Thursday, June 21, 2007

Ask Dr. Jeru - Attack of the Inbox

When I started “blogging” I quickly realized that the comment section was kind of a crazy place. Simply put, some people are very comfortable leaving feedback or thoughts in this forum and others are not. With this in mind, I set up an email account for people that wanted to contact me without having to make a “public” comment on the website. This allowed a few people to tell me how wrong I am about various things but also became a way to ask me questions about bike racing and other topics. What follows is a brief sampling of some random questions I have received over the last month or so.

Amazingly, these are actual questions from actual readers. Please note that I use the term “reader” liberally. Names have been removed to protect the ignorant, umm I mean…illiterate, hmmm…innocent. Here goes:

Question: Who would win a race up Alpe d’Huez: Chuck Norris, Steven Seagal or Jean Claude Van Damme?

Dr. Jeru: The immediate response is that it would be Chuck Norris by a wide margin. It is Chuck Norris after all, lifetime sponsor of Jens Voigt and roundhouse-kicker of all things French. Also, most people are not aware that he was Lance’s secret coach during the Tour run. The truth is that Carmichael was a front and Walker Texas Racer was the original title of the show.

Plus, have you seen Seagal lately? Not many people know that he was actually Jan Ullrich’s dietician for a number of years. How many calories are in that new Energy Drink Steve? And what is this “Asian Experience” you speak of? The hairstyle is rather Fignon-esque, but I don’t think Steve is getting up that hill like L-Fig used to. Even though silk kimonos are very aerodynamic. I’m guessing that Hard To Climb would be the name of his movie about the event.

So that leaves us with JCVD, a true legend of splits-inducing karate moves. Now…for reference, I generally operate under a few strict rules when wagering on bike races:

1) Pick the person with the least amount of visible body hair.
Exception – Candelario.

2) Pick the person with the most Dutch or Belgian sounding name. Such as anything with a “Van”, “De” or “Merckx” in it. Exception – Axel Merckx.

3) Pick the person that seems the most comfortable in spandex. Exception – Me.

If I were sticking to these rules, it would be Van Damme all the way. He’s got the least amount of hair, he’s got an uber-Euro name and you know he loves the tight clothes. While none of these rules have much scientific foundation, they tend to be pretty good wagering tips.

However, I have to go against the formula because in this case it seems that JCVD fits all of the above criteria better than Chuck Norris and Steven Seagal. But I still think Chuck Norris wins the race up Alpe d’Huez because of the Number 1 gambling rule of all time:

1A) Don’t bet against Chuck Norris. EVER.

Sometimes you just have to go with your gut and forget the numbers. Also, it’s probably better to stay on Chuck’s good side just in case. I think I just heard knuckles cracking.

Question: Is Danilo Di Luca cooler than me?

Dr. Jeru: In the words of Daryl Strawberry, "Well, I don’t know you but…Yes."

Question: Which shorts are worse, Saunier-Duval or Liquigas?

Dr. Jeru: While both are heinous and unacceptable, I believe that the SD shorts are the worst. It would have been very easy for Castelli to leave off the little “widow’s peak” or whatever that is in the “crotch-al” region. I am a HUGE proponent of black shorts (for many reasons) and they could have just made a nice black center, yellow side panel kind of thing. Instead it looks like Eddie Munster’s hairline over their junk. It’s bad enough that we have been subjected to the all-yellow canary look for the past few years but now this? The worst.

But like I said, the Leaky Gas shorts are grotesque as well. Stripes are bad. Lime green and blue stripes are VERY bad. Then again, Di Luca’s pink splotchy Maglia Rosa duds were even worse. All in all, I have to say this is one of the worst “Pro Kit” years in recent memory.

This brings up and interesting question though. What does one do when his or her team kit sucks? Is there any recourse?

The recreational rider or weekend warrior can pick and choose which team he or she wants to be on so there is no excuse with these people. But for the serious, elite-level to pro racer, sometimes you just have to take what they give you and be grateful for it. Occasionally, I think sponsors make crappy kits on purpose, just to get back at their riders or somehow make a spectacle of them. If this is true…I don’t know what happened to make Jelly Belly such a spiteful company. Or Vitamin Cottage. Or the Village Peddler.

Personally, if I had the palmares of a Savoldelli or Simoni…I’d think twice about donning an Astana or Saunier Duval kit. But then again, here are some of mine that I basically rode in for free so...

On second thought, how much are they getting paid? Oh…yeah, nevermind. Forget what I just said. I’d race in flesh-colored body suit a la George Costanza for that kind of cabbage. Or just go naked and have them tattoo the logos on me. Now THAT would probably get some media attention but I might sacrifice some aerodynamics.

Question: Who will win the Tour this year? Podium?

