Monday, April 26, 2010

Clean Wins, Shady Fights: The Future's So Bright, I Gotta Throw Shades

This past weekend, the last of the Ardennes Classics races, Liège-Bastogne-Liège (also known as "La Doyenne," which is French for "The Doyenne") took place. The winner, Alexandre Vinokourov, finished six seconds ahead of his breakaway companion Alexandr Kolobnev, who rode well but ultimately lacked the "e" at the end of his name that might have allowed him to match his almost-namesake's formidable power output. Here is Vinokourov as he crossed the line, savoring the scent of victory on his fingertips:

(After getting lucky with "La Doyenne," the smell can linger on your fingers for days.)

Though Vinokourov has won Liège-Bastogne-Liège once before in 2005, he also spent two years under suspension for blood doping. Specifically, he tested positive for a humongous blood transfusion. (This is basically a really big blood transfusion, and it should not be confused with an autolingus transfusion, which requires that you be able to "lick yourself" and is much more common in dog racing than in human sports.) Consequently, Vinokourov is aware that he's still under suspicion, but while his hands may reek of "La Doyenne" he insists that his victory--as well as his conscience--is as clean as a dog's groin after a lengthy autolingus session:

I'm inclined to believe him. For one thing, having served his time, it seems unlikely he'd risk getting caught again as this would certainly end his career. For another, I don't even believe that Vinokourov cheated in the first place and indeed suspect that he was the victim of a massive conspiracy. Consider the fact that he supposedly "tested positive for two different blood cell populations and thus for homologous transfusion." This would imply that he received blood cells from a donor. However, it's well-known that Vinokourov is more in love with himself than any other rider in the professional peloton. Not even Lance Armstrong or Alberto Contador has ever raced in a jersey bearing his own likeness:

Consequently, I find it very difficult to believe that the first-ever rider to break the "fourth wall of self-promotion" would deign to accept another's blood into his own veins. If anything, he would have opted for the "auto" method--not for performance-enhancing reasons, but because for the profoundly vain there is no more intoxicating drug than your own bodily fluids and secretions. (Earwax is the egoist's sweet potato.) And if Vinokourov were able to successfully engage in the act of autolingus, it's highly unlikely his directeur sportif would be able to get him off the team bus, much less across the finish line of a cycling "Monument" in first place. Then again, he did spend like an hour and a half "making out" with his own reflection after the race:

Still, I'll give him the benefit of the doubt. Says Vinokourov, "I worked very hard during my two years’ ban to be able to come back and be productive at a high level," and there is certainly plenty of photographic evidence to support his claim that he was indeed training hard during his suspension:

I'm sure I'm not the only cycling fan who is tremendously excited about Vino's new show on TBS.

Meanwhile, in the decidedly more workaday world of domestic professional road racing, Rahsaan Bahati has been fined for "unsportsmanlike conduct:"

This conduct consisted of Bahati hurling a pair of sunglasses into the peloton:

Indeed, you can see the shades-fling heard 'round the lycra-clad world at the 41st second of this video, which has since become the Zapruder film of pro cyclists getting hit with eyewear:

Apparently, Bahati can throw sunglasses with such deadly accuracy that he can knock a computer sensor off a bicycle fork and into the spokes:

Unfortunately, though, he foiled the wrong rider, since he was aiming for Jake Keough but he hit Andrew Pinfold. (This is what's known in the cryptic doublespeak of the protective eyewear assassin as "collateral damage.)

As with Vinokourov, I am hesitant to rush to judgment. Even though Bahati himself acknowledges he was angry, it's equally possible that he was simply measuring a road imperfection using the "Portland method" and the glasses slipped out of his sweaty hand. Or, he may have been trying to execute a "sunglasses hand-up" to a squinting teammate:

Forget urinating while on the bike; catching a pair of Oakleys with your face is the true mark of the professional cyclist.

