Friday, June 28, 2013

Le Tour de France 2013: Predictions

What happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object? An explosion. The 2013 Tour de France pits Chris Froome and his fellow Sky People against some of the strongest teams the Tour has ever fielded. There ought to be fireworks, and not the pathetic little sparkler show we witnessed last year.

Yellow Jersey

  1.      Froome
I cannot execute proper reason without predicting Froome as the winner of the Tour de France. His condition is just as good (if not better) than in last year’s race. Like the Wiggins of 2012, the 2013 Froome has dominated the weeklong stage races, and just like the Wiggins of 2012, the Froome of 2013 has not “peaked out”. He does not need an army of Sky People in order to win. I believe that he is the best climber in the race and arguably the best time trialer (certainly among the contenders).
Froome’s testing ground will be in the “transitional” stages, not in the mountain top finishes. He lost Tirreno-Adriatico on a hilly day, and Wiggins collapsed in the undulating first week of the Giro. Katusha, Movistar, Saxobank, and Garmin need to attack on stages 2 and 3. The more entropy, the better.

      2.      Contador
He’s strong and feisty, and his team is better than ever, but I can’t see him winning. I think Froome will mark him in the mountains, and the time trial is no longer an area of advantage for Alberto. Contador will hold nothing back, and a second place finish will not satisfy him. I’m so excited to watch the Spaniards throw everything they have at Sky.

He is so underrated. He podiumed in two grand tours last year, removed from the Vuelta win by one bad day. I expect him to win a mountain top finish. I wish that there were punchy stages in the race, but unfortunately, ASO (the people who make the route) don’t really understand the concept of a punchy/hilly stage. J-Rod will get along just fine, however. Katusha’s squad is built around him, and he is extremely motivated. I think his time trialing will not bother him too much. The flat TT shouldn’t cost him more than 2 minutes, he will go top 10 in the mountainous TT, and Katusha will contend for the win in the team time trial. If he wants to win the Tour, he will need to climb at an even higher level.  

       4.      Porte
Last year he finished 30th in the service of Wiggins, but his job is different now. He’ll be doing what Froome did last year, being the last domestique remaining to set the pace on the final climb. I think Froome and his main challenger will put a bit of time into Porte on the mountain top finishes, but Porte will consistently finish in the top 10. His time trialing will restore him to a top 5 position. I don’t think there will be a Sky controversy. In terms of strength Froome was closer to Wiggins than Porte is to Froome. Richie accepts his place.

       5.      Valverde
I picked Valverde to win the 2008 Tour and later vowed to never do that again. Last year, I picked him to finish 8th, and he completely fell apart. He did, however, win a stage and strut his stuff at the Vuelta. The Green Bullet has the support of Movistar, and he should perform similarly to Rodriguez in the TTs. History has taught me to distrust Alejandro Valverde, but the 2012 Vuelta taught me to never discard him.

       6.      Van Garderen
I would first like to say that winning the Tour of California means very little. Very very little. I’m sick of the hype NBC Sports gives him, but I know that I cannot let my emotions run me. Tejay has performed consistently this season (Paris-Nice, Tour of Cali, Tour de Suisse, Criterium Int’l, etc.), and his 2012 Tour performance gives him further credibility.  However, when the poop hits the fan in the mountains, he won’t hang with Froome.

       7.      Quintana
A  completely focused Nairo Quintana would podium at the Tour de France. During the final week, he will be climbing and time trialing with the best. The question is, will he do that during the second week? I think he will make some sacrifices for Valverde.

       8.      Schleck
I believe in Andy Schleck. His performance in the Tour de Suisse was the same as it always is. Although he struggled to finish some races, Schleck’s 2013 season has been similar to past years: based around the Tour. He will match the big guns in the mountains, but I don’t think that will be enough for a podium.

        9.      Pinot
He claims that he cared more about Suisse than the Tour de France, but that is irrelevant. He was a last minute call-up to the Tour in  2012, and he still pulled off a top 10 and a stage win. He has a much shorter leash now, so he’ll have to gain time by fighting mano-a-mano in the mountains. I don’t think he will rise to the top this year, even though he may do so in the future. The time has not yet come.

        10.  Van den Broeck
He has to be the most underrated GC contender. He has finished 4th in two different Tours, but people are embarrassed to support him. He focuses on the Tour like Andy Schleck, so you can’t judge his season until July is over. While VDB looked awful in the Daupine, I think there’s still something there.

