First the Badgers lose to Michigan after giving up a big lead, then the Brewers lose the second game of the series to the Cubs, and then on Sunday the Packers lose to Tampa Bay (and sustain more injuries). This could have been topped off by another loss to the Cubs today. However, the Brewers were able to pull through and beat the Cubs 3 – 1 to win the series and, thanks to the Marlins beating the Mets, secure a spot in the playoffs for the first time in 26 years! Sabathia, Braun and the rest of the Brewers helped clinch the National League wild card. World Series here we come!
Alberto Contador (Astana) said that the “climbs in the Pyrénées just weren’t steep enough.” He was waiting for the Alto de L´Angliru, the hardest climb of the Vuelta a España. Well, today was the 209.5km stage that featured the Angliru as the ultimate climb. And, Contador attacked as he promised with 5km to go and took the GC lead.
Here’s what Velonews writes about the Angliru:
Angliru the beast
The Angliru isn’t a stand-alone mountain, but rather part of a steep ridgeline running across Asturias, the lush, rainy northern province that straddles Spain’s northern Atlantic Coast.
Beloki suffered on the Angliru in 2002
Photo: Graham Watson
At 12.2km in length, the climb rises 1,248 m (4,090 ft) with an average grade of 10.3 percent.
The opening five kilometers aren’t terribly excessive, with an average grade of 7 percent, hardly anything that will cause the pros lose sleep. There’s even a false-flat at 5.5km that gives a short respite.
It’s the second half of the climb where the Angliru earns its reputation.
At 6.5km, the road narrows and hits its first serious ramp of 21 percent. From there, the average grade never falls before 12 percent to the summit.
The steepest part of the climb is the so-called Cueña les Cabres with about 2km to go. At 23.5 percent, it’s not a switchback but more like straight run up a wall. There’s another 21 percent ramp in the final kilometer before the summit.
“I went to see in early August and it’s very, very hard. It’s one thing to say but it’s something else to climb it. It’s a brutal climb,” said Mosquera. “Like I’ve always said, it’s where you win or lose everything. If you have a half bad day on the Angliru, the minutes can fall off in chunks.”
The climb is so steep that most will ride with 34×28, with critics calling it more of a gimmick than a true road climb.
“It’s a mountain bike climb with road bikes,” said Olympic champion Samuel Sánchez, who’s not racing in the Vuelta but lives near the climb. “I can see the Angliru from my house, but I’ve only climbed it once. It was on a bet when I was 16 and I made it up without touching the ground and I won 50 euros. I haven’t been up it since.”
For Sastre, the Vuelta won’t be decided on the Angliru, but rather on the climbing time trial at Navacerrada on the Vuelta’s penultimate stage.
“I climbed it in 2000, when I won the mountain jersey in the Vuelta. It’s a ‘media’ climb that few have actually climbed on their own. The fans see the ramps so excessive that they cannot help but push the cyclists,” Sastre said. “That year I made a pretty good time even though I remember if you climb out of the saddle the bike starts to slip. And the differences were minimal.”
Leipheimer remains an enigma so far in this Vuelta. He’s publicly vowed to help Contador, but he’s obviously riding to protect his interests. Even if Contador wins the Vuelta, Leipheimer is a very strong candidate to finish on the podium.
“I’ve never climbed the Angliru,” he said. “I don’t even want to think about it.”
The International Cycling Classic is a series of bike races throughout the Midwest in the month of July. Some of the best riders not in the Tour de France come here to race.
The Point Premium Root Beer International Cycling Classic presented by Time Warner Cable is the world’s largest multi-category cycling event. The 40th annual event will take place from July 11 – 27, 2008. The highlight events of each day’s racing will be the men’s and women’s Superweek Pro Tour races, featuring top professional and elite amateur cyclists and teams from across the U.S. and more than 20 foreign countries. The 2008 event series will feature races in twelve city centers throughout Eastern Wisconsin and Northern Illinois, including many locations throughout the Greater Milwaukee area.
Nowhere else in America can cycling fans see 17 consecutive days of the highest-caliber bicycle racing. What Wisconsin and Illinois will witness again this July is the fusion of the best athletes in the world and today’s high-tech bicycles in an explosion of speed, power and excitement. Join us to see why bicycle racing is one of the world’s great summertime spectator sports. Come and see why the International Cycling Classic is known throughout the world as Superweek!
Since no one checks my Scott, Future MD blog since I’ve never updated it, I’d just like to use this opportunity to mention that as my 2nd year of medical school comes to an end, I will be updating it more regularly. The first update will be to discuss the creation of the MCoW Cycling Club Interest Group.
Improv Everywhere has done a bunch of cool stuff. In their recent mission, entitled Best Game Ever, they send a NBC major league filming crew/stage, the Goodyear Blimp, and a bunch of staged fans to a little league game in Hermosa Beach, California. This is what one mother wrote to Improv Everywhere:
I believe you guys are behind the “Hermosa Beach Little League” taping that took place Saturday, March 10th, 2007. The parents will be talking about this for a long time… the kids even longer. My son was a pitcher on the Lugnuts. We had a long/tough season last year. Saturday made up for everything. I want to sincerely thank you for making Saturday so unbelievable. It was like a birthday, Christmas, and New Years Eve captured in a few amazing hours. Thanks a million for a once in a lifetime opportunity.