The true mark of the urban cyclist, however, is still apparently a giant messenger-themed bag and a fixed-gear bicycle with no brakes. In addition, no ride through a recently-gentrified neighborhood is complete without an appropriate soundtrack. To that end, a reader informs me that the smug-mongers at NPR have "dropped" an urban cycling playlist:

I disagree with the caption under the photo, which reads that "urban cycling is not for the faint of heart." Riding a motorcycle at 75mph with your eyes closed or wrestling alligators naked is not for the faint of heart; riding a bicycle around your city or town is a perfectly reasonable and pleasant pursuit for the faint-hearted, and even if you're a "woosie" I recommend it wholeheartedly. Moreover, you're certainly not a "warrior," nor should you bring any "aggression" (healthy or otherwise) along with you on the way to work. Instead, save up that healthy aggression like egoists save up their earwax and bring it to a race. (Just try not to bring too much aggression, or you may go home with a fine and without your sunglasses.) Certainly, bicycle racing isn't for everybody, but I can't help thinking that if more cyclists raced their bikes they wouldn't be so compelled to ride inconsiderately around town. When you've done a really hard ride you're perfectly happy to stop at red lights, yield to other cyclists, and give pedestrians the right of way the rest of the time. In that sense, racing your bike is the equivalent of "cleaning the pipes" before a big date, and behaviors like "shoaling" are the equivalent of the "popcorn trick."

Anyway, I was even more confused when I listened to the playlist. None of it sounded like something a "warrior" would listen to while heading off to battle, nor did it make me want to grab my "fixie" and rip up some pavement--though I guess halfway through track three I did briefly consider "hitting up" the American Apparel for some thigh-highs. (Or, as they're called in Portland, cyclocross formal wear.)

Undeniably though the streets of many trendy neighborhoods are teeming with Nü-Freds who are living out iPod-fueled warrior fantasies. Everybody's in their own private "The Song Remains The Same"-esque fantasy sequence, and they're riding their IROs as awkwardly as Robert Plant rode that horse. Now, I lose myself in meditation just like any cyclist--it's one of the best parts of cycling--but warrior delusions can be dangerous. (Nobody wins a jousting match with an Entenmann's truck.) This, more than the sensory depravation, is the real danger of cycling while listening to headphones. If you're given to flights of fancy, you'd probably be better off listening to your iPod while pretending to ride on this $1,000 Brooks stool, which was spotted in Miami by a reader:

Or, at the very least, save up your aggression for the jerkwad who stole your top tube protector:

to the jerkwad who stole my top tube protector - w4m (Greenpoint Nassau G stop)
Date: 2010-04-22, 10:47PM EDT

Dear jerkface-

I parked my bike near the nassau G stop today and thank goodness I locked both tires because you would have taken those too if you could. But the top tube protector? Seriously? My beautiful purple snakeskin top tube protector (that was a gift) off of my beautiful purple track bike. You probably don't even like bikes. Or better yet, your mom just gave you her credit card over the phone to buy a sweet custom track bike from urban outfitters and you don't even know how to ride it yet.

I will absolutely deface your bike when I find it and have no shame in kicking you in the kneecaps if I find you. Don't be fooled by the basket.

Don't steal from a chick that rides a track bike. You should know better.

A purple bike with a purple snakeskin top tube pad is definitely the stuff of a fantasy sequence--as is a "Cat Girl" sighting:

Cat Girl in Union Square 4-24 - m4w (Union Square)
Date: 2010-04-25, 12:05AM EDT

You were sitting with some friends on the steps. You had cat ears and tattoos. I was a short distance away playing a game involving feet. You were certainly the most interesting looking person I had seen in a while, even with the guy with the crazy bike behind you. ( I mean this in a good way, btw)

Between the cat ears and the foot game I doubt the poster's sobriety. Who needs headphones and playlists when you have hallucinogens?


Anonymous said...


Paul Bowen said...


black dickerson said...

black dickerson

Anonymous said...



Unknown said...


Astroluc (Find me on Tumblr and Instagram @Astroluc) said...

"conflicting edits" kept me off the winners stand :/

Paul said...

Top 10-ish?

Pontius Pilate said...



ken e. said...

come on!

shoegazer said...

in with the pack

Anonymous said...

top twenty

waxmouth said...

Top 10. But I'm still a "woosie"

waxmouth said...

Forget it. I'm just a woosie

Jefe said...

Snob, I enjoyed your piece in Outside Magazine. However, it had a bit less bite than your blog. Can we look forward to breezy essays in the Paris Review, or footnoted studies in the journal Nature? I just received and started reading your book. It is really good. Nice graphics and wonderful quotes. Who knew you were such an accomplished historian?

CommieCanuck said...


