International Cogal: Festum Prophetae

International Cogal: Festum Prophetae

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It came to me in a moment of absolute clarity, the kind of clarity which only arrives to one in an oxygen-depleted state and at high speed – usually down a steep descent. It would be awfully nice to justify wearing my Molteni jersey, rather than having it hanging in my workshop all the time.

It had been suggested a few times already by the time the notion came to me last winter, that Velominati should organize an international Cogal on which all of us around the world would climb aboard our bicycles in honor of each other, and devote the day to riding. It is, after all, what we do; we ride our bikes. The rest is detail.

While the idea is simple enough, the selection of a date has proven positively futile. Summer on the Upper Half of the planet (you know the one – the one that matters) means VVinter for the Lower Half. When the Lower Half (you know the one, the one with all the convicts and Aztecs) is in summer, the important side is snowed in or sopping wet. You simply can’t choose a day that works for everyone.

The solution, of course, is simple: I unilaterally pick a date for the entire community and shove it down everyone’s throat by the virtue of being louder than almost anyone else (with the exception of the bloke sitting just behind me and to my left at the café; that is one loud-mouthed bastard, that.)

Being the type of person I am, with all the personality defects I have at my disposal, I was still perplexed by the selection of a date that holds significant meaning for all our community. January first, so we may ride off our hangovers. October 3rd, to celebrate Leiden’s liberty from the Spanish. Then the epiphany as I flew down Lighthouse Hill towards the shore of Puget Sound, where Pearl Jam and Sound Garden once rocked out in the weeds: the Velominati International Cogal will be held every year in honor of The Prophet‘s birthday, June 17.

Every Velominatus is free to observe this day however they like. Take a holiday from work; declare an exemption due to your specific religious requirements. Ride on the day, in a way that helps you honor the way Eddy rode himself. Ride lots, was his sage training advice. I like to surprise my rivals, was his explanation attacking 70 or 80 or 90 or 100km from the finish. However you ride, on Festum Prophetae each year, we will honor The Prophet. We may also choose, as is customary with other holidays, to arrange within our immediate community to designate the nearest convenient day to observe the holiday. If taking the day to honor him is impractical on the 17th, designate a nearby day that works better for you.

Mark your calendars for June 17, Festum Prophetae*. Personally, I will climb aboard my steel Bike #2 fitted with tubular tires, don my wool Molteni Jersey and head out with only a bit of food in my jersey pocket and water in my bidon with the express intent to meet the Man with the Hammer. No mean feat, considering the Seattle Summer Cogal will have taken place only the day before. Two Cogals in one weekend: I can’t think of a better way to honor him.

Vive la Vie Velominatus.

*A special thanks to @ChrisO for helping determine the “correct” latin phrase.

// Cogals

  1. @Collin Incredible! Congrats on having the physical and mental strength to do such a thing. (I think they still have 24 hour TTs in the UK, but I’m sure they’re as rare as hen’s teeth.) Makes my 170kms yesterday seem like the work of a “fat, lazy bastard” to misquote Cav . . . .

     

    By the way, did anyone else see the Sporza interview with Cav? Didn’t do the Tour de Suisse because he race organizer hates sprinters and gives them nothing to go for. “Fat, lazy bastards” is how he feels the organizers feel about sprinters. As for not winning a stage against such good opposition, he said the tour is the tour (not a wee stage race in Holland) implying he’s ready to go for green.

  2. To celebrate the day, my VMH and I gave ourselves a present.  We rode our just completed Davidson tandem for the first time on Sunday morning.

    Only the day before at the Seattle Cogal,  Frank and his evil crew tore my legs off, beat me senseless with the stumps, crushed my soul, set it on fire, pissed on the ashes and then ground the soggy ashes into the dirt. A tandem ride with my sweetie was a welcome change.

  3. @Collin

    I spent the first 8 hours of Festum Prophetae doing the last 8 hours of a 24-hour bike race. After knocking out the first 320km in about 9 hours, the only other rider with me started cramping and suffering from heat exhaustion (afternoon temps hit 96). In Mercxian fashion, I just went off the front solo…for the next 15 hours. Aside from the heat, there were three hours of rainstorms and then 20mph+ winds throughout the night “” my aerobars “sing” when the wind goes about 20mph. As the night loop was 7.5 miles long, my world reduced two a two square mile box of pain. I had exactly one person pass me in the 13 hours I spent on that loop, and he clearly had been sleeping.

    My legs blew up around 5am, but one lap ridden at a crawl and they woke back up. My race crew got a good laugh as I flew by yelling, “My legs just woke up!” And then I took off again. At this point, the sun started coming up, so we could start to recognize one another. There were repeated calls from a couple guys of, “Dude, you are just killing it out here” or “You’ve been riding like a madman all day!” True.

