Highway 61 Revisited

•September 26, 2010 • Leave a Comment

No one likes getting over taken by other cyclists, especially when that other cyclist is a woman and it’s even worse when the woman is riding an old sit-up-and-beg bike! This happened to me a while back on one of my first rides after getting back on the bike. I was giving it all along the Amstel river into a head wind and was getting no where, when out of the corner of my eye I spied someone on my wheel. When I turned to see who it was, I was shocked when I noticed it was a pretty young woman grinning back at me, on an old fashioned girls bike. She winked then twisted her handle bar grip and put it in her big 3rd gear of three and breezed past me. I took exit stage left and sped off down a different route to avoid further embarrassment.

Well exactly the same scenario happen today in exactly the same spot on the Amstel river, when I was out on my Sunday ride. I was going for it into yet another head wind (every fucking wind here is a head wind!), when I noticed someone on my wheel again. I had a look around and give it a quick ‘hello’ and on first glances it looked like another fella suffering in the wind. So I decided to put the hammer down a bit more and after 3km I had head tilt and slobber running off the chin but I could still see the black jersey of my fellow cyclist on my left hand shoulder. I took my hands off the drops and put them on the tops of the bars as i sat up gasping for air. The other cyclist passed me by and as she did (yes it was another bloody woman – fit asian babe) she turned and smiled at me and I clung on to her wheel for about another Kilo while I had a blimp of her sexy Lycra clad arse before she disappeared into the distance.

That wasn’t the only time i was over taken on my ride today. I’d only just set off early morning when I was quickly passed by a couple of young lads out on a Sunday spin. I jumped out the saddle and got onto their wheels and stayed there for about 10km and when I looked behind there was another four riders on my wheel as we zoomed along the dikes in our own little chain gang. We did about 40km at a steady pace – for them but an absolute killer pace for me – and it wasn’t too long before the legs were beginning to scream. I did manage a few words with one or two of the other riders in between puffs for oxygen and they were keen to find out more about my Liverpool Century jersey (red white & blue edition not the black retro one fact fans). They wore the green jerseys of the UWTC Uithoorn. I left them too it when I turned off and went and got myself lost around some glorious little lanes and got my breath back. I then started on my journey home and was over taken by some old fella with veiny legs. He had it in the big ring and was gripping on tight to his TT bars as he tested his way past me, I tried to keep up but to no avail. Then I hit the Amstel river and that’s when the sexy Asian babe was echelonin’ her butt behind me.

All in all a great Sunday out on the bike with 90km done. My only gripe was the rain clouds and their sporadic showers. The drop in temperature didn’t help as well, with the winter gloves & tights coming out, although the sun did make an appearance in the afternoon.


Clothes Line Saga

•September 17, 2010 • Leave a Comment

What’s your favourite racing jerseys? Over the coming weeks I will be answering that question as I delve into my stylish racing wardrobe and pull out a few crackers that I will be giving the ‘Gok Wan’ once over – thanks to Duff’s facebook page for inspiration and pictures.


Brooklyn one of the truly iconic names of the early-to-mid 1970’s peloton. Roger de Vlaeminck was the best-known, but certainly not the only, top-drawer rider on the team. The “Capt. America” jerseys together with the unbelieveably gorgeous cobalt blue Gios-Torino frames may be the best visual combo ever raced. I fell in love with the jersey, after viewing Vlaeminck wearing it in the classic film A Sunday In Hell and I was conned into thinking the Brooklyn team had some connection with Uncle Sam.

Brooklyn was (and may still be) a brand of chewing gum. The team was registered in Italy, but it almost always had a mixed roster of Italians and Belgians, roughly half-and-half. Roger de V. was one of the very best ever Classics riders (he holds the record for Paris-Roubaix wins with 4 – he also won most of the other biggies at some point). He was one of the few who never just rolled over and played dead for Merckx. Roger de Vlaeminck remains one of the all-time greats of road racing (and was pretty good at cyclo-cross as well), and he also remains the historical “face” of the Brooklyn team.

