The age of disbelief

July 15, 2013 § 19 Comments

It doesn’t matter whether you think any individual rider in the Turdy Farce is doping. Nor does it matter whether the riders are doping. Nothing will ever resuscitate this so-called sporting event.

A friend invited me to a Turdy-watching party today. Ostensibly we gathered to see who would prevail on Mt. Ventoux. Ostensibly we gathered to watch a bike race. Ostensibly we gathered to enjoy a performance of extraordinary physical strength and endurance under incomprehensible stress and strain.

All I can say is this: Thank Dog my friend is a wizard on the grill, his fiancee is a magician in the kitchen, the beer tub was well stocked, and the company was comprised of friends and riding mates, because the bike race never materialized.

How the Turdy was watched

What amazed me was the cynicism. I thought that it was only me who considered the whole thing an elaborate staging of athletic porn, but it wasn’t. The moment the Froomster began his wild 120 rpm acceleration the catcalls started. Nothing about his ride was exempt from criticism. His dorky pedaling style, reminiscent of a novice who’s still learning how to ride smoothly, his Cat 5 tendency to keep dropping his head, his constant reference to the radio commands in his earpiece, and his obliteration of the field were all equally derided.

The Tour was simply a backdrop for a get-together of friends who happen to cycle. Nothing about the race was respected, admired, or given any credibility at all. The bankrupt team of Phil and Paul, the sad sack attempts of Bob Roll to fire us up, and the racing itself were dismissed by virtually everyone there.

Good luck with that

How does an event that cannot capture the belief of the sport’s most ardent practitioners hope to survive? The answer, of course, is France. Despite the conviction that the best rider is a drug cheat, most of our crowd said they’d choose to go visit France and watch the Tour over any other bike race.

It makes sense. The riders can do whatever they want because it won’t diminish the fun of riding the cols, celebrating on the roadsides, and touring in France. In the same way, the Froomster’s fraud had zero effect on our ability to enjoy the food, drink, and camaraderie, and zero effect on the rides we’d done this weekend or the rides we’ll do the next.

This is the post-Armstrong age of sports spectating. We understand it’s all fake but gladly seize the chance to enjoy ourselves anyway. The giants of the road have been reduced to dwarves of the microphone and the lab.

You may find it all a bit sad and disappointing, but while you’re reflecting pass the sausage and open another beer for me, please.

Can I be your fucking wanker cunt?

July 10, 2012 § 18 Comments

It’s hard to come back from a pleasant vacation in Palm Springs after enjoying the 116-degree daytime temperatures only to find that I’ve been out-vulgared, and by a tweezly Brit bicycle rider, at that. As a kindergartner at Galveston’s Booker T. Washington Elementary School (since razed), I learned early the proper pronunciation and application of profanity. If you could have seen how proud I was when I finally mastered the high-speed phrase “cocksuckinmotherfuckinblueballedbitch,” you would have thought I was the cutest little six year-old you’d ever seen.

Don’t get me wrong. I haven’t rested on my laurels. I’ve worked hard and diligently these past decades to never slack off on nastyisms, crudification, and profanizing in every possible way. Need someone to say something foul and detestable in the presence of ladies? I’m your guy! Looking for an uncouth spewer of obscenity in a formal setting? Call me! Casting about for a dude who can overtrash the gutteriest filthmouth? That’s me. It’s always been me.

Until I happened to go off to Palm Springs for a vacation I didn’t even need only to find that the leader of the Turdy had given an interview laced with uglyisms and profanity of the worst sort.

The word “wanker”? I thought I fucking OWNED it.

The whole idea behind Brad Wiggins in this year’s Turdy France was that he would re-establish order in the peloton and earn back the loyal flock that had wandered a bit since Drugstrong’s heyday. He’d do drugs, but not enough to detect. He’d beat the snot out of everyone, but wouldn’t Simeoni-ize them. He’d get a stacked train of doped up stars to control the peloton, but wouldn’t let the 300-lb. sprunter dude win an Alpine stage.

We’d ignore that he’d never, ever shown himself to be a Turdy contender. We’d ignore that he trained in secret, in a place where the testers couldn’t arrive unannounced. We’d ignore that he was chalking it all up to hard work (“I’m on my bike. What are YOU on?”, etc.) Most of all, we’d let the bigtime fanboys like Bill Strickland, Joe Lindsey, and the other pitchers of softpoop get their pabulum machines cranked up so the “industry” could get back to what it does best: selling shit to fat people that they’ll mostly never use.

