Dec 26, 2010

The week in cycling

Just because I'm skiing in Vail, doesn't mean that I have been completely out of touch with what has been happening in the world of cycling. This blog entry, however, will be rather brief because tapping out long posts on an iPad without a plethora of weird spelling errors is a challenge.

In case you are curious, the weather and skiing conditions in Vail are awesome and I'm rather enjoying having cycling legs to enjoy all this without completely trashing my quads. And now for our feature attraction.

When yout think if Richmond, Virginia, cycling is not the first thing that comes to mind, but that may all change. Richmod is putting its name in the mix as one of the cities to host the 2015 world road championships. Should Richmond actually win the bid, it may be the most amusing world championships to watch, as nearly every spectator is likely to be twice the size of the average cyclist in the peloton. Are grits a good source of carbs?

When I used to live in Chicago, my favorite ride was along the lake, where I regularly saw members of the XXX Racing team practice their time trial skills. Now, from California, I would like to congratulate the club on winning USA Cycling's award for club of the year.

Robbie McEwen has certainly had an exciting couple of weeks, and not always in the best sense of that word. First, as you saw in my entry from last week, Pegasus didn't get a pro license. Well, then Lance Armstrong tweeted something ambiguous that made me think Radioshack will sign McEwen. Sure enough, this world class sprinter will now be led out by the Radioshack squad. Now, what you probably haven't heard is that while all of this was going on, McEwen was actually busy saving lives. Best if luck to Robbie with the new squad and hopefully we'll see more of him on California roads.

Well, I did say this will be short. I'm out! New content will start appearing with the new year. Happy New Year to all!

Dec 23, 2010

Changing things up - how I learned to ski

I have a blog about cycling, I like to wear spandex cycling apparel (as you can see in my picture), I like racing bikes and I like building bikes. So you can safely say that I’m really into bikes. However, what some of you might not know, is that my second favorite activity after riding bikes is skiing. And because I’ve mentioned bikes and cycling so many times in this one paragraph, I don’t feel an ounce of guilt about the rest of this blog being (almost) about skiing, but feel free to check out if you wish. 

I don’t know about most of you, but I for one don’t really have a clear recollection of when I learned to ride my bike. As a toddler, I had tricycles; as a little kid, I first had a bike with training wheels, then they came off, then I had a bigger bike. I do recall moments of my dad teaching me to ride, but I don’t recall the point in time where I felt I had the handle on it. It seems like it kind of happened, as if by osmosis. (Yes, I do actually know what osmosis is and if you feel the need to point it out to me, then the humor was completely lost on you).

I do, however, recall very well learning how to ski. T’was the winter of 2006 in the snowy Chicago. December, to be precise. I apparently hadn’t had enough of the Chicago winter and decided to join a large group of my friends on a nine-day ski trip to Colorado. I have never been on a pair of alpine skis in my life up to that point. But I did have several friends who were very (and I mean VARY) proficient at the sport, so planned on them lending me most of the needed equipment showing me the ropes on the slopes. About a week or so before I was set to take off to Colorado, my friend Kyle said to me on the phone, “We should probably go to Wilmot so I can show you how it’s done.” (I’m loosely paraphrasing) Of course, I agreed. You see, Wilmot is the local ski resort small hill where my ski-racer friends practiced between trips out west and races abroad. 

I had purchased a pair of boots at a ski show about a month earlier and had picked up a pair of poles online. Kyle had graciously agreed to let me borrow a pair of his skis. And because he was betting on me not hitting any back country powder on my first trip out west, he lent me a pair of his slalom skis, which were about 154cm (I’m 186 by conservative measures). Kyle and I are actually about the same height, so of course it was perfectly reasonable for him to assume I’d be able to handle a pair of short, somewhat unstable pair of skis just like a seasoned pro. 

