Friday, July 31, 2009

Inside the fridge.

There's relief in the fridge, & it's NOT the peanut butter!



Tomorrow morning (9:30 AM), I'll be putting in a ride with my buddies: Guy & Gregory. We'll be cascading the hills up in Indian Arm near Deep Cove, North Vancouver. I've never did this one and I'm looking forward to it. Hey, we just gone through a pressure cooker of record temperatures close to 34 degrees Celcius yesterday & the day before. And I for one am relived, among the rest of us, that today reached only 27 degrees. It's the humidity that's the factor and I'm equipped with some help (above) with a nice Barvarian Lager from the local microbeer, Okanagan Spring. I'm expecting a fun ride with a moderate forecast of about 22 degrees with some 'help' afterwards.

Stay tune for the full story, and cheers!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Nemesis.

The top three, 1968 Giro.
Felice Gimondi always made Eddy Merckx aware he was there.
Merckx was first, Gimondi second & Vittorio Adorni (top right), third overall.



Eddy Merckx had a nemesis in Felice Gimondi. They both started their careers in the same year (1965) and ended it in the same year (1978). The first three seasons proved stellar for the Italian as he won the Tour de France, Giro, Paris-Roubaix, Paris-Brussels & Tour of Lombardy.
An impressive palmares for the new star. Then, Merckx arrived.

Gimondi said, "His rise really affected me mentally. In 1967 and 1968, it was starting to become very clear that a time would come when he would enjoy an unprecedented dominance of the sport. My own rise to prominence had been rapid, but suddenly mainly to Merckx I had to settle for much less. In the end, I manage to get the dirty swine Merckx out of my head and tried to take my chances as they came. Merckx taught me that you don't have to be a leader or the absolute No. 1 figure to reach personal goals in life. We would never dream of getting involved in illicit combines or arrangements. We always rode in a straightforward way, and we never rode with the sole intent of seeing the other one lose. He's a man after my own heart, that Merckx."

And Merckx praised his adversary, too. He said that he was amazed how Gimondi handled himself ... always as a true professional.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Love the muck.


Classic look!
Belgian, Eric Vanderaerden knows a thing or two of hard riding in the muck.
Going on to clobber the field, 1987 Paris-Roubaix!




As the Tour is over, thoughts turned to last weekend's MTB Women's World Cup race in Mont Sainte Anne, Quebec. I relish the herculean effort of riders going over uneven terrain trying to sidestep mud and slippery rocks. A hard slough, indeed. That's why I love Paris-Roubaix and the battle of attrition label it has. The keen observer can see the similarities.

The Canadian ladies seem to do very well at home as last years winner, Marie-Helene Premont, struggled with flats. She was a favorite but on this technical and brutal course she arrived in tenth, five and a half minutes behind. Compatriot, Catharine Pendrel stole the show maintaining an 'uneven' ride over the treacherous rocks and muddy conditions to grab her second World Cup win.





Afterwards...
Premont's beautiful mud caked Rocky Mountain!


Maximum effort...

Catharine Pendrel.

Marie-Helene Premont.
www.cyclingnews.com

Monday, July 27, 2009

Tour Withdrawal.


One more time...
Le Tour is over but Fumy Beppu won't leave the show!
www.pezcycling.com


Quick! I need something bad. Like most of you I have Tour withdrawal. I don't know what to do. I find myself looking for any story about the race. I'm re-watching the last few stages I recorded. And I miss it. After some three weeks of two wheel bliss the Tour balloon is deflated. It happened suddenly, like a KO'd boxer. Yet, I feel so brash that I'm turning on OLN and ready to watch more stage highlights. Can the Tour last forever? I feel that it should. However an end is inevitable. I have to accept it...

A. Contador vs L. Armstrong. A huge internal fight within the same team. At the start, they both denied it and played it down. But yet we all knew. Contador said he has no admiration for Armstrong. And the Texan didn't attend the post celebration team dinner. Contador was a worthy winner but he said that his second Tour was the most difficult ...mentally.

