Friday, January 28, 2011

Friday Mail: No one is safe today....

Happy Friday. I recognize that many of you read this blog from fields afar and don't actually live, work and ride here in Columbia, Missouri.  Well, today, before we get to Friday mail, I've got to cover a little local news.  As such, if you are not from mid-Missouri, you should feel free to tune out the inital part of this post, enjoy a little eye candy and proceed to this link.  (Sorry about that - I just learned what rickrolling was and couldn't resist.)

Anyway - This Sunday the 2011 Gravel Ginder series is continuing, but will do so in Hermann and not here in Columbia.  The ride starts at 10:00 AM and will include 38 miles of gravel.  The ride starts and ends at 'Wings-A-Blazin'.  Get your map and all other info here.

And speaking of a bag of nuts....get ready to freeze yours off (if you have them).  The 2011 Froze Toes race is on the calendar for February 27th and registration is now open.  Get ready to pack your chamois with some toe warmers and get signed up now.  Go here for all the details.

And finally Feb., 1st is Bicycle and Pedestrian Day at the Capitol in Jeff City.  You can join cyclists and pedestrians from around the state to talk to your legislators about active transportation in Missouri.  Go here for details.

On to the mail:

Dear PooBah,

The name of the blog is 'como' and yet you rarely talk about Columbia. Your blog is mostly about international bicycle racing and could just as easily be written by someone in Texas or Nigeria. If you notice, usually your only comment after these stories is 'david Henderson, who im guessing is a bicycle racer but like 99.999% of Americans who bicycle i have no idea who he is.

Might i suggest at least a tiny bit of Columbia news in each post? Columbia could really use a blog like Now obviously that would take reporting and you have a full time job, or at least you did when you were struck riding there by the one armed man. However, maybe just a tiny bit of como cycling? Thanks poobah. You are the greatest thing since that new guy joined that one team thats sponsored by a foreign product ive never heard of before!!! Pure awesome.


1) What?  No accompanying picture of a pantsless cyclist?  Weak.....
2) How do you know this blog isn't being written from Texas or Nigeria?
3) David Henderson is a Cat 1 cyclist here in COMO and holds both State and National titles.  However, word is, these days, he is also a handyman and gigolo depending on the day of the week. 
(I hear he does charge extra to show up wearing his medals....but isn't it worth it?)

4) Yes, yes, yes.  I know I like to blather on about international bike racing.  You know what?  When I started this blog, I kind of envisioned it as being the William Wallace of the COMO cycling scene...Let me explain.  Do you remember in the movie 'Braveheart' where Mel Gibson's character tried to unite the Scottish clans? 
Well after living and cycling in COMO for a long time, I came to realize that the cycling scene here was not unlike feudal Scotland - a bunch of individual cycling clans who never interact.  When was the last time anyone saw roadies, commuters, tri-geeks, poloists, or fixie-riding hipsters willingly interact aside from those awkward moments when they're stuck in the same line waiting for something at Walt's or Cyclex?  The vision was that this website could be the Mel Gibson of COMO cycling and bring everyone together - hence the word 'Cooperative' in the blog's title.  However, as you may remember, William Wallace not only had his ass kicked, but was also drawn and quartered with his head ultimately stuck on a pike on London tower.   Furthermore Mel Gibson completely went koo-koo for Cocoa-Puffs and has lately been seen running around with his hand in a beaver's ass. So too, if you were to judge this blog's success by the actual mail I receive giving me real input from the various cycling factions as to the goings-on about COMO, it would be considered a complete failure.  Which is why, these days, I tend to write about what I want to write about.   
5)  Have you been to Portland lately?  You cannot throw your sister's skinny jeans across the road without hitting at least 10 cyclists congregating for a cycling-related book release, or an alley-cat, or a bicycle-film-fest, or a pack of Cat 6 racing commuters.  In other words, in addition to Portland having its own TV also has a cycling culture - whatever that means.  Therefore, there's a little bit more to report on, there.
6) COMO already has a great cycling reporter....the 'Spokesman!'
If The Spokesman is reading, perhaps he would be willing to write a weekly post for the COMO CYCO on any topic he would like?  The pay is great - and you will literally have to beat away the chicks....

