Wednesday, September 8, 2010

See you soon -

Tomorrow I leave for an extended period for business. Luckily, some very dear friends are providing me with bikes along the way as I bounce from location to location, so I hope to have numerous forthcoming cycling adventures to share with you upon my return....until that time, ride safe!  And good luck to everyone competing in the upcoming Hermann Cross!  See you on the 27th!


Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Drinking heavily

Long weekends are wonderful, but they definitely contribute to the feeling that Tuesday now feels like a Monday, which means that Friday is going to feel like a Thursday, and that humpday is going to feel like Tuesday, which is actually today, which means that I'm already thinking about next weekend!  And this leads me to tell you that I have to go away for a looooong time for some work-related bizznezz.....In fact - I will be gone from September 9th until September 27th!  This means I'm going to miss the start of cross season in Hermann, and more importantly, exactly THREE sessions of Friday Mail!  Not cool at all - but I gotta keep up that day job gig to pay the bills...

And speaking of paying the bills, how about our local boy Dave Henderson kicking a little tail over at the Gateway Cup in St. Louis over the weekend?  Friday night at the Tour de Lafayette, he wore his National Champion stars and stripes jersey while winning the Master's race.  Then on Saturday, he competed in the Pro 1/2 category for the Tour de Hills stage and took 2nd place, besting pros from Bissell, Kenda and Jamis Sutter Home among others.  Congrats Mr. Henderson!
Photo courtesy.

I hope he went out afterwards and had a celebratory drink following dinner, which, apparently is something you are not allowed to do if you race for Saxo Bank.  According to cyclingnews, Bjarne Riis removed both Andy Shleck and Stuart O'Grady from the Vuelta for drinking after dinner, and thus violating team rules.  It's obviously impossible for we, the armchair directeur sportifs, to know the exact details of the incident to judge if Riis was overreacting or not, but something tells me that Andy and Stuey may not be taking the Vuelta (or their remaining Saxo contracts, for that matter) as seriously as, say the Tour de France....One more example of how the poor Tour of Spain (or shall we call it the Tour of the Red-Headed Stepchild) gets the proverbial shaft.  Too bad Andy and Stuey don't race for Liquigas, because apparently drinking following each day's race is not only indicated, but heavily encouraged.....and in large amounts as was posted by Roman Kreuziger on Twitter following Stage 9.

And speaking of drinking, thanks to the reader who sent me this photo from a bar in Kansas City over the weekend.
Despite the blurriness, which I'm sure reflects the drunken state of the photographer, I'm pretty sure the photo is of this image, which I've posted here before:
This reader has inspired me to start giving away a COMO CYCO weekly "Big Cup Award" as a new installment to the blog, which I've decided to start right now.  Last week, an article appeared in the Columbia Tribune regarding PedNet's No Car, Low Car, Whoa! Car Challenge, in which community members are challenged to use their car as little as possible, and can earn some rewards in the process. 
The article interviewed the Challenge's organizer, Gina Overshiner, who was quoted as saying,

"A lot of people have this mentality: "I'm leaving  my front yard so I have to take my car," she said.  "The thing is, a car is an option, not a necessity."

As one might imagine, this article has initiated some rather colorful dialogue in the comment section, including, this, my favorite:

hadenuff1 (anonymous) says...

"PedNet is a another great scam to keep otherwise unemployable people in a job. They focus on a healthy lifestyle, that is obtainable only by a very small percentage of the community. I believe their ultimate goal, along with the other collection of federal freeloaders, GetAbout, is to create a vehicle free zone in Columbia and ultimately impose a wheel tax, or, other fees, for those of us whose employment is dependent on a vehicle. Such is the case with most zealots and tyrants."

CONGRATULTIONS, Mr. and/or Mrs. 'Had-e-nuff-1'!  You just won the first ever COMO CYCO "Big Cup Award"!  If you will email me your home address, I will hand-deliver this to you from the back of my bicycle to show you how we tyrannical cyclists can even reach you in your remote homestead by non-motorized vehicles.  Feel free to drink from it freely and frequently!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Friday Mail and a word from our sponsor

Before we get started today, we have a word from our sponsor, Enzo's Button Hole Chamois Cream!

And with that, it's on to another edition of Friday Reader Mail!

Dear PooBah,
Have you heard of the new sport called "extreme ironing?"  Wikipedia describes it as "an extreme sport in which people take an ironing board to a remote location and iron items of clothing.  According to the official website, extreme ironing is the latest danger sport that combines the thrills of an extreme outdoor activity with the satisfaction of a well-pressed shirt."  I was googling images from Japan last week for a school report and came upon this extreme ironing competition on a velodrome in Tokyo.  What do you think of all of this?
Kerry L
All the above photo proves is that 95% of weird shit on the internet comes from Japan.  I don't know why, but it's true.  Case in point:

Dear PooBah,
I showed up at the roadie's group ride the other night on my tri-bike.  Toward the beginning of the ride, I heard someone mutter under their breath that my brand new XLab USA Carbon Wing seat-mounted dual water bottle cage/repair kit/saddle bag was "gay."  Quite frankly, I take offense to this....first, because I don't like the way the word "gay" is used in this derogatory fashion, and secondly because I spent a lot of money on this piece of equipment.  I mean - it's carbon and everything!  How should I deal with this?
Peter H.

