What's Cool In Road Cycling

PEZ MailBag: Print It!

You know you’ve arrived somewhere when complete strangers take time to write you a letter. Heck, these folks could be doing anything more productive… like riding, spending time with loved ones, earning a living… We salute you dear readers, and offer these humble replies…

In Response to: AMGEN Sponsors Tour Of California

Our editorial supporting Amgen’s sponsorship of the Tour of California met with mixed response – an overwhelming majority of support mixed with a lone dissenting voice. Here’s sampling of what you said:

People will liken this to beer companies sponsoring car racing (think of the drinking and driving!), but it’s even stupider to complain about Amgen. EPO was not designed to allow little Italians and French guys to ride bikes slightly faster. It’s MEDICINE! Prescribed to improve the condition and quality of life of thousands of patients, and the more money Amgen makes selling EPO or its other products, the more life-saving or -enhancing products they can bring to the market. Very glad to see my favorite cycling website extend its characteristic sensibleness to this issue.
– Brendan P. Cullen

Bravo to Amgen for sponsoring the Tour of California. A corporate sponsor that sees the value in cycling to promote their product and a valuable product it is to patients in need. My family has been touched by cancer and I’m for anything that gets the message out that there is hope, drugs or whatever to make a cancer patient’s life easier. Bravo to Amgen for using cycling to put a positive light on their product.

Cyclists have complained about the lack of sponsors, lack of events, lack of TV coverage for years. Well now is the time to put up or shut up. Go to the event. Write to ESPN and thank them for the upcoming coverage. Watch every hour on the air. Go to the venue and find someone from Amgen and thank them. Take a non-cycling friend to the event. We’ve got three years to make this work. If it doesn’t and you didn’t take part in some way, we’ll have only ourselves to blame.

Oh and about Amgen and EPO. They don’t sell to athletes. You don’t blame Ernesto Colnago for losing your town limit sign sprint or Gary Fisher when you fall off of your mountain bike, don’t blame Amgen for someone else’s illegal activities.
– Paul Snider, Pasadena, Ca.

I think your editorial about Amgen sponsoring the Tour of California was well reasoned, well written and a mature take on a sensitive situation. Well done.
– John McBurney MD

I really enjoyed your commentary on the Tour de California and Amgen. I am a sports physician and I agree…. Amgen did not invent EPO for endurance based athletes. They also do not have control if it is sold on the black market by unscrupulous individuals. I am shocked that people are criticizing them for their sponsorship. Don’t these people realize that cycling is at best a 3rd rate sport in the U.S. and any help we can get the better…regardless of the sponsor…hell I would be happy if Budweiser sponsored the race….at least we would get the Bud girls.

– Jerry Sobel, MD

The Minority View…
So you’re saying because cyclists are poor, they should be happy to have any sponsor at all regardless of how it might hurt the image of cycling? It seems to me it’s less a concern of there being a conspiracy (Mafia, Catholic Church, or Big Oil, etc.) and more a problem with conflict of interest and deteriorating the image of pro cycling.

It’s similar to the reason you won’t see an ad for Penthouse in the NY Times. It doesn’t send the right message. It’s confusing to see a sport sponsored by a company who makes the banned substances it is heavily criticized for using. Regardless of Amgen’s actual motivation, it doesn’t look good.

Although your argument is somewhat offensive to me (a skinny person who loves barbeque), Amgen probably is sponsoring the event to promote Cancer research and thinks they can benefit from the attention Lance Armstrong has brought to both cycling and medical breakthroughs. It’s also quite possible that there will be another effect – a continuing question in people’s minds about the true relationship between cyclists and pharmaceutical companies.

– Angie Van De Hey

Hi Pez – what is your view on the best saddle height for road racing? Do you think the Lemond method of the early 90’s is still relevant as races are becoming shorter still. (a trend the prompted the creation of the Lemond method 15 years ago).
– Adam

Great and horrible question, all in one. Simply put, the answer is the height that works the best given all considerations (set back included). There are fit schools that like you back and down, there
are guru’s that go a different route and still others are in a world apart…

I like a few of the newer fit guys that like to take a look at you on a bike, accurately determine if anything is wrong (feet, leg length diff’s etc), see where you make the most power for the long term then get you set.

So there you have it! No answer at all… except to maybe call the guys at places like Bicycle Ranch, Cadence, the OTC in CO. Springs etc. – Tech Ed.

Thank you for writing the article “Supplements – The Problem with Science “. Too often in our zeal to perform better without hard work we look for shortcuts by pulling pills out of a bottle. Your article eloquently explains shortcomings of this type of thinking. The real winning ingredients are: commitment, dedication, hard work, recovery, family support, and confidence (especially when the results don’t come easily).
– Darryl Perry, Mililani, Hawaii

Right from Day 1 of writing for Toolbox , the underlying theme has always been that peak performance comes from smart long-term training for which there are no shortcuts. In fact, my 2nd ever article for Toolbox was on the dangers of supplements.

There is one magic bullet, of course, and that is passion. That’s true in whatever your pursuit may be, whether it’s athletic performance or, in my case, science. I can teach the science to my students, but I can’t force them to be passionate about it. I usually just try to teach by example.

If you have any suggestions for future Toolbox articles or questions about training, please let me know! – Stephen
[email protected]

The most interesting, comprehensive revue on a bike. Period.
If I had the money I would buy one.
– Nadav Rudnik, Galed , Israel

In Ernesto’s Basement
Thank you for hosting the most informative/interesting cycling site on the web.

I particularly enjoyed your recent piece on Lombardy and the area around Como. It brought back great memories. I had the good fortune of being a guest of Mr. Colnago in 2003 and riding the area roads around Como/Bellagio, including an inaugural 130 mile ride on my brand new CT-1 built by Ernesto’s brother while one of his associates took us to lunch and to visit the Colnago museum in Ernesto’s basement….

I look forward to seeing our lovely officials on the daily distractions.
Thank you – Fred Baldassare

I really enjoyed the article, and it brought back some great memories of a trip to that area in back in 1998, but I thought I’d better mention that there is a much better climb across Lake Como that begins opposite the ferry station landing that is just north of Varenna. It’s a much longer climb, with virtually no traffic, other than cyclists, and it travels through an amazing little town that looks like it was pulled from a book about Hansel and Gretel, up to a ski station, with an option of continuing up to a second ski station. Amazing vistas all the way up with a ton of switchbacks. There are also some great climbs north out of Lugano in Switzerland. It’s just a great area to ride a bike.
– Mark Edwards

The recent one (Oct. 05) Keep up the fine work. The weather is starting to turn ugly here – we need you to get us through it 😉
– Mike Zellers

Gotta Comment?
If you’ve got a comment or opinion you’d like to share, send us an email and we might just publish you in glorious pixelated black & white! Letters may be edited for grammar, spelling, length or just to make ‘em better.

Send your comments to: [email protected]

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