Champs and chumps

July 24, 2016
We have clouds early, but it looks like another hot one in the Duke City. And in Paris, too? Stay tuned.

We have clouds early, but it looks like another hot one in the Duke City. And in Paris, too? Stay tuned.

The sun rises on the final day of the 2016 Tour de France. Yay, etc.

It wasn’t much of a Tour, from a GC point of view. Sky — for whatever reason — is just too damn strong. And while Zoom-Zoom Froome pulled a few new rabbits out of his hat early on, after a couple of frights he settled down into his usual act, and that, as they say, was that.

A couple of Frenchmen proved fun to watch — Romain Bardet (AG2R) and Julian Alaphillippe (Etixx-QuickStep) — and of course there was Peter Sagan (Tinkoff), who is a race unto himself.

But Fabio Aru (Astana) and Nairo Quintana (Movistar) failed to mount serious challenges. Quintana may have been suffering from allergies, while Aru may have been afflicted with too many Vincenzo Nibalis. Richie Porte (BMC) had that mishap early on, and Tejay van Garderen had the usual meltdown; if he’s gonna keep fading like a cheap paintjob he should really spare us the breezy pre-Tour chatter about how Sky might buckle under pressure and how Froome is beatable. Not by you he ain’t, Sparky.

Sprinters who weren’t named Mark Cavendish (Dimension Data) didn’t have much to celebrate this year, either. He won’t be banging bars on the Champs-Élysées this evening, and whoever wins the final stage will go home wondering whether things might have turned out differently if the Manxman had made it all the way to Paris.

Meanwhile, that other race — the one for the U.S. presidency — is a long way from the finish line, and I’m having trouble getting excited about pulling on my pistachio slingshot and fright wig, lighting a flare, and running alongside the field. Y’suppose we could ask the Badger to push ’em both off the stage?

 

Red moon rising

July 20, 2016

I’ve been striving mightily not to watch as the GOP continues eating itself alive — it will get around to its big orange asshole tomorrow — but Lord, is it ever a tough ol’ slog.

All my usual news feeds are awash in pomposity, prevarication and psychosis. Not even the Tour could cheer me up today, and I took little pleasure in being proved correct when I predicted early on that Tejay van Gardenhose would enjoy his usual jour sans. Even an old, blind dog can unearth a moldy Milk-Bone now and then.

Tonight’s speakers list is a veritable Murderers’ Row of mendacity: Koch-sucker Scott Walker, Marco 3P0, Texas Ted Cruz the Gucci Shitkicker, veep-in-waiting Mike “Deadeyes” Tuppence, and Newt and Callista Gingrich, who probably have never starred in an adult movie titled “Mr. Toad Boinks a Robot,” no matter what you’ve heard about the uptick in porn consumption during the GOP confab in Cleveland, City of Light, City of Magic.

A red moon rising indeed. I think I’ll go crawl under my bed now.

Honky, please

July 19, 2016

OK, white people have been appropriating black culture since, like, forever, but this seems a little over the top.

If Michelle Obama were Big Mama Thornton, Melania Trump would be thinking twice about trying to snatch a sister’s purse.

You told me you was high class … but I could see through that.

Putting the rumors to bed

July 15, 2016
Turk denies coup reports. "I'm right here, just like always," he told our reporter. "When's dinner?"

Turk denies coup reports. “I’m right here, just like always,” he told our reporter. “When’s dinner?”

Ventouxstep

July 14, 2016
Froomey, this is not cyclocross. This is the Tour. There are rules.

Froomey, this is not cyclocross. This is the Tour. There are rules.

Well, you can’t say this has been a dull Tour de France. Not when the maillot jaune is legging it up Ventoux in road cleats before being awarded a tiny yellow bike by Mavic neutral support.

There should be plenty to talk about (for a change) during tomorrow’s 37.5km individual time trial from Bourg-Saint-Andéol to La Caverne du Pont-d’Arc. I wouldn’t expect a lot of “There goes another rider. And another one. Aaannnnnd another one.”

Unfortunately, at least some of the chatter will be about what at the moment appears to be a terrorist attack in Nice. The evildoers don’t need box cutters and hijacked airliners any more. It seems a truck will do.

Smoke ’em if you got ’em

July 12, 2016

 

Yes, I shot it through the windshield. No cyclists were harmed in the making of this image,

Yes, I shot it through the windshield. No cyclists were harmed in the making of this image,

“Do not scorn day trips. You can use them to avoid nervous collapse.” — Jim Harrison, “Going Places”

We had a rest day in Le Tour on Monday, and Tuesday’s stage looked like a snoozer, so I abruptly decided to get the hell out of the scorching Duke City for a short road trip, the idea being to scout out a post-Interbike tour.

