You light up my legs, you give me hope. Photo JEFF PACHOUD/ GETTY

You light up my legs, you give me hope. Photo JEFF PACHOUD/ GETTY

Lights On Legs

by / / 24 posts

Cycling is made up of hundreds of minute details, forming a larger entity which is generally simplified and viewed as the intrinsically simple act of riding––or racing––a bicycle. Getting on and pedalling, fast, may be the crux of winning the Tour, Roubaix, or the local B grade crit, but if it is held as the most important aspect, then the real substance, beauty, and purpose is sadly lost.

Races such as the Tour form a part of that, sure, but it’s the micro-elements––ones that go far beyond a bunch of men kindly letting another man beat them soundly while looking like he couldn’t beat time with a stick––that most pundits or once-a-year fans will undoubtedly overlook, or possibly choose to ignore, or maybe just think are too ridiculous to bother talking about. Like lights on legs.

As another insomnia-curing stage unfolded before , we looked for something, anything, to focus on to prevent throwing a brick through the screen at a yellow abomination, or pour hot tar into our ears to drown out the senile uncle who can’t remember your (or anyone else’s) name and just won’t fuck off. Anything. Rain clouds on the horizon. Some running-selfie-dickhead falling over. An attractive spectator. A dog. Anything.

The rain came. It provided hope. It delivered little in the way of affecting the race, yet provided the best imagery of the three week slumber. Imagery that has been played out for decades, whenever rain comes to a bike race. Among the trees the black tarmac glistened, drops as big as Pharmy’s ball cascading down, bouncing off in futile attempts to return to the sky, repeatedly failing against the unbeatable gravity. Newly-formed rivers intersected paths with various-sized rubber donuts. Skin burnt dark and coated with an invisible paint that doesn’t colour but enhances. The yellow/white glow of light from a convoy of superfluity, adding little of value or need. Except to enhance the chiseled, sinewed pistons before it, illuminating every revolution of an unrelenting rhythm, a glow that elicits warmth even when coldness, loneliness, pain and monotony are the cardinal factors as witnessed by the demeanor of the protagonists.

We are all voyeurs. If we can’t get no satisfaction from an actual battle, then we instinctively look for other comforts, the familiar. Lights on legs on a rainy day in the French Alps is surely the Cycling equivalent of a tot of whiskey in front of the fire.

// La Vie Velominatus // Musings from the V-Bunker

  1. what i love most about current era racing is that when they finish a really hard stage, especially a mountain top finish, the rider usually about tumble off their bikes and can hardly stand or walk or talk.

    back in the days of big Pharmy, those guys would crush a mountain stage, or Paris-Roubaix, hop off their bikes and starting milling about with the journalists talking and looking fresh as a daisy.

    Call me a voyeur, but part of watching bike racing is the enjoyment of watching the pros suffer on long days of racing the same way i suffer on most every ride.

    no matter the details, i like that we all can gain the same pleasure from suffering.

  2. Got a taste of this on my Sunday AM ride in the hills outside Portland…rolled out to a slight mist falling that turned to a bit of rain on the first climb…not enough to fully soak the chamois…just a light rinsing to catch sunbreaks and give the sweat some company…

  3. @Rusty Gramm

    Lochlan Morton yesterday – fck nice V display if I’ve ever seen one.. Talansky and Costa too. In fact, chapeau to them all.

  4. @Dan

    @Rusty Gramm

    Lochlan Morton yesterday – fck nice V display if I’ve ever seen one.. Talansky and Costa too. In fact, chapeau to them all.

    Yes! I watched the race too and really got a kick outa watching that race develop. Joe D was class act at finish too. 75 mile race can be a lot of fun to watch. Lochlan was definitely all in. Was reading somewhere he said he’d been racing with his eyes closed. The descent off of Empire was clearly a lot more fun that what was raced in Rio that’s for sure!

  5. @Brett

    ” or pour hot tar into our ears to drown out the senile uncle who can’t remember your (or anyone else’s) name and just won’t fuck off ”

    The second mention of ” Richie Froome ” was enough to do my head in. Listened to Matt and Robbie then turned the sound down when they left the booth.

  6. Beautifully written, Bretto. Chapeau.

    Is there such a thing as auto-voyeurism, too? By that I mean: are there others out there who (usually during the late summer, when the legs are nicely tanned and, with a little luck, somewhat muscular), rejoice in the arrival of a mild shower to paint the moving guns and make them glisten… And then almost run off the road while staring mesmerized at their own smoothly moving legs? (Hard climbs, in particular, seem to bring out this particular brand of narcissism.)

  7. the only thing that could make Tommy D look any better was a fuck ton of rain, what great stage.

  8. @ErikdR

    Beautifully written, Bretto. Chapeau.

    Is there such a thing as auto-voyeurism, too? By that I mean: are there others out there who (usually during the late summer, when the legs are nicely tanned and, with a little luck, somewhat muscular), rejoice in the arrival of a mild shower to paint the moving guns and make them glisten… And then almost run off the road while staring mesmerized at their own smoothly moving legs? (Hard climbs, in particular, seem to bring out this particular brand of narcissism.)

    Yes, there definitely is. And in this part of the world, it’s not now.

  9. @Brett

    Still winter-ish in Noo Zulland, eh? Here in Scandinavia, we’re approaching that ‘late summer’ time of year just about now. The weather has been shitty for what seems like months and work has been crazy, so the poor legs are neither tanned nor particularly sinewy at the moment. However, conditions can sometimes get surprisingly gorgeous in September and October around here, so I haven’t quite given up hope: I may yet get an opportunity to fall off my bike and into a thorny shrub while ogling my own glistening guns.

