Nov 30, 2012

Friday File: Road Holland Den Haag

The cycling jersey is the ubiquitous fashion statement of every cyclist.

For when we get on our bikes and ride it is partly fashion.

Properly made, with the right material and concentration to details are factors that I deem important. Also, it has to look good too.

Enter Road Holland's Den Haag cycling jersey. Could it be fate, that I'm reading Gino Bartali and his exploits in the most interesting book, 'Road To Valor' by Aili & Andres McConnon? One legend that was ubiquitous of the Golden Age of cycling.

Putting the Class into Classic.

That is where Road Holland took their inspiration for this classic jersey. I'm happy they did. The well-thought out details are a 'fitting tribute' of that era; three-button collared closure, front bold white/blue stripe design on chest/sleeve beautifully stands out. My jersey is the Road Black. That suits my Marinoni blue nicely. The very cool two-rear pockets give it that golden age finish.

I'm loving the collar jersey. I never thought I would wear one, until now. A throwback to the golden age when cycling was elegance. The comfort is all Road Holland, the right mixture of 'luxuriously soft and highly-breathable Merino wool/polyester blend. And I'm thankful for the XS size, for me, keeping my aging yet 'slim' look going. This jersey is classic and will be enjoyed on and off the bike.

I say, an old style smartly executed... and I believed the legendary Gino Bartali would also approved.

Thanks to Jonathan and Richard of Road Holland for the Den Haag cycling jersey... timeless elegance!

Brown large buttons easy to open and close the two rear pockets... understated.

Bartali & Coppi...
Elegance on the bike!

Nov 28, 2012

Marinoni Sets the Hour Record in Style!


Giuseppe Marinoni created a huge mark, set on October 20th, by riding to a new world hour record at 75 years old. More images on my last post.

Here is a wonderful documentary of him training for the hour record in Italy. The hour record was set in Brescia, Italy.

His new world hour record (74-79 age group)!

Nov 26, 2012

1971 Tour: Give me that jersey!

(l to r): Joop Zoetemelk, Eddy Merckx and Gosta Pettersson.

Although I love presenting some of the more heroic images of cycling, there's always the odd non-cycling image that requires some attention...

I admit I'm late in presenting this fun image from the 1971 Tour de France and it's not due to Eddy Merckx or Joop Zoetemelk. It's really because of the third rider. On November 23rd it was the 72nd birthday of the great Swedish rider Gosta Pettersson.

This is, of course, one of those candid moments before the start of the stage. I don't know which stage it is. One thing I find quite funny, more so the smiling Zoetemelk and Pettersson trying to grab the yellow jersey off Merckx. It never did happen as the Cannibal did everything in his super human powers to keep it on to Paris.

Gosta Pettersson turned pro in 1970 at age 30. A late bloomer. He was third in the 1970 Tour and rode to prominence winning the 1971 Giro. He did shine brightly as an amateur. During 1967-69, along with his brothers: Erik, Sture & Thomas won the World Amateur Championships in the 100km Team Time Trial. Add to that; a 1968 Olympic Silver (100km TTT) and Olympic Bronze in the Men's Road Race. An amazing record before he turned professional.

Joop Zoetemelk, wearing the white combination jersey, finished second overall. Gosta Pettersson (Ferretti), in May of the same year won the Giro but abandoned this his final Tour.

You may wonder does the white jersey signify the leader of the young rider classification? No, not always. From 1968 to 1975 the white jersey was the combination classification. The best rider in the overall, points and climbing classifications. In 1975, that was dropped and replaced by the Best Young Rider Classification. And, by the end of the 1971 Tour, Merckx was so superior he won the combination classification. He had the last laugh.

Nov 25, 2012

On the Road to Valor

It's that envious time of the year where one may, and often happens, gives in to one of the many new cycling books on offer.

I've patiently waited for my copy from the library and now rewarded with; Road To Valor: A true story of World War 2 Italy, the Nazis, and the cyclist who inspired a nation by brother and sister, Aili and Andres McConnon.

