Thursday, September 23, 2010

Laying it On Thick: Your Epidermis is Showing

As you've probably noticed in the cycling press, the fantabulous product showcase known as Interbike is now well underway. While this is certainly an important event for those people directly involved in the making and selling of bicycles, from the perspective of the everyday rider whose only job is to ride the things it's mostly just "same stuff, different decals." Sure, even the most ornery fusspot will come across something he likes when perusing the coverage, but for the most part the stuff that emerges seems to fall under one of three categories:

1) New wheel gimmickry;

2) The latest mass-produced iterations of the previous year's NAHBS trend;

3) Increasingly, dumb "collabo" fixies.

However, every so often a cycling product emerges during Interbike time that is so compelling, so revolutionary, so I-would-flush-my-kitten-down-the-toilet-to-have-that-right-now awesome-tastic that it's enough to drive you mad with frothy desire. Such is the case this year, for clothier to the "I have a flat tire on my Serotta--do I need a new wheel?" set Rapha have finally ladled out ("ladled out" is skincare jargon for "dropped") their long-awaited skincare range:

I mentioned that this was imminent awhile back, and a reader recently forwarded me the above article. Obviously, like most people, I thought this was some kind of elaborate April Fool's joke at first, but I checked my trusty Just Miniature Dachshunds 2010 wall calendar and noted that April 1st had passed some time ago (or, if you're an optimist and just assume you'll live to see another April Fool's Day, has yet to arrive). Then I thought that, since the Jewish New Year had just passed, maybe it was now Jewish April Fool's Day. (Jewish April Fool's Day comes just before Jewish Easter, which should not be confused with a Jew'easter, which is a kind of kosher storm.) But this wasn't the case either, which is unfortunate, since few things are funnier to me than the old "short-sheeted tallis" trick. Finally, I checked the Rapha site and determined that this is indeed real, and that they are apparently aiming to become the Keihl's of the cycling world:

Here's what they have to say for themselves:
Apparently, these fragrant goops are "designed to protect your skin against the elements," which is interesting because I thought that was the point of wearing clothes. Somehow, though, these unguents are "an essential addition to a rider's kit," which to me is a tacit admission that their clothing is somehow inadequate. This would make Rapha Performance Skincare the equivalent of that "bumper" that's supposed to help your iPhone 4 do what it's supposed to do--except Apple gives it away for free.

Now, I certainly realize that, in cycling and in life in general, judicious application of creams and ointments can be both necessary and helpful. For example, chamois cream (whether it's actually marketed as chamois cream or is simply any one of the drugstore staples that will do pretty much the same thing) can be instrumental when it comes to taintal preservation, especially on long rides. Also, if you are the type of person who shaves one or more body parts, some sort of razor lubricant or "shaving cream" can be very helpful in this regard. And obviously, unless you're some filthy hippie and/or a person from Portland, you wash yourself with soap from time to time.

But it seems to me that, in recent years, cyclists--especially of the road-going variety--have developed a preoccupation with lotions, cleansers, and embrocations that would make a cosmetologist blush (or at least apply blush), and the Rapha Performance Skincare line would appear to be cycling's preening, delightfully-scented "Sex In The City"-on-wheels watershed moment. I mean, I'm all for cleanliness and comfort, but do we really need the smell of our crotches to be "inspired by the scents of the plants and herbs growing on Mont Ventoux, including Atlas cedar, lavender, pine needles, rosemary, juniper berry and lemon"? And in terms of paceline roll-out chatter, I'm not sure which is worse: the endless nonsense about "watts;" or, "You smell quite lovely this morning--like lilac with just a hint of fromage du frumunda."

Yes, thanks to cyclists' obsession with expensive clothes, designer bags, and now, skin creams, the only difference between cyclists and the typical Bergdorf Goodman shopper is that most cyclists' bags don't contain Yorkies--or maybe they do, for a member of the Twitteroni recently notified me of this:




If you look closely, you'll notice the label says it is made in Portland, Oregon. Is this really necessary? Is there any other place from which a line of cycling-themed dog accessories could possibly have emanated? And of course you can turn your poor pet into a "hipster service dog" by using it to open your beer:

Given that every single non-competitive cycling component and accessory manufactured after 2007 integrates some sort of bottle-opening technology, it's clear that the "bike culture" lives in constant terror that it will somehow find itself unable to open a beer. This is why the typical bike dork strolling around Interbike probably has, without even realizing it, no less than seven bottle openers on his or her person--and that's not including the bike, which would put the total well into the double digits. I even hear the Rapha chamois cream was specially formulated to open a bottle of Duvel if you slather it on the cap.

