Sep 30, 2009

Steve Bauer: Silver anniversary victory!


Twenty-five years ago, Steve Bauer woke up a nation with his silver medal at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic road race. It was hot that July 29th day and I was glued, like most of us Canucks, to the TV cheering on this young man. I followed the upward path of this ambitious & talented rider. He was already more well known in America. Riding and winning many races for the famous G.S. Mengoni team. Steve knew of the famous & wise Fred Mengoni and smartly joined his team to learn the intricacies of bicycle racing.

His final surge to 'win' the silver medal was simply the turning point in Canadian cycling. The shot in the arm we needed. For a relatively small cycling nation we suddenly stood up and was noticed. And, he continue his success further when he won the bronze at the 1984 World Championships. We were euphoric. I just want to give Bauer's silver lining victory that importance it richly deserves. He was the pioneer paving the way for Canadian cycling. Bauer Power was born.

Today, Canadian cycling is doing quite well. Both men's & women's teams are achieving success on the world stage. In a way, Steve Bauer's victory was our victory. As heart wrenching to watch him miss out on the gold medal, we can be comfortably happy in the fact that Canadian cycling grew from that silver victory!

The start of 'Bauer Power!'

On the way to greatness!

Sep 28, 2009

Good'day, Cadel!

Evans chasing rainbows.

Congratulations are in order for Cadel Evans surprise victory as he won the rainbow jersey. Critics have written him as the man that can’t win. And, now the Aussie can answer back with true grit. His attack was right on the money, well timed. After the seven hour race he found that bit of extra to crush his opponents. Spoken like a champion. And barely half of the original field of 201 riders finished the grueling race. I was completely stunned, as most folks, of his win.

He ends his season on a huge high after a few disappointing near misses, notably third at this year’s Vuelta. Pressured filled him mostly from the press and partly self induced. At last year's Tour he batted away a reporter whose microphone got too close to his injured shoulder. Then helmet butting a tv camera. He exploded when a pedestrian got way too close to his dog. He barked, "'Don't stand on my dog or I'll cut your head off!" The stress was too much for him to perform on the precarious cycling stage.

Surprise even for the heavily favored Italian & Spanish squads as the enigmatic Evans jumped away to finish alone. The Aussie stole a sweet victory. Spain’s prestige was somewhat salvaged as Joaquin Rodriguez had to settle for bronze behind Russia’s silver medalist Alexandr Kolobnev.

Kudos goes to lone Canadian, Michael Barry for fighting on for a commendable 18th place. Svein Tuft & Ryder Hesjedal earlier dropped out. They'll be back.

I’m sure the Italian and Spanish teams are crying over spilt milk. Evans turned the tables on them as he is the first Aussie to be world road race champion. He finally found his pot of gold … with a rainbow jersey. And for the beleaguered Evans, this just might be a start to a new beginning!

Sep 26, 2009

Kelly in the fridge!

King Kelly + St. Ambroise beer=
I know the beer is a winner and I'm sure the book will be , too!

Before our ride out to Port Moody, Guy dropped off the much anticipated book "Kelly," by David Walsh. What better way to read about one of the best classic specialists with one of my favorite pale ales, "St. Ambroise" from Montréal, Quebec.

I've had this delicious brew numerous times, for the simple reason that it tastes great ... period. Although the Summer is over (sad truth), this delightful pale ale seems the right choice to combat the impending colder temperatures. This amber red beauty hits the warm spot. Today, the wind was biting enough reminding us that Fall is here. Even, I had my woolly knee warmers on for part of the way. Guy decided to go sans warmers. The undulating roads meant that we had to climb at bit, a welcome change! It may have been for the fact that the Men's Elite World road race was on our minds and tomorrow's Mendrisio course will be hilly and challenging.

Rain is in the forecast and it should be a good one!


Watch out for spider's in Port Moody!

Sep 24, 2009

Downward ho!

Risk taker in the rain...
Alessandro Bertolini showing his descending skills at the 2009 Giro!

Elite bike riders are an amazing bunch. Imagine racing down a mountain on your bicycle at sixty miles per hour. The pack precariously on ultra light bicycles with narrow tires as wide as masking tape with only lycra to shield one from a date with road rash. And just to make it harrowing is your trust in four thin brake pads for stopping power. Hit the brakes wrong and the rider will sing a different tune.

My admiration is for the riders' resolve. It's not mystical. Racing cyclists know that it's inevitable that they will fall careening fast downhill. Some have practice falling to avoid broken bones. These professionals all have one thing in common; they're all very courageous. A trait absent in most mere mortals.

