vir non camelus est.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Pro Peloton continues to Pester Black Fish

Hot on the heels of the rumoured defection of Robbie McEwen from GreenEDGE to Black Fish, more members of the professional peloton have begun making furtive approaches to Black Fish management.

Earlier today, cycling great Jens Voigt floated the idea of his team joining forces with the Black Fish to form the formidably-named Mighty-Black-Fish-RadioShack-Nissan-Trek pro cycling team.

Thanks, Jensie, but we already have an Andy Schleck on our team.

Later, the world's greatest lead-out man, Mark Renshaw, was desperate to be photographed with the team he covets most. Tellingly, and in a major disappointment for Renshaw, the man he hopes to lead out in future,  star Black Fish sprinter BF00, refused the demands of the paparazzi to be photographed together.

Remember, professionals, it takes more than an implausibly-high VO2 Max to become a Black Fish.

Black Fish Ride Like Crazy

The full Black Fish elite cycling squad rode together in the new BF kit for the first time today when they tackled the "Ride Like Crazy" as a final hit-out before this week's Tour Down Under.

Disappointed commoners console each other after seeing the Black Fish racing kit

The etymology of this annual community ride is little known, but we can exclusively reveal today that the ride is so named because one would have to be crazy to pay $110 for two bananas.

Fortunately for Black Fish fans, the elite squad is currently rated as only 20% crazy.

Even better news is that the team has reached peak fitness and dominated the peloton throughout the day.

Rodgers (@adrBF06) leads out

Weeks finds it so easy that he can mug for the camera; Dwyer is a picture of concentration

Edwards (@sedwardsIII) fends off an athletic attack

But the highlight of the day for all cycling fans was an almost mythical alignment of the cycling planets. As the fabled Black Fish train flew along Gorge Road at terrifying speed, the mighty greenEDGE squad shot past in the opposite direction (at noticeably slower pace). Despite the roar of the wind in our ears, one could still discern both the gasps of the crowds lining the road and the angry shouts of greenEDGE captain Stuart O'Grady demanding the return of the missing fragments of his Paris-Roubaix trophy.

You'll have to catch us first, Stuey.

In all, the perfect preparation for a big week for Black Fish Cycling.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Black Fish and l'Enfer du Nord


What do you get when you combine:
The Black Fish Elite Cycling Squad    

Cycling Legend Stuart O'Grady

Former Special Forces operative Marty Edwards and his family 

World's wealthiest man, Claud Altin

Haggle Guy

And copious amounts of:

Blood of JC



One of the greatest nights in Black Fish history.

I wish I could provide a coherent narrative of the way the night unfolded. But such was the mystery and majesty of this amazing night that I possess only a confused melange of isolated memories, devoid of context and meaning. Even the chronology of events seems non-linear, like a dream. Perhaps the whole event was a dream, although if this were the case then I have the world's first confirmed case of dream-induced hepatitis. 

Anyway, what follows is a collection of reconstructed memories of the night the mighty Black Fish had dinner with Stuey O'Grady and his Paris-Roubaix trophy. Don't expect it to make any sense.

1. The warm-up

Weeks shows his disdain for capitalist 'fashion' by defiantly wearing a hoodie

If there's one thing that the Black Fish cycling squad does better than ritually humiliating "Mount" Lofty, it is strapping on a clean dinner hoodie and heading to a spectacular local vineyard for some carbo-loading. Thankfully, medical science has taught us that bio-available carbohydrates (or, in layman's terms, 'empty calories'), are best provided to elite athletes in the form of wine and other alcoholic beverages. So it was a team requirement that all members attend the Stuey O'Grady dinner at the Lane vineyard.

Cadel Mountain Mix, in liquid form

Soon, a large amount of carbo-loading had taken place. Clearly the Fish can be expected to dominate next week's Tour Down Under.

It was at this point that it became necessary to share some Black Fish wisdom with the captain of the fledgling Australian cycling team GreenEDGE (previously known as the Black Fish Development Squad)

2. The Main Event

Marty Edwards wonders who let his 'cousin' onto the guest list
Early in the night, the great man was happy to share an array of amazing anecdotes about the life of a professional cyclist (including out-running the Italian police at 320km/hr with Troy Bayliss, and riding his pushbike down a hill at over 120km/hr. This makes him the 6th-fastest human ever on a bicycle, after the 5 elite Black Fish each Sunday morning on the Mt Lofty descent).

