blue squirrel

after a self-imposed 20 year absence from cycling, the sport i love, i am back and dedicated to holding my own in the superfast 40+ catagory. this blog will tell the journey, the highs and the lows, the team [team becher+] and it's cast of characters, our sponsors, supporters, and other local riders that make it happen... [anonymous comments are lame, cowboy up and put a name or start a blog]

Thursday, February 28, 2008


we could live only on espresso andrea illy

LM100 [andrea illy for le meridien hotels]

For Andrea Illy, a cup of espresso is not a beverage. It’s a creative way of life. “It’s a total experience. And it’s poly-sensual. It involves the sight, the smell, the taste, the touch. Everything,” Illy says. As Chairman of illycaffè, the international coffee company, he sees himself as more than a businessman. He’s a chemist, a philosopher, an innovator.

Coffee culture—the café, the cup, the espresso itself—not only provides a milieu for creativity, but making and drinking espresso are creative acts in and of themselves. Using a coffee machine, smelling and grinding the beans, pouring the espresso into the right cup—for Illy, “It’s a whole ritual.” Drinking espresso integrates the cultivation of pleasure, the cultivation of creativity, and the cultivation of contemplation into one small cup.

The beauty of the cup itself, then, is elemental, and fifteen years ago, the company began to work with contemporary artists to make the cup into a canvas. “The coffee is the body, the cup is the dress. And the dress must be beautiful,” Illy says. Commissioning a series of signature, limited edition espresso and cappuccino cups, illycaffè has incorporated the work of artists such as Louise Bourgeois, David Byrne, Francis Ford Coppola, Federico Fellini, Jeff Koons, Michael Lin, Nam June Paik, Robert Rauschenberg, James Rosenquist, and many others.

Illy’s role within LM100 is to provide this coffee experience for Le Méridien’s guests. In Illy’s native Italy, “Everybody goes to the café, and many times per day. It is the cathedral of coffee,” he says. Illy has helped Le Méridien bring this café culture into its hotels through Le Méridien Coffee Bars and Le Méridien’s “Creative Hour” coffee tastings.


Tuesday, February 26, 2008


italian elite U23 action at the GP SOPRAZOCCO, won by Cristian Benenati of Lucchini Neri Comauto.




news update: say what you will about starbucks, we all like to knock the giant down, but i personally respect what starbucks has done for the espresso [not cafe] culture in the us of a. i can remember back in the early 80's, when if you wanted an espresso in san diego, you had 3 choices. if you were in the middle of no where michigan, you had none. now i can get a quality macchiato when i need one. which is as you know, often. starbucks is not the best espresso in town, but it is consistent, that my friend is indeed a good friend.

SEATTLE — Starbucks is closing the doors at its 7,100 stores across America for a brief barista re-education. CEO Howard Schultz announced the 3-hour closure starting at 5:30 p.m. local time Tuesday to energize 135,000 employees. He wants baristas to share their passion for making espresso, or as he says, "to pull the perfect shot, steam milk to order and customize their favorite beverage." Schultz says it's part of his refocusing on the coffee customer experience. Since the chairman returned as CEO in January he has been making changes to revive Starbucks' growth

that can only mean one thing, better espresso for all of us.
[the word and correct definition of a macchiato is actually in the apple dictionary, it truly is a better world]

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Monday, February 25, 2008


let me just start by saying what a new found deeper respect i have for this years tour of cali riders, what a miserable day to race. it was COLD [high 40F 5C], WET and just down right awful. so i had the brilliant idea to go STAND in this weather for an hour, catching cold waiting for the break to hold on and pass us first. all in all it was actually a lot of fun, i found a great spot on berkshire, plenty of parking [hugh deal in LA] and a corner that the riders would have to slow down ever so much for us to see a little more of them. the promotions caravan came by first, ok, so it was not as big as the TdeF, as it was actually only the toyota guys passing out tre cool cow bells [sorry to the lady i knocked down to get one, just kidding] and whats-u-ma-call'em noise maker sticks. by now i am starting to get really cold and the cow bells, as much as i love them are starting to give me a migraine [really my body just wanted to ride yesterday and i didn't get out]. the announcer truck came by blearing the race news and telling us when they would be coming by. various police, race marshals [they must have 50 for this race] cars, photographers looking really COLD on the back of the motorcycles, went by long before the peloton. then all of a sudden the cow bells went to 11 and break went flying by, than a few minutes later the cowbells went to 11 again and the very meager and depleted peloton went by with levi's boys leading the way. and then it was all over.

observation one observation i had besides the fact that i actually had fun being on this side of a race, was the truly enjoyable time the locals in the neighborhood were having. the race seemed to bring the kid out in everyone and a place a genuine smile on everyones face. which under the weather conditions was extraordinary. i even heard a middle age house wife just blurt out "wow, i really had a good time, watching this race was so much fun". now you have to understand that this was coming from a non-cyclist, just joanne public. this is the real story of the day and the incredible draw this sport has compared to others. we can whine all we want about the drug use stories and astana not in the tour and blah blah blah, but this is the story that the press will never tell. why they don't tell the story i don't know, but is is what we all feel inside and what keeps this sport going. viva la peloton.