The whole idea, however, was NOT that Wiggo, or Wig Out, or Earwig, or Wiggster, would appropriate MY favorite pejorative and then make it even more awesome.

In case you hadn’t noticed, the word “wanker” was mine. It wasn’t yours. It wasn’t hers. It wasn’t theirs. And it sure as hell wasn’t Bradley Wiggins’s. Do a Google search for “wankmeister” and your hard drive will go limp with hits, so to speak.

Doesn’t matter now, though. No matter how hard I blog, and tweet, and holler in the future, Wiggy will forever own “fucking wanker” because he paired it with “cunt.” Put ‘em together and you get “fucking wanker cunt,” which is just about the most awesome vulgarism ever, bigger than spermface, even, or clithead. It’s that big.

Going big, then going home

The power in a true obscenity is only released when it boggles the mind. As a child, I still remember the first time I heard “cocksuckingmotherfuckingblueballedbitch.” I was six. It was my first day in kindergarten at Booker T. Some kids were talking trash. My brain ground to a halt. “Cocksucking,” I thought. “Is that what I think it is?” Then I listened in amazement as they repeated it. “Motherfucking? Is that what it sounds like?”

A stunning concatenation of images that weren’t even images filled my head as everything went blank. Then, dimly, “Blueballed” rambled in through the haze. “Blue balls? What are those? Mine are white.” I realized that it might mean someone had whacked you so hard in the nuts that they turned blue, like getting a charley-horse. “Wow, that’s gotta hurt.” And then, finally, like a gentle ending at the coda of a great violin concerto, “bitch.” Such an ordinary word…except that everyone knows bitches are girls, and girls don’t have balls, so this is a bitch with blue balls!

That moment when your mind smashes against a powerful obscenity, something truly fitted to make your brain twist and writhe and grapple, that’s the moment you know you’ve hit pay dirt, and that’s what happened the second Wiggsy unleashed “fucking wanker cunt.”

Imagine! “Wanker,” an ordinary enough piece of slang that makes you think of some chubby dude with a hairy navel locking himself into a public restroom stall, combined with “cunt,” a somewhat rough word that, however, can be made slightly less so by adding a “-y” on the end, as in, “Can I have a scoop of chocolate, a scoop of cunty, and some sprinkles mixed in?” tied together with the ordinary enough “fucking” so that it all seems to hang together until…wait!!! Wanker is a man! Cunt is a woman! A woman wanking! A man cunting! Tied together with fucking!

“BRAIN LOSING POWER! GIVE ME MORE POWER MR. SCOTT!”

“I CAN’T CAP’N, SHE’S GIVING ALL SHE’S GOT, IF I ASK FOR MORE SHE’LL BLOW!”

“MORE POWER, MR. SCOTT! THAT’S AN ORDER!”

“SHE CAN’T TAKE ANY MORE, CAP’N! SHE CAN’T!”

And there I’d still be, stalled in permanent brainlock with Mr. Sulu, Lieutenant Uhura, Mr. Spock, and Captain Kirk on the profanity bridge, if my phone hadn’t rung and knocked me out of the infinite obscenity loop.

What this means for the Tour

In addition to p*wning the snot out of Cuddle Evans in the time trail, Wiggsy took the time to explain that he “can’t be doing with” us fucking wanker cunts ┬ábecause it “justifies their own bone idleness.” Now hold on just one danged minute! Did he really say that he can’t “do” us fucking wanker cunts because of our bone idleness?

If I thought Wiggly taking ownership of “fucking wanker cunt” was astounding, the minute he accused us Twitterers of bone idleness, well, that just ended the discussion. Me? Having an idle bone? If he’d send me his mobile number I’d show him “idle.” Idle like a warren of rabbits, pal.

This dude just went from bottom of the poopstack to the top of the heap in my book. He wants to be big dog of nasty language? Take it away, Bradley. This is a chapter in Turdy France history that you will truly get to write on your own. The rest of us will be trailing, helplessly but awed, in your wake. The Tour de Curse is yours by a mile.

And it couldn’t happen to a bigger wanker.

