29 December 2008

Paging Page...

No doubt, most of you out there have seen this little item about Jonathan Page missing a drug test post race after a recent outing. When reading the article, you see that, the Page’s have a ton of excuses about “why” Mr. Page missed his doping test after the race. He crashed. He didn’t finish the race. Nobody came and told him he was due to be tested. None of his friends didn’t tell him about his test. And so on and so forth.

Look, I’ve got to believe that this is NOT Mr. Page’s first time at the rodeo as far as large scale UCI cyclocross races go. Meaning, he’s done this before. He knows, as does just about everyone else racing in these races, that he might get pulled for a random drug test, and if he does well in a race, he will get tested after he finishes. OK, sure, he didn’t finish this race. He crashed hard, and was feeling the ill effects of said crash as he went back to his motor home to call his doc, and wait for his support team (mostly his wife Cori) to head on back to the motor home to see how things were going.

Now, again, he’s been here before. He’s done these races. In this situation, Mr. Page has nobody to blame for his missing his required test, other than himself. He had plenty of time to head back, change, call his doctor, go over things with his wife and friends, and then head back towards the finish line to see or to check the testing list. Apparently, he even went and collected his travel money for the race, which is presumably somewhere near where the testing list is posted. Wouldn’t you think, maybe, just a little due diligence would have been a good thing? Walk over. Check the list, and if you’re on it, go and pee in a cup and get it done and over with. Now look, I’m not casting any aspersions towards Mr. Page. I don’t believe that he’s a doper. Nope. Not in the least. I don’t think he was trying to dodge the test on purpose. I think he was just stupid in not following up, and again, there is nobody to blame except for one person. Jonathan Page.

He goes on to say his “entourage” isn’t as big, or even as close to as big as other racers. Sure enough. Sven Nijs no doubt has hundreds or maybe even thousands of people hanging around him before, during, and after his race, but again, you couldn’t blame his supporters if he missed a doping test. Again, only Nijs would be to blame.

I see this recurring thing with Mr. Page, over and over again. Bad things happen to him, but those things never seem to be his fault, or he never makes himself accountable for what happens. He has a falling out with sponsors? Not his fault, nope. Someone else. He doesn’t get good support during races? Not his fault, must be someone’s else’s. Can’t find new sponsors? Must be some sort of conspiracy against him. Thing is, when something bad happens to Mr. Page, it appears that the only connecting factor to the bad things happening to said person, is Mr. Page. This latest incident is no different. Except this time, it could very well affect his living, the way he makes his money. Why? Because a missed test is an almost automatic admission of guilt of doping, whether or not you have doped or not. Meaning, it’s pretty likely that Mr. Page is going to get suspended, and won’t be riding his bike for money in the near future.

Here’s the thing. Even though I just excoriated him, I don’t think anything should happen to Page. Why? He’s not a doper. I think that he can prove it. I know that he can prove that. I’d love to see USADA excuse him for his missed test, take the blood that was taken from him the day after the race, test it, and find him innocent of doping, and then we can move forward, and let him continue to race, and be able to support his family in the way that he has been accustomed to, and that they have come to expect. I think it dumb of him to have missed his doping test, but it happened. We need to move past it. We need to let him race. Slap him on the wrist, and move forward. Will that happen? Knowing the inflexibility of USADA, probably not. Meaning, he will see some suspension time no doubt. He won’t be racing at World Championships this year, and we probably won’t see him again. For America’s most successful cyclocross racer in Europe, he has said that he’d retire, and not be seen racing bikes again. It’s a shame, but, it is ALL HIS FAULT.

For your high level racers out there, make sure you personally check the drug test board. If your name is on there, go and pee in the cup. It makes things SO much easier.

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22 December 2008

I digress...

Now, normally I would be in here writing about something cycling related, or drinking related, or politics, or maybe all 3 at once (some have told me to stick to one subject, but sort of like the title above, I digress). I’m going to veer of the singletrack here for a minute. Being that the wife and I are going to be in Maine for Christmas this year, we decided to open our Christmas gifts from her family last night, mostly because they were at our house, and because neither of us has any patience to wait, and lastly because our 2 dogs “unwrapped” most of our gifts for us already, as in, at the paper off of the presents.

