All Aboard The Keepers Tour: Latest Update

All Aboard The Keepers Tour: Latest Update

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It’s so close I can almost taste it. The mud. The dust. The heavy Spring air, turning to rain, blown across the fields of Flanders, where many a battle has been fought, in trenches and on wheels. Battles fought against other men, battles fought within each man. My own mind is in battle; am I worthy? Will I be prepared for the beating my body will take, and will my mind deal with it? Well, I’m not going to my own grave without doing this. I will survive on V.

The Keepers Tour just gets better and better. The team at Pavé Cycling Tours should be known as the Mailmen of Flanders, because they just keep on delivering. It seems almost every day there’s an email informing us of an addition to the tour, and our responses are more and more ‘screaming teenager’ than composed adult. To say we’re excited about this trip could be the understatement of the year. We’re excited.

The latest gems from Alex and William include;

  • Meeting the legendary Freddy Maertens at the Flanders Museum in Oudenaarde.
  • Meeting Vincent Lavenau and the Ag2R team and mechanics at their motel on the Friday before Roubaix.
  • A private opening of the Casa Grinta restaurant, with what is described as one of the most ‘insane’ collections of cycling jerseys in the world, plus ‘Belgian Fusion’ food.
  • Riding into the Roubaix velodrome after our day in Hell, and cleansing in the iconic showers. (TBC)
  • A musette from Pavé’s partner Ravito, stuffed with cycling badges and a cap. (In addition to the special V Musette from us containing a V-Pint and special V-Shirt, not available for sale elsewhere.)
  • A possible showdown with Cycling Tips blog’s own Tour, with some cool prizes up for grabs, along with a ton of laughs.
  • A Cogal to be held in conjunction with our ride of the Ronde parcours on the Saturday before Roubaix.

Of course, this is all in addition to the already confirmed awesomeness of riding with The Lion of Flanders Johan Museeuw, touring the Eddy Merckx factory, riding on the Gent velodrome, touring the Brunehaut brewery (where our organic Malteni beer is produced) and another cycling museum visit in Beveren. There’s a heap of other activities confirmed too, so email us for the full presentation.

And the best part? All of this is included in the super low price! Everything. All meals, all accommodation, all drinks (yes, beer!) and hanging out with a cool bunch of like-minded bike nuts.

Sell your first-born if you have to, but don’t miss out on a week, or weekend of pure Classics bliss. There are still a few seats available, so book yours now.

Full PDF Schedule

// Cogals // Keepers Tour

  1. @Chris

    Strong work. I’m friggin hopeless on rollers, it’s probably time I gave them another go.

    I worry that I’ve left it too late – trapped in a dastardly compromise, not quite there on the bike and having neglected beer drinking enough while training to have a deleterious effect on my form at the bar also. Doubly delirious indeedy.

    Might dust off the turbo for some post pint intervals on Friday night. I’ve felt terrible like that before. ‘Enhanced’ training…it might just work.

  2. @Chris
    The plural of “Nemesis” is “Nemesii.”

  3. @Nate

    @Chris
    The plural of “Nemesis” is “Nemesii.”

    Sorry but it’s not… it’s nemeses.

    Chris was half right.

    Nemesis is originally from Greek not Latin.

    She was the goddess of retribution.

  4. @ChrisO
    I defer to your superior pedantry.

  5. @ChrisO
    some day I’m going to call your bluff on all this medievil greco-roman linguistic stuff – meantime I’m hopelessly out of my depth so I’ll keep my powder dry

  6. @ChrisO
    That’s what I was going for, honest. It’s my slow typing, by the time I get to typing a word at the back end of the sentence, my mind will have moved on.

  7. @mcsqueak
    When I was living in Flanders, the race hallowed routes weren’t super well marked. Long rainy training rides with the Michelin map was about it. Directions from the team help got me more lost more often than not. Team recon training rides for races wasn’t really done. The Kapelmuur I included on regular rides as the lead in through Geraardsbergen reminded me of a ride I did when visiting family in Oregon. I guess everywhere one goes reminds them of somewhere else? It was a ton of fun finding tiny cobbled roads and climbs to break the monotony of training rides and to get away from the canals. So many more little roads than just whats in the Classics. The cobbles weren’t real practical for regular training but rather for the novelty of having been over them. In the races, approaching those hills or sections was so much faster and changed the way they were ridden. Training over them mostly just helped my wheel truing skills. If you get the chance, try the Kemmelberg. Going down that at speed…in the rain set my standard for full pucker. It’s where Tscmil’s career ended unfortunately. A cold hard truth falling on that descent!

