Sunday, September 29, 2013

Maurice De Waele

Maurice De Waele

Maurice De Waele (1896-1952) Was a Belgian professional bicycle racer during the years 1922 through 1931.  

De Waele raced as an independent professional his first year, 1922. In 1923 he joined the the Wonder Dunlop team and won several major races. One of his victories in 1923 was the Belgian Championship Road Race. 

The 1927 edition of the Tour de France was his first year to participate in the race. He won the thirteenth stage and finished second overall in the final general classification. 

At the 1928 Tour de France De Waele won the eighth stage and finished the race in third place overall in the general classification.

Maurice De Waele is best known for his win of the 1929 Tour de France. He won a stage and held the lead for much of the race. He became sick while wearing the yellow jersey of race leader. The Tour de France organizer, Henri Desgrange, was opposed to team tactics or collusion between riders. Desgrange wanted the race to be an indivual effort. De Waele was sick and suffering. He received help from his Alcyon teammates in the form of blocking and providing a draft for him. De Waele also had to buy help from racers on opposing teams. At the end of the race Henri Desgrange said "The Tour de France has been won by a corpse."

De Waele's final year of racing, 1931, was his fourth time competing in the Tour de France. He finished the tour in fifth place that year. He also won the Tour of Belgium before retiring from professional bicycle racing.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Lucien Aimar

Lucien Aimar

Lucien Aimar (April 28, 1941) raced as a professional cyclist during the years 1965 through 1973. After his retirement from racing he became a race director. 

Lucien's participated in the Tour de France his first year as a professional. He was on the Ford-Gitane team, led by Jacques Anguetil.  He abandoned the 1965 Tour de France that year on the Col d'Aubisque.

During the 1966 Tour de France Lucien Aimar attacked on the Col d'Aubisque, the very climb he had abandoned on the previous year. He had the support of Jacques Anquetil, who was riding his last Tour de France. Before leaving the race Anquetil pledged the team would work for Aimar for the rest of the race. Lucien Aimar went on to win the 1966 Tour de France.

For 1967 he switched to the Bic team. Aimar rode in support of Jacques Anqutil at the Giro d'Italia and finished in seventh place.

  The 1967 Tour de France was raced by national teams. Lucien rode in support of his fellow Frenchman Roger Pingeon. Pingeon won the tour that year and Aimar finished in sixth place. 

Aimar finished in second place, at the 1967 French National Road Race Championship, behind Desire Letort. Letort was later disqualified for doping. Lucien Aimar was by default the French Champion. He refused to wear the blue, white and red jersey of the national champion in support of Desire Letort.

Roger Pingeon and Lucien Aimar broke away together at the 1968 French National Road Race Championship. Aimar beat Pingeon in the final sprint and won the 1968 national championship.

Aimar had good solid results for the remaining five years of his professional career. He never had results to match his 1966 Tour de France and 1968 French National Championship victories.

Lucien Aimar on the podium of the 1966 Tour de France.
On the left of the photo is third place finisher Raymond Poulidor.
On the right of the photo is second place finisher Jan Janssen.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Take a Seat - by Dominic Gill - Book Review

Take a Seat by: Dominic Gill
288 pages
Published by Falcon Guides10/26/2010
Printed in the United States of America

Take a Seat is the story of Dominic Gill's tandem bicycle ride from the northern most tip of the North American Continent to the most southern city on the South American Continent. He began his adventure in 2006 and it took him over two years to complete. Dominic rode a tandem bicycle and pulled a trailer almost 20,000 miles. His bike, trailer and all his gear together weighed approximately 200 pounds. Along the way he convinced over two hundred and seventy people to take the back seat on the tandem and help him pedal. 

The idea of riding a tandem bicycle was that of a film producer. Dominic Gill's original idea was to do the ride as a bike tour and make a documentary of his ride. It was the film producer's suggestion to ride a tandem bike and get companions from the different areas along the way to ride with him. To finance his adventure, Dominic, took out a home improvement loan. 

 Dominic describes his adventure in a colorful writing style that enables the reader to feel like they are experiencing the adventure themselves. While reading the book I felt the heat and dryness of the desert and the cold snow of the Patagonia Mountains. 

Take a Seat is not about riding a bike as much as it is the journey and the folks he met along the way. Many folks in difficult living conditions took Dominic Gill into their home and shared what little food they had. He made many friends along the way.

I recommend this book to anyone that enjoys riding bicycles and considers it an adventure. Or, just enjoys a good adventure!

Dominic Gill has been on several other similar adventures since the writing of this book and also on a lecture tour. 

Below is a video that will provide better insight into "Take a Seat."

TAKE A SEAT: SIZZLE from Dominic Gill on Vimeo.

Dominic Gill is a mountain climber, award-winning videographer, adventurer and pioneer in the new era of global expiration.

Monday, September 16, 2013

1924 Tour de France

Riders and the follow cars during stage 15 of the 1924 Tour de France.
The 1924 Tour de France was the eighteenth edition of the race. It was total length of 5,425 kilometers (3,371 miles), consisted of 15 stages, and was raced at an average speed of 23.97 km/h (14.90 mph). Of the one hundred and fifty seven cyclist that started, sixty racers finished the race.

A new rule during the 1923 Tour de France awarded a two minute time bonus to the winner of each stage. Desgrange, the race organizer of the Tour de France, was pleased with the way the time bonuses worked out during the 1923 tour. He changed the bonus to three minutes at the 1924 edition of the race.

One of the most dramatic events of the 1924 race was when the previous year's winner, Henri Pelissier, abandoned the race during the third stage. 

Pelissier's argument with Desgranger began during the second stage. The second stage was 371 kilometers in length (230.53 miles) and took most of the racers over fourteen hours to complete. The stage began in the early morning hours when it was still cool. Pelissier wore a couple of jerseys at the beginning of the stage. Later in the day he discarded one of them. Another team's director saw him throwing away the jersey and reported it to race officials. There was a rule at this time that stated that the racers had to finish each stage with everything that they had started the stage with. Pelissier was given a time penalty for discarding the jersey. 

During the third stage Henri Pelissier was outraged by his treatment and abandoned the race. It was cold at the early start of the stage. Pellissier wore several jerseys to stay warm. Race officials stopped him several times during the stage to count the number of jerseys he had on. The officials wanted to see if he had discarded any of them. Henry was infuriated by this and found it disrespectful. When he abandoned the race he also talked his brother, Francis Pelissier, and another racer, Maurice Ville, into quitting also.  It was easy to convince Ville into quitting, since he was having problems with his knees.

Click here to learn more about Henri Pelissier.

The previous years edition, the 1923 Tour de France, was won by Henri Pellissier. After he won he stated that his Automoto teammate, Ottavio Bottecchia, will win the next Tour de France. Bottecchia finished second to Pellissier at the 1923 tour. It was Bottecchia's first time riding the Tour de France. 
Victor Lenaers taking a quick break during the third stage of the 1924 Tour de France.
Ottavio Bottecchia did in fact win the 1924 Tour de France. He was the first Italian to win the Tour de France. Bottecchia was also the first rider to ever wear the yellow jersey of the race leader from the beginning to very end of the race, without even once loosing it to another rider.
Ottavio Bottecchia at the 1924 Tour de France

Stage five of the 1924 Tour de France was the longest stage ever in tour history. It was 482 kilometers (299.50 miles) in length. The stage started in Les Sables and ended in Bayonne. It took the winning rider, Omer Huyse,  nineteen hours and 40 minutes to complete it. This stage was not included in future tours.

Bottecchia dominated stage six of the race, which contained the four tough Alpine climbs of: the Aubisque, the Tourmalet, the Aspin and the Peyresourde. When he crossed the finish line, in Luchon, he was almost nineteen minutes ahead of the second rider to arrive. 

The General Classification after stage 6:

1. Ottavio Bottecchia - race leader
2. Lucien Buysse - 30 minutes 21 seconds behind the race leader
3. Nicolas Frantz - 42 minutes 15 seconds behind the race leader

Robert Jacquinot climbs the Aubisque during the 1924 Tour de France

Bottecchia could have mostly like repeated his previous day's performance in stage 7. Stage 7 was the second day of climbing in the Pyreneese Mountains. He rode to the finish with two other riders: Phillippe Thys and Arsene Alancourt. 

Phillippe Thys during stage 6 of the 1924 Tour de France

Nicolas Frantz had a standout performance in the tenth stage of the race. This stage in the Alps contained the three climbs: the Allos, the Vars and the Izoard. Frantz was first over all three of the climbs and finished in second place behind the stage winner Giovanni Brunero. Bottecchia was following closely behind through out the stage and Frantz was only able to gain nine minutes on his lead.

The General Classification after stage 10:

1. Ottvio Bottecchia - race leader
2. Nicolas Frantz - 41 minutes 52 seconds behind the race leader
3. Giovanni Brunero 45 minutes 37 seconds behind the race leader

Ottavio Bottecchia climbing the Izoard during the 1924 Tour de France

No one gained much time on Bottecchia during the remaining five stages of the race. He punctuated his tour victory by winning the sprint, the final stage and the overall Tour de France on the last day in Paris. 

The Final 1924 Tour de France General Classification:

1. Ottavio Bottecchia (Automoto) - Race Winner - 226 hours 18 minutes 21 seconds
2. Nicolas Frantz (Alcyon) - 35 minutes 36 seconds behind the race winner
3. Lucien Buysse (Automoto) 1 hour 32 minutes 13 seconds behind the race winner
4. Bartolomeo Almo (Legnano) 1 hour 32 minutes 47 seconds behind the race winner
5. Theophile Beeckman (Griffon) 2 hours 11 minutes 12 seconds behind the race winner

Ottavio Bottecchia -  Winner of the 1924 Tour de France
Click here to learn more about Ottavio Bottecchia

Nicolas Frantz - second place finisher of the 1924 Tour de France
Click here to learn more about Nicolas Frantz 

Lucien Buysse - third place finisher at the Tour de France
Click here to learn Lucien Buysse
Bartolomeo Aimo - fourth place finisher at the 1924 Tour de France
Click here to learn more about Bartolomeo Aimo

Theophile Beeckman - fifth place finisher at the 1924 Tour de France

Saturday, September 7, 2013

The Racing Bicycle: Design, Function, Speed - by: Richard Moore and Daniel Benson

Click on the photo to enlarge it.
The Racing Bicycle; Design, Function, Speed
by: Richard Moore and Daniel Benson
328 pages in length.

First Published in the USA in 2013 by Universe Publishing
A Division of Rizzoli International Publications, Inc.
300 Park Avenue South
New York, NY 10010

The Racing Bicycle gives the history of many iconic brands of bicycles and bicycle component manufactures. 

The brands are in alphabetical order. The history of the company, along with the story of the great racers that made the brands famous is told in a two to eight page format. There are many wonderful photos of important land marks in cycling history.

The book begins with the Atala brand and ends with Wilier Trestina. In total there are fifty eight company histories in the book.

The great thing about this format is that you can read a few pages of the book, put it down, and then come back and pick it up at anytime without being lost. This makes The Racing Bicycle a great travel book.

I highly recommend anyone interested in bicycles or bicycle parts add this to their cycling collection.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Poor Ole' Joe will be by my side as I recover from shoulder surgery!

Click on the photo to enlarge it.
Poor Ole' Joe sitting by my side.

I'm headed off to have surgery on my shoulder. They are going to snip my bicep tendon and reattach it to the bone in a different place. At the same time I am having a torn rotator cuff repaired.

Through the next few painful days of semi-consciousness, induced by pain medication, Poor Ole Joe will be right there by my side.

The way he follows me around and stays with me reminds me of The Black Crowes song "By Your Side."

Below is a video of "By Your Side" by The Black Crowes.