A short while ago I started this blog with a post about a Team Canada Pogliaghi build. I had been trying for some time to get in touch with the rumored original owner: Jack ‘Flash’ McCullough, but without any luck. Imagine my surprise when Jack himself left a comment on my post after seeing his own bike for the first time in 20 years!
In early 1971 in the middle of a blisteringly cold Winnipeg winter, Jack and two friends decided to travel to southern Spain to train for the Canadian Nationals and earn a spot on the ’72 Canadian Olympic Track team. The plan was the brainchild of Walter Jozwiak, while Jack McCullough and Marty Halprin were willing participants.
A few years before in 1967 a whole generation of Canadians were inspired by a 17 year old Jocelyn Lovell as he competed in the Pan Am games in Winnipeg. Lovell would make the ’68 Canadian Olympic squad and placed 7th in the 1000m TT at the Mexico City games.
Fast forward back to 1971 were Walter ‘Joz’ Jozwiak had planned an adventure of a lifetime. The trio would travel to southern Spain for training, via Milano, where they would order custom frames from the the Italian masters. The first stop was to visit Cino and Andrea Cinelli. The hosts were gracious and the machines were the beautiful: silver-grey SC models. Next stop: Sante Pogliaghi’s workshop to order track pursuit frames. Jack’s red Pog almost didn’t happen as the old master insisted “SPRINT frames are red, pusuit frames are BLUE!”. Thanks Jack for being stubborn and holding out on that one.
Anyway the boys settled down for the winter and trained on their new Cinelli’s. Jack picked up the name ‘Flash’ from another Canadian touring across Europe who was obsessed with the Rolling Stones. The moniker stuck and even found a spot on the Cinelli’s top tube. The track frames were not completed until the time the gang was headed back to Canada.
Support for national cycling in Canada in the early 1970’s was almost non existent. There were no ‘team bikes’ – whatever ride you owned became a ‘team bike’ if you made the team! Jack recalls that the only free equipment he received in his racing days was a set of 190g road tubulars. There was a little more support at the regional level in Ontario and especially in Quebec.
It was due to his performance under the guidance of his first ‘coach’ at a training camp in Quebec that Jack ‘Flash’ McCullough qualified for for the ’72 Olympic Team. Not in the track discipline as he’d schemed earlier – but rather the team road time trial. It turns out that our original trio did not qualify for the national track team and that Jack was the lone qualifier, for the road team. So the Pogliaghi Pursuit was raced at the regional level, and even boasted a victory over Jocelyn Lovell’s Ontario Team in the 4000m TT, but was not used in the ’72 Olympics or in international competition.
So there you have it. A 1971 Pogliaghi Track Pursuit “Jack Flash” edition. The story around this frame turns out to be about people after all. Jack retired from competitive racing around 1976 after having moved to the west coast, more for financial reasons and to finish his education than anything else. Walter Jozwiak opened Lifesport, a ski and bike shop in Winnipeg where Jack would eventually trade in his Pogliaghi circa 1982.
I look forward to meeting Jack next time he’s in my neck of the woods. Thank you for the wonderful history and a peek into cycling in the early seventies.