Criterium Corner with Euro Freddie


My! The holy city of Lhasa, Tibet, once home to the now exiled Dalai Lama, and the locus of Eastern spiritualism. The Eagle reader may well ask what am I, Global Freddie, doing here? Well, my Chinese, “Happy Panda” 3-speed, brought me here. But since the Chinese banished the Dalai Lama in 1959, I thought it in best form to leave it outside the city walls. Escorted by a throng of richly cloaked Buddhist monks, I was led into Lhasa’s most sacred temple. As we entered inside, I could smell the intoxicating, heavy air of burning, exotic incense, the ancient funk of stone masonry sweat, and, funny... An underlying hint of Campagnolo chain lube! As I was ushered further into the dark corridors of the temple’s deep interior, I was suddenly motioned to a halt. My escort retreated, and I found myself alone and uncertain. Then unexpectedly, a great door opened in front of me, and I found myself face to face with none other than the Dalai Lama himself!

As he extended his hand, I happened to notice that his robe was embroidered with the Assos logo. He caught the surprised look on my face and returned a broad, warm grin. “I’ve been a big fan of your column, Global Freddie, ever since Time/Warner sent me a newsletter gift subscription,” said Mr. Lama. “I have carefully followed your journey East, on indigenous 3-speeds, and I know your suffering and internal anguish over the recent Campagnolo Tour de France losses. Freddie, please accept my invitation into my private, meditative chamber, for I have something that I believe will be of great restorative powers to you.” As we walked across the threshold, Mr. Lama continued, “Buddhism is the disciplined study towards attaining enlightenment through perfecting the practice of the daily routine. Some forty years ago, when I was force to flee from this very site, I too was empty, and in pain. I wandered around Europe aimlessly... That is until I found cycling. You see, the Buddhist expression, ‘Mindfulness’, revealed itself in the embodiment of the training and maintenance of this sport. I was in awe to discover that in the West such a transcendental practice...” I let out a GASP as I turned the corner!!!

There from floor to ceiling, the space was filled with nothing but red, road racing bikes -and not just any road racing bikes- but Italian, Campagnolo equipped, road racing bikes! My eyes landed on a gorgeous, fire-red one built by the master himself, Faliero Masi. It was exquisitely outfitted with the first cycling gruppo ever produced -the steel Campy Record. “Oh my!” I whispered, as I poured over a tomato-red Sante Pogliaghi, equipped with the first, all alloy gruppo -Campy’s Nuovo Record. Then a bike across the room sent me running. It was a wine-red frame by the artisan extraordinaire, Ugo DeRosa, and gleaming with the first cycling gruppo to use titanium -Campy’s Super Record. Next to it was an equally stunning bike by Irio Tommasini, finished in a sunset-red, and hung with the first, and undoubtedly the last, gruppo to ever feature semi-precious stones -the Campy Cobalto C Record. There must have been 5-dozen red, Italian machines in that room! There were Battagins, Bassos, Bellesis, Benottos, Bianchis, and Bottechias. There were Casatis, Chesinis, Carreras, Ciocces, Colnagos, and... CINELLI! There, looking straight at me in the face, was the modern day, cycling equivalent of the HOLY GRAIL. An out of this world, stop sign red Cinelli Laser, equipped with the pantographed, Campy 50th Anniversary gruppo! This immaculately fillet brazed, time trial bike defined aero, 20 years ahead of its time...                                                                                   

                                                             -TO BE CONTINUED-

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