Wankmeister predicts all future Turdy France stages, ever

July 5, 2012 § 11 Comments

I rarely envy the brilliance of others. I figure they worked hard to achieve it, and they were lucky enough to pick the right set of parents, and so they deserve all the glory it reaps.

Sometimes, though, someone says something that’s so profound and amazing that it changes forever the way I see the matter at hand. Take a minute and read this post by Captaintbag.

It’s elegant. It’s eloquent. And like Einstein’s theory of relativity, it reconciles a whole world of disturbing contradictions into a single, comprehensible, unified whole. Upon reading Captaintbag’s simple formula, my first reaction was that “all is now revealed.” My second was envy. My third, disciple-like, is devotion.

Stating the problem

Cycling at the amateur and professional levels has always been riven by two irreconcilable principles. The first is that cycling is sport that should therefore be played according to rules and penalties that apply to all. Sticky water bottle? $75 fine. Blood bags from Dr. Fuentes? Two-year excommunication to the golf course.

The second principle is that winners are deities.

When principles collide

These two principles lead to contradictory phenomena. Fairly applied rules means that cheating will not be rewarded. Deification of winners means that they will be deified, even if they cheat.

In the Newtonian scheme of things, sporting ethics were a constant. The quality of an athlete as a disreputable winner who cheated, or as an honorable loser who played fairly, or as a deified winner who played by the rules, could be determined by the application of immutable sporting ethics as codified by the rules, which themselves were tweaked over time to ensure that new types of play (freakish tt positions, EPO use) comported with the unchanging ethic.

Yet none of it worked. Heroes like Anquetil plainly said that doping was a necessity. Though punished for his refusal to take a dope test after smashing the hour record by having the record stripped, he remained a hero to many, even an honorable one for his refusal to lie about the demands of the sport.

The golden era of cycling, from about 1995 to 2005, was one of superhuman accomplishment driven at the point of a needle. Those most worthy of honor in that pantheon, giants like Hincapie for his record participations in Roubaix and the Tour, stand tarnished. Honorable heroes, yet tarnished cheats.

The Captaintbag theory of relativity solves all

Simply put, the Taintbag Theory of Turdy Tawdriness states that the Tour is a spectacle. Indeed, this is merely a modern restatement of Henri Desgrange’s founding principle, that the Tour is nothing if not an excess.

Sporting ethic has no role in the Tour other than as a pliable handmaiden to the brutish demands of spectacle. The Tour, as Taintbag’s formula expresses, is bloody athletes tangled in barbed wire, drug scandal, horrific crashes, noble sacrifices on cruel Alpine slopes, tragic deaths of children run over by the publicity caravan, voluptuous divas smothering sweat-drenched riders on a blow-up podium, car crashes, motorcycle crashes, snow, ice, rain, unbearable sun, cheating, lies, chicanery, backdoor deals, stage wins bartered and sold like used cars at a swap meet, and everything done on a global stage before thousands of reporters while broadcast to hundreds of millions and commentated by clowns named Sherwen, Liggett, and Roll, characters as outlandish as their outsized, drunken egos.

This, according to the Taintbag Theory of Turdy Tawdriness, is the Tour. It is not right or wrong, good or bad, hero or villain, fair play or foul. It is the violent and bloody and greedy and dollar-soaked and testosterone drenched hand-to-hand combat of crazy puppets, laughed at and cried over, loved and reviled, held tightly and discarded in disgust like just another condom whose duty is done.

Enjoy the taint. Decry the taint. Long live the taint!

Grudging admiration

July 4, 2012 § 4 Comments

Dear Wankmeister:

You were kind of off again on that Peraud dude. Looks like he just flat out sucks.

But sheesh, you were spot on with Humpty Ugly and your prediction that he’d win the field sprunt. Dog. He just ripped ‘em all a new one.

You are such a stud, WM. What’s your call for tomorrow?

Frenchily,
B. Hinault

Dear Badger Dude:

There’s little question that Jean-Christophe Peraud has had some bad luck these past several stages, not least because of the terrible case of septicemia he had a couple of years ago following a bad crash. Tomorrow, however, is a perfect stage for him. Winner of Stage Five: Peraud by a zip code.

