The gratitude, from a strictly esoteric point of view, for attempting to help others help themselves can be an absolute millstone around your neck. This is especially the case when you sit atop the pyramid and there’s nothing but dirty hands attempting to take you down, topple your regime, expose your plans, or cause general anarchy for the sake of anarchy.
Take, for example, this carbon road frame business. Firstly, I should have never agreed to that daft public relations firm and their idea of bringing industry journalists to Aigle for wining, dining, hugging, and air kissing. It never fooking works. And I was right. After Carlton Reid of bikebiz.com posted an article where my quotes were not subjected to the usual whitewashing (as best he can, in most cases) by Enrico Carpani, I received a letter of rebuke from the World Federation of the Sporting Goods Industry. It’s not often that I receive a letter from the federation with the longest fooking name (must have the same PR firm as the Tour of Colorado), let alone under these circumstances.
“Safety is the number one priority [for bike companies],” said Kock. “We want to help the UCI understand the issues. Pat McQuaid gave the impression that we as an industry made a lot of mistakes. Those comments were misplaced. The way the issue was raised was the wrong way.”
Look, we all know that most of the bike manufacturers have their frames produced in China, Taiwan, or Korea. It’s common knowledge that these frames cost anywhere from 250 euros or under, if not, the production would still be located domestically near the corporate offices of all these bicycle “manufacturers.” We also know that it is also common knowledge that if the frames are painted and assembled in the EU, they can “skirt” the “made in China” label as far as EU regulations are concerned. Of course, all the money is in the paint jobs and finish coats that these bicycles go through, hence why that 250 euro frame sells to some gobshite dentist for 5000 euros.
So I say to Mr. Reid and to Robbert de Kock (yes, it’s his real name) of WFSGI, “I’m sorry for saying that the frames cost 50 euros — it should have been 250 euros. And of course they are of a very high quality (until one out of the thousands of frames produced snaps during a race, then everyone has a fit); Asia is known for producing some of the best quality products that are exported the world over. Hence why we want bike races in Asia, so those workers can spend all their heavily cash-lined pockets on exciting races like the Tour of Beijing.”
Speaking of the Tour of Beijing, yes, yes, I’ve kissed and made up with the AIGCP. It wasn’t easy. That Jonathan Vaughters is one smart and crafty individual. And he talks. Forever. After six hours in the car with him, I think I would have agreed to pay for his next home in Spain no questions asked. The worst part about my day-long adventure is the fact that it happened on the day at the Tour of Colorado (presented by some Tea Party Promises or something) when the riders went down over the cattle guard, and one poor rider ended up with serious injuries in an American hospital. I think they cleaned out his wallet before they cleaned out his injuries.
What could be the absolute worst scenario to happen when you’re in a team car of the man who is insisting that race radios are an absolute necessity for safety reasons? Right. The next two hours were the most painful I’ve ever experienced. Even more than that saddle sore I had back in Ireland during my infamous training ride with Sean in ’78. Made Boonen’s zitvlak look like a hang nail. I had no choice but to acquiesce to Vaughters on the radio issue, as he was correct in his assertion that radios would have probably saved those riders from being injured.
However, my argument about the organizers not taking route planning seriously and in detail as a rebuttal to his radio argument opened another can of worms, as he then brought up the Tour of Beijing, which I alluded to earlier. I just couldn’t fooking win on that day. It was as if the Karma gods had lined up against me on behalf of the unruly unshaven one. The worst part about the conversation is that I couldn’t escape, and Vaughters was a dog on a bone.
Firstly, he gave me a hard time about threatening to yank the team’s pro licences if they didn’t show in Beijing. Then, he gave me more difficulty about the fact that Alain and Rocco were calling sponsors directly to put pressure on the team owners. In fact we pushed so hard that Radio Shack pulled out of cycling completely. Oopsie.
What else could I do? He had me in corner. Not only did I agree to radios being in for 2012, and to reconsider the “commission” that I formed to give appearances that we were really evaluating the radio issue, but I also conceded to pay the teams through Global Cycling Promotions for their agreement to show up in masse on the start line. Vaughters asked me to allow Harold, Ricardo, and Trey to negotiate the terms of the payment – I’d had enough in the car so I capitulated; poor Rumpf now has to deal with this mess (and negotiate with those three) and he’s not going to be happy about the fact that some of our profits from this race won’t go into our pockets, but instead will be heading the teams’ way. Ah, you win some you lose some…
Speaking of winning some and losing some, at least the UCI has acquired an internet “news” outlet in the form of Sietse Schelpe and his “RockyRoads Network,” which is probably an apt name for the venture (link to the deal here). Since no one really follows the MTB business worldwide, it’s our position to see how we can utilize our disinformation plan in a smaller venue before taking it large-scale with www.cyclingnews.com. I understand those folks had a great time with Global Cycling Promotion in China; it’s bought us some fooking goodwill so far *chuckle* and should show the full benefits as we move on a going-forward basis.
Lastly, while on the topic of disinformation, anyone who buys the rumour that L’Equipe published today should be shown the door from cycling to a more simple pursuit, like American baseball. I’m sure Johan is laughing his arse off that he pulled an early September April Fool’s joke on that media outlet. Leopard-Trek done at the end of September? It’s all completely ludicrous.
Or is it?