Because Brooklyn was an Italian-based team, the Giro was a higher priority for the sponsor than the Tour, although Brooklyn did show up in France a few times. The team failed to appear at the TdF one year for a most unusual reason – the head of the Brooklyn Chewing Gum Co was kidnapped by the Red Brigades – a Marxist Leninist militant group – and the team’s Tour budget for the year instead went to pay his ransom.

Prendas Ciclismo ( http://www.prendas.co.uk) have been knocking out a retro copy of the once famous jersey, but they aren’t quite accurate as reproductions of the real Brooklyn jerseys. The D’Allesandro merino wool ones available three or four years back are much more faithful to the original.


This jersey just screams, 80’s-Saturday afternoons-World of Sport-Kelly arms in the air, at me. Althouth this Spanish cycling team, sponsored by a Spanish soft drinks company, had plenty of success in the 70’s with riders like Jose Manuel Fuente & José Pesarrodona, Kelly’s is the only reason this jersey remains one of my favourites.

The team disappeared in 1979 but turned up again in 1985 as a co-sponsor of the Skil-Sem team run by French directeur sportif Jean de Gribaldy. The following year Kas took over as title sponsor and the yellow Kas jersey returned with Kelly at the helm. When he sprinted over the line first in loads of races in the 80’s the fella just oozed class, with his gritty paddy kipper dressed in that dirtied canary yellow & blue jumper and lets face it, when he won the Milan – San Remo in 92, wearing that daft Festina ‘clock face’ top and white ‘special needs’ helmet, it just didn’t look right, did it?

(Sweating) Blood On The Tacx3

•September 13, 2010 • Leave a Comment

After a short sabbatical off the bike through the month of August, I must say I’m back with a bang! Well not so much of a bang more of a whimper, when I indulged in a boss trip the other weekend around Bos Park. My musette was filled up with lots of goodies and before i knew it, I’d clocked up 50km just twiddling around the park. I wanted to stay out and do more miles but with darkness descending I thought it was best to head home, before all the freaks come out, well doggers actually.

Yesterday I managed a few hours in the morning when i peddled out to Zandvoort on the coast after incorporating the Kopje Op Bloemendaal on the way. Cake & coffee was had on the beach before the hard headwind journey home, were I suffered a little bit. I’ve been back on the turbo to get my strength back up and have banged a quick hour out tonight.

For the rest of the week on the turbo, I shall be hanging on to the wheel of Pantani the Pirate as he forces his way back in to contention in the 99 Giro, on the climb up the Oropa. After suffering a puncture at the foot of the climb the Pirate fights his way back through the peleton up to the leader Jalabert, then attacks the Frenchman to take the stage victory, fantastico!

The Pantani Pirate Tape

Miles Davis/Pantani Giro Commentary
Stereo MC’s – Paradise (Dr Rubberfunk club mix)
Felix Laband – Whistling In Tongues
Arp Life – Bu Bu
Carravella – Jazzanova
The Brain – Vortex in my Cortex
Fleetwood Mac – The Chain
The Beatles – Tomorrow Never Knows (Leftside Wobble Edit)
Gomez – These 3 Sins
The Seeds – Pushin’ Too Hard
Bowie – Rebel Rebel
Bamboo – Hustlers Of Live Never Survive
Marco Pantani – The End

The Pantani Pirate Tape by saddlesore

Bos Park

Candy and a Currant Bun

•August 4, 2010 • Leave a Comment

“Dad can I have Hot-Dog & chips?”
“but you’ve already had your tea”
“I’m hungry though Dad”
“Ok but don’t tell your Mum”
“Dad can I have a can of pop?”
“Yes no problem”
“Dad can I have an ice cream?”
“Dad can I have some chocolate from the garage on the way home?”
“Only if your good and promise not to tell your mum, Ok?”
“Ok Dad thanks”

Apart from all the requests for food he wasn’t that much of a pain. I’d taken my son to watch a bike race down in Roosendaal and we had left the ogre in doors (apologies if you are reading this love). He was thoroughly enjoying all his treats as he was shouting encouragement to the riders flying by. He was a bit gutted when he found out Cavendish wasn’t riding but there was numerous other big names from the tour taking part in this lively crit around the Quayside at Roosendaal. Schleck, Gesink, Pattachi, Basso were all in attendance but my sons allegiances were with his new hero, Matt Bremmeier the Irish Champ. He was hanging over the barrier shouting his name and when Matt went past and give the thumbs up my son was over the moon.