[announcer truck pre-break race info]

[the break]


Sunday, February 24, 2008


i got an email from don the owner of the sweet 70's MASI gran crit in the previous post. he updated me on the history of the bike, sent the picture of the sweet MASI branded frame pump and has a few questions for us. so if any one can help him narrow down the background on the bike, he would be very grateful.

don's gran crit's history and question:
I'd love to know if mine was actually built by Mario Confente. It does not have a serial number, merely "58" stamped on the bottom bracket. One of the guys on the Vintage Bikes ride thought that it might have been an early demo for bike shops; I bought it from John's Bike Shop in Pasadena in the late 70's, and it had been there a while. They had the new models with braze-ons and six-speed freewheels-mine is a 10-speed!



Saturday, February 23, 2008

PRI'S / RIDE 02.23

training this week has been good. i don't usually give much details on my current training as it is top secret. my spanish coach, we will call him F and my italian coach, we will call him F, really aren't suppose to have contact with riders right now, so i am on the down low [fresh espresso humor]. since it was on again off again rain and freezing temps this mid week, and since i missed my ride w/ TCBF on thursday due to working late on wednesday, i hit the trainer [which i probably spend about 6 hours a year on] to do some ultra top secret, uber hard punk rock intervals. let me explain, the pain comes from the randomness of the iPod playlist on shuffle. the intervals consist of high cadence workouts at beyond threshold for the duration of any punk rock song played. more background, my iPod has 2/3 [out of 8 hours] punk songs on it for motivation while riding alone. so due too the random song selection, i can do an all out interval for 2 minutes [usual punk attention span] or 5 back to back intervals or 30 minutes straight or rest for 20 minutes than do more. totally random and totally exhausting after 1.5 hours of no where to hide on the trainer.

[take note of the espresso machine within easy arm's length, these intervals require multi-able refuelings]

now on to todays ride w/ peter l., noah [hapy], stefan [andy], paul v.. we went out and did the course around the crazy rose bowl today. could there be anymore pedestrians pretending to be exercising? than hit lida canyon road a few times before andy and i broke off to head back to HQ [the kid had an appointment, wtf]. it was a good fairly easy solid ride.

[i had to get my big head in at least one shot]

[hapy and andy just chillin' lik villains]

the piece de la resistance was scoping out and talking the owner of an original circa 80'ish masi gran crit [SWEET], with the original gruppo and pump, into letting me take some pictures of his very cool ride. the images speak for themselves. the owners name was don and once i get more info on the bike from tim or don i will let you know. ok, time for my rub down before hitting the gym again for the 3rd time today.

[the proud owner don and his sweet blue masi gran crit]

[dig the paint detail]

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[i think this photo pretty much sums up stage 4 of the TOC into SLO. 2 world camps, 1 race leader, all using the CSC team car for shelter. as they say, brains usually wins races.]


Tuesday, February 19, 2008



[while BKW has stepped into the political fray, probably inadvertently, as some responders took PADRAIG's very observant critique, as an opportunity to bash our great country, you know, the one that provides the best roads in the world to ride a bike on, i so wanted to put fuel on the fire, but instead i will try and stir the subject back to what we love most, and that is passion in racing, so dig sebastien turgot's style in all its glory, cap on, tongue out, burning whatever matches he has left, off the front during stage 2 of the TOC. now this is something to get excited about. oh, and props to bouygues telecom for being scrappy and taking more than one early season win.]
photo credit graham 'that master' watson



ok, so, it was a long weekend, and thus it was a mini camp for our U23 rider stefan to get in some quality miles.  which in laymen's terms, means that he floated up the climbs as i was cursing the day i went over 156lbs [hmm, 15 years ago].  we put in some good rides and had some good company along the way.  

[peter l. and stefan relaxing at descanso gardens waiting on fed ex, saturday]

saturday saw noah, stefan, peter l., paul v. and paul hit the road up to the lido canyon loop a few times and then up to the highest point of the area above chevy chase to the 'girls school'.  it was a good day of speed and climbing through the twisting roads that crisscross pasadena and glendale.

[everyone at the top]

sunday saw a more leisurely stroll up nichols to mulholland and down to the ocean.  it was good tempo on mulholland and the rest of the day was an up and down pace.  with a few 'this is not right' from the older set, as i directed stefan to go to the front, pick up the pace and do some work. 

[no pic's from sunday, as it was so slow i forgot to take any]

monday being a holiday, i thought it special to take stefan up big tujunga and let him spread his wings.  he really put the hurt on the old guy, but i made up for it on verdugo with some good ol' fashion TT speed work at 30+ for a few miles.  needless to say, stefan slept well on monday night.   ok, this is a brief post, put i am tired too and i have lot of work to do.  so i will try and wax poetic in a future post. oh, and ras if you are reading this, yes stefan is skinner than you.

