Archive | Belgian Affirmations

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Made By Hand

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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…

It looks so innocent.

Belgian Affirmations: Beer And Bloating On The Koppenberg

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The memories still foment in my mind. They don’t keep me up at night, but they are there, hidden in the recesses of my recall mechanism or whatever it is called, sitting there waiting, waiting to remind me of the darkest day of Keepers Tour ’12. The day of the Ronde, and the horrors that…

Van Petegem in 2003. Photo: Photonews

Peter Van Petegem: A Lesson in Rule #9

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Rule #9–Fair-weather riding is a luxury reserved for Sunday afternoons and wide boulevards. Those who ride in foul weather – be it cold, wet, or inordinately hot – are members of a special club of riders who, on the morning of a big ride, pull back the curtain to check the weather and, upon seeing…

The Best Photo Ever

Keepers Tour 2012 Update, Part 4: A Ronde Ride and Paris-Roubaix

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With Keepers Tour: Cobbled Classics 2012 stitched up and in the history books, the challenge of documenting the trip became immediately obvious; how do you take the myriad impressions, experiences, and perspectives and put them down in a meaningful way – let alone in a way that can somehow be digested. Surely, to document even…

"V"os plays in the sand. Photo: Danny Zelck

Ride Like a Girl: Marianne Vos

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While it took seven Belgians to dominate the Men’s Cyclocross World Championship race on Sunday, it only took a single Dutchwoman to dominate the women’s race. That’s seven times more dominanter, if my math is correct – which it always is. Cyclocross fascinates me, mostly because it is completely insane. But I admit: I like the idea…

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Belgian Affirmations: Kapelmuur

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There isn’t a lot about a climb several kilometers long ending in a sustained 20% cobbled gradient that communicates ‘Attack’ and/or ‘Respond’. Certainly not when it comes after 240 kilometers with only 20 left to race. Nope, I’ve double-checked the calibration and used a control-case: the only reading I’m getting on the Pain Gauge is the…

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Belgian Affirmations: Andrei Tchmil

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Andrei Tchmil got so tired of the palpable disappointment of not being Belgian that he decided to become one. Envision the world the way you want it to be, then make it so. People are cynical when I talk about Belgium. They think I’m only Belgian on paper. That is not true. Yes, I was…

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