Monday, March 19, 2012

Feeling Racy: Positions and Transitions

This past weekend saw the 417th running of the Milan-San Remo bicycle race.  Milan-San Remo is a one-day "Classic," and its picturesque route carries the riders from the Slovenian capital of Ljubljana all the way to the storied Roubaix velodrome in Paris, Belgium.  Eddy Merckx won Milan-San Remo an astounding 46 times, and perhaps his most memorable victory was the one in 1972 where he competed on a track bike with riser bars while wearing jean shorts and a "wifebeater" tank top emblazoned with the words "Hipster Jesus."

I didn't watch Milan-San Remo this weekend, since I was too busy with Real Life.  You might think that being a semi-professional bike blogger means you get to do fun stuff like watch bike races, but I have to do mundane stuff like buy anti-dandruff shampoo, take the ferrets to the vet, and go to the locksmith because I put my bike lock around my waist and lost the key down a storm drain again just like everybody else.  However, I did briefly read about the race, and it sounded like a real hum-dinger of a doozie.  Not only did Simon Gerrans outsprint Fabian "McGruber Assist" Cancellara, but Mark "The Man Missile" Cavendish apparently got dropped like a 26-inch mountain bike from a 2013 product line:

With just under 100 kilometers to go, La Manie loomed, and as GreenEdge and Liquigas set the pace, the most notable victim was none other than Cavendish, who fell off the back of the field. Bernhard Eisel worked long and hard to try and bring his Sky teammate back up, while those at the head of the field increased their speed.

As a Mark Cavendish fan I'm very worried, and I only hope he can overcome The Double Curse of Being World Champion and Being on Team Sky:



By the way, did you know Mark Cavendish changes positions frequently?  It's true!  (Well, it's true that he changes positions frequently on the bike; otherwise, Peta Todd says he just lays there like a lethargic ferret.)  I learned about it in this informative article on the Team Sky website, which I found via Cyclingreporter's Twitter:


Apparently, the reason for all the changes is that Mark Cavendish's body size fluctuates throughout the course of the day:

And Blem has worked with Mark Cavendish for long enough to understand the rationale behind the constant adjustments. “His thinking is that his body is changing on a regular basis. You know that you're taller in the morning than you are in the evening, that's his theory, his body changes, he becomes more supple, or he gets fitter. He sees his body as being different every day so he wants to change his bike.”

Then again, he may just think his body size is changing, when in reality Peta Todd's frequent shoe changes are messing with his sense of perspective:


("I could have sworn we were nipple-to-nipple this morning.  I better lower my saddle again.)

Also, Cavendish adopts a slightly more Fredly position for the mountain stages:

Cavendish also tailors his position to the ride ahead. In the mountains, when he's not going for the win, he adopts a more upright riding position compared to the deep tuck he uses when he's going hell-for-leather for the line.


“In the mountains he'll ride his handlebars one centimetre higher than in the flat stages or the sprint or flat stages,” says Blem. “He likes to ride with his hoods raised, more like a chopper style. He's got the [Shimano] Sprint Shifters on the handlebars for quick shifting.”

The exceptions are the Tour de France "Queen stages," when of course he bypasses Fredly and goes for the "Full Riv:"


Now that's upright.  Obviously Cavendish's sponsorship obligations prevent him from actually riding a Rivendell, so his mechanic fits the stem above to his Pinarello Dogma by means of a Soma Quill-inator:


I don't understand why people get so excited about "slammed" stem porn, but if there was a website called "Kludge that Cockpit" I'd be all over it.

Speaking of competitive cycling, it was a beautiful weekend, and so late Saturday morning the family and I mounted our smugcycles and headed into Prospect Park.  We entered the park just at the bottom of the hill, whereupon a marshall in a DayGlo vest admonished us to be careful as there was a bike race in progress.

"Bike race?," I wondered aloud as I checked the time.  It was like 10:30am on a beautiful day and the park was already packed with people.  What sort of bike race could possibly still be in progress at this hour?

