2014 Seasons in the Sun

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

How to Wear a Cycling Cap: Cyrille Guimard

While in the company of Greats.

photo @ cyclinghalloffame.com

The year was 1972, the year the Tour would be run entirely within the borders of France. The last time that had happened was 1947. It was also supposed to be the year of the great showdown between Eddy Merckx and Luis Ocana, making up for the previous year when Ocana had crashed out of the race. Instead, after Ocana crashed on Stage Seven and later abandoned, the battle for supremacy resolved to one between Merckx and Guimard.

Even that battle would, however, not go the distance. Guimard, having already won four stages, was forced to abandon early during Stage 18 while seated in second place. Had he been able to survive the final stages he, undoubtedly, would have won the Green Jersey; instead Merckx won both Yellow and Green, yet presented the Green Points Classification Jersey to Guimard out of respect.

Guimard, is probably best known for his managerial successes, and conflicts. Teams under his direction won the Tour de France seven times. Riders he directed are counted among the sports greatest, including Lucien Van Impe, Bernard Hinault, Laurent Fignon, and Greg Lemond. Even so, Guimard also had a lengthy run of race success as a rider, across a wide spectrum - road, track, cyclocross. These included seven stage wins in the Tour, the Combativity Award at the 1972 Tour, two stages of the 1971 Vuelta and the Points Classification winner, French National Sprint Champion on the Track (1970), French National Cyclocross Champion (1976). Those may be the brightest spots on his palmares, but he also won nearly one hundred more races over a period of eight years as a pro.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Monday Blues: Owl on Blue Bicycle

Remember all those places you would go as a kid, amusement parks, circuses, zoos, and other such attractions that had bird shows. There was usually some point in the show where a bird would be given a little bike to ride. The birds always seemed to be cockatoos, cockatiels, parrots or macaws. Maybe they were the only species that could be trained to do so. Anyway, this owl isn't really riding, it is just sitting there. Smart as they are reputed to be, it don't believe I ever saw an owl turning the pedals.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Up the Road: 2015 Ride of Silence

I often lament how the motoring public lost their way long ago in myriad ways, and right at the top of the list of those is roadway carnage. Senses have become dulled to blight and slaughter; deaths an acceptable payment for convenience. In cycling we prefer to remember. To remember our brothers and sisters, fellow comrades of the spoked wheel, those whose lives have been lost, often through no fault of their own.

Every year our community, all around the world, comes together for one day, one ride of silence, to remember, to focus attention, to say that every life, even one, matters. As in years past, the Inland Empire's ride will take place in Rancho Cucamonga. I plan to be there, and hope you will be as well. You may have to shrug off a training ride for one week, but it is worth it. It may be the most meaningful ride you do all year.

From the Archives: Tour of Hurricane, 1995

Early April. Team Xtreme had still not received our kit,
so I was forced into wearing Chevy/Sheriff shorts with plain wrap jersey.

1995, of all the various years I travelled to Utah for this race, was my best showing though, admittedly, that is owed more to what the stats and standings don't reveal.

The Gunlock Road Race was the first stage of the race, with an afternoon time trial to follow (From the Archives February).

From the journal: "As in years past, the early pace was pretty easy. As in past years one of the thirty-seven starters managed to crash at the start line just as we were getting underway; otherwise things wet smoothly all the way to the big climb. I climbed well, getting KOM points as the second to the top while leading a chase of a solo break, Robert Chapman, the eventual overall winner. A lead group of about ten or eleven riders formed at the top and we worked well enough to keep ahead of anyone else. Everyone was contributing, rotating through and taking a turn at the front. The only foreseeable problem standing in my way now was the fast descent of Snow Canyon. Not this year however; I would not be dropped. At the end of the long descent, the pavement came to a, new, and sudden end. Regrading work had shaved off the asphalt and left a hardpack and gravel surface for about a mile. Doom. As soon as I left the pavement my rear tire blew out. With the neutral support vehicle right behind us I got a quick wheel change (thanks guys) but had problems with the spare which was out of true causing me to stop again, after getting back on the road, so that I could open up the brake. In the meantime the first chase group (most of the peloton) came past.