Dr. Jeru: 1) Vinokourov 2) Leipheimer 3) Evans

More Predictions: Pereiro doesn’t even crack the top 20. Levi wins a mountain stage. Zabriskie wins the long TT and places in the Top 15 overall. Hushovd gets the Green and the Chicken gets Polka Dots again. Bruyneel announces a new Asian sponsor to replace Discovery Channel. More current and former riders will be exposed. Oh…and someone will probably crash or get a flat tire.

Question: Thoughts on the Dauphine?

Dr. Jeru: I am not a huge fan of Christophe “La Chien” Moreau although he did prove to be the strongest, most motivated rider in the event. I don’t know if anyone caught it during the footage from the Dauphine on VS but right after he crossed the finish line on the final stage (following a little post up no less) he completely hocked a full mouth of spit at someone on the sidelines. I couldn’t tell if it was a cameraman or journalist but it was BLATANTLY intentional. Classy move on your home turf there Dog.

I don’t know what it is (actually I do…it’s the attitude, lack of class, stupid tactics and the tube socks to name a few things) but this guy…this is not my kind of guy. Can you imagine if he won the Tour? I shudder to think.

Question: If the Alexi Grewal quote “I never raced for fun in the first place, so I’m not going to start now” is your new favorite, what is the old one?

Dr. Jeru: Good question. Actually my favorite quote is “ –“ which is complete silence as he used to fly past me on the way to Jamestown when I was a Junior.

But I guess that doesn’t count so I’ll go with “Will everyone SHUT UP!?!”

Explanation: During the well-attended Coors Classic DVD release party at U-Bikes this past winter, Race Director Michael Aisner had the mic while a number of the people in attendance kind of spoke amongst themselves before clips of the film were shown.

Aisner eventually began speaking about Davis Phinney and asked the Coors Classic poster-boy to say a few words. Now, the microphone was not terribly loud and DP didn’t want to yell so it became tough to hear him over the murmer of the many other voices in the room.

Within moments, Grewal stands up in front of Aisner and Phinney, turns to the crowd of people in attendance and yells as only Alexi can “Will Everyone SHUT UP!?!”

Half of the room immediately went silent in shock and the other half just started cracking up and applauding. Then Davis reached over and gave Alexi a huge hug. CLASSIC. Someone out there should have this footage because I know there were a number of cameras there. I’ll write more about that night eventually after I properly internalize what it meant. But yeah…that’s my favorite Alexi quote.

Question: Why are there so many Australians succeeding in the US peloton?

Dr. Jeru: There are a number of reasons. First of all, it is a little-known fact that Australia is actually a testing ground for many types of water-based performance enhancing substances. As a result, many Aussies have a significantly higher pain threshold than the average American. The country’s massive consumption of Vegemite is proof of this nation-wide tolerance for pain. Nasty, chewy, bitter pain in a jar.

Oh…they also fight crocodiles and snakes and stuff all the time when they are growing up so bike racing is really pretty easy comparatively. Trust me, Nathan O’Neill would much rather go toe to toe with Phil Z. than get all frisky with a deadly reptile. Even the fuzzy animals like Kangaroos and Koalas are bad-asses down there. Mother Nature was in a weird mood when she set up Oz.

But the main reason Australians come to the States to race and do so well is because the water in our toilets obeys the laws of physics and goes down the drain in a rational, clockwise rotation. You’d be amazed at how a counter-clockwise flush can ruin one’s fitness. It’s the little things. The Aussies may not be honest about it…but I’m pretty sure the toilets are the biggest reason for their success. Come on Henk, admit it.

Plus, Americans are soft and weak. Yeah, that’s right. I said it.

And finally…

Question: What Would Jens Do?

Dr. Jeru: Whatever he wants. You got a problem with that?


Nrjetik1 said...

Also you can't forget that Chuck Norris endorses the "Total gym"....
clearly a secret training tool

Olaf Vanderhoot said...

i am happy now

Anonymous said...

I once had a sip of Steven Seagal's Energy Drink and the next thing I know, I'm in a brothel in Thailand wearing leather pants, a silk kimono and one of those weird dust masks.

I had also grown a pony tail.

I'm not sure if that's what he means by the Asian Experience but damn, what's in that stuff?

- Scared by Steven Seagal

Henk Vogels said...

I've got chunks of guys like you in my stool.

And mine still goes counter-clockwise.

- Henk.

Alwesia D'Bikema said...

Why is it, do you think, that some people have such a deep love of the cycling and some have no understanding? Different spokes for different folks? Perhaps somesing to do with the seat of the soul? Maybe just airwareness?

Brian Sather said...

And let's not forget Delta Force where Chuck was riding around on a motorbike shooting rockets out of his butt. I'm sure he could do the same on a bike.

Jeremy T. Arnold said...

Uh, I don't remember the rear rocket launch scene but then again I have never watched a Chuck Norris movie or TV show in its entirety.

I fear that watching the whole thing would alter my life in ways that I am not yet prepared for.

It would be like knowing what's at the end of the universe.