Friday, December 11, 2009
Tuesday, December 8, 2009
If there was a word to the wise back in the early 1990's, it was don't piss off Michel Zanoli. The 6'5" powderkeg punched a photographer and Davis Phinney in the 1992 Tour DuPont. Davis came out the worse of the two with a bloodied nose and, remarkably, still finished second in a sprint finish to Phil Anderson on the stage. If I remember correctly, there was some footage of the altercation with the cameraman that made the local news channel here in Chicagaland. I don't think they mentioned who won the stage though.
Zanoli's career took a nosedive after the bruising altercation of 1992. Zanoli was sacked by Motorola and ignored by the top teams of the peloton. He bounced around between lower tier continental squads for a few years before retiring from cycling at the age of 28, an age where cyclists typically are coming into the peak of their skills. Michel passed away on December 29, 2003 from a heart attack at the age of 35.
I suppose that if I had to be punched in the face in 1992, Michel Zanoli would be the guy I'd have wanted to do it.
Friday, December 4, 2009
The new gig is working out splendidly and I'm finally settling into the daily grind of creativity mixed with bikes. It's a good thing I've got going, and wouldn't trade it for anything else right now.
Sadly, my riding has deteriorated to the daily mini-commute to work the past several weeks, but I'm eyeing that dusty old set of Tacx rollers in Clean's basement and thinking I may reclaim them soon. That VHS tape displayed on the 13" color TV of Merckx spinning madly in his garage will very likely be in heavy rotation. Maybe even some punk rock soundtracks to mix it up a bit.
There's still some work to do on the house (does it ever end?), but with Old Man Winter settling into his usual 6 month death grip on Chicagoland, we're slowing a bit and finding time to appreciate what we've accomplished the past seven months. A bottle of wine, football, and some good movies are on the horizon for many weekends to come.
Here's looking at more frequent updates, and a return to a somewhat more dependable cycling specific (but not too specific) blog. And for the few that took the time to cajole me back into it, thanks.
Friday, October 2, 2009
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
5) 50 laps of the Vortex of Terror
4) Opening the day with Led Zeppelin's "When the Levee Breaks"
3) The ice cream girls
2) The Kenny Souza lookalike in the Master of Puppets kit
1) The dude that rode for 30 feet as he got his leg caught up on the saddle as he was dismounting, steering with one hand while spilling his open water bottle all over with the other, stopped just as he was about to knock over a table, wobbled, fell over, planted his foot at the last moment, caught himself, dismounted, took a big swig from his bottle ala Napoleon Dynamite, and then ambled away to trade his ride for a smaller one.
Monday, August 10, 2009
Lamest trend: Wheelies in the parking lot. Riding a wheelie in a parking lot full of other bike riders is not mountain biking, it's obnoxious.
Best overheard conversation: "She did Bob Roll."
More later, I'm sure.
Tuesday, August 4, 2009
- B. Hinault on race radios
I know it's old news in this computer age, but that quote sums the man up better than Wikipedia, VeloPress, or some stodgy historian.
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
-The mysterious large dog with a dipshit owner has continued to pinch large loaves on my lawn.
-USPS continues to deliver on their 80/20 junkmail to bill ratio.
-More weeds than grass grew.
-Not much food in the house.
-Oh, and some race in France up and ran out of stages to showcase.
-It appears Chance Legstrong and El Pistolero didn't disappoint in the drama department. Though I wish the thespian shit came before Chance was the second loser. It's much more theatrical and European, or, as the jocks on ESPN (whom musical geniuses, Devo, might refer to as Jocko-Homos) might imply, "gay" in that way. The Lemond-Hinault production was much better. And Frencher.
-I also caught this while I was out. It's quite charming and cute and doesn't end in Y, which is apparently all it takes to make something rather drab and ordinary into something cute and super excellent fun with high excitement in Japan.
Monday, July 6, 2009
I wonder if Contador is wishing he had taken Garmin up on their offer to ride for them prior to the Tour. Whether you agree or disagree with the tactics Armstrong and Co. employed in the latter part of stage 3 (Contador says “I’m not going to evaluate the team strategy because everyone will draw their own conclusions anyway.”), we may be witnessing a rift between the Armstrong/Bruyneel and Contador camps, fed part and parcel by a salivating media, that proves quite interesting when all the sordid details finally make it to light.
That said, when the mountains hit, I think those 38 year old bones of Lance will crumble like feta when Alberto decides he wants to go fast. Ullrich will let go a reflective sigh as he downs another brew with his mates, and Simeoni will laugh his ass off.