If one was a casual cycling fan loving the contemporaries of cycling then I would suggest, at a heartbeat, this well written historic account of Gino Bartali. His world was old Italy, Tuscany where he discovered the love for the bicycle. He grew up in a world of bicycle myths;
a prominent French doctor claimed the bicycle posed serious health risks, especially ridden after sexual intercourse. A famous criminologist suggests that physical exertion required to propel the bike could "stimulate criminal and aggressive tendencies." Thankfully, all proven wrong.

But, here is where I begin to understand the great Tuscan, the well-know cycling hero and the wartime hero. It's captivating reading. But, that is where I will stop writing this post and continue reading this masterful account of the great Italian hero.

Nov 23, 2012

Friday File: Resting with Anitbiotics & Fluidity of the Eagle

1954 Tour...
Fluidity of the Eagle!

Hard to start Friday File but here goes...

It will be a short one.

I'm loaded with antibiotics (a pill per day, that is) after being diagnosed with bronchitis!

A first for me. I noticed it some two weeks ago as a cold. Then it vanished and reappeared last week as a chest cold. I surmised last weekends craft show was the key to unlocking it as the days were long (4 exhausting ones) and over 9000 shoppers later. Carolle mentioned an infected shopper past her by and apologized for being ill. I wonder why people do this and willingly or unwillingly spread germs.

I thought it was a stubborn flu, it is the season. And, frantically I tried almost every over the counter medicine available... with no results. Imagine, if I had gone earlier to the doctor, diagnosed correctly,  I would be recovered. Of course, that's in hindsight.

The fact is, that I never get sick. Not this way. And, even Carolle has bronchitis. It's not easy that both of us are down.

My health isn't the only thing compromised. My riding is non-exisitent, too (three weeks without, ouch) and the only bike maintenance is removing my pedals making it ready for eventually new ones. I'll also be picking up a few tasty cycling morsels and have made an extensive list. So, as I try to recover and try to ponder the vast amount of winter cycling caps ahead to make, there's not much else for me to do but to get better and to re-check my list.

What can be better than this image of Federico Bahamontes, in the 1954 Tour, scaling the alps in his fluid climbing style. His first attempt at the Tour de France and he performed well. He finished 25th and won his first KOMs classification. A start to his climbing greatness.

Nov 21, 2012

King of the Spanish Mountains Retires

Embracing a Spanish Affair
photo: Unipublic

Sadly, we won't have the pleasure to witness French climbing ace, David Moncoutie try for his fifth KOMs classification in next season's Vuelta.

He announced his retirement after 15 humbling years in the service for Cofidis. Unusual, where the average rider can ride for many teams in the span of their careers. He is 37 years old, is it time to go? Don't say that to Jens Voigt and Niko Eeckhout.

In 2010, he hinted of retirement. After 11 consecutive Tour de France finishes (2 stage wins) he unceremonious crashed on the descent of Col du Grand Cucheron breaking his collarbone. That was in July. He abandoned his final Tour. However, there was no way the Frenchman was going to stay away from his beloved Vuelta.

No. 4 KOMs, 2011 Vuelta.

Moncoutie really was in his element in the Spanish mountains. Rarefied air for a climbing specialist. He is tied for consecutive KOMs wins, the standing record is four in a row, set by Gino Bartali and Manuel Fuente at the Giro. His Vuelta KOMs record is: 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011 including four stages.

Unfortunately, his Spanish high affair stopped. He could only managed 10th in the KOMs classification and no fifth consecutive stage win. As it stands, there remains one 5-time KOMs Vuelta winner Jose Luis Laguia.

Known for being humble and modest with no pretensions for bike technology and a rider that likes 'to be on my bike and to ride. That's when I'm happy.'

Thanks for the high memories!

