Velominati Interview: Garmin’s Toby Watson

Velominati Interview: Garmin’s Toby Watson

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One of the great pleasures that comes from not belonging to the Press or any other credible or otherwise trustworthy source of information is that we have the privilege of being little more than fans or enthusiasts, along with all the biases and prejudices that come with that. We leave being fair and balanced to those who actually do “research” and aren’t “lazy hacks”. We instead focus our efforts on spinning wild theories about things we generally don’t understand or don’t understand generally, and then dive headlong into long-winded conversations that veer wildly off-topic.

Painting with that brush, it has been an absolute honor to watch Velominati pick up a bit of steam and even forge some connections into the Professional cycling world. Thank Merckx we’re not an accredited member of the Press, because otherwise we’d have to hide the fact that we are delighted to feature our second Velominati Interview with a member of Team Garmin.  We’d have to do all kinds of posturing to make it sound like Team Garmin is just like all the other teams – not better or worse – and that we’d be just as happy interviewing one of their staff as some from any other team.

Of course that’s a load of bullocks for the simple reason that Team Garmin is the shiznit.  Already one of our favorite teams to begin with, at this stage we are starting to feel a bit like we’re the unofficial official site for them, having already interviewed Grom, my having become New Best Friends with T-Bone, and now with today’s interview featuring the one and only Team Garmin Physio, Toby Watson (who has at least one screw loose, by the way, aside from various other personality defects that make him a perfect fit for this community).

When we think of professional bike racing, we tend to think of the races and the riders, but each Pro team operates like a business, with a full support staff that works behind the scenes and, provided they are doing their jobs, largely go unnoticed. Toby is one of these staff, working what I imagine might be the most difficult job among them, the role of team physiotherapist. That’s a difficult role on any team, but consider performing that role on a team boasting a heady list of crash-experts including the likes of “Mr. Stage Three“. It’s Toby’s job to keep these guys healthy and ready to face the music day after day from January to October. As if that’s not enough, when the gun goes off and the boys roll down the road, Toby jumps in the team car and does double-duty as part of the team support caravan, handing out anything from spare wheels in Paris-Roubaix to food bags in the feed zones.

So, without further ado, here’s our little chat with Toby, and we’d like to thank him with for taking the time to answer our questions.

Keepers: We understand you’re fairly new to cycling. How does a physio with little background in cycling end up getting hooked up with one of the greatest teams on the Pro Tour?

Toby Watson: “Little background” is being pretty generous there. I was a blank slate as far as cycling experience was concerned! It was a case of being in the right place at the right time. I had been working with the Aussie track and field athletes (mainly race walkers) for five years, and one of the hitters from that group was Jane Saville. Jane’s husband happens to be Matt White (cycling hardman and now number 1 Director Sportif for Garmin-Transitions), and he would visit Jane while we were on altitude camps in St Moritz, and needed a bit of work done over the years. In 2008 he called me up and asked if I would be interested in living in Spain and working with a Pro Cycling team as they were short on medical-type coverage in the town where the majority of the team were based. Thinking about it for the span of about 7 nanoseconds, I jumped on board: not the toughest decision of my life.

Keepers: Some of our readers might not always realize the kinds of support teams that are involved in keeping a Pro team in competing form. Can you give us a quick overview of what the medical team goes through during a race, particularly a Grand Tour like the Giro or the Tour?

Toby Watson: Our team has a doctor, a chiro and a physio on hand at the big shows. Our first gig is to make sure that everyone slated to go will be right to rock throughout the race, which obviously takes place in the weeks and days leading in to the race. Once on the road the doc covers all of the little ailments that we don’t notice in our normal daily life (like sniffles and stomach aches, etc) but that can have such a massive effect on the boys’ performance. The chiro and I go through all of the boys each day and try and sort any niggles or complaints out that the boys have that their soigneurs haven’t been able to deal with. Atop that, the lads who crash get assessed for their ability to ride on, and treated to maximise their chances of carrying on as racers, not just making up numbers.

