Have you ever found yourself in one of those situations where you wished you’d have faked a family crisis, and backed out of a particular social engagement, but your social hosts, unfortunately, have been keeping up with your family genealogy, and according to them, you were the sole heir to the family name, three deaths ago. Well, this is how I was feeling at this year’s bicycle trade show in Cologne. I’m sorry, Eagle readers, but I have had it up to here with neophyte US mountain bike companies claiming to have captured the Italian road bike mystique. I mean, come on... A Litespeed “Tuscany” with Asian fishing components? And GT’s “Triple Triangle” frame design... Give me a break, any Italian artisan could tell you that GT’s CAD/CAM system screwed up the coordinates. And Cannondale... suffice it to say that they are already making knockoffs in India called “Cannonbarrels.”

So, last month, I found myself following up these indignities with yet another invitation to a soiree in Biel, Switzerland. Why did I go, you may well ask, knowing my predisposition towards such social events? I didn’t want to offend the folks at DT Spokes by declining their offer. On the plane, I tried to reassure myself with images of the new Campagnolo and MAVIC wheelsets which incorporate this fine product. But somehow, when I arrived there, well, they just turned out to be spokes. So there I sat, overlooking an acre of metallic spaghetti. An acre of spaghetti... Now that brought back a childhood memory with a huge grin!

When I was a boy, my parents sent me off to spend the summer outside Naples, Italy, with some friends of the family. I was young and knew nothing about spaghetti, except that I loved to eat it. I did not know that Durum and Semolina were starch-bearing varietals of the willow tree. But that summer I worked along side many a raven-haired, buxom field-hand, as we climbed into the trees and picked vermicelli, angel hair, and yes, spaghetti. When we had picked as much as we could drape over our shoulders, we would climb out of the trees and head into the drying fields. Now here is where experience is crucial, and the young women would have to relieve me of this task, for each and every strand would have to be laid out, eyeball straight, for proper drying. At the end of the day we would gather up the dried rows, stack them on end, and bundle them for market the next morning. I remember it being hard work, but I had a wonderful time that summer... Harvesting by day, filling our faces at night... Just myself, two dozen young women from Napoli, and an acre of spaghetti.  Good times, good times -Euro Freddie.

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Criterium Corner with Euro Freddie