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Mr. Rogers’ neighborhood: Catching the fever?

I’m starting to feel a little sweaty, maybe even a little feverish. And no, I’m not talking about Tour fever here. I’m talking about a severe case of hypochondria. Let me digress. For those who haven’t yet picked up the latest issue of VeloNews, you’ll be in for a bit of surprise: I was given artistic license to pen the “What We’re Riding” section. Okay, so expounding about cycling products isn’t exactly artistic, but given my technical prowess, it was a bit of a stretch. While Andrew Juskaitis is our go-to tech writer, I tend to stick to the race coverage and features. But I gave it a

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By Neal Rogers

Don't bug me, man

Don’t bug me, man

Photo: Fight the Bite.com

I’m starting to feel a little sweaty, maybe even a little feverish. And no, I’m not talking about Tour fever here. I’m talking about a severe case of hypochondria.

Let me digress.

For those who haven’t yet picked up the latest issue of VeloNews, you’ll be in for a bit of surprise: I was given artistic license to pen the “What We’re Riding” section. Okay, so expounding about cycling products isn’t exactly artistic, but given my technical prowess, it was a bit of a stretch. While Andrew Juskaitis is our go-to tech writer, I tend to stick to the race coverage and features.

But I gave it a stab, waxing intellectual on a few products that have made the ritual of training and racing that much easier for me, including a new set of silicon-infused contact lenses that have eliminated the dry-eye problems that plagued me over the spring.

Just a few weeks later, I’m ready to add a new product to the list — “Off!” — or any Deet-based product that keeps blood-sucking mosquitoes off my skin. In the past week, I’ve twice had the unsavory experience of providing lunch for a hungry pest that’s flown its way into my unzipped jersey.

I am willing to accept a share of the responsibility, via my own stubbornness. It’s a tad unnatural to interrupt a good rhythm on a long climb to stop and check to see whether the perpetrator is inside or outside your clothing. So despite vigorously swatting every possible inch of myself while continuing to ride, well — let’s just say the left side of my torso looks as though I got caught out in a BB-gun war, ambushed while trying to reload.

Imagine the unpleasant surprise I received Friday morning when I read that the first positive case of the West Nile virus has permeated the otherwise cushy bubble I live in known as Boulder County, Colorado.

“Colorado led the country in 2003 with the most reports of West Nile virus — 2,947 cases,” reports our local Daily Camera. “Sixty-one Coloradans died from the disease, including seven from Boulder County.”

Oh, joy. That’s just I needed to hear as I scratch my half-dozen bites.

Symptoms of the potentially fatal virus include fever, chills, headache, muscle weakness, vomiting and diarrhea.

I knew it.

But seriously, as of now, I’m adding bug repellent to my ever-growing list of pre-ride skin-care products, which has, over the years, come to include a dash of lip balm, sunscreen, and chamois cream. Sheesh, what’s next? Topical antioxidants?

Come to think of it, I am beginning to feel a little loaded down with free radicals….

* * *

And in other news — wait, that last bit hardly qualifies as news, and this is mostly rumor and innuendo — so let’s file this in the “You can’t keep a good man down” category: Rumor is that Team Sports’ Tom Schuler is very close to signing a large (possibly seven-figure?) sponsorship contract for a men’s road team in 2005. No official word on the sponsor yet, but you’ve gotta figure that whatever company is dropping that kind of scratch must be sitting on some serious hardware.

Schuler served as the director of the Saturn men’s and women’s programs, as well as the Volvo-Cannondale mountain bike team, throughout the 1990s, but had a difficult time replacing the auto manufacturer’s title sponsorship last fall. Team Sports landed Quark shoes as the sponsor of its scaled-down women’s road program, but was unable to secure a deal for its men’s road program, instead finding a title sponsor for the Midwestern amateur Endeavor Cycling Team.

More on this to come, just as soon as Schuler tears himself away from his IronMan triathlon training and gives us a call.

And while we’re on the topic of team directors, how about Navigators Insurance’s rider/director Ed Beamon finishing seventh at the Fitchburg-Longsjo Classic time trial, just 56 seconds behind stage winner Nathan O’Neill — and ahead of teammate Mark Walters, winner of the 2002 USPRO Championship? How old is Beamon – 45?

Damn, Ed, nice work. And to think, I was going to go for an “easy ride” with him this week while in Oregon for the Cascade Classic.