Saving Your Hide: Gran Fondos and Grand Illusions

News!  People love it!  You want some?  I have some!  Why am I writing in breathless prose?  Well, I have just received a scorchingly urgent, pressingly pressing press release, released to the press by the Gran Fondo New York, which is a Gran Fondo that will happen in New York. I'm so excited I'm talking in circles!  So what's the news contained therein?  Well, they're administering drug tests to the participants:

New York City, April 18, 2012

For Immediate Release

On April 12, 2012, Gran Fondo New York conducted out of competition doping controls among riders training for May 20, 2012 Gran Fondo New York. The United States Anti-Doping Association (USADA) handled the controls.

Gran Fondo New York’s CEO Uli Fluhme stated “At Gran Fondo New York we are committed to a drug free sport.  For this year's event we allocated $10,000 towards the fight against doping. Anyone testing positive for a substance on the list of banned substances by World Anti Doping Association (WADA) will be banned for life from Gran Fondo New York. Plus, anyone who has ever been banned by a federation will not be allowed to compete. We are not afraid to take drastic measures to keep the competition at Gran Fondo New York clean.”

My understanding of gran fondo racing is that you're supposed to dope, and that it's kind of like professional wrestling.  Isn't that why Raimondas Rumsas became a gran fondo specialist?

You may recall Rumsas as the rider who placed third in the 2002 Tour de France and then let his wife go to jail when they found a trunkful of his drugs in her car.  Incidentally, the rider who came in sixth in the above gran fondo was none other than Mario Cipollini, presumably as preparation for his alleged 2012 professional comeback:

1; Raimondas Rumsas (Gfdd ALTOPACK Promotech); 03:12:37 
2, Bruno Sanetti (Pol Cral Fire Department Genoa Punto Sport); 03:13:25 
3, Massimiliano Lelli (Max Lelli Asd); 03:13:25 
4, Juri Gorini (Genetik Asd Cycling Team) 03:14:20 
5, Jamie Burrow (Pol Cral Fire Department Genoa Punto Sport); 03:14:20 
6, Mario Cipollini (); 03:14:21 
7, Vladislav Borisov (Team Guru Planet X); 03:16:01 
8, Mark Morris (Team Olimpia Bolis); 03:18:01 
9, Marco Masetti (Asd Serravalle); 03:18:02 
10; Emanuel Ristori (Team Guru Planet X); 03:18:04 

I don't know if there was drug testing at this particular event, but for Cipollini's sake I hope there was no STD testing for the top ten finishers, otherwise he might be relegated, injected with penicillin, and ceremoniously stripped of his coating of body oil.

In any case, it's sad, sad day when what is, in essence, a gigantic Fred ride has to introduce drug testing, but the fact is that the organizers have to protect the integrity of their prize money.  Sure, on a certain level the Gran Fondo New York instituting drug testing is a bit like Robert Mackey deciding to slip on the World Champion jersey before throwing a hairy leg over his Cervelo, but at the same time I also have no doubt that at least a few riders are in fact doping for this thing.  Still, the good news for doping Freds is that if you want to compete while doping in New York you're still welcome to take part in any of our local race series, where there is never testing and where people have been doping to dominate the parks for years. You too can enjoy your slice of the Prospect/Central/Floyd Bennett prize money pie--that is, unless you're dumb enough to make the podium at a "real" bike race somewhere, and your toxic pee-pee pings the naughty meter.

But just like power meters and crabon wheels and coaching and all the other stuff that trickles down from the pros to the amateurs, I'm sure drug testing will eventually be the must-have accessory for any Fred ride.  It's only a matter of time before you'll need to submit a biological passport to participate in the Five Boro Bike Tour, or before someone from Strava comes to your house to collect a blood sample:

Just imagine the shame you'll feel when the "achievement" you received for racing up a hill all by yourself is stripped or followed by an asterisk.