I soon had my answer, for a moment later various riders on bikes with aerobars came tearing down the hill and along the crowded roadway.  Most of them wore sleeveless jerseys with armwarmers, at least one was also wearing compression socks.  Apparently we had wandered into some sort of "athlon."  This was confirmed when I came upon this, which must have been their "transition area," but which to me was merely a hive of extreme dorkiness:

Looking upon the hive, I wondered why anybody would want to participate in a sport that requires so much space for equipment storage.  I mean, isn't the whole point of playing a sport that you actually get to use the stuff?  This crap is expensive!  If you want to race a bike, why not just stay on the bike the whole time?  Just do the swimming or the running some other day.  Granted, I don't play tennis, but I'm pretty sure if you go to a tennis club you won't find people just running around in circles on the court half the time while their perfectly good tennis rackets sit unused on a giant rack.  Sure, I guess people technically do that with baseball and bats, but to me baseball is less of a sport and more of an outdoor pastime, like barbecuing. Leaving a bike in a giant parking lot during a bike race seems silly to me, but leaving a bat in a dugout or whatever at least makes sense since it's like leaving the tongs hanging off the grill until you're ready to serve the hot dogs.

I also wondered why the "regular" bike races have to start at the crack of dawn and then vacate the park so early, whereas the "athlon" people get to chase their "personal bests" in a crowded park until lunchtime.  Then I realized it's because "athlons" involve running, and while New Yorkers hate bike racers and bicycles they absolutely love running.  Runners can take over the parks and the streets whenever they feel like it.  In fact, New Yorkers apparently love running so much that they'll tolerate an "athlon" even though a bike is involved.  Actually, maybe we'd get more respect as commuters if we ran for part of the time.  We could keep our commuting bikes in some giant "transition corral" somewhere and run to it from home.  Then, we'd be free to run lights and terrorize pedestrians all we want.

Of course, while fair weather brings wacky athletic pursuits, it also brings interesting kludges, and yesterday I saw one I'd never seen before: a water bottle cage mounted to a rear dropout.

To me this was very noteworthy, and I mentioned it on my Twitter, which prompted numerous people to reply with variations of "Picture or it didn't happen."  This made me sad.  Firstly, what does it say about us that we can no longer envision things without photos?  Have we all become so limited?  Do we have to photograph every little thing?  Do we no longer believe in the power of the written word?

Secondly, whither trust?  Have we grown so skeptical, so jaded, and so misanthropic that we can no longer take each other at our word?  What does this portend for humanity?

Having said all that, I did take a picture, and here it is:

I predict this will be the hot new trend in beverage portaging.

Lastly, even more than races and kludges, early spring also means stupid hipster bike crashes:

crashed my bike drunk you took me home - m4ww - 27 (between greenpoint and williamsburg)
Date: 2012-03-19, 2:44AM EDT
Reply to: [deleted]


i was blacked out drunk riding my bike from lulu's (friday night 3/16) when i crashed. you and your friends found me on the ground, called my room mate, and escorted me back to my house. i dont remember much but i have fragmented memories of you holding my hand and telling me that it'd be ok while your friend was riding around on my bike. that was very sweet of you. i doubt id remember any of your faces but i just want to say thanks.

I only hope the friend kept the bike.

99 comments:

Kenny said...

AND THAT'S HOW A BILL BECOMES A LUCKY LAW!

Brett said...

huh?

petrus said...

TOP III!

Anonymous said...

top ten

Anonymous said...

holy crap one or two drug suspensions and im in the top 3!

petrus said...

Anon 12:46: Please refer to Anon Prog step 1: methinks your drugs are dismanaging your perception of top 3.

Anonymous said...

Panties!

Anonymous said...

Panties!

Anonymous said...

Panties!

ploeg said...

Obviously Cavendish's sponsorship obligations prevent him from actually riding a Rivendell

Nonsense, all the top racers order Rivendells for the mountain stages and just have them repainted as Pinarello Dogma Xs.

PawnShop said...

It's headset porn, I'm tellin' you...

pebes said...

top 11

WPVelo said...

