schmalz Firstly, let’s just get the mustache question out of the way – there it’s done! I read on your journal how Pozzato (he of bleached man-perm fame) said something to you about it. How can someone who looks like a Kmart K-Fed possibly say anything to anyone about their styling choices?
Zabriskie Sure call me Dave. Yes the mustacheâ€¦. Well it began as a beard in the off season and when I went to shave for the Tour of California and had a little fun. I made a few shapes and then a moustache appeared. It was a joke at first, but I kept it and now I kind of like it, so I’m keeping it for a bit. I couldn’t believe Pozzato said that either and then went and braided his hair.
schmalz What are your goals for the upcoming Giro? (ed. note – our email interview began before the Giro started)
Zabriskie Win the TTT
schmalz How has the rest of the peloton reacted to Slipstream’s anti-doping program? Are the reactions mostly positive or negative? Does anyone even mention it?
Zabriskie Maybe I’ll poll the peloton with that question during my next race. I haven’t had anybody in the peloton mention it to me yet.
schmalz Can you please just tell the world you like "as the toto turns" so we can get it on the record? It would mean so much to us! There might be a t-shirt in it for you…
Zabriskie I thoroughly enjoy "as the toto turns." VandeVelde actually ran into you guys and scored a jersey for me. I’ve sported it in LA on a few rides – it looks good with the mustache.
schmalz Speaking of toto, have you ever met him? What’s he like? Do you think he’s the type to hold a grudge and fly to the states to punch guys who write a snarky cartoon about him?
Zabriskie I have met him I told him I bet he really good at following the white lines in the road but luckily he didn’t understand me. I don’t think he would go out of his way to go and punch you, but he does have a temper.
schmalz Who needs to be in toto that hasn’t made it yet – and why?
Zabriskie Have you had Cavendish in there yet? He is very funny.
schmalz Since you’re the most aerodynamic man in the world on a bike, does that talent transfer over to other situations? Can you glide across your kitchen floor to get milk? Can you hover above the tiles in your shower? Because I would really like to learn how to do that.
Zabriskie I have yet to try to apply my talent to other situations, but now that you bring it up, I’ll give it a try and see what happens.
schmalz Do you miss your P3? Do you love the Felt? Do you care what bike you ride?
Zabriskie The P3 is hanging up in my house so I get to see it every now and then. I do love the Felt. I do care about what I ride(that’s what she said).
schmalz How are you feeling? What happened when you hit the dirt in the Giro? Are you back in the US? And if you’re laid up, I would recommend getting the DVD set of the HBO series "The Wire" â€“ simply the best show I’ve even seen â€“ if you haven’t seen it already. I wept opening when it ended. HBO should really hire me to do PR for them.
Zabriskie I am in some pain at the moment but it will go away. Some guys fell in front of me and I had no time to react and went over the bars onto my ass and broke my back with the impact. Yes I am back in the states now. I’ll look into the Wire.
schmalz We invited VDV out for our annual roller races â€“ you should come out to our next races in the fall, it’s loud, boozy and usually results in a big loss of dignity â€“ much like my Catholic school education. If you like the toto jersey, maybe we can make up a special one for you, just let us know who we should make fun of. And the white lines in the road line is a classic, is there anything more fun than making fun of Comesso? We can draw Cavendish, but I fear we will call attention to his, um, small stature. He’s not a vindictive person is he?
Zabriskie I think he would get a kick out of it. I can throw out some ideas if you want for a cavendish strip, or if I get some other ideas would you be interested?
schmalz I would be remiss if I didn’t ask you the requisite bike geek training question. Are you a big wattage watcher? Do you train with lots of apparatuses?
Zabriskie If I have it on the bike, I will watch it but I am not lost without it. I can train really well just by how I feel.
schmalz Do you agree with Frank Miller’s assertion that Batman would be crafty enough to kill Superman?
Zabriskie Yes. Is that when they fought and batman faked his death? I think I remember that one.
schmalz I also agree that Batman could kill Superman, as he just wanted it more, because he didn’t have any superpowers. I just think the power of the spite was stronger in him.
Any toto ideas you would want to submit would be greatly appreciated, as we sometimes get desperate. Making fun of professional cycling on a weekly basis is harder than it sounds. There is always, thankfully, the Italians and their dodgy hair choices. But be warned, if it were not for Andy’s calming influence, every toto strip would eventually end up in a dance fight sequence like "West Side Story" or "Thriller.".
Zabriskie Ok â€“ here is an idea for Cavendish mainly because he is always saying it. When you race in Italy all the italians are always swearing and one of their favorites is diocanni – not sure on the spelling. They scream this all day long. Cav came up to me one day and said, "Do you know who this Giocarni guy is? He must be really good – they are always screaming his name." Not sure how many people would get it… It could look a little some like this: Cav winning his stage at the giro with all the italians behind him screaming diocanni and then later he could be asking someone (like Italian TV or something) about this Giocarni. Ok, if these are lame ideas, don’t worry about my feelings. I can take it.
