Wednesday, September 10, 2008

A Pie of Speculation

In cycling news, nothing is bigger than Lance's return to pro ranks. People compare it Jordan's return, and gosh, I hope it's different. I enjoyed watching Jordan so much, I entirely lost interest in basketball after he retired—and his second (third) incarnation did nothing to bring me back. Somehow, even though Jordan's competitiveness and fitness were no less legendary, things feel different about Lance. Could it be that cycling is somehow easier than pounding about on a basketball court?

Anyway, the Vanity Fair article that broke the news of his planned return—penned by a Rice professor, no less—has a curious photograph. It is of Lance presenting a cycle and helmet to Bill Clinton, and three things stand out:

  • What is that in line with the top of the handlebar? Is there something in Lance's hand, or is is that a...mirror? On a race-ready, low-spoke-count, team-livery Trek?
  • Is that really a huge cog on the rear cassette? Or could that be a...pie plate? On a race-ready, low-spoke-count, team-livery Trek?
  • And finally, what's that at Bill's right leg? It appears to be some kind of polystyrene stand for the cycle, but photographed at entirely the wrong angle. Or, could it be the oddest of creatures—a pie-plate for the chain ring? What would the Snob make of that?

Anyway, as an Internet commentator, I feel dragged into this Lance affair with a comment of my own. My own conjecture is that what Lance really wants is to finally win a stage atop Ventoux. It'll be interesting to see whether next year's Tour route has a finish atop the Windy One—the ASO is not known for playing ball.

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