Soaring up there in the Tour!
photo: AFP/Lionel Bonaventure

Nov 19, 2012

1984 Olympics: Power to the Sprint

Power to the Sprint.
photo: J. Merrithew

As you know I have a love for cycling history and it's great riders...

Once again, I delve into the past and here's a stunning photo from the 1984 Olympic road race in Los Angeles. This is the final sprint in a long hot day, with just metres to go with the finish line in site (blurry white line).

That's the two stars of the day deciding the gold medal. Alexi Grewal and Steve Bauer. I must admit, seeing this brings back a flood of memories bad and good. Bad: Bauer lost. Good: a great launch point for Bauer's cycling career and a surprise gold medal for Grewal.

All in all, one the most exciting road races I ever seen.

Nov 17, 2012

Photo from the 1953 Tour

A climb with the Cross.
photo: Frank Scherschel-Time & Life Pictures

Here is a fantastic image from the 1953 Tour de France.

A little background...

The Tour celebrated it's fiftieth year with the introduction of the new points competition, le maillot vert. Switzerland's Fritz Schaer won the first two stages and held the points competition and general classification. By stage 11 he lost the yellow jersey but earned the title as the first winner of the points classification. Louison Bobet won this Tour on his sixth attempt. Whilst the French star was on the rise, an Italian star was ending. Gino Bartali finished his last Tour in eleventh.

An added bonus...

Vive le Cinquantenaire!

Nov 16, 2012

Friday File: Inflation & Championnats

Belgian Maurice Blomme inflates his tyre,
1950 TdF 

Friday time...

Good tyre inflation is so important part of bicycle maintenance, handling and safety. Every cyclist should know to check and inflate their tyres properly before each ride. In fact, I'm planning to buy a set of tyres for the winter. That means prudent research, and I must admit budget is an important factor when considering which tyre I decide on.

I now ride on clinchers. In the far past I used to ride on Tubulars. Not anymore. Makes sense to go clinchers due to cost and convenience. When I first competed it was tubs, clincher technology wasn't as it is now. And, now technology has moved along quickly to almost match tubs. Higher end clinchers can handle the same psi as tubs and are constructed with the same TPI (threads per inch).

I will stick to clinchers and have narrowed it down to Vittoria's. I haven't decided on the model but I'll go for something with tread to put a bite into winter's grip. My Marinoni is badly in need of full fenders. It doesn't have eyelets and it's low clearance. Perfect for Crud Roadracer Mudguards? Stay tune...

Seventy-five years ago...

Nov 14, 2012

Tenacity of the Badger

Bernard Hinault, aka the Badger, turned 58 years old today!

One of the great champions of cycling. The Frenchman is one of only five cyclists to have won all three Grand Tours and greater still, the only rider to have won each more than once. However, this living legend is not only famous for his Grand Tour victories but also his classic and single-day races.

The list is extensive, in fact, I just want to celebrate his birthday with these fantastic images from his storied past. A past that made him one of the toughest riders to race a bike... Joyeux anniversaire Badger!

His extensive palmares.

1977 Paris-Nice

1982 Tour de Tenacity

1980 Giro...
grinding up the Stelvio.

1981 Tour

1984 Tour

1978 Tour...
Badger fun with Bernard Thevenet.

One for the home fans...
Hinault vs Fignon

1986 Coors Classic

1986 Tirreno-Adriatico,
his final professional season.

Nov 12, 2012

Musette Caffe, Red Dots Cycling Caps & Rigoberto Uran

Uran making the brew last June!

I'm back from an intense four-days of the Make it Show. And, I feel that I left the blogosphere world and entered another world. We don't do many craft shows but one thing I can say is that it was an amazing experience meeting folks, both new and returning customers for our Red Dots Cycling caps and inner tube accessories. By the sheer massiveness, Make it is ramping up to become the indie craft show in Vancouver. About 9000 crazed shoppers attended the four-day show where we almost sold out our entire winter cycling cap supply. The most ever, in our third appearance.

