Cycling Memorabilia – we all have it (if we’re cycling fans, current competitors, ex-pro’s, parents of a junior or even the most cynical journalist – even the ones from Ireland!). As a junior, I collected a few “pro” things like team and rider trading/publicity cards, century (100 mile ride) patches, souvenir programs and other scraps that I was able to paw while very much on the outside looking-in.
As an elite (both pro and elite 2 w/o contract), I primarily collected three things (in addition to top-5 placings and wins, UCI points on three continents and accounts of adventures that were significantly larger than the accounts into which my race winnings were deposited): 1) race credentials, 1) foreign currency, and 3) race numbers.
I also was better-than-average at convincing some Hispanic-members of the fairer sex that my blue eyes and mastery of their language, with a bad Uruguayan accent thrown-in to boot, meant that I wasn’t just another American “Joe.” The subsequent phone numbers were tossed in along with results sheets from stages in which I placed well, and even a couple of team room lists, filched from hotel corridors lined with doors behind which slept the stars of Mapei and Kelme – who beat upon me daily.
Someday I’ll release the transcript of my one and only English “conversation” as competitors with Filippo “The_Ego” Pozzato, held on the streets of Pinar del Rio, Cuba, (and in closer proximity to a whorehouse than our teams’ hotel), but for now, please enjoy a brief tease of what takes up space in my apt.
In the future, if anyone would be interested in collaborating on some kind of virtual, community-curated repository of pro cycling memorabilia, let me know. I’m sure that we could leverage every-less-meaningful technological advances and cheap storage space to make for the online version of a Pro Cycling Louvre!