Whidbey Island Cogal; October 15, 2011

Whidbey Island Cogal; October 15, 2011

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On October 15, 2011, a select team of Velominati gathered in Langley on Whidbey Island to go for a ride together. These gatherings, referred to as Cogals, are a key component of the vision of Velominati, to bring the community from the Interwebs into the reality of The Ride. After all, we are Cyclists and we are meant to ride our bikes – not sit behind a computer. Anyone is welcome; everyone who is able should attend.

Velominati's first Cogal took place in Wellington, New Zealand in honor of Paris-Roubaix, and we've now brought the concept to the You Ess of Aye. There are grumblings of a Texas Cogal in the works, as well as a Portland Oregon and Madison, Wisconsin. For anyone who wishes to organize a ride, please contact us and we'll help with the mechanics of getting the announcement made. Cogal attendees have the opportunity to purchase custom V-Pints emblazoned with the name and date of the Cogal, available only to those who attend the ride and may only be picked up directly from the ride organizer.

Below are the observations from the ride from those who elected to share.

Frank's Take

Despite being a career technologist and the one who founded Velominati in the notion of bringing Cyclists together from all over the world, I was more than a little wary of meeting a bunch of people I had only ever met online. Cyclops, who sparked the fire that would become the first North American Cogal, appears to not share this wariness. While I was out collecting Marko from the airport, he called and commented on the size of one of my dogs. You're at my house? “Yeah.” OK. Um, we're gonna be a while, dude. Best go find something to do.” Thats how they roll in Idaho Falls, apparently. No worries.

After shaking off my stuffy European surprise of boundaries being crossed, Marko and I met Cyclops at my house a few hours later as we set about dialing in Marko's position on my TSX. It's amazing the gear one collects over time; I found I had stems laying around in every length except 110mm. Nevertheless, we got him dialed in and the three of us hopped in my car to drive up to Whidbey Island to mark the route and do a little position-dialing ride.

Within two minutes of jumping on the bikes, I heard the unmistakable sound of air escaping my $15 latex inner tube. Bugger; I remember the last time I had a flat. It was four years ago, on 28th and 65th. Flat fixed, off we went along our way. Cyclops attacked from the gun, which we would later learn is his SOP. A little while later, I inspected the map and realized that rather than reconning the route, we were simply identifying the wrong way to leave town. I always say that so long as you learn from your mistake, doing something wrong is almost as good as doing it right: at least now we know how not to leave town.

Back to Seattle, we headed into town to meet our fellow Cogalmates at Quinn's Pub. We were late, due in large part to a stalled semi on the exit ramp. We were forced to take an alternate (longer) route. But as we say in Dutch, sometimes you are lucky by being unlucky: through making a traffic maneuver of questionable safety, I was able to invoke the fury of a foreign cab driver who then rolled down his window to inform me that I was a “fuck fuck asshole”.

I had a great time at dinner, getting to know people and being confused about whether I should be be calling them by their V-Handles or actual names. Marko and Cyclops partook in my favorite second-favorite Trappist ale, unaware of how much alcohol is contained in each of those glasses. The alcohol kept going down, the volume of the voices kept going up.  Good times.

The next day was early to rise, watch a bit of Lombardia, eat some grub, load up the bikes, and head out to the island where we were to meet a rider whom we hadn't yet met online, Drew. As it turned out, Drew had some serious guns and a beautifully manicured bike – exactly what you'd expect of a Velominatus. At precisely V past 10am, we set off and Cyclops attacked from the gun as the rest of us settled into setting a no-drop pace. The challenge with setting the pace that is the riders at the front are the ones setting it, and they usually don't have eyes in the backs of their heads. The pace worked for a while, but eventually we disintegrated into separate groups. Lesson learned: do a better job setting expectation and controlling the pace such that everyone stays together. After all, the ride wasn't a hammerfest; we were there to get to know each other. That said, the ride was a blast, but our apologies to those who found the pace too high.

We regrouped for the final stretch into town where Cyclops rode off the front one final time. Into the last climb of the day, and he put it in reverse and climbed like a rock, finally being the last to roll into Langley. In the software industry, we call that FILO (First In, Last Out.) We finished out the day with beer and a few slices of pizza that tasted like the best pizza in the History of the World but which was in reality, I'm sure, little more than a greasy slice of melted cheese and other stuff.

I'd like to thank Velominati for being such a cool community and Cyclops for getting this ride together. This was a really, really fun day; I can't express how much I enjoyed it and how honored I feel that people took time out of their lives to join us. Thanks to all.

Marko's Take

I learned of the event just like the rest of you, from the article that 'clops posted announcing the Cogal. My impulsive reaction was “I just might be able to make this shindig!” My pragmatic reaction was “I'm well past two months from peaking, what's the VMH going to say, what will I do about a bike, and how much is this going to cost?” Impulsivity wins every time so I talked to the VMH (Merckx I love that woman), double checked my schedule (I “teach” so no problem), made cheap travel arrangements (thanks Bro) and said peaking be damned, I'm making this happen. That left the bike dilemma.

Dilemma is way, way too strong a word. What I had was more like a bike smorgasbord.  I ruled out flying with one of my own and was offered any one of Frank's bikes or Tim's recently Rule #12'ed Giant TCR with full DA gruppo as he'd be riding his new one. A finer stable of loaner bikes from which one has never had to choose. There was the R3 (awesome but probably way too big and Frank's number 1 which he should ride), the new Soloist (again, awesome and the least worrisome should I crash and great for rain but perhaps lacking in a certain panache), Tim's Giant (possibly the most similar fit as-is to my bikes but up for sale and I didn't want to risk it), and the TSX (steel, campa, class, and just different enough from any of my bikes to make things interesting). After a flurry of text messages, weather forecasting, frame comparisons, measurement taking, and other deliberations, I ended up on the much heralded TSX.  You must, if you ever get the chance, ride this bike.

