Friday, July 30, 2010

Retro Friday

Happy Friday kids!  Tomorrow, of course, is the 2010 Missouri State Time Trial Championship in Jefferson City.  Follow the link for more info.  Sunday is the Missouri State Criterium Championship (link) which comprises a 0.85 mile loop around the Capitol Building.  You can register online or on site that day.  If you are going just to watch, the women's open starts at 2:00 PM and the Men's Pro 1/2 leave at 4:00.  Watch the weather closely as scattered, and possibly severe, thunderstorms are forecasted for both days.  And if you are looking for a little pre-race entertainment, local cycling legend Ethan Froese's band The Derailed Commodities is playing a free show at Mojo's at 5 PM tonight, fresh off of opening for Asleep at the Wheel last night at the Blue Note.

Between my day job (which has kept me pretty occupied this week) and spending time on the bike, I find that I have very little time left for other things.  This has meant that some of my other passions, like taxidermy and playing in my sousaphone quartet (we named ourselves Tuba Fours.....get it?) often get pushed aside.  But one that I always make time for is my constant perusal of all things retro and vintage.  Recently, I stumbled upon a stack of retro bicycle advertisments.  And I have to say, that combining two such entertaining genres like 'retro' and 'bicycles' is a pleasure unrivaled since I realized I could by a BBQ sandwich in a can.

Thus, instead of Friday Mail, I thought today I would share some of my recent retro cycling finds with you, with some commentary, of course.  You will notice a pretty consistent theme throughout these retro bike ads:  70's cycling women had it going on, but the dudes needed some serious help.

Is that Ted Kennedy?  Regardless, the dude knows how to rock a pair of plaid bermudas with some striped, white calf-high sweat socks.  Who says mixed patterns are a new thing in men's fashion?

I think I've finally convinced the COMO CYCO GEEC (my significant other) to wear matching cycling outfits with me....which MUST include short shorts....

Why was the color "diarrhea-mustard-brown" so fricking popular in the 70's?  I would dare say the entire decade was defined by that damned color.  I know my mother dressed (and sent to me to school) in at least two different pairs of pants, one set of pajamas and a polyester shirt that actually had a zipper down the front of it the same color as what Mr. Mann is wearing.  On the upside, however is his lady friend.  I say "Woof woof" for the tight pink sweater, purple hot pants and sweet-ass mixte.

I can't figure out what is going on here, exactly.  I guess the two teeny-boppers in white just finished a tennis match when the hot lady in the miniskirt's little brother showed up in his Garanimals sweater-vest and busted up the date.  Not cool, little man....not cool.

Yup, this makes 5 of 5 retro cycling women who are looking good...this time with a plaid kilt.  Unfortunately, she is hanging with a dude sporting some Sear's Toughskin pants and an overdose of the Dippity-Do hair cream. 

Make that 6 out of 6.  Me likey the knee-high boots and dress on her, but I'm somewhat distrubed by his Robert Plant-tight brown pants. And whereas Ms. Hotty is sporting the cycling-rich colors of Belgium, someone needs to tell Mr. Stuffs-his-crotch that red and brown make him look like a giant bloody turd.....with Farrah hair.  The bikes are cool, though....

I'm going to give her big hair a pass because she actually tolerates riding a tandem with the guy wearing the baby-poop yellow sweater and well-creased slacks. 

Would you look at the prices on those bikes?  I can only hope that the Manta-Ray was sold complete with those pants....vertical stripes are so slimming...if that kid wasn't wearing them, his ass would look absolutely ginormous on his banana seat.

Ok - this one creeps me out a bit. 
#1) Check out Dr. Dementor's lascivious leer
#2) Why is he not wearing a shirt while she is bundled up complete with a scarf on what is supposedly a cold rainy day (note umbrella)?
#3) Where is her right hand?

Is that a young, non-fat Sean Astin, aka 'Samwise Gamgee'?  Ok - this one might have broken my "retro-bike chicks are sweet" rule.....but it looks like it might be more from the 80's than the 70's....

No doubt about this one - that is my man, Sean Connery.....007  himself, kids!  He's smoking Chesterfields, winning bike races and macking on babes.  This man is my fricking hero.....

Ok - this last one really isn't a cycling ad per se, but come on, does it really matter?

Ride safe and have a great weekend. 

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

STFU: Shut The Fouten Up.....and lock the door!

Ye' olde day job is killing me today - so just a few quick notes of things on my brain:

First - a big recognition to reader 'Haricot Verts' (which, by the way, translates roughly from French to English into "beans that are green") who not only won the first ever COMO CYCO caption contest, but also elected to donate his winnings to the CBC juniors or PedNet.  I'm in the process of figuring out how to make that donation happen and will report back to you when I do....

