But, I digress.
My point is that CSC had appeal to nerds. Discovery had appeal to nerds, too, of course, since it's a cable channel about science, but CSC was a team named after a whole company of computer nerds.
In case you haven't noticed, cycling gets more computer nerds than most sports. Maybe because it's not usually dangerous (except crits or riding with idiots), or because it's fairly clean (except mountain biking and cyclocross and Paris-Roubaix). Probably, though, because it's a direct application of basic physics to human physiology. You apply power to the lever and you get movement. As inertia is overcome resistance changes, so you change the gear ratio and resistance returns, and now the application of power at the original level yields even more movement.
It is beautiful in its complex simplicity.
Don't get me started on wind tunnels and ultra-light materials and crank arm length and rolling resistance. Golf may have carbon shafts and very complex dimple patterns on the ball, so it comes pretty close, but cycling is the sport of nerds.
And randonneuring, since it is populated by the outermost fringe of the cycling universe, is a sport for uber-nerds. Almost every member of my regular riding group here in Tennessee is in the computer business. One recently sold his business selling computer stuff, three others are programmers, and the last is an accountant -- and if you can't do a pivot table in Excel nowadays, you cannot be an accountant.
IT Factory to the Rescue
Anyway, when CSC became Saxo Bank, we nerds were kind of adrift. And then, when we heard that IT Factory -- a Danish reseller for IBM -- was taking over sponsorship, there was a light at the end of the tunnel. Maybe even a Schmidt E6 ... or better yet a Edelux, powered with a SON20R hub. OK, probably not that bright of a light, but you get my drift. Or you would if you were a randonneuring nerd like I am.
But Monday, that light went out faster than it would with an old Schmidt SON going up a 17% hill at 3 mph in a rainstorm. Okay, again, you had to be there.
Apparently, Stein Bagger, the director of IT Factory, has disappeared in Dubai under the classic "mysterious circumstances," and the folks at IT Factory say that they are now missing about 85 million bucks. This not only puts their support of the team in jeopardy, but has resulted in the company applying for bankruptcy.
It gets weirder. The police are investigating an attack on a reported business partner of Herr Bagger's just before the director departed for Dubai. Disturbing? Definitely.
This from the Channel Register, in the UK (obviously, as you can tell from their mis-spelling of "hospitalized"):
"... on Monday last week, a man who claimed to own 50 per cent of Agios United SA, a Bagger company registered in Polynesia, was assaulted outside his home. 'He was beaten with a blunt instrument, but we do not know what it exactly was,' Nordsjællands police spokesman Henning Svendsen told the local newspaper.
Danish news sources are not reporting the identity of the victim, who was hospitalised and received 25 stitches. Bagger flew to Dubai the day following the assault."
A Schmidt SON could be a blunt instrument, but would be hard to wield. I'm going to go out on a limb here and bet that this was not the assault weapon.
News Flash! Here's a fun little game that I found researching this. Minutes of fun for the whole family!
As if this weren't enough weirdness from the former Team CSC and now former Team IT Factory (damn, but I wish I had an IT Factory kit -- that would be so cool to wear at a Tuesday night ride this summer), the riders recently completed survival camp. And it's not the kind of cycling camp that you might think. Instead of, say, I don't know ... riding bikes? ... the racers were doing night maneuvers, shooting guns, and swimming out to rubber rafts like they were Demi Moore trying to become a Navy Seal. Better yet, they were doing this in Denmark! In November!
If you want to see if Andy Schleck does that scarey smile thing when he's popping a cap in some target's chamois, go see the photos on Cycling News.com. There are no pictures of Demi Moore there, however. You'll have to settle for Liz Hatch.
Hello, glad you could rejoin us.
Apparently, they brought in a former paratrooper to run this thing, and it's all to build character and team camaraderie yadda-yadda. It's the kind of thing that they usually do with executive teams at some software company, so they can bond and better synergize the company and deep-dive the root causes. And the executives never really get the message, so that most of them just end up with a weekend out of the office, plus the knowledge of how to use a gun, evade an enemy, and disable an opponent with a blunt object.