Keepers: Describe for us what it was like to be a newcomer into the sport, and to get thrown into your first big race?

Toby Watson: I was lucky to have my start at the Tour DownUnder, which is a very pleasant race for staff to be on: one fancy hotel, small (police escorted) transfers, first world country, shops nearby, English speaking country, and little or no rain. That said, there were moments of terror – my very first feedzone was on a slightly downhill drag on a corner. The boys came through at about 45-50km/hr, and my total instructions and training had been the very informative phrase “don’t move.” I reckon my heart rate was around 160bpm, and I was (dutifully) standing stock still hoping no one would notice the brown stain in my pants. Well it wasn’t quite that bad, but you get the idea.

My first “proper” Euro race was Tirreno-Adriatico, which included 400km transfers, snow, a stage victory for Tyler, 2 lunatic Canadians filming a doco on Ryder and lackadaisical Italian race “organisation.” It was barely controlled chaos, and an absolutely cracking good week. I think I slept for about a day and a half afterwards, but had had a taste of it, and fell in love with the sport.

Keepers: After a season of settling in to the scene at Garmin, how well were you prepared for the Tour?

Toby Watson: Prior to the start of this year’s Tour I was pretty confident that I had things dialled. It was my fifth Grand Tour, so I knew what it was going to be like as far as the intensity, length and hype were concerned. Couple that with having been to two editions of Paris-Roubaix and the Ardennes Week, and I knew there would be some serious challenges for the boys to deal with (and thus for we the staff to help out with), but I was confident we were nicely on top of things. We had high hopes of stage wins and a good GC finish, and going on previous form, these were all reasonable goals for our boys.

Keepers: This year’s tour saw some crazy stages in the first week; you even had to serve as erstwhile mechanic on Stage 3. What was that stage like for the team, on the inside? Was this a step too far, or all fair game?

Toby Watson: Leading up to the Tour we knew Stage 3 (mini-Roubaix) was going to be tough, but with our roster, we actually thought we were a good show of doing some damage. We had Tyler, Johan Van Summeren (Summie), Martijn Maaskant and Dave Millar as four very different cards to play as potential stage winners. We also knew that Christian Vandevelde had always acquitted himself well on the stones when he’d ridden them in the earlier part of his career, so thought he would be a chance of gaining some time on his GC rivals. There was a lot of talk of “it’s gonna be filthy” and “caaarnage” but no talk of it being too much. We were looking forward to it as a team.

The med team were sweating and biting the nails a little, but considering we’ve had a lot of crashes but no major damage to our boys at Roubaix, we figured things would be fine on the whole. And for that particular day, they indeed were. It turned out nothing like we expected, with Ryder shredding it, Summie just missing the break being on the wrong side of a Saxo dust-up and Ty and Millar both in survival mode while VDV had already gone home, but that particular stage was a cracker from our team’s perspective.

Keepers: This season has seen piles of injuries, including Tyler Farrar, Christian Vandevelde and David Millar. Tyler was awarded the Rule #5 Award for sprinting to second place in a Tour stage with a broken wrist and again for winning stage 4 of the Vuelta after puking all day the previous day; what did it take from the physio perspective to get the guys back up and into form?

Toby Watson: There are two key areas and two time frames to what we have to do in these situations. The areas we work on are the damaged/affected bit, and the mind. The time frames we work with are acute and long term.

The main area we work on is the damaged bit, and the main thing we’re worried about is the mind. You see the boys drive themselves into the deepest holes, and store it in your backmind, knowing that they will have recovered enough overnight to think that they’re going to be ok the next day, and then they drill themselves again. So you may, for example, try and talk them into riding “small” for a few days, just getting through so they can feature deeper into the race; and also try and lower the expectations of the rest of the team so they’re not asking too much of the boys on those days.

The “acute” phase response deals with how bad the injury is; what investigations need doing (if any); what we can do to allow best performance on the bike without doing further damage (bike mods, strapping, bracing, etc); and a prognosis for how it should behave. The “long-term” response is about normalising everything again – strength, range of motion, position, coordination, etc. A big part is ensuring lasting damage won’t be done, and reassuring the rider that this is the case once the adrenaline has returned to normal levels and they notice how bloody sore they are.

Keepers: What was it like as a physio and a team player to be a part of Ryder’s incredible Tour performance? When a guy has a ride like that, that may not have been planned for, does it change how you work with him as a physio because of increased performance and demands? In other words, would he require more, less, or the same recovery regimen?

Toby Watson: The Grand Tours are so hard that we can’t afford to leave any recovery strategies up our sleeves for when athletes perform above expectations. We work full gas for all of the boys with various recovery strategies. This doesn’t mean that they all receive the same recipe for recovery, but within the scope of what they can tolerate and what works for them, we give them everything we’ve got.

As for Ryder’s performance itself, we at first were merely breathing a huge sigh of relief that despite all of the adversity we were facing, we still had something to race for. Staring down the barrel of 17 more stages of the Tour just trying to salvage anything positive is a serious drain on the morale of the whole team, so Hesje shook us out of that prior to it actually setting in. Once he got to the final few days I was pretty confident he’d continue to do well. His time up Ventoux last year was one of the best of the whole race – he had missed the split prior to the base of that climb, but then just picked blokes off all the way up, finishing within range of the big hitters time-wise. Thus I figured Tourmalet wasn’t going to be bad, I admit I didn’t think it would be quite that good though! (as an aside, these are all just my half arsed Monday’s expert vibes – I have nothing to do with team strategy or tactics, and am no cycling sauvant)

Keepers: Is there a point where you say, “Alright, mate, you’re fucked – better drop out”? Or do you just keep pointing at the big wall-sized poster of The Rules (which we assume you have) and refer them back to Rule #5?

Toby Watson: I have an abbreviated rules list, consisting solely of Rule #5… Haha.

It is rare that I have to talk to them about hardening up when they’re actually damaged. It’s a standard paradox – when all is going well they’ll bitch about the terrain, the weather, the taste of the coffee, the colour of their sunglasses frames, the hotness of the podium chicks, everything; and when they’re deep in the hurt box they just shut their mouths and get on their bikes. As for yanking them, it is an even bigger rarity. Usually it is a case of knowing they’re not going to be able to start that day, but letting them go through the motions of trying it out. I love it when they prove me wrong!

The only time we will pull someone out is when something bigger is coming up and they’d be better served getting over whatever is wrong quicker so they can be at full gas for whatever the main goal is.

Keepers: What’s the most egregious Rule violation you’ve seen this season?

Toby Watson: I’m not sure if it was a violation, or adherence above and beyond the call of normalcy, but Pozzato having a spare set of sunnies in his back pocket was a hilarious display of the cliche of the poseur Italian. He hit the deck very hard in one of the Dutch stages of the Giro, and took ages to get back up off the ground, let alone onto his bike. He faffed around for a while with his helmet off, checking his hair was alright, then gingerly got himself back in the saddle, rolled up the road through the convoy and pulled another set of sunnies out of his pocket. Absolute gold.

Keepers: So the word is official, Garmin is partnering with Cervelo next year which is very exciting and will bring in some strong new riders. Do you see the team’s plans changing much with the addition of riders like Thor Hushovd wanting to focus on the spring classics?

Toby Watson: I’m no strategist, but I know we already had a very strong team for the Classics. Millar and Tyler figured very highly in Flanders this year, and Martijn and Summie have both gone top 5 at Roubaix in the two editions prior to this year, so I don’t think the addition of the Cervelo boys will have changed the plans, it just puts more bullets in the chamber. It’s going to be an AWESOME Spring campaign!

Keepers: On the cobbled Roubaix stage when you were standing there with a set of wheels praying Ryder’s stage win would not be ruined by the world’s worst wheel change, did the mechanics give everyone a lot of practice changing wheels that morning? Would you have asked Ryder to do it himself as he would have been thrilled to even have a good wheel where there was no team car support?