This morning I received an email from Thomas of Musette Caffe asking me for promotional cycling caps for a special project he has planned for this week. If you don't know, Red Dots Cycling's winter cycling caps are now available at Musette Caffe/ Raiment Cycling Clothing. A great combination of the important beans, bikes and high end cycling clothing awaits all cycling fans. Hint: Christmas is coming!

In fact, I'll be dropping over tomorrow afternoon with some caps and chat with Thomas. As Musette Caffe is Vancouver's favorite destination coffee spot for many cyclists (I myself included) a certain famous Team Sky rider, Rigoberto Uran graced their premises last June.

Stylish in the maglia blanca
photo: teamsky

I'm reminded of the Velonation article as the talented Colombian has stated he is 'very happy' with his 2012 season. He had a fine start to the summer with a solid seventh in front of compatriot Sergio Henao (ninth) in the Giro d'Italia also securing the white jersey. He took a deserving break and travelled here to see his girlfriend, who is attending school. I didn't get the chance to meet him but pictures were on their Facebook page of Uran riding up Cypress Mountain, making coffee and generally enjoying himself.

His success continued with a silver medal in the London Olympic road race, 29th place in the Vuelta, 1st in the Giro del Piemonte and 3rd in the Giro di Lombardia. He's a fantastic rider and good news, he will return for year number three with Team Sky where, I predict, his success will be even more... SKY HIGH!

Nov 9, 2012

Eddy Merckx

King Merckx, 1969 Tour.
photo: Presse Sports

"God did not create the Pyrenees to separate France and Spain, but to set the border between 
non-climbers and climbers"

C Laborde

Nov 7, 2012

Busy from the Daily Race

Aad van den Hoek taking a short 'break'.
photo: Cor Vos

For the next four days I'll be busy at the Make it show selling our Red Dots Cycling products. I'm sensing it will be a wild affair, Christmas shows often are. So, that means with our careful preparation over, now it's showtime. I'm looking forward to a profitable time. Meanwhile, I'll use this image as a metaphor.

That's Aad Van Den Hoek of the famous winning Raleigh Creda team, going back to the team car for a little advice or is it reassurance? I love this image, of the steel Reynolds 753s lovingly equipped with Campagnolo, very classy. Whilst the race can often times be chaotic and unpredictable, one sometimes need to take a 'break' and that may mean following another strategy. That's what I'll be doing, getting out of the daily race... for four days. So, my next four days will be busy ones and my posts will be curtailed... momentarily.

Nov 6, 2012

Dutch Mountain: Winning Winnen

Onward to his first l'Alpe win, 1981 Tour.

The 2013 Tour de France will be special.

It's the centennial edition and the big party will be held entirely in France. It will begin on the French island of Corsica on June 29 and end with an evening finish on the Champs-Elysees on July 21. The most significant change is stage 18, the historic Alpe d'Huez is back, not once but twice. The first passage to the top of Alpe d'Huez will take place 50 kms before the finish at Alpe d'Huez. It's 21 steep switchbacks will be climbed twice... the true test.

The Tour first visited l'Alpe back in 1952, won by the elegance and class of campionissimo Fausto Coppi. Alpe'd'Huez is the 'Dutch Mountain', a Dutchman having won eight of the first 14 finishes.

Two-time winner, Peter Winnen triumph in 1981 and 1983. In 1981, his first attempt in theTour, Winnen had a special bike delivered to him the morning of the stage. A lighter version Koga Miyata was delivered to him at the stage start. Winnen made good and rode it to victory.

Peter Winnen's 1981 Alpe d'Huez winning Koga Miyata displayed
in the Koga canteen.
photo: Ben Atkins/Cycling News.

Here's an except from Cycling Sport with Peter Winnen and his take on twice conquering L'alpe d'Huez!

Were you surprised to win in 1981 at your first attempt at the Tour?