         11.  Talansky
I believe that he will be the most consistent rider on Garmin. While he may not climb as well as Hesjedal or pack the punch of Martin or race aggressively like Hesjedal, Talansky’s time trialing is superior to that of his teammates. His performance in last year’s Vuelta assured me of his durability, and his exploits at Paris-Nice and other shorter stage races have revealed his potency.

         12.  Fuglsang
He time trials well and climbs decently enough. Furthermore, he has a strong Astana team around him. 12th place would be an incredible accomplishment for Fuglsang, considering all of the strong riders taking the start. Ultimately, he won’t climb well enough to make a significant mark on the race.

          13.  Evans
Cuddles will ride safely in the first week and go into the first rest day incredibly close to the Maillot Jaune. That’s how he always does it. However, I think Evans will fade on Ventoux and following mountain stages. His Giro-Tour double won’t cause him to fall apart as he did in 2010, but it certainly will limit him.

          14.  Moreno
As the leader of Katusha, he could ride into the top 10. However, he is perfectly content to sacrifice for Rodriguez. The sacrifice may manifest itself in Moreno attacking, leading to the possibility of Moreno winning a stage. We will see how Katusha plays it, but they need to keep Moreno in GC contention so that his attacks will put pressure on Sky and give J-Rod an advantage.

           15.  Mollema
I don’t trust him fully, but I think he is improving as a GC rider. With the full support of Belkin and the hopes of his country, Mollema will do his best to fight it out in the mountains. However, I just don’t see him as a serious contender.

Green Jersey
            1.      Sagan
It’s simple. His competitors can’t compete with him on the transitional stages. He’s going to take the jersey by a landslide.

            2.      Greipel
He was able to best Cav last year, and this year brings similar circumstances. Greipel is far more rested and focused. His leadout train is just as good.

             3.      Cavendish
He will manage three stage wins, but the thing with Cavendish is that he’ll either be first or twentieth. That does not bode well for consistency. Plus, riding the Giro was not advantageous to his Tour de France preparation.

             4.      Kittel
Kittel is due for a stage win, but last year’s Tour reminded us of his fragility. He struggled with a stomach bug, well before he reached mountains. This year, I believe he will struggle to survive the time cut.

              5.      Ferrari
He has demonstrated the ability to knock off top sprinters (figuratively and literally). Lampre will support him with riders like Malori, Cimolai, and Favilli.

Polka-Dot Jersey
                  1. Cunego
             2. Jon Izagirre
             3. Gadret
             4. Clarke
             5. Hoogerland

Cunego needs to come away with something. I think he can take this competition if he makes it a serious objective.  

White Jersey
               1. Van Garderen
               2. Quintana
               3. Pinot
               4. Talansky
               5. Jon Izagirre

Sunday, February 24, 2013

An Update on 2013

I decided to breathe a bit of life into this blog. If you look at its archive, you will see that my number of posts has been steadily decreasing since 2007. Last year, the amount dropped to 39. Because my blog's url is "boy on bike", my absence from the bike spurred me to a profound sense of "literary nihilism". Forgive me if that was a poor use of the word "nihilism". I tried my hardest.

I suppose I'm not the best at self-disclosure, particularly regarding my hip. I'm often incredulous as to why so many people ask me how my hip feels. For some reason, I expect them to know my physical condition without being told. I don't self-disclose. My hope is that this blog post will partially remedy that issue.

As I said in a previous blog post, I was diagnosed with femoroacetabular impingement in both of my hips. In December I had arthroscopic surgery on my right side. I will soon have the left side done. So far I'm not feeling much improvement, but the surgeon says that is normal. However, the right side clearly feels better than the un-operated left, and that's a good sign. I'm looking at 4-6 months until I can begin training/racing and a year until the symptoms go away completely. I don't have a complete plan, such as how I will prevent the injury from reoccurring, but certain things are out of my control.

Last fall, I started at ASU Polytechnic as an English major. I commuted to school, thinking that I would be spending my free time on my bicycle. Regardless, there was an utterly miniscule chance of living in the dorms. Polytechnic was a convenient place to take care of my Gen Eds, but for the long term, it's just not the place for me. I came to the conclusion that I don't want to be an English major. I enjoy the English language and its products, but I hate how professors read into things. Learning about literary criticism made me want to gouge my eyes out with a rusty spoon. There are no hard feelings.
In the fall I will start in the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Downtown Phoenix (ASU). I don't know all the details, but I know I have made the right choice. Because I hate change, a boatload of conviction is required in order for me to change my environment.

