Friday’s mailbag: Gaggioli, more Bush vs. Kerry, 29’ers, OLN

The Mail Bag is a regular feature on VeloNews.com, appearing each Monday, Wednesday and Friday. If you have a comment, an opinion or observation regarding anything you have seen in cycling, in VeloNews magazine or on VeloNews.com, write to WebLetters@InsideInc.com. Please include your full name and home town. Letters may be edited for length and clarity.On Gaggioli and vengeanceEditor:Roberto Gaggioli better watch out. He may wake up with a severed headset, stem and handlebars in a puddle of Phil Wood grease in his bed after what he did to that poor bike. Craig ForesterCincinnati, Ohio We

The Mail Bag is a regular feature on VeloNews.com, appearing each Monday, Wednesday and Friday. If you have a comment, an opinion or observation regarding anything you have seen in cycling, in VeloNews magazine or on VeloNews.com, write to WebLetters@InsideInc.com. Please include your full name and home town. Letters may be edited for length and clarity.


On Gaggioli and vengeance
Editor:
Roberto Gaggioli better watch out. He may wake up with a severed headset, stem and handlebars in a puddle of Phil Wood grease in his bed after what he did to that poor bike.

Craig Forester
Cincinnati, Ohio

We wondered how long it would take someone to pull out a “Godfather” reference. O’Grady originally had a riff on Don Corleone and “respect” in his latest foaming rant, but he excised it after a friendly chat with Luca Brasi. — Editor

Sundt should get his, too
Editor:
It takes two to tango; Sundt should be suspended as well. He is also a crybaby for lodging a complaint with USA Cycling. It should have been worked out long before it got out of control. Sometimes the old guys don’t get the respect from the young guys they deserve! Mike Lechman
Effingham, Illinois

Why did Mionske take the case?
Editor:
I was dismayed, first to read that Bob Mionske had decided to represent Roberto Gaggioli in the hearing on the latter’s attack on Jonny Sundt, and then even more so to see what Mionske’s comments were about the eventual decision: “… his manager’s license is the big deal. It’s his job. That’s how he’s making his living.”

If the events took place as described, and apparently the panel thought so, I’m not sure it’s even harsh enough. Last I checked, attacking someone with a 2-by-4 is a potentially lethal act. I don’t think that cycling owes him the right to continue to make a living in any aspect of the sport. If the panel only wants to suspend him for seven months, Gaggioli (and Mionske) should be thankful that they are as forgiving as they are, and that the attack wasn’t more successful.

The whole affair has cost Bob a lot of credibility with me. Just imagine the outcry – including from Mionske – if it had been a fan of one of the anti-cyclist shock jocks who made the attack rather than another cyclist!

Tom Stork
Arlington, Virginia

To continue the “Godfather” theme (and don’t worry, Luca, this will be the last one), at least this one stayed within the family. — Editor

Gaggioli should apologize and change his act
Editor:
It is sad when two sponsored professionals start fighting at a race, in front of fans, sponsors, and younger teammates who look to them for guidance.

I have to take Sundt’s side and yell, “Foul!” at Gaggioli. I’ve been unlucky enough to watch Gaggioli race in California and Arizona. Most of the time he would rant, rage and yell his way through the pack, making other local racers feel like dirt.

Who is Gaggioli to decide if Sundt can or cannot mix it with the big boys at the front of the pack? Who is Gaggioli to bark orders and throw people around in the peloton before and after the race?

There is not doubt this Italian is a great bike racer, but he needs to stop using his elitist attitude in the American peloton. It won’t get you anywhere and sets a bad example to the younger guys.

Gaggioli should apologize to Sundt, race promoters, and his team, and replace the helmet and frame he damaged.

Chad Hummer
Phoenix, Arizona

O’Grady’s right: It’s only a bike race
Editor:
Patrick O’Grady’s latest hits the nail on the head or frame ( pun intended) as usual. It’s great to be impassioned about things, but seriously, its a bike race, for God’s sake. Maybe some of us need to become more childlike and enjoy things for what they are. Maybe charges should have been pressed.

