Steevo Cummings is a talented bike racer, and maybe you know him as such. Perhaps, however, you know him through a video he made and posted on the interweb. You know the one. His video was featured on every single blog on the internet. Okay, I didn't post it on this blog, and MC Hammer didn't post it on his...but you get my point. The video spread faster than herpes in a New Jersey rave circa 1994. It's for that reason that I thought it would be worth speaking to the man himself, in order to get some background on him as well as the now semi-infamous video. Consider him "patient #1" in the great herpes/video outbreak of 2009. I kid, I kid. Thanks to Steevo for answering my stupid questions. The entire Cycling Inquisition staff (18 and growing, due to our recent hires in Accounts Payable) wish him a successful 2010 season.
Photo taken from Urban Velo
I'd like to start off by asking you about the video you made. Video is the very medium that has most recently brought your comedic powers to the forefront. What prompted you to make the video? Was there one race in particular where hipsters with tight pants showed up smoking to?
No, if it were a single race I would not have been so annoyed. There were like five straight races where dudes sat along the sidelines smoking cigarettes and talked about bikes. I especially remember one in Ohio where it was the final lap and we were attacking the hell out of one another, and there a nasty smoke lingering.
It's true that many of the guys who are super good at cyclocross have sweet ink. Do you have any sweet ink?
Adam Myerson has a lot of visible tattoos, as does Mark Lalonde. I don't think mine are sweet, but I have a few myself.
Do you think cyclocross could possibly become semi-popular with hipsters someday? I think it's unlikely because it's hard, and because they're all tied up with bike polo right now. What do you think?
I think so. There is a "cyclocross alleycat" here in Pittsburgh this January. I think its a rad sport, and it is super spectator friendly. It's also a pretty good venue to show off your super sweet bikes and super hot girlfriend in her tight jeans, so there is promise.
Fixed gear enthusiasts take great joy in using the wrong-ish tool for the job (using a track bike on the street, or not using a BMX bike to do fifth-rate bike tricks). Would you ever consider using a tricycle in cyclocross in order to bring urban irony to the sport?
I think it would have to be something cooler looking. At the same time, there are plenty of dudes running 5000 dollar wheels on courses where decent 300 dollar wheels would be exactly the same.
When did fixed gear bikes die? I've used carbon-dating technology and have came up with the following possible points in time:
- When the first fixed gear bike was color coordinated
- When Fixed Gear Gallery was launched (2001 or so)
- When Urban Outfitters started selling Republic bikes
- When the first pink Oury grips were put on a 700c bike
- July 12th of 1996
It was when white people in New York started riding them after seeing Jamaicans using them. This is how it happened right? Dudes on track bikes are essentially the new "white dudes with dreads."
If there is in fact an influx of hipsters into cyclocross, do you think that the Carrera kit (like Pantani wore) will come back in style? The kit looked just like tight denim, including back pockets on the bib shorts. Will Pantani become the patron saint of hipsters in cyclocross?
If they can find them for sure. I am willing to wager that Primal Wear has something coming up that will be tight black jeans instead of the stone washed ones of Carrera.
The video you made was clearly done with a sense of humor, and I think you'd agree that everyone can be into bikes in different ways and at different levels of interest. Having said that, do you think the level of genuine interests that some fixed gear aficionados have is questionable? Does it matter?
No matter what culture or subculture you are in, there are people who believe and people who "do," and there are those who consume and "pose." It's really easy to just buy shit and try and look cool. Conflict said it best: "It becomes and excuse for doing nothing..."
I was unable to find a picture of Angelina Jolie wearing a Conflict shirt, but I think a Crass shirt counts as a close second. Is this a sign that we are currently on the on-ramp to the Apocalypse? Surely.
How did your cyclocross season go? Any results you are particularly proud of?
I was on the podium a handful of times at some regional races. On top of it at a local race. I was happy.
Can you tell my beloved readers a bit about your transition from working as a courier to road racing? How/when did it happen?
In 2003 a couple of messengers bummed a ride from a college kid to the local road race. It was like 40 degrees and pouring rain with a super sketchy downhill finish. I got 4th and the other dude finished in the pack. I got bit by the bug and started racing as much as I could after that. I had raced when I was young though, I raced BMX growing up and was the 3x junior PA state Champion! I was actually only mediocre at racing BMX, but there were only a few other kids my age that raced expert in the state.
Were you shaving your legs as a courier, or did you start once you began racing?
I started after working a really rainy fall day and getting home and having so much grime in my legs, this was like 6 months before my first road race.
You have raced on the same team as Chris Horner. Did he boss you around, and force you to put sunscreen on him because you are less amazing than him? That dude is pale.