Sean Yates was well known for his prowess going downhill. He was a big guy and wasn't the lightest rider. As he struggled upwards on a climb he would fall like a rock screaming confidently down. He seemed to read the road clearer. Yates called it "soft focus," the ability to see the whole road, all obstacles, while concentrating on technique. Perhaps an affinity for death?

Heroic ... I say!

Sep 22, 2009

Tuft's Going for it!

Last year's World ITT silver...
Tuft's going to defend it!

Classy rider, Svein Tuft's going to defend his silver medal performance when he lines up this Thursday at the World's ITT.

Good Luck, Svein!

Sep 20, 2009


Vittorio Alinari, 1895.

Robust and dynamic is the, "Cyclists," by Italian Vittorio Alinari. Experimenter in showing movement, the two cyclists are held at angle by wires. This amazing image was taken in 1895 with an 8X10" plate camera. A true classic.

In 1895, Fratelli Alinari started recording masterpieces of art and in 1892, shifted to reportage and documentary. The Alinari archive has the largest record of modern day Italy.

Sep 19, 2009

Seat Saver.

A new lease on life...
Mink oiled up & letting it soak!

Today was a new/old discovery with mink oil. 'New,' because I've never treated my leather San Marco Rolls seat. Ever. I know guilty as charged. And, 'old,' I used this mink oil for years on my Blundstones boots and not a clue about using it for my leather seat. Why now?

I noticed at the front tip of my Italian seat a worn leather spot. Roughly translated my cycling shorts, although fairly new, are beginning to show some wear. All leather is prone to wear & tear ... from neglect. Enter the wondrous mink oil. Did you know mink oil is the insulating fatty layer under the skin of minks. Use of this acts as a moisturizer which conditions, softens, and waterproofs leather.

I'm approaching twenty-two years with my dependable Rolls seat. And it's never too late to discover the benefits of mink oil for it will probably go for another twenty-two years.

Now, onto my Blunnies!

Sep 17, 2009

First Read: Tomorrow We Ride.


The golden years, the 1950s that is, were THE glory years of cycling. This book is such a wonderful read about Jean Bobet and his brother; the triple Tour de France winner & World Champion, Louison. A rare closeness of two cyclists: one the champion and the other an academic. Both with a common denominator: the passion for the bike.

The era was ripe for change. It was the time of post-war reconstruction and the French love for the culture of cycling. Jean Bobet is a maestro with words as he weaves through a fantastic time with the likes of: Coppi, Bartali, the two Swiss K's, Kubler & Koblet, Gaul & Anquetil. After reading this entertaining book I could finally see the men behind those great riders of the 50s. Those majestic poses & their actions reflect that of heroes and would be heroes, but all heroes in my book.

Jean Bobet summed it up so clearly, "We always understood each other best on our bikes. We had always needed a bike beneath us."

An inspiring read!

Jean Bobet...
'Le Professeur,' after winning the 1955 Paris-Nice.


Sep 16, 2009

World Time.

The little Prince is waiting...
& so are the fans!

Next week will be the much awaited World Road Championships on the rugged circuit in Mendrisio, Switzerland.

The Italians are eyeing a fourth victory in row as the Lampre duo of Damiano Cunego & Alessandro Ballan have quietly left the Vuelta to prepare. It will be a climbers course but you know anything can happen. The 'Little Prince' Cunego is a favorite coming off two challenging stage Vuelta wins. Looking certainly fit. He came second in support of Ballan in last year's World's at Varese. The Italia squadra always looks dangerous when the World's arrive and support is what they will have for leader, Cunego.

I'm liking the Norwegian, Edvard Hagen (Team Columbia). He's already won three stages at the Tour of Britain and would look worthy in the rainbow jersey.

The Canadian Men's team is ready for the World's, too. Michael Barry (Columbia), Svein Tuft & Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin) will be there & ready. And let's not forget the ITT as Christian Meier & Svein Tuft will vie for medals. Last year, Tuft was Tuft assuring himself of silver and he's certainly a favorite!

Sep 14, 2009

Congratulations Ryder!

Cheers, Ryder!

Ryder Hesjedal's huge win up the cat 1, Alto de Velefique climb has produce another unexpected reward!

Officials have announced that Hesjedal will be the first to have his name on a special plaque as recognition for his victory. Just like the famous Alpe d'Huez with each stage winner placed on the 21 switchbacks, this is added glory.

He's the first Canadian to win a stage at the Vuelta, a record. And to be named on the first plaque is truly fantastic.

Kudos go to the Spanish officials for this but the great honour goes to Ryder Hesjedal!

The sinewy Alto de Velefique...
history in the making!

Sep 13, 2009

Passing of the torch.

