Feb 25, 2015

The Belgian Classic double bill weekend

The ungodly cobbles await.

This weekend is a double bill of cobble frenzy classic racing...

Starting off with Omloop het Nieuwsblad (Saturday) and Kuurne Brussel Kuurne (Sunday). It's my favorite part of the cycling season - the one-day classics - slugfest on the cobbles. These two Belgian classics may not be in the same stratosphere as the Ronde but to win the rider is sure to be akin to Flandrian worship. Of course, add in the typical rain and cold weather for a true Belgian epic. 

The KBK poster (above) is my early hands-down favorite, and translated...

'This course has no mercy.'

My top-3s:

KBK start list. (200kms) 1. Moreno Hofland 2. Alexander Kristoff 3. Andre Greipel

OhN start list. (199kms) 1. Greg Van Avermaet 2. Edvald Boasson Hagen 3. Sep Vanmarcke 

It will be an early wake up call for me (5:30 AM), too early to enjoy frites and a Pils, at least... bring on the klasseien and hellingnen! 

Feb 23, 2015

Tour de France Legend: Keeping his captain rolling.

Ferdi Kubler (left) and his loyal domestique, Emilio Croci Torti.

Ferdi Kubler's victory in the 1950 Tour de France was the first ever by a Swiss rider. Along with his three stage wins he also had indispensable team support. Extra points go to the stressed Swiss tandem for changing a tire during very wet race conditions.

Feb 20, 2015

Friday File: Canadian Bronze: Womens Team Pursuit, Heroic Tuscan Classic & Marinoni Returns.

photo Dean Mouhtaropoulos.

February is everything but dreary. The UCI Track Cycling World Championships are on at National Velodrome in Paris. Great news for our Canadian Womens Team Pursuit bronze medal won by: Jasmin Glaesser, Stephanie Roorda, Kirsty Lay and Alison Beveridge!

You can catch all the action here.

My favorite Tuscan race is the Strade Bianche... March 7th! As cycling goes there's nothing more cool than a race on the ancient Tuscan narrow steep roads. Ten sections of bone shattering gravel roads of sterrati (white gravel roads) is epic. Only eight editions have past and it's already one of the most sought after wins among Classics riders.

Enjoy the stunning scenery and heroic racing...

If you missed the premiere showing of Marinoni: The Fire In The Frame, it will return in March...

Don't miss this fine film.

Feb 18, 2015

The Indispensable Support Vehicles

As the vehicles have changed, the role of the support vehicles remains the same. Here's a look of some of my  favorite support vehicles from the past...

1962 Paris-Roubaix - my favorite a VW Deluxe Microbus.

Feb 16, 2015

Caution: Gatesnbury Hell

Yesterday was unusually sunny (10C) and warm for February. So, an unofficial FRFuggitivi ride was on, destination: Pt. Moody. I eagerly joined Guy, Patrick and Curtis to touch bases, enjoy the witty banter and get some badly needed mileage. At our mid way point we stopped for a customary doppio where Patrick showed me, on his smartphone, an aerial view of our goal. It was Gatesnbury hill. I never heard of it. But, I remember Patrick saying it was... steep. I should have heeded his warning. Never to say no to a challenge I was game, believing my 39X25 will carry me onwards. It has so far.

What transpired next was a humbling experience. At the foot of the climb it was a single lane snaking upwards with only a side gutter to ride on. The car following behind us tried to pass, had to slow to a snails pace until we found a wide enough shoulder to ride on. I was already in my 25T. A bad sign. I was distance from the rest of the guys and doing my best impression of staying upright. I knew if I stopped I would go backwards. A comedic image of Wile E. Coyote going dreadfully backwards to a messy fall flashed through my mind. I tried weaving side to side, thankfully with no cars following, to no avail. A crazy defense mechanism kicks in. Under duress, I was hoping to find a way to keep riding and survive this damn hill. Where's that team car when you need it? This is probably the steepest I've ever climbed, or attempt to (Indian Arm runs a close second). Enough was enough, I decided to turn around. As it was steep going up - going downwards was another story... I'm glad for good brakes.

I thought I could climb this steep hill, and humbled failing to do so. Even with the correct gear ratios, I know I would never attempt this again. Total respect for a new legend... Gatesnbury hill.

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