BRC: Thanks for taking the time out of your training schedule to join us for this interview today.
Erico Moortani: No problem. I'm happy to be here.
BRC: Jesus! What font is that? It burns my eyes!
Erico Moortani: Oh, sorry. It's "webdings." You caught me while I was doing yoga.
BRC: I see. Question # 1 - Do you realize that if you show up at the Pantani ride without the leader's jersey from last year, you'll be forced to ride shirtless and with no helmet?
the coveted maillot pistachio
Erico Moortani: Yes, of course I do. But fortunately, I never take off the maillot pistachio, not once in the last year since I won it in 2010. So it'll be easy to remember it on race day provided it hasn't just rotted away by then.
BRC: Can you describe what the Pantani ride is and what it means to you?
I can't really describe the full Pantani ride, as last year was my first and the real climbing was cut out due to impassable snow in the high mountains. But the Superfly rocked the paved portions and on the descents I got into my triathlete aero tuck as often as possible.
BRC: How has your training been so far this winter? Riding? Running? Racing?
Erico Moortani: I'm trying to find a balance of anaerobic intervals, long sustained climbing, and extreme crash dieting. Speaking of which, that reminds me I need to throw up my breakfast after this interview.
BRC: So you haven't been running or swimming?
Erico Moortani: While I enjoy running and swimming, I am 100% focused on reclaiming the maillot pistachio so I can sleep in it's bountiful softness for another year. It's very soft on my skin. It's wonderful. So no, no running or swimming.
BRC: My notes here tell me that's not true. I see that you had a top ten finish at the Bear Creek Lake 10 miler in early December. Plus, this past weekend you completed your 5th or 6th Tour of the Rivanna Trail in just over 3 hours. So your running appears to be going pretty well.
Erico Moortani: Look, my training is my business. I can't give away too much information here. How about you ask the questions and I'll give the answers, or I can just break your hip, wiseguy?
BRC: Talk to me about the route. Do you have any favorite/least favorite parts?
The Route: http://www.mapmyride.com/route/us/va/rocky%20mt/846126409029586738
Erico Moortani: This year I'm eager to tackle the real climbs of the Shifflet Rd-Bacon Hollow-Brokenback Mtn-Wyant Mountain Rd loop.
BRC: No, sorry, that's also incorrect. I'm told your favorite part is watching people puke in your wake when they're trying to climb the steep part of fox mountain near the top of the first climb. That or when you get lost on 810 and have to wait for everyone else to catch up so you can drop them again.
this picture stolen for effect from Team Dickey's website. Rich, I'll give it back if you show up, but you gotta win it from me.
Erico Moortani: What?
BRC: Nothing, let's continue. Do you have any sort of strategy to win this year? Will you attack on the climbs early? Late? Or will you just sit in to contest a sprint finish?
Erico Moortani: I'll probably attack early. And in the middle. And then some near the end too. Plus, I'll sprint the finish, even if everyone else is 30 minutes behind me. No gifts.
BRC: What about those people that come out for the ride and aren't there to win - what's in it for them?
Erico Moortani: Frankly, I have no idea. Winning is everything.
Erico Moortani: Well, no. I sort of see that just cruising around the loop at your own pace might be fun and challenging, just a good ride with friends followed by a barbeque.
Erico Moortani: No, just kidding. Winning is everything.
BRC: What about nutrition? How much should a person eat or drink during a ride like this? Should they bring it all with them?
Erico Moortani: I really have no idea. The great thing about winning last year is that I have full team support this year - a devoted team car, domestiques, the whole deal. So I don't really have to think about anything, just attack constantly and eat or drink when someone hands me something. It's how racing should be. I'm told that my domestiques can pick up some water at the intersection of brokenback mtn rd and wyatt mtn rd, although again that's not my problem.
BRC: What if the race gets away from you and you have to settle for a secondary goal, what would that be?
Erico Moortani: If I can't retain the jersey, I really only have one goal left: to crush that saggypants upstart American, Geoff Armkeenanstrong. He said last year he only let me win because he wasn't really racing, just hanging out with friends. I will make him feel pain.
BRC: As an inspiration for this ride, can you comment at all about Marco Pantani's contribution to cycling, good or bad?
Erico Moortani: Who?
BRC: Marco Pantani. Little Italian guy with the big ears. Maniacal climber. Won both the Tour and the Giro in 1998. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marco_Pantani
Erico Moortani: Rings a bell. Maybe I'll do some reading if I can get the blood out of my legs and back into my brain.
BRC: Try these if you need an example.
Erico Moortani: Just kidding, I can't read.
BRC: How about safety? The course is unmarked, open to traffic, steep, and at times outright dangerous. How do you deal with that?
Erico Moortani: My strategy is to get to the front and stay there. Most of the carnage happens behind me. For everyone else, I recommend a new helmet and some caution. Maybe take a map too, or just look for the scorch marks on the trees where I accelerated from time to time and my opponents combusted.
BRC: Well, that's all the time we have today. Thanks again for the delightful interview.
Erico Moortani: Stuff it. I'm going to crush you like a grape.
* This interview does not meet the rigorous standards of the FCC's truth in print journalism mandate, and thus, its integrity cannot be verified. But chances are it's all true.
So yeah, the interview went something like that, and indeed, I feel all questions pertaining to the Pantani ride have been answered. I might have missed a comma or paraphrased a segment or two, but you get the idea. For anyone who wants a closer look at Mr Moortani's sculpted calves, you can meet him here at the rancho relaxo tomorrow (Wednesday) at 10 AM for a little jaunt around the course. Pack a lunch.
To prevent this from being an entire blogpost without any actual news or truth of any sort, let's talk about something else, however briefly. Because this is newsworthy:
2011 schedule, rules, and action, Jackson. Notably, the Hoo Ha! and the Middle Mountain Momma both made the series this year. Also, the 18 on the Farm moves to November 5th as the series finale, which is fortunate for The Summer of Toph as his risk of total meltdown and implosion could probably use an extra few months to simmer down.
Still, November gets here quick, knowhatimean?
Up, up, up.