Chuck Flop had some of the best guns in the business.

La Vie Velominatus: Gun Envy

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Three things define a Cyclist: their ability to crush fools, their ability to Look Fantastic, and the Magnificence of their Guns. If you are lacking in one, it is mandatory that the other two are increased in compensation. In the immortal words of Paul Fournel, “To Look Good is already to go fast.” Thank Merckx for that, because not all of us can be bothered with all that training business and other stuff required to crush fools. It is rather practical being a fool, then, as I can simply crush myself to tick that particular box.

My biggest shortcoming as a Cyclist is my lack of Magnificent Guns; long, skinny pins is what I’ve got. Ride as I might, there is nothing I can do outside of taking HGH or testosterone. Both of which I’ve considered. All this results in a severe case of Gun Envy any time I see a rider endowed with rippling cannons. Cancellara and Boonen come to mind in the modern generation; Jan Ullrich and Gilberto Simoni from the generation just gone.

It takes more than girth to inspire Gun Envy; it takes definition and shape. The quads and calves must be well-balanced; giant, amorphic cannons are just as shameful as the starter pistols I’ve got. The holy grail is a sharply defined boundary under the Vastus Medialus, a razor-sharp inverted V on the top of the quad, and a Goldilocks calf perched above a slender ankle. A photographic study suggests that Pre-EPO but post-Steroid muscle development yielded in the perfect storm for musculature; most riders from the mid-nineties onwards lacked the definition that most of the stars of the 70’s and 80’s had.

I will spin a wild theory on this and report back triumphantly with details. In the meantime, I will busy myself staring at these photos.

// Evanescent Riders // Folklore // La Vie Velominatus // Look Pro // Nostalgia // The Hardmen

  1. Greipel. Just sayin’…




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  2. I didn’t even get to the caption and I thought, My Word! Those are some impressive guns!

    Yep, I have the lower legs of my 28 pound terrier. They’re pitiful. The VMH was comparing hers to mine and said mine are half the size. Oh well, bad genetics. A lifetime of sports and they ain’t growin’.




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  3. I was once told I looked like I was standing on a chicken. That said, this whole thing feels a bit too much like bodybuilding for me. I will crush fools, or at least, heads. Clush, clush, clush.




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  4. Mine are much better than this time last year, but I still only weigh about $1.30 so looking fantastic and crushing fools are my only chance!?

    your man’s guns in the main photo look a bit too disproportionate for my taste




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  5. I always thought that Hans-Henrik Oersted had a serious set of guns




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  6. Or Alexander Kiritichenko

    ..who..amazing still took the Silver medal at Worlds in this pictured Kilo tt..even after snapping his bar in half 500m into his ride. Now that’s some V!




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  7. @Magnus

    I saw Greipel interviewed yesterday after his Giro stage win. First, it was amazing how much skinnier he was than Juan Antonio Flecha, only a few years removed from the peloton. Puts into perspective the average working stiff who rides vs. a PRO. Secondly, he’s listed as 6′ and JAF as 5’11”, but JAF looked to be significantly taller.

    Was Juan Antonio wearing PeeWee’s shoes from the bartop dance?




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  8. You gotta get up pretty early in the morning to beat Super M




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  9. Never thought I’d ogle men’s legs and enjoy it…

    A personal favorite




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  10. I’ve always had BFGs. When the sun bronzes them, they look magnificent. They’re a liability going uphill, however.

    Having said that, I rode on the track with Curt Harnett a couple of times this winter. I no longer think I have big guns. That dude has massive guns!




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  11. @Ron

    @Magnus

    I saw Greipel interviewed yesterday after his Giro stage win. First, it was amazing how much skinnier he was than Juan Antonio Flecha, only a few years removed from the peloton. Puts into perspective the average working stiff who rides vs. a PRO. Secondly, he’s listed as 6′ and JAF as 5’11”, but JAF looked to be significantly taller.

    Was Juan Antonio wearing PeeWee’s shoes from the bartop dance?

    Pros have to be unnaturally skinny now. Power to weight. It would be hard to be like that unless someone was paying you and you were riding a fuck ton of kms really fast. Flecha was out here on Maui the winter after he retired and he looked badass still and from a long way out when you saw him on the bike, you knew, that is a real cyclist right there.

    But yes, Greipel has da guns.




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  12. @Gianni

    Pros have to be unnaturally skinny now. Power to weight. It would be hard to be like that unless someone was paying you and you were riding a fuck ton of kms really fast.

    Ain’t that the truth! Add to that some serious support on the nutrition and physio side of equation.

    I read the other day that Ian Stannard is 83kg. I have to respect that. Watching these little tiny skinny cats attacking up mountains just isn’t the same as enjoying the spring classics. Isn’t Tommeke racing in the Giro? An 80+kg cyclist solidly in the top 150? Maybe?




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  13. Giro 2015 – 4th stage, Chiavari – La Spezia




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  14. I’ve seen extremely long bib shorts at the Giro…




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  15. @Pedale.Forchetta

    I’ve seen extremely long bib shorts at the Giro…

    yeah, what’s up with that?




