Ask Ping

May 19, 2006 9:19am | by:

Do mechanics stink? I know that whenever I am around the bike, a black cloud of PJ1, WD-40, and high-performance fuel seems to hover in the air and blanket everything in the room with a thin layer of grease and grime. Sure, it keeps the skin soft, but the funk that goes along with it can be difficult for even Old Spice to cover up. Since mechanics get to experience this on a daily basis, and the last time that I was in the pits, I didn't notice a Mike Gosselaar 42' RV or anything, my question is, do mechanics stink?
Jeff Stitzel. Hudson, Ohio

Dear Jeff,

Ping says mechanics like Jeremy Albrecht (left) have earned their right to stink
photo: TFS
Absolutely. By the end of race day, a working mechanic is funkier than James Brown in a sequined suit and platform shoes (sans socks). These guys spend all week in the shop rebuilding bikes from the frame up. That means they are elbows-deep in solvent, contact cleaner, and assembly lube from Monday through Thursday. Then, on Friday, they get the pleasure of traveling from one major city to the next. You know that international rainbow of stink that you get from sitting on a plane for hours at a time? Add that to the smorgasbord of smells that attach themselves to these guys.
    At the track, they get to splash around toxic race gas that could kill a cockroach and stand directly behind running bikes in a stadium filled with the emissions of their respective machines. Throw in a little sweat, B.O., and energy drink of your choice and you have one smelly S.O.B.
    On Sunday they head home to do it all over again. And they do this pretty much all year long. So if you catch a whiff of one of these guys at the races, don’t turn up your nose—they’ve earned that stench they're wearing like a badge of honor. Just don’t shake their hand, because that odor is harder to shake off than skunk spray.

Hey Ping, what’s up?
As a fan from Canada, eh, just wondering if you are planning on doing any of our national outdoor races this year. Secondly, what are your thoughts about the talent level coming out of Canada lately?
Todd Kent. Nova Scotia (Home of Mitch Cooke and Ryan Lockhart)

Darcy Lange
photo: Simon Cudby
Dear Todd,
Unfortunately, I don’t think I’m going to make it to a national in Canada this year. I always enjoy myself up there, but I just have too many things on my schedule to add another trip. There are a few Canucks that are doing well down here right now, most notably is arenacross champion Darcy Lange. Darcy has been impressive all year. He even impressed with his acrobatic crash at Anaheim that left him seeing Canadian geese. Hopefully, he will continue to build confidence and show everyone in the States that Canadians are actually interested in other sports besides hockey.
    While I won’t make it to the Great White North this summer, I will be working with one of Canada’s finest exports, Erin Bates, all summer long on OLN. Not a bad gig, eh? Hopefully we won’t have to call any of her interviewees for high-sticking, if you know what I mean.

Hey Ping,
Love the column—you make me laugh every time I read it. I have
one question I know you could answer: Who is the hot gal wearing all the
Racer X T-shirts in the Racer X ads?
Kelly Nylund. Rep #34

Dear Kelly,
Leticia Cline
The Racer X models are hand-picked by our very own in-house fashion aficionado, Mike “Jazz Hands” Farber. The girls you are speaking of were harvested out of a very stringent program Mike runs through the WVU “after-school” program in Morgantown, West Virginia. To meet Mike’s requirements, girls must have all limbs and appendages, a functioning brain, and be able to decipher what Mike is saying to them when he asks if they would be interested in “zum modeling for Rasorz X.” (That is more difficult than it seems, because he could compete with Denny Stephenson in a speed-talking contest.)
    The newest recruit is a model out of Florida named Leticia Cline—she came out of Fubar’s “spring break” program, apparently. She is very pretty and also very recently married to the very fast and ink-dotted Josh Demuth. And that is very disappointing news to young boys everywhere. Hope that helps, Kelly.