Categories
Biking Olympics

Olympic men’s road race internal conflict

I’m just going to throw this out there: I’m fighting feelings of disappointment in the Olympic men’s road race. I’ve thought about this all day, had an email back and forth with a friend about it, ranted to a coworker, and continued to mull over it while I did some weights at the gym. What’s bothering me you may ask?

53 DNFs.

Contador, Freire, Hunter, O’Grady, Voigt, Zabriskie, Efimkin, Schumacher, Ciolek…what the hell?

Before you jump to the comments and tell me how stupid I am, here’s a few things I “get”:

  1. I get that this race was quite possibly the race from hell — long, hot, tough, smoggy, and lacking spectators.
  2. I get that some of the guys sacrificed themselves for other team members.
  3. I get that some guys are thinking about the ITT.
  4. I get that the race is only two weeks after the end of the Tour, which follows a long, hard season including Paris-Roubaix, the Giro, and spring classics.
  5. I get that most of these guys probably still have a couple major events left on their ’08 schedule.
  6. I get that the race is not the biggest world stage for cycling like it is for so many other sports. Most likely an elite cyclist grew up dreaming of winning the Tour de France while the elite swimmer grew up dreaming of gold at the Olympics.
  7. I get that it doesn’t pay the bills.

Here’s the thing: I don’t care. IT’S THE OLYMPICS. At least finish it, you know? That’s all I’m asking. And how many guys from domestic teams back home would have loved to be there?

And now for some positives:

  • Fabian Cancellara. Duh. This guy is bad@$$. He didn’t “save” himself, he frickin’ went for it. And I’ll have a hard time not cheering for him (at least a little) in the ITT.
  • I’m throwing out some props to Ryder Hesjedal. He did a lot of pace setting in a break group and still finished.
  • Props to Julian Dean. He’s a sprinter for Garmin-Chipotle, but he found his climbing legs and hung in there for 54th. Nice representation for New Zealand.
  • And, yes, I do appreciate Leipheimer’s and Vande Velde’s strong riding. Thanks Levi, Christian, and George.
  • The women’s race. Slogging through rain all day and only 4 DNFs. And it was fun to see the pure joy of Nicole Cooke when she won.

So am I irrationally annoyed with this race? Please do attempt to make feel better about it.

Update: Okay, I think I’ve officially worked through this internally. Official ruling?: Irrational annoyance. Carry on.

Categories
Biking Olympics Rant

I didn’t really want to watch the men’s road race anyway

My non-Intel iBook is apparently not cool enough to watch the streaming video coverage of the Olympic cycling events.

No Streaming Video for me

Now this just ticks me off. Chances are good it would still work on my system, but I’m being specifically screened. That’s annoying. And that’s bad form NBC.

Update: A little research tells me that they require Silverlight 2 for the streaming video.  Unfortunately Silverlight 2 doesn’t support PPC Macs, and, thus, no video for me.  Jerks.

Categories
Biking Sports

Aches and Photos

I think my body is taking a hard line “no volleyball” stance. Biking is friendly to my joints, whereas volleyball gives me the gait of a 70 year old knee replacement candidate (ah, hello future). I currently must play volleyball with two ankle braces and a knee brace — all braced injuries are volleyball injuries, the most recent of which was a partially torn MCL in summer league outdoor volleyball in June. I also managed to tweak my back playing last week. That tweak has gotten consistently worse over the last week and now I can make no sudden movements.

I should really quit playing volleyball.

But I won’t.

Anyone know a good massage therapist/chiropractor/PT?

Also, the Copper Triangle photoset is up on flickr. You can thank my useless back for the quick photo turnaround.

Categories
Sports

March Madness 2006: George Mason? Really?

The Remains of A Fallen BracketMy bracket is officially done now, reduced to a conglomeration of red strikeouts. If you look closely, you’ll see that I managed to correctly pick only 8 of the sweet sixteen teams, 3 of the elite eight teams and no final four teams. Of the teams I picked to play in the championship, one lost in the round of 32 and the other in the round of 16.

Next year I’m using the reliable coin flip to fill out my bracket. It couldn’t turn out any worse.

