Spring comes to Summer

AoP: Never Too Much Muur

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You can never have too much Muur. It’s a proven scientific fact that too little Muur can be detrimental to a Cyclist’s state of mind, even if they have never ridden the most iconic climb in Flanders. And if they have, then the withdrawals are something not to be taken lightly. Every so often we need to top up the Muur bank throughout the months between April and April, the only month that brings genuine joy to the racing fan.

Whilst July is a test of mind-numbing boredom induced by a three-week wait for the inevitable to conclude, August sees the greatest little stage race take place on the kassien and grunty climbs the home of Cycling is littered with. The Eneco Tour is like a six-day Classics campaign, like back-to-back Dwaars, E3s and mini-Rondes. The men of Spring get another chance to perform on their preferred turf, but in weather that doesn’t require Flandrian Best to be deployed. Though Vlaanderen being Flanders, there is naturally a bit of rain about, only adding to the race’s aura.

This photo from 2013’s Tour illustrates that even during the summer, even during the week, even during the day, the magic of the Muur is not to be missed. Sure, there are a tenth of the people that would crowd the wall during the halcyon days of the Ronde, but even Colnago Pullover Guy is there, albeit subdued, just checking things out, marking his territory like a naughty chihuahua. I’m not sure what Flemish for “Laaadies…” is, but I’ pretty certain he’s about to drop it.

Even with the Worlds in full swing, my thoughts turn to the Muur. The cobbled roads are a powerful drug, and I’m an addict in need of a fix. Just seven more months, just seven more months…

WallOfGramont

*Click on photo for detail, you won’t regret it.

// Anatomy of a Photo // Belgian Affirmations // The Photos

  1. Brett, find a willing billionaire friend to construct an Australian Muur for you to play on. Or would you be riding that thing yourself ??

  2. @universo

    Brett, find a willing billionaire friend to construct an Australian Muur for you to play on. Or would you be riding that thing yourself ??

    Yeah, but which one of my billionaire friends would I pick?

    (And it’d be a NZ Muur…)

  3. Speaking of naughty chihuahua,s I have 3 . If they could climb the Muur with the ferociousness of their reaction to a stranger reaching into the inside of our car they would most certainly top it before any of us . Little Devils …

  4. I used to hate Stefan Schumacher for crashing Hincapie out of the leader’s jersey in 2006, but that was later offset somewhat by the revelation of Big George’s own douchbagedness.

  5. I’m just returned from a ride around il Lago di Lugano. The trip didn’t get me as far as the Madonna del Ghisallo, but I will be dreaming wistfully during il Lombardia—another place ingrained in the hearts of cyclists.

  6. I’ll never forgive the organisers of the Rhonde for removing The Muur. Who can forget Faboo taking Boonen apart up there? Now it seems like a lesser race, still awesome, but not complete.

    I ride up there whenever I want, just plug in the Sufferfest video and away we go.

  7. @Ccos

    I used to hate Stefan Schumacher for crashing Hincapie out of the leader’s jersey in 2006, but that was later offset somewhat by the revelation of Big George’s own douchbagedness.

    Schumacher can be hated on his own lack-of merit. Giant, multi time loser doper, never admitted to it. Took a lot of success from other people. He even beat Fabs in a TdF TT. This is an Outrage!

    Somehow, still racing. What a world, what a world.

  8. I remember in this year’s tour, Phil Liggett who already irritates me kept banging on about Mûr-de-Bretagne translating to “the wall of Brittany” which it doesn’t. I figure he’d thought that as Mur de Huy translates to “Wall of Huy” and I knew this. I would have understood if he said it once, but as Liggett does, he kept repeating this incorrectly. So annoying.

    Remember Phil, you did say you’d retire if the One Who Must Not Be Named was guilty…

  9. I’ve ridden the Muur twice now and there is a point where you turn right off the main cobbled road, where you know it’s only about a hundred metres to the top and I always have to accelerate there to make fools suffer. Only thing is just around the corner are the worst, most uneven cobbles on the steepest gradient and I die a slow and painful death as Brett steams by and Harminator dissapears up the road..

  10. How steep is it?

  11. The nearest equivalent I know is Gold Hill in Shaftesbury. The cobbles are pretty mossy and it can be a real bitch not to spin out when it is damp.

  12. And I do wonder how this guy stopped at the bottom…….

  13. @Teocalli

    The nearest equivalent I know is Gold Hill in Shaftesbury. The cobbles are pretty mossy and it can be a real bitch not to spin out when it is damp.

    O’Merckx. That looks fucken horrendous. Way steeper than anything in the Tour of Flanders. Break out the 30mms. Deflate to 4 bar. Pray for sun.

  14. Ah, a seven month countdown to keep me charging…right as the fall equinox arrives tomorrow. Awesome!

    And, let me say, Fuck Gold Hill. That climb would definitely give you the shaft. Yikes.

  15. @Rigid

    I’ve ridden the Muur twice now and there is a point where you turn right off the main cobbled road, where you know it’s only about a hundred metres to the top and I always have to accelerate there to make fools suffer. Only thing is just around the corner are the worst, most uneven cobbles on the steepest gradient and I die a slow and painful death as Brett steams by and Harminator dissapears up the road..

    Keepers’ Tour 2015. We arrived in Geraardsbergen from a different direction to my previous visit in 2013. Everyone was asleep. I wasn’t afraid – it’s not steep but it is longish and the cobbles are roughest where the pitch is steepest – the last 300. I went long and dumb. Nobody followed. I kept it steady as a black cat almost crossed behind me. Then William appeared. He hit the Kappelmuur section at speed. Smart. I tried to stick to the inside where the stones are “smoothest”. He sailed past but I kept positive in the delusion that the guide doesn’t really count in the race. Rigid appeared next but he quickly went flaccid. I saw the pub. I saw the church. I saw the cross and Brett. I was determined to keep the inside line on the knoll. He moved right and…

    you decide…

    http://youtu.be/FCZLeZQQk_s

    (Can’t embed from iPad?)

