May 24, 2017 § 26 Comments
If there is a lamer sport than pro cycling, I hope to never watch it. Because the most exciting, dramatic, challenging, lungbusting leg of cycling’s most legendary stage race was decided today by a poopy diaper.
Say it isn’t so. And even if you say it isn’t so, Laurens Ten Dam will: “I think you all saw what happened on television, right? He had to shit,” said Ten Dam, commenting on the decisive move in the race, a move which involved the lower gastrointestinal tract.
How can you explain that to Grandma? She understands the vague basics behind the Cubbies, the Patriots, and the Spurs. “One team won because the other team scored more points, Grandma.”
“Oh, I see,” she says, briefly looking up from her knitting to see a tall, athletic looking fellow named Flubbs or Crowley or Hockinspittle doing something athletic with a ball. Everyone roars and the points on the scoreboard change. She goes back to her knitting until you prod her again. She looks up, new numbers. Even Grandma gets it. The nice fellows in the yellow suits got more points than the other nice fellows in the blue suits, so they won.
Contrast that with yesterday’s Giro d’Italia. “Hey, look Grandma! The fellow whose name I can’t pronounce just took off his shorts and is crapping behind a bush! Now the others are attacking! The decisive bowel movement of the race has begun!”
Grandma doesn’t look up, she looks away, mortified that you watch such filth, and unable to understand how pooping behind a bush is a sport. “Don’t they have port-a-potties for that?” she asks. “Even though it’s Italy?”
Then you fall into a long explanation about the “etiquette” of pro cycling, and whether those behind in the GC who are now off the front have an obligation to wait for the race leader like Tortellini did in ’37 when Effluvia, who was in the lead by ten seconds, flatted on the Mortirolo, and then on the descent in the ice storm when Fettucine slid out and fell off the 1,000-meter cliff, Effluvia, who had regained the lead, sent his sister’s third cousin Panini back to hoist Fettucine out of the crevasse, and as the patron of the peloton Effluvia then ordered Tagliatelle, Linguine, and Spätzle to slow the tempo until Fettucine regained the peloton and was able to help his team leader Tortellini, who had broken a fork and needed help with the bellows to fire up the forge down in the village in order to repair his bike. But after this gallant gesture, when Tortellini rejoined the leaders, he attacked Effluvia, who had stopped to complete some masonry on a cathedral, and ended up winning the stage and the race by a mere eleven seconds, which was almost exactly the amount of time that Effluvia had had when he flatted back at the bottom of the Mortirolo. And therefore, cycling tifosi have argued ever since about exactly when it is appropriate to win the race with a heroic attack and when it is instead appropriate to quit racing and let the other guy win because of random dumb luck. “That’s the whole thing about etiquette in cycling, Grandma,” you say.
“If they had any etiquette at all they wouldn’t be doing their business on the side of the road, and the t.v. certainly wouldn’t be broadcasting it,” Grandma says angrily. “And why does everyone in the race sound like the menu at the Olive Garden?”
As usual, Grandma is always right.
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February 2, 2017 § 26 Comments
Seriously, there is so much going on nowadays to make you feel rotten. We’re in the middle of a slo-mo coup d’etat, ruled by a man so insane that Kim Jong-Dong looks normal. Every day we lose 37 civil rights and a whole new sector of the population gets put on the drone assassination list.
This makes us squishy libs really angsty, really, it does, and it makes the racist Cheeto lovers angry, too, because even though they got their Hitler, the fact that they hate blacks, Mexicans, Muslims from Muslania, civil rights, and democracy means that they were in a terrible mood even before all this started.
So when I got this book in the mail the other day I was plunged into deeper despair. Why would I want to read a book about bicycling? I’d written one a few years ago and what else was there to say?
Plus, it was about pro cycling, the lowest form of life and the most hopeless career choice in the world today, with the possible exception of being this administration’s presidential hair stylist and skin tinter.
But there were other problems, starting with the title, “Ask a Pro.” Ask him what? Why he didn’t yet have a real job? Why he was still riding a bicycle and calling it work? It didn’t make sense to me that there could be more than one or two questions that any normal person could ask a pro, and neither requires a response.
