Jan 30, 2012

Azzuri Blue

Italy's Alice Maria Arzuffi

With the World CX Championships over, one of the flashier team kits, this year, are the Italians. The azzuri blue is the tifosi's favorite and mine.

Jan 28, 2012

The Gypsy at the Giro d'Italia

Roger DeVlaeminck was one of the most talented classic riders in history. Skilled in cyclocross, he expertly maneuvered over the cobbles of Paris-Roubaix to win it a record four times. Hence his nickname,   Monsieur Paris-Roubaix. He is one of only three riders to have won the five Monuments of Cycling. He shares this amazing record with two fellow Belgians Eddy Merckx and Rik Van Looy.

One of my favorite blogs, Jasons' Velorunner, posted fantastic images from the book, Roger De Vlaeminck by Kennedy Brothers Publishing, UK. It reminded me of my collection (1983-1989) of Tour books by the same publisher that I want to share.

Below are the only two images from the book, Tour 1984 (The Stories of the Tour of Italy & Tour de France) of The Gypsy. He was well known as a champion classics rider but he didn't do to bad in the Giro winning an astounding 22 stages (between 1972 & 1979) and 3 points classification titles. This was his last dig at the Giro supporting Francesco Moser before abandoning.

The Gypsy over the guard rail...

...De Vlaeminck (in front) waiting for Moser (far left) in the TTT.

Jan 26, 2012

Uphill Battle?

The Schleck's are wanting it all downhill
this year!

Hans sent me this link of the Schleck brothers starring in the the new movie, "The Road Uphill". 

I can't wait to see this... so for now, enjoy the trailer!

Jan 25, 2012

Chocolate Milk Envy

Drink your drink!

I'm reading quite a few articles online that chocolate milk (low fat) is a popular and proven recovery drink beating out the lights of some sports drinks.

The humble, affordable and tasty chocolate milk found in most convenience stores has plenty of research in favor of this idea. Here's an article from The Telegraph.

I'm not much of a sports drinker. I know there are benefits from it. But it's worth while to investigate further of the humble chocolate milk.

Studies suggest chocolate milk naturally has protein and carbohydrates that helps build lean muscle and provides fluids for rehydration and minerals like potassium, magnesium and sodium key electrolytes that are loss in sweat.

Importantly, consuming it within 30 minutes of finishing the workout. This is key. The longer you wait the more you diminish the effect of the supplement.

In fact, I bought this carton of 2% chocolate milk (image) yesterday to test it out. It tastes great just like I remember it as a kid. I've stopped drinking milk since my early twenties and just come back to it due to all the positive articles.

I plan to give it a test, right after a hard ride and look forward to embrace the health and low cost benefits from good ole chocolate milk!

Jan 23, 2012

The Flea of the Mountains

Tureba, the Flea, (left) bounding up the mountains.
1933 Tour.

At the 1933 Tour, Henri Desgrange introduce a category and prize that recognized those crafty riders that love the heroics of the mountains... the grand prix de la montagne.

Riders of slight build that excelled when the road heaves upwards need only apply.

Ever since 1905, big climbs has been part of the Tour as the riders were subjected to the Ballon d'Alsace for the first time. Afterwards, the spectacle simply went higher; the Chartreuse mountains (1907), the Pyrenees (1910), the Alps (1911). In the 1930s, Desgrange changed the format from trade teams to national teams thus helping to lure out top Spanish riders.

Vicente Trueba, riding as an independent touriste-routier, was adept at bounding up mountain cols like a flea. He did not win a stage but was first over the challenging Cols d'Aspin, Aubisque, Peyresourde, Tourmalet, the Vars, Ballon d'Alsace and the Col du Galibier.

I like his nickname, "The Torrelavega Flea", known to ride away from his adversaries as if he had an electric motor as legs. He was short and compact around 100 pounds riding a 18 inch frame. Back then, riders didn't use derailleurs. They used a double sided hub and had to stop to remove the rear wheel, turn it around for the desired ratio and put back the wheel. A time consuming, stressful way to race especially over unpaved roads, at times in atrocious weather during long exhausting stages.

Courtesy Willem Dingemanse

Trueba wasn't a good descender but managed to finish sixth overall and was the first winner of the grand prix de la montagne in 1933.

Too bad, he didn't wear the flashy polka dot jersey, as it wasn't introduced until 1975. It was sponsored by the chocolate manufacturer, Poulain. The Flea, bounding up the cols, would've looked even more flashier!

I wish he had the polk dots!

Jan 20, 2012

It's All About The Bike

If you haven't read, "It's All About The Bike", by Englishman and intrepid world avid cyclist, Robert Penn... please do.

