Anatomy of a Photo: Just Go Faster

Anatomy of a Photo: Just Go Faster

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This photo of Phil Anderson’s genuine surprise at the gap between himself and the guy who won at losing reminds me of a story my dad tells of a crewmate from his boat at Laga. My dad was the stroke in a boatful of guys who went on to the compete in several World Championships and the Olympics, some of whom actually won medals there.

Two of the guys even became World Champion in the double one year, winning the race by a few boat lengths. During his post-race interview, one of the two was asked what the secret was to their dominating win. In all seriousness, he responded as follows:

For an important race like this, I’m a little surprised the other guys didn’t pull on the oars harder.

I loves me a good, Stead Up with More Speed Paradox.

// Anatomy of a Photo

  1. @michael
    Speaking of space time anomalies, WTF is that chicken doing there?
    Ooh, ooh. I think I’ve just won the ‘stump @Oli’ competition.

  2. Yep. I got nothing.

  3. @mouse

    @all
    Oh, and by the bye, could we please collectively refrain from referring the old helmets as ‘sausage helmets’?
    They were, are ‘hairnets’.
    That is all.

    So ‘bunch of bananas’ is out also?

  4. How come Phil A always looks so high above his bike – did he have massively long legs and cranks, or a tiny bikeframe or summink?

    For an Aussie, he has an amazing amount of style

  5. @frank
    See, we’re sensible. We know we can’t grow mustaches so we don’t try. Mr Kwantum clearly doesn’t know he can’t either . . .

  6. @mouse
    It’s a very young Michael Rasmussen who couldn’t get out of the way when Phil laid down the V and was crushed against the stem like a bug on a windshield.

  7. @michael

    I don’t think it’s a Valvoline logo though, here’s a crop of the full sized image.

    I think that, if anything, the chicken proves that it is, in fact, a space-time continuum thing.

    Too fucked.

  8. I hope each sticker pack will soon include a V-chicken so our bars can be properly attired.

  9. @Dr C

    For an Aussie, he has an amazing amount of style

    I tell you this purely to assist with your cycling edification – Phil was born in London.

  10. @Marcus
    that explains a lot

    BTW, I’m not wishing to start Round 14 of the antipodean V slaggathon …..

  11. @ChrisO
    I saw a dude out on a penny farthing this weekend, cruising down a 2% false flat on the opposite side of the road. Incredible sight.

    @michael
    Hasn’t one of our Melbournians ridden with Phil on Beach Road? Clearly we need to hear about this direct from Phil hisself.

  12. Marko – Slick Serotta! Love that bike & build up. What tape is on there?

    Ah, the DA aero post, not the Campa. I have one of each, very sexy seat pillars fo’ sho.

  13. @Ron
    Thanks, the tape is just good old microtex by our friends at Fizik.

  14. photos are mixed from 88 and 89 seasons. Note changes of red in TVM jersey and paint scheme of bike. Head tube silver vs. blue. Not to mention the obvious from the World Champs photo.

    V is clearly present if one can look intimidating AND carry a chicky. In contrast, even a PRO can look like shit with a poor mustache.

    Long stear tubes with 10-15mm of extra spacers used to show up alot at the classics.

  15. @frank
    Shall I presume that my sticker pack will appear through a wormhole?

  16. Well thanks to Frank and all of you for ejumacatin’ a Yank about Phil Anderson. Having been a cyclist since being a high school freshman in 1988, I was steeped in the lore of LeMan and to a lesser degree Hampsten. Certainly their reps were well-earned, but I never really heard much about anyone else from that era. Sure, being a kid who liked things other didn’t, (cycling, New Order instead of Winger) I had my favorite non-‘Merican cyclists: Jelle Nijdam with his 2k to go suicide attacks, Gert Jan scowling his way up the mountains, etc. But I never heard too much about Phil Anderson. Not sure why. I knew he was a stud but never really appreciated him. So thanks. Those pics of him KILLING IT out of the saddle have me sporting a semi-chub. Pure style. Love it.

  17. @Otoman

    I never heard too much about Phil Anderson. Not sure why. I knew he was a stud but never really appreciated him

    Yeah, he was basically Australian Cycling’s Bon Scott.

  18. @frank
    The chicken was put on his bike by girlfriend at the time & TVM soigneur, Shelley Verses because the race was on Easter Sunday 1988. So probably the Ronde Van Vllanderen from memory where he was on the attack, again. Check out the interview with Shelley in the latest Rouler magazine #25 to see what a legend she is. Sorry not a plug! But growing up in the 80’s as a teenager her name remains fixed in my memory & it was good to have a recap on how she started & some of the riders that she has worked with, Greg LeMan et al! Also what a boys club cycling was in the 80’s, she is a very brave person to have stuck it out at that time.
    The ‘V’ on the shorts is not Valvoline, but an italian clothing brand Vittore Gianni, this company also made the Ariostea team clothing in 1988 & 89. They seem to be the name of an original tailor in Milan back in 1876, on a brief search its a name linked to the Castelli clothing company and their history. But very apt that Phil was wearing a ‘V’, this guy was hard as nails, chicken or no chicken & the trail blazer for the current crop of Aussies in the peloton

