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I’m going to start with a quick history lesson about one of the greatest comedy teams in history, the Three Stooges. Most know them as Moe, Larry and Curly. But there was a fourth Stooge that most people don’t know about. His name was Shemp. He was actually one of the original Stooges, but was replaced by Curly. Shemp would later return. My hometown once had a festival and parade for the forgotten Stooge. The Shemp Festival would go off each year on his birthday. I think Billy and the boys over at the First and Last Chance restaurant realized one day that it was Shemp’s birthday. As the story goes, a cream pie throwing contest ensued. There’s another person who’s been forgotten. It’s been almost impossible to forget this guy because we didn’t know who he really was. His name is Cooper Manning. Cooper is the older brother to the two Super MVPs of the NFL, Peyton and Eli. I had the pleasure of coaching Cooper when he was at Newman School in New Orleans. In my opinion, and the opinion of many, he was probably the most talented of the Mannings. He was just beginning to shine as an athlete at Ole Miss when he learned he had spinal stenosis. He had to leave football forever. I guess the world will never know what he could have been. I told you that to tell you this. Cooper showed up at Newman one day with a pair of training shoes that looked more like a Rube Goldberg project. It looked like a normal basketball shoe that had a clump of rubber on the front. It was an oversized heel on the toe box of the shoe. The claim was it would make you jump higher and give you more power and speed. My suggestion to the young Manning was to never put them on. If he didn’t trip or twist his ankle, he would rip his Achilles right from the calcaneus. Either way, I didn’t think the end result of this miracle shoe would be any good. Years later, in the 90s, Seinfeld did a spoof on this very shoe.
OK, folks we’re going to double clutch it here. I told you all of that to tell you this. I was on a bike ride with a few friends yesterday. One of my favorite pupils, Caroline (known from a previous post called 59 inches of inspiration), was on her road bike for the first time in a long time. Leading up to an event, she only rode her time trial bike. She told me it felt weird to be on the road bike. It was lighter and more agile. The first thing she noticed out in Thousand Oaks was that a lot of people were riding their tribikes. There’s no triathlons going on anywhere, at least not this close to Christmas. Where’s the advantage? My answer was no different from the answer I gave Cooper Manning. No, there’s no advantage. In fact, I could argue there is a disadvantage. Most pro cyclists, and a lot of pro triathletes, won’t ride a tri bike until they have to. These bikes are purpose built and uncomfortable at long distances. The only reason to ride it before the competition is to get used to it. I wouldn’t take it out on a daily basis, mainly because of the position. Your hip angles are closed down so much that you’re not causing your muscles to operate in an optimal way. Why would people ride them if it won’t help them become better athletes? I explained that people often do what they see others do, assuming it’s the right thing. Humans are like lemmings. We just seem to follow people right off any cliff they’re walking off of. Athletes often do things that are bad for them. Does this make them bad people? No. It’s just misinformation that becomes truth.