A Word about Mark Cavendish

25 07 2011

Sprinters have always been my favourite types of cyclist.  Watching the tour when I was young formed this opinion.  The sheer speed and danger of the final Kilometer of the race was what made it exciting for me and it still does.

Djamolidine Abdoujaparov (aka the Tashkent Terror) got me started, I even named a goldfish after him. After him, names like Chippolini and Zabel were who I looked for in the results.  Now however, all of these have been blown away by Mark Cavendish.  Fresh from his 5th stage win in this years tour and 20th stage win altogether he became the 5th highest stage winner of all time.  

People call him big-headed, but I think that they get it confused with confidence, and what is wrong with having a bit of confidence.  It is so un-British I guess, but its about time we felt we could boast about something.  The nation (and the Isle of Man in particular) has a sports Superstar to be proud of.  But Cav’s wins are more than just him, he will be the first to tell you that, his HTC team have got his lead outs to a fine art, and are always the first to be thanked.  Bernie Eisel and Mark Renshaw are the 2 best lead out men in the world and Cav wouldn’t have been as much of a sucess without them (although I don’t doubt he would have still been a success and a multiple stage winner).

David Miller the Garmin-Cervelo rider is right when he says that Cav should be seen in the same light as David Beckham.  He is a true superstar, revered in nations where cycling as a sport has a higher profile. 

Anyway, Legend.

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Thoughts on Le Tour 2011

22 07 2011

I have been a bit slack posting things on here of late, with lots of things going on to distract me.  One of them being Le Tour De France.  Pretty much everything stops while this is on and the 7pm nightly highlights become part of my life for 3 weeks in July.  It has been this way since the eighties. Phil Ligget, Paul Sherwen, Gary Imlach, Ned Boulting and Chris Boardman provide the soundtrack of 21 Days. 

This year has been something special for the armchair cycling fan, I can’t ever remember a tour that has been this open.  With 3 stages left any of the top 5 riders could conceivably still take the yellow jersey in Paris on Sunday.  So through the flat stages and the dominance of Mark Cavendish  (what a legend now with 20 Tour stage wins), the 2 stage wins for Edvald Bosson Hagen (who rides for Team Sky, so is an honorary Brit in my eyes), World Champion Thor Hushovd taking 2 breakaway stages, Andy Schleck taking the mammoth stage to the Col du Galibier and a huge chunk of time out of the current leader Thomas Voeckler.  There is a lot that you can say about little Tommy V’s heroics this year, keeping the Yellow through the Pyreneese and into the Alps and keeping himself in contention still.  The effort has been amazing and I hope he keeps a place on the podium.  He won’t win, but I hope he is there. All of this has gone on to make this a great version of the greatest stage race.

The final 3 stages will shape the Tour’s podium and an Alp d’Heuz finish today and a time trial tomorrow will provide the Yellow Jersey (please not Cadel Evans).  The final stage to the Champs Eleysee in Paris will provide the ideal stage for Cav to claim the Green Jersey, providing he gets over the final mountains.

This month has provided more sporting excitement than any football/rugby/cricket/F1 season than I can think of and is an ideal armchair sports fans viewing.  Allez Le Tour.





2000 Trees Festival 2011

19 07 2011

Last weekend was time for the 2nd festival of the summer.  To be honest, you couldn’t get two more polar opposite of the festival world.

First was Glastonbury with 170000 people, 13 stages and more food stalls and shopping than you could possibly get through in a week.  Massive headline acts on all of the stages, and internationally renowned acts from all over the world littered the bill, which is why it cost £250 a ticket and your are on site for I suppose.

Second was 2000 Trees out in the Gloustershire countryside where 4500 people gathered to see 4 stages worth of New and Underground UK music.  The fact that most people wouldn’t recognice the main stage headliners, let alone many of the smaller bands really appeals to me.  For a £60 quid fee and 2 days of music you really can’t go wrong.

This was my 2nd year there, and this time the busy people have added another stage as well as setting out a completely new layout.  The new addition on the stages was called The Cave, and was the scene for the hardest music played this weekend.  Bands like Feed The Rhino, Kong Exit Ten and Japanese Voyeurs filled our ears with Rock music, making me remember how much I liked it.

Away on the Leaf Lounge stage and Main stage none of the acts dissappointed.  I saw Islet again, even though I didn’t really want to, because the sun had come out and I couldn’t be bothered to move for the first 20 minutes.  Dan Le Sac Vs  Scroobius Pip headlined the Friday night and have really grown into a proper festival band with some excellent banter and some even better tunes.

I came away with a list of bands that I need to look up and listen to again.  StringerBessant (2 ex members of Reef) and The Wave Pictures get special mention.  The Anomolies and Chewing on Tinfoil were both great

S0, I guess you can say that I enjoyed it, infact as we had such a good time we are already planning to go again next year.





What I Forgot to Mention About Glastonbury

12 07 2011

I guess that if you read this regularly, you will know that I am a bit of a music fan.  I have been like this since I was young.  The first single that I ever had was “You can call me Al” by Paul Simon.  Now I have reached my thirties, I never expected to ever see this performed live, but I did get to in the sunshine at the Pyramid stage on Sunday afternoon.  I won’t say that it was the best performance I have ever seen (Chevy Chase wasn’t on the stage, and the whistley bit was done on a syntisiser) but it was great for me to experience that.





Bit of a Catch up

12 07 2011

Hey there, long time no type, anyway, I thought that I had better write something as to what I have been up to for the last month or so.

Firstly, H has now moved in to the flat and the Housemate has moved out. Minus a few bits of legal paperwork being done, H now owns this with me, which is why it has been decorated rather nattily, with major thanks to my parents for painting and wallpapering help.

Secondly, we went to Glastonbury, which was wet and muddy, but not too bad. I enjoyed it, but probably wouldn’t go again as I don’t think that as a music festival it is worth the money. For £200 I would have expected to see more bands, but as the place is so spread out you just can’t get to see that many. Still, everything we did see was excellent and there was a lot to do. It just isn’t for me. What I did enjoy was the smaller Avalon stage, with Flogging Molly being the musical highlight of the festival for me (even after seeing Radiohead).

Thirdly, the death of one of H’s close family. This was sudden and tragic (I won’t go into details, but it wasn’t a nice situation for us to be in). Thus we have spent a great deal of time on the Isle of Wight (me mainly dog walking and Tea making. The funeral was lovely though, it was in a woodland burial site and was a graveside service.

So that was last Thursday and we came back from the Island on Friday straight to a wedding on Saturday. To say that we are completely mentally, physically and emotionally drained at the moment is an understatement. I really could do with a holiday (a proper getaway, not one of these stay at home ones). Still 2000 Trees this weekend. Another 4 day week for me beckons.