  19. @roche kelly

    @frank
    The chicken was put on his bike by girlfriend at the time & TVM soigneur, Shelley Verses because the race was on Easter Sunday 1988. So probably the Ronde Van Vllanderen from memory where he was on the attack, again. Check out the interview with Shelley in the latest Rouler magazine #25 to see what a legend she is. Sorry not a plug! But growing up in the 80′s as a teenager her name remains fixed in my memory & it was good to have a recap on how she started & some of the riders that she has worked with, Greg LeMan et al! Also what a boys club cycling was in the 80′s, she is a very brave person to have stuck it out at that time.
    The ‘V’ on the shorts is not Valvoline, but an italian clothing brand Vittore Gianni, this company also made the Ariostea team clothing in 1988 & 89. They seem to be the name of an original tailor in Milan back in 1876, on a brief search its a name linked to the Castelli clothing company and their history. But very apt that Phil was wearing a ‘V’, this guy was hard as nails, chicken or no chicken & the trail blazer for the current crop of Aussies in the peloton

    Great memory you have there @roche kelly! The race was the Tour of Flanders, April 3 1988.
    I’ve never forgotten that little yellow fluffy chick hanging off Phil’s bike! This prompted me to flick through my library of the best bike mag ever printed in the 80’s, Winning-Bicycle Racing Illustrated, and share the memory with fellow Velominati!

    I really don’t know how he hooked up with Shelly, as she was Toshiba/Look’s soigneur!


    Back to the best bike mag ever printed in the 80’s, Winning-Bicycle Racing

    Illustrated.
    Illustrated, which led me to be my silent Cycling Sensei.

    I’d spend hours at a time studying each pic until the next edition came out.
    The bikes, the gear, the hand positions, pedal strokes, climbing positions, crash positions, background scenery (that’s how I learn;’t geography!) Then I might read the articles.
    Reading the articles was futile, as the pics on the page told me more than words could. Reading the faces of the peleton, a breakaway – solo or group spoke loudly to me!
    Unfortunately, for me, at the 80’s/90’s turn over, MTB’s took off and road racing got a bit thin on presence in the mag. (There’s a cover shot Feb 1988 of Kelly on a rigid Colnago (decaled) MTB!

    Housekeeping – Kudos to Winning for the pics! Most likely Graham Watson.

  20. So farewell then HTC Highroad… a fine appreciation of the team from Britain’s Daily Telegraph.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/othersports/cycling/8831198/HTC-High-Road-the-team-to-launch-Mark-Cavendish-sign-off-in-style-at-Chrono-des-Nations.html

    Not sure where this should go, but the article title seems appropriate.

  21. @ChrisO
    nearly cried when I read that – seems hard to believe the HTC battering ram won’t be on view anymore

  22. Hmm, as for Phil + Shelly, I was re-reading some of Samuel Abt’s Up The Road last evening.

    From, “Taking Care of the Boys,”:

    Paul Kochli, the coach of the Toshiba team, tried to hire her late in 1986 but, Verses said, “I was intimidated by the offer and the team, and said no.” Then Peter Post, the manager of the Panasonic team, which is based in the Netherlands, called her at home in Santa Barbara, California, and offered a job. “It was less money but the team seemed more American because they all speak English.” She came to Panasonic’s notice when she served as soigneur to the team’s star rider, Phil Anderson, an Australia, during the world championships in Colorado in September 1986.

  23. @Ron

    There’s an in depth interview with Shelley in Rouleur 25. Interesting read.

  24. Thanks, Chris! I’ll have to check it out.

    As someone who grew up following the big, mainstream sports in the U.S., I love catching up on all the cycling history & stories I missed, as well as those before my time. While it’s almost impossible to avoid an information overload on some sports in the U.S., I crave cycling news.

    And now I follow cycling, a bit of ice hockey, and some international soccer. I can’t stomach the slowness & corporate feel of the NFL. The NBA is one step from wrestling (entertainment, not sport) and baseball, well, it goes without saying that it’s insanely boring.

    Never would have imagined this switch, but most ball sports, as we call them ’round here, hold zero interest for me these days. Watching skinny dudes race bikes…give me more!

  25. @sthilzy

    Winning-Bicycle Racing Illustrated.
    Illustrated, which led me to be my silent Cycling Sensei.
    I’d spend hours at a time studying each pic until the next edition came out.
    The bikes, the gear, the hand positions, pedal strokes, climbing positions, crash positions, background scenery (that’s how I learn;’t geography!) Then I might read the articles.
    Reading the articles was futile, as the pics on the page told me more than words could. Reading the faces of the peleton, a breakaway – solo or group spoke loudly to me!
    Unfortunately, for me, at the 80′s/90′s turn over, MTB’s took off and road racing got a bit thin on presence in the mag. (There’s a cover shot Feb 1988 of Kelly on a rigid Colnago (decaled) MTB!

    You and me both, mate. Happy to hear someone has kept their old editions! I’ve sadly lost mine and I think most others have theirs, too. That large-format magazine layout was so great.

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