Mister Boo requires a bit of oversight, and I don’t like to impose on the neighbors, who have other things to do besides baby-sit a geriatric dog, so I wanted to keep my excursion short and sweet. Salida, I thought. Good cycling town, serviceable eats, haven’t visited in a while, not too far away.

Naturally, as soon as I pulled the trigger on the hotel room, the Hayden Pass fire erupted.

I will never be smart.

The sausage is made

July 7, 2016

fatso-WTF-2God damn. Another long shift in the barrel, including three-plus hours of Live Update Guy, one “Shop Talk” cartoon, and one “Mad Dog Unleashed” column.

Still, some people had worse days.

• The House GOP managed to fall into a barrel of tits and come out sucking its thumb.

• Der Trumpenführer invaded Washington and it went over about as well as the Russian thing did for that other guy.

• Roger Ailes seems badly in need of a lock on his zipper (the filthy old shitbag may find that it’s better to keep rubbing his little weenie all over the news business than trying to stick it into actual, you know, like, women, an’ stuff).

• Albuquerque seems to be a giant open-air, free-range prison populated entirely by killers, thieves, firebugs, rapists and burglars.

• And don’t get me started on cops killing people just because they can.

The troll of Tramway

July 6, 2016
"Who's that tripping over my bridge?" roared the troll.

“Who’s that tripping over my bridge?” roared the troll.

If you can’t stand the heat, get under the overpass.

The Tour stages cut deeply into the cool morning hours, so we Live Update Guys can’t get out and about until 10-ish most days.

Today it was already 80-something when I finally got rolling, and 90-something when I got home. Drank two bottles and snarfed down a gel but found myself slightly weary for some reason. Go figure.

The only shade to be found on the entire two-hour ride was underneath Tramway, between Manitoba and Spain, so I took a brief photography break before resuming my climb back to the air-conditioned barn.

When I arrived home I saw that Ronald McDonald McTrump was panhandling his Twitter followers, so I graciously offered him the steam off my piss. Haven’t heard back yet. There’s just no pleasing some people.

Self-funded campaign, me arse.

Self-funded campaign, me arse.

Wreck on the highway

July 2, 2016
Say hi to Sam Hillborne.

Say hi to Sam Hillborne.

The first day of what appears to be a very long Tour de France is in the bag. Thanks to everyone who joined us at Live Update Guy. And chapeau to Mark Cavendish, who avoided a last-kilometer pileup — one of several on the day — to win the stage and take his first yellow jersey.

Too, a special “ow, wow, yow, zow” goes out to everyone who hit the deck on Stage 1. The body count would seem to include — well, just about everyone except for Cav’, me and Charles Pelkey (office furniture and road furniture rarely become entangled).

Alberto Contador in particular looked like he’d been attacked by a deranged chef with an assault cheese grater. One wonders whether he’ll have to be strapped onto his bike, El Cid-style, in order to start Sunday’s stage.

I wasn’t strapped to a damn thing when I rolled out for my own ride, aboard a brand-spankin’-new Rivendell Sam Hillborne (see pic above). No clipless pedals on that bad boy, not even toeclips and straps — just flats. So I rode in street shoes, baggies, an emblem-free Pearl Izumi jersey and a Rivendell cap unencumbered by helmet, just to make the Safety Nazis crazy. Took ‘er out on the highway, too.

I wish I could change this sad story that I am now telling you. But there is no way I can change it. For somebody’s ride is now through.

Vuelta a Voodoo

July 1, 2016
No, this isn't deep in the Amazonian jungle. This is Trail 341, just west of the non-bikeable wilderness.

No, this isn’t deep in the Amazonian jungle. This is Trail 341, just west of the non-bikeable wilderness.

The first ride of July is in the bag — 90 minutes on the trails surrounding the Elena Gallegos Open Space — and now I will shun the singletrack until the Fourth of July weekend is over. From now until Tuesday morning the trails will look like the aisles at Interbike on day one.

I was rocking the old Voodoo Nakisi with slightly overinflated tires to avoid pinch flats and rolls (I really need wider rims) and despite my best efforts managed to (a) keep the rubber side down, and (2) avoid centerpunching a small flock of early-bird weekenders.

Tomorrow Counselor Pelkey and I commence coverage of Le Tour over to Live Update Guy. We struggled mightily with the notion of cranking up the NRRBBB® Machine again — frankly, I was advocating a LUG-free July — but in the end we decided to bite that big yellow bullet and see if it blows our heads off. See you there.


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