If he did harbor those assumptions, I think they fell by the wayside about 20 seconds after I clipped into those skis for the first time – I was on my ass so fast I think I forgot to blink. “Oh, boy!” I thought to myself, “Colorado is going to be fun.” Kyle, being a very good and incredibly patient instructor, realized that releasing me onto the green slopes of Wilmot would probably endanger the five-year-olds skiing the same run, so we dialed it back even further. After spending some time with me in the ski school zone, I was able to make a half-ass turn to one side, and was lucky if I wasn’t falling when turning to the other side. Stopping was a whole different issue altogether. So with that bit of knowledge and a few hours on the slopes of Wisconsin (yes, that’s as “great” as it sounds),  it was time to pack up and drive home - my body and mind couldn’t take in any more new information and I was clearly getting very frustrated. 

As I was driving home, I tried to recall as much of Kyle’s advice as I could: knees bent, feet shoulder width apart, roll the ankle first, hands up, body upright, chest forward, look forward ... Needless to say my head was spinning. But I was on the way to Colorado and I had to figure it out one way or another. 

Day 1 – Arapahoe Basin. This was the smallest resort we skied on the trip, but it also claimed to have the highest point reachable by chair lift, though A-Basing and Breckenridge frequently can’t resolve that issue between themselves. On that day one, I didn’t really care about how high those lifts go. I headed straight for the bunny hill to figure out how much of Kyle’s teaching stayed with me. It took probably close to 15 or even 20 runs down the bunny hill before I felt like I got the hang of the turning and stopping enough to venture out into the zone of green hills. Then, on one of the green runs, I got it, the turns worked, the stops worked, I was upright my entire way down and I was instantly in love with skiing. I can't say that that was the moment I "got it," as I feel that even now, there are still many thing which I haven't yet figured out, but that was definitely the moment I realized this sport would always be a part of my life. It was very similar to the feeling I had after my first road group ride.

Over the next few days, I would miraculously progress, and by day four, I was coming down some of the blue slopes in Breckenridge. Did I mention I was still on the same 154cm slalom skis? Yeah, fun times!

By day four, I also learned one important lesson – skiing hurts. And I don’t mean in the “fall on your ass and get a bruise” kind of way. I mean “why don't my legs bend” kind of way.  Somehow, that didn’t deter me from continuing to ski and pushing my limits, with each passing day, I was getting better and better. By the end of the trip, I was coming down black diamond slopes and was even dumb courageous enough to take the T-bar to the top of Breckenridge in howling wind and face-blasting snow. Of course, there is a huge difference between how I made it down that hill in 2006 and how I take those runs today, but from bunny to black in 9 days flat is … well … a good title for a book I would probably buy if I was a novice skier again. In all seriousness though, I was not only very proud of myself, but impressed with how quickly I got from the novice to intermediate level of skiing. 

Now, as I’m only a day away from another nine day skiing adventure – this time including Colorado and Lake Tahoe – I look forward to gliding on snow, the wind in my face, taking tree-lines and moguls. More so, however, I look forward to spending time with friends in a big house, sharing meals, ski stories from the day on the mountain and a ton of fun moments in the hot tub. These trips out west [from Chicago] (clearly I'm traveling east now) have become a tradition of sorts. I don’t think there’s been a year since 2006 where I haven’t come together with many friends on the slopes of Colorado, Utah or California. Skiing itself draws me to the mountain, but doing it with close friends is what moves me to travel to another state to do it.

As you’ve probably picked up from the above, I’m flying out tomorrow and I’m only bringing my iPad, so blogging might be a challenge. I will write something tomorrow during the day and will do my best to keep you up to date and entertained while I’m in Colorado and Tahoe (I promise it won’t all be about skiing), but I probably won’t be blogging with my regular frequency until my return to the snowless (thank you, Nature) San Francisco on Jan. 2nd. Happy holidays and New Year to all of you!

Dec 21, 2010

Pushing the reset button

I woke up this morning with a thought in my head, “I don’t want to ride my bike.” Before you all gasp in shock, let me assuage your fears – this isn’t anything permanent. Allow me to explain. There are nine days left in this year, of which I will spend six traveling and skiing. I’ve reached my mileage goal for this year and currently stand at just over 6,100 miles. Whatever time I put in on the bike this week will be interrupted by over a week of snow play, first in Vail, then in Tahoe. So I’m ready to push the reset button.

