Nov 30, 2008

Introducing: The Racer.

"The Racer."

Today, I'm pleased to announced an addition to my online etsy store...

"The Racer." A digital reproduction from my original etching. This piece is one of my earlier artworks combining two big loves; printmaking & cycling.

Thanks for visiting!

 © 2008 Richard Lee - All Rights Reserved.

Kelly's classic run.

Sean Kelly's other forte was 'classic' running on the cobbles of Flanders, 1984.

Cycling classics is not only a sport of riding on the bike. The rider must make a supreme effort, even off the bike to get through a race. The Ronde van Vlaanderen  (Tour of Flanders) was the only 'Monument" classic that King Kelly did not win. 

Of course, it never stopped him from trying.

In fact, this 'Monument'  is held in spring, a week before Paris-Roubaix. The tough Belgium course is full of steep short hills often with the famous cobblestones. This race especially with its sister race, Paris-Roubaix is made for the hardmen of the pavé. The 1984 edition was wet and dangerously slippery. Riders had to be especially adept in the art of running up the cobbles without falling. Kelly(Skil-Sem-Mavic) knew how to, but missed the overall victory, finishing a brave second. And, placing second was the best he could ever reach at Flanders(1984, '86, & '87). Dutchman, Johan Lammerts(Panasonic) won that soggy race... twenty-five seconds ahead of Kelly. 

If there was ever one rider made for the cobblestone hardened classics... it was definitely Sean Kelly!

Kelly's cobblestone, hardened, classic-al legs.

Nov 29, 2008

Comic Relief!

The Swiss mountain goat, Tour de Suisse 1981.
Breu in yellow(far right) at his favorite Tour. On board to overall victory.(right to left): Breu, Natale, Thurau, Lubberding, Fuchs, & Zotemelk.
From: 'The Fabulous World of Cycling.'

Beat Breu was a climbing marvel in the eighties. He especially loved the Tour de Suisse.  "My favorite race was the Tour of Switzerland and not the Tour de France. The Tour is so long, and there's nothing to eat but spaghetti for breakfast and dinner, and banana sandwiches in the race," he said. 

At the 1981 Tour de Suisse, he collected two stage victories and commanded a very solid overall victory. And Breu liked his home Tour so much he won again,  this time in 1989. There's always an exception to the rule. One would also say that he enjoyed the Tour de France because of his two mountain top victories back in 1982;  Stage 13 to Plat d'Adet and the famous one that put him on the cycling map... Stage 16 at L'Alpe d'Huez!

Light & laughing.
With his special bike on 'top' of the sacred L'Alpe d'Huez, 1982 Tour.

Breu's most famous sign!

As an accomplished climbing specialist he knew just what to do. He used a special light steel bike constructed by a Swiss frame builder. Light wheels were added, along with plastic brake levers and no handlebar tape to save on every ounce of weight. He was the first to experiment with bar-end shifters, to save on the effort of reaching on the downtube. Breu was the perfect grimpeur, where less = more.  When he was at the top of his powers he weighed a svelte 127 Ibs standing  5 foot 6 inches tall.
The little Swiss excelled at cyclocross winning the Swiss Championships (1988, 1994) and medalling at the 1988 World Cyclocross Championships for bronze.

I couldn't help but smile when I discovered that after his last professional year, in 1994, Breu traded one profession for another ... unusual one. As any fine performer he saved the punch line for the end...

He became a comic.
Is there life after cycling?... 
"Yah... with a heavy dose of comic relief!"

Nov 26, 2008

Jeannie vs the Soviet Machine.

On the final entrance into Hawerlark Park, Edmonton.
Longo and the two Soviets, Kibardina(#35) & Polyakova keeping the suspense high.

Once again, I've research my film archives and rediscovered quite a selection of imagery from the 1983 Summer Universiade games. Here's three more from that exciting race. 

The former Soviet Union was represented with a very strong team that produced an even stronger... one, two finish. The Soviets made it imperative to do well, on the world sporting stage. They considered sport achievements as the perfect way to show the advantages and power of the communist state. With the support from very good sport programs, produced many medal winning performances. In fact, the Soviet sports machine won the overall medal count with a total of 115.

A 1962 Soviet poster with the slogan at the bottom: "A Mighty Sports Power!"

The Soviets work well together, boxing in a lone Canadian.
I love the old Colnago & track helmets!

