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Rain, Oxygen and the Kings of Falling Leaves.

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«‘Did Gaul ride so well in bad weather because he liked to suffer?’
‘Well… during bad weather, a lot of oxygen is released.’
‘But lightning and hail, for example, didn’t that perk him up?’
‘Of course! Because he was able to assimilate a huge amount of oxygen.’
‘Sure, of course. But wasn’t he a person who went looking for punishment?’
‘Yes… but oxygen really played a major role. Oxygen! You see, Gaul was able to assimilate more oxygen than most people so when the weather was bad…’
‘But didn’t you ever have the impression that rain and hail and that kind of thing gave him a sort of energy?’

‘Absolutely! Because then there was more oxygen in the air!’ »                                                                                                        - Tim Krabbe - The Rider

Sunday was one of those rides cafesupporters.

No I'm not talking about Purito's ride in the Tour of Lombardy, although it did my heart good to see him win again in Lecco.

I've always had a nostalgi…

Videos du jour: Rik van Looy

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September.  Back to school jongens.

OK, enough of this marginal gains, carbon fiber stuff.  Today's class filmstrip is a good ol' black and white, behind the scenes, old school metier-lifestyle lesson from none other than the winningest classics rider of all time:  The Emperor of Herentals himself -  Rik Van Looy.

Check out a great RTBF profile I found here.   This was filmed in early 1964, so call it 50 years ago.  OK, it's in French...but a good video compilation-summary of the entire career of the only man to win ALL the classics.   Not even Eddy Merckx did that!

I dig the opening clip of Rik training - likely filmed at his favorite winter-training venue -  Lake Garda.   A pedal stroke that exudes power and ease at the same time.  In the interview that follows he talks about 'twice-a-day' training rides, and piling on the km (starting with 40k in the morning and 40k in the afternoon and building from there) to get ready for the season.   4,000 km.

What'…

A hard labor day.

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Just got back from doing 2 hours in totally gross high humidity.  Took the fixed gear bike to keep the legs turning on an easy flattish ride, just down the bay to Bristol and back.   Felt good, despite the need to put the rain cape on three different times.  You know, one of those old, clear plastic cheapo Italian rain capes.   Thing still works the gear.

The last 20 minutes were in a massive thunderstorm.  We've been getting them off and on for the past three days.   The big labor day holiday weekend, and all crap, soupy weather.   Not complaining though... most of August was beautiful.   I climbed a last steep local hill that the deluge converted into a flash-flood like river bed.  Out of the saddle up a raging stream created an illusion I was standing still.  

Time standing still: A good metaphor for today.  People want time to stop on Labor day, for tomorrow's the rientrato as they call it in Italy - the un-official end of summer.  Everybody back to business. Maryanne…

Emerald Isle boys in the White Mountains.

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Hello Cafesupporters:

Been awhile... I know, I know...

Contrary to popular myth, I didn't crash headfirst into a ravine, quit blogging or have a meltdown fueled by Affligem over-consumption and doping story fatigue.  No,, the explanation for the long vacancy is more mundane actually:  Professional day job overload.   You can relate, I'm sure.   I've always ascribed to Stephen Roche's oft stated belief:  If you're not a pro, then cycling needs to come after your real job, and your family.

So racing was out this year.   Came down to either riding or blogging with the little time I had free.   Blogging was on the bubble and bumped from my free time activity grid.

So it was a summer without racing... but not without riding of course!  Did get some great rides in during a family holiday to Mont Tremblant (did some great long steep climbs up in the Laurentians) and the usual rides with the local cafe boys around home.   It's been a great summer for the bike.  

Th…

Fight for Pink? Looks snow white to me... Il Giro d'Incompetence.

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"...and all the king's euros and slick suited men, couldn't put pro cycling together again."
 - Father flahute nursery rhyme.  Legend has it written on a cafe wall in Eeklo, but it might be Moorslede.

Today should have been the kind of day cycling fans wait for all year.   The battle over the Gavia and the Stelvio. 
Instead, it's a massive disappointment.   Massive.

