Saturday, April 03, 2010

What the Hell *Is* a Pave', Anyway? And, The Parasite on the Podium

Classics Questions from Dear Newbies: so on the very eve of the Tour of Flanders, as I beat it into occasionally-unwilling initiates that the Final Four of something called "basketball" is lame and cycling is the king of all sporting endeavors, a few questions have arisen from those unfamiliar with aught but the Tour de France:

1) What the !@#$ Is a Pave'?: Pave' is pain, baby. Bone-rattling, tire-pinching, frame-twisting, flesh-rippin' pain. If it's dry, it's cornea-mangling stone-dust assault. If it's wet, it's a slick path to more broken bones than Lance Armstrong's got beeyotches. Basically, it's an irregular squarish or rectangularish rock that masquerades as a road surface but is in actuality a gateway to cold grey granite death. See you in Hades, sucker!

2) What's the Route?: !@#$-all if I can tell, but Flemish sure *reads* scary. Ah, here's a better map!

3) Who Am I Rooting For?: if you're me, anyone who's guaranteed to lose, but these are races for the hard men, baby--some twinkie prima-donna climber or rigid wraith time-trialist is meat before they hit the start line, if they're even stupid enough to sign up in the first place. The Belgians have a super-sweet edge because these sick freaks voluntarily ride this crap terrain all year. Even fresh out of celebrity rehab, it's all about big Tom Boonen, and it would've been all about his twice-winning defending-champ teammate Stijn Devolder if his own damn boss hadn't viciously and counterproductively emasculated him this week to anyone who would listen, which this week means every cycling journalist, fan, and rider on earth. Poor Stijn! Look for Leif Hoste, whose excuse this year is a too-close relationship of late with the men's room, to give his traditional glum post-race analysis-o'-failure. Sentimental losing picks: George Hincapie, who has the Worst Mechanical Luck Ever Every Single Freakin' Race He's In; we love Thor Hushovd, who's takin' the green jersey at the Tour de France again this year so the big-shot Classics can just stuff it; dogged Aussie Stuey O'Grady, whose entire skeleton has been replaced by a series of pins, plates and screws due to crashes and is now a certified indestructible cyborg; Philippe Gilbert, who I keep rooting for to win in every race since he's like one of two French cyclists not to bite the last few years but then I always remember he's actually Belgian. And look, he's riding a nifty pave'-print bike tomorrow!

4) So What *Is* the Forecast for Tomorrow?: Belgian beach weather: rain, wind, and hail, baby! Some of these guys have been known to dive for cover like they're under an artillery barrage, so watch the fun as the fans scatter!

5) What's the Prize?: you ain't *dead*, honey, what more do you want? Oh, and you're revered as a god by the Belgians for all time. Bonus!

The Cobra Strikes: finally, in completely unrelated news, congrats to gutless worm Riccardo Ricco' on his first win back from his doping ban, and, of course, to his ex-companion/baby mama/cyclocross champ Vania Rossi, whose own B-sample actually came back negative(or, in either the desperate or genuinely incriminating words of the narcs, "below the minimum" necessary for a confirming positive test). As expected, the narcs vowed to keep on pursuing Vania anyway in an Iban-Mayo-esque bloodlust inability to accept they'd blown it, in this case on the grounds that CERA degrades mighty quick in urine (so look forward to an excess of needle-sticks this season, peloton!), and Ricco', always a class act, deigned to vaguely have heard of her sometime after he hid crying behind her team kit like a simp during his own dope bust but before she herself turned up on the hit list and Ricco went scattering to the hills like a cockroach. Good luck Vania--between all these schmucks, you're gonna need it!

1 comment:

. said...

when i see what cobbles actually look like I think, "and they do this on ROAD bikes, right?" there are mtb trails in better condition.

i bet it's a freakin' blast.