Speaking of slathering, I wonder if some customers might find auxiliary uses for certain Rapha Performance Skincare products, possibly while perusing literary bike porn:

(Hand model clearly not using Rapha Performance Skincare)

While a gnarled old hand might not be arousing to most people, for the seasoned connoisseur of highbrow bike pornography, the mere thought of the exquisite lugs these crooked digits have caressed in their lifetime is more stirring than a thousand Victoria's Secret catalogues. Indeed, this scenario has become all too common:

Really, all that's left at this point is to conquer the fixed-gear market, which has already become enamored of the Rapha "epic" aesthetic. I'm looking forward to the black-and-white videos of "epic" bathing sessions in "vintage" clawfoot tubs, and to the "unmarshalled and unsanctioned" Gentleman's Baths which will undoubtedly follow those Gentleman's Races. Then, Rapha will finally ladle out it's special fixed-gear chamois cream:

Coasting is for "woosies," and so is removing your shorts.

Meanwhile, from Rapha to Ralph's, another member of the Twitterino alerted me to what may be the lamest incident of two-wheeled rebellion of the year, which occurred when a bunch of cyclists rode into a supermarket:

You may recall that video "To Live & Ride in L.A.," which claimed that "they ride the most dangerous streets in America:"

Well, I guess they now ride the most dangerous supermarket aisles in America too:

I can't wait for video of some tarckster elephant trunk-skidding his way through the produce section, while another narrowly avoids getting hit by a full shopping cart being pushed by a mother of three. Or maybe they'll just have a hardcore fixed-gear freestyle session in the frozen foods section so they can have an excuse to wear their overpriced "collabo" jackets and hoodies.

Maybe they can hold Interbike 2011 at the Piggly Wiggly.

105 comments:

samh said...

Tour de Snob.

jj said...

hi

ant1 said...

ant1st!

tomfrit said...

Moin!

Eric said...

hi-rez

ken e. (can't type) said...

stupid wifi shennanigans

SKIN CARE

bere said...

top ten

Anonymous said...

Freezer section !

Anonymous said...

F-ing hell yeah, ladies.

agent detroit said...

top ten

streepo said...

crap. I would have won if I wasn't busy....um...embrocating.

Adrian said...

Love Ralphs ,never thought of taking my bike in there though, I suppose a Big Dummy would be the choice as you can fill up the bags as you cruise the aisles.

Astroluc said...

coasting through the frozen foods section... glad I have brakes; do the LA fixters stop by crashing in the paper-towel aisle?

Astroluc said...

I see a whole new wave of gnuc-tatz...

PRO- DUCE
DELI PUNK
SODA AISL
MKT- RYDR

Kim said...

Wooo

Disgruntl Ed. said...

Cosmotologist. I'd do that job.

wishiwasmerckx said...

Interbike Report -- Cyclocross Edition:

Crisscrossed an enormous stormwater detention basin which doubles as a soccer complex. These guys are effen FAST! No working together; no teammates to help you out; just put your head down and GO!

Last year's winner Ryan Trebon of Kona is a beast. Jamie Driscoll had a 25 sec. gap, and on the final lap, Trebon closed it single-handedly -- no help from anyone. He looks like he was puored over his bike as opposed to mounted on top of it. No podium spot to show for his efforts, though.

Fashion tip -- no white socks. Black socks are de rigeur at this level.

It was wierd to see the bikes still all shiny throughout the race. No mudbog or dusty ruts to make them look so trashed and cool like in all the usual pictures.

Lastly, spectators would offer dollar-bill hand-ups. Of course, the guys in contention would ignore them, but some of the guys off the back rode the course with dollar bills flapping from the bottom of their skinsuits.

Rick said...

