Friday, February 22, 2008

Attrition: Worst Day Ever On A Bike

The conditions during yesterday’s stage of the Tour of California were apparently so bad that some riders even counted it among the worst days they’ve ever had on a bike. Of course, this is quite understandable when you consider that it was the first time in years that many of these people have had to work a full eight-hour day. I was curious to hear from others about their worst-ever days on the bike, so I pretended to interview three cycling luminaries, who in my imagination were gracious enough to share their epic tales:


Mario Cipollini, professional bicycle racer and world’s ugliest male model

[translated from the Italian]

“It was Spring 1994, the eve of Milan-San Remo. Now, I have a strict no-hair policy when it comes to ‘Little Mario,’ and with the possibility of a podium showing I couldn’t risk any shadows showing up in photographs, if you know what I mean. Unfortunately my soigneur, Beppe, was ill, so I was forced to do my own manscaping. And without his precision depilatory kit, all I had at my disposal was a disposable razor and a tiny bottle of hotel shampoo. The razor burn I suffered as a consequence made the next day in the saddle undoubtedly the most uncomfortable one of my life. But it was worth it, because I did wind up on the podium, and I looked fantastic.”


Rolf Dietrich, bicycle wheel pioneer and inventor of paired-spoke technology

“First off, I’d like to say that I always have and always will stand behind paired spoke technology one hundred percent. In fact, I apply the paired spoke principle to nearly every aspect of my life. For example, I don’t eat three moderate-sized meals throughout the day. Instead, I eat two really substantial meals back-to-back every other day. And I don’t sleep eight hours a night. Instead, I take two naps during the day. This makes my life lighter, more aerodynamic and less susceptible to crosswinds.

“In any case, I’d have to say that the worst day I’ve ever had on a bike was the day I had to ride one that was equipped with a pair of traditional wheels with low-profile box-section rims and 32 evenly-spaced spokes. I had completely forgotten how heavy, sluggish, and downright stupid they are. God, people are morons! I feel sorry for them. Even the human body uses my concept. Just look at eyes, nostrils, nipples, testicles, and ovaries. It’s obvious. Paired spoke technology just plain works.”


Craig Calfee, bicycle fabricator and founder of Calfee Design

“Last summer I was in the Gansu province of China sourcing bamboo for the bicycles I’ll be providing for Organic Athlete. There’s actually a bamboo shortage in China, so my Mongolian guide, Delgerbayar, had to bribe a forestry worker who tipped us off to a supply in the Baishuijiang State Nature Preserve. When we got there, we were pleased to find a field of some of the finest bamboo I’d ever seen. Unfortunately, we also found a family of giant pandas, who turned out to be fiercely protective of their dwindling food supply. I sent Delgerbayar in first, but unfortunately while he did have the dazzling equestrian skills the Mongolians are famous for, he turned out to be somewhat less skilled in human-ursidae combat. I won’t sicken you with the details, but let’s just say they made quick work of both Delgerbayar and his horse, and Timothy Treadwell probably went quietly in comparison. Next, the pandas turned on me. Now, there may be less than 100 pandas in Gansu province, but there is only one Craig Calfee in the entire world. The only endangered species at that moment was me. I grabbed a length of bamboo that would (and ultimately did) make a perfect downtube and started swinging. Again, I won’t sicken you with the details, but the final score was Calfee: 4, Pandas: 0. I was now safe, but I was also hundreds of miles from civilization, and without Delgerbayar and his horse I had no way to cover those miles. So I set to building a bamboo bicycle completely by hand, supplementing it with the remains of Delgerbayar’s steed, and rode over 200 miles to a village where I traded a panda carcass for room and board. And that was my worst day ever on a bike.”

105 comments:

Thomas said...

fist!

Anonymous said...

first

Cycle Jerk said...

I can see my house from here!

Anonymous said...

i spelled it right...

Sprocketboy said...

Is Craig Calfee the new Jobst Brandt?

KP said...

Manscaping? Human-ursidae combat? Thanks for the great lead out for the weekend and expanding my vocabulary!

JimmyNick said...

Finished high enough to land a ProTour blog-comment contract!

Cameron said...

Snob,
Sometimes I spend more time googling your obscure references and impressive vocabulary than I do reading the post. Well done.

