While writing some salutory words about Owen Mulholland on the day of his passing made me feel a bit better, it doesn’t really do that much to advance the case for his talent. Better that I provide links to his work than simply tell everyone just how great his work is.
The final issue of Asphalt that reached production (though not printing) contained a feature that Owen translated into English. The piece was a French translation of Gino Bartali’s recollections of Fausto Coppi on the occasion of his death. So Owen was translating a French translation of a piece originally composed in Italian. That’s enough to render even a grocery list indecipherable, but Owen captured not just the technical details of cycling as described by Bartali, but he captured the great champion’s anguish over the death of his greatest foil. Some years later I was able to finally publish it on Belgium Knee Warmers. The challenges of form that translation place on a writer, even a gifted writer, do much to illustrate just how good the scribe’s chops are.
Over the years, my friend Bill McGann at Bike Race Info has collected some of Owen’s work to make sure it doesn’t fade into obscurity. You can find all of the works he collected on this page. For those looking for a greatest hits collection, try the following pieces.
Le Tour: Some history and a Few Stories
The 1985 Tour de France
The 1986 Tour de France
Eddy Merckx and his quest for the World Hour Record
Jacques Anquetil, Party Boy
A Primer on the rivalry of Coppi and Bartali
Read these and you’ll understand just what we’ve lost. Allez, Owen.
Image courtesy Emile Mulholland.