  8. @Dr C

    @ChrisO
    some day I’m going to call your bluff on all this medievil greco-roman linguistic stuff – meantime I’m hopelessly out of my depth so I’ll keep my powder dry

    That’s rich coming from a doctor ! Anyone else falls off their bike they get a bruise, but you would have a subcutaneous haematoma

  9. @jimmy

    just out of interest: where were you living in Flanders? you mention Kemmelberg, so I suspect somewhere in West-Flanders?

  10. @JC Belgium
    Ghent, Ichtegem, then Kortrijk. Would love to go back and see all the things I missed someday. Take my kid at an age where that exposure might have a profound influence.

  11. @jimmy
    You’re an asshole. But you should absolutely take your kid. My cycling trips as a youngster fundamentally formed the way I learned to love cycling.

  12. @frank
    Frank, thanks? I am curious of your upbringing given the references to your dad and his love of cycling. Others too who have successfully passed the love on to their kids. So many cyclists I know found it through escapism not as a relationship builder. My motivation back then certainly wasn’t to get warm and fuzzy with the old man.

  13. @jimmy

    @frank
    Frank, thanks? I am curious of your upbringing given the references to your dad and his love of cycling. Others too who have successfully passed the love on to their kids. So many cyclists I know found it through escapism not as a relationship builder. My motivation back then certainly wasn’t to get warm and fuzzy with the old man.

    Ha! I was calling you an asshole for having lived in Flanders…sarcasm doesn’t digitize well. Yeah – it was a great relationship builder. But not just with my dad. Most of my closest relationships were built on the bike. Suffering together brings people close.

    I reckon the Keepers Tour attendees and I will all be thick as thieves…

  14. @jimmy

    Huh, cool! Thanks for the explanation. Yeah, I guess I could see those routes as less ideal for regular training, but more for the novelty of them.

    @frank

    @jimmy
    You’re an asshole. But you should absolutely take your kid. My cycling trips as a youngster fundamentally formed the way I learned to love cycling.

    Man, when I was in boy scouts we did the cycling merit badge: 5x 25 mile rides, and 1x 50 mile ride.

    My dad did those with me, but he was on his Schwinn 5sp road bike (which is what got me into cycling, about three years ago now, after I inherited it after he passed away), meanwhile I was on a department store mountain bike with knobby wheels! I was also wearing normal basketball shorts and a tshirt. This was when I was in middle school.

    I have very vivid memories of those rides sucking very, very hard. Sort of explains why I wasn’t much into cycling for the next 10+ years. However I did get the merit badge, and won the award for “most improved rider”. I think Cyclops may have given me the very some award after the Whidbey cogal.

  15. @jimmy
    “Training over them mostly just helped my wheel truing skills. If you get the chance, try the Kemmelberg. Going down that at speed…in the rain set my standard for full pucker”

    Classic +1.

  16. @frank
    I went on my university elective to South Africa with an old friend (and ex-girlfriend) who was a) gorgeous and b) half-Flemish. We got a lift out to this braai (BBQ) on a beach with all these South African blokes. They were nattering away in Afrikaans about whether or not this girl and I were together or not and whether they should have a crack at her later on. She waited until we were getting out of the bus before thanking the driver at length in Flemish. These guys nearly died – apparently the two languages are extremely close and she’d understood nearly every word. None of them got near her. Neither did I…

    Also, am I the only one here who thought FMBs were an article of footwear worn by promiscuous women?

  17. @heinous
    “Also, am I the only one here who thought FMBs were an article of footwear worn by promiscuous women?”
    No you aren’t. All kiwis think the same thing.

  18. @heinous

    @Bianchi Denti
    Canucks too! When I met my now wife she was wearing a lovely pair of FMBs!

  19. @heinous
    Awesome story – Flemish/Dutch are pretty much the same, and Afrikaans is a weirdo combination of Dutch and who-knows-what. She’d definitely understand it well enough to know what they wanted, but I’m also guessing they weren’t the most clever/subtle blokes. Chances are it didn’t require much language skills to work it out!

    @heinous, @Bianchi Denti
    ??? FMB’s?

  20. @heinous
    With a name like that I con’t imagine why?

