Archives for category: Thoughts from the Saddle

To all you fucking idiots who suddenly think Skratch Labs products are the coolest thing in cycling, remember every time you buy their shit, you’re making Allen Lim a wealthier man.

If you don’t know who Lim is…he’s a fucking LIAR who was highly involved with some of the biggest dopers in cycling history.



Get Division I football off of college campuses immediately. It is not an amateur sport. The vast majority of athletes have ZERO interest in being student-athletes.

The NFL needs to fund its own developmental league. Look at European soccer. Do top-notch European universities have paid athletes? No, they don’t.

And then, there is this:

“… there’s actually a kind of hierarchy among the top-tier football programs.  According to Jeff Benedict and Armen Keteyian, authors of The System: The Glory and Scandal of Big-Time College Football (2013), figures from the 2010-11 academic year show that only 22 of the 120 top-tier football programs broke even or made a profit.  That means that while these big-time teams generate millions of dollars of revenue, the cost of running such programs usually exceeds that revenue.  To put that more starkly, even within the so-called top tier, 82% of college football teams actually take away money from the university’s budget, rather than generate net revenue.” Ethos’ Ben Mangrum

Guess why? I got a new, full-time job! Yep, it’s a great job, love the work, get to commute by bicycle on a dedicated bike path, enjoy my co-workers, have a great big office, the hours are flexible, the manager is helpful and hands-off, and the day flies right on by again and again.

Aside from all of this, I think I’ll be very skilled at the job. And, being very skilled means I’ll be quite financially successful.

At this time I’d like to give a hearty double Fuck You to all the people who wouldn’t even review my resume for jobs I applied to in the past. I had my fingers crossed that I’d get hired to teach bratty little asshole kids and get paid fucking garbage.

Now I’m going to make a great living, I don’t have to deal with assholes, and I can come and go as I please.

Yep, life is suddenly 1,000,000 times better than it used to be just a few weeks ago.

2014 Tour de France – Etape 5

Ypres to Arenberg Porte du Hainaut

Winner: Lars Boom

Have you ever wished they’d fit Paris-Roubaix into the middle of a Grand Tour? Well, today’s stage provided that. In the wind and the rain, the race was blasted apart over the cobbles. Even though the organizers removed two secteurs, the race was still a battle with the road and the elements. Defending champion Chris Froome crashed twice and slumped into the team car before he even made it to the cobbles.

Crashes galore, including one by Kittel, meant the racers were fighting just to keep the rubber side down. A fast pace was set in order to get onto the cobbles at the point end and avoid the crashes. Despite the conditions, the stage was completed in an utterly astounding 47 kilometers per hour. If this doesn’t mean much to you, see if you can get up to this speed on a flat road. Then see how long you can hold it. PROs exist in their own realm of awesomeness. Yet again, I have a new level of respect for the Skinny Men in Lycra. Fuck, that is fast.

Nibali flew across the cobbles like a man possessed, giving a big Fuck You sign to the 500-1 odds bookmakers placed on his win.

An incredible display of timing and power saw Lars Boom, the Dutch hardman with oh…a cyclocross World Championship on his palmares denied Nibali the win, but he finished only nineteen seconds back, putting huge time into his rivals Valverde and Contador. He was led home by the Danish do-it-all’er Jakob Fuglsang.

What a display! We know Nibali can fly down mountains, now we know he can fly over the pave du Norde. Fantastic!

Just when you thought fixsters had the market cornered on the Form Over Function market, road cyclists elbowed their way into the fight.

Behold, the Giro Empire cycling shoe:

Giro Factor shoes


I can see the nostalgia for classic cycling shoes. Oh wait, no I can’t. Just like I can’t see the nostalgia for say, wooden rims, no derailleurs, and natural chamois sewn in wool shorts.

Pony up your good money for shoes that require you to tuck the laces into…the rest of your laces, just like you did when you were ten and cutting them shorter didn’t cross your mind.

Do you know why none of the PROs (aside from MiniPhinney and I bet he’s getting a lot o’ cash money to wear them) wear them? Imagine dropping back to the team car and your Director Sportif asks what for…and you have to tell him you need to tie your shoes?

Or, imagine you are out in -5*C weather and you decide you shoes are a bit too tight? Have fun sitting in the bank of snow, pulling off your overshoes and readjusting the lacing tension.