You'll notice the bleu, blanc et rouge jersey of a youthful, twenty-five year old Jeannie Longo in the mix. It was my first time seeing Longo and from my memory of the race, she had the stamina and not quite the strength to beat the tough Soviets. The odds were against her. But, the way I look at it, she won. Because I'm sure she's the only one of the three to still be riding, today!

The stunning winner, Nadezhda Kibardina of the Soviet Union on her Sannino steel bike.
I managed to photograph her right after the race. And, I can tell you that she was hardly out of breath as she talked to her coaches.
Her fine victory was another example from the great Soviet sports machine!

All images © 2007 Richard Lee - All Rights Reserved.

1983 Summer Universiade, Women's Road Race.
Final Podium:

Gold Nadezhda Kibardina (Soviet Union)
Silver Tamara Polyakova (Soviet Union)
Bronze Jeannie Longo (France)

Nov 22, 2008

Staying with tradition!

Sean Kelly: intense riding with his second Green Jersey at the Puy de Dôme TT.
From: 'Tour 83.'

At the 1985 Tour, a technological 'French' revolution began... 

Look was at the forefront with their clipless pedal and launched it at the biggest race in the world.  It was Bernard Hinault who was the one to use a prototype Look clipless pedal. A great marketing ploy two ways; for his involvement at the French ski-binding company Look with a one-click efficient pedal system and at the same time introducing the new Bernard Tapie backed international, powerhouse squad La Vie Claire-Wonder-Radar. As we know, Hinault won his record tying fifth Tour and  changed cycling pedal design. Soon afterwards, most riders adopted the new pedal system except for a small group of mavericks.

One prominent rider  decided against it. He was one of the last roadmen to use toe-straps... Sean Kelly.
His almost spartan approach to cycling endured him as the original hardman of cycling.  He won virtually all of the Classics, except for Flanders, four Green Points Jersey's, two Tour de Suisse, a Vuelta d'Espana, and numerous other Classics. They didn't call him, 'King Kelly,' for nothing. His 193 professional wins was second only to Eddy Merckx. In the early nineties, toe clips & pedal straps could still be seen in use, but on the decline. I will always remember seeing a post race photo of his massive, muscular legs with duct tape secured around his cycling shoes. 

Never one to bow to pressure, the irrefutable Kelly once said, "I always felt comfortable with the toe-straps."

No question about that!

With the ubiquitous toe clips & straps.
From: 'Tour 88.'

Years after...
With his toe clips, hard at it. 1992 Paris-Roubaix.

Hinault with Herrera.
The Badger pioneered the first Look prototype clipless pedals at the 1985 Tour.
From: 'Tour 85.'

Nov 21, 2008

Grazie, Cicli Pinarello!

Cicli Pinarello.
'the frame-builders.'
© 2007 Richard Lee - All Rights Reserved.

Almost twenty-four years ago to the date was my trip to see the great Italian frame builder, Giovanni Pinarello. Famous for his beautiful racing bikes and... as the last rider to actively pursue the maglia nera, or the black jersey from the 1951 Giro d'Italia. I have fond memories of him. He was extremely hospitable, distinguished and rightly proud of his noble handmade bicycles. With camera in hand I was graciously allowed to photograph inside his factory in Treviso. Awe inspiring for a young cyclist/artist from Canada! Here's another photograph I re-discovered from my archives from that wonderful time at the world-famous bike builder, Cicli Pinarello.

Nov 19, 2008

Particularly Satisfying.

Alfredo Binda's cool rainbow colored straps.

Cycling photography is another enjoyment of mine. Some time ago, I photographed the old fashion way with film. My subject matter was primary races in and around Edmonton. Capturing 'the moment' on film gave me so much elation. Maybe it's the primal urge that needed to be taken care of. I worked at it. The preparation, going to the event, anticipating the moment, then firing the shutter button. And finally, the image was immortalize. Particularly satisfying.

Thanks to Hans. He lent me his copy of, 'Rouleur: Photography Annual 2008.'  To say the least, I was surprised. And as I turned the first page I was happily surprise! A collection from nine photographers, each with different viewpoints on the world of competitive cycling. This cycling book will make your visual heart beat gleefully faster. How good can that be!

The photographs are captivating, each one intimate... part of a greater whole. Stirring and fascinating.  I felt compelled to pick up my camera, dust it off and use it again. And, getting on the bike and be in the glorious cycling moment. Whichever motivation, hats off to the moving & haunting  photographs from Rouleur!

Honor yourself with enough time, your favorite drink and get ready for a unique, visual overload. 
Here's a few of my favorite's...

