Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Survivor: the Reunion Tour

The Tour de France traversed sections of cobblestoned roads today, as I mentioned earlier, the 'Pave'. There's some discussion as to whether or not these sections deserved inclusion into the Tour. The answer is yes, in my opinion. The 'pave' are sections of roads in France; therefore, they're fair game. For over a hundred years, the Tour has been the 'Tour of France', not the 'Tour of Some Roads That Wussy Road Cyclists Prefer While They Deign to Visit France'. These are professional cyclists, so I'll venture that they've spent many hours in the saddle on many, varying road surfaces. What about tree roots? or potholes? or poor road conditions? or crushed gravel pavement? or Canada? Moreover, I've seen the guys riding the Tour this year, and unless I'm mistaken, none of them requires the dampening abilities of a good sports bra. Ride with hormonal 36D's, and then you can tell me about the physical beating you get from 'bouncing around on the cobbles'.

As it happens, my opinion doesn't matter, given that the riders have already completed this stage. Oh, and the Giro went over a whole section of dirt roads under the rains that frightened Noah. If I had to choose between slippery, unpredictable, undulating mud, or a pancake-flat, dry cobblestones, I'll take the cobbles any day. Unless I'm hormonal. But then, my bike runs off to the local bars, or the circus, or some such, on those days.

One thing that's kind of interesting about the 'pave' sections, that isn't as apparent on the smoother roads, is that it really shows off 'good form', vs not. Namely, you can really see the guys riding with their elbows parallel to the handlebars, rather than parallel with the bike. I'm not a physiologist, but it looks like the 'elbows out' position puts more strain on the triceps and deltoids, which would tend to give the bike a left-right force. No wonder, they crash so much.

The 'elbows in' position uses more of the biceps and abs, makes the position more aerodynamic, and forces the rider to bend their elbows more. Especially on cobblestones, stiff elbows increase the harshness of the ride, and stresses on the neck, shoulders and back. That, and toned biceps and abs have more of a mass appeal, than deltoids and lats.

Arguably, if you're going to be riding for more than an hour, it's important to change up your position, occasionally, and take advantage of other muscle groups; otherwise, you'll tire out faster. Again, I'm no physiologist, so if I just said something way incorrect, feel free to ejicate me. Though, for the record, I will find new ways of displaying my jackassedness in the future, if this didn't do it.

and...there! I did it!

I was able to write about today's Tour stage, without commenting about whether or not any of the riders 'have the stones'.

Ride safe. I love you all.


  1. I agree that if you want to ride in Le Tour, you should have the stones to handle the stones. But I'm glad that part is past. Just watched Cavendish put his money where his loud mouth is for another sprint to the finish--now that's what it's all about!