13st!

warming up yo.

Paul Bowen said...

10 already is insane!

Paul Bowen said...

10 already is insane!

Anonymous said...

what is 10, already?

gregoryyy said...

Be well my ferret brothers.Be well.

McFly said...

I don't feel tardy

recumbent conspiracy theorist said...

I been reading your new book. It's pretty good. Thanks for righting it.

Anonymous said...

Shazam!

TOP XX,

zoomer said...

Top ten but for all the redundant extra posts. And I read it all.
Scrnus!
oh, and Weed Panties

misster-PISSTA said...

I watched the Milano San remeo at the Rapha shop.....hows that for epic...

Anonymous said...

"...worked long and hard to try and bring his teammate back up..."

that's what she said.

balls®

zoomer said...

got the new book you wroat over the wknd. No recumbabe, no stickers, words i had to look up and a buncha filosofie. what the scranus?

oh, and weed panties again

Anonymous Coward said...

Double posts are insane!

FishInFight said...

Maybe it's because the entry fee to a triathlon is like $150, and two thousand people enter, whereas a bike race is like $30 and a few hundred people enter. Though honestly I don't doubt that you're right, that whoever approves these things "gets" a triathlon but doesn't understand bike racing.

jno62 said...

I believe everything you write Snob. EVERYTHING.

Terre Haute Karl said...

That's not a cage for a water bottle. It's for the "catch bottle" attached to a catheter to reduce pit stops.

Buffalo Bill said...

Slam dat' stem, yo.

Jimbo said...

Peta Todd makes a particular part of my anatomy increase dramatically in size, Mary Todd...not so much.

Anonymous said...

Raising stem for uphill is backasswards.

cletus said...

I mounted a sheep to my rear dropout, it's an old farmrs kludge.

Matt said...

I tried a bike a couple of weekends ago that was actually too tall for me. Dwarfed my 68cm Riv. And, it has a waterbottle cage mounted behind the headtube!

What? You don't trust me? Ok, ok, here's a photo of the Nutcracker: O'Sell Nutcracker.

I also liked the 195mm cranks.

Anonymous said...

20km al giorno
10 all'andata
10 al ritorno
298Km al giorno!
per poi tornare a casa
e non pensare che a te

DerZoots said...

I pooped twice today.

No panties.

crosspalms said...

So enough about Cavendish's Dogma. Let's hear about Leroy's Dogma.

Marcel Da Chump said...

Drinking and cycling: Dumb-Athlon.

race_obra said...

FishinFight,

Those Tri-athlete promoters use a good chunk of that $150 per entry for closing said roadways. And yet, people pay it. Why? Because participants like the challenge.

Meanwhile, USAC's primary goal is feeding Americans into the UCI's doped road show. USAC drives enthusiasts away from the sport at every possible opportunity. Compare the UCI/USAC with OBRA and you'll see OBRA is the successful model for a vibrant competitive cycling economy. OBRA has sent riders to the UCI's doped road show too. Hopefully they are choosing to stay clean.

The OBRA/Triathlon model works at every level of the sport. USAC does not.

PhilboydStunge said...

Come on Snobby, we've gone over this before. If a ball isn't involved it isn't a sport. Nope not even an athlon. You got the baseball-barbq analogy right though, especially if the grille cost more than my new bike.

ervgopwr said...

No not Leroys dogma, Peta's pussy.

CIPO HGRY

singlespeedwaster said...

All you podium suck my scranus

Cockie site please! said...

Can you please set up a site where I can go and view all of the Cockies that have been submitted to you?

I'm invisioning something like:

http://www.peopleofwalmart.com/

But for crazy cockpits and other bike oddities!

Scranus very much,
SF

Penta Graham said...

Stick it up your 'athlon, Snobbie!

Anonymous said...

TOP L

crosspalms said...

I thought an O'BRA was an event Snob did on St Patrick's Day.

db said...

"Twin Monkeys of Doom"

Fantastic. I can think of several applications of this phrase on a Monday. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

i've got two monkeys but they're not twins. can they still be doom?