So I did the thing that I always do with unsolicited gifts from kind people, which is toss it in the trash. However, our trash can is a paper bag with the edges folded down, and every evening our grandson comes over, goes straight to the trash bag, dumps it over, and strews shit all over the living room. This time, when I picked up the book to throw it away again, it was laying on its back, and the back looks like this:
That’s when I noticed the line “Advance Reader Copy for Media Use Only.”
“Oh my dog,” I thought. “Phil thinks I’m media. He’s mailing me this book so I can review it and hopefully say nice things about it and maybe even write something on my blog so that my two dedicated readers will tell their two dedicated readers who will tell their two dedicated readers and soon it will be a billion-seller and he won’t have had to do anything but tell the publisher to spend $1.50 on postage.”
I sighed with much sadness as I contemplated how little he knew about my media credentials, and about how, as an ethical person immune to bribes like free books, I could never say something positive about such an obviously awful book. Plus, in the interest of mostly full disclosure, I’d have to tell my readers about that time I crushed Phil on the Holiday Ride at that stop light on San Vicente.
This was a super tricky race and one of my best days on the bike. Phil was barely able to stay seated, as you can see from the way he’s not really on his saddle. My rear light was jarred off to the side due to the incredible power I put down that day. Anyway, I’m pretty proud of that finish and you’ll agree it was pretty stand-up of me not to embarrass him by posting up. But anyway, back to his “book” (you can PayPal me $50 and I will autograph this for you, you’re welcome).
BOOK REVIEW OF “ASK A PRO” BY PHIL GAIMON, ALLEGED PRO, THOUGHTFULLY REVIEWED BY SETH DAVIDSON WHO TOTALLY OWNED THE ALLEGED PRO AT THAT STOP LIGHT ON THE HOLIDAY RIDE THAT ONE TIME
Let’s start with the book’s obvious failings. First of all, you’re laughing starting from the dedication page. How do you think this makes me feel? Do you know how hard I worked to make MY book funny? Why does this guy get to start with a funny dedication?
Anyway, moving along. Worst thing about the book is that it’s hilarious. You might think that’s a good thing, but I don’t. It really makes me feel terrible to see a dude train a hundred hours a week and just write shit in between flights and crank out a side-bustingly funny book whereas here I’m chained to this stupid computer for years on end bloviating bullshit for $2.99 a month and even my mom doesn’t think it’s funny. Really. Check the comments, especially the one where she told me I cuss too much.
For fuck’s sake, mom!!
Okay, so the book is really funny. I will give him that. Okay, really, really funny. Like, “people look at you funny because it’s that funny” funny.
And I give him that it’s an easy read. Quick, lots of laughs, well written. Okay, okay.
And I’ll give him the insight. There’s a lot of insight here. Okay, check the “insight” box for fuck’s sake.
But you know what really crushes me?
The book is a subversive “tell all” about why you’ll never be a pro even if Phil tells you how to be a pro by detailing what food he eats, how he sets his saddle, and that thing about the time he got lost in Bangkok and woke up in a hotel room tied to a dead elephant (really the funniest part of the whole book). His subversive message about pro cycling, even as he answers your questions, is this:
- You’re old.
- You’re slow.
- It’s not all it’s cracked up to be.
- Please go enjoy your life.
This is totally subversive because the book is a compilation of columns published over a span of years in a bike magazine whose message is:
- Older = faster!
- Go faster with more purchases!
- You’d be happier if you were a Pro Tour rider!
Crammed into the one-liners, the funny stories, the non-sequiturs, and the fart/shit/piss jokes, Phil Gaimon also demonstrates formidable writing skills. He’s coy about it at times, but it doesn’t take much effort to see that there is a lot of work, a lot of skill, a lot of talent, and old-school craftsmanship in the way he handles a universe of stupid, smart, and downright hilarious questions.
In his self-effacing way he also drills home how hard the job is, how uncertain it is, how dangerous it is, but how, like a Picasso painting where the nose is pushed over against the back of the head and the ears abut the neck, it all kind of hangs together in a pretty cool way.