Aaah...the Tour. I love this time of year.
"My sense of the war gradually shifted from concern to skepticism to frustration to anguish, I had always been confident that every problem could be solved, but now I found myself confronting one -- involving national pride and human life -- that could not." -Robert S. McNamara
Monday, June 22, 2009
Was there ever a more feared sprinter than Djamoulidin Abdoujaparov? He looks more like a Cold War era hitman than a pro bike racer in the photo above. The "Terror of Tashkent" was known for his terrific speed, but, in my book, it was his absolute fearlessness that made him what he was- One of the greatest sprinters of all time.
Friday, June 12, 2009
Tuesday, June 2, 2009
Friday, May 29, 2009
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
So, it was with great delight that I witnessed "Il Killer di Spoltore" attack his adversaries with such desire and purpose, I could see the madness welling up within his eyes. It was eerily similar to watching the psychosis of Gert Jan Theunisse thunder through mountain passes.
The rabid species of Grand Tour riders is not dead. Long live the fighters, the risk takers, and the mad.
Thursday, May 14, 2009
Never saw this before. A young Pantani attacks in the closing kilometers of a mountain stage in le Tour, ravages the peloton, picks off escaped riders one by one, and then, just as il Pirata blazes past the last man standing, he (last man standing) raises his arms as if to say "What the Fuck?"
Unusual. Unexpected. Classic.
Here's the video. It all goes down around 2:32.
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
Today's Spirit Award goes to lanky Swede Thomas Lövkvist (Team Columbia - Highroad) for swinging on the hairy balls of the race favorites and just losing the Maglia Rosa to Danilo Diluca by a scant 5 seconds after time bonuses were awarded. There's some fight in this kid. I think we'll be seeing more of him in the future.
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
With all due respect to Danilo "Il Killer di Spoltore" Diluca and his wicked, wicked attack that put a stake through the heart of Mauricio Soler and decapitated the peloton for the win on stage 4, I'd like to nominate Stefano Garzelli for the stage 4 Spirit Award for the tortured faces he made during the finale on his way to finishing a respectable 2nd. That's the kind of shit I love.
Notice he and Diluca aren't wearing those infernal eyeball protectors. I've said it before and I'll say it again: Sunglasses have destroyed the once majestic photogenic face of cycling and have replaced it with a sterile automaton lacking personality or soul. I wonder what Graham Watson thinks of this.
Saturday, May 9, 2009
Strike two for Tornado Tom. Though, it's not as good a story as Salvatore Commesso rolling to a disco with some friends and an 8-ball of cola back 2001. Now, if he were caught doing 200kph in his Veyron with the yay on his dash and getting a hand job from an 18 year old lass while downloading apps to his iPhone...
Unfortunately for us, this news will undoubtedly unleash the self righteous hounds and we'll have to hear about their outrage, disappointment, and blah-blah-blah for the rest of the season. For their sake, let's hope Sgt. Stedenko is on the case.
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
Little Charly Mottet was my favorite rider back in the early 1990's. I had an affinity or all things French back then. Gitane, Peugeot, Mavic, Time, Miroir du Ciclisme, etc., stimulated a yearning in my impressionable young mind for that romantic mise en scène I'd seen in old photographs. The ones in which gallant riders were ensconsced in a Gaoloises induced fog of european sophistication as they sipped espressos in wool jerseys and black leather shoes. Mottet was clad in lycra, but that did nothing to supress my idealized version of the euro-pro lifestyle.
Charly was a little guy. A grimpeur and a fighter. He had the attributes that any grand tour hopeful needed to challenge for the throne. He was a capable time trialist, a frisky climber, and held his own on the long flat stages with high speeds and brisk winds.
Mottet and his crooked teeth inspired me for many miles as I emulated him astride my Mavic SSC (Modolo calipers and painful levers, not the Dia-Compes with mushy hoods) equipped Gitane RS in an ill fitting RMO jersey and Time equipe shoes. I also sought, and failed, to acquire the Liberia bike that he rode in 1991.
Petit Charly retired from cycling with 65 career victories including the Dauphine Libere (3), Grand Prix des Nations (3), Tour of Romandie, Championships of Zurich, Tour of Lombardy, and 3 stages in le Tour (with back to back wins in the 1991 edition.) He also finished 4th overall in le Tour in 1987 and 1991.
Allez, Petit Charly! Mad props.
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
Above you can see my glorious Bernard Hinault Team Replica KG96. As you can see by the grainy visage and lack of detail, it was fast. That, or I snapped a lousy shot of a perfectly good photo by my old mate Phil. Either way, it was fast enough to cause me to reach out to my bulbous 7400 levers to slow that ship down.