We stayed to the very end, when the race finished at half nine. It was just getting dark and seen as though his bed time is usually 7 o’clock he did well to keep his eye’s open and he didn’t moan once. Schleck inevitably won the race ahead of Gesink and Moerenout to the joys of the rather drunk crowd. These Crit races are Ace, especially this one in Roosendaal. The town centre was fenced off and people were charged 20 euro’s to enter (not us like, we did the arl scouse bunk over the fence). The whole towns population had turned up and were getting drunk in the many bars that were spread out around the circuit. There was also a large stage where Dutch popstars were performing for the crowd. I must admit the mixture of the weird ‘Oom-Pah-Pah’ Dutch techno music and the commissaire announcing the next prime coming from the many loudspeakers fixed to every lamppost, was starting to do my noggin in! So we ended up decamping to a quieter corner to enjoy the race.

My son was a little bit upset when he never managed to catch the winners bouquet, that Schleck had thrown into the crowd from the winners podium. He was on my shoulders in the crowded street and he nearly sent me tumbling over when he dived ‘Pepe Reina’ style over the fellas head in front as he grabbed for the flowers. The fella in front’s girlfriend caught them and I told him “not to worry because flowers are for girls anyway son” He patted his forehead with the palm of his hand and said “Doh!- I know that Dad, I was going to give them to me Mum”

I haven’t been out much on the bike this past week, I’ve been too busy playing happy families (and ‘Ben Ten Alien Force on the xbox’). I missed my Sunday ride and drove the Family down to Belgium to watch the ICF Vets World Champs. The Mrs was bored after five minutes and she wasn’t pleased when I informed her that she would have to walk all the way back down the climb at the finish, to one of the cafes at the bottom – about a kilometre away – to go the toilet. I bumped into a few old Century lads at the finish line and had a quick word before departing for home.

I will be back on my punishing training schedule as of tomorrow that’s for shure. Doei

Click for photo’s of the Vet World Champs

Click for photo’s of the Roosendaal crit

Ninety Miles An Hour (Down A Dead End Street)

•July 25, 2010 • Leave a Comment

That’s twice I’ve done it now. I did exactly the same last Sunday when I was coming back from my ride. I chanced on a short-cut and went down the same little alleyway between two sets of flats, not realising that I done the same thing last week and I ended up hitting a dead end and having to circumnavigate the block of flats and double back on myself till I hit the cycle path again. My mind was else where and all I could think about was getting home to watch the final stage of the Tour.

Last week I’d rushed home after my 80km ride to Bloemendaal and back with my mate Jerome and managed to catch Contador and Schleck playing cat & mouse as they went up the Ax-3 Domaines on stage 14. This week I was rushing home after my 90km ride with Jerome to Zandvoort and back (incorporating the Kopje van Bloemendaal climb, twice!!) to see if Cav could take the sprint on the Champs-Elysées.

I’ve overdosed on the Tour for the past 3 weeks, with early darts from graft and days off sick on the couch glued to Eurosport. Eurosport was my favoured channel to watch the race on because it was the only one I could get in English. I must say though, I was highly entertained yet again by David Harmon & Sean Kelly’s commentary. It can get a tad repetitive at times when there’s nothing much happening on the racing front. You can literally hear Kelly choke on his French Fancy as Harmon asks him (yet again!) what a rider has in his musette. Kelly the consummate professional, wipes the crumbs from his mouth and gives his stock answer that he gave two days ago.

After Eurosports coverage stops, I would flick over to the France 2 channel and catch the stage winner, yellow/green/polka dot jersey wearers getting interviewed by Laurent Jalabert after being on the podium. Then the next half an hour slot would be them showing old footage of tours gone by, with the likes of Anquetil/Hinault/Fignon/Merckx/Van Imp. Absolute fantastic stories all played out a long the terrain of France and its surrounding countries.

