Thursday, May 31, 2007

Just Like Old Times

Stage 16 of the 2007 Giro had all the emotional grittiness of an epic mountain stage, but at the same time, it wasn't the pain, the cold, or even the elevation gain that caught my eye. Instead it was the photos posted at

In the summer of 1997, the pages of Cycle Sport were filled with beautiful images from the Grand Tours, highlighting all of the season's racing action. It was the first year that I began to devour every photo and piece of text I could get my hands on, and there were some impressive riders in the peloton (doped or not). The photos seemed to come alive: the riders were three dimensional, tan, covered in sweat, blood, and pain as they fought their way to victory. Instead of wide shots with multiple riders, there were more close-ups and photos that featured one rider exposing all of the great detail. There was also a yellowish hue to the photos, especially the shots taken in the extreme peak summer heat. Maybe the difference is digital vs film and magazine vs web. But today's Cycle Sport photos mimic those of the Web (often when my Cycle Sport subscription arrives I have already seen the images online).

This past Tuesday's stage coverage of the Giro was a throwback to the great photography I used to see. Even though the imagery lacked the yellowish hue of the old days, the photos of Garzelli leaped off the screen, in the same way the images of old did. Garzelli rode like a true champion, and his battle for the stage win was captured in a simple, beautiful way. There were the wide-angled vantage points that captured the pain of the chasing groups, but there were also beautiful shots of Garzelli alone, up-close and in great detail, the weather and terrain provided the idyllic backdrop to give the images depth and dynamism, complete with the omnipresent texture and grittiness that makes for an epic stage.

For a moment, it was easy to look past the scandal that plagued the month of May, and come face-to-face with the pure essence that draws all of us into this sport we love.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Home and Away

In the eighties, when plain black shorts were set aside for the newer, more radical black shorts with logos, the PRO peloton had taken a step up, raising the level of their game. Fast forward twenty five years and the game is completely off the hook! Jokingly, my friends and I would see the PROs of the nineties and early 2k and comment on how insanely PRO the red or white short is. Then, we would instantly dismiss the notion of wearing them ourselves. In the world of the local criterium or group ride, a rider had better be f#*king fast in order to wear them.

Cycling kits have evolved and morphed despite the canvas remaining unchanged. A jersey and shorts are all that teams, clubs, and shops have to work with, and even with the static nature of cycling clothing, they manage to re-invent cycling gear every season to give the sport a new look. To the untrained eye, it's the same tight-fitting, bright-colored clothing, but to the cyclist the subtleties are evident. Take for example the Tour: it used to be that the Tour leader wore the yellow jersey in place of their team jersey. The team's graphics were stuck on the front, the remainder of the PRO's kit was standard issue. Today everything is yellow, right up to the glasses; the leader of the Tour looks like he rode straight off the pages of a Dick Tracy comic.

Modern cycling kits make no apologies and takes no prisoners. Teams, clubs, and shops have all begun embrace the use of white or red in shorts, rewriting the unwritten rules of the past. Red and White are no longer limited to just the big boys. Back in the day, if I were to show up on a group ride dressed completely in red and failed to do anything other than drop the entire group I would be laughed at. I remember lusting for a pair of red Castelli yPRO3 shorts and thinking, If I were only fast enough to sport those.

I am all for the use of red and white in the shorts, and we have waited too long to bring them into the mainstream. I have a pair of white Assos shorts that I keep in reserve for those special days and it's always a treat to break 'em out. With the red and white hurdle cleared, I guess it's only a matter of time and budget before cycling clubs/teams develop both a "Home" and "Away" kit. Now that will be PRO!

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Bicycle PRO Shop

When I travel to Washington, D.C., one of my favorite places is the Bicycle PRO Shop located at the foot of the Key Bridge in the heart of Georgetown. Besides being permeated by the government, D.C. is also home to a very hardcore road and messenger scene. A walk through DuPont Circle will yield a mass of amazing fixed gear machines, some Mad Max in style and others look like they have rolled out of a velodrome. Road cyclists are everywhere, mostly making their way out of town to hit some of the sweet rollers in Virginia and Maryland.

