurance/adventure racers in the Midwest within three years…look for him to vie for the win at the 2012 Arrowhead 135 (you read it here first!). In any event, I very much enjoyed my time with these two extraordinary guyz and look forward to shamelessly drafting off of them again in future races.

Meanwhile a serious race was unfolding ahead of us between the top guyz, but we did not know who was up there battling 'cuz we knew folks were dropping out. Drew Wilson had been with us, the second tier chase group, but rode away from us early on and I figured that he may still be in the mix and I knew for sure that Joe Meiser and DBDer Buffington would yield to "…neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed goal.” And I surmised that Cornbread, Troy Krause, and Dennis Grelk were still up front as they had looked solid in the beginning (and have lotz of experience in these kinds of endeavors). But we could also tell by tracking the fewer and then even fewer tire tracks that people were bailing out.

By the time we got to the regular Almanzo trail, we knew for sure that Troy was out because of the onset of hypothermia and that Dennis had dropped (ultimately, I accurately predicted, with about fifty miles to go, that there were only five riders left ahead of us). This calculation buoyed my resolve to keep the bike moving forward…I even began to hope that we could get in the top six, given what appeared to be a high attrition rate amongst the lead pack.

Although a bit foggy as to the remainder of the effort, I do remember battling an unrelenting head wind for what seemed to be two hours or more. In the tempest, gradually the youthful power of Doom’s legs allowed him to pull away from me and I was happy that he was going into the 6th place finish. I finished behind him and not long after came Robert Held along with the always amicable Nordacotedean John Struchynski

Little did I know that whilst I was perhaps crossing that stream, the intrepid Joe Mieser coupled with the formidable Jason Buffington (both of whom averaged more than a mile-an-hour faster than my troupe) had gapped the rest of the fast guyz, composed of Iowan Jim Cochran and Nebraskan all-around good-guy, Corey Godfrey, and were setting up to sprint for the finish!!! The outcome was so close that on our way back to Duluth, Jason was not really sure of the outcome. But according to the official result, he was the winner…Of course in my mind, as yours’ as well; both of them are Top-Notch Winners…..

Overheard as pre-conditioned race fans looked on...
Pre-conditioned Race Fan #1: "Who are those tough looking men?"

Pre-conditioned Race Fan #2: "The biggest one leaning against the post is Buffington. The other younger, hungry looking one is Meiser. Word 'round town is their outlaw riders...they have no category....they ride with no license!

Pre-conditioned Race Fan #1: Well, why aint they in prison? Why aint Skogen in prison fer let 'em ride fer free? Why aint they all in prison? It aint right...ta ride without paying money to the USCF.

Pre-conditioned Race Fan #2: This here aint no sanctioned USCF race, honey. This here is the last frontier of Bicycle Racing. Guyz race here so they can have braggin' rights...nothin' more than that...The last two USCF marshals that went after them are...well... letz just say they aint of this world no more."

Monday, May 16, 2011

Royal 162 turned out to be kinda tough in a Shackleton sort of way...

This is a photograph taken by Kyia Anderson of the leaders, early on, in the Almanzo 100 (Note: She is a great biker and humanitarian from St. Cloud thatz soon to be an awesome mommie as well)...We did the Royal 162 which was just a little bit muddier and a little longer...I don't think further commentary is necessary.

Expect a fully embellished race report in a few dayz, once I get all the gravel dug out of my eye sockets....For now: DBD's own, Brave Buffington did NOT disappoint nor did Joe Meiser...Kudos to Ben Doom for aiding and abetting the author...and of course, Thank you Mr. Skogen and Team

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Thanking You Chris Skogen...thanks alot!!!

The Almanzo 100 and the Royal 162 commence on this upcoming Saturday...For me it'll be 162 miles of pure bike racing joy!!! I have not been this pumped since I graduated Number One in my Class at Team 6 Navy Seal school way back in the day (Note: I can give no further details on this time in my life). In any event, Thanks a lot Chris Skogen, et. al. for putting this great event on!!! Look for the DBD to be well represented with the triumphant return of the wizened 0ld wily Pramann

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Is it me? Did I bring this on? Am I so loathsome that I deserve to be snubbed? A Full "10" on the Snub 'O' Meter