  16. @Harminator

    killed it _ good job!

  17. @Teocalli

    The nearest equivalent I know is Gold Hill in Shaftesbury. The cobbles are pretty mossy and it can be a real bitch not to spin out when it is damp.

    What amazes me is that some eejit, upon seeing that hill, thought “let’s build houses up it and put in cobbles.”

  18. @wiscot

    To be fair to them there probably were not too many alternatives to cobbles when they put them down.

  19. @wiscot

    Its maybe just as well that the exit at the top is via a very narrow alley otherwise some eejit would be tempted to put a major race up there. As it is there are a few Sportives that use it.

  20. @Teocalli

    @wiscot

    Its maybe just as well that the exit at the top is via a very narrow alley otherwise some eejit would be tempted to put a major race up there. As it is there are a few Sportives that use it.

    That’s crazy! What’s the gradient on that sucker? 25-30%?

  21. @wiscot

    Tinternet says end to end 16% average with max at 21%. Seems steeper with the cobbles though.

  22. @wiscot

    Then again hitting it after 100km in a 160km ride makes it feel steeper!

  23. @RobSandy

    How steep is it?

    The Muur? I think it’s 21% in the trees nearing the top, where the roughest cobbles are too. And because it’s longer than most other Flanders climbs except the Kwaremont, it really has a sting by the time you get to the business end.

    Coming around the last corner onto the Kapelmuur and seeing the cross and church makes even a hardcore atheist feel a little bit of worship.

  24. @Harminator

    Keepers’ Tour 2015. We arrived in Geraardsbergen from a different direction to my previous visit in 2013. Everyone was asleep. I wasn’t afraid – it’s not steep but it is longish and the cobbles are roughest where the pitch is steepest – the last 300. I went long and dumb. Nobody followed. I kept it steady as a black cat almost crossed behind me. Then William appeared. He hit the Kappelmuur section at speed. Smart. I tried to stick to the inside where the stones are “smoothest”. He sailed past but I kept positive in the delusion that the guide doesn’t really count in the race. Rigid appeared next but he quickly went flaccid. I saw the pub. I saw the church. I saw the cross and Brett. I was determined to keep the inside line on the knoll. He moved right and…

    you decide…

    http://youtu.be/FCZLeZQQk_s

    (Can’t embed from iPad?)

    No gifts.

    Is there any way you can upload the video in higher quality? I remember watching it on your i-Thing and it was clear as… could see the devastation coming from behind!

  25. Love the cobbled muurs and bergs. Only climbed this most iconic hill the one time, 2013, but I will always pull out the memory of rounding that bend and seeing the kirk above when I need a wee feel good moment. And the cobble (gifted to me by none other than Museeuw, the man) sits proudly on my woodstove hearth.

  26. @Teocalli

    The nearest equivalent I know is Gold Hill in Shaftesbury. The cobbles are pretty mossy and it can be a real bitch not to spin out when it is damp.

    Motherfucker!

    Closest in these parts is Oxford Street in White Rock, and it’s paved. I thought my hamstrings were going to detach themselves when I attempted it.

  27. Yeah, we don’t have much in the Calgary area to rival things like this. I’m still looking for something Muur worthy, but this is the closest I’ve managed so far:

    Muur de Alley on Strava

    22% average, max 29%, but only 100m long.

  28. I guess that link didn’t work so well.

    210 3rd Street NE, Calgary Street view up the roughly paved lane.

  29. @Harminator

    @Rigid

    I’ve ridden the Muur twice now and there is a point where you turn right off the main cobbled road, where you know it’s only about a hundred metres to the top and I always have to accelerate there to make fools suffer. Only thing is just around the corner are the worst, most uneven cobbles on the steepest gradient and I die a slow and painful death as Brett steams by and Harminator dissapears up the road..

    Keepers’ Tour 2015. We arrived in Geraardsbergen from a different direction to my previous visit in 2013. Everyone was asleep. I wasn’t afraid – it’s not steep but it is longish and the cobbles are roughest where the pitch is steepest – the last 300. I went long and dumb. Nobody followed. I kept it steady as a black cat almost crossed behind me. Then William appeared. He hit the Kappelmuur section at speed. Smart. I tried to stick to the inside where the stones are “smoothest”. He sailed past but I kept positive in the delusion that the guide doesn’t really count in the race. Rigid appeared next but he quickly went flaccid. I saw the pub. I saw the church. I saw the cross and Brett. I was determined to keep the inside line on the knoll. He moved right and…

    you decide…

    http://youtu.be/FCZLeZQQk_s

    (Can’t embed from iPad?)

    That wasn’t Brett, that was the Jaegher.

  30. If ya just can,t make it to Belgium to ride the Muur here,s a little taste in Pittsburg only just a whole lot steeper … https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i4JLYcFLhbY

  31. @chris

    That wasn’t Brett, that was the Jaegher.

    Pretty much!

  32. Rigid going flaccid? Destruction coming from behind? Shaftesbury? You guys are killing me!

  33. @Bianchi Denti

    He’s here all week!

  34. @Bianchi Denti

    Flaccid is a harsh description, a slight loss of power bought on by climbing multiple bergs followed by a rapid recovery. Respect to those dudes in the Eneco tour going up there twice and finishing half way up on the third, I can’t imagine anything more grueling

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