Secondly, (and this only applies to you if you like to ride the lovely "Ashland loop", are of the male persuasion and find yourself in need of using the restroom at this Break Time gas station in Ashland from time to time.)
Be warned.  The lock on the men's room door does not work.  And it doesn't matter if the entire store is empty at the time you decide you need to use the bathroom (to go #2 no less), because as soon as you sit down on the toilet, an entire school bus of 5th graders will enter the store at that precise moment, and proceed to bust in on you while you are "losing some heat."  The appearance of which is made that much more entertaining to the children because a) it's 145 degrees out and you are sweating like a whore on dollar day, and b) you've had to remove your jersey so you can lower your bib shorts.  Nothing like seeing a fully grown, profusely sweating, topless man on the can.  Sorry kids.

Thirdly.  I read this story on Cyclingnews today and thought I would share it with you.  It's Johan Bruyneel's comments regarding Andy Shleck and Alberto Contador that were originally published yesteday in the Dutch paper De Telegraaf.  I've copied a few quotes below - but please feel free to follow the link to read the whole story.  I've also posted a link here to the original piece Bruyneel wrote for De Telegraaf entitled "Shleck maakte fouten" which I originally thought meant "Shleck makes futons", but later realized meant "Shleck made mistakes."

"The outcome of the Tour was more exciting than I expected. This wasn't because Andy Schleck rode so well but because Alberto Contador was so disappointing in the final time trial," he said.

"With some dismay I watched his (Shleck's) time trial in Paullac. With such strong winds, he was totally wrong on the bike. Just by his position, he lost at least half a minute on Saturday. His position on the bike was a disaster," he added.

"If you look at the final results and realise that he lost the Tour by 39 seconds, in fact his battle for the yellow jersey seemed over before it all began. Of course he will never be a great time trialist....."

Johan.  With all due respect...

Monday, July 26, 2010

The tour is over...drown your sorrows in some fabulous prizes: Caption contest winners announced!

The 2010 Tour de France is over and, as everyone knows, Alberto Contador won the race by monkeying with Shlecky's front derailleur when he wasn't looking besting Shleck in the time trial.  Bert rode into Paris on Sunday on a hand-painted, customTarmac whose top tube featured an airbrushed painting of what is supposed to be Contador himself in front of the Arc de Triomphe.  Interestingly, the artist chose to give Alberto a rather sizeable bulge in the crotchal region.

Furthermore, the cyclist doesn't even look like Alberto, but rather a lot more like John Belushi.

Bad paintings aside, every year, the Monday that follows the final stage of the Tour de France always ends up feeling like the day after Christmas to me.  On both occasions, I wake up, don my bathroom and pad about the COMO CYCO headquarters with a cup of coffee in my hand in a bit of a foggy daze from an emotional hangover.  Bits of once-relevant paraphernalia, like half eaten candy canes, errant tinsel, the Tour edition of VeloNews, giant PMU foam hands and my special comemorative Caisse D'Epargne boxer shorts litter the floor......and I feel a little lost.  But we must soldier on.

Thus, to ease the post-tour depression, I'm happy to announce the winners for the first ever COMO CYCO contest.  If you don't remember, a couple of weeks ago I gave you three photographs that were amusing (to me at least) and asked you to come up with a caption for each.  The single best caption for any of the photographs would win for its author, a $20 gift certificate for the cycling shop of that individual's choice.    The COMO CYCO committee awarded a 1st, 2nd and 3rd place, but only the 1st place winner gets the loot....consolation prizes will be awarded for 2nd and 3rd place.  So with that.....I bring you this year's winners!

In third place:

Anthony G. wrote: "Vinokourov shows Pippo Pozatto how a real cyclist makes cornrows (see photo)."

Congratulations Anthony. For third place, you get an authentic vintage copy of the July 1972 (Volume 4, No. 1) issue of "Fanny" magazine featuring none other than the Irish modelling phenom of yesteryear, Plenty O'Ham, on the cover.

In second place:
Anonymous wrote: "Finally, the real reason Mark Cavendish was caught crying so much during the Tour de France is discovered:  arch rival teammate Andre Griepel,  who was relegated to racing in the concurrent and far less prestigious Tour of Austria, gets the podium girls to fondle his sausage....a definite sign of his increasing status since in the Tour of Turkey, he suffered the indignity of having his banana being handled by an old man"

Congratulations Anonymous.  For second place, you win a genuine terry-cloth Peugeot yellow cycling track suit (red jacket not included).

And finally....1st Place goes to:
Nathan M. who wrote, "Paulinho tries to blow the RadioShack kryptonite suppository out his ass before doping control tests him for winning stage 10 of the Tour de France."

