Saturday, December 29, 2007
Wednesday, December 19, 2007
Last week Cozy Beehive wrote about an interest in what the training diaries of famous professional cyclists might read like. I found the idea intriguing. Aside from the typical numbers, heart rates, and wattage, what other glimpses of their life might we gleen from their intimate writings? Might they spill the beans on late night trips to the fridge for secret ice cream and cookie binges or, possibly divulge something more sinister?
Fortunately, I've got a Way-Back machine to sort this curiosity out. Eddy Merckx was my first target, naturally. You might be surprised by what I've learned.
Maertens is a SHIT! I felt strong. The legs were good. I had a gap and then all of a sudden it's faggy Freddy smiling at me, telling me to ease up and he'll lead me out. The son of a bitch chased me down and has the nerve to say that bullshit lie? Goddamn am I pissed! That Shimano riding mother fucker is dead to me. DEAD! At least Felice won...and the next time some asshole tries to swipe my cap off my head he's getting a mouthful of broken teeth.
Went for a long spin with Swerts. 100km of which seemed uphill. The legs were heavy and felt like I was pushing a plow the whole way. Roger really cracks me up. Every time we passed a woman he'd put two fingers in the air and yell "Beeeeeeuuuuuoooooooo". I'm not sure what the hell he means by it, probably something perverted. It was hilarious though.
Motorpaced for 5 hours today. I only wanted to do 3 hours, but Jean tricked me into another 2 by getting "lost". I swear that guy is trying to kill me. I was really on the rivet the last 50km and was looking forward to a hot shower when I got home. Right when I walk in the door Claudine is on my ass going on about how I didn't take out the garbage this morning and when she did the bag broke and spilled all over the kitchen floor. I was tired, so I wasn't thinking straight and said it was because of those shitty trash bags she buys. Oh man, was she angry! I tried to apologize, but she wouldn't have any of it. Me and my big fucking mouth...
What a ride today! I did almost 300km with Swerts, Lievens, and Van den Bossche. I felt really strong and pushed the pace quite a bit. Lievens threw up twice! I rode a new bike Ernesto dropped off. It was pretty nice, not as soft as those Peugeots we used to have. The seat still seems to be a little low though... Gotta remember to do some measurements before we roll tomorrow.
Another long one today with Swerts and Van den Bossche. Lievens said he was sick and didn't come. What a pussy. We did the usual route and stopped for espressos at Johan's. I had a few cakes because Claudine didn't make breakfast this morning and I was starving. VdB got a flat on the way home and we had to wait twenty minutes while he fixed it. We started laughing because he's such a terrible mechanic, like a gorilla with no thumbs. With us watching him, he got nervous and couldn't do anything right. Swerts started calling him "Fartin Van den Douche", I laughed my ass off at that. Martin just got all red and silent. He was alright once we got rolling though. When we got home Claudine was yelling at Sabrina about something. I didn't ask. She's still hacked about the other day. I went in and checked on Axel. You wouldn't believe the shit he took! It was like a split pea body suit. All over the place. It was disgusting. Then, while I'm cleaning all the crap off, he starts making this sound "Beeeeeeuuuuuuooooo!" "Beeeeeuuuuuooooo!" Swerts must have taught him that when I wasn't around. I never laughed so hard changing a shitty diaper. I'm gonna really put it to Swerts tomorrow though...and the cakes are on him.
Sunday, December 16, 2007
"There are several vital points raised by the new revelations in The New York Times that "the N.S.A.'s reliance on telecommunications companies is broader and deeper than ever before" and includes both pre-9/11 efforts to tap without warrants into the nation's domestic communications network as well as the collection of vast telephone records of American citizens in the name of the War on Drugs. The Executive Branch and the largest telecommunications companies work in virtually complete secrecy -- with no oversight and no notion of legal limits -- to spy on Americans, on our own soil, at will.
More than anything else, what these revelations highlight -- yet again -- is that the U.S. has become precisely the kind of surveillance state that we were always told was the hallmark of tyrannical societies, with literally no limits on the government's ability or willingness to spy on its own citizens and to maintain vast dossiers on those activities. The vast bulk of those on whom the Government spies have never been accused, let alone convicted, of having done anything wrong. One can dismiss those observations as hyperbole if one likes -- people want to believe that their own government is basically benevolent and "tyranny" is something that happens somewhere else -- but publicly available facts simply compel the conclusion that, by definition, we live in a lawless surveillance state, and most of our political officials are indifferent to, if not supportive of, that development."
Read more here.
"Who's Rockwell?" I hear someone ask. Boop.
Friday, December 14, 2007
Stay careful out there.
