Aug 30, 2009

Seat of Distinction.

Twenty-two years old, and going strong.
My trusty companion!

I admire my San Marco Rolls Saddle. Going on strong when I first bought it back in 1987. The nera Italian is one comfortable saddle. It's gone through extreme heat to soggy rain always supporting my behind. A true friend.

Italian saddle maker, Selle San Marco started building their beautiful saddles in 1935. I'm not sure when the Rolls was introduced but it's one of the company's top professional saddle. Begins as a nylon shell then cemented with an high density foam padding extending from the tip to the back. The padding helps so well that there is likely no nerve damage to the rider. A stylish gold plated 'Rolls' logo is riveted on the back to hold the calf leather to the shell. Supported on steel rails that are brass plated to go nicely with the gold plate. A great fit and classy Italian finish.

For my next bike ...the choice is obvious!

Stephen Roche.
On top of his Rolls he rode on to win the 1987 Tour.
He's one of the countless pro's to enjoy the benefits!
From: 'Tour 87.'

Aug 29, 2009

The Ageless Sheffield Blade.

The Sheffield Blade going well at stage 3, 2009 Tour of Ireland.

Forty-eight year old, Malcolm Elliott has to be the oldest active professional rider. His longevity in racing against many of his competitors half his age is amazing.

Case in point: His brilliant stint this August at the Tour of Ireland is further proof that this man can keep ticking... like a Timex watch. He finished commendably in 21st overall. Not too bad for an old guy. But, he's not like any other old guy!

Malcolm Elliott out sprinted a certain Steve Bauer by just one second to win the gold medal at the 1982 Commonwealth Games Road Race in Brisbane. The talented Briton appeared destined to become a professional and broke into it in 1984. He was part of the first Pro British team to take part in the 1987 Tour de France. It was an financial mess as the sponsor pulled out and stopped paying the riders. Only three team members finished. Elliott finished in 94th overall. His nicknamed is, 'The Sheffield Blade,' known for his sprinting abilities that won him a huge amount of races. Joining the lucrative paid Spanish teams was pressure filled and rewarding. Stage wins and the point's competition jersey at the 1989 Vuelta added to his palmarés. But, it had to eventually stop.

At the age of 36 he retired from the sport he loved. Time off, six years to be exact, heals most wounds but it hurt to be away from racing. Elliott missed it and came back in 2003 at 42. In 2006, he became UCI road masters world champ. He's like the famous Timex watch slogan; 'It takes a licking but keeps on ticking.'

Move over Lancey!

At the 1987 Tour de France.

Aug 27, 2009

Pushed & pulled... in a good way!

My table for one, awaits!

Tuesday evening was my time to have it out with my Osteopathy practitioner, Anie. Her Vancouver company is called, 'Rodiera, osteopathy wellness art.'
As you may remember, a cyclist hit me about a month ago and I felt it was finally time to see her due to lingering pain.

Osteopathy combines holistic treatment using gentle manual techniques for the core of pain. Anie takes time to assess where the pain is and then goes into the troubled area with careful & attentive manipulation. She asked me to lie on the table as she pushed & pulled my arms, neck and back. I’ve never gone to a Chiropractor for the very reason that it can be quite harsh. Osteopathy is amazingly gentle, stretching the muscles. That’s the reason why I go to it. In fact, most professional cycling teams have an Osteopath on staff.

I mentioned last week I had a dreadful neck pain and that’s when I called her for an appointment. The night before I slept with the fan blowing in the bedroom. It was very humid and without the fan I would’ve melted. Unknowingly, I directed the fan towards me for relief and I further aggravated my neck muscles. So Anie deciphered it was partly due to sleeping with the fan blowing towards me. My muscles got a chill.

With careful attention, I’m closer to recovery!

Aug 25, 2009

La Vuelta with a slice of orange.

This Saturday's Vuelta cleverly starts with the 4.8 Km ITT on the famous motorcycle race circuit in Assen, Holland. First time outside Spain to give the race a publicity shot in the arm. And, with it is an old winner now back to prove that he belongs. I'm surprised as most folks that the disgraced Vino was allowed to return with Astana. Two years out for doping after the 2007 Tour made me realize that this talented rider will fade away. I was wrong. It seems to be an ongoing trend to re-market drug cheats.

The famous Assen motorcycle circuit for the ITT.

