Fabs over-drafts the V-Bank account.

The 2013 V-Moment of the Year

The 2013 V-Moment of the Year

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2013 was The Year of the Anti-V. In every other year, the Velominati Cogclave to decide the V and The Anit-V awards is full of curses and thrown pint glasses, usually in defense of each of our chosen V-Moments. 2013 saw the same scene, except this time it was for us having too many competing Anti-V Moments and when it came time to discuss the V-Moment, we sat around, staring at our cogs like we were first learning to shift gear.

Was there actually a V-Moment of the Year this time around?

It was a year that started strongly with The V. It flowed through the early season races, and as we made our way to the first Monument of Milan Sanremo, it unleashed its fury upon all those who dared start the race. The V can be an intangible thing, manifesting itself in other Rules as it did that day in the form of Rule #9.

As The V is wont to do on some occasions, however, its ferociousness drove back the intensity of the racing and the finale was almost anti-climactic to the scenes witnessed during the race. Then we were into the cobbled classics and again we were witness to the iron fist of The Nine, though this time in the form of cold but dry weather. Brett and Frank were there along with Pavé Cycling Classics and the Keeper’s Tour 2013 attendees to feel its awesome might first-hand. Cold cobblestones are less forgiving than warm ones, in the sense that the Emperor is less forgiving than Darth Vader.

The classics closed with excellent but forgettable racing in the Ardennes Classics, even if Dan Martin won a magnificent Liege. But then the season faltered; first with the Giro which was a complete snooze-fest, starting with Brad Wiggins guzzling a bottle of expired Anti-V before riding a slip-n-slide down a mountainside, then with Nibali riding so well we had not choice but to resent his dominance.

Then the Tour warm-up races passed under the radar as they normally do before Froome put us all to sleep at the Tour in the same manner Nibali did at the Giro. Both Nibali and Froome’s wins came at no fault of their own, but let me momentarily show some dirty Schlecky Love and state that both those brother better meditate extensively on the V and Nibali better show up fit at the Tour because the lap around France really needs some competition for the top step – I’m tired of resorting to watching the fight for second and third to try to find anything interesting.

A few mid-season races followed before what would have been an absolutely gripping Vuelta were it not for the fact that it was the Vuelta and only a handful of us even noticed that a 41-year-old American wound up winning. A Pacific-Northwestener, no less. That gives the good ol’ You Ess of Aye a win in every Grand Tour. But because of its unfortunate nature, no one gives two shits about the Vuelta – not even enough enough shits to garner the victor a contract for 2014.

Then the Worlds rolled around and the Anti-V was once again in full bloom. The Brits, whom you would think could ride in the rain, all fell off and called their mothers to bid them a good day before retiring to the team car. Then the Spanish had things dialed in before they all dropped the soap and let a Portuguese rider become the least-deserving World Champion since Ale Ballan.

I don’t want to sound too negative, but that’s a lot of Anti-V, right there. Loads of it.

In the final analysis, it comes down as usual to the Cobbled Classics. I was buying frites in the field by the Oude Kwaremont when I looked up and saw Boonen riding a wheelchair out of a hospital. Bugger that, I thought. Probably some sappy retrospective. Nope, Tom boned a fucking signpost and ruined his season. But then Fabs and Sags went shoulder to shoulder on the Paterberg, which was a pure, unadulterated showing of the V. Two men well versed in suffering and pain, drag-racing up a near-vertical cobbled lane. After the race, Fabian stated that he didn’t really attack Sagan; they had both gone full gas up the hill – he had just gone full gas for longer. That’s an “Instant Classic Hardman Quote” if I’ve ever heard one.

Then it was on to Roubaix the next week. Fabian crashed a few times in training, which is really embarrassing, especially if you’re Swiss and you know chicks are looking at you. The race itself saw an awesome fight, with Faboo off his best and the field knowing it. They took the fight to him, and he was outnumbered all the way. Omega-Pharma Quickstep entered the critical Carrefour de l’Arbre with two riders – Vandenbergh and Stybar – in the four-man group with Fabs and Sep Vanmarcke each to fend for themselves. Sadly, the drunken crowd accidentally intervened and knocked both OPQS riders out of contention.

