Oct 31, 2008

Bonne fête, Jeannie!

The eternal Longo-Caprelli winning yet another national title.

"Everyone is trying to put me out to pasture. Maybe I just haven't found the right field yet."

The most successful female cyclist in history is Jeannie Longo-Caprelli. She turned fifty, today. And still remains active where many athletes would've packed it in many years, earlier. Fifty is not retirement age for her as she expressed interest for London, 2012! 

Gianni Bugno; the Stagiaire.

First year Pro, his first Giro.
A determine Bugno attacking and wearing the mountains jersey at the 1986 Giro.
From: 'Tour 86.'

Twenty one year old, Gianni Bugno started out as a Stagiaire for the Atala-Ofmega Italian team in 1985. What is a Stagiaire, you say?

French for trainee, a younger rider that a team takes on in the later part of the season. Two reasons for it, the team wants to see how the promising rider gets on with the team. Or, they need to round out the roster due to injury or fatigue. In the hard school of cycling, it’s valuable work experience for the Stagiaire. Here, it’s the perfect apprenticeship, learning the basics of team riding in a professional team. The ultimate benefit for the Stagiaire is that the team will sign him to a contract.

Gianni Bugno was a Stagiaire no more, he was signed by Atala-Ofmega for the 1986 season. He started to win races… though small. His first pro season saw him rack up three wins: Giro dell’Appennino, Giro di Friuli, Giro del Piemonte. Then came his first big test as the Atala team leader at the 1986 Giro d’Italia. He fought well finishing in 41st overall, second overall in the mountains competition and tenth in the young riders competition.

It was a hint of things to come!

Coming Soon: With a little help.

Inset image: The youthful Bugno in the classy stripes of the 1986 Atala-Ofmega team.

Oct 30, 2008

Looking...Inside Out!

Early in the race.
Steve Bauer(Motorola) powering well in the 1992 Paris-Nice.

After a nice Wednesday visit with Hans, I rode home and settle in to re-watch the 1994 film, ‘Steve Bauer-Inside Out.’ And, you know, after seeing it a multitude of times I admire it even more.

It’s another fantastic National Film Board of Canada cycling film crafted superbly along the lines with the famous, ’60 Cycles.’ Canadian, Steve Bauer is the true star following his tumultuous 1991-1992 season. I still see it as an excellent gauge into the world of professional cycling. Director, Bob Fortier does well documenting the exploits of the 1992 Paris-Nice as the premiere stage race of the early season. Familiar riders are here including Motorola riders: the ponytail Phil Anderson, tall & lanky Sean Yates and sprinter Michel Zanoli. Notably, young Lion Cub, Mario Cippolini is a sprinting beast and he’s in great form along with Paris-Nice winner, J.F. (Jeff) Bernard. Also interviews with Bauer’s coaches, family, cycling experts & journalists provide an intimate portrait of the cyclist. Bauer power is certainly here, as the film positively shows him as a great veteran rider… and struggling through a difficult season.

It wasn’t easy for Bauer, at a major junction in his career, Motorola employed him as an hopeful winner in the Classics. Remember his near claim to cycling immortality coming within millimeters of beating Eddy Planckaert at the 1990 Paris-Roubaix? During this time, the outcome from the court case by Claude Criquielion hung over him. The 1988 world championship was hardship for Bauer as he clashed with Criquielion towards the final sprint. Bauer looked toward rainbow destiny. But, both fell and Criquielion sued Bauer incredulously for assault asking for $1.5 million in damages. With the classic fortitude of a battered hero, Steve Bauer emerges upbeat and positive even though the stress lines are clearly visible on his face.

Cranking in at just over ninety-eight minutes, the film brings a fascinating look into Canada’s greatest road cyclist and opens the backdoor into the world of cycling. A word of advice, it’s probably difficult to find, but if you can… get it, watch it and keep it. I bought it fourteen years ago and it has to be one of my favorite cycling films!

Banesto pain as their train protects leader Jeff Bernard.

Tough night ahead for this rider.
"You won't go fast enough if you're not hurting yourself out there."
...Steve Bauer

Oct 29, 2008

Italian Magazines: 1952 La classica di Primavera.

Forza Petrucci! 
Bianchi's blessing in disguise.
Surprise winner, Loretto Petrucci smiles & does Bianchi proud. 
With over seven hours of riding, he'll edge out the charging field.
Further stamping his star status, he'll return the following year to repeat!

This is my last installment of great cycling imagery from Italian sport magazine, 'Lo sport Illustrato.' I want to thank Carol, once again, for the incredible look back. 

The Colossus of Monza, Fiorenzo Magni arrives in 29th just behind Nedo Logli(28th).