Personally, this year has been a huge improvement. Being at the races is actually enjoyable. I love being on Team Winded and having the position to influence my teammates. They are great kids; I can only imagine how enjoyable it would be to race with them (pretty enjoyable, I'm guessing). Since I've stopped racing, two cool things have come up for me: coaching and announcing. I train a handful of athletes (from Winded), and it has been a great experience. It makes me feel more invested in the racing. I've announced four races thus far. I enjoy it (not as much as racing), and find it to be a great excuse for going to a race. I'd like to pursue announcing further, especially if the hip thing doesn't work out. All-in-all, many opportunities I did not expect have come to me since I was injured.
 I don't know what my life will look like a year from now, but I will trust God. He cares for me. I really struggled with my injury and college last year, but God used those moments to teach me. Enjoyable circumstances, and good athletic performance are extremely fleeting. I will keep on saying that... because it is true.
That's what I've learned. Thanks for reading all the way to the bottom of the page. Have a lovely day.

Monday, December 31, 2012

2013 Bike Boy Awards

Hi folks! It took me a long time, but I never gave up hope. Here are your 2nd Annual Bike Boy Awards for Arizona. Enjoy!


Most Improved: I think we can all agree that Jesse Gilmer didn’t kick butts last year. It was his year first racing and a short year at that. He progressed in 2012 as he took advantage of his strengths. Made in the mold Nathan Franklin, Gilmer made strong showings at the State Road Race and Gila and asserted his will at Mount Graham. Doubtless, he has further potential unlock.

Best Crit Racer: Kenny Polley was another one of those obvious winners. Although he was not necessarily dominant at climbing or time trialing, K-Poll was the king of the crit in 2012. Out of 25 crits entered, he podiumed 15 times and won 8 times. He won every third race he entered, which, as we all can agree, is not normal.

Best Time Trialer: Ryan Geiger did things many people would call freakish. He rolled a 31 at VOS and smoked the State Time Trial in 26:36. The guy has an engine.

Best Mountain Goat: In a year when I thought there would be no pure climbers, Scott Ford stepped into the role. His performance at Regional Camp was doubtless his greatest achievement,

Most Consistent: Although I think many overlooked him, Donovan Caputo had a season to be envied. At the State Crit he took advantage of his “dark horse” status bridge up to the winning breakaway, a feat of tactics and strength. His L’Abitibi qualification rewarded a year of constant effort.

Best Team: Junior cycling really grew this year, reflected in the teams. This year saw Strada’s fall from numerical dominance- although their presence was still felt- to make way for other Valley teams. Two Wheel Jones more or less maintained their 2011 involvement, and Fly Racing emerged with Team Winded. El Grupo’s community of racers and Landis’ brother tandem ran steady once more. Yuma Bike Club made strides in consistency. However, it’s my opinion that Team Winded brought plentiful participation and solid competition to Arizona cycling. I’m quite comfortable giving this award to my own team. One cannot tell who will take the prize next year. Speculations infer that most of Two Wheel and Fly’s riders have been absorbed by Landis and Winded, and most pundits predict a showdown between the two Phoenix giants, leaning toward Landis- but be wary, be very wary of a dark horse.

Junior Rider of the Year: Taylor Skinner is not Danny Eaton, biologically or results-wise. However, Danny was 18 when he won this award, and Taylor is an underclassman. In February, Skinner tickled the Phenom tag that mankind so often assigns. His performances at VOS and Avondale were impressive to say the least. Although remains to be seen how much development Taylor has in store after two and a half years of rapid improvement, one can expect him to attack the 2013 season with great fervor.

 Masters Men
40-44 Rider of the Year: The spectators of masters’ crits felt an air of inevitability as James Kramer rode at a high level. The argument that Brian Forbes had more wins stands, but I’m of the opinion that Brian falls in to the “Cat 1/2” group. They certainly reinforced the fast reputation of the Master’s category. Kramer earned my gut inclination, and I’m interested to see how he would do in a deeper foray into the Cat 1/2 field.

45-49 Rider of the Year: This was the norm for 2012; in crits, Faster was the biggest and strongest, and in road races, GST was the biggest and strongest. Jim Silverman once again dominated the Copper Cup. 8th at VOS, 2nd at TBC, and 3rd in the State crit and road race. After the phenomenal spring campaign, he and GST annihilated the summer races. One must wonder if Landis/Faster/Southwest/RPM will grow more competitive in road or break GST’s four year State TTT winning streak. Interestingly enough, it was Silverman leading Rideclean to defeat GST’s TTT in 2008. Anyone else noticing a pattern?

50-54 Rider of the Year: Golly, masters racers sure were impressive this year. Keith Brodhagen was very difficult to beat, especially in the context of his age category. Although he wasn’t dominant going uphill, Brodhagen rode great in everything else. He challenged himself with out-of-state races and often entered the 45+ category, complementing a studly Faster line-up. It took a brave solo win from Jeff Biever to prevent him from sealing the State Crit.