I’m ready to powercycle my brain and to formally separate this year from the next. This break in riding, however brief, will allow my body to rest from the miles of perfect circles. It will likewise allow my mind to relax and not worry about training, or riding, or waking up early in the morning, or getting my miles in this week. As the body and mind rest, motivation builds. Not to mention that these will be only the third and fourth week completely off the bike all year.

With each day that I’m off the bike, I want to get back on the bike even more, my motivation builds, my excitement soars. I can almost taste the next year of racing. I can’t wait to edge in stone write about my long term goals and select races I will be focused on, but I must contain myself. Right now, all I am focusing on is the feet of powder I will hopefully get to enjoy in only a few brief days. But oh boy, in just a few days, you’ll read all about it (I hope you're as excited to read it as I am to write it): about my training, my new equipment that’s on the way, my wonderful training log. Oh my, yes, you really should see this log (I’ll post pictures), all colorful with each day of the week assigned to some sort of activity until the end of October. “Rest” is an activity, right? Neurotic? Yep, I sure am. 

So now that I’ve spent three paragraphs convincing myself you that it’s okay for me not to ride my bike for two weeks, why do I feel this guilt, as if I’m abandoning a helpless child, alone in the woods? When I used to practice martial arts, my instructors would comment that guilt for missing class is a good thing – it serves as a motivator to attend the next one. But I think it’s more than just guilt. It’s fear. Fear that all the gains I have made will somehow go away, or that I’ll get incredibly overweight in the two weeks I’ll be off the bike. It seems that this irrational fear plagues most serious athletes and is one of the biggest reasons for overtraining.

To some extent, it’s understandable. We’ve all had friends who for one reason or another missed a few weeks on the bike and then suffered that first ride back. Hell, I’ve been there myself, surviving long winters in Chicago.  Well, we don’t want to be THAT guy. We want to be the guy who’s always on, who always feels good and who gets stronger with every ride. Unfortunately, they haven’t invented a legal supplement for that yet. So I have to keep telling myself that I’m crazy for having all these irrational fears. It makes very little sense that I would lose years’ worth of fitness in two weeks, and it makes even less sense to fear getting fat from skiing 6-7 hours a day for 9 days. That alone will hopefully keep my quads at their current volume. 

So as I’m anxiously winding down this year, I’m super excited for the next and can’t wait to share those experiences here. Stay tuned!

Dec 20, 2010

Last week in cycling

Here are some items from last week in cycling that I thought are worth a mention. 

Luxembourg Cycling Project finally unveiled its main sponsor. The team will officially be called Team Leopard, named after the management company run by Bryan Negaard, who assembled the team. I may be failing to recall something, but I think this is the first pro team with an animal’s name as its title. Or at least the only one operating now. Considering the fact that pro teams are typically sponsored by major brand names, and relatively few companies are named after animals, this lack of the animal species from the peloton is quite understandable. I do hope, however,  that with a name like "Leopard," the team doesn’t come up with some ridiculous team kit. Nevertheless, I think that a TTT with all riders dressed in leopard spotted kits, with similarly colored bikes could be quite a show. 

The Tour of California may no longer be the biggest U.S. tour attracting great talent. Quizno’s Pro Challenge, to be held in Colorado next year, promises to have some A-level talent in the peloton. Among the teams participating are: Radioshack, HTC, Garmin-Cervelo, BMC and Liquigas. This race is scheduled for August 2011 and with some big team names already committed to this tour, it remains to be seen what that means for the makeup of the Vuelta peloton.  I’m also going to be very interested in seeing who of the riders  will commit to riding the Tour of Colorado after having just finished the Tour de France. Between post ToC rest, Vuelta aspirations and the Tour of Colorado commitments, this first iteration of the race is sure to have some rough patches. But I hope that it is a continuation of an effort to bring more top level cycling talent to the states. Perhaps one day, Tour of U.S.A. will be a grand tour all the European teams will be dying to be a part of.