Congratulations Nathan!  In addition to the $20 gift certificate, you also will receive a one-year free membership to the Official William Shatner fan club.  As you probably know, the image of the fezzed-Shatner has become synonymous with COMO CYCO, much like Alberto Contador's graphic fingerbang, or Lance Armstrong's ownership of the entire color yellow. 

As a William Shatner fan club member, you will get to learn the Shatner mating cry and also get to debate such topics like what Shatner used as motivation during his long standing portrayal of Captain Kirk.

Thanks to everyone who played!  And stay tuned for upcoming contests....


Friday, July 23, 2010

Friday Mail...Scaring the crap out of you one photo at a time

By now, everyone has seen or read what happened on the Tourmalet yesterday in the Tour de France.  And as Contador and Shleck battled it out on the epic mountain, the fans were going ballistic, dressed in a variety of spectacular costumes.  However, amidst the frivolity expressed by the giant running water bottle and the Livestrong #8 body stocking dude emerged one particular fan from the crowd whose appearance evoked an immediate sense of terror in me, so much so that I still cannot stop thinking about it.  No - I'm not talking about these guys....although they certainly did instill a certain amount of fear.....
(Especially frightful are the pasty white thighs on French Borat #1.  The way they are pressed on one another is like two giant lumps of dough being squished together.)

No, I'm talking about this guy.

Like some freakish phantasmagoric spectre, this guy burst forth from the crowds wearing pink dishwashing gloves, house slippers, no pants and a young girl's pink raincoat.  Paired with that were his sunken eyes and mouth agape in what must certainly have been a blood curdling scream.  I enlarged his photo and was struck by how much he resembled a pink version of a Sleestak from the old Sid and Marty Krofft show, the Land of the Lost.

Those god damned Sleestaks still scare the shit out me.  If I had been Bert or Andy and this guy had come at me like that, I would have dimsounted immediately and totally 'gone Barredo' on his ass with my front wheel.

Anyway - on to Friday Mail!

Dear PooBah,
I think I spotted you at the Cascades Classic bike race this week, macking on a couple of fine looking promo girls....I recognized you because of your fez.  Nice work, man!
Tim U.

Dammit - You busted me.  I was hoping the beard, sunglasses and World Wildlife Federation totebag would have sufficed for a disguise....but the damned fez will always be my undoing.  I just can't leave home without it.

Dear PooBah,
Firstly, it's important to note that I'm a normal heterosexual and mildly homophobic, very straight, woman-lovin' dude.   I know there are certain practices I have undertaken which may be perceived to have certain homosexual undertones to the uneducated and causal observer.....such as shaving my legs, wearing lycra, applying chamois creme to my nether region, etc.  But I seem to get a disproportionate number of derogatory comments questioning my masculinity from my non-cycling friends....especially if any of them happen to see me on one of my team's group training rides.  How can I dispell this myth?  Here's a photo of last Saturday's training ride...I'm the one in back.
Thanks -
Howie R.

Well you can start by taking the race number off of your bike when you're just training.  That's totally 'ghey'.  Other than that, I think you're good.  By the way, you may want to look for the light switch inside your closet....cause I think you're going to be in there for a while.

Dear PooBah,
As we get nearer to cyclocross season once again, I want to train a couple of guys in my support crew to be able to provide better support to me during handing up fluids and food efficiently.  This is the technique we used last season....which I'm pretty unhappy with.  Can you trouble shoot it for me?
Paul O.

Dude, not to offend Howie above, but it looks like you are staring in some gay porn movie.  At least you had the common sense to shut your eyes before your buddy unleashed on you.....but even that was pretty unnecessary as he is leading you out way too far with the beer stream.  Clearly he is sending you a message that you need to speed up.  At any rate - you need to tell your quarterback to improve his aim a bit or better yet, try a beer bong's a much more direct delivery system.

Hey PooBah,
Check out the haircut.  Bikes are fricking SWEET!
Randy T.

Hey Randy-
Nice one!  Next time try this one out.

Have a great weekend.  Thanks for reading, everyone.  Thursday Caption Contest winner will be announced on Monday!  Ride safe!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

"No one climbed like Lance"

Oh what a difference 24 hours can make.  The day after both a chain and a skinny Luxembourgian were dropped, the maillot jaune was jeered, and a Shleck claimed to be seeking revenge with a stomach full of anger, the two central figures in the recent Tour de France controversy decided to make up on French TVyesterday. 

After watching the Tour coverage last night, Versus was experiencing some technical difficulties which thankfully interfered with the post-tour broadcast of their regularly scheduled and, might I say, pathetically poor sports show, the Daily Line (which features as hosts, a "sports reporter" from Oklahoma, an ex-Playboy bunny, a stand-up comic, and some random D-bag.)
Can you pick out the ex-Bunny?  Look for one with the tan....then look for the girl on his left.