The revelation of this Tour has to go to Brit, Bradley Wiggins (Garmin). He dropped enough weight to climb and with his time trialing skills was a force that a podium finish might hold true. He fought to a splendid fourth overall tying fellow compatriot, Robert Millar back in the 1984 Tour. Frenchman, Christophe Le Mevel (Francaise des Jeux) was always near the top finishing in tenth. Nick Roche, son of Stephen, rode well and finish in twenty-third. Italian, Franco Pellizotti (Liguigas) won two classifications: Mountains & Combative. The fiery Italian was close in winning a stage but maintained a fighting spirit throughout this Tour. Thor proved a worthy winner of the Green Jersey with one stage and plenty reason to keep it out of reach of Marky Cavendish (Columbia, sixth stage wins). Canadian, Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin), finished his second tour (49th overall) supporting his teammates and riding well in the team trial becoming the important fifth man. And, lastly rising sons', Fumiyuki Beppu (Skil-Shimano) & Yukiya Arashiro (BBox Bouygues Telecom) can be rightly proud to be the first Japanese riders to finish the Tour.


A excellent Tour and dare I say, without doping scandals. Now, only 364 days to go!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Carpe Diem. Vita Brevis!

My new Giro Stylus.


Yesterday, I checked out Jett Grrls Bike Studio. Why? Well as you all know I landed on my helmet while slamed to the roadside by an irresponsible cyclist, last week. So, feeling physically better, I sauntered over to see my favorite bike store mechanic/owner, Tracy. Where I found a fine replacement for my fallen Trek... a Giro Stylus! Happy to let the Trek go, this morning I left with my new Giro for an early morning ride (7:30 AM) with Gregory & Michael. We met at the east end of the newly revamped bike path of Burrard Bridge and proceeded west towards the University of BC. Frankly, I felt that I was riding against the law as we rode on the bridge deck road. There's talk that the concrete barriers could be here to stay, for good, and that cyclist & car will finally share the road in some sort of harmony. Frustrated driver's still curse having the bridge deck cut to only two lanes instead of three. Screw them! This time they can take a back seat. It's rather nice that we cyclist will not be sharing the sidewalk, although precariously, with pedestrians. Kudos to the City of Vancouver for this pilot program.

The weather was pleasant and cloudy with a hint of humidity in the air. We sped off to Iona park near the Vancouver Airport as the road stays flat with few cars with the increasing number of cyclists. The park is a fine vantage point for older guys sitting in their cars to view the incredible array of airplane traffic. Also, bird lovers can view the huge amounts of Herons basking in the water. A fine test ride for my new Giro Stylus. I give the helmet an A+ for looks, lightness & comfort!

The humidity started to climb to around 31 degrees and I arrived home to try a new beer out of California. Called, 'Red Seal Ale,' it's a nice spicy & smooth ale. And, I do enjoy their righteous saying, "Carpe Diem. Vita Brevis." Translated, "Seize the Day. Life is short."

Brilliant!


The Burrard Bridge Bike Lane.
I hope this is here to stay!


Seal of Approval!



Iona Park...


times two!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

The Dog Days of Summer.

El Pistolero lets his dog out!


I love dogs. Unfortunately, where I'm living I can't have one. I'm a little envious of the prize that A. Contador received from the Tour after winning Stage 15 to the Swiss ski station of Verbier. It's the Tour's first encounter in the Alps as El Pistolero gunned down everyone else for victory. Ok it's an unusual prize of a... St. Bernard! I do hope Senor Contador loves dogs!

With todays much anticipated Ventoux climb, Contador did well in marking Andy Schleck over the course of the sun drenched course to cruise comfortably to fourth. He made it easy looking relaxed to claim the yellow jersey & overall victory. All he needs to do is the routine ride into Paris. Honorable mention goes to Bradley Wiggins (Garmin) pulling off an incredible ride to hold on to fourth overall. Worthy winner, Juan Manuel Garate (Rabobank) was the first Spaniard to rule the day over the Giant of Provence.

I was happy with how many fans lined the course, up to 500 thousand strong. And for the Tour making it this far, without any 'scandals', deserve high praise.


Good Tour!


Giant Slayer!
Juan Manuel Garate saving face for Rabobank!
www.cyclingnews.com

Friday, July 24, 2009

Jens the Hero.



