Archive | The Hardmen

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Weekend Competition: The Hardmen

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As I said last week when we announced the new book, The Hardmen, we had a much harder time of it writing this one than we did with The Rules. There are a variety of reasons why this is true, not least the fact that we had to actually choose which Hardmen to include in the book,…

Sure, turn that thing upside down. (I said it ironically, so it's not bad luck.)

On Rule #49: Keep the Rubber Side Down

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Gobbles already violated Rule #95 this year when he became the first rider to celebrate winning a Monument by lifting his bike over his head as if he were some kind of savage; not a Belgian road Cyclist, the most civilized of the Cycling Breed. But Rule #49 is another matter altogether. It astounds me whenever I see…

Kelly on the front

Guest Article: 1984 Paris-Roubaix

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Roubaix is the biggest day of the year, as far as I’m concerned, because it is the proving ground of some of the greatest hardmen Cycling has ever known. And Sean Kelly fits that bill perfectly. This piece by @wiscot is a perfect primer for our upcoming book, The Hardmen, due out in the Commonwealth in…

Hayman fights back on the Carrefour. Photo: @harminator

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

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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…

These cobbles don't stand a chance against little Lizzie A. Photo: Ashley Gruber.

This Spells Rain

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For those of you with an interest in the subtle art of Paying Attention, you may have noticed a few things about my writing technique: apart from the inescapable fact that it is untrained and terrible, I make a habit of overusing the semicolon, a practice I started when I heard my third grade teacher tell…

Here comes sickness.

Shit Gets Real

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Can you feel that? That itchy, twitchy feeling… that’s anticipation, it’s expectation, it’s Belgian fucking racing fever! You know you’ve got it, and you can’t fight it, you don’t want to fight it, you need it bad because it’s been way too long. Some may call it Spring Fever, Cobblebone, or Kassientitis. It manifests itself deep in…

Today is a good day to ride.

The Fasting Ride

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I’ve been doing fasting rides on the weekend, before breakfast and maybe also before lunch, depending on how long the ride is. The longer the ride, the lower the intensity. Also the more likely I am to meet my old friend, the Man with the Hammer. I might bring an Emergency Gel, in its glass tube, but I…

This

The Moser Position

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For my money, the best slice of cycling video ever is Francesco Moser, appearing out of the dust, in the 1976 Paris-Roubaix. He blasts by the moto camera on the right, on a mission to get up to the front. Something about him appearing, then almost disappearing down the road. What was that? And there…

Erik Breukink crushes fools on the Gavia

Unsung Heroes: Erik “Gavia” Breukink

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I do love my Dutchmen. That much I admit. I also admit my love for the Americans with whom I share a passport. These affections are expressed erratically and sporadically, often at high volumes, and sometimes with some unreasonably held or possibly non factual evidence to support my passion. At this point, my love for…

Laurel Rathbun makes an adequate effort at Jingle Cross.

À Bloc

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The V surrounds us, it penetrates and binds us together. Through disciplined practice we are able to draw from it to push harder and go farther on the bike; what we do on the bike then informs how we face our lives. The masters, such as the Prophet Merckx and the Apostle de Vlaeminck, could channel…

Kelly crushes fools with properly layered kit.

Dress Like An Onion: The Art of Layering

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The thing about the cold is that you can never tell how cold it is from looking out a kitchen window. You have to dress up, get out training and when you come back, you then know how cold it is. – Sean Kelly Apart from the obvious lesson in Rules #5 and #9, hidden…

Off the back is the worst place to be. Photo: Tim De Waele <a href="http://www.tdwsport.com" target="_blank">TDWsport.com</a>

Reverence: The Ghosts of 2am

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The Prophet had never been dropped by anyone in a race-threatening situation during his entire Grand-Tour career. But he was dropped on this, a relatively minor climb to Pra Loup due to a combination of circumstances involving a chest injury, overconfidence, and savvy Frenchmen who could read the road surface well enough to understand what side of…

JC Rolls dirty. Photo: AP Photo/Laurent Ciprian

On Rule #81: Crash Test Dummies

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We don’t like to talk about crashing. Talking about crashing before you crash feels a lot like tempting fate and talking about it after you crashed feels a lot like a fisherman bragging about his catch. But crashing is the worst part of our sport apart from getting hit by a car, which has all the worst…

The three virtues: Mind, Body, Machine.

La Vie Velominatus: Santoku

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In Japanese, “Santoku” means “Three Virtues”. Exactly which three virtues it is referring to is unclear, but I am fascinated by the idea of a single word with such a rich, if ambiguous, meaning. I have several kitchen knives that goes by this name, and within the scope of knives the three virtues are generally accepted to…

What will Spartacus do?

WWSD

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When it comes to hardmen, there aren’t many tougher than this guy. That he manages to mix massive amounts of V with similarly massive amounts of Casual Deliberation only serves to heighten the man-crushes of a bunch of older, fatter, balder men who see a visage of Spatacus looking back at us in the mirror every time…

THe shadow foretells the ending.

Shadow Boxing

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In the 1989 Tour de France, Laurent Fignon was on the rivet. Close to collapse. But his Directeur Sportif noticed that Greg LeMond’s shoulders were rocking; he knew from the time he spent coaching Greg that this was the telltale sign of his imminent collapse. He ordered Fignon to attack, and he took the Yellow Jersey. He could…

If you have to choose, choose quality over quantity

Short But Sweet

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My lungs feel my favorite way my lungs can feel. Every breath I take tells me the whereabouts of each alveolus. They feel raw, like they were scraped clean and opened up anew after a period of dormancy. Every breath tells me their exact shape and depth, where my lungs end and where my diaphragm begins. I feel high,…

Chuck Flop had some of the best guns in the business.

La Vie Velominatus: Gun Envy

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Three things define a Cyclist: their ability to crush fools, their ability to Look Fantastic, and the Magnificence of their Guns. If you are lacking in one, it is mandatory that the other two are increased in compensation. In the immortal words of Paul Fournel, “To Look Good is already to go fast.” Thank Merckx for that, because…

Never Give Up

Guest Article: Precedents

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The 2015 Giro is almost upon us. Productivity in May is likely to drop off. The combination of Tivo and free daily coverage by the BeIN channel means Gianni’s production, already dangerously low, will sink to record levels. Grazie to @Pedale for this link for the Giro. And grazie to @Wiscot for another superb article…

The weight of fatigue is taking its pound of flesh

Something from Nothing

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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…

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