McFly said...

“He likes to ride with his hoods raised, more like a chopper style.

I wonder if Peta likes to ride with her hoods raised, more like a flopper style. (High Hat)

Anonymous said...

So much weirdness It's hard to know where to start.

cycle

Went out biking twice this weekend. Was nice. Had fun. Remember fun?

Anonymous said...

Is a kludge a bodge, then? That makes a bodged bog a kludged cludgie.......which is nice.....

hey nonny mouse

bikesgonewild said...

...you guys seem to have everything else covered so i'll just take a moment to mention how 'old school' our young world road race champion is...

...you don't even need photos (so i won't link any) but think back to cippolini or bettini, guys who wore the wc stripes on everything they wore or rode...(not that there's anything wrong w/ that...)...

...cav ???...wc jersey & one band (small) on his dogma...i doubt he's any less proud of being the champ but it's kinda refreshing...

...anyway, just sayin'...

Jasper said...

Dang, you're right bgw, not even a little fancy strip on his glasses or his socks. But it was not always so - check these:

http://winnipegcyclechick.com/?p=3367

bikesgonewild said...

...jasper...quite right, mate...i remember the controversy but any way you slice it, the man from the isle of man keeps it on the lowdown...

bubba said...

There are definitely some rap-lyric couplets to be penned from this post:

I'm spammin' Bike Snob 'cause I want to be famous
I'm slammin' my stem 'cause it crushes my scranus

CommieCanuck said...

Nonsense, all the top racers order Rivendells for the mountain stages and just have them repainted as Pinarello Dogma Xs

Actually, those Rivendells are just repainted Walmart Huffy/Lamborghinis. All pro frames are source from Walmart and repainted.

CommieCanuck said...

i've got two monkeys but they're not twins. can they still be doom?

Doom extends to similar-looking monkeys.
I have two mildly resemblant monkeys of doom.

Anonymous said...

Biking and drinking is certainly a recipe for disaster, in some cases.

I though, find a few drinks and bike ride quite refreshing.

If it's wine I pretend I am pedaling through the french countryside after a picnic of wine, cheese, and a baguette.

Beer and bike? Perhaps a German excursion.

Black outs and bikes? I call that my "Irish themed ride."

CommieCanuck said...

Went out biking twice this weekend. Was nice. Had fun. Remember fun?

Fun on a bike is Fred. Roadies act they way they do because the stakes are so low.

Charlie Didrickson said...

Pretty sure Eddy won Milan San-Remo like 49 times.

ashcroftchops said...

I love to get drunk whilst cycling and do the funky salmon on the local motorway (that's the uk version of a big fast American road except we only have three lanes instead of your "supersize me" six lanes).....

Buy-cycle said...

61? More Peta please. Or recumbabe.

OMR said...

Lovely shoes ! It's perfect for the summer

http://www.xtraorbit.com/1366.html

wishiwasmerckx said...

Twin monkeys of doom?

Now I'm starting to freak out because I'm getting postcards of Chimpanzees, everyone is addressed to me

You can't imagine so many monkeys in the daily mail, all of them coming anonymously so they leave no trail...

Anonymous said...

Thanks again Snob for doing your job - bringing the many varieties of bike culture to my door everyday.

Specifically, thanks for the introduction to SLAM THAT STEM.

I've been thinking that it's almost time to FLIP MY STEM but now I know I need to SLAM THAT STEM.

From fredly to studly by getting SLAMMED!

Are you man enough to SLAM IT?!

All The Black People In Portland said...

'portage' 'energy' 'drinks' in water bottle cages attached to their rear dropouts.

How could you miss them?!

Cipo said...

eating pussy

Anonymous said...

Was perturbed to note that you missed mentioning recent Tirreno-Adriatico in which GreenEdge won the team time trial, but pleasantly surprised that Simon Gerrans' second win of the season has been acknowledged. Cheers!

Nebraska Bike Commuter (non DWI edition) said...

I rode drunk once. Made it home upright, but it wasn't the least bit fun.

