Monday, December 28, 2009

Passing the Mantle: The End of the Aughts is Nigh

I'm not a fan of arbitrary deadlines, which is why I'm not really into the whole "New Year" thing. Change is a cumulative process and it consists of subtle gradations; it's not something that happens annually at the stroke of midnight. Nonetheless, just as the bicycle industry releases new models every year, we undertake "resolutions" as though we can change ourselves in annual increments. Ultimately, whether it's a bike or ourselves, the result is the same: we wind up with a bunch of hastily-applied "improvements" of dubious value which will most likely be phased out by the time the next model year rolls around.

Still, it's human nature to create reference points and plant metaphorical staff gages in the river of time, and so as the new year approaches we find ourselves reflecting on all that has passed. For example, Team Columbia-HTC owner Bob Stapleton is looking back on the year in cycling. Not only is he saying that Lance Armstrong's return has been good for the sport, but he's also saying that Armstrong is "passing the mantle" to sprinter Mark Cavendish:

There's certainly no doubt that Armstrong "is embracing" Cavendish, as we have at least one piece of photographic evidence:

Moreover, it's fairly high up on the Non-Sexual Man-Hug Intimacy Scale (NSMHIS), as you can see from this enlarged detail:

The NSMHIS starts with the fully-clothed handshake-and-back-pat combo and goes all the way up to the nearly-naked and oiled group hug, complete with crotchal contact:

However, while Armstrong clearly embraces Cavendish, Stapleton seems to be taking some liberty here, because while plenty of respect is in evidence I don't recall Armstrong actually officially "passing the mantle" to him. Sure, Armstrong may have passed a bit of saliva and perhaps some mucus to his shoulder, but as far as I can see no "mantle" actually changed hands. Of course, just because I didn't see it or can't remember it doesn't mean it didn't actually happen--I don't remember falling asleep in a bathtub full of eggnog while wearing a Santa suit on Christmas Eve either, but that's where I woke up on Christmas Morning. So I poured myself a cup of eggnog (I managed to salvage most of it from the tub) and headed off into the wilds of the "Internet" in the hope that I could find the actual Armstrong-to-Cavendish mantle-passing ceremony to which Stapleton had alluded and in which Amstrong declared Cavendish "Me 2.0."

My first stop was VeloNews, where I found a one-on-one interiew with Armstrong's director, Johan Bruyneel:

If any mantles had been passed, Bruyneel had nothing to say about it, though VeloNews not only misidentified Bruyneel as Axel Merckx but also misspelled "Axel" as "Axle."

Since the cycling media was clearly unreliable (a mistake like that is like adultery in an elevator--wrong on a number of levels), I figured I'd go directly to the source. It turns out Lance Armstrong maintains an online account with a popular social networking site, and he uses this account to share information with others. If Armstrong had officially passed the biggest-name-in-the-sport mantle to Cavendish he would certainly have mentioned it here. However, he didn't, though I did learn that he's apparently training in Hawaii:

If you've ever wondered what sets Lance Armstrong apart from other professional cyclists, it is his seemingly bottomless capacity for suffering. This, more than anything else, is the basis for his success. While anyone else would certainly find riding a bicycle around Hawaii in December to be tedium of the highest magnitude, to Armstrong it doesn't even seem like work. In fact, he almost seems to enjoy it.

At this point I was beginning to suspect that perhaps Stapleton had made up the whole "mantle" thing, but I figured I'd check back in with Cyclingnews to see if there was any more about it. There wasn't, though it does turn out that Floyd Landis may sign with Rock Racing:

By now I had forgotten all about "Mantlegate" and was instead overwhelmed by feelings of concern for Landis. Signing with Rock Racing is an even bigger warning sign than selling all your bikes on Craigslist, which Landis also did recently. While the listings have since expired, I did have the foresight to capture images of them through judicious use of "technology." Here is the ad for Landis's road bike from the 2005 Tour de France:



And here is his time trial bike from the infamous 2006 Tour from which he was eventually disqualified for supposedly applying a testosterone patch to his perineum in a scandal that was subsequently referred to as "Grundlegate:"