The rest of the results are harder to predict. On a historical note, the race ends in Saint-Quentin, the site of Johnny Cash’s legendary live prison performance in 1969. Expect “Orange Blossom Special” and “Jackson” to be blaring along the route, and June Carter Cash to serve as one of the podium girls.

Best of the rest:

Humpty Ugly: He’ll take it again. All of it. In a thundering, gorilla-like, Aryan blast to the line Greipel will put all challengers to the sword after sucking wheel and filing his nails for the entire 197-km route. His lead-out train will be perfect. All others will scramble for crumbs.

Tyler Farrar: Who?

Horseface: Crash out like he did in Stage 3 of the 2012 Giro, Stage 4 of the 2012 Turdy, Stage 4 of the 2010 Tour de Suisse, etc.

Gitcher Stage Four winner here

July 3, 2012 § 6 Comments

Okay, so I didn’t exactly nail it yesterday when I predicted that Jean-Christophe Peraud was gonna bring home the bacon.

On the other hand, it’s a Wednesday night before July the 4th, and instead of being out with friends, hooking up, and letting some studmuffin or hot chick or both lick coke off your nipples, you’re reading a stupid cycling blog. So don’t tell me I’m the loser.

Prediction for Turdy France Stage Four

Stage Four is a repetition of Stage Two, only more so. It’s long. It’s flat. It’s boring. It’s stupid. The only people who will enjoy this are the ones who are actually in France, drunk by 9:00 AM, lying prostrate in a ditch while a studmuffin or hot chick or both licks coke off their nipples. Everyone else who even pretends to care or be interested or, Dog forbid, set aside time to watch this Xanax stage is hopeless.

After carefully analyzing this featureless borefest, here’s my prediction. Take it to the fucking bank: Jean-Christophe Peraud will win the stage and pull on yellow.

Why Peraud? Not because, at age 34, he was the oldest Tour rookie last year by almost a hundred years. Not because he’s a mountain biker and therefore taps out after 45 minutes. Not because of his legendary septicemia that he got after that nasty crash.

No.

Peraud is going to spank the shit out of the competition tomorrow because he’s been training with a cryogenic suit. You know how they froze Ted Williams so they could cure him later, and how except for the fact that his frozen head kept falling on the floor and losing big chunks he was all set to be thawed someday and made good as new?

Well, that’s what the Ag2R Mondiale team has been doing.

“Fuck you, Wankmeister, you’re so full of shit.”

No…FUCK YOU. And after the fucking, read this link. Peraud will be minimally inflamed after the last hard stage finish at Baloney-on-Toast due to the cryotherapy suit. He’s going to rip the panties off the peloton and deliver a world-class fucking. You watch.

The best of the rest

Saggs: He has no hope of a third win. It’s impossible. Forget about it. Why? Because that little fucktard “running salute” he did 300 yards in front of the next dude whose brains were draining out his ear was too hideous. The gods of Anquetil won’t allow that shit for a stage that finishes in Rouen.

Fabs: Another day in yellow. Maybe he’ll buy some better hair pomade with the bonus. Who knows? @mmmaiko doesn’t care, as long as he maket twattle.

Horseface: He’s going to melt quicker than a pat of butter on a cougar’s belly. Then they’ll smear him all over the road.

Humpty Ugly: Humpty will, after injecting three quarts of testosterpoetinruggedmaxxx2 into his butt and thighs, crush the field sprint. No one will come close. His gigantism, wrapped out at 3900 watts, will power the Tour’s telecommunication satellites for the next week. Pay close attention to his left arm, though, as he suppresses that Dr. Strangelove “achtung” salute with his right hand.

Mullet: Crash. Lose 2-3 minutes waiting for a bike change. Get all nervous and upset and start doing butterfly strokes in the nearby ditch. Regret hiring a swimming coach for his doping program.

Check in tomorrow to see how right I am. Winning!

Sex, Lies, and Handlebar Tape

June 2, 2012 § 5 Comments

Yes, that’s really the name of a book. It was ranked #50 by Cycle Sport magazine in a listing of the greatest cycling books of all time.

I don’t know about you, but “great” is a pretty big word. The most interesting cycling books of all time? Okay. The 50 cycling books I’ve been given for Christmas/birthday because no one knew what else to get me? That’s fine. The best cycling books of all time? Uh, okay, maybe. But “great”? Great cycling books? Is there even one? Has there ever been a page, or a paragraph, or a sentence that was ever written about cycling that qualifies as “great”?

