Monday, May 5, 2008

Dominating the Unwitting: Winning the Five Boro Bike Tour


Yesterday in New York City approximately 30,000 people took to the streets for the Five Boro Bike Tour. This ride was an excellent opportunity for cyclists of all levels to enjoy the sights of New York City in a relaxed, car-free environment. And while the ride was completely non-competitive, for some cyclists any situation involving more than one rider is potentially a race. I was extremely lucky to score a fake interview with the fictional winner of the Five Boro Bike Tour, Lawrence Orbach of Prospect-Lefferts Gardens, Brooklyn. This is a rider who knows that any situation, no matter how laid back and social, is fair game for victory.

How did you get into competitive non-competitive cycling?

I actually came to cycling from the charity walk circuit. AIDS, MS, ALS—you name an acrononymous disease and I walked for it. At first I did it just to participate, but after finishing a few in the front group I realized I had what it took to win. Taking the Nashville Cares AIDS Walk of 2002 really pushed me over the top. Now I’ve got a trophy room full of giveaway windbreakers, t-shirts, and water bottles that would blow your mind.

What made you leave charity walking in favor of cycling?

The whole charity walk scene is a real mess right now. There’s a big argument going on now in the USATF about what should actually be considered “walking.” It used to be that power-walking was OK, but now they’re trying to ban it, saying it’s too close to running. Personally, I think that’s ridiculous. It’s totally killing innovation in the sport. I say if you don’t break into a full-on jog then you’re walking. Plus, they let people in motorized wheelchairs into charity walks. What’s that about? I can’t power-walk, but I still have to compete against someone with a 300 watt motor? Total BS.

So is that what drove you to leave while at the top of the sport?

Yeah, I just got tired of it. For awhile I was finding inspiration in some of the underground charity walks for lesser-known causes that the younger walkers have been organizing. They call them “Backalley Struts.” Probably the coolest one was the 2004 Berkeley Strut for Acid Reflux. We put together a team called the Heel-Toe Express and did the whole thing in tap shoes. It was a blast. But after awhile that scene got tiring too. Way too cliquey and fashion oriented, and the whole fixed-leg thing where you don’t bend your knees at all has gotten totally out of hand. Meanwhile, I’d been cross-training on the bike for awhile already so I decided to give organized cycling a try.

This is your first victory in a totally non-competitive organized leisure ride. When you lined up Sunday morning, did you think you could win it?

Well, I knew I had the fitness. I’d been training intensely the whole month leading up to the Tour, putting in serious mileage on the West Side bike path and in Central and Prospect Parks. I do all my training on really nice days when the bike path and the park are totally packed with families and children so I can simulate the conditions of an organized tour. You’ve got to be able to pick your line and plow right through them. Remember—a lot of these people don’t even realize they’re racing. That makes beating them especially challenging.

So yeah, I knew going in I had the legs. But when you unstrap your bike from the trunk rack of your Volvo and line up with all those people on Church Street, some of whom have Pez dispensers glued to their helmets and are blowing on party noisemakers like it’s New Year’s Eve 1999, you can’t help but be nervous.

When did you know you had the FiBo sewn up?

I’d say it was when we hit the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway, which is a highway that they actually close to motorized traffic especially for the Tour. Of course, there was still one motor on that highway yesterday, and it was me. There’s a slight incline where the BQE goes over the Gowanus Canal, and I just put my head down and drilled it. By the time we hit the approach to the Verrazano bridge I was part of an elite group of five comprised of a 74 year-old man on a Colnago, a middle-aged substitute teacher from Minnesota with a pinwheel taped to her handlebars, a guy on a recumbent trike, a real gear-masher with treetrunks for thighs towing a tandem kiddie trailer off the back of a hybrid, and of course me. I pulled off once we hit the span, forcing the sub to the front and making her do all the work. As soon as we hit the top though I attacked from behind the group, went into a full aero tuck, and bombed it straight into the festival at Fort Wadsworth, Shaolin Isle.




Orbach's steed. If you rode the Five Boro yesterday you only saw this from the back.
(Image from Velospace via a reader.)


What’s next for you as a cyclist?

Well, this is a great win for me. The Five Boro Bike Tour is a monument of recreational cycling. In many ways it’s the Flanders of leisure bike tours. I’ll probably take it easy for the next few weeks, maybe do some speed-walking, and then ramp up my training again with an eye towards a high finish in the MS Bike Tour 30-miler in the Fall. Some of the local amateur road racing teams have already expressed interest in signing me up as a Cat 5, but for the moment I’m not really interested. Beating 20 other guys in the park doesn’t even compare to utterly crushing over 30,000 people on a course that covers all five New York City boroughs.

Plus, I’m not really all that comfortable riding with drop bars yet.

80 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hi!