Moving on to Briancon, 1953 Tour...
After this stage, Bobet will take the yellow jersey!

I'm finishing up the fine book, 'Tomorrow We Ride', by Jean Bobet. He recounts with warm sincerity his days with his famous brother Louison. It got me thinking of the great French rider that won three successive Tour's from 1953, '54 & '55. He was the first ever to do this. Even so, the great Italian rider, Gino Bartali said after his famous 1948 Tour victory that Louison Bobet will one day be a winner of the race. Was it divine knowledge?

In the 1948 Tour, Bobet wore the yellow jersey with gusto taking it for nine days before losing it to Gino 'the pious' to Aix-les-Bains. Under the master, Alfredo Binda, Bartali won his second Tour. As for the young Bobet he put forth an important footprint for all to witness. He won two stages and finished in fourth overall. A future king in the making.

Fast forward to 1953, France hasn't won the Tour since Robic's liberating win in 1947. Now, Bobet was ready and also had a constant nemesis to contend with, painful boils. His doctor operated on him and he was ready to conquer the mountains. After Robic's nasty fall that caused him to drop out after stage 14, Bobet took advantage and won the Briancon stage and the yellow jersey. After six attempts, the Tour was his.

For Bartali, his graceful reign was over, at 39 years old, finished his 8th and last Tour in eleventh. A symbolic passing of the torch occurred. Louison Bobet stood as number one son marking the 50th anniversary of the Tour...

And, gave the French more reason to celebrate!

a la musette, 1953 Tour.

Frenchman in waiting...
The promising Louison Bobet at the 1948 Tour.

Sep 11, 2009



Ole Ole Ole Ole
Ole Ole!!!

Amazing truly amazing is what I can say after Ryder Hesjedal's (Garmin-Slipstream) mighty win in todays stage 12 at the Vuelta!

His climbing skills came to the fore as he out muscled David Garcia (Xacobeo Galicia) to be the first Canadian to win a stage at the Vuelta. Steve Bauer was the first Canuck to win a Grand Tour stage at the 1988 Tour de France.

It wasn't easy. For this vicious stage marked the first of three mountain stages. Including the tortuous Alto de Velefique, twice. How vicious was it? Three cat 1 & a cat 3 climb for a distance of 179 kms. I call it painful enough.

Hesjedal had what it took to win it. After stage 10s close second, the Garmin train took speed after team mate, Tyler Farrar won stage 11. Quite a race, so far, for the Garmins as Hesjedal's win is the second stage victory in a row! Further proof for Canadian cycling as we showed that we have the talent to win. His important victory will give a huge shot in the arm for Canadian cycling. Hesjedal is going very well and dare I say, the World's are coming up and the course looks well suited for him.

The last 4 km's...
Only Garcia could stay with Ryder!
All from:

Tonight, I'm proudly waving the Maple Leaf!

Sep 10, 2009

Sky's the limit for the Arrow.

Bring on the pave..
The Arrow will fly Team Sky!

Classic specialist, Juan Antonio Flecha will be on Team Sky next season. A good move for the 32 year old 'Van der Flecha' as he seeks out to win the elusive Paris-Roubaix. He's no stranger on the podium finishing second in 2005 & 2007.

One of my favorite classic riders, well known for his gritty love for the pave. Four years was enough at Rabobank and he's ready for a change. And, like any new change comes a new team and new hope. I certainly believe he'll bring the needed experience and motivation to the brand new team.

Flecha means, 'Arrow' and he introduced his unique victory salute in the 2003 Tour de France. As he crossed the line in Toulouse, he pulled his arm's to release an arrow from a bow.

Symbolic to be sure. When he crosses the Roubaix velodrome finishing line, this upcoming year, the arrow will be in the Sky!

Flecha shows his first Arrow at the 2003 Tour.

Sep 8, 2009

Very close...

Great stage win for Simon Gerrans but blazes that was close for Ryder Hesjedal!

Garmin Slipstream came very close in winning stage 10 to Murcia at the Vuelta. The team seems stuck for the big win with yet another second place finish. It was exciting to watch as Ryder Hesjedal lunged desperate towards the line just behind Simon Gerrans (Cervelo TT).

Canada's aggressive attacker, Hesjedal gave it a go and looked golden to finally bringing Garmin that elusive stage win. Boy was I praying for that! Ryder looks like he's having a good Vuelta, now lying in 54th overall and top Canadian.

But that finish was so close ... and soooo disappointing!

Sep 7, 2009

Gosta Pettersson

The top five, 1970 Tour.
(l to r): Zoetemelk (2nd), Merckx (1st), Pettersson (3rd), Vandenbossche (4th) & Wagtmans (5th).

