Archive | The Hardmen

Rule5AwardHoogerland

Tour de France Rule #5 Award: Johnny Hoogerland

by / / 149 posts

Not an absolute; the beauty of Rule #5 is the graduated scale upon which it is measured. Rule #5 means to push yourself beyond the signals your body sends to stop what you’re doing, usually with ever-increasing urgency. It means to disobey reason and to surpass physical boundaries previously considered impassable. This is why Rule…

Legend. Photo: Rueters

Who’s your Poppy?

by / / 95 posts

You’d think that with such an historical event taking place in France overnight that the Australian newspapers would be a sea of yellow and ‘we are the champions’ headlines this morning. Yet what I saw staring back at me when I visited one of the most respected newspaper websites (ie not a Murdoch tome) was a…

The Sheriff-Francesco Moser         Credito: © Ufficio Stampa FotoMedia

Lo Sceriffo

by / / 72 posts

In May, Velominati wake up too early, brew espresso and open laptop computers to watch small streaming videos of the Giro d’Italia.  We notice how different the Giro is from the Tour de France. It’s more colorful, more vibrant, more full of life. If Hinault somehow represents the TdF, Moser would represent the Giro. Lo…

George Hincapie - photo Luc Claessen

The Experienced Mr. Hincapie

by / / 89 posts

Experience is something that we can only develop over time. We take it to imply there is some associated wisdom, garnered principally through those experiences that contributed that wisdom through hardship of some kind. As a society, we also refer to this as “learning from our mistakes”; mistakes make a much more convincing guide than does success. I happen to…

Working man Van Summeren wins in Roubaix. Photo: Fotoreporter Sirotti

Here Stands a Man: Johan Van Summeren

by / / 92 posts

Here stands a man. A quiet man. A hard working man. A Belgian man. A man from a life of grit, cold, and rain. Here stands a man who has chosen a life of hard work and sacrifice; a hard life even within the context of Cycling. A man who spends long hours in the wind…

The field at de Ronde van Vlaanderen. Photo: Willie Verhegge

Ever-Prescent V: Ronde van “V”laanderen

by / / 49 posts

There is something about Northern Europe in general and Flanders in particular that exudes The V; you feel it in the air the moment you set foot into the region. Such terrible things have happened here for so long that living with hardship and suffering has not only become part of the culture of the region, but being tough…

The Lion roars in the mud and rain

Encore de la Pluie

by / / 69 posts

I don’t enjoy the races in February on the Arabian Peninsula because I like watching other people ride in the sun while I spend my afternoons looking for a sliver of daylight that coincides with some fragment of my day where I don’t also need to work or engage in some other activity. I also…

Always remember, if you ain't first, you're last. Photo: Shane Goss licoricegallery.com

Buninyong Nights: The Ballad of Jacky Bobby

by / / 99 posts

Close the polls. Shut the books. No need to tally the votes. It’s only three weeks into the new year, but folks, we may have already witnessed the V Ride of the Year. While the Euros are trying to escape the bitter chills of winter, the Aussies and Kiwis were turning up the heat with…

The Badger meditates

Look Pro, Part III: Meditate on The V

by / / 71 posts

In the interest of full disclosure, I feel it is my responsibility to warn you that this article might accidentally make you a better cyclist. Even though it breaks protocol, the subject of this edition of Look Pro involves the power of the mind, not just aesthetics. As we established previously, The Rules can be transcended if the…

Courtesy Flandria Bikes

The Unsung Hardmen: Herman Van Springel

by / / 36 posts

Making a name for yourself in the pro ranks during the heyday of Merckx, De Vlaeminck, and Maertens would have been tougher than making a name for yourself in the pro ranks during the heyday of Merckx, De Vlaeminck, and Maertens.  Especially, I would think, if you also happened to be Belgian. But with somewhere…

100% V.  Photo: Roberto Bettini

V Ride of the Year: Strada Bianca

by / / 27 posts

We are not hard. We may espouse the values of the mythical hardman, but we are merely pretenders to the throne of the Kings of V. While it is ok to talk about hardness, suffering and toil on the bike, when it really comes down to it we are mere mortals who would rather be…

Putting the V in Diva

Riders who put the “V” in Diva: Federico Bahamontes

by / / 68 posts

Cyclists can be a twitchy lot.  Able to both endure and dish out pain for weeks on end in a grand tour takes considerable fortitude, or what we call The V.  The cyclist must know their body and measure out its effort carefully.  The pros we look to as the Giants of the Road, the…

BELGIUM

Anatomy of a Photo: I Will Eat You Where You Stand.

by / / 45 posts

If ever there was a photo that illustrated why anyone would be given the monicker, “The Canibal”, this is it. I devoted a full seventeen seconds to ‘finding out the history’ of this picture, and came up empty.  G’Phant sent this my way with a short but clear note, “This photo looks like it was taken…

Obree in the initial stages of innovation. Photo via obree.com

Breaking the Rules: Graeme Obree

by / / 68 posts

I’m going to let you in on a little secret. Innovation is ugly, inelegant. By it’s very definition, it is carried out with almost a kind of contempt for The Rules. With no regard for aesthetics, it is a domain ventured into by the casually courageous and mentally frail. It comes in fits and starts,…

The Three-Point System in full effect

Look Pro, Part I: Three-Point System

by / / 86 posts

Aesthetics have always played a major role in my quest to become a better athlete. On the surface, this may seem a ridiculously vain assertion, but for me, the reality is that looking like a pro makes me feel like a pro, and when I feel like a pro, I’m motivated to ride like a…

Sean Yates.   Photo: Graham Watson

Anatomy of a Photo: Milan-San Remo 1983

by / / 54 posts

It is said that this race is one of the easiest to finish but hardest to win. Really, it is the easiest to finish? I’ve driven from San Remo to Milan and it takes hours and hours, even at Italian highway speeds.  I’m amazed this race usually ends up in a field sprint, somehow big…

The cycling cap, perhaps at it's peak

In Memoriam: The Cycling Cap

by / / 92 posts

We gather here today to pay our respects to one of the icons of our great sport, the cycling cap.  The perfect union of form and function and an excellent example of why the former follows the latter, and why together they are beautiful.  The brim is just long enough to shield the eyes from the elements,…