Speaking of Tour of California. As last year, this year, the mortal amateur riders will have a chance to ride one of the tour’s stages in its entirety. On May 7th, riders will have the opportunity to tackle Stage 7 of the ToC from Claremont to Mt. Baldy. The event is called L’√Čtape du California, and the route is supposed to be over 100 miles with more than 10,000 feet of elevation gain, although hasn't officially been released. Personally, I’m still debating whether I want to do this ride in light of my personal race schedule, but it seems to offer a great experience, as well as the opportunity to scout some observation locations for when the pro peloton comes rolling by. 

If it’s not one alleged doper making the news, it’s another. Floyd Landis is at it again. Apparently, Landis has been playing detective. He’s been wearing a wire and gathering video evidence which he then promptly delivered to the FDA personnel in charge of the investigation. It seems to me that Floyd has once again gone off the deep end. In the first installment, he was so delusional about his own innocence that he had no issues defrauding hundreds of people into donating money to help him prove his innocence mislead WADA and the UCI. Now, after coming forward with what is supposed to be the truth, Landis is apparently obsessed with putting people behind bars, or at least getting them in trouble. I just can’t get a mental picture out of my mind of Landis pointing to his emails yelling, “I told you so!” How many lives does he plan on screwing up just to show that in a pile of lies there was one shred of truth? No one really knows, but if I were a pro cyclist, the only place I’d talk to Landis would be in the shower, although who knows to what lengths he’ll go to conceal that microphone. 

In a bit of sad news, it appears that sprinters Robbie McEwen and Robbie Hunter will be without a job next year, or at least without a pro team. Team Pegasus of Australia was denied a pro license by the UCI today and the registration is closed. It is yet possible that Team Pegasus will qualify for a continental license. So what’s the lesson to be learned from all of this? If you’re a Luxembourg team without a big name sponsor, but with Schecks and Concellara on board, you get a 4-year license, no questions asked. But if you’re a team from Australia with strong, but less notorious talent, you are SOL. Robbie McEwen expressed his frustrations on twitter, tweeting earlier, “50 people out of work. 25 great riders w/out a team.” I guess on the brighter side of things, should Pegasus continue to exist, they should be able to rack up quite a few wins on a less strenuous circuit.

Dec 19, 2010

Getting fitted for CycleSoles

I know I said I was going to write something interesting yesterday, but between M2, the afterward nap and a birthday party I attended, that kind of didn't happen. But better late than never, I like to say. 

You may recall that I recently won a bag of goodies in a raffle. Among the goodness was a gift certificate for a pair of CycleSoles from Roaring Mouse Cycles. So I made the appointment with Julie  Bates for last Friday and here's how it all went down.

My appointment was for 1 p.m., but because I was off on Friday, the sense of time was somewhat absent and due to some rushed moments, my head was elsewhere that morning. In short, I somehow misunderstood Julie's instructions and came without a bike, in addition to having forgotten my gift certificate. So the first order of business was to find me a bike I could ride. Julie scoured the Roaring Mouse inventory and came up with a Specialized that was a good size. We then walked over to the fitting studio across the street, where my fill-in bike was fixed into a trainer. 

Julie made the final measurements to make sure the bike is fixed in place and event.

Using a demo leg for the explanation.
Before I got a chance to get on the bike, Julie sat me down and gave me an explanation of what's happening with the bones in my foot, and how CycleSoles will improve what my feet do in my bike shoes. By taking some measurements, she determined that I had significant arch drop in both feet, which meant that not all of the power of my pedal stroke was properly transferred to the pedals, and thus, wasted.

