Spiderman and His Climbing Monkey

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.

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67 Replies to “Spiderman and His Climbing Monkey”

  1. Poor old Froome. Not matter how many Tours he wins he’ll always look crap on a bike.

    Hence my comment about people who wanted to throw stuff at Froome choosing to throw a copy of the Rules or a photo of Moser. I thought it was quite funny but no one else gave a shit.

  2. Yes, Froome doesn’t look good, but what the fuck is looks? Who cares? Quintana may get him this year but not because Quintana looks better, but because Quintana may be faster!

  3. @RobSandy

    Poor old Froome. Not matter how many Tours he wins he’ll always look crap on a bike.

    Hence my comment about people who wanted to throw stuff at Froome choosing to throw a copy of the Rules or a photo of Moser. I thought it was quite funny but no one else gave a shit.

    That is funny, a photo of Moser. F’ing genius.

  4. I was with it till “everything can of off the rails” does that make sense in some lingo I no sprecho?

  5. @Dave from VA

    Yes, Froome doesn’t look good, but what the fuck is looks? Who cares? Quintana may get him this year but not because Quintana looks better, but because Quintana may be faster!

    Are you new here? I mean, there is literally no reason for this site to exist other than caring about this sort of thing. Caring far, far too much about style is the very essence of what this is all about.

  6. It boggles the mind how such a powerful athlete can look so sickly.

    I’m a simple man with a ‘do what works’ mentality, but I’m far too self-conscious to look that bad (on a bike or otherwise) to accept it as function over form. I look my best in matching kit with a helmet on so no one can see my thinning hair, and I’ll be damned if give that boost up just to climb a little better.

  7. @SamV

    Therefor, you will never win an uphill finis. But will look good finishing in the bunch just in time to make it to the start the next day.

     

  8. @Teocalli

    I was with it till “everything can of off the rails” does that make sense in some lingo I no sprecho?

    3rd grade typing and proofing, do you spreck that, mon? Fixed. grazie.

  9. 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.

  10. 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?

  11. @Caad10NL

    @SamV

    Therefor, you will never win an uphill finis. But will look good finishing in the bunch just in time to make it to the start the next day.

    Yeah, that sounds about right. I’m not making into anyone’s VSP picks. That’s for sure.

  12. Froome’s arms are just too long for his body, I’m sure Sky will have investigated getting them shortened :-) . Furthermore, I think Cav’s are a bit on the short side which helps with aerodynamic sprinting.

  13. @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.

  14. @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.

  15. @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!

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

     

     

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  19. @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.

  20. @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.

  21. @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.

  22. @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.

  23. @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.

  24. @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!

  25. 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…

  26. 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.

     

  27. @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.

  28. @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.

  29. @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.

  30. 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.

  31. 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.

  32. @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

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