One other one I had a long time ago is if the UCI were to take over, say, the NBA for a week or a day:
-rain or snow…
-Guys pissing on the side of the court…
-No resting or substitutions…
I think there were some other things but can’t think of them now… Sounded funny to me at the time… not sure how you turn that into comic form…
schmalz Can we just mention Vaughter’s sideburns?
Zabriskie That’s another good idea for the comic — talking sideburns. One could be evil and the other good…
schmalz It’s odd how many top cyclists train by feel, where can one purchase this "feel"?
Zabriskie Not sure how one feels the feel. But it’s basically going very hard when you feel good and taking it easy when you feel tired.
schmalz How do you deal with the boredom of living in hotels for races? Do you have Mike Friedman do the "robot" and then judge his performance in a play-at-home version of "Dancing with the Stars"? Or is that just my fantasy? My sad, sad fantasyâ€¦
Zabriskie We don’t get much time to ourselves in the hotels. We are always eating and getting massaged after the races so it’s not that boring. So far, the "robot" thing is just your fantasy, but the next time I race with him maybe we’ll try it.
schmalz I like the Cavendish idea, maybe we would have Cavendish dedicating a win on the the podium to his favorite Italian racer, "Giocarni". I like the idea of a NBA crossover, maybe there’s a mis-sent fax at "world sport headquarters" (I imagine a place that looks like the Super Friends’ headquarters – with Pat McQuaid in a nice jumpsuit ensemble) and the UCI takes over the NBA and the NBA takes over the UCI. Basically, I would want the strip to end with Shaq whizzing on Jack Nicholson. And it seems cruel that you don’t tell poor Cav the truth about the swear word â€” I hope you’re not thinking of stopping?
And opposing good and evil sideburns is just a stroke of genius. Do you want to be credited as "script consultant" on these strips?
And speaking of pro athletes, a lot of football and basketball players retire with permanent physical problems – knee injuries and other maladies â€“ do you think it’s the same for pro cyclists? Do you think years of being a pro cyclist takes a permanent toll on your body?
Zabriskie It probably does if you’ve had a lot of injuries. Just racing year after year without injuries I don’t think is unhealthy.
schmalz What was it like facing the Tour de France press when you were wearing the yellow jersey? Did you feel like you could joke around with them? Did you try wearing a beret to get on their good side?
Zabriskie At first it was pretty intimidating because there was so many but, yeah, I joked around with them. Didn’t try the beret.
schmalz Are you back riding yet?
Zabriskie Not yet â€” it’s going to take a little longer than initially expected.
schmalz Is Jens Voight as dreamy as he seems? Who was your favorite roommate on the road?
Zabriskie Jens is a super nice guy. I liked Giovanni Lombardi, but that was mainly because he was never there; and that’s when I realized I really liked having my own room and try to have that as much as possible.
schmalz You were known for resisting going to the wind tunnel. How did Slipstream manage to get you in there? Did they bribe you with treats? Did you enjoy it, or was it too techie/geeky for you? In other words, did you take pride in being fast without all that help?
Zabriskie Yeah they gave me treats. It was easy for them because there was a tunnel close by our camp. I wanted the team to set up my position the same way so it helped them know what they needed to do. That stuff can help but so can having a nice bowel movement. Just watched the pilot of the Wire looks like it will be good.
schmalz The Wire gets more addicting as you go on, watching in retrospect, you realize that they wrote the show from start to finish because the characters you see in passing the first season come back in later seasons. Very thorough.
Have you ever got into trouble with a remark you’ve made to another rider in the peloton? Who can’t take a joke?
Zabriskie Early on in my career when I was on USPS I was dropped at some race in Spain with the entire Euskatel team and they continued to pull at a fast pace and I was annoyed so I started yelling rapido it was more of a taunt than a joke. Well one of the guys came back and grabbed me by the jersey and we stopped and I thought he was going to beat me up but he didn’t. Now I am friendly with that team and don’t have to worry about the ETA anymore. I actually wouldn’t mind being the first foreigner to be hired by that team, now that would be funny me hanging out with bunch of Basque guys.
schmalz It’s funny in cycling that grown men need to room together on the road – I suppose it’s like a trip back to summer camp or college dorm life. Who does the most towel snapping on Slipstream? It’s Millar, isn’t it?
Zabriskie Yeah I don’t think we need to but that’s just the way it’s always been. Yes, it’s Millar and he giggles while he’s doing it.
schmalz Having a nice bowel movement – I could write a "Beowolf" length epic poem about that…
Zabriskie I could do the illustrations.