Thursday, 21 October 2010

stout's sartorial suggestions

well folks, something needed to be said and although i am normally known for my retiring nature and meek disposition i have decided to speak out. whilst i wouldn't go as far as to label myself a "king of style" i do like to think of myself as slightly innovative in the field of cycling garmentry. perhaps some kind of sartorial archduke, the Framz-Ferdinand of fashion. in cycling fashion, as in all things, you cant go far wrong if you apply Wham lyrics as guiding moral principles so: "if you're gonna do it, do it right".

i thought i would begin with some guiding principles:
1) always wear less on the bottom half of your body than the top. legwarmers and short sleeves is a no-no. Furthermore work from the periphery to the core; armwamrers come before the gilet (not vest people GILET) then come kneewarmers (at this point AND NOT BEFORE) you may wear long gloves, then come legwarmers. Jersey wise, if you think it's funny, it's not it's freldy. if the team is still racing and you aren't on the team, don't wear it. if lance was on the team (it's nothing personal) don't wear it. Stick to club kits, block colours and pro teams over a decade old. the one pro jersey which is still ubr cool is the Mapei one, it says "i was into this before you, hell i was into this before lance Armstrong was riding a tricycle and when Greg lemonds mother was the only one who had to put up with his moaning"

2) helmets - they should be white or team colours. they should be worn when you don't have control over where or with whom you're riding. Peaked lids are absolutely never acceptable on the tarmac, ever. training in an aero helmet is also verboten.

3) bikes - matchy matchy is good but a few rules apply: coloured tyres are garish and nasty, maybe a bit of sidewall style but nothing more please. saddle bags should fit neatly under the saddle, you aren't a camel don't pack like one. Bottles: bring two, they should match, large bottles are not stylish but in a pinch you can bring one, put it on your downtube cage. need more than 2 cages? drink less. bar tape; garish colours ar e not okay unless you're olympic champion stick with white, white with flair stripes or very occasionally blue/red on the right bike. big, cushiony bar tapes are like big cushiony saddles; leave them for your grandpa.

2)accessorize! this is where you take style and make it your own. you can also make riding at this time of year a lot more comfortable this way. taking it from top to toe start with a quality casquette, when training alone favour the cap (if the roads are safe blah blah blah) and in particular the walz cap - with earflaps if it's wet or cold. If it's below 15 celsius (60 'murican degrees cos everything is bigger in America) you shouldn't let your knees or throat go uncovered so break out the buff, i don't mean get naked i mean get one of those tube scarves. they taught us the 15 degree rule in Spain; that's why Bert always sports the buff in the training pictures, giving away all the secrets now, aren't i?

armwarmers should either be white, black or matching your kit. gloves can be long or short fingered, again white, black or matching. i do like the "lobster" style gloves for when it gets below freezing. i'm also not averse to silk undergloves (and socks) for the cold weather riding.

sunglasses; here's the deal, they should either match or clash horribly with your kit/ helmet. the arms go OVER the helmet straps and if it's foggy out i'm a BIG fan of the orange lenses, they make you feel better than amphetamine, i can say that with 0.00000000005% certainty (which as we know is enough to condemn a man so it should be plenty enough to buy some shades)

and finally,socks. my hosier of choice is the sock guy, they give you a chance to express your personality without the need to wear a stupid primal jersey that fits like a parachute and breathes like an asthmatic pensioner. generally socks should be light in colour and team colours/ white. black on the road is a no. the same goes for shoes, white, light colours and NEVER black on the tarmac.

and now the final rule; you'll notice i pretty much flaunt many of the above and here's why: you can break the rules but only if you know you're breaking them. think of me like the velo Vivienne Westwood.

Thursday, 7 October 2010

The fredator, the 9 fingered man and other tales from the velodrome

Well I'm on a plane again, so im writing a blog again. I'm off to Texas for a ride and some doctor visits as well as a press conference and a school visit. Yep, they have schools in Texas, this should be an interesting visit. Right now I'm pretty much resting. Ride my bikes because its fun, not because I have to train. If we're following the lego training analogy (forgot about that didn't you) this is the cup of tea and chocolate digestive which you drink with your mum after you've built your lego castle. I haven't been overindulging in the tea and biscuits but the ale and burrito portion of my diet has increased in proportion to the oat and electrolyte drink portion.

I flew from LAX on Thursday, just two days after closing out my bicycle racing season with the last night of Tuesday night racing at the San Diego Velodrome. Our velodrome is without doubt the coolest place IN THE WORLD to be on a Tuesday night. They say you can only have so much fun with your trousers on but this place pushes the limits of the amount of enjoyment you can achieve in a skinsuit.

Tuesday seemed to be the peak of what has been a really fun track season. We raced a points race and a scratch in which I distinguished myself only by a third place in a points sprint and a particularly poor time on the front: beer primes won ratio. Then we engaged in some novelty events, I match sprinted my good friend Mike Morton. Given that my pancreas doesn't work and Mike is one digit short, we figured it was a fair match. I decided the only way to go was to make it a kilo effort, mike has easily 50lbs and about 200w at max on me so I wasn't going to leave it late. I geared up for the sprint and this was perhaps a mistake, I got the 92 inch gear moving alright but mike got on me and then came around for the win, albeit not by a large distance. Bollocks.

On the plus side Mike's wife Kirsten furnished me with a delicious bowl of butternut squash soup and two very fine cookies. Somehow mike comes back every year lighter and faster. If I got food like that every day, my motivation to ride would be quoshed by the opportunity to stay at home and eat!

My next match sprint was something of a battle of Britain. My friend (and multiple Olympian/ world champ) Sean Wallace decided to throw down the gauntlet, this surprised me slightly given that he's a fair bit better than me. Then he turned up on the rail on a beach cruiser. I figured he wouldn't start if he didn't think he could win and we cut it pretty close, I could hear him on my wheel changing gear (yep, the beach cruiser had gears) so I kept jumping to make him close the gap. Sean's known for his timing and he wins just about every race by a wheel or even less but he nearly always wins. I backed it off a bit and sean made his move out of turn 4, I picked it up just enough to edge him out on the throw, ending my season on a (somewhat childish) victory. There was also some sartorial flair on display, yep for one night only I was superfred.

What makes racing on a Tuesday night special isn't the winning or the prizes it's the people. Its not that often I get to enter a race where everyone drinks beer and eats pizza together afterwards (how many cyclists drink beer and eat pizza full stop?). it's pretty rare that I split a beer hand up with a dude who just beat me in a sprint on our warm down lap! By the end of the evening results are totally insignificant, your legs hurt and you had great fun and that is important. Racing costs 5 bucks and has precisely bugger all to do with the USCF, you can't win money, qualify for nationals or get upgrade points. Despite having had the privilege to race with Olympians and world champions this season I remain a cat 5 on the track in the eyes of the USCF and I don't think I'll be upgrading any time soon, they wouldn't let me do a monkey bike Madison at ADT

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

in the absence of my witty prose

you can listen to my little voice whispering in your ear