Style is Substance

Posted by on Jul 21, 2010 in Bike | 4 Comments

One of the reason’s I enjoy watching the Tour de France, and the other Grand Tours is the wide variety of riding styles showcased. From the raw and emotional sprinting, to the rythmic, light climbing, there seems to be a rider who exemplifies some unique and distinct style. Take Thomas Voeckler for example. He rocks back and forth as he rides away from the best mountain climbers in ┬áthe world, swaying like grass in the wind. It’s not pretty. But he has a stage win, a national title, and some of the most memorable days in Yellow in modern Tour history.

I love his style.

I also love the unpredictable nature of Alexander Vinokourov. He can win in the hills, and he can win on the Champs-Elysees. He attacks with impunity, and at times, with radically poor timing. But that is exactly why I love watching him. He rides with an abandonment and reckless frivolity that seems to bleed joy and passion and a healthy sense of “hey…what could possibly go wrong?”

From the brash chest thumping of Mark Cavendish or the finish line prayers of… every stage winner, cyclists are an entertaining group of athletes to watch.

But which type of rider are you?

Are you the dancing climber, or the steam rolling Classics rider? Do you attack over and over and over?

I don’t race on the road. In mountain biking there seems to be one type of riding style: attack, attack, attack. Or, if not exactly that, it simply consists of going as hard as you can, for as long as you can. You hope against hope that the finish line passes under your wheels before you pop and explode and wither. I like to think of myself as having a little Voeckler, or Vinokourov in me when I ride. Or better yet… a little Josh Tostado.

Josh Tostado rides in seemingly gleeful discomfort . On the occasions I have ridden with, or watched him compete I am always blown away by the fantastic ability he has to push beyond reason and ability. To utterly suffer. He is the Vino of mountain biking.

What is your style? Who are your favorite riders?


  1. KanyonKris
    July 21, 2010

    Baroque is my style.

  2. mark
    July 21, 2010

    Kris, if it ain’t baroque, don’t fix it.

  3. Sniper
    July 21, 2010

    Vino is a doper, but he is also still one of my favorite riders to watch because he is always attacking. Even when he doesn’t have the legs. Many of the GC riders it seems are content to hold serve, and rarely attack. Not Vino.

  4. Me
    July 22, 2010

    Vino has panache too. He’s worked well for Contador, at times, vs. Lance not working for Levi any time. It even looked like he started to, and probably wanted to, wait when Andy had his mechanical – that showed me something. Damn radios probably made him push on, tailing AC. Even so, he’s riding like a machine again. Let’s hope he’s as pure as driven snow.

    If I had been at L-B-L the year, I too would have given him the Bronx cheer at the finish. A few days ago, had I been at his stage win, I would have smiled a little, but still not cheered. That says a lot.

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