Monday, December 7, 2009

From the BSNYC Culture Desk: "Comeback 2.0: Up Close and Personal"

Firstly, if you follow Fat Cyclist you already know that he applied for a job with Team RadioShack. You also know that general manager Johan Bruyneel actually replied and offered to fly Fatty out to the team's training camp in Tucson, AZ and give him a Trek Madone if he raises a certain amount of money for World Bicycle Relief and LiveStrong by Friday, December 11th. (If you don't follow Fat Cyclist, simply re-read those last two sentences.) Well, even though "bro-ing down" with a bunch of roadies while they train and try on their new shorts sounds a lot less fun than drinking and sleeping in, Fatty really wants to go anyway. So, if you help him raise the necessary funds, he's giving you the chance to win a Gary Fisher Superfly, the Madone (which will be signed by the whole team), and even some bonus prizes. If you're feeling randy and want to join this orgy of altruism, be sure to donate today.

Speaking of Team RadioShack, its most famous rider is certainly Lance Armstrong, and he is a man who plays many roles. In fact, his public personae are so diverse it can be difficult to keep them all straight. If you sometimes find yourself getting confused, here's a little tip: look at his shirt. This will tell you which role he is playing at that particular moment.

For example, when he's bike racer Lance Armstrong, he wears a cycling jersey:


When he's the founder of the Lance Armstrong Foundation and he's fighting cancer, he wears a dress shirt:


When he's Lance Armstrong the art collector and music fan, he wears something untucked and conservatively hip:


When he's Lance Armstrong the friend of Matthew McConaughey, he wears no shirt at all:

(Some people don't let you wear shoes in their houses; Matthew McConaughey doesn't let you wear a shirt around him at all.)

And when he's Lance Armstrong the bestselling author, he wears a shirt that's open at the collar and that falls stylistically between the cancer-fighting shirt and the art-collecting shirt:
But that's not all. Sometimes the different Armstrongs have "collabos" with each-other, in which case you get to see all of these shirts at once. This is the case with "Comeback 2.0," Armstrong's book documenting his return to professional racing and featuring photographs by Elizabeth Kreutz. I was fortunate enough to receive a copy of this book recently, and so I figured I'd put it through its paces on the BSNYC/RTMS Test Sisal:

While your copy will simply look like the one above, mine also included a special limited edition cover customization kit which is not available in stores:


Simply placing the kit on top of the book allows you to start imagining the possibilities:

At first, I was reluctant to open the cover customization kit, since my plan was to forge Armstrong's autograph on the book and offer it for sale on eBay as soon as I was finished with it, and by including the sealed kit I'd doubtless be able to increase the reserve. So instead I used the miracle of "computers" to play with some different looks. Here's the "Unibrow:"


Here's the "Angry Scotsman" (not to be confused with David Millar):


And here's "Grandpa:"


Ultimately, though, I simply couldn't resist the kit's allure, and so I tore it open and augmented the cover thusly:


This was even more fun than the "Leaders of the World" fold-in featured in the most recent issue of The New Yorker. At first glance it's just their guy and our guy:


But simply fold the page and it becomes this kooky hybrid:

You can't do that with computers.

Best of all, after using the cover customization kit I still had a pair of eyebrows left over, so I used them for the author photo on my copy of "Patrimony" by Philip Roth:

Now he looks like a British judge.

Of course, everybody knows the old saying about books and covers and how you shouldn't judge the former by the latter, and even though this was probably the most awesome cover I'd ever encountered I knew I'd have to actually read the book too. Furthermore, when it comes to old-fashioned printed matter, if you've read my prior book review you know I believe that the best place to read words on actual paper is in the restroom. However, this was no ordinary book; this was a book by Lance Armstrong, a hero to millions who beat cancer and went on to win the Critérium du Dauphiné Libéré two times. (Only like ten other riders have won multiple Dauphinés in the race's 62-year history.) I couldn't read this in just an ordinary restroom, and my own restroom would certainly not be "epic" enough for a reading endeavor like this. (Plus, I was out of toilet tissue.) Instead, I'd need to go someplace where both books and restrooms are housed in a suitably inspiring and monumental structure, and where my literary experience would be imbued with a real sense of occasion. After some thought, I finally settled upon the facilities at the New York Public Library on 5th Avenue:

