Road Warriors – Davis Phinney

January 28, 2009

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Check this pic out. Davis Phinney, one of the Team 7-11 guys from Back in the Day and the most winniest American cyclist in history – 300 over the course of his career, all before Lance Armstrong had his driver’s licence – about as ready to get his zing on as is possible.

This guy is legend – a pure competitor and has some fantastic genes, as his song Taylor is a testament to. Phineny had the misfortune to smash the rear window of a team car during Liege-Bastogne-Liege in 1988 – 130 stitches to sew him up. He is, absolutely, An Original. Check out the Huffy (Serotta, I think), the sweat band, the Oakley Factory Pilots, and the intensity. I revered this guy when I was 12 years old, and still think he’s a great example. Hoorah the Phinney Dynasty.



ZINGing on the road bike.

January 26, 2009

What is zing? Well, an old courier buddy, who stuck with the skinny tires and didnt venture off to play soccer like I did, used to always use the word ‘zing’ to describe riding his bike.

This guy, a 7 year bike messenger vet, CAT 2 roadie extraordinaire, and a former Alberta Provincial Road Race Champ, would do this thing to animate any story about messengering or riding.

He would hold his fists out in front of him, the bottoms parallel to the floor with the backs of his hands outward, and a slight 3 degree bend to his wrists, like he was holding the hoods of a road bike, and he’d rock his hands back and forth and go ‘zing-zing-zing-zing-zing’ to describe the sound of pedaling. He also kind of rocked his shoulders a bit. It was him, or this other courier I worked with, rode with, and raced the local Tuesday Night Crit scene with, long lost Big-Bri Blakely, that pioneered this around 12 years ago, and anyway, I always remembered it and imitated it myself for awhile.

So that’s ZING. Get yours on. I’m bringing it back.


Somewhere in Belgium on a Monday.

January 24, 2009

So Greg Reain is one of a few young Canadians following a dream by living and racing semi-pro in Belgium, hoping, maybe, one day, to step up to the big leagues of pro cycling and going to The Source to do that. Greg’s from Ottawa and posts some pretty cool stories and observations about living in The Belg.

Him being over and doing this, like my friend Per Strom, from Calgary, is the cultural equivilant of some Belgian jr. hockey player coming over here and playing with the Hitmen WHL hockey team. Belgium is cycling mad and I love this guy’s posts. I’m trying to sell a story about Per’s ambition to anyone that’ll give me $500 bucks for the words so I can hop over, sleep in a shed, wear my wool hat in the Euro rain for a week, and eat some dumplings. It would be as cool as hell all, even when I get absolutely shelled on the cobblestones of Flanders durnig some cakewalk training ride with some of these guys.

Belgium is cool. I’d kind of forgotten why I like this place so much. Cycling culture just seems to ooze from the muddy farmfields, it seeps up from the cracks between the concrete slabs of the roads and it permeates your soul like the everpresent fog permeates your clothing. If you are captivated by scenes of racers pounding over rough roads lined out across the road in a vain attempt to shelter from the wind then this is where you must be. Italy is fine, Italy is nice, Italy is for the soft. Belgium is for the hard. This is a country that seems to thrive on a perverse ethic of hard work and immense suffering. Perfect. I love it. The level of cycling conciousness in the general population is fantastic; it’s sort of like hockey in Canada – maybe everyone is not a fan, but everyone is aware of the sport to some degree. Cycle racing is appreciated as a sport and people recognize the amount of work that the athletes put into it. This translates into a high degree of respect from drivers when training on the road, and also a very knowledgeable community of fans. Witness the following conversation:

Belgian Volunteer- (something unintelligible in Flemish)

Me – “Sorry, I don’t speak Flemish”

BV – “Oh you must be Greg Reain then.”

Me – “What the???” I had literally been out of the change rooms for three minutes at Sint Niklaas after changing into my team kit, and since I had not even shown my face in Belgium yet this season I was a little freaked at how this guy knew who I was. I guess it had something to do with the Stevens clothing and the fact that English is clearly my native language. This is relatively normal here though; the fans make an effort to follow the sport, they know who is on what team and they have a pretty good idea (if not perfect knowledge) of a given riders’ results over the course of the season. Often they’ll remember stuff that you did in a race that you won’t even remember. Pretty cool.  

My heartrate jumps just reading that shit.


How to crash a road bike

January 20, 2009

A very funny post about misapplying tubular tires. From the excellent blog Bobke Strut:

My source for the repurposed glue was the local Napa auto parts store in Cooperstown, NY. I kept a piece of the cardboard box with the code number in my wallet so I could make sure I got the right stuff from the dizzying array of auto accessories in their stockroom. They never asked me what I was doing with all that trim adhesive. Maybe they thought I was some kind of car trim idiot savant, since I didn’t buy anything else from them at all. They likely new I was “Peter, that guy who races bikes”, but the question of my glue purchases never came up.

One early summer day, I think it was 1989, I went by the trusty Napa store to buy some Fast Tack only to discover their stock was depleted. However, there happened to be another 3M product by the name (I think…it’s been a while) simply “3M Trim Adhesive”. Trim adhesive is trim adhesive, right?

I should have been tipped off right away by the consistency, very close to toothpaste, not the uber-sticky nature of Fast Tack. But I was young and stupid. So I glued up that front wheel. And then I drove to Pittsfield, MA that weekend to race on said front wheel. And in no more than 2 laps of what should have been a 50 lap crit, that bad boy rolled off the rim like it wasn’t glued on at all. Because it wasn’t glued on at all. I was first through the 3rd turn, just beginning to contemplate the can of whupass I was about to unleash on these rubes, when I unceremoniously found myself powersliding across the pavement on my right side. Thankfully, I was the only guy that went down. And then I immediately fled the course, mere microseconds after burning huge swaths of flesh off my right leg and arm, and limped about 2 blocks off the course so I could hide out for a bit. I was not about to get suspended for being a dumbass, and I needed to remount my tire and deflate it so I could re-emerge at the ambulance and have a (kind of lame) excuse about flatting my front tire and then losing control. I still have scars on my leg from that horrific slide across asphalt, I still cringe when I re-live the medics wire brush treatment to raw flesh (I happened to slide through a patch of sand to boot), and I learned that the Fast Tack part of 3M Fast Tack Trim Adhesive is an element not to be trifled with.


Punched in the face by the flu.

January 20, 2009

Ugh, what misery is this? I started feeling bunk sometime Saturday afternoon and she’s just gone on a bit of a tear since then. Didn’t sleep last night. At all, really. And had too much to do at work to skip it. My plan was to go in and touch-base just enough to keep things on track, then head home and do some emailing and writing from there. However, it was 4:00 or so before I was able to step away so I put the whole day in.

Tomorrow looks the same, but I’d love to just lie on the couch and moan. Moan and watch Battlestar Galactica, that is, even though I couldn’t resist and already peaked at who the 5th secret Cyclon is. I know: nerd.

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