In place of the Daily Line, Versus showed a recap of Stage 17 of the 2004 Tour de France in which Floyd Landis pulls Lance Armstrong over the Col de la Croix Fry.  Along with Landis and Armstrong in the leaders' group were, among some others, Ivan Basso and Jan Ulrich (both of which later were suspected or proven to be doping).  Of course Armstrong wins the stage thanks to Landis' help and maintains his 4 minute lead over Basso.  Landis has since said he was doped during this period and I couldn't help but wonder if Lance was as well, as Landis has suggested.  And yet, seeing Lance turn the pedals over reminded me of two things: 1) how excited I was to see him take Kloden at the line back in 2004 and 2) something that happened to me earlier in the day.

I was supposed to meet a good friend for an early morning ride out on New Haven, but as I waited for him at our designated meeting spot at 7:00 AM, the line of black clouds which the weatherman said would stay north of I-70 dropped south and arrived with a cold blast of wind, driving rain and an impressive display of lightening.  This caused me to try to race back to Columbia and regrettably abandon my friend (I know - not cool....sorry, again man - I tried to call - I swear).  As the front rolled in, the sky went absolutely black as any hint of early morning sunlight was obscured and a wind gust blew me from the right side of the road over the double yellow line.  With a couple more bolts of lightening, I decided to seek refuge somewhere along the road so pulled into the USGS complex on New Haven. just east of the I-63 overpass.  I rode around to the south side of one of the buildings to get out of the north-driving wind and rain.  Hunkered down along the south wall of one of the brick buildings, I watched the sky grow even darker and rain come in waves.  I had been squatted there for about 10 minutes when I heard someone yelling to me from an adjacent building; a guy waving me over.  I ran through a lake-sized puddle over to the guy who was propping a door open for me and, thanking him profusely, I ducked inside the foyer of a building.

The guy was dressed in a t-shirt, work pants and work boots and was wearing a baseball hat.  He had a dark complexion and was obviously pretty physically fit.  I thought about how I must look to him, in soaking wet cycling garb clinging to my body, and instantly I felt self conscious, almost like I was standing there naked, convinced this guy would think I was a pretty pathetic excuse.  The guy laughed at my appearance, shook his head and walked deeper into the building and as he walked away, told me I was welcome to wait inside as long as I wanted.  I thanked him again and looked out through the window in the door to see the black sky offering nothing but more rain and lightening.  I heard the guy laughing in some back room and was convinced he was laughing at me and the stupidity of riding at 7:00 AM in a torrential downpour.  As I looked around into a cluttered office adjoining the small entryway I was standing and dripping in, I noticed the words "Stupid is as stupid does" written on a marker board and couldn't help but cringe a bit more.  

The guy emerged from the back office once more and said, "What kind of a bike do you ride?"  
I said, "A road bike...." 
He said, "Yeah, I know....what kind?  I used to ride a Cannondale."
I replied, "Really?" with what I'm sure appeared to be a little disbelief.
He said, "Yeah -  I used to race in Puerto Rico.  I used to train with this pro who was eventually hit by a car and paralyzed....the climbing  is amazing in PR, but the drivers are crazy.  After this guy was hit, we all got a little spooked."
I asked him if he still rode and he replied "I have an old mountain bike I ride a little.  No road bike -  the things are pretty expensive."

We talked a bit more about what it was like riding in Puerto Rico and he talked about the beautiful rides along the ocean and how his training partner and he would take turns drafting through the gusty winds that blow in off the ocean.  He smiled a lot when he described this.
Then I asked him if he was following the Tour de France.

 He said, "Not since Lance crashed hard and lost all that time.  I really wanted to see him win.  He's so amazing"

I suddenly felt guilty for having lost interest and enthusiasm for the Lance Armstrong phenomenon over the years. There was a time when I supported and followed him every bit as much as anyone else.  How could you not?  I wondered if this guy had kept up with the cycling news lately and all the allegations made about Lance's doping.  I immediately supposed he hadn't, but then just as quickly wondered if he had, but had instead decided to remain faithful in his support in spite of what he had read and heard. 

"No one climbed like Lance," he said.

The guy disappeared deep into the building once again to take a phone call as I looked back out at the steady onslaught of rain.  Just as I resigned myself to riding through the storm, another bolt of lightening made me take my hand off of the door handle and remain inside.

About 10 minutes later, the guy came back with some car keys in his hands and said, "Come on - this shit is going to last for a couple hours.  I'll drive you to work.  You'll have to leave the bike here - but it will be safe until you can come back for it."

I asked if he was sure he had the time but he just waved for me to follow him as we jumped out into the rain and toward his little compact car.  As I opened the door, the guy was spreading out a towel over the cloth-upholstered passenger seat.  I felt incredibly guilty climbing into the car as I was completely soaking and even said, "Man - I'm going to soak this seat."
"Don't worry, man - I'm outside all day with my job.  I get rained on all the time - it's cool."

