as many of you may have noticed, i have always had enormous respect and admiration for Mr. Graeme Obree, for what he represents as a human being as much as what he does on two wheels. he and his mad bike caught my imagination in a way nothing else really has in the world of cycling ever since, as i watched on as a teenager as he and Chris Boardman battled on in their many duels.
you can guess who i was rooting for! it was the conservative, methodical Englishman against the eccentric and non-linear Scot. Boardman was a fantastic cyclist and is a noce fella – I met him once at a crit in the UK, where I was second and he was first, about three minutes ahead of the rest of us – but it was in Obree that i recognised genius, the kind that takes men over frozen wastes and into deep, impenetrable jungles.
here was someone special, someone uncontrollable, someone very much volatile but truly, it seemed to me, truly alive.
he walked away from doping too, making his own stand against the corruption in pro cycling at that time. he was crankpunking even before the term ever saw the light of day..!
so when i received an email from Zoe Lavoi-Gouin, Production Manager at Journey Pictures Ltd., asking me to spread the word about a kickstarter campaign that they started to help raise the last 20,000 GBP that will help them take the 200+ hours of material they compiled over two years of following Graeme as he attempted to break the Human Powerer Speed Record into a finished film, i agreed immediately.
“We have just completed the filming of a documentary covering two years in the life of twice world record holder and twice world champion, cyclist icon Graeme Obree,” wrote Zoe.
“It began in his kitchen in Saltcoats, Ayrshire in 2011 and just ended in September 2013 in the mountains of Nevada, USA. We filmed at least 200 hours of material but we now require help in raising the funds to finish the project! We have launched a KICKSTARTER campaign to raise £20,000 to cover the cost of a craft editor, and the editing suite he will use, the sound mix, the completion of the final big screen version, colour corrected with titles and graphics as well as the master for the streams, downloads and DVD’s.”
so click here to go to their Kickstarter link, and donate if you feel so inclined.
The project FB is here, please go ‘like’ and let’s raise them up a bit.
Here is their Twitter account.
so you know bodybuilding has a lot of small-penised men with inferiority complexes, buckets of creosote with which they like to paint with thick, stiff bristled paintbrushes into every nook and crannie, and speedos that ride up to where the sun don’t shine?
oh, and it has a mammoth roid culture?
well it’s so bad in fact that as well as the roid-pumped official bodybuilding championships that are held, another bunch of non-roid taking BB’ers have their own natural bodybuilding championships. they may as call the other one the ‘Drug Fueled BodyBuilding Champs’…
which got me to thinking.
how about a ‘Natural Tour de France’?
ok, let’s wait now for the guy who mails in to say ‘hey jeez man, no one was positive at the last Tour!’
uh huh. and Hincapie never tested positive did he. nor… you get my drift.
[read this for more info: http://cyclingtips.com.au/2013/04/oxygen-in-a-pill-the-next-big-thing-in-sports-doping/
"Current anti-doping is a total failure. Success rate is extremely poor. Perhaps the best proof of its failure is a statement by WADA’s director general David Howman, from 2011: “We are catching the dopey dopers, but not the sophisticated ones.”"]
anyway, just a thought…
interesting video here, Jay Cutler at the end says ‘you do what you do to win, if you wanna call that cheating, fine.’
Lance! take note!
heck, crankpunk has had some ridiculous ideas over the years and is lucky to not be in jail for having tried to bring some of them to fruition, but there were two that seemed great at the time and also still do, even years after having first germinated in the moist, fertile and abundant manure that lives in my cranium.
to re-trace the tire treads of the erstwhile Che Ernesto Guevara. you know, that guy from the Swatch watch, yeah, him.
Mr ‘yeah i can start a revolution by mySELF baby’ went on a grand tour of South America at 23, got politicised by the harsh conditions he encountered in various places, and then went to Cuba to smoke cigars – or something like that. anyway, having read the book, i had this idea – i’ll go and revisit all the places in the book and write about it!
then a week later I went into a bookstore and what the flip do i see on the shelf before me? no, next to the half-eaten banana… yes, that’s right, some little *unprintable* had beaten me to it! i was not impressed. of course, there is just about zero chance i’d have actually gotten my arse to South America without ending up taking part in some mad, drug-fueled adventure….
like the Tour of Columbia.
to film the journey, from birth to delivery and on to deliverance (that being its first ride), and, though it would take years to film, the eventual ‘shedding’ or even death, of a bike. or bikes even. any old bikes. an MTB, a roadie, a kids bike, a track bike, just to film the very first pieces of carbon or steel or whatever being made, then to see all the parts going on, then to see the guy or woman or kid who got on it and brought it to life.
great idea huh?
and guess what? i go on Vimeo today and see this wonderful thing: Life Cycles, by Stance Films…
and i have to don my crankhat to these fellas, looks amazing! they not only include the life cycle of a bike but also of the trails the bike gets ridden 0n.
there are, quite obviously, those who think and then there are those that think and then go do. these guys are the latter, and ain;t we lucky that that’s so?
brilliant. i’m downloading now, full review to follow!