Toby Watson: Hahahaha!! I was genuinely crapping myself when I realised Ryder was still in the lead coming into my sector! We had no practice whatsoever – I think it’s just assumed that everyone can do a decent job on the change, but I am always upfront about my total lack of ability when it comes to the actual bike. I repeatedly make sure the boys know I am there purely to give them their wheels, not to change them! Team mechanic cum philosopher Kris “Grom” Withington did tell me that even though it feels like you’re taking forever, if you just take your time and get it right, it will only be a few seconds. He is a dead set ninja when it comes to wheel changes though, so I reckon his opinion may be a little skewed.

Keepers: We love your posts on the team website as they are such a good look at the day to day emotion and craziness of stage racing for everyone in the team not just the racers, keep ’em coming. Tell us about your most thrilling memory in this year’s TdF.

Toby Watson: Thanks for the wrap on the blog! tobbloggan.wordpress.com is my personal one (hahaha – gratuitous plug). I struggle to keep these answers to a single moment, so will give a couple of snapshots that I personally loved –

  1. A brief glimpse of a fluorescent orange helmet that could only be Ryder in the mist behind JQuan Rodriguez at the top of the Tourmalet almost brought tears to my eyes
  2. Seeing Ryder launch out of the dust and murk, and come off the final cobbled section in the lead and absolutely launch himself up the road in the fight for the stage win was equally awesome
  3. Getting to the top of the Madeleine and despite having a good view of the descent for kilometres being unable to see Millar when he was riding solo behind the grupetto was also a great moment as I knew he was still fighting hard despite what could only be one of the toughest of days in the saddle.

I still can’t believe they’ve been paying me to do this stuff for the past two years, but you take it when offered!

Slideshow:
Fullscreen:

Thanks, Toby – Great luck in 2011.  Make sure to go over Toby’s Flikr Stream; some great shots and hilarious captions available there.

// Interviews

  1. @Cyclops

    Except that he was telling us that he managed to ride 29 kph while climbing 1,400 m in the short distance of 70 m! That is an impressive feat worth bragging about.

    That’s what, a 2000% grade or some such nonsense?

  2. @roadslave

    Does he feel fat when he’s around the pro’s? Is he tempted to shave his own legs just because he wants to look fantastic off the bike too?

    We asked Grom that, and I can’t remember off the top of my head if he even answered it or if we even posted the answer…so, we left that off. Now that I think of it, that’s a really stupid thing to do, and we should make it part of our standard “non-rider” pro interview question set.

    Fuck, I feel fat and I’m not even near a Pro. In fact, the nearest object with a heartbeat is a 150 pound dumbass dog, and she is making me feel fat, too. FUCK.

    There was also a question that was not included here regarding JV and his sweaters; wether it was the man or the sweaters that were the mastermind behind the team, and if it was the sweater, if they were like a borg being that formed one consciousness. He replied that there was one sweater that ruled them all.

    Gold.

    I’ll pull some strings and see if I can get Toby to either email me the answer to that question or even make a guest appearance to post the answer himself.

  3. @mcsqueak

    That’s what, a 2000% grade or some such nonsense?

    By saying, “2000% grade”, surely you are referring to the fact that anything more than 100% is mathematical nonsense? Chapeau, not many people realize that 100 out of 100 is the most you can do; if you are saying 102 out of 100 then what you actually mean is 102 out of 102 because obviously 102 is possible.

    Phrases like “I gave 110%” is inflation of mathematics. Very annoying. Almost as annoying as inflation of currency.

  4. @mcsqueak
    Either that or an inexplicable partial violation of Rule #24.

  5. @frank

    I wasn’t a math major in college, but I think grade percentages can cross 100% without being mathematically wrong. See this Wikipedia entry or this page. Please school me if I’m interpreting grade wrong.

    But I digress.

    Good article, I certainly do like these interviews, and Garmin is certainly a fantastic group of people to keep granting them to you.