Here's one caught standing still. Like a noble giraffe gracefully dressed in Tullio C. and S. Marco, forever frozen in time on the African Serengeti. Could this splendored beast have toiled under the gargantuan thighbones of Lennard Zinn?
My KG was bought used through my other old pal Tomas. It was $300 (a benefit of living not too far from the conspicuous consumption capital of the Midwest: Highland Park, IL.) that I barely had back in 1994. I was flat broke, but no matter. I was getting a lightweight, cutting edge bike with low miles and a moniker that was Tour proven by the likes of Bernard "The Badger" Hinault and Greg "Make a Run For the Border" LeMond. I couldn't wait to build that sleek, French steed up with some shiny bits and box section hoops.
For some reason I betrayed years of Campagnolo dedication to Dura Ace. I think the team all had the Japanese stuff, so being the heady young neo-pro in waiting I was, I figured wheel interchangeability was the PRO choice. Bernard would have done the same thing, I thought.
A year later I moved from my state of the art carbon superbike to something newer. A Dedaccai ZeroUno tubed Steelman Stage Race. I kept the Look around for a few more years and like so many bikes since, I passed it along to another two wheeled dreamer. Likely, for some scrilla to pay the bills, put gas in the tank, and a double dime in the pipe.
That KG96 was badassery deluxe though.
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
I'd be willing to pony up for the Yokozuna Reaction kit, seeing as how I used to spend a day's pay on the Campagnolo cable and housing ropes back in the day. But, €250? Someone get me a diaper.
Edit- If anyone has real world experience with these let me know in the comments page. I've yet to use them and still remain skeptical, but I'm open to any feedback you may have. Positive or negative.
I also must admit that I flagrantly disregarded the cardinal rule of bike shops: Don't bitch about the price. If there's one thing that made me go Mr. Hyde, it was those goddamn price whiners. And now, to be one of them, it hurts. It hurts real bad.
Sunday, April 12, 2009
Tommeke takes the cakes this year. Again. An inopportune crash by Juan "What the hell just happened" Antonio "Better stay away from them Lotto boys" Flecha took out my pick Leif Hoste and threw water on the hot pursuit of the merry band of chasers only meters behind Tornado and Thor. Thor was next to kiss the pave' as Tom rode away with another brick for his mantle.
Some might want to consult DeVlaeminck to learn how to handle the kocicihlave' (that's Czech, friends.) A win will be hard to come by with coordination as janky as that.
But, in the end, that's racing. Racing at it's finest.
And man... Is Boonen the shit or what?
Sunday, March 29, 2009
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
Monday, March 9, 2009
Miguel Indurain was the calm leading the storm in the early to mid 1990's. He's best known for his 5 Tour victories in a row (1991-1995) in which he kept pace with his challengers through winding roads and high mountains, rarely attacking nor showing emotion until the inevitable time trial stage. It was here that Big Mig would open up his freakish 8 liter lung capacity and propel himself at dizzying speeds to deal tremendous defeats to his rivals. At his best, Indurain had no equal.
In addition to his fistful of Tours, Indurain won 2 Giros, 2 Paris Nice, Olympic time-trial, World time-trial, Criterium International, 2 Dauphine-Libere, and the Clasica de San Sebastian.
Big Mig's impact on the euro-pro scene was greater than his modesty would ever allow him to admit, he adapted and refined the beginnings of the era of big Tour specialization whom Greg Lemond had pioneered before him. He also is one of the select few that actually looks cool in time trial photos. His mug probably sold more Campy bar cons than anyone in history.
Here's to you Big Mig. Mad Props.
Thursday, March 5, 2009
Tuesday, March 3, 2009
I went out to NAHBS in Indy on Saturday. They throw a nice bike show and the city was strangely bustling and vibrant. It was almost enough to make me forget about us rolling over for the Colts in the Superbowl. Almost.
Daniel Boone and I caught the 6:49 to Union Station and met our ride out on Adams St. Two egg McMuffins, a tasteless coffee, and an hour of sleep later we met up with Snake and Buf-N-Stuf. Some work mates, old friends, and acquaintances were in line and mingling among the crowds beyond the show entrance.
The place was already humming as we walked in. There was a faint scent of grease and rubber hanging in the air. And the steel, carbon, titanium , aluminum, and bamboo bits were gleaming.
I mostly like to float silently booth to booth and flirt with the minute details of the offerings. Occasional conversations were sparked. The tone of which didn't reach the salesmanship and "Hoo-ah!" pitch of Interbike, which would have gone bad with the drapes. Instead, what was emoted was a note of cool comradery with an exhale of awkward aloofishness.