Not only did Frank offer up his beloved TSX, he woke at 5.30am on the morning of my arrival to swap the bars for a new pair of Rotundos. Of course the “reason” he used to get the new bars was that neither he nor I had a shorter stem in a 26mm that would fit the bike closer to my specs. Of course we all know Frank's affection for Rotundos and of his quest to match the cockpits on all of his bikes, don't we? Seriously though, how could either one of us lose in this scenario as I too ride Rotundos and could be his wing-man in the event his new bar purchase was put into question by his VMH. Furthermore, the sign of a true Velominatus is offering up any one of his bikes without reservation and thusly making adjustments to the bike so that the borrowing rider can be comfortable. With that, we put my pedals and saddle on the Bianchi, swapped out stems, and I was good to go.

Frank's TSX embodies all that is good and pure about bikes. It is completely silent, has the right balance of shiny bits, is pedigreed, and I had to look down every time I shifted to verify the chain actually moved as I could not feel anything except the click under my thumb or finger at the levers. Here's my Huangism for the Bianchi TSX; it is fucking incredible to turn the pedals on this machine. This is the bike that you keep at all costs in the divorce, the armed burglary, and tell the firemen to save before the photo album and family pet. It is buttah and I can't thank Frank enough for the use of it. *Please don't let my bikes read this article.

Expectation management has already been mentioned in relationship to this Cogal. And for those of you planning a Cogal, expectation management is something that should be considered.  Also keep in mind that building a solid group to ride with takes time. Although it may seem like we have an understanding of each others riding style on this site, we don't. I caution you to expect a fast pace with flawless lead changes, cornering, or pace driving.  What I expected to do was a) go for a long ride with two of my best friends who share the passion but that I never get to ride with due to our distance apart, b) ride with a few new friends whom I've gotten to know a little through this site over the years, and c) ride in a part of the world that I love and enjoy a bit of a homecoming. After all, I was on vacation, slightly hungover, and the aforementioned two months past peaking at the start of the ride. At the end of the day though my expectations were met and I felt great to boot.

There were numerous times on the ride when I took a look around at the guys I was riding with, the scenery that surrounded us, the bike I was perched upon, and the community we created and thought about how fortunate I was to be there. I also thought about the Velominati world over thinking of us and wishing they were there as well. I wasn't motivated to drive the pace because if we did the ride would end sooner and I didn't want that to happen. A Casually Deliberate Cogal suited me as I get plenty of Rule #5 rides at home.

Chapeau to Cyclops for making this happen. Thank you friends for places to crash and bikes to ride. Merci to all of you who made this ride a priority and the first North American Cogal a success. Thank you Rochefort 8. Vive la Vie Velominatus.

Cyclops' Take

I think the first order of things is for us to know with whom we deal:

Frank: Total a-hole

Fronk: Awesome dude – generous, whitty, handsome, etc. Demoralized me on the hills.

Marko: THE funniest guy in the world

G'rilla: Soft-spoken, super nice guy that tears your legs off when the road tilts upward.

McSqueak: He brought beer with him. Rule #5'd the ride.

Eightzero: Crazy nutjob that now has incriminating evidence to hold against all of us.

Drew: Did not suck. Strong non-Canadian Canadian.

Tim: His head tube was extremely beefy.

Cyclops: Was awesome until the last hill. Then he really sucked.

I rolled into Seattle Thursday night, got a hotel and commenced to not get a wink of sleep. The anticipation level for this event was higher than anything I can recall in my life. Sitting at the Master's feet, riding with the Velominati – a Merckxophany is the only thing that could have made it better. I met up with Frank and Marko Friday afternoon and was greeted with heart-felt welcomes and appreciative “oohs and aahs” as I rolled the LOOK into the garage. Then Frank noticed my lazy bar tape termination. A disappointed glance in my direction was all that was needed to crush my spirit and ruin the rest of the weekend if not my life. I knew better though. Even as I was rewrapping my bars before the trip I told myself “Frank's not gonna like this.” But I stiffened up the lip and wiped away the tears and brought alms and offerings before the Merckxy Seat that consited of a six pack of various IPAs, a Belgian Trappist ale, some Canadian beer that had Du Monde in it's name, and a 2011 Giro d'Italia souvenir pack to placate Frank's wrath but he still ran the LOOK into a low hanging tree branch wilst it was atop his vehicle. Bastard. But in all seriousness Mr. and Mrs. Strack were gracious hosts. They opened their home to (relatively) complete strangers and I was blessed to have finally got to meet them.

We then loaded up the bikes and headed to Whidbey Island to reconnoiter/mark the route. We kitted up and got on the road and our intrepid leader quickly had us lost. We needed to be getting back for the Friday night meet and greet anyway so we turned back after a mere 25 minutes on the road. Then we found the road that we should have went out on but the combination of rough asphalt and wind made marking the start point with the V-Stencil and Molteni orange spray paint as futile as a Cat 5 trying to close a gap on Jens Voigt. Time to head off to dinner and meet the rest of the Velominati.

We got to our table and I was placed at the head since I was the impetus for this gathering. The beer flowed, the food was devoured, and the bloviations began. A good time was had by all but it needed to come to an end if any of us were going to be in any kind of shape to ride the next morning.

We arrived at the coffee shop in Langley on Whidbey Island and the pre-ride rituals began. A pleasant surprise was @Drew from Vancouver, BC showing up when he had led us to believe he was not going to make it. At precisely V after X we rolled off in the cold mist. The pace was casual until the hills that were steeper than what MapMyRide indicated began putting everybody in their place. There were times when I was not climbing well for my weight while Frank was carrying on with casual conversation. But we always regrouped when Frank had to figure out where we were going. I really enjoyed the chat as we got to know each other and shared stories of racing and riding. Everyone was having a good time. The sun came out and the only things brighter were the smiles on everybody's faces. My end of the season legs were thankful that dwindling daylight cut our 160k planned distance to 130k so we headed for home. A last ditch effort on my part to go off the front in a blaze of glory was thwarted by one last hill that totally drained the tank and I was caught and summarily shelled out the back and limped in about a minute behind the group.