JimmyNick said...

Without further delay ...

Douchebag!

Anonymous said...

I actually met Rolf Dietrich at interbike this year. And I think perhaps you were channeling him directly in your interview. That guy is a serious prick.

FunkyLaneO said...

I have said it before and I will say it again, Mario Cipollini humor is the funniest humor.

you killed today!

Peter said...

dead panda jokes Rule

db said...

...it was the first time in years that many of these people have had to work a full eight-hour day.

Thanks for that.

Anonymous said...

Mario's manscaping was the best theme ever. How do you think this shit up? I am in awe.

Which great author do you liken yourself to?

Anonymous said...

my worst day on a bike, the day I died. I was run over several times by a fat guy in a hummer. The good news is that I was reincarnated into a cyclist again.

Heaven still has an abundance of cheap oil, so they don't need too many cyclists. Cyclist reincarnation will end when oil tops $100 a barrel in heaven.

Anonymous said...

"Timothy Treadwell probably went quietly in comparison"

hilarious.

Pappy said...

So the snob IS following the Tour of CA. Just couldn't resist in the end, hmmm?

Anonymous said...

Soo, Snobbie, I feel that we have made a connection here on the comment board. I also know that you make major cabbage off of your endeavors here. Anyways - gosh, this is awkward - I really like FAO Schwartz and Apple, and I was wondering, would you lend me 3 billion dollars to buy the GM Building?

max said...

so amazing

cyclingredbikes said...

So let's see, Snob will commute on a fixie until it's like 9 degress, but a some of the se "pros" won't complete a race below 55. hmmm... I think I chose the wrong profession. Oh well, don't like needles and not a good manscaper, so I'll keep my dayjob. Keep the cipo humor coming.

Ernest said...

I few days ago I went out on my fixie and it was -17. It was not even the worst day I have had on a bike. That would have been when I was 14 and I woke up in the back of an ambulance.

Garnet said...

Ouch, a Timothy Treadwell jibe!

AH said...

Ahhh, Grizzly Man. Now I get it.

Karl Rover said...

The worst day on a bike beats the best day at the office

Polygraf said...

I can't get Gilligan's pedal powered bamboo car out of my head now.
Nice humor to end a pretty heated week, now i go practice my shing-yi bear style kung fu- hey you never know.

thebrooklynfritz said...

I got an office job just so I could have that spew-your-lunch-on-the-computer-screen experience so often described in BS's comments section. Today was my first!
Snobster: thanks for the memories.

Miriam said...

If it was so cold and gross out, why didnt they wear warmers and jackets? Oh and I LOVE the guys that dropped because of hypothermia like issues...go put a freaking jacket on you pansy ass.

David Flynn said...

brilliant. my worst was when someone stole my top tube pad and i had to ride all the way home to bushwick without it.

Anonymous said...

Cipo,
This California weather is chillin. You'll vibe hella and it'll be your classic peep during art history. Do me up an email if you read this comment and are down.
--Big Daddy

Bun E said...

"...Timothy Treadwell probably went quietly in comparison."

Commiecanuk said...

Panda bear meat tastes exactly like American Bald Eagle meat.

Mario Cipollini said...

Piccolo Mario was molto freddo today. Mario no 'ave mucha termal comfort wit da leetle onions. (troppo HGH)
S'ok, I now in hotel keepa warm wit two podium weemen.

ciao titti, ciao..

Cool The Kid said...

Worst day on a bike...

Doing tricks to impress girls as a young teenager, front wheel falls off the bike during a wheelie. You can't make this stuff up...

Endangered species line almost got me in trouble... good job

leroy said...

Riding a bike is like sex because even the worst ride is still good.

Or wait a second.... Is it because both leave you flat on your back with one leg flailing in the air, the opposite foot clipped to a piece of machinery and a painful case of road rash?

Oh dear. This is confusing.

Commiecanuk said...

leroy said...

Riding a bike is like sex because even the worst ride is still good.


I beg to differ when it comes to forced sodomy.

Robin Williams said...

A bamboo Calfee made from bamboo, horse sinew and panda blood? I will take one.

mander said...

Top notch post, Snob!

ayendeewy said...

i'm sure if everyone had as many pairs of white shorts as cipo there would be a lot more manscaping going on.

