Synapses That Fire Together, Wire Together
- We’re all Lance experts now. But if you flip back to earlier pages of American elite cycling folklore, you’ll find the story where Eddy B, in his broken English, told his riders, ‘Horses are fast, yes? Then you should eat horsemeat.’
- As much as I may try otherwise, I can drum up zero excitement for the annual January blitz of sun-soaked Australian racing. Perhaps shifting from mud-clogged Belgian CX winter to the high heat of Down Under summer is too disjointed. Perhaps it’s that top form is never more useless than in January. Perhaps it’s that no winner of the Australian National Road Championships has ever had a full year worth of consequential results (though I give major props to Simon Gerrans’ shocker at Milan-San Remo in 2012.) The Tour of Utah literally goes past my backyard, which means I love it desperately. Yet my feelings about Australia confirm a larger sad truth about non-Euro road racing. None of it matters, not even when a zillion fans line non-Euro streets to make it appear to mean something. It doesn’t. Sorry Australia. Sorry Tours of California, Colorado, and Utah. Europe is Europe is Europe and nothing else matters. It isn’t a value judgment. It’s a state of mind.
- Around here, anyway, winter is far from over. In lieu of piling on big early-season miles, we’re piling heart and soul into two still-pre-early-season projects.
The first is finalizing the re-launch of Merlin. We’ve built prototypes and they’re testing out well. So v2.0 of the brand will make its official debut at NAHBS next month. As promised, it’s titanium. As promised, it’s American made. You’ll see a new rendition of the best race bike the brand ever made, the Extralight. Along with it will be the all-new XLM 29′ hardtail,.
In our hands, Merlin will be the bike equivalent of the slow food movement — we won’t make many, and we’ll be taking our time. But if we sell the numbers we’re planning, it’ll give us the pocket change we need to fire up the most lustworthy project of them all: The resurrection of the Newsboy. This is fun. I see why people move to Portland.
Our other labor of love has been the sweet science of wintertime, skate skiing. It’s such a technique-driven sport that nothing would’ve been easier than to quit after the first few maddening weeks. One person called it ballroom dancing meets yoga. Someone else likened it to racing bikes while doing pushups. A friend encouraged me to stick with it. ‘Synapses that fire together, wire together,’ he said. It’s become an obsession that traces the way in which I first fell in love with racing bikes 25 years ago. As an athlete, I’m now hooked. And as a businessman I’m seriously contemplating building out an entire Nordic ski section of Competitive Cyclist because nothing on earth so complements the bike racing life.
Ask Katusha hardman Alexander Kolobnev. (Yes, that’s classic and not skate, but whatever.)
Ask Tad Elliot in the wintertime. Then ask him again in the summer.