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INTERVIEWS

Dave Zabriskie Interview

Fri, 01/23/2009 - 1:25pm by schmalz

Any interview with Garmin Slipstream's Dave Zabriskie is going to go places that many interviews do not. The following is an example of how things go when you talk to Dave Zabriskie when he has some time to kill.

schmalz You're at the Slipstream camp right now, in what I found out is the Holiday Inn Express in Silver City NM, is that correct?

DZ Correct.

schmalz How's the training going?

DZ Uh...it's great.

schmalz I don't know if you sound convinced. It sounds like you're not up to snuff. Maybe that's my guess, maybe I'm reading into it too much.

DZ No, it's going well. Everyone looks really good. The weather's much better than last year. We're training in shorts here. Last year we were all in thermal jackets.

schmalz And is Christian Vande Velde there? Is he finally thawed out from his Chicago training?

DZ Yeah, I think so. He looks good.

schmalz That's good. He can start to work on a little man tan... What's the plan this year. Is it the same as last year? Are you doing the same sort of training for the same sort of races? Are you going to do the Giro and then do the Tour again?

DZ Yeah, I'll do California, that's my first one. Straight from there I'm going to Spain for two races, I'm not going to do much in April, then I'll do the Giro and the Tour. Then see what happens after that.

schmalz Did you take a big break off the bike this year? In general how long do you take off if you take off at all?

DZ I don't take a full month, or even two weeks. I just get on the mountain bike and start having fun. It's not like I go completely sedentary, I stay pretty active.

schmalz You don't cross train by trying some synchronized swimming or anything like that, do you?

DZ No, I've never tried that.

schmalz Could be useful. It's very low impact.

DZ Right.

schmalz You're mostly a time trialist, not to pigeonhole you there, but usually when people describe you in a time trial, they speak of your position in almost, uh, romantic terms. How did you get to that position? Did you just get on the bike and then everyone just said, "Wow, that's amazing", or did you work at developing that position.

DZ I got on the bike and it just fit like that. I my body just forms into...my body can adapt to the bike, that's what it is.

schmalz Would you say that most of your position, or your power, obviously it's a combination of both, but which do you think is more important?

DZ It's from manipulating the quality of the earth.

schmalz Of the earth? You're able to counteract the effects of gravity?

DZ Uh huh. If you can do that, you can do anything.

schmalz If this were a comic book, that would be put into your origins story.

DZ Yeah.

schmalz That would be Dave Zabriskie can counteract the effects of gravity and then he goes out and beats up on criminals. I should come up with a superhero name for you, but I don't have anything off the top of my head.

DZ I'll think of something.

schmalz Something to do with tights and bright colors. Do you train with a power meter? Do you have your watts available?

 

DZ I've been following your training on there. It's impressive numbers you're putting up there...

schmalz Don't tell me you're not jealous.

DZ (Laughs) I almost sent you an email after I saw one of your first ones.

schmalz You're like, "That's pathetic"...

DZ (Laughs)

schmalz Oh yeah, nice and encouraging there, thanks.

DZ I train with one.

schmalz Way to share the love with the lower categories of the sport, DAVE.

DZ I'm not real big on recording it. I go out and train with it, it just sits there for my own curiosity, 'cause I know where I wanna be, I look at a number, "Oh yeah, that looks good", so...

schmalz You're not a big number cruncher, you're not working with an Excel file...

DZ No, no. If I feel like it was a worthwhile ride I'll send it to Allen and let him take a look at it.

schmalz Let the geeks know. What kind of wattage do you do on a worthwhile ride? Can you put a number to it?

DZ Yesterday, in five hours fifteen minutes, I did 4000 kilojuoules, average power was 256.

schmalz So, that's like an endurance ride for you guys?

DZ Yeah.

schmalz Hmm, I don't know if I can do 256 for more than ten minutes, so, uh, I'm not going to be able to try out for the team. You're shattering my dreams and you're dissing my training numbers.

DZ Don't get too discouraged.

schmalz Can we talk about your skinsuit in Paris Tours?

DZ Yeah sure.

schmalz Did you forget the other clothes, or were just trying to freak out the Europeans?

DZ I had all my clothes. What I didn't have was a skinsuit. All my skinsuits are national championship, so that skinsuit, I had to beg my teammates to bring me one. So Mike Friedman ended up bringing his for me.

schmalz Wait, Friedman's skinsuit fit you?

DZ Yeah, so that was actually Friedman's skinsuit.

schmalz No kidding.

DZ After the race I threw it away and he was pissed.

schmalz Why?

DZ The chammy was coming unstitched.

schmalz Oh dear, so it was coming apart?

DZ Yeah, I think he stretched it out.

schmalz He's a powerful man.

DZ Yeah.

schmalz You said you were trying to teach the younger pups on the team your secret to breaking away, which I think is you go early. I think I remember your stage in the Vuelta, you were away for...a week I think. How do you get away so early?

