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. @frank
    “It’s an interesting observation that the two most divisive topics on the site are Lance Armstrong and Compact cranksets.”
    That may reflect the religious nature of the Velominatus’ devotion to cycling. Both topics are essentially about guilt. Armstrong – his guilt (or not); and compacts – our guilt in using them. I’m sure more have dabbled with the dark side than would admit it.

  2. Give lance a break – he had another kid yesterday. Two things about him which cannot be argued against – i) he has picked up a lot of chicks; and ii) he breeds very well for a guy with one nut that has copped a serious amount of radiation.

    Chapeau COTHO!

  3. @Marcus

    he breeds very well for a guy with one nut that has copped a serious amount of radiation.

    Everybody knows he sperm-dopes.

  4. If LA rode a compact, he would have done it on the Zoncolon wearing too long socks and too long shorts, violating two of the rules at least.

  5. @Frank, @Steampunk, @Marko

    SockGuy Lion Of Flanders Socks
    http://www.chainreactioncycles.com/Models.aspx?ModelID=21433

    My sock of choice to compliment the Yellow Princesses.
    The lion of flanders: Rampant !

  6. Well said everyone. We tend to stay away from the LA/doping issues (related or not) in general here; in fact, the times when it is brought up is when readers ask us to explain why we don’t like him (you yourself asked that question Oli, and now cwself). Because yes, it does tend to go nowhere, and there are far more interesting things to read/write about.

  7. @frank
    Now wait just a minute! The Rules are very clear about any kinds of socks going so long as they aren’t tennis socks and adhere to the Goldilocks principle. And now they need to be color-coordinated? Unless, of course, this is a Rule #17 issue, but that’s not what you’re intimating above.

    For the record, I don’t actually own the aforementioned socks, but after a good ride this morning, which included a nasty little 1.4km stretch at ~17%, I’m feeling particularly contrarian and irreverent.

  8. @Steampunk
    Oh, absolutely. It’s not a Rule Violation to wear them. It’s just not in good taste – obviously your socks shouldn’t be in contrast to your kit. That said, I bought some new white socks to go with the White Ladies because none of my socks were really white enough. These are so incredibly gleaming that now they are too white. Lordy-lordy, what a conundrum.

  9. I’ll weigh in. In the grand scheme of things I don’t care who dopes or not. I just like to watch bike racing. But I do have feelings about individuals as individuals and Mr. Armstrong has demonstrated (to me at least) that he can be an unlikeable chap.

    I think it kind of goes something like this:

    Dickhead + dope = COTHO
    Nice guy + dope = That kinda sucks but I’ll get over it.

  10. @frank
    Wow. Laughing so hard I started to cry. Thank Merckx I have my own office, and empty offices on either side of me.

  11. frank :

    @Oli Brooke-White
    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.

    One of the reasons this is a great community is that differing opinions are generally expressed and received not only with a measure of respect, but also with robust good humour. It makes for a refreshing change from most other cycling forums (and ‘cyclingforums’) where any discussion on doping or Juan Pelota or even compact chainsets spiral into ennervating slanging matches.

    Hence whilst a rule on discussing Pharmstrong/The Greatest Cyclist Ever* might be appealing, surely we should remember that we are not douchebags of the lowest order who can’t string two words together. We are Velominati, imbued not only with a deep appreciation of the history, tradition and etiquette of European professional cycling, but also with respect for the finers points of wit and repartee as well as the intrinsic beauty of a well articulated and intelligent argument.

    So I say: ‘no COTHO-debating rules’. Yes, we will disagree. Mostly I hope with good humour. But if not, let’s not start bandying about insults at each other like a bunch of teenage girls. Sort it out like real men with a duel at dawn armed only with mini-pumps and CO2 cannisters.

    *delete as appropriate, or not depending on your religion

  12. @Marko

    No emoticons. Per Huevo -1.

  13. Hey, I appreciate the measured responses thanks. My intention is certainly not to bring people down (man), but when calls are made I sometimes can’t help but rise to respond – it’s my somewhat argumentative side coming out, a bit like my secret love of long socks. It goes without saying I respect other viewpoints, but I would also think the right to debate them (at times) is vital.

    I’ll get my coat…

  14. @Oli Brooke-White
    So long as it’s not a YJA

  15. I’ll get my coat…

    Anyone who can throw in a Fast Show quote is alright by me!

  16. I totally got “Nod-snobbed” by a YJA yesterday.

  17. I’m glad this conversation came back around to socks. I bought my first pair of De Feet Wool-e-ator socks on Friday in preparation for the weekend temperature dip, and man oh man were they nice.

    They kept my feet nice and warm, but weren’t too thick, and came up 4-5 cm or so from the top of my shoe, a perfect length.

    No more will I somehow doubt that a $12 pair of socks is worth it. Their gloves are good too, I picked up a pair of their thin black gloves to go under my standard half-finger gloves, worked like a charm.

    To make this post at least somewhat related to the photo posted above, it looks like Armstrong has gotten his sock length problem under control, though that point is probably moot now.

  18. Cyclops :

    I’ll weigh in. In the grand scheme of things I don’t care who dopes or not. I just like to watch bike racing.

    And listen to Phil’s commentary! That guy is great.

  19. @frank

    Sorry to jump in late…

    Brilliant Frank! For our overseas comrades, “Team America” is a must see to understand the American male psyche (whether we want to admit it or not). It’s one of the few movies I trot out for a spin on a regular basis (along with “The Big Lebowski).

    I think the reason I’m ambivalent towards COTHO, Clentador, Indurain et al is not because they did or didn’t dope, or did or didn’t win, or even (for me), how they acted off the bike. Many, if not most elite professional athletes are arrogant, self-centered ego-maniacs. You kinda hafta be that way to get to the point of the spear. I dislike them because they seem to bring so little fire to their endeavors. I admire Pantani, Hinault, Fignon, Virenque, Thor, Chavanel, etc., because they always seem to lay it all out on the line. And as TR said, they know that “even if [they] fail while daring greatly…[their] place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat”.

    It’s the passion that inspires.

  20. @sgt

    Chapeau. And that’s what we strive for here. Good work sarge.

  21. @Cyclops

    I totally got “Nod-snobbed” by a YJA yesterday.

    Serves you right. You should never have nodded at any rider wearing such an abomination.

  22. @sgt
    You admire virenque??? He was a fucking cry baby!

  23. @sgt

    And as TR said, they know that “even if [they] fail while daring greatly…[their] place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat”.

    More beautiful words have nary been spoken. Well done.

    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.

    And, I might add, Lombardia was like that this year.

  24. @frank
    as was MSR, P-R, Flanders, Wallone, the Giro, most of the Tour, the Vuelta, and the Worlds. Good year.

  25. frank :@Cyclops

    I totally got “Nod-snobbed” by a YJA yesterday.

    Serves you right. You should never have nodded at any rider wearing such an abomination.

    Beat me to it!

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

  27. @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).

  28. Marcus :

    @sgt
    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!

  29. @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.

  30. @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.

  31. @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.

  32. @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.

  33. @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.

    @frank
    @sgt
    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.

  34. @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.

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

  36. 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.

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

  38. @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.

  39. @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.

  40. @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).

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

  42. 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)

  43. @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.

    http://curveinc.com/hp_magento/curvecyclingclothing/prolinegtrainjacket.html

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

  45. @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

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

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

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

  49. @frank

    @sgt

    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.

     

  50. @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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