Great is a heavy word when attached to “book.” I’m thinking Joyce. Dickens. The complete words of Shakespeare. Idyssey. Oliad. The Socratic dialogues. Goodnight Moon. You know, the shit that’s going to still be read long after Romney gets elected and we all have to wear magic Mormon underpants.

So, I can save you some effort, some heavy lifting, and some spare change.

“Sex, Lies, and Handlebar Tape” by Paul Howard is not a great book. It’s not even a good book. If the standard is “great,” we’d have to dig down pretty deep into the “crappy shit thrown together by a fanboy posing as a writer” pile in order to properly peg this one. Still, if you happen to be a jocksniffer or a fanboy posing as a writer, this book is worth a read. Which is another way of saying I, who am both, enjoyed it.

The perhaps next to greatest cyclist of all time

The greatest is Merckx, followed by Fausto Coppi and/or Jacques Anquetil. This book is about Anquetil.

Jacques Anquetil was French. I told George Pomel that I was reading about Anquetil and he immediately corrected my pronunciation. It’s not “an” like in “flan,” but rather “an” as in “angioplasty.” So, as Knoll would say, there’s that.

Anquetil was from Normandy, where, we learn at the end of the book, it was pretty common for fathers to fuck their stepchildren and raise the child/grandchild as their legitimate offspring. Who knew? I thought we invaded the goddamned place to lock up all the Camembert cheese and kick out the fucking Nazis, but apparently it was also to preserve the rights of the father, kind of like in Tennessee, where “My pa’s my grandpa.”

Anquetil was a lusty old dude. He fornicated a lot before settling down to the quiet life of a child rapist. He fornicated with a married gal named Jeanine who already had two kids. She divorced her husband, married Pere Jacques, and took her two kids to live with him. Their names are Alain and Annie. Time comes and goes and Annie starts looking kind of pert to goaty ol’ Jacques. So, with Jeanine’s agreement, he starts fucking little Annie. She’s eighteen, and he’s raised her from childhood. They have a kid.

After twelve years, Annie decides that having ol’ Turdy France come wallop her in the bed before going into the next room to sleep the rest of the night with her mom isn’t working out for her. So she splits. Pere Jacques gets pissed. In order to make her come back and start fucking him again, he starts fucking the wife of Annie’s brother, Alain. Alain’s not cool with that, so he splits. Amazingly, Anquetil’s tactic of fucking the runaway bride’s sister in-law doesn’t coerce Annie to come back. Women.

Pere Jacques humps Dominique for a while then croaks. It’s not often that someone will fuck off and die quite so literally. But he did.

Misrepresentation

Happily, Anquetil’s sordid bedroom arrangements and child raping are left til the end of the story, and make up only a small part of the book. Unhappily, the title promises “Sex, Lies” first, and “Handlebar Tape” last, so we think we’re getting, like, two-thirds 50 Shades of Grey fuckpiece and one-third boring cycling shit, but wind up instead with three-fourths dreary recounting of Anquetil’s cycling career and one-fourth of his lurid evilty.

Like every champion before pro cyclists became coddled pussies, Anquetil’s story is interchangeable. He was born a peasant. He got a bike. He ripped everyone’s fucking legs off. He took more drugs than a Palmdale tweaker. He whupped ass in a bunch of famous races. He time trialed off the charts. He suffered like a dog. He raced in freezing rain. He had horrific crashes. He raced in blinding heat. He climbed. He sprinted. He was a weird dude.

Things that made him different

Fanboys and jocksniffers love to make their boy out to be different, point to his early upbringing, or his huge VO2 max, or some anomalous characteristic or physical quality that made him the champ. Fact is, they’re all freak motherfuckers who can keep suffering after everyone else quits. Pretty simple.

The real distinctions have squat to do with athleticism, and Anquetil was no different. He ate freaky shit during, before, and after races. He drank beer during races. He was a complete alcoholic. He partied like a madman until the wee hours, and still would get up and kick the snot out of Poulidor. He liked farming and animal husbandry and fucking his children and their spouses.

Great cycling book? Nope. Quick read about one twisted bastard? Yep.

Enjoy. Or not. By Paul Howard, available on Amazon as a Kindle download.

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