[dmalbum path=”/velominati.com/content/Photo Galleries/ken@eaglerockcycling.com/Seattle Cogal Oct. 2011/”/]

We all went to have a celebratory beer at the pizza place but couldn't eat because dinner was scheduled with Frank's VMH so we had to bring appetites. That however did not stop Marko from eating a slice of pizza that was left at our table by it's previous guests. This is when the weirdness began – I drove G'Rilla back to Frank's and decided that I shouldn't stay for dinner since I had another hour to drive to get to the house I was staying at that night. I think the combination of 11 hour drives, no sleep on Thursday, 130k on Saturday and no food afterwards conspired against me. As I approached my destination I started feeling nauseous and my hands went to sleep. When I would take them off the steering wheel they would involuntarily seize into a position that made me look like I had cerebral palsy or something. I made it to about a half mile to where I was going when I had to pull over with the dry heaves. Trying to get my phone out of my pocket and dial a number with palsey hands proved comical but the humor was lost on me at the moment as I wanted to kill myself to end the trauma. The people I was staying with had to come and get me and put me in bed. I quick trip to McDonald's first thing in the morning for one of everything had me as right as rain in no time. I figure I was dehydrated or my electrolytes were out of whack or something but no harm no foul.

All in all it was one of the most enjoyable weekends I've spent cycling or otherwise. Even though Marko likening the event to Internet Dating everybody did the V proud and Frank is indeed worthy to be praised. The V-Community was a shining example of the mantra “If you're serious, you lose”.

Dirty Secret Revelation of the weekend: Frank and Marko are notorious Rule #22 violators.

G'rilla's Take

Marko is even cooler than he appears to be online. And yes, he does have a V-cog tattoo. Left calf, size of a US quarter (for those planning to try it at home).

Frank is even taller than he appears to be in his avatar. For maximum conversational possibilities, I recommend that you memorize the full script of €œSo I Married an Axe Murderer.€

Don't believe Cyclops' Droopy Dog demeanor off the bike. Balance him atop a bit of carbon fiber and he'll jet off like a rocket. Don't ask him to double-shift, but do ask him about his previous pursuits: street luge, BMX racing, and rock and roll.

Drew appeared promptly at 9:30am and kept the lead group moving without a sweat.

Eight Zero kept us on the right course, appropriate for someone who once taught astronauts how to fly the Space Shuttle.

Most people wouldn't have the guts to start their winter training with this length of a ride. Adam did and kept up a steady pace.

Tim rounded out the group and kept the average height above 180cm.

It was the perfect combination of every kind of road cycling. A mix of hills, flat, forest, and open blue sky. Overall a great ride!

McSqueak's Take

Firstly, I must confess that my dear VMH thought that meeting “strangers from the Internet for a bike ride” was a clever front by an international crime syndicate to steal internal organs for resale on the black market, and that I'd wake up in a bathtub full of ice, one kidney lighter.

I discounted this notion, as I didn't think organ harvesters would know so much about cycling. But I digress.

I don't think I can properly convey how much fun I had on the cogal, even through my warped perspective of heavy suffering on the seemly never-ending rollers; designed, I imagine, to highlight my peaking two months prior. Nothing much holds up to a group ride with a bunch of like-minded mates through the countryside on a crisp fall Pacific Northwest day.

The highlight for me was honestly riding with folks much more experienced than I, but receiving nothing but positive encouragement and camaraderie along the way. Despite completing my first century solo the week prior and coming into the ride with a slight mental cockyness because of that accomplishment, my legs and back just didn't want to operate along the same lines.

Indeed, for much of the ride I fought with my body as much as the hills along the route. Thankfully, Whidbey Island is home to a wonderful species of butterfly that kept me company along the way.

Oh, the scenery was pretty nice too, I guess. That is if you're into quiet country roads, loads of still-green trees, endless water and mountain views, quant seaside towns with dockside coffee shops, friendly business owners, and all of that overrated fluff.

I'm looking forward to the trend of self-organized Velominati cogals continuing for the foreseeable future, and that I have the chance to ride with everyone again as I grow into this wonderful sport.

[dmalbum path=”/velominati.com/content/Photo Galleries/frank@velominati.com/Adam Cogal 10.211/”/]

Eightzero's Take

Really, really enjoyed the Cogal. Stopped in to Quinn's pub on Capitol Hill of Friday. Never been there before, and it is a fine establishment. Lots of good beer on tap, including a marvy scotch porter. Met up with Grilla at the bar, McSqeek strolled, and we got some chow after Frank, Cyclops and Marco showed up. Note to self: don't try to debate Frank on the history of who won and who lost a bike race in the past. He's going to be right. (Yes, it was Indurain that Bruyneel was able to hang with once, not Hampstein. Once.)

Saturday dawn cold and overcast, but my VMH dropped me at the ferry dock for the 9am boat. I was the only ride on; the rest of the Velominati in attendance were in vehicles for the transfer to Langley. A calm day on the water, but the steep climb off the ferry into town was aided by a sticky bottle from Marco. Almost missed it, as just as they were coming up from behind, I heard the unmistakable squeak of a bald eagle to my right and was watching the white feathers. A nice ride of 8 miles or so to Langley on some steep rollers, and I got to the start in time for pre-ride espressi before the scheduled V-past 10 depart.

Couldn't find a nicer group to ride with, or a finer collection of equipment. I commented we could open a bike shoppe there on the spot that drew the response €œyeah, but we'd never sell shit.€ True that. Cyclops' LOOK is really cool. And here I am the only guy (other than Marco on Frank's TSX) on a metal bike. And quite possibly not on tubbies. I felt€¦great envy but at the same time, great pride to be part of the Velominati. Pride in your heart//from doin' it right//…

Roll out we did, and instantly we had 2 pacelines chatting it up. I quickly found my way to the back. Confession: I don't do a lot of group rides. Me and the VMH roll together because I can sit her wheel and see over her. She hates riding behind me because she can't see anything but my fat Ullrich ass. Everyone in this pack was *way* more experienced than me, and I had 3 goals. 1. Don't go Karpets/Clenbutador on anyone; 2. Keep up; 3. Have fun. Well, I did 1 and 3. Number 2? Not so much. First roller ok; second one€¦meh. Third, and I'm shelled and away go all those wheels.

Thank all  you guys for waiting. As I said, I would have been there sooner if some guy hadn't jumped out of the crowd and punched me in the gut. The day was still grey and a bit chilly (Frank seems to have no problem donning/doffing layers while sitting up on his bike at 25mph. Pro. I had to remind myself not to stare at the campy hub on the TSX past the sweat dripping from my cap) but a fine fall morning. Yes, my HRM showed continuous 185-190 on each climb that was upwards of 12-15% in places. Oh my Merckx€¦there's a reason I run a compact 50×34. It's because I Can't. Go. Any. Fucking. Faster.