This video is in Swedish and an excellent one on Gosta Pettersson. In his first year as a professional he showed his promise winning the Coppa Sabatini, Tour of Romandie & finished remarkably well to 3rd overall at the 1970 Tour de France. The following year he cemented his greatness to win the 1971 Giro d'Italia. He rode his entire professional career for Italian teams and excelled. Pettersson is probably the finest road racer to come out of Sweden!

Cruising with Gosta Pettersson.

Click below for the fine video...

Sep 6, 2009

Inside the fridge.

I'm more than watching this surly blonde canine.

There's a Surly Blonde Big Belgian Triple from Victoria BC's Phillips Brewing in my fridge. But, not for long. This dog has a very nice bite that you don't want to shake off. At 9.1% you'd want to hang on for dear life.

It maybe the perfect loyal sidekick to Jean Bobet's, "Tomorrow, we ride..." I'm also enjoying the book that I borrowed from Guy of Le Grimpeur. In case you don't know, it's a warm and insightful account of Jean, the brother to the famous first three time Tour de France winner, Louison Bobet.

Jean Bobet never achieved the huge magnitude of wins that Louison racked up but memorable is his thoughtful comment, "Tomorrow, we ride.... That's what my brother Lousion and I used to say as we arranged to meet; every day while we were racing cyclists, and then just on Sundays when we weren't competing any more. We kept riding until the end of his life, because even then - especially then, perhaps - we always understood each other best on bikes. We had always needed a bike beneath us."

Along with his love for the bike and especially the eye opening peek into the 50's great golden years of cycling, Jean Bobet has written an outstanding book. This canine barks of great taste and the book is simply...epic!

Sep 5, 2009

It's in the bottle ...again!

My new 'friendly' BPA free Sigg bottle.
I'm hoping the design is not just a clever disguise!

April of 2008, I posted on my discovery of the 'safe to drink' Sigg aluminum water bottle. It was a good motivating factor for finally freeing myself from the precarious relationship with the danger plastic. Upon further news that came from my brother, Sigg has issued a voluntary exchange program on all of their bottles made before August 2008.

Now introducing...
The new 'Ecocare liner' in pale yellow.
It's ok, I just rinsed it. That's only water drops!

The pre-August 2008 liner contain a trace amount of BPA. As most of us know, Bisphenol A is use to make polycarbonate plastics and epoxy resins. Ingested in certain amounts can produce some types of Cancer. The plastic scare took it's tow as many of us scurry to let go of our old plastic water bottles and make the switch. With clever marketing, by Sigg, they touted a safer bottle to drink from. And they profited big time! From 2006-2007, Sigg sales skyrocketed to 250%! Were we mislead? I say we were and there's a corporate blurry line here. Sigg claims they never marketed a completely free BPA bottle. I must admit I jumped aboard too, because of BPA.

The bottle I bought, I now learn, has a bit of BPA in it. Sigg didn't let us know that. What a mix up. The Swiss company is in hot water for not being up front with the info until forced, is not a surprise. They're back pedaling, now offering folks to return their old BPA bottle's in exchange for the newer BPA free one. Now why didn't they offer this at the start?

This morning I went back to the shop where I first bought the bottle for an exchange. They were more than helpful taking back my old Sigg bottle for a newer one. With caution, I will use the new bottle.

After this distasteful affair, I can't help but think that the clever 'green' company seems to have outwitted themselves!

My old BPA bottle...

...with the notorious copper bronze finish.

Here's an interesting link from CBC radio:

Sep 3, 2009


Canadien Dominique Rollin ...on!

Can a Canadian win a stage at the Vuelta?

The chances are getting better...

After today's Stage 5 to Vinaros, Spain was perfectly flat for the sprinters, like Dominique Rollin (Cervelo TT). He's one of four Canadians at the Vuelta and he thundered to a great 11th finish just behind double stage victor, André Greipel (Columbia). He now sits in 34th overall.

Rollin, 'The Horse from the North', is back from a virus that knocked him out for two months. He's back aiming for a win in the sprints. It's his first Grand Tour. And, after the disastrous crash on Stage 4, he's licking his wounds and savy enough to take on the best sprinter's.

The other three Canuck's are from Garmin: Hesjedal, Tuft & Meier all very capable of stage greatness. I can feel it!

Sep 2, 2009


The Super Corsa SL.

Cicli Patelli is just outside Bologna, Italy a maker of fine bicycles. This is from their 1985 catalogue. It's difficult to find any historical information or website on the company. These two bikes are beautifully crafted in steel. My first choice goes to the blue Super Corsa!

The Professional Eco.

Rollers anyone?

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