To Look Good is Already to Go Fast

Looking fast. Photo: Pedale.Forchetta
Its no coincidence he looks as fast as he is. Photo: Pedale.Forchetta

To look good is already to go fast.
-Paul Fournel, Vélo

My approach to research is pretty straight forward. First, I develop an opinion – usually in a cognitively compromised state. This is the first step in the process for the simple reason that it avoids the bulk of the hard work involving things like reading and thinking. Next, I cherry-pick evidence from my experience and what few materials I have read on the subject in order to support my opinion. Finally, I defend myself with whatever dirty tricks or facts I need to invent in order to maintain my position.

It is only on rare occasions that I will be unable to guess at the evidence I need to support my claim, but in those cases I already know I’m right, so not finding evidence that contradicts my position is almost the same as finding some that supports it. I consider those circumstances validation of my opinion and thus fortify the resolve that I’m right.

Over the lifetime of The Rules, numerous bright sparks have popped up out of the ether like some sort of internet Whack-A-Mole to point out that many of them are all about aesthetics. The point is true enough, but the Velominati have always understoodd that Looking Fantastic is the fundamental building block to finding the motivation to get out on the bike day in, day out – Rule #9 or shine. The fact that the hard work of training is what actually makes you faster is glossed over when you get excited about kitting up in your Flandrian Best, echoing the summoning of Flemish hardmen who have come before you, and using their image to inspire you to get out and lay down the V. Its basic, really.

Despite how certain I’ve always been that this is Truth and that The Rules have been handed down by Merckx from high on Mount Velomis to inspire the masses, an Austrian professor, Dr. Erik Postma of the University of Zurich, recently conducted a study to see whether Looking Fantastic really does indicate athletic prowess.

The results confirmed that Science is unnecessary when you’ve already guessed the truth, but nevertheless it is handy to have a scientific study support my assumptions in case I can’t make up facts as quickly as I need to during an argument. It also strikes me as interesting that the study found that women on the pill are about as good at identifying attractive males as men are.

Thanks to Shaka Mitchell for sending this validating study along to us.

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130 Replies to “To Look Good is Already to Go Fast”

  1. @Deakus

    This is the fastest person I have ever seen. Unlikely ever to be beaten!

    Makes Sagan look like he’s on training wheels

  2. @VeloSix

    @Deakus

    This is the fastest person I have ever seen. Unlikely ever to be beaten!

    Makes Sagan look like he’s on training wheels

    I would love to be that top tube.

  3. @frank

    @Barracuda

    To Look Good is Already to Go Fast .
    Mmmmm, let me be a thorn in the side of that argument @frank.

    For Saturdays Cogal I tried my absolute best to look good in order to go fast. No EPMS’);” class=”comment-link”>EPMS, all Rapha’d up. etc etc etc.

    Then 45 degree celsius hit and a fcker of a Northerly wind hit us and my fast went out the back door. #5 and #9 were continually repeated in head by my little brain. But alas, fast I was not.

    It is possible you did not look as good as you thought, but if you did indeed Look Fantastic, just think how fucking slow you’d been had you looked crap.

    Yes, you let the powers of their advertising and facial hair convince you that you looked good. Their veneer of soul and tradition is too vacuous to support full application of the V. It is crucial to recognize this empirical reality.

  4. @unversio

    Millar is experimenting with his fantasticality.

    O dear he has caught Hesjedalitis.  That POD shit looks like something out of a kindegarten.  Sorry along with the silver gillet he looks like something from a BoneyM concert!  (not that I would know what that was obviously #tooyoungandnoideawhothisgermanbandare)….

  5. @Deakus

    @unversio

    Millar is experimenting with his fantasticality.

    O dear he has caught Hesjedalitis. That POD shit looks like something out of a kindegarten. Sorry along with the silver gillet he looks like something from a BoneyM concert! (not that I would know what that was obviously #tooyoungandnoideawhothisgermanbandare)….

    +1.  Garmin are trying so desperately to remain the cool team they used to be, they’ve forgotten just how to be cool.

  6. @Nate

    @PeakInTwoYears Also: @frank repeats himself, first as tragedy then as farce.

    I wish I had the authority to award a badge for this, I suspect the first time “The 18th Brumaire” has been referenced here.

  7. @unversio

    Millar is experimenting with his fantasticality.

    That gillet looks like something out of a hikers emergency survival kit.  Hideous!  And those helmets, did they design those with a crayon on a napkin?

  8. @VeloSix

    @unversio

    Millar is experimenting with his fantasticality.