Unless you’re a pretend auteur with thin skin who has also written a cycling book and whose envy is easily aroused, you’ll enjoy the hell out of this book, laugh a lot, forget for an hour or two that we’re about to be plunged into slavery and nuclear war, and most importantly, you’ll be fired up to register for Phil’s grand fondue this year. Anybody who writes this well about something this ridiculous is, as Stern-O would say, the real deal.
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July 11, 2016 § 20 Comments
In the past, if you googled “Chris Froome” and “panache” you would get articles about how “Froome has no panache.”
If you googled “Chris Froome” and “robotic” your computer would smoke, then break.
On the first mildly hilly stage of this year’s Turdy France, which included the Col d’Fuzzy, the Col Gate, and the Col d’Peine en la Sourde, Chris Froome, the eternal robot, the marginally gained volcano doper, the pre-planned, Excel spreadsheeted, laboratory refined, data driven starer-of-stems ripped a page from the actual sport of bike racing and won in glorious fashion, gloriously, with much glory.
He attacked on a crazy descent that hit speeds of up to 56 mph.
He descended on his top tube.
He pedaled like a bent cricket, or like PeeWee Herman –video courtesy of METAL Andrew Danly And Never Middle Name Sadness.
He caught everyone with their pants not only down, but with their hands on their, uh, suspenders and their thumbs jammed up their, uh, noses.
Then he won the race, snatched a dozen seconds from his future podium mates, and pulled on the yellow jersey.
Not bad for a robot.
In fact, it was an incredible move. Froome had little to gain, and everything to lose. Seated in a position designed to maximize speed and minimize control while bombing a gonzo descent, had he flubbed a turn, had he rolled a tire (some riders rolled tubulars due to the scorching road temperatures), had he hit an oil spot, had he had a flat or a mechanical or a twig in his spokes or a kink in his pancreas, ANYTHING, he would have crashed out of the Tour.
And with that he would have become the biggest Tour Goat of all time. They would have to come up with a new Goat Jersey to commemorate the biggest smelly steaming lump of oatmeal ever to lose a bike race. No one would ever forget it, no matter how many wins he subsequently racked up.
To call it a big gamble doesn’t even begin to capture the gutsiness of the move. Perhaps tired of being a robot, he lashed out, took the risk of all risks, and pulled it off.
Keep in mind that this type of nads-out racing rarely even happens among racers who are behind the leader and who truly do have nothing to lose. It’s unthinkable for the guy who had the Tour won by simply following the competition and kicking butt on a couple of climbs and in a time trial or two.
Nice job, Chrissy. I sure wish your programmers would let you race your bike a little bit more often. Because when they unsnap the leash, you ride pretty damned good.
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July 6, 2016 § 23 Comments
Le Turdy France has become a big, steaming pot of tasteless oatmeal. Average Joe thinks it’s boring and stupid. Hobby bicycle people think it’s boring and stupid. Profamateur Cat 4 underwear models think it’s boring and stupid. And now, in a new twist, even the riders think it’s boring and stupid.
This is like David Lee Roth admitting that he can’t sing. Everyone knows it’s true, but why’d ya have to come out and SAY it?
Various reasons have been put forth to explain the mind-numbing boredom that sets in after just a few minutes of watching terribly underfed chickens, bones poking through their underwear, slam into motorcycles that have no business on the course. Here are the biggies that have oatmealized Le Tour:
- Robots. No one enjoys watching robots.
- Chris Froome. If you’re going to dope up a robot, make him handsome, like Eddy or Lance or Fabian.
- Radios. If you don’t think radios remove all excitement and fun, look at the average 8-year-old from a rich helicopter-parent family that controls his every move.
- Gore. Pro underwear racing is dangerous beyond belief. There aren’t enough sick people who enjoy bloodshed, closed head injuries, and Hoogerland meat-shredding in the general population (NASCAR excepted) to get pleasure out of this choreographed slaughterhouse.
- Power data. Use a power meter for three weeks and tell me how much it has increased the joy and spontaneity in your cycling.
- Freak show. We know they’re volcano doping because they’re riding faster now than they did in the EPO Era. Yawwwwwn.
- Dentist chair syndrome. What is already miserable is worse because it’s so long. It takes three weeks to find out which doper climbs one mountain faster than his podium rivals by two minutes? Really?
