Tuesday, November 20, 2018

It's Yer Eleven Cycling Things I'm Grateful For This Thanksgiving (and a Few I'm Damn Well Not)!

Yes, it's Thanksgiving, that glorious American holiday where we reflect on how we stole this country from its rightful owners, confirm the world's grossest stereotypes of national excess by gorging ourselves senseless on stuffing, gravy, turkey, cranberry sauce, and pie, try not to stab Grandma's sterling silver dessert fork into the head of our crazy-!@# racist nutwhack paranoid conspiracy-theorist grand-uncle, and retreat to the couch in the living room hoping to accidentally drown out the sounds of other people doing the dishes while we watch the football game before we--JAYSUS CAN'T ANYONE SCRAPE THEIR PLATE OFF BEFORE DUMPING IT INTO THE SINK WHAT THE !@#$ EVEN IS THAT ARE YOU PEOPLE !@#$ING ANIMALS?! Oh right, and be thankful for stuff. So what cycling things am I grateful for (and a few I damn well ain't) this year? This!

1. The Giro. Yes, that disgrace won it this year, though fortunately I've almost blocked that out. What you *can't* block out--its monstrous climbs, harrowing descents, its fickle twists of grit and fate right up til the last possible moment. We love you il grande Giro--now I'm *telling* you Landa, ride this next year!

2. Not just one, but *two* teams full of baby Basque geniuses are back--and they're already getting results, including didja see Oscar Rodriguez' incredible stage 13 Vuelta a Espana mountaintop triumph!? May the ghosts of Carrots past smile upon you all--now go out there you smashing wee climbers, and make the peloton cry up every one!

3. Speaking of Basque cycling--Izagirres! Mikel! Mikel! Amets! Oh, no matter what team they work for, I'm bawling into my Euskaltel hat in gratitude right now...

4. Lotto-Soudal's Stig Broeckx. After a life-altering, nearly fatal crash in 2016, he's back on his mountain bike--and already aiming for the road. Peace, health, and happy riding forever to this wonderboy!

5. Toms Skujins. No, you can't pronounce it (or you can, smartypants, but I sure as hell can't), but boy, can you admire this kid! Social butterfly, damn hard worker, potato aficionado, and oh right, 5-stage mountains classifications holder at the Tour de France this year--you go Toms!

6. UCI's war on noncompliant--uh, socks? Because we wouldn't want to bust any superstar cash cows for *doping*, now would we!

7. Marianne Vos. Yes, there are other cyclists who've had an amazing year, and even won some races--and who were coming back from injury, as well. But all-terrain champion and Best Athlete In All Human History Vos is simply hors categorie. Allez you brilliant bad-!@#!

8. Peter Sagan. The face that launched 10,000 wheelies. Hey, forget his riding--this guy is making this broke-!@# sport *rolling* in dough!

9. It's super nice to see Alberto Contador doing so much to mentor the next generation of cyclists. Especially when he could just be kickin' back with a beer and playing with his dog all day instead for the rest of his life! Um...you sure you don't want to reconsider a comeback Alberto?

10. Alejandro Valverde in World Champion stripes. Because at least we're not all yammerin' about Froome this instant, amirite?

11. Floyd Landis. Sure, I've maybe said a few things here'n'there about Floyd over the years--and wholly merited, I might add. But Floyd gets *giant* thanks in 2018 for taking his humongous whistleblower payout
and starting a bud-based cycling squad with it, right in the eye of ol' pal Lance "I Never Tested Positive" Armstrong, who, of course, is banned for life from doing a !@#damn thing in cycling more useful'n wiping dog poo off his own wheel after a mountain bike ride. Good onya, Landis--and we can't wait to try your new team's recovery drinks!

And a Few I'm Damn Well Not:

1. Mikel Landa screwed already, *again*. What the !@#$ing !@#$, Movistar?

2. La Cour--What the !@#$, it was the single most exciting day at the *men's* Tour de France last year and now you're not only not expanding it, but making it some boring-!@# circuit crit, to boot? !@#$ you ASO!

3. Seriously, Spain and Italy--not a *single* Grand Tour victory this year? What are you, France? Now get back training and fix this ridiculousness for 2019!

Well folks, them's mine, and that's not even half the bitchin' stuff I could think of (or complain about). So let's raise a drumstick, pour some wine, and give a toast to Thanksgiving 2018!