I got things straightened out, made a quick acceleration to get up to the chase, went straight to the front, and pulled the bunch back to pavement. Back on the main road we hit the rollers and kind of settle in to a steady, non-rushed, pace. It was about this time that one guy said to his teammate "watch that guy" meaning me. Damn straight. He didn't mean because I was sketchy, or a squirrel either. The rollers were as good a place as any for an attack, and with one guy slightly off the front, I had a dig. Nothing sudden, just a gradual acceleration. Neither he, nor anyone else reacted. When I looked back after a minute or two I had a biiiigggg gap. I was on a big sweeping left turn and knew there was a descent at the end of it where I would be out of sight, and hopefully out of mind, so I put my head down, tucked my elbows in and went for it. It was a good move, but turned out to be even better, when two miles later, a couple guys caught up - three pairs of legs are better than one. At the next hill one of my new companions was toast and faded for good. The two of us left, continued to share the effort.

I knew that just before reaching the mile to go sign there would be a short hill, but a good one to attack on. I did, and soloed the rest of the way to the line. With a long uphill finish I was able to look up the road and see a couple riders from the original lead break that formed behind me on the first big climb. Granted, they were off the pace, but I had almost made my way back. Eleventh place, a lot of satisfaction, but oh, what might have been, I have rarely felt so good in a race." 

Friday, May 1, 2015


Whether you prefer the tranquil or the frenetic, make the best of your choice this weekend. A little thirty five mile ride today left me feeling like I had done twice the distance, so I think I will start with a dash of the first, before ending with a flourish of the second at the Dana Point Grand Prix on Sunday.

You have heard of the "road less travelled", well I call this the "roadless pedaled". Dang that's good; I'll have to use it for the name of a ride.

That is about the most basic bridge you will ever see, but somehow, the simple geometry of its parts works in this instance. But maybe it is just the tranquilo speaking.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

2015 El Roble Bike Marathon

Unless my record keeping is off this would be the thirty-eighth year of El Roble's Bike Marathon, the twenty-four hour ride that raises funds for the Red Cross (actually, I am not sure of the beneficiary. In years past it has been the Red Cross, while last year the students raised funds for the Foothill Family Shelter, and did not hear who funds would be donated to this time around). Students who participate, as either riders or counters, must meet certain academic requirements, take part in practices, and be ready to move on to high school next year. The Bike Marathon is a goal-oriented endeavor, on multiple levels, fosters a sense of community and, rightfully, a corresponding sense of accomplishment.

Students alternate with an hour of riding followed by one to rest, from noon of day one to noon of day two. I took a peek at the lap board where I noticed a familiar name, a family well recognized in local cycling circles. Over his first three hours of riding he was spinning laps at greater than sixty per hour, or more than one each minute. Several students were matching those numbers, or even better, one even tallying seventy-five laps in one hour.

However many laps riders end up with at the end of the marathon, everyone has managed a good start. I may not be there to see how it all ends, whether records are set, hear how many pizzas were consumed, but congratulations to all the students, the teachers and administrators who organize, and the parents who give up a nights sleep. Ride hard and have fun doing it.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Cycling Claremont: Bud's on the Bikecentennial in 1976

I am a Claremont transplant, though the move to this Los Angeles County outpost did take place twelve years ago. That is long enough to remember the old Bud's Bike Shop. Not the original, perhaps, but a more recent incarnation, a later owner, but enough continuity, some connection to that venerable institution. Well. At least the name was the same. 

So, I was reading through an issue of Adventure Cyclist, the August / September 2014 issue to be exact. I am that far behind in my magazine reading. 

I was reading the caption accompanying a photo essay and noticed, especially, the part that read: "… the Shimano / Bud's Bike Shop-sponsored van roamed east and west along the Trail that summer…" Hmm, I thought, and took a closer look at the photo. Could it be the Bud's of Claremont? Sure enough, there on the side of the van was a sign reading "Bud's Bike Shop. Claremont. Alta Loma. Covina." How cool is that? Though the photo seems somewhat familiar, I don't believe I was aware that Bud's was involved in that great trans-country ride during the bicentennial year. A little Claremont cycling history. The question: Who is that mechanic? What kind of stories could he tell of that year?

Update: Thanks to a little helper called email as well as some loyal readers who, though they would prefer to see this piece of work revert to its old 'Claremont Cyclist' moniker, continue to check in, I have a few additions. By 1976 the original 'Bud' Day had retired - Bill McCready was running the Claremont store, with his brother out minding the shop in Covina, and Peter Boor taking care of business in Alta Loma. The photo, by the way, was taken by Dan Burden.
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