Sunday, July 13, 2008

Le Tour Begins

Le Tour begins for real. The high mountains have arrived. We'll finally get a glimpse of who's going win. Given the 24 km descent to the finish today, nothing should really change. The stage tomorrow ends on a climb and that will cause the first major split. CSC has been very quiet so far. Given my pick in an online contest, CSC needs to wake up.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Another Doper

Ah... Manual Beltran has tested positive for EPO after the first stage of Le Tour. It seems that his pre-race values were a bit "high" causing a bit of additional scrutiny. Let's see... this now make five others that were teammates of Lance Armstrong's to have had doping issues. The others would be Frankie Andreu, Floyd Landis, Tyler Hamilton and Roberto Heras. I'm sure it's just coincidence. Yeah... that's it. Read about it here and here.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Information Overload

Wow... My head is spinning. Yesterday the UPS guy dropped off 15 pounds of green coffee (French Roast Blend, Espresso Monkey, and my current favorite, Classic Italian Espresso Blend. Sweet Maria's also roasts once a week and they happened to be having the Classic Italian as their espresso offering, so I had a pound of that too. That gives me an example of exactly how they think this coffee should be roasted. It looks like I've been getting it pretty close to right.

The information overload in the title of this post is coming from a book that I had them include in the box. The book is The Professional Barista's Handbook by Scott Rao. I'm barely through the first chapter and I am very impressed. This seems to be the most concise source of espresso information that I've come across. I've found bits and pieces of the information in this book here and there on "The InterTubes", but nothing that pulls it all together.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

3 or 17 Days To Go - You Decide

July is here. That means two things, the Tour de France and RAGBRAI. Two of my most favorite cycling events. I'm not sure which is the most important. I'm leaning toward RAGBY. The odds on favorite to win Le Tour is Cadel Evans. I'm pulling for Carlos Sastre of CSC. We'll see how things turn out in Paris on the 27th.

This is yet another "Health Tour". It seems about every ten years there is some sort of doping scandal and the following year is a "Health Tour". With the ASO giving Astana (including the defending champion) the boot, no prologue, no team time trial, and shorter stages, Le Tour is going to be very, very different. I'm hoping for the better. I'm not sure that it will ever be clean, but at least Pro Cycling is really testing. With the specter of gene doping now in the laboratory, I think that it may need to adopt more of a car racing format, Stock or Super Modified.

RAGBRAI also has a possible challenge to get over this year too. Given all of the rain that we've been having here in Eastern Iowa and the attendant flooding, the ground is completely saturated. July is the third most rainy month (June, August, July), there is some real potential for problems. Hopefully, it won't happen. Although... we'll need at least one rainy day to add a little suffering.

DBax has just finished up Jack And The Magic Bean Bus. It's been filling that empty time from August to June. It's a lovely tale set in and about the RAGBY. It's required reading on The ShortBus.