Sluggo: Poet of the Peleton
Extracts from The Book of Sluggo, Poet of the Peleton
"It was all so easy. When the leader reached for a drink, and looked down, I attacked. How could he be so foolish? He knew I was there." Red Book of Sluggo, chapter 101, "Ways to Win"
"For me, the hardest part about racing is how it extends to my a social life. I'm friends with a lot of my competitors, in fatherly way. It gets pretty awkward when their wives and girlfriends are always flirting with me."
"Some people think that racing is about having fun or that it's about winning. For me, racing is all about destroying the competition, and to be frank, that's what usually happens."
"When Paul Henderson bridged up to me in the decisive break and I saw the pain etched onto his face, I felt torn. In one sense, I was proud of his effort and determination, and yet I knew that my awesome power and speed would only hurt him more. This is the paradox of competition and one of the truly sad elements of road racing...sometimes you are going to hurt even those that you love."
"We both attacked the climb at the same time. I gave it everything. But looking up, I could hardly believe my eyes. He was at least 20 metres in front of me, moving so gracefully...like a bird, floating past people...or perhaps, more a gliding process. There is nobody in the peleton who can climb like that. Absolutely nobody." -- Roland Green --
"I may be small in stature, but when I race at the height of my formidable powers, no one in the peleton stands taller." Sluggo, explaining the concept that big things can come in small packages.
"Fresh from his bronze medal at the Commonwealth Games, Scott got in touch with me about finding that extra edge that would catapult him to the top of the podium. We rode on a number of occasions and I evaluated his riding. You see, with the 'Sluggo Audit', it's not just the classic elements of position, power, and pedal stroke, that matter. I also look at the more subtle things and delve into the psyche - how does he react to me repeatedly putting the boots to him in a two-up sprint? Does the sound of my chain slipping onto the 54 tooth while we climb Seymour unnerve him? How is his morale when he sees me spin out my 11 tooth, as we climb Caulfeild? In the end, my recommendations were simple. I told him straight up, 'Scooter, you're a talented rider but you need to spend a bit more time in the Sluggo Zone. And remember that climbing is like a dance: you have more control if you lead, and you don't want it too last too long.' He seemed pretty grateful for the tips. As I rode him off my wheel one last time, I turned to hear him say, 'thanks Sluggo, I'll try my best." "Sluggo!! - life in the saddle", 1998
"Good training advice comes from racers like me, who are fast, powerful and know what they are doing. Don't listen to anybody who can't hold my wheel"
"Well, as you may know, every last Sunday of the month I fly to Africa to help feed the starving children. Otherwise, you would have seen a completely different race at Bastion Square this year. The saddest part about it all is the poor kids in Africa. I bet some of them would be great cyclists, because we all know how fast those Africans can run." -- Sluggo, on why he wasn't at the 1998 edition of the Bastion Square Criterium.
Associated Press June 30 1998 Paris, France SLUGGO VS. DUMBO? "Pantani was shocked to hear about last minute addition to Tour lineup. Yesterday's surprise announcement by 'La Societe du Tour de France' that Sluggo would be permitted to enter this year's Tour and ride as an independent has sent shock waves through the peleton. 1998 Giro d'Italia winner Marco Pantani was perhaps the most visibly unsettled by the news. The diminutive bald headed Italian talked openly about the impact of Sluggo... 'our team has talked at great length about my approaches to the more difficult mountain stages this year. Having Sluggo in the Tour changes everything. He is perhaps my most feared competitor. I tell you, this is not good. I'm not sure how I will go now. Sluggo...he can do so much damage you know, cause so much of pain.'
Maybe 1996 Tour winner, Bjarne Riis said it best. 'when we enter the Alps I'll be putting a very small bowl in my jersey pocket. It's very simple. When Sluggo starts to dish out the pain, you don't want to be taking a big helping"
"Habit brought my head swiveling around to look behind me. I was just in time to see Sluggo attack. My left hand slammed the shift lever right to engage the big ring my right hand tapping wildly trying to find my twelve, my heart went to max in anticipation of the oncoming torture. I jumped out of the saddle trying to stay on the wheel - to have any hope at all I had to get on the wheel - but I just couldn't do it. He started to vanish ahead of me, and then, for a brief second, he turned his head to look back and nodded, as if to acknowledge my attempt, as vain as it was. This was the greatest moment of my life" -- Scott Goguen, when asked about great cycling moments of his life.
No man is an Iland, intire of it selfe; every man is a peece of the Peliton, a part of the maine; if Clod bee washed away by the Speed or Pain, The Chase is the lesse, as well as if a Pantini were, as well as if a Mannor of thy countrymen or of thine owne teammates were; any man's explosion diminishes the hope because we are all involved in The Pursuit of Sluggo; And therefore never waste breath to ask for whom the bell tolls; For, perforce, it tolls victory for Sluggo and defeat for thee. -- John Donne, on Sluggo and the Criterium
"It's a combination of factors. With my smaller stature, it takes less time for my exo-skeletal system to complete its required tasks. Power = Strength/Time. It's simple physics folks. Add to that my previously unseen high pain threshold and a tactical mind that is more attuned to sparring with great Russian chess players, and you get an incredible concoction of attributes. Without going into the fine details, I've managed to quantify this, and I've come up with what I like to call the "Sluggo Factor". The Sluggo Factor, or "SL" as it's known in the scientific community, varies depending on temperature, humidity and the time of year. For instance, today SL=1.43. I don't think I have to explain to you what that means." -- Sluggo, trying to quantify his talents in layman terms
"My wheel is like the most cruel of relationships - purely abusive, completely wretched. I make you think you are happy by giving something that costs me nothing; a gentle and sometimes heavenly pull off my wheel. In reality my wheel is no more than a false harbour from the storm, an apparent back-eddy full of venom and guile. In the end I take everything from you; your dignity, your strength, maybe even your will to live. I batter you and batter you while your friends all tell you to get away, to find a safe house. Unconditionally they offer their own house for your recovery. Still, despite all their kind words, love, prayers and advice you always return to your old addiction. You always return for more of the fix, for one more injection of the sweet poison of my wheel. " --Sluggo on "The Sluggo Wheel"
I always enjoy athletes telling me how great truths are revealed to them while trying to hold my wheel. Some like to call my wheel "the prophet". To me it's more like Mecca. -- Sluggo
I remember in the late 90's on the night before the Provincial Road Race Championship, I heard a noise outside. I thought it was another fan trying to grab memorabilia, but it was only Larry slashing my car tires.
Larry's penchant for tough-love was well known, but I didn't think he cared so much that he would force me to cycle 600km to the event. From then on, I had a warm spot for Larry, but he gives me an odd look every time we meet.
-- Chap. 4, "Secrets of Thai Cooking", Sluggo