Showing posts from June, 2011

Photos of the day: Biquet, and 1947

I've got a small dog at home.  A Miniature Dachshund, Jake.   He's a good little dog, but he's got a big bark, and thinks he's a big dog.  He'll go tearing after the pit bull next door like it's nothing.   Flahute dismissively tells him he's got 'little man's disease'.... "You're just a little dog, who thinks he's a big dog." Jake just says, 'Oh yeah, what about the  Tour de France, 1947 ?' The war was over.   Breton climber Jean Robic, a tiny 5' 3" (161cm) man with an enormous heart, started as a favorite only in his own mind. This rider they also called Tete de Cuir - 'leatherhead' for his use of a leather crash hat at a time when caps were de-rigeur, was notorious for his verbose bragging.  Understandable, for he'd often been told he'd didn't have the stuff to be a pro.    He wasn't popular in the peloton.   But he was doggedly stubborn, brash and loud.   Le biquet they cal

Photos of the day: Shay Elliott. The original Flahute Irlandais.

"Make sure you bring him here tonight." (Poor bastard, he never knew how close he was to getting whacked...) I'm still fuming over l'affaire Aspen . Especially now that it seems that the Cache Cache restaurant owner had phoned Lance to tell him Tyler was dining on premises (latest twist in the story flagged by our eagle eye Dr. Brad here ). All it needed was Robert De Niro saying to Joe Pesci  'we'll keep him here till you get back.' Gets me thinking about the unfair reality that behind every superchampion , lies a lesser-known man who sacrifices blood, sweat and tears to put him in a pastel jersey.   Put him on a podium.  And of course, put riches in bank account.  Riches that don't seem to trickle down.   Never seemed fair to me.  But then again, I never did buy into the domestique concept myself.  Not that I don't immensely respect those who do the job.   It's so much harder to suffer for someone else than it is to suffer for your

Sleep? It's overrated.

This story starts, like most good tales do, in a pub, over beers, with some blarney between two Paddys. It was last Wednesday after the Ninigret Crit, and Keith " Coppi " Kelly, after riding off the front for most of that event, was trying to figure out how he could logistically get to the Housatonic road race on Sunday, after flying back into Boston late Saturday evening from a promotional commitment in Chicago. He figured he'd only get about 3-4 hours sleep.   "Nah, won't be worth it."   Joe Savic and I tried to convince him that he needed to make it to this race that would surely suit his characteristics. "Bah!  Sleep?"  I teased him, "is totally overrated."     And then I proceeded to bait my mate with the long-winded tale of the greatest sleep deprived performance in cycling history. I'm talking about Jacques Anquetil's 'double' in 1965:  When he won a hard fought 8-day Dauphine Libere stage race over Raymo

Fast Eddy's rant du jour: 5 statements of the obvious

Hoi flahutes!  Been head down and flat out for a few weeks, but time for a rambling rant of a post.   The theme of this one is '5 Statements of the Obvious' 1. Bronchitis sucks:  Achilles has his heel, and Fast Eddy has his lungs.  Bronchitis and lung issues - what me ma always called the 'Irish affliction' came calling about a week after my Sunapee ride.   One day I was doing hill repeats like Lucien van Impe.  Next morning I had a sudden chest infection, was wheezing and gurgling, and riding was out of the question.   What followed was a week of that familiar, dreaded routine.  The dance with defensive primary care providers in an infuriating ritual to jump through the hoops required to get antibiotics.  (Funny how millions are spent advertising medications on TV for impotence and depression, but when a guy who gets bronchitis needs a Zpak, you need to grovel before the gatekeeper to the altar of defensive medicine.  It's like you're asking for the crown je

Bah! Kids these days...

"I think the boom in the economy affected things a lot. The Irish riders of the past few years are just not hungry enough, and things have got a lot easier in life. Back then...we had to pack up in February and go to France, find a team and come back nine months later. There was no flying back and forth; it wasn’t possible. Now, riders come back and forth, and young riders ask for too much. We even get riders at the team house who can’t boil an egg; they can’t even use the washing machine. They’ve been too well looked after, and it says a lot."                                                                        - Sean Kelly, VeloNews interview May 16, 2011 Thanks Sean.  Nothing like my main man to snap me out of post Giro d'Italia detox.   My family was starting to get a little concerned that it was affecting me a little too much... For the entire month of May, the Giro d'Italia provided the media its annual opportunity to bombard the faithful with all the se

Tour de Luxembourg prologue: Where history still matters.

Superbe course for the prologue yesterday in the Skoda Tour de Luxembourg. But even cooler (to an old guy like me anyway) is the fact that it was held in a venue, during a week which once again demonstrated how the rich tapestry that is european cycling seamlessly maintains important historic threads.   In Europe, times may change, but the roads that champions race over maintain connections over generations.  And champions from generations past, are remembered.    And that's the way it should be. Check out the RTL video here showing the prologue  course here  (scroll down the page to the video). You don't need to understand Luxemburgish to get the gist of how technical it was.  Now that's a prologue! Won by the Luxembourg home team's Leopard's Fabian Cancellara, this TT through the city center took in a steep cobbled climb that yours truly - America's walking catalogue of little known historical cycling trivia - remembered as having been used in the p