May 19, 2014 § 36 Comments
It started about three years ago when Surfer Dan showed up on a ride with stubble. Leg stubble. Being a hairy chap, a week later it was a solid coating of fuzz. By month’s end his legs were furry. Gorilla furry. Cavewoman furry. It was the most daring fashion statement anyone in the South Bay had ever made, and it sent shock waves through the peloton. What was worse, we all waited for the inevitable collapse in his cycling performance.
Everyone knows that hairy legs slow you down, lots. People have known this since the 1900’s, when early bike racers tested their legs in wind tunnels. With his hairy legs, it was just a matter of time before Surfer Dan would start getting dropped on group rides, dropped on the climbs, dropped in the crits he never raced, and dropped in the individual time trials.
Oddly, it never happened. Even with all that hair down there, he continued to break legs, put hard legs in the breaks, and remain the alpha Big Orange Cat 3 Who Should Be a Cat 2 Sandbagger.
It wasn’t long before Cavendish followed, and then Wiggins. Although not quite daring to go hairless down there, the British Duo began showing up at real bicyle races with facial hair, even though the old Romagna di Corleone Wind Tunnel tests from the early 1900’s showed that the only thing worse than leg hair was facial hair. (Experts will also tell you that having a smooth visage facilitates face massages, and, when you fall on your face and tear off your lips coming down Las Flores after writing a book about how to descend properly, the absence of facial hair allows the easier application of Tegaderm, etc.)
The inescapable conclusion is that it is now okay to ride your bike with hairy legs and furry face. Apparently the data from the mule-drawn wind tunnel of those early days was wrong: it is possible to ride a bicycle fast, or even fastly, certainly fast-ish, without shaving.
This presents a dilemma of sorts. If you let the hair grow out and enjoy the feeling of the breeze ruffling through the thicket in your thighs you will have to explain to everyone at work how it’s now OKAY and how it DOESN’T MEAN YOU’RE A FRED and most importantly that YOU ARE STILL A FAST BICYCLE RACER. The first few weeks it will, however, be helpful to bring all your medals, ribbons, trophies, juice boxes, etc. to the office if you haven’t already just so people don’t forget that YOU ARE STILL LEGIT.
On the other hand, if you continue with your shaving ways you’ll have to continue that funny pose in the shower where you twist backwards while holding onto the soap dish while not throwing out your lower back as you try to get the little patch of incipient fuzz on those two tendon thingies behind your knee without slipping and ending up in the trauma ward.
For myself, I’m following the lead of Surfer Dan, G3, Wiggo, and the Manx Banana. Henceforth the only razor you’ll find in my medicine cabinet is Racer 5. For those who are on the fence, by going full hair you have nothing to lose but your ingrown red hair follicles about mid-thigh that get infected from sweat and bacteria and end up looking like you rubbed your crotch in an ant mound when you stand there in the mirror sucking in your gut while trying to get the abdomimals to poke out from underneath the protective layer of chub.
May 11, 2012 § 2 Comments
I swore I wouldn’t waste even a second of my time writing about “L’Affaire du Sprint” involving Ferrari, Horseface, The Anointed One, and the other riders who fell down in the gallop to the line at the end of Stage 3 in the 2012 Giro d’Italia. But then again, I’m an inveterate liar.
As is usual in such cases, the most eloquent explanations come from those involved. Before we get to that, however, let’s review a few basic rules of field sprinting in major races.
Rule 1: If you cross the line first, you win.
Rule 2: Everyone else doesn’t win.
Rule 3: If you fall down, you’re an idiot.
Rule 4: If you make someone else fall down, you might get punished. Or you might wind up with Rule 1 and a contract renewal.
Rule 5: Field sprinters win by sprinting in proximity to lots of other crazily flailing madmen. They take enormous risks to do so and invariably crash. It’s their job.
Rule 6: There is no prize for “Non-winner with the best excuse for not winning.”
Rule 7: Everyone is crazy mad dangerous can’t hold a fucking line in a sprint except you.
Recap: Roberto Ferrari swerved in the sprint and knocked down Horseface, The Anointed One, and a bunch of people who don’t matter because they’re not Horseface or The Anointed One.
This type of thing never happens in pro cycling, especially in big races, well, okay, it happens rarely, really rarely, like hardly ever. For example:
Stage 22, TdF 1991, li’l mix-up
Stage 4, TdSuisse 2010, Horseface brings down the house
Stage 11, TdF 2010, Whingey shows “respect” with head-butt
Schildeprijs 2009, uh, BAM!
Stage 1, Eneco Tour 2009, dude in orange “holds his line”…but the line is about 6-ft. wide
Stage 10, VaE 1994, Cipo changes lanes into barriers…oops
Stage 7, Tirreno-Adriatico 1999, shoulder check, launch, and bike toss
When I used to whine like this, I got a whipping
“Because things are changing in the peloton, there’s not the respect that there used to be. That means there’s a lot more crashes…a sprint team wants to stay at the front, and a sprint team is fighting with a GC team. If every team tries to stay together and stay at the front it becomes more of a stress.” Mark Cavendish
In other words, the sprint stages should only be contested by the “sprint” teams. The “GC” teams should leave Cav alone. It’s his stage, dude. Gots his name on it. Oh, and what exactly is a “GC” team? A team that shouldn’t be bothering with minor things like stage wins? And what about “GC” teams that also have “sprint” teams, like, uh…Horseface’s squad and Garmacuda? Or is this another one of those unwritten rule deals, where riders are just supposed to “know” when they can contest a stage? But it gets better…
“Since Highroad fell apart, there seems to be a lot less respect for each team during the leadout. On Monday we saw Sky try and take control and yet still there were riders coming underneath on the corners. When Highroad was in action, other teams would base their sprint on riding off the back of us and their tactic was to wait until the last minute. This year it’s a case of going to the front and if it’s detrimental to the team doing the lead out, then it doesn’t seem to matter.” Mark Renshaw
In other words, when Sky or Garmacuda or Rabobank goes to the front with a fancy lead-out train, sit back and let them fucking win. Just like last year. It’s called “respect.” What would these pathetic, cowering whiners have done if they’d had to face someone like Abdoujaparov? Besides poop in their shorts, I mean.
“Ouch! Crashing at 75kph isn’t nice! Nor is seeing Roberto Ferrari’s manoeuvre. Should be ashamed to take out Pink, Red & World Champ jerseys.” Mark Cavendish
Dangerous sprinting is bad, but dangerous sprinting that knocks down really important riders is worse, because, you know, they’re really important. Also, as the Red and World Champ jersey, he’s two people, so it’s like, doubly bad. Of course, nothing wrong with shooting cute little “victory fuck you’s” to your adoring public, sponsors, TV cameras, families with small children…nothing wrong with that.
“Is the team of Roberto Ferrari or the UCI going to do the right thing? Other riders, including myself, have been sent home for much less.” Mark Cavendish
Really? I Googled “Mark Cavendish expulsion/expelled/disqualified/disqualification/sent home” and found nothing indicating that he’d ever been expelled from a pro race. And what brand of crack is he smoking? People get expelled from the Giro for doping, like Pantani, or disqualified, like Contador. People get expelled for deliberate cheating, like Gerald Froome last year when he held onto a motorcycle to deliver him up to a feed zone. Dangerous sprinting gets you a relegation. Check this out from Stage 17 of the 2011 Giro, which involved actual one-armed punching and hitting in the sprint. There’s no “dual track,” where you get relegated for knocking down a domestique, but disqualified for knocking down Pink/Red/Rainbow jerseys.
Horseface would like different rules for himself…wouldn’t we all?