Spiderman   photo: G. Watson

Spiderman photo: G. Watson

Spiderman and His Climbing Monkey

by / / 67 posts

How can anyone be such a great cyclist and look so ungainly on a bike? Does this not violate a basic tenet of V-philosophy? Would he not be faster if his knees and elbows were tucked in neatly, aligned with his forward motion?

On riding style alone Quintana has a huge edge, he just looks good as he climbs. He should be able to summon some extra V just on the looking-good-is-feeling-good-factor.

Pinot versus Bardet: Pinot always looks like he is in a fight with his bike on the uphills. Again, wouldn’t less fighting and more souplesse translate into more speed? Like Tommy ‘man of a thousand faces’ Voeckler, his climbing style of off the back, sprint forward, out of the saddle, jersey open, drift off the back again…and repeat. It makes no sense but the guy gets it done.

Looking good on the rivet on the flats is easier: a flat back, everything tucked in, body pulled low over the bike, almost everyone looks pretty awesome going hard when the terrain is level. Put the road into double digit ascent and everything comes off the rails. One’s inner climbing monkey comes out and some monkeys just look better than others. It’s not a reflection of inner beauty or Hardness or a life more cleanly lived. To paraphrase Don ‘puddin’ face’ Rumsfeld, you climb with the monkey you got, not the climbing monkey you wish you had.

My monkey is a slothie, sweaty old beast with one paw in the grave. It’s always been my monkey and we have become good friends. Froome’s is a Sumatran spider monkey, hopped up on a diet of buffo toads and fermented bananas. When that monkey appears, everyone better get out of the way.

// Musings from the V-Bunker

  1. @litvi

    That’s GOLD! An he’s from Kenya too.

  2. @Zman

    Perhaps, you can ask him the question about being faster with elbows tucked when you’re riding next to him in some climb. If not, who gives a flying f&@$?!

    what’s next, having the right haircut?

    Ask Marcel Kitel.

  3. @piwakawaka

    Your climbing monkey monkey looks just like your haul ass monkey. Well done.

  4. @andrew

    @Zman

    Been there, discussed that.

    Wow, I’m impressed you could reference a 2011 post about a Schleck. Has brother Frank already dropped out of the Tour or is he watching from the couch, injured?

  5. @Teocalli

    @Zman

    Perhaps, you can ask him the question about being faster with elbows tucked when you’re riding next to him in some climb. If not, who gives a flying f&@$?!

    what’s next, having the right haircut?

    Ask Marcel Kitel.

    I fear Marecl is not drawing sufficient V from his hairdoo. The lad is getting beaten? WTF. Maybe Bob ‘welcome to the ‘ Jungles has siphoned off some. There is only so much V-doo in the universe.

  6. @Gianni

    @andrew

    @Zman

    Been there, discussed that.

    Wow, I’m impressed you could reference a 2011 post about a Schleck. Has brother Frank already dropped out of the Tour or is he watching from the couch, injured?

    49th, 32s back, so in front of Contador and Porte, for the moment, anyway. Perhaps he should drop while he’s ahead.

    And I remembered the post, if only for one of the horror-show hair-dos in the comments, even if I had to use the search feature to track it down!

  7. Its as though some of you have never visited this site before. The question/comment regarding the spider monkey should be phrased like this;

    “Who gives a fuck if he’s fast or not, he looks hideous!!”

    It won’t be long before somebody says that it doesn’t matter what you look like as long as you can lay down some V. And then we really will be back in 2011.

  8. Froome is just the latest version of a long line. If you are a GC contender from an English-speaking country (who is not from a track background and you aren’t Phil Anderson) you look crap on a bike. To wit:

    Cadelephant – whilst his TT position was a thing of beauty, his dead man’s grip and his inability to rock a poker face, made him painful to watch

    Cotho – his high cadence was nice, but he didn’t look great. Those pointed toes, ergh.

    Landis – maybe it was the Phonak kit, or the roid rage, he never looked right.