What's San Remo without the great Coppi? 
The three time winner(1946, 48. 49) would not finish this one.

Geminani on the attack!

The final stretch to victory.
Petrucci will honor Bianchi with victory. Minardi(2nd), Blusson(3rd) & Geminiani(4th) round off the top four!

Before the action.
Petrucci relaxing.

Oct 26, 2008

Road Test: My New Hand Knitted Toe Covers.

My Toe Covers; Birds eye view.
Riding extremely slow with camera in one hand and the other... holding on!

What's black, knitted and fits comfortable over a cycling shoe? It's my new toe covers handmade by Carolle.

A few weeks ago, after a long cold ride, I came home wishing I had something to keep my toes toasty. I mentioned it to Carolle and after wearing her wonderful wool socks & cap she offered to knit something. And here they are!

I came back from road testing them and they worked well in the mid afternoon chill. They stayed on throughout my leisurely ride and kept my toes comfortable and most importantly, warm. If there's one thing that bothers me during a chilly ride are frozen toes. Now it's a worry no more! I'm happy to include three images for all to see.

Toasty warm.
Curb shot along with my favorite wool socks.

Bottom detail.
Opening has enough room for the cleats.

Oct 24, 2008

Onto another high...one more time.

Nice air up there!
Prémont at Fort. William, Scotland.

I’m pleased to hear that 2008 UCI World Cup overall title holder, Marie-Hélène Prémont switch decisions not to retire and to ride the 2009 season. Prémont, who turns 31 today, will have more reason to celebrate as long as she can ride with the same intense bravado of this past season. She’s won two World Cup’s along with the overall title. This season was her best, and she’ll have to be even better to repeat. Can she do it, again?

“I am really looking forward to coming back for another season. I feel like I am only getting better and I want to see what more I can do,” she said.

Allez Marie!

Inset: www.flickr.com

Oct 22, 2008

Smooth Road to Roubaix.

Ah-h, after Hell.
With the six hour punishment just over... some water.
Cancellara's not so smooth road to Roubaix!

After watching the awe-inspiring, 'Road to Roubaix,' I believe this may be the definitive film on the great race. 'A Sunday in Hell' is always and will be my favorite Roubaix film. This contemporary version allows you into the race amongst the actors and behind the spectacle. Interspersed with imagery from the fantastic book, 'Paris Roubaix: A Journey Through Hell' the film moves cleverly along without missing a beat. The dialogue shifts to and fro from the candid observations of the riders, ex-riders & journalists. What impressed me was how all riders are treated as heroes, bordering god-like as they know sacrificing is the key to surviving this unique battle over the pavé. Sacrifice=plenty of pain!

'A Sunday in Hell' provides a longing peek into Roubaix, 'Road' brings you fully into this marvelous cycling event. Aussie, Stuart O'Grady does a bang on ride of his life to win this 2007 edition but the true star is the race, itself.

If you haven't seen this, all I can say, "See it, you WON'T BE disappointed. Come to think of it... I'm going back for a another look!"

Thanks to Hans for lending me this amazing dvd!

Oct 20, 2008

Italian Magazines: 1951 Giro, a fond look back.

Two Contrasting Heroes: Bartali & Coppi. Fuel for their fiery rivalry.
Niceties aside a division exists. Bartali the conservative and Coppi the innovative.
Fausto Coppi experimented with technical & nurtritional improvements. While Bartali exercised his more traditional virtues of Catholicism, his daily litre of red wine & pack of cigarettes.

Here’s a look at more interesting Giro imagery from the Italian sport magazine, ‘Lo Sport, 1951.’ Wonderful images from a fascinating time in cycling's golden age...

Drinking on the job.
OK, it's probably 'water.'

Chaos following a crash.

Time trial.
Four stars; Coppi, Bobet, Koblet & Kubler

Advertisement for one of the sponsor's for this Giro. Simple for today's standards. Hours of work just for the artwork & typesetting!

Top Ten Standings, 1951 Giro d'Italia:

1. Fiorenzo Magni(Ita) 121h 11m 37s
2. Rik Van Steenbergen(Bel) 1m 46s
3. Ferdinand Kubler(Swi) 2m 36s
4. Fausto Coppi(Ita) 4m 04s
5. Giancarlo Astrua(Ita) 4m 07s
6. Hugo Koblet(Swi) 6m 05s
7. Louis Bobet(Fra) 9m 45s
8. Arrigo Padovan(Ita) 14m 41s
9. Vincenzo Rossello(Ita) 14m 49s
10.Gino Bartali(Ita) 21m 12s

Oct 19, 2008

The Sixties: cycling hipster style.

