Tuesday, March 30, 2010


I've taken a little heat over yesterday's post regarding the term I used in reference to the pubic region of Ms. Meghan Barnes, who crashed her car during mid-shave.  Apparently "hoo-ha" is not the most in-vogue terminology.  If this offended anyone, I want to apologize.  I had considered a number of other descriptive terms, and in retrospect fashion, discussed some with my Editor in Chief, the GEEC over dinner last night.  Not only had she never heard of any of them, a few left her dumbstruck and requiring explanations.  Such descriptive names are the ancient fodder of high-school locker rooms which somehow inexplicably remain in the male brain.  To hopefully put this matter to rest,  I'm guessing "hoo-ha" was a little juvenile, and I should have just called Ms. Barnes' groinal area like it was.
Seriously, can you imagine trying to shave this guy while driving a car?  You'd be all over the road!

At any rate, today is a day of great revelation in the world of bike-blogging.  Many of you, like me, enjoy the writings of Bike Snob NYC, who is the sole author and creater of the consummate bike-blog.  As you know, BSNYC has always refrained from revealing his identity and shrouded himself in anonymity.  Many have speculated that BSNYC is someone very popular and well-recognized within the cycling community, and as such, may have been hiding in plain sight since he started his now infamous blog in 2007.  Today, both the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal have released his true identity and it has come as a bit of shock to the cycling world:
BSNYC: Mario Cipollini

I'm joking....The Wall Street Journal is reporting that BSNYC is Mr. Eben Weiss, former bike messenger, amateur racer, literary agent and full-time writer.

Mr. Weiss will soon be releasing a new book, so believed it was time to step out of the shadows to more appropriately and effectively promote his literary work.  As the news agencies have picked up the story of his revealed identity, more details are emerging about who this mystery man really is.  Long-time readers of his blog will know of course that BSNYC says he is helped by his "shop monkey" named Vito.  Many have assumed that this 'helper' is his wife, girlfriend or partner.  Based on what we are reading in the papers today though, the possibility exists that Bike Snob may actually be a polygamist.

The Wall Street Journal claims that his wife is one Sara Goodman:

Whereas The New York Times claims he is married to Tamara Peterson:

Of course the other possibility is that Ms. Peterson is an ex-helper monkey.  Such is the dreaded speculation from which sweet anonymity provides avoidance, so let us hope that Mr. Weiss' trip out of the closet will not change his insight or writing prowess as he loses a bit of privacy.  Mr. Weiss has admitted that he never wished to remain anonymous forever, and prior to yesterday's big coming out party, Bike Snob would occasionally allow the release of various photos of himself, always with his face obscured, hinting at brief glimpses of his true persona.  In the spirit of Bike Snob's revelation I too have felt the pull of wishing to disclose a bit more about myself.....so have enclosed below a picture the GEEC took of me last evening wearing my favorite t-shirt which I donned in honor of yesterday's post.
(Many think the cycling beaver is an endangered species because of razor-happy people like Ms. Meghan Barnes, but I for one will continue to fight for their protection and preservation!) 

Monday, March 29, 2010

Throwing caution to the wind....small fuzzy creatures

This past weekend was a huge one for the road racing scene. I'm not just speaking of Europe, which certainly was full of surprises (the first match up of Contador vs. Armstrong that went off like a dud)....but rather locally. Sunday saw the Forest Park Spring Criterium which was won by local CBC strong man and 2010 Froze Toes winner, Dave Henderson as reported by his teamate, Dr. Dan.

I don't know about St. Louis, but locally the wind was howling which made me wonder how true the saying "March comes in like a lion, and out like a lamb", really is. In addition to the wind, my March is not exiting in baby sheep fashion, but rather like something smaller and slightly more pungent.  Specifically, as I neared the midway point of my ride on Sunday, I looked ahead and saw what I thought was a black cat, walking across the road.  Being only slightly superstitious, I quickly took out my lucky rabbit's foot and rubbed it three times to ward off any evil ju-ju I might have picked up.  But as I got closer to the cat, I realized this was no ordinary feline but rather an honest-to-God, Pepe LePew and unless I stuck my rabbit's foot up my nose, it would do precious little to ward off the ju-ju this fellow was packing.
Next I realized that he had just crossed onto the north side of the road, into the northwesterly gale that was now blowing directly in my face.  I managed to slip out my camera phone just in time to capture the moment before I scooted by him, thankfully unscathed.

