Friday, September 4, 2009

"Nothing sexier than a Schleck chest"

Those are not my sentiments, but the tongue-in-cheek comment by my friend Jenn, as we watched the flapping open jerseys of the "men" in the peloton in their vain attempts to adjust to the 37 C (100F in old money as Phil would say) temps in Spain. Just a plane ride and 24 hours earlier they were coursing through a typhoon of leftover Belgian Spring Classic weather and praying to remain upright in a stage that saw repeated crashes and one final catastrophe that made NASCAR look childish; and one fatal to poor Chris Horner's hope of simply finshing the bloody season upright - truly Chris, my heart and all the Curad Hold Tite I have go out to you. (Maybe it's just the Astana curse?)

(Speaking of crashing - if you want a nice look inside the pros-eye-view check out David Millar's recap of the crash stained run-in to Liege, over on CyclingNews The insider's guide to crashes

But back to those Schleck chests. For the brothers Andy and Frank, and many others in the peloton, those gaping jerseys revealed how long the season has been - you could nearly grate parmessean on those ribs they're so pronounced - for some of these guys the season has been a very long one. During a break in Universal Sports' coverage (mucho gracias) I departed to esponge a bit more of the flu breaking up in my chest, when I looked in the mirror and thought, yes, I am pretty skinny, how do those guys survive this late in the season?

I've been sick for a week now, part of the slow fight and delayed recovery is I have no reserves, so I ask,
how do those guys survive this late in the season? Worst, today I had to admit there will be no Everest Challenge for me in 2009 - it really sucks! I was really psyched for this one - no race for a victory podium - just looking forward to a wonderful two days of suffering on high eastern Sierra mountain passes with a bunch of like-minded small gear pain junkies.

The long-season snaked its way through the peloton again today; we saw it in Tyler Farrar's legs, or lack of them, come the final 100 meters. Maybe you can say the Vacansoleil beast Bozic is just a fine sprinter, no doubt, but faster than Farrar? Okay, I'll admit I'm a touch of a homer here, the kid does come from just up the road in Wenatchee, WA, but still, c'mon? Columbia HTC has won 74 races this season and I'd venture to guess whether it was Cavendish, Greipel, Henderson or Renshaw, it was also Garmin's Farrar just behind one of them; sooner or later the body says uncle.

This week mine said uncle and I don't put it through a fraction of what these guys do (of course they could be my kids). It's time to embrace the coming fall, cooler mornings have arrived, and enjoy long lazy 100 mile rides with no finishlines, cut-off times, feedzone fights, or eating food you can't remember what it tatsted like. And finally time to gain back a couple pounds and think about cross season. Ah, pubs, cafes and baguettes! To Andy and Frank, enjoy the Vuelta and remember the Worlds are only a few weeks away, after wards you too will then be back to pubs, cafes and baguettes. And that brings me full circle - there's just "Nothing sexier than a Schleck chest"

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