Hip 1960's cycling style.
The great Bahamontes with his woolies getting ready for a spin.
Nice knitted wool jersey.
So, that's where the argyle socks started.

The Swinging Sixties was famous for fashion. Introducing a more relaxed, colorful way of dressing that changed the world. Riding this cool weekend the feeling was more towards winter. I began dressing up like the Michelin Man. Can you say layers?

I’m so thankful of the wool skull cap & socks that Carolle hand knitted for me. These simple items are becoming quite a staple in my cycling wardrobe. And to think I rode without a cycling skull cap last winter. I shiver thinking about it!

As I rode this chilly Saturday morning, I couldn’t help but think of the Sixties in relation to cycling fashion and how hip and relaxed it really was!

Roger Rivière: Sixties style. I like the cap!

All from: 'Cycling's Golden Age.'

Oct 18, 2008

Characteristic ambition.

Roche at his first Tour de France, 1983. He won a special award for best time trialist.
From: Tour '83.

“Before I became a cyclist, I worked in a factory. I liked my work well enough but I had dirty hands, dirty hair; I worked fixed hours, sometimes on Saturdays and Sundays. I’m trying to escape that life. Bicycling is hard work but in a few years you can guarantee the rest of your life.”

Stephen Roche, 1981. His first year as a professional with wins in: Tour de Corse, Paris-Nice, Tour d’Indre-et-Loire.

Oct 17, 2008

Downhill all the way.

Hang on!
Two ways of concentrating.
Flying down at the 1981 Tour of Switzerland.
From: 'Fabulous world of cycling.'

“You have to concentrate…going downhill, too. The problem is when you’re so punch drunk that your eyes cross, of course you ride down like a mouse. Because you’ve lost your confidence and you can’t manage a single turn.”

Erik Zabel.

Oct 16, 2008

60 Cycles of pleasure.

The classic shoe, pedal and white socks. You know it's going to be good.

Hans lent me the wonderfully captivating movie called, ’60 Cycles.’ Never heard of it? You should.

Produced by the National Film Board of Canada in 1965 by the award winning (22 major international awards) documentary Quebec film maker, Jean-Claude Labrecque. It chronicles the eleventh Tour du St. Laurent held in 1965. The longest amateur bike race with 2400 km of rolling picturesque Quebec Gaspe bay countryside. Montreal is here, too with Parc Lafontaine as one of the battle grounds. I remember the park well. I used to live beside it.

Riders from thirteen different countries are represented and the striking visuals are enough to keep you riveted. Notably, the Canadian wool jersey with the green maple leaf is very cool. But, only 16 minutes long and worth every artistic minute of it. It’s simply perfect. Beautifully filmed.

I recommend it!

The jersey is unique as the short film. 
To view this great film; just click below!

Oct 15, 2008

One eye hero.

Honore Barthlelemy.

A Dangerous Profession...

In the 1923 Tour de France, the roads weren’t paved and were full of ruts. Stones could shoot out from under the wheels and could shoot into riders’ eyes. If a rider took off his dusty goggles, the stones could do him in. That happened to Frenchman, Honore Barthlelemy. He lost his eye that way.

During the 1924 Tour, Barthlelemy took out his eye sometimes and those who didn’t know it was made of glass, wondered what was going on. Anytime it bothered him, when it became infected due to the dust, he replaced it with cotton wool. When people on the roadside saw the hole filled with cotton wool, they were shocked.

This extraordinary rider completed in eight Tours, finishing three, winning five stages. More so, he finished in seven Paris-Roubaix’s and stood on the podium in third back in 1919. However, one underlining factor became all too clear, Barthlelemy complained that he spent more money on replacement eyes than he earned in prizes!

Oct 12, 2008

Uphill struggle wines.

The label reads: 'Uphill struggle wines. Mad Sprint Merlot.'
Tailor-made with one of my cycling paintings.

My friend, Duane designed the witty label for the thirty bottles of Merlot he bought me for my birthday. 

Cheers Duane!

Oct 11, 2008

He'll drink to that!

Francis(right) was so strong he took second behind his brother, Henri at the 1921 Paris-Roubaix.

On the eve of the 102nd Paris-Tours, here's an amusing anecdote.

The 1921 Paris-Tours race was as harsh as it can be, cold with blizzards. French national champ, Francis Pelissier punctured and with hands so cold tore the tire off with his teeth. Riding on the rim he soloed to victory! Now how did he win? It turns out that, the night before, Francis the Great consumed a pint and a half of rum before his hard earned win.

This just adds to his legend!

Oct 10, 2008

Nice guys do finish first!

The Friendly Giant after winning the 1909 Tour.
From: 'The Official Tour de France.'

