Saturday, March 14, 2009

Spring Classic

***This post must be read with the accent and inflections of Phil Liggett, Paul Sherwin, and Bob Roll***

Phil: In some parts of the world, the first signs of spring lead to thoughts of baseball, or cricket, or flying a kite in Hyde Park with the children. But not so for the hard men of the professional cycling peloton. Spring means hard weather and hard racing on even harder courses. These masters of the pave hurl their bodies into the breach and very often find out that Mother Nature is a hard mistress indeed. Cold temperatures, mud, water, and impossibly slippery and rough roads are the essence of the spring classics. And Mother Nature turns to glance over her shoulder as if to say, "are you coming or not?" And the answer is, "not."

Paul: Well indeed, Phil. As a fomer professional cyclist and member of that peloton I can tell you that back in the day, the thing that made cyclists like Eddy Merckx and Bernard Hinault so fearsom within the peloton was their ability to race all styles of races, not only the Grand Tours, but these Spring Classics as well. They're names, the Badger and the Cannibal, were not mere idle talk. They were earned here on the cold, hard pave before the flowers bloomed. Bob?

Bob: **huh huh** Lance is Awesome.

Phil: Yes, indeed, Bob. Lance is Awesome, and I'm sure that if he were here, he would be loving this cold and wet weather and dominating the field. But Lance has chosen not to race today, in order to let some of the other riders have a chance. Tell me Paul, how would you describe the conditions and how does it feel to ride a bike out in weather like this.

Paul: Well, Phil, the temprature is one thing, but the wind and the damp make it feel ever so much colder. This morning in Galveston, the hard riding age groupers of Houston Racing Triathlon club were tuning up their machines for a cold, wet, and windy ride along the coast. They have been heard to say, "there's no such thing as bad weather, only inadequate equipment." So, toe warmers, hats, gloves, tights and jackets were common currency of the day. And yet, there is only so much warmth one can purchase with one's equipment. By the time one reaches the finishing line, the extremeties are numb, and it is only one's zeal that keeps one going. Bob?

Bob: **huh huh** (hands gesticulating wildly) Lance is AWESOME.

Phil: Yes, indeed, Bob. Lance truly is awesome. Was Lance at the training ride this morning Paul?

Paul: No, Phil. Notwithstanding his awesomeness, Lance was not there. And its a good thing too. The wind this morning was cold and fearsome, cutting directly across the course that runs along the ocean. The effect of all this is that one feels as if one is riding into a headwind all day long, both ways on an out and back course. And since these are American triathletes, they do not draft. It is a point of honor not to take aid from domestiques or from . . . uhm . . . physicians . . . er . . . Italian obstetricians . . . who happen to train lots and lots of cyclists.

Bob: But the Awesomness, it was like . . . (WAVING HANDS) . . . LANCE . . . it was . . . . **hyperventilating**. . . A-W-E-S-O-M-E

Phil: There there, Bob. So, who was you pick to win today's stage, Paul?

Paul: Well, really, Phil, the whole point is that whomever shows up on a day like this, early in the spring, in adverse conditions, and puts the time in is a winner, in a sense. They're all putting deposits in the bank on which they can with call later in the year.

Phil: Well, I quite agree, Paul. But I'm going to pick Robbie McEwen to win the bunch sprint at the end. And you, Bob?

Bob: Lance. 'Cause he's **whispering** awesome.

Phil: But I thought we already established that Lance is not here.

Bob: Are you saying Robbie McEwen in absentia is better than Lance in absentia?

Phil: I would never say such a thing, becasue if I don't kiss the Patron's ring, I won't get any more interview time. But, it's a flat course and a sprinter's finish so--

Bob: Get thee behind me, Satan. Lance. He's awesome.


Alili said...

This. is. awesome. :)

CoachLiz said...

I'm just glad we finished before it started pouring. I found a hot cup of coffee and a steaming bowl of gumbo in short order to begin the thawing process.