Dirty Words: Crazy Thoughts

A weekly Bike rant by Sal Ruibal

By Sal Ruibal

What to wear while mountain biking. Photo: Eastern Woods Research

I wish I could put a recording device inside my head to preserve all the crazy thoughts that go through my mind while riding my bikes. The results would probably be a mash-up of scenes from David Lynch flicks, Orbit gum ads, bad-taco cramps, North Shore X-Treme, Donald Trump reality shows and that old “Tread” VHS where Greg Herbold and Hans Rey keep meeting Zapata Espinoza in a parking lot at Big Bear.

So with all that mixed up in my mind, here are some random thoughts about bikes and bikers:

1. Take me out to the ballgame: Why do male road cyclists of all ages, weights, abilities and physiques insist on wearing skin-tight Lycra shorts that expose their shortcomings? OK, it makes sense when you’re on the bike, because only a perv would be peeking down there as you pass by. But I’ve seen women gag (and not in a good way) when a gaggle of wannabe road racers waltz into 7-Eleven to pee and buy $5 high-fructose energy gels. And, really, that wet spot on the front of their shorts after they come out of the restroom is just tacky. But the epitome is when they get up on the podium five minutes after the end of a race, raise their arms and thrust out their pelvi. OK, you won a race, you didn’t father quintuplets. XC MTB racers sometimes wear Lycra, but on the podium, please keep it in the baggies.

The author demonstrates the strategic use of a race number at 24 Hours of Big Bear Lake, West Virgina.

2. I’ve been to six Olympic cross-country mountain bike races (Atlanta, Athens, Beijing) and they’ve all been run on courses that couldn’t make the Top Ten cut in our Virginia state park trail system. If the Olympics are the epitome of the sport, why not make the courses the hardest, most demanding in the world? Yes, yes, yes, the Summer Olympics races are usually in semi-urban areas and the guys and gals from Speckistan don’t have access to anything but flat sand trails, but let’s get some gnar in there. If space is a problem, make it four-cross and put it in a parking lot. Better yet, use the BMX course for 100 laps.

3. If you think $12,000 for a carbon hardtail 29er (the Open 0-1.0 has a price range of $6,500 to $12,000) is excessive, someone paid $120 million for Edvard Munch’s “The Scream” painting this week. Pedals not included.

4. The NFL is no doubt tough, but the NHL Stanley Cup playoffs are truly brutal. But also very exciting. Mountain biking needs a full-contact team event with several sections on the course where it would be legal to knock a rider off their bike. If a rider fouled another team’s rider outside of the kill zone, the penalty would be a 5-minute time out in a penalty box. After that time, the rider could rejoin the race. Derby!

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