Now that I knew what was going on and what I had to correct, it was time for me to get on the bike and for Julie to take some measurements. She watched me pedal for a bit just to see my knee and hip motion. Turns out I have very symmetrical biomechanics. She was also surprised I was never seriously injured as a cyclist; somehow the symmetricity  got the credit for that. But I'll take it any way I can get it.

My foot is in place and ready to be measured.
The laser beam is there to ensure we line things up just right.
My leg is fixed in place while the sole is being warmed.
 After taking all the measurements, it was time for Julie to bake the soles and mold them to my feet. Once the soles were hot enough, she had me step on them and pressed them into the shape of my foot. 
With the sole under my foot, it's just a matter of time before it's cool enough to be shaped.
 Next, it was time for Julie to file down the soles to fit, and for me to go home and return with my bike and gift certificate I had forgotten earlier. Luckily, both things took about the same time, so very little time, if any, was wasted. Once I returned, the Specialized was replaced by my Orbea, and similar measurements were taken again to make sure everything felt okay on my bike with the CycleSoles.

Julie filing down my soles to get a perfect fit.
My bike in place for the final measurements.
A few adjustments needed to be made to do away with a pressure point in my toes and get my heels down in the cups, and I was all set. I have to say that the whole process was very enjoyable and I feel like I was not only treated great as a customer, but I learned a great deal about my own body and the way my feet are supposed to function. If you are considering getting custom insoles for your shoes, I would recommend you see Julie at Roaring Mouse Cycles. 

Due to the rains we are having, I don't think I'll have a chance to put any serious mileage in on the bike until I take off for Vail at the end of next week, so a review of how the CycleSoles are working out on the road is still in the works - stay tuned for it early next year when my serious training and weekly mileage will begin.

Dec 17, 2010

Figuring out your fit

I cannot emphasize enough the importance of a good fit on your bike. Every time someone tells me something like, "I love biking, but my [.....] hurts if I do it for a long time," I tell them there is probably something wrong with the fit. If you're serious about biking, you need to make sure that your rig is properly fitted to your body, mainly for two reasons: comfort and efficiency. If you think this blog post will teach you how to perfectly fit yourself to the bike, you're wrong. Neither I, nor any other blogger, writer, biker or coach will be able to write anything you can use yourself because you need to be properly trained as a bike fitter and it's often not a one man job (I mean it is, if the man doing the job is not the one on the bike being fitted). 

What I will do in this blog is tell you how to estimate your fit and get things just about right. An important skill to know in many situations, but before I get to that, this seems like an appropriate moment for a plug. If you're considering getting a fit done, get in touch with my friend Andrew Weber. Not only is he an expert in making sure you and your bike have a symbiotic relationship, but after he's done, you will probably feel more comfortable on your bike than you ever have before. I certainly did. But for those of you who need more empirical data to get the point, consider this: I got my fit sometime between April 1 and April 13 (closer to April 13th) of this year. Here's my ride from April 1, and here's my ride from April 13. Compare my times on the Hawk Hill segment - the first day out on the bike after the fit, I dropped 24 seconds off my previous best time on a 1.1-mile climb. If you think I wasn't working hard enough on the prior one, just look at my average heart rates.

Well, enough about that, now it's time for the main event of this program. There are many situations in which you'll need to adjust your bike, or a bike, and most of you probably don't have a personal fitter with you at all times. Some of those situations include: shopping for a new bike for yourself or a friend who knows nothing about bikes, adjusting your bike on the road, adjusting a stationary bike at your local spin class and recognizing when things need to be adjusted. Below are some rules of thumb I follow. 

When sizing up the bike, standover height is very important, as that will determine what size bike you need and is probably the one thing that is not adjustable. To figure out  your size (perhaps in a model you've never ridden), stand over the bike with the saddle poking you in the back. There should be about and inch to two of space between the top tube (the one that runs from the seat post to the handlebars) and your crotch. Now you've got your frame size down. Note: make sure the tires are inflated, as on deflated tires, the bike is about .5 inch lower and even more so if we're talking about a CX bike. And if we are talking about a CX bike, there should be 2 to 3 inches of space between the top tube and your crotch.