And since this was going to be an "epic," I donned an appropriately "epic" reading outfit which consisted of my Rapha hat, jacket, and scarf, my ironic reading glasses, and of course my Philip Roth novelty eyebrows:


Now suitably attired (and probably on a NSA watchlist of some kind), I got on my bicycle and headed towards Manhattan, but not before stopping in Brooklyn for some gastrointestinal "inspiration:"

Unfortunately, while my East Coast burrito was decidedly sub-"epic," it was also excessively "inspirational," and by the time I reached Prospect Park my inspiration was becoming desperation. In fact, I very nearly abandoned my plan altogether in favor of the sort of restroom in which you would barely bother to peruse a supermarket circular:

However, I thought to myself, "When Lance Armstrong broke his collarbone, did he abandon his comeback plans? No, he did not. He adapted to the circumstances and pressed on." Similarly, while I was in abdominal distress, I was not about to go scampering into a porta-potty, so I too adapted and chose the nearby Brooklyn Public Library instead:

It's not quite as magnificent as the New York Public Library, but it's still big, and it's got gold on it.

Upon arrival, I noticed a fellow cyclist having trouble with his bicycle:

Normally, I might have offered my assistance, but since my situation was critical I chose to ignore him--though I did take the time to properly lock up my Scattante (yes, they'll even steal a Scattante in Brooklyn) next to an old Schwinn:


I also did not have time to ponder the inspirational quote engraved by the entrance:


I, too, was filled with longing, though this longing was not enshrined in my heart. By now, I only longed for one thing, which was to enshrine myself in a stall and adopt the position of Rodin's "Thinker" or this deity with the rabbit ears:


For a brief moment I worried that all the signs in the Brooklyn Library would be in hieroglyphics, but fortunately the one most relevant to me was in English:


Fortunately too there wasn't a crowd and I had the run of the place:


Not only that, but the restroom featured all the amenities. There was a locking door:


Plenty of "supplies:"


And even a hook:



On which I was able to hang my Rapha hat:


Thus ensconced, I began to read. First, in lucid prose, Armstrong told the story of how and why he decided to return to the sport:


Then came the photographs, which were of the highest quality, and which were explained in more lucid prose by Armstrong himself. The first thing that struck me was how much he and I have in common, especially when it comes to visiting restrooms, for at that moment I too was in an aero tuck:

Speaking of restrooms, here's the author proving to the drug testers that he does not use a "Whizzinator:"


But Armstrong's comeback wasn't all bathrooms, and he spent time in all sorts of different settings in the course of his comeback. Here he is in Hawaii on the phone with Dr. Dre:

Even though I was in a far less idyllic setting, I decided to make some phone calls too, and so I whipped out my trusty StarTAC and made prank calls to "Bicycling" magazine. (Bill Strickland falls for the "Fredsayswhat?" thing every time.) Of course, there are also lots of family photos and race photos too, but even though I was thoroughly engrossed in the book the fact is that all restroom visits must come to an end, and so I got myself together, stepped back out into the lobby, bid Bert and Ernie adieu, and left:


Then, on the way back through the park, I saw a woman walking an aardvark:


Once I was back on the test sisal, I skipped ahead to the end of the book. I guess I must have gotten Armstrong's personal copy, because mine had an alternate ending:

That's not exactly how I remember things going down, though perhaps he'll remedy that in Comeback 2.1.

Yes, at first glance, it would appear that both Armstrong and I fell short of our goals. He had to settle for third place, and I had to settle for the Brooklyn Public Library. However, as he says, "in some respects the winning-or-losing aspect of it doesn't matter as much now. What matters most is continuing to dream the dream: to envision challenges, take them on, try your best, and let the chips fall." I feel exactly the same way, though my dream was simply the dream of relieving myself. At any rate, it's good to have Armstrong the bike racer back, if only because instead of turning up on stupid celebrity blogs like Perez Hilton he's once again turning up on stupid cycling blogs where he belongs.

85 comments:

Astroluc said...

ROCK

CommieCanuck said...

"My ice sword cuts across the barren horizons of the impossible."

mikeweb said...

Pow-D-ummm...?

grog said...

Have nipple wrench, will twist.

Anonymous said...

top 10!!?

Anonymous said...

Top 5 goddammit

Anonymous said...

top ten?

Billy Reid said...

disaster averted!

g said...

the way cc has been hovering around yesterday's post, it's no wonder he made podium this afternoon. I called a natural and got left in the bushes...

landis in 06 said...

perez

Surly Bastard said...

