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Friday’s letters: Bobke fans speak up

VeloNews.com welcomes your letters. If you run across something inthe pages of VeloNews, or see something on VeloNews.com that causesyou to want to write us, drop us a line at WebLetters@7Dogs.com.Please include your full name and home town. By submitting mailto this address, you are consenting to the publication of your letter.Drooling over RollDear VeloNews;Bob Roll is a hero.As an intern at VeloNews in 1998, I transcribed Roll's handwrittenscrawl of the story of a now famous trip he took to Boone, NC. with ChrisCarmicheal and a guy named Lance, and laughed so hard I drooled on my

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VeloNews.com welcomes your letters. If you run across something inthe pages of VeloNews, or see something on VeloNews.com that causesyou to want to write us, drop us a line at WebLetters@7Dogs.com.Please include your full name and home town. By submitting mailto this address, you are consenting to the publication of your letter.Drooling over RollDear VeloNews;Bob Roll is a hero.As an intern at VeloNews in 1998, I transcribed Roll’s handwrittenscrawl of the story of a now famous trip he took to Boone, NC. with ChrisCarmicheal and a guy named Lance, and laughed so hard I drooled on my Apple’skeyboard.Bob Roll mugged for one of my favorite photographs of him and John Tomacwarming up on rollers before a rainy Cactus Cup that year.His book sits permanently next to my toilet. It’s dog-eared and loosingits pages.Reading about Bobke carrying warm clothes and hot tea up to Hampstenon the Gavia makes me want to ride my bike more than anything that anyFrenchman has ever done.Roll on Bob.Greg Krause
Albuquerque, New MexicoReally droolin’ over Rollre: “Eurotrash and The Texas Tornado”Bob, you can trash talk me to a mashing gears riding, crosswind handin the face on a 7-percent grade, and lay down on the hot asphalt for somegroovy luv anytime.I’m yours.Deborah Richert,
Portland, ORIn Roll vs. Varsha, Bobke always winsEditor;Roll’s At the Back (see “Eurotrash and the Texas Tornado,” VeloNews,March 18, 2002, page 106) was the best example of gonzo since “Fearand Loathing in Las Vegas.”OLN should give him more airtime to allow him to voice over twistedscreeds like that instead of the blah blah blah of Bob Varsha. Betteryet, unleash Roll on CBS’s tour “coverage.”David Alfe
Ardmore PAKeep the Bobke rollin’Yeah!Keep Bob Roll coming. Please!Wilt KishimotoGood diversionI didn’t really get the article- but maybe that’s the point. I’ve alwaysliked Bob from the old days of 7-11. Anything about him has gotta be cool.I can bet he did say some of that stuff. Good diversion. It made me smile.Thanks
Hal ComeauxRe: Roll and O’GradyYeah, I like both writers — mainly because they see, and write about,more than just a sport. Sometimes cycling is enough.It is, I think, the most exciting of all sports. But I’m biased. Theseguys, however, give me what the world and life are all about — much morethan a sport. And they do in off-beat, quirky fashion.Sure, sometimes “Bobke” seems a bit over-the-top, but I’m usually willingto Roll with the flow.Doug Erwin
Signal Mountain, TNShort and to the pointTo Mr. O’Grady,(Regarding Friday’sfoaming rant:)Amen!Rick Fee,
Huntington Beach Ca.They make… uh… sense?There are only two people that make any sense in this sport that I love:Rolland O’Grady, periodMargaret BrownA potentially happy customerRegarding the rant:
What an outrage!  I’m subscribing.Ken WapmanKeep RollDefinitely keep Bob Roll on the dole.  He needs the work and weneed the attitude.  The man is an icon, too artistic and creativefor the bloodless, soul-less fools who criticize his writing.  I’mnot excusing him because he was there, I say this because I really, reallylike to read his stuff!Keven RufYa could always turn the pageI read all the letters trashing Bobke’s “At the back,” and read P. O’G’s.response.  Beautiful!I hope Bob keeps it coming for many years and you guys keep printingit.To all you guys who don’t like it, don’t read it, and get a life! Quit trying to be self-appointed censor’s, let those that appreciate Bobread him, and those that don’t, turn the page.
 
