Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Of being a hack...women's cycling.

Too frequently (ie - all the time) I've reduced female cycling on this blog to be nothing more than pin-ups on bicycles.  It's easy, it has boosted readership, and let's face it...for a heterosexual guy, it's fun to look at.  But it also makes me feel like a hack.  It reminds me of the last time I raced last summer.  After the start, when everyone was settling in and getting organized, I heard the words of the individual who was coaching me at the time running through my head:

"Don't do any work.  Sit in.  Do NOT pull.  Stay close to the front, but not AT the front.  Conserve every ounce of energy you have for the end, JUST in case you actually manage to stay with the leaders and want a crack at the sprint."

This was good advice, especially for someone with little experience, and less natural ability.  And after sitting in and watching others pull for the first 20 miles, grumbling at me every time I jockeyed for position at 3rd or 4th wheel, refusing to pull, I started feeling guilty.  And then I said, "Fuck it."  I'd rather not be hated by the guys around me who were really good and be dropped, then have any kind of chance at the sprint at the end, knowing I'd wheel-sucked for 40 miles.  I mean - I wasn't going to win anyway - who was I fooling?  So I started to pull.  And they let me.  And it was stupid.  I burned up a lot of energy on a couple of long stretches, but still managed to hang on when others finally came around and accelerated the bunch to split off some of the stragglers.  There were still about 10 of us left for the sprint at the end, of which I came in 9th, completely exhausted.  But at least I wasn't a hack that day.  I didn't race very wisely either....but the former was more important to me than the latter.  That day anyway. 

Today, I don't feel like being a hack writer, either.  Thus, I bring you some news of what is really going on in the world of women's cycling in three acts that do not involve near nudity (not that there is anything wrong with that).

Act 1:  The Goddesses:  A few days ago, cyclists Jennifer Smith and Rebecca Rusch (2009 Leadville 100 winner) completed the six day Trans Andes MTB stage race.  The circular course covered between 60 and 100 km per day, traversing 6 volcanos and around 10 lakes in the heart of the Andes Mountains. Sleeping in tents each night along the way, the two woman team called The Goddesses ended up finishing as the top women's team.  They posted daily reports on which you can read here.

Act 2: Tour of Quatar:  The women's road season kicked off yesterday at the Tour of Quatar, a 3 day flat stage race.  Last year's winner Kristin Wild will be attempting to defend her title with her Cervelo TestTeam squad.  The US national team is present and being led by Shelley Olds who spent the winter competing on the track.

Act 3:  "Cycling isn't for women, it hurts too much." So says Riccardo Ricco, currently suspended for doping with CERA, when asked if he helped his girlfriend Vania Rossi dope with the same substance.  Rossi, who races cyclocross and finished second in the Italian women's national cyclo-cross championships on January 10th, tested positive for EPO CERA during the competition.  Ricco stated, "When I was found positive, I confessed everything.  I was honest.  I hope she does the same.  People know I don't like her racing, you can imagine what I think about her taking anything.  Cycling isn't for women, it hurts too much."  The ramifications of her alleged doping are even greater as she was breastfeeding their son during the time her tests revealed CERA in her bloodstream.

This wouldn't be a COMO CYCO blog post without the addition of something tasteless....thus I share with you a comicstrip from NYVelocity regarding the potential ramifications of EPO CERA contaminated breastmilk: a new way to transport your drugs....the LacTote 2000 featuring Vince ShamWOW! (Click to enlarge).

Pedal on!

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