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Guest Article: Ride Like a Rock Star

Guest Article: Ride Like a Rock Star

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Yes, this makes three Guest Articles in three weeks, but we run the show around here and we do what we want. Especially when it comes to solid, 24-karat gold Cyclist/Rock star comparisons. Especiallier when it comes from none other than Keeper Jim’s lovely wife and food-writer celebrity, Jess Thomson. Its cute seeing the family come together to uphold Jim’s twice-annual Article quota.

And speaking of Keeper Jim, he is rumored to be making a cameo appearances at tomorrow’s Ride and Book Signing at Branford Bike in Seattle in support of our book, The Rules, The Way of the Cycling Disciple. Looking forward to seeing you there!

Yours in Cycling, Frank

When German giant Marcel Kittel stomped across the finish first on Corsica last year, there was no ambivalence. He had power. He had grace. There wasn’t anyone faster. And in just a few pedal strokes, as Kittel pushed Cavendish from his long reign atop the sprint headlines (in my uneducated spectator’s mind, anyway), I developed an obsession.

Last year, I broke a collarbone in a crash on the first day of the Tour, which meant I had time to obsess from my cozy spot on the couch. Still, given that I’m a happily married woman teetering toward middle age, and that I’m the kind of sometimes cyclist who breaks every single Rule, and that I really only get excited about cycling when there are sprints, climbs, or crashes, the concept of an infatuation was unusual and embarrassing enough that I hid it. I don’t have the pedigree or the personality for a Tour crush. (My Keeper husband might, but that’s a different story.) But the blonde coiffe, clearly cared for off the bike. The wry smile. The crying, for God’s sake.

Last week, when Kittel crossed the line first in the first stage once again, this time in Harrogate, I realized with a blinding flash of the obvious that I’ve had no choice but to crush. I have no choice, because Kittel has the genetics of a rock star. I have the genetics of a former teenaged girl. I am–and millions others in my general age group also are, I assume–deeply and helplessly programmed to swoon when Kittel doffs his helmet because Marcel Kittel is the Vanilla Ice of cycling.

IMG_4984

When I saw Ice, as I think we called him, perform live in 1990, there was no questioning whether he was talented. No man who comes up with lyrics as perfectly simple as Ice, Ice Baby can be questioned. He embodied perfection. He dripped young, infectious energy.

Wait. Wait, I’m totally wrong. Vanilla Ice was a terrible artist that I’m ashamed to have listened to at all. So call Kittel Vanilla Ice plus, one might hope, more popular longevity. And more talent.

IMG_4985

Intrinsic value aside, the correlation holds visually. Look at them, people. The nose. The lips. The hair. Even the hairline. And alas, the heinous shades. I’ll give you that the lower halves must not look anything alike, but the similarities are undeniable. They might as well be twins, separated by a mere two decades and the Atlantic Ocean. Imagine Kittel as his lead-out train sweeps aside: I’m on a roll, and it’s time to go solo.

I’m not saying Kittel should get cocky (or Coquarded, as the case may be), offend the masses, and ride into history as a two-Tour wonder. Ride like a rock star, pretty boy, for as long as you can. Just remember, when you’re older than Voigt and Voeckler, that you may have a second career waiting for you. Clearly, given that you reported the toughest part of Stage 3’s day being when an airline employee confiscated your hair gel, you have the capacity for the intense self-care stardom requires.

IMG_4983

And, you know, if Ice isn’t your style, don’t feel hemmed in. Just keep cultivating that inner Macklemore, which I’ve seen, too. In fact, better start now, maybe with some white-walled tires, while While Walls is still on the radio. Who knows who you might bring to cycling.

// Guest Article // Look Pro // Nostalgia // Versus

  1. Huh, was Ice technically a “rock” star?

    And oh no, I can’t believe that final photo on the bottom right. I’ve done my best to have absolutely no clue who that fucking jerk is or what he’s up to. I feel like the end is near when that clown makes an appearance here in my Safe Cycling Zone.