As disturbing as it is to see Landis attempting to jettison bicycles with such distinguished pedigrees through channels ordinarily reserved for things like stolen SE Drafts, kittens, and solicitations for sexual encounters in elevators, it was also in a certain way a bit of a relief and a rare taste of glamor (albeit, well, tainted). After all, the Tour de France is a much more compelling and exotic backdrop than the moldy bathtubs to which the Craigslist shopper is accustomed:


Specialized Carbon S-Works Frame 58cm - $650 (Basically New)
Date: 2009-12-27, 8:31AM EST
Reply to: [deleted]

58cm Specialized Carbon S-Works Roubaix frame only, comes with S-Works carbon headset and seat post collar, no fork, basically new (used twice - looks brand new with no blemishes or scratches anywhere). Originally retailed for $2800 , now a super low $650!!! Pro-level frame. Send a contact number if your interested.


I'm not sure why the seller chose to photograph the frame in the bathroom, though I would imagine it's either because the rest of the house was even more frightening, or because he was about to slip into the tub with the frame and a few gallons of eggnog.

Speaking of luxuriating in bathtubs with your bicycle, I was reading and enjoying the issue of Rouleur that came in my holiday gift basket when I encountered the following description of an old Gios racing bicycle:

As I write this, I have one in front of me, and it is a thing of peerless equilateral beauty. The tubing is seminal Columbus SL, the welds absolutely spotless and absolutely human. The blue itself is perfection, a tactile, dreamy azure--unmistakably Italian, unquestionably America. The lowercase Gios Torino decals on the down and seat tubes, each flanked by an understated Italian tricolour, are simply immaculate, simply right. [...] The bar tape is white, and the rake and chrome of the fork is the very essence of discretion, of judicious, considered design. [...] This, in the vernacular, is to die for, a gorgeous object that happens to be a bicycle. This is a 1973 Gios professional.

It's not surprising to me that the author should describe the tubing as "seminal," and I wonder if he will be similarly eloquent in the emergency room when he's forced to explain to a doctor how his genitals became stuck in the seattube of a 1973 Gios professional. It will probably be some sort tall tale about a stolen seatpost, a misplaced pair of pants, and a long ride home, and I'm sure he will be relying on the fork's considerable discretion as he spins it. I'm also sure that, once extracted, his member will be even more purple than his prose.

Also in the same issue of Rouleur was this ad for a Brooks Barbican shoulder bag declaring it a "Space Miracle," which as far as I can tell is like a regular miracle but in outer space:

I also thought "Space Miracle" was David Bowie's follow-up to "Space Oddity," so I was surprised to see it referenced in a decidedly terrestrial bag advertisement (or "advert" if you're British or pretentious). It turns out I was wrong about the album (that follow-up was actually "The Man Who Sold the Testosterone Grundle Patch"), but I'm still pretty sure that's Moby modeling it. I just hope he doesn't try to pass his "mantle" into that frame, because it could take a space miracle to get it out again.

81 comments:

Astroluc said...

booyaa~

Astroluc said...

going twice?

Astroluc said...

sweep

Anonymous said...

djjjjjjj

Anonymous said...

omg

Anonymous said...

bieksnorb

Fred said...

Top Ten Fred! Must be my new HRM.

spiff1 said...

I'm here!!!

Fergie said...

Welcome Back Snobby!

Heard through the grapevine that you have been having P-far dreams. Even thinking they are are following you around, lurking in the shadows.

Hope the vacation helped you sort that stuff out.

Astroluc said...

I didn't think Moby rode bikes, do whales have legs? ... but then again, I have been wrong before; most recently about thinking that an elevator can hold several hundred gallons of Eggnog whilst Cavendish and Armstrong have a tryst with an over-sized head tube.

I left it gray.

Anonymous said...

All that "training" w/ Zirbel is starting to pay off

mikeweb said...

"Astroluc, please report to the testing tent"

Astroluc said...

Mikeweb:

uh oh... it was the beer! All those extra calories gave me extra strength

Rick Donkey said...

