Tuesday, March 27, 2007
Reason #473 why Oscar Freire is my hero:
Because nothing says PRO quite like…
…a mini-pump duct-taped to the top tube of your Colnago Extreme Power:
Photographer: Phil O’Connor | Procycling, April 2007, pg. 42
Bobke Strut: Hey Oscar, why not a mini-pump bracket?
Oscar Freire: Well…I think Ernesto Colnago would crap his pants if one of those brackets appeared on my ride.
BS: And duct tape is ok?
OF: Hell yeah.
BS: What about jersey pockets?
OF: But that would mess up the exquisite lines of my kit. Plus, don’t you know that guys like me don’t have functioning pockets? They’re sewn shut, just there for show. If I need something to eat, I just stop at somebody’s house. Everyone in Torrelavega knows Oscar Freire. If I need a tube, I flag down a fellow cyclist and he gives me his. If he doesn’t have a spare tube, then I just take one out of his wheel. Then he gets on the cell and calls to get picked up.
BS: Then why bother with the mini-pump? Wouldn’t said rider have a pump you could scam, too?
OF: I need it to whack smart-ass journalists upside the head. No more questions from you…
I’m not sure what’s going on in Spain these days. Igor Astarloa and Alejandro Valverde definitely have unique theories regarding training techniques, but Oscar Freire’s got them beat hands-down when it comes to his no-tech, just-give-me-my-brother-on-a-scooter workout regimen. If Oscar Freire is healthy and he can get in a solid two two-week block of motorpacing, there’s not a one-day race in the world (barring a TT up Mt. Ventoux) that Freire isn’t capable of winning. The man is a total freak of nature. And just a plain freak.
The World According to Oscar
On using an SRM: “Are you trying to turn me into one of those crazy riders or what?”
Paris-Roubaix: “Roubaix is a nice race to watch on TV, but not to ride…We were doing 60kph as we rode into the [Arenberg] forest and never in my life would I have thought we were going to turn down that road.”
Rainy training rides: “Stay at home and ride the rollers”
Training volume: “I go well with relatively little training…if I did as much as Erik Zabel I wouldn’t win anything”
Just read that Procycling interview (April 2007 issue) and drop your jaw in awe…
Sunday, March 11, 2007
2007 marks the 25th consecutive year that I’ve held a USCF/USA Cycling license. I’ve probably ridden a bike in excess of 200,000 miles, raced maybe 1,000 times, but there’s no confirmation of either statistic. I’ve never kept a training diary, and the remnants of races past are not particularly plentiful. However, I do have a fair amount of photographs of my racing endeavors. Over the past 25 years I’ve owned and raced 12 different bikes. These are their stories:
Part 2, with bikes 7-12, is coming soon…
Sunday, March 11, 2007
Matt Kelly as seen in an ad for Lemond bikes, Rolf wheels, and Icon bars/stems: VeloNews, March 1, 1999
A trip down memory lane to Poprad, Slovakia…
1999 Junior Men Cyclocross World Champion Matt Kelly is likely the first and last person to win a world title on clincher tires (and Trek’s house-brand Icon bars and stem have likely never seen another world title, either). No Dugasts here! Check it out–he’s sporting a Michelin Mud on the front and a Ritchey Speedmax on the rear. And equally as low tech is Kelly’s steel 853 Lemond frame, likely simply one of the Lemond road frames with a ‘cross fork plus a set of cantilever bosses welded on for the rear brake. For the 1998/1999 ‘cross season, Lemond did not offer a ‘cross bike to the public–this is a one-off supplied to Kelly. Look at the cable routing, these are most definitely not ‘cross friendly with both derailleur cables routed along the downtube and the rear brake routing designed for a road caliper brake. And I bet the reason he’s sporting a Speedmax rear tire instead of a Michelin is that the Michelins are too fat to fit in the road chain stays, while a skinnier Speedmax will just fit (as long as you keep your wheels exquisitely trued).
The Belgian that Kelly outsprinted was Sven Vanthourenhout, who had won each of the 26 cyclocross races he had entered that season. While Vanthourenhout was raging in Europe, Kelly had a comparatively sparse American ‘cross schedule. In fact, the bulk of his training was done in the basement of his Wisconsin home on the trainer. It was Rocky vs. Drago in Poprad, and the underdog American defied logic and precedent to emerge with a rainbow-striped jersey.
“Hey bitches, you go to ‘cross worlds with the skinsuits you have, not the skinsuits you might want or wish to have.”–Performance Bicycle management
Team issue Performance skinsuits sucked ass in cold weather. In steps Verge…
“It was cold in Poprad, Slovakia during the recent  world cyclocross championships. It was so cold that the official U.S. team uniforms brought by the team proved woefully inadequate. Fortunately, a couple of ‘locals’ knew just how cold it would be in Poprad and, about a week before the event, started constructiong long-sleeved, knicker skinsuits at their Polish clothing factory. Michael Magur and Brad Hogan, who own the Poland-based Verge Sport, carefully reproduced the graphics on the American uniforms–including all of the sponsor’s logos–and set off for a day-long winter drive from Poland to Poprad. The trip concluded with a treacherous three-hour drive on a snow-covered single-lane road over the Tatra Mountains. No guard rails and lots of snow.” VeloNews, March 1, 1999.
Hoopty pit crew:
I forgot about this story from Poprad–how a Frenchman in the espoir race got screwed by his pit team. A Frenchman named John Gadret. On the final lap Gadret had his silver medal wrapped up–Wellens was out of reach about 1 minute in front of Gadret and the duo of Tim Johnson and Tom Vannoppen were about 40 seconds behind Gadret thinking they were duking it out for bronze. Gadret’s pit crew thought he was home free, too, and abandoned their post at the second pit and ran to the finish line to greet their silver medalist to-be. Alas, Gadret suffered a flat just before the second pit and he rolled into that pit area expecting a smooth bike change to carry him over the final kilometer. To his horror, there were no French mechanics or bikes to be had–he had to bum a wheel off neutral support after his frantic search for his chain-smoking compatriots came up empty. A weeping Gadret crossed the line in 5th place, and if he wasn’t so freaky skinny and freaky cold he likely would have given his slacker pit crew a world-class beat down.