So, when the beautiful backroads of Whidbey intersected the main highway that runs down the center of the Island, I had to say farewell to the peloton. They were headed to Coupeville and the remaining 110kms; I headed back to the ferry.

Alone on Whidbey is really a great ride too. I could now look around a lot more rather than concentrate on not crashing into Marco (mmm€¦campy hub€¦.). The weather was now becoming sunny, and the view of the Olympic mountains was great. More bald eagles near South Whidbey State park. No traffic, fantastic road. I must ride over there more often. On the final stretch back into the ferry, I noted a slow leaker in my rear tyre was making for something of a squishy ride. It held out enough though to make it back. A shrimp po boy in Mukelteo for lunch after a 50 mile ride capped a great day.

I saw everyone else made the full 160kms. Schweet! That is a hilly course, but bet it was fantastic. Hope to ride with the Velominati again €“ great fun! Thanks to all; Cyclops for setting it up; Frank for arranging, and for all the camaraderie from everybody. Great to be a part of something like this.

Drew's Take

My ride started out like many of my rides do; with a really long drive. I started the morning in the dark in Vancouver at 6:15 am, glad to be driving and crossing the border with no traffic. It didn't take long before I had one of those moments where you feel less than hardcore when I passed two cyclists in full kit with both headlights and taillights getting an early start to a fall training ride.

The drive was blessedly uneventful, but I kept running through the possible scenarios of how the day could play out: would anybody else show? If they do show, will I be able to keep up? Does my kit match my ride well enough? Have I chosen the right component mix to complement my bar tape?

All of my worries were quickly put to rest when meeting the rest of the crew and getting on the road. One of the great things about riding with new folks on a long ride is just having the time to actually talk and cover more than just small talk. So after all the requisite poking fun at Canada was over (well in truth it was never really over, just slowed down), we were able to cover all of the important topics, most importantly cycling clothing, cycling components, the superiority of Campy to Shimano, and of course Chain Gate after Marko attacked several times while cross-chaining. (I think in truth, he cross chained deliberately and mis-shifted because he needed a break).

We all learned some things on this ride as well. One of the most important lessons is never trust the ride profile created by MapMyRide, it might show only 2 to 3% grade but what is actually there might be more like 9 or 10%. Another lesson that I continually re-learn is that every descent is followed by an accompanying climb, in the case of this ride almost immediately. We also learned that the Map My Ride mobile App isn't really good to have along with you on the ride, as it doesn't really provide positioning information, only reference.

The riding on Whidbey Island did turn out to be fantastic. The topography was gently rolling with a nice mix of farm land, forested sections and nice coastal vistas. When we stopped for mid-ride esspressi we were able to look over a broad inlet and spot the cliffs that the road would take us to several kilometers later. There was one particular moment as we were rolling along between hay fields that we all agreed that this is exactly what we were looking for and what was expected.

My favorite stretch of the ride was along Smugglers Cove Road, a welcome back-road after bombing down a long section of State Route 525. There was very little traffic, some nice short climbs and just great riding. Conveniently enough there was also a working phone booth complete with Yellow Pages somewhere not too far away from the middle of nowhere.

The last bit of the ride was completed in the waning hours of the day and included a climb that Frank magically conjured by a wish, just to keep Cyclops from taking a solo victory from a late break. We all rolled back into Langley to the cheering crowds, feeling satisfied and a bit wobbly (or at least I felt wobbly). Although we didn't complete the entire Standard Century route, I for one was more than happy to be at the end of a great ride.

Postride I was once again humbled and felt less than hardcore when driving north along Route 525 back to America's Crown (aka Canada). In the near dark I passed a Velominata out in full kit with headlights and taillights riding solo. Chapeau to her.

My thanks and appreciation go out to all the Velominatus that rode. I was welcomed into the group without question and felt comfortable right away. I was happy to share the road with you all for a day and look forward to more riding in the future.

// Cogals

Seattle Cogal 2011

  1. @frank

    @roadslave

    @frank, @Rob, @936adl…. I could be up for a Liege / Belgium Cogal… inspired by this article: the thought of an entire peloton (grupetto?) of Velominati, all clad in the sacred garments… must be a stirring sight to behold. I’m also led to believe the Paris-Roubaix challenge is due to be April 1st 2012… (according to sportstoursinternational.co.uk)… I’m just sayin’

    We have a Keepers Tour in mind for this as well; we need to get an arrangement made with a guide from something this hardcore and want to also do RVV the weekend before. BAD.ASS.

    best add me to this one too of course – I’ve a three day trip to Mallorca 17-20 April, so should be okay if early April – love to do the P-R Sportive – all helps harden me up for the Pyrennees in June – £100 return to Brussels from airport 5 miles from my house….nice! (happy to lead up the autobus gruppo of course!)

  2. @Buck Rogers I hear you on the first run this year… did not get good PR afterwards, but Rapha were spitting afterwards, and have hopefully learnt their lesson (i.e. talk to the Police before hand and get them onside). This year, they are running it the Sunday before the actual P-R (i.e. April 1st)… I’m still trying to work out if that makes it the same day as RVV 2012 (I think it is… but since the RVV 2012 won’t be going up the Muur, Kapelmuur or the Bosberg, I may just watch the highlights when I’m back from KICKING (my own) ARSE on the pave)… the other event is the Paris-Roubaix sportive, organised by VC de Roubaix, on June 10th… either way, I’m finding the siren call of those cobbled northern european roads hard to resist, and I’m hoping for rain.

  3. @frank
    awesomeness, get your bloody code monkeys to stop earning you money doing real work and to get some kind of Velominati Cogal calendar up on the site so we can see what is coming up, v-Orange background for confirmed, Yellow for possible, Red for pussied out and the ability for people to register interest in said events. I want to start planning holidays for next year and make sure everything is booked up Before the VMH starts talking about anniversaries.

  4. Speaking of Antipodean Cogals…are any of the southern hemisphere Velominati making their way over to Adelaide for the TDU?

    Whether it’s the community stage itself (downside is that you have to wear their jersey & so can’t rock the kit) or a separate ride I’d be happy to offer up a refreshment location as well as being able to rope in some pretty cool riding company.

