Friday, April 30, 2010

Thus just in....Questions

Sorry to "double-post" you on a Friday.....I'm quite sure that "double-posting" is never cool whether we are speaking euphemistically or regarding proper blogging practices.  However, I've been so moved by a local occurence, that I couldn't help but write a brief comment about it since none of the news outlets seems to be covering it at all.......Then I will let you continue on with your Friday Mail post which follows...

As reported on Facebook, last night, three COMO cyclists were riding single file down New Haven when a truck and trailer pulled up behind and waited to pass them.  An SUV then pulled up behind the truck, and with the driver getting impatient, tried to pass everyone...truck, trailer and a no-passing zone.  As the SUV driver rounded the truck and came alongside the cyclists, she lost control of the car when the front wheel ran off the pavement and she tried to overcorrect, sending the car end-over-end beside all three.  The cyclists all hit the ditch and were unharmed by the careening vehicle.

The cyclists then immediately went to help the same woman in the SUV who had very nearly killed them.  They helped her out of the wreckage that she had reduced her car to and commented that her most pressing concern was making sure her phone was OK. 
I'm not a reporter, and I not an attorney.  I wasn't there to witness this and as a cyclist who frequently rides down New Haven, I am not capable of being unbiased.  I'm also aware that if you are taking the time to read this, then cycling is probably an important part of your life, and this post is me preaching to the choir. 

Physics is an interesting thing in that it very rarely lies or cheats.  F=Ma....which means that force equals mass times acceleration.  Consider the force of the mass of an out-of-control SUV, accelerating to pass three cyclists.  It seems odd that one impatient person in a car had the power and opportunity to eliminate three really good people from this earth, and deprive their families from ever seeing them again.  Something else that doesn't lie is the fact that this portion of the road is very clearly marked a no-passing zone....
Everyone was OK last night.  But what is important to ask, in my opinion, is what if everything didn't turn out OK?  My intention is not to be morbid.  Again, I wasn't there and I don't know the circumstances.  Was there a reason she was in a hurry?  How important would that reason have to be to justify what she nearly did? 
How would she be charged if things were different? How would we react?  Would this woman ever be allowed the privilege to drive a car again?  If she is treated any differently than if everything hadn't turned out OK, then two crimes have been committed.  I've left the names of the cyclists out of this post intentionally, and have not given appropriate credit to the photographer (one of the guys) - I didn't want to call any more attention to them than necessary, nor embarass them in any way.  And if I have, I sincerely apologize. 

Ride safe -


Friday Mail! Unitards galore!

I like to give Mark Cavendish (aka the Manx Missile) what some may call "the business" from time to time.  I have chosen to do so because of his history of being rather bragadocious......which is not a made up Mary Poppins word, but actually means acting like a cocky prick....which may be a redundant redundant definition now that I think of it.  At any rate, last week, I was feeling a little guilty because of this interview in which Cavs admits to having a bit of a rough season for a variety of reasons.  And some of these are really legitimate things.  If you are worried about Cavendish, fear not....I think the storms have passed.  My evidence?  Firstly his new collaboration with PRO accessory manufacturers in the creation of a line of handlebars and stems.  Especially slick is the logo each is adorned with.
Logo artistic licenses include lack of dental work and 20inch wheels.

Apparently "The Manx Missile" is not happy with his nickname, thus has assumed the new moniker of "Master of Faster" which is written under his name vertically on the logo. It doesn't really roll off the tongue that well and should not be confused with this: The Master Blaster, from Mad Max, Beyond Thunderdome.
But much like the Master portion of the couple called Master Blaster, Cavs is only as good as his lead out man (the Blaster), which yesterday was Mark Renshaw.  Renshaw did an amazing job of delivering Cavs to the end of Stage 2 of the Tour de Romandie, which he took in the sprint finish, flourishing a unique gesture to the fans as he crossed the line in first.  This leads me to the second piece of evidence that the old Cavs is back.....attitude and all.
Welcome back, Cavs.  The peloton was feeling a little too classy in your absence.  I bet the sponsors love it too!

Lance Armstrong is buddy-buddy with Cavs, but is currently busy racing in the Tour of Gila, making babies, and drinking Michelob Ultra.....but if he wasn't, I wonder what he would have to say about Cav's two-finger salute?