I took this incident, not as an omen, but more of a reminder about life.  This was a clear lesson that around any given corner may lie in waiting a small, fuzzy creature that is ready to blow ass all over you.  Thus, it would seem, you can never be too careful.  I was further reminded of this when I happened upon this cyclist as I rode back into town.

Clearly, he too, was a major proponent of taking every possible precaution.....note the double pegged pants (even on the left!) and day-glo yellow jacket with reflective strips.  I don't know how necessary all of these saftety measures were in avoiding a traffic altercation whilst tangling his pants in the chain, but they probably provided a much more effective barrier to errant skunk funk than what I was wearing at the time.

But whereas one can usually do a pretty decent job in avoiding malodorous wildlife while on a bicycle, it can be nearly impossible to avoid the dangers of a wreckless driver, so this gentleman's attire is certainly justified.  As cyclists, we have recently been made aware on repeated occasions of the dangers motorists pose to us as they drive while texting or talking on a cell phone.  Well, news comes now of a new, and possibly greater risk to us: the pube-shaving driver:

Yes, Ms. Meghan Barnes crashed into another car while she was trying to shave ye' old hoo-ha behind the wheel the day after she was arrested for hitting a cyclist while DUI.  This is concerning, to say the least, to all cyclists who are especially vulnerable to distracted drivers.  But perhaps the concern was most acutely felt by her new boyfriend who was being hidden from the fact that the rug most certainly wasn't going to match the curtains, as if he couldn't tell that already.

As the days lengthen, and the pasty white calves of springtime once again emerge on the roadways, we must remember that warmer temperatures may also bring with it more fervent pubic hair management.  Our busy schedules demand some degree of multitasking, so I suppose it is inevitable that just as some might drink their morning coffee in the car, others may elect to groom their nether-thatches while behind the wheel...It's called DWD.....Depilating While Driving.  In Ms. Barnes defense, there's nothing wrong with wanting to be well-groomed for your first date...And as cyclists, we all know a thing or two about being well-shaven. I can't speak for being in the car and witnessing it, but I personally felt pretty traumatized the first time I saw Bush on a bicycle.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Weekend pre-race report

I'm suspending Friday mail this week to offer up a special weekend preview for what is happening home and abroad in the world of professional road cycling. I know you can read this stuff on better sources - but I'm so excited about it I can't keep myself from mentioning the jam-packed two day cyclorgasmic experience that is about to occur....I only wish I could make like a waffle, slather myself in maple syrup and be Belgian for a couple of days....

Volta Ciclista a Catalunya (Spain):  This race will wrap up Sunday.  In case you didn't hear, Jens Voigt (also known as the Chuck Norris of the peloton) won stage 4 yesterday. 
When Jens races, he remains still, but actually spins the entire earth beneath his wheels.

Redlands Bicycle Classic (California): Kicked off yesterday with Ben Day and Amber Nebe winning the men's and women's time trial prologues respectively.  It will continue through the weekend. Day is having a good year so far and is off to a strong showing in a race that also is the debut of Floyd Landis' return to racing as a member of the Bahati Foundation team.

When the hell did Bahati hire former rocker Daryl Hall of Hall and Oates?

E3 Prijs Vlaanderen-Harelbeke (Belgium - Saturday): 203 kilometers that traverse 12 hellingen (which is Belgian for wicked-ass hill that makes you wish your mommy hadn't met your daddy) 6 of which are cobbled and have names like the Eikenberg, the Stationsberg and the Taainberg.  There is one lonely American racing in this one:  John Murphy of BMC, National Crit Champion and former racer for Ouch MAXXIS.  Get you some - Murph!

Gent-Wevelgem (Belgium - Sunday):  It's all new this year - having moved from a mid-week time slot to a weekend running.  It's also longer - 219 km instead of 203 km featuring 16 hills.  The best parts of this one?  Three things: #1) Big George Hincapie is riding it and is hungry for a classic, #2) Murphy is doing double cobbled duty and riding this one too and #3) The Kemmelberg!