Yes. It’s funny, because I had more difficulty winning when I was more experienced. I guess I hadn’t learned enough to lose when I was a new pro. When I was young I just raced. When I got older I thought more. Always a bad thing for a cyclist to do.

What sticks in your mind the most about the first time?

The pain. It was so hard, so hot. And I remember the smell of a barbecue. Everything else was just noise and a blur of people, the motorbike engines, the clattering helicopter. Too much for your senses to focus on, except for the smell of this barbecue. And then I remember looking up and seeing Alpe d’Huez, just some grey buildings against a blue sky, like a mirage.

When did you start to feel confident that you would win? 

I had time checks from my team manager Walter Godefroot, but you can’t really concentrate on what people are saying to you. Managers like to give you advice, but you can’t focus on it, it’s really just something for them to say so that they feel they are helping. After the last bend, when the road becomes wide, I began to believe it was possible then.

What about the second time, in 1983?

That was different. There was plenty to focus on because I had company all the way to the top, and in the end I was in a fight right to the line with Jean-René Bernaudeau. We rode hard and dropped the others from our break. After that it was more tactical.

It looked a pretty desperate sprint between you two at the end 
It was. I didn’t feel good, we were both tired. Sprinting for the stage on Alpe d’Huez is a tough job. It must have looked strange, us, two non-sprinters slowing down and looking at each other. I must have had just a little bit more left inside me than Jean-René.

And, lastly a very interesting post on the history of the legendary Koga Miyata, the bike company.

Edging out Jean-Rene Bernaudeau... 1983 Tour.

Nov 4, 2012

She Told You So

Betsy Andreu
Photo: Brian Widdis

It's Sunday and I trust most of you enjoyed the extra hour of sleep. How about a feel good cycling story during this trying time? Have a look at this revealing video from CBC Sports' Adrienne Arsenault on Betsy and Frankie Andreu's disturbing rough ride and... joyful vindication.

Here's an excellent story on her perseverance and fortitude, read here.

CBC's video here.

Nov 2, 2012

Friday File: Steve Bauer, Greg LeMond & Back to France

Steve Bauer...
back in the 7-Eleven days.

Since the surprise announced retirement by Sean Yates from Team SKY, David Brailsford and staff is busy looking for a suitable replacement. One famous name, I read online, was Steve Bauer the legendary TeamSpiderTech director sportif. As SKY goes through changes Bauer's TeamSpiderTech is also changing. On the cyclesportmanagement website... "They will postpone racing activities for the 2013 season and use the upcoming year to focus on acquiring additional corporate sponsorship."

The bottom line, Bauer is focused on jumping to the WorldTour in 2014, competing in the premier races including the Tour de France. That means, the need to acquire additional financial partnerships the reach this goal.

Bauer in his last year as a pro...

Rumour? Very likely. I can't see Bauer having a season devoted to Team SKY, and at the same time, handling the stressful role to acquire corporate sponsorship for his 2014 WorldTour goal. What I discovered, interestingly, is that at one time Bauer turned down a chance to work with Team SKY Procycling.

Going over the Tourmalet, 1989.
Today, Greg LeMond remains as the only American to win the Tour.

Vive le France...
For the first time since 2003, the centennial edition will stay in France.


Have a good riding weekend... wherever you're going!

Nov 1, 2012

Paris Roubaix 1985 Muddy Marvelous

There's no denying my favorite race is the clash of Paris-Roubaix.

One image, amongst so many, stands out is this image from the 1985 mud bath. I remember watching CBS Sports' dramatic imagery and the overly-dramatic John Tesh saying, 'Kelly... wearing his goatee of firth, which he has become famous." Memorable for sure.

Also memorable was the weather; just plain wet turning the narrow roads muddy and slick. Sean Kelly famously said, "A Paris-Roubaix without rain is not a true Paris-Roubaix. Throw in a little snow as well, it's not serious."

We associate Paris-Roubaix with the rain, the additional difficulty created by the rain that draws us to it.  

Appropriately called... L'Enfer du Nord.

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