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1. Birthday Book Project January 29, 2010

Posted by wetalkhablamos in birthday book project, chechu, cycling fans.
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What is the Birthday Book Project:

We’re inviting Chechu’s fans to submit items to go into a Birthday Book for him.

We would like to collect general messages, fan art, poetry, or maybe even photos or anecdotes of when you met Chechu. Tell us about your cycling goals for 2010 or anything else you like!

In English or Spanish.

Every year, we create something special for Chechu. A present from his fans. We’ve done music – to warm up and down. A commemorative poster.

This year, we’re design book.

Stage 1. A page planner. Now we just need to scour the website, blog, Facebook and Twitter for content.

A lucky find! This will save money. We’ll insert the pages into this fab photo album cover.

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Comment is back November 7, 2009

Posted by wetalkhablamos in cycling fans, drug abuse in sport, giro d'italia.
2 comments

Nicky OrrPosted by Nicky Orr, co-editor, ChechuRubiera.info

If the story about Pereiro’s drug test in a Spanish restaurant is true, then something has gone badly wrong

I read with dismay the account of Oscar Pereiro’s random drug test in a restaurant in Santiago de Compostela.

Drug abuse in cycling – as in life –  is a degrading activity which inevitably hurts and humiliates. Teams, cyclists and fans suffer.

The authorities now take extraordinary measures to combat this abuse. Because – quite rightly – the cheats will and must be caught.

Yet, as a fan and a pen-friend, I don’t want Chechu to be violated as Oscar Pereiro seems to have been.

With his head and legs clearly visible to the restaurant’s customers behind the doors, Pereiro had to remove his trousers and underpants down to his ankles as the regulations demand, then take off his shirt and wash his hands so that he couldn’t manipulate the samples. Then he had to deliver the sample. That done, the testers carried out the blood testing procedure and put the samples in a mobile fridge they had carried into the restaurant.

What is missing in this ethical crusade is respect. The testers showed no respect for an athlete who has actually done nothing wrong. They showed little respect for his companions and the other diners either.

Sporting ethics is at the heart of the doping battle. But set aside respect for fellow human beings, and surely the battle is so much harder to win.

Giro d’Italia may start in Washington DC soon. It’s time the eco tifosi put their collective foot down

As globalisation of cycle racing has occured in recent years, the peloton has regularly criss-crossed the Atlantic and travelled en masse to the Far East and Australia.

We’ll never forget Chechu’s phenomenal climb on Mt. Hamilton in California  in February 2008 and this comment is not an attack on non-European racing.

However, we have to question the environmental cost.

At the start of this year, we decided to offset Chechu’s air travel to and from races in 2009 by making simple changes to our lives every day.

To kick it off with a certificate, we planted a couple of trees. Then we changed to A++ rated washing machine; installed an electricity cost monitor; composted; air-dryed clothes twice a week; cut down meat consumption; recycled paper and card, bottles, cans; recycled clothes; opted for paperless banking; painted with low VOC paint; used non toxic cleaning products; said no to plastic bags; pumped up tyres; turned off at the socket …

In January, Chechu flew long haul to Australia and we were already in deficit by 4,450kg. It didn’t get much better in February with his trip to California and by the end of April, the deficit was 617kg.

We were exhausted and, without serious help from other fans, we accepted that our goal simply wasn’t achievable.

So it wrankles when we read that Giro organisers want to fly the peloton to the USA.

In 2009, Team Astana required 16 team members at Tour Down Under. 18 teams travelled from Europe or USA. Assuming they had similar staffing, nearly 300 cyclists and support staff took long haul flights to Australia.

You can add the international media and photographers, team sponsors and manufacturers, and cycling’s officials. Plus a few fans, and it could add up to 500 long haul return flights.

Using a carbon calculator, return flights from Milan to Washington (business class) is 3,000kg x 500 peeps = 1.5million kg.

I think this enviromental cost is too high. Maybe it’s time to twitter Al Gore. I wonder if he speaks Italian.

Coincidentally, at the time of  this year’s TDU, Australia was suffering its worst drought in 1000 years, attributed to climate change. The water crisis crippled agriculture, environment, economy and culture.

Please note. This comment does not represent the opinions of Chechu Rubiera but is a discussion point written by the editorial team at ChechuRubiera.info. We welcome your responses below.

