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Bikes vs. The World: Round #6 – Dave Zabriskie vs. Zabriskie Point

24 Jan

It’s baaack! And you thought I had gotten sick of it. Today’s match-up: Utah’s own Dave Zabriskie vs. the 1970 counter-culture classic Zabriskie Point. Click here for a listing of the previous battles.

Category Bike Culture:
Dave Zabriskie
Pop Culture:
Zabriskie Point (1970)
Claim to Fame: Bicycle racer, ’04 US TT Champ, Fastest TT in TdF History, won stages in three straight Grand Tours “Daring” Hollywood cinema attempt to cash in on popularity of 20-something angst and European directors Dave; Point is hardly as memorable as its packaging declares
Directed By: Bjarne Riis, 1996 Tour Winner Michelangelo Antonioni, groundbreaking Italian neorealist, Oscar for lifetime acheievement, 1995 Point; you can tell who directed it just by wathcing. When I see DaveZ, sometimes I wonder…
Plagued By: Horrific crashes God-awful acting Dave; crashes will always happen, bad acting never should
Memorable Quote: “Rock and Roll, dude” (his only comment on winning a stage of the ’05 Giro) “Well, I’m willing to die, too…just not of boredom” (Mark, losing patience with student radicals meeting) Point; c’mon, that’s a sweet line, despite its shabby delivery
Endorses: First Endurance Innovative Racing Nutrients Somewhat simple-minded escapism from the conformity of “establishment” America Draw; I’m pretty disappointed (scroll to bottom) about both
Moment of Disbelief: When Dave somehow hung on to win Stage 11 of the ’04 Vuelta When Mark somehow manages to steal, and then successfully fly off in, a plane Dave; see, one of these things actually happened
Soundtrack By: Westside Connection (scroll to bottom), Guns ‘n Roses (search “Guns”) Pink Floyd, The Rolling Stones, The Grateful Dead Draw; and, Dave, the song is “Out Ta Get Me” and the line is “You won’t catch me/ I’m fµ¢&in’ innocent”
Dialogue Best Described As: Sparse Sparse Draw
Window of Cultural Relevance: Opening, though he’ll have a hard time keeping America interested without recovering from cancer Very small. If it had opened in 1965, it would have been huge, but being released in 1970, it closed almost before it began Dave; here’s to hoping for something awesome, man
Ends With: Only time will tell About 10 minutes of houses, TV sets and refrigerators exploding over and over again while Pink Floyd wails in the background Point; I have no idea what DZ’s demise will be like, but I imagine there’ll be fewer explosions

So it’s a 4-3 victory in favor of the CSC rider. Can’t say I’m surprised as I’ve never heard of anyone even mentioning Point outside a collegiate film class. Well, I guess CN did reference it (see link “Stage 11” above) once. But those guys seem to know everything. Dave Zabriskie, on the other hand, is mentioned all over the place, like, um, in bike magazines, and, uh, y’know, bike magazines. Ok, so they’re both pretty esoteric. But clearly, Dave Z is the better of the two.

Bikes vs. The World: Round #5 – Jan Ullrich vs. Lars Ulrich

6 Dec

Now we’re talking. The drummer of one of the all-time great metal bands versus the eternal challenger for the TdF title. Both German-born, both constantly disappointing me, both with the same last name. Oh, yeah, this is a gonna be a good one, folks. Far better than these other whimpy fights.

Category Bike Culture:
Jan Ullrich
Pop Culture:
Lars Ulrich
Claim to Fame: Bicycle racer, 1997 TdF winner, 5-time runner-up Metal drummer, 7-time Grammy winner Lars; As crappy as Grammys are, he’s won a lot
Supporting Cast: Telekom/T-Mobile (1996-2002, 2004-present), Coast/Bianchi (2003) Metallica (1981-1995), whimpier band with same name/members (1996-present) Jan; allegedly, it took a crit of 60 for any other Telekom rider to win the TdF
Biggest Fans: Germans, who apparently like him enough to spit on Jens Voight 30-somethings who lost touch before the sellout, teenagers who don’t know any better Lars; Spitting on Jens Voight is a sin, and the black album (Metallica, 1999) was awesome
Low Moment: Testing positive for ecstacy, getting arrested for drunk driving, losing the ’98 TdF because he didn’t feel like riding in the rain, getting too fat in the off-season Leading the fight of successful, millionaire artists against P2P file sharing, then offering legal assistance to Beatles copyright infringers Jan; he may have done more bad stuff, but, to modify a cliché, he never tried to have his cake. He only ate it. Repeatedly.
Significant Other: Sara Steinhauser, teammate’s sister. Connie Nielsen, Danish actress Lars; c’mon, who dates their teammate’s sister?
Former Significant Other: Gaby, ex-girlfriend, one child Skylar Satenstein, ex-wife, two children Jan; they tell me marriage is a sacred institution
Evil Nemesis: Rain, Lance Armstrong “Real” Metallica fans, file-sharing enthusiasts Jan; Lance Armstrong is one hell of an evil nemisis to have
Most Effectively Spoofed With: Playmobil figurines Flash cartoons Lars; His nasal ranting spun off an entire series of online aminations
Window of Cultural Relevance: 1993-present (starting with World Amateur Road Title) 1984-2003 (St. Anger was an ok effort) Draw; it will be interesting to see if Jan can hold on for 6 more years
Lasting Contribution to Society: A foil to Lance Armstrong, showing that despite immense talent, you will always lose to someone who’s willing work harder Any number of hard hitting, musically complex, but lyrically unsound rock metal classics Lars; it’s a tough call, but I really like “For Whom the Bell Tolls”