Steve Farris
Silver City, NMThey’re both goodBob Roll is great and so is O’Grady for supporting him the way he does.Steve DeMossThey’re both jerksRe: O’Grady’s column, 3/15.Uhhg.  I often enjoy O’Grady’s cartoons, but his writing this timeshould go the way of Roll’s: Anywhere but in print or at least VeloNews.
 
The only thing worse than arrogance is unbridled arrogance, and althoughI’ve nothing against his Roll-Model, I strongly object to O’Grady’s holier-than-thouattitude regarding anyone who disagrees with his narrow little point ofview– whereby if it’s alternative and rude enough, it’s got to be good– and that if we don’t like Mr. Roll, than we should just put up withpaying for a magazine that wastes their space on material to avoid, sohe and Roll can continue to have their personal blow-it-out-their-ass forum,and if we don’t like the smell, we can just breath some other air.I’m not so sure that’s how it works, Mr. O’Grady.  The questionremains, does VeloNews exist to provide a forum for the personalentertainment of journalists with questionable talent with limited appeal,or does it exist for it’s readers?
 
Jon Geary
Palo Alto, CAUhhhh… the readers, we think. Now we gotta figure out which onesto listen to. — Editor
 
Let’s put all of it on eBayLet me see if I understand this. USAC allows a group of folks who puton a $20,000 race take over promotion of a national championship costing$170,000 (See “Brothercan you spare 1,700,000 dimes?” ) without evidence of financial supportin place to do the event? How about we ask USAC to move all its officeequipment and cycling equipment to a warehouse, provide an inventory andthen let us all auction it off on eBay?Brian Lafferty
Longmeadow, MAMaybe they should just hold a bake sale — EditorHey, it’s bike all racing!Let me start off by saying I think your rag is first rate, and I lookforward to reading it every month…hey I even pay for it. In theus vs. them topic, us being off-road and them being road. I do about thesame amount of off road races and crit races per season (20 of each) soI get a good idea of the pulse of our great sport.Whether any one want’s to admit or not road racers do look down at off-roadracers. There seems to be this elite attitude at the road events, yet whenyou go to an off road race there is so much camaraderie, people have funit’s more open. I attend a Tuesday night crit series in Bethel Ct. Thisseries is run as well as an event can be run. The thing that is funny aboutthis series is the amount of off-road racers that attend. But instead ofwelcoming them they are looked down at, called dangerous, inexperienced,etc, etc, but I cant help but notice who always makes things happen, theoff road guys, the hell with tactics lets just hammer. Hey it is a race!So what happens the road guys get all bent because it’s (the pace) isto hard ? I’m not saying the off road guys are better there not, but moreoff road guys can do both types of events which is not the case with theroad guys, so em a down hill full off rocks and they vomit. So what’s mypoint. We ride bikes, we race bikes, lets work for the big picture, letshelp each other, and lets get along. Is NORBA in trouble? Don’t know, therace attendance seems to be up generally (In New England) the promoterskeep coming back.One note: In the masters class it seems to be drying up a bit (off road),but at the road race stuff the masters class seem to be getting bigger?I’m not sure of the dynamics but the road race attendance seems to begrowing at a faster rate then off road ? Anyway that’s my take.Thanks
Steve Agronick
New YorkThursday’s LettersThat ROADIE attitudeIf MTB didn’t have enough troubles, now “The Och” is in the house andthat spells trouble. NORBA’s problem before wasn’t necessarily the peopleinvolved, or the riders, or the sport, it was a ROADIE based attitude fromUSA CYCLING.That ROADIE attitude hurt the sport of MTB in areas of funding, promotion,and general moral. And now with a HARDCORE roadie running the show, weare sure to see Lance get more press, and make more money, while MTBingwill be put even further back on the cooktop. I hope he proves me wrong.
 