Safe Cycling May 20, 2009

Posted by wetalkhablamos in cycling fans, giro d'italia, lance armstrong.
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Watch Lance Armstrong’s latest video message from the Giro.

A key element of cycle racing is competition as entertainment, and without the fanatics, aficionados and tifosi lining roads to shout, to run, to paint the tarmac, there seems less sense in the daily torture endured by professional cyclists.

Fans are part of the team and we have a voice. Sponsors, crucial to cycling, want to sell us something, and they care what we think. Well, we think, “Enough. Keep cycling safe.”

So … if you can, send an open message to @lancearmstrong, ask him how we can help.

Post a message here, with ideas on how to lobby those who can affect change. We’ll publish them.

LA OTRA CARA DEL CICLISMO November 18, 2008

Posted by wetalkhablamos in cycling fans.
8 comments

espanalogo2

Bruno Lopez Vizcon escribe,

Estamos acostumbrados a ver las grandes gestas del ciclismo. Cuando nos mencionan el deporte, inmediatamente acudimos a Indurain, al gran Merckx, a las últimas victorias de Contador, quizás a los escándalos de dopaje. Pero, a diferencia de otros deportes, el ciclismo es mucho más. El ciclismo tiene otra cara, una filosofía de vida.

Cuando yo pienso en ciclismo, es cierto que veo a Contador, Indurain y Merckx, pero voy mucho más allá. Si pienso en el ciclismo profesional, veo a Armstrong postrado en una cama de hospital. El olor de los medicamentos y la quimio le hace sentir náuseas. Se mira en el espejo, está mirando a la cara de la muerte. Los doctores le miran, le analizan, como si fuera algo sin vida. Los familiares, preocupados, no le dicen nada. “Tienes un 30% de posibilidades de vivir” le su médico. Pero se juega la vida a una mano, y gana. Póker de Ases.

Veo a Damiano Cunego, tras una terrible caída, maillot y culotte rasgados y ensangrentados. Su equipo le espera. Su cerebro le dice “abandona” y su corazón le dice “sigue”. Se monta en la bici. El dolor es insoportable. Pero sigue. El calor de su equipo le hace imposible abandonar. Pienso en Tyler Hamilton, con la clavícula rota, pedaleando, sufriendo, masticando el dolor. El orgullo le hace ganar, mientras el hueso roto se va limando con cada movimiento.

Cuando practico el ciclismo veo muchas cosas más. El peor día, el día en que todo sale mal, el día que el jefe te grita, que tu equipo pierde, que tu novia te deja o que algo te oprime y te asfixia. Ese día, coges la bici. Con el pedaleo rítmico, la tranquilidad de las montañas, el sudor por la cara, el viento acariciándote, el corazón golpeando tu pecho, todo se aclara. En un estado de paz, encuentras todas las soluciones.

Un día, subiendo un pequeño puerto, me acerqué a un padre y su niña. Ambos en bici. La niña, que no tendría más de diez años, pedaleaba concienzudamente colina arriba. El padre, haciendo equilibrios en la bici para no caerse, la animaba detrás. La niña, envalentonada, se ponía de pie.

Cuando se encara una montaña, es sin duda el momento más excitante de montar en bici. Es el equivalente a los obstáculos que se presentan en la vida. A un lado, tú y tu bici. Al otro, las interminables curvas y la imponente montaña. Hay momentos en que piensas “se acabó, no puedo más, me doy la vuelta y bajo. En diez minutos en la ducha” pero luego piensas en lo que has sufrido para llegar allí, y en que si abandonas eres un cobarde. Treinta minutos después ves el cartel de final de puerto, y una sensación de felicidad y orgullo se transmite desde tu cerebro a todo el cuerpo. Has ganado a la montaña. Así es la vida.

Por todo esto, y mucho más que se me olvida, el ciclismo es un deporte noble y bello. Por esto, no entiendo cuando se pone el dopaje en primera línea. El ciclismo no es sólo lo que vemos por la tele, lo que sale en las portadas de los periódicos. El ciclismo son valores, estilo de vida. El ciclismo es mucho más.

And now in English.

