Thursday, October 29, 2009

Nostalgia... and Rarity

After losing out on a set of Delta brakes that eventually sold for $480(!), I began to wonder if the somewhat fresh pile of parts in my basement that have become obsolete for today's use will eventually be of value to anyone. I mean, production numbers on everything are so high that you can't really consider anything 'rare'. Plus, mostly-carbon fiber Record groups don't hold the same level of mystique that an old Nuovo Record gruppo does.

I can still remember some of the classic Italian steeds I saw on my first RAGBRAI twenty five years ago. Now, a quick ride in my back yard of France will turn out far more expensive (note I didn't say 'valuable') bikes one after another... all forgettable and likely to be replaced within a couple of years!

Don't get me wrong... I love the 14 lb Super Six that flies up the local hills (when I'm able). I just miss the rarity of it all.

Similarly, my Bucs will be playing in their throwback uni's this weekend. I think the only reason I gravitated to that losing team was due to the orange jerseys and lame logo. Mind you, I was six at the time they joined the NFL.

On a South Dakota farm as a kid, the only time I saw Bucs merchandise was when the JC Penny's Christmas catalog came. Remember the stocking caps with the big ball on the top? I had to have it! I can still remember specific games that were broadcast on CBS back in the day before the NFL Sunday Ticket. Of course, they never won any of them.

But it seems that old is new again... the Bucs will be lucky to win a game this year... just like 1976 all over again! They should stick to the Bucco Bruce logo and creamsickle uni's until they win.

Oh yeah, I forgot. Today, we toss out parts boxes whereas we used to save the packaging! I don't think I'll save the wrapper of any new chainring purchases!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

A perfect weekend

As I sat at my desk until 5:00 am Sunday morning watching the Ironman coverage, something amazing was unfolding... Cannondale pro riders that I work with were winning almost EVERY race being run last weekend! For years, I've combined the results of all my teams - whether it be the Bucs (now again the Yucks), Iowa State, Saeco/Lampre/Barloworld/Liquigas, or whatever - looking for a perfect weekend. I soon realized that I'd be better off focusing on just one sport... and last weekend it was cycling where I came up aces! What a job!

As to the results? Check it out here and here. These are the releases I was busy writing, bleary-eyed, until the wee hours of the morn...

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

My Ciöcc Restoration Project, Part 1

There was always something unknown about Ciöcc bicycles back in Iowa in the '80s. There would always be a few on RAGBRAI. Beautiful bikes that nobody knew anything about, starting with how to pronounce the name. I mean, c'mon... and umlaut in an Italian word? And finishing with two 'C's'? I heard all types of pronunciations, just that NONE of them were right!

As to the meaning, even HE isn't too willing to give it up. Check online and you'll see explanations that it is local dialect for "poker-faced", "drunkard", "gambler" and other variations. There's even a story that Ciöcc bikes were birthed over a card game among Giovanni, Colnago (the clubs), De Rosa (the hearts) and Pinarello (the spades for some reason). I've even read that Giovanni is now dead and that his sons run the business (not true of course). Oh well, perhaps the imagination of the internet.

I was lucky enough to mention this to Gian Carlo, one of my ex team mechanics. GCB happens to be good friends with Ciöcc himself and made a call to him one day while we had lunch in Milan. An hour later and I was at his shop, drooling over an old frame from an ex amateur named Musone. It had to be mine. Sure, it was a bit rusty and needed refinishing, but the price was right and the old maestro was just as interested in seeing it brought back to life.

As for the man himself, much like Irio Tommasini - another maestro I've been lucky to get to know - Giovanni is immensely proud of the work he has done over the years. He took me to his desk and we spent an hour going through his old photos and designs. He explained to me all the innovations he made through the years, and the countless victories achieved on his frames, including that of my good friend Claudio Corti. Claudio won his 1977 U23 World Championship aboard a Ciöcc in San Cristobal, Venezuela. Those who remember seeing Ciöcc frames from the 80's will remember that the San Cristobal was the name on most of the imported models. Soon, I'll finally have my own Ciöcc... a 1973 model of a successful amateur racer from Milan... Musone! Now if I can just finish my search for the perfect Nuovo Record group...

l'Etape du Tour 2010...

Looks like I have my goal for 2010!