In other more relevant and local news....Tomorrow is the kick off of the Bike, Walk and Wheel Week here in COMO.  Join up with former mayor Darwin Hindman in Flat Branch Park at 11:00 AM for the Young at Heart Bike Ride, and then at 1:00 PM, check out a bike equipment expo, swap meet and Bike Polo match.  I have it on good authority there will be a pedal powered smoothie maker and root beer bar bike there as well.  More details can be found here.

And with that - I bring you Friday Mail!

Dear Poobah

Love your blog!! Allow me to geek out for a second. I have thought a lot about Wonder Woman and her invisible jet. I wonder if she misplaces the keys to the invisible jet can she find them? Are the keys invisible too? So I did some research **** warning geeek alert****, it seems Wonder Woman's Jet is actually an intelligent being from a different plane of existence. It takes on the form of an invisible jet and communicates with Wonder Woman telepathically in her world of existence. Which unfortunately isn't my world of existance :( I have always wanted to find a super hero type of lady dressed in a tight singlet willing to tie me up with a golden lasso that makes me only tell the truth.....I guess there is always craigslist ???

Aaro That Crazy Gotcha Guy

Thanks for your note!  You shouldn't give up hope - in doing a quick search online I've already come up with 4 possible candidates that could make your dreams come true:

Bachelorette #1:  Sara is a 3rd grade school teacher from Walla Walla, has a thing for Wonder Woman and also loves to knit outfits for her bike.  What a combo!

Bachelorette #2: Here's Janice, a police officer from Dayton.  Tight singlet? Check.  Golden Lasso? Check.  But heads up - she's also got the bullet proof wrist cuffs....don't get caught in the crossfire!

Bachelorette #3: Next up: Pat, a hair dresser from Starkville, Mississippi.  She may be a little hairier than what you were bargaining for - but hey, pickers can't be choosers.

Bachelorette #4:  And lastly, meet Maude, a meat inspector from St. Paul.  This is the one for you, my friend.  I just feel it.  She doesn't have a bike - but think of the fun you will have teaching her how to ride!

Dear PooBah
I love mountain biking, but have a horrible fear of ticks.  Now that summer is almost here - I'm terrified to go back into the woods - I just know that there will be a ravenous horde of them waiting for me.  Therefore, instead of wearing my normal cycling kit this summer, I've invented a tick-proof suit I'm going to be sporting.  I'm thinking of trying to market this.
It comes with black stilettos - good for stabbing the little bastards if you see one on the trail.
What do you think?
Kathy C.

Do you happen to have a golden lasso?  Would you be interested in meeting someone named "Aaro, That Crazy Gotcha Guy?"

Dear PooBah
What do you think about spinning?  I think this is a much safer way to get just as good a workout as being out on the road or some twisty trail on a bicycle.
Colin M.
I understand that you might feel safer spinning in place, but real cyclists must not only be concerned with their own safety - but that of those around them as their actions can have certain repercussions.  You are no exception just because you are stationary.   Think of the well-being of everyone around you, man....

Dear PooBah,
I am looking for my cycling soul mate, but have been unable to find her.....Therefore, I have decided to create a virtual cycling partner that I ride with in Second Life.  I've named her Melissa.  Would you like to join us for a virtual ride sometime?
Charles L.

Thanks so much for the invitation - I really appreciate it.  I have to admit being fairly ignorant to the whole virtual reality thing of Second Life, so have done a little research and stumbled upon your profile there.  I think you and Melissa will make a really great couple!

Dear PooBah.....

Aw screw it....I couldn't come up with anything for this picture - I just couldn't end a Friday post with Charles L. and his apple-tard. 

Have a great weekend everyone - see you all at the Bike, Walk and Wheel Week kickoff tomorrow!


Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The devil made me do it....

I had a rough night last night, but not as rough as the COMO CYCO dog.  Little Jens decided to develop a case of the "screaming mimis" as my grandmother used to call volatile, blow-out diarrhea.
(The cover of this old novel is actually fairly representative of what went down last night - note the agitation in the dog (Little Jens), the fear of the man (me) and just replace the woman with said "mimis" and you've got the picture.)

