As I arrived to my login for the day, I was greeted with the following poignant insight from a fellow journeyman mechanic:
“When I was having a shitty time at the bench, kind of being overrun by minor gripes &/ gangrenous management, I would watch the bit at the beginning of Sunday in Hell where the Sanson mechanic is cleaning the Benotto, or Bottecchia. It would remind me of how the basics serve to reinforce and inform and make way for easement of the more complex issues.”
Without delay, I watched again. It was a Benotto.
We assume the majority of contemporary cyclists identify A Sunday in Hell as representative of the golden era of ferrous cycling. It is wool arm warmers soaked in a pot of cologne, to be drenched by a mild Belgian day. It is every passion of cycling on display. Superissimo has often leveraged both hilarity and nostalgia on these historics of panaché and pretense. It represents so much of cycling’s constants all wrapped in the style of ’76.
For the Superissimo ilk, these are all still modern issue: Shaven Legs, intensive kit concerns, embrocations, massage and so on. The only seeming difference is really the replacement of steel for carbon. Oh, and the spread of cycling in general, eh? Well, at least we all have the history as a guild for maintaining panaché. Thanks Sunday In Hell. Thanks Jørgen Leth. How great.
The Sanson mechanic dashes brush strokes of diesel fuel against the Benotto. He revitalizes lugged steal after a day of battle in preparation for the next. There is panché in his focus, and there is an attention to detail not unlike a vinter’s obsession with the vines. Queue the cello.
Here it is in full: