Tour de France 2017: Stages 15-21

Stage 15:

Monday Morning DS: Landa, you da real MVP.

stage 15

Stage 16:

Monday Morning DS: Matthews winning all the Sagan stages.

stage 16

Stage 17:


stage 17

Stage 18:

Monday Morning DS: Bardet - get yellow or die tryin.

stage 18

Stage 19:

Monday Morning DS: EBH getting laid tonight for the first time in six years.

stage 19

Stage 20:

Monday Morning DS: OJ's parole hearing was more interesting than this Tour.

stage 20

Stage 21:

Monday Morning DS: Greipel ROFL. Everyone is RIP and he still can't win. Surprised Froome didn't beat him.

stage 21

Tour de France 2017: Stages 1-7

Another Tour, another year of collage postcards with quotes from the Monday Morning DS!

Stage 1:

Monday morning DS: RIP Valverde.

stage 1

Stage 2:

Monday morning DS: Wish Kittel had slipped in the rain.

stage 2

Stage 3:

Monday morning DS: From almost-nut-smasher to stage winner.

stage 3

Stage 4:

Monday morning DS: (on Sagan's DQ) Who's gonna come in fourth in sprints now?

stage 4

Stage 5:

Monday morning DS: Froome wins another Tour.

stage 5

Stage 6:

Monday morning DS: Bouhanni is a dick.

stage 6

Stage 7: 

Monday morning DS: Pre-Sagan replaced Sagan.

stage 7

tim johnson does tokyo...on tv

For the past three years, I’ve been bookending the cyclocross season from opposite sides of the world. It starts in the mid-fall in Massachusetts and ends in Odaiba, a man-made island in Tokyo Bay. Oddly, I watch the same guys race in both locations; first through dirt and grass and a New England fall, then through sand and a relatively warm Japanese winter.

Except this year, I caught the tail end of Holy Week in a dry Providence, Rhode Island and finished off the season of mud and cowbells on a slushy, snowy Tokyo beach.

To be honest, I spent the snowstorm on Saturday in the comfort of my own home while Chandler apparently raced through it. I dug out proper rubber boots for the following day and made plans to meet up with Tim, [his wife and former pro] Lyne Bessette, Chandler, and his pregnant wife, Jenny. As usual, fun times and general ridiculousness were expected.

I did not, however, expect to end up on Japanese TV.

When I finally caught up with Tim, he had a three man video crew following his every move. I had initially assumed that it was part of Cyclocross Tokyo; that maybe they were getting footage for a promotional video. How wrong I was. Tim had apparently agreed to be a part of the show “YOUは何しに日本へ?” [roughly translating into “Why Did You Come to Japan?”], in which a TV crew will select and follow a foreign visitor for a few days. They’d been with Tim, Lyne, Chan, and Jenny since the four had landed at Narita airport.

“So this is like ‘Tim Johnson Does Tokyo’?” I asked.

“Kinda,” he said.

In hindsight, the whole situation is more awkward than I’m currently comfortable admitting to myself. Even after I was informed of the reality of possibly ending up on national TV, there was a race to watch and the likes of Katie Compton, Wendy Simms, and Lyne Bessette to cheer on in the elite women’s race.

We speed walked through packed snow and slush, from the podium to the start line, and cheered as Lyne tore up the almost un-raceable course. Spectators yelled encouragement in Japanese as the American and Canadian athletes sped by, racing through slushy sand and heavy mud. It was the most exciting women’s race I’ve watched, in Tokyo.

Katie predictably took the win, and after congratulations were dispensed, the five of us, plus the TV crew, wandered around the course until the elite men started [Tim’s shoulder injury from World Championships kept him from racing this year]. The five of us screamed and cheered at Barry Wicks while being video-ed by the TV crew. It was awesome, albeit slightly awkward.

The men’s race ended with Zach McDonald taking the win, with Yu Takenouchi and Barry Wicks rounding out the podium. We watched Tim present the awards to the winners before calling it a day. Like every year, I came home exhausted, legs worn out, but happy and giddy. Road season is calling, but there’s nothing like ‘cross on a Tokyo beach in February.

[Tim also gave me an adorable bottle of maple syrup. So you know what that means: MAPLE SYRUP CHUGGING CONTEST!!! Also, more pictures here.]

sushi, food babies, and apple pie

I’m bloated. There is eyeliner residue still stuck all over my eyelids [yes, I did shower]. My legs don’t want to support my weight today [not only because I’m a few kgs heavier].
I’ve ridden a grand total of two hours in the past four days and am currently fully committed to flaking out on today’s power intervals [sorry, coach!].
But since the day before started with eating apple pie, in an alley, with Adam Hansen, and ended with the best meal I’ve had in my life so far, I am also committed to not caring about the consequences.

Let’s do it again, soon, Adam.
[Picture above taken by Adam. See his tweet for some extra food porn.]

is this real life?

I can still hear him singing my name, the sound echoing off the twisted turns of our cinder block dorm hallways. My name would be delivered thick with fake charm that we both knew he didn’t have to use, but the effort was flattering. His was the first Boston accent I fell in love with.
We were never together; more tightly bound confidantes and wingmen to the other, old-school, die-hard friends. We drifted apart for a while after college but he still IMs me with the same opener, chanting my name from across the world to tell me the kind of stories that make “The Hangover” pale in comparison [...except no one has gotten Tased in the face...yet].
“So I spent the weekend with M,” he told me the last time, “and he wakes me up going ‘yo, my apartment’s on fire.’”

What followed was a story involving a fire, getting electrocuted, somehow jamming a door so it wouldn’t open, then ripping it off its hinges, and getting pulled over by a cop on the way home. There was more, but I probably shouldn’t elaborate. In any case, he put it/his life rather succinctly, mid-story: “…And I was like IS THIS REAL LIFE???

That same thought crossed my mind on Sunday. Shivering in my cold apartment, bundled up in fleece and sweaters, I watched my favorite team racing in shorts and short-sleeves in the People’s Choice Classic. 25 laps around sunny, hot, summery Adelaide – there was even a crash! – and it felt like everything was back. Adam was racing, Lotto – in red this year! – controlling the front, Giant-Shimano [that’s going to take some getting used to] creeping up and Sky edging forward. It felt like I was back. Kind of like 2013, except with that heady feeling that things this year are going to be even better.

It’s surreal and wildly optimistic because it’s still January. I know that it’s going to get worse [read: February] before it gets better [read: March/spring/Spring Classics]. There’s a long way to go until the Grand Tours, better weather, and less fantasizing and actual doing of travel plans. Really, what in the hell is a week-long World Tour road race doing in the middle of January, hanging out there like it belongs with the cyclocross crowd? This time of year is supposed to be reserved for the misery of icy mud, not tantalizing hints of the road season to come. I understand that the seasons are all fucked up down there, too, but does the Tour Down Under really have to showcase their Australian summers while the rest of the world is freezing its ass off?

It’s January, guys…is this real life???
Despite my grouchy bitching, it so fortunately is. To paraphrase the Game of Thrones* series ROAD SEASON IS COMING. I couldn’t be more glad.
* Not that, you know, I read fantasy books or anything...