Inspirational, captivating and just plain I envy this man for having the chance to go to many of cycling's major manufacturers to build his dream machine. It's all worth reading. Really, after reading it, I'm still smiling after his exciting journey to build his dream bicycle. 

In a way, I've gone through a mini-journey, myself, with my Marinoni restoration. A few bumps, here and there, nothing that we can't deal with, to restore my 25 year old two wheel friend. 

And, that's where I (let's include all of us cyclists) have a common bond with Mr. Penn that the journey on two wheels .... is by far the most interesting way to reach the end!

Jan 18, 2012

You Only Turn 25 Once

Feeling Blue.
image by Carolle Gallienne

I'm celebrating the 25th anniversary of my Marinoni ...in style.

I mean, there's a whole year to have fun, and one of the exciting events I have plan is to make a special edition cycling cap. I've already decided on the color, as close as I could get to it. Actually the fabric color is pretty close to the Marinoni medium blue. Add special detailing and if all things turn out on schedule, the launch date is ...next week!

Jan 16, 2012

Master Pepe

The master artisan, 74 year old Pepe Marinoni making
what he loves.
via cyberpresse.ca

Carolle discovered a very interesting French article of Giuseppe 'Pepe' Marinoni. And, thanks to her translation, and my archives, I'm able to present this post of the great artisan frame builder... Marinoni.

He's called nonno (grandfather in Italian) of handmade frame building in Canada. At the sprite age of 74, Giuseppe Marinoni is very active riding and building his famous bicycles. Not like and average man of 74, he's not the sort to spend his time in a garden. Oh no. He's as fit as any man half his age riding on average 9000 kms per year, sometimes clocking up to 100 kms at at time.

In 1964, Giuseppe Marinoni had just finished a race by the Saint-Laurent River. Luggage in hand, he was about to jump in a taxi to go back home to Italy, his old friend le pizzaiolo Fedrico Corneli, convince him to stay in Canada. Thankfully, he stayed. His calling was frame building. Growing up in the Bergamo region of northern Italy, he took apprenticeship from Mario Rossin, the top frame builder of Colnago.

In the 1960's he raced for the Italian team that paid an important visit to Québec. He met une Québecoise Simone, married her emigrated and then opened Cycles Marinoni in 1974. Since then assembling 35,000 bikes for Canada's best riders: Steve Bauer and Jocelyn Lovell.

Canadian Champion, Jocelyn Lovell apprenticed in Marinoni's workshop before introducing his Toronto made Lovell frames. I'm not surprised, his frames are exquisite and has that certain Italian touch.

One of his famous students...
Steve Bauer & Pepe

Over the years, many other riders have sought and straddled his famous bicycles handmade in Terrebonne: Connie Carpenter-Phinney, Tom Morrris, Beth Heiden and Andy Hampsten are just a few who rode his masterpiece bicycles.

This great man, has brought the old world of frame building to the relatively new world of Canada. After many years of building some of the finest frames in Canada, Marinoni has attracted a loyal following. I can say, Guy and I count ourselves among this group.

Marissa Plamondon-Lu, producer of the Montréal section of the Bicycle Film Festival and co-owner of Vélos Bikurious, has organized an exposition on Marinoni, the frame builder. For her, Pepe represents the romantic side of cycling.

Tom Morris with his Marinoni,
1976 Montréal Olympics Road Race (story here).

Marinoni is a true romantic, artisan of cycling keeping his business on a human scale. He says, "Bikes are not hard to make, but over the years, I found little tricks to better the production." Well known for producing steel bikes, the company also produces carbon, titanium and aluminum ...all custom frames.

Pepe tirelessly produces and paints around two hundred frames a year. Simone does most of the decaling (airbrushing) and keeps him in line. She actually airbrushed my name and the Marinoni script on my frame. A beautiful job.

A total of about 800 bikes are produced yearly in a efficient shop where Italian, French and English are spoken loudly. Keeping a personal, intimate staff makes for an enterprise uniquely his... small and simple. His son Paolo runs the business, after all, Pepe is 74 and deserves to be able to go out for a ride whenever he wants!

Jan 14, 2012

Celebrating the 25th Anniversary of my Marinoni

Marinoni Time!
Courtesy Guy Wilson-Roberts

This year marks the 25th anniversary of my Marinoni.

Last year, as my loyal followers know, I had my faithful Marinoni restored to a level that I'm very proud of.

I decided a repaint was over due and decided on the newly revamped 2011 Campagnolo Veloce 10 speed groupset. By the way, it's working impeccably. On my twitter feed, James sent me an very interesting article of his late eighties Marinoni for restoration and plans to build it with a mix of old Campy components.

