– We’ve brought this up once and again -- if there were any justice in the world, Team Columbia’s Michael Barry would’ve already won the Tour of Flanders and a passel of Tour de France stages. Alas, life is not just, and pro bike racing is exceptionally not so. But it was a fine week for Michael. He scored his first win in three years and we felt more pleasure in this than any other victory we can remember.
And, in a coincidental bonus, this week Barry penned what’s probably the most human thing written about Lance Armstrong’s comeback. Michael is a rider nearing the end of his career, and it’s no surprise that he’s sensitive to how ex-pros deal with the next stage of their lives. The thrust of Michael’s article is plain: Whether you’re a Lance hater or not, and whether you think he was a doper or not, he’s a guy who was no less in love with goal-setting and training as Christophe Bassons. For those of us who’ve spent years and years racing our bikes (whether a pro or a Cat 3), is it possible to just be a rider, not a racer? If not for the training, is riding a bike really a lifelong sport? Who hasn’t forced themselves through an interval session (or an entire year of racing) because they’re so scared of trying to answer that question?
– Many of you have asked how our construction project here is going. The good news: We’re right on schedule, and we’ll begin moving in sometime in late December. The new Competitive Cyclist HQ will be 25,000 square feet, and we’ll have one hell of a BBQ to celebrate the opening. Give us ’til late January to work out the kinks, and then please come by to visit. For those of you on a cross-country drive, we’re just 5 minutes south of I-40 once you get past downtown Little Rock.
– What do you make of this story? Perhaps our personal protest here is starting to gain a widespread following: Until Garmin-Chipotle wins a mass-start bike race in continental Europe, we refuse to spend a nickel at Chipotle. What if everyone in America followed our Burrito Bowl ban? How quickly would the team fire 2/3rds of its riders? Bradley freaking Wiggins? Are you serious? Does it amaze anyone else how Jonathan Vaughters is building a team of riders made in his image: Murderous in a time trial, but hopeless in a road race. DUDE you could’ve probably signed Tom Zirbel for like 20% of what you’re paying Wiggins. And Frank Yeean Chan is probably even cheaper. Check out how he crosses himself Italian-style at 3:19. Grab him before LPR does.
– Bike Snob NYC puts screed aside for a day and has intimations of mortality.
– And, speaking of terrific writers, we’re having a moment of silence today for David Foster Wallace. Suicide is always a bit idiotic. But his exit strategy won’t overshadow our affection for his book ‘A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again.’ The namesake essay is the most cutting, most hilarious dissection of American consumerism ever written. You’ll never laugh so much. If you went to college and tried to figure out adulthood in the 90’s -- we’re in that demographic here -- David Foster Wallace and Stephen Malkmus were/are the poets of our age. We’re bumming.
– Paging BKW. You’ve done like 5 posts in the last month. Please, pretty please write more. We miss your posts. No doubt you’re busy training for cyclocross season, but we need you.
– We’re not taking the bait: Presidential politics doesn’t move us. And we’re trying to take our informed indifference to a higher level for the ’08 election. We’ve decided we’re voting for the candidate whose bumper stickers are less frequent when we get buzzed by cars stickered with them. We’re keeping tabs. We’re seeing a trend. But the secret is ours.
– You might’ve seen that this week Bo Van Poppel won a stage of the Tour of Missouri . We can remember back to our teenage years when his dad Jean-Paul was kicking ass and taking names for Superconfex-Yoko. Those were the good ol’ days -- when we took 4 quarters to work every day, so we could buy a NY Times from the newspaper box down the street. That day’s sports section would have two-day old Tour de France results, and if we were lucky, a black-and-white photo. We cared so much back then. It’s nice to remember it.