    Hamilton, Leipheimer, Porte, the list goes on. Hesjedal wasn’t completely offensive to watch, but he is Canadian, so maybe the French-speakers of Montreal influenced.

    Then consider the likes of the endurance trackies like Wiggins, McGee, O’Grady – lovely to watch.

  9. @Teocalli

    @RobSandy

    @Dave from VA

    but what the fuck is looks? Who cares?

    Do you know what website you’re on?

    +1

    Took a wrong turn after the Cycling News Forum and has’nt been able to find a way back since.

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  11. @Marcus

    One name. Hampsten. Beautiful to watch out of the saddle on a steep climb.

  12. @Marcus

    Hampsten looked damn smooth, though…

  13. @Dave from VA

    Bold. Rejected. That doesn’t wash here. But nice sentiment.

  14. @Gianni

    @Teocalli

    @Zman

    Perhaps, you can ask him the question about being faster with elbows tucked when you’re riding next to him in some climb. If not, who gives a flying f&@$?!

    what’s next, having the right haircut?

    Ask Marcel Kitel.

    I fear Marecl is not drawing sufficient V from his hairdoo. The lad is getting beaten? WTF. Maybe Bob ‘welcome to the ‘ Jungles has siphoned off some. There is only so much V-doo in the universe.

    All the hair V-doo in the world isn’t gonna be enough when Mr Cav is hot. Dang. That dude is definitely drawing on some superior experience in add’n to being on his game right now. Hear him talking about today’s finish ?

    This has to be the golden age of watching the tour right now. In between live streaming on the net, the HD broadcast, the replays, let alone the great athletes. Just a real treat to watch. I’m even diggin’ Jens’ thoughts. And has a cool Look bike been out front in every stage? And yellow jersey wearing white sox? “Minor” detail. Cheers all.

  15. @Randy C

    @Gianni

    @Teocalli

    @Zman

    Perhaps, you can ask him the question about being faster with elbows tucked when you’re riding next to him in some climb. If not, who gives a flying f&@$?!

    what’s next, having the right haircut?

    Ask Marcel Kitel.

    I fear Marecl is not drawing sufficient V from his hairdoo. The lad is getting beaten? WTF. Maybe Bob ‘welcome to the ‘ Jungles has siphoned off some. There is only so much V-doo in the universe.

    All the hair V-doo in the world isn’t gonna be enough when Mr Cav is hot. Dang. That dude is definitely drawing on some superior experience in add’n to being on his game right now. Hear him talking about today’s finish ?

    This has to be the golden age of watching the tour right now. In between live streaming on the net, the HD broadcast, the replays, let alone the great athletes. Just a real treat to watch. I’m even diggin’ Jens’ thoughts. And has a cool Look bike been out front in every stage? And yellow jersey wearing white sox? “Minor” detail. Cheers all.

    Cav is on fire at the moment. Who’d have thought he’d been written off as past it.

    Shame about the green onesie, though.

  16. @Marcus

    Froome is just the latest version of a long line. If you are a GC contender from an English-speaking country (who is not from a track background and you aren’t Phil Anderson) you look crap on a bike. To wit:

    Cadelephant – whilst his TT position was a thing of beauty, his dead man’s grip and his inability to rock a poker face, made him painful to watch

    Cotho – his high cadence was nice, but he didn’t look great. Those pointed toes, ergh.

    Landis – maybe it was the Phonak kit, or the roid rage, he never looked right.

    Hamilton, Leipheimer, Porte, the list goes on. Hesjedal wasn’t completely offensive to watch, but he is Canadian, so maybe the French-speakers of Montreal influenced.

    Then consider the likes of the endurance trackies like Wiggins, McGee, O’Grady – lovely to watch.

    This contender from an English speaking country wasn’t too hard on the eyes.

  17. @Randy C

    And has a cool Look bike been out front in every stage?

    I’n glad I’m not the only one who noticed that – I thought Fonseca’s bike looked sweeeeet.