Scott Bombard
AuSable Forks, New York

O’Grady’s right, you say? We’ll inform the media. That’s bigger news than armed combat at a bike race.— Editor

A defender speaks for Gagg’
Editor:
I just have to chime in with my two cents about Roberto Gaggioli. He has stayed with us for many years during Superweek in Milwaukee, and while I’m well aware of his reputation, he is a fundamentally good person. If he was that angry, there was a reason.

Melinda Krueger
Milwaukee, Wisconsin

And no, he can’t race ACA events
Editor:
The article “Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood: Crossing the line,” incorrectly stated that “Gaggioli is still free to race for other federations, such as the American Cycling Association (ACA) or Oregon Bicycle Racing Association (OBRA).”

ACA added a clause to its rule book a few years ago that says “ACA will honor suspensions from other federations.” So if Mr. Gaggioli is suspended by USCF, ORBA, ABR or UCI, then he is not free to race in ACA races until his suspension is lifted.

Stephen Haydel
Race promoter, www.cyclingevents.com

You are correct, sir. Once informed of his error, Mr. Rogers quickly made the correction – but only after we beat the snot out of his bike with a 2-by-4. — Editor

From pugilism to politics
Editor:
Hey, Mark Pierce, I hope you don’t crash while you are daydreaming about those Bush tax cuts, which is more akin to someone buying you a gift with your own credit card than actually paying less in taxes.

And Georgie-boy sure hates those photo ops, huh? Like that one on the aircraft carrier? How many Serottas do you think you could buy with the tax dollars spent on that little stunt?

If either of these guys were really interested in cycling, they might try encouraging the use of bicycles as part of a real conservation program in an urgent national-security initiative/comprehensive energy policy to lower our dependence on the Middle East. Don’t hold your breath.

In the meantime, try to see your way through the dogma, Mark, the truth is out there.

Mike Block
Boulder, Colorado

Kerry is a talented, lifelong athlete
Editor:
Regarding Bill Pierce’s political diatribe on John Kerry’s biking andBoarding: Anyone can go down on sand. I’ve been there. As an older cycling roadie, you find a bit of caution after enough miles (I did 83 miles with 8000 vertical yesterday; so I do put in my time). Kerry is a lifelong cyclist, and not a poseur, as you would suggest.

I just happen to have seen him board and ski as well. My daughter was in the Junior Olympics skiing in Sun Valley the week Kerry was there. He’s completely competent, both on skis and a board, on all the expert runs. It happens we went to the same high school. On a chance, I shouted out the school’s name as he passed. He stopped dead in his tracks and chatted for five minutes with my 14-year-old daughter and me on a variety of topics. He’s obviously very intelligent, and he was charming talking with my daughter as well.

Trying to compare, or “diss” political candidates based on an evaluation of their athletic prowess (especially when the evaluation is incorrect) seems useless. John Kerry is a skilled athlete, and any other athlete should have respect for someone who embraces that life.

I hope John Kerry gets to spend his older years living life to its full as I do. I also hope that that is something to which Mr. Pierce would aspire.

Peter E. Pool
Reno, Nevada

And he’s a regular rider
Editor:
Bill Pierce’s argument about Kerry versus Bush on the issue of biking is in error on many counts. First of all, far more Americans own mountain bikes than expensive road bikes. Bush’s decision to ride an inexpensive mountain bike is one more example of his attempts to deny his wealthy and privileged background.

Furthermore, the notion that Kerry’s bike riding is some kind of a publicity stunt is just plain wrong. The picture that accompanied the stories of his fall showed him in full Spandex getup. And according to Elisabeth Bulmiller in The New York Times, who played both incidents for laughs, Kerry rides centuries regularly. It is difficult to square this with Pierce’s claim of Kerry’s limited commitment to the bike.