The kids looked really excited. What an experience for them!
I’ll admit that the NASCAR drivers are talented. Not athletically gifted as other professional athletes, but they still must be talented since there is so little difference among the cars yet some people are always near the top. I’m sure attending the Daytona 500 would be exciting. However, I wasn’t even aware that the Daytona 500 was going on until I turned on SportsCenter and heard about the winner and the winning team. Anyway, I read an article entitled, “Daytona: There’s nothing better … nothing.” It’s completely real and not written in jest. It almost reads like an article from The Onion!
The Daytona 500 is my favorite sports event of the year. It’s better than the Super Bowl, better than the World Series, and better than any seven-game series in the NHL or NBA.
I like it better than those because the winner gets to be just as elated as the champion of those other events … and then the season keeps going. Beginnings are always better than endings.
The Daytona 500 is my favorite sports event of the year because the happiest I have ever seen anybody in my entire life was Dale Earnhardt Jr. in the moments after he won in 2004. He jumped out of his car and into the arms of his crew, which had stormed to him from pit road. The look on his face of elation and the exuberant way he hugged the neck of the first man who got to him represent unbridled joy. Someone will get to feel that way today.
“You do anything in the world just to get in the Daytona 500,” Junior says. “It’s an incredible feeling. There’s no way to describe it. It’s impossible to answer the question on what it’s like to win the Daytona 500.”
The Daytona 500 is my favorite sports event of the year because I could go to every single one and still learn something new about racing at the next one.
For the tennis fans out there (and those needing to relax from studying): Tennis Channel video of the 3 matches
Also, a great interview with Sampras talking about the experience.
Results: “Federer had prevailed 6-4, 6-3 in Seoul and 7-6 (6), 7-6 (5) in Kuala Lumpur before Sampras captured the last clash 7-6 (8), 6-4 in Macau.” The details are in the interview above.
Found this article on ESPN.com today. It is called “Could Roddick beat an average player with a frying pan?”
Andy Roddick is a 25-year-old professional tennis player with 23 ATP titles to his credit, including the 2003 U.S. Open. Having spent his entire childhood training on the tennis court, sometimes for as many as 10 hours a day, he now has the ability to strike shots at speeds and with a level of accuracy that are almost impossible to comprehend. Andy has hit the fastest serve ever recorded, at 155 mph. If you had never played tennis before and hit with Andy, you would immediately understand that you were dealing with an incredible athlete. You wouldn’t win a point and would possibly get injured by one of his serves.
I play tennis, too! While Roddick was the world’s No. 1 player, I made it to No. 2 on my high school team the season I played. Like Roddick, I can hit all of the shots. Unlike Andy, I can’t hit any of them particularly well or with any kind of power or placement. I hit my first serve around 105 mph, which is slower than his second serve, and it doesn’t have anywhere near the kind of action Andy’s ball does. I pray to God the first one goes in, because if it doesn’t, I could easily double fault.
The best way to make the comparison is to say that there’s no comparison. Roddick spends his time plowing through opponents in major tournaments, while I spend too much time on my couch watching him do so. Still, like Roddick, I am a tennis player and a competitive guy, so although I never had the dedication or the talent to play at his level, I wanted to know what a win over a player as great as he is felt like. In my heart I knew that I had what it took to beat him. I just had to figure out an unfair way to do it.
As to how unfair, well, that would take some thought. While someone with no tennis experience would not win a point from Andy in a set, I probably wouldn’t have a prayer of winning more than a point or two either. This is, in part, because I’m not that good, but also because the difference between a recreational player and an actual pro might be greater in tennis than in any other sport.
The story continues and is a very entertaining read. The story is actually an excerpt from Todd Gallagher’s book “Andy Roddick Beat Me With a Frying Pan — Taking the Field with Pro Athletes and Olympic Legends to Answer Sports Fans’ Burning Questions.”
One of the comments at the end of the story is this: “No one on my college team could break into triple figures on a serve…..Todd, there is no way you serve 105 when Federer first serve average was 119 in US Open final…..but nevertheless, a very entertaining article.”
I don’t know where he went to college, but I’m not a Divison 1A college-level player and I can serve a 105 mph serve, though, not super consistently like any professional or college player could.
I was able to head home this past weekend for a great weekend of biking (Clover Leaf Century) and some sailing. My parents just got a Flying Scot. It is a small 19-footer but is significantly bigger than the Lasers we’re used to sailing. It is a good sized boat for inland lake sailing or even for Lake Michigan in not too bad conditions. We really lucked out on the weather this weekend. Last year it was in the 40s for the bike ride and we didn’t even think twice about going sailing. However, it was perfect this year: in the mid-80’s for the bike ride and pretty much the same for the sailing.
Please click the photo below to visit my Flying Scot Smugmug gallery.
Very interesting article talking about a 93-year-old with a marathon time of 5:40 and a 73-year-old with a sub-three-hour time of 2:54! I hope I’m this healthy and fit when I’m 73.