‘this is the embodiment of everything i am – no rules, no regulations… this is a form of artistic expression… the remit is to go and enthuse people to go and have a go at something… don’t sit about, cos you’re going to die… i am inspired by the fact that we are dying…’
that’s a whole bucketload of crankpunk philosophy if i ever heard one…
he tried to leave this world more than once, but i am so glad that he is still in it…
when Danny MacAskill came to Taichung to make a film for his sponsor, Lezyne, i was fortunate enough to meet up with him and see some of the stunts live.
what blew me away was the dedication he put into everything he did. one of these tricks took almost 2 hours to nail, but he wouldn’t let it go. then he did it and we went out for a beer.
my adopted city looks great in this video too – enjoy!
the rain started to fall on top of the 21.
big fat drops of wet, splattering in patches onto the smooth tarmac atop the 8 kilometer descent, a beautiful descent, long and mesmeric, three hairpins and the rest a fast, flowing groove through the jungle.
but not this time, this time it was slower, more cautious than usual, the road beginning to gather water as the rain became uniform.
the sky had been turning since the first big hill. looking out my window before i set off there’d been no hint of it, blue and cloudless as far as the peaks in the distance, but 15 kilometers in the bruising began, a thick smudge of malice daubed in the west, growing.
it was trouble coming, i knew, but once you’re out you’re out i figured, and pushed on.
i felt good, going hard, the riding coming together. felt it in the thighs, in the power in my backside.
flow, on and on and on.
10,000 hours, they say. that is a heck of a lot of time.
by the bottom of the hill it was very dark, the gloaming brought to bear early, too early for me. the trees hung over the road like dirty silhouettes done in coal. I was still two hours out from home but already wishing i was there. the road barely visible now and the wind whipping, i settled in and drove the cranks around and around, pull, push, steady, relax the neck, ease the shoulders, a mantra beat out with each stroke, a revolution with each turn, not a revolution that echoed but still, i heard it, heard it through the dampness, heard it through the wind.
carry me home, legs, carry me back, you wonderful, thrumming things, and you, bike, how dare you be so perfect in this imperfect world? and always a nod to gravity for being so finely balanced to allow me this much pleasure.
repetition will set you free. repetition will set you free.
repetition, yes sir, it will set you free.
with one hour left to go i was set with a choice: long and flat and fast back to town or up the backside of the 136, 8km of climbing and then a twisting, devious downhill over slick, bad road. i chose the latter, i don’t know why. the second i turned the corner to the foot of the climb the deep black-blue above came to life with a million volts and a hounding thunder that rocked my ribs.
through the trees and up and up and finally the wind was gone. just me, the bike, the rain and the sparks above. no car passed me by, no motorcycle. all far too sensible for that.
at the top, above the town, the light returned through parting, begrudging clouds. 6pm now, it was that kind of light – the honey kind, coating, caressing, hinting at that which we feel but cannot see. it makes everything seem possible, anything forgivable.
coming back to civilisation the sun began to slink back to earth and the wires above glinted and gleamed in its quietness, the ground breathed in wisps of vapor, riders on scooters and town bikes glad-wrapped in rain jackets looked like translucent jellyfish floating at speed, and, like a giant double cliche, two perfect arcing rainbows, more intense in their colors than i’d seen before, shot up from the earth and almost had me chasing them.
i laughed to myself, then out loud.
yet again, the bike had delivered me.
i’ve been away for a couple of days to Hualien on Taiwan’s east coast, climbing some parts of the famous Wuling mountain. i was there with former teammate Yin Chi Wang to do a photo-shoot with some Japanese journalists. this is one epic, not to mention stunning, climb.
here below is part of a report i wrote on the climb after completing the Taiwan KOM Challenge 2 years ago. this year’s event will be held on November 9th, entries opening soon, watch this space for more on that.
‘Itʼs a 90km beast of an event that lives in central Taiwan, and goes from a sleepy, cosy little town by the name of Hualien, meanders through the magnificent Taroko Gorge amidst and sometimes through enormous slabs of ancient rock so delightful that they entice riders, even mid-race, to let out gasps of wonder, and up and up and up to the summit, all 3,275 meters of it.
With an average of 7% for the first 104km the speed there is quite high, but it’s the last 8km that knock you out. 17% average with pitches up to 27.8%. In the closing kilometers the air is thin and the life is sucked from your bones.’
*all shots taken with an iPhone 5 and the Optrix waterproof camera-case