Archive | Belgian Affirmations

We need to be tough on and off the bike.

Cut Like a Buffalo

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Malcolm Gladwell’s 10,000 Hour Rule suggests that mastering a skill comes down to an incredible amount of practice; however talented you might be, it is the cultivation of raw talent into skill that distinguishes between success and failure. To train is to practice, and every hour we spend devoted to our craft is one spent…

Hayman fights back on the Carrefour. Photo: @harminator

You Can’t and You Don’t and You Won’t Stop

by / / 70 posts

Failure and success are destinations not often visible to the traveller. This is why it is nice to focus instead on the beauty of the journey and try not to be become overly fixated on any particular outcome. It is with some regret that I admit I didn’t invent this idea; there might be a few religions…


Test Drive Dummies

by / / 96 posts

Everyone knows it’s a great idea to change out pieces of equipment the day before a group ride, especially an honorary Ronde van Vlaanderen Cogal involving steep, cobblestone climbs. There is obviously also no need to test-ride the equipment after making said change. I remark at this point that it is rather unexpected to find an 11 speed…

As a matter of fact, no, I hadn't forgotten how awesome I am.

Body Language

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A true leader rarely asks someone to do something for them; the best leaders inspire through their own example those around them to follow suit and join them in their cause. The leader is fueled by something that is not externally driven, it is born from within and appears in this world as passion and conviction. These…

Michele Bartoli, possibly the pioneer of the small frame and slammed stem.

Style and Fashion

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The difference between Style and Fashion is that Fashion changes, but style is something that persists through the ages. You can’t buy it, and you either have it or you don’t. In other words, you can get all the best and expensive kit and still look complete crap if you don’t have Style. Conversely, you can…

Two means to the same end: Winning. Photo: @Bianchi Denti

Just Add X

by / / 39 posts

Belgium has a host of great names, and not just for Cyclists. Riding past a farm equipment outlet or workshop after Keepers Tour 15 had been consigned to the history books, I was taken by the name Bart Vanacker so much that I commented to William that I was seriously considering changing my own handle to…

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…

Hinault keeps the guns clean.

Cover High Before You Cover Low

by / / 102 posts

With the transitions of seasons occurring all over the world as Summer shifts to Fall in the Northern Hemisphere and Winter to Spring in the Southern, we are faced with the seasonal challenge of how to kit up properly for volatile and variable weather conditions. One of the most common mistakes made, apart from overdressing,…

We all know this look. And we all love it.

Wet and Wild

by / / 31 posts

I have been spoiled rotten this summer as I alluded to last week and was evidenced through the flatness of the tires on my Nine Bike. I rode more this summer than I have in recent memory and I rode in the rain exactly one time; @snowgeek wondered if it might rain and I scoffed at the…

The enigmatic Bradley Wiggins

The Curious Case of Bradley Wiggins

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Brad Wiggins is an enigma. There is a lot about him that makes him easy to dislike. That mopey, Pete Townshend look on his face and mop hairdo are the low-hanging fruit in this case, with the length of his socks being there to round out the podium in a close third. Also, he dropped Bont…

13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18. That's a corncob Popeye would make a pipe of.

In Memoriam: The Straight Block

by / / 151 posts

Disc brakes and 1x drivetrains. These are the sort of things that belong on mountainbikes, are questionable on cross bikes, and should make an immediate trip to the rubbish bin when it comes to road bikes. Change for the sake of change; gimmickry masquerading as innovation. And to make matters worse, the appearance of 11-speed blocks has killed…

The weight of fatigue is taking its pound of flesh

Something from Nothing

by / / 61 posts

If the only kind of wind they have in Belgium is a headwind, then the only kind of flats they have in Northern France are false. In Vlaanderen, they specialize in a delectable combination of the two. (Everything that isn’t a windy false flat, it appears, is a windy cobbled climb.) The most obvious way to get…

The V-Lion of Flanders

Brush Strokes On The Soul

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I dream of painting and then I paint my dream. -Vincent Van Gogh Poor old Vinnie may have been Dutch, mad as a cut snake, riddled with gonorrhea, a romantic in the most insane sense, and a raging alcoholic, but despite these encumbrances he knew a bit about the use of colour. He also spent…

Trouée crushing!

Guest Article: Clean Livin’

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Cyclists need the carrot and the stick. It’s all we understand. Do you want to perform well or not be embarrassed? It’s all the same. Either way one needs to train like a bastard to get there. The good news is training means more time on the bike. The bad news is not much else…

The stones bring out the best in certain types of riders.

Riding Beautifully Ugly

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The cobbles are not for everyone. Peter van Petegem said it best, that you have to really love the stones to be good at them. Much like climbing, they demand that the rider forge a close relationship with a special kind of pain – one that is self-inflicted and inspires you to inflict more. I knew I…

Not for the faint hearted: the Winter Cycling Cap.

Experts Only: The Winter Cycling Cap

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We just finished a thorough examination of the Cyclist’s marquee accoutrement, the Cycling Cap. Today’s lesson is about the Cycling Cap’s red-headed step brother, the Winter Cycling Cap. This is a toque born of necessity; the thin cotton cap is nowhere near warm enough for the demands of the Flemish winter training season. Form should follow function,…

Gimmeeawheel!!!! I have a flat!

On the Road Again: Keepers Tour 2015

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We want to look like Pros, sure, but what we’re really after is feeling Pro. All the aesthetics are just a tool we use to fuel the fickle internal combustion engine of Morale. In the end, there is little that will make you feel Pro more than clattering along a stretch of cobbles in a small group;…

Yes, indeed

Where Have You Been All My Life?

by / / 87 posts

Life is full of surprises. Some you don’t want, like a funnel web in a shoe, while others are completely unexpected but more than welcome, even if you are then left with figuring out the hows, whys and HOW?s of the serendipitous conundrum now presented to you. This is how I now feel, after fate…

Fabs and Vanmarke make the split on the Kwaremont. Photo: Alexandre Voisine


by / / 78 posts

I had always imagined that de Ronde van Vlaanderen must be hardest race in the world. The way I worked it out – having never ridden the course of either event at the time – was that de Ronde had the same cobbles as Roubaix, but with 20% grades thrown in. It makes enough sense…

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