HL88 Strikes GOLD with new designs

An updated version of the time trial rig made famous by Team Vitesse in the 2008 Tour has been unveiled by Happy Lucky 88 Manufactory. Management is convinced that this configuration of speed, agility and comfort will tip the scales for the team to dominate both the individual Race of Truth and the Team Time Trial.
Never a company to rest on its laurels, Happy Lucky 88 Manufactory has unveiled another new product design. Marvel below at the new time trial seat. You may be asking yourself how a company that specializes in plywood products can make a time trial seat made of nogga-hide. The answer is simple. HL88 has contracted an offshore factory based in Alsask to produce these special seats for Team Vitesse.Team Vitesse's reaction was mostly gleeful on their first training ride with the equipment. Johan challenged the team saying, "Our advantage is solidified and winning will be chicken feed." Lampo reiterated the Happy Lucky 88 Manufactory motto, "Once again they have created a problem for an existing solution." "My addiction to chamois cream is history!" exclaimed Dr. K2.


Low Morale an Epidemic

Cycling cosmonaut has learned that the Hammer of Holland's injuries sustained in last week's tangle with a vehicle will keep him off the bike for 2 weeks. Doctors at Happy Lucky 88 Manufactory determined the extent of the soft tissue damage using the Plywood Resonator Information Kalculator or PRIK as it is more commonly known. "Results of the PRIK are conclusive and irrefutable" lamented Johan during one of his lucid moments.
Morale on Team Vitesse is at an all time low, comparable only to the desperate morale when HL88 could not supply the famed Prosperous Contented Obstruction Blocking in time for the Tour de France team time trial.
"Without h20 there is no heavy drop. Without heavy drop there is no chicanery. Without chicanery there is no Team Vitesse." This was the view of Dr. K2 who was devastated by the injury news. Lampo Bianco was more plaintive saying "h2o can use the WITHIN POWER to get better can't he?"


Spotting the Perp

Five days of solid icing of the bulbous knee joint allowed h20 to sit astride a single speed for a one legged ride to Happy Lucky 88 Manufactory's offices. Riding gingerly and with a heightened sense of care mixed with terror, h20 was within blocks of his destination when the unthinkable occurred. h20 noted a green Jeep at the traffic light turning left opposite him. The green light gave him a good look at the driver's side. Just as he suspected, a dent the size and shape of his knee along with some bicycle paint adorned the vehicle. Incredulity and shock were the sensations which rippled through h20's battered body. He immediately relived the sordid details of that fateful accident which threatens to derail h20's Tour chances. Such was the surprise that h20 did not meet the perpetrators eyes.
The healing process continues with slight improvements in mobility and colouration everyday. During a recent telephone interview, h20 despaired of ever reaching the dizzying heights of excellence in which he once reveled. Lampo allayed this incessant whining by pointing out that the stage has now been set for an h20 comeback, the likes of which have never been experienced by a cycling mad public.
When shown a foto of h20's damaged power limb, Johan thought he was looking at a sunset over Lake Como. Johan quickly recovered by babbling, "h20 will heal with WITHIN POWER and come back stronger than ever. This accident will prove to be the best thing ever!".
h20 commented that "the sensations are anything but good but I am drawing on the WITHIN POWER for guidance."


Just Riding Along

Each weekday, h20 rides one of his stable of cycle weaponry to Happy Lucky 88 Manufactory's corporate offices. h20 is manager of the vast HL88 investment portfolio and takes his role seriously. Constantly monitoring options, futures, hedges, race updates and derivatives takes mental and physical stamina, something that Team Vitesse training rides are instrumental in honing.
This past Thursday, May 21, h20 set off in light rain ready to do battle with investment brokers and bond settlements. Riding along a quiet street he was confronted with a vehicle making a left turn from a parking lot. The SUV driver had begun the turn but had stopped in h20's path. h20 jammed on the binders but his incredible momentum carried him into the front driver's side of the vehicle.
The resulting collision was not unlike the shot heard round the world. h20's left power piston dented the door and h20's chin nearly shattered the windscreen. A witness called for a broom wagon which took h20 to emergency. X-rays revealed nothing broken but the severe contusion to the knee has jeopardized h20's debut in the Dauphine Libre in 2 weeks. h20 continues to suffer from headaches from the windscreen uppercut. Mechanics are painstakingly examining h20's trusty Surly for damage. The driver of the vehicle remains unrepentant, claiming that h20 could have stopped with better brakes. Johan was first to offer his opinion saying that h20 should report his mishap to the local gendarme to ensure fault is properly assigned.

