La Vie Velominatus: Survive On V

La Vie Velominatus: Survive On V

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It’s a beautiful, yet cruel sport, this. It punishes you for being lazy, for being unfit, but it also punishes you when you are at the top of your game. And as for Europe, well it’s sending out all kinds of mixed messages when it comes to cycling. Everyone rides, and a good number of them do it while smoking. If it’s good enough for them…

…It’s not good enough for me. I returned from Keepers Tour with a little smoking habit, one that has been an on again/off again affair over the years; mostly off I must say, but every now and then I like to partake in a puff (usually if someone else is smoking close by, and I’m drunk). With my bike stuck in Lille and me wandering around for a week or so after the trip ended, boredom set in and smoking seemed to help relieve it, five minutes at a stinking, coughing time.

As always, the inanity of the whole procedure quickly became apparent, and after returning to New Zealand with three weeks of no riding the ol’ airbags were in need of a good clean out. The usual dread of the first ride back was there, but so were the reserves of V. Luckily it was a solo ride, as the amount of hacking and spitting would’ve put even the most grizzled of sailors off. The bike acted like a chimney sweep for my lungs.

It was a great ride. Short, yes; slow, for sure; flat, you betcha. But it was a ride, and I survived. On V. It’s become my new motto. When you think your fitness is non-existent, when you make excuses not to ride or shy away from harder routes, just remember that you’ve got The V in reserve, deep down, even if dormant. It’s always in you. It will see you through those dark days and rise to the top when needed most. Shit, it’s inscribed right there on the leg of your bibs. Look down, drink it in, breathe it in if there’s room amongst the carcinogens, and use it.

No excuses. Survive on V.

Vive la vie Velominatus.

// La Vie Velominatus

  1. A-Merckx, brother.

  2. A-Merckx in-fuckin-deed!

  3. “No excuses. Survive on V.”

    A similar phrase that goes through my brain, especially when someone wants to talk the entire ride:

    “Less jive, more V.”

  4. Well said Brett… Many a day have I felt poorly or just didn’t think I had the stones to ride. With the wind in my face, a little sweat, a little burn & the V comes alive! Some days more than others, but I’m on my bike and everything changes for the better.
    Vive. la vie Velominatus

  5. Aye, ’tis the smoke that poured from the craggy cobbles lining the slopes of Mt. Velomis that remind us of the fire within each of us.

    Long Live The V.

  6. Chapeau Brett! I’ve never regretted going for a ride, and often regretted not going. When in doubt, don the V-kit, Apply Rule #5 and get on with it.

    On a side note: I’m known to partake of a fine cigar from time to time. Takes longer than a cigarette, but no inhaling and I’ve not developed the jones for them (full disclosure: I was a full on smoker in my youth, then a cold turkey non-smoker for a long time). I’m sure it’s having some affect on my form, but a man’s gotta have a few vices. VLVV

  7. Nice one, brett! Glad you’ve swept the lungs out!

    Ha, whenever I actually think I’m in the bin, haven’t been riding enough, the bibs feel like a girdle, etc. I usually pull off a great ride. I think I have good overall fitness from years of sports & a bit of a rest does my legs just fine. Yeah, not gonna win sprints and stuff, but I can put in lots of kms at good pace just fine. Last year I was off the bike for eight weeks straight. Returned and had a great summer of riding.

    One of the highest compliments I’ve received regarding cycling was from a pal when out riding last year. “Man, no matter how bad of shape you’re in or how long you’ve been off the bike, you’re always able to grind out a good performance.” I think about that for motivation all the time, whether on or off the bike. I’ve never been the fastest, strongest, biggest, etc., so always relied on the V to get the most out of myself in all sports.

    On another note, the local club I’ve been debating joining for a year is doing more haggling over the small stuff than riding. It’s driving me bonkers. Looks like this is the year I finally get myself into the V-kit!

  8. Wait… I see it!!

  9. Interesting timing with this article @brett. Here are a couple articles about the Warrior Games at the US Air Force Academy this week, the Hand Cycling event was yesterday. These young men & women are displaying some heavy V. Pedaling a bike with your hands because you have no legs…or have no use of them? That is the shit.

    Hand Cycling Photo gallery here:

    There but for the grace of God go I.

  10. Ahhh smoking, it never leaves you….especially once merry on the Amber fluid, once sober I find it the most disgusting, vile odour (thankfully)…. Very easy to slip back in to old habits, but what are you gonna do, one cant be expected to give up the drink as well, surely! Go the V

  11. Well put Brett.

    Having the V is something we all possess. It’s being able to pull it out as/when required is the key to ones ability to rise above the average Joe or, at the very least, get off your arse and out on the road.

    My father, who was a head trainer/conditioner in the 80’s for a few “cough” Pro Rugby League teams, always spoke of whether this or that bloke had a big “ticker” (read – possessed the V) or not. This allowed him to then help that player to either be on the field, or spend the season on the sideline. He knew that these blokes had the potential, otherwise they wouldn’t have made it to that level. It was being able to get that bloke to realise the V within that was required to continue to the next level.

    I just did my first race of the season last week. I ride with the club secretary on occasion, who when signing on, told me he’d put me up a couple of grades to “see how you go”. After being shat out the back of the bunch on the last lap like the proverbial turd, my first thought wasn’t “these blokes are too good for me”. Rather, “I’m gonna have to HTFU and dig out the V”.

  12. Well said, Brett.

    Saw a thing on Jesse Owens last night where they gave this quote, which seems apropos here:

    “I always loved running – it was something you could do by yourself and under your own power. You could go in any direction, fast or slow as you wanted, fighting the wind if you felt like it, seeking out new sights just on the strength of your feet and the courage of your lungs.”

  13. Does this mean we don’t get to take “smoking breaks” on next years KT?

  14. @Marko

    Does this mean we don’t get to take “smoking breaks” on next years KT?

    Well not if this comes into place…

  15. @Marko

    Does this mean we don’t get to take “smoking breaks” on next years KT?

    I would think breaks from smoking were essential. Looks exhausting: burning one

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