Big Budgets: Round and Round the Hamster Wheel

Like most people, I have an Internet browsing routine.  First, I get drunk off Bartles & Jaymes wine coolers, which I acquired a taste for in middle school.  (Wine coolers were invented to hook children and were the alcoholic energy drinks of the 1980s.)  Then, I fire up my web-enabled Apple Newton, at which point I desperately seek out folding bike porn until I pass out on the fire escape.

By the way, nobody does hardcore folding bike porn like the Dutch.

Anyway, last night I was on something like my ninth pomegranate raspberry when I discovered that the publication formerly known as VeloNews was looking for a managing editor:

This surprised me, since last I heard everybody was leaving and the staff had been reduced to basically this:

That wheel spins up nice.  I bet the bearings are ceramic.

In any case, I swore off working when I became a bike blogger, and in the ensuing years I've degraded into something that is not only completely unemployable but is also perennially unshaven and exudes a strange aroma during certain hours of the day.  Even a bedraggled outfit like VeloNews would surely never hire me, since I look and act like something that might transmit lice to the other hamsters.  However, by this point Old Man Bartles and Old Man Jaymes were at the helm (just as they were in high school when I applied to SUNY) and once I saw how easy the qualifications were I figured I'd try to land myself a job:

In addition, the ideal candidate is intimately familiar with acronyms/abbreviations such as UCI, USAC, ASO, WADA, NCCA, IMBA, HRM, LBS, TT, KPH, OTB, JRA and, of course, DFL.

That's easy, here goes:

UCI: United Cheese Institute
USAC: United Society for the Appreciation of Cheese
ASO: American Society Organization
WADA: Washing A Dirty Arse (British Internet slang)
NCCA: National Cheese Cheese Association
IMBA: IMBA!?!  Damn Near Killed Her!!!
HRM: Her Royal Majesty
LBS: [Abbreviation for pounds]
TT: Tea Time
KPH: Koala Pals Humping (Australian Internet slang)
OTB: Off Track Betting
JRA: Jewish Riflery Association (the world's smallest shooting club)
DFL: Dorky Fred Loser

Obviously I got through that one all right, but the next one was tricky:

The ideal candidate will be able to spell names like Frischknecht, Maaskant and Vinokourov from memory.

Fortunately, not only can I spell those names from memory, but I can also type them with my eyes closed:


Emboldened by success, I was on to the next hurdle:

The ideal candidate can list off every winner of the last 20 Tours de France.

Now, I may have been drunk, but not so drunk that I wasn't able to spot a trick question a flamme rouge away.  As any pro cycling pundit worth his suitcase of bad metaphors knows, due to the decades of doping scandals, subsequent disqualifications, unsuccessful appeals to the CAS (that's the Cheese Appeal Society), and so forth, the winner of every Tour de France for the last 60 years is now officially Walter Diggelmann:

When Diggelmann finished 50th in the 1952 Tour de France, he surely wouldn't have dreamed that he'd one day be elevated to the status of winningest rider in Tour de France history--winninger even than Lance Armstrong, Miguel Indurain, Bernard Hinault, and unfrozen caveman bike racer Eddy Merckx, shown here in the famous Molteni orange:

("Back in the day," Merckx cut a striking figure atop the podium.)

Anyway, having nailed the last qualification, the next one was laughably easy:

The ideal candidate is able to fix a flat tire in under 10 minutes, using only tire levers and a mini-pump.

Puh-leeze.  I can do that, and so could Walter Diggelman:

As for the final qualification, in my case that was merely a formality:

One last thing — a sense of humor always helps.

Oh yeah, I have one of those.  Here's a knock-knock joke I just made up:

--Knock knock.
--Who's there?
--Walter who?
--Walter Diggelman.

I only hope they'll pay my relocation expenses to Boulder, where I plan to move to "The Peleton," which became my dream home ever since I first learned about it:

Looks like the developers at "The Peleton" could have used a better managing editor.

Speaking of cycling publications, I was reading Bicycling magazine's "Buyer's Guide" in the bathroom recently when I noticed some interesting items.  First, there was the "Cane Creek Angleset Headset:"

About which the magazine had this to say:

"Properly installed, it performs flawlessly, with only occasional creaks."

The only time it's acceptable to say something performs flawlessly with only occasional creaks is when you're referring to the sexual prowess of Mario Cipollini:

("Properly installed, the Cipollini performs flawlessly, with only occasional creaks.")

It's not his fault if the bed frame is a little creaky--though the excess hair oil usually quiets things down after a few minutes.

Next, I noticed the "Industry 9 I25 Wheelset:"

Which is apparently not a race wheel:

"Add in the feathery weight, and these look an awful lot like race wheels.  And they could be, but they also have a 23.5mm rim, setting the tire beads farther apart and creating a larger-than-normal tire volume.  The result allows lower pressures for better damping of road vibration from an otherwise stiff, race-worthy wheel."

If an $1,000 pair of wheels with a total of like eight spokes is not a race wheelset, then what is a race wheelset now?  So I went over to Competitive Cyclist, where I learned that if you want race wheels in 2012 you have to get something like this:

These seem expensive at $3,600, but it won't be long before you want to upgrade to these:

Sure, $6,000 for a set of wheels may seem completely insane, but that's only because it is.  So is $1,750 for that matter, but apparently that's merely a "budget" race wheel now:

Privateer gear. This is something we discuss at length in mountain biking, but don't address enough on the road. Most of us sponsor ourselves. We need components that are practical; we need parts that are light, strong, and fast and that can do it all on a budget. This intersection on the component matrix is filled admirably by Reynolds with their Assault Carbon Clincher Wheelset.

Most of us do sponsor ourselves, and if this is the current state of affairs in cycling equipment then our sponsors really need to come to our senses and drop us immediately.  Plus, all of these crabon wheels will be obsolete even before they reach the end of their incredibly short service life, since the poor crabon rim braking performance is already forcing the move to disc brakes.  And, worst of all, due to the low spoke count you probably can't even use spoke cards:

I thought the spoke card had gone the way of the top tube pad (and the dinosaur for that matter), but at least one entrepreneur is using that to reduce the great cities of America (as well as Washington, DC and Chicago) to hunting grounds for hipster kitsch:

For the initial run, there will be five spokecards for each city. Each spokecard will have a theme, and guide you to four places around that theme that you can bike to. For example: The four best photobooths in Chicago, four under-appreciated monuments in Washington, DC, or four places to play Buck Hunter in Brooklyn, New York. In addition to that, if you go online, I'll have bike routes and additional tips for bike adventures on!

Visiting Brooklyn to just to play Buck Hunter is like visiting Mario Cipollini for the conversation.

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