Baby, It’s Cold (and Wet) Outside. Lets Race Some Bikes.

A rain-soaked Heinrich Haussler rolls into town first

As an objective, rational, and calculating cycling fan, I’ve never been able to get excited about any rider on the now-defunct Gerolsteiner team. This is mostly because they committed the unforgivable crime of employing teamwide, systematic ugly kit selection. Those guys looked so unbelievably ugly in those nasty, turquoise unitards that several of my television sets suffered catastrophic failures while showing pictures of them. Bernard Kohl is the only rider in history to have made a fashion upgrade by swapping his blue turdakit for cycling’s second biggest crime against humanity, the head-to-toe polkadot suit worn by the rider leading the Tour’s doping-I-mean-climbing competition.

I am increasingly under the impression that Heinrich Haussler was a casualty of Ugly Kit and that I’ve unfairly held him in contempt since he turned pro for Gerolsteiner in 2005.

One of the great things about cycling is the fact that it happens outside. Even if you’re not a cyclist, you’ve probably noticed that weather is not always dry, sunny, and warm. Truth be told, it occasionally will even get downright cold and wet out there, an effect scientists refer to as “shitty weather”. These circumstances adversely effect almost every factor that keeps a cyclist and bicycle in precarious harmony: friction between the road and tires, properly warmed joints and general rider comfort, the rider’s ability to see the road, keeping dirt and grit out of the drivetrain, and friction between brake pads and rims (which is helpful for stopping) are all affected.

Despite this, when it gets cold and rainy, there is a certain class of rider (mostly Belgian) who get on their bike and say to themselves, “Ah. Lets race some bikes.”

Heinrich Haussler has today vindicated himself of the harsh judgment I’ve dished out to him. On top of racing a Cervelo and riding in the peleton’s best-looking kit, he got on his bike today and said, “It’s cold and pissing rain and there are about five climbs on the route. I’m going to push on the pedals today.” And with that, he joined an elite group of riders for whom I cheer and hold to unrealistic expectations: Jens Voigt, Frank and Andy Schleck (although Frank more than Andy), Thor Hushovd, and Tom Boonen.

Update: Video highlights after the jump

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4 Replies to “Baby, It’s Cold (and Wet) Outside. Lets Race Some Bikes.”

  1. I love Haussler, at least this year I do. The kid is going to win lots of races. But riddle me this, oh wise one. I too love this white kit but how does it still look so good in all that rain. Usually the white lycra shorts look terrible during wet races. Think Francaise des Jeux. Has Castelli cracked the code? Haussler looked fab all the way to the line. Chapeau!

  2. @john:

    First off, I have to make an amendment to my list of favorite riders (I knew I was forgetting one): Fabian Cancellara. How did I forget him? (And, between you and me, you know why I remembered!)

    On to the point, I bought the black version of the Cervelo TestTeam bib shorts, and they are amazing. I have never seen such amazing material and the grippers around the legs are incredibly comfortable. The jerseys (I’ll be buying the white one) are made of this amazing fabric which reportedly increases your output by a few watts. Based on the shorts, I believe it. Given this Castelli magic, I am not surprised they solved the white shorts issue. But even then, in the pouring rain, they still looked great! And so did Hushovd! What is that fabric, 9-ply? (By the way, is it a coincidence that the only two Cervelo TestTeam stage wins came in the rain?)

    You say Francaise des Jeux, I say Peter van Petegem at Paris-Roubaix:

  3. In light of yesterday’s crash in Switzerland, remembering this day last summer is sweet. Pure, unbridled emotion as HH crossed the line””some of the best pictures of last year’s Tour. And Cervelo does have the best kit in the ProTour; so why are they changing it for the TdF this year? The new kit looks strangely blah (as do the new Cervelo bike colors this year, incidentally). Are they just trying to avoid being confused with Sky in all black? The new outfit looks like a pastel-y version of the Radioshack kit, which is pretty putrid.

    I hope the above doesn’t hurt my Cognoscenti standing. This is the last time””ever””that I will comment on Pro kit designs.

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