    Furthermore, on feeling fat, nothing is better than spending time with a group of women and casually mentioning that you think you need to lose 10 or 15 lbs so you can climb better on your bike. I think it confuses them greatly.

  6. Great insight!
    Sooner or later I’d like to see an interview of the Italian poseur!

  7. @mcsqueak
    Grade can’t go above 100%. The forumla is: distance/elevation change (not the slope of the line though!). Thus, a change of 10m in 100m is a 10% grade. A change of 100m in 100m is a 100% grade. You can’t go above that.

    Furthermore, on feeling fat, nothing is better than spending time with a group of women and casually mentioning that you think you need to lose 10 or 15 lbs so you can climb better on your bike. I think it confuses them greatly.

    Brilliant! I actually get comments about this all the time. Being the skinniest person amongst all my friends and insisting that I still need to drop 3-5 lbs so I can get under the magic 150 number gets me weird looks. People think that because you’re skinny you can just do whatever the hell you want diet-wise. No, there’s a reason that you get skinny, and that’s because you actually watch what you eat. Some people have no logic.

  8. @ Cyclops – yeah, that was an awesome quotation you cited. Love the idea of the PROs bitching about their sunglass frame colors when things are going well…and shutting up and HTFU when in real trouble. If you didn’t have a serious degree of reverence for a PRO cyclist, that really puts it in perspective.

    Frank, maybe you could get an argyle sweater made up with the rules stitched on the sleeves and mail it to JV as a holiday gift this year?

    Again, this was a great read! Thanks Frank! And your dog weighs 150 pounds? You must have a big house to fit the two of you, plus your Velominhottie, plus your bikes in there.

  9. @Collin

    Ah, well I think that graph on the Wiki page may have thrown me off. Any explanation for that then? I’m a marketing/graphic design/sales minded person (left-brained? Hell, I don’t know), so math isn’t exactly my strong point, CLEARLY. Jesus, maybe I need to go back to school take a fucking elementary math class again.

    In terms of the fat thing, I’m not the skinniest guy out there (right around 6′, 175 lbs) but I’m not fat besides a previously mentioned affliction of “skinny guy belly”. So yeah, people think it’s silly that you would want to lose weight. It’s not even about the looks, it’s purely about less mass the haul up the damn hills.

  10. @Collin
    I beg to differ and am reluctant to be the math police (I’m not qualified), but I reckon grade can go over 100%. Not that anyone would be able to ride a bike up it so it’s hardly relevant. Maybe to mountainclimbers. But I digress. If you go up 100m vertical in 100m horizontal, you’d be going up at a 45 degree angle. You could climb 100m in a 50m horizontal distance, which I reckon is a 200% grade and, say, a 60% angle. Or you could go straight up, which I guess is an infinite grade.

  11. Ron:Frank, maybe you could get an argyle sweater made up with the rules stitched on the sleeves and mail it to JV as a holiday gift this year?

    Correction: argyle turtleneck sweater. It’s probably sacrilege to say it here (and I loved the interview), but I’m still tepid on Garmin. Corn-fed and VDV have never done it for me. Great riders and I’m sure nice guys, but they’re just a little meh. Ryder I like; what’s not to like about Millar; and I think they’ll take a big step up with Thor, Haus, and others. And thank goodness that Castelli is onboard to design next year’s kit. Please, oh please, could it look cooler? I, for one, would be grateful for a total overhaul. So I’m hopeful that next year I’ll warm to Garmin…

  12. Great article, and cool to see the Velominati getting some cred in cycling circles. It’s certainly had a positive effect on my cycling perspective. Just finished We Were Young and Carefree, it’s damn poignant given Le Professeur’s untimely death this year. Just starting Fallen Angel (Fausto Coppi bio).

    Regarding Garmin kit,, the argyle ain’t bad in moderation, but in combination with the Orange and Baby Blue it’s over the top, for sure. Looking forward to new colors in 2011!

  13. @Nate
    Yup. I’m wrong. I thought that the grade definition used (road length)/(elevation change), but it uses the traditional slope definition from mathematics. Thus, infinite slope exists, negative slope, etc.