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  16. @piwakawaka

    Might it be (1) marginal gains thinking based on (2) fuller compression allied to (2) a desire not to be caught by varying conditions as the Giro veers from warm in the valleys to very cold, and the weather oscillates around all four seasons…




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  17. @piwakawaka

    Or maybe because of the longer sleeves of the jerseys… I’ve to do a small investigation about that.




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  18. @Pedale.Forchetta

    I’ve seen extremely long bib shorts at the Giro…

    Who’s the Astana rider in the photo – pretty impressive guns there.

    What they’re loaded with is another story.




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  19. @Pedale.Forchetta

    @piwakawaka

    Or maybe because of the longer sleeves of the jerseys… I’ve to do a small investigation about that.

    Or the height of the rider? Rigoberto Uran is wearing the same bibs as his taller teammates which give him the appearance of wearing pants…

    @ChrisO

    except that Astana rider looks to be pretty short from what little I can see of him (agreed on the guns and their “loaded” status).




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  20. @ChrisO

    @Pedale.Forchetta

    I’ve seen extremely long bib shorts at the Giro…

    Who’s the Astana rider in the photo – pretty impressive guns there.

    What they’re loaded with is another story.

    Looks like Paulo Tiralongo based on today’s coverage.




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  21. @Magnus

    Greipel. Just sayin’…

    To me, his legs are way too thick and big…almost looks fakey!




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  22. @Joe




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  23. @SamV

    Never thought I’d ogle men’s legs and enjoy it…

    A personal favorite

    I do that all the time.




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  24. @Steampunk

    I’ve always had BFGs. When the sun bronzes them, they look magnificent. They’re a liability going uphill, however.

    Having said that, I rode on the track with Curt Harnett a couple of times this winter. I no longer think I have big guns. That dude has massive guns!

    Track Gun Envy happening at 0:00.45:




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  25. @Gianni

    from a long way out when you saw him on the bike, you knew, that is a real cyclist right there.

    That is the undeniable truth about a good rouleur; you can see them from very far away and the way they sit on the machine and pedal just speaks volumes.

    I love that shit.




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  26. @wilburrox

    @Gianni

    Pros have to be unnaturally skinny now. Power to weight. It would be hard to be like that unless someone was paying you and you were riding a fuck ton of kms really fast.

    Ain’t that the truth! Add to that some serious support on the nutrition and physio side of equation.

    I read the other day that Ian Stannard is 83kg. I have to respect that. Watching these little tiny skinny cats attacking up mountains just isn’t the same as enjoying the spring classics. Isn’t Tommeke racing in the Giro? An 80+kg cyclist solidly in the top 150? Maybe?

    He is my weight or a little lighter, but possibly more muscle and less fat, and looks like a bratwurst on a bike compared to his fellows.

    Fucking love that dude though. Some shots from KT2015.




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  27. @Pedale.Forchetta

    Giro 2015 – 4th stage, Chiavari – La Spezia

    Two points: First, living in Italy, being Italian, an amazing photog and at the Giro reminds me that you have life sorted out. Second, why the fuck would anyone wear their bibs so fucking long and cover up their cannons?




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  28. @Ccos

    @Pedale.Forchetta

    @piwakawaka

    Or maybe because of the longer sleeves of the jerseys… I’ve to do a small investigation about that.

    Or the height of the rider? Rigoberto Uran is wearing the same bibs as his taller teammates which give him the appearance of wearing pants…

    This is a simple matter of wearing your bibs properly. I had to educate many people on Keepers Tour on this matter; something I never imagined was a matter for education in the first place. An article must be conjured on this subject.




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  29. 1. I have reasonable ( not magnificent ) guns

    2. I look okay ( not fantastic )

    3. I couldn’t crush a grape ( let alone a fool )




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  30. Putting on muscle has never been a problem for me, and recent weight loss (about 8 kg) means that the muscle I had already plus the gunnage I’ve added through recent training means I’m looking pretty ripped. Unfortunately for any climbing ambitions, a good proportion of that is upper body and I have issues getting the lower Guns of Navarone to fire for more than a couple of minutes.

    I should so be a track rider.




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  31. @frank

    Meh.




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  32. @RobSandy

    Putting on muscle has never been a problem for me, and recent weight loss (about 8 kg) means that the muscle I had already plus the gunnage I’ve added through recent training means I’m looking pretty ripped. Unfortunately for any climbing ambitions, a good proportion of that is upper body and I have issues getting the lower Guns of Navarone to fire for more than a couple of minutes.

    I should so be a track rider.

    Got your Guns of Navarone right here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z_dI6Q0cGIA




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  33. @frank

    No tunes for the hour ??? Dang…




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  34. I have the legs of a female European super model. And while they are nice a shapely they are somewhat lacking in definition. This has never really bothered me though as they tend to do what they are told when asked. And holy shit do I look good in some short shorts (sexily flaunting the top of my tan lines).




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  35. @frank

    @wilburrox

    @Gianni

    Pros have to be unnaturally skinny now. Power to weight. It would be hard to be like that unless someone was paying you and you were riding a fuck ton of kms really fast.

    Ain’t that the truth! Add to that some serious support on the nutrition and physio side of equation.