Anonymous said...

hey

gator joe said...

Podium...yeah

Anonymous said...

Third!

A

Anonymous said...

Grrrrr...

A

Anonymous said...

Argh - wrong gear!

sd said...

I'm totally squaring off against Orback on bike to work day. He peaked so early, I'm sure I can take him..

Anonymous said...

"forcing the sub to the front and making her do all the work"

...hilarious

Anonymous said...

"Way too cliquey and fashion oriented, and the whole fixed-leg thing where you don’t bend your knees at all has gotten totally out of hand."

I vomited with laughter.

Anonymous said...

The Trek Across Maine, a three day charity event put on by the American Lung Association, has a "winner's circle." Tell me it's not a race!

Anonymous said...

I have never done one charity ride that was not a de facto race.

Anonymous said...

fine fine work

Anonymous said...

hehe.

Anonymous said...

The Pathleat was out too this weekend in full aero tuck position. I ruled the local bike path. Sometime after passing some scrub in a windbreaker I pull over douse myself, stretch while grunting loudly, eat 5 packs of Gu and feign a mechanical just so and pass that same scrub again, yeah owned!

wishiwasmerckx said...

"Remember, a lot of these people don't even realize that they are racing." In life, I have found myself caught up many times in the first cousin of this correlary. That is to say, I have found myself drowning before anybody let me know that I was supposed to be swimming.

Anonymous said...

snooze...

Anonymous said...

I sent my kids around to sign up pledges for the Genital Herpes 2 Day but in these tough economic times people are less charitable than they used to be.

Commiecanuk said...

Humph. Left walking due to politics? Everyone in amongst the "walkies" knows the rumors about Orbach and doping.

His coach was caught with 500 grams of almost pure, uncut experimental foot powder, which he claimed was "heroin". The lab morans totally screwed up the testing, coming back with exactly the same results time after time.

Even close friends admitted that Orbach had little or no foot odor.
While the court cases continue, funded by the Orbach/Dr. Scholl's Defense fund, he got into charity cycling. Now I hear he's dating Hanna Montana and considering a political life in Colorado.

This is great news for Hillary.

bikesgonewild said...

...all the earmarks of a 'guest' submitted blog this fine monday...i don't lose faith easily but sorry, a yawner...

...i will wait w/ bated breath for tomorrow...or am i baiting you today ???...

Jim said...

Orbach? Doping?

Nobody puts Orbach in the corner.

O' Bama said...

"Remember—a lot of these people don’t even realize they’re racing. That makes beating them especially challenging"

Chortle, snort snort

krazygl00 said...

It is particularly funny reading this post, then going to the comments to see 5 or 6 people sprinting in, standing on the pedals to win first post.

Maybe smacks of a little irony? Just sayin' is all I'm sayin'...

Anonymous said...

bsnyc has never tested positive for having guest submitted blogs

...he wouldn't let the fans down.

Tom said...

Yesterday, I figured taking the 6am ferry over from Staten Island would put me very close to the front as to almost assure a win for myself. However there seemed to be people camping out there overnight. By the time I arrived (an hour and a half before the Race started) I was faced with a sea of about 4,000 people on wal-mart bikes and another 1,000 old men who spent $6,000 on their carbon weekend warriors. Needless to say, I managed to push myself through the tiny gaps in between families and cut off men with child carriers attached to child carriers attached to tandems to finish within the top 100 people. Orbach left me in the dust.

broomie said...

Delightful!

Anonymous said...

I actually ride a single speed freewheel, with fixed legs...

Anonymous said...

Maybe someone could invent a kind of hinge for fixed legs. You could call it a leg elbow.

BicyclesOnly said...

I slipped into the ride for about 6 miles with my . We had fun, but it was a bit nerve-wracking because even though I kept my daughter at the right margin of the roadway, other participants kept trying to pass her on the right. I eventually had to literally block people from doing it. I should be self-evident that it is a mistake to try to pass a kid that size at speed on the right (especially in a non-competitive race when it is not expected!)

I also noticed quite a few wipe-outs by roadies with fancy bikes whom I surmised are not used to riding except in a paceline. They should require these people to attend a Mass before doing the FiBo!

Anonymous said...

You know, it's a little odd for some of the fun rides where there is clearly a race for the elite group at the front, and then 10k Team in Training people behind.

Anonymous said...

I have just been reliably informed that leg hinges already exist and are known as "knees" Where will it all end up? Whats next? Three speed buttocks? The wonders of modern technology are truly inspiring. Now if I can only get a twist grip for my...

Anonymous said...

Yes! I can get a twist grip for my unicycle! I am soooo happy, now is there a special lube I can get to grease my long...

leroy said...

Orbach knows whom to draft.