- France. We can’t stand another castle viewed from a chopper. We just can’t.
- Yellow. Check your comic books, especially anything with the Two-Gun Kid. Yellow is the color for chickens and cowards. “Why, you yaller-bellied varmint, I’ma gonna fill you plumb full of lead.”
- Names. Most Euro names are too hard to pronounce. No red-blooded American will watch a sport with names that don’t sound like “Ruth” or “Aaron.” “Gretzky” gets a pass because he was, you know, not bad.
So after reviewing these terrible problems, I’ve taken the old admonition to heart that “You shouldn’t raise problems if you don’t have solutions.” Here they are:
- Humans. Make the Tour open to actual humans. Hairy legged, pot-bellied, flatulent couch potatoes welcome! It will be awesome to watch your Uncle Fred out on his bike for the first time since 1973 struggle up the ONLY STAGE IN THE TOUR, L’Alpe d’Huez.
- Give Chris Froome his own race. He’ll be the only participant and he will win every year. We’ll call it the Tour de Froome. That way he can eat a few thousand cheeseburgers, stop volcano doping, and look human again.
- Coach ride-behinds. Don’t ban radios, but make the schlumpy DS’s follow along on their bicycles instead of in a follow car. If they still have the lungs to shout instructions from 30 miles back while climbing L’Alpe, more power to them. If half of them keel over, no worries. Your average DS can be replaced with a 3rd-Grade dropout drug addict dope dealer.
- Moto licensing. Require anyone who wants to follow or mix with Le Tour on a motorcycle to pass a certification test that involves wrestling hungry tigers. Survivors will be required to pass a crash dummy test where they are slammed into the back of a truck going downhill at 50. Successful applicants can safely follow the peloton from 100 miles back.
- Strava. Require all riders who use power in the race to post up better numbers than Thorfinn-Sassquatch. Those who fail will have their power meters confiscated.
- Bike motors. Since we’re letting Uncle Fred race Le Tour, which now only has one stage, everyone who’s not a doper or professional underwear model gets a bike motor. Who wouldn’t enjoy watching Nairo Quintana getting dropped by a fellow whose shorts stop halfway up the San Andreas Fault buttcrack?
- Cut Le Tour. One stage. 35 miles. Winner takes all. In alternate years it will be held around Chris Lotts’s parking lot crit course in Compton.
- Expand the meaning of “France.” The world has lots of cool places to see. In non-Compton years, stick Le Tour in guaranteed bike-friendly places like Palos Verdes Estates, San Bernardino, or Houston.
- Black and red. Those are some winning colors. Black for “aggression,” red for “blood.”
- Americanize. Remember how in your Spanish class in junior high Mrs. Simon gave everyone a Spanish name (mine was “Francisco,” and I loved it). Give all the riders American names. Peter Sagan is Pete Smith. Roman Kreuziger is Robbie Johnson. Fabian Cancellara is John Davis. Nairo Quintan is Bill Jones. Chris Froome is Suzy Small. You get the idea.
And yes, you’re welcome.
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June 4, 2016 § 6 Comments
In Italy they are describing Vincenzo Nibali’s comeback and Giro d’Italia victory as one of the greatest comebacks in professional cycling. Cycling in the South Bay sat down with Nibs to get the skinny on this most incredible, amazing, unbelievable, hard-to-swallow, astonishing, fact-defying, physiologically impossible, doubtful, suspicious, believable if you’re a complete fool, impressive and astounding victory
CitSB: How’d you do it?
Nibs: It was a miracle, a holy gift from above.
CitSB: A week to go in the race and you had crumbled, your bid was in ruins after losing 37 seconds on the big Dolomite stage to Corvara, and then you collapsed quicker than a Trump quote run through Fact-Check, losing close to two minutes in the mountain time trial to Alpe di Siusi.
Nibs: It was the depth of defeat, I had lost everything, the Holy Father was up all night praying in the sadness.
CitSB: Then you pulled a wanker move of the highest order, losing a further 1:47 on the relatively easy mountain stage to Andalo, a stage that, frankly, my grandmother could have beaten you on.
Nibs: It was zero, nothing, niente, everyone was stepping on my testicles. To bed every night, crying like the baby with dry teat.
