Tuesday, June 30, 2009
The taller girl in the picture above was the motivation for the event. Her name is Sela. She is our friend Karen’s niece and she has a condition that causes her retinas to degenerate. She is seven and the first time we met she gave us a hug before bedtime. It is funny how a seven year old girl knew exactly what to do to make us feel welcome. Her parents started raising funds through this event seven years ago, soon after they learned of Sela's condition.
We were late getting involved with this race and did not get the word out in time to raise funds. If you are interested in helping the Foundation follow this link.
Saturday, June 20, 2009
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
"I was only young and the injuries were to haunt me for the rest of my career but I got through. I had to adjust my position on the saddle and I was always needing massages and manipulation. But I got through. In the end I grew philosophical. I could still turn the pedals, the bike still went quick. Not as quick, but still very quick. The only difference between me and my opponents was that I started most races in pain, they hit the wall three-quarters through or at the top of a big climb.
"I began to use it to my advantage. Being in pain from the start made me sharp and on edge and well motivated. I had no fear of what lay ahead. I was already suffering. My opponents had all that to look 'forward' to but they didn't know when it would ambush them in the race.
"Throughout this hour, the longest of my career, I never knew a moment of weakness, but the effort needed was never easy. It's not possible to compare the Hour with a time trial on the road. Here it's not possible to ease up, to change gears or the rhythm. The Hour record demands a total effort, permanent and intense, one that's not possible to compare to any other. I will never try it again."
Monday, June 15, 2009
Pictured above are the handlebars that will go on the bike. They are NOS picked up on ebay. I love the 3TTT Motus Stem. Smoke Grey with two bolts for easy removal of the bars. I am not sure when they came out but it looks like mid to late 90's. The handlebars say "High Vibration Control" and "Computer Hi-Tech Heat Treatment." Those must have been some cool computers.
Sunday, June 14, 2009
I think I lost my DVD copy of La Course en Tete. As Patrick can tell you this movie can be watched as is or with the sound turned off accompanied instead by your favorite music. I ordered a new copy. My life is complete again. Nothing is as relaxing as watching Gust massage Eddy's legs.
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
Friday, June 5, 2009
One of the things I notice while out on group rides is the role reversal that occurs within the dynamic of the training ride as opposed to racing tactics you see on TV or that you hear about from the Tenspeed Heroes that are competing this year. During races the domestic goes to the front and blocks the wind. The team leader sits protected contemplating the decisive move. Slowly the lead riders pull off exhausted. Slowly they limp to the finish to get the news of the day. On our rides the opposite is true. Yesterday we were facing 20-25 wind gusts from Batavia to Wheaton. The team leader, the strongest rider, who everyone would agree was Patrick from Half Acre, drove the front of our small group for 15 miles. If I did not grab his wheel I would have been off the back. I felt like grabbing his wheel was my sprint for victory. I simply had nothing to offer besides staring at his back tire. By the time he pulled off in Wheaton he was little or no use. Nevertheless he recuperated and did it again. He went to the front and kept the pace up. Of course in the sprint to the driveway he still won. Here’s to Patrick for getting us home and being the best team leader and domestic a group of guys could have.
Thursday, June 4, 2009
When we ride the loop there are a few drinking fountains along the route that are important to stop at and fill up your bottles. If you don’t you will be thirsty and 15 miles away from the next pit stop. In the middle of the 63 mile ride there is another place that is important to stop off at and that is Sammy’s Bikes. The number one reason is Sammy. The second reason is Sammy’s shop. It is the kind of place you dreamed of when you were a kid. It is a Euro-Pro homeland where you could imagine a 12 year-old boy staring at the new Super Record groupset and thinking of how many lawns he would have to mow to buy it. Tucked in corners are memories of the old racing days with posters and a vintage pair of sidi cycling shoes.
The first time we met Sammy he told us we looked like Team ZZ Top, due to the fact that there were so many bearded men in our group that day. He then came around and checked out our rides and gave compliments to our “beautiful machines”. The third or fourth time he came out to look at our bikes and noticing how muddy and dusty they were he said, “Boys…these are road-bikes, these are beautiful machines, give them a bath once in awhile!”
We like Sammy because he gives good advice, makes great espresso, built the most beautiful bike shop in the Chicago area and is a PRO!
Wednesday, June 3, 2009
Tuesday, June 2, 2009
Sunday’s ride was up there with the toughest days I have had on a bike. There was a moment on the second loop, after the Foxriverberg, that I started to feel terrible. The limestone path and the springtime woods disappeared and all I could look at were my hands on the handlebars. A couple times I thought to myself that if I did not look up I might run into someone because I was not paying attention. I guess you could say I broke away from the chasing pack but in reality there was no chasing pack, just three guys trying to finish. For 10 or 12 miles I was alone until longtime Tenspeed Hero, Ben Gill, caught me. What a chase. His race was just starting. My respect for him coincided with my own sense of dread…33 miles to go. Ben eventually separated from me about the time that Matt Crowther caught up. Matt confessed his own doubts about finishing as we spent 5 miles soft-pedaling to catch our breath. Dreams of the podium seemed irrelevant, instead, Matt and I relied on each other for motivation. On the remaining climbs we got out of the saddle, on the flats we traded turns, and we felt renewed. The evening was rich in color and we started to smile again.
I always thought of Podium Girls as the European version of a cheerleader but after doing the Double Loop I realized I was wrong. A Podium Girl does not rally the troops during the event but instead she affirms the triumph over suffering with a kiss. It’s a much more noble thing.
Monday, June 1, 2009
There are many things we could write about Zachary Thomas but the most telling story comes from the first points to be garnered in the KOM competition. About 1K from the climb, Isaiah Jay broke for the hill soon to be followed by Joe from Half Acre, then up comes Zachary Thomas looking down the road curious as to what was happening.
"Hey what are those guys doing?"
"King of the Mountains dude!"
Jumping on his 53x11 Zachary shouted, "I'm Going YeeeeeeeUp!!!"
On that particular climb he nabbed second but would later make a series of barbarous attacks that left the other racers chasing for points, which by the end of the day, started to taste like mere crumbs left on a poor man's table. Picture above shows Zachary accepting the Polka Dot Jersey as well as his well deserved Second spot on the podium.
On the day Russian Denis Menchov won the Maglia Rosa, and American Davis Phinney captured the Paris-Roubaix Espoirs, Isaiah Jay conquered the 2009 Double Loop locally known as the Prairie-Roubaix. Coming in at 173 Kilometers which is slightly longer than the Paris Roubaix Espoirs, Isaiah Jay beat Zachary Thomas of Chicago in a two man sprint. Coming down the final k it looked like the two Tenspeed Heros would cross together Hinault-Lemond style but late machinations by Zachary forced Isaiah's move. Head down, Isaiah powered to victory. Full race report to come. Pictured above are 4 incredible podium girls kissing the winner.