Speaking of Prospect Park, yesterday I was in it and I came upon an unpleasant scene.  A cyclist was lying on the pavement, surrounded by the usual assortment of good samaritans and gawkers, and he looked to be injured.  I didn't stop to help, since between all the people already present and the Parks Department truck that had just arrived on the scene, I'd have only been in the way.  (I also didn't take any photos, because that would have been in bad taste even for me.)  However, I did gather that the rider had been pushed by teenagers who had then run away.  All of this is to warn my fellow cyclists, particularly those who pass through Prospect Park, that you can now add marauding teenagers to the "epic" list of dangers for which you should always be prepared.

In other Fred news, a reader who was present at my LA BRA last weekend was kind enough to alert me to the "Freddie Pedaling Shorts."  These have everything you could possibly want in a pair of cycling shorts, because not only are they leather, but they also cost €850:

Plus, they've got a "seamless crotch to facilitate movement:"

--meticulously created in Japan
--made from fine japanese calf leather
--traditional five-pocket design
--seamless crotch to facilitate movement

This is great news if you've got an "extensive crotch" and you're prone to spontaneous erections.

Best of all, if you buy now, you'll also get a professional-sized tube of antifungal ointment, complete with a handy applicator:

Believe me, you're going to need it.

And it should also go without saying that the Freddie Pedaling Shorts will look great with your perforated yak leather Fred flippers:

("It's actually like having your foot in a bovid's rectum!")

And that you should tie the whole look together with this smart leather racing vest:

The best part is, if you have a creaky bottom bracket, the sound will be completely drowned out by the creaking of your wardrobe.

Speaking of leather, once uton a pime I mentioned a film called "First Winter," which was about hilpsters in the wilderness and was being funded via Kickstarter:

Presumably much of the funding was for beard grooming, since facial hair like that doesn't detangle or delouse itself, and Hollywood-caliber beard fluffers don't come cheap.  Here is the trailer to refresh your mammary:

Anyway, since then, "First Winter" has received what people in the film industry call "buzz," and a reader tells me it has even garnered some controversy as the filmmakers killed a deer (or, more accurately, two deer) without a permit:

Here's how the director explained it:

"We are idiots. We didn't know how to do this [hunting] stuff," said director Ben Dickson, whose film is scheduled to premiere at the prestigious festival on Thursday April 19.

Interestingly, the hilpster approach to hunting seems to be exaclty the same as the hilpster approach to cycling, which is to unleash a potent combination of cluelessness and entitlement upon it.  Also, while most people who visit the country can barely avoid hitting deer with their cars, the hilpster filmmakers couldn't find even one for several days:

The kill was part of a 23-day film shoot for Dickson's feature about naive Brooklyn hipsters learning to survive in the wild after an apocalyptic event. It took them several days to find a deer, he said, and they had started to think they would have to revise the script to drop the scene.

That's like having trouble finding a Hacky Sack at a jam band concert.

In any case, I'm not necessarily troubled by the loss of a couple of deer, though even a citified wussbag like me knows there are rules about shooting them, and the sheer haplessness of the affair is somewhat stomach-turning:

Actor Paul Manza, a 34-year-old Brooklyn yoga instructor who plays "Paul" the yoga instructor in the film and had no prior acting or hunting experience, pulled the trigger. It was unclear who owned the rifle or whether it was registered.

The bullet pierced one deer and passed into a second one behind it, killing the first deer and wounding the second one, Manza and Dickson said. The crew chased the second deer into the woods and shot it again to put it out of its suffering, Manza said.

But you can rest assured that the director had the requisite moment of hilpster catharsis:

"It was actually pretty horrible," said Manza. "I was forced to see what life was really made of, the weight and the value of things."

Wow, was it really pretty intense to, like, shoot something to death?  Who'd have thought?  You might think that 34 years old is fairly late in life to come to this realization, but in Brooklyn hilpster terms he's positively precocious.  And in the end it was worth it, because the beardwork in the film is positively magnificent:

It's a sure bet to win the Palme d'Uh:

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