Friday, March 14, 2008

Blast from the Past

Come on, admit it... you google yourself from time to time, don't you. I know I do. Well, thank god I name names here on this piddly little blog because my old good friend from 30 years ago googled himself (or his significant other did, so he claims) and stumbled upon this site and then emailed me. Wow! Great to hear from Tim and great to hear he's doing well in Sacto.

He also sent me this pic......which shows Tim with me on his wheel (both in yellow with red shoulders) in a race when we were juniors.

Yowza! There's hair flowing out from under that helmet!

He's making me guess the race and the year, but I think it must be 1977 and judging by the crack in the concrete pavement, I bet it's at Cat's Hill in Los Gatos. That bike was a Frejus that I rebadged on the head-tube with a Playboy Bunny sticker. See, juniors have always been dorky! But that's not half as dorky as those bunched up socks and those hot-pants cycling shorts!! Jeeezus, cycling fashion has come a long way.

So this little history quiz prompted me to dig out my log from that year and make sure I actually did Cat's Hill... and sure enough, on May 22, I did. The log says that it was an E-for-excellent workout and further, that Chris Springer won, Greg LeMond got 2nd, and I got 7th.

Few people ever beat LeMond in the junior races, but Chris Springer was one of them. I don't recall a single race where I did...

But later that same year, at the 4th-of-July crit in Davis, Tim himself solo'ed off the front of the junior field to win. Second place that day... Greg LeMond.

Great to hear from you Tim!

10 comments:

Chester said...

WOW- I can't believe you've been racing that long! Those bikes are pretty trippy. Caitlin and I had a good little chuckle at the photograph... Its a great picture.

Linnea said...

wow, great stories!

Gary said...

Holy hair and quads Marco!!!

anony-miss said...

Those look like hats, not helmets. Helmets would have been a disadvantage then, right?

Marco Fanelli said...

Miss Anony-

Those are typical cycling caps (turned backwards) covering our leather-strap "hairnet" helmets. Can't say I remember why we did that but probably just because it was the cool thing to do...

Other observations/memories:
- Hardly anybody wore sunglasses back then. That boggles my mind now, especially since I was (and am) a contact-lense wearer.
- Note the toe-clips & straps. This was long before clip-in pedals. I used two straps per foot like the trackies, not because I thought I had so much power but because I liked my feet locked in place. Funny... now I want all the float I can get!
- Not sure when shoulder numbers went out of fashion... maybe when finish-line cameras replaced human "pickers" (The way it was back then was a gaggle of people would be right by the line and each would be responsible for picking a particular place and it helped to have as many numbers as possible!)
- Cycling shoes had laces... no velcro or other high-tech latching mechanisms.
- Most clothing was either real wool or a synthetic that wool-like. Lycra (or other shiny fabrics) didn't enter the scene until the 1980's. And cycling shorts had real chamois, which when dried after a washing would be really stiff and hard. Thus the invention of chamois creme.
- There was very little variation in wheels. Nearly everyone used box-rimmed sew-ups, 3-cross 36- or 32-hole, and almost all were campy hubs (the choice being high-flange or low-flange).
- Typical high-end racing bikes weighed 20-22 lbs.
- Front chainrings were usually 42-52 and rear 5-cog clusters typically would be 14-18, 14-21, or 14-24. Us juniors with restricted gears had 52x15 as our biggest gear.

...man, floods of memories! I'm sure there's lots more in there somewhere.

Anonymous said...

When I opened your blog, I thought the race pic was a still from Breaking Away til I enlarged it. You sure have earned your stripes Mark, and still going strong! Puffy Lemond should consider putting in a few miles these days.

Marco Fanelli said...

> Puffy Lemond should consider putting
> in a few miles these days.

Seems like lately we're hearing more and more about GL out on his bike. I wonder how many months of riding it would take him to get back to leg-ripping form... not many methinks.

Karl Ulrich said...

I would think winning three tours would give Lemond the right to be as puffy as he wants to be. Really, what does he have left to prove to all the 12k dreamers that rip him over his weight?

Marco Fanelli said...

I hear you Karl... Totally agree. GL has been GREAT for cycling and I hope he continues to stay in the public eye and he can damn well eat as much as he wants. But I hope he keeps riding...

Greg Knowles said...

Thanks for sharing, I enjoy hearing about days gone by.