  5. @huffalotpuffalot

    @frank
    awesomeness, get your bloody code monkeys to stop earning you money doing real work and to get some kind of Velominati Cogal calendar up on the site so we can see what is coming up, v-Orange background for confirmed, Yellow for possible, Red for pussied out and the ability for people to register interest in said events. I want to start planning holidays for next year and make sure everything is booked up Before the VMH starts talking about anniversaries.

    Fucking brilliant. People can submit ideas for rides, designate an organizer, and as they gain support, go Orange and BOOM, they happen. Love it.

  6. @mcsqueak, @scaler911
    Are you all looking at particular dates yet?

  7. I’m blown away by how quickly this is all coming together””rides all over the globe in the next twelve months. Fantastic. But what makes a Cogal? Is there a formal definition? It seems to me that they need to take on some kind of special significance and have some kind of unifying feature.

  8. I’m on for a Belgie cogal.

    Tilff-Bastogne-Tilff is the sportive version of Liege and is very well organised.

    But you’re thinking more of an independent Velominati event yes ?

  9. @Steampunk

    I’m blown away by how quickly this is all coming together””rides all over the globe in the next twelve months. Fantastic. But what makes a Cogal? Is there a formal definition? It seems to me that they need to take on some kind of special significance and have some kind of unifying feature.

    For me, the unifying feature as the V-kit. Wouldn’t we all look completely badass together? The special significance is if a Cogal is somehow related to a PRO race. The Welli-Roubaix is a good example of a Cogal that’s 47 bajillion kilometers from P-R, but celebrates the spirit of P-R and is around that time of year. Of course, if we can get to a cyclo-sportif that is on the same route as one of the five monuments or Tours, all the better. But, if we formalize each Cogal on the website, as huffalotpuffalot suggested, I’d be up for making a trip to any stateside community (according to time and budget) just to ride with other Velominati.

    This is all making my head spin. In a good way.

  10. @Steampunk
    A self-selected group of like minded cycling obsessives riding together to Awesomeville.

  11. @frank
    before we Velomineuros get all excited and start organising 6 different cogals over a fortnight in early April, can you give us an inkling of what your “Keepers Cogal” might amount to? Would be silly if you are already planning summink of your own, to arrange something else that doesn’t tie in….???
    Have to say, the thought of a group hoofing along in all the various guises of the V-kit, does send a shiver of excitement down one’s trousers

    @roadslave
    “either way, I’m finding the siren call of those cobbled northern european roads hard to resist, and I’m hoping for rain.”

    – would I be seen as violating rule if I do the pave on my cyclocross bike…..

  12. @Dr C

    The rough plan so far is to be there for Flanders and Roubaix (at least). If Frank and I can get our shit together for a Skype we are looking to get involved with a tour company who will do the logistical side of it, while we organise the beer drinking.

    Failing that, we just turn up and wing it. I’m sure cobbles and beer are a dime a dozen over there…

  13. @brett
    I was looking at doing something simliar, whilst sorting a late season Belgian trip, before I realised Belgium was no place to be in November!
    Phil Anderson type tours are bloody expensive, as I think every man and his velomindog want to be there at the same time, so it’s a bit like taking your extended family to the Olympics, a major wallet rodgering

    Maybe an idea have a general gathering point somewhere halfway between Liege and Roubaix, with a couple of V-rides during that week (1-8th April), guided or otherwise? Then folk can watch the main events etc, but not get lost in the masses of a 3000 person sportive, but subgroups could do these if they wished, depending on what time they have available

    Defo think splitting into groups of 8-10 in with an appointed Velominazi is essential to stop fragmentation, or at least have a set off group riding directives agreed by all in advance – might need to do a qualification TT!!! (I jest)

  14. @brett @fronk
    BTW, I mentioned to Fronk in an email once, I have a history of coordinating large events (European and World Champs for sailing and many smaller stuff) – I’m currently happily on no committees for a while, so if you need some help in sorting something, send me an E (bear in mind I know frig all about the cycling bit of it!)

  15. @ChrisO

    Not exactly a cogal but I will be in London the week of the 6th Nov and not working.
    If anyone has time mid-week and wants to go for a ride, let me know. Tues or Weds would be best.
    Not ideal I know but can’t do the Sunday as I am coming back for my son’s birthday and will be paintballing on Sun 6th.
    I am in Tooting, south London, and there are some nice routes on the lanes down around Hever, Sevenoaks sort of way. Or even just some laps of Richmond Park.

    I should be around for those dates and will be doing the Devils Punch on the 6th so just need to know if your tues/wed is 1/2 Nov or 8/9 Nov.

  16. Hiya – it would be the 8th/9th.

    Yeah I looked at the Devil’s Punch and if I wasn’t on party duty I would do it.

    Maybe a few laps of RP if you’ve got a lot of miles in your legs. I tend to use my weeks back in the UK as recovery weeks anyway so I’m not worried about miles and pace, just turning the legs over.

  17. @brett

    @Dr C
    The rough plan so far is to be there for Flanders and Roubaix (at least). If Frank and I can get our shit together for a Skype we are looking to get involved with a tour company who will do the logistical side of it, while we organise the beer drinking.
    Failing that, we just turn up and wing it. I’m sure cobbles and beer are a dime a dozen over there…

    Of course, while spectating at monuments and Grand Tours, Velominati will provide sartorial leadership. More like these resplendent tifosi…

    …and less like these twatwaffles…

    (I’ll never be able to erase these images from my memory, either.)

  18. @Dino

    Great read, sounds like it was a great day for all involved.
    But what is this about a possible Cogal in the Peoples Republic of Madison? May I inquire as to who is going Ochowicz this proposed collective narcissism assembly? I am fairly certain that many a Velominalurker from the Beer City would be very interested in a ride at a Casually Deliberate pace on the once proposed 2016 Olympic Road Racing Route.
    Any discussion on possible dates or the need of a domestique?

    As a semi-lurker from north of the Brew City, I too would be interested in a WI-centric Cogal. As an alternative route, I would think lake country-Holy Hill area would fit the bill, both for scenery and opportunities to lay down the V, should one be so inclined. It would also be more centrally located between Madtown and Milwaukee.

