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Notes from the road: A (monkey)pox on Boulder; making it look easy and the ultimate Navigator

I’m sitting here waiting. I know the news is coming, it’s just a matter of when. When will Boulder begin its prairie-dog, monkeypox hospice program? For those of you unfamiliar with VeloNews’s hometown, this is the city that banned the killing of prairie dogs and enacted a “relocation” program in 1999. It was the constant inundation of stories about prairie dogs -- and the guy whose goal in life was to locate by GPS every single dog dropping in city open space -- that eventually led me to cancel my subscription to the local Boulder Daily Camera. Since the monkeypox outbreak, though, I’ve been

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By Bryan Jew, VeloNews assistant managing editor

I’m sitting here waiting. I know the news is coming, it’s just a matter of when. When will Boulder begin its prairie-dog, monkeypox hospice program? For those of you unfamiliar with VeloNews’s hometown, this is the city that banned the killing of prairie dogs and enacted a “relocation” program in 1999. It was the constant inundation of stories about prairie dogs — and the guy whose goal in life was to locate by GPS every single dog dropping in city open space — that eventually led me to cancel my subscription to the local Boulder Daily Camera. Since the monkeypox outbreak, though, I’ve been keeping my eye on the local paper, which has been surprisingly quiet on the subject, running a few Washington Post, New York Times and wire articles, but not offering much on the local angle.

Sorry if I’m a little down on the prairie dogs. I’m just bitter that the city will relocate the rodents, but when it closes a trail to mountain bikers, we’re not similarly offered an alternative location. (Not that I really want to be vacuumed into a truck and then dumped out into a new habitat, but you get my gist.)

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I give Boulder this, though: It’s sunny. After getting back from a week on the wet East Coast for the Wachovia Series, just a week-and-a-half after a wet trip to Seven Springs for elite nationals, I’m in no hurry to go back. This weekend, it’s back to working on the homestead, and improving on our yard, which can best be described as “zero-scaped.”

Last week while in Philly, I wrote about going to the Phillies-Mariner game, in which I saw the Mariners’ Ichiro Suzuki go 4-for-5 on a damp (what else?) evening. Watching Ichiro, I couldn’t help but be reminded of a guy on my slo-pitch softball team. You know the type. Shows up each week with knees heavily wrapped, barely puts wood on the ball, but the next thing you know he’s been on base every time up. Ichiro, meanwhile, hits a bloop single to left, a bunt single, and infield hit, and finally a line-drive up the middle, and suddenly he’s 4-for-5.

In a way, it was an appropriate prelude to watching Mark McCormack win the USPRO Championship in Philadelphia. Is there any top U.S. pro who draws less attention to himself while racking up wins? McCormack is never the prettiest guy on the bike and never looks like the fastest guy out there, but always seems to get the job done. It’s evident in cyclo-cross, where guys with way more flash find themselves getting resoundingly beaten by the New Englander, and it’s evident on the road, where he’s currently at the top of his game.

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McCormack’s USPRO title was the third for the Saturn team, although Bart Bowen’s win in 1997 came in the race marred by George Hincapie’s questionable disqualification for drafting. Bowen’s other USPRO title came while riding for Subaru-Montgomery. The only other Saturn title came in 1995, when Norm Alvis won the race outright.

Meanwhile, Stefano Zanini’s win for Saeco was the fourth by an Italian. He joins countrymen Massimiliano Lelli (1997), Paolo Cimini (1990) and Roberto Gaggioli (1988) as Philly winners.

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After writing in last week’s column about Navigators’ Mark Walters and his thyroid problems, I got an e-mail from team manager Ray Cipollini offering up a few more details, and some support of the UCI’s rider health check-ups:

“I just read your latest Notes From The Road, and your pre-Philadelphia interview with Mark Walters. I just wanted to point out that he has been diagnosed with Hashimoto’s Disease, a rare disorder that affects the Thyroid gland. It is interesting to note that the first indications of this problem were noticed by his wife, Robyn (PhD. Physiologist), as well as the team doctor, following a routine blood test mandated by the UCI for TT1/TT2 squads. If not for the UCI’s Health Monitoring Program, he may not have been diagnosed for several months, or even years, with the potential for serious health risks in the interim. This certainly highlights the necessity for all riders (and athletes) to pay close attention to the frequency of their health and blood exams. This is obviously a success story in the UCI’s many initiatives to monitor the health and well-being of the top professional cyclists. Unfortunately, this program (Health Monitoring Program) doesn’t extend to the TT3 squads, of which all but two (Navigators and US Postal) in the U.S. are. Although this program is expensive, and at times inconvenient, perhaps all of the TT3 squads should subscribe to, or be compelled to undertake, this important program. Thankfully, Mark’s situation has a favorable outcome, due in part to the UCI Health Monitoring Program and the fact that we’re registered as a TT2.”

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So Sammy Sosa’s corked bat was intended only for batting practice? Yeah, and Edita Rumsas’s carload of EPO was for her mother-in-law, and Rick Neuheisel donated all of his NCAA pool winnings to charity.

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If Lynn Gaggioli doesn’t make the U.S. world’s team, we’re starting our own investigation.

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What to watch forJuly 1: The Limited Edition Sean Jean Navigator becomes available. Designed by P. Diddy in partnership with Lincoln, the SUV will carry an $85,000 price tag. Take that, Hummer!



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