There’s been a lot of talk lately about young riders, their financial struggles to attain greatness in our sport, and their commitment to “the life” as full-time cyclists.
These days, it seems my lot in life is to act as a foil to those characters — I have made myself the Hyde to so many youthful Jekylls.
Truthfully, I’m tempted to write a serious, thoughtful editorial about up-and-coming young cyclists and provide some perspective of my own on the matter, as I am only twenty-five years old myself. However, each time I try to take a serious tone online, I receive countless complaints that my blog has become boring; in contrast, whenever I write posts that I personally find inane, ridiculous, cruel to Max Jenkins, or otherwise worthless, I receive nothing but positive reviews.
In the timeless words of now-Euro-Pro Ryan Parnes, “Dance for me, monkey! DANCE!”
And so, I will give you all what you want: entertainment.
(Photos courtesy of Cal Cycling’s Facebook page)
That’s right, this weekend marked the return of Big Pink, my collegiate cycling alter ego — this time, wet, see-through, and totally animated for your viewing pleasure.
But first, let’s talk about Saturday’s CCCX circuit race, where I was irreverently trounced by the new Marc Pro – Strava team.
Frank Spiteri, the eventual winner of the event, has written a factually semi-accurate account of the race on his team’s website, so I’ll try not to become redundant here. Frankly, I hate factually accurate reports. However, since he’s already written it, I’ll reproduce the relevant, abridged* excerpt of Frank’s report here:
Attacks started pretty early and didn’t stop until Art got away somewhere on the first lap. Keith soon bridged up while I sat in the peloton, content with having two teammates in the 7-man breakaway. Finally, I [bridged to] the break; just as we got the card for two laps to go.
Soon after I rolled onto the back, I was greeted by Rand Miller (Webcor/Alto Velo) who said, “Come on, let’s go. I know if you just rode across to us you can ride off again. Let’s go.” I responded with the first thing that came to mind, “That would just insulting if I just rode across that gap and then win the race.” The next two laps were spent with Art and Keith attacking and counter-attacking, and the three of us getting heckled by Rand (which seriously makes bike racing WAY more fun.)Between his on-the-bike comments and his blogging, the guy has some serious creative skills.
It’s funny, Spiteri was kind enough not to mention the content of my most vocal hecklage, which came with 1.5 laps remaining as we crested the final hill on the rolling course.
“So, it’s awesome you guys got all three teammates in the break, but here’s my question: who the hell are you gonna lead out?” I scoffed, jokingly of course. “I mean, I know not a single one of you can sprint worth a damn!”
And thus, even though I weaseled my way into perfect position, third wheel coming around the final sweeping turn to the line, on the wheel of Spiteri…
(Photo credit: Tim Westmore Photography)
…I was slaughtered by Frank in the sprint, and then passed in the final two feet by his teamate Keith Hillier.
If that isn’t karmic payback, I don’t know what is. I guess Karma didn’t realize I was being sarcastic; of course I knew Spiteri could sprint. Hillier? OK, I misunderestimated that guy.
Now, I’m a fierce competitor, and I also have no physical talent, so I have to research my competitors in order to figure out how to beat them intellectually. Now that Frank Spiteri has become a legitimate threat, I acquainted myself with him via the signature at the end of his race report:
“…there is simply no better feeling than being on two wheels.” Well…he may be faster than me, but he’s obviously never even kissed a girl. Winning a P/1/2 race must take a lot of sacrifices.
Me? I’d rather share some recovery beverages with my recovery partner in preparation for the following day’s race.
On Sunday morning, I headed over the Bay Bridge for the UC Berkeley collegiate crit, a ridiculous affair involving a 0.3 mile, technical, hilly course just off the southern border of the Berkeley campus. In spite of what you might be led to believe by my recent return (relapse?) to collegiate cycling as a graduate student, I generally don’t miss the small fields and strange tactics of this branch of bike racing; however, I still have dreams about this particular criterium course. It’s short, it’s a constant barrage of tight, pothole-filled corners, there are spectators everywhere, and it always hurts — it’s a crit racer’s dream come true.
When combined with the possibility of wearing an XS, female-cut, bright pink jersey in front of countless coeds…well, I’m sold.
So I attacked from the gun. In the end, Sam Bassetti (UC Davis/HDR Lombardi), Jordan Kestler (Cal) and I lapped the field about fifteen minutes into the race. I lost the finishing sprint to Bassetti, which should not be that surprising — after all, he’s a damn good P/1/2 sprinter, and I presently couldn’t win a two-up sprint against James Mattis’ left leg.
Now, the point of this story is not to tell you about the race so much as it is to tell you that Big Pink has made his way onto Velonews.com.
I’m willing to wager I’m the slowest cyclist ever to be published in Velonews wearing a pink jersey. Let’s just hope I can avoid Di Luca’s fate.