  19. @frank

    @huffalotpuffalot

    @frankawesomeness, get your bloody code monkeys to stop earning you money doing real work and to get some kind of Velominati Cogal calendar up on the site so we can see what is coming up, v-Orange background for confirmed, Yellow for possible, Red for pussied out and the ability for people to register interest in said events. I want to start planning holidays for next year and make sure everything is booked up Before the VMH starts talking about anniversaries.

    Fucking brilliant. People can submit ideas for rides, designate an organizer, and as they gain support, go Orange and BOOM, they happen. Love it.

    Great idea to have a central point of reference on the site for these rides. Man, this last week has rocked on here for planning V-community rides!

  20. Yeah, a calendar would be cool, plus it would be an easy place to find links to all the cogal pages.

    Maybe a “the COGALS” link is needed up top!

    @Jeff in PetroMetro

    For me, the unifying feature as the V-Kit. Wouldn’t we all look completely badass together?

    Dude, the V-Kit looked awesome on the group at the Whidbey cogal. Made me want it that much more. As Wayne Campbell said: “It will me mine. Oh yes, it will be mine.”

    I also think the V-Kit is what kept that group hammering up the hills ahead of me the whole ride. The candle-scent that infuses itself into the material while they await shipping at Fr0nk’s place must have some sort of performance-enhancing chemicals that can be absorbed through the skin.

  21. @mcsqueak

    The candle-scent that infuses itself into the material while they await shipping at Fr0nk’s place must have some sort of performance-enhancing chemicals that can be absorbed through the skin.

    Classic!

  22. @Buck Rogers

    @mcsqueak

    The candle-scent that infuses itself into the material while they await shipping at Fr0nk’s place must have some sort of performance-enhancing chemicals that can be absorbed through the skin.

    Classic!

    There are many things I could live with in life, professional failure, being to fat to climb in perpetuity, but a UCI ban for performance enhancing scented products supplied by a shady Dutchman from the internet, no that would be too much.

  23. @The Oracle
    Oracle,
    I’m north of Brew city too! awesome roads around the northern Kettle Moraine and less traffic than the Holy Hill area. Name your distance and we’ll do it. Plenty of good food/beer options too. Let’s keep the dialog going and get something planned for spring/early summer.

  24. First Operación Puerto, now Operatie Candela? My hopes and dreams are crushed.

  25. @Jeff in PetroMetro
    I like to think Magni would have stopped, punched the dickhead spectators in the mouth, and then ridden on. Note how times have changed. Today we get publicity-seeking tossers at the side of the road, Magni got suave gents in shades and dapper suits. Sad really.

  26. @Cyclops
    I am sure that my eyes must be deceiving me but is that the remnants of a cappucino in front of Frank?

  27. @Mark1

    @Cyclops
    I am sure that my eyes must be deceiving me but is that the remnants of a cappucino in front of Frank?

    Well Let me tell you – I’ve never been much of a coffee drinker but when we arose early Saturday morning to get in a little of the Lombardia Frank had this contraption in his kitchen that was shinier than the Campa hubs on his TSX. It started making all these whooshing sounds and smokin’ and stuff and then it started rendering a black liquid and some panzy frothy stuff. I got handed to me something called a cappucino. Frank however was drinking out of this little girly Barbie tea set cup. I guess that was a, how do you say, Espesso. At the coffee shop stop I think Frank did indeed order a cappucino. I did too but I got mine in a manly N.Y. Steelworker’s paper cup instead of the big pussy “curl up with a Oprah book in front of the fireplace” cups that everybody else had. I think all that cappispresso I consumed in Seattle is what led to my meltdown after the ride. My Idaho body was trying to reject all things Seattle – traffic, espresso, organic almond butter, snooty cheese samplers, etc. The only thing that I found worthwhile as far as things to put in your body there was the Rochefort 8

  28. @Cyclops
    Sounded like a serious attack of the heebie jeebies, maybe you just laid down so much V that you had absolutely nothing left, although must have been slightly concerning at the time.

    On another note, a full frontal Velominati line up photo with names would be good for future Cogals and if anyone in or near South Wales is interested shout up, although probably aiming for Spring – this time of year you need a snorkel.

  29. @Mark1
    Mark, South Wales isn’t a million miles away (my usual mtb hunting grounds!) so I’d be up for a spring cogal, dates allowing.

  30. @frank

    @Chris

    @frank

    @Rob
    There is also talk of a Liege Cogal next year in April. You in?

    Are we talking the full course or one of the shortened versions? I’ve got my first century coming up this weekend so it’s be a bit of a step up but a nice little challenge to get my teeth into.

    Full course is the goal obviously, or add an extra 100km by accident if possible, which I’ve done before. We would want to set it up so that there are several groups riding at several speeds. A route like this should be ridden gently, but climbing on routes like this has to be done at one’s own pace; given the wide range of fitness and speed, a no-drop pace would be a management nightmare. This is one Cogal that would take some serious planning with several designated route leaders and escape hatches for people who are blowing up (possibly a support van driving broom behind the last group.)
    Obviously this is something one will need to really train for. The real route is 280km with 3 to 3.5 km vertical. (Our route had about 4km vertical over 390 km.) Nothing to sneeze at. This is hilly terrain and a long route.

    I’m not sure about the extra 100km but I’m liking the sound of the full course. If it were part of the sportive it’d be awesome to have a couple of V-Teams resplendent in The V Kit! I’ll get to work on Mrs Chris about it if I survive this weekend’s century…

  31. @Chris

    @Mark1
    Mark, South Wales isn’t a million miles away (my usual mtb hunting grounds!) so I’d be up for a spring cogal, dates allowing.

    Sounds great, not too precious about South Wales either, anywhere South’ish UK would suit me.

  32. @The Oracle

    As a semi-lurker from north of the Brew City, I too would be interested in a WI-centric Cogal. As an alternative route, I would think lake country-Holy Hill area would fit the bill, both for scenery and opportunities to lay down The V, should one be so inclined. It would also be more centrally located between Madtown and Milwaukee.

    Holy Hill is a great suggestion. Throw in a couple of the V repeats up to the chapel? I have some great routes out there as it is my usual Tuesday evening ride when the sun does not set at 5:15pm. If the enlightened feel that is more “Central” than the People’s Republic, it shall be so!

