Saturday, March 28, 2009

Rider Returns from Saturday Ride Weighing More than When He Left

“I just don’t understand it,” exclaims Ron Barlow in frustration. “I started riding to lose weight, but I’m just getting fatter.”

The consistent cycling club rider has been frustrated in recent months by his lack of fitness and surprising weight gain, despite his dedication to a strict exercise regimen.

“Every Saturday morning, we meet at Cinnamon Productions and I load up one of their gooey rolls for energy. After an hour or so of riding, we’ll usually stop at the Donut Star in Newport to refuel. Then, before we get to Laguna, I gotta get a date shake at the Sugar Shack or I’ll have withdrawals,” continues Barlow. “It’s a (Seal Beach Cycling) Club tradition.”

“At the end of the ride, there’s nothing better than an Alamo Burrito at Taco Surf. It’s huge. You’ve gotta wash that sucker down with a couple of Pacificos. By the time I get home, I’m five pounds heavier than when I left – even though I’ve burned, I dunno, like, a zillion calories.”

Despite his commitment to weekend club rides, Barlow laments, “It’s just bizarre. I’m growing increasingly concerned that there’s something bigger going on.”

The rider is turning to professional evaluation of his condition. “I’ve started working with a sports nutritionist and physiologist,” Barlow explains. “On Tuesday, I’m going in for a full BMI (Body Mass Index) work up – blood analysis, and the whole astronaut water tank immersion thing.”

“I’m a little freaked out over what the testing might show – like maybe I’ve got some weird muscle syndrome or a glandular condition,” continues Barlow. “But I’m trying not to think about it and just live my life.”

Asked what he thinks could be the cause, an exasperated Barlow exclaims, “I wish I knew. It might be the five or six energy gel packs I need on the ride in order to maintain the club’s twelve to fourteen mile-per-hour average pace. Who knows what’s in those damn things, but they’re pretty tasty.”

Asked if he’s going to keep riding, “For sure,” says Barlow. “I’m already looking forward to next Saturday’s ride and another big burrito afterwards. Those things are friggin’ awesome!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Rider Gives In, Tattoos Chainring Mark on Right Calf

Martin Chenowyth has been a member of the Slocum Valley Wheelmen for nine years, and in that time, “I can’t count how many times I’ve come back from a ride with a friggin’ chainring mark on my leg. I finally figured, what the hell – might as well get the damned thing tattooed,” explains Chenowyth. “It’s there all the time anyway. At least this way, it won’t get grease on my clothes.”

“Honestly, I don’t know why quite a few others don’t get tattooed as well. It’s not like I’m the only one who always seems to have a chainring mark on my leg,” Chenowyth continues. “But perhaps I’m the only one not in denial.”

Other club members were skeptical of Chenowyth’s decision. “Well, if he’s gotten it tattooed, and he ends up with a chainring mark after every ride anyway, won’t he now have two?” asks Carl Tremaine.

“It’s a fair question,” says Chenowyth. “Truth is, after each ride, I’ve got four or five. At least now, I can say one is deliberate.”

Other SVW club members voiced support. “I think it’s pretty cool,” says Tracy Holister, “I dig a guy with a tat – even if it is just greasy tooth marks. Rowrr!”

Chenowyth’s wife, however, was not amused.

“At first he says ‘I want a tattoo’ and I’m thinking, great! Something sexy and manly,” says Rhonda Chenowyth. “But then he gets these damn toothmarks on his calf. Oooh!! Take me now, you sexy beast! The only difference I noticed was that the checkbook was about $300 lower this month. Idiot.”

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Annoying ‘Jack Rabbit' Rider Found Beaten with Own Frame Pump

“Everyone knows that on Sundays, we ride mellow, but there’s no stopping Nesmith,” says Terry Volmer of the Gelatto Velo club in Spokane, Washington. “That jackass.”

Fellow clubmate Jake Nesmith was found beaten, apparently with his own frame pump, on an otherwise peaceful Sunday club ride last weekend. “He was always a cocky little sonofabitch with his old bike, but when he got that new Tarmac a couple of months ago, he became really insufferable,” continues Volmer.

The day started normally enough for a Sunday ride of the GV club. The group had been cruising socially for a few miles down Route 34. Soon, however, events took an ugly turn. “We were barely past the turnoff (to Castle Rock) when Nesmith takes off,” says Vince Renner. “I said ‘Just let him go.’”

A couple of would-be chasers drifted back as Nesmith disappeared up the road.