    For small slopes, sin(grade) is approximately grade, so I’d be (more or less) correct in those instances, but that approximation breaks down after about 20% or so. Fortunately, there aren’t a whole lot of roads over 20%, so doing a “how many miles did I ride?/how much elevation did I gain?” while riding will give a good idea of your average gradient.

  14. Another outstanding contribution (cuckolds gals) oh and nice interview by the way.

  15. I put my spare sunnies in my saddlebag

  16. Gradient is rise over run and therefore can go to infinity ( ie. a vertical line).

  17. Top Drawer

  18. What does the first pic have to do with Garmin?

  19. @Marko
    It’s taken from the team car.

  20. Marcus:
    I put my spare sunnies in my saddlebag

    For the win!

  21. @Steampunk

    Ryder I like

    Yeah, big, huge, Earth-shattering surprise that the Canadian loves Givesithell. Real shocker.

    @sgt

    Regarding Garmin kit,, the argyle ain’t bad in moderation, but in combination with the Orange and Baby Blue it’s over the top, for sure. Looking forward to new colors in 2011!

    I like the jerseys, but I agree I hope the bibs will be black like they should be. I’m also a bit particular towards blue and orange, those being the Royal Dutch colors and all. You guys should all thank your lucky stars KRX10 ignored me when I asked him to do it all in those hues.

    @Marcus

    I put my spare sunnies in my saddlebag

    Gold.

    @all
    Nothing wrong with the Math in the gradient discussion. The issue is when calling it a percent, strictly speaking it needs to be scaled up or down to have 100 be the maximum figure possible (thats why it’s called PER CENT). But nobody does that and you have coaches inflating 100% saying “Go out there and give 110%!” That’s nonsense. What’s wrong with giving 100%? That would be remarkable.

    3/4 is 75%. 110/110 is 100%. A vertical line, I would guess, would be a 100% grade, but someone already pointed that out. Whoever came up with the % gradient got confused between fractions and percentages and presumably ignored the annoying Mathematician that sat in the corner rocking back and forth talking about the inflation of mathematics.

  22. frank:
    @Steampunk

    Ryder I like

    Yeah, big, huge, Earth-shattering surprise that the Canadian loves Givesithell. Real shocker.

    Well, I’d like to think I’d like him regardless of his nationality. He fits the mold for me: big, strong, humble, and tons (that’s metric) of V. Every highlights his climbing during the last week of the TdF, but what about hanging on after being caught on Stage 3? That was pretty impressive, too…

  23. Ah, I’m glad the grade math got cleared up! I certainly feel slightly less bad about my math skills now.

    @frank

    I hear you about that 100% thing. What bugs me even more (and that people seem to do all the time now) is use “literally” when they really mean “figuratively”. I know they are just trying to express something in extreme terms to play up whatever story they are telling, but it just annoys me.

    In regards to the Garmin colors, it will be interesting to see how much the kit will change since the title sponsor is staying the same. I do like the argyle, and I really like the orange hue, but the orange AND blue together are a little much.

  24. @mcsqueak

    In regards to the Garmin colors, it will be interesting to see how much the kit will change since the title sponsor is staying the same. I do like the argyle, and I really like the orange hue, but the orange AND blue together are a little much.

    Title stays the same, but The Sweater had this to say regarding the kit:

    Castelli said that it has come up with “a new design for the team [which] will accentuate the technical advantages of the kit”, and will reveal the new look in 2011.

    Slipstream Sports CEO Jonathan Vaughters assured Cyclingnews that the team’s iconic argyle would remain, but would be less prominent in 2011.

    I can’t wait.

    http://www.cyclingnews.com/news/garmin-cervelo-kits-to-be-made-by-castelli

  25. @Frank

    Nice job. This site gets better and better. Awesome.

  26. @Steampunk

    Tonnes = metric.

