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Showing posts from October, 2011

Photo of the day: Sand, for PowerPlus

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OK.   Yesterday a freak snowstorm - so it was a recovery spin on rollers, and a run.  Today up early  - lots of work to get done.  Did sneak out late this afternoon for 2.5 hours into increasing cold and dusk that in the last hour slid unintendedly into big ring tempo trying to beat the darkness back home.  Cold headwind coming back, but today was one of those rare days 'pedaling in the butter'.   Been feeling great since the cross race Saturday actually.   And one minute after pulling in today, the pulse was back down to 84.  Good sign.

I'm a little baffled, (but not unhappy) to be climbing hills faster in larger gears in 50 degree cold than I was back in August in 85 degree warmth.  I think maybe riding the cross bike once a week in the sand pit about a mile down the road accounts for some of it...  

Sand rijden.  The cross tires sink in, you sit back and power through it.  Wicked hard, but wicked good for the power.  An hour of that, and riding on the road after seems e…

Canton cross - battle of the 'etceteras'

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Canton Cross, the Massachusetts championships was a fun race today.  I was seeded at the back again (!) but after a poor start caused by an inability to click in (an omen), I felt pretty good for a change during lap one and was passing guys, moving up.   Unfortunately, that progress was thwarted by a clogged cleat problem that frustratingly cost me lots of places and time at key points in the race (like every remount), but no excuses, everybody has something to deal with in a cross race. Cross is a lot like life.  Obstacles and adversity try to stop your progress, but you just need to shut up and get on with it.  It was a good race, and I'm happy with my effort, if not my placing.

You gotta love cyclocross.  It's definitely the most fun you can have on a bike, no matter your age.  Pretty good training too...

Canton is a long lap (~10 min).  It's mostly flat, and on well worn, fast grass.   A really enjoyable power course.

I kept the gearing low today, which seemed to help a…

Videos of the day: Hennie Kuiper at Munich, 1972.

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OK jongens, I'm staying with the retro Olympic games road race theme.   Here's a few clips related to the road race at the 1972 Munich Games.

Fkrst let's set the stage:  The favorite for the road race was Flandria Cafe's eternal favorite, the man voted West Vlaanderens greatest rider of all time, Freddy Maertens.   Freddy had been the scourge of amateur racing the year before the Olympics, 1971.  That July, he'd won the Belgian national amateur road race in Nandrin with a solo attack on Mont Halleux.   (For those that said Freddy was 'just' a sprinter...watch the video below.   Much more than a 'field sprinter' he won plenty of races in breaks or solo)

Then, Freddy won the 'pre-olympic test' race on the Munich circuit in 1971 (like the one Cav just won in London a few weeks ago).  And he'd also led a strong Belgian contingent to Mendrisio, Switzerland for the World Amateur championships, getting second place on the line just behind France…

Video of the day: Viktor Kapitonov, Rome 1960

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For you old school fans, here's a retro-cool video clip of an Olympic Games road race past.  And a requiem for a hardman.

We'll take a little nostalgia trip back to Rome, Aug. 30, 1960.  Hot day, wide open course on the Circuit Grottorossa in northern Rome (an almost perfect triangle comprising the beginning of the Via Flamania and the end of the Via Cassia), with nothing to keep the 42 degree C  (108 F!) Lazio sun from melting the riders.   Your Gelati didn't last long that day.

In weather as far from stereotypically 'Russian' as you can get, Viktor Kapitonov - who later became the 'direktor supremo' of Soviet cycling - got off and was joined in the break by the homeboy Italian, Livio Trape.

With one lap to go, Kapitonov sprinted over the line and raised his arm, only to be told, sorry Comrade, you've still got one more lap to go.

For most, that likely would have been a crushing, demoralizing blow, melting the will to win as surely as the sun was melti…

Indian Summer in Jamestown...

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Monday morning.  The last chance saloon for my road season.

The last chance saloon.   It was the phrase that replayed in my brain as I drove in the early morning, traffic-free Columbus day sun over the giant bridge to the beautiful island of Jamestown, a jewel in the middle of Narragansett bay.

How many pros have salvaged a zero season with a strong performance at the Tour of Lombardy for example?   Remember DeVlaeminck in 1976, winning a sprint over Bernard Thevenet.  Both were desperate for a win in a year that fell below their high expectations.   What's that old saying, 'it ain't over till it's over?'

So a hot Indian Summer day and two laps around Jamestown with 75 or so 45+ Masters was a final chance to pull something, anything out of 2011.  Team Flandria Cafe had six of our flahutes in the race, our biggest squad of the season.  Kurt, Tom, the Goose, Spartacus Trojan and Marc all took the line - a red guard tired of being pack fill.   Marc T. was riding inj…

Adieu Pol Claeys

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Our little Flandria supporterswereld went into mourning this weekend hearing the sad news of the passing of  Flandria pro cycling team patron, Pol Claeys after a brief illness last Friday.  Mr. Claeys was 78.

A lifelong passionate cycling enthusiast, Pol Claeys was the man whose hands on initiative built up what became the famous 'Red Guard' in the sixties and seventies.   Claeys personally signed on stars like Rik Van Looy,  the DeVlaeminck brothers, Joop Zoetemelk, Walter Godefroot, Jempi Monsere, Freddy Maertens and Michel Pollentier.   For over 20 years, he and his directeurs Briek Schotte and Lomme Driessens maintained the Red Guard as a force in classics, tours, winning several world championships.  

At the team's peak in the mid 70's, Claeys Flandria also sponsored the feeder team WSC Tourhout, and a French branch of the professional team directed by Count Jean de Gribaldy.   That French branch was the last team of french legend Cyrille Guimard, and the first t…

Providence Cross Festival: Tales from an Achtervolger

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Statement of the obvious:  Starting a cyclocross race seeded in the 9th row is like being on the end of a whip.   Based on my number, I started about 90th Sat. and 87th Sunday - last row baby.   And after 45 minutes in the pain cave, I only ended up 75th and 65th on the day respectively.  Not very good really, didn't have the extra gear.  What's the point in racing?  Well, it's a heckuva lot of fun.   More accurately it was haardtrainen, because from my global positioning,you wouldn't call it 'racing' exactly.    In fact, you would have needed a GPS to locate me relative to the leaders before the first half lap was over.  

After one spanking, back on the grid Sunday, I was contemplating how I was going to weave my way though a forest of tall, lean willowy 45-55 year old greying guys - most of whom I swear look like they ought to be cast in a Cialis commercial - when I realized guy next to me calling my name was my old friend, Chet Geschickter.

I hadn't se…

The Jersey Project

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Walking the Veloswap expo at the Providence Cyclocross Festival this weekend I saw a lot of familiar faces.

One was 'Bike Guy' Bill Humphries, who was there unveiling his new book the Jersey Project.   After over a year of hard work, Bill has put together an American edition of the Dutch book Koerstrui, an incredible photo collection of famous Jerseys in world cycling.

Bike Guy was one of the original 'Raleigh Boys' from the 70's, and later manager of many a US national team in international competition (including the '78 Junior Worlds in DC when LeMond, Bradley, Demgen and Kiefel took the bronze in the TTT).   The jerseys featured in the USA section bring what's always been a black and white newsprint photo archive history of US racing alive in vibrant living color.   In it you'll find jerseys from all the greats on both sides of the Atlantic.

Jerseys,  Maillots,  Maglie, Koerstrui.   No matter your language, you'll likely get agreement that the …