“We had all but forgotten about his attack when a few minutes later, we find him bruised and moaning by the side of the road,” continues Renner. “A couple of guys wanted to keep going, saying ‘he’s moaning, he must be alive’ – but I said ‘Nah, his wife’ll kill me. We gotta help him out.’”

Pressed for details, Volmer adds, “At first, we thought he’d been hit by a car, but then we noticed his frame pump was all bent up nearby with blood and hair on it.”

Asked who might be responsible, “He never got a look at the guy...for that matter, he doesn’t remember seeing anyone,” says Volmer. “Some say it might have been the ghost of Stan Rathman – one of the founding fathers of the club. He hated it when anyone challenged the sanctity of the cohesive group on a Sunday ride and would verbally redress any ‘jack rabbits’ as he called them. That would have been so like Stan.”

Volmer paused, then added, “Otherwise, no-one’s talking. Some things are better off left alone, know what I mean? But I don’t think Nesmith or anyone else will be testing the pack on a Sunday for a while.”

Friday, March 20, 2009

Tyler Farrar: Man or Myth?

The cycling world is a-buzz, or perhaps more accurately in this age, a-“Twitter” with the promise foretold by Tyler Farrar’s surprising win in the third stage of Tirreno-Adriatico last week.

Judging from the photos, no-one was more surprised than a certain mister Cavendish. I’m sure he would rather see the pictures of him looking astonished to his left as Tyler edged past him in the final meters disappear from the web. Cavendish was as disappointed as much as Farrar was elated at having let this one slip.

But let’s break it down. There are many complex variables in a sprint, a critical one being “luck”—or the ability to make one’s own luck. Farrar made his own luck in textbook fashion to notch “the biggest win” of his career to date. To be sure, Farrar is a sprinter. He’s won sprints before and will again. But it has never been against such a potent gathering of the world’s best. That he outfoxed, outkicked, and outlasted the likes of Boonen, McEwen, Hunter, Hushovd, Petacchi,—and, oh yeah, Cavendish—should not be discounted. But nor does it necessarily announce the arrival of the next great sprinting hope and the demise of the greats.

Let’s not get ahead of ourselves. This was one sprint in one multi-stage race. The stars aligned for Tyler this time and he pulled a coup of great magnitude, but he must prove consistency against this caliber of greats before we necessarily become as excited as he is. Even Farrar noted that Cavendish slowed towards the end allowing him to slip past. Was Cavendish legitimately spent having mis-timed and gone for it too early, or did he think he had yet another sprint in the bag and just let down his guard a fraction—and a fraction too early? The photos suggest that Cavendish was full on the gas and Farrar was simply the fastest man on the day.

But to make this a regular occurrence vs. isolated incident, the Garmin Chipotle team needs to gel a bit more as a lead-out unit for Farrar. The edge goes to Team Columbia in this regard as they’ve had more practice, and a more singular focus in launching Cavendish from their train as the Big Engine That Could. Plus, they’ve arguably got more battle-hardened booster stages for Cav in the likes of Eisel, Hagen, and Griepel. And even aging Hincapie has been known to mix it up in the sprint (he was the second highest-placed Team Columbia rider on this stage). They let one get away this time, and trust me, they’ll be reviewing the game tapes, but they’re not panicking. Yet.

Garmin Chipotle has the building blocks of talent, and Vaughters has the intellect and ingenuity (read “moxie”) to put it together and make it happen. They are perhaps a season or so away from truly establishing their formula in this aspect of racing. Or at least taking their current sprinting construct to the top ranks of the world’s stage and dishing out another royal, nose-thumbing smack down. Vaughters’ renegade, scrappy approach needs a bit of smoothing out to make Farrar’s win truly replicable, and Garmin Chipotle’s sprint successes more the norm rather than the exception at this level, against the sport’s top sprinters.

Is this the one and only time we’ll hear from Farrar? No. Should the current top-rank sprinters take note? Indeed. Should we be more excited than ever for these types of sprint finishes? Youbetcha.

Club Rider Favors Italian Amateur Squad Kit He Picked Up On Vacation

Eric Fernandez returned recently from a family vacation to Italy and was soon spotted favoring a random Italian amateur squad’s kit he purchased at a shop in Lucca. He quickly alienated several of his local club’s loyal members.

“He doesn’t even care that the sponsor is a goddam sanitary napkin company,” says irritated clubmate Glenn Thornbull. “There’s an unwritten protocol—if you ride with the (Greater Mossburg Bicycle) club, you wear the club kit. But ever since he got back from Italy, that’s all I’ve seen him in. He doesn’t give a shit. He probably sleeps in it.”