DZ I mean, sometimes you have to be aggressive to be in the break, but sometimes it's kind of floating off the front and not making any violent moves. I think if people's initial reaction to a violent move like an attack is to obviously follow it. But if you roll off gently, it kinda confuses them. Then you get a certain distance, or turn a corner, if you have a corner coming up that's good, 'cause you're out of their sight then you can attack and get some distance on them. It's a special technique, everything has to be really right.

schmalz So you kinda just roll off the front, make like you have to take a whiz or something...

DZ No, no, 'cause I don't really respect people who do that. If I was going to take a piss I would let them know, and stop for a piss. And when I do I'm definitely not signally I'm going to pee. It's a completely legitimate move.

schmalz What's the signal for having to take a whiz? Is it an international signal?

DZ You pull out the weiner.

schmalz It kinda just shows everyone.

DZ Yeah.

schmalz Have you ever tried to get on TV when you're going to the bathroom? Every once in a while...

DZ It's really difficult in the Tour, to try to find a piece of road where you can actually go to the bathroom.

schmalz Do you roll or do you stop?

DZ I tend to roll more now, I just don't...people attack more and more when people stop. Don't trust anybody.

schmalz So you're mistrusting nature makes you roll and urinate at the same time.

DZ Yeah.

schmalz I did that once and just nailed myself.

DZ You nailed yourself.

schmalz I got it all over my shoes. To be honest, it was in a public park, so I don't know if it was the greatest idea either, but it had to happen.

So did you shave your moustache because of Pozzato?

DZ No, not really. I wanted to keep it until I had my little boy, basically. For some reason. I wanted the initial pictures to look retro.

schmalz Retro like Wyatt Earp retro?

DZ Yeah, like that. And then I pretty much shaved it a couple days after he was born.

schmalz Had a dead bear hanging in the background, make it a nice family picture.

DZ Yeah.

schmalz What's with Pozzato? I don't undertand the braids, and I'm hoping that's the next thing that's going to happen at Slipstream, frankly.

DZ Uhhhh, I don't think that's going to happen. You can try to convince Cozza...

schmalz I see Lucas Euser going that route.

DZ Yeah, possibly.

schmalz He strikes me as a braid guy.

DZ I'll try to talk him into that.

schmalz So, your back's ok? You've recovered from your crash of last season?

DZ It's not too bad. I mean it still gets a little tight, but for the most part it's pretty good.

schmalz Do you stretch, do yoga, aerobics?

DZ I've been working the core.

schmalz That's good. Has it been jazzercise?

DZ No.

schmalz No Billy Bo Taebo, anything like that?

DZ No, I just kinda exercise, actually.

schmalz And you can learn to kill.

DZ Yeah.

schmalz So we're eleven minutes in, and we haven't discussed Lance coming back yet.

DZ Did you want to?

schmalz I think I'm required to, aren't I?

DZ If you say so.

schmalz He's back, he's going to race bikes down on that really long MS 150 charity ride in Australia right now, so he's going to be back. Have you guys discussed any plans on how to deal with him, or do you just treat him as another racer?

DZ We haven't discussed much. I guess we're just dealing with him as another racer.

schmalz And deal with it as it comes and see how the season breaks?

DZ Yeah.

schmalz Now Lance has cancer. Do you have a disease you ride for? The mumps or anything?

DZ No, I just have my Yield to Life foundation. I got hit by a car.

schmalz Where did you get hit by a car?

DZ It was 2003, Mill Creek Canyon, Salt Lake City.

schmalz What happened?

DZ I was coming down a canyon, and this woman turned in front of me to park in a dirt parking lot, so it was real unexpected. I'm not expecting people to take turns in that canyon, there's not many intersections. I was having a good time, she made a turn in front of me.

schmalz And then, bad times...

DZ Yeah, broke some things.

schmalz You hit our radar when we wrote our little cartoonie. I think that you've followed it before, and have been involved with it before...let's say.

DZ (Laughs)

schmalz The problem with you, and VDV too, is that you're very likeable.

DZ Yeah.

schmalz We had to turn you into pure evil. And I don't know which way to go next. I think the next one's going to have you punch babies.

DZ Oh come on.

schmalz I think so, something like that, or explosions, we'll have to work it out.

DZ Alright.

schmalz How would we make you more evil than we have already?

DZ I can't remember the last one. What'd we do?

schmalz I think you were beating baby seals to death with puppies.

DZ Oh yeah.

schmalz I find it amazing that people read it, but follow the comic also.

DZ Toto?

schmalz Yeah.

DZ It's good stuff.

schmalz I've heard of a lot of...I'm gonna kiss my own ass here, and say that every professional I've come across has said that they've seen it at least.

DZ Yeah.

schmalz Except for Levi.

DZ Yeah, I tried to show it to him, 'cause he'd even done an interview for you guys.

schmalz He did. I know. I don't know if he doesn't want to see it. That's fine.

DZ You guys gonna make a book of it?

schmalz I don't know, I have no idea. A book sounds like a lot of effort. And, to be honest, I don't really remember what happens with the ones we'd done in the past. I don't have much of a memory for that stuff.

