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Monday’s mailbag: Arndt’s bird, roadies’ whining, USAC’s incompetence, and snobs

The Mail Bag is a regular feature on VeloNews.com. 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.Arndt’s childish display hurts the sportEditor:After seeing the salute Judith Arndt decided to give the world Sunday, I felt a comment was needed. The Olympics occur only every four years the last time I checked, which makes election for them and representing your country a great honor.

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The Mail Bag is a regular feature on VeloNews.com. 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.


Arndt’s childish display hurts the sport
Editor:
After seeing the salute Judith Arndt decided to give the world Sunday, I felt a comment was needed. The Olympics occur only every four years the last time I checked, which makes election for them and representing your country a great honor. Ms. Arndt has shown a lack of professionalism, maturity, sportsmanship and simple decency by flying her “colors” at the finish line.

I’m sorry, but if you ain’t happy about your team, you don’t ride; let someone else who understands the honor of being there ride. What you don’t do is show the world, and future generations of women cyclists around the globe, how immature and childish you can be crossing the line. You won the silver medal! Rejoice, don’t be a snot!

In the end she has continued to hurt our sport that has already suffered this year with multiple scandals and sponsorship withdrawals. I feel ashamed to be a cyclist when I see these pictures.

Joel Funk
Tucson, Arizona

Olympic race should be hard, you whiners
Editor:
My goodness! I may have heard a new low in the pro-roadie ranks. The boys are complaining the Olympic road race was “too hard” and the poor blokes should not have had an afternoon start time. Yikes! The hardest race they’ve ever done? What the —-, It’s the gosh-darn Olympics, man! It better be the hardest race they’ll ever do! The attrition was more due to realizing medaling wasn’t gonna happen and they bailed. Heck, half my mountain-bike races start around lunchtime, and we’re usually happy about it! Nothing like a couple extra hours in the morning to let those cobwebs dissipate.

I’m really trying hard to respect roadies but this constant whining is making it harder. They should make all those guys do a few NORBA dilly-o’s and find out what suffering for a medal is all about.

Greg Schmidt
Indialantic, Florida

Why wasn’t Rodridguez on the U.S. team?
Editor:
Am I the only individual who feels that the USOC is shooting itself in the foot when it comes to racing the Olympics? With the USOC coaches saying stuff like, “When a race is a complete lottery like this,” I tend to lose confidence; perhaps I should have just fired up the hibachi and killed a goat for a bit of luck.

Bizarre tales of incompetence in the women’s XC MTB selection aside, why is it that the only American that had any chance in hell of winning the road race, Fred Rodriguez, wasn’t on the team? I’m no expert, but it strikes me that a long, flat finish tends to favor sprinters. Terrific cyclists they may be, but Hamilton, Hincapie, Julich, Leipheimer and McCartney aren’t exactly sprinters.

If we had someone like Rodriguez, at least we would have had someone to chase Bettini and Paulinho down for. What other country harms itself like the U.S. by deciding not to use any discretion in team selection?

Lamb gyros, anyone?

Elliot Dickerson
Boulder, Colorado

Horner could’ve done better, no doubt
Editor:
Wait, let me guess: Had Chris Horner been feeling 100 percent, he would have been able to qualify for Athens, and he would have been able to do a better job in Athens.

Robb Gibson
Tucson, Arizona

Mr. Tongue, meet Mr. Cheek. – Editor

Bisceglia flubbed it and should resign
Editor:
Mr. Bisceglia, you’ve presided over a monumental mess. The Olympic Games are the primary vehicle any sport counts on to expand its audience. But when that audience looks upon USA Cycling and its Olympic selection process, they see something a lot like Hush Puppies — not fancy, not phony, just dumb. That happened on your watch, so you should take full responsibility. Your immediate resignation will be accepted.

Please suck it up, step down, and take the lessons you learned to your next endeavor. What are those lessons?

1. “Expertise” has limitations. Two space shuttles have blown up, for example, despite the application of the best engineering minds of a generation. How can this be? Well, for starters…

2. All organizations are capable of tunnel vision. USA Cycling has protested that it sought and gathered adequate input before writing the rules. If so, how can the selection process have gone so awry? Might it be that those rules were written in a vacuum, despite protestations to the contrary? Were governing bodies in other sports sought out for their opinions and experience?

3. Blaming the complainers never works. Steve Johnson, your COO, said something like, “Nobody complained about these rules when they were first published.” That’s because we had placed our trust in you to get them right.

That trust was betrayed, and the only stand-up thing to do is step down. Doing so would mark the only respectable action taken in this whole mess.

Conor O’Brien
Washington, D.C.

Snobs, get over yourselves and welcome newcomers
Editor:
The letter submitted by Ivan S. regarding the bike-handling skills of “Freds” in the “30-and-over” category smacks of the worst sort of snobbery, and is another example of what the sport doesn’t need, given its tenuous footing in this country.

Clearly Ivan has forgotten what his first racing season is like, and as I myself am an adult-onset cyclist with racing aspirations, I am disappointed to find this sort of superior attitude lurking in the peloton. Surely someone as “advanced” in his skills can easily avoid any clumsy lout on the road.

Riders with this attitude should be more appreciative that newbies are coming to the sport, especially older ones, who will pass it on to our kids. Or, they need to build their little bridge and get over it, recognizing that their options in any race are to lead, follow, or get out of the way.

Ivan, if it’s too scary, it’s time to retire. John Ficken
Simi Valley, California


The Mail Bag is a regular feature on VeloNews.com. 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.