How to save pro cycle racing from its current deep pit of data despair

Since the missus buggered off, watching bike races on a TV has become harder to manage. She had one of those modern colour models, making it black and white was more difficult than you would think. After some experiments in the shed I found out that track racing held the answer. You hipsters and wanna be bike riders won't know what shellac is, well let me tell you it comes from the arse end of the lac bug. No, real tyre cement does not come in tubes, you mix it up yourself, dissolve some beetle excrement in metho then coat your rim with it, enough coats and your tyre is stuck like shit to a blanket. No official was ever going to pull you up on that one.

So I coated over that new colour model with shellac, it wasn't perfect black and white more like sepia, but bike racing now looked real. Watching the Tour Down Under on my new black and white tv I noticed a couple of things worth sharing with you wanna be cycling fanatics.

First I'd heard a senior retired cyclist comment on how Cadel won on the corkscrew, but that Cadel only did it once. Back in the day this senior retired rider and his AIS buddies did it twenty times, in training, yes Mary, twenty times. Shame it wasn't a race, but these days they have Strava for that. The riders in question had a real coach named Charlie who was in charge of the AIS, he used what I like to call the meat grinder coaching approach. Charlie was tough, but he could have used the Green Shammy to achieve an even greater effect.  Meat grinding might not have made Charlie popular with his disciples, but it sure as hell got, some results. Even if that meant many of his disciples choosing a remote temple somewhere in the Hamalaya's as a way of existing from then on. A result, is a result, is a result. Today there's not so much meat grinding as there is data. This brings me to my second point -- data; it's what's wrong with the sport.

Now it's numbers. Look at yesterday's stage up old Willunga Hill at the Tour Down Under. Today it's all power meter data and whatchayamacallit, enough to make you want to puke. Boring. If the numbers were so good then BMC should fire their mathematician, he didn't calculate the last two hundred metres did he (or he forgot to add into the calculation this, X = Just Gave Up Factor), that way the calculation would have been more accurate, or BMC could have called on their team magician, see below. But there is a way to fix this problem, here's how.

Pro Cycle Racing
Pro Cycle Racing

First each team should be allowed to hire a top notch magician, a magician battle combined with the race would spice things up and bring back an unpredictable element. This is also why. Everyone is a magician already, how come every human is born with the ability to spew up diced carrot after a night on the turps. Even if you haven't eaten diced carrot for six months. Now that's magic.

Next, there are so many reality tv shows today that everyone loves a good dose of reality. Take a look at your average renovation show, they get a bunch of people to renovate a house in a couple of weeks, now that's normal. But the good bit is while this is happening, they change the game. Cycling needs this. Imagine if after yesterday's stage Phil Liggett is waiting at the finish line with a wildcard instruction for the first three on GC. The wildcard says "Get in your team car and drive back down Willunga Hill, waiting at the bottom are three Shetland ponies. First back up the hill wins. No magicians allowed on this leg."

But that's not all. You also need a remedy to get the crowd and local farmers involved. Best setup the Willunga "Running of the Bulls" like they have in Pamploma. That way the road will be clear for the Shetland pony race, and there won't be any of those fancy dress 'runners' on the road to upset the ponies. By the time the bulls have done their run, the runners will be hung up a tree with the koala's or cowering in a ditch clinging to their makeup kit. It will be a hit for the sport, because instead of standing there on the side of a hill for hours, roasting in the heat, every spectator will leave knowing they were part of the show and feel as though they've lived. It's win, win, win, win for cycle sport.

Image credits, Shetland Ponies - Zeynard’s Marvellous Midget Circus Magician Charles Barnett,  


The Crank is the embodiment of archetypal cranky veteran bike riders, whose worn out bike riding stories are embellished each time they are recounted. Hard as nails The Crank is a devious scoundrel who rides roughshod over anyone who has the misfortune to meet him. This Crank story by Robert Cobcroft.