DZ Do you do those illustrations?

schmalz No, I co-write it, and Andy does the illustrations. Any embarrassing pictures we can find we can use for anybody, and we go from there. Make it as embarrassing as possible.

When you were being interviewed in the Tour a couple years ago, you had the story of the Russian cyclist, the 'What game play?' guy, who was that? It was Karpets, wasn't it?

DZ It wasn't him, I don't know...I think it was a smaller fellow on...I think it was a Russian rider on the Credit Agricole team.

schmalz You don't even remember who it was?

DZ Yeah.

schmalz Dammit, I really wanted it to be Karpets. First of all, he looks like the synthesizer tech for Danish ice metal band, so he's got that whole look going on, I just would love it to be him.

DZ Just say that it was.

schmalz Let's make it so. We can officially say that it was Karpets and we're not going to have any of the previous three sentences in there. He seems like the most rockin'-est hair in the peloton, Mr. Karpets.

DZ Yeah, he's a nice guy.

schmalz Is he?

DZ He doesn't talk a lot, so you really don't know one way or the other, I'll just say he's a nice guy.

schmalz I think you've said before that there's a lot of riders in the pro peloton who aren't necessarily the most interesting people...

DZ I'm not even that interesting myself.

schmalz Well, granted, but I think that they might not even be that smart?

DZ That's just, I think, world population in general.

schmalz You think it's more of a population trend than cycling itself?

DZ Yeah.

schmalz Awwwww. Now when you're in Europe and you're at a race and you guys are hanging out, I think you guys just hang out in the showers in towels before races, just let that stay in your mind there...

DZ (Laughs)

schmalz Who do you usually talk to when you're hanging out in your towels? Is it just your teammates, are there other Americans? Europeans you know you usually hang with?

DZ I get along well with George, my teammates and George.

schmalz Anybody that's like an arch enemy?

DZ Not gonna, not gonna tell on my enemies.

schmalz You're not going to give out the information? Come on....

DZ They might think I'm their friend at this moment in time.

schmalz And then you're going to strike, huh?

DZ Right.

schmalz Ah, revenge best served cold, and by somebody you know. Now you're going into the superhero story again. We don't get to have an arch enemy? Maybe someone retired? You didn't race with Abdjaparov, so that doesn't really jibe. Sorry. I guess your arch enemy's gonna remain a mystery.

DZ Yeah.

schmalz So how was it racing for Postal as opposed to racing for Slipstream?

DZ It was different periods of my life. Postal, a lot of big changes at that time in my life, that was my first professional team, and it was a pretty big jump, so it wasn't easy.

schmalz Just because of what was going on with you, or...

DZ Yeah, it was just a big jump in skill level and everything, the level of competition.

schmalz Before that, you grew up in Salt Lake City, and how did you get to Postal? Were you racing and living in Salt Lake City and you got signed by Postal, or?

DZ I was on the national team, I was in Belgium, and met Johan. Sealed the deal.

schmalz Did you do just one race?

DZ The race we met at was the Grand Prix de Nations, Lance was there, there was a U23 version, Lance won his race that day, I won mine.

schmalz And your eyes met and you...fell...madly...

DZ The national team coach Noel knew Belgian, so he introduced me to Johan. And then we went back and Johan has a brother that has a jewelry shop, like Bruyneel something, I went into this jewelry shop and he was either in the back room or upstairs part of it, and that's where the deal took place.

schmalz That's where the deal went down? A jewelry shop? That sounds a little 'Bourne Identity'.

DZ It was interesting. I remember I tried to...there was a window on top of the roof, I thought I could sneak in there at a later point.

schmalz Ah, so you were casing the joint.

DZ I always do, but I never follow through, you know.

schmalz You're thinking in case this contract doesn't work out I've got this to fall back on.

DZ Yeah.

schmalz There's always breaking and entering.

DZ I don't know what the law is in Belgium.

schmalz Pretty sure they're bad with stealing. Don't know the jurisprudence very well, but yeah, pretty sure they don't go for the stealing.

DZ Yeah.

schmalz When you were younger, did you train in Salt Lake City? When did you start riding bikes and racing?

DZ 16, 17, I started riding, and probably started racing around 17, locally there.

schmalz Is there a hot bike racing scene in Salt Lake City?

DZ There was quite a few people. I mean, now they have local races now, the weekly series, and I think in the B group they're getting over a hundred guys, and in the A group they're getting over 50 guys, 50-80.

schmalz So it's not bad then.

DZ Yeah, it's pretty good.

schmalz Then on weekends you'd drive and go to races, or?

DZ On the weekends you drive here and there, do some things. My first was called the Little Mountain race.

schmalz How'd you do in your first race?

DZ I got second. I led him out for, like, 50 miles.

schmalz Cagey strategy. I'll show you! That shows nice promise and a good tactical acumen there.

DZ I didn't know what I was doing.

schmalz Who beat you, do you remember?

