The Paceline Podcast #36

The Paceline Podcast #36

Padraig wraps up his trip around western Sonoma County with thousands of other riders. Levi’s GranFondo is always one big rolling party with a little pain sprinkled in.

Fatty takes us through his collection of gloves as his attempts to identify the perfect pair.

The rainbow jersey but no rainbow flag. Our big discussion this week, one that already has some social media momentum, asks why there is no openly gay man in the pro peloton? Other sports have had athletes come out but the silence remains on the World Tour.

With diplomatic relations restored between the US and Cuba, that can only mean one thing: a mountain bike stage race! We hear from an organizer involved with a six day, five stage race through the jungles and on the beaches of Cuba.

And it’s round two of This Week’s Picks. Fatty, Padraig and Michael have the findings of their deep Internet research.



Show Links:

Levi’s GranFondo

Another rotor injury

The heat is on at UCI Worlds

Mountain bike stage race in Cuba

Voice command camera captures “Oh S**t” moments

Fatty’s Pick: Compass Bike Tires

Padraig’s Pick: Synchro Lights Kickstarter


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  1. Quentin

    There are openly gay athletes on the US women’s soccer team and in the WNBA, so it’s not unique to cycling that gay women athletes apparently feel more comfortable coming out than men. As you suggest, it could be lower stakes. In many case the women aren’t making much more money than they might with other career alternatives (it they aren’t making even less). If we’re looking for factors in men’s pro cycling that might keep athletes in the closet, I’ll throw just one name out there: Oleg Tinkoff. I can’t remember whether he’s ever said anything homophobic, but I seem to recall he’s said enough bigoted things about other groups of people that it wouldn’t be a stretch. When the top 5-10 teams are mostly financed by billionaire sugar daddies, that’s a lot of potential rider contracts controlled by a handful of old white guys with potentially less progressive attitudes.

    1. Author
      Michael Hotten

      Quentin – Thanks listening. Oleg is a tough one. We will miss his money. We will miss his craziness. But we won’t miss the bully.

      What we as fans of the sport need to do is let all riders know that if they want to talk about the issue, we have their back. It’s our sport, not Oleg’s.

  2. brian ledford

    what sort of tire/wheel would be required for willow creek? Can it be done on a fairly ordinary 700 x 25 (corsa cx or the like)? I’ve done levi’s (medio) the last few years and have never tried the willow creek option. Assume I’m both middle aged and decidedly avaerage when you answer.

    1. Padraig

      I’ve climbed Willow Creek with 25s. I wouldn’t descend it with 25s, but climbing it is totally doable. You need a reasonably low gear to get over two steep pitches called the Sisters near the top, at least 34×28, otherwise you’ll walk for 25 meters or so.

    2. Author
      Michael Hotten

      We love talking about Sonoma County riding so thanks for paying attention.

      I’m sure Padraig has an opinion on this but here goes:

      I have gone up and down Willow Creek on both a ‘Cross bike with 40s and a Road Bike with 28s. If you had to descend it fast, I would say you would want more tire. But with LGF, you simply need to get up it and for the ascent 25s should be fine, just make sure you can do short, steep pitches seated.

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  4. Miki Vuckovich

    Great episode. As a lifelong skater and more recent cyclist, I was pleased to hear the nod to skate culture for its openness and acceptance of diversity. Being a more recently accepted culture itself (Tokyo 2020 anyone?), skateboarding developed over the past few decades as a collection of outcast snd misfits, so I’ve always felt encouraged to seek my own path, and I think that’s the same for most who’ve spent time in the skate community. Creativity and individuality have always been celebrated. I met Brian Anderson in 1995. He was a quiet kid with a big bag of tricks. He quickly became not just a great skater, but a skater’s skater. All the top pros were in awe of this up and comer, who mostly kept to himself and let his wheels do the talking. Like most skaters, Brian’s WYSIWYG. Just a great guy, who happens to be an amazing skater, and happens to be gay. But even in the relatively open skate community, he clearly felt the need to keep that part of him to himself, which is sad. I’m just glad that he’s able to tell his story now, and hopefully crack open the debate about sexual orientation and tolerance of diversity in any corner of skateboarding where bigotry and intolerance may still be hiding out. And if there are some young skaters who are in the position he was as an amateur, hopefully they’re emboldened. It’s 2016, after all. The point you made about cycling being Euro-focused and the dominance of Catholic culture within pro cycling doesn’t really fly with me, though. I don’t know why there isn’t more openness in the pro peloton about who’s gay and who isn’t. It may just be habit–they didn’t talk about who was doping even when they knew it and even though it was giving their adversaries an unfair advantage. Maybe they all know, but just don’t talk about personal things like sexual orientation. A remnant of their arcane hush culture. If Catholicism were prominent among pros, I think we’d see more of them reaching for the sky when crossing the finish line, and crossing themselves and kissing their crosses, or whatever. Seems that only the Colombians and a few Italians do that. So, who knows what the reason? But it would be nice to see pro cycling get past the notion that there is a stigma in being gay. If I were a pro, I’d probably just pretend I’m gay if I thought it’d get me my own room on the road! But seriously, it’s 2016. I know we love our cycling history, but there has to be at least one or two full team’s-worth of gay riders in the peloton. They should just acknowledge it and move on. It’s awkward in this day and age for it to be a secret. We need to get past secrets in bike racing if fans are going to continue to watch. BTW, Giovanni Reda, the producer of the Brian Anderson video is (obviously) an old skater. But he’s also a cyclist. I had the pleasure of riding a CX race in LA last year when I heard his distinct voice heckling me every lap. Turned out he was on a road ride and was passing by when he spotted me (struggling) on the course. By the last lap his heckling turned to encouragement. Nice to know people can learn to be tolerant. Also nice to see that skaters can be an example to other athletes. Thanks for your great work.

  5. khg

    I work in the world of ballet, where the situation is reversed–lots of out gay men, hardly any out gay women. I think part of it has to do with gender expectations. Because ballet is currently considered a very feminine thing to do, the sort of boys and men who are strong enough to get into it and stick with it have to be comfortable with going against gender norms. Often these are people who can do that because they are already going against gender norms in other areas of their life.

    I would imagine that the same applies to a lot of women in sports. You have to fight against a lot cultural messages about what it means to be female, and what is appropriately feminine in order to get involved with sports, especially at the professional level. (I don’t have the stats at hand, but the numbers of girls who drop out of organized sports at puberty are alarming.) It’s a lot easier to get involved if you’re already comfortable with being non gender-conforming.

    BTW, ballet and bicycling are awesome cross-training for each other, both working a lot of the same muscle groups while also addressing some of the deficiencies in the other. Just sayin…

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