7) Lastly - thanks for your note.  You are right.  More COMO news would be better.  I will do my best!

Dear PooBah,
It's Oscar season again!  What's your pick for best movie?  I thought the dancing in Black Swan was amazing - but my vote still goes to True Grit.  Do you remember that scene where the mountain man rides out of the woods wearing a bear's head?  Now that was epic!
Reginald W.

Yes, True Grit was pretty good.  By the way - I think I saw you out riding your fixie the other day....

I dig the bear-hat....but am a little bothered by the fact that it appears to be panda bear....they're protected you know...But the pearls really make the outfit.

Dear PooBah,
Aside from all of the obvious benefits that wearing spandex cycling shorts have while riding, I just find them incredibly comfortable in general.  But my question is, are there any downsides to wearing them?  The reason I ask, is that I like to wear my cycling shorts not just for cycling - but for everyday activites as well.  Is this safe to do?
Bob M.

The major risk you are running is going to be trying to keep the ladies off you, my friend.  You've got your work cut out for you there.  By the way - you missed a spot with your 120spf on the right side of your muffin-top.

Dear PooBah,
The last two Fridays, you've shown women riding bicycles with no pants on, making particular effort to show their backsides.  I have to say that I find this kind of posting to be quite discriminatory and unbecoming of a proper cycling blog. 
You should do something about that.
Greg S.
I hope this satisfies your desire for equal representation.

Dear PooBah,
Last night I went to the Black and Gold and had way, way too much to drink.  I don't even remember coming home.  This morning, when I woke up, I was half naked, on top of my closet and Gilligan's Island was on the television.  But what was most odd was that there was a strange fixed-gear bicycle parked in my room.  How could I have let this happen?  I'm a pure roadie!  What do I do now?
Sheila V.

Go easy on yourself - you're not the first person who has had been seduced by a fixie. And by all accounts - I don't think your beer goggles were even that fogged up - because it's a fairly nice looking ride.  Sometimes one night stands can even lead to true romance.  All things considering, it could have been so much could have woken up next to this....

(Lord knows, what you might have ended up doing with these guys....)

Thanks for reading everyone, have a great weekend.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Muscles....flexed, blocked and tainted

It seems that the news of the cycling world is rife with talk of muscles, whether it is in reference to tainted meat ingested by Alberto Contador or this story printed yesterday that could have far reaching implictions within the world of professional cycling.  According to an article published in VeloNews, the cycling industry has a new muscle, and that muscle's name is Robbert de Kock.
Of course, the first question I had upon reading this article was exactly how would this newly discovered cycling 'Kock-muscle' be flexed?  Well, it seems that Robbert de Kock will lead an organizination called the WFSGI which will oversee standardization of bicycles manufactured and provided for bicycle racing, thus both ensuring safety standards are maintained and taking some of the guesswork out of what the UCI will and won't allow.  The very perceptive VeloNews reporter who wrote the piece posed the question of whether or not the UCI might attempt to Kock-block the WFSGI by delaying review of applications:

Undaunted, Robbert de Kock is proving to be a hard nut to crack, so to speak, and is pushing the UCI to ensure that they... "can realize and live up to their promise to have a guaranteed one-month reply for the drawings and two-month for the visual measuring process."

I would hope that two months would be ample time to visually measure any "applicant"....

But speaking of Kock-blocking, I stumbled upon some photographs of the Italian National Women's cycling team admonishing a crowd of onlookers when they were on stage at the World Championships in Geelong, Australia last September.  Is it just me - or does anyone else find the scarlet red color of the chamois panel on their bib shorts an odd choice?
The entire team raised their glove-covered hands in unison to the onlooking crowd which revealed letters spelling out the words "mart nago" which I believe is latin for "Stop looking at our brilliantly colored crotches!"

It kind of looks like a crotchal Valentine....which honestly is sending out some pretty mixed signals...

Certainly, the men's team must have worn the identical Castelli bibs - right?

Not so much.....