DZ I don't remember.

schmalz Some guy with a moustache?

DZ I think he was from Idaho.

schmalz They're a cagey bunch out there, Idahoans. So after that you just stuck with it, found some races, how'd you end up going to Belgium? Was that a national team thing?

DZ Yeah.

schmalz So they shipped you over there, you go where people talk like, the language sounds like they're constantly belching, and you get into it with Johan?

DZ Yeah, pretty much. When I first joined the national team they didn't have Noel in place, so we would go over and do trips here and there, but there was no base. My last two years of U23 riding was when Noel came into the national team picture.

schmalz Did you ever get bet on?

DZ I'm sure I have been, I don't know.

schmalz Nobody said anything, no one came up to you 'cause they lost?

DZ No.

schmalz Nothing that awkward?

DZ No.

schmalz You're on the road a lot. Is it boring? Or are you just too busy to be bored?

DZ I'm pretty busy. Not really busy, but so fatigued that you don't mind laying down.

schmalz So there's not a lot of time for hazing and hijinx on the road? I would haze Vande Velde, though, if you had the chance.

DZ He's in my room, and I've had bad gas every night, so he's getting his fair share of lung poisoning. He was trying to keep up, but I think I'm winning.

schmalz You run a little richer than he does, eh?

DZ Yeah.

schmalz Well played. I think we're getting another super power out here. So far it's casing the joint, aerodynamics, and gassiness. That's going to make for an interesting costume.

DZ All right.

schmalz So what's the plan for the Tour of California? Ride a lot? Win occasionally?

DZ Sounds good, man.

schmalz Before the race, if you're working out the plan for the day? What do you guys work out? Is it pretty well scriped or do you just kinda say "if this happens then we do this"?

DZ It always depends, the biggest thing is a group of ten or more riders can't go without one of us. If there's a couple guys, then no big deal, there's a lot of teams that aren't represented. But with a big group and a lot of people are represented and we're not in there, you better somebody in there or chase it immediately.

schmalz Then you hear a screeching voice in your earphone?

DZ No, we have to take that action by ourselves immediately on the road, because we can see it sometimes quicker than the car, or numbers on the radio.

schmalz On the road, do you find yourself in more of a captain role?

DZ I wouldn't say...I don't really see it that way.

schmalz But do you tell people what to do, or do people tell you what to do?

DZ It goes both ways.

schmalz So you can share your wisdom while you're out there?

DZ Yeah.

schmalz When you're in a time trial, what's going through your mind? What's your mindset when you're doing that? Is it you can't even think, just so on the rivet you can't get any thoughts out?

DZ There's times when I am thinking.

schmalz Like when you go by a flower and you say "that's very nice" and then...

DZ Yeah.

schmalz...you're kinda slowing down.

DZ If there's thoughts in mind head and I'm thinking at all, then usually that's not a good ride.

schmalz So you have to ride hard enough to not think.

DZ Yeah, you're just out there suffering. If I can't think then it usually turns out all right.

schmalz Do you find that having any sort of input through the earpiece helps, or do you notice?

DZ Sometimes it can help, but it depends on the person. The person has to know you and know what you like and dislike. One time at the Tour I had somebody that was just way too excited and violent, and I couldn't handle the...I was already maxed out and he was like "Now we go, now we go, shoo shoo shoo!" I'm thinking in my head "you're outta your mind".

schmalz Can you tell us who that was?

DZ It was Kim Anderson.

schmalz Was this with CSC?

DZ Yeah.

schmalz He was just too hyper in your earpiece?

DZ Yeah.

schmalz It's like listening to bad radio, and you can't change the channel.

DZ Yeah, one time in the Vuelta TTT, in the beginning, when we won and Floyd got the jersey, they had the volume way too loud and my ear was ringing for a week.

schmalz No one ever requests music for these things, I don't know why they don't do that.

DZ Some guys do that.

schmalz Can't they just put the radio on in the car? It's a long stage, it's early...

DZ Some guys will sneak an ipod in.

schmalz Would it kill you to play a little Foghat early in the race?

DZ No, not really. Write your local UCI representatives.

schmalz Exactly. I'm writing on behalf of Foghat. We'd like to get 'Slow Ride' on all the races. See if we can get that worked out. Anything else you need from the UCI?

DZ Um...no, I guess not.

schmalz Do you guys still have to do the thing where you report where you are every minute of the day?

DZ Yep.

schmalz Do you ever throw a little overly detail in there, like when you're going to the bathroon, something like that?

DZ No, I'm fairly detailed, but I don't want to be obnoxious.

schmalz Best not to swat that hornet's nest?

DZ Yeah.

schmalz How detailed do you have to be? You're in Silver City now, are you reporting where you are now?

DZ The new rules this year are they need to know where you are for a least one hour every day.

schmalz So if we keep talking I might make the UCI list for the day?

DZ I pick my hours usually between 6 and 7 in the morning.

schmalz That's a big pain in the ass, isn't it?