Bobbo said...

how 'bout the Day Men Cried?

Fritz said...

Oh, brilliance! Magnifique!

pinchfinger said...

Wait a minute. I can buy Calfee besting the bears, and horse sinew makes rip-snorting bike chain, but what did he use for wheels? Huh? 'splain that one, bright boy.

And so what, Bradley Saul rides a bamboo bike in competition; how many damn races has he placed in?

Great way to top off the week. This blog is heating up like the presidential primaries.

Anonymous said...

commiecanuck -
clearly you haven't been having forced sodomy with the right person

thefutureofamerica said...

what did he use for wheels?

I think you'd be surprised at how true a panda skull will spin if you get it oriented right...

Prolly, I ate worms for lunch and I'm waiting with baited breath to hear about the sweatshirt competition.

ZiP said...

well written. this may be my new favorite post. well, maybe top 3.

Anonymous said...

it was 55 degrees on the worst day ever? these guys must be some delicate professional sportsmen.

Franklin D. Roosevelt said...

"The only thing we have to fear, is fear itself...that, and forced sodomy"

Anonymous said...

Don't forget the rain and the 40 mph headwind.

agentdetroit said...

my worst day (night) on a bike was when i went over the bars at full speed and smashed my face into the pavement. my jawbone was poking out inside of my mouth. i rode for four miles afterward, spitting teeth and blood. the tally: 2 fractures of the jaw, 6 broken teeth, 6 stitches, 2 stainless steel plates, 1 week in the hospital, and $30,000 in unpayable bills. the experience: priceless.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/agentdetroit/2283770281/

Anonymous said...

But how does any of this affect Team D.A.R.T.?

Anonymous said...

That wasn't Gansu. It was Qinghai! Doesn't anyone pay attention to where they are anymore?!

Anonymous said...

agentdetriot-
That face looks bad, sorry to hear about he bill's & such.
But I must ask, did that accident happen on a brakeless fixie, perhaps while trying to skid to a stop?
I've got some old calipers, levers & cables you can have, no charge.

agentdetroit said...

anon 4:01
no stunting, i'm too old and too underinsured!
it was a speed wobble. i do run a front brake for reasons listed above. thanks for your concern, though!

mario said...

Yeah, rain and wind makes you much colder than just cold temperatures, folks. Seriously, I rode in Ohio in 15 degrees and no wind and yesterday morning in California, and that Ohio day was much more fun.

erik k said...

anyone, like pinchfinger, who doubts the validity and plausibility of Craig Calfee's jungle panda encounter / emergence bike escape need look no further than

here
or
here

Anonymous said...

Ok, I learned about the Timothy Treadwell story on wikipedia. It ruined the fun of the post. But great post of course.

leroy said...

Commiecanuck --

Don't give up hope.

Remember, you only need to find one special someone.

And clip out when necessary.

pinchfinger said...

Praise de Lord, Brothers and Sisters....I is a believer now.
Thank you brother Erik k.

Although I would like to see panda skulls rolling into town.

fortpoops said...

I'm all for cipo laughs, but don't leave us hanging too long on the status of prolly's crew. The only other time I've seen grown men where clothes like that were 20-something downs syndrome kids in my elementary school, circa '85.

Anonymous said...

i wonder if Farrar getting the stomach flu is bad press for Chipotle...

pain is good said...

RE: TDC dropouts... Can riders who give up still go back out the next stage? Wow, if I was team manager, I'd fire them on the spot. They don't deserve to be out there representing cyclists or their sponsors. IDGAF

Anonymous said...

commiecanuk,

would that be the "american" american eagles or the american eagles they import from cape breton?

Most likely a taste difference.

wiahiwasmerckx said...

Jeeze, guys, don't give Michael Ball any ideas. We don't want to see his team rolling on panda skulls instead of HED wheels.

Anonymous said...

My worst day in the saddle was when I had no saddle. Someone stole it at the start of a century. It was like being on a stairclimber for six hours. But no saddle sores.

oompaloompa said...

yesterdays "queen" stage didn't make it into the comments on this epic of wet and cold suffering.
best part of the whole coverage was when phil mentioned the average speed for the day.

drum roll please.