Man, another close one. 5-4 in favor of Ulrich with one “l”, and all because I feel in the arc of Lance Armstrong’s career, cancer and his own earlier laziness were his true antagonists, not the big German. If only Jan had been able to beat Lance in 2003. Then the last two Tours might have been worth watching, and (more importantly) Jan might have won this contest. It should be noted that in an actual fight, Jan would most likely destroy Lars, due to his massive height advantage over the drummer.

Bikes vs. The World: Round #4 – Steel 531 vs. Steel Reserve 211

28 Nov

I really don’t know how these two combatants got tangled up. I mean, can you think of two things less related than a well-regarded vintage bike tubing and a smooth finishing, oddly glowing malt beverage? I guess it might be a make-up call for last week’s pathetically obvious battle. Rounds 1 and 2 can be found here and here, respectively. Now let’s get down to seeing which steel is more real.

Category Bike Culture:
Steel 531
Pop Culture:
Steel Reserve 211
Claim to Fame: For over half a century, the standard for high-end bicycle tubing Premium “high gravity” malt liquor 531; based entirely on longevity
Named For: Allegedly, the percentages of manganese, molybdenum and carbon in the tubing Alchemical symbol for steel, which looks kind of like “211” Draw; the factual soundess of each name is debatable
Craved By: People who think technology peaked in 1935 Hobos, frat boys tired of drinking “Mickey’s Draw; it’s just too close to call
Known For: “A very lively frame without any harshness in the ride quality” “Nice basic flavor, balanced hop bite, adequate aromatics” and 8.1% alcohol by volume 211; 8.1% is at least quantifable
Dirty Little Secret: Replaced by 753 and 853 tubesets some two decades ago Insists that it is a “beer,” despite consensus opinion that it’s a malt liquor 531; most people who buy it seek an outdated product, anyway
Immortalized By: More TdF wins than any other tubeset The Ramones song “Gimme My Steel Reserve” 531; as much as I like the Ramones…
Evil Nemesis: Humidity and salt Alcohol content laws 211; no one is trying to sell malt liquor to Utahns
Environmental Friendliness: Easily recycled, but you might have to pay a few dollars due to the unweildly shape of a bike frame Easily recycled, but generally the bottles are just smashed and/or left in back alleys 531; I guess saving the Earth is worth a buck or two
Manufacturing Process: I’m told it has to be lugged and brazed Slow brewed for at least 28 days Draw; given the effectivness of faster methods, each seems unnecessary
Lasting Contribution to Society: Allowed people to judge the ride quality of a bike without ever riding it None, really 211; encouraging people to buy bikes based on a sticker on the downtube is a net loss to humanity

Wow! Look at all those draws! Seems like these two had more in common than I thought. Really, this one could have gone either way (and after a bottle or two of Steel Reserve, probably would have) but in the end it’s good old Reynolds 531 squeaking out the 4-3 victory over Steel Reserve malt liqour. Who knows what sort of madness will show up here for next week’s installment

Bikes vs. The World: Round #3 – Lance Armstrong vs. Neil Armstrong

21 Nov

Yeah, I know, this one is obvious. If you gave a 7-year-old kid a cycling blog, this is probably the sort of crap he’d come up with. But come on, I can’t keep filling this page with arcane nonsense or no one will want to read it.

Category Bike Culture:
Lance Armstrong
Pop Culture:
Neil Armstrong
Claim to Fame: First man to win 7 Tours de France First man to walk on the moon Neil; More danger + fewer moonwalkers than TdF winers = more greatness
Overcoming Adversity: Beat post-metastasis testicular cancer Flew 78 Korean War combat missions Draw; both things are known to kill you
Portents of Future Greatness: Won World Title at only 21 Recieved Air Medal and two Gold Stars at only 21 Neal; Lance risked losing, Neil risked his life.
Famous Quote: “F@¢& you, Chiappucci!” “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” Neil; for obvious reasons
Dirty Little Secret: Urine samples from 1999 Tour win apparenly show evidence of EPO use Someone else wrote his famous quote, and he misread it (said “for man” instead of “for a man’) Neil; I like his version better, anyway
Hounded By: French journalists jealous of success Conspiracy theorists saying the landing was faked Draw; both persecutors lost their credibilty long ago
Disregard for Self-Preservaton: Ignored swollen testicle until it became too big for him to ride a bike Used Purdue engineering degree to become test pilot Lance; Ignoring cancer is way risker
Presidential Appointments: Two (Presidential Council on Fitness, President’s Cancer Panel) One (presidential commission investigating the Challenger explosion) Lance; more commitees = more greatness, even if Neil was vice-chair of his
Civil Actions: Tons; he’s sued or threatened to sue everyone from journalists to soigneurs to mechanics Just one against a barber who sold his hair clippings without permission Neil; his suit only asked that the hair be returned or the money donated to charity
Lasting Contribution to Society: Emblem of hope for sufferers of debilitating diseases Emblem of humanity’s abilty to achieve the seemingly impossible Draw; both achievements undermined somewhat by drug allegations / Cold War subtext.