[stefan 'andy' flying up]

[stefan 'andy' flying by]

[stefan 'andy' flying past]

[dig the smirk 'andy' is giving the master, no respect for the old i tell ya']

Sunday, February 10, 2008


i should be getting ready for my ride, but i thought i would post this for your sunday viewing pleasure [those funny italians do know how to pick songs {?] ].

GP Costa degli Etruschi, Ita (1.1)

[click on link above to play video, courtesy of italiaciclismo]


Wednesday, February 06, 2008


[UPDATED 2008.02.08]
here is a good interview with maggie about pain, it starts off about the reporter in iraq, so bear with it.

i told him to quit copying my look [haircut] and not to break his collarbone. so, maggie goes and breaks his collar bone after i told him not too. i told him it hurts like hell and the surgery sucks for someone who is not use to drugs. my in form fit body said no way to the drugs and anesthesia, and i too had to spend more time in recovery because of it. what a sucky night. but back to the badass that is maggie backstedt. while i was out of commission for a good few weeks, he is already back on the trainer, just days after surgery. than again i can earn money sitting behind a drawing table and he actually has to ride his bike to earn a living. still, he is one badass individual in my blue book. way to go maggie, we will be rooting for you come spring and summer and fall.

Ta en kopp fika

[maggie doing what he does best, being a badass.]

[note the cool, i assume custom, double bracket shoes, tre chic and very trackish]

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Sunday, February 03, 2008



Van Heeswijk: Rabo riders knew Rasmussen wasn't in Mexico

Former Rabobank rider Max van Heeswijk claims that the riders on the team knew that Michael Rasmussen was not in Mexico training for the Tour de France in June of last year. Van Heeswijk made the statements on a show broadcast Sunday night on Netherlands 2 television. "It was no news to us that Rasmussen was not in Mexico," said Van Heeswijk. "Around the sixth of July I heard that when I was in a training camp with a large group of non-Tour riders."

Rasmussen was famously kicked off the Rabobank team and sent home while wearing the yellow jersey and being on the verge of winning the Tour de France. Rasmussen had filed his whereabouts to the UCI, saying he was training in Mexico at the same time he was seen training in the Dolomites in Italy by television commentator Davide Cassani. When Cassani made this knowledge public, it led to the Dane's removal from the Tour. Rasmussen later admitted to lying, but said it was for personal reasons.

On the same program where Van Heeswijk made his claims, Rasmussen met Cassani again for the first time since last year's fallout. Cassani expressed his remorse for revealing Rasmussen's lie to the public, "I cried that evening that they sent you home. I felt terrible. I felt as if I had stabbed you in the back," the Italian said. Rasmussen didn't blame him, saying, "I know who sent me home. You told your story in good faith."

According to, the UCI closed its investigation of Rasmussen and sent it off to the Monaco cycling federation on January 10. It is said to claim that Rasmussen lied about his whereabouts and received three recorded warnings, which would give him a suspension of three to 12 months. On Thursday, the Monaco federation told Danish television that it had still not received the UCI report.

[rbs: like i said last year, he was not caught d_ping, he was warned by the UCI prior to the TDF, and should never of been kicked out of the TDF by his teams manager.  you may of stretched the rules in you favor ras, and thus by the rules should of had a disciplinary hearing BEFORE the TDF.  but this issue should have been dealt with before the TDF, not during.  rasmussen put in a passionate performance in the 2007 version of the tour and as a pure climber, it was a performance not very common in these modern cycling times.]

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UPDATED [2008.02.05]

[hard day at the office]

[jake at the head of affairs, seeing red]

[noah putting the hurt on]

[red trolley 2008.02.03]
quick news today about the red trolley crit, images to be posted soon.

today in the middle of a very cold and rainy red trolley crit, team becher+ rider jacob margolis scored an impressive 14th [out of 50], in his first crit of his young racing career. he stuck to the plan and keep himself in the top half of the main pack for the entire race, with a few obligatory pulls at the front. for his fist attempt at the cycling equivalent of stock car racing, it was a superb race and effort. noah made a valiant and admirable effort for such a miserable day [even for flemish standards], and for someone who has had limited time to train and puts in 10 hour days at a creative firm in hollywood. team becher+ would like to extend congratulations to both noah and jake for such awesome efforts today.

do to events [and weather] beyond the team's control, tim jackson was unable to contest the red trolley 35+ master's race.  we all hope to see him back to racing and winning soon.

team becher+

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Friday, February 01, 2008



racer blue squirrel will be back to posting about the team, racing, and odd bike things. very soon. he will be missing this weekends boulevard race that he was preparing for diligently, so he can attend the memorial for his dear friend christopher o'leary. on saturday team riders jacob and noah [aka hapy] will be contesting the boulevard course and on sunday along with tim [aka action jackson / masiguy] will be contesting the red trolly crit in san diego. the whole team wish rbs, jacob, noah and tim all the best this weekend.

[blue contesting the uphill finish at the 2007 edition of boulevard]

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