In 1984 we had a race called the Tour of Long Island. It was a four day, seven stage Pro/Am stage race that circled Long Island. Fred Mengoni (lower left) put up the cash. The photo above shows the overall winners. First is Ron Haymen, a Canadian Pro. Second is (left) Louis Garneau and third was local boy (right) Eric Zaltas. Eric cleverly won the first stage and then valiantly held on for third place.
This was our team for the Tour of Long Island. I (left) was the mechanic, and Doug Hutwagner (right) was the manager. The riders were, left to right; Steve Weiler, Richard Minchik, Hewitt Thayer, Jim Lehane, and (not shown) Bobby Philips. Bobby (the one from Ireland, not Baltimore) had crashed and broken a few ribs so he went home before this photo was taken.
The famous American bike racer named Bobby Phillips has the nick-name "the Baltimore Bullet." I tried jump-starting the nick-name "Belfast Bullet" for our Bobby Phillips but it never took...
Joan Durdalleur was the Chief Judge on that race. This is her with Fred Mengoni. Joan had two sons who were good riders. Fred is an Italian imgrant who came to New York City and made a fortune in construction and real estate. He was an amateur bike racer in his youth and loves the sport. Fred has been a huge financial supporter of cycling. He was a early sponsor of Greg LeMond, Steve Bauer and Leonard Nitz, just to name a few. Fred was one of the founders of U.S.Pro and served several terms as president.
This is Andy Fellenz getting a hand up from his future wife, Jan, at the 1985 New York State Road Championships in Bridgehampton, Long Island. Andy and his sister Kristen were very good riders who I was/am friends with. Kristen is married to Hewett Thayer who was another top rider from the 70's and 80's.
Like me, Andy Fellenz fooled around with frame building. I think he built around 8 or 10 bikes for himself and his friends. This is a track bike that he built for himself. Instead of putting his own name on the down tube he chose the name "Xanthus." I think that was the name of Zeus's horse. Andy took a fair amount of ribbing over that name. You didn't want to get Andy mad though because it would make him go to the front and set a tempo that would make you regret it.
Here is Kristen Fellenz (now Thayer), Mark Lobit and Andy Fellenz; all teammates of mine. I trained quite a bit with Mark. That was the closest that I ever got to having a coach. Mark started racing when he was about 10, spent a year living and racing in France and won two national championships. He was an extremely clever rider and he taught me a few tricks. I haven't heard from Mark in about 10 years. He lives in Chicago these days.
Another interesting thing about Mark was that his training partner was Harold Gulbransen Jr., son of "Corky" Gulbransen who was the top frame builder in New York during the '60's and '70's. Mark went to art school and he designed the graphics for Corky's bikes. Mark rode Corkys throughout his career.
From the same evening at the track; this is my pal Jim Lehane. Jim and I trained and traveled to races together. We might have had a few cocktails along the way too. He was a very accomplished rider winning medals in the State Championships and at the Empire State Games; but if Jim was as strong as he was funny he would have won the Tour De France... And he would have beaten Rebecca Twigg. Read on.
I didn't take this picture. Annie Liebowitz did; for a photo essay on Olympic athletes in Vanity Fair. I'll probably get sued if she finds out that I'm using it. Anyway I think it is a very cool shot of Rebecca Twigg.
Twigg was a many-time World Champion in the pursuit. She must have been traveling in this area because she showed up at one of Vito's training races in Uniondale. Those races were run as one big field, no separate categories, so we got to ride with her. I remember that she had a very distictive pedaling motion. At the end of the race there was a break away up the road and Rebecca was one of those left to contest the field sprint. There were probably 50 men left in the peloton but it came down to Twigg and Jim Lehane at the line.
The skinny little girl prevailed and Lehane had to hide his face for a few weeks. As usual, after the race, most of the group went over to Giuseppie's in Westbury for pizza and beer. Rebecca was with Leslie and Harvey Nitz. She was at least as shy off the bike as she was assertive on it. She sat there like a little mouse. After a while she loosened up but she still didn't have much to say. Uncharacteristicly, niether did Jim.