    I rolled across the finish line for the last time at 7:56am, fist-bumped my crew, and tried to get off my bike. Distance traveled? 760km. And second place? 672km. Win.

    I’ll post some photos when I get copies.

    Brilliant – chapeau

  4. @ChrisO

    @Collin

    If there had been a Rapture on the Festum Prophetae you would have been first to beam up.

    Would love to read a full report of it, including your preparation and recovery. There is talk about a 12 hour being held here at the end of the year and I quite fancy it.

    Did a 12 hour once – couldn’t piss properly for a day or so afterwards – it was like passing napalm.

  5. @Collin Simply wow!! Congratulations!!

  6. So me and Lay Brother Simon did the Trossachs Ton. 

    158km’s of scenery and midges. Anyone with a flat was doomed as all their blood would be sucked out by the little bastards long before you could get the wheel off the bike. I didn’t stop at all and still got bitten. In this country if you go slowly butterflies don’t nest in your wheels midges eat your guns. They even got behind my shades where the atmosphere was so dank and vile they died in two great tear drops of insect corpses

    Kept up with the club for 45km’s or so and then I started to fall off as we hit the rolling hills beyond Aberfoyle and round Loch Katrine although I generally climb well for my weight. Lay Brother Simon’s in a grump because he reckons I fixed it so that it was his turn on the front when we hit the first hill and he got dropped after 50 metres never to be seen again. 

    I got comprehensively dropped around 80kms when I started to cramp. The two week lay off with the back trouble took its toll on my conditioning but thanks to everyone’s advice @doc @oli the lower tyre pressures did the trick and it was like riding on a billiard table. My back may have been fine but I was in @frank’s “pain cave” for the last third – there’s a long drag called The Crow Road over the Campsies – nothing to it unless you have cramp and have 130kms in your legs – torture. Met the first of the “walkers” on that hill – one with Speedplays – who sold her those?

    Finished in 5 hours 52 minutes and change. Went home and drank a bottle of Leffe in honour of The Prophet.

    Two weeks to the Coast to Coast – need a cramp cure quick…

  7. @the Engine

    Two weeks to the Coast to Coast – need a cramp cure quick…

    I’m not sure this is The Cure but I always put a good shot of sea salt in all my bottles as I sweat a lot. I’m not sure ‘loss of electrolyte’ is a primary cause of cramps but it’s an easy thing to try.

  8. @Collin Jeepers! Great effort!

    @the Engine Glad to hear the lower pressures worked, but I hope the conditioning comes up quick for you and your cramp issues don’t arise again!

  9. @The Engine

    Everyone has a cure for cramp but a lot of it is placebo effect I suspect.

    The guys at sportsscientists.com did an article on it a while back, analysing various tests and study data.

    The shocking conclusion IIRC was that cramp is not cause by lack of salt/electrolytes or any of the common reasons attributed, but to basically working harder than what you have trained for. Imagine that !

    Your 158 km ride after a two week lay off fits the bill. After all, it’s unlikely anyone is going to lose a lot of water or salt in a ride in Scotland in the summer…

    But it means the only quick cure is to ride within your limits, whatever they might be at the time.

  10. Glad to hear so many great stories. And the photos are excellent too!

    Yikes, broken RDs and cracked BBs?! Good luck to getting those sorted out.

    I got in a casual 50 km with a pal, kept it slow to keep the BFGs primed for standing still to exchange some vows. Ha, I think those ten minutes were the longest I’ve ever gone without moving! Thanks to the lot of ya for your well wishes. It was a great weekend, a very nice wedding, I definitely scored an awesome VMH, and saw many friends I hadn’t seen in a bit.

    Photo to come. The father-in-law has some on his camera that I’ll share when he sends them to me.

    First Festum Prophetae is in the books!!

  11. Oh, and Collin – OH MY! That’s insane.

    Nate – hmm, that card is so awesome maybe it could be turned into small greeting cards that we could have made up for Followers? I sure as heck would LOVE having a stack of little cards to send out to friends with such a cool drawing on it. And on that note, two best wedding gifts: a friend’s father welded us a very cool little bicycle with a hoop attached to the top tube – it holds a potted plant! The VMH is a gardener and landscape architect and I’m a cyclist so really awesomely combined our two passions. Also got a book on bicycle art from an aunt!

    And wait, not only is Rigid a great cyclist and oozes style but he bakes chocolate cakes? Incredible!

  12. @ChrisO

    @The Engine

    Everyone has a cure for cramp but a lot of it is placebo effect I suspect.

    The guys at sportsscientists.com did an article on it a while back, analysing various tests and study data.

    The shocking conclusion IIRC was that cramp is not cause by lack of salt/electrolytes or any of the common reasons attributed, but to basically working harder than what you have trained for. Imagine that !

    Your 158 km ride after a two week lay off fits the bill. After all, it’s unlikely anyone is going to lose a lot of water or salt in a ride in Scotland in the summer…

    But it means the only quick cure is to ride within your limits, whatever they might be at the time.