Francois Faber, the great Luxembourger, won the very harsh 1909 Tour de France. At close to six feet tall and almost 200 Ibs this man was called, ‘Giant from Colombes.’

This Tour was brutal full of cold, mud, wet with snow. Faber was extraordinary as a rider toughen as a labourer to withstand the gross weather conditions. His ox like frame really was made for the punishing roads to Roubaix. He won stage two and the next four stages. (A few years later, he would win the 1913 Paris Roubaix.) Faber was unrelenting on the flat roads gritting his teeth and just pounded his pedals to victory. A toughman for the pavé to be sure. The third stage to Belfort was appalling which he took to his advantage by winning after a 255 km solo breakaway through snow.

But, what I found heart warming was that the tough Faber was indeed, a friendly giant. Starting in 1906, rules forbade riders to share tire pumps. When Faber saw a fellow rider without a pump or inner tubes left he would discreetly drop his pump on the side of the road so the other rider would not be penalized.

Which goes to show that nice guys do finish first!

Oct 9, 2008

1951 Giro, a photo essay.

Terrific imagery from the Italian magazine, 'Lo Sport, 1951.'

Tenacious climber.
French National champ, Louison Bobet would win the Maglia Verde taking 7th overall. He'll become the first Frenchman to win the mountain jersey!

The fans.

Kubler(left) & Bartali.
Kubler, the 1950 Tour winner wanted to add this Giro to his palmares.
He would go on to finish in 3rd!

More great stars from the fabulous fifties.
Coppi(left) & Koblet(middle).
Two stages for the great Coppi and one stage for Koblet.

Compliments go to the photographers for the amazing & inventive imagery. I'll be posting more images in the next few days!

Oct 7, 2008

Pie approved!

This just in, Carolle's Tarte au Sucre recipe received Le Grimpeur approval! That's a solid score in my book!

Click here, if you want to try it!

Oct 6, 2008

Bowing out gracefully!

Erik Zabel bows out in Germany.

Last year at the 2007 Tour, Alexander Vinokourov rocked the cycling world with his expulsion testing positive after a blood test. He clearly exited the Tour and retired from cycling. His cycling career abruptly ended, or did it? The disgraced rider has now announced his return to cycling alongside the big Texan. Young Astana captain, Alberto Contador appears to be on shaky ground. Now, can the Astana ship support all three? It looks a team destined for either cycling greatness or failed hoopla.

On the other hand, 38 year old Erik Zabel(Milram), will retire at the end of the season. One can’t help but admire him for his six consecutive Tdf green jerseys(1996-2001), and starring in the superb cycling doc, ‘Hell on Wheels.’ Zabel finished second at the Sparkasse Munsterland Giro. Saying goodbye in front of his German fans. “I want to thank everyone for the many wonderful years and leave as a friend of cycling,” said the gracious Ete.

Belgium rider(Silence-Lotto), Wim Vansevenant, will also retire at the age of 37. Better known for holding the amazing record of three consecutive Tdf Lantern rouge(2006, 2007, 2008). Vansevenant said, “I’m proud that I’ve written a little bit of history with that Lantern rouge. It will always be linked to my name and I hope that I inspired other riders, just like the seven Tdf victories from Lance Armstrong.” Well said.

It seems Vino & Lance haven’t gotten the message…yet!

Lord of the Lantern Rouge.
Vansevenant with a lantern rouge at the 2008 Tdf.
He'll bow out from cycling proudly winning three consecutive ones!

Oct 5, 2008

My new knitted friend.

Beanie & I.
Image by Carolle.

This morning I went off for a nice morning spin and although the weather was chilly(8 C) I was more than ready. Enter my new custom hand made cycling beanie for the cold rides. 
Rather than go out to purchase a cycling skull cap, which would be the easiest way to go. I forgo paying the $25.00 bucks and asked Carolle to make one. She did a wicked  job of creating a nicely fitted cap. This one is made from 100% wool, super comfortable and warm. And to keep it faithful, hand wash in cold water and air dry. It was so comfortable I left it on for the entire ride.  Thank's to Carolle, I now have a wool skull cap to keep my head and ears from freezing  on those cold winter rides. 

I'm already laughing at winter!

Oct 2, 2008

Italian Magazines, uncovered.

Cover shot of the candid & showering Coppi.
From: 'Lo Sport, 1951.'

A few days ago my friend, Carol lent me two very nice Italian sport magazines from the 1950’s. One called, ‘Lo Sport,’ covering the 1951 Giro d’Italia . The second one is called, ‘Lo Sport Illustrato,’ covering the 1952 Milan San Remo. Over the next week or so, I’ll be introducing some amazing imagery of both races from the by gone era!
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