mmmaiko You race on a professional team in professional races at the highest level in professionally designed kits. Training, team chemistry, strategy, etc. are pretty important, but how does the team kit design affect your morale? I'm sure slipping on something slick like Liquigas's Cannondale 40th anniversary kit puts you in a different state of mind than, say, an Italian ProConti kit with ten thousand little logos. Does the Liquigas acid green harness special cosmic vibrations? You guys sure win a lot.
Ted King The style of one's kit as related to one's morale only comes into play when adjectives to describe one's kit include bad or ugly or heinous or unbecoming. That is to say, morale is status quo as long as the kit is good looking or even average, but once an ugly kit hits is donned, then the wearer is self-conscious of this shortcoming and it affects ones performance.
Even though the quintessential Liquigas green seems correlated with winning as well as shares similarities to Ghostbuster green, Hi-C Ecto-Cooler, that is merely a coincidence. The special cosmic vibrations are a fallacy.
mmmaiko Aww, I have mixed feelings about no cosmic vibrations! I'd love to see a supernatural showdown between Liquigas ecto slime power and Andy Schleck's unicorn magic! So, cycling enthusiasts discuss what is pro/not pro--sometimes being emphatic as to going capslock PRO--style like sock length, shoe/sock color combo, how to wear sunglasses, etc. What do you think about this discourse? Is there a pro peloton style cabal dictating style rules, and do those rules correlate to what we non-pros think are pro? Does the cabal snicker like mean girls behind Thomas Voeckler's back about his really really tall socks?
Ted King I've seen the all-caps "PRO" before. Heck, I'm sure once or twice in my day I've even typed it like so. I attribute that to a finicky shift or caps-lock button at the exact moment of typing p-r-o. Crazy how that works.
Anyway, this pro vs. non-pro discourse on style is skipping the point entirely. Style is rarely if ever discussed by those on the in. This lack of discourse exists because mode either inherently is part of one's cycling psyche manifested in attire or not. Socks are to be a certain length, shoes are a designated color, glasses are to be worn relative to one's helmet straps or on the helmet itself, and so forth. These are are statements - they're not up for debate, they simply... are. There's a reason Freds exist in the cycling world - and in the extended real world beyond two wheels. They don't buy into the vanity of style. They trump the very pillars that hold the essence of style on it's snooty plateau. There's a certain method to this madness and you either get it or you don't.
And for the record, despite being French, Voeckler's socks are dripping with style.
mmmaiko Your endorsement of Voeckler-style socks is duly noted. Who knows, in two seasons, everyone will swear by really tall socks. I like this concept of style as simply being, so I'll ask you this: what do you think of teams that have non-sporty clothing sponsors? Leppard Trek has what my pal Fabian Cancellara calls "fashionclothing sponsor" and I think Sir Paul Smith is Team Sky's haberdasher. I can understand the sponsorship aspect, but is this basically style doping? It takes away free will and personal expression which is the crux of style. Plus, a lot of the clothes are middling to ugh. Fabian had to wear possibly pleated khakis!
Ted King A truly fine question QOS. This fashionclothing sponsor is an interesting new addition to the game. While I can appreciate many of it's merits, overall I don't necessarily agree with it. Okay look, say you have a teammate who can't for the life of him get it through his head that seersucker does not agree with plaid. Or perhaps they're oblivious that their opal belt and mother of pearl scarf clash like riding in the 39-11. In such cases, in a manner similar (although not entirely the same) to a coach honing one's training with specifically recommended efforts, those lagging behind in the realm of style will be yanked back up to speed effectively via osmosis while being surrounded by their more properly put together teammates. You can take a horse to water, but you can't make him drink.
Which is precisely why I disagree with the fashionclothing sponsor in the first place; style is personal, circumstantial, and ultimately up to the individual. Let's suffice it to say that some uberspeedy sprinters don't exude fashion with their robust legs crammed into their sponsor compliant, Euro-tight skinny jeans.
mmmaiko True, the horse needs to drink water, not fashionclothing sponsor Kool-Aid! So set us an example, King of Style™. Two of my favorite off-season events are Amstel Curaçao and Tour de France route presentation: Curaçao to see riders' resort wear choices and tan line management, and the Tour presentation to check out who has sartorial chops and to see how Jonathan Vaughters brings it. What would you wear to the Tour de France route presentation? What would you pack for Curaçao to frolic with dolphins? How do you deal with your cycling kit tan line? I have major shorts tan line parity issues and would love a pro tip on this.
Ted King What do you mean, What would I wear? I, the KoS, have been attending the Tour's route presentation for years. Since I was a mere infant, in fact. Apparently I remain overlooked because I am encompassed by the gaudy garb of virtually everyone in my presence. My attire is a blend of fashion and function, but I never delve into the absurd. Resultingly, I maneuver with stealth, ninja-like precision around such events.