Cards and letters of support have been flooding in. Always true to Team Vitesse spirit, Dr. K2 has offered to pre-chew h20's food and Lampo Bianco will provide tyre pumping services for a year. The question remains however, how will this injury affect the Heavy Drop and can WITHIN POWER really heal wounds? Stay tuned...


Dr. K2's rebuttal

Dr. K2 has recently embarked on a new training regime that Johan has devilishly devised as a counter punch to the clever WITHIN POWER heavy drop. This revised version plays to the good doctor's strengths. Termed the WITHOUT POWER heavy drop this cyclopedic manoeuvre requires poor sensations (which the good doctor has in spades and presumably should get a salve for), poor timing and a lack of training. While bench pressing theses and children may constitute training to some (the good doctor's wife for instance) the lack of "saddle time" is discouraging. However the WITHOUT POWER heavy drop turns these weaknesses into strengths and should have opponents of Team Vitesse running for their plywood-less lives. To recreate the feel of proper "saddle time" training, Johan has instructed Dr. K2 to secure his saddle to his pants and cover his ears with sea shells. This will recreate the wind effect of being on a bike and provide direct communication with Johan.


Tour Preparations

Preparations are well under way at Team Vitesse. With the Grand Depart in Rotterdam on July 3, h2o wants to make a particularly good impression. Using his new found WITHIN POWER, h20 (hammer of Holland) has begun thigh strengthening exercises for the sprints in which he is sure to figure. By strapping a sewing machine to the back of his cycle, he is able to simulate the stresses upon reentry into the earth's atmosphere at any finish line.
Meanwhile, Lampo did some high altitude work in the Rocky Mountains this past weekend. His approach is much more grounded. He closely examined the architectural carpentry in his rented villa. "By repeatedly standing up from the fully prone position, I have increased the blood flow to my head. This will be vital to making good tactical decisions in the mountain stages of the Tour," mumbled LB as he swayed from the after effects.
Not to be outdone, Dr. K2 continues to develop his upper body strength by lifting his own small children and his thesis whenever he has the chance. In contrast, Night Train completely ignores the pressures of training by opening small beer pubs in which her numerous garden slugs can drown their sorrows.
Johan seems pleased with the riders' progress but growled recently, "these riders are slack jawed pretenders. Only WITHIN POWER can possibly sustain them in the Tour."


Practicing the Heavy Drop

This past weekend h20 headed out sans teammates for a road ride. Johan was insistent that h20 practice the now illegal maneuver called the Heavy Drop. After the obligatory 3 minute warm-up ride, h20 began what can only be described as a series of heavy drops to end all heavy drops culminating in the mother of all heavy drops. Choosing the scenes for his destruction wisely, as only a true professional can, h20 channeled his "within power" into miraculous force on the pedals. In his wake he left a bottle picker and a parked car. Johan judged this display of awesome dominance an unqualified success.
the Within Power manifest

For the rest of Team Vitesse and the peleton, h20's heavy drop rehearsal is certain to cause sleepless nights and agonizing worry. Johan is pleased with h20's seemingly unlimited ability to tap into his "within power". Johan spouted, "h20's and his "within power" is already bending pedal arms and has the potential to bend spoons".


HL 88 Origins

Many questions have arisen over the past 15 minutes about the origins of Happy Lucky 88 Manufactory. In attempting to allay controversy and continued misconception, engineers at HL 88 went back into the design vaults to reconstruct one of the first products manufactured by the Manufactory.

Dubbed the "Dickie Dee Ice Cream Glee" this wonderful contraption was ponderously slow and extremely difficult to maneuver. The design was eventually abandoned due to the clear and present danger it posed to all ice cream patrons. However, one can understand how Happy Lucky 88 Manufactory's love affair with plywood was nurtured and continues to this very day.