Or better yet, imagine calling the significant other to pick you up 65 kms from home and telling her you need a ride…to the dentist. Did you crash? Yes. Did you hit some ice? A crack in the pavement that grabbed your front wheel? Nah, my shoelaces got caught on my chain ring and pulled me off the bike and face first into the pavement. Oh, I see. Was it those expensive, neon new shoes you told me you had to have? Yeah.

These look pretty cool and I’m all for sharp fashion while in the saddle. But, these make absolutely no sense when numerous vendors sell fancy road shoes affixed to your foot with Velcro straps or straps with buckles or a Boa “lacing” system.

I have yet to see these shoes in person. I hope they continue to live only in the fantasy world of cycling photo blogs.


Amongst the numerous attributes possessed by many fellow academics which displease me (a shocking lack of social skills, for example), I think what frustrates me the most is just how stupid most of you are, outside your narrow discipline. The unwashed masses, well, what can be done about them? They’re supposed to be vile. Yet, after spending over twenty years acquiring an education, many academics are downright selfish, inconsiderate, and careless. How can you be this stupid after all those years of supposedly spending time expanding your mental powers?

For example, I live in between the two campuses of Duke University, the “Harvard of the South.” I’m surrounded by faculty members and graduate students from the university. One of them lives directly across the street from me. I have never, ever seen him leave his house or exit his automobile without his phone pressed to his ear. This distraction causes him to miss the little things – he checks to make sure his car is locked numerous times because he isn’t paying attention to what he’s doing when he just, seconds ago, locked his door. He also misses the big things. Despite an email to the neighborhood listserve, notes left on his automobile, and pounding on his front door, he managed to be completely unaware that an enormous, hundred-year-old tree in our front yard was due to be removed. His car just sat their, forcing the treemen to waste time navigating their tools and machinery around his go-kart of a car.

Aside from taking an inordinate amount of time to exit his car, since beyond the locking conundrum he only has one hand with which to lead his life, what truly pisses me off is that he ignores all the safety issues involved in distracted driving. He’s been in school for twenty years and he thinks it’s acceptable to drive around at all times with the use of a single hand? If this educated person is such a self-centered, worthless fucking jerk, what hope is there for someone who maybe hasn’t seen the countless public safety messages regarding driving and cellular phone usage?

Dear Academics: Don’t let the obsession with your one, likely esoteric topic, obscure you from using your brain on a regular basis! Take your brain outside your office! Take it outside your research laboratory! Use it at more than academic conferences. Feel free to show off just how powerful your brain is to commoners, to neighbors, fuck, even show it to my dog!

As an objective human being, it is very, very difficult to not feel cynical about the world these days. Corporations are people. Global warming is a hoax. Shipping oil from Alaska to Mexico by pipeline is a wonderful idea.

Please, to all your academics who cruise through life beyond your narrow discipline acting like total fucking selfish assholes, don’t add to the problems of the world. Use that powerful brain you’ve spent most of your life developing.

I was cycle commuting home from work the other day, a beautiful autumn afternoon with sun, multi-colored leaves, and pleasantly warm air.

As I pedaled, a nice silver colored sedan rolled by, heading in the other direction. At first it caught my eye, with its sleek lines and compact, powerful body. Then I realized that an otherwise beautiful car had tasteless matte black rims.

German sports cars now wear the same tacky rims matte black rims that you might see on a late-model, dented Ford Probe.

Successful, wealthy people now wear embroidered denim and gold-flecked t-shirts, as if this was a sign of their prestige. The only problem is that the same clothes are worn by the guy at the MMA fight.

The desire, or even ability, to speak eloquently is also dead, it would seem. Highly educated mothers now talk just like teenage girls. I’m sure we’ve all heard an appalling statement begin with something along the lines of, “I’m so not happy right now.”

The excellent historian Lawrence W. Levine wrote one of my favorite books, entitled Highbrow/Lowbrow, about the emergence of class and a cultural taste hierarchy. He looks mainly at the 19th century and tries to find if cultural moved up from the masses, or down from the elites.

From where I sit in my saddle, culture now seems to be one morass, where the talented, wealthy and successful people act, dress, and speak nearly the same as the indecipherable masses. We’re now one big middle class, and each day we all are losing grip on that rope that ties us to a ledge where decency, modesty, classiness, and respectability dwell.

Enjoy this song during our collective slip to the bottom!