  10. I’m now looking forwards to it raining so I can admire the light glistening off my guns, before it’s too dark to see them and I’ve stopped shaving after race season (we’ll see if I follow through on this aim).

  11. @RobSandy

    I’m confused, why would you stop shaving just because you’re not racing? You’re still a cyclist, are you not?

  12. For all you guys with leg fetishes, you may want to have a look at the Olympic rugby matches. I doubt those dudes would climb well but, it wouldn’t be because they’re too fat to do so. More like because their legs weigh a ton. Massive, powerful guys they are. And, Rule V compliant I should think.

  13. @Mikael Liddy

    @RobSandy

    I’m confused, why would you stop shaving just because you’re not racing? You’re still a cyclist, are you not?

    Insulation? – it gets cold up them there valleys butt.

  14. @Teocalli

    @Mikael Liddy

    @RobSandy

    I’m confused, why would you stop shaving just because you’re not racing? You’re still a cyclist, are you not?

    Insulation? – it gets cold up them there valleys butt.

    Because I want to be like Peter Sagan. I may decide I can’t bear it. Got a race in early September so it wont be til after that anyway.

  15. @ErikdR

    @Brett

    Still winter-ish in Noo Zulland, eh? Here in Scandinavia, we’re approaching that ‘late summer’ time of year just about now. The weather has been shitty for what seems like months and work has been crazy, so the poor legs are neither tanned nor particularly sinewy at the moment. However, conditions can sometimes get surprisingly gorgeous in September and October around here, so I haven’t quite given up hope: I may yet get an opportunity to fall off my bike and into a thorny shrub while ogling my own glistening guns.

    As a fellow (adopted) Scandinavian I can endorse this. You get lovely clear crisp autumn days, from time to time. A bit chilly, but by no means leg warmer weather.

  16. @dinosaurJR

    Indeed. And I’m always fascinated by the huge difference the time of day can make. In autumn last year, I managed to come out on some very nice clear-weather bike rides; some relatively early in the morning, and others in the afternoon. The morning rides were almost invariably in full winter regalia, including gloves, a beanie cap worn under the helmet etc., but for the afternoons, riding with bare arms and legs was often eminently doable.

    Which part of Scandinavia did you end up in, if I may ask (and from where, originally?)

  17. @Teocalli

    @Mikael Liddy

    @RobSandy

    I’m confused, why would you stop shaving just because you’re not racing? You’re still a cyclist, are you not?

    Insulation? – it gets cold up them there valleys butt.

    I would have thought the butt valley would be one of the warmer places on the body…

  18. From Dan Craven’s “Live” ITT tweets:

    Beaston wheels with all the spokes. #feeltheaero # Rule #40 #legit #kasual There are park riders with more kit than me today.

    Apparently, his valves are aligned with his labels per Rule #40

  19. Apologies, above was supposed to be posted under The Rules…….Admins feel free to delete the above, has been properly posted under Rules as well…..

  20. I think this fits as the original article is about legs – but what a magnificent beast of a man Fabian Cancellara is on a TT bike. Just wow.

  21. @ErikdR

    I think it has to do with the strengh of the sun, at least thats my theory. I see this at easter too; it can be around freezing in the air (its skiing conditions, of course) but sitting out on the terrace with a beer, post skiing trip, you can easily get sun burn. As long as the wind keeps down you can skinin shorts and t shirt, if you want.

    Im from Scotland originally, just outside of Edinburgh. Now living just to the west of Oslo. Hows about you?

  22. @ErikdR

    Yep, still a bit grim, but we’ve had it pretty good in general, so the only excuses are laziness… and work, shit tons of work. All the cyclocross nutters like @bianchi denti have been keeping up the fitness and shaving, but not the tanning! I’m just hairy, fat and pale.

  23. @dinosaurJR

    @ErikdR

    I think it has to do with the strengh of the sun, at least thats my theory. I see this at easter too; it can be around freezing in the air (its skiing conditions, of course) but sitting out on the terrace with a beer, post skiing trip, you can easily get sun burn. As long as the wind keeps down you can skinin shorts and t shirt, if you want.

    Im from Scotland originally, just outside of Edinburgh. Now living just to the west of Oslo. Hows about you?

    My apologies for the late reply, good sir (my lame excuse, in no particular order: visiting friends – which, in itself, is very nice – and loads of bloody work)

    Anyway: born Dutchman here, but now happily married to a Danish lady, whom I have joined in her home town of Kolding, in Jutland, about 85 km north of the German-Danish border.

    As for the chilly morning/balmy afternoon phenomenon in autumn and spring: Yes; the strength of the sunlight – or lack of same – certainly plays a part there, combined with the way any residual heat in the ground ‘evaporates’ during a clear night (no clouds to act as a ‘blanket’). Mornings can then be almost as chilly as the previous night (with a low sun struggling to heat up the land), but after a full day of solar heating, afternoons can be nice and toasty. Amazing riding weather.

  24. @Brett

    @ErikdR

    Yep, still a bit grim, but we’ve had it pretty good in general, so the only excuses are laziness… and work, shit tons of work. All the cyclocross nutters like @bianchi denti have been keeping up the fitness and shaving, but not the tanning! I’m just hairy, fat and pale.

    See previous post. Just had a look at the cyclocross article. Very nicely written – and great photographs!

    “Hairy, fat and pale” is a very accurate description of my present cycling form as well, I’m afraid. Still, I have high hopes for next week. Have a good weekend.

Leave a Reply

Skip to toolbar