The colorful kit has been a divisive catalyst among the GMBC ranks. “I don’t care if he rides in his pajamas, frankly,” says Christy Hoit. “I think it’s great. There are some stuffed shirts that treat this club like it’s a military academy. ‘You vill vear zee uniform!!’ Gimme a friggin’ break. Can’t we just ride?”

When asked to comment, Fernandez was unfazed. “I like the design. And anyway, when I wear my Pinate Frimo kit, people notice me. Do you think anyone cares if I wear my GMBC jersey? No. Now I look European and exotic.”

When told that Pinate Frimo made adult diapers, Fernandez replied, “No…wait. What?”

Rider Swears Aloud After Flatting

Several members of the Norfolk, VA-based Velo Bluto club were exposed to a string of profanity delivered by one of their own veteran members on last Saturday’s club ride.

Dave Mullen unleashed a barrage of curse words when the rear tire on his TREK Madone 5.2 punctured at approximately 8:07 am Saturday, shortly after rolling away from Minsky’s Bakery at 83rd and Wabash.

Witnesses were stunned. “I don’t know where this came from,” said Don “Fletch” Fletcher. “First, I heard the tell-tale ‘phsssh’ of someone flatting, and the next thing I know, Dave is yelling ‘Sh*t! Goddammit!! You’ve got to be f*cking kidding me!!’ Wait… You’re not going to print that are you?”

Cori Joplin was also within earshot of the tirade.

“We're all shocked. Some of us are talking intervention. Dave is beating himself up pretty hard over his behavior though, so maybe we’ll give him some time to see if he self-corrects. But we’re ready to step in if we feel he’s in danger of slipping again.”

The normally mild-mannered Mullen was at a loss for an explanation.

“I am embarrassed and ashamed…I don’t know why I said such vulgar, hurtful things.” Mullen continued, “I don’t like making excuses, but I guess it was maybe a combination of things.

Since I’d flatted last weekend too, it was a new tube. Plus, we had just started rolling – we weren’t even up to the first goddam light yet—and sonofabitch, it just had to be the rear tire, didn’t it?!? All because some douchebag broke a beer bottle in the street. I just f*cking lost it!”

No charges were filed in the incident, however “He’s a changed person,” continued Joplin. “We’re all looking at Dave a little differently now that we know what he’s capable of. I hope that in time, we can all heal and move past this ugliness.”

Why You Need At Least Ten Bicycles, And The Types of Bikes They Should Be

After much deliberation, I have determined that everyone should have at least 10 bicycles. To truly appreciate these two-wheeled marvels and the liberating experience they bring, you need more than one.

You wouldn’t paint with one color, would you? No. You need the spectrum. I believe I have fairly represented the spectrum of cycling without getting too crazy into “penny farthings” and such handlebar mustache nonsense. This is a modern list for the progressive thinker, with due respect to cycling heritage, of course. In no particular order, these are the bikes you need. The justification for each is self-evident (brands are in parentheses).

1. Full-carbon pimped out featherweight hillclimbing rig. This should not weigh more than 15 lbs. and should work out to roughly $500-$600/pound (Calfee, Parlee).
2. Titanium steed (Merlin, Moots, Serrotta, Seven). Ahhh…titanium.
3. Full-carbon or carbon/aluminum workhorse/daily driver. This bike has multiple personalities. It can also be known as your crit bike, rain bike, commuter, etc. It may have mismatched components and a few battle scars, but it’s the one you’d miss the most, as it’s probably the one you’ve had under you longest (Fuji, Giant, Felt, Jamis, Cannondale, TREK).
4. Old-school Italian steel. This bike should have been made at least pre-1990 to even be considered (Tomassini, Somec, Gios, Colnago, Ciocc, Masi, Merckx w/ Columbus tubing). Please, please dress it in appropriate-era components. For the love of Pete, don’t put Shimano 105 on your classic Pinarello.
5. Your ultra-exotic “because I have the money” showoff bike. Different from your hillclimbing rig, this is purely for eliciting lustful envy from your fellow clubmates. It weighs a couple of pounds more than your featherweight, but the same $/lb. factor applies (Kuota, Wilier-Triestina, Cyfac).
6. A fixie (Surly, Cinelli).
7. A full-suspension MTB (Turner).
8. A TT rig (Aegis, BH, Cervelo).
9. A beach cruiser (Electra).
10. A Skeppshult (look it up). Keep it at your cabin.
Now all you need is roughly $50,000 for this ultimate bicycle shopping list!
Did I miss anything? Disagree? Let me know!
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