Criterium International (Corsica - Saturday and Sunday): I know, I know - without Jens there, is it even really worth even having?  HOWEVER, we do get to see a potential douchetastic menage-a-trois in the the Lance, Alberto, Cadel three-way.  And there is going to be a real mountain and real mountain top finish:  The Col de l'Ospedale!
You can catch this one on Versus both Saturday and Sunday 2:30-4:00 PM ET.

Oh, by the way - if the only reason you tune in to his blog on Fridays is on the off chance of seeing a hot woman on a bicycle let me say this.....1) you should be ashamed of yourself, and 2) we are not that kind of a blog.  We actually have a mind too, which we wish you would learn to appreciate....As punishment - you should go wash your bike!  Just like these cyclists are doing!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Product for personal transport....the future is now!

"Imagine, just for a moment, that the bicycle had not been invented.  Imagine no mountain bikes, no racing bikes and no bicycle industry.  Imagine no UCI; it's easy if you try."

These are the words of Mark Sanders, designer of the Strida commuter bicycle, speaking at the recent Taipei bike show conference and sounding a little like John Lennon.

"Now imagine that a global consumer product brand, such as Samsung, Ford, Philips or even Apple, introduced a new "product for personal transport'...This 'must have' product has a potentially unlimited market, alongisde mobile phones and microwave ovens."

The cycling entrepeneur says that "the cycle industry is too focused on high-end models when there's a huge market for a bike that, like the Applie ipod, offers user-friendly, innovative and desirable features at an attractive price."  His ideal concept of a "product for personal transport", friendly for the masses, might look something like this:

Note carbon "roll bars" on the "product for personal transport".

Sanders looks to appeal to the untapped market of potential cyclists that he (and the marketing group at Trek) refer to as the "blue ocean"....

rather than wanting to duke it out in the "red ocean" of "casual and enthusiast cyclists" on which the bicycle industry tends to focus.
In this diagram, which Sanders uses in his lectures, I'm guessing the sharks are bicycle companies, and people like you and me are the chum. Which leads me to wonder what the people who choose not to ride in the "blue ocean" are? Mollusks?

As much as I applaud his innovative spirit and general cycling advocacy, I beg to differ with his premise.  I think the "blue ocean" of potential cyclists will remain as vast as ever as long as bicycles require people to actually exert some physical effort in turning the pedals over.  There are reasons why the items he chooses to use as analogies (mobile phones, microwaves) have become so popular amongst "blue ocean" people.  They save time and effort.  Just imagine the calories we all used to burn using rotary phones....
Cycling takes more time and more effort.  You have to want a slower commute and the experience of actually burning a little fat to ride a bike, thus I contend that no matter how hubless, or foldable, or streamlined you make the bicycle, as long as pedals are required to power it, the mollusks will prefer to drive.  Where he suggests that that rate limiting step of increasing cycling is the failure on the part of the cycling manufacturers, I would submit that it is the non-chuffed nature of people residing in the "blue ocean" to want to ride. 

And speaking of devices that no longer require an extended use of the index finger (like rotary phones) I wonder if Alberto Contador will be rocking these disk wheels during the time trial at this weekend's Criterium International.

Mr. FingerBang himself will be going head to head with Lance Armstrong in the much-anticipated race being held in Corsica March 27-28th.  In a clear attempt to intimidate Contador, LA's team RadioShack is releasing it's new televsion promo featuring Mellow Johnny riding through the universe.
Clearly the 'Shack' has spared no expense on special effects for this spot as the computer generated images could rival anything seen in the most popular sci-fi shows.....say, like the classic Dr. Who.
Mellow Johnny

Dr. Who

For those of you who don't know, Dr. Who was a chap who could fly through time and space simply by stepping inside an English tele-box....Now THERE is a 'product for personal transport' geared for blue ocean people...

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Save the Tour of Missouri

As I'm sure many of you are aware, the Tour of Missouri is once again in jeopardy.  Governor Nixon has announced that $500 million needs to be cut from this year's budget and the Missouri state tourism department has not apparently included the race in the budget this year.  Brent Hugh, executive director of the Missouri Bicycle and Pedestrian Federation, and Mike Weiss, president of the Missouri Bicycle Racing Association, have been working hard to save the Tour and we need to help them.  Go the Tour of Missouri's website and read the 10 ways you can help save the Tour.  This event has become one of the most presitigous professional bicycle races on American soil and not only allows cyclists exposure to some of their heroes, but has provided a major economic boost to the state in tourism dollars as well as increased bicycle sales.