14th...not surprised though, considering I'm on my tarck bike with full-face helmet

Anonymous said...

refreshm, refresh

Jefe said...

Landis at Rock Racing? Isn't that the same as admitting to doping? Is he accepting "the mantle" from Tyler Hamilton? Maybe Floyd should put all his bikes in one big bathtub.

Anonymous said...

"the welds absolutely spotless and absolutely human"
welds? on a lugged frame, idiots

Anonymous said...

so the xmas burrito was epic, as usual.

Anonymous said...

no mention of the little doo-hickey medallions on the fork crown...suspicious.

mikeweb said...

I experienced my own "Space Miracle" yesterday when I was still able to fit into bib shorts after 2 weeks of holidaze eating and drinking.

mikeweb said...

Snob, I noticed the new BSNYC logo "2.0" today. Complete with the symbol of avian power and majesty that is the Canada Goose.

One problem: the graphic is too small to read the official motto...

Mongo Pusher said...

Top 25 in the AP poll.

rezado said...

hi-rez

hillbilly said...

nice astroluc, greetings from CO

ervgopwr said...

MW: Agree about the logo/motto's illegibilityway.

Snob: the VN editorial staff has been alerted to their faux pauxway.

Landis: just go a(way).

BikeSnobNYC said...

Mikeweb,

Sorry! It says, "Omnes Malefici Sugete Meos Testes."

--BSNYC

Anonymous said...

the logo is beautiful

bikesgonewild said...

...wishful thinking, mr stapleton, wishful thinking...

Slappy said...

oh glory be the holidaze is upon us, who wants to stmp?

ervgopwr said...

But of course. I was all ready to translate that in a popular search engine, but then it's meaning popped into my mind with a finger-bang!

OMSMT

rezado said...

Yeah, Sugete Meos Testes, tambien!

mikeweb said...

Thank you Snob, that makes perfect sense.

Finally my 3 years of high school Latin pays off!!

Isolation Helmet said...

I believe that Contador has been caught with his finger bang stuck in several different cycle components.

Udder said...

Landis should convert his BMC race bikes to fixies if he wants top dollar on CL.

bikesgonewild said...

...latin, latin...thank you, mikeweb...now it makes sense...

...i thought you said "latvian" & when i translated it from latvian, it turned out to be a recipe for knishes...

...i thought bsnyc/rtms was still on about the hasidim...

grog said...

Wait, Snob, don't YOU live on the big island?
Passing the mantle perhaps is best done in the bathroom.

bikenerd said...

I'm pretty sure that Armstrong - Cavendish 'moment' is actually just Armstrong wiping his nose.

Anonymous said...

WELCOME BACK SNOB.

wishiwasmerckx said...

Stapleton's comment is evidence that doping in pro cycling is more pervasive than we thought. As for the photo, Lance is the boss of the peloton, and when he needs to wipe his nose and doesn't have a tissue handy, well...

As for Bruyneel, that was no typo. Taking a cue from Chad Ochocinco, he changed his name to "Truck Axle Merckx." Velonews just took liberties in shortening it.

As to Armstrong in Hawaii, he said in "Comeback 2.0" that someday he hoped to do the Ironman triathalon. First shirtless running with his bromance partner, now triathalon fantisies. In spite of the recent birth of his fourth child, is Lance on the verge of coming out?

trappist pistoles olestra trappist said...

anonymous 1:12,
Right, lugged.
And SL was seamless tubing.

My first thought was that the "peerless equilateral beauty" was welded, but then I realized it was the bit between "unmistakably Italian" and "unquestionably America" which showed signs of welding.

CommieCanuck said...

That's not Moby, that's the Mythbusters guy, whatshisname, Adam Savage.
He's trying to test the space myth.

Axil Axyl said...

oh, what dumbasses, the labeled Axle Rose as Axel Merckx.

Fierce Panties said...

OMSMT.

I have work to do, my Nitto Technomic now reads:

A
Y
H
S
M
B

I'll need to update that to reflect motto 2.0.

And when will stickers be available? I'll need one for my winter commuting snowboard helmet.