    Crashes, DNSs, DNFs, and now this…

  2. Ha ha, great article. Watching Kittel being interviewd by LeMond at the Team Presentation in Leeds, I was struck by one slightly worrying detail. Kittel clearly waxes or plucks his eyebrows. A step too far in respect of Rule #50 perhaps? Either way, I’ll happily admit the bromance between him and Johnny D is gold.

  3. Great piece! I never saw Vanilla live (even if I had, I wouldn’t admit to it!) but I do remember being in dodgy clubs in Terre Haute in 1990 hearing the dum de dum de de dum dum coming out of the speakers. Two differences here: Marcel uses his real name, Robert Matthew van Winkle doesn’t. Marcel has talent and is, arguably, a fresh face in the peloton. Cycling needs characters and personalities and MK seems to fit the bill. He can preen and primp all he likes as long as he wins. He seems a pretty modest character and a decent guy. Just like Cav, talent and top step of the podium places negate a lot of hate.

    Another reason I want MK to do well, is that (as far as I know) the German TV media are still basically boycotting pro cycling as a result of Dirty Jan. MK, Degenkolb and Tony Martin are good guys who are winning. Hopefully that might make German TV change their minds.

    Thank Merckx you didn’t post any pictures of the Bieber boy and his hair.

    Oh, and I’ll take Mk’s pompadour over Degenkolb’s dodgy “moustache” any day. Steamy, you need to give Johhny D some tips on the tash!

  4. My Velomiwidow, strong armed into another July of Tour watching, also has developed a crush for Kittel also  …..  but she blames it from her secret desire for the “other” Iceman.

    Know she wants to know why my legs don’t look like that in my kit!

  5. Maybe Teutons pluck their eyebrows. Don’t make his even more Teutonic cousins come after you.

  6. I’m confused. Does “crush” have a good or bad connotation to you? I concur though, those dudes look a lot alike. And that hairstyle sure is making the rounds again. The mullet is on deck.

  7. I’ll admit it… I’ve seen Vanilla Ice in concert… sandwiched between The Barenaked Ladies, Spirit of the West, and Sarah Mclachlan at a festival concert at UBC Thunderbird in the 90’s. A little known band called Moist was playing on the second stage. Ahhh… the early 90’s.

    Yes, it was just as weird as you can imagine.

    @Dino your wife and my wife share the same desire. Can’t say that I blame them.

  8. @VeloJello

    @DeKerr Show them this….

    And this http://reelchange.net/2013/02/12/why-the-homoeroticism-in-top-gun-matters/

    Well, that’s a link I’m not tempted to open . . . some things I just don’t care to know . . .

  9. Whilst I’m way too old for Vanilla Ice beyond expecting a 99 or wafer sandwich  (should I admit to seeing the likes of The Kinks live) – great article.  I did like MK’s tweet after the London finish along the lines of “disaster at London City airport, hair gel didn’t make it through security”.

  10. @wiscot

    The guy is a class act, and didn’t need 5 years to mature into not being a douchebag like Cav. I’ll admit, though, I’m 180 on Cav these days, he’s become a class act as well. But to compare them is a little off; there’s nothing flamboyant and outwardly showmanlike about Cav – he just rides his bike batshit fast and maybe on his reckless days he would do a stoopid salute.

    Kittel is much more like Cipo, if that’s possible. A sense of humor, making a show of things but then being 100% professional and all about business when it comes to training and winning sprints.

  11. @VeloJello

    @DeKerr Show them this….

    And this http://reelchange.net/2013/02/12/why-the-homoeroticism-in-top-gun-matters/

    Jesus, between @steamey’s face and that bellie, we have just fucked this site the last week, haven’t we.

  12. @frank

    @VeloJello

    @DeKerr Show them this….

    And this http://reelchange.net/2013/02/12/why-the-homoeroticism-in-top-gun-matters/

    Jesus, between @steamey’s face and that bellie, we have just fucked this site the last week, haven’t we.

    Probably an open invitation for a host of dodgy spam from random .cn .ru etc domains………….

  13. Back to Marcel, the bike throw is a classic, but I love his recovery from it. Totally a moment of weakness and then he realized he had to correct himself for his sponsors. I understand from his team that the apology was his own idea and he took the initiative to do it that way. So funny and a great, classy way to poke fun at yourself while making good to your sponsors.