DZ It's a little bit better than it was because now the only way you can miss a test is if you're not...if they come to test me between 6 and 7 and I'm not there, that's a missed test. Whereas before, it was, if you went out to a movie and they came to test you, that's a missed test. Now they have this guaranteed hour, we both do, you know what I mean?

schmalz You have a set up rendez vous. Probably a lot less romantic than that sounds. Have the UCI come to get you yet this year?

DZ Yeah, they came to Boulder camp.

schmalz So they come to the camp where they know there's going to be food.

DZ Yeah.

schmalz They're basically in it for the buffet.

DZ ....possibly...

schmalz I know how I would work, and I would be there when there's a buffet, so, depends on where you're at. I don't know if I'd go to Silver City, but if you're doing something, say, in Las Vegas, I might show up. That might be the way to not get tested, to go to obnoxious places like Schenectady.

DZ Where?

schmalz Schenectady.

DZ What town'd you say?

schmalz Schenectady, New York, have you ever been there?

DZ I've never been there.

schmalz See? Exactly, nobody's going to go there.

DZ Sche-nec-ta-dy?

schmalz So what do you do on the road to amuse yourself? Like, for instance, now?

DZ I...do an interview.

schmalz I can't imagine this is too amusing...

DZ Like this morning I downloaded some software to transfer music from my ipod to my computer, that was good times.

schmalz Seems like ipods, cellphones, facebook, has really helped with...

DZ It's definitely a valuable device. It was a valued rug, man.

schmalz What?

DZ Valued rug, man.

schmalz Valued rogue?

DZ Valued rug, man (laughing).

schmalz You got me lost. Valued rug?

DZ This was a valued rug, man.

schmalz I have no idea what you're talking about.

DZ Oh, I'm sorry. Lebowski.

schmalz Oh, yes, exactly. I'm trying to abide here, but I'm not too quick on the upswing.

DZ What else did we say, ipod, I don't do the facebook, though.

schmalz You're not missing much.

DZ But I have somewhere on there pretending to be me. He does a good job, though.

schmalz I'm sorry, it's me.

DZ Thanks, Dan.

schmalz It's ok, it's just part of the master plan here. We're gonna put it all together in one big facebook reveal later.

DZ I do the ichat with my wife, the boy, and trying to read occasionally. Constantly organizing my things. This trip I'm trying to organize, get everything in order for my next trip. 'Cause I'm going to Europe for six months, I have to stockpile the crap I need for six months, take it all over there.

schmalz You have to pile up all the stag films, right?

DZ Yeah, it's a lot, logistically, lot of organization.

schmalz Yeah, that's an awkward moment, through customs.

DZ Yeah, I hope not. Hopefully they just let me through, if I'm fully shave, look good, they just let me through. If I have any facial hair, sometimes, it's like they search me.

schmalz That's a trigger, huh? Well, you do look more devious with a moustache, that's gonna get you arrested. Wasn't it uncomfortable having a moustache while racing?

DZ Not really. Oh man! This coffee tastes like ass!

schmalz Welcome to the Holiday Inn.

DZ It's good coffee, but the coffee maker just ruined it.

schmalz You got the special ass blend? So the coffee choices there are what? Ass? Feet?

DZ No, the coffee, I had some Peete's, but this coffee maker, too much ass coffee went through this coffee machine, so it's been stained. Stained its innards.

schmalz That's part of life on the road I guess.

DZ Ass coffee.

schmalz Ass coffee. Terrible. Does Jonathan Vaughters always dress like that?

DZ Um...as far as I know.

schmalz You never see him in like, a...

DZ Sweatsuit?

schmalz Maybe like a fanny pack?

DZ Diaper?

schmalz When's the diaper come out?

DZ I saw him wear a diaper once, in this one Tour stage, he was really stressed, they didn't want to get out of the car, take their chances to pee, so he brought along a couple of those Depends.

schmalz You're making that up.

DZ I'm pretty serious.

schmalz He didn't want to get out of the car?

DZ (Giggling) That's our director's secret. Wear diapers.

schmalz I don't buy that for a moment.

DZ It's in the team handbook. Sometimes the director will be like, "I can't get you a bottle right now, we stopped for a piss". Not us. Always guaranteed a feed. As far as I know Chann has the nastiest diaper.

schmalz Who does?

DZ Chann McRae. He had a biiiig blowout.

schmalz He's doing it too?

DZ Yeah. He had the runs or something...

schmalz I like the idea that while we're watching the Versus coverage those guys are sitting in a pile of their own excrement.

DZ Yeah.

schmalz That just brings the whole vision home to me.

DZ Yeah.

schmalz You made that up, I don't buy that.

DZ Believe what you wanna believe, man.

schmalz I choose to believe that he's sitting there in a diaper, of course.

DZ Not a bad idea. Maybe I'll wear a diaper in a race.

schmalz You could try that.

DZ You wouldn't even have to do the roll pee, just keep on pedaling. By the way, my son took his first dump in the toilet yesterday.

schmalz Nice.