As cycling fans, I'm sure many of you have some stories you can tell of the amazing experiences you have shared at one of the three previous races....here are my top 5 moments from last year's race:

#5: Getting to see Zabriskie smoke the Time Trial up close
#4: Seeing George Hincapie wearing the US champion's stars and stripes and signing a woman's breastal region

#3: Watching Tom Zirbel share an awkward moment with his #1 fan after they run out of things to say....

#2 Liquigas girls!

#1 Looking behind me during the podium presentation in Jefferson City and observing the mass of cheering spectators.

Other ways to get in touch with Tour organizers and support organizations:
Tour of Missouri Twitter: twitter.com/TOMissouri2010

The tour is scheduled for Aug 31 - Sept 6 if it survives. 

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Positively chuffed!

Occasionally, my day job resembles a giant black hole from which nothing can escape....light, time and sanity all fall prey to the impressive suction it commands.  Such has been the case recently which has resulted in a great dearth of writing (much to the happiness of many, I'm sure).  The frustration of the continuous ebbing and flowing 'time-suck' of my job is a constant frustration.  But how many of us can claim that we actually wake up in the morning utterly thrilled to be going to work?  Maybe "Pippo" Pozzato, who by the way, had an excellent showing at Milan San Remo this past weekend.  He didn't win, but attacked like a bulldog with a tenacity previously unseen by him.  Maybe it was the morning cupcakes.
Seriously...Maybe I would enjoy my job a lot more if someone would feed me cupcakes upon arriving at work first thing in the morning like this.  Especially if they were these I noticed on MSN this morning.
(yes - that's bacon and chocolate)

It's during times of work or life-related frustration that I, like many, turn to cycling as a distraction...something to look forward to...as an outlet to consume the otherwise mind-numbing portion of my day.  Occasionally, however, distraction turns to obsession and that gets a little creepy.  Like the way some obsess over the construction and intricate details of what was always meant to be a mode of transportation to the point where the outcome is something they'd rather not even ride,  but rather shine repeatedly while whispering sweet nothings into its single, fixed gear.
I found this picture on fixed gear gallery, and what is impressive is that the builder felt the need to add some photshopped-rendered angellic wings prior to posting the photo as if to further emphasize the higher existential plane this bike has achieved.  The owner further comments:

"I don't imagine I'll use this too often as it's a bit too shiny to lock up anywhere....it's been a 5 month project mainly because I waited so long for the frame.  Really chuffed with it...."

Part of the beauty of blogging is the impact it has on my vocabulary, which is really just a nice way of saying that I am repeatedly reminded of just why it was that I scored so low on the grammar portion of my SATs.  More specifically, prior to reading the aforementioned quote, I was unfamiliar with the term "chuffed" which I've since learned can have one of two definitions:

1. chuffed (intr.v. - past tense) To produce or move with noisy puffing or explosive sounds.
2. chuffed (adj) Brit slang: pleased or delighted.

It appears as though "chuffed" is quite versatile and thus can be used in more than one way in a single sentence, as in,  "Having eaten too much chili and feeling ill, Randall was still chuffed and rather impressed with how he chuffed through the night."  Or combining this with other recently learned words, one might say "I am non-chuffed with the recent niggle I've developed in my left knee since raising my saddle."

I happened upon another useless, and yet somehow aesthetically pleasing item the other day as well.
Any guesses as to what these are?  Yes - they are made by Chris King, and no they are not phallic fertility symbols to ward off the flaccid evils of riding nosed saddles.  If you guessed "specially crafted Chris King $75 espresso tampers," however, you would be correct.