No we only hung out a few times. That dude loves bike racing. Ed, the guy who put the team together, wouldn't let anybody else touch Horner and would regularly balm him up. It was cross...balm, not sunscreen.
I'm sure Horner's wife and accountant are happy that he's with Radio Shack now. In the Astana days, the poor guy had to make end's meet by shuttling riders from their cars to the starting line at local races. Always a team player, Horner did these odd jobs in full Astana kit. Gotta' keep the sponsors happy.
Right now is technically the off season. How long of a break do you take off the bike? Do you look at picture of Jan Ullrich around this time of year to help you keep your weight down?
This might be my longest break in years. I have taken 2 weeks off and with this snow, it will be bit more. I rode once for 4 hours and it was really really hard. I did a 40 mile hike over a few days, and have been snowshoeing an trying to exercise though. I lost weight doing the hike, so I'm not worried.
Photo taken from Bianchista
You did the Tour of the Battenkill, do you think it stands a chance to perhaps become an American Classic? What was it like?
I hope so. The only thing I really see holding it back is the location. It is in the middle of nowhere. It was ridiculously hard. I did the Pro/1 race the first day and it unfolded like most regional races: Dudes went apeshit on the first climb and establish a lead group which puts like 12 minutes into the field. I think I finished like 17th. The course was rad.Sunday just showed the difference between the real deal and the dudes like me. Tony Cruz stopped to piss, so I did too and he almost dropped me bridging back to the field. Seriously.
What's the best Chain of Strength song?
True Till Death.
Having multiple bikes is a tough thing for any significant other to take. How do you explain having two nearly identical bikes for cyclocross?
Amy is good. She is pretty much over the whole bike racing thing and understands how ridiculous it is. She literally doesn't know what state I am in for half of the races that I go to. People see her and ask and she is like "Ohio or maybe New Jersey."
You have a UCI license that says "pro" on it, right? This means you are very fast, very talented and have a great deal of experience. Because of your "pro" status, maybe you can help me answer some of these questions: Will I ever stop sniffing my chamois?
Maybe, but you should try to find somebody to sniff them for you. That would be P R O.
If the word "God" only gets one capital letter (and I refuse to normally type it as such), why do people spell "PRO" in all caps? Does the UCI spell it in all caps, just like all the sweet blogs do? Do you make everyone in your family spell your name in all caps, since you are a "PRO"?
I have severed all family ties for cycling.
When you get a PRO license, does the UCI send you a wall dispenser (like a paper towel one from the bathroom) but with white bar tape? If so, can I come over and get some? I heard that white tape is all the rage these days. It's like the Lady Ga Ga of accessories.
I do have white bar tape. I had it for 11 months this season. (See photo below)
Piece of paper = white, bartape= not so much. I guess this is what white bartape looks like when you actually race your bike, rather than just washing it furiously in your garage on a daily basis.
Some arguments are as old as time itself, Coppi or Merckx, Cipollini or Cavendish, but the most important argument is this one: Who would win in a coke sniffing contest, Pantani or Boonen?
Climbers work harder than sprinters, always.
Since you're a PRO, when you go out for a long training ride...is everything "epic" and in black and white like in the Rapha website? Sometimes I do kinda' longish rides on Saturday mornings...and I have yet to see a glimpse of black and white. But that's me, you on the other hand are a sanctioned PRO. When was the last time that you saw anything in color?
My life is like in super-8 film. It's super grainy, and it is just like only training and drinking espresso.
This is not what things look like when I ride. When mini-vans splash me and my iffy bike with gritty puddle water...things are always in vivid color. I can always tell that the Dodge Caravan that splashed me was burgundy. These hardened Rapha men will never know the joys of seeing a Dodge Caravan in full-color. They're missing out.
The next time your sponsors give you money to buy a bike, are you gonna go for a sweet Rock Racing complete bike? If you do, could I buy the red crankset from you? That thing is hot, and would go well with my current color coordinated project!
Our team frames for next year retail for less than a set of Mavic Open Pro/Utegra wheels.... Shouldn't be an issue.
Do you think it's true that the chain on Rock Racing bikes is lubricated with grease from Michael Ball's hair?
He has enough slime to go around for sure.
Why do roadies not wave at me? Can they detect my SPD cleats and pedals, even without seeing them? Is it similar to how dogs can smell fear?
Roadies are better than you, until you drop them.
Because you're a PRO, do you say "bidon" or "water bottle"?
AQ BOT, BRO
Why do people train on Zipp tubulars?
Like many people in life, they feel they are only as good as what they own. Worthless people NEED things of value. Maybe that was too serious of an answer.
Lastly, anyone or anything you'd like to plug? Friends? Sponsors?
Indiana Regional Medical Center , Sportsbalm, Garbella Design.
Other videos by Mr. Cummings
Article by Steevo on Urban Velo