    The Garmin boys behind the scenes have been pretty easy to talk to, which is probably because they are Aussies and Kiwis! Thanks Grom and Toby, and nice write-up Franky.

  27. Percent grade is rise over run, so 100% grade is actually 45°.

  28. @frank
    I’m no psychologist but all of this carrying on about “110%” makes me think you some unresolved issues. I suspect it’s a latent desire to upgrade from Campy 10 speed to 11 speed.

  29. @frank
    You have got wrong on expressing percentages. All a percentage expression is, is a comparison of one value (the active value if you will) against another value (call it the base value). For example I think your height maybe 110% of my height. There is nothing wrong with having percentages greater than 100.
    And Michael is right 45 degrees is 100% or “1” or “1 in 1”. 1 unit forward for one unit up. And guess what happens after 45 degrees? The grade keeps increasing to 90 degrees which is infinity. Only Buzz Lightyear can go beyond that.
    Most of this stuff isn’t maths – it’s simple fucking arithmetic

  30. All this talk lately of grammar, percentages, pet-hate words – what’s up with that? Is this what happens when the season ends and we start to get anxious and scratchy waiting for the TDU when it all starts up again? Do you think we should, you know, just talk about leg-shaving and stuff like that for a little while? Maybe even throw in a few random semi-colons, parentheses which don’t shut, split infinitives and that kind of thing, just to show our tolerance for idiosyncratic expression, our ability to sort the wheat from the chaff and our keen appreciation of Rule #4? Just a thought …

  31. @mcsqueak

    First off, I don’t like Garmin’s colors or argyle but I figure they’ll try to keep both so here’s my version with some Cervelo and WC flavor added.

  32. Now you can push a commercial jet liner past 100%. They are made to exceed 100% in the case of emergencies and when you do exceed 100% you have a bunch of paperwork to fill out and they probably have to replace the engines.

  33. @Cyclops

    That is just wrong.

  34. @Marcus “… Infinity. Only Buzz Lightyear can go beyond that… it’s simple fucking arithmetic…” Simply brilliant. So simple, my 4year old son could understand it (“Daddy, Daddy, is this a Rule #5 violation? or not?” I’m so proud)

    @Cyclops… step away from the CAD programme or whatever it is… and take a deep breath. looks like some harlequins on hallucinogenic drugs have been let loose in a cloth factory, with their demonic output then shoved in the teleporter from ‘The Fly’ with a Sky jersey… makes this year’s Garmin Transitions kit look absolutely stunning.

  35. @Cyclops
    To join the rantings about spelling, grammar, math(s), you spelt “Garmin” wrong on the jersey.

    (With that oUt of my sistem; @G’phant A-Merckx!

  36. Steampunk:
    @Cyclops
    To join the rantings about spelling, grammar, math(s), you spelt “Garmin” wrong on the jersey.

    He also forgot the little “north arrow” above the n. For shame!

  37. @Steampunk
    I thought he was simply being intentionally ironic, in a thoroughly postmodern deconstructionist critical-literary-studies kind of way. And, besides, I like the idea of the female team wearing “Garwomen” jerseys.

    @Cyclops
    It ain’t quite what I would do if I had the ability. But I don’t. So I will confine myself to saying “Chapeau for tackling the issue at all” and suggesting merely that the collar be a little higher so that it can fold down on itself …

  38. G’day all!

    I’m glad you liked the interview. It’s not the toughest job in the world – I’ve been very aware of how lucky I’ve been to be paid to hang at such cool gigs with such legends!

    Onto the further questions –
    “Does he feel fat when he’s around the pro’s?”
    Firstly, I note you’re sticklers for minutiae, so feel comfortable in letting it be known that I hate inappropriate use of apostrophes. I wouldn’t say they make me feel fat, it’s more a feeling of smug healthiness. When they’re preparing for a major race, they just don’t look well (remember I’m seeing them out of their cycling kits and off their bikes). Zabriskie had a crew cut pre-Tour ’09 and looked like a survivor from a Japanese WW2 POW camp.

