Francesco Moser: Twentieth Anniversary

Sometimes when I grow desperate for ideas worth writing about I fall back on the old journals. While digging around I don't always hit pay dirt, but it happens frequently enough to make the effort worth while. Case in point would be todays post. If I had waited another couple days it would have been too late, the historical significance of the day's date would have been passed.

When I broke open that musty, dusty, spiral-bound log from twenty years ago, I was looking for something that would be of interest to no one other than myself. I found that, and immediately realized that the little bit of information led to an event that might be of more widespread interest.

While perusing my recap of the Saturday (13 January 1994) Bicycle Doctor ride, one of those rare occasions on which I actually won a sprint, by the way, I almost casually noted that Tom was absent from the weekly test. In itself this was not unusual - week by week, any one of the usual riders might be MIA, for any number of reasons. What made this absence different was my notation that he was in Mexico City for Francesco Moser's World Hour Record attempt. 

Tom worked at Columbo Imports at the time, a company that sold Moser frames, complete bikes, and other cycling paraphernalia through a shop in San Marino, California. Due to those connections he was presented the opportunity to travel south of the border to witness the record ride from the stands of the Mexico City velodrome.

As you may know, and as the photo above shows, Moser rode a Graham Obree-style frame, folded into the "praying mantis" riding position that Obree made famous during his own record setting ride six months earlier (July 1993). A change to the UCI rules governing Hour Record attempts, outlawed the "praying mantis" style in May 1994, a month after Obree set yet another Hour Record mark. Moser's attempt resulted in a time that was faster/longer than Obree's mark of 17 July 1993, yet not quite as fast/long as Chris Boardman's record set on 23 July 1993.

However, the Moser mark, set on 15 January 1994 still stands to this day as the UCI Veteran's Record for the hour.