What irony that the winningest rider in the history of the Tour de France would turn out to be the first Bike Culture icon to loose a “Bikes vs. The World” event, in a near-blowout 5-2 decision. I suppose the competition was pretty tough, though, with his opponent being one of only 24 people to ever leave Earth’s orbit, and one of only 12 to walk on the moon. Still, Neil had a 41-year head start on Lance, so perhaps the younger Armstrong can add to his palmares a bit over the coming decades.

Bikes vs. The World: Round #2 – Gary Fisher vs. Bobby Fischer

14 Nov

Ok, so perhaps last week’s contest between Campagnolo and Camp Anawana was a little esoteric. No big deal. Today’s battle between Gary Fisher and Bobby Fischer (yes, that link is his official page) should prove far more of a crowd pleaser.

Category Bike Culture:
Gary Fisher
Pop Culture:
Bobby Fischer
Claim to Fame: Mountain bike pioneer Greatest American chess player Draw; a solid start for both sides
Palmares: 12th, US Road Nats, 1974; 5th US ‘Cross Nats, 1977 8-time US Chess Champ, World Champ 1973-5 Bobby; by a fair margin
Went on to: Found mountain bike company Become recluse Gary; as noble as the career of recluse is…
Fighting the Man: Lost 3 years of competitive career for refusing to cut his hair Missed 3 years of chances to challenge for World Chess Title to protest collusion among Russians Draw; again, each is impressive
Outlandish Claims: That he invented everything even remotely associated with mountain biking, short of dirt That, in reference to the 9/11 attacks, the US “had it coming” Gary; the reasons are obvious
Delusions of Persecution: None apparent Believes in worldwide Jewish conspiracy focused solely on his destruction Gary; again, self-explanatory
Low Moment: Sold out to Trek in 1993 Temporarily incarcerated after being mistaken for a bank robber Bobby; no one handcuffed Gary and forced him to sell out
Misuse of Opposite Sex: Perhaps over-focused on the shapely figure and alluring smile of World Champ Paolo Pezzo to sell his bikes Attempted to marry Japanese woman to avoid extradition to the US in 2004 Gary; Pezzo was at least paid for her services
Bad Movies Inspired: None yet Just one Gary; though one bad flick could even the score
Lasting Contributions to Society: Mountain bikes (maybe), DH riding (maybe), 29″ wheels (maybe) rear suspension (maybe), etc. Fischer Random Chess and a new type of chess clock Bobby; it’s debatable that Gary invented any of the things he’s famous for.

So it’s a 5-3 victory in favor of Fisher (the one without the “c”). Just goes to show you that old adage about not letting your genius go to your head, and not becoming a reclusive, raging, anti-American anti-Semite, still rings true, even in the modern day. Prentending that you came up with every good idea you’ve ever seen doesn’t hurt, either.

Bikes vs. The World: Round #1 – Campagnolo vs. Camp Anawana

6 Nov

In what we at Cyclocosm hope to make a regular weekend feature (at least during the off-season), out expert team of analysts will take two similarly-named elements Cycling Culture and Popular Culture and send them into a head-to-head deathmatch from which only one will survive.

This week’s combatants are: Campagnolo and Camp Anawana. Let the games begin!

Category Bike Culture:
Pop Culture:
Camp Anawana
Basics: Italian component manufacturer Fictional summer camp from “Salute Your Shorts” Campy; they actually exist
Fan Base: Purists and bike snobs Nostalgic twenty-somethings Draw; both groups are equally repulsive
Longevity: 72 years and counting Two seasons (1991-2) Campy; no contest
Known For: Beautiful, long-lasting componentry Catchy theme song Campy; but closer this time
Hated For: Any parts group below Veloce Instructional Swim Anawana; instructional swim only sucks for an hour
Resident Badass: Piero Da Rin Bobby Budnick Anawana; I still have nightmares about Budnick
Impossible Dream: Electronic shifting Slip past Ug and enjoy a night on the town Draw; both are trivial, at best
Greatest Failure: Euclid MTB Group Romance between Donkeylips and Dina Campy; at least their failure was interesting
Evil Nemisis: Shimano Puberty Campy; even if their fight was easier, they survived
Lasting Contribution to Society: The quick-release skewer The “Awful Waffle” hazing ritual Campy; ask anyone who’s ever had a flat

So there you have it. The storied company from Vincenza proves its worth once again in an easy 6-2 victory over an imaginary summer camp from a short-lived children’s TV show. Let’s hope the folks over at campy realize that SRAM (and possibly FSA) will offer them better sport in the near future.