Monday, September 20, 2010

Full of Win: Goodbye Vélo

While fantastically voyaging down Front St on Saturday evening, I glanced longingly at the displays of pizza at a local artisanal pie maker when, in a rather brutish appropriation of my attention, my subconscious fault-finder bade me turn and behold this:

My mind raced furiously to identify what my subconscious fault-finder was trying to tell me.  Was it the questionable clearance of the STI brake lever?  The unnecessarily precipitous ergo position of the bullhorns that has been solved to everyone else's satisfaction with a judicious appliqué of time-trial bars?  The comically low spoke count for what is very likely a commuter bike?  (Oh sure, you could race on that old Cannondale CAAD frame.  Sure, you could...)  No, it was the fact that the owner had disappeared inside to order a pizza and had not locked the bloody thing up or even appointed someone to watch over it.

Sometimes my heart is softened to compassion and I am compelled to try to interpret this scenario charitably.  Perhaps this bike actually belonged to famed Canadian racer Ryder Hesjedal, who'd been let out to carb-load after being recently confiscated by his handlers at Pearson Airport and put on display at Hello Vélo before being shortly returned to storage till his scheduled contractual obligation at the Queens Park Grand Prix the next day.  Perhaps squads of Hello Vélo enforcers lurked in every Volkswagen and Audi on Front St and there was no threat to Hesjedal's Cannondale what so ever.

More likely, the owner's just an incautiously optimistic dumbass.

I prefer the latter interpretation for two reasons.  Firstly, Hello Vélo's enforcers are incapable of protecting a Cannondale; it's too inexpensive to induce the average Hello Vélo grunt to pay attention to it.  And secondly, Cannondales seem to have an inglorious history of being left unattended by their equally inglorious owners here in Toronto.  I previously saw this stunning specimen of bike theft languishing in the ham-fisted grip of an oafish fool who was clearly 'just browsing' at Urbane Cyclist, and then later saw it shackled on Dundas St outside the AGO, where I documented its suffering:

Yes, those are Ultegra STIs shorn of their shift cables on upturned drop bars:

Speaking of misappropriation and disappointment, I'm pleased to announce that the University Ave prix lane was removed in time for Monday morning's influx of Ford supporters.  Despite its short flowering, the prix lane was an excellent venue (though I'm sure those pushing for Copenhagen style infrastructure are still fuming over the firm rejection of their petition to install cobblestones on the course).  The course proved sufficiently challenging to cleave the field into two pelatons during the Pro-Am race, effectively creating two races to help satiate the short-attention-spanned of the crowd.  (For reasons I've never been able to uncover, the women's races need no such distraction.  I simply do not get it.)

Like other fans in attendance, I was extremely pleased to see talent such as Ryder Hesjedal and Michael Barry perform well.  However, I was extremely displeased to see fans and other Canadian cycling bloggers fail to pause their triumphal procession for Hesjedal and give due credit where credit is due: Jeffery Schiller kicked ass.

That said, however, I must admit that, despite the fierce competition of the Pro-Am race, I found the event's most thrilling moment of rivalry flourished during the post-race bitching from the amateur men's riders, who competed with vigour to see who could out-rationalize their failure or out-piss-and-moan each other about equipment malfunction or poor strategizing.

I'm not a loser, I just win at the wrong things. | Get Fuzzy

The clear winner was a perpetrator of a momentary fracas in which he complained vociferously to a friend of another's encroaching too closely to his side, while the offending rider followed shortly behind hollering "Yo, I'm right here.  You wanna start something?  I'm right here."  There's something about lean, white dilettantes in spandex that lends an elegance to their nerd rage.

To quote an excerpt from Toronto's latest bike plan to be dismissed on the grounds of impracticality: "Settle down, boys, settle down."

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