Rapha, urban camouflage, and leather loin cloths.

As a first-rate blogger, my inbox is always filled with messages from the world's leading cycling companies. Sure, most of these cycling companies seem to be offering me cures for erectile dysfunction, or asking me to deposit money for them in an African bank account...but that doesn't negate my importance within cycling. As a matter of fact, such emails remind me that my attention and help are needed by the masses, and that I musn't forget about the little people while sitting atop my ivory tower. Well, to be perfectly honest, my ivory tower is not made of real ivory. It's made of aluminum, and features a faux ivory sticker, much like the the carbon fiber sticker that adorned the seatpost on the last complete bike I bought. Anyway, among all the emails asking me to send money to a Prince or a Sultan in need, I also received one inviting me to a very exclusive event, the opening of the Rapha Cycle Club in New York City.

I know what all of you are wondering. First, you're wondering how that single windshield wiper is going to work effectively on that old Citroën truck. I mean, if you rotate it on an axis that is placed at the base of said windshield wiper, the top of the arm would go well above the top of the windshield. Secondly, you're probably wondering why on earth I received an invite to such an exclusive event. These are both worthwhile questions, although I do take offense to you wondering why I would get invited. First, you should all know by now that I'm the proprietor of the 49th most influential cycling blog in the world. Secondly, I'd like to remind you that my wife and I have none other that Jonathan Vaughters as our marriage counselor after the run-in we had with Mr Vaughters at JFK Airport. I think these examples should more than satisfy any inquiries that may come up regarding my worthiness of such an invitation. An invitation, by the way, which I was flattered to receive. Why? Because in the 7th grade I ate my lunch inside a bathroom stall for about six months, only to eventually upgrade to sitting at the table made up of the kid with fetal alcohol syndrome (who communicated with loud yelps)...and me, the creepy foreign kid with a mullet who communicated in Spanish. In retrospect, I still don't understand how girls in that school were possibly able to resist the pheromones that exuded from both my mullet and my outfits at the time. If any females happen to be reading this, allow me ask you the following: Would you be able to resist a kid with high tops, sweatpants, a Freddy Krugger sweatshirt, a gold chain, a mullet, and a healthy dose of Brut cologne? I'm sure the answer to the question is "no". Anyway, it's with these childhood memories still fresh in my mind that I get thoroughly excited whenever anyone invites me to any event, or asks me to join their club. This was even true when my old boss got me a subscription to the Salsa Of The Month Club. I saw the word "club" on the card, and quickly broke down in tears, and peed myself while laying in the fetal position due to my elation.

Having said all this, one question remains, one which the entire world is waiting to know the answer to: will I attend the event? Sadly, the answer to that question is no. This is partly due to the fact that I don't live in New York City...so that's an issue. Even if I did, the event will probably run past my bed time, so that's an issue as well. Lastly, I'm afraid I would stick out like a sore thumb due to my horrid choice of attire in most days. In order to prove to you just how badly I would stick at this event, I entered the necessary information about the opening into our own proprietary Cycling Inquisition virtual reality software. Using a pre-existing profile of myself, the software created the following image to show how pathetic and out of place I would be at such an event. Please note that the fine folks from Rapha are in black and white, while I appear in vivid color, as does my tasteful Cycling Inquisition jersey and festive cycling cap.

So while I thank the kind people at Rapha for thinking of me, I'm afraid I'll be unable to attend. Groucho Marx famously said that he would never want to be part of any club that would have him as a member. Well, with all due respect to Mr. Marx, I'd like to update his famous saying for this occasion. My version may vary in its sentiment, and it may not have the same efficiency of words as his, but here it is:

I'm happy to be asked to be a member of any club (or at least to attend the opening of a club), and I'm happy that anyone would consider having me as a member...but it's hard for me to travel during weekdays, and I'm afraid that my colorful jersey and my festive cycling cap would make me stick out in such fashionable surroundings. Additionally, I think people would get sick of me at the opening because of the abundance of Brut cologne which I like to wear when attending social gatherings. As such, it's probably for the best if I stay home...but thank you for thinking of me.

Although seemingly disjointed, I fully expect that my version of the famous saying will spread faster than the bacteria in my sweaty chamois. You just wait and see.