    And Sagan – he said he thought the peleton should have gone for coffee or to a bar because the pace was slow and he was having a nice time. What a legend.

  18. @frank

    @Marcus

    Froome is just the latest version of a long line. If you are a GC contender from an English-speaking country (who is not from a track background and you aren’t Phil Anderson) you look crap on a bike. To wit:

    Cadelephant – whilst his TT position was a thing of beauty, his dead man’s grip and his inability to rock a poker face, made him painful to watch

    Cotho – his high cadence was nice, but he didn’t look great. Those pointed toes, ergh.

    Landis – maybe it was the Phonak kit, or the roid rage, he never looked right.

    Hamilton, Leipheimer, Porte, the list goes on. Hesjedal wasn’t completely offensive to watch, but he is Canadian, so maybe the French-speakers of Montreal influenced.

    Then consider the likes of the endurance trackies like Wiggins, McGee, O’Grady – lovely to watch.

    This contender from an English speaking country wasn’t too hard on the eyes.

    Agreed, and doing his Barry Hoban-style yell no less.

  19. @frank

    Ok, OK, I should have known that would bring out your Dirty Schleck Love of Lemelvis.

  20. @litvi

    Froomey’s not so much a monkey as a giraffe at a watering hole.

    We call Coppi a spider because of his similar build, but at least the mofo looked PHENOMMMM on a bike. He knew what plane to keep those knees and elbows on. Sit back, reach out, and let the limbs spin.

    For what it’s worth, Merckx looks great climbing… in still photos. But put that picture in motion? It looked like he was built with rubber bones. I get that he was rolling all the toothpaste out of the tube in every stroke, but damn it looks ungainly. The only thing saving that visual from total catastrophe was his white socks. (Scientific fact, bitches. Look it up.)

    Museeuw on the other hand? Lovely to watch on any terrain.

    YES! So I am not the only one who thought that about Merckx.

    Completely agree: Looks The Boss in photos but DAMN he was always so labouring in all the vids when he was climbing. All over his bike, rocking his shoulders, just grinding it out. But I guess when your granny gear was a 42/23 some slack is given!

  21. @Lukas

    @Powermetre

    Yes! That man was (is) pure class.

  22. Never really thought I’d see the name Rumsfeld inserted into a V-article…

  23. I was chatting with a British DS at the Giro d’Italia a few years ago and I still remember what he said about him and his style: If cycling is a religion, he’s the sin…

  24. Sorry caption didn’t work somehow. Anyone would look better on Contador’s chrome bike. Better still if it was an Italian bike not a Specialized.

  25. @VbyV

    Sorry caption didn’t work somehow. Anyone would look better on Contador’s chrome bike. Better still if it was an Italian bike not a Specialized.

    Love this – and it looks to be my size! I would indeed look better on it.

  26. @Bespoke

    @VbyV

    Sorry caption didn’t work somehow. Anyone would look better on Contador’s chrome bike. Better still if it was an Italian bike not a Specialized.

    Love this – and it looks to be my size! I would indeed look better on it.

    I’m not a fan of the Pistolero salute, but I have to say the graphic design for that logo is pretty rad.

  27. Can we have a new article? I’m fed up of looking at Froome’s elbows.

  28. @RobSandy

    Can we have a new article? I’m fed up of looking at Froome’s elbows.

    We’re gonna be seeing a lot of those in a couple of days as it would sure seem that the Sky train is in great form soon to be in mtns. Stem staring, elbow flying, legs a spinning’ mtn climbing.

  29. Does Bertie always ride with double wrapped bars? They always seem to be in need of a diet, no matter what race he’s in. Hmm.

  30. Coppis style pedaling motion is flawless, however if we are criticising riders for their body, he always reminds me of an old man stooped over his walking cane when I see footage.

    Yes it wasn’t just Merckx either, in that error a heck of a lot of riders looked ungainly, but threshold riding on a high gear will do that. Most of us would step off the bikes they were riding on the mountains they were climbing. Fuentes was smooth though.