From the Carrefour emerged two riders, and they fought it out in the famous Roubaix velodrome.

We are often witness to Cancellara laying down the V, but we are rarely witness to him laying on the ground after an effort. He was Off Form but On V that day; he raced with his mind and used it to get what he needed from his body. Into the Velodrome, he didn’t lead as is customary for him. He played cat-and-mouse like every other intelligent rider might. He waited. He even used the banking of the velodrome to his advantage.

He had an imperfect body that day, but he was more determined than any other rider to win. And, through a near-crippling application of the V, he prevailed against stronger riders who had the courage to take the fight directly to him. That, my fellow Velominati, was the V-Moment of the Year.

And, Coppi New Year to everyone.

The Tour of Flanders 2013

The Runner-Up Moment: Fabs drops Sagan in a drag race up the Paterberg.

// Awards // Defining Moments

  1. @PeakInTwoYears

    @frank

    As a lifelong technologist and professional fuckup, I have a hard time accepting the fact that I might be a writer.

    Doo-ood. R U serious? I taught literature and composition at the university level for two decades-published, did the peer review thing, the works. You write like a bastard, obviously, so you can dial down the modesty effect and get back to doing that semantic V-oodoo that you do.

    (My VMH is also a lifelong technologist and also writes-and reads-really, really well. People who learned to write code early in adult life probably learned the difference between clarity and logic, on one hand, and vague nonsensical bullshit, on the other.)

    I look forward to ordering the US version. Ongoing congrats to all you Keepers.

    These other four, they’re the writers. I’m the fuckooff – which is consistent with my message above.

    But seriously, that’s high praise. And when you guys get close to Seattle, let us know because we’ll have the two of you over for dinner. Your VMH is a firecracker and so is mine. That should prove interesting.

    Also, you – the literary prof or whatever – said “R U” instead of “Are You”. Kinda dilutes the message, FYI.

    Twenty-five hill repeats for you. And given where you live, I mean that to be Hurricane Ridge.

  2. @frank

    Yeah baby, I agree that P-R was so intense because it was hard, hard, hard then finally decided in the last 50m. If Fabs had ridden away with two secteurs to go it would not have been as great. He had to ride smarter than he has in other races. Being a favorite is no huge benefit when there are no teammates around.

    Regarding Rui Costa, I’d agree with Harminator, though I was only watching shiet video after the fact, Costa seems a tough bastard and used his head, more than J-Rod. I doubt Costa had any teammates nearby either. I think he won that one well by making the perfect move and putting two Spanish teammates in a spot of bother. Genius.

  3. @frank

    Also, you – the literary prof or whatever – said “R U” instead of “Are You”. Kinda dilutes the message, FYI.

    I could play the pedant and identify the rhetorical trope you’re using here, but you already know what you’re doing. This is my point.

    I’m speaking for Her–in this case I’ll risk it–when I say that we would love to get together.

  4. @LA Dave

    @frank

    She certainly would be the standout rider of the year, but she’s so fucking dominant its hard to pin a single V Moment on her. One of the side effects of kicking everyone’s ass is you make it look easy.

    Without question the best rider on the year, possibly of all time (including Merckx).

    +1!

    Hail Marianne, full of grace…

  5. @Harminator

    What about Kerry McGarry? You’d be related to him by now wouldn’t you Brett?

    That’s Kelly McGarry…

    And holy shit, that was a huge amount of V in his run! If they hadn’t called it off before his last run, he was going to do a front flip over that same canyon! I’ve seen video of him practicing it over a 70ft gap into a foam pit… huge nads.

  6. @Harminator @brett

    I don’t understand how that even happens. I mean, really. How in the fuck does a human being figure out how fast to go and how hard to pull on the bars, etc., while approaching a gap of n meters across with q meters of elevation loss?

    When I was a child, I watched movies about Evel Knievel at the drive-in, racked out in the back of the Buick wagon in my pj’s. Same response to these crazy mtb fuckers.

  7. Seeing Quintana sitting on on the pavement, soigneur at his side,  after his courageous Stage 15 TdF effort, was a key 2013 V-Moment for me. An image of emptiness that speaks volumes about cycling.