It's funny, I stopped riding it around 1996 and basically stored it for about 11 years, even moving it to Montreal and back thinking one day that I would bring it back to life.

In 2007, I had it partially restored, adding new rims and just getting it back on the road.

But, I wanted more...

In 2011, I first heard of Cycles Marinoni offering to repaint it's old frames, I couldn't resist that calling. Looking at the rust spots, It really was in need of a repaint. I contacted the guys at Peninsula Cycles in White Rock. They would pack and ship off the frame, for the repaint, to Marinoni in Terrebonne, Quebec and afterwards build it.

I chose medium blue (sadly, no longer offered on their site) with white banding keeping the old script for the traditional look. My inspiration came from the Italian Ferretti team of the seventies, here. Where they used a striking medium blue on their De Rosa's.

You may have notice, I now have a link on the top menu with a concise collection of imagery about my restoration experience. And, on the left margin I invite you to go ahead and click on my Marinoni image to see the full restoration project.

A hearty thanks to everyone that helped make my dream project come true: Cycles Marinoni, Peninsula Cycles, Hans Sipma (studio images), Dave Harrison (for supplying the period specific Columbus stickers) and Carolle for her support and patience.

If you are thinking of restoring your faithful Marinoni, I hope my experience will help you further your own M experience.

Happy 25 Marinoni and many more!


Jan 13, 2012

Planet Merckx

In 1968,  Eddy Merckx moved to the Italian Faema team from the Peugeot team and it payed dividends.

Merckx praised riding in Italy, saying it was due to better structure, organisation and medical supervision. And, his domination really started with a huge win in the 1968 Paris-Roubaix. He would be the first Belgium rider to win the 1968 Giro d'Italia.

Wearing the World Champion rainbow jersey, Merckx was unstoppable. Unlucky Herman Van Springel was the only rider to challenge Merckx, losing in the final sprint.

Jan 12, 2012

Classy Merckx

The New UMX-S...
Simplify Beauty.

Inspired by the one-hour record in Mexico City in 1972, the gorgeous UMX-S by Eddy Merckx Cycles is breathtaking. Made for the urban cyclist, the hybrid single speed/fixed gear is complimented by brakes. The  bike honors Eddy's exemplary rides in the Molteni colors. Add a splash of pink (5 Giro's), yellow (5 Tour's), rainbow stripe (3 wins) and the Belgium colors are classy accents to remind everybody it's a Merckx.

The Old Beauty.

Will they make a classic multi gear, steel lugged, straight road geometry frame to further satisfy the fans?

We can dream!

Jan 11, 2012

The Barracuda Bites

Look out for the Barracudas!

Winter training for Christophe Le-Mével of the newly announced Team Garmin-Barracuda.

In six days, the Santos Tour Down Under begins the 2012 season and Garmn-Barracuda will be there with the new team kit (liking the name and medium blue). It doesn't look like Le-Mével is on the TDU team but I'm liking Ryder Hesjedal's chances of a stage win, perhaps the uphill finish in Willunga Hill will start off his season on a high note.

Fantastic imagery to get your climbing mojo going!

Jan 10, 2012

Forza!... Tifosi!

Finally! I had the chance to test ride my new Tifosi Forza Glasses!

I purchased these cool looking sunglasses over the holidays to replace my old Ryders. A very good change as my old Ryders were destined for the trash. A surprise break in our wintry grey forecast to a much needed sunny day got myself back on my Marinoni headed up my favorite Burnaby Mountain.

These Tifosi's (like the name) score huge points for lightness (I don't notice them on), fit/comfort and good looks. They are single lens glasses and protect for 100% of UVA, UVB and UV400 rays.

Kudos to Tifosi for a good, functional design and very comfortable pair of sunglasses, already my favorite pair. I have a different pair with interchangeable red lenses that I use on cloudy days.

And, one last bonus; they're included with the perfect hard case to keep the Forza's in good shape and a thoughtful microfiber cleaning bag to wipe them when dirty.

Forza!... Tifosi!

Jan 9, 2012

Quick Stepping!

Now, everyone don't lose your partner!

Teambuilding is vital.

Levi Leipheimer looks lost but then again they all look funny at the tug-of-war. 

Here is Patrick Lefevere's Omega Pharma - Quick Step team doing it ...together!

Jan 7, 2012

Star Quality

Bauer Power ...
in the Young Riders Jersey, 1985 Tour.
He will keep it for 17 days!

The first time I had the pleasure to watched Steve Bauer, was his convincing win at the 1982 Canadian National Championship Road Race in Edmonton.

