This week, a review of some older Dr. Spalm columns. We could talk about our new imperial IPA that was just kegged Friday, Clocktower Imperial IPA (It'll Ring your Bell), but that will wait until they are ready for distribution. Just give us a few days. Until then, enjoy a review of Dr. Spalm favorites.
Welcome to the last source of useless cycling information, arcane racing
trivia and etiquette advice you will ever need. We are very excited to
have secured the services of the renowned cycling expert, Dr. Spalm,
who has graciously agreed to answer our reader questions. Or at least
all of those that can reasonably be discussed in a
semi-family-appropriate fashion. Keep in mind that Dr. Spalm's family
includes a wide selection of ne'er-do-wells, black sheep and librarians,
so he is not put off by much.
In light of the recent return to
cycling of a famous grand tour winner, we thought we would answer this
question that was posed to us in a bike shop while we were looking
for some winter riding shoes:
Dear Dr. Spalm - You seem vaguely
european, so I think you can help me with this. I see that Ivan Basso
is returning to the ranks of professional cycling. I have heard Signore
Basso called both Birillo and Tranquilo. I have watched enough cycling
to understand the basics like peloton and grand depart, but what is
Ivan telling us?
Sincerely, Confused in Spokane.
- This is a fascinating question, so thank you for asking. Also,
because I get paid by the word, I am likely to use fillers in starting
and ending most of my questions. As regards Ivan Basso, these were not
terms that you heard Phil and Paul tossing around in a fevered pitch as
Ivan crossed a Giro mountain pass. Their comments are sufficiently
confusing that not even Dr. Spalm can explain some of them.
as you might deduce if you were a student of languages, as is Dr.
Spalm, translates roughly to "tranquil". This is like Nyquil, in that
if you have enough of either you are asleep, but it is a more peaceful
and less drug-induced state. Maybe drug-induced is the wrong phrase to
use here. Anyway, it means that one is at peace with him or herself.
Signore Basso declared himself "tranquilo" when he was accused of doping
to boost his cycling performance. He was "tranquilo" because he knew
the truth of the matter and he was not bothered by such baseless and
frivolous accusations. Next, he told us that he was no longer tranquilo
and instead he was Birillo. Now, you might think this means that his
next mental state was that of a scrubbing cleanser pad. Instead, it
meant that he was, in fact, his dog.
Thank you for asking.
Okay, it was just pointed out that my contract does allow wordiness, but
prohibits obliqueness. So, I will, at my normal per word charge provide
a bit more explanation.
In the examination of a blood doping lab
in Spain, there were a number of bags of blood with code names on them.
One or more of these bags were labelled "Birillo", which just happened
to be the name of Ivan Basso's dog. Ivan was, of course, shocked and
surprised by the enormous coincidence. Despite his shock and suprise,
he was also "tranquilo". Signore Basso was next shocked and surprised
to find out that it is relatively easy to take a DNA test of both Ivan's
blood and Birillo's blood and determine whether it was the Basso family
dog that was blood doping or someone else. I hypothesize that he has
less "tranquilo" at this point.
Rather than accept the potential
shame of having a doping dog, Ivan confessed that he had considered
blood doping, went so far as to have bags of blood stored in a medical
lab 2,000 kilometers from home (HMO restrictions, I'm sure), but he had
never, ever actually used any
unsporting chemical or blood advantages to, for instance, transform over
one winter from the back of the time trail pack to the very front.
Thankfully, he saw the light before crossing over to the dark side.
to wrap up for my fellow students of language, tranquilo = I'm sure
that my secrets are safe; Birillo = It is far better for me to confess
to thinking about doping than have anyone think my dog is a doper.
Yours in Cycling, Dr. Spalm