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The Warsaw Pact Pop-Up Conspiracy

– Hey Drew, why don’t we sell this tape on this site?

Deda flouro

– Last week I asked for advice about the paint scheme of my now-built-but-unpainted David Kirk steel road frame. At the time I was trending toward a traditional Italian tricolore with a splash of yellow. Several of you created a virtual moodboard and I’m grateful for the awesome material you sent. Thank you. Two updates:

(1) In case you didn’t catch it, Dave Kirk himself provided a crucial point of clarification. He had nothing to do with Serotta’s production of bikes for 7-Eleven. Instead he was involved with what may be the most underrated team in the history of American PRO cycling, Coors Light. Scour the web for photos of those bikes and one thing becomes abundantly clear: Fluoro has always been in fashion.

(2) I promised a $50 Competitive Cyclist gift card for the best reader contribution to my virtual moodboard. The winner is Carson Stanwood, who warned that Italian colors + Yellow = Rasta. Thank you Carson for being far more visual than me, and for saving me from myself. Your advice combined with Dave’s history lesson means out with my original plan, and in with the only color bikes should ever be: Fluoro Yellow. If it’s too loud, you’re too old. Make that shit bright, Dave. Crazy-bright. And Carson, email Andrew at competitivecyclist dot com for your $50.

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– Some cycling culture updates: First, Team BMC’s time trial wizard Marco Pinotti wrote a book called “The Cycling Professor” and it’s been translated into English. It’s available as a Kindle download only. I plan on grabbing it and reviewing it soon. Given that it’s a translation and given that it’s written by someone who’d be an engineer if he wasn’t a PRO, chances are slim that it’ll be spellbinding. But in a sport of sketchy mofos, Pinotti has always been one of the good guys, so I’m eager to dig in.

Second, with Levi Leipheimer having seemingly vanished from the racing scene, it seems apropos to watch “The Levi Effect” before I eradicate him and his bummer-of-a-legacy from my mind forever. If I wait much longer, then I’ll never remember to do it.

As an aside, when I tried to download “The Levi Effect” to my iPad before a recent flight, I couldn’t rent or buy it from the Apple Store. Instead, it’s only available from Vimeo. Has anyone ever downloaded something from there? I didn’t even know it had a film-rental service. When I saw that the download was only valid for 72 hours (assuming that’s what “Viewing Period” means) versus the 30 days you get from Apple, I bailed.

Tour of Turkey

True dat


Bernard Hinault, 1985 Tour de France, Prologue, Plumelec

Mondrian Cake with Blue Bottle Coffee

– May is the month that reminds us that the Giro d’Italia is the greatest stage race in the world. The passion of the riders and the tifosi, the relentless beauty of Italy and perhaps because the Giro is early in the season combine to make it so much more compelling than le Tour. May is also the month — just like March and April — when we’re reminded of the absurdity of geo-restrictions of online race viewing. May I ask, who has the rights to the Giro and the Classics in the US? Who is offering Americans value through amazing commentary and crisp resolution and hours-upon-hours of coverage? Is there a rights-holder who obsesses over its viewership? I don’t think so.


So where do we end up? Pirated streams. Some kid in Eastern Europe is smart enough to pipe Eurosport’s glorious race coverage through his computer and is probably making a fortune-by-CPM-impressions by spiking the coverage with goofy-ass banner pop-up ads. The resolution sucks, the ads have a nasty habit of popping up just as the race-defining attacks are going down, but it’s still the best race coverage in America. How can this be happening?

Assuming that American networks won’t ever see value in our tiny clan of yearround bike race fans, our best hope to escape the Warsaw Pact Pop Up Conspiracy is to subvert geo-restrictions and tap right into the RAI’s live streaming coverage of the Giro or Sporza’s or RTBF’s or whomever’s. More than once I’ve tried to figure out how to mask my American IP address so I could slither past the geo-restrictions, but I’m not smart enough to figure out how.

And then I was introduced to, one of several VPN services. Is this the most beautiful thing you’ve ever read? — “TunnelBear creates a secure, encrypted connection between your computer, tablet or smartphone and a server in the host country you want to connect to. If your communications are intercepted before they reach the TunnelBear servers, they’ll just look like unreadable jargon. To the internet it will look like your signal originated in the host server country.”

Has anyone tried it or something similar? I’m ready to, and I welcome any and all tips for making it optimal. If it works I think I’d pay….anything….for it.

– I’ve discovered the 13 best photographs on the whole Internet. Dig it.