55-59 Rider of the Year: Lionel Space won a lot of races, enough to take away the title Dave Bixby seemed to own. Although Space lacks versatility, his sprinting ability is extremely... able.

60+ Rider of the Year: Curveball. Franz Hammer didn’t win it. Reginald Dowdall is my pick. Each man won every single state championship they entered and won their respective Copper Cup (Hammer 75+, Dowdall 65-69), but Dowdall was the clear choice. How could I not be swayed when the guy goes under 1:50 on Mount Graham?

Junior Woman of the Year: I believe the category had a good year, and I look forward to how 2013 goes for these ladies. Andrea Arriaga is my pick for this award. Honestly, I don’t know what more she could have done to earn this beside going undefeated and finishing a 20k in 35:51. I truly hope she and her fellow racers stick to it in 2013.

Cat 4 Woman of the Year: For a good portion of the year, I harped on and on about Liz Srejic. My opinion on Cat 4 awards is that they shouldn’t go to people who dominated throughout the full season (January-October). If you really dominate the Cat 4s in the winter, you should be able to upgrade by the summer. Srejic started in the middle of the year and blossomed as a bike racer in the Summer, taking wins at the Flagstaff Omnium and Mormon Lake Road Race.

Cat 3 Woman of the Year: Lauren Frisk led a strong El Grupo contingent and raced well at the State Road Race and Gila, but I would be unjust in not picking Emily Mcglamery. She took a consistent 2nd place at TBC and won the State Hill Climb and Road Race championships.

Cat 1-2 Woman of the Year: Sabrina Forbes took the Copper Cup quite handily, despite a shortened year. She led what I saw to be a Valley-resurgence.

Best Team: It’s a toss-up., Trisports, and Landis all had their victories. However, I noticed the team spirit of Landis the most.

Men Cat 4
Best Crit Racer: Audacious and outspoken, Dominic Suozzi showed himself to be a true sprinter this year, taking three decisive victories. Yes, he upgraded by the middle of the season, but there aren’t a lot of crits during the Arizona summer.

Best Time Trialer: I think the State Time Trial champion Daniel Parkman is worthy of this award. He’s legit.

Most Consistent: Chaz Lane enjoyed a consistent finish to 2012, working his way toward an upgrade at Tolero and Best Buddies.

Men Cat 3
Best Crit Racer: To the chagrin of Shawn Mcnally, I give this to Kenny Polley. While I think he should have upgraded in the summer, the fact remains that the AZ crit season ends before then. This was a tricky award to hand out, but I’ll go with Kenny.

Best Time Trialer: I suppose that every year, the Cat 3 field is filled with fast people, but this year it was rather stacked, and Nathaniel Davis was the best of the its contrarrelojistas.

Best Mountain Goat: Nathan Franklin, is similar Davis. He is lethal in the races he enters, but because he doesn’t enter a ton of races, it appears that he is sandbagging. Also, his first name includes the word “Nathan”.

Most Consistent: Ever present, Jake Spelman raced a pizza-load of events in 2012. He dominated neither the hills nor the sprints, but he did not shy away from neither. He took his first category win at DC Ranch.

Best Team: With Brian A, Dave G, Jake S, Dominic S, Lewis F, David C, Peter S, Craig H, and others I do not know, Faster enjoyed a phenomenal year. Granted, they only succeeded at crits and time trials, but they attended more races than most Cat 3 teams.

Men Cat 1/2
Best Crit Racer: Eric Marcotte, if you can believe it, had an even better year than last. To elaborate on how this year went would be superfluous. You all saw what happened.

Best Mountain Goat: When the Landis juggernaut made its mark on the AZ summer calendar, one man stood in their way: Mark Aasmundstad. The weathered northerner held his own when the rode rose and men became judged by the equation of their power divided by their weight. His performances up Snowbowl and Graham were indicative of a brilliant year.

Best Team: Landis rode with dominance in many races. They used their numbers with potency.

Cat 1/2 Rider of the Year: It’s frightening to think that George Cyrus was in his first year as a Cat 1. He took the crown of State Crit and Tme Trial Champion, plus the Team Time Trial. He truly enjoyed a banner year, one that was actually quite overshadowed.

Best Breakaway: Eric Marcotte riding away from the Competitive Cyclist squad at the UofA Crit. Although it’s nearly impossible for him to be considered an underdog, Marcotte was going up against the big dogs that day. Late in the race, he opened up a gap and held it.