DZ Yeah, thanks, man.

schmalz Anyone else on the team wearing diapers?

DZ I wonder if Depends has a lot of money? We can get a sponsor, possibly. Honestly I just made the whole thing up, but now I'm thinking, goddamn, making I'll make a couple mil outta this.

schmalz See! I knew you were making that up. You know what they need to do? You know how they have sports bras? They need athletic Depends. Like Sport Depends.

DZ We are on to something.

schmalz Lightweight...

DZ Don't write this in the interview, we'll work on it.

schmalz Keep it under the hat?

DZ Under the umbrella of DZ nuts incorporated.

schmalz Yeah, I've seen your advertisements for that, babe. Thanks a lot for the Sharon Stone inspired one.

DZ That was the last one I did, at the end of the day, I really wasn't into it.

schmalz Wasn't into it!

DZ I want to get the guy that does the ShamWow to help me out. He's doing some other product now called the Slap Chop.

W schmalz hat's it do?

DZ You just put stuff in the thing, like an onion, and you slap it down and it chops it up. Slap Chop!

schmalz That's nice ShamWow! DZ Nuts! These things are all going to be related, along with the Sport Depends. You could sell it right over the television, it'd be great. I'm thinking in that last one, you were probably sober when you did that, right?

DZ Yeah, I was tired, I had to go to Europe in a few days, they wanted to do them right before Vegas, and so we did all those in one day. That was the last one, we're freeballin' in this robe...

schmalz How'd you get your nut mixture worked out?

DZ The guy that's the...what would you call it...sci...entist?

schmalz Wizard?

DZ Yeah, wizard, the wizard, just told him what I wanted. He'd been in skincare, that's his business. He's good.

schmalz Somebody asked me to ask you that, uh, one of the, uh, keys to your undercarriage maintenance is that you're hair free?

DZ Uh huh. I mean, I upkeep it occasionally. Otherwise, I'd probably grow a tail.

schmalz So, it's like you do some "Dave-scaping" down there, then.

DZ Right.

schmalz Clear the brush.

DZ Yeah.

schmalz Great, I think we just...yeah.

DZ Which makes for a better wiping experience, also.

schmalz Ah, double duty.

DZ Yes yes yes.

schmalz That's great. And I heard that you're looking to cut out the "man area" on the massage table, is that right?

DZ Yeah, I'm going to go into the massage table making business. I want it so there's a place where your nads can hang through, and I also want something that will suck, will store your fart. 'Cause the thing with getting a massage, you gotta hold your farts in.

schmalz You feel gassy?

DZ Yeah, I got some farts, I don't want to be disrespectful to the masseuses. Lettin' 'em loose in their faces. If you had a table that could somehow suck it in, store it...

schmalz So far we've got alot of entrepeneurial opportunities here.

DZ Yeah, I should write all this stuff down.

schmalz Yeah, you should probably patent this conversation, really.

DZ So if anyone comes out with a massage table that sucks out farts...

schmalz Once you see the Sport Depends come out, you know somebody's listening in.

DZ That's actually...I'm half tempted to say don't print that.

schmalz You're fearing the industrial espionage.

DZ Uh huh.

schmalz You can get some of those Sport Depends to Jonathan and see how that goes over. I'm just kinda bummed that he wasn't really crapping himself while he was riding across France. That's kind of a disappointment.

DZ I hope he handles it ok.

schmalz Have you ever gotten in trouble for anything you've said in an interview from any of your employers?

DZ Uh...

schmalz Before now.

DZ Before now...Johan, he would get a little angry with me at the press conferences.

schmalz Because you weren't taking it seriously enough?

DZ He didn't think I was taking it seriously. I'll admit I just didn't...I couldn't relax, and I didn't...I couldn't even speak, so one time I just got up there and what happened? We were doing media training, over and over, and the message was that these hockey players had made a big mistake, so the main point of this media training was how to learn from my mistakes and blah blah blah. So I got it in my head that as soon as I got on the stage, no matter what they asked me I would just say "I learned from my mistakes". Someone asked me a question and I said that and I thought it was the funniest thing ever, and I couldn't stop laughing after that. He came and talked to me after that.

schmalz So it was a combination of nerves and being a smartass that made you do it?

DZ Yeah. Kind of. I just didn't, I dont' know, I never completely understood the idea of the press conference.

schmalz I think that's why most people like to hear from you, it's that you don't stick to the script, and you're willing to discuss your entrepeneurial ideas, maybe, so much of it is you've obviously heard press room stuff from people who've memorized the script. Nobody cares.

DZ It's hard for me to...go by the book I guess.

schmalz When you had the yellow jersey you had to do a press conference every day, didn't you?

DZ Mmm hmm.

schmalz How'd that go?

DZ I think that was a good experience for me, actually.

schmalz Upped your media training?

DZ Initially it was hard for me to talk about cycling, 'cause I didn't understand...I just found myself in this situation. But all they really want to hear about was the cycling, the more bike nerdy stuff you can say it seems the more happy days these guys get.

schmalz Even in France?

