Every so often, especially with the cobbled classics coming, I find myself getting sucked into perusing through vintage photos online from the early days of racing. The one you see here is of 29-year-old French cyclist Jules Deloffre at the 1914 Paris-Roubaix.
This one caught my eye for a variety of reasons. For one, Jules looks hella unhappy to have his photo taken. I know that in those days, there wasn’t a lot of smiling and giggling for the camera due to the exposure time, etc., but still, Jules looks as if he is trying to make sure the viewer makes no mistake about his nationality, or the level of asshole that he is. That, or he sensed dead legs and a 76th place finish later that day.
I love checking out the vintage equipment and gear of the day too, but also admit that like many photos I dig, I was drawn to the unwanted light leaks on the print. I also love the guy photo bombing him in the background.
The 1914 edition of Paris-Roubaix would be the last before the race took a four year hiatus due to World War I. The winner of the 274km race that year would be Charles Crupelandt in a time of nine hours and two minutes. I’m sure Jules, wasn’t stoked with his 76th place or finishing nearly last, but considering only 79 of the 153 starters finished, maybe he was. I know I sure as hell would be.