    That gillet looks like something out of a hikers emergency survival kit. Hideous! And those helmets, did they design those with a crayon on a napkin?

    Shitty looking helmet and gilet aside, those bars have a very shallow drop. Interesting, as it looks as if he has a negative rise slammed stem coupled with the really shallow bars. Discuss.

  9. POC is banking on the idea that your race will include a downhill snow slalom stage.

  10. @VeloSix

    @unversio

    Millar is experimenting with his fantasticality.

    That gillet looks like something out of a hikers emergency survival kit. Hideous! And those helmets, did they design those with a crayon on a napkin?

    Those shades have improved a lot since the early prototypes…

  11. @unversio

    POC is banking on the idea that your race will include a downhill snow slalom stage.

    Ahahaha. Nice!

    I thought I was going to be the only one not cool enough to think that the POC helmets are cool. Someone needs to post up the TT helmets…If you think these look to be designed by crayon, those look to be designed based on Mushmouth’s hat from Fat Albert.

    Helmets might be the toughest piece of gear to sort out; what looks good on one can look awful on another. I don’t even like the S-Works anymore, and those used to be slick.

  12. @PeakInTwoYears

    @Nate

    @PeakInTwoYears Also: @frank repeats himself, first as tragedy then as farce.

    I wish I had the authority to award a badge for this, I suspect the first time “The 18th Brumaire” has been referenced here.

    I suppose you could nominate me but somehow I doubt the 18th Brumaire is a core part of the computer science curriculum and the reference won’t resonate.

  13. @VeloSix

    @frank

    @VeloSix

    I have been urged by the VMH‘);” class=”comment-link”>VMH and a couple of her fellow friends that my “long” hair makes me a sexy man beast, and I shouldn’t cut it as I intend to do this spring. (Long for me is when it’s in my eyes, and over my ears) Its hot as fuck in the summer and I hate it.

    This article makes me want to keep it, although will it make me faster or give me some sexy man beast reputation to live up to….. that is the question….

    I think any time your wife refers to you as a sexy man beast, that’s pretty great. Especially since her friends seem to validate it. That’s even pretty greater.

    I would advise you to keep your long hair despite whatever crappy reason you can come up with as to cut it. Your long hair might even lead to “sexy man beast” sex, which is way better than the usual kind, which is “if you absolutely must but make it quick because my show is on in five minutes” sex to which the customary response is, “Five minutes? More than I need.”

    So by this line of thinking, I should just buy a bigger TT helmet…

    Perhaps this is why POC made their new TT helmet.  Whatever the aerodynamics, though, by Frank’s reasoning it should add minutes to your TT time…

  14. @Deakus

    This is the fastest person I have ever seen. Unlikely ever to be beaten!

    I have nothing witty to say about this photo per se. I just thought the ratio of appearances of it to (the normaly dapper) David Millar’s looking like a chucklehead ran the risk of throwing the Velo universe out of whack.

  15. Stybar looks pretty fast in that road aero helmet. It wraps his head so closely.

    Being covered in dirt that you launched with your own front wheel doesn’t hurt either.

  16. @G’rilla

    Not only did Stybar Look Fantastic, he looked like a fucking beast!  Starting from 4 or 5 rows back and then trading blows with Nys after they put the rest of the field to the sword was impressive.  Chapeau to two titans of cyclocross for that race.

  17. @Ron

    @frank

    @Barracuda

    To Look Good is Already to Go Fast .
    Mmmmm, let me be a thorn in the side of that argument @frank.

    For Saturdays Cogal I tried my absolute best to look good in order to go fast. No EPMS‘);” class=”comment-link”>EPMS, all Rapha’d up. etc etc etc.

    Then 45 degree celsius hit and a fcker of a Northerly wind hit us and my fast went out the back door. #5 and #9 were continually repeated in head by my little brain. But alas, fast I was not.

    It is possible you did not look as good as you thought, but if you did indeed Look Fantastic, just think how fucking slow you’d been had you looked crap.

    Yes, you let the powers of their advertising and facial hair convince you that you looked good. Their veneer of soul and tradition is too vacuous to support full application of The V. It is crucial to recognize this empirical reality.

    I did not purchase Rapha just because some dude with a beard rode some backroads in Thailand and said he had an epic adventure.   I purchased because I liked the look and also the feel.

  18. @Barracuda

    For Saturdays Cogal I tried my absolute best to look good in order to go fast. No EPMS, all Rapha’d up. etc etc etc.

    It is interesting you had to mention “No EPMS” for to do so suggests that one such normally resides on said bike. Maybe you should try looking fantasic everytime you get on the bike, not just for races?