CitSB: You seemed close to throwing in the towel and quitting the race. What was going on?
Nibs: I had the problem with my forma, everyt’ing in destitution, length of crank, motivazione, but it was over for me.
CitSB: So what happened?
Nibs: My team manager Alexander Vinokourov told me to pray to the Baby Jesus and only do the pan y agua and he go to Kazakhstan on special overnight trip and come back with special vitamin drink made from root of lubbertink.
CitSB: Root of lubbertink?
Nibs: Special Kazakhstan magic herb to replenish precious bodily fluids.
Nibs: Comes in special Kazakh plastic bag with I.V. drip.
CitSB: I see. That “magic herb.”
Nibs: I know what you t’inking. I have the two giant stages in the Alps and am out of the gasoline. How Nibali he can win? Dat’s what you t’inking. Nibali he doping shit-ass. Dat’s what you t’inking. Nibali cheat-ass doping cheat-ass bici lying volcano-doping shit-ball, dat’s what you t’inking.
CitSB: Well, yes.
Nibs: Itsa root of lubbertink and Sicilian pride and instinct, and destiny child when Kruijswijk fall off his bici onto head, putting Dutchman in trouble and bandage. I believe in my resurrection and complete masterpiece by dropping Chaves on the Colle della Lombarda like smelly sack of turd off tall cliff.
CitSB: Physiologically it doesn’t add up. One week you can’t pedal, then in the hardest week of the race you grow wings.
Nibs: Itsa look funny but I gotta trust Vino. He know how to pull the pepper outta the sausage.
CitSB: Anything else?
Nibs: Pan y agua and Sicilian pride.
CitSB: And root of lubbertink.
Nibs: And root of lubbertink.
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April 19, 2016 § 17 Comments
Pierre Fauntleroy de Brinvilliers, head analyst for the Departemente du Dopage Mechanique at the UCI, announced a breakthrough today that will allow the world’s governing body for cycling to effectively combat the use of hidden mechanical devices in the pro peloton.
“We have expended many euros in the fight against dopage mechanique, employing only the best experts to assist in discovery of the technique the most effective for prevention of the dopage mechanique,” explained de Brinvilliers at a press conference earlier today.
According to de Brinvilliers, his team has discovered “a variety incroyable” of secret devices that allow riders to go faster. “Eet is beyond l’imagination, how zees professionelles are cheating the sport and the fans, and l’investigation suggests many are complicit, yes, with an emphasis especiale on les manufacturers, who eet appears are working hands in their gloves to promote l’cheating avec these cheating cheateurs who cheat.”
Using many of the same staff members who have led the UCI’s successful fight against traditional doping in cycling, the UCI has now mounted an equally vigorous assault on the scourge of mechanical doping. In addition to recruiting Tom Danielson, David Millar, and other respected ex-professionals to assist with public outreach, de Brinvilliers has assembled “le foremost equipage d’experts technicale in the entire world” to “detect and destroy” all “vestiges of dopage mechanique.”
At the press conference, the UCI’s Technical Division revealed the first results of their unannounced inspections. “We have gathered proof that virtually 100% of the peloton is now using dopage mechanique; initial inspections revealed widespread cheating, even on training rides,” according to Chief Inspector of Mechanical Doping, Jacques Clouseau, who presented photos of an array of doping devices discovered by his undercover squad.
“This first item,” said Clouseau, “is of undetermined function but is cleverly hidden in the rear of the bicycle. Our laboratory is performing tests to understand how it adds power and speed, allowing cyclists to cheat.”
“This next item,” he added, “is perhaps more diabolical. Preliminary tests show that rather than adding speed, it appears to reduce it, which is counterintuitive, however, our working hypothesis is that by reducing speed illegally at certain points, perhaps, such as bends in the road, it provides secret and illegal methods of allowing the rider to accelerate later, which he would not be able to do if, for example, he smashed into the curb and broke his head.”