"The products are handmade...and based on the ... plants that grow on the slopes of Mont Ventoux. The scene of numerous key moments in cycling history, each product ..."

Are the comma and period reversed above, or are the fine folk at Rapha trying to imply that their products are the scene of the key moments in cycling history? (Which might make your photo-essay on embrocation usage even more insightful!)

Comment deleted said...

This author has been removed by his post.

Jefe said...

The Rapha Chamois Cream is also great on crackers.

Esteemed Commenter DaddoOne said...

It's a floor wax, It's a desert topping.

A+ today Snobbie - love the Jew Stuff

Desert Rider said...

CYCL DAWG

waxmouth said...

apropos of almost nothing: anyone ever see the movie "The Adventures of Sebastian Cole"?

The young dude rebel hero does a thing where he rides his bike down the hallway of his high school wearing a ski-mask. Rock and roll music plays on the soundtrack. It's all very artfully done.

Anyway, he speeds down the corridors several times, frustating the bejesus out of the school administrators. And on graduation day, he shows up... on a motorcycle.

I think this had something to do with today's post, but now I can't remember what. Unless it's those rebels in L.A.

Anonymous said...

That's all well and good, but can we bag on the minimalist guy some more? And also people who can't change their inner tubes, let's bash them some more also.

Anonymous said...

Does Ralpha offer a post-embrocating moist towelette/shop rag? It doesn’t seem right to spend thousands of dollars on a fancy bike & accessories, and then finish your epicity with a common Kleenex tissue.

Anonymous said...

ashamed to say that i had to look up embrocation (not much into the whole product thing), and lo and behold, there is a cycling journal (http://www.embrocationmagazine.com/) sponsored by a manufacturer of bicycling-related skin shit (so Rapha is a johnny-come-lately), or at least a relabeler and distributor of floor adhesive. best, dodger tom.

hillbilly said...

hallo

Doug said...

On the subject of 'fromage de fromunda'. I recently rode with an ancient pair of wool knickers with a leather chamois. About 2 miles from the house I remembered why we used chamois cream in the day. The leather felt like sandpaper. It would have been a lot better with a little cream to soften it up. Nowadays with the synthetic chamois we don't need cream.

Anonymous said...

The whole Rapha thing really is quite amusingly contradictory. Clearly their intended market consists of actual or wanna-be middle and upper class twats -- gentleman cyclists -- but no self-respecting gentleman would ever, ever consider applying 'skin care products' to his person. The very idea is the essence of 'spiv'

Jefe said...

Bike Minimalism

Chamois Cream = Vaseline

Embrocation = Ben Gay

Jim said...

Does Rapha make a skin care product for epic zits and epic herpes outbreaks? Because that market niche, by its epicness, seems like it would be right up Rapha's epic market niche.

leroy said...

See my skilz at Ralph's
Aaaarghhh, clean up on aisle four
Embrocation please.

Fernando said...

""have finally ladled out""

finally... finally... finally... finally...

thanks I could not life one day more without that Rapha creme.

the Rapha fan boys are like the Apple fan boys, waiting for the latest gadget. uhhhh please... bring us iPhone 5

and then there are the blogs, no personality, just commercial voice speakers.

Fernando said...

and you find them all over, saying the same.

http://bianchista.blogspot.com/2010/09/rapha-performance-skincare.html

Chris W said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Fernando said...

""Clearly their intended market consists of actual or wanna-be middle and upper class twats -- gentleman cyclists --"""

a "gentleman" has no need to explain himself, see the latest Rapha film on the gentleman race.

Anonymous said...

Snob - 'cosmetologist'. A 'cosmotologist' might be an astrophysicist offering beauty tips for the universe.

Also, if you miss a test at cosmetology school, I think you have to take a make-up exam.

I thank you, ladies and gentlemen.

PawnShop said...

It seems overpriced, but that's untrue. By using Rapha fixed gear chamois cream, I save a fortune on butt waxing sessions.
SKID MARK

gene99 said...

I hope this Rapha sh*t doesn’t compete with my new product, “Whoa!”

‘Made from the essence of bike messenger crotch moist after an August Prospect Park Crit.’

You know how hard it’s been to collect this stuff?

Anonymous said...

Epidermis means your hair right Snob?