  19. @VeloSix

    I have been urged by the VMH and a couple of her fellow friends that my “long” hair makes me a sexy man beast, and I shouldn’t cut it as I intend to do this spring. (Long for me is when it’s in my eyes, and over my ears) Its hot as fuck in the summer and I hate it.

    This article makes me want to keep it, although will it make me faster or give me some sexy man beast reputation to live up to….. that is the question….

    Rock stars have long hair. Chicks love rock stars. End of discussion.

  20. @Puffy

    @Barracuda

    For Saturdays Cogal I tried my absolute best to look good in order to go fast. No EPMS, all Rapha’d up. etc etc etc.

    It is interesting you had to mention “No EPMS” for to do so suggests that one such normally resides on said bike. Maybe you should try looking fantasic everytime you get on the bike, not just for races?

    @frank is right, no one actually reads anything!    I dont normally use said EPMS and Saturdays Cogal was by no means a race.  Palm on for forehead.

  21. @wiscot

    @VeloSix

    @unversio

    Millar is experimenting with his fantasticality.

     

     

    Shitty looking helmet and gilet aside, those bars have a very shallow drop. Interesting, as it looks as if he has a negative rise slammed stem coupled with the really shallow bars. Discuss.

    I’ve queried his bar / hood choice before because its an odd one. I think they are 3T ergonovas but he has the hoods placed really high on the bend then the bars angled forward to get the ‘right’ fit.

    It doesn’t make a lot of sense to me, but maybe he has to do it due to the massive head tube length on those S3’s. It obviously works for him but there must be a better solution to whatever the problem is.

  22. @Deakus

    This is the fastest person I have ever seen. Unlikely ever to be beaten!

    I don’t know how Team Vanderkitten has managed to pull off kittens and rainbows and manage to make it Look Fantastic, but these girls already look fast.

    And check it out: it works.

  23. @wiscot

    @VeloSix

    @unversio

    Millar is experimenting with his fantasticality.

    That gillet looks like something out of a hikers emergency survival kit. Hideous! And those helmets, did they design those with a crayon on a napkin?

    Shitty looking helmet and gilet aside, those bars have a very shallow drop. Interesting, as it looks as if he has a negative rise slammed stem coupled with the really shallow bars. Discuss.

    Not much too discuss; shallow drops are the compact crank of the handlebar world.

    @Ccos

    OF COURSE most of the rules have to do with aesthetics. How many rules do you need to state that one must ride hard, race to win, not be a douche, etc? Those are not really debatable. However the proper kit has many elements which require clarification.

    It really is that simple, isn’t it?

  24. @Chris

    @VeloSix

    @unversio

    Millar is experimenting with his fantasticality.

    That gillet looks like something out of a hikers emergency survival kit. Hideous! And those helmets, did they design those with a crayon on a napkin?

    Those shades have improved a lot since the early prototypes…

    I had a boss at an early job where I met KRX-10 who was a real firecracker. KRX-10 naturally used an Apple, and the boss would sneak in and stick Fisher-Price stickers all over it after-hours.

    Seeing these helmets, I’m find myself yearning for those same stickers…

  25. @Nate

    @PeakInTwoYears

    @Nate

    @PeakInTwoYears Also: @frank repeats himself, first as tragedy then as farce.

    I wish I had the authority to award a badge for this, I suspect the first time “The 18th Brumaire” has been referenced here.

    I suppose you could nominate me but somehow I doubt the 18th Brumaire is a core part of the computer science curriculum and the reference won’t resonate.

    Quite honestly, I’m just smart enough to sort out that you two are being hilarious, but I have no idea why and as such am unable to issue the badge in good conscience.

    @G’rilla

    Stybar looks pretty fast in that road aero helmet. It wraps his head so closely.

    Being covered in dirt that you launched with your own front wheel doesn’t hurt either.

    …and it is all neutralized by those socks.

    I love that he didn’t race CX all year, decided to come back and won the Worlds. I’ve never seen a photo of him off the bike; must Look Epicly Fantastic.

  26. @frank When I started reading that I thought you were comparing desecrating Apples with Fisher Price stickers to posting pictures of blokes in dive masks on your beloved web blog.

    As for the helmets; they’re no worse than many of the others out there. At the end of the day, most of us, pros and mere mortals alike fail miserably to wear them with style. If it wasn’t for the (questionable)* argument about safety, helmets would never have got off the ground, you’d have got round to designing a V-cap and we’d all be sporting those.