When you step foot into the Bicycle PRO Shop (BPS), you are blown away by the sheer amount of cool Euro gear. When visiting BPS, I advise beginning with a visit to Dean and Deluca, which is just up the street, for an espresso or coffee of the day. With cup in hand and the sweet taste of the bean, you can truly take the time needed to wade through all the eye candy. As you pass through the door, first stop is the showcase to the right. Inside you'll find relics from a simpler time, some cool, old Campy gear, and perhaps an odd French headset or BB. Littered about in the same case are all of the high-zoot, Gucci tweaks that you may have heard about but never thought you would see in-person: from a full ti cassette from a small Italian manufacturer to an all-carbon rear deraileur. Clearly, you can see that somebody has a passion for all things road and isn't afraid to offer customers products to make their machines unique.

Meander further into the shop and you'll find a selection of tires that would make any hard core cyclists drool (and I ain't talking about 50 pairs of Michelin PRO Race tires either). The selection is vast and BPS has a tire to fit your individual needs. Vittoria EVO Pave CG anyone? It was here that I first saw the original Campagnolo Carbon crank of 2002. You may remember the hype that accompanied this crankset: Campagnolo had machined down their existing Al crank and then applied a layer of carbon fiber to increase rigidity and decrease weight. The result is a crankset limited in numbers and completely handmade in Italy. The cost: well above retail ($1,000 was most common) and they were impossible to get a hold of. During that visit I saw not one, not two, but three pairs, a remarkable feat for any shop!

In addition to the amazing road bikes, BPS also dabbles in the sweet MTBs. Full-suspension or hard tails, you decide. At the time of my last visit, the selection of Santa Cruz bikes was second to none. With a look into the crevacies, the shop always yields a gem or two. In 2003, well before the recent interest in cross, a gander toward the ceiling at the front corner of the shop uncovered an amazing ALAN cross frame. As a side note, the staff at the shop are always welcoming and knowledgeable about the products.

A unique aspect of the BPS is the bike shop located next door. Yes, you read that right, one door down is home to Revolution Cycles, a rapidly expanding chain of Trek dealerships in the D.C. area. Revolution came about when, back in the late 90s, a few of the BPS employees decided to strike out on their own and open a shop. Whether it was their love for the neighborhood or habit, they decided to open it directly next door. A gutsy move if you ask me but also a testiment to the size of the cycling community in the area. Both shops seem to be doing well. My photos from Bicycle PRO Shop may be a bit dated but they convey the seriousness of the shop as well as just how much sweet gear is packed in this place (literally from floor to ceiling).

When in D.C., be sure to drop by and visit Coppi's, a wonderful organic restaurant, named after the one and only.

Photo courtesy: Bicycle PRO Shop

Bicycle PRO Shop
3403 M Street NW
Washington, DC 20007

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Catching the Criminals

At the Landis hearings the testimonies by Drs. Don Catlin, John Amory and Wolfram Meier-Augenstein add up in a surprising way. It never seemed possible—let alone likely—that the average public would follow the science involved in the IRMS testing, but the transcripts are comprehensible. Near real-time access to the proceedings has been possible thanks to Trust But Verify. Surprisingly, Catlin, Amory and Meier-Augenstein were able to paint a coherent picture of issues that seem to give any reasonable person pause to consider the contents of Mr. Landis’ urine last July.

Catlin has essentially testified that to be a WADA-accredited lab, one of the most important responsibilities a lab shoulders is not bearing witness against another lab. The distinction is significant in that it defines a lab’s duty not as fact-finding instrument but enforcement apparatus.

Amory provided testimony on the only peer-reviewed study of testosterone gel use as a recovery aid. This is exactly what WADA alleges Landis did. The study says it doesn’t work. Now, athletes have been known to be terminally stupid, stupid enough to believe that old wives’ tales will make them invincible. Considering that it is possible that Landis could, unfortunately, be that stupid (witness his dealings with one Will Geoghegan), Amory went on to testify that Landis’ test profile didn’t fit any known profile of metabolized testosterone gel. Put another way Amory said, “Eating a truckload of oranges won’t make you faster, but if you try it anyway, your urine will come out orange and as we can see, Mr. Landis’ urine is still clear.”

And flown in from Ireland, Meier-Augenstein told us in terms accurate to a thousandth of an inch close is good in horseshoes and hand grenades but the margin of error in the LNDD work was too great to consider positive. This is like dropping a bomb in Iran. It’s close to Iraq, and shares 75% of the spelling, right down to the order of the first three letters; could the difference between “Q” and “N” really be that big a deal? Only if you want to avoid an international incident. Oops.

