In three weeks at Velo Aficionado we will reach our two year anniversary. No mean feat. You’d think it would be pretty easy to blog away about bikes, swan about and take a few pictures then interview some blokes about their glory days racing, right? From the onset I always knew that for the long term success of Velo Aficionado, a collaborative effort would be required. The challenge was always going to be, who to collaborate with.
In the beginning John Caskey offered up his scratchings on paper of The Crank, a character John had imagined over many years. In John’s inimitable style he’d made special observations of the stereotypical cranky old bike racer and then devised the temperamental character “The Crank“. Lasting only twelve editions, I had to badger John for two more, the Crank has now lain dormant for months waiting for resurrection when the time is right. Despite the lack of episodes, the dastardly deeds of the belligerent Crank struck a chord with Velo Aficionado’s. More please John.
Apart from one guest post from Marcel Van Schie, there were no others. Patiently waiting for the right circumstance to present itself was like seeking out the new Velo Lama. Then at exactly the right moment I received a call from “The Russian”. I’m excited to say that Nikolai Razouvaev, nick named “The Russian” is now officially our newest Velo Aficionado. Nikolai already had his own very special blog titled Top Dog Road Cycling Journal. Despite both of us growing up in two very different countries, we share so many parallels, it just made good sense to form a collaborative project now combined here at Velo Aficionado. Nikolai’s strong background in web design compliments what I have to offer with the camera and almost a quarter of a century working as a professional photographer. Yet we’ve both raced at international level in world championships and on European road racing teams, experiencing similar highs and lows. Nikolai’s insiders perspective on pro cycling combined with his background in the harsh arena of Russian cycling during an unrepeatable era is unique. Contrast this with my time in Australian cycling, beginning in 1975 on both track and road, ending in Italy and Switzerland and you’ve got the makings of a formidable team.
I found this over on PEZ Cycling News in an interview with Nikolai earlier this year PEZ asked Nikolai about Aavo Pikkuus, the Russian cycling legend, Nikolai said “As a kid, I was told many times by my first coach: ‘You want to be like Aavo Pikkuus? Train hard, never give up and fight like a dog.’ Sometimes, I took his advice too literally, especially the last part.” It’s worth a read over at PEZ to get some insights on Nikolai’s racing career.
Richard Fidler interviewed Nikolai for ABC local earlier this year. Nikolai details his early life and how he avoided being conscripted into the Russian army by racing bikes. The gripping story of how Nikolai won his Gold medal in the world junior teams time trial and subsequently ended up living in Europe, Canada and now Australia will keep you listening to the end. You’ll get a laugh when you find out at ABC Local how Nikolai found out the true meaning of what it means to “Bring a plate”, in Australia.
The last time I raced a bike it was to set the Australian outdoor hour record on Chandler Velodrome on March 12 1995, more on that next year when I’ll cover the whole story. No you won’t find it on the Cycling Australia website, they don’t publish obscure track records like the hour. Conversely Nikolai is still racing, see his profile here at the Mainline Racing Team website.
Where to from here. First a big thanks to everyone who has followed Velo Aficionado the last two years, it’s you the Velo Aficionado’s who come back time and time again that keep this site going. Both Nikolai and myself live in Brisbane Australia, together we look forward to bringing you many more authentic cycling tales straight from the horse’s mouth.
Photo by Mat Pluckhahn, thank’s Mat for allowing us to rope you into becoming a photographer