And to think, all this time I've been using an old converted Cane Creek headset to press my beans. My palette will likely never be the same.  It takes a special kind of person that requires the feel of a Chris King headset in their hand while they are tamping their espresso. I'm guessing this kind of person may also be positively chuffed about owning a pair of miniature leather saddle bags to drape over their quill stem to carry credit cards and lipstick as was recently spotted at the North American Handmade Bike Show.
To each their own...and should people wish to lavish their bikes (or espresso bars) with frivolous accessories, who am I to judge?  Why, some of the most famous professional cyclists in today's peloton have enjoyed adorning their lives with frivolous accessories....

Friday, March 19, 2010

Dear PooBah: Friday Mail

We start today with some local business to attend to....so if you are reading from Helsinki, or Stratford-on-Avon, or Moberly, just skip to the bottom of the post where there is a higher chance of seeing a scantily clad woman on a bike.  If you just can't wait, click here.....and then be patient  - I need to address the COMO scene, first.

#1) Tomorrow is the first day of spring.  Don't put away your booties, and tights just yet.....let us all rejoice and revel in the snow that is on its way this weekend.
#2) Doctor Dan has informed us that there is a Happy Hour Benefit Show at MOJO's this evening at 5:00 PM to raise money for the good friend of local cycling legend and hard-ass Ethan Froese.  Come out for some excellent music and food and then chip in some coin for someone fighting the fight.

#3) The COMO POLO squad needs players!  Pete Ehrenav.a...i.......blah blah blah....has contacted me and wants me to pass along the general call out for new members who would like to play, or even watch some polo this spring.  (I admit it.....I like to watch.)  Here's the scoop - they practice at Cosmo Park on Sundays at 4PM.  They also play on the roof of the garage at the corner of Hitt and Elm when they're not being hassled by the man. They accept cyclists of all genres and are a rare COMO cycling clique that actually doesn't discriminate.  They've also got all the equipment you need...(including loaner bikes).  Give them a shout at their website for more questions.  I believe they are slated to compete in 5 or 6 tourneys coming up in the spring and summer.....how can you resist passing up a chance to compete for, and possibly win a Chrome Barbie messenger bag?

On with the mail!

Dear PooBah
The epic Milan San-Remo race is tomorrow and is being carried by Universal Sports on TV at 2:00PM!  I'm so pumped as some of this year's major players will be competing.  Do you have any favorites?
Chip H.

Well, I'm excited to see how Cavendish can do, but don't know if he's up to speed yet.  He's carrying around a lot of extra weight these days....mostly comprised of about 5 pounds of scrap metal on his teeth.
Of course, you've also got his old teammate Edvald Boasson Hagen who just won a stage at Tirreno-Adriatico, but my main concern with him is whether or not he has gotten over his recent tangle with a stalker who called himself 'The Maritime Mr. Maggoo' and stated openly that he liked to sniff Edvald's pits.....kinda creepy.

Dear PooBah
I know you have an affinity for TruckNuts, so thought I'd show you the pair I just recently got for my bike and get your opinion.  Do you think these will give me a little cred on the Saturday AM group ride?
James R.

No question....but let me tell you - if you're planning on riding this weekend, you can expect those babies to be tucked up around your kidneys its going to be so cold.

Dear PooBah-
Check out the new trick I'm working on!  This shit is EPIC!
Frank F.

You know what?  At first glance, I would have guessed that you and I had absolutely nothing in common.  But after thinking about your trick, and the fact that my day job makes me feel like I'm constantly having to jump through flaming hoops buck-ass naked, I gotta say....we're living parallel lives, my friend.  My only advice...spray a little flame retardant on the twig and berries and get a hair cut - you don't want to pull a "Michael Jackson pepsi commerical".  Oh and yeah -  your seat's too low.

Dear PooBah
I'm thinking of opening up a new bike shop in COMO and becoming a bike mechanic but am worried about the competition in town between Tryathletics, Walt's, Cyclex and Klunk....I mean - take the last two....Brinker and Karl really know their stuff....and plus - they've also become COMO quasi-cycling sex-symbols!  That in itself draws in a lot of customers.  Do you think I will be able to break into the market?
You've got nothing to worry about....

Have a great weekend everyone.  Ride safe, stay warm, support a good cause tonight, check out COMO POLO, watch Milan-San Remo tomorrow and see you on Monday!  And if you are racing Dogwood on Sunday....you are my hero.


