Tuesday, October 23, 2007

getting hurt, watching foreign flicks

Last night I sprained my ankle big time. It totally blows. I was playing a little bit of ultimate frisbee, went up for the disk and just landed wrong. I herd a snap and it hurt like hell. I thought it was broken for sure but that sound was just the sound of ligaments snapping. I'm on crutches now. My insurance company bought some crutches for me for like $48.00, which strikes me as a little pricey. I bet Walmart has the same ones foe a few bucks. I also broke my dining room table by leaning on it too hard as I was trying to walk without my crutches. So I made it a short work day today. I think I deserve it. I meant to do some work from my couch while I elevated, iced and applied compression, but the drugs situation made that difficult. I watched two foreign flicks instead. They both made me feel helpless because I can't walk, but they were both totally awesome too.

The first one was called The Flying Scotsman. It's an English biopic about Graeme Obree, a Scottish cyclist that broke the Hour record in 1993, and again in 1994. Most people, and most Americans in particular, aren't familiar with the Hour record in cycling. When we think of cycling, we think of stage races like the Tour de France. The Hour is exactly what it sounds like. Whichever cyclist can ride the farthest distance in one hour owns the record. Cyclists that attempt the Hour do it in a velodrome, and usually by themselves. One of the main reasons why Lance Armstrong isn't the greatest cyclist of all time is that he never did anything but the Tour. He never even tried the Hour. Eddy Merckx, on the other hand, held the Hour record for 12 years on top of his 5 Tours de France.

The Flying Scotsman focuses on Obree's life from just before his first attempt at the Hour in 1993 to just after his second Pursuit title in 1995. Obree was a very good cyclist, but he was great at the Hour. Part of the reason was that he designed his own bike an riding style, and part of it was that he was tough as nails. Prior to his first attempt, he built his bike out of spare parts, he even took the main bearing out of his washing machine. He narrowed the bottom bracket to make the foot position more natural and streamlined the bike to reduce resistance. He also rode in a "crouch position" in which his chest touched his hands.



He made his first attempt on a professionally designed bike that incorporated all of the new ideas that he put into his original prototype. He didn't break the record. Then he tried again on the actual prototype with the washing machine bearing. This second attempt took place less than 24 hours after his first attempt. He broke the record.

Obree ran into a lot of opposition from the UCI, cycling's governing body. After his first Hour record, they banned his riding position (for "safety" reasons) by making it illegal for a rider's chest to touch his hands. In response, Obree started riding like this:


Ultimately, this position was banned (for "safety" reasons) too, after Obree had retired. Anyway, Obree's story is pretty fascinating and The Flying Scotsman tells it pretty accurately. Obree himself even stands in for some of the cycling scenes.

The other foreign flick I watched was called District B13 and it was fucking awesome. District B13 stars this dude named David Belle that invented this shit called parkour. You know that first scene in Casino Royale when Daniel Craig is chasing that dude that runs and jumps all over buildings and construction equipment? That's parkour. It's basically like martial arts geared towards the "flight" reaction instead of the "fight" reaction. Here's a video of David Belle doing some parkour:


District B13 takes place in a near future France in which ghettos have been walled off and left to their own, with no police or schools or anything like that. The "plot" revolves around Bell's character, a resident of one of these ghetto's that teams up with a cop, also proficient in parkour, to take down the gang of dorky wigger (is that word un-PC? I really don't know. If it is, and it offended anyone, I apologize) thugs that run District B13. Awesomeness ensues.

Okay, that's all I got. I'm going to go ice, elevate etc.

31 comments:

PaulNoonan said...

Ouch, sorry man. I hope it's not too serious. And those are pretty rough flicks for the incapacitated.

Anonymous said...

Yes. Apology accepted, but don't let it happen again. I love to watch parkour clips on you tube. Then I like to read the comments as posters argue the nuance of urban freestyle, freestyle running, and parkour.

Most troubling, however, is that the French seem to have invented or at least popularized this awesome sport. I guess they're all right afterall.

Danny from Milwaukee said...

Paul,
Eh, it'll heal.

Phi... er.. Anonymous,
Apology accepted? I don't ever recall you mentioning parkour to me before. "Freestyle running" maybe, but not parkour. Also, according to the French dude that invented it, it's not a sport. It's not a martial art either. "Parkour is parkour" or something like that. Also, I will be sure to check out the comments on the youtube clips.

Anonymous said...

Your former roommate B and I would like to amend my previous answer.

Disregard it completely, and consider the following instead:

It comes as no surprise that the French have finally mastered the art of running away in any and every situation possible.

K.Mize said...

Sorry to hear about your ankle. That sucks. I just got my insurance statement from my sprain and they are making me pay $8.40 toward the cost of my crutches & aircast. That's like a beer and 50 packs of ramen. Hope you have better insurance.

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I'm sorry about your ankle. Know what would make it feel better? Telling everyone who reads your blog 7 random things about yourself (ugh - sorry about this). So...um...I tagged you (go to my blog to see what that's about). It just...yeah. Sorry. Again.

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