What’s in a Name?


Sitting in the café and discussing cycling heroes, Crazy Legs said his all-time favourite sprinter was the Tashkent Terror himself, one Djamolidine Abdoujaparov. While I’m sure a lot of the appeal had to do with Abdou’s blazing speed, his ferocious, erratic and kamikaze bike handling and spectacular crashes, I couldn’t help thinking that his name probably played a part too.

Would Djamolidine Abdoujaprov have been quite so popular had he been simply Igor Petrov?

Djamolidine Abdoujaparov.  DJAH-MOLLA-DEEN AB-DOO-JAP-AROFF. You could tell just by the way Crazy Legs savoured each and every syllable and let the name roll off his tongue that he found the sound pleasing. He was even more delighted when Richard of Flanders asked what was his full name was again and he had one more excuse to deeply intone:

“Abdoujaparov, Djamolidine Abdoujaparov”

Oh, come on, admit it, it’s so much better than stale, old clichéd: Bond, James Bond

We then had a chat about the rather more unfortunate Bauke Mollema – who we agreed also had a great name, but for all the wrong reasons. In Scotland and throughout the North East to bowk has an unpleasant meaning and association – defined by Urban Dictionary as – bowk: To puke, hurl, or chunder, especially after excessive intake of alcohol, curry, chocolate cake or all three.

So, Puker Mollema then. Oh dear.

This set me to thinking how much of my own, initial allure to cycling’s was tied into the exotic, unusual sounding names of the riders of the day, Joop Zoetemelk, Giovanni Battaglin, Francesco Moser …

And we can’t of course forget Lucien Van Impe – literally Lucien from the village of Impe, a small and otherwise boring and unremarkable town in East Flanders. This sounded not only exotic to me, but also seemed especially fitting for the mercurial, puckish grimpeur who would “bedevil” some of his great rivals in the mountains during Grand Tours.

The fact that writers could craft Sun-style, headline-worthy puns to match, was just an added bonus – the most memorable from the era being, of course: Van Impudence.

While the foreign and exotic sounding names of the continental riders had an attraction for cycling waifs and strays on Tyneside, we also used to wonder what the continental fans would make of our seemingly mundane, Anglicised monickers.

For example, the local hero around this time was Joe Waugh – multiple National Hill Climb Champion, winner of the Mountains Classification and 2nd overall in the Milk Race, two time Olympian and a National Time-Trial Champion to boot.

Toshi San and I would often amuse ourselves trying to imagine the conniptions his name might give to Eastern Bloc announcers when he lined up to start in the Peace Race:

“Lay-dees and jentleman, from Great Britaniya … Jowee Waah-ooghah!”

We could perhaps forgive those in continental Europe struggling with the pronunciation of Waugh, but what about the rest of the English speaking world?

As a native of the North East, Joe Waugh was, fiercely and rightly, Joe Woff to us, not Joe Worr as the softy southerners would have it. Still it wasn’t until I started trying to figure out Australian Batsmen Steve Waugh’s nickname that I realised something was truly amiss. Tugga? Tugga Woff? What’s all that about then?

At this point I realised most of the rest of the world were simply incapable of properly pronouncing the name Waugh.

Still, even though perhaps we should have known better, we held the BBC to higher standards. It was unforgiveable then when Joe had a very brief 30 seconds of fame and was interviewed by regular Grandstand sports presenter Frank Bough.

Confusingly, Frank Bough’s name was always, religiously pronounced as Boff, which was kind of ridiculous in its own right and sets him right up there with Puker Bauke Mollema in my mind

(Again, from the Urban Dictionary – boff:  A term to describe quick sexual intercourse which includes the man not taking off his pants and a lot of dry humping.)

To have him refer to Joe as Joe Worr then, was, to us youngsters back in Tyneside an insult and an outrage and we were all willing Joe to answer, “Well, Mr Bore, the race was…”

Sadly, Joe was far too much of a gentleman to correct Mr. Bore. Or, maybe he accepted his name being mangled in this way as preferable to being known as Jowee Waa-ooghah?

Even today the tradition continues and there are riders that have an extra cachet simply because their name sounds interesting, weird, exotic or strangely melodious, for example I give you:

Gatis Smukalis

Wilco Kelderman

Sasha Modolo

Fabio Felline

Thibout Pinot

You’ll note I don’t include Tejay Van Garderen in this, although he has a suitably Flemish “hard-man” surname … but Tejay? T.J.? Really?

Anyway, I was reminded of my delight in unusual names during Stage 7 of the Giro, from Castroviillari to Alberobello. The highlight of the stage? An early break which featured both Giuseppe Fonzi and Simone Ponsi.

Fonzi and Ponsi working seamlessly together. It made my day. Well, to be fair it was an otherwise uneventful stage.


 

“Fuggar, cumma rubba, ronts!”

My Ride (according to Strava)

Club Run, Saturday 9th May, 2015

Total Distance:                                    117.2km/72.8 miles with 739 metres of climbing

Ride Time:                                             4:46 hours

Group size:                                            A Dirty Dozen. No FNG’s

Weather in a word or two:            Dreich

Main topic of conversation at the start: How it’s always the same hard core (sad core, maybe?) of a dozen or so lunatics who turn up for club rides, no matter how bad the weather is

Main topic of conversation at the coffee stop: The unfeasible, unlikely and unattainable weight of the pro peloton “grimpeurs extraordinaire.” Domenico Pozzovivo, 53kg soaking wet! Over-the-top cakes featuring various countline confectionery bars in their entirety; Mars cakes, Snickers cakes, Rollo cakes et al.

I’m just guessing here, but I don’t think Snr. Pozzovivo and the triple layer chocolate and fresh cream, Mars bar brownie cake, with the Malteser topping have ever been formally introduced.

The Profile:

9 10 May

The Waffle:

A small group, the Magnificent Seven were bolstered by a few late arrivals to form (very fittingly, judging by the end results) a Dirty Dozen brave lads and lasses who met up at our rendezvous point under cold leaden skies and a never ending supply of rain.

Off the leash without OGL we set our own route and travelled down roads a little less known and travelled, even foregoing our usual café stop for pastures new. Such an offence is usually worthy of excommunication, a public flogging with knotted inner tubes and having your micro pump snapped in disgrace.

Two random indignant motorist (RIM) encounters. The first over-taking impatiently on a blind bend, only to have to stamp ferociously on the brakes as an on-coming vehicle, (also travelling much too fast for the horrible conditions), came barrelling into sight. I hate these encounters because I can almost feel the driver wondering just how much damage would be done to his shiny automobile if he just slid the wheel, ever so slightly left to avoid a car on car incident and took out a bunch of skeletal blokes on plastic bikes instead.

Encounter number two had a driver making a slow pass (no, not that kind) so his passenger could lean out the window red-faced and apoplectic with rage and jabber incoherently at us; “Fuggar, cumma rubba, ronts!” We naturally gave him a very happy, cheery wave and a hearty thumbs-up. Unfortunately he didn’t take the opportunity of stopping so we could discover his nationality, and what strange dialect he was speaking. A shame really as I’m certain we could have broken down the language barrier, helped him with whatever his problems were and parted as new best-friends.

No mad heroics, long breaks or mad sprinting this week, but lots of sensible riding as a group and selfless riding by the stronger ones to shelter everyone else from headwinds. All in all, a grand day out.

Until next week…

YTD Totals:         1,957km/ 1,216 miles with 20,379 metres of climbing


A start of sorts…

Club Run – Satruday 25th April

My Ride (according to Strava)

Total Distance:                  69.6km/43.2 miles with 316 metres of climbing

Ride Time:                          2:32 hours

Group size:                         25 cyclists at the start. No FNG’s

Weather in a word or two:        Monsoon

Main topic of conversation at the start: How the weather would hold dry until at least 1.00pm (Ha!)

Main topic of conversation at the coffee stop: Bear Grylls (consensus = nutter), the Darwin Awards and the (very) contentious issue of “the club jersey”. Don’t ask.

The Profile:

25 26 April

The Waffle:

A mix of 25 brave lads and lasses met up at our rendezvous point, under the high white clouds and intermittent sunshine of a typical northern spring day.

The usual meeting place is a bus station, or to give it its more fanciful name a “transport interchange centre.” Here we can take a last breath of therapeutic diesel fumes to harden our lungs, before riding out to the clean, clear air of the countryside. As an added benefit we also get to annoy the bus drivers (although to be honest it doesn’t take much – it must irk them seeing us laughing and joking while they sit in a cramped glass cubicle, entombed inside a diesel spewing bus, engulfed in miles of traffic all day). We also seem to take a perverse delight in blockading the pavement with thousands of £’s worth of shiny carbon fibre, titanium and aluminium, sort of a polite bourgeois street protest or cycling flash mob. What’s that all about?

The weather was chilly, but bright and every last forecast assured us things would be dry until after midday. We set out with high hopes, waving a cheery goodbye to the bus drivers and finally releasing a backlog of pedestrians to flood across the footpath. 10 minutes in and everyone was diving to the side of the road to pull on rain jackets. 5 minutes after and with nary a mudguard amongst us (the winter bikes were put away weeks ago) my shoes were full of water, gloves wringing wet, and icy cold water had enveloped me from the waist down. My brand new, pristine-white socks had turned a dull and grimy shade of grey, a particularly difficult test-case I challenge any detergent manufacturers to accept.

One of our number on a vintage Ciocc peeled off shortly afterwards to head home, complaining his brakes and wooden rims(!) weren’t the most effective stopping combination in wet weather. I don’t think he appreciated one wags suggestion that he needed wet and dry sandpaper on his brake pads.

Through rain clogged specs I spend the next 30 minutes swinging from side to side, vainly trying to avoid the geyser of filthy, freezing water spraying off the wheel in front, and failing miserably as it seemed to follow me across the road with unerring accuracy. By the time the rain stopped everyone was pretty much soaked through and cold, but, as ever the ride went on.

A short sharp climb and general re-grouping was followed by the usual suspects making a long break for the café, and a mad chase ensued to guarantee everyone arrived wet and overheated at the stop.

Coffee and cake fuelled the ride home, and perhaps made the task of pulling on cold, wet gloves, caps and helmets slightly less unpleasant. Yet more torrential rain returned just to decrease comfort levels, but I guess once you’re wet you’re wet, so naturally everyone agreed it had been a good ride.

Until next week…

YTD Totals:         1,613km/ 1,002 miles with 16,889metres of climbing