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Pardon my ignorance . . .(6 posts)

Pardon my ignorance . . .LAIrish
Jul 16, 2001 10:28 AM
for I am an newbie Fred. But, what is the "feed zone?" I read in one of the rider's diaries (I really am trying to learn) that it was an "unwritten rule" not to attack in the feed zone, or while riders were peeing. I've seen the "feed zone" marked on stage maps, but haven't found an explanation of what it is. And do the riders stop, get off their bikes, and teak a leak? (I'll admit it would be pretty tough to ride 120 miles, even at the TdF pace, without a "rest stop" but I've always been under the impression that the riders just went for the entire stage.) (Oh, no. Don't tell me there's some weird methodology they've figured out to allow them to piss while still riding?) Do they kind of all do it around the same time (you know, like NASCAR drivers all pitting when the leader goes in)? What's the deal on this?

My TV went on the blink (actually, it's more of a constant static) last week, so I can't get the OLN feed. I'm stuck with internet, newspapers, and CBS weekly rap up. None of these have explained this stuff. (Yeah, like OLN would really be covering the piss stop.)
re: Pardon my ignorance . . .Mel Erickson
Jul 16, 2001 11:00 AM
The feed zone is an area along the race course where each teams support crews stand and hold out a bag (musset bag) of food. A rider slows a little (very little) and grabs the bag. The bag has a strap that the rider slings around his head and one shoulder. He may eat right out of the bag or store the bags contents in his rear pockets, or both. The bag is eventually discarded and makes a wonderful souvenir for some lucky fan. It is an unwritten rule that one shouldn't attack in the feed zone and when someone is taking a pee, but the rule only really applies to the studs of the peloton. We all know, however, that rules are made to be broken.

Yes, some do take a pee right on the bike. They pick a strategic spot, ride to the side and rear and hike up the leg of their shorts. Some may stop, too. No, they don't all relieve themselves at the same time.
re: Pardon my ignorance . . .mr_spin
Jul 16, 2001 1:09 PM
Good description. Just to add a few notes, the people who man the feed zone for the teams are called soigneurs. They usually have other jobs for the team before and after the race, such as giving massages.

The bags are called musettes (you were close!). Riders try grab them as they go by, not always successfully. If a rider misses the musette in the feed zone, the designated domestique has to go back to the team car and bring them up.

The feed zone is one of the more dangerous parts of the race, because riders are all trying to get over to their soigneurs. No one actually stops and gets off their bike. Or at least not on purpose--crashes are not uncommon. A truce is supposed to be in effect because the riders have to slow down and manuever to pick up the musette, but attacks definitely occur. Some teams and riders are notorious for attacking in the feed zone.
If you get a chance to watchLazy
Jul 16, 2001 12:16 PM
"The Road to Paris, 27 days with Lance Armstrong and the USPS" (I'm pretty sure it was this show)watch it very carefully. In one segment you can catch a glimpse of a USPS rider coasting along with two other riders pushing him along by his rear. You can figure out pretty easily what he's doing.

Also, if you watched the stage where the peloton was stopped at some train tracks, you can see everyone pulling up and hopping off their bikes and running into the trees.

Or, for further information, search the archives for "propee". It was a method for taking care of business while riding. My apologies to the author, but I can't remember who penned this little gem.

And, if you happen to have the CycleSport magazine from last years tour (the one with Lance in yellow on the cover) you can see a picture of a rider in the Maillot Jaune standing by the road amongst some sunflowers making a deposit.
Thanks for the info . . .LAIrish
Jul 16, 2001 4:16 PM
I found the thread on pro-pee. Very educational.
Here's a good photo from graham watson...Lazy
Jul 17, 2001 11:18 AM
If the pic. doesn't show up, here's the url: