Ancient History

Yeah, yeah, it’s been a long time. Quit yer whining and listen up. My “little” sister (okay, she’s 44) brightened my day today by sending a bunch of slides she’s been scanning from my dad’s 35mm slide collection. (Click on them to see them bigger.)

This one is the lineup of my first race, sponsored by Ski Market on the New York State Office Building Campus in Albany, NY. Junior men went five miles. I’m back a few rows in a CCM hockey helmet (thanks to Bob Maswick) on my repainted Sears 10-speed sporting tube socks, cut off jeans and Nike running shoes. I led the entire last lap and got fourth, not knowing any better.

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This was my second race. Bike’s been upgraded to a Peugeot PX 10 LE–the first of two bikes I ever financed through my dad–but the rest of my kit is still pure dork. That’s John Connaly, I think, behind me. Three got away and I took the field sprint for fourth.

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Oh. My. God. I’d had shoulder-width hair prior to racing. I think I put my helmet on and cut off whatever else stuck out. Coulda been worse. Coulda had man boobs. That’s little sister on the right looking on in awe. Or is that horror?

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That’s Leslie Moore’s bike I’m holding a year later, lining up for the next year’s Cohoes Crit. Her hands were full and I was agog. Leslie is the only person I’ve ever seen race in mascara. She used to do the men’s races in New York, so we actually got to know each other a little as packmates. This year I stomped on the pedals, intending to break right from the start, and cocked my rear tire against the chainstay when the hub slipped in the chrome dropout. I hopped off, made the fix, then chased the three man break in a solo pursuit for fourth place. Are you starting to see a pattern here?

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Did a bunch of training that winter. Those are wool shorts made by my mom, silk-screened in art class by me with my last name. Small diameter rollers gave lots of resistance. I used to kill myself down there all winter, rocking out to Chicago and/or Paul McCartney and Wings. Gimme a break. It was the 70′s. Disco was the other choice.

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Dad thought it was funny to open the freezer door to cool me off. Felt pretty good, actually. Look at the size of that head tube. I’m all legs.

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Did a spring break bike tour in March with Les Young and Alan Wozniak, two of my Colonie Central High School classmates. We rode from Albany to Lake George for a campout and pretty much frozes our heinies off in all that lovely polyester. Still the 70′s, remember.

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Good summer of racing, yadda, yadda. Now it’s late summer and time for the Cohoes Criterium. Solo guy takes off, three of us chase, including John Connaly (far right). That’s me in Serotta red/white/blue on my soon-to-be-retired Peugeot. (Phil Fisher would have my custom bike finished the following May.) Okay, so it comes down to the four of us sprinting for the finish. I got fourth. Just kidding. I won finally. Best ten seconds of my life…until the pain burst through the adrenalin rush. Spent another 19 years chasing that dragon, but it was never as good as that first one. The junkies are all nodding their heads.

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There. Aren’t you glad you checked back one last time?

Here’s a bonus: catching air on the second-ever bike my dad financed for me. Rye Airfield, Rye, New Hampshire, May 2008.

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12 Responses to “Ancient History”

  1. Aunt Kaffeen Says:

    Neither your nephew Gabe nor your brother-in-law believed me when I said that was you with the long hair. How old were you then? Liz looks about 12.

  2. Dr. Dizzle Says:

    sweet pics bro……too funny, no matter how many times I see them. The HISTORY!!!

    Perfect form on the jump, and you have your landing spotted….nice work

    Can’t wait to get you up to Killington bro, we are going to have soooo much fun.

  3. dondo Says:

    Judging from the mole on my chin, which had to go when I started shaving, it’s most likely late August of 1973, which would make me 14 and Liz 10, although just weeks before our birthdays. I’m wrong about cutting my shoulder-width hair. That didn’t happen until the following year. This was the growing-out phase. I also forgot to point out in the touring photo that Les was on his Zeus (pre-Phil Fisher for him, as well) and Alan was on a Lambert. Yes, that Lambert…the one with the suicide fork. Held together for him, though.

  4. Stoker Says:

    OMG! That long haired picture is priceless! Separated at birth? See for yourself…duuuuuuude…
    http://cristal.inria.fr/~harley/ecdl3/pics/butthead.gif

    I thought the opened refrigerator was more for inspiration…like a dangling carrot.

    Seriously, those are GREAT shots…thanks for sharing!

  5. clem Says:

    Great pics. Love the camping one especially. I got drug into this whole gig by BikeCentennial, which I desparately wanted to do. Alas I spent that summer at my first job instead, painting dorms at the local college for $2.45/hr. Should’ve ridden across the country instead.

  6. Aunt Lawlie Says:

    Summer of ’73 occured just after my spring exodus from the clan in the purple challenger with the spare tire tied to the ski rack. Off to the land of Mickey, Minnie, Donald Duck, alligators and astronauts. In those days I could get all my belongings into one purple car with the exception of a very few items. What happened and why I’m certain I will never discover. However I have a need to move onto new adventures or continue to look into the mirror and ask, who am I and why?
    Great pictures, when did you start shaving your legs? Lots of love and awe………

  7. dondo Says:

    I think it was the winter of ’74 when I first put razor to leg. My Saratoga Freewheelers coach insisted we shave for a roller racing demo down at the Empire State Plaza sometime around February or so. I let ‘em get hairy in the winter, which put off any sort of high school locker room discomfort, but pretty much kept them clean for the next 20 summers. Still get the urge now and again, but less now that I don’t wear spandex shorts without something over them most of the time. Shaved legs were part of the uniform, like white ankle socks and black shorts.

  8. E. Lizard Breath Says:

    Jeez. did you have to tell everybody how old i am?

  9. dondo Says:

    Yup. It’s what big brothers do.

  10. Sara Says:

    My first ten-speed was a Lambert with the “suicide fork” (okay, second – the first was a 36-pound Sears Free Spirit – I don’t really count it). I was training on a country road in a paceline when a dog darted out of the bushes after the guy in front of me. I hit the dog broadside and snapped the fork off, and slid about a zillion miles on my front while the dog went yelping away into the distance. Have an impressive array of scars.

  11. Steve B. Says:

    Great photos. I was working at a bike shop in Albany during several of your racing years. I bet you ran into Sean Malthouse at some of those races, as he was a junior about that time, though it might have been a bit later. Great to hear that you had a Phil Fisher–did he give it to you unpainted at first? He was a great guy. Still got legs? Check out 100-200.org

  12. Dale Dozier Says:

    I was in Phil’s shop around 1980, I was married to his daughter (helen) for 11 years. A really neat machine shop off the back of his house. I was really into bikes at the time (built several) and we talked about bikes for days! He was into vacum tube stereo equip as well and had a awesome setup in his living room.

    Any way to get in touch with the family? Wanted to catch up. Please past on my info.

    Thanks
    Dale Dozier
    daledozier@comcast.net
    510-364-1984

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