Timm Kölln, 'Descent.' A Polaroid Adventure.

Olaf Unverzart, 'Passo Manghen, bends.'

Taz Darling, 'The Road To Nice.'

Nov 18, 2008

Tenacious: The Badger Way.

Limiting the damage to his knee.
Hinault in pain decided to abandon the 1980 Tour at Pau.
From:'The Official Tdf.'

Tenacity is an important trait for a racing cyclist. Able to be tough holding fast in a persistent manner speaks only to a special rider.

The 1980 season started well for Bernard Hinault, with a victory at the Giro d’Italia. At the Tour de France, the Badger won his first prologue at Frankfurt. The time trial over the racing circuit of Spa-Francorchamps seem to convey his new dominance. Next, the freezing cold and rain of stage 5 over the slippery cobblestones to Lille never hindered him and he won that long hard march on the pavé, convincingly. But, with every heavy effort comes pain, as Hinault developed tendinitis behind his left knee. It was hard for him to carry on for fear of damaging his knee. He pulled out, while still in yellow before the start of the first mountain stage to Luchon. Joop Zoetemelk inherited the golden fleece but refuse to wear it out of respect. It didn’t last long as the tenacious Dutchman along with his strong TI Raleigh team took over the race and the yellow jersey to overall victory.

The French press lambasted Hinault for quitting the 1980 Tour. Written him off for pulling out. This just pissed off Hinault to a state that he couldn’t wait to ride the World Championship road race in Sallanches. He had something to prove. Before the entry into the last lap, Giambattista 'Gibi' Baronchelli was the only rider that could manage to keep up with the Badger. The Frenchman, with his overwhelming superiority raced to victory. Fired up... by the critical French media. 

The return of Le Blaireau.
On his way to becoming the 1980 World Champion on the tough Sallanches course.
The Badger silenced his critics by wiping out the field except for 'Gibi' Baronchelli.
From: 'Fabulous World of Cycling.'

“I no longer had any doubts. It was an incredible thing. I was made like that. I don’t think that Michel Platini trembled before he kicked a football. I don’t think that Bjorn Borg brooded as he stepped onto the tennis court. They were killers,” he said confidently.

Tenacity once again!

Nov 15, 2008

That 80's Thing: The 1983 Universiade Games.

My Cibachrome image from the women's road race, 1983 Universiade Games, Edmonton. 
The two American's are riding Ciocc bikes. The lone Canadian is riding, of course, a Marinoni!
© 2007 Richard Lee - All Rights Reserved.

Twenty-five years ago, during the 1983 Universiade Games in Edmonton, Alberta I photographed the women's & men's cycling road race. I captured the women's race with the help of my long gone Canon F-l camera along with the Canon 300 mm f.4 telephoto lens on slide film. Many years later, I finally had the slide processed as a Cibachrome. Although now called, 'Ilfordchrome,'  I still refer it to 'Ciba' or 'Cibachrome.' Originally named after Ciba-Geigy of Switzerland. It's the photographic process used in the reproduction of slides on photographic paper. The chief advantage is that the dyes used will not fade, discolor, or deteriorate for a long, long time. I keep all my cherish prints in an archival designed box for protection. 

The World University Games, were first held in Warsaw, Poland in 1924. Attracting top world class athletes, held every two years, have become second in prestige to the Olympics. The next games will be held in the Summer of 2009,  Belgrade, Serbia. 

Word has it that Edmonton is bidding for the 2015 Games, I hope they get it, again. And, a young twenty-five year old Frenchwoman by the name of Jeannie Longo finished in third place... grabbing the bronze!

A nice keepsake.
Little worse for wear but still hanging on.
My 25 year old Universiade '83 sticker on my cycling tool box!

That 80's Thing: Steve Bauer on Track.

Two great Canadian cyclists: Gord Singleton & Steve Bauer(#19) in a Madison race.

The other day, Hans commented about Steve Bauer's epic ride at the LA 1984 Olympics road race. Hans was quite excited, and with reason, that Bauer was riding on what appears to be a Colnago Master. It's the earlier cousin to the current Master-X Light. 

Hans Master-X Light.
Image by Hans.

Steve Bauer won that historical Olympic silver that eventually launched his European professional career. Little do most folks know, Bauer like many successful road cyclists, rode on the tracks. In 1982, he did very well and won the track points at the Canadian National Championships. That same year, at the Commonwealth Games in Brisbane, he just missed medaling coming 4th in the 10 mile track & team pursuit. Together, with world champion Gord Singleton,  they rode many track races in the early eighties.