Craig Glaspell
Capo Beach CA.Can’t we all just get along? — EditorDon’t forget that you should be about American cyclingEditor;I saw your blip on your website bout writing in with comments aboutVeloNews.  In my humble opinion, your magazine has been consistentfor years, good coverage of a quiet national, and international sport,Imean were not talking ESPN here, but with the failing of mags like Winning,and any other American based road racing journal, your’re hanging in tryingto cover atb and road.
 
I read cycle sport, and pro cycling to get the feel of whats goingon in the 700c world. I think VeloNews should take a stand, andgo to a traditional slick mag format. You know colors, action, stats, resultsetc.
 
All the atb mags seem to have some sort of niche. No one really talksracing very well. VeloNews is the only voice of cycling in America.Thanks,
John Stillwell
 More on Whining Pro’sEditor;It is good to see that we are finally seeing the truth in regards toall the whiners in cycling.It is not just on the road but off-road as well and predominantly inthe pro/expert class.Sure there are some exceptions to the rule such as Roland Green, AlisonSydor, Chad Miles, Andreas Hestler and most of the Canucks but not many.We are a sport of individuals and getting anyone to volunteer, buildtrail or help out with kid’s programs is like getting them to pick up theirGel packs that they leave all over the course.I have been racing and putting on events for over 13 years and it isgetting worse and worse.Kid’s demanding cash prizes when they are 11, pros whining about prizemoney when only 20 show up for an 800 person race and they grind you onthe entry fee or bounce a cheque.Let’s get our shit together people or there will be no more events totest yourselves at because most of the race organizers and sponsors havejust about had enough.This year I will be re-evaluating my personal time as I have 2 kidsto raise (2 and 6) my 6 year old Mahon has built more trail than 99% ofthe riders out there and he is going to do his share, you can bet on it.I will be putting on the 20th edition of the Cheakamus Challenge FallClassic Mountain Bike Race once again on September 21 in British Columbia www.cheakamuschallenge.ca,and will welcome riders from all over to get spanked by the “OLD SCHOOLXC.”Then I will join my buddy Pat West from Steamboat traveling Europe onhis lottery winnings where we will be on course picking up the syringeson the side of the road. It will be like old times in Steamboat where JeromeChiotti filled many garbage cans with his vitamins.Cheers,
Grant Lamont
Whistler, British Columbia, CanadaBob Roll is cycling’s embarrassing cousinDear VN:I would be embarrassed if anyone outside the world of cycling got ahold of Bob Roll’s recent “At the Back”column.  They already thinkwe’re crazy without that kind of stuff getting out.Philip Dresser
Arcata, CaliforniaNo, Bob Roll is cycling’s poet laureateI read VeloNews to keep up with the racing scene in North America andto pick up a few tips on training and technology. NEVER did I imagine thatyou are also a serious poetry journal — never, that is, until I read BobRoll’s Off the Back contribution on Lance and a whole lot else.The paragraph about some folks just not getting it is perhaps the mostprofound prose published in North America in the past 25 years.Whatever you’re paying Mr. Roll it’s not enough.Regards,
David NewmanYou said it, man. – EditorGood or Bad, Roll has valueI have long thought Bob Roll was the rider with the most soul and have always enjoyed his no-bull writing.  But after reading the psychoticrant of  Mr. Roll in the most recent issue of VeloNews, I canonly wonder if Bob recently went off some medication.In my big box of bike parts, I have a never-opened package of Bob RollPrayerstix grips. I will now be carefully preserving those Prayerstix gripsin an airtight plastic baggy and awaiting the day that Bob makes nationalnews as a crazed, drunken, naked cyclist riding headfirst into a semi onthe highway.Heck, someone on eBay might go as high as $300 for those grips.Signed,
“Underdogue”
Alfonse Zbikazo
San Diego, CA
