Twiggo survives in 2009. Photo © Sirotti

Twiggo survives in 2009. Photo © Sirotti

Anatomy of a Photo: Sticks and Stones

by / / 76 posts

It’s no secret that the cobbles are the domain of the big men. Look through the list of winners in Flanders and Roubaix, and you won’t find any flyweights, grimpeurs or probably anyone under 80kg. Ok, maybe lighter than that, but more likely the weight will be compacted in muscle and distributed over a shorter body than Jolly Naughty Wiggins displays here.

With the Keepers Tour locked and loaded for the Euro Spring, the anticipation of riding the roads I’ve revered for decades is building to a point that could be deemed unhealthy by outside observers. Anyone within earshot gets bombarded with “did I tell you I’m going to be riding the cobbles?”, usually met with a blank stare and a quick retreat. But after I think about the truckloads of awesome to be had riding the hallowed ground, my mind invariably wanders to the ‘what if’ scenarios. What if Il Profetta gets rattled to death and cracks? Well, it’s meant to be, it’ll be dying in its bithplace, a return to the soil from whence it was born. What if The Lion tells me to Rule #5 it and stop being a pussy? I can live with that, even welcome it (especially if we are in the bar after the ride!). But what if my over-zealousness gets the better of me and I’m sent plummeting to the ground, and my spindly Twiggo-esque limbs succumb to the stones that even the Lion’s mighty knee had to concede to? Snap, game over.

So it looks like the best preparation will be a training regime of Welli-Roubaix gravé riding, peppered with weights to build some insulating muscle. And for fuck’s sake, I’m a mountain biker, how hard can it be to ride over some rocks? Harder than I can even imagine, I’d say. I’m praying for a wet Roubaix next Spring, but only for the Pros… I won’t mind riding in dust one bit.

// Anatomy of a Photo // Keepers Tour

  1. You know, I actually came around on Twiggo and Cav this year to an extent, but can we PLEASE go back to being greeted by The Prophet when we click on the homepage?

  2. It amazes me that Wiggo took a look at his wool oversocks and said, these are not nearly tall enough. Best I get my socks to pull up through them to make up the difference.

  3. @brett

    What if Il Profetta gets rattled to death and cracks? Well, it’s meant to be, it’ll be dying in its bithplace, a return to the soil from whence it was born.

    Can’t believe you thought about not bringing it. You building up tubs, or are you going with your Abrossio clinchers?

    If my beloved R3 dies upon the stones, we shall make a pire of our loyal machines and allow the Lion to throw in the match. A-Merckx.

    What if The Lion tells me to Rule #5 it and stop being a pussy?

    Then it will be like any other conversation you have with anyone else?

  4. precious, frank, precious

    I would just pray to the arenberg forest that mercy be applied upon the Rule V, gracefully that the bikes life at least be spared

    but then again, somethings are just worth it

    @brett, that is a killer photo
    It goes to remind me that our PRO’s suffer beyond measure, and are just a walking pile of dust sometimes, catalyzed w/calcium and some iron, for others healthy doses of CERA/EPO and speed, but for mortals, they are just starving

    I always look at the prologues to see who comes in form, measuring the gap between the jersey sleeve, and upper arms…they usually gap pretty good for those who arrive in form, not to mention the sunken cheeks/eyes, and prominent maxilla bones

  5. @brett

    @Mikael Liddy
    @Nate
    @Marcus
    Go easy on Twiggo there guys… see, the point I was making is my ‘guns’ are kinda similar… but put out less firepower, obviously.

    If your pins (hardly guns) are that skinny: On the bright side, at least you will have no problems with dosing up on Belgian Toothpaste due to the massive amounts of beach sand that you must have ingested over the years.

  6. @michael

    Here’s the link if anyone wants to see:
    http://www.buzzfeed.com/mjs538/the-pepper-spraying-cop-meme

  7. @brett

    @Mikael Liddy
    @Nate
    @Marcus
    Go easy on Twiggo there guys… see, the point I was making is my ‘guns’ are kinda similar… but put out less firepower, obviously.

    I was going to preface my comment by saying “I have no right to say this but I am going to say it anyways.” Then I remembered this is the internet.

  8. Shit no wonder I cant climb. Im 79.38 kilos.

  9. @wiscot

    @michael
    I think the Lion is getting pepper sprayed because he is passively sitting somewhere that the UC Davis cop feels he shouldn’t be. He is blocking a public thoroughfare and therefore “deserves” to be attacked.
    Damn fine photoshopping job, by the way.

    Best explanation yet.