Perhaps more telling, Kerry rides both on and off the road, while the president rides only off road. Depending on how you look at it, this is either evidence of Kerry’s inclusive and Bush’s exclusive worldviews or Kerry’s inability to make up his mind and Bush’s single-mindedness.

Finally, if one considers what a president’s imprimatur might do for cycling’s status here, it is profoundly childish to mock either man as they get off their butts and go for a ride.

Tom Bach
Syracuse, New York

But what about Nader?
Editor:
While everyone has been debating the cycling skills of presidents and presidential candidates, nobody has questioned the crashing cyclist in the Lance Armstrong commercial.

Maybe people haven’t noticed it, but while watching a tape of Giro coverage I caught a glimpse of a bike messenger biffing it as he made a sharp left-hand turn around a San Francisco street corner about 20 bikes behind Lance. Play your Tivo or videotape slowly and watch right after the passing Yellow Cab. You’ll see a horizontal front wheel sweep by from the right-hand side to the center of the screen. Maybe this is actual footage of the Ralph Nader crash we’ve all been waiting for! Paul Mitchell
Sacramento, California

Naw. That guy wasn’t wearing a shoulder harness, air bags and a spoiler. — Editor

The answer lies hidden, Grasshopper
Editor:
In “Tech Report: A few more product previews,” Andrew Juskaitis wrote:

“There is an advantage, but not necessarily due to the actual contact patch of the tire. Because the wheel (and tire) itself is larger in diameter, that should aide in rolling through soft and sandy terrain. The only catch with 29’ers is that they accelerate noticeably slower than 26-inch wheels and can be more of a challenge to build a smaller frame around. For size large and XL frames, this isn’t an issue, but mediums and smalls size geometry tend to be compromised to fit the larger wheels.”

The answer to why 29’ers roll through soft and sandy terrain better is hidden in Andrew’s response. He says “The only catch with 29’ers is that they accelerate noticeably slower than 26-inch wheels…” This “noticeably slower” acceleration also means “noticeably slower” deceleration! When you ride in soft and sandy terrain it is easier because this “noticeably slower” deceleration allows the rider to carry more speed.

Chad Oleson
Crested Butte, Colorado

We wouldn’t know, Chad. We ride 20-inch wheels, and they spin so fast that they part sand like Moses did the Red Sea. — Editor

Please, no Al Trautwig, thank you
Editor:
When the OLN cycling schedule came out this year I was concerned like others that it seemed that there was reduced coverage of the other races in the calendar. Even though I was concerned, I thought I understood what they were doing. Then when I saw the Q&A with Gavin Harvey (see the June 2, 2004, edition of VeloNews) his words confirmed what I thought, they were pushing the Tour De France because it is a more recognizable event.

Of course, no one can forget that an American is poised to win for a record sixth time; push the Tour, by all means. But I was horrified to read that “broadcast veteran Al Trautwig is leading the OLN team.” In all honesty I couldn’t tell you what Mr. Trautwig’s qualifications or background are, but after watching him ruin the 2000 Olympics men’s road race on NBC, I know he shouldn’t be commentating on cycling. I would hate to see the OLN coverage turn into what used to be on ESPN – some racing, human-interest stories starring Al, and a whole lot of “and now back to Phil and Paul.”

Maybe this is part of a bigger strategy where Serena and Venus Williams will help out with the PBR coverage, or Dick Button will comment on how quickly those guys can land muskies. OLN, change is nice, but please stick with the guys who really know the sport.

Kevin Kiddle
Lindenhurst, Illinois


The Mail Bag is a regular feature on VeloNews.com, appearing each Monday, Wednesday and Friday. If you have a comment, an opinion or observation regarding anything you have seen in cycling, in VeloNews magazine or on VeloNews.com, write to WebLetters@InsideInc.com. Please include your full name and home town. Letters may be edited for length and clarity.