Those riders with the kids on the trailer bikes stoked on sugar have an unfair advantage.

(And don't get me started about that little towheaded moppet on the trailer hitched to her father's Colnago, playing her PSP while spinning nonchalantly. Talk about ratcheting up the intimidation factor!)

No excuses, but my efforts to challenge Orbach sputtered because the Marshals get released to ride just ahead of the SAG wagon. By the time I got released, there just wasn't enough course left to catch him. But I was gaining, I know it.

Oh well, there's always next year.

And in the meantime, I am so gonna totally intimidate the next Gimbel's ride by wearing my billowy bright yellow Marshal's vest credentials.

Unless, of course, Bike New York needs the vest back.

In that case, I'll just have to get a far away look in my eye while saying things like "Talk all you want about cyclocross, but there was this one time me and a couple of thousand other riders had to dismount for a bottleneck on the BQE...."

bikesgonewild said...

...bike riding & racing require carbs...pasta is a good source of carbs so why don't they have knee macaroni for cyclist's instead of elbow macaroni...

...my god, life has some serious damn dichotomies to ponder...

Anonymous said...

Hmmm... Lithium Grease should be good for my long axle on my wide hub unicycle, it's not easy to ride with fixed legs I tell you. Does anyone have a leg elbow spare?

BikeSnobNYC said...

BGW,

Wasn't expecting to hear from you again today. I thought my boring post had put you to sleep.

--BSNYC

ZiP said...

sadly, it felt more like the Bike Walk 2008, with all these little kids and tandem recumbents around. far too many bottlenecks and places where car traffic wasn't even stopped. unfortunately it felt like a waste of the $46 entry fee.

bikesgonewild said...

...rtms/bsnyc...hey, if we can't criticize our friends, who can we criticize ???...ourselves ???...sheesh, not likely...

...nah, don't worry, i haven't lost faith in ya, snob, but even hemingway had to take a shot, now & then...

...hmmm, maybe a poor choice a' words on my part...

broomie said...

Zip,

That's why people race charity rides. Who wants to spend 3 hours at 50 rpm behind a weaving grade schooler? That an getting first dibs on snacks!

L'Hippo said...

Genius.....just what my Monday needed.

Anonymous said...

Lawrence Orbach. Nice SCTV reference.

BikeSnobNYC said...

Anonymous 3:35pm,

Yesch.

--BSNYC

erik k said...

I heart speed walking

mr.complaint said...

I'm sure that's the Tour de Ned Flanders he's referring to.

Grand Fondo American Style.

Commiecanuk said...

Power walker by the Archers of Loaf.

" you really look so stupid when you walk that way,
so sorry if it hurts your knees,why don't you just, go away...
power walker!
power walker!"

Ned said...

mr.complaint said...

I'm sure that's the Tour de Ned Flanders he's referring to.


Tom Boonerino!

g said...

on that google video, why in the hell did they have to show it in slow motion? can you imagine how hard that ticket is to get?

Anonymous said...

Orbach better not try his shtick at Bike the Drive, the little gonif. Oh, and Larry it's two laps from Hollywood to MSI not one.

Come out here, I crush you like a vontz.

When it's over it's over, drink up. said...

The fucking best yet!

idiotic said...

THIS IS EXCELLENT NEWS!! FOR HILLARY!!!

Anonymous said...

ghey

Polygraf said...

Bsny- very entertaining, crappy very crappy day, thanks for the laugh.
"back alley struts for acid reflux"-you must have hit a blunt in shaolin to come up with this stuff- you aint no joke.

Chunk said...

A guy I once knew would seriously train to "win" the bike tour before the LA Marathon.

The biggest part of his strategy involved lining up at the start a 2am for a front row slot when the ride actually started 4 hours later.

Lani said...

I love how you state that riders only saw the winners bike from behind!! I have done the 5 Boro twice and I know that there are those that use it as a warm up for crazier rides to come--whatever the case, 30K riders is AMAZING!!

Andy Pandy said...

Typical of most grand tour winners , no acknowledgement of the domestiques who pulled for him all day. The big question about his future is tho, does he have access to a seedy little spanish doctor hiding in the mountains brewing up blood products .
And BGW I reckon its a little set of saved files for daze when RTMS cannot get out of bed and spell coherentaly er coherently

Anonymous said...

Great post, Snob.

bikesgonewild said...

...andy pandy...ya. he's a keeper, no matter what...

Unregistered Coward said...

Power Napping.

Now there's a sport.

Snak Shak said...

Fabulous!! What bothers me are the riders who have their kids on pink mini-mountain bikes with streamers on the handle bars blocking you out in the corners, boxing you in on the breaks, or pacing Dad so he can stay fresh for the sprint finish. It's just not fair to those of us that don't have kids!

Anonymous said...