I'm looking forward to the race as three Canadians are ready for the Spanish stage. Svein Tuft & Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin) will be together for the one, two punch and I believe that the Tuft Canuck looks very good for a stage victory. Dominique Rollin (Cervelo) can also provide the needed horses for a stage victory. I'm crossing my fingers!

Three weeks will be anything but easy when the race hits Spanish soil as the route goes upwards. And with no Contador, Leipheimer & Sastre, there are a few good men out there. Cadel Evans will be the man to prove himself since his disastrous Tour. I'm hoping he bounces back and prove his nathsayers wrong. Spanish riders' will want to shine at their home tour, so watch out for the Euskatel-Euskadi pair of Samuel Sanchez & Egoi Martinez. And, Alejandro Valverde, although with a dubious past, looks a force to be reckon with. I like Damiano Cunego as a possible podium finisher but the Little Prince will need some luck and help from his World champion teammate Alessandro Ballan to succeed.

This last Grand Tour of the season looks exciting. Let 'em rip, La Vuelta!

Les Canadiens sont prêt!

The Tuft Canuck.

Mr. Consistent, Ryder Hesjedal.

Dominique Rollin, The Horse from the North.

Aug 23, 2009

What's inside the fridge?

I'm enjoying the stories with a Pale Ale friend!

After tweaking and raising my seat stem by 0.5 cm I can now relax and see what's inside the fridge. I'm having the very refreshing local micro brew, Bowen Island Extra Pale Ale and enjoying the well researched and the rather long titled book, 'The Tour Is Won On The Alpe: Alpe d'Huez and the Classic Battles of the Tour de France.' Writer, Jean-Paul Vespini keeps me reading with excellent documentation of the famous 13.1 km, 21 hairpins legendary climb. Every chapter covers a famous battle with a smattering of interesting and amazing facts & descriptions of cycling's ginormous prize. It's hard to put down, not that I want to..

So, I'm going back to this fine book with an Extra Pale Ale friend!

Aug 22, 2009

La Vie Claire 1984 - Hinault doing it his way!

Looking good with a fresh start...
New team and a victory in the 1984 Tour prologue TT!
From: 'Tour 84.'

After a successful stint with Cyrille Guimard's Renault-Elf-Gitane team, Bernard Hinault began with his brand new team for 1984. The Badger was hungry & confident to return after missing six months due to a knee injury. The team was out in the forefront under the guidance of the great eccentric Swiss coach, Paul Koechli. And, who better to back it up than millionaire entrepreneur, Bernard Tapie. Hinault signed a three year contract worth a whopping 10 million francs($1.14 million USD). The team was named after one of Tapie's chain of health food stores, La Vie Claire.

The team commissioned a designer from Benetton who came up with the eye-catching adaptation of Piet Mondrian's, Composition 'A'. An instant hit! Hinault beamed, "It was something of a revolution, which was just what we wanted. It was a symbol of our intention to stand out from the other teams and to brighten up the peloton. People were shocked at first but then it was widely copied, as you might expect, which just goes to show that there's nothing wrong with a bit of imagination."

The Badger even thought about details concerning the team bikes. When he formed his new team he founded his own club. He was the only member with a license. He called it Rainbow 80. Symbolic for his 1980 world championship win at Sallanches. In France, every rider must belong to a club. And, on the head badge of the teams' Reynolds 753 steel frames was chastised, Rainbow 80.

The Badger did it his way!

La Vie Claire at the 1984 Tour ...

Aug 20, 2009


Single Malt style.

One of the smoothest single malt Scotch whiskeys I've had the pleasure to taste is the twelve year old, Lagavulin Single Malt. It maybe quite awhile until my next wee dram, in the meantime I have this to remember it by!

Aug 19, 2009

Les Musette.

Battle To the Line Musette.

Today, my collaborative musette bag with Carolle of Galstudio has hit a great turn.

My cyclingart work of three different designs are on each snazzy musette.

We now have all three musettes and more cool cycling caps & pouches on sale at Super Champion Shop here in Vancouver!

The Time Trialist Musette.

L'hollandais 1959 Musette.

Vive le Tour!

The all too familiar blank stare...
There's plenty of riveting pain in Louis Malle's, "Vive le Tour!"