As I sat down in the car, I noticed a Puerto Rican flag hanging from his rear-view mirror, and as he turned the car on, I asked him what his name was.
"Ronaldo," he replied.
I told him my name, and we shook hands.
"How did you get a job with USGS," I asked.
"Well - I'm a veteran," he answered,"and this position kind of fell in my lap after I became disabled."
"You're a vet?" I asked.
"Yeah - I completed several years of medical school before entering the military.  I ended up a drill sergeant."
"Did you see a lot of action?" I asked.
"Yeah - both Iraq and Afghanistan," he replied. "I disarmed vehicle-embedded IEDs (improvised explosive devices).  I was outside of Bagdad when one caught me off guard and put shrapnel into my right knee, left shin and the back of my head."  He lifted the pantleg on his left leg and showed me two raised and very dark bumps....scars of where the hot metal had penetrated his body.  "I still have a couple pieces of metal in my knee.  It's behind my patella.  It's supposed to be removed in a couple of weeks over at the VA.  If it goes well, I'll be redeployed in 2013."

We drove toward my office, and I wondered to myself how this guy could generate the courage to go back into the situation that nearly cost him his life.  It made the job I frequently complain about seem ridiculously easy.

"The doctors told me I would never run or bike again, but i just ran a 10 mile race a couple weeks ago," Ronaldo continued.
"Man, that's awesome," I said. "Have you thought about riding again?"
"Yeah - I just don't have the money for a road bike right now."
"I wonder if you could find something on craigslist," I said, thinking guiltily about my secondary old road bike that sits in a spare bedroom on a trainer, largely unridden in the spring, summer and fall.  
"I'd like to....but, I don't know...I'm getting old!" he laughed.
"How old are you?" I asked.
"36," he replied.
"Shit - you're younger than I am!" I laughed.  But I couldn't help but think that regardless of physical age, in life experiences, this guy was easily twice as old as me.  It's not about the years, it's the mileage that counts.
"Yeah - this week has been rough," he continued.  "One of my best friends was just killed.  The unit he was with were a bunch of idiots.  I told him to get transferred.  I knew something like that was going to happen.  There's going to be a big investigation into what what down.  It wasn't right.  I can't sleep at night thinking about it.  I just had to go to Kansas City to help pick his body up last week.  His unit was such a bunch of idiots," he repeated.

I didn't know what to say and couldn't bring myself to ask about the details, so I just told him how sorry I was.

We pulled up to my office and I shook his hand and thanked him once again for the lift.
"No worries, man.  I hope someone would do the same for me if I needed it," he said.
I told him I would swing by later to pick up the bike with my car, when the rain had let up a bit.
A couple hours later, I did just that.  When I got to his office at USGS, I popped inside and found Ronaldo.  He was on the phone again and seemed to be getting directions for what he would be occupied with the rest of the day.  He waved and smiled at me and I returned the gesture.  I pulled out a paper sack that contained a six pack of Fat Tire and put it in his free hand.  He looked at me puzzled while still talking on the phone, and before he had a chance to look inside, I ducked back out of his office and into the newly emerging sunlight and threw my bike on my bike rack.  He exited the office just as I was hopping into the car and thanked me.  We shook hands again and I wished him luck with his surgery and told him to keep his head down if ended up going back to Iraq.

"No worries," he said, "I'm real careful."  He smiled again.

"Get back on that bike," I said.  And then I added, "And check the Tour out today, I think Lance might try to attack."

"Will do," he said.  When I got back to my office, I couldn't help but log on to a Tour tracker online and was happy to see Armstrong in the group of leaders and climbing pretty well.  I hoped Ronaldo was watching.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010


Firstly today, I must tell all those of you who entered the Thursday Caption Contest to hold your water be patient.  The COMO CYCO judges are currently reviewing your entries and will be arriving at a decision in the very near future!  I know in these troubling economic times, 20 clams doesn't go very far.  But hey - it can still buy you about 12 packs of Mint Chocolate GU gel for you to drown your sorrows in....
Secondly a little Tour talk: 
1) I'm still kind of reeling from a post BikeSnobNYC wrote last week about how he blamed Team Garmin for the actions of Mark Renshaw that ultimately got him removed from the Tour de France.

"If anything, I blame Garmin for all of this, whose rivalry-with-Columbia-that-they-refuse-to-acknowledge-in-interviews occasionally leads to "cockblocking." We saw this last year on Stage 14, when Garmin chased the breakaway and "cockblocked" Hincapie out of the yellow jersey. (Not that anybody necessarily owed Hincapie the jersey, but it was a "cockblock" nonetheless.) Similarly, yesterday's move by Dean was also a "cockblock," and while Renshaw responded in kind I always say "Let he who is without 'cockblocking' block the first cock."

