Thursday, July 2, 2009

Two sandwiches, callouts from Europe, and green is the new yellow

Today’s post is a hodgepodge of a lot of stuff that’s been on my mind that I want to get out before everyone takes off for the holiday weekend or gets too busy watching the Tour. Kinda lengthy, so if you’re short on time, read the first part, do what it says, and save the rest for later.

Yesterday I met Rachel for lunch. We still followed the pattern of not eating stuff we normally have at home, but after the disappointing phở incident, she chose something far more “normal” than Vietnamese soup—seafood.

She had the halibut, I ordered the crab and avocado sandwich. Having ridden to work and not eaten anything since, I was starved. They brought the sandwich out, and it looked awesome. I took one bite and it was awesome. And then I noticed it: a hair. In the sandwich.

I pushed it aside, told the waitress about it, and she told me she’d bring me a new one. They weren’t super quick about it, and by the time I got it, Rachel was through with her lunch. My new sandwich came, I ate it, then I pushed aside the piece of lettuce on the plate. Yet another hair.

I won’t name names, because to their credit, the restaurant did the right thing and didn’t charge me for my lunch (though they still charged me for Rachel’s).

But this got me thinking—a sandwich is something pretty insignificant. Not worth making a scene over, and the cost of one sandwich won’t make any meaningful difference one way or another to my bank account.

The cost of a lot of sandwiches, however, can make a big difference. There are a good number of you who read this blog—not much compared to Elden, but way more than I ever expected would. So how about taking the cost of one sandwich, $5 or so, and donating it to fight cancer? It won’t make any difference to you, but all of you together will make a big difference and will get us one day closer to finding a cure.

As many of you know, I’m raising money for the Huntsman Cancer Foundation. Elden is making a big push with the Livestrong foundation. Both are great organizations, and partners in this effort. Last year enough people donated to the Huntsman Cancer Foundation in Susan’s honor that Elden and Susan were given a brick in the courtyard with their names on it. Let’s continue building Susan’s legacy—click here to make a donation today. Right now, in fact. Before you keep reading. I'll wait...

With all the millions of blogs out there, I’m constantly surprised by who takes notice of what, so yesterday when Eber sent me an email with this image:Win_Susan_LA

I knew it was more than just a few of us that took notice of Susan and Elden and their fight against cancer. I’m pretty sure Lance tweets at like 30 minute intervals, but I still don’t know anyone else whose had both a picture and a tweet in his or her honor. Win Susan!

Finally, while we’re on the subject of people noticing blogs, I got an email this morning from a guy at Nike’s ad agency in the UK who noticed mine. We all know Lance is a Nike athlete, and he’s back at the tour. But Mark Cavendish is also a Nike athlete and will also be at the tour.

Lance is not even the favorite from his own team to wear yellow in Paris, so the chances of him winning an eighth tour are pretty slim. Not to mention, he’s older than I am.

What we are almost assured of seeing, though, is Mark Cavendish taking a stage win, if not the green jersey, in Paris. Cav takes a lot of heat for a lot of things—notable among them his aversion to climbing and his mouth. But one thing that’s not up for argument is that the guy is insanely fast in a bunch sprint, my favorite kind of finish to watch.

Mark Cavendish

I like Cav’s chances of wearing green in Paris. I imagine he does too. He mentions in the video embedded below that he’d like to get one stage win. That’s typical cyclist sandbagging. He wants to win every sprint and take the green jersey.

But when guys like Tyler Farrar and Thor Hushovd are talking about trying to get one stage win out of the ten or so stages that will likely end in a bunch sprint, they’re serious. And the only guy they’re thinking of beating is Mark Cavendish.

The current print issue of Velo News has a nice writeup on Cav, and how he used to be a disorganized, overweight bank clerk. (By the way, overweight meant he weighed 78 kilos/172 pounds/12.25 stone at 1.75m/5’ 9” tall—what a porker!) The amazing thing to me is that he didn’t get anyone’s attention with his wattage, and yet he’s nearly impossible to beat in a bunch sprint. Says something about the importance of tactics in a sprint, and I don’t think there’s anyone with better instincts, because he can win any way he needs to.

Anyway, enjoy watching this clip. Enjoy watching Cav, whom I’m predicting will win on Sunday. And you’re welcome, Nike UK, for the free advertising. Happy to do it. Oh, and if you didn't read directions and kept reading instead, now would be a good time to go donate $5.


  1. just donated some sandwiches...thanks for the reminder.

    cav is from another planet.

  2. For all his natural abilities and help he gets from his team I think the one thing that seperates Cav from his peers is the obvious fact that he simply wants it more. The way he closes the deal you get the impression that he would rather be laying in the gutter than finish second.

    I would love to see Farrar take a stage just because Americans have been absent from the sprinting scene for so long, but I will be pulling for Cav to arrive in Paris wearing green.

  3. Eber, thanks for the sandwiches.

    Steve, that's a good point about Cav. In fact, in the Velo News article, that's one of the things that the coach who helped develop him mentioned. He said they did a training camp and afterward, Cav came up and thanked him for the invitation and asked to come back. Cav knew he was fast and just wanted chances to prove it. Were it not for that gesture showing how much he wanted to race, he'd have never gotten attention because his power numbers just weren't there.

  4. With all the talk about his arrogance, that Velo News story along with the reports I heard about him at the ToC signing autographs (in the rain) for almost two hours after every other rider had left make me like him even more.