After a long night involving little sleep, but many trips outside, I awoke this morning utterly exhausted.  Oddly, Little Jens was wagging his tail, ready to go.  I just needed coffee, so swung by Starbucks on my way into work.  I ordered one big-ass (I refuse to use the word "venti") latte and a cinammon chip scone.  When the cashier rung it up on the machine, my heart skipped a beat at what I saw.

$6.66.  The number of the beast.

Now, I'm not an overtly religious type of person.  I'm not even sure I believe in hell in the classic biblical sense of flames and cloven-hooved devils and the like.  I tend to believe we have the ability to create our own little hells right here on earth with sufficient wickedness so as not to need any place below.  Take Six Flags or Disneyworld.  I defy you to come up with anything scarier than a 7 foot Goofy coming at you smelling of elephant ears.  But nevertheless, having a 666 pop up unexpectedly is still a little creepy....maybe not as creepy as seeing it on your kid's scalp like in the movie the Omen.....but still.

And speaking of biblical references to the unholy, if you've not done so, check out the latest installment from COMO's own ProPam, winner of the Tour of Hermann women's open road race, who also just won the Tour de Hills road race in Harrison, Arkansas on Saturday by way of a solo attack in a freaking hail storm in the first third of the 58 mile race that saw about 3000 feet of climbing.  This is required reading, kids.  And speaking of COMO cyclists kicking some ass, after you're done reading that post - read the one from our own Lieutenant Dan who won Le Tour de Tick MTB race on Sunday despite flatting on the first lap. 

I was reminded of "cycling hell" the other day when I was doing a bit of shopping on ebay UK (the only place to buy really good crumpets in bulk) and stumbled upon this.
Heads up - there are only 9 left as of this morning, and going for $8.50.  I've already purchased two for me.  This is going to be sweet with my new tattoo.

Monday, April 26, 2010

I'm confused....and not quite dead.

2010 Liege-Bastogne-Liege Winner: Vino

Wow, I didn't see that one coming.  If I hadn't watched it for myself and you had told me - "Hey - did you hear Vinokourov just won LBL?"  My response probably would have been this. But Jonathan Vaughters' response was a little different when asked by Phil Ligget about how some cyclists, like Vino, are able to come back from doping suspensions to ride so well so quickly.  What was JV's repsonse?  He explains it on Twitter:

And what was Contador's take on the race?

"I have great taste in my mouth after these races, but today I noticed a lot more allergies than in the Fleche, although I saved the day because I had good sensations."

This is what happens when Spanish is translated by a Kazakhstanian into English in the town of Liege.  And while the fireworks were going off in European cycling, the team that lives up to its name that Rock's Not Dead quietly won the Vuelta Mexico Telmex as Oscar Sevilla secured the overall victory.  This despite him saying prior to the race:

"For Mexico, I'm enrolled with Rock Racing but I don't believe that I will race with them.  I believe that Rock Racing does not exist anymore.  I'm hoping to race but with another team there."
I think that owner Michael Ball should change the team's slogan from "Rock's Not Dead" to something more Monty Python-esque, like "Rock's Not Quite Dead!"  Despite the gloomy outlook, Sevilla obviously held it together long enough to win, still wearing the Rock kit.  This demonstrates that when given lemons, one should make lemonade, and one one has man-boobs, one should take their shirt off and show the world.  Especially if one is a spectator of the Veulta Mexico and has a bunch of friends that want to body-paint the word "LAGOS" across their chests in capital letters.  However, take note - lest you be concerned that your dirty pillows obscure your letter, use the lower case and turn it into a smiley face to draw attention away from the fact that people are throwing you Mardi Gras beads.....

Equally as clever a diversion scheme, news comes today that Michael Ball is under federal investigation for arranging a fictious marriage for one of his Mexican models to help her stay in the US.  I think we've finally uncovered the incentive to keep Rock Racing "Not Quite Dead" and rather barely living in Mexico.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Special Weekend Edition

First off, I want to apologize for the lack of regular posts the past couple of days.  I received several emails asking if I'd run away to join the circus, and although I've had the notion many, many times, unfortunately, the "wolf-boy" gig has already been I'm afraid I would be perceived as just a cheap knock-off. 
And I would hate to be thought of as someone who tries to mimic anyone.  Incidentally, the reason I've been away from COMO CYCO headquarters has to do with the fact that I'm occasionaly mistaken for the wolf-boy.....This past Thursday morning, I awoke, like most other days, brimming with excitement to be starting another fulfilling day at my job.  But, upon entering my bathroom to brush my face, I looked into the mirror and  immediately noticed that something was awry.....badly.  When I finally realized what was going on, chills went down my spine. Somehow in the middle of the night, someone or something had shaved what appeared to be a pattern of tiny crop circles into my chest hair.  I quickly went online and discovered that this is not a new phenomenon.