    @Mikel Pearce

    I’m reading that as she had fancy, fancy tires on her bike. I need a new hobby.

  21. @frank
    Really? F me boots, generally like tnee high leather boots with heels.

    Bretto told me. Apparently.

  22. @jimmy

    @JC BelgiumGhent, Ichtegem, then Kortrijk. Would love to go back and see all the things I missed someday. Take my kid at an age where that exposure might have a profound influence.

    I can imagine which city you liked the most…
    What a coincidence, my hometown is some 15km from Kortrijk (along the canal Leie, towards Ghent), and I study in Ghent now. but what really would be ‘Dude, no way!’: if you were one of the cyclists who were living down the street of my flat in Bijlokevest street, Ghent. (I think 2 years ago)
    oh, I almost forgot: take your kid to Belgium when he s 16, then he is officially allowed to drink beer.

  23. @JC Belgium
    All 3 places had their charms, but I imagined being in Kortrijk more long term. But all things must end. Was a bit more than 2 years ago…think Museeuw pre-world champion bands. The drinking age tip is gold, thanks!

  24. Watched some good attacks last year, but for sheer brutality this gets my vote for dishing the V in excessive quantity

    Badass on the Bosberg

  25. @Dr C
    It’s certainly not pretty pedalling!

  26. @Dr C

    Watched some good attacks last year, but for sheer brutality this gets my vote for dishing The V in excessive quantity
    Badass on the Bosberg

    Do my eyes deceive me, or is he big-ringing it?

  27. I think there’s something in this for all of us.

  28. @Bianchi Denti
    Awesome article, wonder if Fast Eddy frequents this site. Character might not be measurable, but it can be categorised Anti-V, Nil-V or V-Neutral, V and Morest Biggerer V.

  29. @Chris
    we will do well to remember this at 100Km done and 80 to go, when the pain sets in – we can’t pay cash for the completion of our challenge…..

  30. @Dr C
    Are we doing 180k now?!
    We can pay cash for a fat belgian bloke on a derny

  31. @Chris
    That could well become the lexicon definition of anti-V!

  32. @Dr C
    These European units confuse me, isn’t it about the same distance as Bordeaux – Paris and the pros used to get pacers for some of that? (Bordeaux and Roubaix are both on the edges of Europe and Paris is obviously the middle)

  33. Bordeaux in in the south of France, and Paris is much closer to the north of France and the Belgian border where Roubaix is. BP was around 600km, and Paris-Roubaix is “only” about 260km.

  34. @Oli
    Thanks Oli.

  35. @Chris

    @Dr CThese European units confuse me, isn’t it about the same distance as Bordeaux – Paris and the pros used to get pacers for some of that? (Bordeaux and Roubaix are both on the edges of Europe and Paris is obviously the middle)

    How terribly Francophile of you – are you sure you are not actually a Frenchman masquerading as a English Country Gentleman?

    The P-R is 288km I believe, and the first 100km is cobble free smooth tarmac, the last 188km isn’t

    I have volunteered Fronk and @ChrisO to do the full run – so they will do overnight circadian clock confusion thingy, arriving Lille at Belgian Beer O’clock, then instead of pyjamas and a good book/boke, it’ll be lycra and a bus trip to the start line near Paris (can’t be arsed to look up the name of the start village, Campeigne or summink, no respect at all…) – meanwhile I, and I strongly suspect you, will be having a good snore, followed by a hearty breakfast at not too stupid o’clock and off to the 100km mark, to suck their wheels to Roubaix as the yawn past us at 35kph

    Seem like a plan??

  36. @Dr C
    Ce n’est pas bon! I’m afraid I’m most certainly not a Frenchman and if I’m an Englishman it would seem that I’m a poorly educated one at best! All roads lead to Paris but it would appear that some are longer than others and Paris is not at the centre of the known universe.

    I’m sure @Fronk and @ChrisO will be deighted to be nominated as pathfinders but I’m not convinced that we should give them the chance to loosen their guns before we join them.

    There are a couple of things that I’m not sure about though:

    (a) what is a boke? Internet research tells me it’s a form of Mongolian wrestling or “street” round your parts for vomiting. We haven’t been issued with an list of essential equipment or clothing yet but should I be bring a Borat mankini thing or a bowl?

    (b) correct me if I’m wrong but we’re staying in a B&B on the continent which means that we’ll most likely be dipping flacid pastries into bowls of milk coffee for breakfast. Hearty, in the form of a full English (or Irish) it will not be.