Blame the weather?  Climate change?   Not me jongen.   I'm blaming the collective caste of dopes that manage professional cycling.    
It's official.  They're all completely full of shite.   While UCI leadership this week applauds itself for doing a 'great job managing cycling', their management policies and decisions are precisely the reason why the world's wielerfans are sulking over their wheatabix this morning.   Well, you can largely thank Verbruggen, McQuaid and a complicit RCS for this year's Giro-as-ice-station-zebra.  
The fact is, by artificially manipulating the …

Hunger, and the quote of the day.

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Saw yesterday that Sean's new autobiography is coming out later this month.    Add it to your summer reading list jongens.

For those of you who like me are unabashed fans of the hardest man in cycling, there's some great Kelly stories and anecdotes here at Worldwide Cycles blog.   Check it out.  Two of my favorites.


"Figures have become all important, Vo2 max, threshold , 10 second wattage now mean much more than the old ‘my legs feel good today’ and performances have improved as training time has become more efficient .... These tests are not a new phenomenon . Back in the late eighties teams had begun testing their riders and analyzing the figures.... 
Sean Kelly was at the height of his career and winning more of the biggest races than any of his contemporaries.  He was the greatest cyclist in the World at the time and during one test session the coaches were perplexed. They asked,  "How he could be winning so much when his figures did not correspond to such resu…

A lesson in Furbo.

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OK, all this work and no wielerplay makes Fast Eddy a fat boy.   But ready or not, this past Sunday, it was time for something hard.  Y'know, an event.

I figured why not the Putnam Cycling Classic?   80 miles, 6,000 ft. climbing just north of NYC in Cold Spring Harbor, NY- on the Hudson River.   It was a UCWT qualifier for the UCI Master's World Final in September in Trento.  That's in bella Italia.

Trento.  Monte Bondone.  Charly Gaul's climb.   'Il mio sogno':  My recurring Walter Mitty fantasy dream.  Of fanning a tiny gear up a mountain road, in the snow, dropping everyone, in a state of grace,   on the way to winning the Giro, in a blizzard.   An opportunity to race the legendary Monte Bondone.    However, slim the odds, how could I not take a shot at that?  

So with more dreams in my head than miles in my legs,  I convinced my ever-game friends Brad and Tony to join me on an early Sunday morning dawn patrol to drive 3+ hours west, and tackle this one.…

We're singin' Danny Boy...

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After being close to a terrible week in and around Boston, the news from Liege Bastogne Liege Sunday comes to a lot of us around here as a welcome treat!

As my greater-Boston expat-paddy mobile phone and email network buzzed with the news from Liege yesterday morning, a certain subject came up.   So let's put any lingering doubt to bed right now:

Dan Martin is Irish.

I know sure, he may have grown up in Liverpool, have a dad with a UK passport, and not that much of a brogue, but bah... technicalities jongen.   The Irish Diaspora has ruled geography a mere technicality.   As the Irish constitution states:


"The Irish nation cherishes its special affinity with people of Irish ancestry living abroad who share its cultural identity and heritage."  


And like that old joke says, 'an Irishman? That's a man who gets more Irish the further he gets from Ireland.'
Girona?  Liverpool?  Liege?  Nice?  Vilvoorde?  Boston?   No matter.    Just give him the test.
Can he put…

The Deer Hunter: A warrior's Battenkill tale.

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Had to miss Tour of Battenkill this year.    Other commitments. Not enough training anyway.  Blah blah blah...no whining.  And enough about me.   Way better we talk about the guys who were there.  

One warrior's tale in particular..

Our Flandria Cafe-Bikeworks-Flandria Master's team is lucky to have our own 'Spartacus':  Jay Trojan:   Jay's got a great 'warrior' surname that's only matched by his toughness and aggression on the bike.

Jay drove out to America's 'spring classic'  in Cambridge NY to fly the Flandria Cafe flag.  He had designs on a class win... and the form to pull it off!    He was already strong in January, trained hard through all the cold this tough winter.  And got stronger through the spring.   Intervals.   Leading up the northern RI climbs on tough group weekend rides.  Lean, ripped, flying.

Better he tells you his tale...    (Disclaimer jongens:  Don't try this at home!!)

"Why can’t I have a race without a story…