Who, thick with sleep, was apparently too groggy to make any prediction whatsoever:
"There is no clear favourite for this Tour, but the benchmark will be Cadel Evans, last year's winner. This Tour will be open," Indurain said on Spanish website marca.com.
This complete non-prediction has all the suspense of a man cleaning out his refrigerator. "There is no certainty as to what's in this container, but the best guess would be meatballs, which was last night's dinner. This Tupperware will be open," Indurain said shortly before opening the container, revealing the meatballs he suspected were in there, and then eating them cold.
But Indurain didn't stop there, and he then went on to provide the sort of insight that only comes from a true Tour de France veteran:
"In addition, the hardest part of the Tour will come at the end, and until then it will serve as stepping stones towards improving their shape."
This will come as a huge shock to cycling fans, who until now have always just assumed that a three week race simply gets easier as you go along. After this, Indurain speculated that this year's competitors will most likely be riding bikes, and then he revealed that he'll soon be making his American television debut:
Interestingly, Indurain's career path follows that of his predecessor Fred Gwynne, who won La Flèche Wallonne in 1951.
Meanwhile, defending Tour de France champion Cadel Evans's tour preparation is going according to plan, and he says his biggest threat will be Bradley Wiggins:
He [Wiggins] is my main opponent," Evans told Belgian newspaper Het Nieuwsblad. "He stands to have a good year in the Tour and also there are the Olympics in London."
Frankly I hope he's wrong, because I don't think the world is ready for the smugness that would ensue if Canada and the UK were both to produce Grand Tour winners in the same year.
Meanwhile, yesterday the subject of "century" rides came up, and a commenter had this to say regarding centuries of the "metric" variety:
The SI Police (a division of Interpol) said...
100 km = 62.1ish miles
200 km = 124.2ish miles
Personally, I'm looking for a unit system that will make a 62 km ride sound impressive.
I'm actually one step ahead of this commenter, and am already preparing to capitalize on the appeal of these so-called "woosie centuries" by announcing my own organized "Megalithic 20-Tuple Century." See, a megalithic yard is an ancient unit of measurement equal to 2.72 feet, so therefore a megalithic century is 272 feet. Furthermore, there are 5280 feet in a mile, so if you ride a single mile you've done almost 20 megalithic centuries. Best of all, my Megalithic 20-Tuple Century won't require any special road closures, anybody can do it, and the entry fee will be a paltry $350.
Of course, we live in the age of obsessive data-mongering, which means that even the most mundane ride must be socially networked and electronically mapped and video-ed and rendered as wattage and uploaded and so forth. A Megalithic Century (or multiple thereof) is no different, but if you're a true Neolithic Fred you'll only use period-correct measuring and navigating devices:
This handy cycling henge mounts directly to your cockpit, and you can use it to chart eclipses, solstices, and other celestial phenomena integral to the full enjoyment of a megalithic century. (By the way, the above image comes from Clonehenge, which is now officially my favorite miniature henge porn site.)
Or, for the Neo-Neolithic Fred who wants to retain that classic feel while enjoying the lighter weight of modern materials, there's always the lateral stiffness and vertical compliance of the S-Works Crabon Henge:
(Close-up of Crabon Henge's high-modulus crabon fiber lay-up.)
The Druids almost certainly would have used crabon fiber technology had it been available for them, as it would have made those monoliths a lot easier to "portage:"
(The underside of the monolith is flattened for easier portaging.)
Plus, they were total tri-geeks:
The fundamental difference between a trilithon and a triathlon is that most trilithons have been standing for thousands of years, whereas most triathletes can't even manage to mount a bicycle without falling down.
I wonder if Nonplussed Bike Industry Person is aware of this fast-growing segment in cycling retail. I also wonder if she knows the hot new thing in bike product development--hotter even than bottle openers combined with tools, or overly-complicated backpacks, or $500 technical hoodies--is lights. In case you haven't noticed, entrepreneurs everywhere have been rushing to create the perfect theft-proof and idiot-proof bike light and thus become the Steve Jobs of Blinkies. What's more, each approach is profoundly different, and some are more promising than others. For example, there's the "stuff-you-can-already-buy-in-a-hardware-store" approach:
Yes, the secret to the Beacon light is the mysterious and hard-to-find zip tie, and here's the dynamic video:
And here's the pitch in prose form :
We've all done it, locked our bikes in a pile around the old willow tree or onto the gas meter outside the bar. The night's filled with chaos and fun, until it's time to roll home... and your lights have been stolen.
I was really hoping that those ellipses were going to be followed by "...and the next morning you awake to find your house has been cleaned out by a prostitute." I was also wondering where people are locking their bikes to old willow trees and gas meters instead of streetsigns and poles--until I read this:
We are raising funds to assist with the expensive costs associated with turning plastic from small pellets into amazing lights! These radical little lights are no more expensive than the silicone blinkers you've been replacing for years and we promise they'll bring you ages of happiness and peace of mind. Best of all, they're made in Canada!
Well that figures, it's Canada. I might have known from their nonplussed visages:
Not impressed by the whole zip tie approach? How about the "spelunking" approach?
Well, plenty of people must like it, because the project has been funded, and here's the video:
Cleverly, instead of utilizing on-the-bike placement, the Torch lighting system is integrated into a helmet and works by giving you a freaky alien head:
I was captivated by the "Blade Runner"/"Terminator"-esque (not to be confused with "Terminator X") ambiance of the promotional video, in which Future Time Warrior stalks a rainy cityscape, looking for the parents who will one day spawn the leader of The Resistance:
By the way, Mario Cipollini fully endorses this helmet for nocturnal cunnilingus.
(Mario Cipollini: Retired cyclist and professional she-lunker.)
The white light on the front of the helmet lets him see what he's doing, and the red light on the back lets others know when the crotch he's servicing is already in use. Also, the hard shell prevents his head from being crushed between the thighs of a woman in throes of ecstasy, the likes of which she's never experienced.
Of course, few people possess the sexual prowess of the Mario Cipollini, and for them there's the "Apple-esque" approach:
(Funded, and then some.)
If there's two things bikey people can't resist, it's minimalist design and stuff that's made in Brooklyn, and this light boasts both:
It also knows what you're doing at all times:
And it can even warn you when you're being pursued by Future Time Warrior, who will not stop until he's prevented you from reproducing and has thus ensured the Enternal Reign of the Cyborgs.
The only problem here is that, between the artisanal Brooklyn light and the authentically British saddle, you've now got about $400 invested in the easily-stolen region that lies north of your seatpost clamp:
Fortunately the crabon post has probably already seized in the steel frame, making theft in this case highly unlikely.