And in other news, cyclingnews is reporting that an additional test might help Alberto Contador to clear his name for testing positive for Clenbuterol, a drug that has been illicitly used to trim fat and build muscle in cows and people.
Interestingly, this article makes the claim that if one's hair is tested and found to be devoid of clenbuterol, then it is more likely that the illegal substance was accidentally ingested rather than purposely taken.  Although the article doesn't specify, I'm guessing the presence of the drug in one's hair indicates a more long-standing administration rather than an isolated incidence of accidental ingestion which can still result in positive urine samples.  Lucky for Contador, according to one German scientist, "Clenbuterol sticks at least 20 times better to dark hair than to blonde," thus making Bertie's black shock a ticket to his vindication to be sure.  So the burning question now is, will he willingly offer up a sample......
(I'm guessing one pointy-sideburn's worth would do it....)

....or will he tell everyone that he's actually a true blonde but just dyes his hair black, therefore they shouldn't even bother testing his hair....
(I don't think the rug matches the curtains....)

Actually an alter-ego for Bertie may not be a bad idea.  Word is, hair or no hair, he's about to enter into a year long period of solitude and reflection.....and will do it sans maillot jaune.  And now that he's about to enter the club, it seems that acquiring an alter-ego that can do the speaking for him is the next order of business.  After all, Armstrong now has 'Juan Pelota' to post semi-anonymous tweets for him:

And Landis has his dog Beazed (who was particularly outspoken regarding Bradley Wiggins' most recent interview.)

So why shouldn't Bertie assume an alter-ego to do his talking for him as well?  Maybe someone that could take the heat off....
"Hi, I'm Clenny the Cow....I'm tainted, but tasty"

Friday, January 21, 2011

Spoiler Alert! Tour Down Under edition of Friday Mail

Well, the Tour Down Under is certainly not disappointing us with respect to producing some unconventional results.  Whereas many thought this would be a race for the big-named sprinters, each day has brought a more surprising finish.  I should warn everyone that in case you are planning your entire day around the brief 30 minute telecast that Versus has dedicated to the race each afternoon, there are some spoilers contained below. 
First off - what about Cam Meyer's performance today in Stage 4?  Pushing the speed of the breakaway group, he manages to take the stage, the overall lead and the best young rider's jersey.

For the stage, he wins the bouqet of flowers, kisses from the podium girls and a large bong.

And for being the best "young rider" he wins the jersey that only looks good if you are using the aforementioned large bong.

If you've not been keeping score, you may be wondering what Cavendouche has been up to...

Well, he's had a rough go of it.  After crashing badly in Stage 2, on Stage 3 he was dropped hard finishing about 12 and a half minutes behind the winner, Michael Matthews of Rabobank.  Not only was he bringing up the rear, but the race organizers sort of forgot about him and accidentally pulled the 'green-light-truck' forward on him and then opened the course back up to public use before he could finish the last lap of the stage's circuit finish. He and a couple others had to ride in open traffic, occasionally having to stop for cars at intersections.  No love for the Manx Missile Down Under, I guess.

The Tour finishes Sunday in Adelaide.

And with that - we move onto some Reader mail:

Dear PooBah,
My wife washed my favorite pair of white bib shorts and headband with a brand new red shirt she bought and look what happened...This is the only pair of my team's kit I have and I had to race like this!
I'm absolutely livid with her.  What do I do now?
Hank J.

Hank -
First, call your home-economics teacher from High School. Admit to her that you spent that entire semester in 1987 writing your name in Motley Crue font and drawing picture of boobs on the cover of your Trapper Keeper instead of paying attention on how to operate a washer and a dryer.  Then, pass the phone off to your wife so they can commiserate on what an insensitive dumb-ass you are.  Next, find the owner's manual for your washer and dryer, open them and read cover to cover so you can do your own flipping laundry next time.  Lastly - I'd quit wearing that headband and driving your minivan to races unless you are purposely trying to be the T-Mobile version of Uncle Rico.