    Tried to keep our relationship going after our fight yesterday. Apologized to my sweetheart this morning! @marcelkittel

  14. I wonder if with cleaner cycling Pros will have more personality.  Did the years of Pharmstrong and the overall omerta create an environment of stone faces? Aside from a few notables like Jens and maybe Cipo there seemed to be more emphasis on stoic professionalism rather than panache. Or maybe I’m full of crap.

  15. Awesome stuff.

    Kittel does very well for a German. But only another Italian has a hope of channelling cipo.

    Loving the Giany Shimano kit. Harks back to some class historical jerseys.

  16. I get the Vanilla Ice comparison, but who are Macklemore and what on earth is a food writer celebrity?

  17. Does that make Degenkolb DJ D-shay? Yeah, I remember the name of his DJ, but to be fair, he’s name checked repeatedly – he’s the one with ‘Guage while Vanilla has the Nine.

  18. I’m surprised this didn’t occur to me sooner – I’ve been thinking about cycling and music for the purposes of chanting by the side of the road should I ever make it to a grand tour – I mentioned “Boom shake the Froome” for Lars Boom in the TDF thread. I’ve also been humming “Quintana” to the tune of “Tequila”, “Bauke Mollema” to the tune of “Guantanamera”, “Jurgen… Van den Broek” to the tune of “Thunderstruck” and of course come Paris-Roubaix I’ll be singing “Stybar” to Electric Six’s “Gaybar”. Linking cyclists to artists and finding apt lyrics in the artists songs adds a whole extra level.

  19. He is a really nice guy in person and seems to go out of his way to be nice to people – giving jerseys, inviting them to races and so on, over and above the general duties of having his photo taken with fans.

    In that sense he’s almost the antithesis of a rock star.

    And yes he’s pretty easy on the eye, although personally I’d suggest some tattoos to balance that clean Teutonic look.

  20. Kittel is much more like Cipo, if that’s possible. A sense of humor, making a show of things but then being 100% professional and all about business when it comes to training and winning sprints.

    This. It had crossed my mind too when originally reading the article. MK has the charisma of Cipo, just slightly muted, but he’ll grow into it I’m sure.

  21. @Teocalli Nope. A genuine examination of the homoeroticism in Top Gun. As well as a Cyclist, I’m also a movie geek and it’s fairly common knowledge that Top Gun is considered in the Gay community as one of the most mainstream homoerotic movies after Brokeback Mountain and The Birdcage.

  22. @frank

    @VeloJello

    Jesus, between @steamey’s face and that bellie, we have just fucked this site the last week, haven’t we.

    OK. No more fucking dodgy pictures or links. Back to the bikes, the riders and the sport.

  23. @Owen

    Maybe Teutons pluck their eyebrows. Don’t make his even more Teutonic cousins come after you.

    ^ That. A friend that moved from Germany to the Middle East complained that all the men here walk around here with unshaven armpits and monkey-brows…

  24. Maybe in your part – over here facial hair is an art form wrought in dark stubble.

    It’s also the only place a barber has offered me a nose-hair wax and ear-hair burn as part of the service.

  25. @dyalander

    I’m surprised this didn’t occur to me sooner – I’ve been thinking about cycling and music for the purposes of chanting by the side of the road should I ever make it to a grand tour – I mentioned “Boom shake the Froome” for Lars Boom in the TDF thread. I’ve also been humming “Quintana” to the tune of “Tequila”, “Bauke Mollema” to the tune of “Guantanamera”, “Jurgen… Van den Broek” to the tune of “Thunderstruck” and of course come Paris-Roubaix I’ll be singing “Stybar” to Electric Six’s “Gaybar”. Linking cyclists to artists and finding apt lyrics in the artists songs adds a whole extra level.

    Fuck it. You’ve given me ear worms  I’ve been singing Stybar all morning now. Genius.