Heroic actions in the Tour are displayed everyday, one can add the injury sustained by the Jens Voigt to be one of them. It was one of the horrific accidents I've seen, again and again on the 'net, and I choose surviving it as utterly amazing. Voigt is one of the veteran riders in the peloton and admired for his panache for attacking & just being a nice guy. He rides for Saxo Bank and figures to be back for the 2010 Tour. Now in hospital resting from an concussion and broken cheekbone, Voigt said, "This would be a bad way to stop." After the fall on Stage 16, he was pure class when he said, "I think I was very lucky not getting severely hurt. Now I hope that you can focus on the race and I wish you all good luck with the hard stage tomorrow."

I'm glad that he's doing fine and we'll all be glad to see him come back for next year's Tour!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

The God of the Mountains.

The God of the Mountains having fun... alone.
www.cervelo.com



Thor hushovd turned into a grimpeur on stage 17’s hardest mountain stage in the French Alps. He silenced his competitor, Marky Cavendish by showing that the big man can climb the high mountains. He proved that the green jersey is his. Hard fought and well earned by soloing up two cat 1 climbs & the cat 2 climb. He showed great bike handling skills too, by avoiding a wipe out into a corner. Pulling out from his left pedal he quickly found his balance and snaked through the corner safely. He took plenty of points to outlast Cavendish for the points classification.

Hushovd said it best, “I wanted to have fun up there, get some points along the way and be prepared for the Champs-Elysées. I did that and it was an amazing day for me. I had an amazing day on the bike at the front. I think it was the best day I’ve ever had on the bike.”

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

A battle of attrition on Ventoux.

Maximum effort.
Bobet becoming a victim of Ventoux!
From: 'The Bicycle.'



With the upcoming Ventoux stage, I'm reminded of Louison Bobet's great ride up the Giant of Provence in the 1955 Tour. Remarkable was his middle name as he entered that Tour with one goal in mind, to win a successive three Tours. With one stage win already in his name, Bobet wanted badly to win atop Ventoux. The barren sun drenched upper slopes was dreadful. He was riding with an irritating & painful saddle sore. He passed Charly Gaul and stayed in the lead winning brilliantly. Ventoux was extremely hot as Jean Mallejac staggered and fell and passed out. Ferdi Kubler pushed so hard that his irrational ride forced him to seek safety in a cafe, got back on his bike, went in the wrong direction. He gave up after the stage and retired from cycling. Bobet won that hard stage & went on to be the first rider to win three successive Tours.

Later, in that year the Frenchman finally had relief and had his saddle boil removed!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Wrongabout!


This morning was like any other workday. As I looked both ways, leaving my alley towards the downhill into the roundabout, I preceded knowing there was no cyclists or drivers in front of me. I like to approach the roundabout by myself just because it's easier & safer to leave from it. As I entered into it I felt a slam of a bicycle behind and to my left side knocking me off my Marinoni. You know it's not so bad as you see yourself falling, what might seem an eternity, then rudely landing on some part of your body. I was conscious all through the ordeal. Yet, it happened so fast that I bruised my left knee/leg landing on my left shoulder and hand. Thankfully I had my helmet on as my head glanced off the road. I was in shock and clearly feeling some trauma as the bicyclist grabbed my hand and asked, "I'm so sorry, break
anything?" I muttered something, "No, I don't think so..."

I knew he was in the wrong, stupidly taking the inside and clearly misreading my intention in the roundabout of going left (here in Canada we have right hand traffic). You see, I was already engaged and preceding left as he plowed into me wanting to go straight through. One important point is that there isn't two lanes only one lane and he should have slowed right down giving the proper distance and preceding to go on the outside. By the impact it was hard and brought me quickly down. I've never been hit by a cyclist until now. By instinct I got back on my bike looked over any damage (luckily only a scuff on my left brake hood) and rode onto work.

I'm nursing a few bruises and aches & pains although minor, I was lucky to escape major injury and above all ... I do hope he doesn't drive like he rides his bike especially through a roundabout!

Cuts like a knife.

Ryder in the early lead!
www.cyclingnews.com



Exciting stage 15 to Verbier as all the favorites were shaken with the climbing mastery of Alberto Contador. I think he's untouchable. He was like a knife through butter slicing his way through everyone to win the stage & the yellow jersey. Punishing as it was Contador was not the only one to impress...