DZ Yeah. I would fill it with some bike stuff, before I would get all jumbled because I was trying to think of something to say. But you don't really have to think about anything to say, it's just telling the experience of the race, really.

schmalz So they want to know about tactics, they don't want you to describe your handlebars to them?

DZ Anything bike related, but my problem before was I would try to think of things completely un-bike related.

schmalz How'd that go over?

DZ It would scramble my head, if anything. It didn't go well.

schmalz You were speaking to the foreign press, did they speak English to you?

DZ A lot of those guys, they speak English. At the Giro, you get a translator, but in France, most of those guys speak English, but they always have a translator on hand.

schmalz And you always run the risk of trying to tell a joke and not having it go over.

DZ They pick up my humor over there.

schmalz So you didn't start any italian blood feuds or anything?

DZ No.

schmalz Do you prefer the Giro or the Tour?

DZ The Giro not any easier than the Tour these days. They're both hard.

schmalz It's going to be hard this year, too.

DZ Yeah.

schmalz Where is the food better? I'd think the Giro food would have to be better.

DZ The Giro food's definitely quality. I mean, it doesn't matter. If you're in a half star hotel the food's gonna be good.

schmalz Where are the hotels better?

DZ As far as the grand tours, the Vuelta's got the best hotels.

schmalz Really? I would never think that. 'Cause you guys get stuck in some pretty small hotels.

DZ Yeah. There was one in France, you might as well keep your suitcase on the bus 'cause there's nowhere to put it.

schmalz And if you're rooming with Vande Velde again you're gonna be subjecting him to your superpower.

DZ Yeah.

schmalz In a smaller room.

DZ Yeah, oh god.

schmalz At least you feel guilty about it, at least you're remorseful.

DZ Yeah.

schmalz You guys are riding Felts again this year, right?

DZ Mmm hmm.

schmalz Are they good bikes?

DZ Yeah, they're good.

schmalz Would you say anything differently?

DZ I mean, I just got a new one here at camp, I think it's about a pound lighter than the one I got last year, and they stiffened it up, they keep going forward and making better stuff, so...pleased.

schmalz You ever ride any bad bikes?

DZ I did, actually ride...when I was with 7up, they gave me something called, I mean, it was labeled Litespeed, but it was actually, I'm not sure who was experimenting...it was called a Douglas. The guy owned Colorado Cyclist and he was toying around with frames, but it was no Litespeed. It was heavy, pissed me off.

schmalz It was not a light Litespeed eh?

DZ No.

schmalz What was it made of? Was it a lead alloy?

DZ It may have been titanium, but just, heavy.

schmalz Heavy's no good for the bike racing.

DZ Yeah.

schmalz Now do you have any rituals before a race? Any specific things you have to do the morning of?

DZ Not necessarily.

schmalz Even before a time trial?

DZ The night before, sometimes I'll shave my arms and legs. It's not like I have to do that, but sometimes I'll do it.

schmalz You never think about going the extra mile and doing the eyebrows, too?

DZ No.

schmalz You never know, they're stuck right out there. I guess you have a fairing on your helmet, you don't have to worry about that.

DZ No.

schmalz Good to know. I'm going to let you get back to gassing Vande Velde, then.

DZ He's out training.

schmalz How come he's out training and you're not?

DZ I did a lactate test.

schmalz How do you study for that?

DZ It wasn't easy, but yesterday we had a pretty hard day, and today they had the test.

schmalz When's camp done?

DZ I'll be back in Salt Lake February 2nd.

schmalz You gonna train in Salt Lake for a while? in the blinding cold?

DZ I'm going there for two days, maybe, it'll be my last time there until I get back from Europe. Basically everything I get here I take back there, sort through it, go through the house, make sure I have everything I need, go to LA, then I'll be leaving for Europe from LA.

schmalz Pack up your Sport Depends and get on the road.

DZ Yeah, yeah. So I combine my niceties at my house, all my figures.

schmalz Your figures...

DZ My newest piece is the samaritan from Hellboy.

schmalz Nice. I'm going to sit here and pretend I know what you're talking about.

DZ You ever seen Hellboy?

schmalz I have not.

DZ The samaritan is like this big pistol he uses. In Hellboy II he has another one called the big baby, it's like a Gatling shotgun type gun.

schmalz Are they life size?

DZ This is like a complete replica of what was used in the movie.

schmalz Wow. So do you have a room where you house all this stuff?

DZ Some, a lot of them are ending up downstairs, but some are in my bedroom, and some are by the TV. My wife's starting...the ones that are holding guns that look too violent, she doesn't want the boy to see them quite yet.

schmalz They'll have to be put in the Dave cave, eh?

DZ I got a nice shelf down there, where they're displayed.

schmalz That's, uh, a very grownup conversation we just had.

DZ (Laughs)

schmalz I don't suppose you could call them dolls, could you?

DZ They're premium format...ah...figures.

schmalz That sounds much more manly. Premium format figures sounds much better.