    Thanks @Oli and @Gianni too. I was a little dehydrated by the end – I had two bidons and had emptied them with under 10kms to go but if I’d stopped and refilled one it might have made some difference. 

    Time available means that, outside events and Sunday club runs, most of my rides are <40kms so I think all of the above had some bearing but conditioning was the one that mattered most. 

    I’ll take on the 230kms Coast to Coast in a couple of weeks a little less aggressively at the start and see if that helps.

  13. @Ron

    that card is so awesome maybe it could be turned into small greeting cards that we could have made up for Followers?

    If people are interested I can make it available.  Not sure how to go about the repro.

    @roger

    @Nate

    The negative space of the cyclist, to the bars and front wheel is the first thing I noticed. A giant “heart” shape.

    Thanks again — shared your comment with the little guy.  The heart was not an intentional part of the design and he was stoked when I pointed it out to him.

  14. Just did my belated festum ride , treated myself to the business end of the Ronde van Vlaanderen , started with the oude kwaremont ,paterberg , koppenberg ,taaienberg , eikenberg, molenberg, haaghoek cobbled section , leberg, tenbosse , vesten and muur van Geeraardsbergen , bosberg and ended with the joker to keep the final of the RvV in Geraardsbergen the Congoberg good for 99 km and a bit less than 1000m climbing

  15. @Nate

    Just scan it and use Shutterfly or similar service. You can make greening cards, postcards, and other such things.

  16. @Belgian Cobblestones

    Just did my belated festum ride , treated myself to the business end of the Ronde van Vlaanderen , started with the oude kwaremont ,paterberg , koppenberg ,taaienberg , eikenberg, molenberg, haaghoek cobbled section , leberg, tenbosse , vesten and muur van Geeraardsbergen , bosberg and ended with the joker to keep the final of the RvV in Geraardsbergen the Congoberg good for 99 km and a bit less than 1000m climbing

    Sure. Rub it in. I hope it was windy, rainy, and on the verge of snow, in the style of Merckx’s first win.

  17. @Belgian Cobblestones

    Just did my belated festum ride , treated myself to the business end of the Ronde van Vlaanderen , started with the oude kwaremont ,paterberg , koppenberg ,taaienberg , eikenberg, molenberg, haaghoek cobbled section , leberg, tenbosse , vesten and muur van Geeraardsbergen , bosberg and ended with the joker to keep the final of the RvV in Geraardsbergen the Congoberg good for 99 km and a bit less than 1000m climbing

    If it weren’t for @Collin‘s mahoosive effort I think this would count as the most appropriate way to celebrate the day, assuming it was followed by some Frites & Belgian brews.

  18. @Nate

    That’s a great drawing, and is my new desktop wallpaper!

  19. @Belgian Cobblestones

    I hate you…

  20. Beer flowed  freely afterwards, frites and mayonaise were served up with a grilled juicy ribeye, Brett and Frank see you next year to big ring it on the bergs , the Vittoria pave’s still show no sign of abuse, it wasnt Merckxian weather but those climbs remain as steep and slippery with belgian toothpaste beeing liberally applied by the passing tracteurs

  21. I’ve been thinking that we need some sort of greeting for meeting other Velominati in person for things such as cogals or the KT.

    Not necessarily a secret handshake…but maybe a flashing of the Merckx sign & some sort of exchanged question. “Did you Big Ring it today?”

    Some sort of formalized greeting as an indication of the shared passion for cycling?

  22. @Ron

    I’ve been thinking that we need some sort of greeting for meeting other Velominati in person for things such as cogals or the KT.

    Not necessarily a secret handshake…but maybe a flashing of the Merckx sign & some sort of exchanged question. “Did you Big Ring it today?”

    Some sort of formalized greeting as an indication of the shared passion for cycling?

    I’m thinking masons/shriners – next we’ll all be playing golf…

  23. No golf, too much of a bad history of racism/sexism for me. Fun sport, but the whole country club & now “lifestyle” aspect of it is really bothersome to me. Gotta see all those dummies mowing their lawns & washing their Escalades in their “swing jackets.” Eck.

    If anyone is counting, tomorrow is the sixth month anniversary! Six more to go until The Prophet’s big day. I’m thinking everyone should skip work and ride all day! Might be our last international Cogal before the world ends on Friday…

  24. Well, six months into it today. Here’s a silly photo taken just hours before I made the transition from soloist to hitched Velominatus. 17 June 2012, a good day all around! Going to be very easy to remember Merckx’s birthday and, oh, my wedding anniversary!

  25. Ha, I’ll leave this one over here for my “photo of the year” submission. Not very exciting in comparison to many of the other submissions, but a beautiful day, a great gal, a fun ride, and all on the Prophet’s birthday.

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