Stage 6 Mathematics

Yet another Blackberry blog.

With stage six recently logged into the history books, the Giro d’Italia finally has the feeling that it has officially begun. “Well duh, Ted,” you mutter, “obviously it started last Saturday in Holland.” True, all you naysayers, but Holland most certainly is not Italy and neither team time trials nor rolling stages that feature merely 1,600 meters of climbing are what characterize the Giro. I’ve said it time and again – the Giro is spectacular, so strap on your seatbelts as it’s really starting to roll full gas!

The stress level among the peloton was palpable today and a basic mathematic formula can predict this from miles away… or from or kilometers away, as it were. It reads:

Peloton Stress Level, or PSL = ((# of stages completed)^(∑ of crashes in previous stages) + 4β x (probability of rain) – (√(# of riders DNF in previous stages))) + 23 x (# kilometers it takes to for today’s first crash) ÷ (the inverse of ∑ of kilometers found only in the two-digit kilometer climbs). β = a baker’s dozen.

So let’s see here… Order of operations, carry the seven, one four niner… Hmm, by my math, I calculate today’s PSL to be in the area of three-point-one bazillion. And for those of you unfamiliar with the general scale of PSL, that’s high. Really high. Yesserie, like I said, the stress was palpable today.

(You can trust my math – or maths, as the Aussies say – on this one; I don’t mean to brag or nothin’ but I was a math major at Middlebury for three years… until it became too hard and then opted for economics. And we wonder why the global economy is floundering in the toilet.)

Seriously, though, the peloton was bonkers for a variety of reasons. Here are a handful of them:
a) Yesterday’s breakaway succeeded thereby giving promise to those folks seeking to be in the breakaway today.
b) Today is the first day of racing that features proper climbs. None of this foolish one or two K stuff, dudes, we’re talking men versus boys here. Namely, two cat-2 climbs of no less than ten kilometers each. Proper. Climbs.
c) Here’s another formula, this one more straightforward:

Rain + brand new asphalt + nerves = slick.

There was one unnerving moment about 30 minutes in while a flurry of attacks were still flying just in front of me, and the rider directly to my left had his bike literally slide out from under him as we’re riding perfectly straight because he rode over a section of paint. Uggh.
d) Wet, freshly laid asphalt is especially slick when someone spills diesel fuel on it. How, why… and how again are all questions I cannot answer. But yes it happened.

So that sums up that.

Next, if you’re at for a race report, and you’re wondering why I was amidst the groupetto today, I’ll sum it up as follows: Carlos flatted around 2km into the second 10km climb, I helped him chase for a while, dodging cars and riders exploding from the peloton like shrapnel, then when he was safely in the bunch, I became shrapnel myself and said see you at the finish!

Finally, in other news from the peloton, Italy is stunningly beautiful. No lie, after the first hour or two of racing when the PSL drops into the low millions and everyone’s nerves are shredded to pieces, I’ll find myself riding along taking in some of the most spectacular scenery I’ve ever witnessed. Magnificent, dazzling, and jaw dropping area terms that can be used interchangeably within this context. Nowhere have I ever ridden have I seen such impressive scenery. I don’t mean to wax poetic, but truly I recommend everyone should race the Giro to see what I mean – and in lieu of that, come over and watch the race.

Sent from my phone


  1. Antonio Costa

    Thank you, great writing as ever.

  2. connie carpenter

    hey ted – please tell me you did not write that on your phone? crazy! i love your insight and humor – …..keep writing! it’s GREAT fun to read. Everyone needs to know the best and most reliable morning livestream -which gives you your daily dose -coffee + cycling + italy = good way to start the day —

    Oh and I’m still working out the calculation in my head though.

    from boulder, connie

  3. Brian

    One word. Awesome. Give’em hell!

  4. Jennifer

    I am impressed that you had the patience to type all of those non-alphanumeric characters on your BB. I really enjoy your blog and good luck in the Giro!!

  5. Tom

    Sounds awesome. Thanks for the perspective!

  6. Mario - SATX

    Two words: Wicked Awesome!


  7. Tommy

    Dude! I am so gad you included “MathS”, the way it is meant to be! Keep it going mate, 14 days to go… What do they say? “Vai vai vai”, or something like that?!

  8. rainbow

    the Ausi’s actually say maffphss. after they have read the four X’s on the cans label deduced it may be a calculas equation, drink the four xxxx’s drink another four, thats the answer they come up wive, thatits Maffphss.

  9. steevo

    I am willing to set up a website and paypal to get you a proper laptop. That must have taken you like 6 hours to type.


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