Fan Club (Cobble Goblins Edition): Alex Howes
Alex Howes. Allllllllllllllllexxxxxxxxx Howwwwwwwes. Alex, Alex, Alex, Alex, Aleeeeeeeeex. Howes.
Alex Howes. Allllllllllllllllexxxxxxxxx Howwwwwwwes. Alex, Alex, Alex, Alex, Aleeeeeeeeex. Howes. Where do we start?, how do we start?, gotta start. It’s difficult because we have to get this one right. Actually, let’s start there, let’s start with why we have to get this one right.
You must know by now that Manual for Speed’s Home Team11In the beginning there was Team Exergy, a Domestic Continental Team. They were our everything, our whole world. They opened their hearts, minds, souls and beds to us. We had unlimited access. We saw everything, heard everything, documented everything. They were our friends. Many of them are STILL our friends. We love them. If we could do on Cannondale what we did on Exergy, we’d transcend this two-bit blogging game and make a LEGIT (substantial and permanent) contribution to the betterment and advancement of Professional Road Cycling. is Cannondale Pro Cycling. Castelli underwrites MFS, and Castelli sponsors Cannondale, so MFS gets at Cannondale (formerly Garmindale, previously a few iterations of Garmin-X, these things are hard to keep track of) as much as possible.22Corporate Shills. We’re Corporate Shills doing advertorial and fake journalism in an attempt to trick people into buying shit they don’t want or need. We serve no other purpose. We have no other value. EVERYTHING we do, clearly, is scientifically formulated to dupe you, to trick you into buying shit. Especially Castelli shit. Lolz, oh haters and trolls, if you only knew. But but but but listen, historically speaking that didn’t mean shit in terms of access or caché or whatever, we had about as good a chance of getting embedded and intimate as any cycling journalist. Less, probably. Because, you know, the Rodney Dangerfield respect thing, we had no Finish Line Photos, no wide angles, no “How are the legs today?” interviews, nothing—and so we got no respect. Anyway, we did what we did and things were fine for the first year or two but to get this project right, ultimately speaking, we needed insights, candor, access, revelations, illuminations, and various other first-hand whatnots. We needed someone inside the Peloton to publicly respect (vouch for!, like!) what MFS was/is trying to do, we needed an ‘in.’ Alex was our in. Alex was the first person to do first-person for Manual for Speed.
We can’t remember how or who or why we got his phone number but we did. And we called him. And then, three weeks later, we went to Boulder, Colorado in January of 2013 to photograph his house, a bike ride (with Kiel Reijnen!), a car wash, some dog walking, a swimming pool sesh, track and field cross training, skateboarding and Alex’s first slam dunk. Which, because of all that, we more or less fell in love with him. I mean, doing that with us and for us, which in our opinion implied humor, intelligence, humility, confidence, and all this other shit we care deeply about on a personal and sometimes professional level—plus he was legit World Tour—wasn’t just previously unimaginable, it was exactly what we needed and wanted, it represented a major breakthrough. Plus that hair, I mean, you’ve seen it.
Over that same weekend in Boulder we also interviewed him about everything. I mean, EVERYTHING. At least, everything we could think of. And we published it. And, really, THAT was our first Fan Club. Fan Club was invented for Alex. Only, we didn’t have the art, or the name, or the Fun Facts yet. And now we do. We also have a 2016 Spring Classics aka Cobble Goblin Campaign of which this miniature supplemental interview is a part. Which means three things:
- Please take the time to go back and read our original interview with Alex. It’s worth it.
- Please read this micro-mini Fan Club, it short but sweet like a chocolate covered Cobble Goblin.
- Let it be stated here and now, we need to do yet a third, full-scale and in-depth, Fan Club with Alex sometime in the near future.
If you’re still uncertain about why or just how deeply you should care about Alex Howes, here are nine reasons to clear-up whatever reservations you think you have.
- Even though we’re #pals, and we talk/text/email fairly regularly, Alex remains very much a mystery to us. We know he’s remarkable, he says just enough to make that absolutely clear. But dude has layers and is dry AF, like real dry, like the driest. Sometimes when you’re talking to him, in whatever form, you lose sight of where you’re at and what’s happening. It’s not awkward but it’s something. Here’s what we think, though: for as much personality as he has, and for as whimsical (#kasual) as he’s willing to be from time to time, Alex Howes is a warrior. He’s on a mission. He’s focused. He wants to win bike races. He’s going to win bike races. Which means he’s not going to just put it all out there. You’ve got to read between the lines. Reading this interview will help you read between the lines.
- Alex is co-founder of Pro Cyclist Book Club.
- One time, not long ago Alex said this: ”I’ve always ridden well at Nationals. I just don’t think there is anyone in the Pro Peloton who is as much of a True Patriot as I am, nobody can do that jersey justice like I can. I’m talking Eagles, Flags, Liberty, Barbecue, Everything American—I’m talking using guns to fight for gay marriage. It’s our favorite Manual for Speed quote of all time.
- Alex is a charter member of the MFS Kasual Klub.
- Alex identifies with tigers.
- Alex looks good, really good, in yellow.
- Alex is an uncertified cross-training model/trainer. Hey Alex, you could kill it on Instagram as a fitness model.
- After reading this Fan Club you will know what Alex’s sign is and whether or not he’s ticklish.
- Alex once gave this bizarre YouTube interview.
II Nine Questions with Alex Howes
Victory in one of the classics (I include Amstel in this category even though it is not technically a classic) would mean I could retire a very happy man. In fact, I might hang up the wheels the day after.
I don’t remember the very first time but I do remember watching both on VHS while riding the trainer as a young teenager (12-13 maybe) during the Colorado winter.
La Redoute for sure. The atmosphere on this climb is absolutely electric. People camp out on the side of the road a week in advance just to get a good spot. It’s hard as hell and I attacked there as a neo pro just to say I attacked there as a neo pro.
Never have I used the start of Liège to prep for the final, but I do think I’ve come close to taking a nap in the middle so I suppose that’s sort of like prepping for the final.
- Favorite: Each race is only one day.
- Least Favorite: Rain. Literally eating shit (cow shit).
I got verified a day or two after creating my Twitter. I had no idea it was a thing until four years later some lady a a group dinner looked me up while we were all eating and whispers went around that I had a verified account. People were staring at me like I was Neo from the Matrix. Similar to Christmas, but way more intense.
“5” is the only setting on my machine that does not destroy clothes. I put it on “4”. Why does it destroy clothes? Modern science has yet to find an answer. How has “5” been spared? Only pagan tales provide any sort of explanation. How did I discover “5” was spared? $150 worth of socks and trial and error. The machine is on the 4th story. Surely one day she will fall.
- Favorite: Pleading ignorance 5 times a day. Crêpes.
- Least Favorite: People not picking up their dog shit. Confusing recycling system. 4 flights of stairs.
No. But I bought a bunch of magnets from a similar dollar store and the lady looked at me like I was building a space ship. I was not building a space ship.
III Fun Facts with Alex Howes!
Rest assured, even though the photos we have of the Cobble Goblins poster feature Phil Gaimon, Alex Howes has one too. So you know it’s a good poster. Also, guys, come on, look at it, it’s pretty cool regardless of what celebrity endorsements it carries, plus it was printed in Belgium which makes it super authentic. All posters are guaranteed to contain Belgian particles!
Spring Classics (aka Cobble Goblins) Underwriters Thank You!
For the next three weeks Manual For Speed is your Spring Classics Virtual Reality. Creating a three-week-long virtual reality requires a lot of support both emotionally, psychologically and financially. Our underwriters provide us with all of three and more. We cherish them because of it; won’t you cherish them too?