Let's say you want to take this new bike out for a quick test ride, and you want the saddle at the correct height. If the bike is on a trainer, that makes it easier, but if it's not, no biggie. Put the bike next to something about your shoulder height, or a wall. Grab the front brake with your left hand (assuming you have a standard setup) and mount the bike holding on to whatever it is that's about level with your shoulder. Put the heal of the shoe in which you'll be riding your bike on the pedal - your knee should be hyperextended. Once you get the saddle high enough that it is hyperextended, your leg should be at the proper angle once you clip in or start pedaling with the front part of your foot as you would normally. 

So let's say you took this bike out for a ride and most things feel good, but you're feeling a bit stretched out, as if you're reaching too far forward and you want to check if the bike is maybe too "long" for you. Or you might be feeling to cramped or clustered on the bike. Put the tip of your elbow to the tip of the saddle and extend your arm toward the handle bars, over the top tube. With your elbow touching the saddle and your fingers fully extended, they should be an inch to an inch and a half away from your handle bars. If the distance is greater, you're probably too stretched out on the bike; if it's shorter, you're probably too cramped. There are two easy ways to fix that: move your seat forward/back and/or get a shorter/longer stem. If you choose to move your seat, read below.

If you move the seat, keep in mind that the position of your knee over the pedals will change. Depending on your size and riding style, you want your knee slightly behind or directly over the pedal when your foot is at 3 o'clock. Having your knee in front of the pedal may cause knee problems if you ride this way constantly. To check this, you either need to be on a trainer, or have a buddy holding your bike. Get on the bike and don't touch the handle bars. You should be seated completely upright. Now pedal backwards until your feet are at 3 and 9 o'clock and tilt your head down ever so slightly to look over the knee of the leg that's at 3 o'clock. If you can't see your toes, you're too far forward. You should just be able to get a glimpse of an inch of your foot. This particular adjustment should be dialed in by a professional, but following this advice will get you about 90% there in most cases. 

Lastly, the height of the handle bars. On this one, the ball is in your court. If you're an aggressive racer/sprinter, you may want your bars a bit lower. On the other hand, if you prefer the long haul, a more upright position might be easier to tolerate for many hours on the saddle. Just remember that the height of your bars is limited by the length of the steerer tube of your fork and the angle of your stem - so there's only so far you can go before you have to swap equipment. 

This is all you really need to know to get is almost right. To get it completely right, contact a professional. It's kind of like the difference between brushing/flossing your teeth and filling a cavity.

P.S. Check in tomorrow, I will have a very interesting blog post that you cycling enthusiasts will surely appreciate.

Dec 15, 2010

From bad, to worse, to WTF

When I woke up this morning, I was trying to come up with something funny to write today. You know, a bit of sarcasm, some mocking of the cycling culture - just to make sure we're not all taking ourselves too seriously. Then, a few news items broke, and that whole plan just went out the window. So this won't be funny at all, and in the moments where it might be, it's going to be the sad kind of funny.

If you're a cyclist, and you haven't been living under the proverbial rock for the last few weeks, you've probably heard of the outrageous situation that occurred in Colorado. In July, a Colorado cyclist Dr. Steven Milo was struck from behind by a Denver-area wealth fund manager, Martin Erzinger. It is always a sad day when a cyclist gets hit by a car, but what happened next, and next, and next, simply makes my blood boil. 

Right after striking Milo, Erzinger didn't stop, but proceeded to drive to a nearest empty parking lot of Pizza Hut and called his Mercedes dealer to request a repair to his car. No call to the police, no call to the paramedics, no desire to check on a man he just left lying for dead on the side of the road. Erzinger was promptly arrested in that very same Pizza Hut parking lot and originally charged with a felony and two misdemeanors, and from that point on, it all went screwy. 