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February 12, 2016 § 25 Comments
Sheikh Wahabbi al-Wasabi, the Honorable Righteous and Mostly Correct High Potentate of Earth’s Supremely Splendiferous Royal Realm of Qatar, has followed up his ban of the Etixx-QuickStep pro team for “disciplinary reasons” with a concurrent ban of all women racers who, according to Sheikh Wasabi, “Are currently experiencing, have experienced, or plan to experience at some point in the future the Unmentionable Thing Of Women Not Spoken Of By The Righteous And Holy,” i.e. that which Donald Trump scientifically refers to as “coming from their whatever.”
Cycling in the South Bay caught up with Sheik al-Wasabi just after the sixteenth prayer session of the day in the High Holiest Mosque al-Wasabi of Earth’s Supremely Splendiferous Royal Realm of Qatar to talk about gender equality, the Etixx-QuickStep ban, and why anyone should give two shits about a religion that makes you wear a hat.
CitSB: First, what’s up with banning Etixx-QuickStep from the Tour of Qatar?
AW: As we said in the press release, they take too much time to change their shoes. This is rudeness to Allah.
CitSB: It is?
AW: Very much. And last year we sent a special lady to hurry them up and they talked to her not in a very nice way.
CitSB: What kind of “very special lady?” Was she wearing fishnet stockings?
AW: She was honorable fifteenth pre-pubescent wife of Secondarily Greatest Plumbing and Hotel Infrastructure Manager of Earth’s Supremely Splendiferous Royal Realm of Qatar, Sheikh Wahabbi al-Hamachi. The riders spake rudely, most rudely.
CitSB: What did they say?
AW: She was told to cough.
CitSB: Cough? What’s rude about that?
AW: We are unclear as to this matter, however, His Excellency the Supreme Translator of English Words and Foodstuffs of Earth’s Supremely Splendiferous Royal Realm of Qatar, Sheikh Wahabbi al-Maguro, insists it was great rudeness to insist that the special lady cough.
CitSB: Well, I’ve heard lots of insults, but “Cough!” isn’t one of them.
AW: It was preceded by the “Fuh.”
AW: Sheikh Wahabbi al-Maguro, His Excellency the Supreme Translator of English Words and Foodstuffs of Earth’s Supremely Splendiferous Royal Realm of Qatar, insists that the “fuh cough” is a great rudeness. We will soon discover how this differs from other coughs and begin disciplinary proceedings and jihad and fatwah and etcetera against the infidel Belgians, but until then we shall ban them for shoe-changing slowness and the fuh cough blasphemy from participating in the Most Supreme and Challenging Display of Human Triumph in the Jewel of the Desert at the Bicycle Tour of Earth’s Supremely Splendiferous Royal Realm of Qatar.
CitSB: Moving on. I understand there are some problems with the women’s race?
AW: This matter is not mentionable by the Utmost of Holy Men.
CitSB: Could you give me a hint?
AW: As was decreed by the Holiest Imam Under The Skirts Of Allah, Sheikh Wahabbi al-Uni, first the lady racers shall be always covered of head and body with great modesty.
CitSB: Uh, I don’t know how much time you’ve spent around women bike racers, but “lady” isn’t exactly the right word here. I mean, when’s the last time you saw a lady blow a snot rocket?
AW: We are unfamiliar with such weaponry.
CitSB: No, no, a snot rocket isn’t a weapon, it’s a, uh, never mind. Anyway. So how are the women gonna race with turbans and long dresses and those facemask-garbage bag things over their heads?
AW: This matter was resolved by His Occasional Greatness Sheikh Wahabbi al-California Roll, who rules all dictates of the lady clothing especially the linen that touches the parts that the holy do not mention yet are treasured in personal collections and worn at special occasions. Sheikh al-California Roll has decreed that for the lady racers, all competition would be done in a stately and processional fashion so as not create exertion or unsightly perspiration or huffing and puffing reminiscent of unmentionable acts which the holy typically only view on select video download web sites.
CitSB: I see.
AW: When it was brought to our attention that in addition to shoe-changing rudeness of the men, many of the lady racers would potentially experience uncleanliness, we canceled their race or offered to let them race in a stately fashion but if the unmentionable occurred we would be forced to penalize them with beatings and whippings unclothed and perhaps prison and a loss of earnings.
CitSB: Which you’ll record on video with your pals, naturally.
AW: But of course.
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