    @wiscot

    @The Oracle
    Oracle,
    I’m north of Brew city too! awesome roads around the northern Kettle Moraine and less traffic than the Holy Hill area. Name your distance and we’ll do it. Plenty of good food/beer options too. Let’s keep the dialog going and get something planned for spring/early summer.

    Another great suggestion. Maybe use the Bike Dr.’s usual Saturday AM route and add on from there?

    This dialog needs to keep rolling for a spring Cogal. Is it possible to get a Cogalbone?

  33. @Dino
    This sounds great! Part of the problem at my end is that Josh and I won’t be free until noonish on the Friday. Given that we’ll be in Madison, making that a starting point would save some time on our end. But we might be more flexible once we know the conference schedule…

  34. @Steampunk

    I’m blown away by how quickly this is all coming together””rides all over the globe in the next twelve months. Fantastic. But what makes a Cogal? Is there a formal definition? It seems to me that they need to take on some kind of special significance and have some kind of unifying feature.

    Great question. I think there are three key difference between a group ride and Cogal.

    1. Organized and supported through Velominati, though not necessarily a Keeper (legally speaking, however, we have no involvement, so if you crash or die, it’s your own problem.
    2. A bigger todo. A Group Ride leaves at 8am and has you home and back to your daily grind by 11am. A Cogal is a day-long undertaking that focuses 100% on the bike. The rides are categorized (Casually Deliberate, Rule #5, Rule #10, etc) but are long. This is what you’re doing today, nothing else.
    3. The rides should have an optional evening-before get together over beers or other libations, and should usually include a Malted Recovery Beverage afterwards.

    I’m totally open to further input on the subject, since I just made that up.

  35. @Cyclops

    @Mark1

    @Cyclops
    I am sure that my eyes must be deceiving me but is that the remnants of a cappucino in front of Frank?

    Well Let me tell you – I’ve never been much of a coffee drinker but when we arose early Saturday morning to get in a little of the Lombardia Frank had this contraption in his kitchen that was shinier than the Campa hubs on his TSX. It started making all these whooshing sounds and smokin’ and stuff and then it started rendering a black liquid and some panzy frothy stuff. I got handed to me something called a cappucino. Frank however was drinking out of this little girly Barbie tea set cup. I guess that was a, how do you say, Espesso. At the coffee shop stop I think Frank did indeed order a cappucino. I did too but I got mine in a manly N.Y. Steelworker’s paper cup instead of the big pussy “curl up with a Oprah book in front of the fireplace” cups that everybody else had. I think all that cappispresso I consumed in Seattle is what led to my meltdown after the ride. My Idaho body was trying to reject all things Seattle – traffic, espresso, organic almond butter, snooty cheese samplers, etc. The only thing that I found worthwhile as far as things to put in your body there was the Rochefort 8

    I was wondering when the payback for ribbing you about boundaries and attacking would commence. I am happy to see it has started. Let the games begin.

    My Rancillio kicks ass. End of.

    The coffee I make is intimidatingly good.

    The “panzy frothy stuff” is a crema so thick and creamy it nearly walks up the sides of the porcelain cup.

    Espresso should always – always – be consumed from a porcelain cup. There is nothing hard-core about destroying the taste of this exquisite beverage by drinking it from a wadded up cone of paper.

    I drink straight espresso or macchiato unless I don’t trust the coffee, in which case I will have a tripple-shot dry cappuccino because the milk will soften the bitterness of a poorly pulled or burned espresso. This still allows one to judge the quality of the E and will factor into subsequent beverage selection.

    I think all that cappispresso I consumed in Seattle is what led to my meltdown after the ride. My Idaho body was trying to reject all things Seattle – traffic, espresso, organic almond butter, snooty cheese samplers, etc. The only thing that I found worthwhile as far as things to put in your body there was the Rochefort 8

    Touché. Seattle is a city full of wusses, no question.

  36. @frank
    Dude. Here it is. My implement of choice. The DeLonghi Magnifica 3300

    Makes perfect Espresso / Americano at the touch of a button. Italian. Classic. Worth every freakin’ penny. And believe it or not, Trader Joe’s Italian Roast makes the best brew. I’m an americano guy through and through, and I drink at least a liter of coffee a day. Damn straight. OK… gotta calm down…

    @frank
    Oh yeah. Cogal calendar. Good idea. And +1 on this stuff too. A Cogal should properly be a full day event, at least 100km, and involve dinner / social event before and/or after.

  37. I enjoy all the smack talk here, but when the honor of Ms Silvia and her kin are slighted there must be satisfaction!

  38. @frank
    Great question. I think there are three key difference between a group ride and Cogal.

    1. Organized and supported through Velominati, though not necessarily a Keeper (legally speaking, however, we have no involvement, so if you crash or die, it’s your own problem.
    2. A bigger todo. A Group Ride leaves at 8am and has you home and back to your daily grind by 11am. A Cogal is a day-long undertaking that focuses 100% on the bike. The rides are categorized (Casually Deliberate, Rule #5, Rule #10, etc) but are long. This is what you’re doing today, nothing else.
    3. The rides should have an optional evening-before get together over beers or other libations, and should usually include a Malted Recovery Beverage afterwards.
    I’m totally open to further input on the subject, since I just made that up.

    1. Agreed. Great idea to have the calendar up and those interested/involved in a particular ride to sort it out themselves without any further liability from anyone really, enter at your own risk as some sort of disclaimer at the bottom
    2. Ditto
    3. Ditto
    4. Reconnaisance of the ride route should be the responsbility of the organiser, in conjunction with a responsible fellow participant beforehand (if possible), to ensure that there are sufficient Rule #5 and Rule #10 sections as well as the appropriate pit and regrouping stops. Remembering that it isn’t a friggin’ cafe ride. The majority (or not) to then agree on pre-determined route via the calendar somehow.
    5. Oh yeah, we’re not Audax, go and do a 600km ride with them instead.

  39. @frank et all

    Definitely down for any cogal in Belgium. My Belgian colleague and I were discussing RVV next year but apparently the Flemish community is pissed about a route change and I was threatened with being disowned if I did anything other then the classic route. Having ridden in Belgium for almost 2 years I’ll admit that I’m scared of the amount of cobble. Cobble on a rolling 100k that I do locally is one thing, cobble when you are trying to set pace and over 200+ with these vicious steep short climbs is another.

