Showing posts from January, 2014

The long journey home.

"So I had to leave from my country of birth
As for each child grown tall
Another lies in the earth.
And for every rail we laid in the loam
There's a thousand miles of the long journey home.

But as you ascend the ladder
Look out below where you tread
For the colors bled as they overflowed
Red, white and blue

Green, white and gold"
  - Elvis Costello, A Long Journey Home.

I know, it's a tired old adage: "Home is where the heart is."
Well, I've have seen enough of the world, am old enough, and have a slow-beating heart Celtic enough to be quite certain that Ireland will always be my 'spiritual 'home' - a quite audacious claim from a guy who can only claim to having spent a handful of days actually on the emerald isle over the past fifty years.   But mine is the unshakable certainty that comes from a being born into a Irish family who landed in the Boston area just a century ago, and for a couple of generations, only ever seemed in its comfort zone there.…

Briek Schotte's 10 Golden Rules

Magnetic north for wielrenners?

That would be in Kanegem.  Used to be the home to Ijzeren Briek Schotte.  De Laatste Flandrien.

Briek's been sorely missed since 2004 when on the day of the Ronde he was called up to a higher peloton. But if you go to Kanegem today, you can still see the iconic flandrien bronze statue tribute to him.

His lessons live though.  Here's Briek's advice on what it takes to succeed.  In cycling.  In life.   I just saw this list in Les Woodlands new book about the history of the Ronde.  (Good read, download it on Amazon Kindle here.)

Its the kind of knowledge you won't find on the display of your PowerTap or SRM.  So take your eyes off the watt meter, read, and learn jongen...


1: Be happy with what you’ve got.

2: Determination and patience get you everywhere.

3: Tired? If you’re tired, go to bed!

4: Never lose your freedom.

5: Stay who you are.

6: Watch and you’ll learn a lot.

7: Let yourself go and you lose yo…

New Year's Bandit Cyclocross

Some guys strip down on New Years day and do a polar bear plunge into the Atlantic ocean...

Others get together for a highly informal but hugely fun bandit cyclocross at the RISD farm in Barrington.   Kudo's to Geoff Williams (aka Gewilli) for putting together a great informal gig.  And thanks to my pals Hans Hagman and Vicki Bocash for letting me repurpose their photos here.  (Your royalties are coming in beer.  I promise.)

Bandit Cross was one final chance for some of the more serious, nationals-bound skinny volk to get some final race intensity workout before the Noreaster hit us Thursday..

For me it was an improvisational  line in the sand to kick off my fitness act in gear for a New Year.  Resolution?  Sorta.  Gotta get in shape for a massive challenge this May.   More on that in my next post.

Thank God GeWilli broke it into two - 20 minute sessions.  I don't think I could have raced for 40.
Ja hoor, I'm wicked out of shape.   No worries, been here many times.  Gettin…

Look what Santa left jongens!

What do you give a crusty old Irishman with flandrien taste for Christmas?  Leave it to my old pal Santa-Pooch to solve that one... A Vittore Gianni replica FAEMA jersey!

It's the same team design worn by two of my Favorites - Charly Gaul and Rik Van Looy - back between 1956 and 1962.   Back in the days when cycling was a little more about sport, exploit and adventure...and little less about commerce, technology and science.  It's a natural complement to the Flandria Cafe kit, eh?

Vittore Gianni was a Milan based tailor who from a start in 1876 grew to become the apparel supplier of champions hitting a peak back in the late 1940's and 50's when the company supplied A.C. Milan, Juventus and the Milan ballet - as well as virtually just about all the top cycling teams and champions in Italy:  Bianchi, Legnano, Atala, Benotto, Viscontea, Cimatti..and of course, the FAEMA squad of Learco Guerra.

According to Vittore Gianni's then-director Armando Castelli, Fausto Coppi …