If there are any positives that can come from having multiple episodes of significant brain injury in one's life (and there are), it is the development of a brutal form of honesty (or 'disinhibition', in more clinical terms). Unfortunately for Stuey, but much more fortunately for those of us in the audience, he does not suffer from Homer Simpson Syndrome. So each successive fall over a cliff, skiing accident or speed-induced seizure has incrementally enhanced Stuey's honesty. This was beautifully encapsulated in an anecdote about his tactics in bunch sprints as a young man, which was to target older sprinters who had children and attempt to head-butt them into roadside barriers, as he knew they would eventually yield to his suicidal behaviour. This is exactly why the Black Fish have tried for many years to bring him into the team. And watch carefully in Tanunda next Friday and you might see all five of the newly-inspired BF squad careering wildly across the home straight, smashing into pensioners and other vulnerable oldies, using heads as weapons of mass destruction. You're all mine, Eddie Merckx.

Many more anecdotes soon followed, facilitated by the Michael Parkinson of cycling-vineyard-dinner Q&A sessions, our very own Dicky Weeks. I'm sure many other paying customers had a question for Stuey. Perhaps they could send him an email.

When drinking, O'Grady would allow his conjoined twin to emerge from his jacket

Soon, O'Grady could no longer resist his desire to approach the Black Fish for a chat. In order to lure us in, he brought his most prized possession, the famous cobblestone trophy from his victory in the 2007 Paris-Roubaix. Take note of how Finola appears to effortlessly hold the trophy, despite its weight of about 300kg and the aggressive sleeper hold that O'Grady is employing on her neck. 

A long-time fan of the Black Fish blog and deeply impressed by our low skin-fold scores, O'Grady soon demanded that we each have a photo with the trophy. Even this guy was unable to haggle himself a photo opportunity like that.

So behold, the mighty Black Fish with one of the few major cycling trophies to have eluded them:

Team clown Weeks attempts to bring some zany to the serious sport of cycling
When in fact it is a deadly serious business
Or just mildly confusing
Conclusive evidence that cycling makes your hair fall out is still lacking

3. On the relative importance of wine and cycling

Everyone loves wine. The Black Fish more than most. And everyone knows that South Australian wines are superior. But fine South Australian wines may be considered to be ubiquitous, whereas South Australian winners of Paris-Roubaix are a scarce resource. So in a combined marketplace, demand for Roubaix winners will always outstrip that for excessive discourse on wines, no matter how fine they are. Unfortunately the logic behind this simple bit of vino/velo economics was lost on the geniuses at the Lane, who sought to supplant Stuey's (gold) cycling anecdotes with some wine talk. As expected, the Fish took refuge in the wine itself, but even they were surprised when O'Grady himself sought similar refuge and, on this occasion, had a clear victory over the Fish.

4. The Looking-Glass

At this point, we all went through the looking-glass.

We soon learned some valuable lessons:

i) Stuey doesn't know his body-fat percentage, and will tell you where to go if you ask him

ii) Nobody, least of all famous cycling celebrities, should be asked to 'interview' this clown about his vineyard, or indeed ask his opinion on anything at all

iii) When approached with food, this man will invariably say 'yes'; when approached with any other request or comment, he will invariably tell you to get fucked

iv) This man's wife, the lovely Helen Edwards has a passion for two things:
     (a) Pork    (b) Edwardses

v) Stuey still has a passion for cycling, much like a painter (or some other incomprehensible metaphor)

vi) Stuey doesn't think much of Bob Stapleton (but he can think of a pithy description of him)

vii) Stuey has never hurt on a bike (but he will hurt Sam Edwards if he asks him that question again)

viii) Stuey kindly offered BF Dwyer a private riding session (at least I think that's what he was offering)

5. The Aftermath

The Paris-Roubaix is without doubt the most gruelling one-day cycling event. 260km of cobble-stone riddled, icy wind-blasted, mud-stained pain (or no pain, in Stuey's case). Its trophy is both beautiful and deeply symbolic, and is coveted by every member of the professional peloton. 

Stuart loves his trophy.

Made from one of the famous cobbles that line the route of the Hell of the North, it looks indestructible.

It is not.

The good news is that no member of the Black Fish was responsible for the destruction of this beautiful monument. Indeed, it was Stuey himself who, shortly after posing for a bizarre photo with a member of the Hair Bear Bunch, vigorously returned his trophy to the Lane's portable card table which, unbeknownst to him, was constructed from Kryptonite. 