Look, here’s the thing. Even if you cook at the house, just a little bit, do yourself a favor, and get a really good chef’s knife. Yeah, that’s right, I’m talking about sharp objects in your household. Sure, if you have a significant other that might be on the side of lunatic fringe, maybe it’s not a good idea, but if you have a stable relationship, or if you’re not currently living with someone else either of the opposite sex, or same sex, and you can trust them around sharp instruments, get yourself a really nice knife. First, for the most part, whatever nice knife you get, is most likely going to last a lifetime, because most of us will never fully use it to its potential anyway. Why do I bring this up? Well, this summer for my birthday, the wife bought me a Ken Onion Shun 6″ chef’s knife. That thing is beautiful. It’s razor sharp, has folded metal (like Damascus steel), and well, it’s just stunning if you’re into such things, and I am, so there. Which leads me to yesterday. My in-laws in there infinite wisdom bought me an 8″ Shun, followed by the 4″ Shun, and the wife got me the Shun paring knife. I have, almost a full set. Oh, and they got me the Shun steel to go with the rest of the set. Now, I’m not a person to have too much “stuff” and normally I wouldn’t splurge on something like these knives for myself, I’m what they call, a bit of a tightwad, unless we’re talking about bikes (yeah, I’m in the Pinarello owner’s club), and the wife. I love to spend money on those 2 things. Myself? Not so much. Clothes? Forget about it. Cars? Driving the same one for almost 5 years now and absolutely thrilled about it. Shoes? Only cycling shoes. Anyway, check out the picture attached, I think you’ll mostly agree that these things are freakin’ top notch, and downright sexy. Yeah, that’s right, I said sexy. We’ve got a set of Henckel knives that the wife had from the time before I met her, and those are some nice knives, but the Ken Onion’s make them look pathetic when they’re next to each other.

Oh, and the other thing I think that all cyclists should have? An electric griddle. Why? Think about the fried meats you can make on this thing. MOUNDS of bacon. HEAPS of sausage. TONS o’ pancakes. I’m not sure what I did before owning this stunning little piece of 1940’s technology. Well, I know what I did. I cooked breakfast items in small frying pans, and it took forever to cook and entire breakfast. If you don’t have one, run out, get one, and use it today, or tomorrow. You won’t regret that decision.

That’s all I’ve got for now. I’m off to see the in-laws in a few minutes, which is always a good time. No, really, it IS a good time.

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19 December 2008


I have been in the weeds for the last week or two, hard core work things going on (we’re talking back to back to back 70 hour weeks), so I was a little dismayed to see a brawl broke out at cross nationals. Seems like some dumb ass was heckling Page during his post race interview, and his bro in law told him to stuff it, and pushing and wrestling ensued (of course there were no punches thrown, these are cyclists after all - remember the Bobby Julich slap fight awhile back??). The worst thing though, these bunch o’ hooligans (I’m including everyone here), trampled on some of the Richard Sachs’ bikes. Sacrilege I say. Pure unadulterated sacrilege. Bear in mind, I don’t even like steel bikes, but I can see and take pleasure in art when I see it. I have a friend of mine that rides for Sachs, and that cross bike of his, drool worthy. It’s a damn shame you have to have a couple of dumb asses (I don’t care who started what) wrestling around a bunch of art gallery worthy bikes. Seems though like the Page family is a bit sensitive when called out on something. Page’s brother in law could have just ignored it as a loudmouthed asshole at a race (there are all types). But no, he took it into his own hands. Just let it go man. Just let it go. 

This does remind me of a group ride that I was on once. There is a local ride in Chapel Hill, leaves every Saturday morning like clockwork at 10:15AM from the Performance Bike Shop in Carrboro, NC. Over the years, the route has more or less remained the same, but it has been added on to in recent years, just a little longer of a route these days then when I first started riding it. One day, a few blokes from over Raleigh way came over for the ride. Somewhere around the first “hill” in the loop, someone cut someone else off, and the on the bike slap fight was on. I was sitting behind the 2 when this happened, but needless to say, it was fucking hilarious. It all started with something like, “Don’t cross my line DUDE!” and a retort in the vein of, “I’ll do what I want this is MY ride…” A few more choice words, a shoulder thrown to push the other guy into the oncoming lane of traffic (there were no cars coming thankfully), and then hands off the bars, with a slap here, and a slap there, and some cussing. If it wasn’t so pitiful, it would have been really funny. 2 skinny wanna be bike racers slapping each other while trying to ride up a hill. Look folks, most bike racers, and bike racer wanna bes should A. Never get into a fight, because, B. They have the upper body strength of a 9 year old schoolgirl. There was this one exception to the rule though. See below for an explanation.