Anonymous said...

Um ... can we still talk about idiots who can't fix flats? Geez that was fun.

Best Joke Ever said...

Did you know Dolly Parton bought out the Piggly Wiggly, Big-T and Harris Teeter supermarket chains? They're gonna merge and become Big Wiggly Teeters.

Okay, recess is over. Gotta go to home-room.

eurodude said...

Having a super top-level bike and not knowing how to fix a flat is like paying $$$$$ for Rapha stuff and actually believing that atlas cedars do grow on Mt Ventoux.
It´s pathetic.

(no, no cedars on Mt Ventoux. The only interesting natural stuff growing there is vine - Cotes du Mt Ventoux is excellent. But i suppose you´d have to pay like 12.250$ for a bottle in NYC)

Anonymous said...

Some people use fancy gels for anal sex when spit works fine

Wistful Barber said...

Oh, I'm a fakerjack and I'm OK.

I drink all night and I sleep all day.

Anonymous said...

How about some thoughts on Puma's foray into bicycles......

http://bikeportland.org/2010/09/23/interbike-from-shoes-to-bikes-puma-gets-serious-39969

Anonymous said...

as long as there are idiots that will buy the continued stream of useless lifestyle products, you really can't blame the likes of Rapha for putting out the overpriced schlock.

Anonymous said...

I have a small escargot farm in the south of France and I hand milk my colony of escargo. Escargo milk has wonderful theraputic properties and has been found to relax the choad in such a way that after an epic ride you need only to worry about your unit popping out like an antenna and to worry for the loins of women in close proximety.
Look for it by name lait d'escargot.

Anonymous said...

I wish there was a Piggly Wiggly near my house. I just want to tell people, "I'm gonna run down to the Piggly Wiggly..."

But, I have the same sense of humor I had when I was 12, so maybe it's just me.

Steve said...

"Participants would be cited for violating traffic rules that endanger motorists or pedestrians"

Really? I would have thought if LA has rules that endanger motorists and pedestrians that violating them would be a good thing.

Anonymous said...

Portland actually now has a complete store dedicated to 'bike crafts' like that doggy collar

http://bikeasauruspdx.com/

grog said...

Chamois Cream and Peanut Butter.
Thank Lobster.

Anonymous said...

@Fernando 1:41 ... indeed, but then again no gentleman would be caught dead on a velocipede, let alone allow himself to be captured on cinematographic film riding one, and most especially not for remuneration ... now a sheep, that's a different thing altogether ...

CommieCanuck said...

Rapha is proof that many gay men ride bikes.
Fabulous in a jar.

Anonymous said...

@CC ... soooo, a quick edit gives us a new Rapha banner??
"Rapha is poof"

OBA said...

@eurodude

You can find vino from Mt. Ventoux in most of the wine shops in NYC and it's more like $12, not 12 euro, a bottle - mostly plonk

Anonymous said...

Y'know, Anon 1:11, I had to look embrocation up myself.

And the embrocation magazine isn't too bad...

Anonymous said...

I liked LA better when everyone & their Abuelo rode Schwinn cruisers on the sidewalk.

Also congrats to Rapha for coming out the closet officially.

eurodude said...

@ OBA

thx for the info.
12$/bottle in NYC... i´m shocked. And highly suspicious about what´s being sold to you guys, since a decent bottle does indeed cost around 10-12 euros - on site.

Maybe that 12$ plonk is stealth Rapha chamois cream. In which case one should consider it a hell of a bargain.

gene99 said...

there are cedar trees on ventoux

i pissed on one on the way up. now my 'eau' is forever on the mountain.

Salty and Sore said...

The Portland dog collar makes total sense.

Drunk dogs get their licenses taken away, and typically resort to cycling, just like everyone else.

Hansel said...

Holy shit, Hansel, haven't you been smoking Peyote for six straight days, and couldn't some of this maybe be in your head?

Quicksquirt McHurt said...

Holy fuck, I wouldn't hit it.

Panzer Plan said...

I <3 Rapha. And I can change a flat.

eurodude said...

holy shit..
there are indeed Atlas cedars on Mt Ventoux, imported mid 19th century i read.
Guess i´ll have to fix flats on luxury bikes for a whole year as a punishment.

bikesgonewild said...