Dear PooBah,
I have a suggestion for your blog.  Why not add a book review where you can read bicycle-related books and then write reviews on them?  There are so many amazing cycling books out there.  I think your readers would love to hear all about them.  For example, right now I'm reading a cycling related detective story that is pretty scary!

I'd be happy to send you my copy when I finish it if you'd like.
Lyle F.

Thanks for the suggestion and the offer to read your book.  I have to say, it does look scary.  By the way, I hate to spoil the ending for you, but I think the Invisible Dick was eventually found.

Dear PooBah,
What were the best cycling-related and NON-cycling-related inventions that came out in 2010?
Margie K.

Great question.

Best cycling-related invention of the year was definitely edible handlbars.

Best NON-cycling-related invention would have to be Chuck Norris earrings.

Dear PooBah,
I've heard of helmet laws being pushed in a number of different states, now....but I just have to tell you.  Helmets are for pussies.
What do you think of that?-
Otto M.

Occasionally this is true.

Dear PooBah,
What did you think of Micheal Matthews of Rabobank winning Stage 3 of the Tour Down Under?  Do you think this win could give his career a boost?
Peter G.

Not unless he quits getting his hair cut like Jodie Foster in The Accused.

That's it for today, kids.  Have a great weekend -

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

A turd by any other name....

Wow - kind of a busy 24 hours....

First off, as announced yesterday, Floyd Landis is done with cycling.  Before announcing this to the press, however, he conferred with any man's closest and most reliable ally:

And 24 hours later, the Sports Illustrated article on Lance Armstrong drops.  You can read it here, if you haven't already done so.  I've been discussing it with a close friend who asked me, "Are you surprised?"  To which I replied, "Surprised, no.  Interested?  Very."  The man is fascinating.  If everything implied is true, think of what it takes to successfully hide, suppress or sugarcoat all of this evidence for that many years.  It's amazing really that he ever believed himself that he could get away with it.  But it was only made possible because of those of us who wanted to believe it all.

It's like someone just fed me a big turd and said, "Check it out - brownies." 
I reply, "Hang on, I think this may actually be poop." 
He responds, "I have never pooped in my life."
I ask, "Never?"
He answers "Ever - Plus, look how much good I've done for the world outside of cooking brownies! How could I be capable of doing anything so underhanded?" 
To which I reply, "I love how chocolaty they taste."
He reponds, "Want to buy a T-shirt with a picture of a brownie on it?"
I reply, "I'll take two."

Oh, yes you can...

Anyway - the unfortunate business is that the media attention surrounding LA detracts from the Tour Down Under.  It's actually been a little difficult to catch footage of the race, and not without having to endure some pain.  Case in point: Last night I was looking online at the Versus Channel for some highlights from Stage 1 of the Tour when a commerical for the Canadian Grand Prix Cycliste came on (which won't even occur until September!). I began to patiently sit through the obligatory advertisement, half tuning it out, while I waited for the Tour highlights to start. The ad features two generic cyclists, devoid of any team affiliation, one in green and one in blue.

Everything is going along swimmingly in the highly stylized commercial and I actually turned the volume of my speakers up in anticipation of needing to amplify Phil Ligget's hushed commentary of the forthcoming replayed action of Stage 1 when all of a sudden, at the 15 second mark of the video,  'generic green cyclist dude' inexplicably opens his mouth in a grimace and begins to scream at 'generic blue cyclist dude' like he has suddenly morphed into a bike riding velociraptor with a hot poker in his ass.
Getting the scream warmed up...

And the delivery....

Watch for yourself....remember to gird your loins at 15 seconds.

Seriously - what the fuck just happened?

As you can see, this allows 'generic green cyclist dude' to take 'generic blue cyclist dude' at the line, which, quite honestly, is a given.  'Generic green cyclist dude' ought to be thanking his lucky stars he didn't get splashed with the liquid feces he undoubtedly just forced from 'generic blue cyclist dude' by pulling a stunt like that.  No matter, I'm sure 'generic blue cycling dude' would be able to easily convince everyone he actually just shit a chocolate shake by winning the next race and throwing some money around....because, seriously - how cool would that be?  I'd even line up to buy one.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

An ounce of sense is worth a pound of stupidity

Generaly speaking, there are two things which will encourage even the meekest soul to voice his or her opinion about a topic with uncharacteristic bravado, especially if that opinion is derogatory in some way.  The first is liquor.  The second is the opportunity to express comments under the cloak of anonymity, a concept with which I am all too familiar. 