My eyes brighten up when I viewed Jason's fine Velorunner post about the excellent Louis Malle film, "Vive Le Tour." Up to this point, I've only read about this short poetic film of the 1962 Tour. I haven't seen it, until now. My next move was to borrow a copy of the video from the local library and I now finally have it!

This film is a definitive look at the 1962 Tour, both grueling and fun, with great music by Georges Delerue. The camerawork is dead on perfect as Malle negotiates wonderfully on the riders and spectators capturing Le Tour in it's greatness. It's not all fun and games as Malle captures the disappointments, too! Crashes, a doped rider, Rik Van Looy's sobering aftermath following a crash & the delirious journey of a hapless rider that refuses to quit. And of course, I love the old wool team jerseys of that time.

At only 19 minutes it's a ... Tour de Force!

Aug 17, 2009

Irish eyes are smiling!

Trying to follow in his father's footsteps!

Nicolas Roche is the son of the famous cycling champion, Stephen Roche. One thing is certain, dad followed his son during the 2009 Tour de France. Great family support in his first Tour. The younger Roche has placed in the top ten in Grand tour stages. Consistent enough and at the age of only 25 he has a promising future ahead. Will he reach his dad's star status?

Father said to his son, "The most important thing is to participate and learn."

Aug 16, 2009

"Denson... Café, Café!"

He'll be calling for a café soon...
No Coffee for the Emperor but definitely a Stella!

As I was enjoying a Tuborg, my reward after a good two hour ride, I was reminded of a story of how beer was used in context with the Tour de France. One guy who knew that a cold brew was an everyday race staple was the great Rik Van Looy.

During 1964, Britain's Vin Denson was hired on to work for Emperor Rik on the Solo-Superia team. Van Looy was notorious for cracking the whip and keeping his riders in line for him. He won a great many races under his authoritarian rule. Van Looy loved his beer, especially for Stella, and ordered his riders to go for long miles for his favorite beer. Denson once said, "You did whatever he wanted, including the fetching of beers, which he had great fondness for."

As the story goes, when Van Looy shouted, "Denson... Café, Café!" Denson would react and go to the nearest café and fill his bottle. Back in this time, it was customary for the domestiques to go café raiding. Everything drinkable was taken: beer, champagne, soda pop & mineral water. The shop keepers were more than happy as the riders stopped by only to be ecstatic to send the bill to the Tour.

Denson reached his thirsty captain and gave him the waterbottle. Van Looy had a good sniff felt the warmth and poured it on the road. One important advice no one told the young Denson, that café can mean beer as well as coffee!

Vin Denson.
That's Café, not Coffee!

How about a cold one?
A domestique at the 1965 Tour de beer.

Aug 14, 2009

Daniel Mangeas: Unsung hero revisited.

THE voice at the 2009 Tour de France: Daniel Mangeas.
He's the man that always has something interesting
to say!

Daniel Mangeas is the stellar voice to the Tour de France. The man has an incredible depth of knowledge and love for the sport of cycling. His voice is distinctive and he always supports ALL the riders; from the first place finisher right to the last place stragglers.

He's definitely one of the unsung heroes of the Tour!

Aug 13, 2009

The Animal.

Yellow jersey, 1994 Tour de France.

Sean Yates makes it stick on his standard road bike.
He goes on to record the fastest ITT & the first Briton to win one in the Tour!
From: 'Tour 88.'

Another Grand Tour success.
The Animal will win stage 12, 1988 Vuelta.

Sean Yates was nicknamed, "The Animal," for his hard riding style on the flats and fast descending. You might say he thrashed his bikes. After the 1992 Paris-Nice, his mechanic said that he was really tough on his bikes. A true hard roadman and very underated. It was never truer when he shone in his favorite Classics with many close finishes especially at the 1989 Ghent Wevelgem (2nd) and the 1994 Paris-Roubaix (5th). What he missed in the Classics he turned into big stage wins in the Tour de France & Vuelta a Espana in 1988. Yates produced an epic ride to record the fastest ever ITT in Tour history and became the first Brit to win one, all on a standard road bike. On the Wasquelhal course he was devastating unleashing with brute force an average speed of 49.237 km/h over 52 kms in 1h03'22"!

At the 1994 Tour, the Animal turned it up a notch on the leg busting 270 kilometres flat stage to Rennes. He was very close to winning that killer stage and rode so well to give Britain it's third yellow jersey.