DZ The company's called Sideshow Collectibles.

schmalz That's great! I guess there's probably not a lot of those overseas, you don't go over and find really rare...what are they called?

DZ Premium format figures.

schmalz Do you find many premium format figures when you go overseas?

DZ They ship overseas, but...

schmalz Mostly a US thing, huh?

DZ I'm not so sure...they ship all over the world. One of their big sculpting teams is in Argentina. There's a lot of geeks out there, man.

schmalz Y-y-yeah. I'm involved with a website. I'm aware how many geeks there are. I think I've become one, actually, just not the um, what are they called again?

DZ (Laughs)

schmalz I keep trying to resist calling them dolls. Let's see, not an action figure geek yet, or the premium...

DZ ...format figures.

schmalz Nothing like that. Do you carry any of those with you on the road? Just for good luck?

DZ I'd like to, but they're more than, like, these are PREMIUM FORMAT FIGURES, we're talking 20, 30 pounds.

schmalz Yeah, you don't want to carry that much. Maybe just find a keychain sized one to tide you over?

DZ Yeah, I thought about having a few shipped to Spain.

schmalz Get yourself a couple figurines of guys in tights, then go to the guys you ride in tights with, it's a little taste of home.

DZ Yeah.

schmalz Any premium figurines in New Mexico right now?

DZ No.

schmalz Why haven't they made any figurines of bike racers yet?

DZ I don't know, maybe there's no market.

schmalz But they always had the little ones of Tour teams, you ever seen those?

DZ I haven't seen those.

schmalz They have little tiny ones made out of lead, and they have the caravan cars.

DZ Huh.

schmalz See, you need to go pose for one of those tiny Tour figurines.

DZ I'll work on it. Happy Martin Luther King day.

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Comments

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twitter.com/dzabriskie:
By: Wheelsucker
Tue, 02/24/2009 - 8:33pm

My house was broken into while at TOC. They took everything, a lot of bikes,cars, and you name it they got it.

If anyone out there sees anything you think might be mine, let me know. Thanks...DZ
about 3 hours ago from web

Like it
By: Wheelsucker
Thu, 01/29/2009 - 1:33am

Dan is quite funny...His TdF commentary is world-class and this is darn good too!

Great interview. I love how
By: Wheelsucker
Sun, 01/25/2009 - 2:29pm

Great interview. I love how DZ is so shy he does not "really want to talk", so Schmaltz does the old NYC thing and chides, drags and pushes him along. I love it. really good stuff. bravo schmaltz. DZ posted this interview on his site saying he intervied Schmaltz.

The irony
By: Wheelsucker
Sun, 01/25/2009 - 12:41pm

of the comments is that Dan is able to bring us these guys to us through his hard work, and yet he gets shit for not meeting their standards of interviewing prowess. Meanwhile these same guys don't do a damned thing but tap away at their keyboards.

For their CAPTCHA they have to type 'lame'

This being understood, Schmalz totally wiffed on the Lebowski reference by DZ. Now, that's bush league.

The best part
By: Wheelsucker
Sun, 01/25/2009 - 12:40pm

about the last commentor is that he is so impressed with his "witty" comment that he has to refresh right away to see if anyone has commented on his "wittiness."

the best part is that DZ
By: Wheelsucker
Sun, 01/25/2009 - 5:03am

the best part is that DZ totally ignores/doesn't acknowledge 2/3 of schmalz's forced/weak jokes. if dan didn't spend the whole interview trying to prove to DZ how cool he was it'd be a lot better. but still like hearing from DZ either way.

joke/laugh ratio
By: Wheelsucker
Sat, 01/24/2009 - 1:08am

i think it's pretty good, and schmalz, i assume, comes up with all of these on-the-spot

this is about schmalz trying
By: Wheelsucker
Sat, 01/24/2009 - 12:14am

this is about schmalz trying to be funny... dude, you are like inserting a (bad) joke every two words... this could have been great, but it isn't

10:33
By: Wheelsucker
Fri, 01/23/2009 - 8:29pm

comment # 3 was the funniest part of the whole thing.

One of your best
By: Wheelsucker
Fri, 01/23/2009 - 6:07pm

One of your best interviews both informative and funny

well played
By: Wheelsucker
Fri, 01/23/2009 - 4:30pm

The Schmalz is strong with this one.

almost blew the coffee thru
By: Wheelsucker
Fri, 01/23/2009 - 3:40pm

almost blew the coffee thru the nose when reading about sport depends. damn that's funny stuff!

another great interview. kudos.

stuff
By: Wheelsucker
Fri, 01/23/2009 - 3:33pm

The length and peicemeal nature of this interview makes it laborious to read, however it is always good hearing from DZ.

dan is cat 1 funny, maybe
By: Wheelsucker
Fri, 01/23/2009 - 3:17pm

dan is cat 1 funny, maybe even pro

awesome
By: Wheelsucker
Fri, 01/23/2009 - 2:52pm

schmalz might be funnier than DZ

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