Johan's Sea-thing Rage

The recent comments by Dr. K2 concerning the merits of banning the "Heavy Drop" have enraged an already jowly Johan. Never known for his calm pacific temperament, Johan rose to the bait like a jack fish to a 5 of diamonds lure. "Full support of the team and my tactics is imperative", ejaculated Johan. "I don't give a **** what the UCI says, h20 must continue to attack unfairly. It is part of the fabric of Team Vitesse. We have a sponsor to satisfy whose integrity is intimately tied to the fortunes of Team Vitesse." Johan went on to spout, "Team Vitesse and its style of riding is immature, devilish and edgy as well as questionable. This maintains our high profile. As a result we are always in the news."
He had some choice words for the doctor as well. "If Dr. K2 doesn't toe the wire and hold the rudder, he will be forced to listen to Debussy's "La Mer". This brilliant exhibition of cascading motifs and shimmering orchestration will make the doctor wish he shared a room with a langoustine" rambled Johan.
It can be deduced from this diatribe that Johan is on form for another great season as the beloved and controversial manager of Team Vitesse.


Heavy Drop - A Doctor's Opinion

I continue to remove road grit from my teeth this morning after my futile attempt to follow the rooster tail of road debris in yesterday's wind aided and traffic violating heavy drop. I have come to the conclusion that the UCI's banning of the HD is completely justified. No one can combat such a devious move. It is totally unfair for any competitor to be put into the position of having to respond to h2o's HD. Johan "The Ferret" conceived this superb tactic and I have no doubt he will come up with another marginally more devilish manoeuvre to ensure h2o and Team Vitesse continue their stunning dominance of the peleton.

Johan the Ferret

On a personal note the "sensations" were indeed NOT good and a mild burning sensation (not unlike replacing chamois cream with embrocation) was encountered in the long chase down following the HD...surely future rides will encourage a supple gear and a tidy spin giving rise to good sensations...


GIRO passes through Vlissingen

This image was captured by the ply-cam set up by Happy Lucky 88 Manufactory to capture the Giro as it passed through the streets of Vlissingen, Zeeland. You can make out a blurry vehicle adorned with bicycles. Unfortunately the peleton, led by Lampo Bianco, was moving far too quickly to be captured by the ply-cam.
Team Vitesse has adopted the pelican as the official "team bird mascot". Long known for its large capacity for carrying food, Johan felt the pelican is emblematic of all that is unique about the members of Team Vitesse. Please join the team in extending a tip of the hat, a helping hand, and a fond appreciation to all pelicans.
In a completely unrelated matter, yesterday's training ride was proof positive that the heavy drop is an incredibly dangerous weapon. The unsanctioned UCI event saw Dr. K2 and h20 ride through the teeth of a sleet/rain storm. It seemed only natural that h20 would want to drop "the heavy" on the good doctor whose vastly under geared bike would be no match for the h20 machine. Not only did the PHD watch h20 disappear into the distance but he had to endure a gigantic rooster tail of water and sand. Independent sources say that the rooster tail created by the heavy drop reached a height of 10 meters and a length of 500 meters. No wonder the UCI has banned this peleton killing maneuver.


UCI bans Heavy Drop

After months of deliberation and hundreds of complaints, the UCI, the governing body of cycling, has ruled that the "heavy drop" will heretofore be banned. Made famous by h20, the heavy drop is his patented move to get a gap by attacking during nature breaks or in feed zones. When h20 strikes with this controversial move, members of the peleton are left disconsolate, morose and broken. Johan is beside himself about this issue stating publicly that "...heavy drop is a particularly fervent rain storm is it not?". Perhaps not a rain storm but certainly a sh** storm according to Lampo Bianco who has witnessed his share of heavy drops. "There is no warning. You hear the gears shifting and he is gone. It leaves everyone feeling hopeless. Then we see him in the far distance ease off and begin to cough and wheeze. We have endured another heavy drop."
During yesterday's training ride in preparation for the Giro start on May 9, members of Team Vitesse rode the dreaded Col de Lapin. It averages 2.5% over the 700 meter distance with one ramp up to an astonishing 4%. The riders acquitted themselves well with a minimum hacking while limiting the bad sensations. They were forced to ride in echelon formation; an admirable achievement with 2 men.