First, don't fret about your recent purchase.  Despite the fact that your seat post appears as though it has assumed the properities of an electromagnet in a junk yard, I'm quite sure the Carbon Wing is very useful.  Secondly, you shouldn't take offense. The word "gay" is used extensively in the world of cycling, and rarely has anything to do with the actual sexual orientation of the cyclist. 
Not that there is anything wrong with that.

By the way, your tri-bike wouldn't happen to be a Triumph, would it?

Dear PooBah,
I'm going to try to race Cyclocross for the first time this season and am really excited about it!  The main reason I'm so fired up is because recently, I've grown tired of the attitude and competitiveness associated with road racing.  I honestly will not miss the cut-throat, win-at-all-costs' style of racing that has seemed to define the road racing culture lately.  I've heard that 'cross is much more laid back, at that no one really cares how you finish - it's just all about having fun.  Is this true?
Timothy S.

That's's all just about having fun with your friends.

Dear PooBah,
Wednesday night, I hosted my annual Country Music Awards party. As always, I drank too much moonshine, swallowed all my chaw, and ended up losing my dinner on my pit bull, Waylon. However, the high point of the CMA's this year was getting to see the Mozart of our generation do his thing. Of course, I am referring to Mr. Kid Rock. But it was during the Kid's performance that I began to notice an uncanny resemblance between Kid Rock and Floyd Landis. Since, as that want-to-be Tim McGraw said, "Kid Rock is the only artist that can be called a rapper, rock star, and country artist," could he also be a man of so many other talents that he is actually Floyd as well?

Buck Russell
Hey Buck,
It's good to hear from you again.  These weekly letters from you are getting to be a bit of a regular occurence - eh?  I hope you took my advie from last weekend and spent some time working on your dance moves for the next TriGeek-Roadie Rumble......just remember - dance like no one is watching, Buck.  I know you have it in you.  Anyway - on to your question regarding Floyd and Kid Rock.  You know, as much as it pains me to say this, I think you may be on to something.  Check out what Floyd tweeted back in March!

Could this be a little shameless self-promotion of his night time gig?

Dear PooBah,
My friend and I have a question related to washing our mountain bikes when they get really, really dirty.  Is it harmful to put them directly under a steady stream of water?  Do we risk forcing more mud and grime into the bottom bracket by doing this?  We've attached a picture of our current washing method so you can let us know if this will cause any problems.
Cindy and Sherrie

Don't worry about the bottom bracket....just try using some more soap and a little more teamwork.....yes...soapy, sudsy teamwork...

Dear PooBah,
I get tired of you posting photos of scantily clad gorgeous women on your blog every Friday.  What about a little equal representation?  Female cyclists come in all shapes and sizes you know!
Helen M.

Fair enough...and you have my full apologies if my feeble attempt at a little risque humor offends you or anyone else.  And just for's a female cyclist that is definitely all about 'shape and size'...hope this is more suitable.

Dear PooBah,
At last week's naked bike ride, my girlfriend endoed bad and kissed concrete:
I'm happy to report that she is just fine....but damn near lost a nipple or two in the process and ended up with some pretty wicked scrapes on her chest.  She's worried about permanent and disfiguring scars, so I told her she might consider getting a full torso cycling-related tattoo to cover up any skin blemishes that result after the scabs come off.  I know how you love tattoo art, and wondered if you have examples of any such tattoos that might inspire us?
Cyril G.

Sure do.
Don't be dissuaded by the fact that this one was found on an Amish man's chest. A flaming chainring in the clouds would probably also cover up your friends road rash scars just as well.

Have a great weekend everyone!  And best of luck to those of our COMO kids competing in Gateway this weekend.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Rooting for the underdog: Pumping your way to glory, Duct-taping your way to chicness

As I was watching the Vuelta last night, it occured to me that in the scope of the grand tours, the Vuelta a Espana has become a sort of red-headed stepchild.  The Giro is the first grand tour coming off the spring classics, so it gets a lot of attention, and the Tour of course is the premier stage race of the season, but the Vuelta sort of gets the shaft.  It occurs late in the season, when a lot of pros have already stopped racing.  And many of the big names that do go seem to sit in and not exert full effort to save themselves for the upcoming World Championships.  This is good and bad, I think.  Certainly, we miss out on seeing the best cyclists performing at their best, but we do get to see some different names pop up as future contenders.  And of course, the sprinters always sprint....because there really is no other reason for them to suffer through a stage race.  Last night's finale was particularly pleasant for me.
This is mostly because Cavendouche was bested by Tyler Farrar (who was ever gracious in his post-race interview saying, "Of course it's always nice to win against the best sprinter in the world, but it's even better to win a stage at the Vuelta.  I'm very happy.")  You see, I have an irritating habit of almost always rooting for the underdog.  Perhaps this comes from watching too many "epic" sports movies like Breaking Away, Hoosiers, or Teen Wolf.  So when someone actually does beat the best sprinter in the world at his own game, it makes me as giddy as a fat kid about to nom-nom on some chocolate cake.