I love BSNYC as much as anyone but lately, his incessant arbitrary opinions are wearing on me.  First, if I remember correctly, last year's Stage 14 also saw Lance Armstrong and team Astana reeling the Hincapie breakaway in - diminishing their inital 15 minute lead down to around 8 minutes.  So how do you decide whom to pin the blame on for the last 5 seconds by which Hincapie missed the yellow jersey?  Secondly, why is anyone to blame? It's a fricking bike race! However Armstrong was instant in his defensive accusation of Garmin via Twitter:

“No one wanted George in yellow more than me."

“Until 10km (6.2 miles) to go he was solidly in yellow until GARMIN put on the gas and made sure it didn’t happen.”

Lastly, BSNYC also blames Renshaw's dismissal on Garmin?  I can totally buy his argument that an initial infraction was committed by Julian Dean leaning on Renshaw, thus initiating the spar, but BSNYC goes on to say Renshaw's second act of sweeping across the road and pinching Farrar into the barrier was "less egregious than Dean's initial blocking maneuver."  When did it become less egregious for a lead out man to take out another team's lead sprinter by putting him into the barrier than for two lead out men to lean on one another.  I think BSNYC has been drinking Armstrong's special blend of Garmin-hating kool-aid a little too heavily lately. 

Regardless, in the aftermath, Garmin didn't even have a chance to protest the move before the officials disqualified Renshaw.  But after Renshaw reflected upon it, he said "I won't speak with anyone from Garmin anymore," as though they had the power to kick Renshaw out themselves.

2) On to yesterday's controversy between Shleck and Contador atop the Port de Bales which we can call, "To attack, or not to attack." 

I've read a lot of commentary on whether or not Contador should have attacked Andy Shleck after he dropped his chain forcing him to stop not once, but twice.  The Versus crew were arguing about it at 5:30 AM CST this morning with Phil (siding with 'Bert) up against both Bob and Paul (siding with Shlecky).  Part of their discussion involved the etiology of the dropped chain....had Shleck shifted incorrectly or did his drive train fail him, somehow?  I'm sure the SRAM kids were sitting back in HQ shitting their collective chamois over this discussion.  What the hell difference does it make?  Both chains and Luxembourgians were dropped.....hard!  As everyone has had time to reflect back upon this, however, 'Bert offered a YouTube apology and once again the illustrious BSNYC was quick to criticize both him for making the apology and also Cervelo co-founder Gerard Vroomen for saying "Contador just gained a great chance to win, but he lost the chance to win greatly."

BSNYC responds: "No hastily-uploaded hotel apology could possibly counteract the power of a clever flip-the-words-around-for-emphasis sound bite "tweeted" by a man with a thoughtful expression and an authoritative and clinical lack of hair."

Well, If thoughtful expressions and clinical lack of hair are all that are required to wield the power of the word, as BSNYC insinuates, then he should be well armed, since he too enjoys the occasional meaningful glance into the camera and seems to have an increasingly disproportionate forehead-to-hair ratio....

As part of Contador's apology he stated,
"I'm not happy, in the sense that, to me, fair play is very important. Just like I did in the Spa stage, when both Andy and Fränk were behind the pack, I didn't hesitate to stop the bunch so that they could catch up.

“Many people criticized me for doing that, especially after the stage on the cobbles, when the crash happened and the whole bunch split as a result, and it allowed Andy to take time on me, but I always settle it by saying I'd do it again,” said Contador. “The kind of thing that happened today is not something I like, it's not my style and I hope my relationship with Andy will remain as good as before.”

After hearing this, even the thoughtful (and bald) Vroomen admitted,
"Alberto has a tiny point:  Schleck didn't wait for him after the cobblestone crash so complaints about fair play ring hollow."
In the end, whether or not Contador's move was fair and whether or not Armstrong may have inadvertently contributed to a chase down of Hincapie in last year's Tour, and whether or not Renshaw intentionally drove Farrar into the barriers.... all of those things become secondary to the reactions they make to the public and their desire not to lose face with their fan base.   Reactions and reflections are easy because they can be thought over and calculated...but the initial action is made in the fraction of a second, and may be the more accurate and revealing descriptor of a competitor's character.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Friday: No mail but a little helmet rubbing....and a sacrifical goat!