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LA VUELTA TAMBIÉN October 3, 2008

Posted by wetalkhablamos in cycling fans, vuelta a espana.
4 comments

Photograph © Team Astana

I noticed this photo of folks from the Kazakh embassy waving their flags at the Vuelta finish-line. I saw these flags too, after the race, from the other side of the Plaza de Cibeles. It was the only obvious Astana support there. What a shame.

There are also finish-line photos of fans waving blue, blow-up batons. This is a fix for the cameras. We were 200m away, not that far, and there was nothing for aficionados to take away from the race. No programme, no merchandise, no memorabilia, no giveaways. Just a few moments of cycle racing.

And maybe that should be enough, but I don’t think it is. Not at an elite, professional sporting event in 2008.

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OPEN LETTER TO ASTANA September 25, 2008

Posted by wetalkhablamos in cycling fans, team astana.
33 comments

Peace and love to all of our friends in the Astana organization. Thank you for all your labor to bring the public closer to the team. I really mean that.

BUT WHAT COULD YOU BE THINKING?!

Have you forgotten the Triple Crown winner? How is it possible that you could give presidence to a one-year cameo appearance by a celebrity!

Lance Armstrong is no longer “in career,” as we say the opera. Yes, he’s back, he’s irresistible. His cancer initiative is a wonderful idea.

But to knock Contador off the front page of the website, and potentially chase him off the team! Not to mention putting Levi and Klodi, Chechu, Benjamin, and the boys all on the back burner…

Please explain.

This blog is a published document. The purpose is for OPEN conversation in an environment supportive of Chechu Rubiera and Alberto Contador. That includes a supportive attitude to their team, Astana.

Criticism, yes. Praise, yes. Love, yes. Tough love, sometimes, yes.

Fans and bona fide team representatives are invited to join this open and above-board conversation.

We love the boys and their team. So tell us, team, tell us all. What are you doing?

Rebecca, a fan

UNITY REQUIRED IN CYCLING May 17, 2008

Posted by wetalkhablamos in cycling fans.
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This week, Scottish football (soccer) fans went on the rampage after Glasgow Rangers lost the UEFA Cup final. It was a shock to us. The days of fans facing up to the polis were supposed to be over. We were proud that we weren’t like yon thugs south of the Border.

The reasons for the violence and destruction in Manchester last Wednesday have been much debated in the media here. Everyone has given their opinion – of course – including the leader of Glasgow Council, Steven Purcell.

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PARTING IS SUCH SWEET SORROW May 1, 2008

Posted by wetalkhablamos in chechu, cycling fans, team astana, tour de georgia.
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I’ve never liked saying Goodbye, not ever.

Maybe it’s an Attachment Disorder left over from childhood but when I care about someone or love someone, I don’t want them to be away from me.

When Sunday arrived and I knew it was “that” time, I had to really fight back the tears. As I said before, I’m glad Rebecca was there because she helped me hold it together.

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GOING BALD May 1, 2008

Posted by wetalkhablamos in chechu, cycling fans, team astana, tour de georgia.
2 comments

I would like to thank Rebecca’s husband Larry for giving me the title. Isn’t it cute?

I’m not sure where to begin with Brasstown. It was an amazing day filled with story after story. We knew we had to get there early, or, at least, get to the shuttles early. The problem was, where do we get the shuttles?

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OUCH HOUSE April 30, 2008

Posted by wetalkhablamos in chechu, cycling fans, team astana, tour de georgia.
2 comments

For the European cycling fans, I wasn’t sure if you’d understand the humor behind the title. Here in the US, we call outdoor, non-flushing commodes outhouses. On Friday, after barely making the Stage 5 start in Suwanee, Annie and I decided to go to the first KOM site.

I had really wanted to go to a feed zone to try to catch some “souvenirs” that the riders throw off but it was too hard to pinpoint its exact location so we headed for the KOM site. We didn’t exactly know where it was either but it looked easier to find and Gracie (my GPS) helped guide us. It just so happens that we literally ran right into a road block where the peloton would be turning to head up to the KOM.

There were very few people there and the peloton was about 20 minutes out. I HAD to use the bathroom and there were NO real ones to be found. Some guy says to me “There’s no modesty here, just find a tree”. OK, sure, that’s easy for you to say but I’m a girl!

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