..."...illiterate l.a. hipsters mistake ralph's market for a rapha store...ransack aisles finding only fruit, vegetables & cereal...discover $1.99 jar of mayo works as well as $37.00 jar of chamois creme..."...
...l.a.county police bulletin...

Panzer Plan said...

Oh and Snob has been spotted at least twice at the NYC Rapha Cycle Club. Just sayin.

fierce panties said...

EMBR OCAT

wishiwasmerckx said...

Oh, and by the way, the name of Brooklyn cyclocross enthusiast "Eben Weiss" was notably absent from the start list of last night's Vegas Interbike cyclocross race.

wishiwasmerckx said...

Goose semen works much better than that overpriced Rapha face cream. The hard part, however, is jacking off the goose.

Artful Function said...

http://www.seniorassistance.net/MSC095228_largeview.jpg

Fred said...

Damnit, scooped again. I was about to release my line of Ralpha Personal Products for Freds:

1. Chamois Cream of mashed bananas, witch hazel and granola bars.

2. SPD Sandal Wax/Embrocation (recumbent specific, made from biofuels)

3. Personal Lubricant (mostly WD-40).

4. Sun-mask, a protective paste made from yellow Performance jerseys and teriyaki baked tempeh.

All the products feature the Fredliest aromatics, including essence of beard, "Sheldon's Oil", and President's Choice Select deodorant.

Presented in a yellow Cannondale saddle bag, gift ensembles starting at $199.95.

Rapha fan boy said...

Look like that some people here are envious.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps, but on the other hand at least some of us are capable of writing grammatical sentences.

Bruised but Determined said...

Is everyone else here tired of getting run over by UN diplomats in black cars this week? 90th St bike lane seems their staging zone. I yelled at one today and suddenly there were men in black all over. Then I got squeezed by some rich people out on a lark picking up their own kid from school. Imagine - their own kid!

Maybe if I embrocatoriated myself with some of that Ralph's cream I'd just slip on through like a greased piglet?

Anonymous said...

@Fred,

OOooh ... will you be staging a 'soft release' of these new products?
President's Choice, hmmm? Available in Canada, then?

Anonymous said...

hipsters = communists. If I see any on the road I'm going to clip them with my towing mirror for a good laugh

Fred said...

anon @ 4:57
President's Choice Select is the poor man's Kirkland brand. I'm sure it's available in Canada.

The release is entirely up to you.

Anonymous said...

speaking of lotions...

http://www.hulu.com/watch/4139/saturday-night-live-steve-martins-penis-beauty-creme

Almost 90th bitches! said...

Maybe Inter-bike could do a collabo with those whom cannot change tubes on a Sorotta and call it Inter-Tube?

Almost 90th bitches! said...

Maybe Inter-bike could do a collabo with those whom cannot change tubes on a Sorotta and call it Inter-Tube?

Pontius Pilate said...

HAIL CSZR

-P.P.

cyclotourist said...

Inspired by the slopes of the famous Mt.Ventoux: Tom Simpson endurance salve. Contains a mixture of natural ingredients to bring you cheer even on the hardest grades. Quality made in Britain and helps to put you back on the bike.

Joseph Eisenberg said...

Reminds me of a song by Christian Rap / Rock artists DC Talk, titled "Colored People" (Really!):

"Pardon me, your epidermis is showing, mister
I couldn't help but note your shade of melanin
I tip my hat to the colorful arrangement
'Cause I see the beauty in the tones of our skin..."

http://www.ilike.com/artist/dc+Talk/track/Colored+People?src=onebox

Joseph Eisenberg said...

Reminds me of a song by Christian Rap / Rock artists DC Talk, titled "Colored People" (Really!):

"Pardon me, your epidermis is showing, mister
I couldn't help but note your shade of melanin
I tip my hat to the colorful arrangement
'Cause I see the beauty in the tones of our skin..."

http://www.ilike.com/artist/dc+Talk/track/Colored+People?src=onebox

bikesgonewild said...

...cyclotourist...nice !!!...

...i almost chocked on my homemade but nonetheless, epic burrito...

...ah, yes...tommy simpson...always a favorite...

