Sunday, April 8, 2007

Cycling: Paris - Roubaix and Why I Am Not Allowed to Ride

I love watching cycling. Though it's a fringe sport, it is not so weird in Austin, home of Lance and unofficial home of the best US pro team: Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team.

Our favorite one-day Classic is next Sunday. You can catch Paris - Roubaix (aka "The Hell of the North") on VS. It is 260 km over at least 21 separate sections of cobblestones.

Quotes about the race:

"The best I could do would be to describe it like this - they plowed a dirt road, flew over it with a helicopter, and then just dropped a bunch of rocks out of the helicopter! That’s Paris-Roubaix. It’s that bad - it’s ridiculous." - Chris Horner [1].
Bernard Hinault upon winning in 1981: "Paris-Roubaix est une connerie" translating to "Paris-Roubaix is bullshit."
I suffered an ignominious end to my recreational riding - a bad crash and broken arm on the Veloway. It was too early in my riding to bounce back.

In the Spring, I take the bike back out to relearn how to ride without killing myself. Before Summer rolls in, it goes back into the library with A's training and racing bikes and my cycleops trainer.

My clients, friends, and family beg me to leave the bike on the trainer and ride only indoors. I owe it to them, really. I am too skittish and easily distracted. My leg strength always outpaces my steering.

My crash came at an inauspicious time. I was negotiating a deal with a NY rap label and preparing for the most important meeting for what was then my day job -- convincing the president and all his vps that acquiring a multi-million dollar art collection was absolutely essential to our future.

The art meeting was amusing: my vp (who was my boss's boss's boss's boss) had to drive me there and slip a jacket over my swollen, broken, unbending arms, as I sat in the meeting making the only gesture of which I was then capable (spreading my arms several inches from "here" to "here"). After that gesture, the president decreed that all of his employees were banned from cycling.

Listen: Queen, Bicycle Race.
Buy: Queen, Greatest Hits.

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