Sacrifice: The High Cost of Fred-dom

The McRib sandwich:

Offered for sale only periodically from the McDonald's chain of poison dispensaries, its reappearance is always cause for great rejoicing among the sandwich's many fans.

As for me, I don't get excited about a food that's probably made from carcasses scavenged from animal testing labs.  However, there is one greasy, rubbery, orange-hued slab of meat whose return always delights me, and that glistening patty is Mario Cipollini:

Cipollini's return to the sport is the best cycling-related news I've heard since the last time he returned to the sport, but despite his resemblance to a McRib (right down to the fake grill marks) he wants you to know he's fat-free and has a trunk full of muscle:

“I weigh 90kg, 8 more than when I was in top condition, but it’s not excess fat, just muscle, especially in my arms and trunk. My legs are perfect. I have some little pains in my knee and back, but my motor is good, and capable of standing up to this gamble.”

Translation: "the Cipollini performs flawlessly, with only occasional creaks".

And if you think Cipollini is returning to the sport for his own financial gain, you should be ashamed of yourself, because the fact is he's doing it in the interest of medical science:

Cipollini also grandly explained that he would make himself available for scientific research, “to understand what changes there are in a high-level athlete with the passing of years.”

Though it really doesn't take a scientist to figure out that those changes mostly involve dramatically-increased oil production:

(Cipo's constantly increasing unctuousness flies in the face of the "peak oil" theory.)

Of course, Mario Cipollini is best known for two things.  The first is on-the-bike suntanning:

And the second is sprinting.  However, with the selflessness of an olive oil-drenched Buddha, Cipollini insists he will act as a leadout man for his teammate--though whether or not he actually sticks to that promise remains to be seen:

(Who's leading out whom here?)

Speaking of creaky old Italian things that are way past their expiration dates, not only is Colnago still selling bicycles for some reason, but they're now going to offer a bike with dicks breaks:

Unfortunately, this may be too little too late, for Colnago lost their Fred Appeal years ago at the dawn of the Oversize Era when they resisted the move to 1 1/8-inch head tubes.  Nowadays the discerning Fred prefers brands like Scott, Cervélo, and BMC, as you can see in this Wall Street Journal article that was forwarded to me by a reader:

Indeed, it's hard out there for a Fred.  First, you've got the grueling race schedule consisting of four to six races:

...Mr. Nicholas trains for four to six USA Cycling-sanctioned races per season, with the goal of placing in the top five to 10 in his 45-50-year-old age group.

Which of course requires dedicated overtraining:

At least three mornings a week, Mr. Nicholas is in his basement by 5 a.m. riding on his trainer, a piece of equipment that makes it possible to ride a bike while it remains stationary. He rides for an hour while watching financial news. Two days a week, he takes an hourlong spin class at the gym during his lunch break. On Saturdays, he rides his mountain bike on the trails by his home for about two hours. On Sundays, he rides his road bike for three hours, covering between 50 to 60 miles.

And then you've got the expenses:

Mr. Nicholas owns three bikes, which he has augmented with add-ons like a Garmin 500 bike computer and racing wheels. Including the extras, his Scott Addict R3 road bike cost $6,000; the Cervélo P2C time trial bike cost $5,000; and his BMC mountain bike cost $3,000. His CycleOps Fluid 2 trainer cost about $300. Mr. Nicholas spent $250 on each of his two helmets—one is more aerodynamic for time trial racing. Road bike shoes cost $350 and mountain bike shoes $200. Jerseys run about $150 a piece, bib shorts are about $200 each and winter tights cost $250 each. Mr. Nicholas spent $300 on his winter biking jacket. Race fees are usually around $30.

But while all of this may sound like a lot of time and money, it all adds up to results:


At this rate he'll get that automatic Cat 4 upgrade in about two more years.

Of course, you could always just ride and even race your bike without worrying about all that "training" stuff, but then how could you be sure that your ride actually happened?  At the very least, you need GPS data, wattage data, and video evidence, as in this photograph via the Twitter:

("Wait, what forest?  All I see are trees.")

I wonder if the Fredericks of the 19th century used to ride around with sextants and those old-timey accordion cameras on the cockpits of their pennyfarthings--though I suppose it's it's not nearly as excessive as a water bottle cage that costs over $8,000:

At first glance that may seem like a lot of money for a water bottle cage, but it's really not when you factor in the free shipping:

Plus, you can always finance the cage with a bike loan, as spotted by a reader at the NAHBS:

This really puts the "American" in North American Handmade Bicycle Show, since there's nothing more American than a vehicle that's owned by your bank.

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