Stage 1 of the Bridge Cape Pioneer Trek international mountain bike stage in the Oudtshoorn region of South Africa was hit by a unexpected surprise when a group of mid-pack riders was met by a swarm of bees approximately 60km in the 103km stage from Oudtshoorn to Calitzdorp on Monday.
A total of 30 riders were badly stung and treated at the scene and nine were rushed to hospital for treatment at the Medi Clinic in Oudtshoorn.
That's gotta suck. Fortunately, most of the riders are are okay, which is why I feel comfortable joking about it:
Carel Herholdt, of the event organisers Dryland, confirmed that the majority of the hospitalised riders were released on Monday evening and would be able to continue in the race.
And while we're on the subject, here's an encore screening of one of the most thrilling cycling films ever made, "MAN GETTING ATTACKED BY BEES:"
As Homer Simpson once said, "They're defending themselves somehow!" In any case, this is surely the "Grizzly Man" of cycle touring movies.
Meanwhile, in other competitive cycling news, Michael Barry thinks the sport is too hard:
The environment remains precarious on every level. Cyclists are required to sacrifice most other aspects of their lives to reach the top. Virtually year-round, we lead ascetic lives, where each movement on and off our bikes is calculated so we will perform to the best of our abilities. The demands are high.
His solution to this problem seems to be that the riders should race less and get more money. This is a charmingly Canadian way of looking at things, though I'm unconvinced. In fact, I think the only way to rid the sport of doping is to remove any and all forms of compensation whatsoever.
Sure, these guys work really hard, but when you think about it all they're doing is riding bikes as fast as they can, and riding a bike as fast as you can contributes about as much to society as the act of masturbating. In fact, both acts are remarkably similar in that they can be lots of fun, they're not really hurting anybody, but they're not exactly helping either. (Though I suppose both help your partner in that they leave you too exhausted to bother them.) Therefore, like masturbating, riding bikes fast should be something people do entirely in their spare time--even at the highest level of the sport. Stop enabling these people! If a typical Cat 4 is willing to completely demean himself for a "pro deal" on a Cannondale what do you think a professional is going to do when an actual living is on the line? Of course they're cheating! The only solution is to give these people less, not more, and to treat riding bicycles fast like the act of onanism that it is. (Sure, there are people who get paid to masturbate, but I'm sure they're using performance-enhancing drugs too.)
Of course, there's still the danger that riders may cheat so that they can capitalize on their victories in other ways (like writing books or opening fast food restaurant chains), but if we all do our part and completely and totally ignore all forms of bicycle racing then maybe they'll all just go away.
By the way, did you know that Dr. Michele Ferrari has a website and you can still hire him to coach you?
Though if you're wondering what it will cost you, that depends on your "exigencies:"
Due to the exclusive nature of the relationship with the athlete, your training solution will be personally priced in accordance with your exigencies, objectives specificity and possibilities as well as duration of the membership.
Feel free to discuss and plan together with us the best training solution to achieve your goals Ð send us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Quality and efficiency are the very basis of our training.
Flexibility and exclusivity are the foundation of our service.
Which is why I've just sent him an email with the subject line "Cat 6 racer willing to do anything to make it." Hopefully he'll understand what I mean by "anything" (that's street slang for TAKING DRUGS), though he does assert elsewhere on his site that he does not provide doping services:
As clearly demonstrated in Exibit A by Jack Robertson, this collaboration consisted exclusively of advice on training, saddle height adjustments, aerodynamic positioning, locations for training programs and competitions: NOTHING to do with doping.
I understand completely. So, like, how many ampoules of "saddle height" do I need to be the fastest guy over the Williamsburg Bridge?
Alas, the truth is that in cycling the only real heroes are the commuters. The regular people. The rank-and-file. The ones who don't take the bus, even when it rains. (I lifted those last four sentences verbatim from yesterday's post, which is how we bike bloggers dope. It's called a "homogeneous word transfusion.") Unfortunately, as far as most of America is concerned, these real heroes can go fuck themselves, which is why in Boston they're posting ads like this:
(Wait, his head looks fine. So if he had been wearing a helment he wouldn't have cut his chin?)
In other words, anything that happens to you when you don't have a piece of foam strapped to your head is your own damn fault as far as they're concerned. Actually, anything that happens to you when you do have a piece of foam strapped to your head is also your own damn fault as far as they're concerned. The helment is just your tacit acknowledgement that they can continue to drive recklessly. Really, it's mostly just a threat thinly disguised as a PSA.
Also, it's worth pointing out that, at least in New York City, the dumbest riders you'll see are usually wearing helments. (That doesn't mean that you shouldn't wear one. It just means that congratulating yourself for wearing a helment is like congratulating yourself for masturbating.) In particular, there is a direct relationship between doing completely idiotic things on a bicycle and wearing a slightly crooked Nutcase helment. The streets are now teeming with riders on "vintage" ten speeds and My-First-Fixies in freewheel mode (front brake only, of course), salmoning and riding through red lights with that stupid "draftee in a foxhole" look of fear on their faces, as though some inexorable force is pulling them through the traffic signal or against traffic. (I guess in their case a bicycle is technically an "inexorable force" since they have no idea how to control it.) Of course, it's all perfectly fine because they're wearing their helments. Their poorly-adjusted, off-kilter, "Hey, I've got a watermelon on my head!" helments.
(I guess people really want to look like watermelons.)
Furthermore, many of these riders are also using the new "serval" bicycle saddles, forwarded to me by a reader:
Though nobody's going to accuse Russell Crowe of not wearing proper safety gear when he rides in New York City, as in this photograph which was forwarded to me by another reader:
Not only is he wearing a protective helment and a protective beard, but he's also sporting serval more layers of clothing than I'd think necessary given that it's been like 60 degrees here. (60 degrees Fahrenheit is approximately [mumblemumblemumble] degrees Celsius.)
Then again, Crowe probably dresses himself according to the Charity Ride Fred temperature scale, which calls for full Windstopper tights as soon as the temperature dips below 65.
Next time he's in down hopefully he'll opt for a "buddy bike," as forwarded by yet another reader:
Tandem buddy bike - $800 (shingletown)
Date: 2012-10-15, 6:35PM PDT
Reply to: [deleted}
I have a rare tandem buddy bike. This is not a home made bike. Its called a buddy bicycle. I think it was made in the 70s. Rides great. just installed new (chain-cables-break pads-tires-tubs). The left side is the side you steer from. Be the only one in the north state to have one. Asking $800.00 or best cash offer. Thanks Jim 530-474-[deleted]
What happens when one of the riders gets off?