 Speaking of eBay…Dear VeloNews (attention to Patrick O’Grady)Well, ultimately I am grateful for the coverage you gave us in VeloNews(see “Brother canyou spare 1,700,000 dimes?“)!I’m currently working to give it a good spin (see the revised eBay description)and use the exposure to help our cause.  Though the second articleVeloNews posted, on the same day, (see “WednesdayNewsbriefs:  Race honors fallen soldier,”) is wonderful and Ihope it goes a long way towards benefiting the fund for Phil Svitak.But I must admit I don’t quite understand your methods, Patrick. It seems that it would be in yours and VeloNews’ best interest,to give us the benefit of the doubt before publishing bad press.Aiding us in our event will do more for cycling (and thereforeyou and VeloNews) than criticizing us, don’t you think?  VeloNews,and you, carry a lot of clout in cycling.  It seems it would benefityours and VeloNews’ bottom line profit to give us a POSITIVE SPINin generating sponsor dollars, some of which are slated for advertisingin VeloNews.  Who does this headline benefit – “Thanks to thebad press from VeloNews, the 2002 USCF National Cycling Championshipshas been cancelled due to lack of funding; All amateur riders can waittill next year to go for the title.”I just don’t understand that logic.It’s also interesting that you all drew no correlation to posting twoarticles on the same day about our organization, Trinity Sports Group,and the Elite Nationals race weekend?  Check out your front page,with your article first, and below it, the one about “Wednesday Newsbriefs:Race honors fallen soldier…”It seems a bit contradictory.But regardless, I have faith that the exposure will lend a hand to usgetting more funding.For what it’s worth, in that I don’t expect you to address the publicwith the facts, here are the answers to your initial questions:1. You asked: “what led you to try such a non-traditional method ofsponsorship solicitation?”My wife and I are marketing professionals by trade, and have learnedto capitalize on “out of the box ideas.”  She just got this creativeidea to post the event on e-Bay.  She thought it was a bit unusual,but it kept nagging her, so we just did it!  Now I know why – it gotus international coverage, which is killer!2. Then you asked: “is it perhaps a little late in the game, with onlyfour months to go before race day, to be seeking title and presenting sponsors?Have a couple of sponsors vanished on you in this uncertain economy?”Yes, it’s totally late in the game.  We put on about a $20,000event last year, and had plans and support lined up to do the same for2002.  Then in about November or December we heard that nationalswere in need of a venue, figured we could mesh it with our existing event,so we let them know we were interested.  We accepted the challengein January, and began the search for additional funding at that time. We, and USA Cycling, want to see elite nationals become a bigger and betterevent than ever before, and have the confidence in our organization todo so.  Wouldn’t you rather see us greatly succeed?Thanks for the interest Patrick; I hope to give you some great articlesto write about elite nationals!Take care,
Kevin Miller
Trinity Sports GroupO’Grady responds:Hi, Kevin,I’m sorry you feel ill-treated regarding the nationals-on-Bay piece,though I’m pleased that you appreciated the Phil Svitak brief, which Ialso wrote. The first had comic aspects while the second was purely tragic;this explains the different treatments each received.Now, if I were a marketing guy planning to auction an event on eBay,I’d have sent press releases trumpeting the fact to everyone from CharlesPelkey to Peter Jennings, trying to drive traffic to the page, insteadof waiting for someone with a carefully crafted reputation for curmudgeonryto stumble across it.”Why didn’t you tell the world?” Dr. Strangelove asked the Russian ambassadorregarding an even more explosive issue.Classic cars, works of art and Enron memorabilia are auctioned off everyday … why not a bike race? In a sport rife with dopers, mismanagementand an ever-shrinking supporting industry, it’s the sort of off-beat, lightheartedstory that attracts attention, as you have noticed.I have noticed that while you question our rush to publication, youraise no issues with the piece’s accuracy in your e-mail, though your revisedeBay posting says “the facts of the article are a good bit off.”Name the errors; we’ll fix ’em. I also notice that you feel the additionalexposure — which you term “bad press” — will help you sell the event.Good-oh. As Oscar Wilde, another ill-mannered Mick scribbler, once noted,”There is only one thing in the world worse than being talked about, andthat is not being talked about.”Perhaps, in my own rude fashion, I’ve done you a service in my capacityas carnival barker for the sideshows of our sport.Best,Patrick O’Grady
Westcliffe, CO.
 