I dug what I saw. Reputations were lived up to, dollars were spent, and I enjoyed a hell of a good time minding bike parts with pals and peers.
ps. Dr. Giggles, Dario looks fine.
Thursday, February 19, 2009
Tuesday, February 3, 2009
The commute today was a rough one. A solid wind in the face and mucho frio temps tore through my balaclava like a mad banshee. I typically pair the balaclava with a Craft windfront hat and usually I'm all good. I think ol' Ma Nature laughed at the de-rigeur today because I felt that same feeling of numbness I did when I nearly froze my ears off.
Being young and quite foolish, I was snowboarding without a hat one cold winter night on a shitty little hill in Lisle, Illinois when TQ noticed my ears had turned blue. I put my hands to my ears and felt that they had nearly frozen solid. Maybe could have broke them in half if I bent them. I was horrified.
I figured my ears were gone. As I ran back to JT's car, cupping my hands to the frozen bagels on the side of my head, all I could think about was that guy from Reservoir Dogs and the big damn hole he had in his head when his ear was cut off by Mr. Blonde.
I cursed myself for the eternity I seemed to be waiting for JT to get to the car. I cursed my stupidity. I cursed the cold. And I cursed that shitty little hill. All I could do was gaze at my reflection in the window and see images flash by with me and those two holes in my head where my ears used to be with surrounded by friends, family, girlfriends, and crushes all reacting in a chorus of hysterical revulsion. A vagabond life on the streets scrounging for crusts of bread and nipping drink from a brown paper bag was to be my fate. I really started to miss those ears of mine.
When I finally got home, I realized my predicament wasn't quite as bad as my initial prognosis. Nothing was amputated, and I've yet to transform into a shiftless wanderer. But, they did swell up like two giant cauliflowers for a day and then peeled like an over-ripe onion when they finally burst. I covered up the whole embarrassing mess with the earflaps of my Santini wool cap for the duration.
I have a lot of hats now and wear them often. Tomorrow, it's two balaclavas and a Craft windfront hat. The ski goggles might come along too.
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
Me and Slayer go way back. Some facts about me and Slayer:
1. First song: Raining Blood
2. Fixed a lottery for Slayer tickets in 1991. 6th row center. Party of five.
3. Got hit in the head by a drumstick thrown by Dave Lombardo at said show. Behind me, a large animal with a butt cut caught the rebound.
4. Ate but didn't finish the "Slayer" at Kuma's burger joint.
Thursday, January 22, 2009
Monday, January 12, 2009
I was over at the Ebay earlier and came across the above photo. The catalyst for grabbing the photo wasn't the use of the "vintage" label on the nine year old frame without sarcasm, but the ghastly sight of a serpentine zombie, with clenched fist in mid-swing, about to clobber what looks to be a flux capacitor.
As I came out of my shell shocked haze I soon realized that I had seen this ghoulish figure before. My brain had simply resorted to the defensive measure of blotting out past sightings and replacing grim reality with something more comforting, like a fried chicken leg.
As it turned out, what I saw was the Rider of Clubs-"Bastard of Ernesto". A stain that blighted legions of Colnagos and caused great gnashing of teeth back in 1998-2003. They were dark times.
I'm not sure what possessed Ernesto to go Rocky Dennis on nearly a generation of perfectly good bikes for six years. Whether it was the intoxication of too numerous Mapei victories, a twisted prank on his adoring public, or something more perverse. I don't think I want to know. I get the feeling it would be depressing.
The adrenaline and bodaciousness of the VHS tape I got at Interbike '96 with the mullet maned and fat fingered tough guy building frames in Cambiago will never dull, but the whole damn episode blew the myth for me. I became a little more jaded and suspicious of all the fairy tales the companies were weaving and I began to ask "Why?"
I didn't accept the existence and packaged rationale for "new and improved". I needed proof and justification. Sometimes I was satiated, but usually, the stuff left me cold. Thus my cruel tutelage on Bike Shop Wit and Criticism had begun.
As for Ernesto, it took awhile, but he seems to have a firm grasp on the reins again and his house in order. He's still one of the few that maintains a respect for nearly all frame materials and makes many of his bikes where he always has. He offers alot of cool paint options with nary a RoC to be seen.
I hope he can hang on to that. I'd hate to face the fact that the well coifed stallion I saw so long ago in analog glory has had his legs cut beneath him relegated to rubber stamping mediocrity. That would be a shame.