18mph.

thats a training ride by anyones definition.
which means that anyone thinking of dropping out could have stopped on the way at a deli for cup of cocoa and at a walmart for a nice xxl fleece and a rain suit too and still crossed the line within the time limit.
uh i know it was cold and it was the longest stage but maybe the reason that people were freezing is that they just weren't going fast enough to get that dopey thick blood circulating fast enough.
oh well maybe the TT will provide more fun and games because so far the race has been a yawn.
aside from the rock cam of course.
love the rock cam.

BicyclesOnly said...

Conditions were pretty bad in NYC today, but I wouldn't say "worst":

http://www.flickr.com/photos/bicyclesonly/2284042184/

Anonymous said...

Yeah, actually 18mph isn't that slow when you consider the conditions (ie headwind) and the course route (up and down and extremely winding). The PCH is all up and down and I don't think the riders were too interested in sliding out off a cliff.

erik k said...

yah, seriously though i was surprised that the PRO's were so under dressed i don't know how many guys i saw sporting arm warmers, I mean no wonder they were getting hypothermia. Whats up with that, I was surprised team BMC wasn't breaking out the fugu jackets. Maybe they're saving those for the final stage through the mountains into Pasadena were it was snowing all day today. If they thought today was bad just wait till they get up to 5000 feet and oh yah the forecast for Sunday is 80% chance of rain/snow with a high of 37 for Wrightwood.

gttim said...

As somebody who has touched Cipo's ass, in a manly way and through lycra, I have to say it did seem rather smooth! Let me emphasize that I did not touch Little Mario so can in no way comment on the smoothness of the front. There are probably many women in Europe who can, as can Cipo's soigneur, Beppe, who I hope makes a shit load of money!

Anonymous said...

Miriam, you stupid bitch!

Anonymous said...

erik k
those pictures of wooden bikes? That's some funny shiite!!

JimmyNick said...

Hmm ... It's quiet in here. Too quiet. Can't someone lob a few hate bombs and stir things up? It is Friday, after all. Where's Sgt. Slaughter, or Lt. Dan, or whatever his name was? Where's the guy who was getting rich at the Sands? Did he go to the Stardust and find no wireless internet?
And most disturbingly of all, why has no one else used the word "douchebag"?

WheelDancer said...

I have a bit of sympathy for the ATOC riders since my worst riding day was the 2006 MN Ironman century ride (no not that Ironman, the original) when it was in the low 50's, raining with a 20-30 mph headwind. Still better than a day in the office of course...

fluffy said...

My hardest ride? Heading home today with this the last image I saw before logging off:
http://www.velonews.com/files/images/freddy_st4_0.jpg

Velonews clearly lacks the killer instinct: "I personally don’t care for their kits..."

Poor Freddy, the look on his face says it all. The wife's at home in tears, the kids will be teased at school because daddy's out in public in a costume that has the Primal Wear designers toxic green with envy. The guy who wore that to a comic convention in '93 is contacting his lawyer... The pain continues.

Timothy Treadwell said...

Thanks. I had almost managed to forget.

Vegaskid said...

Jimmynick, they imploded the Stardust last year to make way for the Echelon, now under construction. C'mon guys, try to keep up.

tontsa said...

I created BSNYC fan club to Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=10694887315

Feel free to join in!

Brad said...

Lame, Bikesnob jumps the shark.

the shark said...

how's that blog going brad? need help starting?

Brad said...

oh, its going good, just like i planned.

Anonymous said...

Time for all the anonymous, gritty posters to hang all on the line.

Jimmynick, you are a douchebag.

JimmyNick said...

VegasKid: Thanks for stating the obvious. I'm guessing you missed out on last week's sordid exchanges about the Sands etc.

Anon 1:29: You made the douchebag podium!

Anonymous said...

jimmynick...some how i picture you like jimiminyglick, except in cycling gear. and without the funny part.

Anonymous said...

douchebag! third!

Nullius said...

I had the pleasure of meeting Jobst Brandt on Wednesday, and one of the many things he said was that Rolf did not invent paired spoke technology, but that it's been around since at least 1890.

Anonymous said...

jimmy*ick

you of course failed to realize that once you appoint yourself the arbiter of anything in this comments section, you are destined to flame out. you will now go the way of bgw and many more famous and frankly, more interesting commentators than you. Anon 1:29 may be a douchebag, but your reading for two weekends and calling them out doesn't make them one.