Wednesday’s LettersMore on RollRegarding the “Off The Back” column by Bob Roll in the most recent issue.Whoever on your staff is responsible for keeping track of when Bob shadesover from “edgy” and “gonzo” into “pathetic”  was asleep at the switch.His most recent article is a weak reprise of the tired old Hunter Thompsonconceit: that the world is inherently more interesting when viewed throughthe clouded lense of an raving, raging alcoholic fog.It’s a shame where Bob’s life is taking him.  I’d prefer to beleft with the pleasant memory of him as the iconoclastic but perceptiveroad racer of years gone by.
 
Best regards,
John ButlerThey just want moreVelonews,Every morning I skim over your daily letters before starting my dayat the office. I shake my head at all the complainers.I can remember not too long ago, say mid 80’s to mid 90’s, when if youwere a racer or cycling fan you had two choices, Winning Magazineand VeloNews. Both were monthly publications. That was it, period.Today I can log on to VeloNews and the other cycling sites to findout what’s going on around the world. I can layout my racing schedule onlinein minutes, I can even register online. No more sending SASE (“Self AddressedStamped Envelope” for those wondering) to race organizers and waiting weeksfor a confirmation.This sport is not big enough for so many complainers. Every year welose sponsors, places to race and fail to attract talent from other sports.It amazes me when I see a fellow racer, sometimes from the same club, whodoesn’t say hi or try to promote the sport in a positive light. Are theythat cool, or do they just have the people skills of Neanderthals? I readan interview from someone who stated “cyclists are their own worst enemies”.How true!The amount of information available on your site (and in print) is incrediblecompared to just a few years back. Let’s turn the clocks back and see whatthey complain about then. I bet ya the complaints decrease, then again,so would the information.The more you give people, the more they have to complain about.Keep up the good work.Todd Leister
Barto, PAWe swear that none of us are related to this guy – EditorBut if time and money were really no object…Hey, your recent poll did not have the selection that I wanted to choose:If time and money were no object, I would go see?ALL OF THE ABOVE!!I would be spending April through October following the World Cup, majortours and then wrap up the year at the world’s. When the lottery comesin I’ll be roadside in Europe. Until then thank God for OLN!Patrick West
 She should knowTo quote a recentstory about the Sequoia Classic on VeloNews.com”The German sprinter took off, shadowed by Trish Choo (Helen’s-Trek/VW),and the pair was gone for good..”
 
I disagree with that description.  We both worked hardto lap the field.
 
warmest aloha,
Trish ChooYou’re right. You were there, we weren’t. Our apologies. — EditorBetter late than neverIt would have been real nice had you told us about this already poorlypublicized broadcast that starts on March 4th a lot sooner then the 12th!Patrick CicaloActually that was just our e-mailed newsletter from yesterday. Wedid have OLN’s new schedule on the web site last week. Maybe we shouldhave called you. — Editor
Tuesday’s LettersNot a Bobke fanEditor:I must agree with your Wisconsin readers’ assesment of Mr. Roll. Therewas a time in which I thought Bob Roll was humorous, but his particularbrand of stream-of-consciousness writing is very limited and was playedout at least a few years ago.I was a fan of his on the road, and even in the dirt, but I think theVeloNews has undervalued it’s back page real estate. I would rathersee a pic of someone stomping the cobbles than read either Roll or Hershon.Jeff Sampson
Downers Grove, ILThe high price of successA few words for Babbling Bobke:My 9th grade English teacher taught me a great lesson in writing andgeneral communication that I would like to share with you.“Don’t use the quarter word when the nickel word will do.”
 