    I can’t get over the size of the man’s thighs compared to the rest of his frame. It’s like he strapped some steaks on his legs under his bibs. He looks shocking when he is going for it, so yeah, you can’t admire the appearance really. Then it’s a matter of opinion if you can appreciate the deeds accomplished with such a style.

  31. @SamV

    I went to a talk by Rob Elingworth a few months back. He was in Rio with Froome. I quote “I was on the beach with him, looked at him and thought ‘no one is going to confuse him with a world class athlete’ ”

    skinny, pale, razor sharp tan lines. Imagine the sight

  32. @Teocalli

    @Zman

    Perhaps, you can ask him the question about being faster with elbows tucked when you’re riding next to him in some climb. If not, who gives a flying f&@$?!

    what’s next, having the right haircut?

    Ask Marcel Kitel.

    True story. I maintain the reason Sagan doesn’t win races or stages much any more is because he won’t cut his hippy hair.

  33. @Barracuda

    @Teocalli

    @RobSandy

    @Dave from VA

    but what the fuck is looks? Who cares?

    Do you know what website you’re on?

    +1

    Took a wrong turn after the Cycling News Forum and has’nt been able to find a way back since.

    At least he doesn’t think this is Slow Twitch.

  34. @Owen

    @Teocalli

    @Zman

    Perhaps, you can ask him the question about being faster with elbows tucked when you’re riding next to him in some climb. If not, who gives a flying f&@$?!

    what’s next, having the right haircut?

    Ask Marcel Kitel.

    True story. I maintain the reason Sagan doesn’t win races or stages much any more is because he won’t cut his hippy hair.

    Have you seen Aru’s hair these days? I remember seeing pics from a few years back and there was a barber on hand during the Tour in case a rider wanted a wee trim. Clearly, if he’s still there he’s not very busy these days.

    In any case, Anquetil had the best hair ever.

  35. Talking of Anquetil is this his wife? She looks similar but I can’t find any credit to confirm. Possibly from the period before they were married (if you know the story of that).

  36. @wiscot

    @Owen

    @Teocalli

    @Zman

    Perhaps, you can ask him the question about being faster with elbows tucked when you’re riding next to him in some climb. If not, who gives a flying f&@$?!

    what’s next, having the right haircut?

    Ask Marcel Kitel.

    True story. I maintain the reason Sagan doesn’t win races or stages much any more is because he won’t cut his hippy hair.

    Have you seen Aru’s hair these days? I remember seeing pics from a few years back and there was a barber on hand during the Tour in case a rider wanted a wee trim. Clearly, if he’s still there he’s not very busy these days.

    In any case, Anquetil had the best hair ever.

    Aru is winning stages when?

  37. @Teocalli

    Talking of Anquetil is this his wife? She looks similar but I can’t find any credit to confirm. Possibly from the period before they were married (if you know the story of that).

    @wiscot should note that I’m not making arguments on relative attractiveness of wives in the peleton. Only haircuts.

  38. @Owen

    What?? Have you missed his season? He’s the most winning World Champion in recent memory!

  39. @Oli

    @Owen

    What?? Have you missed his season? He’s the most winning World Champion in recent memory!

    This is true.

    And regardless of the rainbow bands Sagan is having one of his better seasons anyway – he’s always been one of the best riders but not made the top step at the biggest races, whereas this year he’s got his first Monument and a Tour stage.

  40. @Owen

    @Teocalli

    Talking of Anquetil is this his wife? She looks similar but I can’t find any credit to confirm. Possibly from the period before they were married (if you know the story of that).

    @wiscot should note that I’m not making arguments on relative attractiveness of wives in the peleton. Only haircuts.

    Anquetil’s wife was a blonde, but I’m pretty sure this isn’t her being “autographed.”

    @Owen. Of course not. We like to keep things high-minded around here! Speaking of which, ou est la femme d’Assos aujourd hui? (Sorry for the awful French).

