Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Max's Cycling Pages


Massimiliano "Max" Poletto is such a no-ego guy it took me quite a bit of poking around on his pages to even find his name. But it really wasn't any hardship to read his various ride reports, they've got all kinds of wonderful details. You can see for yourself by exploring here:

http://www.maxp.net/bike/

To get a feel for Max's writing, here are a couple of exerpts from his 2005 LEL ride report at:

http://www.maxp.net/bike/randonneuring/2005-lel-1400k.txt

I leaned my bike against a wall at the control and stared in disbelief: right in front of me, next to my Rambouillet, was Sean's bright red Trek! I checked in at the control and discovered that Glen had left less than half an hour earlier. Maybe I wasn't doing so terribly after all. Sean and Finn sat at a table in the dining hall, and Sean told me an incredible story. After a lot of creaking, one of Finn's pedals had finally snapped. At first, Finn had tried to reattach the pedal to the broken remains of the spindle. But when that approach failed, he simply took off his shoe, stuffed it into his jersey pocket, and wrapped his toes around the jagged spindle remains that still emerged from the crank. In this way, I believe, he pedaled some tens of hilly kilometers, Sean at his side, before a motorcycle marshal caught up to them with a pair of spare pedals. Blood stained his sock, but he didn't stop.

and later in the same report:

I have many memories of those last 65Km: the expansive scenery, the magnificent light, the feeling of achievement at having completed LEL despite the last day's troubles. Yet my best and most unbelievable memory is of Finn, in his granny gear for the first time in 1350Km, pushing Sean up the hills. Sean, his tendons swollen and ibuprofen no longer effective, was forced to soft-pedal even on gentle climbs. He told us to ride on without him, but that wasn't an option for us. I'd have been perfectly willing to ride with him at whatever pace he could muster, but Finn had a different idea. He would ride down the hills just behind Sean, then downshift, put his right hand firmly on Sean's lower back or his saddle, and push him all the way up the hill. At the top he'd accelerate his pedal stroke and finally push forward with his arm---a powerful, sweeping motion that launched Sean over the top of the hill and down the other side. And then he would repeat the procedure again. He did this time after time, on scores of hills, many of them steep and quite long. Together they climbed surprisingly fast: I could probably have outsprinted them had I needed to, but even keeping up with them was no easy task. I was in complete awe of Finn and his technique---I had never seen anything like it.

Max is one of those guys whose passion for the ride shines through in his words. He tells the stories that really capture the feeling of the ride.
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