Monday, November 23, 2015

It's Yer Racejunkie 10 Cycling Things I'm Thankful for This Thanksgiving (And Two I'm Not)

Yes, as we here in the States celebrate the Native Americans generously saving a small band of imperialist invading ascetic fanatics from starvation by gorging ourselves into pumpkin-pie comas, arguing politics with long-lost relatives, and watching a bunch of giant walking steroids pound each other into a dedicated grass field til serious bodily injury is inflicted and the remaining carcass standing gets a "touchdown," it's also time to consider what we're, y'know, truly thankful for this year. So, since this is about our beloved sport, here's my 2015 10 Cycling Things I'm Thankful For This Thanksgiving (And Two I'm Freakin' Well Not)!

1. The Giro d'Italia. No matter what happens, what a beautiful, moving, perfect race. Il Grande Giro, indeed--and it can be yours next year, wee Landa!

2. The Women's World Tour. Finally! *Now* can we pay these bad-@#$es enough to drop their backup jobs as 3 a.m. Slurpee wranglers at the local 7-11?

3. MTN-Qhubeka. Great cause, great team, great heart. Really, they've been around for just *how* many months, and already they've snagged their first Tour de France polka-dot jersey?

4. Mikel Landa. What a breakout year for our young superclimber mountain goat ex-Carrot, right? Shut up shut up shut up don't disillusion me you soulless cynics!

5. Thanksgiving Dinner. This is too either cycling related. Because if god help me that poor starving waif Chris Froome ever comes to my doorstep, I'll be able to feed the scrawny thing enough turkey, gravy, stuffing, and cranberry sauce to bring him from being a two-dimensional stick figure into the real three-dimensional planet actual corporeal human cyclists inhabit. C'mon, just *one* more bite of sweet potatoes with marshmallows, I promise it won't hurt you!

7. Pauline Ferrand-Prevot. Road, mountain, cross--holy crap, this young rider is already an all-star all-terrain hellraiser. Now when Marianne Vos is finally back on form, *that'll* be some damn fireworks going off!

8. Puritooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo! And the Vuelta. Which is his next year. Aw, bite me!

9. Alexander Vinokourov. Yeah, stuff it! In an age of prissy "justice" this and "clean sport" that, isn't there *something* (albeit "something !@#$ed up") about a guy whose team can garner a record-breaking 36,000 positives in a single season and *still* scam their way into keeping their World Tour license?

10. Last (But Not Least) My Loyal Reader(s). You educate, you enlighten, and you don't hesitate to tell me when I'm full of it. Is it really 9 years since you've put up with this !@#$ already? Dang, you all deserve a medal or something!

And Two--No, Three--I'm Freakin' Well Not:

1. !@#$in' *hell*, Oleg, why the !@#$ didn't you buy Alberto Contador more backup, sure the man's a legend but you want him to win the !@#$in' Tour de France against those Sky androids or not?

2. Where the hell is we love ex-Euskie Igor Anton's new contract dammit? The man had a bangin' season for heck's sake! He's a super superdomestique, he's a short-stage-race phenom! Some of the marginal clowns we got as pack fodder for 2016 and *this* is who ends up jacked? Aiiiiggggghhhhh!

3. NBC. There I finally am, able to watch the Giro, the Tour, the Vuelta, and even the Classics for heck's sake on Universal Sports right here in the US--and a welcome respite from the "Bass Fishin' Beer Swillin' and Tale-Tellin' Channel" it sure is--and what happens? That's right, you soulless corporate mercenary goons *buy* the damn thing, *shut it down*, and now we're gonna get like one two-hour Tour recap every Saturday a !@#damn year after it happens and forget Paris-Roubaix altogether, I'll be watching some !@#$ pig-Latin underground pirate feed that'll wipe out the rest of my !@#$in' computer with a death virus before I even get through the vile porno ads to the crap two-pixel-per-screen !@#$in' picture! You *suck*, NBC!

Well folks, them's mine, and I truly am thankful for all (well, most) of it. Now eat well, enjoy the football--no, not that one, the *other* one--and then let's get psyched for our annual Christmas list!

Saturday, November 07, 2015

Dr. Cav! Froomey! Marianne! Tommy D!: Yer Cycling Gossip Roundup

Taking the Lead: yep, it's all a-gonna change for newly honored Doctor of Science/I've heard tell he's also a cyclist Mark Cavendish: his new squad Delta Dimension's confirmed that their superstar signing ain't gonna get the lead-out train he's used to from now on. And let's be honest here, Cav *loves* himself a lead-out! Why the hosing? Well, because cycling's purportedly just *changed*--instead of 5k of 8 guys hammering til they yack to set up their man for the last 200m, it's now a much tighter time frame, so here's a coupla dudes to help you out the last kilometer or so and you're on your own for the rest, pal! Oh, this sucks--how I *do* still miss Fassa Bortolo's beautiful blue train, and now they're *all* headed for the trash heap o' history! Still, giant bonus: Cav's gonna have *far* fewer teammates to accidentally mistake for a rival and plow into the barriers like a punk-!@# at the line. Yay for silver linings!

The Waaaaiii-ting is the Hardest Part: and, what's our outraged unjustly-suspected Tour champ Chris Froome finally gonna do, after months and months of delayi--uh, thoughtfully considering? That's right, release his long-promised physiological data to shut up the haters, right square in the pages of the fine men's fashion-n'-cocktail rag Esquire magazine. Well, if f!@#$in' *Esquire* guarantees it, it's *gotta* be true--especially with a six-month lead-out to manip--uh, double-spell-check--the data! What would *really* help, frankly, is if Esquire can explain physiologically how anyone whose wings flap around on the bike like a rabid drunken fruit bat can possibly not spin himself off a mountaintop, much less triumph on the likes of Mont Ventoux, but I'm guessing that's not the data the beastly Froome detractors are gonna be looking for. Anyhoo, 'til then, the boy's wisely hiding out in Rio checkin' out the Olympic roads course--so don't worry Alberto, not only is he clean as a whistle, but he's not even *thinking* about the Tour next year!

Talk Dirt to Me: meantime, all-terrain goddess Marianne Vos, who's spent a miserable 2015 on the sidelines with overwork injuries, is now finally back on the bike--in moderation--and looking forward to some type of form sometime in 2016. And while she waits and works on that, she's scored a nice side gig as well, announcing cyclocross races 'til she herself is allowed back to play in the dirt. Forza grandissima Marianne--I can't imagine you taking too long to get back up to your formidable speed!

"D" is for Dumbass: finally, congrats to clean-team Garmin stalwart Tommy Danielson, who not only got a *great* score on his last test for synthetic testosterone, but got his grade *doubly* affirmed this week on his B-sample. It's so *nice* to see our dedicated students doing so well on their homework--tho' apparently *someone's* been quite the slacker in his masking-agent class!