The victim has had little luck getting the police to act, even though he has the vehicle’s license number and its registered owner. But so far the driver’s insurance has failed to pay the cyclist’s medical bills and the police department is interested only in securing a conviction against the cyclist for the missing bell. They don’t seem to be bothered by the fact he was run down by a van and the motorist then fled the scene. A classic case of car-head.
The cyclist, of course, now regrets ever calling the police in the first place, telling a reporter “I can’t give you an example where the police have helped the situation in any cycling incident I know of.”
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
In light of the wintry mess of the midwest, when I pedal through the blackened snow and salt covered roads, I think of the 1988 Giro d'Italia's Passo Gavia.
Some have dubbed it "The day the hard men cried". It was a legendary stage where some of the premier greats of cycling were reduced to shivering masses of flesh and bone. Bob Roll said he stopped every ten or so minutes to run with his bike to get feeling back into his feet. Photos of that day are nearly whited out with vague figures in ominous silence. Erik Breukink won the stage. Andy Hampsten's second place paved his way to an overall victory adorned in the maglia rosa. Everyone suffered.
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
And those eyes! That fixed gaze off camera was conquest in it's rawest form. He seemed to say "I will take this competition and shit it out my ass!" My long search for a role model had finally ended.
This was true poetry in motion. In my mind, the photo became a flowing canvas that was alive and strangely animalistic. It breathed, suffered, ascended, descended, sprinted, and won and lost. I wanted to be a part of that. I wanted to be like Maurizio Fondriest.
Maurizio Fondriest stunned the world in 1988 when he snatched victory in the World Championship Road Race ahead of a crash involving the two would be 1-2 podium finishers of Claude Criquileon and Steve Bauer. Regardless of where your alliances lie, Fondriest certainly wore his new stripes well in the years that followed.
If 1988 was a foreshadowing of things to come, 1991 was confirmation. That was the year Maurizio won his first World Cup. His consistency as a professional in the european peloton was duly noted and Fondriest found himself a marked man.
1993 Blessed Fondriest's palmares with a dizzying 23 professional victories including Milan - San Remo, Fleche Wallone, GP du Midi Libre (3 stages and overall), and a stage in the Giro d'Italia. His dominance that year was repayed with a second overall victory in the World Cup.
In 1995 Maurizio was at it again when he claimed victory in a Giro d'Italia stage and finished second in Ghent - Wevelgem, Milan - San Remo, Fleche - Wallone, and Tirreno Adriatico overall.
Fondriest was one of the classiest riders of the peloton and one of a handful that truly inspired me to ride my bike. For that, Maurizio gets Mad Props 2x.
Well, dear reader. Feast your eyes upon these photos. Everything that is old, is new again. These photos are of an approximately 40 year old Chiorda folding bike with one hell of a integrated crank/bb. This is Feeves' new emergency bike for his not getting any younger Nissan. Allez!
Monday, December 10, 2007
Back in the day, we'd tear open a bike box, peel off the cardboard tube protectors, cut the zip ties, build the bike, and roll it out onto the sales floor in hopes of a modest profit. These days, things are a little different. There's one extra annoying and shameful step. Peeling off a multitude of goddamn warning stickers.
If you were to pull out a new bike from the confines of its cardboard placenta, you'll usually find no less than four yellow and black stickers cautioning the daring new owner on the dangers of cycling in the modern world. According to the bike companies and their lawyers, we should be shitting our chamois' worrying whether all our bolts are torqued to spec, our frame has been properly inspected for cracks and defects, and our skewers have been properly clamped. If not, death may result from our inattention. Which of course would be our own damn fault because they warned us.
Aside from the patronizing way in which we're all assumed to be one eyed retards with wax in our ears and shit for brains, I find it discouraging to think that we're all perpetually bombarded with how terribly dangerous everyday life is. If it's not shrill warning labels on our bikes, it's vague assumptions of terror on our televisions and newspapers. A sampling of the nightly news indicates that I should be afraid of illegal immigrants because they're either deranged criminals or disease carrying lepers. Iran should be feared because they might gain the knowledge to build a nuke. I shouldn't wash my hands so much because it might actually make me more susceptible to "dangerous diseases".
To all that bullshit, I say "Shenanigans!" Pay attention to the man behind the curtain, because he's also got a great deal on some oceanfront property (in a gated community, naturally) with a fantastic ARM loan to help move you right in.
Back in the day we rode our bikes without fear of our wheels falling off because we knew how to work a quick release skewer. We rode without fear because although all the bolts on the bike might not be to torque specifications, they were pretty close, and that was good enough. We rode without fear even while not wearing helmets because we weren't so caught up in the horrors of what might happen, we were caught up in something else: Reality.