I think Cav would like Ms. Todd's shoes to have 4" platform soles. It wouldn't quite get the nipples up to lip level, but it'd be that much closer.

DerZoots said...

@ Nebraska Bike Commuter (non DWI edition)

Are you serious?
How can you NOT enjoy riding drunk?

NOT Drunk enough is how.

Turn in your safety bicycle.
I banish thee to the bents for EVA!

Anonymous said...

WIWM, if there were monkeys in the Daily Mail the paper'd be demanding that they were sent back to where they came from. Fascists.

hey nonny mouse.

McFly said...

TRUE STORY: Our neighbors had a ferrett and it would get out of its' cage, crawl through the floorboards of their ratty trailer, cross the lawn and crawl up through the floorboards of our ratty trailer. It was pink. It would come slinking all humpy across our living room. We would collectively shit ourselves. Dad picked it up and it bit him. He used a welding glove the next time. They also the had a goat. The End.

Anonymous said...

McFly, bringing his A game to the comments again.

Pay attention, BGW.

samh said...

Water bottle cages mounted wherever they can possibly be mounted is becoming the "next big thing" in the world of bikepacking, BSNYC.

McFly said...

Go ahead, ask me about the goat. It's even BETTER.

Krys Hines said...

...K

Anonymous said...

If BGW would just drop those effing ellipses we might actually be able to appreciate what he writes.

...just sayin'

McFly said...

They kept the goat on a 30ft rope tied to a stake. During the summer while they were at work he would gnaw(I know, right?) it into. ALWAYS DOWN BY THE STAKE. I cannot stress this enough. He would come find my lil bro(the goat loved him for whatever reason, goat figure) who was about 5 and he would lead the goat around on that long rope until they got home. We have pics. It's a classic love story of a boy and his goat.

McFly said...

told..........ya........
it...........was.......
better........

Anonymous said...

Was it? Better?

Yes. In a way, it was and is, better. But not in every way was it better.

The ferret, running, hunched, across the carpeted floor of the trailer, your family's distress, palpable in your description,creates such a vivid visual that, unfortunately, the goat/small brother image cannot compare, as cute and moving as that may be.

J-Bird said...

Snobby, are you sure those Athlon folks weren't just parking their bikes while they practiced "vehicular running"? No "separate but equal" for them, no sir.

Anonymous said...

navigational swimming anyone?

Anonymous said...

I dig that Cav flips his bars for climbs reverse cowboy style.

Anonymous said...

Pink Northern Pine Weasels creep me out!

bikesgonewild said...

...see that, mcfly...

...they got yer goat (story) & felt it was a weasel short of being...better...

...your brother & his odd romance with an enamored goat was featureless without a ferret...

...& when you "...skipses the ellipsis...", & forget the ferret, you gotta call it a night...

Quilled and Lugged said...

I vote for... the ferret story myself.

Anonymous said...

Frodo Cavens is at perfect nippy elevation.

ce said...

Cipo is a Venereal Cycling advocate. The lane lustfully pleads "take me" and he obliges. Meanwhile, motorists nervously check their mirrors knowing that at any moment they might be rear ended by a semi, Cipo always has at least a semi.

Anonymous said...

I see what you did there.......

Ben Bawden said...

I'm surprised a self-confessed fan of Cav would get his nickname wrong.

It's "The Manx Missile", not "The Man Missile"

crosspalms said...

@ Ben Bawden
Look at the Peta picture again. Now look at the nickname. Now look at the picture again.

Poppa Wheelie said...

Grate web log post.
I 'Laughed Out Loud'

Anonymous said...

Picture of my panties, or they didn't happen!

Anonymous said...

Great photos. Not living in NY now but believe it or not, I miss the place.

BENJAMIN RAUCHER

Jack Olivia said...

Good Posting, Every one can learn something. Best Regards,CEO of Make Making Money

Bike Locks said...

Well, it's true that he changes positions frequently on the bike; otherwise, Peta Todd says he just lays there like a lethargic ferret.

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Robert said...

"Twin Monkeys of Doom" YES!

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