Brad Wiggins (Garmin) looks like an locomotive in the Tour finishing in fifth and leapfrogging to third. Can he conquer a podium spot? I believe he can!
Good to see Ryder Hesjedal up there setting tempo in the early break. He looked good clawing his way to 44th.


Looking forward to further high jinks in the mountains on Tuesday's stage 16!


Contador & his Swiss buddy!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

In Horseshoe Bay.

Horseshoe Bay.


This morning was an eye opener (7 AM) as I ventured out to meet my friends Gregory & Michael for a nice long ride to horseshoe bay in West Vancouver. We did one 10 km loop of Stanley Park before climbing the scenic route in West Vancouver. My first time as I enjoyed the great views and the hilly roads used by many cyclists. Horseshoe bay is beautiful and is the home to the ferry that travels to Nanaimo and all the surrounding smaller islands & the Sunshine Coast. We stopped for the customary coffee and sweets and made the turnaround back to Stanley Park and two more loops before returning home. All in all around 85 kms clocking in around three hours. I had a great ride and arrived home tired & elated.


*

I caught the early skirmishes of Stage 15 to the ski station of Verbier and left during for my ride. I know that Contador took the stage and the Yellow Jersey and I'm about to settle in to watch the stage!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

A kind deed.

Ferdi Kubler looks stressed as he repairs his flat,
Stage 16 to Briancon, 1949 Tdf.
Back in the early Tours, rules forbade any outside help!
From: 'Telerama-Hors Serie, La Folie du Tour.'



On my return from a hot yet fun two hour ride a cyclist was on the side of the road and stopped me and asked, "Do you have a pump?" He was stranded with his wife & two kids by the side of the road. I couldn't ride past them and quickly did what any cyclist would do and stopped and handed him my hand pump. While he worked furiously on his flat his wife was beside her bike that pulled a cart with their two charming kids. They looked relived that I stopped by. Funny, we had a nice chat as she asked me where I was riding. I said that I was finishing a two hour ride from the University of BC and was now returning back home for a nice cold beer. Her husband gave up and discovered a slow leak just around the stem. And he also didn't have a spare tube. They both thanked me and he said that he was ready to walk his bike back home, a short distance away. I wished them good luck and rode back home looking forward to a reward for my kind act.

No beer, yet I had ice cream with strawberries, instead!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Stage 13; Fright & Joy!

"Geez, we're at the Tour de France, I just didn't want to get
second again like in Sanremo & Flanders!"
...Heinrich Haussler
www.bikeworldnews.com



I was shocked to find out that Julien Dean (Garmin) & Oscar Friere (Rabobank) was shot at with an air gun during today's very wet stage 13!

They're both o.k. but the concern is still there. We'll never know who the cowards are but it's unsettling to think that it can be worse. Dean was shot in the thumb & Friere in the thigh. Both are expected to ride tomorrow. Unheard of in professional cycling races, the Tour is an open arena for fans to watch their cycling heroes. But, there's always the chance for some sort of nefarious activity.

*

Fine win for young gun, Heinrich Haussler (Cervelo) in the cold & wet conditions today. Second stage win for Cervelo as their top classic rider put it all together for the victory. He has reason to smile and be elated thinking back on his earlier season second places in Milan-sanRemo & Tour of Flanders. The weather was right as Haussler cut through the rain while others slogged on. He deserved the victory showing how he has a very bright cycling future ahead of him.

Thor Hushovd (Cervelo) stayed with the yellow jersey (Nocentini) group to gain points to take back the green jersey from Cavendish. A little bit of a spectacle as the God of Thunder let Peter Velits (Milram) know a thing or two on sprinting etiquette as the Slovak beat the Norwegian in the bunch sprint. Hushovd screamed at Velits for taking a crucial point away for the green classification. It's a close battle for the green jersey and can you blame Hushovd?

*

This maybe the best Tour in memory for French riders, as Brice Feillu took third into Vittel. Already a stage seven winner he looks ready to move on to a new team in 2010, as Agritubel looks like it won't be back next season. Feillu is riding aggressively well moving up the standings to third overall in the KOM's competition.