    *Given the amount of Hello Kitty posted above, I thought I could risk re-igniting the helmet flame wars.

  27. @frank

    It really is that simple, isn’t it?

    I do however think the “etc” could do with a little bit of definition if it is to become a rule.

  28. @frank

    @Chris

    I’m sorry, Chris. Were you saying something about V-Caps?

    And can we order it ? Stop teasing us Frank.

    As for you Chris, there’s plenty of other caps out there to look fantastic in. I know I do.

    (now you’re going to mention those bloody tights again)

  29. @frank

    @Chris

    I’m sorry, Chris. Were you saying something about V-Caps?

    Not to be too nit-picky, but when the brim is down, shouldn’t “Obey the Rules” read left-to-right? It reads correctly if the brim is up . . .

  30. @wiscot

    @frank

    @Chris

    I’m sorry, Chris. Were you saying something about V-Caps?

    Not to be too nit-picky, but when the brim is down, shouldn’t “Obey the Rules” read left-to-right? It reads correctly if the brim is up . . .

    Think about that a little bit and I think you answered your own question.

  31. @ChrisO Damn I’d forgotten about those tights.  I’m going to have to get my arse up to the Scottish Cogal just to see them again……….

  32. Frank,

    It is obvious that the brim is correctly designed.  What is not obvious is:

    HOW THE FUCK TO WE ORDER THESE ALTOGETHER BITCHIN’ CAPS?

  33. @wiscot

    @frank

    @Chris

    I’m sorry, Chris. Were you saying something about V-Caps?

    Not to be too nit-picky, but when the brim is down, shouldn’t “Obey the Rules” read left-to-right? It reads correctly if the brim is up . . .

    Pic 2 is from the back!

  34. @frank

    @Deakus

    This is the fastest person I have ever seen. Unlikely ever to be beaten!

    I don’t know how Team Vanderkitten has managed to pull off kittens and rainbows and manage to make it Look Fantastic, but these girls already look fast.

     

    And check it out: it works.

    Responding just so I can see the pictures again.  I have ridden with these gals on a charity ride in California.  They are as fast as they are good looking.  Funny enough, I mostly rode with Amy Charity (Ha!) who is the Colorado State Champ, among other things.  These ladies can crush it in the hills.  They are the Lady with the Hammer.

  35. @RedRanger  Agreed, looking forward to Stybar winning one of the classics this year – I’ve taken ages to write this as I can’t stop looking at the picture of Liz Hatch!

  36. In case any of you missed it, Stybar stated just two weeks before the WC that he was still undecided about lining up, but was considering it because his VMH lives near the course. Pay a visit, win some rainbow hoops. Not bad for a weekend plan!

    Gotta love the fact that he started out racing BMX, then went to cross, and now is winning on the road. What a talent!

  37. @Ron

    In case any of you missed it, Stybar stated just two weeks before the WC that he was still undecided about lining up, but was considering it because his VMH lives near the course. Pay a visit, win some rainbow hoops. Not bad for a weekend plan!

    Gotta love the fact that he started out racing BMX, then went to cross, and now is winning on the road. What a talent!

    Let’s add him to the Boonen, Fabu, Sagan cobbled contenders list.  He was a force at P-R last year, with minimal experience, and only figures to be better this year.  Fuckyeahcobbles.

  38. @Teocalli

    @wiscot

    @frank

    @Chris

    I’m sorry, Chris. Were you saying something about V-Caps?

    Not to be too nit-picky, but when the brim is down, shouldn’t “Obey the Rules” read left-to-right? It reads correctly if the brim is up . . .

    Pic 2 is from the back!

    D’oh! (slaps forehead while blushing.)

  39. I have to admit to owning a lot of POC stuff. However, it is EXCELLENT quality.

    Also, I was at a warehouse sale this weekend selling those TT helmets for $120. I tried one on for shits and giggles. It looks ridiculous and was fairly heavy and cumbersome.

  40. @Nate

    @Ron

    In case any of you missed it, Stybar stated just two weeks before the WC that he was still undecided about lining up, but was considering it because his VMH lives near the course. Pay a visit, win some rainbow hoops. Not bad for a weekend plan!

    Gotta love the fact that he started out racing BMX, then went to cross, and now is winning on the road. What a talent!

    Let’s add him to the Boonen, Fabu, Sagan cobbled contenders list. He was a force at P-R last year, with minimal experience, and only figures to be better this year. Fuckyeahcobbles.

    http://fuckyeahcobbles.tumblr.com/

    …and +1 Badge to you, matey.

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