CommieCanuck said...

what goes in that leather Brooks Saddle bag? It's something about 6 inches long, 1 inch diameter, something to do with your ass.

oh, gross.

Fierce Panties said...

Astroluc,
While you're in the testing tent, you'll need to submit your mable bar patch as well.

bikesgonewild said...

...another long, cold, lonely winter, cc ???...

Anonymous said...

cc:

THATS what goes in there...

silly me, I thought it was for my 6"X 1" solid brass spyglass and spare shoestring

d. fofonov said...

Penis is freezing.

flynn said...

space miracle sucks

http://www.myspace.com/spacemiracle

Anonymous said...

There was no Gios "Professional" in 1973, it was a later 70's-80's model. 1973 would have been a "Record", or "Super Record". A sublime racing bicycle that should be confined to riding on, not waxing poetic on. Or waxing off on.

esau bin necker said...

rikim ast me what i thot about suicide bommmers and i tolt him i didnt think there was no future in it

flynn said...

MW: Good catch. Yes Snob the logo looks great but what does that motto say? You're opening yourself up to some potentially brand-damaging speculation.

cheva said...

crying over here. Something about "grundle" that makes me dribble snot trying not to laugh.

Anonymous said...

$1000 for the leather version of that Brooks bag. As they used to say around here: die yuppie scum!

Craig B. said...

She must love you, to give you Tad...

The Pedal Project said...

Thanks again for going beyond ridicule into sublime irony of the obvious.

Bad Lawyer said...

impeccable Latin, Snob!

Rick Donkey said...

"...is to die for..."

And here I thought that phrase was used exclusively by real estate agents.

Dan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
sufferist said...

I read the following sentence:

...plant metaphorical staff gages in the river of time...

but did not find any relation to the way the word "gages" was being used and the following definition of that word:

Main Entry: gage
Pronunciation: \ˈgāj\
Function: noun
Etymology: Middle English, pledge, reward, from Anglo-French — more at wage
Date: 14th century

1 : a token of defiance; specifically : a glove or cap cast on the ground to be taken up by an opponent as a pledge of combat
2 : something deposited as a pledge of performance

So I'm confused. Was LA's nose wipe a token of defiance or a pledge of performance?

Anonymous said...

Yo sufferist --I am betting Lance was pledging to run topless with the lil' Cavster

Jen said...

Um, wouldn't that be "testes meos" in the Latin word orderway?

Juan Pelota footnote from the W-pedia: "The Latin word 'testis', witness, was used in the firmly established legal principle 'Testis unus, testis nullus' (one witness [equals] no witness)..."

Anonymous said...

listening to tad and throttling your goose sticker

Jeff said...

I'm curious why the brooks moby needs to bundle his little pencil neck in a PLO tribute scarf, but not his bald head

Anonymous said...

Gios Professionals were brazed.

kerry said...

PLeez dont let Landis back, I cant bear to look at him!!( He looks like one of those halloween witches, or the man in the moon!)

Fetishizing old bikes. Can someone please tell that yahoo, it was never about the bike...

mikeweb said...

Cold.

Anonymous said...

I am just glad to see that BSNYC didn't waste the eggnog in the tub.

CommieCanuck said...

Kerry, few realize that Roid Landis and Kid Rock douches (douchii?)are the same person. One persona is at good at lying is the other is at 'music'.

Roid.

Kid.

FLCO said...

What's that thing between the guy's legs in the brooks advertisement? looks like someone's dismembered scrotum stuck to his toptube.

kerry said...

Landis and Kid, same guy? EWwwww. I dont even want to think of him with one degree of separation.

Have you noticed that If you take Lances head off,he has the same body as Masters of the Universe doll - just with a face of guy who is slowly starving to death( very slowly. I always want to stuff ice cream into his mouth when I see pics of him.

kerry said...

The very very worst is that pic of Landis with his tongue out.
I still have nightmares.....

Hearing Aids said...

Brooks for the eloquent hipster.

ant1 said...

ant1st!

Anonymous said...

Munich, figures, bunch of silly boys there got nothing better to do with their money than make themselves look ridiculous...

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