  26. @ChrisO I guess the male grooming trend skipped Israel and went straight to the Emirates…

  27. ChrisO – I thoroughly enjoy that photo of you and Marcel. Very cool. I have no idea how I’d feel meeting one of these PROs. To me, they are otherworldly so I don’t know how I’d react or what I’d say. I ride bikes, you ride bikes, but you…well, you ride them 3x faster…

    Good on ya.

  28. @ChrisO

    He is a really nice guy in person and seems to go out of his way to be nice to people – giving jerseys, inviting them to races and so on, over and above the general duties of having his photo taken with fans.

    In that sense he’s almost the antithesis of a rock star.

    And yes he’s pretty easy on the eye, although personally I’d suggest some tattoos to balance that clean Teutonic look.

    Two questions:

    Did you meet him in a hospital?

    And does your cap say Lazaretto? If so (and I won’t give you the chance to answer), chapeau to the prison reference and also the best song of 2014 so far.

  29. @frank Ha, yes it does look a bit institutional, but it was the Dubai exhibition centre which for some reason was where they were holding the daily post-stage press conferences for the Tour of Dubai. Kittel had won that day and I’d been a guest in one of the team cars so I was just tagging along.

    And the cap – close. It says Lazaretti. It’s a very old bicycle store in Rome, founded by two brothers called (I kid you not) Romulus and Remus.

    I get the Jack White reference but the prison?

  30. @therealpeel
    I give you – Tommy Voeckler  !!  But that’s about it …

  31. Thank you Jess, you know we need a woman’s perspective here as often as possible. Seeing Vanilla Ice’s mug on here is a bit disorienting, that boy needed a slap, still does I reckon. I would say, a lot of these pro cyclists are handsome fellas and I say this whilst sitting high atop my horse, Hetro. I’m thinking all these lean mean faces make for handsome. Put forty kilos and some Swiss lederhosen on Fabs and he is just another sweaty male. Being at your fighting weight always works, or at least helps. And yes, having Marcel’s hair does not hurt either.

  32. Great article!  I think the Ice reference do indeed extend further in to the genre.  This is a recent conversation between Cav and Kittel in the bar after an early TdF stage.  Aren’t those iphones just brilliant at capturing the “off-camera” reparte….

  33. @ChrisO

    I get the Jack White reference but the prison?

    I thought a Lazaretto was a prison island, but upon Wiki’ing it to show off how smart I am, I discovered that I am in fact a moron, and a Lazaretto is a quarantine island for sailors. Almost the same thing, based on what I know of sailors.

  34. @VeloJello

    @dyalander

    I’m surprised this didn’t occur to me sooner – I’ve been thinking about cycling and music for the purposes of chanting by the side of the road should I ever make it to a grand tour – I mentioned “Boom shake the Froome” for Lars Boom in the TDF thread. I’ve also been humming “Quintana” to the tune of “Tequila”, “Bauke Mollema” to the tune of “Guantanamera”, “Jurgen… Van den Broek” to the tune of “Thunderstruck” and of course come Paris-Roubaix I’ll be singing “Stybar” to Electric Six’s “Gaybar”. Linking cyclists to artists and finding apt lyrics in the artists songs adds a whole extra level.

    Fuck it. You’ve given me ear worms I’ve been singing Stybar all morning now. Genius.

    Let me fix that for you – try these instead:

    “Hey Richie you’re so fine, you’re so fine you blow my mind…”

    or if you prefer to croon:

    “When it points to the skies then he rides like he flies, that’s Nibali.

    On the wet Belgian stones he just rides, never moans, that’s Niabli”

  35. @dyalander If he wins the Tour, I’ll pop on my Dinner Jacket and croon away to a video camera for you all!

  36. @VeloJello

    @dyalander If he wins the Tour, I’ll pop on my Dinner Jacket and croon away to a video camera for you all!

    You do know we’ll hold you to that!

  37. @wiscot

    @VeloJello

    @dyalander If he wins the Tour, I’ll pop on my Dinner Jacket and croon away to a video camera for you all!

    You do know we’ll hold you to that!

    We’ll have to come up with more lyrics –

    “Bells will ring, ding a ling a ling, and I have to sing, cos his jersey is yellow

    Bikes will sway as they sprint away on the final day, but it’s for him I bellow.”

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