April 13, 2018 § 8 Comments
I vaguely remember when Peter Sagan became famous, and I remember hearing that he was from Slovakia. I have always had an allergy to all those Balkan and Eastern European countries. Once you leave Germany everything was very vague, and the Slavic countries were the vaguest.
Those “over there” countries included Slovakia, Slovenia, Czech Republic, Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Serbia, Macedonia, not to mention Poland, Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, and of course Hungary, which is like Turkey in that you wonder, “Why did the Turks name their country after our Thanksgiving bird? And why did the Hungarians name their country after a ravenous feeling in the pit of the stomach?”
So I didn’t pay any attention to Slovakia, Peter Sagan’s native land, because, well, how can you pay attention to a country you can’t even find on the map?
How times change
Nowadays I’m very invested in Slovakia. Three days a week I sit down at my computer and take Slovak lessons with real, honest-to-goodness Slovaks in Slovakia speaking Slovak. In me they have found a butcher of the beautiful Slovak tongue. In them I have found out about Sagan. And one thing you learn pretty quickly is that Peter Sagan is a big deal in Slovakia along the lines of saying UY Scuti is a big deal in the constellation Scutum.
Slovakia has about 5.4 million people, roughly 40% of the population of the greater L.A. metro area, and is only about 20% larger in area. And unlike Los Angeles, which has a surfeit of famous athletes to spread around among those millions, Slovakia’s list of superstars is considerably shorter, and its only truly world-conquering athlete ever is Peter Sagan.
So it’s pretty easy to see how things like Sagan’s baby became a riveting national story. And being a student of Slovak, I now get a front row seat to the show.
Most charming athlete ever?
When you listen to Sagan speak, it’s a bit surprising. He has that Jack Nicklaus squeak, which always catches you off guard as you expect the vainquer of Roubaix, Flanders, and the Worlds to speak with a deep manly voice resonating testosterone and back hair.
And to his credit, his interviews in English are very good; I’m pretty sure the day will never come when I can answer a media scrum in fluent Slovak after a grueling, 7-hour Monument. But it’s still his second language, and a distant second.
When you watch him interviewed in Slovak, he impresses with his charm and his repartee. His facial expressions and his jokes transform his Slovak interviewers from fanboy journalists into slaveboys.
And a fan club? Of course!
But the best way to get a sense for Sagan is to visit YouTube and do a search for “Sagan rozhovor.” You’ll pull up a huge string of Slovak interviews. You may not understand them, but after a few minutes of watching him talk … you won’t need to.
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July 28, 2016 § 6 Comments
My biggest goal starting Jan. 1, 2016 was to be a better decenter. But I still decent like crap. Some people on my club, Rawr-Rawr Roadies, tell me to lift my butt higher off the seat to decent better but that seems to wobble. Other people tell me to put my butt lower on the top bar but that hurts my balls and is more wobbly. Then I watched some videos with Sagan and Froome doing the top bar + peddle action. Is that my decent solution?
I see lots of idiots like you going downhill, a/k/a “descending,” with their asses up off the saddle, stuck high in the air like they’re trying to pick up a TV transmission or air out their peg-hole. Don’t do that. The way gravity works, when you stick a bunch of mass up high over a tiny bike, the two get separated really easily. So put your ass on the saddle where it belongs.
I see lots of other idiots doing the Sagz and Froome tuck. That is marginally okay when you weigh 48 pounds, you race for a living, and you can wheelie across the line after a stage in the Tour after throwing down an 1,800-watt sprint. But when you are a 245-pound Heffalump who couldn’t ride in a straight line when hitched to a rope, wedging your massive ass in between the saddle and the stem in order to get into a top tube crouch will:
- Shatter your carbon frame.
- Crash out anyone behind you.
- Get 12 billion YouTube hits.
So it’s a tough decision. Choose wisely.
I often get beat on long climbs even though I’m a really good climber. I’ll be going good and then *pop* I’m done and everyone rides away. What’s the deal? Is it my gearing?
No, it’s not your gearing. Or your cadence or even your power. There is a point in every climb where it is simply no longer efficient to pedal, and you can go faster on foot.
Next time you start to feel like you’re going to blow and come off the wheel, jump off your bike, hand it to your team mechanic or girlfriend and jog along behind the leaders. Pretty soon your heart rate will come down, the lactic acid will drain out of your epithelial scaphoids, and after a couple of minutes you’ll be able to get back on your bike and pedal away.
Working smarter not harder,
I saw this picture and I’m in love. How do I get to look like this?
Truth be told, it’s not that hard. I think if you put your mind to it you can get there in a couple of weeks; 20 pounds sounds like a lot but in reality it’s not. With some self discipline and the help of a nutritionist to make sure you’re getting all the right stuff, you can look like this quickly and not notice any big changes other than the fact that your clothes won’t fit like they used to — but that’s why we have department stores. If you turn it into a fun family or workplace challenge you’ll be there before you know it and you will feel 100% better about yourself. Watch your body image skyrocket; trust me, I’ve been there. Living in an unhealthy, ugly, and socially abnormal body isn’t good for your life in general, to heck with bike racing.