Stickers available, $4.

innerlighter said...


Anonymous said...

high enough


hillbilly said...

hello from a different spot. this is weird.

sufferist said...

early post, I'm still out of the pack though....

andy said...

she parked her bike near the g spot? and where exactly is that?

ant1 said...


ant1 said...

snobby - "andgive pedestrians"

Jefe said...

Thanks for the insight, Canuck. There's no porn in the book either.

Anonymous said...

So glad that playlist will never ruin my zen.

dignan said...

Robert Plant is building up confidence so he can make the horse do headspinzzz...

OBA said...

I really hope Ray Ban isn't paying for "advertorial" placement - I'd hate to see you "monetize" your blog so crudely. If you're going to sell out, go big or Arby's for a delicious roast beef sandwich!

Eric Lowe said...

Boogie Weinglass rode a dutch city bike.

Stop or I'm telling said...

You're so poor you don't even have your own credit card to run up buying a custom tarck biek from Urban Outfitters!

Good brand recognition on such a heavy diss.

CommieCanuck said...

Thanks for the insight, Canuck. There's no porn in the book either.

Camparis, and Sex-on-the-beaches.

Craig T said...

"Epic" headtubes for "epic" comedians....

Anonymous said...

Catgirl sighting? Has anyone notified the commissioner or turned on the batman searchlight?

Anonymous said...

I would so wear that jersey if I could get my hands on one. I love Vino! And I can not wait for him and AC to light it up at TdF this year.


Jefe said...

Frilly, if you want to show your love, send Vino some of your highly oxygenated blood.

Anonymous said...

What if the thief puts the tube protector on someone else's bike?

Fingerbang Assistant said...

Conan, that is one lengthy head tube on your Serotta. Size = 64cm?

Billy Reid said...

Whoa missy, that was below the belt. First, the purple snakeskin will go perfectly with my Urban Outfitters colurway, way better than on your stupid purple bike. Second, it's obvious that I need the pad way more than you because, as you correctly stated, I don't know how to ride my bike yet. What the hell do you need a top-tube pad for when you are a superior rider?
I left $10 taped to the top tube to thank you for the pad. I can't believe some jerk stole it.

Anonymous said...

"Don't steal from a chick that rides a track bike. You should know better."


Because they can't stop.

grog said...

We're happy to see you used both vein and vain in the same paragraph. Did you forget about vane? I love a bowl of chili in the mountains of Chile where it gets quite chili.

What about the weiner dog of time doing autolingus--is that how history repeats itself?

ervgopwr said...

Chilly Grog

leroy said...

Note to self: do not sit next to anyone who has brought their own popcorn to the BSNYC book launch.

rezado said...


Billy Reid said...

Imagine my total shock when, instead of the video game I had asked for and was expecting to get, grandma somehow ended up shopping for my gift in Brooklyn and got me a purple snakeskin pad for a BMX bike. WTF? I told Billy I'd be on multiplayer right after school. What the hell am I going to tell him now?

CommieCanuck said...

I love Vino! And I can not wait for him and AC to light it up at TdF this year.

Bookies have the chance of Vino not getting caught without someone else's fluids in him close to even money.
"In Kazakhstan we have many hobbies: disco dancing, archery, rape, and table tennis. "

sufferist said...

CC: an apéritif really?

grog said...


Anonymous said...

Jefe, If I could hand deliver it, I would give up a pint. Gift-wrapped with a big bow.

Anonymous said...

Dear Grog, time actually repeats itself when The Dachshund that Mr Snob refers to eats too many Wiener sausages and vomits... and then eats it's vomit. I shit you not, look up Wiener Sausage or Wiener Process on Wikipedia, it is a part of mathematical probability theory. I'm serious.


fierce panties said...

I feel a little bad for stealing the purple snakeskin top tube protector now that I know that you're a girl. I tossed it in a trash can a block away from the g-spot. Sor.

Anonymous said...

Cipollini used to smell from fingertip to elbow, fact. That's how far the seafood smell went when he got lucky, I swear by Lob.

grog said...

ce, no you refer to: Wiener process is a continuous-time stochastic process named in honor of Norbert Wiener. Different from Weiner Dog which is a time weenie on four short legs. Or not.

TheTye said...

I love Doogie Howser.

Jefe said...

