Walter Godefroot. photo from www.gios.it

Can’t Do That

Can’t Do That

by / / 99 posts

Pity our cyclist, it’s Saturday and he won’t shave his face, it might sap his strength but he has to shave his legs or he won’t look serious. He certainly can’t have sex, more strength stealing there, and kissing his wife, whoa, slow down, that could spread some germs. He doesn’t want to get sick so going to that birthday party tonight, that could be dangerous, crap fattening food on platters, touched by possibly sick people, and standing around, no way, think of the guns. Who can drink alcohol before racing anyway? I need some steak and pasta. Darling, I’ll go to your office Christmas party, I promise, if I can sit with my legs up a bit, and take the elevator up to the office on the second floor.

A little browse around the town center Saturday evening instead, can’t do that. That would require walking and standing. I’m an athlete, damn it. And this talk of going to the pool, basta! Every cyclist knows swimming is bad for the legs.

Pre-race Sunday morning breakfast- this oatmeal could stand some butter and maple syrup. In the name of Merckx, non-fat milk please and what part of high glycemic index don’t you understand? Oatmeal, does that contain gluten?

Our cyclist rolls with two teammates to the race. In the car all the talk is pre-race excuses: I’m too heavy, I might be getting sick, my legs are unbalanced (?!), I drank too much coffee, I stopped drinking coffee, I have too much inflammation in my body.

Cycling mythology never dies. In a world were we still can’t predict the day when we will have great legs, there are still a thousand things out there that will give us not-great legs, and I’m pretty sure it’s all crap. Having just read this amazing interview with Freddy Maertens (thanks @pistard), it’s plain what gives you great legs, train like a bastard. And by bastard I mean back to back to back to back 300 km training days. Only professionals need do this, or can do this (who has the time or will?). That, get a lot of sleep and eat well, that is what a professional from Freddy’s day might tell you. No one was losing sleep over their power to weight ratio, no Pros then looked like Chris Froome now. These passistas looked like guys you wouldn’t want to meet in a dark alley.

Now cyclists train smarter, watt meters and training coaches, weight rooms and soy milk, skinnier and colder. Is there a professional now who just scoffs at such data and just trains long and hard? Look at the legs of riders in the 1970s, almost no one looks like that now and it’s not drugs that did that. It’s unholy training in big gears, some V in the bidon, repeat tomorrow.

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// Folklore

  1. Stems go up, stems go down. Neckties get wide, neckties get thin. Pants devolve into “carpenter’s pants” for all men, glad we made it through that. “Pants” evolve into hosiery as pants for many woman. For the most part, I don’t mind this trend.

    (really, when did stockings become leggings, which became pants? They’re clearly under pants, but the pros outweigh the cons, from my perspective.)

  2. @Ron

    Stems go up, stems go down. Neckties get wide, neckties get thin. Pants devolve into “carpenter’s pants” for all men, glad we made it through that. “Pants” evolve into hosiery as pants for many woman. For the most part, I don’t mind this trend.

    (really, when did stockings become leggings, which became pants? They’re clearly under pants, but the pros outweigh the cons, from my perspective.)

    I take this as an approval of yoga pants. You know they say yoga would help with a cyclists flexibility. I find that I learn the most from the back of the class.

  3. @Ron spot on. Fuckyeahyogapants.

  4. @LutherB

    Warming up the lungs

  5. @DCR

    @Ron

    Stems go up, stems go down. Neckties get wide, neckties get thin. Pants devolve into “carpenter’s pants” for all men, glad we made it through that. “Pants” evolve into hosiery as pants for many woman. For the most part, I don’t mind this trend.

    (really, when did stockings become leggings, which became pants? They’re clearly under pants, but the pros outweigh the cons, from my perspective.)

    I take this as an approval of yoga pants. You know they say yoga would help with a cyclists flexibility. I find that I learn the most from the back of the class.

    I like the range of women’s exercise pants, you need Yoga pants, Pilates pants, Zumba pants etc etc. Also short pants, just above the knee, 3/4, 7/8… the marketing combinations are endless.

    All we’ve got is short socks or long socks.

  6. Les Woodland: What time did you leave in the morning for a 300-kilometer training ride?
    FM: 7:00 or 7:30.

    Les Woodland: And you got back when?
    FM: When I was finished. When there is a lot of wind, you can’t know how fast you will go.

    “When I was finished”. That’s old school cool.

  7. @frank I remember coming into Camp 2 at ~18,000 feet on Ama Dablam and starting to gather ice to melt for water and my partner, Nema Tashi, a sherpa, pulls out a pack of cigarettes and lights one up.

    That’s when I knew that I sucked.