Gotcha!

rezado said...

hi-rez

ant1 said...

ant1st!

ringcycles said...

unclipped from my pedal! so close, yet so far.

CommieCanuck said...

Snob, just some quick advice, going into a public library bathroom and taking pics is about a close as you will get to Paul Reubenization as you can get without the happy ending.

CommieCanuck said...

I got 2nd because of my new frame, BMC Racemaster SLX01.

Yeah, it really is about the bike.

Bad Lawyer said...

Congrats to Astroluc, CC and Mikeweb, I'm pretty sure CC could have taken Astroluc if he hadn't paused to type his extended post.

P.W.B. said...

Shouldn't "Shirtal Abscence-way" actually be the "Matthew McConaugh-way"?

hillbilly said...

Man, all star podium today. no wonder i got dropped like the old man that i am.

Frickin awesome. do other people say "toilet tissue?"

samh said...

One day you will find an epic aardvark... er I mean burrito in NYC, Snob.

Prolly said...

Amazing post man.

urchin said...

You, uh, got a little drool on the Armstrong book there snob...

'least I hope that's drool..

mikeweb said...

Truly epic post today! CC's copy/ paste skillz had me beat. And I had to log in at the last minute. I guess that equates to forgetting to throw away my water bottle before the 500m mark.

Mongo Pusher said...

"Epic" post.

Bad Lawyer said...

Lance's new--what do we call it, photo-memoir is beautiful, but having followed LA since before Comeback 1.0, I'm beginning to feel a little cynical about the heart-warming cuddly portrait of the significant-other/squeeze-du-jour. I mean, it makes me think of Tiger's trim--at least Tiger's not enshrined them in his memoirs--he let the tabloids and TMZ do that for him.

CommieCanuck said...

I'm pretty sure CC could have taken Astroluc if he hadn't paused to type his extended post.

Oh sure, armchair racers will argue about this for weeks. I actually don't type, everything I do is on 18,653 saved macros. This is ctrl+F10+F2.

Christian Underside Hug said...

I laughed, I cried, and then adjourned to make some 'brownway'.

Daddo said...

well, it is clear that our man is unemployed.

CommieCanuck said...

I would bother to read another of Lance's books, but this guy is so controlling of his biographers that the original copies of the unedited text are in a drawer somewhere in Windsor castle along with Queen Elizabeth's vibrators. Never to be seen again in the light of day.

Anonymous said...

Loved the "aero tuck"!!!

Buffalo Bill said...

David Millar may be an angry scotsman, but he's got the balls of an arapaho brave. Saddles are for woosies I guess.

Disgruntl Ed. said...

I though to myself

I was on the line, and then there was no line.

I though it was there.

Perhaps I need to trim my eyebrows.

Astroluc said...

sorry... ~wheeze~ too winded to comment intelligently... ~wheeze, wheeze~

Daddo said...

"I'm beginning to feel a little cynical about the heart-warming cuddly portrait of the significant-other/squeeze-du-jour"

I think there might ought to be a book called Sig Other 4.5 coming out.

Hi Lance!

(guess I won't EVER be winning that Madone)

grog said...

so Snobby,
read any good books lately?

Racine accident lawyer said...

A review and a half. However I'm surprised there was no shirt skintightway.

bikesgonewild said...

...1st to say "holy fuckway", it's a lance armstrong & a toilet training day...

...definitely "up close & personal"...

Cyclin' Missy said...

After your Mexican cuisine lunch, I'm sure you really did let the chips fall! Oh, that is so bad. I blame my grandfather for my groan-inducing sense of humor.

CommieCanuck said...

What's up with Matthew McManimsogay and the empty cup he's carrying? Trying raise money for that imminent Armstrong biographical film?

Whatever happened to that movie anyway? Did it go direct to Betamax?

Anonymous said...

I never get tired of seeing that photo of the shirtless lance and matt going for a bro-un. do you think they chest bumped afterwards? the only thing that could make this photo more gay is if they were sharing earbuds.

PhilboydStunge said...

Hoorah! Take that Sasha Frere-Jones!

CommieCanuck said...

the only thing that could make this photo more gay is if they were sharing earbuds.

While listening to Coldplay.

Sprocketboy said...