Specifically, I am speaking of an article published in the Columbia Tribune on Sunday that expressed concerns about a city-commissioned survey conducted to determine the effectiveness of the GetAbout program whose mission is to raise awareness and participation in alternative, non-motorized transportation.  The original article suggests that the GetAbout program has not resulted in increases in non-motorized transport and in fact states that fewer COMO citizens are cycling or walking these days.
To emphasize the article's point, the editors chose to publish a picture of a solitary, lonely looking, wet bicycle outside a Methodist Church.  I wasn't even aware that Methodists were allowed to ride bicycles, so wonder if this one is owned by a defecting Lutheran, or something....

The problem is, the agency that conducted the study (St. Louis-based research firm Philips and Associates) did so via land-line telephone only.  The response piece, authored by Robert Johnson, demonstrates how this inherently skews any data obtained. By polling a sub-population of COMO citizens that owns land-line telephones, the surveyors also preferentially selected homes inhabited by an older population.  (Research has shown that inhabitants of homes with land lines are older than the average population of a community). This explains why the average age of those surveyed (55 years) was older than the average age of COMO citizens.
Interestingly, further research has shown that the older-than-85 demographic is evenly distributed among those using tin cans and string, smoke signals and carrier pigeon.

Based on experiences in other cities that have seen rises in cycling advocacy and practice, it's believed that alternative transportation may be more likely adopted and practiced by a younger population.  Thus, the survey didn't get an accurate representation of the current trends  in Columbia, and the data is flawed and misleading.  Furthermore, Johnson goes on to quote the results of research conducted by Associate Professor Stephen Sayers (co-director of scholarly activity in the Department of Physical Therapy) which actually reported an increase in cycling by 18% in 2010 documented by direct observation.  Predictably, Mr. Johnson's article evoked some colorful reponses:

jefnmel (anonymous) says....
"Get a life. There are so many other worthwhile casues [sic] to put your energy towards than trying to justify your disdain for anything with an engine."

themorethingschange (anonymous) says...
"Robert, please hop on your bike and pedal out of town.  Intentions may have been good, but the reality is that an obscene amount of public money was wasted trying to convince people to bike or walk to work.  The outcome was totally predictable to anyone with an ounce of common sense.  And speaking of a younger demographic, there is an expression they no doubt would use to describe this deal: Fail."

As Mr. Johnson is likely not allowed to respond to these anonymously-posted comments, I hope he doesn't mind if I do, as I feel particularly qualified to do so based on the following: 1) I am under 55 years of age, 2) like the Tribune commenters, I too, am anonymous and 3) I possess exactly one ounce of sense, no more and no less.

I could start my response to 'jefnmel' and 'thremorethingschange's arguments by suggesting the bigger waste of money in this entire story was whatever the city of Columbia paid the St. Louis research firm to conduct a worthless study....or I could suggest that commenter  'themorethingschange'   probably has a land-line phone and is thus forbidden to use the word "fail" to describe anything other than the inadequate response to their Geritol and Centrum Silver....but instead, I think I will match their anonymously-posted, but well-crafted arguments with one of my own:

And I'd also like to take this moment to reiterate that in no way, shape or form am I suggesting or condoning that older people actually make the en masse switch to cell phones as a means of communication.  Speaking from personal experience, my mother now has an iphone and is learning how to text, and this frightens me.

Anyway - speaking of riding your bike and talking on the phone, I stumbled upon this today.

This photo is depicting a helmet with a built-in Bluetooth allowing you to make those important phone calls (or responding to critical phone surveys) while riding.  Of course, only cyclists under 55 will likely be able to master this complex technology.  However, that will probably result in the over 55 crowd being hit by cars far less frequently as their left ears won't be completely deafened to the sounds of oncoming traffic.  On the upside, the resulting shift in average age of cyclist could help the accuracy of the next phone survery to be conducted. 

