Monday, August 26, 2013

Hats off to Sports Commission Associates' scholarship recipients

The event I shall miss most covering: the Musial Awards. You might know them better as the National Sportsmanship Awards, hosted annually by the St. Louis Sports Commission. I could have written page after page about each of the dozen or so annual recipients, who were as big as 6-6 Pirates pitcher A.J. Burnette, playing catch in the dark with children who have extreme light sensitivity, or 12-year-old Nick Kirkpatrick, who loaned his wheelchair to a fellow competitor. Each selflessly gives of himself or herself to help someone else achieve his or her athletic goals. The commission announced the name change at last year's ceremony.

Part of the group's overarcing initiative includes awarding scholarships to local high school athletes through funding from the Sports Commission's Associates, the organization's young professionals group. This year, four athletes won $8,000. Each has a story that is priceless.

I'm thrilled to share them, if only in brief form.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Tejay Van Garderen enjoys home cookin' in Colorado


Some might say Peter Sagan has a big head. It's not nearly as
big as his fans'. Courtesy of fabbricadella.com.
Home cookin' -- or, at least, home racin' -- seems to have cured what ailed Tejay Van Garderen. BMC's young GC rider rode smart in earning the overall title at the USA Pro Challenge on Sunday in Denver. He attacked with the other superior climbers on stage four, then won the time trial Friday to solidify his position. Van Garderen finished 1:30 ahead of teammate Mathias Franck and 1:42 ahead of Garmin's Tom Danielson, who won two weeks ago in Utah.

The victories bookended a disappointing Tour de France in which Van Garderen finished, 45th, more than an hour and a half behind winner Chris Froome. Sunday's victory seemed especially sweet, given his second and third place finishes in Colorado the past two years.

"I felt like it was a long time coming because I've been so close both the other times," Van Garderen told Velonews. "It amazing to get it. Other years, I maybe wanted it too bad."

Combined with his victory in the spring at the Tour of California, the win solidifies Van Garderen's position as the premiere stage young American stage racer. Just in time. Last year' winner in Colorado, Christian Vande Velde, was one of the old guard to admit to doping as a member of U.S. Postal a decade ago and retired from cycling at the end of this year's race. Other than Danielson, none of the admitted dopers has taken a turn in the spotlight and all are winding down their careers.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Danielson rides like a liberated man in winning Tour of Utah

 

Tom Danielson finally stepped out of the shadows and into the sunlight.  He attacked, unleashed his climbing talent, and was rewarded with the overall victory in the Tour of Utah.
Tom Danielson, courtesy of tomdanielson.com

Danielson, of Garmin-Sharp, rode away from Chris Horner on the final climb of the final stage. Danielson wound up 1 minute, 24 seconds ahead of Horner. Entering Sunday's finale, the two were tied on time, though Horner held the overall lead based on finishing ahead of Danielson. The bold move followed five days of smart riding that put him in position for victory.

Injury and doubt filled Danielson's career. Some of the latter might have been brought on by the proclamations of Danielson as the next Lance Armstrong. He followed Armstrong's lead via doping, admitting last year to blood doping in an affidavit filed in USADA's case against Armstrong. He showed flashes in winning the 2005 Tour de Georgia and an eighth-place finish at the 2011 Tour de France. Other than that, though, the promise was unfilled. His attack Sunday was bold, the kind made by a man comfortable with his talents and unafraid to put them on display.

His fans had been waiting to see this, through his years at Fassa Bortolo and Discovery and even Garmin.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Business is booming at GO! St. Louis and RunFanShop


The wheels of commerce continue to turn at a brisk pace for a pair of our favorite running organizations. Close to home, less than  1,000 spots remain for the inaugural Great GO! St. Louis Halloween Half-Marathon, 7:30 a.m. October 13. The even also includes a 10K, 5K and mile fun run. Part of the half-marathon and 10K courses traverses the riverfront, a rarity for runs.

Registration for the half is $65 until August 31.

Say No To EPOSecond, former St. Louisan Ben Rosario is one month into his newest venture, RunFanShop. In his recent monthly newsletter, Ben reports that in less than a week, he blew past his sales forecasts for the first month. The shop has blazed a new path. Rather than hawk running shoes, technical clothing and gear available at a plethora of local stores, including his former venture, Big River Running, RunFanShop caters to running fans. Pictured here is one of its best sellers. Also going like hotcakes is Nick Symmonds 2012 training log. The site also features lots of books and videos.

Rosario and his wife, Jen, are most adept at social media. They have facebook, twitter, and YouTube sites and host a weekly online radio show. They don't need no stinkin' legacy media, but they have a fan in an old codger like me.

In each case, I'll lend my old school skills to help their causes. Not that they need it.