Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Movie Update

It's hard to believe that a year's worth of work is almost complete. This week we are adding music, doing audio fixes, and color correcting the shots. Very time consuming and not really that much fun, but stuff that has to be done. Tomorrow I am taking a preliminary copy over to Celebration Cinemas for testing purposes. Once that's done we put the finishing touches on the film and get ready for the premiere.

In other news, I'll be on the Shelly Irwin Morning Show on WGVU-FM (88.5) on April 15th (the day before the premiere) to talk about the documentary. The scheduled start time is 9:06 a.m. Also, watch for announcements in local magazines and papers and, of course, FaceBook.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Hydration is important

After four century rides in Death Valley, the need for proper hydration while cycling is obvious. This is a great article from the blog le-grimpeur that talks about hydrating while on the Tour de France. Enjoy.


The organizers of professional cycling races, particularly the Tour de France, have always had some strange ideas about water. Restrictions on water consumption by the riders has been one way race organizers for Grand Tours have tried, even in recent times, to keep the races tough, as a test of the survival skills of the riders. As if the long stages, broken roads, heat, cold, furious attacks, terrifying descents, and interminable climbs were not enough, tyrants like Henri Desgrange and his successors have imposed rules on drink bottles (as well as many other trifling regulations).

Until at least the 1960s, riders as well had strange attitudes to water, believing that too much would bloat the stomach and lead to impaired performance. Mammoth stages on just a handful of bottles were not uncommon, before physiology and science caught up and the benefits of regular hydration were realized. Still, and in a tradition that continues today, riders took limited refreshments from spectators on the side of the road - another way the cycling has managed to include its supporters in the action.

Cafe 7

Beer is always the right choice.

With the restrictions on bottles in place, even as seemingly recent as the 1970s, the café raid was a common occurrence. Domestiques would organize themselves for a mass raid on a designated outlet and its shelves stripped of almost any liquid beverage available: mineral water, sodas, beer, even Champagne. Then the domestiques, their pockets stuffed with all manner of bottles of different shapes and sizes, would chase down the peloton to share their booty.

Cafe 2

Jersey pockets never go out of style.

For the seemingly helpless café owner, it would be all good fun. A few lost profits, perhaps a backhander from the race organizers to compensate, but a chance to rub shoulders with the riders, and have a story to tell local patrons afterwards. The raids added colour to the race, levity, and a sense of keeping the race firmly rooted to the towns through which it passed.

Cafe 3

Keep your bottle opener handy.

For the domestiques, being a capable ‘water carrier’ was a valuable skill, even better if one remembered one’s bottle opener, or had another ingenious method of getting the cap off if the opener had been forgotten. Important, too, was the ability to source a team leader’s favourite beverage, perhaps even a little Champagne - which never did the riders any harm in decades past - to dull the pain of an impending climb.

Cafe 5

Do not try this on your next group ride.

The rules have eased now on water, with the realization that dehydration actually exists and could be hazardous to the health of riders. Motorbikes ply the peloton with their sponsor’s wares, and team cars are always ready to provide refreshment - although there’s little Champagne to be seen, during the race at least. Domestiques are still valued, though, for their ability to carry bottles from the team car to their leader, but no longer do they need to remember their bottle openers.

Cafe 4

Something a bit stronger than sodas.

But restrictions still exist, most notably on final climbs in stages in the Tour, for example, where team cars cannot give bottles to riders - as much to prevent cars from hampering the action and giving tows as forcing the riders to climb unaided. But spectators continue to provide a ready source of refreshment. Frankie Andreu gives an insight into the mind set of the riders in one of his diary entries from the 1999 Tour in the Pyrenees.

“The grupetto was a big one today. Many riders are tired and the first chance they get to sit up, they do. Christian [Vandevelde] was making deals all day in the last group. Guys were so hot and desperate for water, they were begging Christian for water and the promised to buy him a beer in Paris. He has about a case of beer waiting for him at the finish.

“Prudencio [Indurain], while riding in the group, spotted a two-litre bottle of Orangina sitting on a picnic table. When he spotted it he yelled out, ‘Who wants some Orangina?’ Of course, everyone wanted some; so Prudencio in one swoop swung over into the gravel and grabbed it off the picnic table. It was a party.”

Cafe 8

No team loyalty when a rider needs water.

All screen grab pictures from Stars and Water Carriers, the movie of the 1974 Giro d’Italia.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Another beautiful day

Temperatures in Michigan topped 70 degrees today so Mary and I got out on our bikes after work and went for a short ride. We took the White Pine Trail south to WhiteCaps Park. The paved part of the trail now extends into downtown Comstock Park. There is a short bit on street riding to get to North Park Street which connects with the riverside spur of the WPT. This made for an enjoyable 13 mile ride this evening. It's great getting out this early in the season since our big JDRF ride is six weeks earlier this year than last. We need to get the miles in now so we'll be ready for Killington in August.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Ides of March

What a great weekend! Sunny and almost 60 degrees in Michigan in the middle of March. I was a good doobie on Saturday and cleaned up the yard. We had lots of sticks and leaves and literally hundreds on pine cones on the ground. After all the hard work I was able to take a little bike ride today. Just a 15 mile spin up to Rockford and back along the White Pine Trail. On the way back I passed my friend Michael Walenta and we rode together for a few miles. We even helped anothre cyclist change a flat. It was truly great to be out on the Cannondale instead of the mountain bike.

In movie news we are moving closer to completion. This week we are adding graphics and narration. Next week will be music and credits. And then we'll be done. Woohoo! Remember the premiere is April 16th and there will be DVD's of the finished documentary available for purchase. The cost will be $15 and proceeds, of course, go to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.

Friday, March 6, 2009