Friday, January 14, 2011

Radio Rant: Your Friday Mail

"Radios?  We don't need no stinking radios."

I'm saying it now.  Philipe Gilbert may be the new Jens Voigt.  Not that we need a new Jens Voigt, but let's face it - Jens is heading toward the twilight of his career and we need someone to look to that races old school, doesn't whine, and likes to get dirty.  Today in cyclingnews, he's announced his support for the ban on radios.

"I won Lombardia without a radio.  I was in contact with my teammates and not with the car, and when you have a good vibe with your teammates, it's more important than the one with your directeur sportif."

I've never understood the "radios make cycling safer" philosophy, and think at the very least, their use in individual time trials during stage races is straight up bullshit.  How is it even remotely acceptable for the GC leader to get to ride last in an individual time trial, with the cyclist he needs to beat riding 3 minutes in front of him, while the leader's director is watching the whole thing on TV and getting split times for the guy in 2nd place and conveying that info back to the race leader so he can ease up in tricky spots if possible?  I'm reminded of the 2003 Tour de France time trial when Jan Ullrich was sitting second to Lance Armstrong by 65 seconds and the final time trial was in a rain storm.  A time trial should be against the clock - not directly against another competitor.  But Ullrich's ride was watched second by second on a very sketchy course, with all the split times conveyed back to Armstrong.  What resulted was LA not having to race his hardest or take extreme risks for fear Ullrich would ride a faster time; all he had to do was beat Ullrich's split times that were being radioed to him continuously.  You could have guessed what would happen.  Ullrich goes balls out, crashes and Lance gets to coast (relatively) to his victory.  Ok, I'll get off the soapbox - they were probably both doped to the gills anyway....
On to some mail.

Dear PooBah-
What is up with the recent weather here in mid-Missouri?  Does this January feel coldler than usual?
Mary J.

Indeed.  It's like we're getting tea-bagged by Canada.

Dear PooBah,
They say that clothes make the man.  Well for this year's cross season, my team got new uniforms, and I gotta tell you, man - they made a huge difference.  I raced faster, felt stronger....and dude...the chicks couldn't keep away from me.  Check it.
Ryan H.

The PooBah definitely approves.

Dear PooBah,
I'm new to COMO and trying to fit in to the local cycling scene.  I ride a fixed gear and have noticed that the hip thing to do is to adorn it with stickers.  So I put a sticker on my down tube that reads "I LOVE MY BIKE".  The next day, I rode over to Jimmy Johns for lunch and when I came out, someone had carefully balanced a frozen dog turd on my saddle.  I almost started crying.  Was this in response to my new sticker?  What do I do?
Chuck J.

Unfortunately your sticker may have elicited the response.  Don't take this wrong way, but you might need to HTFU.  There's nothing wrong with cycling sensitivity....but you need to store it away when you're out on the street.  I'm sending you a magnet that you can use to cover up your down tube sticker when you are in town that might help with your acceptance:

Dear PooBah,
COMO POLO is looking for new sponsorship to help defray some of the costs associated with keeping the team up and running.  We definitely like thinking "outside of the box" so to speak and were just wondering if you had any suggestions of local businesses we could try to tap into?

Well - as long as you are willing to keep the partnership "outside of the box", you might consider one of the small start-up businesses that are run out of the motels north of town...They seem to work for other polo squads...

 Dear PooBah,

Last week you posted a letter sent in by my sister, Gretta, regarding her so-called saddle discomfort.  Obviously she sent in a photo of herself as well.   I hope you were not fooled by this little ploy of hers.  You see, as my younger sister, Gretta possesses a very unhealthy need to compete with me for some reason.  As a result, she occasionally goes to ridiculous lengths to attract attention to herself.  She has no shame.  I can guarantee that she is NOT having any issues with her saddle, but is rather just trying to be in the limelight one more time.  She doesn't even ride that much.  In fact her letter may be a cry for help in some way.  It's so sad.  Anyway - thank you for your thoughtful and sincere response to her note. 

