The Brooks 1886 Jersey By De Marchi 06/27/2014
Today is the day. My favorite one day race. The classic for the climbers. On the back door step of Philip Gilbert (where his fan club beer tent is bigger than the official beer tent) and in a region where five cycling tribes border. There is no luck in this one, you are just basically broken down over the duration of the race until you hit La Redoute. Then whoever still has matches to burn goes of it. This years edition has a lot of favorites including a back on form Gilbert eager to please those in his beer tent after last years let down. Should make for a great race this year.
Northern Ireland isn’t a place that you would automatically associate with cycling history. But on May 9th when the GIRO starts in Belfast it will roll past a place that changed cycling forever. That place is now called Lavinia Square of the Ormeau Road, but back on May 18th 1889 it was called the North of Ireland Cricket Club Grounds and was the meet-up for a series of bike races. On that day Mr. “Willie” Hume of the Belfast Cruisers Cycling Club entered a race on a bike equipped for the first time with tires filled with air. Willie was the first to purchase the “Safety” bicycle fitted with the newly patented pneumatic tires made by Dunlop. The added advantage of this new technology became immediately evident as it took a below average rider who had never won a race and propelled him to the top spot on the podium, in every race he entered.
Today just illustrated how much of a crap shoot cycling can be. Form, positioning and equipment mean nothing without luck. In 2013 coming out of the last bend of Liege-Bastogne-Liege Dan Martin was out of the saddle and dropping the power in a kick that would eventually be the final punch to Joaquim Rodríquez. This year in the 2014 edition at almost exactly the same spot, Dan Martin was out of the saddle and dropping the power and chasing one of Rodríquez’s teammates, but this time ended up on the deck his race blown after a near perfect seven hours of racing. All from what looks like sliding on a spot of oil. Would he have won against a surging Gerrans, who knows, the Irish amongst us would have said absolutely. What we do know is he would have been damn hard to catch. As he rolled over the line in 39th place and back to the sanctuary of his team bus he was greeted by cheers from the crowd and his teammates. A dethroned champion who was 250m from cycling immortality with back-to-back wins of “The Old Lady“. He would have been up there with the greats like Merckx, Argentin and fellow country man Kelly. Alas the gods of cycling decided it was not to be, reserving that for another day. Not that Dan will feel like this right now as he has his post race dinner, but he is one hell of a rider. A rider on the up. With every race his belief grows and with it his ability to deliver killer moves. Maybe that will come in the ITT climb up to Cima Grappa, or a late attack on the Zoncolan for some retribution. After all the GIRO does start in Ireland this year and who would deny him a little rub of luck after today. Maybe it will even see him on to the podium. Chin up mate. Be strong and know there is going to be a hell of a lot of people in Belfast and Dublin waiting to catch you if you fall. Go n-éirí an t-ádh leat!
It is certainly not cheap (retailing at $3299) but the quality of the images it captures puts you right back in the glory days of film and images with an organic feel. There is a trend right now (look at what VSCO is doing) that is trying to emulate the feel of traditional film stock via “filters” put over digital images. With Bolex optics the company made famous for creating 16mm film cameras that were capable of capturing images that could be projected in theaters, the need to adopt the digital output is gone. They have taken all that optics know-how and attached it to a 16mm DCC digital censor capable of capturing RAW uncompressed footage. It kind of makes it a perfect motion camera. The whole rig has been designed to fit with other film component brands so the options for your set up are pretty incredible, and you end up with some pretty stunning RAW footage. I wonder if anyone is renting this, I would love to try it.
Wherever they are, find them, they serve the best brew in the city. Although I have a sneaky suspicion they will be positioned somewhere nice and convenient for the prologue, and maybe even up on the Glens for the road stage (I hope that H Van can make it up the grade). There are the usual coffee chain suspects all over Belfast now, but there are a few speciality brews worth searching out if you take your coffee seriously. ATTRIDGE AND COLE have been around for a few years now and have established themselves in the community and amongst the cycling community. Presented in a beautifully converted Citroen H Van they serve up Bailie’s Coffee freshly roasted and ground alongside their home made pastries. Believe me it will become your morning and afternoon brew as you drool over the carbon and team buses during the Giro.