Frilly, I hope there is no "Secret Santa" at your job, or somebody is going to be really surpised. Put a bow on that EPO.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 3:00, crude, very crude. The fact is Cipollini was an absolute gentleman and didn't listen to the marketing people who wanted to him to promote the Fist Bang trademark. They later convinced Contador to run with the toned down version and have obviously hit the mark with this pistol gesture.


3G said...


Great post!

Anonymous said...

Well I'm coasting downtown
I had nothing to do
In my short brim hat
And my Vitt ballet shoes
Standing on the corner of a busy street
Everybody kept on looking at me
I was wearing sunglasses after dark
You really look sharp with sunglasses after dark

Salty and Sore said...


If you haven't found it yet, try riding harder.

Really, you should take up racing.

Salty and Sore said...


You mean all this time I've been missing out on a monthly profit?

There's still time.

The 'gift-wrap' is included for free.

(Don't blame me. I only walk through the open doors.)

Anonymous said...

Grog, if what you are saying is true I do feel sorry for the scientists probing the outer limits of understanding, such as worm holes through time.


Anonymous said...

When I said gift-wrapped with a big bow, I meant me. Yes we do have Secret Santa. Each participant is supposed to list three gift suggestions. A pint of blood has yet to be requested.

Besides, Vino doesn't need it.

Jefe said...

Salty, I'm sure there is a market for that, but not among elite racers. It needs to come from a vein, not ... well see Cipo.

Mongo Pusher said...

De Weert!

Anonymous said...

I can't believe there was no mention of the Little 500. I understand you base most things mentioned out of NYC, but you usually cover anything cycling related. (Sigh)

d. fofonov said...

UCI is persecuting Kazakh. If we are not having our own blood in veins, then whose blood are we having? Blood of goats?

Mr. Commie, Babushka is wanting to know if you are married and are living anywhere near Minnesota.

Anonymous said...


g said...

What the heck is going on with everyone dumping their Softrides? Miami CL

Gator Bait said...

"wrestiling alligators naked"

Is it restyling alligators naked?
They usually are naked.
So, uh... no.

wrestling alligators naked?

Most likely!

theshepherdsdog said...

smug-mongers ha, awesome.

Anonymous said...

"Certainly, bicycle racing isn't for everybody, but I can't help thinking that if more cyclists raced their bikes they wouldn't be so compelled to ride inconsiderately around town."


Salty and Sore said...



but I didn't need your permission...

Odile Lee said...


Im sure Vino since Vino cant accept donations, maybe he might like to give some?

I'll fight you for him!

Jefe said...

Salty, Just a casual suggestion. I do not pretend to tell women what to do.

George Not Hincapie said...

Snob- amazed that, day after day, you're able to produce such amusing premise and sentiment. You must wake up smiling. I, on the other hand, spend the day snarling at this or that.

Anonymous said...

CG--I thought you worshipped at the altar of Lance. There's no grey area here, no crossing the line.

ringcycles said...

Anyone who rides fast in city traffic while wearing earbuds is less a warrior and more a kamikaze. Seriously, if you can't hear a truck coming up behind you because you're so engrossed in your "tunes", you may as well be playing Kazakh roulette.

David said...

Great post. I'm going now to catch my sunglasses with my face and clean my pipes while staring longingly at my sunglasses clad image while not listening to NPR playlists. This is bound to make me less aggressive, don't you think? I mean, how can there be any aggression when your pipes are as clean as mine?

cwg said...

foot game meaning soccer?

SD friend said...

when i first started reading this blog and reading the first comments i thought all the "first" and "podium" and "top ten" comments referred to the post being one of the best ones ever written. and it seemed like each post was good enough to be considered one of the best. it didnt occur to me that people would comment before reading the post.
then i started looking at the times the first comments were written and realized there was no way someone could read that fast.

Odile Lee said...

yes I am worshipping at the Altar of Lance but I thought the guys may have liked the image of two, well muscled thighed chicksduking it out over Vino.Tee, hee!

But honestly,he looks bloody dodgy!

Jangles said...

Who wrote that "warrior"article? That's some of the dumbest shit I've read in awhile. Was that in Cosmopolitan?
PS. I'm breaking in my new Brooks saddle/stool as we speak. It's the only stool I'd use after a hard ride.

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