Because this was so wildly successful the first time around, and because it's much easier than typing out the mini-essays, we now present to you the second ever edition of "Brendan and FJ talk pro cycling." Yes, we do realize that this segment would probably work better as a podcast, but no, we do not have the technical expertise to make that happen. If you do, well, you know where to reach us.
B: So, FJ, this is our second ever "Brendan and FJ talk pro-cycling" segment. How do you think the first one was received?
FJ: Well, everyone I've talked to said it cracked them up. They might be lying, but my friends wouldn't do that to me. Then again, they didn't leave any comments like: "This made me lol", or, "Fuck you man, get a clue, and stop ragging on that Aussie team".
I like to think Stuey O'Grady read it and had a chuckle.
B: Speaking of that Aussie team... Both of us were skeptical at the start of the year, but I've since recanted. You, however, seem unrepentent. Surely their 4 recent wins have forced you to reconsider?
FJ: Sure, I've reconsidered, but I figure it is better to stand my ground. Then, after Gerro has peaked, O'Grady has become disoriented from someone speaking too quickly, and Goss has failed to impress, then I can finally say I told you so to all the people that want them to win. It's too early to recant. Sure, they won some bike races, but as a casual cycling fan with next to no knowledge, everyone knows the seasons starts and ends with the Tour. Unless GreenEDGE win every stage, every jersey, and pop a mono over the finish line in Paris, I will consider their first seasons as a team a failure. Still, gotta hand it to Gerro, he's pretty good at nabbing sneaky wins. I'm told it was a sneaky win by someone on the internet. Apparently, in racing, you should let the guy who does all the work get the win, even if he has the tactical astuteness of Cavandish during a nature break.
B: We can't keep talking about GreenEDGE forever, so I'm going to change the topic. What do you think about the shambles at the Volta a Catalunya? First they shortened the stage due to snow, then, when 40 something riders pulled out, they said the stage might not count.
FJ: Wow, that's rad, I had no idea. There's an interesting lesson there though. With enough riders gone, even the officials admit that the whole exercise is pointless. I wonder what the tipping point would have been? Why did they pull out? Were the conditions really awful? Was there a blizzard?
B: Yeah, there was lots of snow. They'd already shortened the stage, cutting out the last two climbs. You won't be surprised to hear Andy Schleck was one of the forty something to DNS or DNF.
FJ: Yeh, his stomach was probably full of anger, like that time when his chain dropped. I dunno, I feel like he has the 'eternal second' aura about him. I feel like a right tool claiming a pro is lacking in guts, but I feel that Andy lacks a certain guttiness.
Then again, he is so skinny, any temperature under, like, twenty degrees, would probably send him into a bear like hibernation, where he retreats to his mother and fathers house, mumbles about that Spanish bastard, drinks a lot of soup. I feel like he was probably coddled as a boy. Not Frank though, he was probably too busy getting drunk. He used to be a bike courier, so this is a safe assumption.
B: I heard that this year Johan Brunyeel has been sending Andy and Frank to seperate races, in order to reduce their reliance on each other. The little babies. Definitely overrated riders, even if they'd likely destroy the field at a Northern Combine race. I've been thinking a lot about overrated riders today. Tyler Farrer in particular keeps getting sweet leadouts, big-ups in the media, and a lot of attention, but doesn't even crack the podium in the bigger races. Who else do you reckon is a bit overrated, FJ?
FJ: See this is tricky, cos I don't know names. But I'm going to go out on a limb and say Bradley Wiggins. Yeh, I have read numerous articles that say this is HIS YEAR, but I just refuse to believe a man with ankles that skinny can win a grand tour. He seems like a loveable enough chap, but I just don't see winner material.
My second choice is considerably more controversial: Mark Cavandish. To be sure, dude is pretty quick when he wants to get somewhere first, but he just has this habit of getting dropped. Sure, he's a sprinter you say, it's not his specialty. Well, tell that to Thor Hushovd. He's heavier than Cavandish and still mixes it up occasionally on the smaller climbs. I guess I just don't have much time for those riders who are highly, highly specialised. Yeh, the man is fast, but I want to see him to be able to rip up the bunch, and take a small climb with the small guys, not just be the fastest over 300 metres with a perfect lead out train. It's more entertaining for us, but also garners more respect from us as well. I guess this is why everyone is so obsessed by Jens Voight. He kinda does a bit of everything and then says something funny.
B: See, I'm the opposite. I like Cav because he's reliable - if you drop him off at 200 to go, he's going to get the job done. I also like Wiggins, because of that interview he did about how much he likes The Jam.
I'd like to turn our attention to track racing for a second, FJ. The Track World Champs are coming up, and The New Timer staff - ie, you and me - are going to be there for every session. Now, you're famously uneducated when it comes to the boards, so I'm going to keep these questions simple. We'll start with this: which events are you keen to watch?
FJ: Is track riding where they ride fixies?
FJ: Yeh, thought so. Look, I'm not going to lie. When I go watch the track racing, my mind wanders within about three laps, so I rely on experts like you and Gene to prompt when I should yell, cheer, or boo indignantly.
Being a roadie, I really enjoy the enduro events. So things like the madison get my attention. Not only because the riders are usually roadies too, and thus have high socks, but also because there seems to be more subtle shenanigans going on, more nuance. That, and I can have a conversation with cool people for a good forty laps, and return to the race, and not all that much has changed; ie: they're still racing around in circles, and Gene is still yelling "Carn boys!".
What about you Brenno? You used to be a bit of a sprinter back in your early track days. You like the short stuff?
B: Surprisingly, I don't really rate the sprints. These days, when big gears reign supreme, folks don't throw feints and bob and weave like Ali any more. They just fuck around, then it's a drag race for the last 200m.
I don't got beef against the sprinters, though. I fucking love watching the keirins. Five and a half laps of foreplay, then two and a half laps of hard and rough intercourse.
I also really rate the madison, despite there still, for some reason, not being a women's one. It's probably the most tactical race, and there's always a lot going on.
Funnily enough, though, even though it has it's haters, I like the omnium. There are a lot of reasons not to like it, but there's one excellent reason to love it - the elimination race. It's the one where the last person past the finish line each lap is out of the race, and is colloquially known as "Devil Takes The Hindmost". Don't that just have a nice Deep South ring to it? I can almost taste the collard greens. It'll also feature some of the most ridiculously tight racing you'll ever see.
When we're down there, do you think we'll run into Anthony Tan? That'd be sweet. I'll ask him about Coldplay. I bumped into Matt Keenan at the Austral. He complimented me on my Public Enemy tattoo and we had a good chat about them. Do you reckon I should make Musique Mercredi all about what music cycling personalities listen to?
FJ: Man, I would love to chat to Anthony Tan, but more so too Matty Keenan. He would the A grade Northern Combine 3 day tour in '99, so maybe i could get some sweet racing tips from him. That would be rad.
I reckon you should definitely look into cycling personality's music tastes. I bet there would be heaps of curve balls. I mean we know O'Grady loves the tekkers, but I just feel like Napalm Death is gonna be a favourite of the sprinters, and some of the enduro riders are gonna really dig Shellac.
I bet Phil Ligget is into Anal C**t (the band).
B: I'm sure he loves the puns. And he'd look good with a moustache!
On that note, and because dinner is ready, I'm going to call it a day there FJ. Thanks again for taking the time to share your insights with us!
FJ: No, thank you. I feel I wasn't quite as funny or offensive this time around but, sometimes, you just gotta deal with pro cycling seriously.