Jim Thies
Fort Collins COWe paid him a quarter for those words?!?!? — Editor
 One who likes RollSure the’ Off The Back’ column has really fallen by the wayside in thelast couple of years, mostly by giving Maynard the column off 9 times outof ten, but even if you get a thousand complaints about Bobke, keep himon the payroll for me.I can do without the porn on the roadside , Missy’s keister and poeticramblings of a mountain bike race schwag-fest. However, I cannot do withoutBob Roll’s frite-eating, kermesse-wrangling, riding in the rain with Lancestories.I don’t expect VeloNews to please everyone, and I hope you don’tdie trying either. Too many bike publications have lost me as a customerby changing their formats more often than a cheesy radio station.
Keep up the good work.
 
Barry Johnson
Salt Lake City, UT
 Not an Och’ fanDear Editor,Regarding Jim Ochowicz’s election as President of the new USA CyclingBoard of Directors, an interesting question to ask is just how Och’ cameto be on the US Pro Board of Trustees (from which he was nominated to theUSAC BoD), since he did not run when his term expired last Fall, and thuswas apparently not elected to it.  It seems that some sort of dealwas arranged last year whereby a US Pro Trustee resigned, and Och’ wasappointed.  He was not eligible to run as a Team Director, since heis no longer active as such, though he will have to run eventually as anat-large Trustee, as allowed by US Pro bylaws.It is also useful to note that after voting for the attempted (but illegal)takeover of USA Cycling, which denied USA Cycling members their votingrights, Ochowicz publicly praised the move, saying “What a wonderful opportunitywe have to grow our sport.”  (Apparently USACycling members do notshare in his optimism, since their numbers have declined some 24 percentsince that time.)Finally, it must be asked how this man can act independently on behalfof the sport, since he is presently in the employ of Thomas Weisel, a founderand the largest benefactor of the USA Cycling “Development” Foundation,and also a USA Cycling Director.Charles Howe
Olmsted Falls, OHHowe was most recently a plaintiff in the lawsuit against USA Cyclingchallenging the outcome of the 2001 membership election. That suit wassettled out of court earlier this year. – EditorWhat about the zero-tolerance policy?Now that former Pantani sideman GianpaoloMondini is under investigation by Italian prosecutors for the drugstash found in his hotel room during the 2001 Giro, will Armstrong andthe Posties terminate his contract?Perhaps they’ll keep him on, detox him and rehabilitate him.  Didn’tMondini win a TdF stage in 1999 and state something to the effect thathis win proved that a rider could be clean and win a stage?  I’llbet (anti-doping campaigner and former member of Jean Delatour)Christophe Bassons  has a grin on his face now.
 
Brian Lafferty
Longmeadow, MA
 
Monday’s LettersCan’t you do better than that?Editor;The racing coverage on the VeloNews website, so far this year,leaves a lot to be desired.  The coverage seems very incomplete, omittingseveral stages and even whole races.  The writing even seems shoddy.I’ve always liked VeloNews, but, if I continue to fine bettercoverage on other sites, I will be visiting VeloNews less and less.Melodie and Jody McDanalYou’re right. We have dropped the ball on several occasions. We canoffer explanations or we can work to improve things. We have recently hireda new news editor to oversee the site, filling a vacancy that has beenopen far too long. We also ask teams and promoters to submit brief racereports and full results to VnInteractive@7Dogs.com.We want to hear from you. And we always want to hear from you regardingways we can improve the magazine and the site. Thanks for your feedback.We’ll keep trying. — EditorWhere was the guy who won the first gold medal?!?!?!I just received the latest VeloNews about your history of cycling.After reading it cover to cover I must have gotten a copy missing somepages .I hate to be one that sits back and criticizes about who should havebeen in. But where was Alexi Grewal?I didn’t even see his name mentioned for winning the Olympic road raceor his family history Rishi,Ranjeet and Jasjeet. Maybe he doesn’t fit inthe mold of lance but he did win one of our historic events .Also in regards to Valley of the Sun just because its a pro event doesn’tmean that the yellow line rule doesn’t apply. Yeah maybe I’m just a 3 andwork 40+ a week and juggle family life but its only a bike race .Bill Mathys
Kent ,OhioCycling for a CureDear fellow cyclists;Through a ROARing for the Cure Letters for Breast Cancer campaign, Ihave met many many women. Since last year I have been working with a womanwho has helped me with our letter campaign who has her own cycling eventthis year!!!  Her name is Lorri Ugo from Terre Haute, IN.
 