Wow--the Fat Cyclist and his minions have already pulled in $55,000 so he is definitely off to training camp to kick some Mr. Livestrong butt...

Salty Seattle said...

Happy Epic Burrito Monday, everyone!

Brian said...

Hey Snob,

Next time you talk to LA can you tell him I said thanks for the Christmas card?

Massive Epicosity said...

Didn't Maillotway Jaune play quarterback for the Denver Broncos many years ago?

BARE BACK

Anonymous said...

BERT ERNE

LNCE MATT

LNCE TOOL

kt3 said...

great post- hilarious.

wishiwasmerckx said...

Brian, you got one? I got one. too.

Anonymous said...

I'll let you guys in on a little secret if you promise not to tell BikesnobNYC that I told you...the "hot chick" in the last photo is Mrs. Snob.

Anonymous said...

Perky.

Jihad said...

I can't believe no one has made some parallel between parking your Scattante at the library and you leaving your SCATtante at the library.

rural 14 said...

ant 2nd!

leroy said...

"I got news for you -- if it wasn't for the toilet, there would be no books."

G. Costanza

kale said...

Lance,

Can you hire Snob to make the audio version of your memoir? I've found his nasal, pedantic voice is the perfect accompaniment to my morning zombie commute.

Esau Bon necker said...

I bin talking about pubic libaries and making movies about taking Hugh shits for a year and snob goes and takes my ideal and i'm cool with I'm just saying

Fierce Panties said...

RTMS

Your corroded water cage bolts are pretty rad. Is that ironic?

jolene said...

clean yer chain and wash yer draws if yer thinkin of ever hangnn yer helmet on my bedpost but i aint never turned no shower sex down if you know whad i meen

heath said...

crewneck.

heath said...

oh, and give this at least 42 seconds. do it.

noflyzone_allstars said...

"You're a very humble man."
- Jon Stewart to LA

The Alarmist said...

'Powered by.' Me thinks Fat Cyclist is faking the supposed spontaneity of this contest. Who else but hosers in advertising would use such drivel? Is Fat Cyclist powered by suckas?

No, I'm not in advertising.

Mason-sailboat said...

Can totally see your face in the bert and ernie picture. nice beard.

kerry said...

Just what I wanted for Xmas - a nice pic of Armstrong peeing:D
Rather touching.(literally).

One of those covers looks like what Lance would be if he had been Zabriski.( Not so good.)

Crankee said...

Another home run Snobby! (shitting while writing this comment)

leroy said...

Alarmist 11:47 --

Two words: De-Caf.

The world will be less alarming.

Trust me. I've tried this.

My dog was barking alarmingly every chance he got.

Turns out, it was just the double espresso talking.

Stanley said...

Contador stabbed Lance in the back. It was Lance's to win, but he played the magnanimous team-mate (unlike all the Euros), and the backstabber won.

ant1 said...

really stanley? is that what happened? i did not know it was so simple.

Anonymous said...

Los Plobanos?!?!? Further proof that you live in my hood. I'm on to you Snob. One day I'll figure out your secret identity. Also, try Cinco De Mayo 2 on Coney Island Ave for burritos. They are much better.

bikesgonewild said...

...commie canuk...for truly inspirational moves, check out matthew mcmanimsogay's dolce & gabbana (douche & grabonya ???) men's cologne tv ad...

...the walk, the look, the style...sheesh...calling it "kinda swishy" is being exceedingly kind...

...even lance armstrong's gotta be second guessing that relationship..."aw, gee, matty...ya coulda tol' me upfront, dude...i mean, really, i would have accepted it"...

Stephen Taylor, Endurance Coaching Fitness, Training said...

Is this Perez Hilton or Bike Snob NYC?

kenosha car accident lawyer said...

It's not photoshop it's got a small flair for the better.

racine car accdient lawyer said...

What Eyebrow way would be most conducive to riding in inclement weather?

Austin bankruptcy lawyer said...

The Maillotway Jaune might be the funniest thing I've read in a long time. Great post.

traduceri said...

This book differs from Lance Armstrong's previous two in that it is a photojournalism piece instead of a narrative. The photos are great, and the captions - though short - combine to provide insight into the story of his comeback from his decision to return to the Tour de France through his training and through the race itself. The book is nearly equally dedicated to chronicling his international efforts for the Lance Armstrong Foundation as it is to racing.
___________
omidiu, part of the Traduceri autorizate team.

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