Pine Flat Road: How Levi Descends

By way of another Brekke–Thom–a cool video of Levi Leipheimer descending the scarifying Pine Flat Road in Sonoma County. Any steep, technical descent on a single lane of shattered-looking pavement would be a little frightening for the average cyclist. What elevates this is the demonstration of how a racer throws himself at such a road. It’s just part of the distance between us–the folks who ride for fun and the occasional thrill–and them–the people for whom the bike and life is not readily distinguishable.

Levi Leipheimer Descending Pine Flat Road from Roger Bartels on Vimeo.

Tour de France: The Bad News, via Twitter


[7:30 a.m.: The update to Levi Leipheimer’s broken wrist: He’s having surgery. And he’s reporting on it–both tweeting and posting pictures: See @LeviLeipheimer at Twitter and levileipheimer’s images at Yfrog. The image above is captioned, “This is 22mm Titanium screw!” So the new model of an event-ending injury is get hurt, get diagnosis, get treatment, and show the whole world the process. Video with expert commentary can’t be far behind.]

Earlier post: A little after the sun comes up on the West Coast in about five hours, just about anyone who cares will know the bad news from the Tour de France: Levi Leipheimer is out of the race with a broken wrist. It’s a potentially race-changing injury: Leipheimer figured to be a key to the victory chances for his team’s co-non-leaders, Lance Armstrong and Alberto Contador. And if one of them faltered, he has developed into the kind of tough competitor who might have a shot at the overall Tour victory himself.

It’s interesting how the bad news broke. At 12:25 a.m. PDT, or 9:25 a.m. in France, Lance Armstrong sent out a Twitter message: “Woke up to bad news. Levi is out with a broken wrist. Damn..”

At 12:28 a.m. PDT, Astana team director Johan Bruyneel sent out his own message: “Starting the day with bad news… Levi has a fracture of the scaphoid (wrist). Not good!”

And at 12:33 a.m. came word from Leipheimer himself: “My wrist is broken. I can’t describe how disapointed I am.”

Anyone who’s following race news this way knows the basics of the story now. Meantime, a full half hour after Armstrong broke the story–and that sheds some light on what Twitter does to news–even the rapidly updated Google News is behind. They have a full palette of stories describing Leipheimer’s crash yesterday just before the finish, and a display quote in which he talks about escaping serious injury:  “My wrist hurts, but surprisingly it’s OK. It could have been a lot worse,” … “I was a bit surprised by a left corner …… my tire was sliding and I couldn’t quite save my bike from sliding out”