This Friday has found me away from COMO CYCO headquarters and on a mission!  The GEEC, dog and I have actually driven to Defiance, Missouri and are planning on paying Councilman Brazil (the individual who is attempting to ban cycling there) a little visit.  You see, the COMO CYCO dog busted into the pantry last night and ate his weight in pork rinds.  I'm guessing right about now, that greasy-mass of porky goodness is about at the level of his descending colon....and I've heard Councilman Brazil has the greenest front lawn this side of the Mississippi.......However, that means I'm forced to write this from the no Friday Mail today.  I can practically feel the collective exhalation of your disappointment on the back of my neck as I write....oh wait, that was the dog.....I think Mt. 'Pup'ei is getting ready to blow.

Thus I will simply leave you with some interesting news and commentary from yesterday's stage of the Tour de France.  As I'm sure everyone interested has heard by now, Mark Renshaw, leadout man for Cavendouche, was kicked out of the Tour de France after some antics he pulled at the end of Stage 11.
That's Renshaw (HTC Columbia) on the right getting cuddly and resting his weary head on Julian Dean's shoulder (Garmin) as they race toward the finish.  Apparently the race officials thought this less an amorous act and more like something you would see in the WWF or in a keirin race.

Immediately after "rubbing helmets" with Dean three times, Renshaw looked over his shoulder, found Tyler Farrar, and then merged over the width of two cyclists across the road to nearly put him into the barrier, thus eliminating his momentum and forcing him to lose the wheel of Mark Cavendish.  Renshaw was kicked out of the race before Garmin could even issue a protest, to which Renshaw responded by saying:

 “Cavendish is 10 times the sprinter that Tyler Farrar is. Farrar is just flapping around the place, making up the numbers. I can’t see him winning a sprint, The only way they could win is if they take us out. I think that is the attitude Garmin has. I’ve read reports that they said the disqualification was justified and that my actions were intentional. I think it’s pretty harsh and I won’t speak with anyone from Garmin anymore.”

Interestingly, Robbie McEwen weighed in on his interpretation of what happened with this string of comments on Twitter:

@mcewenrobbie: “1) History shows that a headbutt will get dq’d from stg result (mcewen2005,Zabel 97) 2) History also shows that looking over shoulder at rival then taking them to barriers will also get u dq’d from stg results. 3) History will now show that combining the 2 aforementioned tactics will get u sent home…greater than the sum of it’s parts.”

Luckily for the race leader, Shleck, someone gave him a baby goat to sacrifice before the start to bring him good fortune.
Luckily for the goat, Shleck noticed too much resemblence between himself and the goat to be able to do the deed...

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Thursday Caption Contest

A couple of weeks ago, I promised that we at COMOCYCO would hold a contest with a REAL prize...well today is the magic day, boys and girls.  As you know, I'm not very original, therefore I'm going to steal an idea from one of my favorite blogs, the Cycling Inquisition.  Recently, he hosted a "Caption Contest" in which he posted three photos and then had his readers give him the best captions to the photos.  The winner received a prize.  Pretty simple - right?  So I figure, what the hell - let's give this a go.

Here's the scoop.  I'm going to give you three photos.  If you want to participate, give me a caption to any or all three photos.  You can only give me ONE caption for the multiple tries. The best single caption for any of the photos as judged by me, and the COMO CYCO staff (comprised of the GEEC, the COMO CYCO dog, and intern Ricky) will win a $20 gift certificate to the local Columbia bike shop of your choice: ie, Walt's, Cyclextreme, Klunk, or Tryathletics.   None of this Dick's Sporting Good's or Walmart it?  And no - none of the bike shops are officially sponsoring this contest this time - so anyone can play....but if you live outside COMO - you're going to have to ride your ass here to spend it...Email your responses to by Sunday, July 18th at 11:59 PM for consideration.

Ready?  Let's get it on....

Photo #1

Photo #2

Photo #3

I will announce the winners whenever I get through all 2 or 3 submissions I receive...Good Luck!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Banning bikes and wearing fur: Happy Bastille Day!

It seems that cycling in Missouri is once again in the national spotlight. Several months ago, we were in the news for cancelling the once highly successful Tour of Missouri professional road race, and now St. Charles County is capturing headlines for proposing a ban on cyclists from several roads around the Katy Trail town of Defiance in the southwestern part of the county.

Even Portland, OR-based blogs are reporting on this.  (You can practically hear them sniggering all the way across the country).  County councilman Joe Brazil has made the proposal based on the idea that specific roads that are frequented by cyclists do not have a shoulder upon which to ride and possess, in certain cases, a speed limit of 55 mph.  As of a couple days ago, the county council  decided to table the issue until next month, at which point additional roads will also be considered for the ban.  A point of concern with this case is that this ban seemingly falls upon the coat tails of another recent citywide ban on cycling in the town of Black Hawk, Colorado.  Importantly, MoDOT officials have weighed in on the issue and tried to remind the council members that traffic (motorozied or not) upon the roads cited in the proposal fall under the sole jurisdiction of the Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission.  Therefore, the county has no legal authority to enforce the ban, to which councilman Brazil said, "MoDot is more than welcome to challenge this [proposal]"

It seems to me Mr. Brazil has it backwards.  I believe he is welcome to challenge the jurisdiction of the Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission, but until he does so, he can try to pass all the ordinances he chooses to banning bicycles.....they are unenforceable.  Isn't this the type of thing a councilman should have checked into before spending a lot of our time and money?  You can stay up to date on this issue by visiting the action alert site on the Missouri Bicycle and Pedestrian Federation.