Prelude to greatness.
Bauer tightening up for the final surge.
At the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics, Bauer used his old Master Colnago friend for a silver victory.
From: 'Inside Out.'

Nov 13, 2008

Carolle's knitted cycling gear on Etsy!

You all know that I've talked about my knitted cycling gear from Carolle's loving hands. The beanie is amazing along with the very warm toe covers. For me they're apart of my fall/winter staple riding gear. 

Now, I'm please to introduce Carolle's new hand knitted wonders on sale at Etsy. 


Nov 12, 2008

The Hardest of the Hard!

I love this poster. It hits you where it hurts!

The inclement weather today reminds me of my favorite rough and tumble race, Paris-Roubaix. And how appropriate is the poster from the 2006 edition, complete with the bone jarring cobblestone! It's the most beautiful race held pitting mother natures' full fury of rain, wind, muddy ruts/ditches, dust and absolute mayhem against each rider and his trusted steed...the bicycle. And as the gruesome cobblestones provides the truer test to the riders, one can't help but love the adversity.  

Préparation pour la guerre aux pavés...

Back in 1994, pavé specialist Steve Bauer, with the help from Eddy Merckx Cycles conceived an innovative bicycle. The 'Stealth Bike,' provided Bauer to sit farther back offering a bizarre sitting position way back over the rear wheel. Earlier still in 1992, Greg Lemond and his teammates introduced the biggest innovation. They unveiled special front forks used by mountain bike racers and motorcyclists. 

Motards, moto-drivers are aware of the impending dangers. Their moto-cross bikes are the perfect weapon against le pavé!

Tyre manufacturers, Michelin & Continental believe that tyres had to be fatter than normal to absorb shocks, and inflated a little less than usual. Michelin tested 250 tyres in five different temperature & weather conditions just to get the perfect pressure. 

For the 2004 edition.
Magnesium tubes were used in this Pinarello Dogma. Claimed to have greater durability than aluminum.

Further to the present, teams employed two chainrings; a 46/53. The reason is that these two big chainrings won't hop off as the rider attacks the cobbles. If it starts to jump, all the rider has to do is get on the flat and the chain will click back into place. An 11 tooth straight sprocket is used to cut a path through the flats along with 25 centimeter tubular tyres inflated to 8 bars. In wet conditions, they'll be slightly deflated. To help soften the blows, riders insert thick foam padding between the tape and the bar. And to borrow from cyclocross, cantilever brakes are the norm with the wide clearances so that the mud won't clog the calipers. These special cross-bikes are made with extended frames to absorb shock and vibrations. Greater fork rakes are employed to stabilize the bike over the cobblestones. And, unlike the pavé shocked riders that continue to the next race, most of the abused bikes are never used again in a race situation and subsequently retired.

I believe Steve Bauer summed it well as he said, "Paris-Roubaix is like sitting on a pneumatic drill." And,  looking at the poster I'll include the old adage that says it all... 'No Pain, No Gain!'

Cantilever brakes to shed that mud!

Michelin tubeless clinchers.
A special rim design to ensure air tightness with a tubeless tyre at high pressure.
These special tyres were designed with a tread to help shed the mud & water on cobblestones. And, made to lean into the mucky corners of the race.

Nov 9, 2008

Ra-in, now I don't mind.

To combat the west coast winter 'sunshine', 
 is the Pearl Izumi Cyclone shoe covers.

After riding in from the soggy, rain drenched outdoors, I'm reminded of a favorite Beatles song, 'Rain.'

"I can show you that when it starts to rain, Everything's the same, I can show you, I can show you, 
Ra-in, I don't mind, Shi-ne, the weather's fine.
Can you hear me that when it rains and shines, It's just a state of mind, Can you hear me, can you hear me."

During this time on the bike, just trying to stay dry is hardship. Except, today I fought back the rain and the crappy, wet roads with my NEW weapon; the Cyclone shoe cover by Pearl Izumi. These are well made and kept my flat feet extremely warm and very dry. I remember in my twenties in Alberta, my first pair was a blue vinyl bootie made by Cambio Rino. They were bulky, uncomfortable and made badly but importantly kept my feet warm. With these slick beauties, no problem getting onto my pedals. One complaint, although minor, getting into them requires a few minutes. And as I fought to put them on, I felt an eagerness to get outside... in the rain. I discovered that these friendly shoe covers are a staple winter item for any bikie wardrobe keeping one from plunging into the depth's of wet despair. 