His 15 year career was in the service as a domestique. He knew how to suffer. And, Sean Yates most certainly exemplified that role naturally!

The Animal on his way to yellow!
1994 Tdf, Stage 6.

Aug 12, 2009

All that glitters... The Galstudio Blog.

Carolle is so creative that whatever she touches turns to gold. Ok, not the actual precious metal but the alluring symbolism is there!
As all loyal follower's of my blog know, I'm showcasing her wonderful cycling accessories for sale on her Etsy shop.

I invite you to go to her brand new blog to read and view everything about her craft making. She's always on the go producing new fun cycling products to sell. Now, you can see what goes on in her inner creative sanctum. It might be revealing. And, you know it's worthwhile to check out what makes her tick!

Aug 11, 2009

Badger inside the fridge.

The only way to soothe a raging badger!

I'm taking the week off from work and finding loads of time to create art and read. I'm currently reading the autobiography from Bernard Hinault entitled, "Memories of the peloton." A book loan to me by Guy of the fame, Le Grimpeur blog. Interesting read on the escapades of the Badger as he grits his badger like teeth to recount his cycling days. I must say, Hinault writes like he raced. Simple and hard to the point. A straight forward compendium of his heroic cycling life. And, what could be better to have a beer with a hungry badger. That's the nice, crisp tasting local brew, 'Kelowna Pilsner.'


At Sallanches, France 1980.
The Badger stated, "The dream has become reality. I am world champion.
It was the most beautiful day of my life."

Aug 10, 2009

The Artist: Marinoni.

Honoring thirty-five years of exquisite hand-built bikes!

This year is the thirty-fifth anniversary of Giuseppe Marinoni's on going love affair with producing exquisite hand-built, hand-painted frames. The great man is now, 72 years young and doesn't look like retiring soon. Sure, he's slowed down, getting out in the mornings to put in his daily ride. He's a former racer from Italy moved to Quebec, married and settled down to open his frame building business. That was in 1974 and has since made well over 30,000 bikes, made to measure with Columbus tubing. Of course, to keep up with the fluctuating market demands he also uses carbon and titanium. But, his love is for steel the material that will always be in demand. These days, Signore Marinoni still hand paints every one of his coveted frames.

Located in Terrebonne, Quebec just a short distance north of Montréal. My 1987 Columbus SL is a testament to the understated build quality of the frame. It's more than wonderful how well my steel frame still rides the same as when I had it custom-made for me twenty-two years ago. I admit that having a custom built frame is the only way to go and having one from Marinoni brings that certain unique Canadien cachet.

Happy birthday to Cycles Marinoni... and many more!

Two Canadian greats:
Steve Bauer was one of the many pro's
that rode bikes made by Giuseppe Marinoni!

Second image: The artiste at work.

Aug 9, 2009

Rain, Café & Cherry Tomatoes.

Right off the vine, our first batch of beautiful cherry tomatoes!

This morning Gregory, Michael & I met at the Burrard Street Bridge for our ride to Iona Park. No dice! The weather turned nasty; with ugly dark skies opening up into a steady downpour. Solution? We managed to seek refuge at a close by Café Bistro. Ok, it's not so bad to curl up in a warm bistro sipping fine Americanos. In fact, it was better than getting soaked from the rainstorm. After an hour or so the rain never did let up and so I went back out into the storm for home. I joked with the guys that I imagine it a little like Paris-Roubaix. I came home, bike and moi completely drenched and climbed into a welcoming hot bath.

Now, that the bike is cleaned, from this morning's mini Paris-Roubaix, I'm watching the weather to try for a spin later. And, to give some nice color into a somewhat dreary day, Carolle has grown tomato plants on our balcony and now it's time to eat them. The cherry tomatoes are destine for dinner!

Aug 8, 2009

Winnen on Dutch Mountain.

Winnen pulling away for his first 'Queen!'

Historically, the Dutch have done very well topping the famed L'Alpe-d'Huez. It's both fascinating & menacing with an average gradient of 7.9%, 13 kilometres long, 21 hairpins & elevation of 1860 metres! I'm glad to be a fan. In 1952 the ski station rose to prominence as the great Fausto Coppi soloed to a monumental victory. And surprisingly, it took twenty-four long years to come back.