    Re: LBL I loved my new garmin 800 bought just for the trip. Had a gps guided tour the whole way and was the only way you can stay on the race course, even for a local. We would definitely need multiple groups. Serious distance with some nasty short climbs and some middlish ones (1200m over 7-8km) means it’s easy for you to blow yourself up if you are used to 3-4 hr group rides and riding with an ego on your shoulder. If nothing else I’m a skinny fuck so played on the climbs but got embarrassed on every bit of cobble and every steep, rough, and switch backed decent. A climber will have a very different ride then a sprinter.

    Lastly, I’m a giant fan of winging it. It’s my backyard so I’m happy to play support. It’s good to see all the motivated like minded people. I need to get my ass back on the bike! Can’t have the Belgians realizing that I’m slow even for an American.

  40. @sgt
    Nice machine, but that just takes the human out of the equation, much like electronic shifting does. I like to feel like I had something to do with how good the coffee was.

    As for beans, Seven Coffee Roasters, accept no substitutes.

    @Rob
    One word: jealous.

  41. @sgt

    @frank And believe it or not, Trader Joe’s Italian Roast makes the best brew.

    Scary statement. Don’t they have real coffee beans down in Santa Barbara?

  42. @wiscot

    Name my distance? For spring? For a ride in the Northern Kettles? How does about 30km grab you? :) Seriously, though, that would obviously be more convenient for me (I’m in Saukville), and I do love riding up there (whether on my MTB or on the roads). However I was thinking of getting together with our Madison brethren. That being said, I’d make an effort to go anywhere, keeping in mind Rule #11 considerations.

    @Dino

    I was at Holy Hill for services with my family a few weeks ago, and it was the first time I had been there since I was a kid. I’ve never ridden out that way, but I know it is a popular spot (with a lot more hills than flat-as-a-pancake northern Ozaukee). All I could think about during church was how great it would have been to ride there! Hopefully, God understood.

  43. God understands. The Ark was actually the brand of Noah’s bike and the “two of everything” was Noah loading up the team car before the beginning of the 40 day stage race. Rainbow jersey for the winner, of course.

  44. @itburns
    A FUCKING PLUS FUCKING ONE.

  45. @itburns

    Rainbow jersey for the winner, of course.

    Nice.

  46. @frank

    @Cyclops

    @Mark1

    @Cyclops
    I am sure that my eyes must be deceiving me but is that the remnants of a cappucino in front of Frank?

    Well Let me tell you – I’ve never been much of a coffee drinker but when we arose early Saturday morning to get in a little of the Lombardia Frank had this contraption in his kitchen that was shinier than the Campa hubs on his TSX. It started making all these whooshing sounds and smokin’ and stuff and then it started rendering a black liquid and some panzy frothy stuff. I got handed to me something called a cappucino. Frank however was drinking out of this little girly Barbie tea set cup. I guess that was a, how do you say, Espesso. At the coffee shop stop I think Frank did indeed order a cappucino. I did too but I got mine in a manly N.Y. Steelworker’s paper cup instead of the big pussy “curl up with a Oprah book in front of the fireplace” cups that everybody else had. I think all that cappispresso I consumed in Seattle is what led to my meltdown after the ride. My Idaho body was trying to reject all things Seattle – traffic, espresso, organic almond butter, snooty cheese samplers, etc. The only thing that I found worthwhile as far as things to put in your body there was the Rochefort 8

    I was wondering when the payback for ribbing you about boundaries and attacking would commence. I am happy to see it has started. Let the games begin.
    My Rancillio kicks ass. End of.
    The coffee I make is intimidatingly good.
    The “panzy frothy stuff” is a crema so thick and creamy it nearly walks up the sides of the porcelain cup.
    Espresso should always – always – be consumed from a porcelain cup. There is nothing hard-core about destroying the taste of this exquisite beverage by drinking it from a wadded up cone of paper.
    I drink straight espresso or macchiato unless I don’t trust the coffee, in which case I will have a tripple-shot dry cappuccino because the milk will soften the bitterness of a poorly pulled or burned espresso. This still allows one to judge the quality of the E and will factor into subsequent beverage selection.

    I think all that cappispresso I consumed in Seattle is what led to my meltdown after the ride. My Idaho body was trying to reject all things Seattle – traffic, espresso, organic almond butter, snooty cheese samplers, etc. The only thing that I found worthwhile as far as things to put in your body there was the Rochefort 8

    Touché. Seattle is a city full of wusses, no question.

    Round these parts you just need to be able to stand a horseshoe up in the coffee to know when it’s good.

  47. @itburns

    God understands. The Ark was actually the brand of Noah’s bike and the “two of everything” was Noah loading up the team car before the beginning of the 40 day stage race. Rainbow jersey for the winner, of course.

    I don’t always use the word “epic,” but when I do, it is to describe the awesomeness of posts like this.

  48. @wiscot
    @wiscot
    Wiscot, I see you are in West Bend, I’m in the milwaukee area and read that you are trying to put together a Cogal. Great. This is an even that you might enjoy this winter. It is
    the Santa Rampage Ride and is scheduled for Dec 17th. Dress like Santa and ride your Bike to different pubs in Milwaukee. check out the link, i think the pictures are impressive
    http://www.facebook.com/santarampage
    I have no idea on how to email you directly so i am sending this post. give me a call if you want more info.
    Marty 414-899-3351

  49. @o2golfpar
    Thanks! Yup, I’m thinking of a WB/WI Cogal in May, early June. 120+ kms snaking in and around the northern Kettle Moraine area. I’ll be dropping hints etc under the appropriate menu option.

  50. @frank
    @Marko
    @G’rilla
    @McSqueak
    @Eightzero
    @Drew
    @Tim
    @Cyclops
    Uncovered this Cogal gone past (plenty of time to dig around) and the different ‘takes’ and candor are good to have. Enjoyed the virtual introduction and somewhat learned more about some of the usual V proponents — the monikers. It would be great to meet and ride with some epic ‘leggers’ at some point. One day, another Cogal is coming and unless most have the aspiration to ride in South Carolina, I will be planning to travel to meet some of you elsewhere — after 12 weeks at least. Until then, my machine — The Sword — will have some upgrades.

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