Occasionally, an accused athlete will cry out that he or she is the subject of a conspiracy. Judging from the LNDD records, the work seems too shoddy to meet the standard for deliberate. So that brings up the question: Could it be WADA believes it must not only not lose any case it prosecutes, but it must also get results? Could it be that Pound, Tygart and company believe the organization must have periodic prosecutions no matter how tenuous the data? This smacks of the often-rumored scene in which Dick Cheney screams at the CIA: “Find me some damn WMDs!”

Catlin’s testimony is the most disturbing of the bunch. Testimony concerning the WADA laboratory code of ethics that Catlin drafted—but was changed by someone else—shows that labs are not to testify against other labs. WADA strategy is to circle the wagons first and foremost. In other words, prosecution trumps truth. What is shocking is that finding the truth is not a priority. Implicitly, the mission is to get positive tests and then to do anything necessary to support the result, rather than make sure the result is accurate.

Whether or not Landis doped, the system exposed in the course of these proceedings should not be tolerated. It is not based on a presumption of innocence nor does it place a supreme value on fact. American tax dollars should not fund this operation. It seems likely now Landis didn’t dope and WADA and USADA are colluding to cover the incompetence of the lab with an organizational structure designed not to protect the sport but to legitimize careless lab work as irrefutable proof. USADA is funded by Congress. If you vote, you get say in whether or not these practices continue. By writing your Congressman, you might help save cycling from a fate worse than doping.

This entry was written out of love, frustration and a desire to see some clean, healthy competition in the PRO peloton. Thanks to Padraig for this great contribution.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Bikes You're Sure to Like

Cycling as a lifestyle. That's how Bridgestone presented their bikes to the U.S. market. I heard it loud and clear. Pineapple Bob (pictured below) was the first cyclist in print to whom I could relate. He was just a guy, who rode his bike and happened to be featured in ads for a cool bike company. No endorsements, no multi-year, multi-million dollar racing sponsorship. Bridgestone was good like that because they featured real cyclists. Some I even knew: I recall one Bridgestone catalogue featured none other than our regional Bridgestone sales rep.

To this day, Pineapple Bob still represents the simple things in life: Shorts at work, wool jerseys, a functional bicycle, and a low maintenance haircut. Simple. I've never met Bob and I don't know if any of these attributes are even accurate as they relate to Bob (except maybe the haircut), but the image of Bob represents how I've always wanted to live my life. A lifestyle compass, if you will.

The bicycle industry at a retail level is filled with people who have put their passions and love before wealth. Let's face it: if your goal is to make serious cake, the bike industry in any form is not the place to be. There is an old saying among the heads of state: If you want to make a million dollars in the bicycle industry, start with two. Since I started writing this blog, I have tried to capture the look-and-feel of the bicycle shop as I see it through my experience and years of service. My perspective may be different than some because I literally grew up in a bicycle shop where my earliest kid memories involve bicycles and the feel and smell of it all. I can recall decades of bike shop employees, mechanics, part-time sales people, gophers as we used to affectionately refer to them, customers, both good and bad, and bicycle-related products (also, both good and bad).

Look at this cover from the 1994 Bridgestone catalog, specifically at Pineapple Bob, the wooden bench, and the specialty tools hanging in the background. This image captures the very essence of the bike shop and the people who make the retail world go 'round. When I see this image I can't help but think about the old days and pure enjoyment I would receive from simply arriving to face a day in the shop. Pineapple Bob has always been a reminder of my life direction and mantra. When I see Bob's image in any capacity I am reminded to keep it simple, keep it real, and keep it focused on my passion for cycling.

Below is an old piece called "Moustaches and Pineapples: Bridgestone's Grant Petersen Speaks Out" by Chris Kostman, which originally appeared in California Bicyclist in August 1992. This interview provides insight into Pineapple Bob's life and how his image became an icon for Bridgestone, and for me.

CK- Tell us about Pineapple Bob.

GP- In 1985 we had an advertising agency doing our ads and I didn't think they were doing a very good job of selling the bikes, so I and a few other people expressed our dissatisfaction with the ads. So the president at the time said "Do you think you could do any better?" I said "yeah" and he said "O.K., you be our advertising agency. So we needed a model and everyone looks fatter in pictures, so you need someone with just phenomenal legs for them to even look normal. Well, Robert has the best legs around and he looks like a six-day rider in Europe or something. His legs are just amazing and you start with something good like that and you've got the leg thing covered, anyway. He's also a good rider, he's easy to work with and he's a friendly guy that I get along with personally, too. He's a good friend, so we just use him for our ads.