But, the Dutch soon arrived and have so far taken an astounding eight wins. Interestingly, Holland is a flat nation and doesn't have anything like this. Even the Dutch fans have taken the mountain to heart when their heroes, Hennie Kuiper and Joop Zoetemelk battled it out in 1976. An estimated 300,000 fans lined the fabled mountain and one in three were said to be Dutch fans. It's due to this remarkable run of success that it became known as, "The Dutch Mountain."

Peter Winnen became an instant Dutch fans favorite when he won for the first time in 1981. He returned, in 1983, to fight it out in a close slugfest with Jean-Rene Bernaudeau. The result; a repeat performance and a unique Dutch double. Today, Winnen has written an revealing account of his cycling days titled, "From Santander to Santander."

As far as I know this book hasn't been translated into English. And, I'm hoping (crossing my fingers) this desirable book will be widely available.

I'm ready to buy a copy!

The Italian Mountain, 1952 Tour.
The Heron leading the Goblin to the summit of the 'Queen.'
With 6 kms to go, the Campanissimo drops him and goes onto a famous win.

The epic battle.
Bernaudeau & Winnen (r) go mano to mano...
From: 'Tour 83.'

... Win-nen on Dutch Mountain!

Adding to the Dutch Legend, 1981.

Aug 5, 2009

Dutch Superteam.

Dutch treat towards overall victory.
Joop Zoetemelk powered his way in the ITT's!

At the 1980 Tdf, Joop Zoetemelk was riding his tenth Tour and already amassed quite an astounding record for five second place finishes. Together with Peter Post's TI Raleigh-Creda superteam, the Dutch squadra roared ahead after Bernard Hinault announced his retirement from tendinitis. That was enough for everyone to understand that total domination was at hand from the TI Raleigh's. They were well known for their TTT & ITT wins. Call it their eighties domination!

Twelve stage victories were achieved with blinding speed as Joop Zoetemelk's perseverance was finally rewarded!

Flying Dutchman...
Jan Raas on board his trusty 753 Reynolds TI Raleigh.

The Pra-Loup Stage, 1980 Tdf.
Watch as teammate Van der Velde loses his balance and takes out the Yellow Jersey!
After the stage, Van der Velde said, "I'm so sorry Joop!"
Zoetemelk reassured, "Don't worry it's one of those things!"

Aug 3, 2009


Clasica San Sebastian.
Ryder Hesjedal (watch him on the far right) as he rushes towards the line in fifth!

Canadians have a knack for saying, 'Eh'. According to the Canadian Oxford Dictionary, it's a truly Canadian term: 'Ascertaining the comprehension, continued interest, agreement of the person or person addressed.' (How's it going, eh?)
I use it, rarely but on the sly, just for fun. And it makes us just a little different from our American & British counterparts ... we like to be called unique, eh!

It all started off with this past Saturday's, Clasica San Sebastian in Spain. The weather was the thorn in many riders' sides as a few notable guys fell and DNF. As the rainy & slick conditions weathered many down, a few excelled. Spain's Carlos Barredo (Quick-Step) edged out Roman Kreuziger (Liquigas) for a sweet victory. My attention turned toward fellow Canuck, Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin) great post Tour ride for a marvelous fifth place. He was in the main chasing group only a scant seven seconds behind. Hesjedal looks set and very strong for better skies in the Vuelta!

Sunday's World Cup Elite Men Cross Country Race in Bromont, Quebec was stellar for Canadian champ Geoff Kabush. He won his first World Cup race in wonderful muddy & sloppy conditions applauded by yours truly. The badge of courage showing well as he crossed the line.
The Elite Women Race was almost truly Canadian as Catharine Pendrel snuck in for a fine third place.

This past weekend was an Canadian adventure on two wheels and in stereotypical Canadianism, I'd like to say, to all three riders' ... "Way to go, eh!"

Geoff Kabush 'takes off' at Bromont, Quebec!

Aug 2, 2009

Sasamat Treat.

Italian ice cream... Cheers!

Yesterday's 80 kms ride was a hot one as Guy, Gregory & I rode through the beautiful scenery of Belcarra Park. We had a good time meandering up hilly roads stopping for hot dogs as Gregory took a dip into Sasamat Lake. The temps reached around 30 degrees as we also stopped for a welcome Lemonade & ice cream break. It was a fun ride!

Entering Belcarra Park...

Up there w/Guy & Gregory.

One fine looking bog.

Customary coffee stop!

Our team issue bikes.
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