Archive | Belgian Affirmations

The weight of fatigue is taking its pound of flesh

Something from Nothing

by / / 47 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

by / / 70 posts

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’

by / / 62 posts

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

by / / 17 posts

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

by / / 98 posts

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

by / / 66 posts

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

Balance

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…

merckx pave 2

Raining in My Heart

by / / 37 posts

Not one to subscribe to the slew of text speak or acronyms that permeate the modern vernacular (well, not too much, I guess YJA is one used fairly regularly), I am harbouring a severe case of FOMO right now. And the catalyst for this? The lack of a KT14. Shit, I did it again. WTF?…

LeMan gets jiggy with the V-Locus

LeMaster of the V-Locus

by / / 124 posts

Finding The V-Locus is something of an extension of the Goldilocks Principle; bars set somewhere between Sit Up and Beg and a face-plant, saddle height somewhere between speed skater and Baryshnikov, and reach somewhere between a unicycle and the Batpod. This is art more than it is science, a process of iteration and refinement. And…

There is drafting, and then there's this.

Winter Training

by / / 147 posts

Merckx famously professed that after a night of sinning, the body must be cleansed. He obviously meant this figuratively, not literally, because those mud guards on his bike aren’t going to take a big bite out of whatever that lorry has to offer him by way of a Flandrian facial. Winter is a tough time…

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Made By Hand

by / / 170 posts

It wasn’t so long ago that the majority of bicycles were made by hand, from raw materials, in places that aren’t China or Taiwan. While some of these artisans are still around, their wares are increasingly harder to come by, and to procure an example of their work means an outlay of time and money…

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Anatomy of a Graveur

by / / 124 posts

I am a road cyclist, at heart. Even when I’m in a car, I’ll daydream about riding the same road I’m driving. I’ll imagine how the tarmac might feel as my wheels carry me across it, the wind, the smells in the air. I’ll imagine how my lungs are expanding and contracting, cleansing me a…

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Look Pro: The Flemish Compact

by / / 209 posts

Everyone knows that the quality of one’s character is measured by the size gear they can push, particularly when going uphill. It is also a well-established fact that no self-respecting Flemish Pro would ever ride a Compact, no matter what condition their knees are in or how ferocious the gradient. Which, by extension, means that…

The Kapelmuur in January. Photo thenews.com

Cold Fact

by / / 108 posts

Wellington isn’t renown for its great summers; a mate is always quick to remind me that if the weather was perfect all the time, everyone would want to live here and we’d be overrun by Aucklanders (just like Aussies but not quite dumb enough to live in Canberra). As our summer goes into its last…

Photo via Slipstream Sports

Velominati Super Prestige: Omloop Het Nieuwsblad 2013

by / / 227 posts

Outside my window, its pouring rain. My bike is leaning agains the wall in my office, covered in grim and grit from the ride in, which was characterized by equal parts cold, wind, and rain. The spot in the locker room where I changed before my shower was marked by sand and mud, and when…

Photo: Janet Hill

The Phoenix

by / / 71 posts

As a dyed-in-the-wool Northerner, my time living in the South was a mixed bag. Southerners think differently, speak differently, eat differently, and prioritize life differently than do Yankees. In many ways, I became a better person during my time in the South, learning to relax a little bit and stop chasing my tail over everything all…

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Reverence: Malteni

by / / 121 posts

Cyclists can (and usually do) go on for hours as to why they ride their bikes, and most of their reasons can sound, well, a bit flakey to anyone not enamored with shaved legs and being done up in lycra. “I do it to keep fit”, “It keeps me slim”, “I’m a competitor, I love…

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La Vie Velominatus: Flemish Tan Lines

by / / 187 posts

Clouds hang heavy in the sky, plump with a rain which contemplates the opportunity to hurl itself towards the Earth below. I get the sense that we wait for each other, the Rain and I; the rain relishes the opportunity to soak my clothes and skin, seeking to corrode my resolve while I cherish the opportunity…

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