Categories: The Other Stuff
The world of Keirin continues to fascinate. “Big Dream” is a Keirin-specific term – basically an accumulator bet placed on the last four races of the day. If you pick two winners in those races you stand to land the “Big Dream” – the big win. We were recently contacted by UK photographer Tim Bowditch,who shared his Keirin project “Big Dream,” shot while traveling around Japan by bike last year. The images show us a side of Keirin we don’t often get to see, and present us with a different type of cycling fan. These fans are maybe more interested in a quick win than the quality of the riding, but maybe better than most understand what each rider is capable of. In a country where gambling is basically illegal, Keirin is one of four sports where government-run gambling is allowed. The quiet spaces captured here are outside the main betting and watching areas, and are where the gamblers come to study the form. The quietness in these images could not be in more contrast to the speed and energy being laid down on the track. We have taken a selection of the images here in our gallery; to see the full set of images, visit Tim’s site here.
Today I love cycling more than ever. The day after watching Jens Voigt, one of our sport’s true and most endearing icons, take a wonderful solo win, that even his DS had doubts he could carry off. The day after “Purito” and Froome turned on the afterburners in the last 2km of yesterday’s Vuelta stage and showed Contador and Valverde their wheels. But unfortunately today these stories of heroic and breathtaking riding have been pushed down the queue by Lance. Unfortunately, today all anyone who doesn’t follow this sport will want to talk about is not if Froome can take the Vuelta, or how long can Jens continue at the top. Or even about the year-by-year growth of Wiggins to take this year’s Tour. They will only have one question for us: “Did Lance do it?” And unfortunately, with how this story has unfolded, we still seem not to have full closure.
Not really knowing what the USADA had in their files will always still leave this story unfinished for me and many others. Although, to see one of the most determined and smartest athletes I have ever followed give up is a surprise. Choosing not to fight was his best form of attack? That sure feels like an admission of sorts, but in no way feels definitive, and still feels like it will let people read it how they want. Out of all of the reactions, the one that I keep repeating in my head comes from Jan Ullrich, “I know the order in which we crossed the finish line.” In a time when most of the podium were “on it” in some form, re-awarding the seven Tour titles seems kind of pointless. I don’t think we are going to see many of Lance’s other podium companions rush in to claim his titles – most of them are as tarnished as he is, proven or not.
So maybe it is time to take a leaf out of Uli’s book and move on. There is plenty to write and talk about with those that are riding today. I am so over reading and hearing about this story, and I don’t think it is over yet. So until those USADA files see the light of day, let’s write about something else, and remember why we love this sport. You know Jens is sitting in the RSNT Team bust today saying, “Shut Up Media…I won yesterday for the first time in ages.”
The Grand Tours over the last year have given us some spectacular, edge-of-your-sofa, scream-at-your-TV racing, delivered to us by the next generation of teams and riders at the top of their game. The Cobo, Wiggins, Froome battle in the Vuelta last year was incredible to watch. Wiggins winning The Tour this year. An incredible win by Ryder and his battle with “Purito” at this year’s Giro. De Gendt nearly stealing it all on the last climb of three weeks of racing.
In honor of this next wave of riders, and a newfound unpredictability and excitement in racing, we dedicate this t-shirt to a new era of racing with riders committed to racing clean. The United Colors Of Cycling. Inspired by the leaders’ jerseys of the Grand Tours we created this Elcyclista Edition T-shirt in a limited run of 100 shirts. A 5-color print on an ash grey American Apparel 100% cotton shirt. Interest has been great since we announced the project, so we think they will sell out quickly.
To purchase the T-shirt, go to our store HERE and place your order.
Note: Orders placed this week won’t ship until Monday – Sorry, we are on the road riding.
I would never place Irelands mountains in the same category as The Alps or The Pyrenees, but what they lack in height, they gain something back in shear remote beauty. One of the most beautiful passes you can ride there is Molls Gap, rising up out of Irelands garden near Killarney, and along the Ring Of Kerry to a narrow pass at the top blasted out of the Old Red Sandstone. The road winds its way out of Killarney on the N71 towards Muckross, a typically narrow Irish road lined with high hedges. Every now and again the hedges break, giving you a glimpse of Muckross Lake and Upper Lake before the gradient starts to lift up into the hills. Officially you would call it a Category 2 climb, which regularly gets featured in the Tour Of Ireland and the Rás, but the gradient is consistant, and the road pretty sheltered, making it feel easier than it should. Pray for good weather if you are riding it, it is just close enough to the Atlantic that if rains it will feel frigid no matter what month you are riding it, and the wind will add another couple of percent to the gradient. Probably the only way you should ride it in Ireland.
Maybe one of the cooler ways to mark a great day for British cycling, Bradley Wiggins immortalized by the Royal Mail on one of their Olympic stamps. It will make a nice commemorative piece to show the grand kids – although they will probably never have seen an actual stamp or used one, so it may need some explaining.