  10. @michael

    @wiscot

    @michael
    I think the Lion is getting pepper sprayed because he is passively sitting somewhere that the UC Davis cop feels he shouldn’t be. He is blocking a public thoroughfare and therefore “deserves” to be attacked.
    Damn fine photoshopping job, by the way.

    Best explanation yet.

    I thought it was the Mapei vomit kit.

  11. Haha. BTW, my Uncle lives in Brussels. Has an empty nest there. Next time we’re in Europe, we’re bound to stop in.
    To rub it in, he owns a flat in Chelsea as well. Could never afford to stay in it, but nice to know it’s there.

  12. That pic of Twiggins never fails to shock me!

    Not really sure what you can do to prepare for the pave. I rode it this year for the first time; totally awesome!

    Just amazing that the pros manage to ride it at such speed. Chapeau!

  13. I think it sucks when you are bombing along on nice smooth pave’ and then come to a stretch of “Idaho Department of Making My Life Miserable” chip-seal. Seriously the speed drops 2-3kph and the amount of concentration required to keep hammering at the previous rate is mentally taxing and we’re talking mere chip-seal. I can only imagine what the cobbles must be like.

  14. +1 cyclops
    here in the ozarks, that shit-n-seal was more like pave’ than any hillbilly would credit. For example one time I was toodling along on a 10k stretch of rough as a corn cob shitnseal and my freaking lock ring worked loose and came off, my 12 t slipped off and all of a sudden I am singlespeeding it the rest of the way home, mid cassettethe end of the freebody and I moved the chain up half way, just hoping it didn’t split up on me. Soft pedaled the way home as I don’t carry any lock ring tools in the ole pocket. Got home though and just shook my head.

  15. @Souleur
    Yeah, here in WI they do the shit ‘n seal a lot. Sometimes it’s big, cream colored pebbly shit, sometimes it’s a fine black gravel. The former is like riding on marbles, the latter sticks like fucking glue to your bike. It also usually requires avoiding certain roads for several weeks until cars pound it smooth. Then, of course, they do it on roads that really don’t need to be done and ignore the ones that need it. I swear they just get done when some pencil-pusher looks at a file and says “yup, hasn’t been resurfaced in X years, must be time” and never actually checks to see if it needs done.

  16. @itburns
    Yeah, I could actually understand the cop’s action if it was pure black spray paint he was using to cover up that ugly kit. Mind you, he’d be spraying a lot of cyclists if he was the ugly kit police . . .

  17. @Blah

    @Zoncolan

    Care of my hero, lads. Thing is, is this not the photo of him smashing his kneecap in 1998? If it is, it is true Hardman stuff. I still remember his victory subsequently in 2000 when he pointed at his knee. Tearjerking and wonderful Rule #5.

    Here ’tis:

    I would fall, break my ass, and otherwise completely humiliate myself trying to do that on a bike

  18. @wiscot
    Here in NorCal where there is no real winter to tear up the roads and the state is broke they do cheap chipseal but prefer to just let the road deteriorate into a gravelly, potholed mess. Great fun to pound over.

  19. @Nate,@Souleur, @Cyclops
    Here in Seattle we have 20% cobbled grades. Because Seattle kicks ass.

    Oops.

  20. Yeah, rub it in frank, we know. I really would consider a move ENTIRELY based upon the riding terrain of my possible destination. Some people consider education, some church, some business…screw it, Souleur only considers one thing

    -the Riding
    -beautiful hors categorie climbs
    -chicken bone grabbing descents
    -pave’
    -fellow V riders
    and i would be all in!

    and seattle is one of those (oh, and the java)

    In the mean time, it was like my ride today, 42*, light wind which was nice, no gravel today, just a nice easy role out. No traffic, 3 dogs. No hammering this time of the year for me.

  21. @frank

    There is a 37% on “cobbles” in Pittsburgh.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canton_Avenue

  22. It is one of 13 climbs in the Dirty Dozen.

  23. @frank
    @Souleur
    Yeah well, around these parts we have something pretty special coming up in a week’s time. SUMMER!

  24. @frank

    @Nate,@Souleur, @Cyclops
    Here in Seattle we have 20% cobbled grades. Because Seattle kicks ass.
    Oops.

    We have 20%s too, on what I will now dub Caltrans Cobbles.

    @Souleur
    I recall from my youth parts of the Ozarks with roads we called “tummy ticklers.” Constant up and down, pretty straight. You’d fly down the descents (in a car). At the bottom there would be a “DIP” sign, and then straight back up. Do they have those in your parts? I’d imagine those would be pure suffering on a bike.

