An Eskimo who is satisfied with his ice purchase

August 13, 2008

How many water bottles do you own?  How many of those did you pay for?  Is the percentage approaching zero?  The other day, I counted 21 water bottles.  None were paid for.  The last bottle I bought was on vacation at a local bike shop because I forgot to bring one.  That is long since gone.

I had bottles from as early as 2002.  I know that because it was a 2002 Ride for the Roses bottle.  The valve was all chewed up due to the multiple opening and closings using my teeth.  So with all this free stuff, who in their right mind would pay for a water bottle.


After getting showered with water when the top of one of my bottles gave up the ghost, I started to wonder, “Am I getting what I paid for?” If I spent some money, would I get a better product?

So, I made a deal with myself.  I would buy 2 new water bottles and throw away most of my current stock of water bottles which have survived more for sentimental reasons than utility.

I read a review in VeloNews on the CamelBack Podium.  A quick web search showed a few more satisfied customers.  So, I plunked down $18 for two and gave it a shot.

I have to say, there is a difference.  Gone is the bite valve and it is replaced by a pressure sensitive valve that opens and closes on its own.  This should make the bottle last longer since I will not be chewing off the valve.  In the hand, the bottle feels more substantive without being excessively heavy.   The sturdy screw on cap keeps the water on the inside where it belongs.

Another selling feature is you will not taste the bottle.  This has never bugged me too much since the bottles I routinely use to not create an after taste.  But, I do have to say that I payed attention to the taste and it was true.

All in all I definitely got my money’s worth.  For less than 20 bucks, I got a great product and some shelf space where 19 bottles once stood.


Summer Book Review

August 11, 2008

Summer is generally a time for escape. For confirmation, look at the typical line-up for movie goers. Action/Adventure films are generally released in the summer while serious Oscar contenders are released towards year-end. Barnes and Noble will greet you with shelves full of brain candy moving the more serious works of literature towards the back.

I can’t say I wasn’t a little concerned when my copy of Dope: A History of Performance Enhancement in Sports from the Nineteenth Century to Today arrived. I am a big fan of the author, Dan Rosen and his blog so I knew it would be well researched and well written. Would my brain be ready? Would it come off like a medical textbook?

I put the book aside until the Tour was over. Not for any of the above concerns but I was enjoying the Tour and did not want to be reminded of the darker side of the sport. So it waited until the Monday after Carlos Sastre crossed the line in Paris.

What I found was an engaging story that took me through the history of doping in sports. All sports, not just cycling. Some of the stories, I knew some I didn’t. Throughout, Dan told me enough science to allow me to understand the story. Never more.

Dan shows us how doping was originally encouraged by governments and governing bodies. Even as testing came into play, official counter measures were put into place to circumvent the tests. As the war raged on, governing entities turned a blind eye to any practices in the ultimate “Don’t ask Don’t Tell” policy. Finally, most organizations have taken up the fight. What is more astonishing is how recently we have come from empty platitudes against doping to where we sit today.

Dan tells us all this in a non-judgmental manner that allows us to form our own opinions. Heck, even Dick Pound has his good points. The story is well told and well documented.

Forgetting what I said at the beginning of this post, I actually feel the timing is great as the Summer Olympics are upon us and we are already seeing reports of altered passports of gymnasts and other formalized slights of hand that tells me we still have a long way to go.

This book is a must read for any sports fan, not just cyclists. If you enjoy professional sports, Olympic sports, or just fair play, you will not be disappointed in the time spent reading Dope. My only negative is Dan used a photo of my pecs for the cover of his book without my permission.