Friday, July 23, 2010

Getting The Most Out Of Stage 17 & Your Shorts

Excited by the prospect of spectacular racing I managed to stay awake for last nights Tour De France coverage which featured the long awaited stage 17 finish atop the Col Du Tourmalet. I was amazed by the tenacity of Andy Schleck as he applied the pressure on the final climb which unhinged everyone but Contador. The savage accelerations I was hoping to see didn’t really eventuate, until Contador made his one and only attempt at breaking Schleck which only caused Schleck ride across and then stare down Contador as he drew level with him.

My heart was in my mouth as I expected one of the many lunatic spectators to cause a crash and ruin the stage at any moment, thankfully this didn’t happen and both riders made it to the finish with Contador not contesting the sprint to the line. I was a little disappointed as what I was hoping was going to be a lesson in vicious brutality turned out to be more like this. The only real slap dancing came after the finish when Contador got all touchy feely with Schlecks face.

If you missed the action or you want to relive the tension you can see highlights by heading over to the sponsored link to the right. For me the ride of the day was by Carlos Sastre who in an all out, last ditch bid for a podium finish in Paris tried to ride across to the breakaway, which eventually extended its lead to an eight minute gap. It was a planned move as Sastre’s team mate Konovalovas was already waiting off the front of the peloton to help him. In some kind of strange irony after the controversy of “chaingate” Contador himself tried to stop Sastre from going on the attack because the current holder of third place overall Samuel S├ínchez had fallen and was being paced back to the peloton. Here’s part of what Sastre had to say about it post stage;

“I’ve fallen in this Tour, I fell in the Italian Giro d’Italia, I’ve had technical problems and no-one ever waited for me.”
“I think we’re turning cycling into a sport for spoilt brats and that is what happens in these kinds of circumstances.”

All I can say is thank you Carlos for a brave effort which animated the stage and had me shouting at the TV while urging you on instead of falling asleep like I normally would, I even spilled some beer.

Of course if it was the Giro then there would have been another three mountain stages with a mountain time trial thrown in for good measure for us to enjoy. I can’t help having the feeling that this Tour de France is now over and I may as well stop watching.

I’m constantly surprised at people’s lack of hygiene when it comes to their cycling kit. Having filthy kit is not befitting of a gentleman racer and in the case of your shorts can lead to more serious problems than people on your bunch ride talking about how much you stink. It’s true, I’ve heard them.

Let’s start with your salt encrusted helmet. Wash those crusty straps with some shampoo while you are in the shower, do the same to the inside of the helmet and if you want to give it the deluxe wash then remove the inner pads and run them through your washing machine. Say no to a reeking helmet!

Onto clothing now, for pity’s sake don’t try and get more than one wear out of your clothing, once you take it off it goes in the wash. That goes for your gloves too! If you want your cycling gear to last longer then don’t leave it in a sweaty pile for days and days before you wash it, the salt in your sweat will deteriorate the fabric especially your shorts. If you want your shorts to last for years then you can hand wash them, if that sounds like too much trouble then do what I do and put them in a mesh bra bag before they go in the wash, this prevents them coming into contact with zips, buttons or any other abrasive items/surfaces inside your washing machine. Now that your gear is nice and clean you need to dry it, once again if you want it to last then don’t put it in the clothes dryer and avoid hanging it in the sun when possible. I know it might sound pedantic but all these things really make a difference to the life of your clothing.

One more note on worn out clothing. Please don’t be one of those people I see riding around with the seat worn out of their shorts exposing their rear ends for all to see, where I’m from we call them porno shorts. Throw the bloody things away!

Ride safe and have a great weekend.


  1. "Having filthy kit is not befitting of a gentleman racer."

    Dude, having filthy kit is not befitting of a socialized human being. WTF?! Do you actually encounter people like that in that penal colony of a country that you call home? ;)

  2. Unfortunately yes. Some people seem to think its okay to get 2 or 3 days out of a jersey. What,you don’t have them in the states?