As I've mentioned before, the key to bike racing is always living mentally at least four months in the future. It's not about what you're doing now; rather, it's about what you're preparing for down the line. When you're in a perpetual state of preparation you always have an excuse for your present lack of results. Today doesn't count--tomorrow does. And the beauty of tomorrow is that it never comes. So while even the best racer will eventually run out of fitness, even the worst racer can draw from an infinite well of excuses. Just think like Wimpy: "I'll gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today."
Naturally, living four months into the future as I do (what a crazy Presidential election by the way--I sure didn't see that result coming!), I'm currently winding down my cyclocross season. As such, with road racing but a tiny speck in my helmet mirror, I am surprised to find that the professionals are not only still racing on the road, but are even competing in Grand Tours. Even more surprising, these professionals are living two months in the past, rather than four months in the future, since (as I pointed out on Tuesday) this year "the Vuelta will be the Tour." Unless of course they mean this year's Vuelta is actually the '09 Tour. The organizers never really specified. That would put the pros a whopping ten months in the future. And while I'm a strong proponent of living in the future, that's a little too far, since it's almost a year, and once you hit a year the seasons synch up again and it defeats the whole purpose.
At any rate, wherever they are in time, it's paying dividends for Astana, since yesterday Levi Leipheimer took the stage as well as the itchy-sounding "golden fleece." (Or, technically, the Maillot Jaune.) Of course, he lost it again today, but I think it's safe to say that the likelihood of a Frenchman winning either an actual or a nominal Tour de France is remote at best--unless in the spirit of time travel we all collectively decide to hotfoot it back to 1985. And regardless of the final outcome, Leipheimer, Astana, and Trek have been vindicated, because with the Vuelta being the Tour the "Let Levi Ride" campaign has now officially succeeded. (Remember, it's "Let Levi Ride," not "Let Levi Win.") I for one am hoping for a big celebration featuring Malaysian pop sensation Letle Viride, as well as opening act Nobr Akes, with Evans and Hincapie on the soprano and alto excuses respectively.
But while the pros are slugging it out in the Tour, now that my cyclocross season is over I'm settling into the holiday season. And the top item on my nondenominational seasonal gift-exchange day wishlist is the new Serotta, which was forwarded to me by a reader:
There are a lot of things that make me want this bike, but perhaps the most appealing thing about it to me is that it includes "speed maintenance at the lowest possible physiological cost." I'm not sure exactly what that means, but I think it means the bike is fast. Still, there's no such thing as a free lunch, and while the physiological cost is low the actual cost of the bike is high. Really high. Like "$12,000 to $22,000" high. I'm not sure what the $12,000 build includes, but the $22,000 limited edition one comes not only with Campagnolo Super Record but also with "one year of CTS training and a weekend for two at Saratoga Springs..." Now you might think that $22,000 sounds like a lot of money, but you really can't put a price on a romantic weekend for two in Saratoga Springs with Chris Carmichael, who by all accounts is a tender and gentle lover. Unfortunately, though, there are only 20 of these limited edition bikes available, which means the competition among dentists is going to be fierce. Also $22,000 is a lot of money, even for a dentist, which means if yours suddenly starts performing lots of unnecessary surgery on your mouth at least you'll know why.
Most importantly, though, with Serottas now breaking the $20K barrier "gap bikes" are about to get a whole lot fancier. If you're a dentist queueing up for the new MeiVici AE and you need something to tide you over in the meantime (like the tempting little swab of lidocaine before the needle delivers the good stuff), you might consider the Sampson Diablo S, which I happened upon in a recent issue of Bicycling magazine:
Not only is it a bargain at $5,699 when compared to the Serotta, but you can also be the first dentist on your block to have the new Sampson Stratics shifters. They feature "Intuishift," which should not be confused with "Inuishift," a technology designed for the Inuit and other people in cold climes which makes it easier to shift while wearing mittens. No, what's special about "Intuishift" is the carbon brake lever and the hole in the shift lever, without which you'd of course be riding the new Secret Website group:
Brand new, and already on sale. Nobody knows how to live in the future like Nashbar.