Thursday, January 29, 2009

The Plagiarist

I always try to resist the temptation to play copycat, but I could not resist plagiarizing this little section from "Coppi and Me, Part II" by Padrig over at Belgium Kneewarmers.

In the series Gino Bartali reminisces about racing against Fausto Coppi in the 1940s and 1950s. They were both good friends and bitter rivals. The segment below is what Bartali had to say about Coppi's Achilles heel. It reminded me of the almost imperceptable signals I get from some of my companions where they are in difficulty (hollow eyes or barely perceptable changes in hand position on the bars).

It is a perfect metaphor for the intricacies of cycling and the sometimes frivolous and comic nature of our great sport.

Bartali recalls:

"So I studied him, I looked at him, I scrutinized him, passing all I observed through a sort of sieve set to catch the least eccentricity that would imply fallibility. And then, one day, my tenacity was repaid. I perceived something. Finally, I had it!

Behind the right knee a vein inflated along 5 or 6 centimeters, apparently under the pressure of ridding his leg of toxic waste. This apparition made itself obvious between 160 and 180 kms into a race. At this moment Fausto became vulnerable and he lost a bit of that fluid plastic motion he normally displayed.

One day, in the 1948 Tour of Italy, the stage to Naples, I decided to see if I could profit from my research. I told my lieutenant, Corrieri, to survey the hollow behind Coppi’s right knee and let me know if he saw any change. Sure enough, right about the time I expected, Corrieri came rolling through the peloton crying at the top of his voice, ‘The vein! The vein!’ Of course no one knew what he was yelling about, least of all Fausto, but I knew and I slid through the group to verify the good Giovannino’s spy operation. One look and I could see the vein was indeed inflated!

’Go! Go!’ I yelled to Van Steenbergen, to Koblet, to Kubler, and anyone else around me. ‘Coppi is in difficulty!’

‘Are you nuts?’ queried Van Steenbergen.

'Follow me!’ I yelled.

Everyone attacked, and at the finish Fausto had lost four minutes!"

What a great story. This past weekend I think I discovered a 'vein' in one of my more genetically gifted associates. It'll be fun to test my theory on the roads this summer!

The Vein!, The Vein! also reminded me of Tatoo:
The Plane!, The Plane!

1 Comment:

Anonymous said...

after this last weekend it should have been "the rain, the rain!"