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Ms November

– It’s been a year since I was last in Vegas, for the only reason anyone I respect would ever go there: Interbike. Last year’s highlight was a small dinner with friends over what was mind-blowing sushi and from there we somehow ended up at Michael Ball’s ‘villa’ or ‘bungalow’ or whatever the Wynn calls their 5-rooms-with-your-own-personal-swimming-pool bachelor pads and the most fitting accessory in place was the presence of an authentic Ms. November. Front & center behind the table where Ball tended bar for the dozen of us present was a black & white 8’x11′ glossy of the woman who roamed about. The photo said just that -- ‘Ms. November’ -- bunny head and all. What wasn’t made clear, and based on appearances it was the #1 question begging to be asked, is what year’s November it was. From the standpoint of dermatology her likely-once-beautiful face paid the price for what must’ve been a decade of too many late nights doing the sorts of things enjoyed by people who wear pompadours and drive Lamborghinis and treat good people disposably in venues such as the one where I stood. I believe in the glamour of aging beauty and classic car shows and downtube shifters, but there was something sad about that night, how we were forced to focus on one attribute: Her title of Ms. November and how, despite its waning relevance, it was the only thing Ball wanted us to know about her. On the one-year anniversary of that bizarre night comes this interview with Michael Creed who suffered far longer and worse.

– We hear the message. Loud and clear. Enough kvetching about Garm*n, you say. OK, we hear you, and we were about to stop on our own anyways because it’s a renaissance here of warm n’ fuzzy appreciation for the team. Really, the riders were never ever the problem. The problem is….nevermind. A new day has dawned. Your input + this eye-opening video, it’s pushed us over the edge. Pure affection from here. We’re finally ready to go from Garm*n back to Garmin.

– Our best guess as to what’s going on with Garmin for 2010? They’re dying to sign Alberto Contador, but even with the addition of some new sponsors they don’t have enough cash to do so. So they’re trying to sell off Bradley Wiggins to Team Sky for enough money to give a decent offer to Contador. All of the ‘we have Wiggo through 2010’ talk from Garmin is simply a negotiating tactic to maximize his transfer value.

– Garmin bossman J. Vaughters stated on the Boulder Report that the media value provided by the team was upwards of $90mm for the Garmin brand. By that logic, of course, AIG should probably stick with Man U despite it all…A nice commentary here on the dubious nature of ‘value’ for corporate sponsors.

– I can’t say enough good things about the live coverage of the Giro and Vuelta by Universal Sports this year. It was a life-saver in light of the idiotic Cyclysm on Versus and it was fabulous in its own right in almost every way. In fact, it’s so good that I’m looking to make the leap from Direct TV to a service that shows Universal Sports on TV -- surely that’s the ultimate act of approval I can provide as a consumer? One bit of constructive criticism: The announcers, as evidenced in this clip, they’re a bit too Pro Wrestling for me. Do yourselves a favor and hire the McCrossan brothers and Magnus Backstedt. They were stellar on cycling.tv this year, and surely they’d come cheap.

– Speaking of cycling announcers, whatever happened to David Duffield? His drunken rambling was the best and a fun email exchange with a friend this week reminded me how I once watched a bootleg tape of LBL or something like that like 10 years ago. It was Eurosport coverage and Duffield told a tale about a training ride done by Michele Bartoli and Paolo Bettini where mid-ride Bettini walks into a patisserie and says ‘I’ll have two cappuccinos and two cakes’. This was the era when Bettini was Bartoli’s protégé, and clearly he was ordering for the two of them. But Bartoli walks in just a step behind Bettini and says ‘That’s sounds great, I’ll have the same.’ Anyway, I love that anecdote and Duffield about drove himself to a stroke with laughter as he told it. Maybe Universal should hire him instead. Is Duffield still alive? If so, what’s he doing?

– A coming storm for bike racing: Compression apparel. As I recall it’s UCI-illegal. I wonder if they’ll be any change of heart anytime soon.

– Have you checked out the US roster for Worlds? The focus on youth excites us -- races like this are (a) an incredible building block and (b) an incredible opportunity for a breakthrough ride. We’re fired up about it and it’s the one upside of putting World’s so absurdly late in the calendar.

– We were on a flight this week and used the time to catch up on the Cervélo Test Team advermentaries (is that a word?) on bartape.net. As short films they’re all artfully done, and none has a sales pitch too overt. Our favorite is the one for Tour of Flanders because there is copious dropping of the F-bomb and we get to know a bit about a stalwart PRO we’ve never known a darn thing about, Andreas Klier. Check it out. You can DL them specifically for an iPod and they’re each just 5 or 6 minutes. Bravo to Cervélo for making such a considerable investment for soft-sell marketing like this.

– Last week we re-discovered one of the great, forbidden pleasures of cycling: Taking a 2-hour ride sometime between the hours of 10am-2pm on a non-holiday workday. The world is totally a different place then. Amazing.

– Some final housekeeping notes: (1) We’re hiring! These job postings will be up for about another week. Check ’em out and send in your resumé if you’d like. (2) In case you aren’t familiar with it, we do once-per-week super-specials via text message. If you’d like to sign up, you can do so here. (3) We now offer price breaks on ~300 items that make sense to buy in bulk. Click here to see an example. It’s simple: The more you buy, the greater the savings.