Anatomy of a Photo: Huevo with Sour Cream

Anatomy of a Photo: Huevo with Sour Cream

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Photographs trigger memories and emotions within the human psyche that last a very long time, and remind us of where we were, what we were doing, and how we felt at any given moment of our lives. The above image, although still fresh in the time/space continuum, nonetheless brings back happy times for myself.

It reminds me of Australia, of my friends, as we watched the late-night telecast of Stage 8. It reminds me of the banter between us, with one member of the viewing audience vehemently trying to defend the merits of Armstrong’s challenge for an eighth win. He was systematically taken apart with vigour, backed up by the performance unfolding on the road before us.

Astana was on the front of the peloton, with Tiralongo driving a frantic pace as they hit the base of the climb to Avoriaz. There was a dark figure sitting on his wheel, with a look on his face that said he was already well into the red, but knew that soon his time would come to up the intensity a notch further and put the other teams a little bit deeper into the box of hurt. I wasn’t sure who he was, but he was soon to be a new hero when he buried himself for kilometre after kilometre in service of his team leader. Daniel Navarro was a stud that day, and for the days to follow.

The heat of the day was intense, and I commented on how the riders must just be about cooking themselves, with whatever enhancements were flowing through their veins adding to the risk of their blood boiling and their hearts exploding out of their chest cavities. I was excited beyond belief; it was top-fueled racing, almost like the old days. But this time, it was Armstrong who was feeling the brunt of a dominant team working against him. I was almost screaming at the tv as he struggled to keep the furious pace being dished out at the front. “Go on, bend him over and fuck him, like he’d do to you!” is a pretty close approximation of the words I used.  Did I mention I was excited?

When Pharmy crashed the first time, he was done. He chased back on with all his old vigour, but you could see that the effort had taken its toll on his aging legs, and when Astana turned up the heat again, his Tour glory days were fading rapidly in the rear-view mirror. By the time the above scene took place, he was a well-broken man, a shadow of his former self, an empty shell going through the motions, taking his team mates down with him as he threw in the towel like he’d never even contemplated before.

I wonder if, as he stood there in the middle of the road, without any urgency or desire to get back on the bike, that his famous words were swilling inside his head; “Pain is temporary, quitting is forever”.

Adios, Huevo.

// Anatomy of a Photo

  1. @Steampunk
    Excatly. If you told me you were thinking of nodding at a YJA, I’d say “Oi, Frank, no …”.

  2. @Steampunk
    It was cold raining here yesterday, and I was inspired to ride as an hommage to Gilbert. I pulled out my rainjacket, which happens to be yellow. Strike one. I wore it while riding. The performance left a lot to be desired. Strike two. That’s it, I am done with that particular jacket.

    So, any recs from the community for a good, damp-to-wet weather jacket? I sweat like a pig, so it has to breath some, even at the expense of letting a bit of water in. And, it drizzles here more than it rains, so I’m not looking for a pure rain cape. More something to keep out damp and cold (nothing below 5 C).

  3. Marcus :

    You admire virenque??? He was a fucking cry baby!

    Fuckin’ A. Seven dotty jumpers will get you my admiration. He was a whiny bitch, so what? Give me passion!

  4. @Nate
    Get a nice, snug vest (I hate shit flapping) , some nice Castelli long sleeve jerseys or warmers and ride like a beast. Keep the core warm and you’ll be fine. (I know… what does a SoCal sissy know about cold?) I did ride in the rain this weekend, so there.

  5. @sgt
    Well, I’m a NorCal sissy, so it’s only slightly colder up here. A quality vest might really be the way to go. I hate overheating.

  6. @Nate
    In my experience, raincoats are shit. They never breathe enough, and you just end up getting wet on the inside. What you need, is something to keep the chilling effect of wind on wet fabric and skin at bay. I generally just go for either a wind-breaking vest or a wind-breaking jacket – compressibility is the ticket. I forget what it’s called, but there’s a great Castelli windbreaker that compresses down to a peanut and keeps the cold wind off you. It’s perfect for rain and descending a long col.

  7. @sgt

    Fuckin’ A. Seven dotty jumpers will get you my admiration. He was a whiny bitch, so what? Give me passion!

    Ha! That’s pretty much what I just said in the latest article. Crap minds think alike and all that.

  8. @Nate
    If you can get hold of a Castelli Sottile vest, they go well. Waterproof, very snug fit (go a size higher than your usual) but still ok to ride hard in.

    I think you forgot to add douche to your description of Reeshard. Read “Breaking the Chain” and then tell me whether you still admire him? Willy Voet had to give him placebos for crying out loud.

    And I reckon there was a bit less Rule #5 in Reeshard than you think. To my mind he “gave up” on trying for decent GC results when he realised he was never going to win a big one and settled for the relative safety/certainty of the Pois. Not sure he actually was in the right “Arena” for his true talent level.