CK- How did you know him and how did he get his name?

GP- I didn't know him then. We hung around the same bike shop, Hiroshi's Jitensha Studio in Berkeley, and I sort of made the connection there. Hiroshi's daughter, Natsumi, named him Pineapple Bob because there were two or three other Bobs that hung around the bike shop. Robert grew up in Hawaii and his hair shoots our like a pineapple so she called him Pineapple Bob just to differentiate him from the other Bobs. By the way, I don't call him Pineapple Bob. Mostly his friends call him Robert. I'd only call him Pineapple Bob if I were joking around. By the way, don't go a whole lot into this in your article, because we like to keep him a mystery and anonymous. He's going to be in a video that we're doing, but he's not going to have a speaking role.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Assos ClimaJet

I quote SETH when I say, I think I may have stumbled upon the Taj Mahal of cycling pieces: the Assos ClimaJet rain cape. Great cycling clothing is measured by the comfort it delivers in uncomfortable circumstances and the Assos ClimaJet delivers in wind and rain, and even when the temp falls into that ambiguous range between layers.

The Assos Service Life
Like you, my cycling wardrobe consists of my regular pieces and then my collectables. My collectables go back as far as 50 years but they only see the light of day when I am moving or re-organizing. My regular pieces, however, see duty year-round and some date back as far as 17 years and are my nuevo-vintage collection. The common denominator to my "neuvo-vintage" pieces is that they are all Assos. There are two statements that accurately describe the Assos brand:

1. It's VERY expensive.
2. It's damn nice stuff, both in fit and durability.

When the topic of Assos comes up, people tend to focus solely on price. What I don't hear in Assos discussions is how durable the stuff is. I have some winter gear from 1990, which remains in heavy rotation in the cold months, and shorts from the 1994 era, which continue to provide comfort surpassing many of today's cycling clothing leaders. As a side note: clothing, like helmets and shoes, have fit characteristics that compliment some riders and not others, so the "great fit" may not be unanimous among cyclists.

I received the ClimaJet as a gift, and had I not, I would have never been introduced to the magic this jacket creates (dropping $275 on a rain jacket was not exactly in my seasonal budget). The technology supporting this jacket claims the material expands upon contact with water and closes the pores of the material blocking the rain, yet allowing air to circulate. Whether this claim is fact or marketing hype, the ClimaJet is the perfect solution when the wind is chilly, or the threat of rain looms, and it's the go-to when all other layers are to heavy or too light. The ClimaJet has evolved from the original Clima Micro jacket and, for the ClimaJet, Assos has made some refinements, toughening up the material to avoid rips, redesigning the zipper to increase durability and ease of closure and made modifications to the cut, thus streamlining the fit and reducing its overall foot print; great for when it comes off and goes into your pocket.

Rain and Wind
When the rain begins to fall, the jacket provides excellent coverage. If the showers are spotty and the rainfall is light to consistent, I tend to notice the cool effects of the rain on my face, legs or feet before I notice it on my core, proving that the jacket is going its job. When the cats and dogs begin to fly the jacket will let rain in, but at this point the barrier created traps the warmth and provides your core the protection it needs to keep you and your appendages moving.

Limiting this jacket to rain duty sells the jacket short: the Clima Jet is a technical piece, more technical than most of wind-proof jackets out there. It blocks wind with ease and keeps the front of your shoulders warm in a way that a vest simply fails to do. The slim cut allows for the ClimaJet to rest comfortably against your body eliminating the flapping effect common on most full cut, long-sleeve, rain and wind jackets. As your body begins to heat up, there is a small build-up of perspiration from the inside of the jacket, but far from the greenhouse effect you get with a PVC rain cape. If the ClimaJet were any color other than ghostly white you would be unable to detect the build-up. The jacket is vented on the sides and the location of the vents reduces the ingress of water while providing the necessary fresh air into the "micro-climate".

