Further to yesterday's post, the controversy now known as Liège-Bastogne-Liège-Gate-Bastogne-Gate continues to make headlines in the cycling media. Indeed, this is just the sort off-season news bike racing websites need so they have stuff to print in between breathless speculation about which manufacturer is going to "drop" a component group with yet another superfluous cog. Now, the emails between Alexander Vinokourov and Alexandr Kolobnev have been published, and they contain all sorts of salacious details, including frank discussions about human castration:
Vinokourov reassured the Russian that “You have done everything properly, do not worry”, after Kolobnev expressed concerns that "my balls may be cut off" if it came out that he was receiving payment.
That may sound like a figure of speech, but in Russia it's actually common practice to castrate athletes. (Also, in Russia, car drive you.) This is why he's actually protecting his "Kolobnevs" in his team photo:
(Does this look like a man who knows he's about to have his "pants yabbies" cut off or what?)
Besides his pre-emasculation grimace, I was also intrigued by Kolobnev's rider profile:
Date of Birth: 04/05/1981
Born in: Vyksa (Russia)
Professional since: 2002
Height: 174 cm
Weight: 64 Kg
Last Season Team: Katusha
Rider Type: classics specialist
Civil Status: married
Hobbies: interior designing, playing electric guitar
Car Brand: Infinity
Favorite Actress: none
Favorite Song: Red Hot Chili Peppers, “Californication”
The Cycling Champion You Supported in your Childhood: Yuri Barinov
The Best Race Ever: 3rd stage “Paris – Nice” 2007
Contemporary Sport Idol: none
Favorite Soccer Team: none
Cycling Secret Wish: none
Superstitions: not talking about that
Notice that Kolobnev left the "nickname" portion of his rider questionnaire blank, as though he knew it would soon become "Ken Doll" or "The Gelding." Also, note his response to the "superstitions" section. Like any superstitious person, he knows that talking about something can make it happen--which is why after emailing Vino about getting castrated he's now actually about to get castrated. Given that, it's too bad he put "none" for his "Cycling Secret Wish," and I bet he really wishes he put "Not to have my balls cut off" instead.
Anyway, while the decreased testosterone production could spell the end of Kolobnev's on-the-bike career, the silver lining in this scrotum of misfortune is that Kolobnev will have plenty of time to focus on his two favorite hobbies: interior design, and playing guitar. In fact, as an androgynous guitar hero with a flair for interior design he's got all the makings of a modern-day Russian David Bowie. Or, if that doesn't work out, he could always start a high-end cycling clothing company called Castrati:
(Castrati: Performance roadwear for men with Ken doll genitals.)
So comfortable it's like wearing nothing at all.
Speaking of emasculation, a reader informs me that bag maker Timbuk2 is now offering a messenger-style diaper bag called the "Stork Messenger" for the rapidly aging "urban cyclist" demographic:
While publicly I laugh at this while my "bike culture" friends and I compare our knuckle tattoos and drink cheap canned beer in the local fake dive bar, as the father of 17 children I also secretly covet those "Velcro silencers" and the integrated changing pad:
Scoff if you will, but the simple fact is that aging is inevitable, and every Nü-Fred eventually becomes an Öld-Fred. Therefore, it's only a matter of time before all these bag makers start competing for the Öld-Fred dollar. Then, they'll start sponsoring aging "hipster" alleycats with diaper-changing stations instead of checkpoints, and someone will start a Single Speed Child-Portaging World Championship, and finally it will all "jump the shark" when some pro cyclist wins it but refuses to surrender his baby for the mandatory tattooing:
("My daddy won the SSBPWC and all I got was this stupid tattoo.")
As for me, I'm holding out for a hand-fabricated artisanal changing table that's compatible with the snapdeck on my Big Dummy, though I'm guessing someone in Portland is already at work on something like that.
But while the "Stork Messenger" may be the ideal holiday gift for the person in your life who is unwilling to come to terms with his changing lifestyle and clings tenaciously to the illusion that he's "hip," what do you get for that special douchey someone who's part of the "Eeew, babies, gross!" demographic? Well, you could always get them a $68 bottle of maple syrup from the douchewallas at Best Made Company:
First came the $300 bedazzled axes, and then the $38 short and crappy extension cords, but with the $68 bottle of maple syrup the Best Made Company have truly out-douched themselves. Really, to find a more offensive maple syrup you have to go all the way back to the peak racist years of "vintage" Aunt Jemima. And if you're wondering who actually buys this stuff, here's your answer:
Who is the Best Made customer?
Our products are used by men and women who hail from all corners of the globe: the US, Canada, Australia, the UK, France, Germany, Sweden, Korea, Japan, Flin Flon Manitoba and beyond; they live in remote areas and densely populated cities; they are woodsmen and art collectors, lawyers and doctors, designers and craftsmen, leaders of large corporations and owners of small workshops; our customers depend on Best Made as a trusted source of equipment and advice, as many have been coming back to us throughout the years. Read customer profiles.
In other words, they're "asshole survivalists." Here's how Wikipedia defines traditional "survivalism:"
Survivalism is a movement of individuals or groups (called survivalists or sometimes preppers) who are actively preparing for future possible disruptions in local, regional, national, or international social or political order. Survivalists often prepare for this anticipated disruption by having emergency medical training, stockpiling food and water, preparing for self-defense and self-sufficiency, and/or building structures that will help them survive or "disappear" (e.g., a survival retreat or underground shelter).
And here's how I define "asshole survivalism:"
Asshole survivalism is a movement of like-minded people (called asshole survivalists or sometimes just assholes) who like to appear rugged and woodsy but are in fact uniquely unprepared for any kind of emergency situation whatsoever. Survivalists often fail to prepare themselves for real life by having extensive filmmaking training, stockpiling vintage razors and old paper maps of places that no longer exist, having fellow assholes over for bourbon tastings and lavish barbecues, and/or living in structures that will help them appear unique or "different" (e.g., a tiny house or a $1.5m loft).
If you're wondering why your neighborhood no longer has a corner grocery but has four coffee houses and an artisanal condiment shop, it's not because it's been gentrified; rather, it's because it's become an "asshole survivalist enclave"--the modern-day equivalent of a medieval walled city, built to protect the inhabitants from the forces of reality.
In any case, if you're dreaming of a douche Christmas, you're no doubt hanging your douchebags by the chimney with care, in hopes that St. Douchiness soon will be there. And if you're looking for some delightful little douchebag stuffers, why not visit Partners & Spade, which I just learned about on the Best Made site. Here, you can purchase things like $450 boxes full of random crap: