Thursday, September 3, 2009

Italian Lugged Steel

Every bike has a story. Less now than it used to be, but I guess that is the way many things have turned.

Before I was a bike slut I knew that a friend of mine was once stationed in Sicily during his stint in the Navy. It was there that he used to be a criterium racer on the weekends (I would assume). It was the mid 80's when Tom decided to buy a new Italian race bike.

Enter Detto Pietro. Produced in a small shop in Milan, Italy, Detto Pietro started producing quality bikes in 1895. Nearly ninety years later the lugged steel Italian beauty was purchased, raced, and slowly, over time, faded in the owners mind because of the priority shift that hits us all more than a few times in our short lives.

Twenty years later I became the previously mentioned bike slut...with pride. After the Giro d'Italia this year, I became interested in the obsession the Italians have with the biciclette. The weather, scenery and roads made cycling in Italy my favorite adventure so I started researching the history of professional cycling beyond my current knowledge base. I learned that restoring old bikes was profitable, especially if they are Italian Lugged steel frames with complete Campagnolo component groups. Even more so if they are actual race bikes. Vintage classics sounded like a great hobby for me because working on bikes is a hobby of mine. Making money off them would be difficult because I am... a bike slut.

After contacting my friend Tom, I headed out to his house for a beer and a peek at the bike that I knew needed attention. The DP Pantographed Anza Polare F.I.L. ended up coming home with me under the condition that I would not sell it. Here are some photos of it when I got it back to the shop. Notice the abundance of dust and a minimum amount of rust.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Giro d'Italia 2009

My efforts to plan the Nelson 90 quickly took a back seat to a new opportunity. Having considered a cycling vacation for a few years, it seemed slightly out of reach. That is until an acquaintance made it known that he was going to the Giro on a Trek Travel Tour. Very little arm twisting was required, tickets were purchased and the new bathroom at the cabin would be put on hold along with the Nelson 90.

Trek Travel puts on one hell of a gig. Although the main office planning was a bit vague for the money put forth, the guides and the experience made up the slack. Leanne, Christian and Jake, you have my respect and admiration. Unbelievable guides in a Grand Tour setting makes the trip of a lifetime. No... Wait. That is such a cliche. I can't call it a trip of a lifetime because it was SOOOO good, that I will have to do it again! If there is any way to request the three individuals you see below for a Trek Travel Adventure, do it!

To Hans and David, thanks for letting me tag along. What fantastic group all around. I managed to see all the cycling greats of the modern age.

Lance, sure!

Levi, of course.

But did you know about Carlos Sastre,

Jens Voigt,

Dave Zabriski (DZNuts)

and Ted King? Yes, Ted King! An American in Italy working for my man Carlos. Instant respect. Well Done Ted, Well Done!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Slowly Into Form

The mild Spring has gotten everyone excited about riding. I guess it has been fortunate for me that the weather is cooperating or I would probably still be in an unmotivated funk...

Sixty mile weeks turn into 70, and then into 90 and now into 100 as the number of rides goes up. The familiar feeling in my legs is back, an ache of pain that feels good. One flight of stairs leaves me light headed and dizzy. I have never understood that... A fifty mile ride can leave me physically fine and mentally excited, yet I have trouble with a single flight of stairs?

At 168 pounds I am still 10 pounds over my target racing weight. This is of little concern to me now that the desire to ride has returned. My diet has been slowly coming down in caloric intake and becoming more balanced so I know it is just a matter of time. Although the trip to Jamaica with Scope added seven pounds in seven days (gluttony), it will hopefully come off fast.

These markers, in mileage and weight, may seem odd but they can only be described as benchmarks from previous years. By serious cyclists standards, the mileage is low and the weight varies by individual. I may never win a race, but it is not my career, merely a passion.

As the schedule takes shape there is one serious flaw. The envelope containing 4 entries into the Chequamegon 40 (including mine) was not selected in this years lottery. The season ending race with my friends from Chicago, Marquette and local areas will not happen. This is the first time in 6 or 7 years that I have missed the cut. I hope that we still continue the tradition and get together that weekend to ride trails, party and view the race as spectators for once.

This morning it is raining, and I should be watching the Amstel Gold Race on Versus, but they have chosen not to cover that race this year. They will also not be covering the Giro d' Italia. What a big mistake. You see them hyping the Tour de France with commercials when Lance's real desire is the Giro this year. Sure, he may be up there, but I think if all goes well for Contador, the Tour de France will be his race to lose.

Today is about yard work and trail work in the light rain falling. I must be prepared so there are no excuses when the weather is nice. It looks like later this week we might hit 80 degrees and it is still April. It was only a few short weeks ago that there was still snow on the ground. Things are happening fast...