The David and Goliath Award: I’ll be the first to admit that I didn’t expect Jeff Biever to win the Masters 50-54 State Crit championship. As a field full of Cat 2s gawked at one another, the Cat 4 rode solo to victory.

The Title of “Best Website” goes to They have really impacted the AZ Cycling Scene. In 2013, they will run a near majority of the race schedule. Boris is taking over.

The “Holy Socks!” Award (awarded to the best crash) goes to Danny Eaton for going down at VOS. The massive pileup caused by a rogue car incited a frenzied reaction from the Arizona cycling community.

Most Connected: Jay and Tisha Suarez pulled all the strings to promote Team Winded. Clearly, the team was revelatory in 2012, regardless of results, and the Suarez family was at its center.

The Best Display of Team Tactics goes to Landis’s performance at the State Criterium Championship. They occupied the breakaway with many men and shut down the peloton. Sure, they got a little luck with Craig Streit’s flat, but that’s bike racing.

2012 Best Ambassador of Arizona Cycling
In 2012, many people feared a certain man. Californians, Texans, Okies, and Arizonans grew in reverence for Eric Marcotte. He now holds legend status in two states, and his influence grows. Nothing seems to be slowing him down, so all manner of possibilities remain for him in 2013.

2012 Person of the Year
Clayton Peck further established himself as one of Arizona cycling’s most effervescent personalities. He wins this award not because of his efforts with OTR, but because of his passion for this sport. If you’ve been to a race with him, you know what I’m talking about. He loves our sport and our community and wants to better them. I can’t ask for much more than that.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Good News

The phrase "No news is good news" does not always ring true. For a year, I earnestly desired to know the truth behind my hip injury and learned nothing.
I think I got the answer today.
We saw an orthopedic surgeon who would hypothetically do arthroscopic surgery on me. I had come to give him the results of the cortisone recently injected in my hip joint. The results leaned to the positive side, but they weren't the diagnostic factor. He gave me my second X-ray of the year (in the same position) and found something. I have cam impingement in both hips. The picture below shows the femur head attached to the hip socket. There's a deformity.

Because I could clearly see it on the X-ray, I don't doubt it. My condition isn't serious; however, it won't heal on its own, and it can lead to osteoarthritis. The bad news is that I've had a cam impingement for a year. However, the news is incredibly gratifying. Arthroscopic surgery in both hips should heal me. I might get to race in 2013, and the pain might soon be gone.
I thank you for your prayers.

Monday, October 22, 2012


I'll publish the first part of the Bike Boy Awards later this week. Because I am giving them more description than I normally give, they are taking forever to complete. Do forgive me for getting ahead of myself.

As you can see, I've struggled to keep this blog updated. For a lot of reasons, I don't always see the point in blogging. I had a lot of followers when I raced, but now that this blog has been narrowed down to just the life of James, readership has gone down, and with that, my motivation. I am, after all, Bike Boy. Back in the day, I should have been more balanced with the content of this blog. Somewhere along the line, I removed my personal life from this blog to focus completely on bikes. This blog has become limited. In general, I am struggling to self-disclose to the cycling world and the world world for that matter.

I often feel angry, for many reasons, but most often because of my ego. I think I'm growing a mild form of Turrets due to internalizing my angst for so long. I have accepted not being able to actually ride my bike. God took away the burning need to race. I'm free from that pain, and I love the liberation. If I heal, I will ride with the utmost fervor, but I know that I can live without the bike. It's just a bike. My identity is not in being a cyclist; it is in Jesus Christ.

However, I still anguish over cycling. It's all about my status. It kills me to not be known by Arizona cyclists. I become angry when a rider does not know my name. I feel that I am entitled to having a reputation- I am wrong in this assertion, I know, but that doesn't make it easier to let go. I judge people to be apathetic because they do not know of my existence. I've been battling a puffed-up ego for the longest of times, and while my sensitivity to it has increased, the battle has ended not and will not end until my death.

Perhaps there's no point in me telling you this. Perhaps you will read this and think I'm a nutcase, or worse, a diva, but you know what? I don't care.

That's a lie; I do care. I care deeply and obsessively, and such a concern must die. Thanks for reading my attempts to express myself. I feel better now.

Monday, October 15, 2012

The Awards are Coming...

Expect the Bike Boy awards to arrive by the end of the week. I will award several respective "rider of the year" titles, many gag awards, and three headliner awards: "Best Ambassador of Arizona Cycling", "Rider of the Year", and "Person of the Year".
Stay tuned.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Got the Gig

I'm running the mic at the Best Buddies crit on October 6th. Come out and race! Or watch! Or both! It will be fun!