  41. @wiscot

    @Owen

    @Teocalli

    Talking of Anquetil is this his wife? She looks similar but I can’t find any credit to confirm. Possibly from the period before they were married (if you know the story of that).

    @wiscot should note that I’m not making arguments on relative attractiveness of wives in the peleton. Only haircuts.

    Anquetil’s wife was a blonde, but I’m pretty sure this isn’t her being “autographed.”

    @Owen. Of course not. We like to keep things high-minded around here! Speaking of which, ou est la femme d’Assos aujourd hui? (Sorry for the awful French).

    It’s been a while since I read the book but I have a vague recollection that the girl in the photo is the “Miss France” of the day, or some film starlet at Cannes. I agree that it’s not his wife though.

  42. @Steve Trice

    I read it recently and they use the photo as a cover (on my version) but I don’t recollect the incident actually being mentioned.

  43. @wiscot

    @Owen

    @Teocalli

    Talking of Anquetil is this his wife? She looks similar but I can’t find any credit to confirm. Possibly from the period before they were married (if you know the story of that).

    @wiscot should note that I’m not making arguments on relative attractiveness of wives in the peleton. Only haircuts.

    Anquetil’s wife was a blonde, but I’m pretty sure this isn’t her being “autographed.”

    @Owen. Of course not. We like to keep things high-minded around here! Speaking of which, ou est la femme d’Assos aujourd hui? (Sorry for the awful French).

    You mean this one??? (in my defense, I just LOVE sex and sexy people–if you are into guys, I have NO problem with you posting the Assos guy–well, actually I do but any sexy guys you all wish to post are fine as well as long as they are not THAT Assos guy).

    Okay frahnk, throw me into the penalty box–hell, the movers have been here for the past three days anyways and my life is fucking CRAZY!!! Almost going off-line for the next two weeks anyways as we are moving into a hotel/flying/getting set up in Germany. Long live the Assos Girl!!!

  44. @Teocalli

    @Steve Trice

    I read it recently and they use the photo as a cover (on my version) but I don’t recollect the incident actually being mentioned.

    Hmm, my memory gets worse with age, so it’s quite likely I didn’t read it in the book. However, I can’t shake a recollection of the pic being connected with glamour and Cannes. Maybe I’ll do a bit of Googling later.

  45. @Owen

    @Barracuda

    @Teocalli

    @RobSandy

    @Dave from VA

    but what the fuck is looks? Who cares?

    Do you know what website you’re on?

    +1

    Took a wrong turn after the Cycling News Forum and has’nt been able to find a way back since.

    At least he doesn’t think this is Slow Twitch.

    Riding in this morning I passed a guy in a t-shirt with some quotation on it and then slowtwitch.com written along the bottom. I was very happy I was going too fast to read the quotation.

  46. Well, well, well… Froome is doing his best to counter the charge of being boring and predictable.

    A late attack with the green jersey and yellow jersey working their butts off in a four man crosswind breakaway.

    Extraordinary stuff.

  47. even though I promised Mrs Roadslave525 that I wouldn’t spend all my time on this website and I would use the Internet only for ‘normal’ things like porn and watching Carpool Karaoke, I do feel the need to call @Gianni out on this: if we are talking about ugly riding in the modern peleton, I’m not sure Froome even makes the podium… Aru – a climbing style that, whilst effective, is best suited for radio? Mollema – the lateral swing each pedal stroke of his shoulders is about 16″? And Dan Martin – looks like he is practising his sex moves on his bike when he attacks? Froome does get the Adam Yates, i.e. 4th position, I grant you, and yes – he looks more comfortable running uphill in cleats than he does on a roadbike, which is odd as running isn’t his chosen metier – but his TT position is actually pretty fucken good. I think the Kenyan kid (sorry, Brit) deserves a break… Just sayin’

    Now Sagan. Mmmmm. He reminds me of me on a bike

  48. @Roadslave525

    Haha, brilliant!

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