  37. @Chris
    Street only bro

    I was kind of hoping Fronk and ChrisO’s natural competitiveness, and combined overexcitement, will result in them yahoo firing off all their rounds before they reach us, so they will be in reload mode by the time they reach us at base camp – either way we will need a proper breakfast to prepare us indeed – I worry they will not have the frites on at 7am

    Perhaps we should import some unhealthy fat and bone-scraping filled pig intestines, eggs, sliced serum and blood clots, and a bottle of cholesterol to incinerate them in, to warm our finely tuned howitzers in preparation for the scouts arrival?

  38. @Dr C
    I would love to see the prescriptions that you write for your malingerers, you could happily hide a placebo or two amongst words like that. It must take a while for the dispensing chemist to work out what the fuck you’re talking about though!

    I always find it easier to transport the cholesterol in solid cube form, combined with those fine squares or triangles of mashed root vegetable it make for a wonderfully slow energy release system that also does a good job of soaking up all the mechanically recovered meat flavours.

  39. @Chris
    I’m generally more succinct at work – I guess I was trying to describe a Classic Full English, but got carried away with the truth

    Your recipe sounds tasty though, we’ll run with that

  40. @Chris
    You are going to transport Soylent Green?

  41. @itburns
    I was thinking cheap sausages and potato scones cooked in lard, it was @Dr C who was caught trying to improve the flavour of one of his children.

  42. @Dr C

    @Chris
    I’m generally more succinct at work…

    A more direct line of attack?

    Take up thy bed and fuck off out of my sight…

  43. @Chris

    @Dr C

    @ChrisI’m generally more succinct at work…

    A more direct line of attack?
    Take up thy bed and fuck off out of my sight…

    To my patients? Or my children? Or myself?

  44. @Dr C
    Patients!Was paraphrasing some other healer bloke.

    Did you freeze your brain on your ride this morning?

  45. @Chris
    Arm warmers, two thermal longsleeved base layers, summer long sleeve jersey, winter jacket (top end), two pairs of leggings, long wool army issue hiking socks, full neoprene bootees, fleece snood, spesh thermal beanie, helmet, and neoprene/chamois winter sailing gloves – yes, my feet were like blocks of ice – gave up after 45K!!

    That said, my jacket is new, Softshell Pro 180 Pearl Izumi Thermal Jacket, 40% off in sales – looks cool as, matches all my other kit, so as a result I ripped it up my regular climbs, with PBs on the two bigger ones – bizarre – clearly more about how you look, than how you feel!

  46. @Dr C
    That’s not good, club run this weekend will be 138km including riding to and from the start. It’s not forecast to be any warmer than it is at the moment, colder probably.

    I think I’ll go with merino wool and Nike synthetic base layers and V-kit LS on the top with a waterproof in reserve and bib tights, merino socks and neoprene shoe covers on the bottom half. Wonder if I can get merino longjohns under bib tights? and/or is it bad form to wear leg warmers over tights if it’s really cold? Especially, if they’re red? Must find my snood thing.

    Oh, yes, and lashings of embrocation.

  47. @Chris
    That’ll keep you warm until you leave the house – I’d stick the entire contents of your wardrobe, including the doors, on if I were you – also bring some matches and a Zipp firelighter, so you can light a fire on your handlebars to keep your hands from falling off

    Actually, a second pair of gloves is a good idea, as mine got sweaty and then froze – if I had had a second pair of dry gloves, I reckon I could have sold them to any one of the group I was riding with, and recouped the price of my new jacket – damn retrospective business opportunities!!

  48. @Dr C
    I was beginning to winder how to get enough stuff on and still move. And how much chamois cream would be required to avoid all the layers grinding my softer bits away.

    The embrocation usually feels like setting fire to ones guns with lighter fluid but only when your’re back in the safety of your own shower.

    I might just chuck the bike in the back of the car and drive round instead. I’ve got some chains I can put on the tyres for extra grip. Cav fell off and broke his bike today.

  49. @Chris
    if you are going to do it in the car, watch your speed, as anything more than 30kph will arouse suspicion on Strava

    Careless of Cav – I wonder if they will lend him another one

  50. @Dr C
    Don’t worry it’s a Discovery so it won’t go at much over 60kph, I’ll label it “Motor Paced Session” people will think I’m terribly pro.

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