You’re talking about the photo on the right, correct?
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May 18, 2015 § 30 Comments
After smashing the field in the 10.6-km time trial at Magic Mountain in the Amgen Tour of California, then winning the overall event, Slovakian ballbuster Peter Sagan thanked his team for their support and referred to team owner Oleg Tinkov as a “complete asswipe.” Cycling in the South Bay sat down with the Green Monster to discuss.
CitSB: You must be feeling pretty good. Two wins in a Pro Tour race after being called out by your boss, Oleg Tinkov.
Peter Sagan: Yep.
CitSB: And you called him a “complete asswipe”?
PS: Because he is. Oleg Tinkov is the pro rider’s worst nightmare.
CitSB: How so?
PS: Oh, come on. You know the type. Total wanker masters racer, buys the best stuff, wears the most expensive kit, shows up at the private training ride uninvited, and he’s off the back before the pace even picks up. Then, because he can’t keep up, he sponsors the local race club so he can be part of the team, hang out at the races, do the training rides. And everyone hates his fucking guts.
CitSB: Well, money talks.
PS: Yep, and Oleg’s is paying my bills. But imagine having said masters wanker telling you how to race your bike.
CitSB: Must be pretty annoying.
PS: You have no idea. Dude texts me a hundred times a day, I’m not kidding. “Spin more on the climbs, Peter.” “You opened up your sprint too early, Peter.” “Take on more electrolytes, Peter.” This from a guy who, ten years ago, couldn’t have picked an electrolyte from an electric car.
CitSB: You’ll admit that your results this year have been disappointing.
PS: Yes, they have.
CitSB: And Oleg’s paying you some pretty solid coin.
PS: Look, no disrespect intended, but pro racing isn’t like buying gas at the pump where you stick in your credit card and out gush six monuments and a green jersey at the Tour. It’s fucking hard and it comes down to fitness, smarts, teamwork, and luck. Tinkov has never won a bike race, any bike race. Dude’s a fuggin’ fanboy who thinks that when you’re on the rivet, your teeth filled with mud, it’s 45 degrees and raining sleet, and you’re still a hundred k’s from the velodrome in Roubaix that you need to “dig deeper.” He’s the one who needs to dig deeper, to dig his way out of that pile of fantasy shit his head is buried in.
CitSB: He seems to think he’s better at managing the team than Riis was.
PS: You know something about Riis? He was a true motivator. Riis earned his stripes at the head of the peloton, not ripping off stupid Russian consumers with payday loans and giving head to Vladimir Putin. Riis believed in you and he showed you how to focus on what you were good at while improving your weaknesses. Tinkov is Vino without the race smarts or the race legs. Rotten to the core, dumb as a box of rusty derailleurs, and as much fun to be around as a bag of cold, wet dicks.
CitSB: Bag of cold, wet dicks?
PS: Well, when they’re cold and wet they shrivel up.
CitSB: Got it. Has Tinkov’s outspokenness created tension in the team?
PS: No. Everyone hates his guts, especially Alberto, and we all call him Dickov behind his back. Did you see that shit about the Giro, where he said that all of Alberto’s rivals fear him, and that Alberto is a shoo-in?
CitSB: That didn’t go over well?
PS: Oh, it did. We laughed our asses off. Dickov thinks that riders perform best when you belittle them or make outrageous brags in the media.
CitSB: And they don’t?
PS: Riders perform best when they’re internally driven to win, they’re fit, they have a good team, they ride smart, and they get lucky. And when they use the right juice [winks]. Marginal gains, as Dave Brailsford would say.
CitSB: Right-o. Thanks, Peter.
PS: Any time.
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April 8, 2014 § 18 Comments
Cycling in the South Bay was privileged to interview several top professionals after Fabian Cancellara split the lead group and won out of a four-up breakaway.
CitSB: How did the race unfold?
Sep Vanmarcke: I was with Cancellara over the Kwaremont and Paterberg, but in the end he destroyed the field and made us look like children. Belgian children. Stupid Belgian children.
CitSB: Any conclusions about the race?
Greg van Avermaet: All in all it was a more tactical race than the last two years, since changing the finish from Meerbeke to Oudenarde. I am very pleased with second place but it was very difficult to beat Cancellara due to him crushing us all like a bunch of bugs on the windscreen of a jet.
CitSB: You must be disappointed with seventh place?
Tom Boonen: Yes, of course, I was just two percent or so off. I believe I had a chance to beat Cancellara, but that was only in the warm-up around the bus.
CitSB: How would you evaluate the race?
Peter Sagan: Evaluate it? I got my ass whipped. You know how they say it in Slovakian? “Your eleventh finger is in the meat grinder.”
CitSB: What was going through your head as you approached the line in a 4-up breakaway with Cancellara?