Interestingly, the town at the center of the hub-bub is Defiance, Missouri, the final settling place of Daniel Boone.....and this reminded me of the bike the GEEC and I stumbled upon on 9th street Saturday evening.
An upholstered bicycle saddle adorned with a pink satin ribbon and a raccoon tail.  Rarely do we get to see mid-Missouri culture so accurately represented in a piece of cycling acoutement.....the refinement of French-inspired floral chintz paired with a locally-relevant, historical remembrance of Daniel Boone's coon-skin cap.  My only concern with this is how this cyclist keeps his/her tail from getting wrapped up in the rear brakes?  But maybe that's what the satin ribbon is tie the tail up when riding, but when parked - to let it hang low in all the lustrousness a piece of a dead animal can muster.

On the very same bike I noticed mounted on the left bar end, the dismebodied head of a white-bearded old guy (picture inverted for you viewing pleasure).  I wonder if this is the original version of the Bontrager Buzzkill?  But instead of actually dampening riding vibration, the grumpy old man yells at you if you are going too fast and nags you to keep both hands on the handlebar.  (Get it?  Buzzkill....I'm here all week, folks.....make sure to tip your waitresses.)

And in news of the tour....Yesterday's Stage 9 is suggesting that it's going to be the 'Bert and Shlecky' show from now on....

And what of Lance?  Well, let's tune in to another installment of "The Days of Our Lance" which finds Armstrong in a heated discussion  with Johann over the results of Stage 9.....

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Bringing back the biffo: Fight like a man!

While on the group ride on Sunday, I encountered a turtle in the road in Arrowhead Lake Estates- not an uncommon finding.  The little dude had dropped over the 8" curb and was small enough that there was no way he would be able to get back up over it on either side.  I braked, reached down, plucked him up and lightly tossed him into the field by the road that led into the wooded shoreline of the lake.  And I did so, I might add, at great peril to myself.  Not for the risk of not being able to rejoin the group, or being hit by a car, but because this little dude could have been a decoy luring me into a trap of an awaiting ravenous horde of killer turtles of the sort I had just reading about in my Man's Life Magazine the night before.
Of more interest to me than the "Chewed to bits by giant turtles!" story was the article on how "Masculine inadequacies drive women nuts!"  We'll discuss that one more in a bit.

And speaking of how treacherous a curb can be, I stumbled upon this new video of Lance's initial crash on Stage 8 as he clipped a pedal on a roadside curb.  What is more disturbing than watching him slide on his back going 35 MPH, however is the way the videographer is screaming as the peloton comes by.

Now - back to male inadequacies.  Of equal interest in my rest-day video watching, I found this post on some Aussie and Kiwi reponses within the peloton to the fight on Stage 6 between Barredo and Costa.  Famed experts in the arena of fisticuffs, the question being posed by the interviewer to his Aussie compatriots is whether or not the Tour should encourage "bringing back the biffo." I'm unfamiliar with the term "biffo" but think it must be Australian for a 'handbag fight', which is essentially what the scuffle amounted to, with a lot of open hand slaps and empty swings and both men flopping on the pavement in pretty short order.......aside from Barredo initially trying to pistol-whip Costa with his front wheel, of course.  Of particular insight are the comments of Mattie Lloyd of the Lotto squad.

Barredo is obviously catching some flak about quick-releasing his front wheel and using it in the fight, but this may be analagous to breaking off the bottom of a beer bottle to wield in a bar fight - he used whatever he could grab quickly.  I contend the real problem with most cyclist fights is the shoes, which makes them dance around like Seinfeld in cowboy boots.  They would be so much more effective if they took a moment to prepare themselves and remove their shoes before they fought, like hockey players removing their gloves before coming to blows.  I know male cyclists are in an uphill battle with respect to masculinity from the get-go with wearing rubber pants and shaving their legs and everything, but staying upright during a fight might go a long way to helping the cause.  And it could open a whole new catchphrase....imagine Phil Ligget yelling "And the shoes are off!" right before Cavendish and Heinrich Haussler go at it at the end of a bunch sprint.  Or better yet, they could duke it out while riding, almost like a joust of sorts.....oh wait, Cadel tried that during the Giro and that didn't go so well in the masculinity department either...