Thursday, March 18, 2010

Mea Culpas: Shame, Shame, Shame

As reader, Cody, The Mixed-Up-Robot noticed and correctly indicated, I was not at Flat Branch last night to tend bar, as I told all 12 of you I would be in yesterday's post
Explanations are certainly in order.  Even though the reasons I could not make it are entirely justifiable, I am neverthless feeling pangs of guilt on a level equivalent to when, upon the rare occasion, I find myself in dire need to "go number 2" in a public setting, I will always choose the handicapped stall in the located public restroom, even though I'm not actually handicapped (physically that is).  Yes, I fear that a wheelchaired member of society will corner me one day as I emerge sheepishly from the stall that possesses easily three times the room of a normal stall, but until that day arrives, I cannot resist the urge to sit in business class for free.  The reason I am feeling so guilty about not making it last night is not because I actually believe I stood up a throng of disappointed readers, but rather that I might have made Cody, an admittedly mixed-up robot, actually wear a "green(ish)" thong.  I have it on very good authority that most robots actually prefer flesh-colored thongs as much evidence now supports.
Thus, I can only imagine the embarassment I've caused Cody in making him don a green-ish thong instead, and hope the other robots didn't laugh, call him names or prevent him from playing in their robot games.  If so, please email me and I will make amends by sending you a 4 pack of flesh-colored thongs, so that you never have to suffer this way again.

Now, onto the reason I could not make it last night.  As I left COMO CYCO headquarters and headed towards town on the back of my commuter bike (Ol' Bessie), I happened upon a number of bikes locked to a bike rack and noticed that one of them had some objects impaled upon the spokes of the rear wheel!  Seeing this, I dismounted Bessie and got out my camera phone to take some photos.
Upon closer inspection, I realized that these were oranges that some miscreant had jammed onto the spokes of this otherwise unsuspecting, cheap-ass, department store bike.  At first, the sight of such bicycle defacement angered me.  But then it occured to me that someone had "shamed" this bike because of its cheap and lowly status like a college freshman after a six pack of Natty Light.  Instead of bagels on the nipples and EasyCheese in the crotch, this little bike got some citrus in the spokes.
But as soon as I finished taking the photo, I noticed someone scurrying away from the scene of the shaming by bicycle.  I whistled to Ol' Bessie, but she just lied in the grass and acted like she didn't hear me.  So I grabbed her, hopped on and went after the fleeing culprit, chasing him all the way to Stadium Blvd. where he was trying to make his getaway.
The fellow was wearing a full yellow rain suit, riding a foldable bike loaded with two panniers and carrying a messenger bag full of what appeared to be oranges.  Now I understand the anger that a cheap department store bike can incite in a hardcore cyclist, but I think there is a saying about those who live in glass houses needing to be cautious about casting stones.  At any rate, I attempted to chase the fellow down, but as you can see in the photo above, he was wearing a rear view mirror on his helmet AND was going really, really fast!  Thus, he must have seen me attempting to draft him.  All of a sudden, everything went black and the next thing I knew, I was coming-to in the non-existent bike lane on Stadium with a lump on my forehead and orange pulp on my face.  The Orange bandit escaped and rode away to shame another day as I turned Ol' Bessie toward home to lick my wounded ego and nurse my orange-whooped ass.  So I'm really sorry I wasn't tending bar last night in my leprechaun outfit....believe me, I was more disappointed than you were!

In all seriousness, mine is hardly the most interesting or noteworthy mea culpa in the cycling world today, as ESPN and sports commentator Tony Kornheiser are trying to eat their words over comments Kornheiser made on his radio show regarding cyclists, recently:
"The last time I looked, the roads were made for automobiles.  We're going to be dominated as if this was Beijing by hundreds of thousands of bicyclists....They all wear....my God...with the little water bottle in the back and the stupid hats and their shiny shorts. They are the same disgusting poseurs that in the middle of a snowstorm come out with cross-country skiing on your block.  Run 'em down!!!   I don't take my car and ride on the sidewalk because I understand that's not for my car....why do these people think that these roads were built for bicycles?  They dare you to run them down......Tap them....pop them and see what happens"

Lance Armstrong has responded on Twitter:

If listening to this enrages you as much as me...then let ESPN know about it......right here.