Back in my younger cat 3 racing days, there was this HUGE guy racing bikes. He was freakin’ fit, and fast, and by big, I mean, like wrestler bike. He could climb, he could sprint. He could pretty much do it all, and suffer like nobody else. He had long hair, and was unshaven, and a teammate of mine knew him from Ft. Bragg in North Carolina. Yeah, this guy was in the Army. The United States Army. He would never really say what he did in said Army, but from the appearance of him, he was an operator. Meaning, Delta Force, the baddest of the bad US special forces. I saw someone start some shit with him once during a race, just some back and forth smack talking, and he mentioned something about seeing him, “After the race.” He did. The other guy got taken down in about, 0.25 seconds and was literally crying in the parking lot, See, when a guy who is a decent racer, and has guns bigger than fucking Hulk Hogan tells you to shut the hell up, maybe you should, especially if you’re a 145 pound “climber type” with a mouth writing checks that your ass can’t cash, and especially when the other guy is a member of an elite special forces unit that regularly kills a lot of people. He’s pretty much going to fuck your shit up, and there really isn’t anything you can do about it. Last time I saw the guy from Ft. Bragg, was about 1 week post 9/11. He mentioned that he might be “going away for awhile”, and I haven’t seen him since. I hope he’s all good, ’cause he was a bad ass, and a nice guy.

Sure, we’ve all almost had our conflicts out on the road, mostly with drivers, but how many of us have actually gotten into the shit with someone? I’ve come really close a few dozen times, but in the end, the guy getting out of the car really didn’t want to do anything anyway. He thought he was being “tough” but if they’re not going to throw a punch at you in the first 10 seconds, pretty much nothing is going to happen. That’s happened to me a bunch of times. Someone buzzes me, gives me the horn, flips me off, and when I give them the single finger salute back, for some reason, they take major league offense. Like a guy in spandex can’t flip them off. They stop, get out of their pick up truck (it’s always a pick up truck it seems), get all in my face, and then, do nothing, and drive off. I actually told a guy once that unless he wanted to get his ass kicked in the middle of the road, in the middle of town by a guy wearing spandex, he ought to get back in the truck, and drive away. Sure, I was talking tough, and probably would have gotten MY ass kicked, but he thought about it for a second, and then realized, hey, maybe he didn’t want to get his ass kicked by a guy in spandex (even though that was a remote possibility), and got back into his large scale pick up truck and drove off. The old heart rate was racing then, and my teammate Curtis at the time, had already ridden off (thanks for the back up). I’ve since calmed down a lot, and try, really really try, not to flip anyone off, unless I get it first, and even then, I just smile and wave. It tends to make them more mad.

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14 December 2008

Been MIA...

Look, been out a few days, turns out that working 70+ hours per week puts a crimp in my posting style, and or writing. Ah well, momma said that there would be days, or in this case, weeks like these. Let's just say that sometimes being an automotive supplier, is, well, interesting. Well, actually, I don't work in the pure automotive supply chain any longer, such as making parts for the Big 3, no, I moved on from that field this past summer, and moved into turbo chargers for large equipment. Sometimes though, it's just as demanding. Been in the trenches taking grenades this week, and part of last week. The wife and I went away last weekend though, to a little place in North Carolina called Beech Mountain for a short getaway, but on the return, I had a shit week at work. And this, my friends, is why they pay me the medium bucks.

Enough with the job bitching, you all don't need to be reading that bullshit. I'm sure that everyone has a story like I do, or has a week like I did. All part of living the life, living the dream. I did go in this weekend, mostly because, if I didn't, or if I don't, I won't be able to leave for Christmas break on Tuesday. If I leave on Tuesday, I'm off until the 5th o' January, which is pretty much going to kick a lot of ass.