Tan line rule: they can be distinct, but never have them with laser like precision. Accept your tan lines, people. Don't boast them.
mmmaiko Do you have pics of Baby KoS™ at the Tour presentation? I'd love to have it run with this interview! Did you wear a tiny tailored suit or a tuxedo onesie?
Okay, Ted King, King of Style™, brace yourself for the Baba Wawa tear-jerker portion of the interview. When I did a review of the Liquigas kit, the comments section lit up with quips about your hairstyle like "self-consciously non-committal faux-hawk", "use Flowbee or die", and "styled with maple syrup." Your response to this public outcry? Care to issue a celebrity non-apology or go into a Mel Gibson/Charlie Sheen meltdown mode? You're already doing a celebrity rehab stint on a recumbent bike as a mea culpa for this hair incident. What's your hairstyle plan after you get out of rehab?
Ted King You can do amazing things with Photoshop these days, QOS. Suffice it to say "installing" a faux hawk is like falling off a log. Italian photo stylists can do those by the dozen. It's practically clip art, I reckon.
I'm American. I don't dabble in faux anything. If I want a ___hawk, I go straight to Mo. Bam. America. That's how I roll.
mmmaiko I wish the Italian photoshoppers installed the same faux hawk on every Liquigas rider, or even better, installed Daniel Oss hair on all. Alrighty, so I take it this means you don't have a secret Flowbee endorsement deal.
Let's do another gotcha journalism question. At the 2010 Giro, you had a crash wherein your tush was exposed to the world. How does someone competing in the highest level of cycling and style deal with that kind of exposure? What do you do with the photogs who want a shot of your assets in your vulnerable moment? How do you cope with the world talking about your butt cheek? Your exposed cheek was in a Japanese cycling cartoon!
Ted King A quick related side note: Daniel Oss's hair is unrivaled in the department of cool. When so many people obsess and pore over hair styles, Daniel simply grows his out. Plus he's one cool cat.
That entire butt-event was actually planned. You see, I had great legs that day and rated myself highly for the final sprint. However, an untimely leg cramp was sufficient to show me that I would not be at my normal high standard to win the stage, yet I wanted a unique way to make some headlines. Mooning the entire world was the first idea that popped to mind.
That story, of course, is only about 98% fact. In reality, it was a minor, low speed tumble on a right hand corner where mysteriously the brake lever belonging to the guy next to me became installed into my shorts right around my left butt cheek. Rather than a smooth removal at roughly the same angle as it was inserted, he aggressively tore at his bike with great vigor and unnecessary enthusiasm. As I recall there were about 40km remaining, so rejoining the peloton would take all of three minutes. His unwarranted aggression therefore was the root of my bare ass.
How do you deal? I'm the KoS. I'm okay with showing a little cheek here and there. No crack was shown, unlike another rider during the Giro who had his entire kit and caboodle exposed to the world.
mmmaiko Yess! I love the Daniel Oss hair and I'm also feeling the Laurens Ten Dam wildman look too. By the by, if Liquigas is doing Japan Cup this year, tell 'em to send you and Oss. With you in the Japanese cartoon and Oss having a Japanese language site, it'll be like the Bay City Rollers landing there!
I love that you are comfortable with butt cheek talk, and this makes a nice segue to my next question as we wind down. We're smack in the middle of Grand Tour season, it's hot outside, tifosi aren't wearing much. Is the roadside mankini a bad distraction, or a good distraction that takes mind off suffering? You rode Tour of California recently and it has a reputation for fan cosplay. Is there tifosi style America can learn from the Euros and vice versa?
Ted King I think the term mankini can be retired in 3... 2... 1. Excellent! It's never to be uttered ever again.
I'm sorry, you were saying? Ahh yes, roadside attire. I basically shrug and just say whatever. Courtesy of Borat-style (lack of) clothing, the sport of cycling is gaining a second, side-show contest. That is, fans worldwide catching up with the evening television coverage - or poached, mid-day computer coverage - are glued to their screens to see who is sprinting to victory or powering the breakaway, while at the same time they're duly tending the screens to see who can spot the oddball eccentrically dressed fans. Italy, France, Belgium, and America, I think all lovers of cycling can savor this new wave of roadside showmanship.
mmmaiko I'll circulate the memo around NYVC HQ about "***kini". But it's up to individuals to comply, so don't be mad if the term is thrown around during the Tour. You have every right to be mad that I objectified you and referred to your butt as "tush", though. Alrighty, let's shut this Schleck Bros Ice Cream Stand down. Ted King, King of Style™, do you have any sage parting words for your public?
Ted King Sage parting words, hmm. Yes, always wear your helmet. And with that, I bid you adieu.