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Showing posts from September, 2011

Old cross dogs never die.

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Hoi Flahutes..

Last night did my first bike race in over a month, the NBX cyclocross 'under the lights' series.  Great training series that represents (to me anyway) the soul of New England cyclocross.   The bikes and gear may be more professional now, but the atmosphere is identical to what I recall back in the early 80's:  Informal, friendly, enthusiastic.  And above all, fun.  

The photos on this post are from back in the day, taken at Plymouth and Wompatuck cyclocrosses back in '83.  I was already into my 4th season of cross back then, a seasoned veteran at 23!

Plymouth is not only the rock upon which the Commonwealth of Massachusetts was built, it's also provided a cornerstone for what's spawned what's now a vibrant New England cross culture.

For example, last night, for an hour before the NBX training race, ex-pro and still-rapid Mark McCormack gave a cross clinic to a dozen or so  veldrijden rewbies.   I couldn't help but compare this scene to…

Images for today: Longbows and rainbows.

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"We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;  For he today that sheds his blood with me Shall be my brother...And gentlemen in England now a-bed Shall think themselves accursed they were not here, 
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
That fought with us upon Saint Crispin's day."
  William Shakespeare, Henry V

For a post-world's hangover Monday, a few images remembering the last time a pro road rainbow jersey was worn by one of the Queen's subjects.

Somewhere, Tom Simpson is looking down smiling, you can be pretty sure of that.  I'd like to think so anyway.  Simpson always believed that an all-British squadron could take on and defeat the best of the continentals on the road at their own game.  He died valiantly trying to prove it back in 1967.   And it's taken 40 plus years for another GB team to demonstrate it.

40 plus years of dawn patrols: Hoards of anonymous riders suffering in time trials on quiet English lanes, a traditional cycling cultur…

Montreal Worlds flashback

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The ProTour race in Montreal was a great time as ever this year.   Our gang of four Flahutes stayed at the Delta Hotel, dined the evening before at Les Pyrenees, and rode a few laps of the circuit early Sunday morning.

Last year I wrote a post recalling the 1976 Olympics on the Mont Royal circuit.   This year, as I soaked in the buzz of modern world class professional cycling, I couldn't help thinking back to the debut of this circuit on the international stage in 1974 - the year of was the setting for the final World Championship victory of Eddy Merckx.     Back to reality over the past week, the announcement of the 2015 World's in Richmond VA, and the current 24/7 online video coverage of the current race for regenboogtrui in picturesque Copenhagen keeps memories of that '74 race popping back into my mind.

The '74 worlds was held two years before I started racing as a junior, but no so long before that vivid tales of the heroics on Mont Royal weren't still spoken…

Respecting Carlos.

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"Do not go gentle in that goodnight"
                                                          - Dylan Thomas

Carlos Sastre last week announced his retirement.   Many cycling fans I've talked to locally in the past week barely noticed.  (Oh yeah?  Hey - who won in Montreal?)  One understated press conference in Madrid, a tip of the cap, and adios amigos.

A very recent Tour winner going so quietly into the night.  The news seemed a minor footnote in the world's cycling press.   Frankly, I've been expecting to see more follow on tributes than one quick news flash.  This just doesn't sit right with me.

It's been, dare I say, just another example of how this quiet man has been 'disrespected' - to use that newly created gauche American verb.    In fact, it seems to this biased observer that this was not just any old Champion, but a Tour de France winner (how many of those are there out there again, I forget?)  whose accomplishments, and story throughou…

Rendezvous JRB: The Quebec Connection.

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Hoi Flahutes!

Just got back Monday from the annual Flandria cafe raid north to the Quebec City and Montreal ProTour races.   Lots of raw material to write about.   Here's a little hors d'oeuvre.

One of my 'super-fan' traditions when watching Montreal is to wear one of the old retro team jerseys I've collected over the years.  It's a great icebreaker with in-the-know-super-afficoionados who appreciate the rare, the retro and the old-school.    It's also (in my own not so humble opinion) an understated, and appropriate way for an informed fan to make a 'style statement'.    As opposed to...say...antlers.


I don't really understand the level of exhibitionism some go to at races nowadays.   And it seems to be escalating...particularly with many American fans at the Tour of California the last few years.  Football helmets with giant antlers, stupid random costumes, the whole pack of them running beside the race hooting and hollering (YEAHH!! WOOHOO!!!…

Wunderkind 2.0?

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Noticed today in cycling news that Didi Thurau's son Bjorn (website here) has just signed a pro contract with Europcar  (here).

Well, if the kid is half as good as his Dad, it should be plenty good enough to be a great pro.

God knows, he looks just like him.  Apples don't fall far from the tree, do they?

You don't see much written about Dietrich "Didi" Thurau in the cycling press these days.  D'ya know his da?   Let the ol' Flahute put him in perspective for ya.

 In December of '73 in an East German town of Rostock a little Jan Ullrich came into the world (later to be not so little, but that's another story).   A few shorts months later, in Montreal, a tall blond, dare I say almost stereotypical German athlete took an Amateur World Championship in the team pursuit on the track.  Back in '74, Gustav Killian's West German teams dominated international track cycling, and the team pursuit was the showcase event.  They were as dominant then as…