With France 2 all finished, I’d switch my channel allegancies a little bit later on in the evening to Eén (Belgium station) and catch their Sporza highlights show. With a travelling studio following the race and with guests like Tom Boonan and Eddy Planckaert, Sporza showed many features of the Eddy Merkx variety as you’d imagine, – especially when Chavanel was in yellow for the Merckx riding Quick Step team – we got a tour round his frame building factory and actually got to see Chavanel special yellow/green bike getting sprayed. Sporza also had a beatifuly crafted wooden table in the shape of a bike,  that the guests would sip red wine around as the host of the show Karl Vannieuwkerke interviewed them and after each interview he’d get the guest to sign the table.

I’d sometimes flick over to the Dutch channel, Nos1 and catch some of there highlights package. There’s was of a similar set up to the Belgium one, with old pro’s getting interviewed – Jansen, Zoetemelk – around a table as they enjoyed a nice bottle of red and plenty of old black and white footage of bygone yesteryears.

If I could manage to keep my eyes open I would flick back to Eurosport and catch the repeat of the days racing and watch it all again. Then I would go to sleep listening to ITV’s Tour De France podcast with Boardman & Co. I can’t get ITV where I live and I am also unable to watch it on line either, so I missed their TV coverage and I don’t know if that’s a good or a bad thing?

(Sweating) Blood On The Tacx2

•July 21, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Here’s another selection of chaboons I’ve picked off me itunes and bandaged together, with a few snippets of Phil Liggets classic commentary. This week on the Tacx Turbo I shall be Robert Millar accelerating away from Jimenez on the top of the Col De Peyresourde and then throwing it in the big ring as I descend into Bagneres de Luchon to take the stage victory. “Robert Millar’s going to win this stage and win it so well”. Pity the fruitcake turned himself into a bird. The video of him winning that stage in 83 got played to death in our house.

The Pau to Bagneres de Luchon Mix

I Wanna Take You Higher – Sly & The Family Stone
Beat Dis – Bomb The Bass
Creation – Stereo MC’s
Naked & Ashamed – Dylan Rhymes/Phil Ligget – commentary
Pounding – The Doves
Infected – The The
Moving On – Gang Starr
High 5 (Rock The Catskills) – Beck
Sing It Back [Album Version] – Moloko
The Back Of Love – Echo & The Bunnymen
WFL (Think About The Future) – Happy Mondays
Riders On The Storm – The Doors

Sweating blood on the tacx2 by saddlesore

Crash On The Levee (Down In The Flood)

•July 18, 2010 • Leave a Comment

You might remember a while back I told you about my first race that I took part in (what do you mean you don’t remember?), when it was pissing down and there was a crash on the first lap – someone went down and the fella behind somersaulted over him and done his hip in – well the fella who went down was spotted out again on his bike. He was at the Amstel’s Open Crit Race on Tuesday night. We got talking, after I’d retired after about 12 laps of the 1k circuit, (basically I was hanging on to the 20 strong bunch for a few laps until they dropped me then recover and jump back on when they lapped me) and he told me he should be racing in a week or two. He invited me out for a ride on Sunday (today) and I accepted.

We headed out in a North Westerly direction towards Harlemmameer, stopping off at Sparnwoude on the way and caught half an hour of the racing that was going on there (arl arses and ladies). Then Jerome (him with the gammy hip) took me on a spin out to Bloemendaal, were he told me there is a famous climb there. Now, the only climbing I’ve done over here in Holland is when I cross over a motor way bridge, so I was pleasantly (?) surprised by this 2 kilometre cobbled lung buster. It wasn’t proper cobbles but them oblong paving bricks that they fit in a kind of V shape pattern on the road. With the weather being glorious we passed a steady number of riders going up the climb when we were on the decent.

We touched on the outskirts of Harlem and carried on our way towards Hoofddorp. The cycle tracks were long and straight and apart from a few old turtles on sit up and begs and the odd youth whizzing past on his retro Vespa, they were traffic free. Jerome upped the pace and I hung on to his wheel for the final few K’s.

I’m really surprised that my legs felt in good shape for the whole of the ride, I suffered going up the climb but quickly recovered on the decent and was able to keep up with the injured Jerome as he kept up a steady pace. Next stop is Tuesday nights Amstels Crit race again to see how many laps I can hang on in there for. If I use this season as a learning/training curve and get a full winter under me belt – maybe a few cyclo cross’s even – then I might be able to actually compete in these fast & furious races.