* Podium Cafe, your go-to site for Six Day Racing. Who knew? In case you're wondering what a Six-Day race is, go here or here or buy this book. Coolest factoid: In the beginning the name was startlingly literal:
Quickly, riders began competing 24 hours a day, limited only by their ability to stay awake. Many employed seconds, as in boxing, to keep them going. The seconds, known by their French name soigneurs, were said to have used doping to keep their riders circling the track. Riders became desperately tired. The condition included delusions and hallucinations. Riders wobbled and fell. But they were often well paid, especially since more people came to watch as their condition worsened. Promoters in New York paid Teddy Hale $5,000 when he won in 1896 and he won "like a ghost, his face as white as a corpse, his eyes no longer visible because they'd retreated into his skull," as one report had it.
* My ride today reminded me, unfortunately, of a certain baseline impression I try to bring to the sport of Cycling each year: respect for the suffering. Not mine: I've had a bad month on the bike (or not, as the case may be), so between feeling crap, numb toes, a sore back, and having my ride partially thwarted by ice, my will to suffer was pretty much gone. The suffering I refer to is theirs. I can't exactly know such things, but isn't it pretty much impossible that there's a single rider in the Pro Tour ranks who hasn't accepted a level of physical suffering that few if any of us could ever accept? We like to dish on riders at times, and certainly some -- the cheats -- deserve all they get, but I can't help marveling at the mental strength you need to survive the sport. Unlike a lot of team sports, there simply is no amount of talent you can coast by on if you lack the strength to suffer.
* Finally, Lars Boom is out of the hospital:
He can start training again "carefully" on the roller on Monday, and can return to his bike "possibly" on Tuesday.
Stay tuned to see if the Large Bomb can start "winning" on Saturday...