This past weekend the temps were cool and the wind was blowing pretty hard. I rode to the ride in the ClimaJet and peeled it off about 20 minutes into the ride, before the action became heated. When the ride finished, I pulled the ClimaJet from my pocket and donned it for the 20-minute ride home. The jacket was warm and kept my body temp regulated (neither too cold, nor too hot). It was the perfect accompaniment to the cool-down period that makes for my commute home.

Crazy Talk
$275 for a technical poncho is crazy talk. I was perfectly happy with the PVC rain cape I have had for years, tattered and torn and stained from years of service. This piece is highly technical, extremely durable, light, easily stuffed into a pocket, and downright comfy. I would highly recommend the ClimaJet to anyone who rides in the rain on a regular basis or experiences spring to the likes of Northern France or Belgium. For me, the only shortcoming of the jacket (pun intended) is the length in the back because I prefer the mud flap effect to keep the grit and water off my tail bone and, due to the slim cut, it becomes tough to stuff the rear pockets full of essentials. Bump your sizing by one if stuffing your pockets and the extra length are important. The added bulk at the shoulders and in the mid-section will be minimal and the added room at the waist will be appreciated.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

At All Cost

Is it any wonder that WADA is going after Floyd Landis tooth and nail? Consider a possible situation in the abstract: A cyclist tests positive. Following an evaluation of testing procedure, auditors find that procedures were skipped, machines mis-calibrated and rights violated. A reasonable person could be forgiven for coming to the conclusion that the resulting black eye to WADA would undermine public confidence to such a degree that there would be little respect for the findings. Kinda like how we view intelligence reports of WMDs by the CIA in say, oh, any Middle Eastern nation. Put another way, if WADA were to lose such a case, many people would—rightly or wrongly—come to the conclusion that the organization lacked the ability to catch the real dopers and would mistrust any result as yet another false-positive. Ever heard of the boy who cried wolf? WADA knows lost cases undermine credibility, which is why the organization believes it can’t afford to lose a single doping case. But such a strategy is counterproductive.

Whether you believe Landis’ Wiki-defense or not, the truth is none of us really know if he doped. He makes a compelling case for his innocence, but we really don’t know. And the truth is there are cyclists who are innocent of doping but whose names have been forever tarnished. Take the case of hapless Danilo Hondo.

Danilo Hondo has been shown to have had such a low concentration of Caphedon in his body that it not only didn’t affect his performance but it was most probably too tiny an amount to be deliberately administered. Put another way, he didn’t mistakenly take too little, such as might happen in an error concerning order of magnitude where someone takes 10mcg instead of 10mg. This guy didn’t intend to dope and didn’t benefit from the presence of the drug in his system.

He received the same penalty as a rider who doped in order to win as a result of a policy known as “strict liability.” It dictates a zero-tolerance environment (adopted to give the appearance of being tough on dopers) in which any stray compound found in a pro’s system results in a penalty.

Another hypothetical: Suppose you are driving down the street in a 35 mph zone. You approach a construction site that is soon to be a new school. You miss the new 25 mph speed limit sign and an officer notices continued rate of speed. He pulls you over. In the United States, the officer has leeway to give you a warning instead of a ticket for what would otherwise still be a minor infraction. In the world of WADA, you don’t drive for two years. Period.

Some people may think that the “strict liability” standard is reasonable. It is not. American jurisprudence is built on the idea that intent is significant when a crime is committed. The courts in America hold that the penalty for striking a pedestrian with your car should be different if you never saw the pedestrian and did so only accidentally than if the pedestrian was your former boss and you waited outside of work for the chance to run him down and subsequently backed over him before fleeing to Tahiti. Grading crimes according to severity helps to give the public the perception that outcomes are fair. Stealing a pack of gum is not the same as stealing a car, no?

In the Landis case the defense has accused WADA and the lab at Chatenay-Malabry of poor record keeping, shoddy lab work, changing and erasing computer data and refusing to let their representatives attend a procedure WADA’s own rules grant. An American prosecutor accused of such action could wind up disbarred.

WADA tested B-samples of Landis’s urine to which the A-sample was clean—this is a clear violation of its own procedure. Logically, if the A-sample was clean, the B-sample cannot be tainted, provided the lab did the work correctly in the first place. If the lab didn’t do the work correctly then it shouldn’t be permitted to perform any further testing until an audit of its procedures and equipment has been performed. In finding a B-sample positive when an A-sample is negative, only one thing has been proven: The lab is not performing its science consistently. Repetition of results is one of the most basic standards of science and any lab that can’t manage that isn’t much of a lab.