By the way - I'm actually a serious cyclist and have enclosed a picture of myself doing some altitude training in Europe last summer.  Your readers may find it of interest ;)


Have a great weekend everyone - stay warm!


Thursday, January 13, 2011

Tour down under: Towing your way to misogyny

As many of you are aware, the first major road race of 2011, the Tour Down Under, is just around the corner.  What you may not know is that the name of the race finds its roots in European medieval times.  The term "Down Under" was the original non-graphic descriptor of a man's genital region (before the term "junk" became popular) such that in times of yore, when one enountered a fair maiden at ye local pub, one might buy her a flagon of mead and then ask her if she would like to "take the tour down under."  Of course, the occasional unfortunate descendents of this clever lot that lost their way and fell into lives of crime were all banded up and shipped off to Australia, and thus the term was transported to another continent.  Recently, the originality of the Australians to name an entire bike race after the colorful euphemism has only been matched by their creativity for novel bicycle related inventions.  Take for example the new Australian bicycle rack.

Or the Bicycle Bungee.

It's the latter creation that I'm particularly fond of.  My only complaint with the advertisement for it is how they've tried to gloss over the issue at hand with a ridiculous PC polish.  Instead of Bicycle Bungee, why didn't they just stick with this little device's original name: 'The Ol' Ball and Chain?'
"Jesus, she is pathetic.  Why am I wasting my time on her slow ass?"

"I'm so pathetic.  My only redeeming quality is my loving husband.  I hope he won't withold sex from me for being so slow....but I probably deserve it.  I'm such a lucky little she-la"

Seriously, if this guy wants resistant training so badly, why doesn't he just tow a couple of sacks of concrete around?  It would be a lot quieter, and at the end of the ride, he could actually do something useful with load he's been lugging around and build himself a little monument to his own greatness.

I've already ordered a Bicycle Bungee for the GEEC and me, but we have an entirely different thing in mind for it.
I'm going to have her tow my ass to karate lessons every Thursday afternoon as soon as the snow melts.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Ciao, Papa

I just learned that Peter Yates, british-born director of the 1979 movie Breaking Away died on Sunday.
As I've continued this blog over the past year, I've tried to steer away from things that have to do with me personally.  Why?  Well, mostly because I'm an incredibly boring individual.  However today, I'm going to bend my self-imposed rule just a bit, not because I think anyone will really find it interesting, but because I'm feeling all nostalgic suddenly.  Consider it my "Clark Griswold-stuck-in-the-attic-watching-old-family-movies-moment."

When I was a kid, two of my more favorite things to do were to watch movies and to ride my bike.  It was just about 1978 when my parents got me my first real bike, a Huffy Thunder Road.
It wasn't long after that that my family went to see Breaking Away.  The only scene I remembered as a kid was when Dave races against Team Cinzano outside Indianapolis. 

This scene was most memorable to me for two reasons, I think.  #1) Although it was just a Hollywood moment, it was the first bike race I had ever seen, and #2) I had just had my ass kicked by a kid named Tom C. on the playground because he didn't like my plaid pants....(yeah - my mother dressed me funny).
This is the exact kind of shit my mother would love to buy for me.

Anyway - I've watched Breaking Away many, many times since and every time I see it, it means something new to me.  Sometimes I watch it from the standpoint of Mike, Dave's angry friend who starts craving the glory days only a few months after graduation. Sometimes I watch it through the eyes of Dave's Dad who revels in his own crankiness ("REFUND???"). And sometimes I watch it from the standpoint of Dave's Mom who gets a US passport not for travelling abroad, but just in case the checkout lady at the grocery store asks her for identification one day, she can appear like a world traveler.  But mostly I watch it from the standpoint of Dave who is constantly fighting who he is, craving to be something he's not, and coming to terms with something somewhere in between.
One of my favorite scenes:

I've discussed a number of times with a lot of different people what the best "cycling movie" is, documentaries not included.  I always respond Breaking Away, probably because it's not about cycling at all.  Its greatness transcends cycling, just like the beauty of cycling transcends the actual bike.  Thanks, Pete.