Le Grimpeur Français...

Brice Feillu aiming high at stage 13.
www.cyclingnews.com

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

The Manx Missile Ties Barry Hoban.

A Dash to Success!
Hoban's sprints to his second consecutive stage win, 1969 Tour.
From: 'Cycling's Golden Age.'



A record was tied after today's Tour stage 11. The Manx Missile, you know who, tied the British record for eight Tour stage wins with Barry Hoban.

Hoban was an accomplished Tour sprinter and competed in 12 editions between 1964 and 1978. Cavendish only in his second professional season took his fourth stage from a ever charging Tyler Farrar. He looks destined for another with his seemingly tireless sprint. On the other hand, with the drama increasing, Farrar looks closer to a sprint win as his lead out guys; Millar & Dean took him within a bikes length to victory. Onward to stage 12 and we'll have another dramatic sprint showdown.


I'm sure Barry Hoban won't mind if the record's broken!


Look out! Here comes the Manx Missile!
www.cyclingnews.com

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Brent Humphrey's Projectletour.

One to watch.


I came across the interesting imagery from the 2005 Tour de France from the photographer, Brent Humphreys of Austin Texas. Interesting, due to the upfront and revealing imagery of both cyclists & fans. Nice that he uses the Profoto 7B flash equipment. Really, the industry standard gear for his portable lighting set ups. I like his clear, uncluttered simple photographic approach. And it shows in his candid work. I love film. Used to shoot quite a bit of it.

It's amazing photography considering he seems to be using film in this digital age!

Have a look at his unique view on the 2005 Tour de France:


http://www.projectletour.com/



http://www.brenthumphreys.com/index_content.html

Monday, July 13, 2009

Tom Simpson: (Nov. 30/1937-July 13/1967)

1966.
Simpson, Anquetil, Altig & Merckx.
Vincennes, France.




1964 Tour de France.




1966 Tour de France.




1965 World Championships.
San Sebastián.




1965 Giro di Lombardia.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Bib shorts, heat, tricolour flying, & Thor

Before bib shorts.
Hinault using those %#*!!! suspenders... at the 1979 Tour.
From: 'Fabulous World of Cycling.'



Saturday was extremely hot with the temperature climbing to 30 degrees C. It was perfect to try out my very first bib shorts from Descente and wonder why it took so long. My very first really pro shorts were made by Blacky. I remember that I had to hold them up by wearing suspenders. The suspenders became uncomfortable after a long hot ride digging into the shoulder and I'd be cursing with them on. Also, there was a metal clasp that rusted out with my body sweat and soon left a rust mark on my skin. Fast forward today and it's all one piece so comfy you can wear them for a long time and not feel fatigue.


The French are back!

Brice Feillu, first year neo pro with Agritubel, won his very first pro race on the mountainous stage 7. Only 23 years old he also put on the polka dot jersey a fine achievement for the tall & lanky grimpeur. Saturday's stage 8 gave the youngster a short stint in the polka dot jersey but was wrestled back by fellow compatriot, Christophe Kern (Cofidis). Thomas Voeckler took stage 5. And, to further fly the tricolour, Pierrick Fédrigo (Bouygues) outlasted Italy's Pellizotti to win stage 9's final Pyreneen stage to Tarbes. C'est beau!

Very good in green.

Thor, 'the God of Thunder,' Hushovd took over the green jersey from Mark Cavendish. Good to see him in the climbs and taking the immediate sprint points to move in front of the points classification. Eleven points up and holding on to the green jersey!






Because you must hydrate...after a ride!
Tailored made for any heat wave.
The fine; made in Montreal beer...
St. Ambroise Pale ale!

Friday, July 10, 2009

The Eagle of Toledo.




Yesterday, July 9th was the 81st birthday of the great Spanish grimpeur, Frederico Bahamontes.