Stijn Vandenbergh: “I’m totally screwed.” Something like that.
CitSB: You must have felt good about your early breakaway, taking the pressure off Greg for most of the race?
Taylor Phinney: If you think it feels good to have Cancellara annihilate an entire field when you’re one of the riders in the field, you’re a complete fool.
CitSB: What is Team Sky planning to improve on its top Ronde placing of 65th?
David Brailsford: We’ll do some more marginal gains away from the testers next year, that’s for sure. And wait for Cancellara to retire.
CitSB: It’s been 2008 since Italy won a monument. Why do you guys suck so bad?
Filippo Pozzato: I would like to point out that Cancellara comes from the Italian-speaking part of Switzerland.
CitSB: How does a guy with no teammates beat an entire field of 200 riders, including 30 riders from Omega-Pharma-Quickdope riding on their home turf?
Patrick Lefevere: Heads will roll, trust me. We do not race for second place. In fact lately we haven’t even been racing for tenth. Firings and public humiliation will continue until morale improves.
May 16, 2012 § 5 Comments
I recently upgraded to Cat 3 and am pretty fucking proud of that. Participation in all those races was hard. So I showed up at the start in Santa Rosa for a same-day race reg, and guess what? Douchebaguettes wouldn’t let me enter. “No registration on race day,” or some bullshit. There wasn’t even a sign-in table for pre-regs.
Like I said, douchebaguettes.
But I didn’t go down without a fight. I got hold of the race director dude. “Yo, race director dude. How come there’s no race-day sign ups? This is bullshit.”
“Sorry. It’s a UCI invitation-only race. But there is an event for cyclo-dorks like you to ride around the course and feel like you’re racing.”
“Fuck that shit. I came to race. This is the fucking perfect Cat 3 race for me. A couple of these races have my fucking name engraved on them. I could upgrade to Cat 2.”
“Uh, this is a UCI pro race. Ever heard of Tom Boonen? Levi Leipheimer? Chris Horner? Peter Sagan?”
“They’re doing this race. It’s not a Cat 3 race.”
“First off, you’re a liar. Carl Sagan is dead. And he’s an astronomer.”
“Peter Sagan! The pro!”
“Peter, Paul, Mary, Carl, who gives a rat’s ass? It’s a fucking Cat 3 race and I want in.”
Security tries to stifle my First Amendment rights
Anyway, they didn’t let me register. Since getting released from the facility, though, I’ve been following the race real closely. And let me tell you, it’s a fucking Cat 3 bike race if there ever was one.
First off, the same wanker has won every stage. Ever see that in a good Cat 2 race? Nope. So it’s a Cat 3 race from that standpoint.
Next, it’s total Cat 3 road racing. Ride flat for a hundred miles. Go over two hard hills. Everybody sprunt together. Now sure, most Cat 3 road races aren’t a hundred miles long, but they always stay together and end in a big ol’ sprunt. If it was even a half-assed 45+ RR, fuckin’ G$ or DQ Louie or THOG or DJ or Roadchamp would be cracking ass and spitting the wankers out on the first climb.
Next next, it’s total Cat 3 faux stage racing. Cat 3 stage races have a crit, a TT, and a RR. The winner of the TT wins the whole thing. Okay, you’re gonna be like “This is EIGHT stages!” and “There aren’t any CRITS!” Awright, douchebaguette, so instead of a crit it’s got seven “road” races. But just because you add a fake pair of tits and butt implants don’t make you a chick. This Cat 3 ATOC deal is gonna come down to the TT. You watch.
Lookit this fuckin thing. Three stages over all these supposedly hilly routes that are supposedly gonna bust up the whole race and supposedly make it a thriller and there are still like 400 dudes contending for the win ’cause they’re only 30 seconds back. I’m telling you this is Cat 3 shit.
Now, next next next, it’s fucking Cat 3 from top to bottom because if there’s one thing you know about Cat 3 racing it’s fucking sandbagging. There was never a sandbagger who sandbagged like a Cat 3 wanker. And what do you have here? Dudes who fucking won P-R, and all kinds of badass Euro shit, instead of manning up and riding the Giro which is a real fucking race, they’re douchebagging it in Cali, tweedling through the fucking desert and along the coast and up the anus of the Central Valley and through the rectum of Palmdale, getting their nutsacks licked at night by the fangirls and getting their nuthairs combed by the fanboy bloggers and charity riders I mean if you wanna talk sandbagging douchebaggery these dudes are Cat 3 all the way.
I’m gonna be there on Friday and Saturday, though. If it’s anything like a Cat 3 CBR crit, after they have a few off-the-backers and no-show-losers and got-a-booboo-on-my-elbow quitters, they’ll see me flash my $35 and I’ll have a number pinned to my ass quicker than you can say “Bag of pistachios to the winner of the next lap!”
Don’t look for me at the front, though. I’ll be sitting in for the sprunt. Cat 3 all the way, baby.