I apologize for the shaky thoughts…I’m going through a rough patch right now…Was the victim of TWO unrelated albeit premeditated, aggressive, and flagrant Snubs yesterday whilst riding my trusty Merlin on a loop that involved Lester River Road and other asphalt aspects of the Heck of the North course. Of course the first snub hurt, but by the second one I felt so alone, so dirty, so unloved— I was a total mess by the time I got home…Thank Heaven that Loki was there for me to offer comfort and solace (Note: Loki, the MAN-dog is the only one in my life that truly loves me. After the attacks, my wife told me, “It’s little wonder you get snubbed so much, you dress like a homeless person and my kid said, “Your're weird!”). Although reliving the horrid memories hurts me to the very core of my soul, for itz like I am reliving the whole sorted affair once again; my team of therapists, life coaches, pharmacists, and the like have encouraged me to write about THE SNUBS as a form of cathartic proactive healing. They tell me that itz not my fault and that with extensive (and expensive) support I will get better. They tell me that where I am right now is at the victim stage. I am a victim of a series of snubbings…Someday I will be able to change and become a Snub-survivor…Help Me…So here goes…

Snub #1: I was riding up the series of hills towards the top of picturesque Lester River Road. Elated as the weather was perfect, I was moving slow and taking time to “smell the flowers” when I spied a fellow cyclist coming towards me. There was plenty of time to prepare a proper salutation so I immediately began to contemplate the traditional (with a twist), “How we doing?” greeting. I usually like to replace the “ya” in “How ya doing” with “we” because I feel that it implies solidarity, commitment to interdependence, and perhaps even a hint of kindred spirit. In other words, the idea of substituting the “ya” with “we” is to convey my appreciation for the philosophical view that we (as cyclists) are inter-related at both a concrete and cosmological (or even metaphysical) plane. Nevertheless, after a bit more thought and surmising that he appeared young by my standards, I decided to save the rather weighty “How we doing” for later (should I encounter a more like-minded cerebral comrade) and instead decided on the more generic, “Beautiful day!” The justifications being first the youthfulness of the rider, and secondly that given the decidedly lack of good cycling weather of late, it would more appropriate to state the obvious in an effort to bridge the potential for a generational gap. So “Beautiful day!” in exclaimative form with a concerted effort to emphasize “Day!” was the option that won out.

He was approaching with speed but not too fast. We looked at each other. Atop a shiny brand new Carbon racing machine, he was clad in a beautifully arranged cycling ensemble complete with matching bibs, jersey, helmet, gloves, socks, even water bottles. He was truly a serious cyclist, my heart soared! I steadied myself to deliver the greeting at the proper time and hit it perfectly just as we made eye-contact. “Beautiful Day” I called out in perfect tone and volume. Immediately following my delivery there was a split second of limbo…time stood still as we locked eyes. I felt the was real...During this surreal interlude, I remember hoping for more than a simple, “Sure is” but I readied myself for it all the same, having been disappointed so many times before. Then it happened, HE SNUBBED ME!!! He put his head down, stood up, and sprinted away. I felt hideous, like the Elephant Man!!!! “I am not an elephant! I am not an animal! I am a human being! I am a man!” I screamed as he rode away.

Snub #2: Badly shaken, I continued on. The heart is a wonderfully resilient organ and it was not too long that I began to feel whole again. I reasoned that he was an upstart USCF card-carrying Category 4 racer (maybe even a Cat.3 racer!) and that he was simply too busy to offer an old man a greeting. I figured that he surely was heavily involved in interpreting his power-meter, heart rate, and cadence metrics and that he was thus unable to extend to me a brief salutation.

I was on flat ground now and saw well ahead of me a duo of comely lasses heading my way. Although well past my prime (I now only dream of fresh lasagna and ridding myself of toe fungus) I took a moment to adjust my stylish Salsa cycling hat to compliment my greeting. I decided upon a “Hello Ladies” approach with the idea that they would find such a greeting from an elder to be both harmless and charming. As we came closer I set up straight and offered a full smile and called out, “Hello Ladies!” In response they both looked away and rode on…I was reminded of Arendt’s classic essay, The Banality of Evil. I wept as I automatically pedaled my bicycle onward, then I went numb…

Why do cyclists snub other cyclists? WHY???? Help me understand….HELP ME! I can take being snubbed by a Tri-athlon malcontent or a starving runner…but to be snubbed by my own kind???