Because the administrative process is not transparent and WADA and USADA seem engaged in a win-at-all-costs ideology, we are unlikely ever to learn the real truth to whether or not Floyd Landis doped at the Tour de France. If we cannot be certain that the outcome was justly based on fact, then there are four victims: The first is Landis; he deserves an outcome based on the truth, whether he doped or not. The second is WADA; if we are not convinced justice was served, we will not trust it is fulfilling its mission. The third is the sport itself, which is losing fans due to the general mistrust for all cyclists in the PRO peloton. And the final victim, of course, is us; if we are not convinced WADA is pursuing its mission competently and that the athletes are clean, we are robbed enjoyment of our favorite sport.

This entry was written out of love, frustration and a desire to see some clean, healthy competition in the PRO peloton. Thanks to Padraig for this great contribution.

Photo Courtesy:

Monday, May 14, 2007


Deep section carbon wheels deliver amazing performance and define the modern PRO style, however, some also come with an annoyance: a clicking sound that seems to present itself over rough surfaces. I have traced this noise to the valve and the resonating click, which comes from the valve snapping against the carbon valve hole. I tried numberous times to address this sound, both on my Reynolds Stratus tubulars and my Cosmic Carbone PROs, but it was the delicate touch of a PRO mechanic that provided the ultimate solution. At the 2005 Interbike show, I was treated to an up-close and personal view of Thor Hushovd's Look 585, fresh from his 2005 season. Among the PROness, I noticed one small, but amazingly simple PRO mechanic fix for my valve problem: electrical tape. A single piece of electrical tape is placed perpendicularly with the rim; it's pierced by the valve and adhered to either side of it.

From that moment on, this is how I roll.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Wednesday, May 9, 2007


The term “Omerta” is known as the silence of the mob. Don’t rat. Until recently, the term has only been used in connection with the mafia. Recently, though, Omerta has come to be identified with cycling’s collective silence on the problem of doping. Attached to the term in its original usage was an odd sense of honor and integrity, a captain-goes-down-with-the-ship mentality. If caught, you defended yourself without implicating anyone else and if convicted, you did your time … quietly. Plea deals were for drunks, not gangsters.

Ladies and Gentlemen, we present Ivan Basso, Mister “I was only researching the possibility of doping, but didn’t actually dope just yet.” If you want to be an honorable louse, this is how it is done. He will tell nothing of what he might know, only of his involvement in what he says was yet to become doping. Lest anyone think his admission is a step in the right direction, this is Omerta at its classic best. He has copped to only what they have irrefutable proof of. This isn't a light bulb in the darkness but a flashlight pointed the wrong way--after the Giro victory was on the books.

Should anyone think his admission will help turn the tide against doping, what he has done, in fact, is teach his brethren a sort of low-impact plea. His statements were to full disclosure what the Toyota Prius is to a carbon footprint. Frankly, his behavior stands in stark contrast to what are now the typical displays of mob togetherness as seen in trials such as John Gotti's and on the Sopranos: "If I'm going, you're going too." Should we actually praise Basso for his amazing integrity? Not if we want a dope-free sport.

This entry was written out of love, frustration and a desire to see some clean, healthy competition in the PRO peloton. Thanks to Padraig for this great contribution.

Monday, May 7, 2007

The Tan

Summer is almost here, and with it comes white tape, high mileage weeks, and insane tan lines. A cyclist's tan line is something that almost defies explanation to a non-cyclist: a striped leg created by shorts and socks, a pale hand punctuated by a dark circle, or the white area in front of your ear from the helmet strap, where literally "the sun don't shine". To a non-cyclist, the tan lines that are so common to us, warrant a double-take.

For me, the tan line is a mark of accomplishment, a sign of your dedication to logging miles on your machine, and a statement that shouts: "despite all of my other commitments, I still find time to ride my damn bike!"

Each season I place the bottom of my shorts on the same tan line I randomly established over 20 years ago. Back-to-back seasons have etched a tan line so defined that it would require a two month, Speedo-induced holiday on the world's finest beach to simply undo it. In the off-season, I barely lose my tan line despite the dark and cold winter and the etched line serves as a great reminder of seasons' past.

Forget tracking the KMs, the quality of your season can simply be measured by your tan.