Watching him control the race and zip up the steep Emily Murphy hill as if it was a training ride ... I had to do a double take. He dominated that race.

I knew, from that time, this talented rider was destined to ride, one day... the Tour de France.

Cycling guru, Fred Mengoni started his top level cycling team (G.S. Mengoni) lasting from 1981 to 1988. Steve Bauer, Leonard Nitz, Doug Shapiro were some of the top riders to wear the white and blue Mengoni colours.

G.S. Mengoni often went head to head with the 7-Eleven cycling team and won. An example is Bauer beating out Davis Phinney to win the 1984 United Texas Tour. Bauer shone brightly taking the silver medal at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics in a photo-finish with Alexi Grewal. Bauer's big star shone brighter still becoming Canada's first rider to medal (bronze) at the 1984 World Road Race Championships in Barcelona.

The World's best cycling team, La Vie Claire, signed him and he entered the big one, his first Tour de France in 1985. Thrusted into a top team to support Greg LeMond and Bernard Hinault, Steve Bauer didn't disappoint. La Vie Claire powered to win stage 3's TTT to Fougères and Hinault clinched his fifth Tour.

Steve Bauer's star quality quickly escalated with a fantastic and powerful hold on the Young Rider's White Jersey for most of the race finishing an exceptional 10th overall in his first Tour.

Jan 5, 2012

Colombian Heroes

Lucho Herrera...
 Hero Time!
Tour 84

Lately, I've been thinking about les grimpeurs of the Tour de France, the fragile stick thin riders that are a marvel to watch dancing up that mountain. The specialist climbers.

The Colombian national team were given an invitation in the 1983 Tour. The globalized Tour. Virtually unknown they gave it a go in their daunting first Tour attempt, with Alfonso Flores as captain. Before the race, some even considered Flores, the winner of the 1980 Tour de l'Avenir, a dark horse. Unfortunately, Flores abandoned but team mate, Patro Jimenez showed his gift for climbing. He would be the first Colombian rider to wear the coveted KOMs jersey, wearing it for five days.

I first watched the 1983 Tour out of curiosity and in 1984, I watched with interest, the savy Colombian amateur team explode as Luis Herrera won L'Alpe d'Huez. Becoming the first stage win by a Colombian, non-European, and amateur.

This is enjoyable footage I've never seen of the 1984 race by French television. The fact, the Colombians were viewed as exotic riders and blamed for their clumsiness was the on going perception at the time. Luis Herrera helped changed that... becoming a Colombian hero!

Jan 4, 2012

DIY Bike Stand

Image: Richard Lee

I talked to my friend Jim and I asked him whether he would like to make me a bike stand in exchange for work on his garage. He agreed, and soon we'll sit down and talk bike stand designs.

If there's one person that can create this, it's Jim. After all, he's a darn good wielder.

My DIY idea is for a portable bike stand able to set up quickly and be solid enough to hold my 20 something pound Marinoni. I'm already tired thinking of my next bike cleaning session having to squat and twist my body, in uncomfortable positions, to perform basic bike maintenance. 

Image above is my Marinoni frame at Peninsula Cycles starting it's restoration.

Below is an example of what it could look like...

Stay tune for further developments ...it's going to be fun project!

Jan 2, 2012

Fausto Coppi

The 1953 Giro winner.

Fausto Coppi died, from malaria, 52 years ago today.

Revered as the Campionisimo, at his peak the rider oozed style and greatness...

"It is proven fact that between 1946 and 1954 Fausto Coppi was never caught once he had escaped from the peloton."  Pierre Chany, Cycling Journalist.

The 1952 Tour winner.

"He seems to caress rather than grip the handlebars, while his torso appears permanently fixed by screws to the saddle. His long legs extend to the pedals with the joints of a gazelle. At the end of each pedal stroke his ankles flex gracefully, a movement that would be wonderful to analyze in slow motion on a cinema screen - all the moving parts turn in oil. His long face appears like the blade of a knife as he climbs without apparent effort, like a great artist painting a water color."  Andre Leducq, two time Tour winner."

When Fausto Coppi passed away he was only 40 years old. The cycling world is still in mourning.

Jan 1, 2012

2012: Passo di Giau

On top of my desk...
waiting eagerly for May!

Guy gave me an excellent New Year's gift in the form of a mini poster of the 2012 Giro d'Italia.

It really captures the beauty and grandeur of the mountains, inspiring to say the least with a cool pink rendering of the impressive Passo di Giau (jowl).

Stage 17 will feature four big peaks, including two over two thousand metres. The menacing and beautiful, Passo di Giau in the Dolomites will be climbed ...all 2,236 metres of it.

Five months and counting!
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