I've still not yet determined either the significance or the culprit behind all of this, but I'm actually worried that the COMO CYCO dog is to blame and may be trying to establish a runway for his canine martian brethren upon my torso.  
Thoroughly freaked, I spent the next two days at home, in bed, eating Cheeze-its.  Alien dogs hate Cheeze-its.  But I finally emerged from my lair this morning - alien dogs be damned.

In other news, this weekend should prove to be an exciting one as tomomrrow is Liege-Bastogne-Liege.  Last years' champion, Andy Schleck will be trying to take the win again, with the help of his brother.  I wonder if they can make it a two-fer? Damn those Schleck boys are cool.
At any rate - today I bring you your weekly installment of Friday Mail....on Saturday!  Enjoy!

Dear PooBah,
I am a huge Harry Potter fan and have read all the books twice.  One of my favorite parts of the stories is the quidditch matches, where all the characters ride around on brooms.  I thought this was so cool, that I've invented my own quidditch broom bike!  You actually steer the bike with the broom handle.  Do you think I can catch the golden snitch with this?
Ronald W.

I don't know about any snitch, but you're certainly at risk for catching a scrotum full of splinters.  Be careful on this one.

Dear PooBah,
I think that the reason so many cyclists get hit by cars while riding is because the clothes they tend to wear are too flashy.  Motorists have gotten too acclimated to seeing the average multi-colored cyclist riding about town.  I think if we become more difficult to see, then drivers will be forced to look for us harder, thus raising their awareness of our presence.  This is called reverse psychology.  Thus, I've invented an "invisible bicycle".  I think this could be huge, and was hoping you could endorse it and help me spread the word.  Thanks!
George T.
P.S. Check out my invisible rain gear, as well :)

Well done, dude.  I'm not sure this ride will be any safer, but I have to say, you've really made me think about the esthetics of transportation.  Your bike is very reminiscent of Wonder Woman's preferred method of transportation: an invisible jet.  But because she did not become invisible when riding in the jet, it really served no stealth purpose, as people could still see her inside of it, oddly flying through the air in a sitting position.
Thus, the creators of Wonder Woman must have made her jet transparent not to serve any real purpose, but rather so we, the pre-pubescent, and yet still, highly impressionable young male viewers, had the opportunity to gawk at Lynda Carter in her WW uniform floating around in space. 
Whereas I used to love to see Wonder Woman floating around, the sight of you riding along in mid air makes me inexplicably angry which has led me to the conclusion that for some reason, I think you deserve as ass-whooping, and I would like to see it delivered to you by Lynda Carter, but I don't know exactly why.  Anyway - if you can arrange that, I would be happy to endorse your bike.  Good luck with that.

Dear PooBah
Check out the sweet ride I pimped for the annual Puerto Rican celebration parade!  I even put a small figurine of a famous Puerto Rican idol on a special handlebar mount!
Herve J.
No idea, had I, that Puerto Rican Yoda is!

Dear PooBah,
Do you have any idea what  Alessandro Petacchi and Fabio Sabatini are doing in this picture?
Paul S.
Like many young lovers relaxing in parks around the world this spring, I wonder if they are playing that old children's game of pretending that the clouds are taking certain shapes.....Sabatini says, "Oh Ale-jet, that one looks just like Cadel Evan's chin!"  "No," says Petacchi, "that's Boonen's ass!"

Dear PooBah-
Other than Megadeth, do you have any other favorite cycling-related music you like to listen to?
Marilyn S.

Well I really like the album "Bicycle" by HR.  There something about the dude with zombie eyes towing a tethered crane with his bicycle as a small boy in red pajamas weeps that is surreal, and yet emblamatic of cycling culture today.  Somedays, I'm the crane......some days I'm the little boy.
Then there is a great kayaoke album by "The Barefoot Man".  Track one is especially good - "I wish I were your bicycle seat."  Oh the number of times I've had this same speaks to me.
But I think my favorite has to be "Nipples" by Cartoon Boyfriend.  The album cover depicts three naked men riding a bike built only for one.  I'm not sure how fellow's #2 and #3 are remaining suspended in mid air, unless......oh.....never mind.