This week, as most of us know, is cross nationals. Who do I not want to win? Jonathan Page. I'm tired of him now. He's been chasing the dream over in Europe for what now? 4 years? 5 years? More? I don't even know, and lost track somewhere over the last couple of years, and don't really care, nope not at all. Look, I watched his podium finish at world's a couple of years ago, and it was a great ride, but since then, and actually before then, he's top 10 sometimes, top 15 most of the time, and sometimes out of the top 15. And do you know anyone who has more "sponsor" problems than this guy? He has so many "sponsor" problems, that it's starting to look more like HE'S the problem. I don't know the ins and outs of things, but there are plenty of folks riding for the teams that he used to ride for, and they've never complained. I'm just saying. It does seem as though the common denominator here is, well, him. He quits teams. Trades bike sponsors. Sort of whines and cries about in in the press. The man is a good rider, and a good competitor. Is he ever going to be top notch week in and week out in Europe? Nope, probably not. Can he still hang in the top 20? Sure as shit he can, but really; is that really something to bank on and be proud of? Yeah, I didn't think so either.

Who do I want to win? I'm pulling for the Tree Farm. Why the hell wouldn't you? First, the man is tall. Second, he used to be from around these parts here in North Carolina. I used to ride some races on the road against him. Kona seems like a pretty good bike company, and I'd MUCH rather have him beat down Page out on the course. Then again, a Steve Tilford win would pretty much kick ass as well. That just ain't gonna happen, but that would kick some ass. Saw that guy race a few weeks ago, and he's still killing it out there. I am ABP (Anyone But Page) this year. I prefer some Trebon winning skills out there, but I'll take anyone over Page. 

Over on the women's side of things, let's face it. Compton shows up, ready to ride, the other ladies out there lining up might as well just start figuring out who is going to be second. Why? Compton is probably the most dominant women's cross rider I've seen since the years of Allison Dunlap. And I'd even say, Katie Compton is a MORE dominant rider than Dunlap was in her prime. What I'd really really like to see is a Compton win at nationals tomorrow, and then a win at world's, so we could see here strutting around cross courses in the US next season with a rainbow jersey.

No matter what shakes loose out there in Kansas ( who knew that there was a big cross scene in Kansas), I will be tuning into the world's when they run them. Cycling.tv kicks ass. Another thing, locations for cross nationals. Forgive me middle America, but cross nationals should pretty much be held either somewhere in the Northeast every year, or actually more specifically, New England, or in the Pacific Northwest. Why? Mostly because those are the cross crazy parts of this country, and Kansas? Really? Next thing you know, we'll be seeing cross nats in some location like, Florida. That would blow. And by blow, I mean, suck.

07 December 2008

Bikers down makes me sad...

Yeah, seeing stories about bikers down makes me sad. Makes me sad because they're our 2 wheeled brothers, and we all brave riding on the road lots of times, and it could happen to each one of us easily, and it has happened to some of us. Big J for one, me for another.

Back in October of 2007, I had left work early, it was an Indian Summer day, about 75 degrees, and it was easy to decide to get a few miles in before heading to a funeral. I've got to take the good with the bad over here. As I was about, oh, 2 miles from the house, I came across a set of railroad tracks, where there was a dirt driveway to my right, and opposing traffic coming at me. I saw a car coming approaching the tracks, no turn signal, and as I came across the tracks, the young woman driving her car turned right in front of me. T-bone style I went into the passenger's side door, taking out the side view mirror, and leaving a "me" sized impression in the door itself.

As I crashed into the car, and then the ground, I did the "status" check as soon as I got off the ground. You all know what I mean by the status check. Stand up? Good. Left leg? OK. Right leg? OK. Left arm? OK. Right arm? OWW! Mother fucker, that hurts. Try again? Ooh, that really hurts. I've crashed plenty of times to know when I've really fucked myself up, and this, well, I had never felt this way before. There was something definitely not right going on in the shoulder.

In the meantime, traffic had stopped, a guy a few cars down who was also a rider, got out, and got my bike and other stuff out of the road for me, the young woman who had been driving the car that turned into me was crying (and not doing much else, she was more concerned with the bright red blood coming from the road rash on my knee than the fact that I couldn't move my right arm very well, or, make that, at all), and everyone was wondering WTF was going on.

