The Olympics on a Bicycle


I got 100% suckered into the olympics this year. I am not proud, but I watched almost everything. The swimming and the track and field were sublime. I even watched gymnastics. I found the mens gymnastics fairly compelling. The US team seemed to be made up of a beautiful melting pot of cultures: chinese, indian, russian, asshole texan. In general the male gymnasts were happy, reasonably well fed and mostly old enough to buy their own cigarettes. The tiny girl gymnasts on the other hand...
well, I feel as if I was contributing to the corruption and aiding in the harming of minors by watching, but I could not turn the TV off. All the gymnasts kind of looked like Tweety bird to me with their large heads and even larger eyes perched atop tiny bodies, but man could they ever jump and twirl. All I could think off when I saw Shawn Johnson is that USA cycling needs to get her on a BMX bike NOW. With her somewhat astounding bike specific musculature and ability to flip and fly through the air, I think she would be a shoo-in for gold in london in 2012. I am sure she will shoot up an inch or so in the next couple years making it impossible for her to be a gymnast anymore so she will be out of a career. Come on USA cycling, get her on a bike. I was thinking she would be great match sprinter too, but I am not sure, at 4'9", that she would fit on a UCI legal track bike.

Other olympians I would like to see on a bike: Usian Bolt and Michael Phelps. In the same race. I am not sure what race it would be, but I am thinking either the kilo or the 4k pursuit. After being floored by Phelpsie the first week and completely and utterly gobsmacked by Bolt the second week of the Olympics, I was searching for a way to have the two of them compete against each other. I thought Greco roman wrestling or judo would be a good start, but Elena cleverly suggested a bike race. Bolt is built for all out sprints, while phelps has a fair bit more endurance as even his shortest races are the equivalent of two of Bolt's longest event. Bolt is clearly better proportioned and muscled for cycling and the runner to cyclist transition is not too hard. Phelps has tiny legs compared to his muscle encased lungs up top, so the race would have to be long enough to bring in the endurance advantage. I think a 4k pursuit would be a nice compromise. If phelps won that easily, maybe a kilo, or perhaps a keirin race. Any other ideas? If I were president of the IOC I would have arranged this race as the showcase for the closing ceremonies. Instead we got Phelps being abducted to London while the Chinese were able to steal Beckham away for some cloning experiments to aid their World Cup team in 2018.

Finally, did anyone else visit the scary upper NBC affiliate channels to watch the rowing? Normally I could not care less about rowing, but I liked to watch the stately bicycle proceedings alongside the furiously stroking rowers. It was very soothing. It seems that coaches and perhaps fans or other VIP's were issued comfort bikes so they could ride along side the race. Even the announcers called attention to the peleton following the races. They used that exact word and it was very apt, most of the riders were getting sucked along in the slipstream of the group, not pedaling at all. By the finals there were more than 20 riders rolling along during the race. I am not sure if this is common elsewhere. I remember running and riding along side rowing teams on the Charles when I was an undergrad, but it was impossible to do so during the Head of the Charles regatta due to the crowds. I would throw you a link, but it seems NBC is very diligent about enforcing their copyright on YouTube and the nbcolympics website video player does not work with firefox three. Asshats. Anyhow, believe you me, it was very soothing to watch late at night.

previous olympics and bikes post


Antoine said...

I was watching the bikes more than the boats waiting for the inevitable pile-up, as most riders were not looking where they were going at all. It never happened!!! These riders should be in the TDF peleton.

geri said...

Yes unfortunately the much anticipated wreck didn't happen. The boxing judging however was a train wreck the whole time, I'm not sure what was worse the mini '16 year old' gymnasts or that. Add the equestrian positives and the judo juge kno0ckout and it was a wildly enjoyable olympics.

Tarik Saleh said...

No kidding, I thought in the finals where the numbers doubled or tripled someone would cause a huge crash.

I think the only reason to watch the boxing nowadays is the New York accented announcer. Which is a shame as I used to somewhat genuinely enjoy watching boxing. The scoring is just a travesty. I think they should go back to naked bareknuckle boxing.

Anonymous said...

Yes... I saw only one pursuit race and wanted more track cycling.

But I also watched a lot of rowing with spectator cycling. It reminded me of riding along the Charles and pacing the rowing shells until I realize I'd better get to work a bit faster.