    @DerHoggz
    That is completely absurd.

  25. @Souleur

    I did move to Switzerland from the Ozarks for the exact reasons Souleur mentions- the Riding and countless alpine climbs…although I have yet to identify another card carrying Velominati. My V kit is scheduled to arrive any day- been waiting about 3 months…worse than a 7 year old waiting for Christmas.

    I can attest those tummy tickler roads in the Ozarks are good fun for a 1-3 hour ride- but after that they can mentally shatter all but the hardest practitioners of Rule V

  26. It is really short though. People still go down like it is their job.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_3bHNcO_Wwc&feature=related

  27. Is there a way to edit posts? I just had to show you guys this video I ran across with the “ultra-climber”

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FgIL6eHHgZU&feature=related

  28. @DerHoggz
    That’s just ridiculous.

  29. @DerHoggz
    Visually offensive: too many Rules violations in the Mur de Pittsburgh

  30. @brett

    @DerHoggz
    That’s just ridiculous.

    Wow.
    Is the ultra climber also the butterfly whisperer?

  31. @DerHoggz
    Woah, Matt Busche has really let himself go in the off season.

  32. Wiggins finished 25th that year

  33. @DerHoggz

    That’s a strong argument for banning bearded people. I’ll bet he has a recumbent, wears socks with sandals as part of his casual attire along with one of those belts with a little bag. I hadn’t realised my dad was still into cycling.

  34. @DerHoggz

    Is there a way to edit posts? I just had to show you guys this video I ran across with the “ultra-climber”
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FgIL6eHHgZU&feature=related

    Rarely am I appalled and transfixed at the same time but that climb video managed both.

    7.5 gear inches. If that’s what it takes to get up a hill… why not just walk ? It would be faster.

  35. @DerHoggz
    Never be concerned about being too fat too climb again. And the Herb Alpert/Chuck Mangione soundtrack is awesome.

  36. And the Pittsburgh vid shows a guy with aero bars on a cross bike. Wow.

  37. @ChrisO

    @DerHoggz

    Is there a way to edit posts? I just had to show you guys this video I ran across with the “ultra-climber”
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FgIL6eHHgZU&feature=related

    Rarely am I appalled and transfixed at the same time but that climb video managed both.
    7.5 gear inches. If that’s what it takes to get up a hill… why not just walk ? It would be faster.

    Actually, in the second climb, using 8.6 gear inches, a pedestrian does overtake him.

  38. @Chris

    @DerHoggz
    That’s a strong argument for banning bearded people. I’ll bet he has a recumbent, wears socks with sandals as part of his casual attire along with one of those belts with a little bag. I hadn’t realised my dad was still into cycling.

    That’s a beard? I thought it was a full face-mask. And why is he wearing a fake-muscled Captain America suit?

  39. @Chris
    Oh, and my favourite equation ever, courtesy of The Fast Show, is:
    Socks + Sandals = Beard

  40. @DerHoggz: those are killer climbs, the pave’ going up like that must be like a million speed bumps in a row

    @Chris O@ChrisO

    @DerHoggz

    Is there a way to edit posts? I just had to show you guys this video I ran across with the “ultra-climber”http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FgIL6eHHgZU&feature=related

    Rarely am I appalled and transfixed at the same time but that climb video managed both.
    7.5 gear inches. If that’s what it takes to get up a hill… why not just walk ? It would be faster.

    now now, why not walk?? Because we are cyclists, velomanti…created in the very image of Eddy, thus we ride and NEVER walk…because eddy doesn’t walk, thats why. Its like giving up. Even if its faster, thats not the point. I know you weren’t thinking that…ride on

  41. @Nate, yes they do have those ‘tummy ticklers’ here. I have never heard it called that, but that seems right on. Short steep climbs all day long, short down, short up. Buddy and I call it the poor mans interval, hill repeat, breath, hill repeat, breath..ignore the burning, just go. Although, at times, the riding here is really beautiful and part of the beauty is I have it all to myself, relatively speaking.

    @mblume: Alps, traded for the ozarks, thats like trading from ford to mercedes, right? Not bad. My family lineage is actually swiss, so maybe i have family in switzerland. Nice. Enjoy.

    I did have the privilage to work w/the Tour of Missouri as a technical stage director and when they came through, i picked out the absolutely hardest parts for them that day, rouled out 150k for them. Tommy Danielson called it ‘fuckin ridiculous’ afterward on velonews. Thats what I thought too BTW, they smoked the thing, german team Gut had never rode any faster all year they said. The peloton used the ‘hills’ as a build up for momentum every time, literally hitting the next hill and just smashing it, finished the 150k in 3hrs and change. Micheal Barry won that days stage dropping Louder in a breakaway and lone wolfed it to the line.