Dear PooBah-
I read today that Ivan Basso's sister Elisa is being charged with selling illegal drugs.  Many of her assets have already been consumed in trying to fight the allegations swirling around her involvement in the same doping ring that brought her brother down four years ago.  This is going to prove to be a very lengthy and expensive court case.  Do you think she has the money to afford all of this?
Jerry T.

Jerry -
Well, she knows how to turn a quick dime.....she's done it before.

Thanks for reading everyone - enjoy your weekend!


Wednesday, April 21, 2010


Spring is the time when emblamatic new life emerges from those things that lie dormant.  And frequently, we take inspiration from such things.  So too, in the world of cycling, which of us is not inspired by seeing those whose careers have taken a bit of a slide come forth once again to carry the day.  One might assume I'm speaking of Floyd Landis' second place performance at Battenkill last weekend.

Or maybe Cadel Evan's winning both the World Championships and also today's Fleche-Wallonne on an attack up the Mur de Huy, besting Alberto's entire index finger with merely his thumb.
There are other recent tales, like Riccardo Ricco winning the second stage and taking the leaders jersey at the Giro del Trentino today.  Ricco, of course, is trying to resurrect his career after being away from the sport due to convictions of doping, then leaving his girlfriend, racer Vania Rossi and their unborn child, when she too tested positive.  Susbsequently, Rossi's B sample came back negative and Riccardo "The Cobra" Ricco had a brand new head set design painted on his Bianchi.

Certainly, nothing inspires like a doper who leaves his partner and child, who then wins.  But two other recent tales of cycling resurrection have tickled my niggles even more.  The first is involving Lance Armstrong.  As everyone is well aware, in March of 2009, LA fractured his clavicle in the Castilla Y Leon race.  As he lay slumped over in the gutter, he began Tweeting about the occurence feverishly with his good arm (one-armed people can both drive AND twitter, in case you didn't know) and within moments, his became the most well-known collar bone in the world.  So momentous was this occasion, that the very ground upon which the bone was splintered became hallowed, such that the people of the nearby village of Antiguedad erected a monument to mark the exact location of the event consisting of a blue fendered bike, secured in a pedestal of cement and stone.
A plaque on the pedestal reads:

"La Clavicula de Armstrong

I'm not sure why the good citizens of Antiguedad sacrificed what appears to be a perfecly good bike in honor of this event, or moreso why they angled the bicycle upwards like a giant erection....but I guess it's the thought that counts.  And by all accounts, people across the street from the monument   Europe reportedly stumbled upon flocked to the commemorative sculpture while walking their dogs to pay homage to Armstrong's fallen bone. 
Well disturbing news arrived last week when it was discovered that the monument had been vandalized and the bicycle stolen.  (I expect it to show up on FixedGearGallery any day now but with some deep-V Velocity rims, bright orange Oury handlegrips and an Aerospoke front wheel).  But town officials have assured the cycling community that not only will the site be resurrected, but it will now be made more difficult for vandals to get to.  Blessed be the bike that represents the collar bone.  Amen.

But none of these tales of resurrection is as exciting to me as the news that the Angle has risen.  Yes, the former Specialized Angel that used to appear at domestic and European races to represent the Specialized brand has been brought back and renamed the Angel of Echelon.  The organizers of the Echelon Gran Fondo series have "restored and resyled [The Angel] to emulate a protector and healer while still maintaing her celebrated allure and charisma."  In other words, she's still wearing tight clothes. 
"The angel character serves a dual role: one to inspire and support those off the bike and the other to captivate and cheer those on the bike," said Echelon Event Director, Hunter Ziesing regarding the Echelon series' new symbol which is designed to raise money for cancer initiatives.

I notice that the new angel comes complete with a bronzed breast plate that she didn't sport before.
I wonder if the new owners of the Angel thought she needed more protection.  Especially considering what happened to the old Specialized Angel at the hands of Cannondale.
Because as we know all too well, just because you've been resurrected doesn't mean you can't fall again.  At least we can hope so in the case of Ricco.