In a roughly parallel vein, I ran across some interesting historical cycling tidbits while reading a book titled: "Napoleon's Hemorrhoids".
The book's theme is based on how small incidents changed world history. You'd have to be a history buff like me not to get bored going through the book, but I thought these cycling excerpts could be of interest - how regulations, blunders, opportunities, and mis-organization made for bitter endings:
Imagine if you were caught up in some of the these (all true) situations...
It's the 76 Montreal games, and you are one of the favorites for the 1K meters cycling time trial, your name is Eduard Rapp. The race starts, but you got out so quickly that you thought that you jumped the gun, so you stopped.
Turns out you had timed it just right, exquisitely so - your start was indeed legal.......but because you stopped you were disqualified.
Or, it's 1997, and you killed it in the Pan-Arab games, managing to get on the podium, but.....
-only 4 cyclists finished the race (hopefully you were not one of these four who was knocked down by a car) because the organizers forgot to close the roads for the event, and the cars carrying the organizers were stuck in traffic and could not verify if you or the other three cyclists who finished it, took another route.
Your results, the results of the others, are officially expunged.
I found this one of interest as well, with a happy ending. See if you can you guess who you'd be by the end of the second sentence.
You are trying to get a race organized but so few riders sign on that you delay the start of the race for a few more weeks, hoping the holiday period will increase registration. That gets you enough riders signed on to start it. Then it goes so well, day after day the interest and attendance builds, so much so that you can't race the final leg, and have the winner taken by car to where the race ended.
You are a newspaper man by profession; your surname: Desgrange, Henry to friends.
Well, if it ends up badly for AC down the road, at least he got the satisfaction of participating in the events.
Imagine that you are a proud leader of the Russian military shooting team, obviously born of nobility, and are arriving with your team for the 1908 London Games. Instead of firing bullets during the Games you find yourself dejectedly firing shots of vodka at point-blank range down your mouth...you and your team arrived after the Games were over.
You forgot that you Russians use the Julian calendar, which is 12 days behind the rest of the world's Gregorian calendar.
But the worse one of all one works the opposite way, arriving too early: imagine you are leaving your opponents in the dust, no argument about the legality of it or of cheating, it's all good. It's 1908 and you are running in the Natal marathon in South Africa, under world-record pace.
You enter the stadium knowing it is yours, in fact you are at least three minutes under the then-record of 2 hours, 26 minutes. Your name is Johannes Coleman. You are at the peak of your career, you will never run close to that again. Victory is yours, and the rightful acclaim and your place in racing history is yours....or is it?
Well, when you crossed the line, the timekeeper had left to have a cup of tea, thinking that no one could possibly finish it so quickly. He apologizes to you profusely, but since your time could not be verified, your world record run is consigned to oblivion.
You never come close to breaking the record again.
Well,here is to happier endings for all of us during this thanksgiving week.
This post has been edited by micomico: 23 November 2011 - 08:44 PM