She and some friends are “Cycling for a Cure” for Breast Cancer March26 to April 13 and coming from San Diego CA to St Augustine, FL. Theirroute will be back roads along Route I-10.
 
Their web site with more information is: CyclingFor A CureWhat they need:
More Participants ( Relay riders should be prepared to ride between20-30 miles per day; four days riding, one for rest)
RV (they have someone willing to insure it)
Shirt, banner and gas sponsors
Lots of prayers for their safety and success!Contact is Lorri Ugo at crrider2@aol.com with any leads, questions, sponsorships, (good luck wishes too!!)
Please pass this e-mail along and ask recipients to fwd it to anyonewhom you know because someone they know may be interested !!!Many many thanks.
Let’s  cycle & ROAR!!!Jean M Paslawsky
Telecom ConsultantNow there’s a thoughtJim Ochowicz’s election as president of the board of directors of USACycling will certainly bring a different perspective to the senior managementteam of the organization.  But, if one really wanted to restructureand revitalize the USA Cycling organization, and achieve improvements inboth elite performance and grass roots programs, the Board would have selectedJohn Wordin.There has not been a team director in the last ten years who has donemore with less, consistently displayed a superb ability to identify talent,motivate riders by providing a supportive, enthusiastic environment andoverachieved at every step.And, given that he has apparently ruffled quite a few feathers, hisappointment would please the gadflies while providing hope to aspiringriders that a competent executive with a passion for the sport is at thehelm of the organization “provided” for licensed racers.Michael O’Donovan
Reseda, CaliforniaAnd now a message from the president of the Bob Roll fan clubI also have a couple of comments regarding my current issue, which arrivedlast week.  This is in reference to Bob Roll’s “At the Back” (See“Eurotrash and the Texas Tornado,” VeloNews, March 18, 2002, page106).
 
Is Bob Roll that desperate to pull down his pants in public that VeloNewswould actually be the conduit to give him a push down the hill? “dropkick your Giro and strip naked so you get a sunburn on your bollocks andride down weaving between blotto tifosi screaming Yankee doodle dandy.”
 
When I first read the editorial I thought to myself, “twenty yearsof effort by American cyclists pissed down the drain by one idiot who cantfigure out who he is.”  Now in defense to Bob, I sadly have neverhad the experience of riding the TDF.  I have raced and suffered andtoured pretty hard and suffered.  Blew out my knee and cycled onelegged home for about 15 miles.  I think that qualifies to some degree.Granted, Bobke has been there and done that, but this creep should justshut the fuck up. One minute I see him with these huge lampchops on OLNwith Hairball, then he’s all spiffed up next to Phil and Paul to be diplomatic. I’ve read his stupid article in a now defunct magazine called “rider” orsome crap like that about how he got lost in a shit storm in the Rockieswith no food or water.  Never told his wife where he was going onlyto be saved by a pick up truck to carry him home.
 
 We have thousands of people dead in this country from you knowwhat and he refers to the airlines as the “grizzly skies.”  To makematters worse you condone individuals to fake injuries to get upgradesso they can get off in Paris with camelbacks full of vodka and Redbulland are belligerent to security officials.  I say you (VeloNews) condoneit because you printed it.
 