After cussing out the driver, a LOT, and getting her to call the wahmbulance for me, the paramedics came, strapped me down to a background (not comfortable at all), and drove me to the hospital. Sadly, the only thing I could think of was that I was hoping that I had just separated my shoulder, so I could get it set straight, and I could ride some more that weekend. I had planned a couple of 5 hour rides since the weather was supposed to be spectacular that weekend, and I love me some riding in the fall. Leaves changing colors, crisp air, yeah, it's pretty great shit.

Anyway, they roll me into the hospital, and bear in mind, the only thing I'm wearing is my cycling shoes, and a pair of bibs. They had removed my jersey at the scene to make sure nothing was sticking out. My second concern here was I was freakin' freezing to death. The pain, fine, not that bad actually (more on this later), but the cold? Get me some blankets please!!

I finally got some of those nicely warmed blankets, that was pretty nice. The attending in the ER, after they had cleared me to get pain meds, asked me what I wanted? I had a choice. Percocet, or Morphine. Hmm, let's see. As one who has never really used anything much stronger than say, Advil, and having seen how nice things were for my then fiance in the summer when she had her appendix out and she was on the Morphine, and also since Morphine was offered to be injected into the IV, I got the Morphine.

OK, first of all, I can see how people like to take drugs now. Again, never did anything much more than Advil in my days (never even smoked the weed-no, it's true), and when that shit hit my bloodstream. Whoo boy, that was nice. And, the best part, they kept giving it to me when I needed it. Even better. Now, it never did make the pain go away, but it did make me not care at all. I was laughing, and joking, and having a good old time, of course, that was until the orthopedic guys came in.

For some reason, I think the ortho guys (and in my case this evening, they were all men) used to be powerlifters, or some other strong guy. Former linebackers, maybe a few offensive linemen, that's how big these jokers are. When they come in, and there again was a string of them (this is what I get for being brought to a teaching hospital, UNC in Chapel Hill) they each in turn take my arm, lift it, move it around, grind things together, and make things, well, feel a hell of a lot worse, until they put it down. Once down, and in the "sling" position, all is well.

I get MRIs, cat scans, x-rays, and a bunch of other stuff, and what was the end result? Well, they know for sure that my scapula is broken, they're just not sure how bad. They're going to call me tomorrow to let me know. Oh, did I mention, that my fiance at the time, was out of town for her bridal shower? Yeah, I didn't really have anyone to pick me up. I had to call her, at her parent's house, and she then had to make about a dozen phone calls. Luckily, she got in touch with some of the guys who lived downstairs from us at the time, and one of them came and scooped me up, and brought me home in my drug addled state. They did send me home with some percocets, and some muscle relaxants for sleeping that night. Which again, you drug addicts, you know what you're talking about. Good stuff.

Turns out, the scapula was busted up, and not only busted up, but the socket portion had been flipped over inside of me. Surgery was the cure. They cut me open, and according to my surgeon, it looked like kibbles and bits in there when he went in. He had to suck out a bunch of bone fragment, and then threw in a few pins, and a small plate to hold everything together. I think I was in there for about 3-4 hours. After I came out, they gave me a nerve block which essentially made everything from my neck through my arm numb for about, oh, 10 hours. Think of it like this. You look at your hand. Your mind tells it to move. It doesn't. It's weird, and I imagine, this is what it's like to be paralyzed. That would suck, but I digress.

After that, many months of recovery, many months of rehab, and finally, today, all is well. There is no pain any longer in the shoulder, and the range of movement is totally back to what it was before, and the strength is back. I, was lucky. The woman didn't get charged with anything major, something like, failure to yield I think. I did take a big chunk out of her as far as insurance, and lawsuit settlements go. Let's just say, it was enough for the wife and I to put a decent down payment on the house we live in now. I got a new bike to replace the trashed one (went from a Giant TCR advanced to a Pinarello Prince, again, not bad). Essentially, it was a long and painful road back, but I got back. Others, like in some of the stories we see on here, aren't so lucky.

Surgical scar after getting hit...Make sure that the people you know who drive watch out for us. I hate to see my fellow cyclists get hurt, and even more so now that I'm one of the many who has been run the fuck over. As I said, luckily for me, everything pretty much worked out. I have a new bike, a house, and a kick ass scar on my shoulder. Keep an eye out.

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03 December 2008

Just because...