Today, looking quite lean & fit for his age the revered climber last won the 1959 Tour de France fifty years ago. Along with an impressive six KOM jerseys and tied with Lucien Van Impe, Bahamontes was a cyclist that flew when the mountains appeared. During the 1959 Tour, he took advantage of the friction in the powerhouse French team between Anquetil & Riviere. He led through the mountains riding against Charly Gaul and winning the time trial up the Alp d'Huez. Moving within four seconds of the maillot jaune, Baha looked a threat. He now had to attack under the guidance of Fausto Coppi his manager. He eventually took the yellow jersey and rode into Paris as the first Spanish rider to win the Tour and winning his second polka dot mountain jersey.


Happy birthday Frederico!


1959.
The Eagle in yellow beside the Angel.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Throwing the hammer down for green!

The God of Thunder way!
www.rfi.fr


An exceptional stage six on the rainy roads to Barcelona with so many crashes it can only make a cyclist wince! I for one thought that David Millar's inspirational breakaway with 29 kilometres left made me want him to win. How brilliant it would be for Millar and his need for a win Garmins. At the post race interview, Millar hinted that he was going for a stage win sometime next week. No doubt about his abilities. I was a little surprise at his good form especially after the fine performance at the TTT. His legs came unglued when the pack caught him and suck away his last bit of adrenaline.

With Millar gone, I was on the edge of my couch as Oscar Freire took the lead out and my favorite sprinter, Thor Hushovd (Cervélo TestTeam) swung to his right and overtook him on the climbing finish to Barcelona's Olympic Stadium. What an exciting finish to a highly dramatic day. Cervélo looks good; a first ever stage win & the God of Thunder moving one point closer to attaining the Green jersey. Look out Cavendish. And what better incentive for the team to support Carlos Sastre in the mountains.

Hushovd said it best, "This victory was very important for our team. We're a first year team and we wanted to show people what we could do. The team gave me so much support in the sprints and now I only want to give back to help Carlos now in the mountains. I know I cannot take the last pulls on the climbs, but I will do what I can!"

Well said and the God of Thunder looks closer to wearing the Green jersey!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Garmin-Slipstream Service Course Centre.

Takin' Care of Business,
the very nice perks of a pro team...

Here's an interesting insider look of Garmin-Slipstream Service Course Centre byRyder Hesjedal!

Slipping into a solid second.

Tantalizingly close!




Yesterdays TTT stage was amazing as Garmin finished second overall with five riders. Exciting day for the Garmin's as Wiggins, Millar, Zabriske, Van de Velde & Hesjedal rode incredibly well. Hesjedal, not a time trialling specialist did his solid share of work to help support his time triallist mates. With his strong performance, Hesjedal catapults to 21st place overall.
David Millar said it best, "I'm proud of the way we rode today. It didn't get us to win, but there's a lot more racing still to be done."

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Major Tom's Tours.


Mr. Tom


With the Ventoux back in this year’s Tour, I can’t help but think of Tom Simpson. He died on July 13, 1967 atop the climb of the legendary volcano in what now is the famous black and white film footage we all know. Both gritty and tragic is what we have left of Simpson as he staggers before he collapses with mere seconds left. The most frightening moment in cycling history.

Currently, I’m reading the fascinating book, “Put me back on my bike. In search of Tom Simpson.” A well written and captivating biography by William Fotheringham. His 1962 Tour was both wonderful yet harrowing as he became the first Briton to wear the Yellow jersey. Although he wore it for one day he caught the attention of the European cycling world. And rightfully so. But his race turned sour as he crashed and lost third place to finish only sixth overall. His next three attempts at the Tour was laden with bad luck...

In 1964, he rode with a tapeworm weakening him to 16h overall. The following year, in 1965, a blood infection caused him to quit the race. During the 1966 Tour, a crash on the descent of the Col du Galibier had him abandoned in tears while wearing the rainbow jersey of world champion. As he entered the 1967 Tour, Simpson was determined to wear the Yellow jersey at any costs. Weighed down by chasing after a new contract for the following year, he knew that it was critical to win a stage & wear the Yellow jersey.

Simpson never finished that fateful stage to Carpentras.

The world lost a fine rider that day!



A smile in yellow at the 1962 Tour!

From: 'Cycling's Golden Age.'

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Big George on his 14th!

14 and counting!



George Hincapie, Mr. Consistent, has started in his 14th Tour de France. Hard to believe that Big George has starred in this great race for so long. If he goes another two years, he’ll tie the record with Joop Zoetemelk for the most Tours of 16!