Let’s pull this test.  Let’s have Bob do as exactly as he professes. Let’s load him up with vodka and Redbull, put him in front of French securityflashing his passport and be belligerent.  I’d like to see what happens. Then let’s see what happens when he tries to flash a guard a little rawcash.
 
You know, I don’t lack a sense of humor.  I really don’t.I like a good laugh like anyone else.  But don’t waste my hardearned money buying your fine magazine, to keep you employed; only to havethis shit printed.
 
I’m probably wrong but it appears to me that Bob Roll has absolutelyno respect for the people who put food on his plate or the companies thathave probably given him perks over the years.  He’s a fine examplefor your magazine to let represent you.
 
Maybe when you do your next anniversary issue ten years from now youcan reprint it so Ruby can read it.  Then Dad can explain to his daughterwhat it is he’s really trying to say.
 
Thanks for letting me vent.
 
Peter Downey
Mills WI.Pro racers are entertaining but not worthy of emulatingMan, holding my head. Got a headache. All the complaining, and “gollygee whiz” that is going on about doping in cycling.Okay. First, if you are a pro and this is how you make your paycheck…and you ain’t Lance Armstrong but you got a family and children, or anex-wife and child support (added that part for my own amusement, sorry)you have GOT to race competitively. That, sorry to say, means you use whatevermeans to race day in-day out. And folks, it isn’t going to get better.Now, cycling is finding warmer climates and new races in new places…sothe season, already too long and too full of races, is going to start earlierand end later. Meaning, if I am some poor hanging-on-by-fingertips supportrider — and hey who the hell wants to work in factory after you’ve beenmaking money racing a bike? — I got to use dope to last a whole season.Is cycling going to clean up its act? Sure, okay, how? You clean itup, who the hell is gonna race? Replacement cyclists? Ah, remember thereplacement baseball players from a few years back? (Sorry to the overseasreaders who might not know baseball) or those fine replacement playersthat pretended to be players in the National Football League? No. Hey,no sweat. Neither does anybody else.The owners only remember paying out paychecks to replacement playerswho couldn’t fill the stadiums. People gonna line the road of the Tourde France to see Bill King bike by? Well, I wish…ha ha… but no freakingway!!!So if you want to clean up the sport by banning these guys for life…first get prepared to see a lot of big names going bye bye from the racingscene. Or hey, maybe the ones caught can be just be like VDB and shop aroundfor some team somewhere desperate enough to take you on. Until the ownersget together, and the governing bodies say, “No more,” doping is not goingaway.Hell, it’ll just take new forms. All it’ll take is some almost-at-the-top-of-the-pile support riding snorting a whole bottle of Pepsi up into his sinus cavity by accident and winning a stage of some major race before you see all the peloton snorting a Pepsi up their nose thinking it’ll give them some advantage.Because (this goes back to the opening point) too many races, too muchpressure for winning, too much historical and cultural prestige on theline, too many coaches/sports talking out of both sides of their mouthsby telling the public “No to dope” while telling, with words or withoutwords, “You ride for me, you dope. I want stage wins.  I want picturesof you crossing the finish line with your arms in the air.”Sooooo for the everyday “Gets Fat In The Winter” riders….and alongwith those of us who love the sport, see the pros for what they are:Entertainingbut not worthy of emulating. Be yourself. Race for yourself. And enjoyeach ride. Cleanly enjoy each ride.That is where biking truly rests. Inside each of us. These dopers willface their time… when the news reports come when they hit their 30s ormaybe 40s and start dying of weird ass diseases and body breakdowns. Inthe meanwhile, those if us who just loving riding and racing can comfortablyage and ride, and catch on the tube the next wave of TdF elite riders whoare going to kill themselves by jamming shit into their body. Be more concernedabout what happens at your local club level!Bill King
Sterling Heights, MI