    Quintana’s achievement that day and at this year’s Tour as a whole (2nd place, mountains and youth jerseys) is hopefully a foreshadowing of many more awesome moments to come for this talented young man.

  8. @frank you are too modest. Once I found you lot of fuckups I stopped reading pez.

    Coppi new year, everyone.

  9. @brett Yes. Kelly. I admit I’d never heard of him before I saw that run but he looks like a the complete tradesman. Those elbows could tell some tales.

    @PeakInTwoYears Repetition, busted bones, broken bikes, skinned elbows. Pace is everything.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lRbNwQbYeoQ

    (I know this but I cannot / will not ever know this).

  10. @frank

    For fuck sake, its a hard and dangerous fucking sport; we’re not handing out awards any time someone fucking pushes themselves a little bit or does their fucking job.

    We’re talking about the Glory of the Fucking Five, in applied in crippling quantities. Tony is a hard man for sure, but the guy is laying on the ground every time he crosses a finish line, its just part of his process – he’s like the little boy that cried wolf that way. Part of what stood apart for Sparty was the fact that he’s a hard bastard himself and never displays that kind of wreckage where he can’t support his own weight.

    Sometimes I wish computers had a “glove slap” command I could issue.

    They do…it’s called emoticons…but you know where I stand on those ;)

  11. @frank

    For fuck sake, its a hard and dangerous fucking sport; we’re not handing out awards any time someone fucking pushes themselves a little bit or does their fucking job.

    We’re talking about the Glory of the Fucking Five, in applied in crippling quantities. Tony is a hard man for sure, but the guy is laying on the ground every time he crosses a finish line, its just part of his process – he’s like the little boy that cried wolf that way. Part of what stood apart for Sparty was the fact that he’s a hard bastard himself and never displays that kind of wreckage where he can’t support his own weight.

    Sometimes I wish computers had a “glove slap” command I could issue.

    I also find fish better than gloves…better sound on impact!

  12. @unversio

    @frank ( Major Payne voice )

    You’ll get no sympathy from me!
    You want sympathy, look in the dictionary between shit and syphilis!
    That’s where you’ll find my sympathy!
    This ain’t no walk in the park! Move it! Hustle, hustle!
    Hey, Dumbo! You should be able to fly through those tubes…
    with them big-ass ears, boy!
    Yeah, Dumbo! Fly, baby, fly!
    Hey, Williams! You tell Marlee Matlin’s son…
    if he don’t get across that rope, I’m gonna hang him with it!
    He’ll hang you with it! Ha-ha-ha!
    Heathcoat!
    You get your fat body over that wall!
    Take your fat, pork chop body over that
    You
    You shut up.
    Nobody’s leavin’ here until the average for this squad…
    is one minute, twenty seconds!
    Come on, he can’t do it! Leave him alone.
    I can barely do it. It’s slippery out here.
    Slippery, he say!
    You think Charlie care anything about slippery?
    Only thing he knows is slit your throat.
    What if this was a life or death situation?
    But it’s not a life or death situation.
    It is now.
    One Mississippi. Two Mississippi.
    Come on, guys! What, are you crazy? It’s just a dummy grenade.
    Damn! Oh!

    +1

  13. I absolutely love the performance of Cancellara in the classics. I am really excited for 2014’s classics and for his hour record attempt as well.

  14. @unversio

    @frank ( Major Payne voice )

    You’ll get no sympathy from me!
    You want sympathy, look in the dictionary between shit and syphilis!
    That’s where you’ll find my sympathy!
    This ain’t no walk in the park! Move it! Hustle, hustle!
    Hey, Dumbo! You should be able to fly through those tubes…
    with them big-ass ears, boy!
    Yeah, Dumbo! Fly, baby, fly!
    Hey, Williams! You tell Marlee Matlin’s son…
    if he don’t get across that rope, I’m gonna hang him with it!
    He’ll hang you with it! Ha-ha-ha!
    Heathcoat!
    You get your fat body over that wall!
    Take your fat, pork chop body over that
    You
    You shut up.
    Nobody’s leavin’ here until the average for this squad…
    is one minute, twenty seconds!
    Come on, he can’t do it! Leave him alone.
    I can barely do it. It’s slippery out here.
    Slippery, he say!
    You think Charlie care anything about slippery?
    Only thing he knows is slit your throat.
    What if this was a life or death situation?
    But it’s not a life or death situation.
    It is now.
    One Mississippi. Two Mississippi.
    Come on, guys! What, are you crazy? It’s just a dummy grenade.
    Damn! Oh!