    “Is he tempted to shave his own legs just because he wants to look fantastic off the bike too?”
    Hahaha! I’m more of a waxing man myself – too lazy to be bothered with shaving, and I don’t like the prickliness. I’m ashamed to say that I don’t actually ride all that much yet (it’s a work in progress) – I have the spanking Felt team bike, with DuraAce parts and all of that jazz, but have barely taken it out of the garage. Shocking, I know. It’s a work in progress. Promise.

    I reckon you’d be amused to know that the first road bike I ever road was Dave Millar’s TT bike after he won the Criterium International TT. I am pretty sure I broke every single rule about anything outside of the bike set up (Grom had done a stellar job there) in that single 1km ride!

    Pippo stories are almost always awesome. His interview stating he hadn’t had a shag since April prior to the Worlds to prove how serious he was about the race was typical 24 carat gold from the big fella! He garners so many laughs, usually “at” rather than “with,” but he’s a very nice bloke when introduced.

    Great website guys! And the “Garmen” jersey is a very cool design. You should’ve sent it to us earlier!

  39. @Toby
    Thank you for the new installment of your interview!

    PS If you’ll be in Milano for the Milano-Sanremo 2011, look for a Velominatus photog :)

  40. Toby:

    And the “Garmen” jersey is a very cool design. You should’ve sent it to us earlier!

    See that bitches?!?! Sorry for the glaring oversight with the “Garmen” I usually pay very close attention to that kind of stuff.

    Thanks for the sweet interview Toby.

  41. @Toby

    Toby :
    Firstly, I note you’re sticklers for minutiae, so feel comfortable in letting it be known that I hate inappropriate use of apostrophes. blockquote>
    Well played, mate, and thanks for the interview!

  42. @Toby

    Firstly, I note you’re sticklers for minutiae, so feel comfortable in letting it be known that I hate inappropriate use of apostrophes.

    Ha! After all the talk of grammar and percents (IT IS FUCKING PER FUCKING CENT. CENT MEANS 100, FUCKTARDS) I can’t believe you’re the first to get on the apostrophe kick. Well done.

    I’ll happily take custody of that bike for you and take good care of it. Promise. I’m very thorough about bikes.

    I’ll echo everyone else to thank you for a great interview. Thanks for stopping back over and answering more questions for us.

    @all
    I told you Toby is mad as fuck.

  43. @frank
    @Toby
    Well played both of you. Toby, your stories on the Slipstream site rule, we all love to know what’s going on behind the scenes, keep ’em coming.

    This next year should be a ripper and you get to hang with Thor! Go, go, go.

  44. frank:
    After all the talk of grammar and percents (IT IS FUCKING PER FUCKING CENT. CENT MEANS 100, FUCKTARDS)

    And PER means ‘FOR EVERY’.

    So whilst per cent (two fucking words, not one, if we really must) does mean ‘in or of each hundred’ (so logically yes, by this definition of course you can’t have more than a hundred parts of a hundred).

    But it also means ‘for every hundred’. (So you can have as many things for a hundred as you fucking well want. Even an infinite amount.)

    For Merckx’s sake, I find a nice cycling website, win a couple of editions of the VSP, receive some great stickers from Frank (thank you!), then go away for a week or two. And when I come back it’s all ‘apostrophe’ this and ‘per cent’ that!

    Nice interview btw. Photo 1 of 5 is particularly fine …..

  45. The girl in the red bikini top appears to be wearing a collection of yellow Livestrong bands on her wrist. Why did I not notice this before? What does it mean?

    Re. the gradient discussion. I lament the replacement of all the traditional (fractional) gradient signs from the British roads. A “1 in 4” gradient sign is much more meaningful to me than one describing a slope of 25%.

  46. Just a point of clarification: while it is obvious who you all are referring to, both girls are in red bikini tops.

  47. looks like I was on the right track bitches.

  48. They ripped you off!

  49. In case you missed it, JV is looking like…a mind-body motivational speaker…recent photo from their training camp. Man, even on vacation his clothes don’t disappoint!

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