  9. @Marcus
    I’ve absolutely read Breaking the Chain; a must-read. He was a young kid, eager to learn about everything there was and, like most good climbers, hopelessly fragile mentally.

    Voet’s description of Zulle’s self-destruction because another soigneur tampered with the doping regimen in the ’98 Giro was pretty interesting.

  10. @Marcus
    Added to the reading list, thx.

  11. Have you guys done a recommended list of cycling books article for this site yet, to combine all these recommendations into one place?

    If not, it would probably be a worth while addition, especially when it comes to books that may be about people that aren’t mainstream riders and as such are easy to overlook.

  12. @mcsqueak
    That’s an absolutely spectacular idea. Thanks for the suggestion!

  13. @frank

    No problem! It’s partially self-serving, because *I* want to know what good books are out there, recommended by people who actually love cycling (not just some random list from Amazon), but I figured it could be of benefit to others here as well.

    Update it once a year or so, and it would be a nice resource indeed.

  14. @Marcus
    Thanks, I’ll try one of those out.

    @frank , @mcsqueak
    We should totally do this, it’s the right time of year for a reading list. I’ve mentioned The Rider elsewhere (frank, the author is a Dutchman even). I also nominate Dino Buzzati’s Giro d’Italia about the 1949 Giro. It’s out of print but at least a couple years ago I easily found a copy on Amazon.

  15. @Nate
    I’d say out-of-print books should be listed too, as they can usually be found easily on Amazon and Ebay.

    I’d say “coffee table books” may also be fair play if they are good enough to warrant a mention, because books of purdy pictures can also be a nice relaxing diversion (especially fun vintage photographs).

  16. Sex lies and handlebar tape – the story of Anquetil. Leaving aside 5 Tours his domestic arrangements are worthy of a book!

  17. Great idea.

    Some suggestions for inclusion:

    Graeme Fife’s “Tour de France”
    David Walsh’s “From Lance to Landis”
    Martin Dugard (I think) “Following Lance” (verges on hagiography, but also an entertaining description of Le Tour in 2005 generally)
    “The Death of Marco Pantani” (reviewed by Brett earlier in the year, but mentioned again as it deserves another shout out)

  18. @all
    For those of you pondering rain jackets; Curve is offering their Professional Rain jacket in a limited run to consumers. The jacket’s normall only available to Pros and is that super sweet black raincoat. The sizing chart makes no sense to me, but you can rest assured I’m buying one for me and one for my VMH.

    If anyone figures out the size chart and reconsciles it with their notes at the bottom, please let me know. Also, note that you have to order them by midnight Mountain Standard Time today.

  19. @frank
    Those numbers look a lot like top tube measurements of frame size, but somehow I doubt that is what they mean…

  20. @all
    I heard back from Curve, and here is what they said:

    Thanks for your mail. You are correct that the size S is not for you. The jersey is designed to fit much more closely than the jacket. If you have another rain or thermal jacket, you should compare the size to that. If you’re a size L in Castelli, that should be similar, but it’s important to verify first with something you know fits you.

    The fabric in the rain jacket is not very stretchable, so that also will make it necessary to fit more loosely, which helps explain the difference between the jersey and jacket measures.

    Please let me know if I can answer any questions!

    Thanks again, and have a nice day

  21. OK. I bought one for me and one for my VMH. I’ll keep all y’all posted.

  22. Speaking of bagging on the almighty, here’s one of my better efforts.

  23. Crap, the animation didn’t work in the upload.

  24. @frank


    I’m just going to cheapen it now, but really what it comes down to is how exciting the racing is; how much of The V is being laid down? How exciting are they making it? Even with Pharmstrong, when he’d attack on the first mountain stage, at least that stage was fun to watch. Of course, the rest of the Tour sucked because all the suspense we used up, but that was better than the Indurain era, where he never even did anything outside the ITT (except when he dashed off with COTHO2 in, was it, ’93?)? Zero suspense.

    I love good bike racing, and rarely – if ever – think about doping while I’m watching them ride. All that occupies my mind is how exciting and beautiful our sport is.

    Just reading some old quotes and came across this.  I, like you dont think about what is in the system when they are racing I just want to see great racing and therefore the tactics of the recent tour dissapoint me.  I dont want to see people ground to a pulp by a relentless machine.  I do want to see the man in yellow grab the tour in the mountains with a scintilating attack. I want to see the big guys go mano a mano.


  25. @frank @brett

    Personally, I really appreciate yours and every other discenting opinion on the site. Everyone’s disagreements are always measured, always persuasive. They make me stop and think, and question. This is a great community here because people don’t all have the same opinion, it keeps the conversation rolling. Everyone is encouraged to say what they want, believe what they want. If everyone had the same opinion, well, it would be boring, wouldn’t it? So, keep it coming.

    Good one brett and frank. Seems Armstrong was swiftly forgotten.

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