So I was perusing one of my more favorite blogs on the internet the other day, that being Drunkcyclist.com and I saw a posting up there about how the main man Jonny is in law school, doesn't have much time to write on there any longer, and things like that. Well, I volunteered my services, and am now a guest writer on that page. I'll be listed as "giantcu92" so drop on by, and check it out. Whatever I put up on there, I'll put up on here as well.

Over and out, and oh, head on over there to check out my post from yesterday. It's morning, and I don't feel like cutting and pasting.

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01 December 2008

Dear sweet little 8 pound 6 ounce Baby Jesus...

This is the story that is going to make me stay so far away from any cycling related forums on the internets, because now for the following, oh, I don't know, 7 months or so, all we are going to hear from the Lance Fan Boys that have been absent for a few years now is how the old great one is coming out of retirement to ride the Tour. Again... Yawn... Wake me when le Tour de France is over this year, and let me know who won, and if it is Armstrong, gouge my eyeballs out so that I won't have to see him riding down the Champs once again reveling in his ego maniacal self.

Sure, I was OK with him coming back, especially since he was going to leave le Tour alone, and ride the Giro, and maybe a few other races. Maybe what he should have done (yeah, I know, Monday morning quarterbacking over here) is to ride a full Spring schedule, as in, Flanders, GW, Paris Roubaix, Fleche Wallone, Amstel (so maybe he could win it, at least once), and the list could go on from there. And then go and ride the Giro d'Italia, and maybe even win the damn thing. That could top off his career nicely, and stop making people like me, say that he was and always will be, a one trick pony (and yes, before anyone says it, I know he won Fleche before, and the World Championships, and some Tour DuPonts, and other craptastic races), but the man has never won a monument, and he has done all that there is to do, as relates to the Tour de France. OK, he could win 8, but at this point in time, with nobody near his record of 7 in a row, what's the point? It's all about ego stroking at this point in time, and if I didn't believe it before, now I definitely believe that he's the biggest psycho ego maniac out there in the world of cycling, hell, in the world of sport in general, nah, I take those both back, maybe in the whole wide W-O-R-L-D. 

But do you know what I really hate about this guy coming back the most? The questions that I'll get when I arrive at work, oh, the week after le Tour starts. Because, most of the drones that I work with, if they know anything at all about the sport, they know one word. Lance. I usually brush them off with answers not revolving around Lance Armstrong, mostly, I say that I respect what he's done in cycling, but I'm more of a one day race type of fan anyway, and don't pay much attention to what Armstrong is doing in France in July (OK, that's a lie, I still follow the damn race regardless of who is racing in it, and have been since my introduction to the sport during the Lemond reign, where I quickly found the one day races were more exciting). Usually, if I give them an answer like that, they leave me alone, but most of the time, they don't. They keep asking me, and asking me, and asking me. It's sort of like being Cameronin Ferris Bueller's Day Off, where Ferris keeps calling him, and he finally answers, because if he doesn't, "He'll keep calling, and calling, and calling..." That's how I feel. Luckily, and mercifully, the race is ONLY 3 weeks long, and since the 4th of July week usually falls in there somewhere, it's more like 2 weeks, and I can gut out anything for 2 weeks. OK, maybe not anything, but you assholes know what I mean.

Look, Lance, my cycling career is over, for the most part, actually, it never really started, but let me give you some sage advice. Let the younger guys battle it out for le Tour. You've been there, done that, and come back with the jersey more than a few times. Go where you haven't been before, as in Italy. Battle with Simoni and Basso in the high, and steep, mountains there. Hardly any good time trialists show up for the Giro, you'll beat them down, and then you can have a nice pink jersey to match the yellow ones you've got hanging around. I know that this puts a crimp on your yellow Livestrong style and all, but couldn't you add a pink edition as well? Don't be a douche for crying out loud. Help Contador whip everyone else's ass while in France, and make him your heir apparent, since that whole Tom Danielson thing didn't work out so well (psst, turns out that kid, oops, I mean middle aged man, is more fragile than fine china, and a psycho to boot). Thing is champ, you've got nothing to prove really. If you want to race, fine, I don't doubt you can do it, but I just wish you wouldn't, mostly because of the chumps that you bring out of the woodwork. 

Does this mean that Robin Williams is going to be as well? God, I hope not. I can't handle anymore one ball jokes.

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