The smudge of rubble that remained was itself a metaphor; just as the intact trophy represented unimaginable hardness in the face of adversity - the triumph of man over the elements - the crumbly remains serve to remind us of the very human fragility of the cyclist, a condition to which Stuey's ribs, vertebrae, skull and clavicles (and Dicky's little toe) can readily attest.

Fortunately, John Edwards was able to remedy the situation by quickly placing the trophy fragments in a Lane-branded brown paper bag and returning it to the display table, where it was indistinguishable from its original state.

And never underestimate the innate scavenging ability of the mighty Black Fish, each of whom now possesses a small souvenir fragment of the most famous trophy in cycling.

Surely the totemic quality of these shards will propel the Fish to even greater heights when they tackle the TDU next week.

Don't miss it, cycling fans.

And watch out, Merckx, I'm coming for you.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Black Fish in Pain - part 2: apis contra piscem

The cycling gods, not content with the attempted hobbling of veteran Dicky Weeks, struck again this week. And this time they targeted your correspondent, BF00, presumably because they find my lack of faith disturbing*. On an early-morning 'twin peaks' ride comprising Lofty and Greenhill, BF00 and the valiant S. Edwards looked resplendent in their team kit as they streaked up past Eagle on the Hill. At which point disaster (or the cycling gods, or some other god, or someone in command of a bee army....) struck.

A kamikaze bee attacked BF00, with murderous intent. Fortunately for me, he failed in his attempt to sting me in the pharynx, but he did manage to get me on the top lip.

Immediately after the sting, I looked like this:

Not so bad.

But, disturbingly, I woke up this morning to find that I looked like this:

Truly terrifying.

Of course, we already know that the Black Fish are made of stern stuff so, having checked on Edwards' knowledge of anaphylaxis management (note to RAH Immunology Department: you may wish to spend some more time educating your registrars), we pushed on, and dominated the hills in true Black Fish style.

I score that as: Piscis 1, Apis 0.

(*This Star Wars reference was included for the benefit of the world's biggest Star Wars fan, Dr Edwards)

Black Fish in Pain - part 1

The degree of success and adulation achieved by great sporting clubs such as the Black Fish rarely comes without great cost. As the eminent Belgian archbishop (and prominent Black Fish supporter) Leo Joseph Suenens once said, “Happy are those who dream dreams and are ready to pay the price to make them come true.” And so it is for the Black Fish.

With the 2012 Tour Down Under only weeks away, each member of the elite BF cycling squad has been living the sort of ascetic, self-flagellant existence that would make even Suenens question his faith (in god, not the mighty Black Fish). And while most known deities, and other sundry supernatural entities (ranging from Santa Claus to, awkwardly, a Mer-Man), have formally signed on as Black Fish supporters, it appears that even the Fish are unable to avoid the occasional stochastic mishap.

Which brings us to the sorry fate of Richard "Slow-Twitch" Weeks, the engine-room of the Black Fish train on the flat and the owner of the world's most peculiar reverse-fatiguing thigh muscles. Not content with his dominance on the bike, Weeks sought to demonstrate his ability to survive a torrid backyard pace bowling spell from elite 5-year-old prodigy Weeks (E) during the traditional Weeks/Edwards Xmas cricket carnival. Overjoyed at managing to back away from his stumps without being detected by the jeering crowd, Weeks attempted a Brett Lee-style jump and heel-click. Cricket afficionados will appreciate that not even Lee, who took 310 wickets in 76 tests and therefore did his stupid little skip at least 300 times, was able to carry off this manoeuvre with anything resembling grace. One can only imagine, then, the carnage that was the Weeks attempt. I will spare you the details - one's imagination will produce sufficient horror - but here is the result:

Even those unfamiliar with looking at x-rays of the little toe will appreciate the enormity of this fracture but, just in case, I have added a pink arrow to demonstrate the severely angulated spiral fracture. Nasty stuff. Enough to make even Mick Doohan shudder. And it took only 2 ring blocks, a double rum, and 3 attempts to reduce the fracture. Doohan would have needed 4 ring blocks, at least, I am sure.

But this is where the Black Fish spirit prevails. Ordered off the bike for a minimum of 4 weeks by the Orthopaedic surgeon, the magnificent Weeks simply prescribed himself a single dose of HTFU and was back on the bike within days.

I encourage all Black Fish fans to stand and applaud this fine man as he cycles past you on January 20 - he will be in pain, but he will finish the TDU.

That is the way of the Black Fish.