Orbach's a punk. I totally beat him in the race up the subway stairs this morning. I had the door shot, so there was nothing he could do about it. The Metro woman even gave me a free paper for my win...

Grump said...

Thank you.
This needed to be reported.
The only thing that I question, is that I thought the winner rode a Trek Y-Foil (with Aerospoke wheels)

bikesgonewild said...

...whoa, whoa, hold up there, snak shak...talking about that stuff kinda antagonizes leroy right now...
...word is he was about to unleash his powerful sprint finish & got hip checked into the barricades by a 6 yr old chick on a streamered puddin' bike...
...she allegedly said "not in fronta my dad, mister"...polite little tyke but nonetheless, let's give leroy some time to heal...

Parker Holt said...

Awesome - actually really did LOL. I laughed out loud at an internet post. I really did! It was during the "back alley strut" part.

Clarence said...

I hate to admit it, but this one had me laughing in stitches.

Anonymous said...

This contribution relates to a rather different non-competitive event, but seems pretty relevant (if not obvious). After last August's 1225km Paris-Brest-Paris (PBP) brevet event, someone over on the Randon discussion list commented to the effect that "people who try to race PBP must have testosterone poisoning". Refer http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Testosterone_poisoning

Le Blaireau said...

Can I have his autograph

leroy said...

BGW --

Oh great, now everybody has to know.

I should have expected trouble when I saw that kid loading up on Snickers energy bars at the rest area.

Oh sure, some folks wonder how you can get hip checked by a 6 year old less than half your size.

But she was wiry.

And she gauged just the right angle.

Just wait 'til next year.

db said...

Great post. Reminded me of the charity century I did last year. It was "led" by two groups from local cycling clubs who finished an hour ahead of the rest of us. I'm sure the top 3 were excited about making the invisible podium.

Geoff said...

I'm sure the "real gear-masher with treetrunks for thighs towing a tandem kiddie trailer off the back of a hybrid" would have crushed him if he didn't have his Aerospoke wheels.

Anonymous said...

That fang on the top tube scares my taint.

sh said...

pure awesomeness.
i have a headcold and am barely cognizant, yet i laughed and laughed.

thank you.

Judi said...

They call them “Backalley Struts.” Probably the coolest one was the 2004 Berkeley Strut for Acid Reflux.

**********************
LOL LOL Where the fuck do you come up with this shit?

YA76OO said...

I love this blog, It's very interesting, again

Anonymous said...

lololoved this. keep up the good work. i'd like to see a kid on a bmx beat Orbach next year though.

dinoibo said...

Sesli sohbet Sesli chat
Seslisohbet Seslichat
Sesli sohbet siteleri Sesli chat siteleri
Sesli Chat
Sohbet Sesli siteler
Sohbet siteleri Chat siteleri
Sohbet merkezi chat merkezi
Sesli merkezi sesli Sohbet merkezi
Sesli chat merkezi Sohbetmerkezi
Sesli Sohbet Sesli Chat
SesliSohbet Sesli chat siteleri
Sesli sohbet siteleri SesliChat
Sesli Sesli siteler
Seslimuhabbet sesli muhabbet
sesli sohbet sesli chat siteleri
sesli sohbet siteleri sesli chat
seslisohbet seslichat
seslikent sesli kent
sesli sohbet sesli sohbet siteleri
sesli chat sesli chat siteleri
seslisohbet seslichat

Anonymous said...

I am Glad i found this website.Added bikesnobnyc.blogspot.com to my bookmark!

Murray said...

Meanwhile, what was the largest cycling event in the world refuses to add a charity component to their event. The Montreal event is in Quebec, which is by far the worst province in Canada for charitable giving and voluntarism. Canadians give far less to charity than Americans but Americans have more disposable income than Canadians. As an activist I have tons of fun with lying politicians as you can see here: http://murraymakingadifference.wordpress.com/2011/05/17/will-murray-be-banned-from-asking-questions-in-public-of-mayor-tremblay/

Anonymous said...

Keep up the good work. general health Read a useful article about tramadol tramadol

ekle paylas said...

nice blog Thanks for sharing. voicesohbet was really very nice.
sesli chat siteleri sesli sohbet
sesli sohbet siteleri sesli chat
seslichat seslisohbet
sesli siteleri chat siteleri
sohbet siteleri sesli siteler
voice sohbet sesli sohbet siteleri
sesli sohbet seslisohbet
sohbet siteleri sesli chat siteleri
seslichat sesli chat
herkesburda herkes burda
sohbetmerkezi sohbetmerkezi

Anonymous said...

This is good site to spent time on. allergy Read a useful article about tramadol tramadol

free videos said...

X movies watch free porn indian porn movies. and you sex tv porn movie watch now ! teen videos for you xoporntube videos.