It just so happens, that Erzinger has a very good job, he manages about $1 billion dollars of some very wealthy people as a fund manager. If he were to be convicted of a felony, he would have to disclose it to his investors, which would have a detrimental effect on his ability to do his job. Well, apparently that's all the prosecutors needed to hear. Namely, District Attorney Mark Hurlber decided that it would be a shame if this hit and run violator were to lose his job, so he dropped the felony charge and only left the misdemeanor charges on the table. He then forwarded this controversial plea bargain to the judge. Obviously, this was objected to by Milo and his attorney. Now, the above is kind of old news, but the developments of the last few days are simply spectacular, in the horrendous kind of way.

Erzinger is now arguing that it wasn't his fault that he struck Milo, it was the fault of the smell of his new Mercedes. Yes, you read it right, he's actually arguing that his sleep apnea, combined with the smell of his new car, made him momentarily pass out and strike Milo. So the first problem with this is that sleep apnea has no effect on people when they are awake (at least from what I read, medical professionals among you, feel free to correct me), only when they are sleeping. So unless this guy is trying to also tell us that he fell asleep at the wheel and then had a case of sleep apnea, well that's kind of admitting to negligence. This reminds me of the BS GURD defense that some DUI attorneys try to pull when getting their clients out of trouble after those same clients miserably fail the breathalyzer. In short, their argument is that due to GURD, the defendant burped up some alcohol (of which he had very little, long before getting behind the wheel, of course) just before blowing into the tube. Seems like Erzinger and his attorney are full of the same BS here.

But that's not all. It gets better. On Thursday, Dec. 16th, a hearing will be held where the prosecutor will be asking the judge to approve the plea bargain. As I mentioned above, Milo and his attorney have objected to the plea bargain. So what did District Attorney Hurlber do? Well, he filed a motion objecting to Milo's objection, arguing that Milo has no standing to file his objection. Standing is a funny little legal concept which in essence means that you cannot seek redress from a court if you don't have a stake in the controversy. Which side is this prosecutor on and why is he objecting to the victim trying to seek a stiffer punishment? What the hell am I missing here?

Now, if you think we've ventured into the realm of ridiculous, you're right, but we've also stumbled into the realm of the hypocritical. On the website for the Eagle County, Colorado DA, in plain sight, there is the victims' rights notice. Now, there are several chapters of this, which I admittedly didn't read, but I don't have to. All I have to do is quote the last paragraph of the introduction:

"Any person who is a victim of a criminal act or such person's designee, legal guardian, or surviving immediate family members if such person is deceased, shall have the right to be heard when relevant, informed and present at all critical stages of the criminal justice process."

I'll ask again, in light of the above, what am I missing? Is District Attorney Hurlbler trying to say that Dr. Milo's objection shouldn't be considered because he is irrelevant? Really? A man with a family, left for dead on the side of the road by the criminal who is now being half-assedly prosecuted is deemed irrelevant by the head District Attorney, who clearly leaves his brain at home in jar when he leaves for work each morning?!? What the hell kind of justice system are they running down there in Eagle County?

So just to recap: A rich guy in his brand new car hits a cyclist and leaves him for dead. He gets arrested but doesn't get prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law because, well, he's rich. Then, he tries to get off by claiming that his new car smell is to blame for the accident. Meanwhile, the district attorney, who's supposed to serve the people (not criminals) is perfectly willing to let the rich guy walk with a slap on the wrist and is actively opposing the victim, making him twice the victim - once of the criminal act and once of the system. As I said, nothing funny about this one.

In case you're inclined to write some letters and make some calls, here's the info I've been able to dig up: you can try to reach Erzinger here. District Attorney Hurlber can be reached here (even if you don't plan on contacting him, click on the link and check out Hurlber's welcome message). And this is Erzinger's attorney. If you'd like to tell them all what you think of them, you have my blessing. But go easy on the attorney, he's just doing his job and it's not his fault his client is a lying careless bastard.

UPDATE [12/16/2010 16:22 PST]: At a hearing earlier today, the judge approved the controversial plea bargain struck between Hurlber and Erzinger. This sets a very unfortunate precedent.