  42. happy fat thanksgiving everyone!!!

  43. @Souleur

    @DerHoggz: those are killer climbs, the pave’ going up like that must be like a million speed bumps in a row
    @Chris O@ChrisO

    @DerHoggz

    Is there a way to edit posts? I just had to show you guys this video I ran across with the “ultra-climber”http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FgIL6eHHgZU&feature=related

    Rarely am I appalled and transfixed at the same time but that climb video managed both.
    7.5 gear inches. If that’s what it takes to get up a hill… why not just walk ? It would be faster.

    now now, why not walk?? Because we are cyclists, velomanti…created in the very image of Eddy, thus we ride and NEVER walk…because eddy doesn’t walk, thats why. Its like giving up. Even if its faster, thats not the point. I know you weren’t thinking that…ride on

    I’m with @ChrisO on this one, if you have to do that to a bike to get up a hill then walk. Eddy wouldn’t have walked but I’m sure that if he’d found himself going that slowly the world would have ceased to exist.

    I’m all for carrying on in the face of advancing years but one must also recognise ones limitations and seek more suitable routes in the same way that there comes a time when one should acknowledge that ones hair line is not what it used be and reach for the clippers.

  44. @Souleur

    @Nate, yes they do have those ‘tummy ticklers’ here. I have never heard it called that, but that seems right on. Short steep climbs all day long, short down, short up. Buddy and I call it the poor mans interval, hill repeat, breath, hill repeat, breath..ignore the burning, just go. Although, at times, the riding here is really beautiful and part of the beauty is I have it all to myself, relatively speaking.
    @mblume: Alps, traded for the ozarks, thats like trading from ford to mercedes, right? Not bad. My family lineage is actually swiss, so maybe i have family in switzerland. Nice. Enjoy.
    I did have the privilage to work w/the Tour of Missouri as a technical stage director and when they came through, i picked out the absolutely hardest parts for them that day, rouled out 150k for them. Tommy Danielson called it ‘fuckin ridiculous’ afterward on velonews. Thats what I thought too BTW, they smoked the thing, german team Gut had never rode any faster all year they said. The peloton used the ‘hills’ as a build up for momentum every time, literally hitting the next hill and just smashing it, finished the 150k in 3hrs and change. Micheal Barry won that days stage dropping Louder in a breakaway and lone wolfed it to the line.

    My sister and I called them “tummy ticklers” when we were little. Never have ridden them, but the thought of riding hills like that over and over sounds like a hell of a workout.

    I remember that stage. When I first heard there was going to be a Tour of Missouri I thought they should hit those kinds of roads. Awesome work, there was a lot of the V going on that day!

  45. @DerHoggz

    Is there a way to edit posts? I just had to show you guys this video I ran across with the “ultra-climber”
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FgIL6eHHgZU&feature=related

    Amazed and confused at the same time here. Amazed that someone took a shit ton of time to think up and then assemble that two wheeled contraption. Confused as to why.

  46. @Souleur

    @DerHoggz: those are killer climbs, the pave’ going up like that must be like a million speed bumps in a row
    @Chris O@ChrisO

    @DerHoggz

    Is there a way to edit posts? I just had to show you guys this video I ran across with the “ultra-climber”http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FgIL6eHHgZU&feature=related

    Rarely am I appalled and transfixed at the same time but that climb video managed both.
    7.5 gear inches. If that’s what it takes to get up a hill… why not just walk ? It would be faster.

    now now, why not walk?? Because we are cyclists, velomanti…created in the very image of Eddy, thus we ride and NEVER walk…because eddy doesn’t walk, thats why. Its like giving up. Even if its faster, thats not the point. I know you weren’t thinking that…ride on

    That, and Rule #69.

    @Souleur
    AWESOME STORY.

  47. @Souleur

    happy fat thanksgiving everyone!!!

    You too! For anyone celebrating the holiday, Happy Chow-Down Day!

  48. It’s going to be a few awesome months of anticipation & training for all you lads doing the ride! Christmas eve forever and ever.

    I was just looking at Le Tour the other day at the uni library, a big photo book covering the entire history of the Tour. I couldn’t believe how stocky and thick-legged many of the riders were in the 1960s and 70s. A lot more farm boys I suppose.

    Those Twiggos are strange looking.

  49. @Ron

    Back then they had “real” jobs in the offseason.

  50. @brett
    First post – are you receiving me? How does he generate any power out of those twigs of wood?

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