There’s a first at this year’s Tour. Fumiyuki Beppu (Skil Shimano) & Yukiya Arshiro (Bouygues) are making history as the first Japanese rider’s to participate. Can these two talented riders make more history and score a first stage victory by a Japanese?

Ryder Hesjedal is the only Canadian at this years Tour. His form is looking good as he sped through the streets of Monaco finishing in 44th position. This is his second Tour and he will provide valuable support for his Garmin stars. At last years Tour he finished in a respectable 44th overall. Look for an improved overall placing and perhaps a victory in the Stage 4 TTT at Montpellier!



The original 'Mr. Consistent'...
Joop Zoetemelk holds the record for completing 16 Tours!


Rising Suns'...

Fumiyuki Beppu.


Yukiya Arshiro.



Ryder speeding towards 44th in yesterdays TT!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Le Grand Depart.

Merckxissimo!


This image is from Eddy Merckx's 1969 Tour de France where he dominated by winning seven stages & grabbing the Yellow, Points, Mountains & Young Rider jersey's! The great man solidify his role, in the world of cycling, as the best. He showed his talents bruising every rider after his legendary 130 km solo breakaway. The Cannibal arrived in Mourenx almost eight minutes in front of his poor rivals, winning the race. He also gave Belgium her Tour victory after thirty long years.

Let the Tour begin!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Tick-Tock Up Ventoux.

Julio Jimenez forces his way up the infamous Ventoux, Tour 1965.



Le Tour is coming. With it the usual exciting hype centering on Lance Armstrong and his very strong Astana team. Alberto Contador looks like the captain and the rest of the team will be working for him. He looks like the strong man to win after coming into late season form. However, three weeks is grueling and I can’t help but hope that another rider will upset the Astana applecart. Could Evans get out from his second place funk (2007 & 2008)? Or even better can Cervelo’s little Spaniard, Carlos Sastre do it again? It remains to be seen.

Ventoux is back. And we’re all glad that the Giant of Provence is included in this year's Tour. The big guns of the past have won it: Gaul, Poulidor & Merckx. And one of my favorite grimpeurs is Spain’s, Julio Jimenez. Nicknamed, ‘The watchmaker of Avila,’ before turning professional, quietly repaired watches in Avila, Spain. He discovered as a rider he had immense precision climbing mountains. During his racing career, Jimenez captured six King of the Mountains jerseys in all three Grand Tours. In the 1965 Tour he clawed his way up the infamous Ventoux chasing a strong Raymond Poulidor. He came in second behind Pou Pou, a scant six seconds behind. And gave his Kas-Kaskol team two stage wins and rightfully the KOM’s jersey. An enormously gifted climber, he would go on to claim a total of three Tour de France Polka dot jerseys’ in 1965, 1966 & 1967.

The stage to Ventoux will be a brute for all the riders and will ultimately decide who will go to Paris ….the winner!


Finishing in second.

1965.
The Spanish champion up in his element!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Delightful Date Squares on a 142nd Birthday!

A date to remember & celebrate...

...Happy Canada Day, eh!


Ok. I feel that I can't keep this from you folks much longer...

With the consent from Carolle here is her delightful date squares...


Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.


The Filling:

1 C. pitted dates.
The juice & zest of 1 orange.
1 C. of water.
Dash of salt.

Simmer and stir until it thickens and put aside to cool down.

The Crust:

2 C. of roll oats.
1 C. of flour.
1/2 C. of brown sugar.
1/2 C. of butter.
1/4 C. of oil.
1/2 t. of baking powder.
3/4 C. chopped walnuts.
(you may have to add more oil to have a nice crumbly dough!)


Now, we start with the crust by mixing together the above ingredients. Place half of the mixture by tapping it on a 9X9" baking dish. Next, spread the filling and add the last half of the crust mixture on top. Tap gently.

Bake for 45 minutes. Please notice my oven is on the old side and requires a longer time. Newer ones don't. You'll know it's done when it turns a golden crisp texture. Careful it will be very hot and it's time to cut it into squares! Let it cool down. At this moment I can't wait any longer and I must have a square or two or three...

Enjoy!

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