...long before computerized i.d. checks, first guy in a group ride pulled over for a traffic infraction (stop sign, whatever), would always when asked for his name by the cops, reply "tommy simpson" & everyone else would be biting their lip & struggling not to blow his cover...

...yay, tommy...

cyclotourist said...

@BGW: I'm usually late to the conversation, but I do try to give it my best!

Anonymous said...

If I use Rapha's handmade chamois cream, does that mean my fromage du frumunda becomes artisanal cheese?

Jerk Off said...

Does Rapha have a post-ride masturbation creme? My "warm-down wanks" are an epic froth of natural fluids.

Fernando said...

http://www.rapha.cc/umbrella

atac3b(m) said...

Can there please, pleeeeze, not be any more comment about Rapha? It just gives it air, and makes people think that they have something worth deriding in their range of bike-fop accessories. Butt-crack jelly - my favorite.

flahute said...

the Rapha skin care line is real, and their effort at the fop-ifcation of cycling has reached its peak. This must be the most effete trend in cycling since riders ceased mounting dandy horses. (Not that there's anything wrong with that) Somehow in the translation from flemish, cycling went from sport for hard men, to preening for prissy boys.

Anonymous said...

BUTT KRAK

KRAK KILZ

Slappy said...

that roleur made my birthday, my last name is Cooper and I got a glorious Cooper roadie from the consignment shop where i used to work in Glenwood Sprngs and that article with Ron Cooper's hands on the cover was more information than i'd been able to find by far. Still the best rbike i've ever ridden especially after all the dumPlastic at interbike

Anonymous said...

The products arrived in very kitsch pink newsprint, feeling rather special as soon as you lay eyes on them. I have to admit i felt a pang of regret when clocking them as it reminded me of the special pink newsprint gilet that I never quite got round to buying, only for it to disappear into gems large locker of cycling regrets!

Upon opening, the very neat packaged are all emblazoned with the 'Ventoux' sealing sticker, informing of the concept of these products, in that they were all made with the scented elements derived from that most epic of mountains. Rapha head honcho Mr Mottram himself collected flora and fauna when cycling to ensure these products were crafted with an authenticity and feeling of Vontoux. The first thing I smelt was the soap, and its certainly got a wild natural scent to it, and if I close my eyes I could quite happily be smelling the subtle roadside vegetation on the slopes of France.

The winter embrocation looks like the traditional style Belgian knee warmer formula, rich and wax-like. I could smell the capsicum and wintergreen immediately, and those fond of the euro sheen will be pleased to know that i should imagine this gives a very nice sheen indeed to shaven legs. The pot also has a rather natty product sheet, with a map of the Ventoux ascent on the rear, a very nice little touch indeed, adding to that special feel. I cant wait to try this on some rainy wet training rides, with its promise to provide around 5 hours of heated protection from the elements.

bla bla bla....

http://bianchista.blogspot.com/2010/09/rapha-skincare-first-look.html

bp said...

top ten

thealphabanana said...

Dear Snob, how dare you quote Fox News and still call yourself a snob.

Hervé Huisman said...

Hi There,

Love your blog! You can be stylish while cycling indeed!
I am from a Dutch company and we aim to lower the barrier to cycling in the US, by offering attractive, hop-on bicycles , also in NY. (pls check out our website www.dutchcommuterbike.com. Would be great if any of you could introduce us to good stores in NYC!

Pls Contact us via our website if you want to discuss!

Best,
Hervé

Anonymous said...

And how about adding some more pictures? No offence, content is really nice. But according to the scientists humans acquire information much more efficient if there are certain useful illustrations.

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fixie bikes said...

Old people hands are so creepy.

Orville said...

If I use Rapha's handmade chamois cream, does that mean my fromage du frumunda becomes artisanal cheese?

Anonymous said...

Hilarious that those preeminent poseurs at Rapha chose Mt.Ventoux as their inspiration for this herbal nut scrub and wank sauce since the topography of Mt.Ventoux, aka The Bald Mountain, is something akin to the face of the moon. The fact that most of it has little or no vegetation growing on it at all, and therefore offers no shelter from the elements, is precisely the reason it is the legendary brutal cycling stage that it is. Tossers.