But in the midst of my delirium, a commerical came on Universal Sports that immediately reminded me of their coverage of the Giro when they aired advertisments for a product called ColonFlow. Having thoroughly frightened my colon last May, Universal Sports was now apparently intent on scaring the crap out of my penis.

The commercial for PosTVac started out innocenctly enough showing two older individuals nuzzling one another with supposed renewed horniness of teenagers at a 7th grade dance, but then strays into bizarro-ville.  While demonstrating the gentle sucking action of the expensive penis pump, they show gramps laying on the ground twirling maw-maw in a tire swing overhead, poking her in the back.
"Just you wait until I get you into the sex swing,  momma....and after I get 120psi into my tube."

I'm not sure if this is supposed to represent some kind of playful foreplay, or if grandpa is just trying to get her dizzy enough that she won't notice him slapping a suction pump on himself before they go at it.  According to the commercial, it only takes 4 minutes to take effect, and is even covered by Medicare.  As the commercial details these facts, they again show a couple who appear very happy with the effects of the PosTVac pump.  I certainly am happy for these folks as well, but admit to being a little concerned for the dog sitting on this guy's lap.
This dog is saying "Dude, that better be a rawhide in your pocket or I'm going to totally shit on your pillow later."

And speaking of inappropriate actions, I stumbled upon a video of the recent CycleChic ride that happened here in Columbia this past weekend which is posted over at the Columbia Missourian.  All in all, it was a fairly accurate depiction of the event.  But during the video, one image jumped out at me while the commentator was remarking how the theme of the ride was to prioritize style over speed:
In the foreground are some very nice, black leather cap-toe oxfords....and in the background are some black, leather-like, MTB shoes, also cap-toe, but capped with duct tape.  It doesn't get much more chic than that folks....I bet you won't find that kind of fashion in Copenhagen.

Lastly, just a quick announcement that this weekend is the Gateway Cup in St. Louis.  Racing action starts Friday evening with the Tour de Lafayette, continues on Saturday with the St. Louis Hills Francis Park Criterium, on Sunday with the "Giro della Montagna" aka "the Hill" and concludes Monday with the Benton Park crit.  All details can be found here.  Looks like the big boys and girls are coming to play for this one as Jelly Belly, Kenda, Jamis Sutter Home, Colavita, Team Type 1, Bissell and Hotel San Jose are sending some guys for the men's races and Vera Bradley, Team Type 1, Vanderkitten, Webcor, Kenda and Colavita are sending the female pros.  I of course, will be rooting for our hometown boys and girls.....but am not sure they can really be considered underdogs this year...

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Falling down and moving on...Americans in motion

As we mentioned on Monday, some interesting developments have occured thus far in the Vuelta. First and most notably was the sprint victory of Yauheni Hutarovich in Stage 2.  You'd think that for a relative unknown, breaking onto the big stage would be a prime opportunity to show some class and be recognized as a future how did Yauheni accept his accolades?
Maybe this is some kind of custom in Belarus?

And stage 3 saw the Grand Tour cursed Christian Vande Velde (Garmin) kiss asphalt yet again (all too reminiscent of the Tour de France this year and the Giro previously.  This time, apparently it was some spilled olive oil from a nearby orchard that was to blame.

"It was on a rough section of road near an olive factory, so the road was very slippery...." Garmin sport director Johnny Weltz told VeloNews.

I suppose that a crash is a crash no matter what is bringing you down, but there is just something more refined about losing your wheels in a puddle of spanish olive oil than on an armadillo.  The good news is that Vande Velde is fine and now riding in support of Tom Danielson who is sitting in 16th at the conclusion of yesterday's Stage 4.  Of course the American that is really performing well is 22 year old Tejay Van Garderen of HTC-Columbia who finished stage 4 in 6th place and is sitting 6th overall, just 29 seconds down.
It will be interesting to see if Stapleton will loosen the domestique leash on Tejay and conserve his energy a bit to see how he can perform as a GC'er over the days to come, instead of making him tow the lead-out line role for Cavendouche.

And back to Garmin for a moment.  Either both Transitions Lenses and POM Wonderful are selling a shitload of glasses and pomegranate juice and sending more money to Garmin, or Vaughters' clothing budget has been slashed, because the team just shelled out the money for 6 new recruits from the folding Cervelo Test Team Squad including Thor Hushovd, Heinrich Haussler, Brett Lancaster, Roger Hammond, Dan Lloyd, Adreas Klier and Gabriel Rasch.  With these mostly European additions, the American based squad is becoming less American all the time.  They will no question have a stronger presence in next year's spring classics, but one has to wonder who will be cut to make room for the new additions.

And in news of the other American teams....BMC is reportedly in negotiations with "Mini-Phinney" in what may be an attempt to swipe him away from RadioShack.  The 'Shack's stagiare had an impressive performance at this year's Tour of Utah and is clearly a hot commodity.  BMC has been trying to expand their competitiveness overseas which this move would certainly help. This had me wondering if LA and Bruyneel's panties were getting caught in a wad over this little coup.  Only one way to know...better check in with the most recent Day's of our Lance episode: