are sometimes smooth and silky, and other times tired and tight.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

The End

Friday, June 26, 2009

Civilization means...

civic service.

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Shot at 2009-06-25

Monday, June 15, 2009

The things you say...

When I'm racing, I'm one of those talkers. I don't mean an 'on your left' type of talker. I don't even mean a 'hold your line' kind of talker, although I've been known to shout that. Nope. I mean a Tourette's, mixed with some attempts at humor thrown in, kind of talker.

Try as I might, I can't hide my frustration with the way certain people ride. I've been known to shout to the peloton, after just being reeled back from a break, that it was some one's turn to counterattack. I've been known to call a badly organized break a group of prutsers. I've also been known to address riders in very direct language. That said, I try and save it only for the appropriate situations, and/or for people who really need it.

If I'm not digging too deep, I'll address my colleagues in Dutch. This usually lasts for the first 10-15 minutes of a race. After that, I'd guess that most of what I say is lost on my fellow racers. Mostly because it's in English, or in heavily accented Dutch, or a mix of the two. Considering some of the things that I say, perhaps it's a good thing that there's a language barrier.

That said, while I generally never remember my stream of conscious rants, sometimes some people do. On Saturday a guy came up to me and asked what I had said at a training race the week before. I had no clue what he meant, and muttered "I said a lot of things", which was true. When he elaborated, and told me when I said it, I knew what he meant.

Apparently it struck a cord, because he was one of 5-6 guys (who were racing in the 50+ category in a mixed cat training race) who asked me about it.

What did I say?

This: "een bidon van viagra voor de winnar", which translates as "a bottle of viagra for the winner." I've never seen a pack of 50 plus racers sprint so fast.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Le Professeur

The recent news of Laurent Fignon's battle with cancer comes as shock. Like many cycling fans from the US, he will always be linked to the 1989 Tour de France. That is a pity, especially when you take into account his career as a whole ( including 2 Tour victories, one Giro de Italia, and twice at Milano - San Remo).

Let's hope that Fignon fights his disease as tenaciously as he did his competition. On that note, I present a short clip of Fignon's last professional victory.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Time is on my side

No matter where you go, there you are

Buckaroo Bonzai.

I’ve often been asked what it’s like riding in Europe, and if it was much different than the US. I could go on about the cultural differences, or the differences of type of races, or style of racing... but I don't. Nope. the biggest difference, to me, is that most of the people I ride and race with grew up with the sport.

While I can’t say the same, I have been riding for a while. Long enough to know what racing with toes clips and down tube shifters is like. I once even managed to race in a white patent leather Cinelli hairnet, but that was a one off in Belgium. Done mostly so I could say I did it. Sad I know. Old, but not ancient. That’s me, or so I’d like to think.

One of the benefits of age is experience. Granted, I’m not the ‘wily old vet’ I wish I was, but I’m not a babe in the woods either. At the very least, I can spot a good thing when I see it, which brings me to a race from this past weekend, where I found myself in a breakaway, with something like 14-15 other racers.

To those who don’t race, finding good breakaway companions can make for an easier race. At least that’s the theory. If things go according to plan, all you have to do is take your turn in the rotation, and everyone will be happy. This is what I attempted to do, sometimes more successfully than others. After all, I’m only human, and I’m not exactly a spring chicken.

As you may also know, if you spend enough time with breakaway companions, you tend to notice small things. It’s like being stuck in an elevator, or a sleeper car on a train, with strangers. Normally you check out the bikes they ride, the quirks of their pedaling technique, the fact that the stitching of their chamois has popped, etc.

On Saturday, the one thing about my breakaway companions that left an indelible impression was how young they appeared. It's difficult to keep your morale up when you're groveling on the wheel of a poster boy for clearasil. It's even tougher when you get called squirrely by a someone who's probably young enough to be your kid. It was only later, after the race, when I was able to check the results that I learned that there were a few who were born around the time I first applied for a racing license.

Old, but not ancient? Hmmm… Maybe, one of these days, I might even be able to call myself wily.

Flemish humor

Not one of the four, but one of the one.

If you cab=n understand Dutch/Flemish you might get a laugh. If not, helaas pindakaas.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Return of the Flying Scotsman

I noticed that Graeme Obree is back in the news, with another one of his contraptions. Obree, and his tale of ups and downs, always brings back memories.

Back in the Autumn of 1992, I moved from the East Village of NYC to Edinburgh, Scotland. Culture shock doesn't even begin to describe what I experienced. The one thing that helped me transition from a cosmopolitan, multicultural city with good weather and even better food, to a provincial capital (even if it happens to be a stunning capital) was cycling.

It didn't take long to meet folk who like to wear lycra, shave their legs, and dish out abuse to friends and foes who share the same passion. The one thing that struck me as odd, was the cover boy of Scottish Cycling, namely Graeme Obree.

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Regardless of what he went on to do, the image on the cover of the SCU Handbook was the one of those "Toto, I don't think we're in Kansas moments." I still wonder if I should have seen that as a sign, and caught the next flight back to the Big Apple.