Speaking of cycling attire, allow me to ask all of you a question. Have we officially entered a new phase in the post-ironic fashion era? If so, why didn't anyone send me a freaking email to alert me of this fact. Nashbar sends me eighteen emails a day, but not one of you bothered to tell me about this? What am I talking about? I'm referring to the new Skins compression tights, and their Zuba-like print.

This new urban-camo version will surely be enjoyed by Sepultura frontman, and urban-camo aficionado Max Cavalera.

If this is what cycling fashion is descending into, will someone please come over to my house and simply piss on my eyeballs? It would probably be less bothersome and painful than having to look at people wearing these. Speaking of painful, check out the image below.

I know what you're thinking. You're probably thinking that I'm going to take this opportunity to make fun of Saxo Bank's Gustav Larsson for his sudden urge to smell the pave in the Paris-Roubaix route. But I will do no such thing. The man is is a talented professional rider, and as such his every move should be studied and replicated by all out-of-shape amateurs (this is what I've learned from numerous blogs). My objection is not to his uncontrollable urge to lick a cobble stone mid-ride. My objection is to his musical taste. In a recent interview for Pez (which the kind and fashionable proprietor of All Hail The Black Market alerted me of), Larsson gave his top ten favorite metal songs. Upon seeing the interview, I was thrilled to know that a rider had claimed the "metalhead in the pro-peloton" slot that had long been vacant after Joe Parkin's retirement. In the interview, Larsson mentions Helloween, a personal favorite of mine...but upon closer inspection, I began to see problems in Larsson's list of the best metal songs. While I will refrain from mocking him for enjoying Twisted Sister, my major concern is regarding the fact that Manowar (the undisputed, and self-proclaimed Kings Of Metal) only came in at tenth place in his list, thus making them practically pack fill. What? They are are The Kings Of Metal! Do the Kings Of Metal not even make it onto the podium? Need I remind all of you that the members of Manowar are so devoted to their craft that they are even willing to wear animal pelts and leather loin cloths to prove their status as the Kings Of Metal.

I once tried to point out the overwhelming homoerotic overtones that appear in this picture to a group of Manowar fans. Said fans disagreed with me, and failed to see any such overtones.

I should also point out that Larsson states the following about Manowar:

"What I’ve heard of them is really good. "

What? I mean, how does he not own and celebrate their entire catalog? He's only heard a few of their songs? I began to worry. Larsson has probably never heard such anthems as The Power Of Thy Sword, Battle Hymn, All Men Play On Ten, Brothers Of Metal, or their iconic cover of Flight Of The Bumblebee (which Manowar cleverly re-named Sting Of The Bumblebee). This leads me to believe that Larsson has never even made a video of himself singing Manowar while doing battle with a plastic sword from the dollar store.

It's for this reason that Cycling Inquisition is starting it's first-ever pledge drive. With the money raised, we will buy Gustav Larsson the entire Manowar catalog in the only format suitable for Manowar's unrelenting musical output: vinyl. We are pleased to have a fellow metal brother in the peloton, but he needs our help! Gustav, we salute you and your musical taste, but we'd also like to help you grow as a metal fan. For all of you out there who agree with such a sentiment, please join us by donating to the Gustav Larsson Manowar Fund, won't you? He badly needs to hear the band's entire catalog. He probably also needs his own leather loin cloth to aid in recovery after long races. We can help a fellow metal fan in both fronts by raising the necessary funds.

Speaking of funds, if you've ever wondered what kind of a house you can afford when your official job title is "King Of Metal", you can find out here.

But let's put Larsson and Manowar aside for a second, because I'd like to make an announcement. That's right, I've changed my mind about the Rapha opening. I'm hereby announcing that I will be attending the Rapha Club opening after all. If you're going to be there, look for me. I'll be the guy in the leather loin cloth.

Extra Credit

On an unrelated, non-loin cloth note, there will be no Colombian riders at the Tour De France this year. This is the first time in 27 years that no Colombian representatives will be present at the race. This is due in great part to Soler's injury, and the fact that Cofidis chose to leave out Duque from its squad. Similarly, Rigoberto Uran will be staying home after his 7th place at the Tour De Suisse.