The 'wet' coast is not so bad after all!

Nov 8, 2008

Grinning with frustration.

My second shot with the hard to find Oregonian. 
My first time with the Black Butte Porter.

Ok I first thought that it was Obsidian Stout but its actually the Black Butte Porter. Here's my first taste of it...

Craft-y brewer, Deschutes Brewery out of Bend Oregon are starting to get on my nerves. Why? I just had a  pint of Black Butte Porter with my brother Ron. He had a couple stashed away from a foray down in Oregon. Anyways, the taste is utterly amazing and it's best summed up with the lyrical description from the website: 

"Black Butte Porter, crafted from chocolate and crystal malts, is Deschutes Brewery's flagship brand. With a rich and distinctive flavor, this porter has enjoyed a loyal and passionate following since its first pint in 1988."

And, it's not available up here. Thats why I'm mad! One of the finer porters I  had the pleasure of enjoying and I can't go down to the local and grab a sixer. Oh well, before turning for home I decided to ride off the frustration... in the rain.

Yeah, I still like you Black Butte Porter!

Nov 7, 2008

Gianni Bugno; the champion awakes!

A well timed breakaway move.
Bugno on his way to his first Tour stage victory to Limoges.

Gianni Bugno was one of the most talented riders to come out of the nineties. One of the last all-rounders capable of success in the Classics, stage & one-day races. He was an immovable force with plenty of strength & endurance, great climbing ability, time trialing speed and quick recovery. Although he raced and won with panache,  he also had a little help.

During the late eighties, the dynamic yet introverted Bugno won only small races. Although he started to show promise with minor wins, he had yet to win the big one. At the time, he didn’t know that he was dizzy with vertigo and a fear of falling when he descended from a mountain at high speed. At the 1989 Milan Turin race he revealed how he was easily caught on the descent. “I felt so dizzy that I slowed down almost to a stop,” he said. At the 1988 Giro a frightful crash caused him to abandon. And as a result the problem stemmed from a congenital obstruction in his inner ear.

In 1989, help came with a month of unusual musical therapy to cure the vertigo. Bugno was found to be allergic to wheat and milk products. His diet was quickly changed. And if that wasn’t enough, he saw a psychologist about his shyness. The problem was traced back to his early childhood,  brought up by his grand parents in Italy while his parents worked in Switzerland.

Enter the 90's.

With his ailments under control, Bugno approached the 1990 season restored with new vigor. Like a cat let out of the bag, he was on the offensive and won his first prestigious Classic, Milan–San Remo. And he won it descending confidently down the Poggio to an historic victory. Next was a dominating ride in the Giro. He lead from start to finish, wearing the Maglia Rosa and using his new descending skills in the mountains to glory. He won by over six minutes from second place rider, Charly Mottet. The Tour was next and he won two stages on the famed Alpe d’Huez & Bordeaux stages. He achieved seventh overall, a resounding success and showed his enormous capabilities. A win at the Wincanton Classic was his and a remarkable ride sprinting for third from a fast charging Greg Lemond at the World Championships in Japan capped off an incredible summer. 

‘Il campione si sveglia’, The champion awakes’ was the headline on an 1990 Italian magazine. 

How true!

Maglia Rosa from start to finish!
The re-vamped Bugno on his way to total control of the 1990 Giro. 
Winning three stages and finishing second on four others produced a new confident hero!

Nov 4, 2008

That Fall Feeling.

One of my favorite seasons...

The weather's turning cooler, rainy... that fall feeling. It's not so bad, the leaves are turning a fine mix of crimson and yellow, gorgeous. Even though the days are becoming shorter it's harder to find quality time to ride. I'm riding to work but managing to ride three days a week, weather permitting. My quality time on the bike is just that, enjoying and being... taking in the beautiful scenery. It's that fall feeling. 

Tomorrow appears sunny and I'm planning for a nice quality ride. I have, or we all have something to smile about. Barack Obama has just won the US presidency and is the first African-American to do so. And after hearing his moving victory speech, I can't help but believe that hope is the new fall feeling!

...for many reasons!

Nov 1, 2008

My Cycling Art on Etsy!

Over the next few weeks, I'll be adding prints over to the etsy website for sale. I also started to include imagery from one of my other interests of Holga Photography. And, thank you all for looking in and I hope you enjoy my artwork!
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