    It seemed fitting at the time.

  15. @frank

    @Dan_R

    I concur wholeheartedly. What an incredible finish to P-R, even if my outside pick, Stybar, was beaten by the crowd!

    Maybe it has something to do with the sentimental value of you investing every cent you’ve ever earned into opening a bicycle studio named after the event, sending a set of wheels to some dickhead on the internet who had a Cycling tour to ride the cobbles that year, getting the same dickhead to get the Lion of Flanders to sign your jersey, the publicity of which causing you getting sued by a company who owned a false trademark on the name, then winning a social media campaign against them to be allowed to keep trading under the name?

    There is so much V and Anti-V boiling in there that I’m not sure what to do with it. Its like being at a frat party and drinking the punch. Did Mike do right? Did Velominati, through trying to help you, actually hand you the soap after dropping it themselves? Merckx knows, but hopefully it wound up at least neutral for you.

    Happy 2014 mate.

    Yeah. That’s it! I am still sorting so much out I don’t know where to start next. The VMH and a lot of local volunteers have been vital to helping out.

    Although, you know when Ned Flanders explodes because of the “help” he got rebuilding his house was less than stellar. I have had those moments. Surprisingly, we are still well under 1% of mistakes on orders.

  16. I don’t think this was what Vanmarcke expected when he flicked his elbow.

    Top choice Keepers. Happy New Year.

    (IIRC this was roughly the same spot as my ever so slightly more futile attack on @frank and @brett. Happy days.)

  17. @brett eff me you’re right. I’ll hang my head in shame and take my laps.

  18. Been watching the ’13 P-R on the trainer, saw the finish just a few hours ago. It’s worth another watch to see the Velominati flag. And chapeau to the Portuguese world champ. Another badass Costa on a bike.

  19. I think Taylor Phinney deserves a mention for the penultimate stage in T-A.  Takes some balls to carry on alone in crappy weather when the whole grupetto you’re in bales out with around 100km to go, and you refuse to accept pushes from the fans up the hills.  Definitely a case of V-ictory in Defeat!

  20. After the race, Fabian stated that he didn’t really attack Sagan; they had both gone full gas up the hill – he had just gone full gas for longer. That’s an “Instant Classic Hardman Quote” if I’ve ever heard one.

    Also, too: after 2010 RVV, where he dispatched Boonen in similar form, didn’t Cancellara have a classic line in the order of “easy up and faster”? While producing some 1451 watts. Pas mal!

  21. An early nomination for the 2014 V-Moment of the Year.

    I know he’s a dodgy little fucker but riding stage of any race the day after you’ve had this done to your knee is hardman territory.

    Cunego wound

  22. @Chris thats a good one. I support that nomination.

  23. @Chris Whose knee is that? Nasty.

    And yes, it must have been pretty painful, not to mention awkward flexing the knee with those stitches.

  24. @ChrisO that’s Can-he-go at the end of stage 2 of the Tour of Poland, apparently it swelled up a bit during the stage…

  25. @Mikael Liddy Ah, perhaps Cu-knee-go would be more accurate.

    I wonder if the doc who stitched it said “No cycling”.

    I had to get my elbow patched up last week with a nasty deep gouge from a low speed crash and they said No Swimming (fair enough, don’t want to get it all wet and pool-infected) but also No Cycling.

    Yeah, right.

    Interestingly they didn’t do stitches (and preserves my record of never having had any). They used some things called SkinLink which is like a meccano strip crossed with a plaster. They go in place to hold the wound closed and then they have a sort of applicator which bonds it to the skin.

    This happened on the last day of our family holiday in Wales, literally as I was coming into the driveway of our cottage after a 90km ride, including a descent from Black Mountain in pouring rain and 20m visibility.

    They are coming off on Saturday I hope but so far it seems to be healing OK.

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