    I read the other day that Ian Stannard is 83kg. I have to respect that. Watching these little tiny skinny cats attacking up mountains just isn’t the same as enjoying the spring classics. Isn’t Tommeke racing in the Giro? An 80+kg cyclist solidly in the top 150? Maybe?

    He is my weight or a little lighter, but possibly more muscle and less fat, and looks like a bratwurst on a bike compared to his fellows.

    Fucking love that dude though. Some shots from KT2015.

    Yeah, agree, Mr Stannard qualifies a hell of a lot more than those skeletal emaciated types.

    Plus, I want the Kask lid he’s got. Off topic I know, but Im looking for a suitable replacement for my Bell Sweep and that fits the bill, apart from no stockists in this part of the planet.

    However I digress, gun training at the range scheduled for 6am




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  36. @Barracuda

    “fits the bill” – I didn’t know you were a duck…




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  37. @wiscot

    @RobSandy

    Putting on muscle has never been a problem for me, and recent weight loss (about 8 kg) means that the muscle I had already plus the gunnage I’ve added through recent training means I’m looking pretty ripped. Unfortunately for any climbing ambitions, a good proportion of that is upper body and I have issues getting the lower Guns of Navarone to fire for more than a couple of minutes.

    I should so be a track rider.

    Got your Guns of Navarone right here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z_dI6Q0cGIA

    Outstanding work.




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  38. @the Engine

    @Barracuda

    “fits the bill” – I didn’t know you were a duck…

    Im not, but I battle to find mitts that fit my webbed hands.




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  39. @frank

    @Joe

    I have five toes per foot, thank you!




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  40. @Pedale.Forchetta

    Giro 2015 – 4th stage, Chiavari – La Spezia

    Alas, as it has been said before this post, it’s a shame the only rider in this photo sporting a proper set of guns probably has those guns loaded with some depleted uranium tipped super serum.

    Astana can suck it. But Etixx can suck it on the sartorial front for putting their riders in those trousers.




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  41. Serious question (for a friend): Say you have big guns, what kind of trousers do you wear that aren’t so baggy you look like a nineteenth-century street urchin or so tight around the thigh that you’re in danger of cutting off circulation below the knee? The looser cut make my (er, my friend’s) legs look even shorter than they already are. The tighter cut makes me wonder why I took off the lycra in the first place. As important as it is to look fabulous on the bike, it would be nice to look somewhat pulled together off of it as well…




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  42. @wiscot

    Always the first thing I think of when I hear Guns of Navarone.




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  43. @Steampunk

    Serious question (for a friend): Say you have big guns, what kind of trousers do you wear that aren’t so baggy you look like a nineteenth-century street urchin or so tight around the thigh that you’re in danger of cutting off circulation below the knee? The looser cut make my (er, my friend’s) legs look even shorter than they already are. The tighter cut makes me wonder why I took off the lycra in the first place. As important as it is to look fabulous on the bike, it would be nice to look somewhat pulled together off of it as well…

    Some premium jeans have a bit of Lycra in them to help with stretch and comfort. And I’m guessing you will not be happy to hear this but you need to spend a lot on good jeans to Look Fantastic just as with Cycling.

    Mario used to wear Diesel, if I’m not mistaken.




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  44. @frank

    Indeed! Jeans I can manage. Strangely, the bigger challenge is with dress pants, khakis, and cords…




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  45. @frank

    Mario used to wear Diesel, if I’m not mistaken.

    Of course he did!




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  46. @Steampunk

    Serious question (for a friend): Say you have big guns, what kind of trousers do you wear that aren’t so baggy you look like a nineteenth-century street urchin or so tight around the thigh that you’re in danger of cutting off circulation below the knee? The looser cut make my (er, my friend’s) legs look even shorter than they already are. The tighter cut makes me wonder why I took off the lycra in the first place. As important as it is to look fabulous on the bike, it would be nice to look somewhat pulled together off of it as well…

    I have a friend who has exactly the same problem with suit trousers and the bastard things always wear out between the legs.

    Note: always trousers never pants




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  47. @The Engine

    I have a friend who has exactly the same problem with suit trousers and the bastard things always wear out between the legs.

    That! Absolutely that! It’s hard to look fantastic–or afford to–when you’ve got a hole in your crotch. I sometimes think trousers wear out just by looking at my guns….




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  48. @Steampunk

    Serious question (for a friend): Say you have big guns, what kind of trousers do you wear that aren’t so baggy you look like a nineteenth-century street urchin or so tight around the thigh that you’re in danger of cutting off circulation below the knee? The looser cut make my (er, my friend’s) legs look even shorter than they already are. The tighter cut makes me wonder why I took off the lycra in the first place. As important as it is to look fabulous on the bike, it would be nice to look somewhat pulled together off of it as well…

    Shouldn’t it be “……..makes him wonder why he…………..”




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  49. @Steampunk Chinos? Think of them what you will. Just thinking of a style with a tapering leg. Pretty 80s really…

    For a straight leg, I find I have to size up on the waist to get the wider leg, and have the waist taken in and cuffs taken up.

    My latest jeans have some stretch, strangely it seems to be the calves that are tightest on a straight leg.




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