Categories
Sports

March Madness 2006: Behold the Burning Pile of Picks

2006 tourney bracket - first/second rounds There’s really not much to say here. The first and second rounds of the tournament were not kind to my bracket. Like, not even a little bit. Kansas lost in the first round. North Carolina lost in the second round. The Georges accomplished more than their fair share in the first round then stabbed me in the back in the round of 32.

Also, to the Missouri Valley Conference, I understand I should have given you more respect. But to totally ruin my bracket to show your anger? That seems completely unnecessary.

Categories
Sports

March Madness, Baby!

Oh, yes. It’s that time of year again. I cannot well describe the excitement this time of year brings for me — we won’t bring up the loss of productivity as I continuously refresh ESPN’s scoreboard during the day. In college, I missed very few classes, and most of these absences can be attributed to March Madness. My brackets are complete and ready for the complete desecration that shall ensue. I have fantasy entries at both ESPN and Newsvine. If you’re looking to join in the national crapshoot, feel free to join my ESPN group “Swanny Group.”

Go KU!

Categories
Olympics

2006 Winter Olympics: I say Torino, You Say Turino

As my fair readers know, I’m not one to shy from a good bout of sports watching unless it’s hockey on TV or NASCAR. Thusly, I’ve been following the winter Olympics. I can’t help but peek at results through out the day only to go home at night to watch said results in full technicolor wonder. The first Olympics I remember are the 1992 Olympics (can the Albertville and Barcelona Olympics really have been 14 years ago?). As much as I would like to say I remember the ’84 or ’88 Olympics I don’t — I was 3 and 7 at those times. I love the Olympics and, as usual, have a few thoughts to throw into the mix (presented in bullet point format).

Categories
Sports

USD Doesn’t Make the Playoffs, Nicole Gets Angry

The Divison II football team with the highest total offense per game, a top quarterback (a Harlan Hill candidate), an 8-2 record, a share of the North Central Conference title, and a #11 national ranking (or #8 depending on which poll you follow) will not be in the playoffs. Seems a little odd doesn’t it? I’m very bitter. Probably more so now than when I watched in astonishment as the playoff field was announced.

Four teams split the NCC conference title. The other three teams are in the playoffs, USD is not despite having beat (handily, I might add) two of the three teams. USD, in fact, now ends the season ranked higher than the other three teams, but will not be in the playoffs.

I know it comes down to USD being the victim of belonging to a tough conference and region (watch for someone from the Northwest region if not the NCC to take the national title), but, also, I fear, politics.

I’ve broken it down from every angle from who from the NCC should have really been in to, once at the regional level, examining wins vs. losses, strength of schedule, and conference equity. In the end, I come to one conclusion, we were still jacked.

There has to be something wrong with a system that leaves a #11 team sitting at home.
Do the DII playoffs expand to 32 teams? (But then, of course, team 33 is pissed)
Would a system in which four teams from each region are chosen plus 8 at-large bids be better?
What about a system that simply takes the top 24 ranked teams into the playoffs?

In the end no amount of digital yelling will change anything. But that doesn’t mean I’m not going to reserve the right to be bitter for some time yet. Congrats USD on a great season — I had fun following it.

Categories
Sports

An Open Letter to the USD Football Team

Dear USD Football team,

We had some good times a few years ago. I would go to your games, you would play horribly, okay, or marginally well. Every once in a while you would pull a State win out of the hat to satiate your public. Yet, I would never go so far as to actually call your play excellent. Because, really, after Jamel graduated, it was pretty hit-or-miss. (I’m sorry, okay, but it’s the truth. We’re still friends, right?)

So, why is it you have to go and be all fabulous this year? Couldn’t you have done this a few years ago too? A 6-0 record, a 270ish passing efficiency rating for your quarterback (um, can you say “unheard of”?), 630 some odd yards of offense per game, and the highest scoring average in DII. Breaking my heart, you are. Where was all of this when I could actually see it?

Yeah, I know this doesn’t really change anything, but I felt the need to air out my feelings.

Well, keep up the good work, boys.

Sighingly yours,

Nicole

Categories
Sports

March Madness 2005: Day 4 – More of the Same

There’s really not much to say about today. Teams won, teams lost. My bracket is pretty much down for the count. What else is there to talk about?

The bright spot for the day was my pick of NC State over U Conn. It’s not much but it’s something. The low spot was that Wisconsin didn’t cream Bucknell as I would have preferred. They won, of course, just not by enough to satisfy my vindictive tendencies.