"Francis" Armstrong
(in a jar greeting patrons at the Stardust)

Anonymous said...

Calfee surely fashioned rims by lashing together ribs from the horse, duh! And intestines would've provided ample material for tubes.

Anonymous said...

somewhere a kitten died.

Anonymous said...

vegaskid didn't miss out on the sands conversation. he also pointed out that demolition.

broomie said...

I had along post prepared but i'll stick to the brief version.

Miriam made a very ignorant statement.
nyahh.

broomie said...

Pain is Good

If you drop out, you're out of the race.

Riders don't usually get fired for dropping out. Multi day races are demanding, and lots of things can happen to ruin the race.
This may not be a goal race for a lot of teams because its so early in the year. So there may not be a big urge to perform. They may be using it to see what kind of shape everybody is in.
Also if a rider is peaking for a race later in the season then sometimes the manager will suggest they dropout to avoid interruptions to their training due to an injury or prolonged recovery. They don't always say why a rider has dropped out. He could have a bloody abcess on his ass, not be able to keep food down, a nagging muscle injury, etc. Remember they usually try to race all season. Also if the rider is unable to make any sort of contribution because the team is too low in standings or he is just fried then you can just rest him. Just like if a QB hurts his wrist or elbow you may pull him out of the game so he can play later.
I find it part of the drama to see who finshes a race. All racers have withdrawn at some point.

Remember cycling is a socialist euro douchebag sport. Its kinda like being in a Labor Union. You get up at 9:00 start working at 11:00 and if you don't feel good you go home early.

JimmyNick said...

Anonymous Francis,
You miss the point. I wasn't calling 1:29 a douchebag. But if I have to explain, then maybe BSNY is over your head. Apparently the comments are, because if you get yourself exorcised over them, then either you don't get them, or else you really some meaning and sources of validation in your life.
As for your "flames": Aw, c'mon -- please don't.
BSNY: It would be a service to block anonymous comments.

Anonymous said...

I just love to hear Phil pimping the NHL on Versus. Simply classic!

Marios Mother said...

Heya Mario, you a going to be a gooda boy and come a home now after being silly and riding in da rain. Come back to Mamma Mario and I will cook you some fina pasta and wash you in da warm bath and put da medicine on little Mario to make him feel better. Stop a hanging out with drug cheaties and hang out with the old boys in the village and drink grappa and grow old gracefully. You gotta nuff moula to buy da senoritas and play with fast cars for da rest of your daze

Anonymous said...

your a funny guy

Craig Calfee's seat post said...

Ouch that stings

Anonymous said...

Exactly how does having a Google mail pseudonym differ from "anonymous" or "BSNYC"?

PeAK said...

All kidding aside...some riders where going hypothermic due to the combination of horizontal rain and wind creeping into their best wet-wear. So before one forms his comments based on "BSncy having his best day"...have a read of these two links...at the very least:

"The longest stage in Tour of California history", Velonews

"Stage 4 reduces the field even further",Velonews

Do the math: Hincapie (no stranger to suffering) and Levi (Podium TdF) both required 7 hours...30.8km/hr into a headwind...


PeAK

wine soaked lips said...

snob you herzog hag.
cipo as the ugliest male model was too funny - but you went too lightly on calfee - you should have grilled that turd.

Campy10 said...

Brilliant.

Anonymous said...

Calfee is proud of its “American-made” bike frames. Yet, according to an article by Fred Dreier in the Velo News Buyer’s Guide, Calfee states he hires documented Mexican workers instead of Americans. To get past the language barrier, his production managers act as interpreters. “I now rely on the current (predominantly Mexican) staff to recruit new workers.”..”We started out with American-born production workers, but we had trouble with turnover, theft, and erratic attendance”.

So much for keeping Americans at work at a living wage by
buying American. What good is accomplished by repealing NAFTA if American companies won’t even hire Americans??

Ben said...

Because the money gets paid to workers in America who pay taxes you moron. What's up with spamming 6-7 websites with this BS about Calfee. It explicitly states that the workers are documented so what's your beef? That he's not hiring white dudes that end up stealing from him?

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