Archive | The Hardmen

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In Memoriam: Fiorenzo Magni, December 7, 1920 – October 19, 2012

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The Velominati mourn today the passing of Fiorenzo Magni, perhaps one of the Cycling world’s greatest living example of the spirit of The V and all that surrounds it. Magni was the original Lion of Flanders, a feat heightened somewhat by his being Italian, not Flemish – though the Flemish had little to argue with…

The classic gear lever

Changer de Braquet

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Some people are supremely good at it, reducing complex situations into matters of simple black and white. This isn’t my particular area of expertise; I enjoy wading through the pools of ambiguity a bit too much to go about bludgeoning this beautiful world into absolutes. In fact, I would venture that delighting in nuance is part…

The young Boss of the Bosburg.

Awesome Belgian Guys: Edwig Van Hooydonk

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It was Frank’s recent post that started all this. Mentioning Breukink always makes me think of my friend’s saying, “I have a Breukink in my Van Hooydonk” as his excuse for coming up short on a long training ride. Maybe that’s only funny during a long training ride. That phrase put me back onto Van…

The Frame Handle. Photo: Wallnut Studio

Anatomy of a Photo: The Shoulders of Giants

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The question tackled here is of carrying the bicycle, should it require carrying. The non-cyclist is perhaps more inclined to consider carrying their bicycle than is the Cyclist. Examples that come to mind include the navigation of a giant mud pit or a steep twisty narrow snowy descent, where the uninitiated may erroneously contemplate the likelihood of survival between…

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…

Vande Velde leads on the Stelvio. Photo: Steephill/Sirotti

Twistin Banged and Felled. And Got Back Up.

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As a byproduct of brakes being strictly for ornamental purposes, cyclists are often forced to find alternative means of stopping their bikes. As a matter of both convenience and effectiveness, the tarmac and other objects of greater mass than the sum of cyclist and bicycle are often employed for this purpose. Collectively, we refer to…

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Imprecise Precision: L’Heure

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Why would any sane person choose to suffer? The answer to this question is a primal one and of particular relevance to society in the current age: control. With chaos and uncertainty creeping from every corner of life, cycling provides us with control over physical suffering; to suffer at our own will provides us the…

Rik van Looy, The Emperor, proving that Steel is Real

The Rule #5 Talk

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Have a look around to see who you find occupying your immediate vicinity. Presently, I am surrounded by a pleasant-seeming bunch. Some are even going so far as to appear happy or at least not displeased; all of them are pale and none of them fit. My attention is drawn, however, to a a portly…

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Anatomy of a Photo: You Can Leave Your Hat On

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Sometimes, when there’s a job to be done, you just don’t care what you look like. As with gardening, changing the oil or building that new pergola, the best gear for the job is usually the most practical, not the most stylish. In this Cor Vos image from the 1985 Liége-Bastogne-Liége, keeping warm is clearly the…

Meet your DS      photo by Andrew Hood

Anatomy of a Photo: Sean Yates V. 2.0

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Sweet Jesus, here is a DS you can’t bluff. Having Raas, Tchmil or Sean Yates as a director must make you a better rider; you will be getting little sympathy from the team car with one of these guys behind the wheel. Some ex-racers really let go when they retire but only Sean Yates looks…

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Anatomy of a Photo: Things That Are Hard To Come By

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Museeuw rockin’ the bands riding with Cipo decked out in yellow as he twists one up. There are only two things cooler than this and both of them are impossible to get. One is Led Zeppelin playing at your shitty graduation party in the late 70’s and the other is one of those awesome Coca…

Hitting the cobbles. Photo: Jesse Willems

Keepers Tour 2012 Update, Part I: Roubaix & RVV

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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…

Guest Article: The Most Beautiful Race in the World

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Finally we can speak to this Paris-Roubaix mythology. The Keepers Tour group rode twenty-one sectors at something much slower than race speed. After the first sector we regrouped and we were all stunned by how bad it was. Twenty more sectors of that? That was horrendously tough. The first sectors are the easy ones. The…

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In Flanders Fields

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You don’t have to be in Flanders very long before you start to breathe in the history of the area. Horrible things have happened in the fields across Northern France and Belgium, like the Battle of Waterloo and the Battle of the Bulge. These are the kinds of things that hang in the air for…

The Prophet rode white tape, how about you?

Ride Like a Leader: White Bar Tape

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When done correctly, Cycling can be both the hardest and dirtiest of sports. We relish in the glory of returning from a ride, battered by the four winds and soaked by the seven rains; our bodies, faces, and machines covered in the reasons why most people might stay indoors. Given that, there is something almost…

"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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The 2011 V Moment of the Year: Paris Roubaix

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The V Moment of the Year isn’t an award so much as acknowledgment of the moment during the season when the sport demonstrated the most pure example of spirit of The V. This is more than pushing hard en route to glory; the V Moment is the one point in time at which, despite a…

Bispectacled Jan Rass    Picture courtesy of www.museociclismo.it

Guest Article: Rose tinted glasses

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@wiscot’s article speaks of cyclists of our youths and Jan Raas made a big impression on the young Gianni. Do the Dutch have a harder Hardman? He went on to become a director-sportif and I pity the riders under his command, they must have suffered like dogs. I cannot find a photo to document this…

Roger de Leginck riding in a Flemish Mirror. Photo: CorVos/Pez

Anatomy of a Photo: Looking Fantastic

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Steel Gazelles, check. Monster fork rake, check. Hairnets, check. North European monsoon, check. Flemish Mirror, check. Chain welded to the Big Ring, check. WTF Leggins affixed to Our Hero, check. Roger de Vlaeminck does his part to remind us that while Looking Pro isn’t synonymous with Looking Fantastic, being a Level V Badass can make even the most jacked…

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