All I want to do is drink beer and train like an animal.
- Rod Dixon

I'm feeling rough. I'm feeling raw. I'm in the prime of my life.

Odds And Ends: The Cyclist's Cigarette

Just a few nights ago my roommates and I were watching TV and discussing how rampant and blatant product placement had become in TV shows. Then yesterday a coworker sent me this ad from back in the days when cyclists thought smoking helped "open up the lungs" -- a clear illustration of how long advertising has been pervasive in american media.

And hilarious.

Also, though it's a little hard to tell, the rider who is finishing 3rd in the upper right-hand panel in the green jersey is Dr. K. And lest he complain that I make fun of his age too much I should point out he was only racing as a junior at this point (hence the full head of hair).

I'm pretty sure this comic is also from the same era when they used cocaine as a performance enhancing drug. Now professional cyclists just use it for fun. Or to paraphrase one local rider

"Tom Boonen is my pick for the Flanders [Spring Classic]. There are white lines on the course. He'll find 'em"

Boonen bashing aside, I was intrigued about the rider in the ad and was able to find a little info on him at this 6-day racing history site. If you're not familiar with 6 day races (historically, they were exactly what the name implies) here is a little background.

William Cecil Yates was born in Erath County, Texas in May 8, 1912. He moved with his family to the Southside of Chicago and got interested in sports as a teenager. He played varsity football at his high school and quickly got enamored in bicycle racing and the six-day racing scene. He showed great promise and was selected to go to New York City for their six-day bicycle race partnered with Mike Rodak in 1932. Cecil was 19 years old. He won his first six-day race in Vancouver, British Columbia in October 1934, partnered with the Californian racer Eddie Testa.

Cecil was known as a speedster. He could turn on the jets during a jam and have the field chasing him around the track. He was a crowd pleaser for the sporting fans. When Cecil Yates was racing the patrons knew that there would be lots of action on the track.
Cecil was a regular six-day racer in the sports most lucrative venues; Chicago (13 races), New York City (11 races) and San Francisco (4 races). In total Cecil Yates raced in 17 North American cities. He raced in Canada five times and won 3 six-day races. Cecil had two favorite partners both from the Chicago area, the transplanted Canadian Jules Audy and the stalwart Jerry Rodman. Cecil raced with Rodman and Audy 8 times each. In total Cecil raced with 28 six-day racing partners.
In the Historical Classification of Six-Day Racers (Jacq van Reijendam, 2007, Breda NL), Cecil Yates sits in 58th place out of over 4000 six-day racers in the past 108 years. Cecil won 16 six-day races and had an amazing podium placing average of 55%. His professional six-day racing career covered 17 years from 1932-1949. He raced in 56 six-day races. Cecil died in 1987 at the age of 74 years old in Buckeye, Maricopa County, Arizona. He is survived by daughter Geneil Yates Smith.

Arnold Devlin
Thunder Bay Cycling Club

Just a little Friday fun. O's opening day is today so I'll be heading to that in a bit. I'm racing MTB tomorrow morning and a few people are racing Cherry Blossom in DC on Sunday. Good luck to all.


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