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Notes from the road: Dog days of summer

Maybe you’re like me and you treated yourself to a hot dog to celebrate the Fourth of July. Heck, maybe you even downed two or three and chased them down with a cold beverage. Chances are, though, you did not wolf down three dozen wieners, and chase them down with another eight-and-a-half. In 12 minutes. That was the final tally for Takeru “The Tsunami” Kobyashi at the Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest, July 4 in Coney Island. The Japanese three-time champion’s 44-and-a-half dogs easily outdistanced second-place Ed “Cookie” Jarvis, who set an American record with 30-and-a-half hot dogs

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By Bryan Jew, VeloNews assistant managing editor

Maybe you’re like me and you treated yourself to a hot dog to celebrate the Fourth of July. Heck, maybe you even downed two or three and chased them down with a cold beverage. Chances are, though, you did not wolf down three dozen wieners, and chase them down with another eight-and-a-half. In 12 minutes.

That was the final tally for Takeru “The Tsunami” Kobyashi at the Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest, July 4 in Coney Island. The Japanese three-time champion’s 44-and-a-half dogs easily outdistanced second-place Ed “Cookie” Jarvis, who set an American record with 30-and-a-half hot dogs eaten.

The Tsunami, who stands 5-foot-7 and weighs 145 pounds (or 110, or 130, depending on when and whom you ask), fell short of his record set last year, 50-and-a-half.

Reportedly, as Kobyashi slowed late in the competition, he began to jump up and down, hoping to pack down the contents of his stomach. Hmmm … seems to me that jumping up and down might not be the best thing for your stomach after you’ve eaten a couple of pounds of hot dog and buns. But then again, I’m not a finely tuned athlete like these guys.

Kobayashi has in the past had accusations hurled at him ranging from cheating (regurgitation) to drugs (muscle relaxants) to an unfair anatomical advantage (having two stomachs). In the end, though, he raised the winner’s mustard-yellow belt for the third year in a row. The winner also receives a year’s supply of hot dogs, which of course raises the question: What constitutes a year’s supply for someone who can eat 44 dogs in 12 minutes?

The biggest disappointment was the weak performance by former Chicago Bears lineman William “The Refrigerator” Perry, who quit after eating four dogs in five minutes. Perry had qualified in an earlier competition by eating 12 hot dogs in 12 minutes, but his four dogs on the Fourth was a farce. Reeks of nationalism, doesn’t it? A homegrown celebrity who’s clearly not up to the task getting a free ride into the contest.

Hmmm, this storyline sounds too good to be true: A multiple-time foreign champion beating the homeboys at their own game in a near-century-old contest and having cheating accusations hurled at him before he hoists a yellow prize in July after a dominating victory, with a questionable selection process as a secondary plot. Sounds like … nah.

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While the Tsunami was knocking back hot dogs in New York, the Pittsburgh Pirates Randal Simon was knocking down hot dogs — an Italian sausage, to be more specific — in Milwaukee the other day. Actually, it was a woman in an Italian-sausage costume, one of four racing sausages at Milwaukee’s Miller Park, who got knocked over, in turn knocking over another woman wearing a hot-dog outfit, when Simon hit the costume with a bat. An AP story quoted the bratwurst as saying the event was “unbelievable.” There was no comment from the hot dog, and the Polish sausage did not return calls. Also no word on how this will affect the racing sausages’ scheduled August match-ups with Pittsburgh’s racing pierogies.

Simon was arrested for disorderly conduct and fined $432. That’s a lot of hot dogs, even at ballpark prices.

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There will surely be plenty of sausages on hand over the next two weeks in and around Milwaukee for the annual International Cycling Classic/Superweek, which begins today. Last year, VN.com featured the, um, interesting race commentary of Prime Alliance’s Jonas Carney. Although we’ve been in discussions with Carney, and he’s promised us something “creative” from the races, we still haven’t gotten the final word. Jonas, are you out there? Give us a holler.

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There have been rumors circulating about the demise of the San Rafael Cycling Classic, which have proven to be untrue. Unfortunately, in the July 14 issue of VeloNews we prematurely and incorrectly reported on the cancellation of the event. San Rafael is alive and well, and has a new management team in place. Our apologies. They issued a press release this week:

Despite rumors of the event’s distress, or even cancellation, the 6th annual San Rafael Cycling Classic has been revived for the 2003 racing season. The event is one of the nation’s premier professional cycling events for women. Groundzero Sports Marketing is pleased to announce that the event is alive and well and is anticipating great success with the event’s continuation. Visit www.srcyclingclassic.com for more event and race information.

Groundzero Sports Marketing Group, one of the cycling industry’s leading field marketing firm, and Consortium, a prominent event management company headed by Ravi Rajcoomar, have joined forces to bring about the evolution of this event.

According to, Craig Mintlzaff, of Groundzero, longtime event director Wil Matthews will remain a core member of the event’s managing crew, and will be complemented by Ravi Rajcoomar, Consortium, and Groundzero. Matthews will utilize each company’s expertise in event management and sponsorship.

This year’s San Rafael Cycling Classic will showcase women’s professional cycling at its best and has had top professional teams register for the event including T-mobile and the Saturn Cycling Team.

“We will be showcasing many more women’s products, services and associations during the event and expo to really draw attention to this being a premier ‘women’s event’,” stated Mintzlaff. The event’s charity of choice this year will be The Breast Cancer Fund of San Francisco www.breastcancerfund.org and event coordinators will be working hard to promote the event in the San Francisco Bay Area.

The amount of support from local and national sponsors in keeping the event from disappearing has been well received. Jelly Belly, Saturn, and Graber/Saris, to name a few, have committed as event supporters.