Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Spin Class Hero

I see you back there. You are bouncing up and down on the saddle as if it were some strange contraption you purchased from Adam & Eve dot com. You are not sweating. Your breathing is not labored. I'm not really sure what you are doing back there but I'm fairly certain you can find a better way to spend your time than simply keeping that seat warm. There is a resistance knob within your reach. Give it a turn or seven. It will be fun, I promise. If you are not in class to sweat your arse off then you should at least be ringing a cow bell and screaming my name.

Yeah, I'm that guy. I'm in the front row wearing a full team kit. Why? Well thank you for asking. I wear my team kit because I don't have a skin suit yet. As soon as that arrives in the mail I will be the fastest guy in the front row. If you think that spin class is not a competition then you may not have lived a single day in your life. I don't come to class for you. I come to class for the guy who sees me in my skin suit with an aero helmet and shoe covers and secretly wishes he had thought of that. It could be argued that one can not gain any aerodynamic advantage by wearing such clothing while riding a stationary bicycle. Consider it noted.

My main weapon against my spin class rivals is intimidation. When my classmates arrive they take one look at me in my pro level kit and know they are racing for second. The front row is for champions. That is where are all the guys with shaved legs ride. We secretly check each other out and evaluate how hard the others are working. Don't kid yourself front row riders. You know it to be true. Oh, you added one turn on the resistance knob....well sod off suckball. I added two. I'll grind it out in a huge gear until my heart explodes if it means that just for one second you question which one of us is faster outside this room. I will leave this room drenched in sweat with cramps in both legs and my eyes falling back into my skull for no other reason than to plant the seed of doubt.

Rest easy for now fellow spin freaks, but be warned. When you get to class tonight I'll have your name taped to my stem.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

The IOC Hates Taylor Phinney

One could argue that there was a time not long ago when the IOC was travelling down the right path. One could also argue against that of course as the IOC gets picked apart on a regular basis by weekend warriors and truly educated pundits alike. Such is life. Like it or not we need the IOC. I simply won't be sending a Christmas card to them this year.

For those who follow the fascinating world of international cycle sport there is no greater puzzle right now than the question of why the IOC decided to spit directly on track cycling. In an effort to equalize the level of events between men and women the IOC has decided to eliminate the 4000m individual pursuit and replace it with the Omnium. They could have replaced it with a three legged sack race and not created any greater level of controversy. If you eliminate the world series you are still left with an ample amount of baseball but the anchor is gone. In the next olympic games there are many who will be left wanting.

The 4000m individual pursuit is beautiful. For those who have not seen it first hand there are countless videos on youtube showcasing the agony that is the individual pursuit. In a bit less than four and half minutes cycling gods have been created. As long as there have been velodromes there have been pursuiters. I certainly have my favorites but given that we have two more years to complain about the changes to the olympic track program I'll save my overview of track history for a later time.

Our generation has been given a gift in the form of Taylor Phinney who is the most exciting thing to happen to track cycling in the United States in 20 years. We are well behind the European nations on the track but you can chalk that up to the fact that across our vast expanse of land we have but 23 velodromes. Taylor Phinney has risen above this small problem by choosing his parents wisely. Good breeding has proven to go quite far in his case. He may not get to chase a gold medal in London in 2012 but you can bet I will be cheering for him at the World Championships next year. Will we see a repeat of his 2009 performance? There is always hope.

I do still love the olympics. This carnival of sport brings a collection of hungry young athletes together to compete on a global stage in search of that elusive gold. It may not represent the best of professional competition but there is something magical about it. It is sport. It is spectacle. It is celebration. And since it only happens every four years we have plenty of time to look upon it through rose colored glasses.