  8. @Buck Rogers We’re letting you slide one that one Buck cause Nepal vs Green Mountains is Merckx vs cat 5…

  9. @Rob

    @Buck Rogers We’re letting you slide one that one Buck cause Nepal vs Green Mountains is Merckx vs cat 5…

    Or alpe d’huez vs the incline of my driveway…

  10. @anrthony

    @Rob I hear you man, listen I wish I had a couple more kg’s of muscle, I just think it’s funny that there is a backlash against skinny riders(not just on this web site) I don’t care really, just an observation, believe me being 54kg’s and 170cm does nothing for you in a cross race or a sprint finish but it won’t stop me from pretending that I am much more than a spindly climber, Cheers

    I’ll give you a couple of KG’s if you want ’em! Mate, here it is plain and simple. If you are 170cm and 54kg you are the envy of pretty much everyone here, and anyone else is lying, so just bask in that glory…

    I am a 2.5 in the pounds/height in inches calc, but it is not because I am heavy that I appreciate the riders of yore. From what I can tell, there isn’t a backlash against climbers, I dunno where you got that from, if anything there is a backlash against climbers who can’t descend, ala Schleck et Wiggo, for it is natural to prefer riders who are better all-rounders.

    There is a preference here for reverence. It is just harking back to the classic images and tales of the past. For me the favourites are the black and white pics up some massive col, smashing the single speed they have for the 3000th km.

  11. @Buck Rogers when I was in Nepal on of the leading sherpas lit up on the Everest summit as a publicity stunt for one of the local cigarette companies.

  12. Great article Gianni. Years ago I read somewhere, can’t remember where or who said it, but it stuck with me; “cyclists never eat cucumber, it’s bad for the legs”. It never said why it is bad, but fucked if I ate cucumber for a good few years after that. Didn’t help.

  13. @Rom

    @DCR

    @Ron

    Stems go up, stems go down. Neckties get wide, neckties get thin. Pants devolve into “carpenter’s pants” for all men, glad we made it through that. “Pants” evolve into hosiery as pants for many woman. For the most part, I don’t mind this trend.

    (really, when did stockings become leggings, which became pants? They’re clearly under pants, but the pros outweigh the cons, from my perspective.)

    I take this as an approval of yoga pants. You know they say yoga would help with a cyclists flexibility. I find that I learn the most from the back of the class.

    I like the range of women’s exercise pants, you need Yoga pants, Pilates pants, Zumba pants etc etc. Also short pants, just above the knee, 3/4, 7/8… the marketing combinations are endless.

    All we’ve got is short socks or long socks.

    I was in a convenience store last week and spotted a new addition the the malt liquor scene. Amongst the talls on ice was…a 25 oz. tall, with the 1 oz. top portion of the can colored read to highlight to whole free ounce you were getting, still for $1.41.

    Ya got yer 24, yer quart (32), and then the big boy 40. And now, you have a 25th.

  14. @Nate

    @Buck Rogers when I was in Nepal on of the leading sherpas lit up on the Everest summit as a publicity stunt for one of the local cigarette companies.

    That might have been a publicity stunt but this Dude was legit.  He always smokes.

    But this guy is also world class.  He has summited Everest, I think, seven times now.  He is a good friend of my Climbing mentor Geoff Tabin and when Geoff heard that I was going to attempt Ama Dablam with just a single other climbing friend of mine he kind of freaked out and talked Nema into joining us.  The funny thing was was that Nema could haul loads over 20,000 all day but he could not follow a technical vertical ice pitch that we did on Imja Tse as a warm up climb prior to Ama Dablam.

    I also double checked my journals and Camp 2 was at 19,800.  I was just DYING there and he was humming and smoking and melting ice.  Truly just a different world!

  15. @Blake

    Thank you. I’m glad someone around here is at the ready with a calculator.

    OK, here is another take, I don’t think it’s a drug issue, I think the answer is in Freddy’s interview. Back in his day, everyone had to do all the races. Now some skinny streak-o-piss like Froomy can avoid the spring classics and focus on climbing-centric grand tours. He can pick his fights. He can get his power to weight ratio way up and climb like a fiend. If he rode P-R, chances are he would get shelled, his P/W might be great but his max power might not be so great and P-R is technique and max power.

  16. @Buck Rogers

    @frank I remember coming into Camp 2 at ~18,000 feet on Ama Dablam and starting to gather ice to melt for water and my partner, Nema Tashi, a sherpa, pulls out a pack of cigarettes and lights one up.

    That’s when I knew that I sucked.

    Are you shitting me? Ama Dablam at 18,000’? Did you make it to the top of that beauty? I am not worthy.

  17. @Gianni Yes, it is an absolutely stunning mountain that tops out just over 6,800 meters.  There were ten expeditions on it in the Spring of 2000 when I was there with my partner Jeff Clapp.  8 had quit without reaching Camp 3 when we arrived.  We followed their fixed ropes into Camp 2 and fixed and pushed into Camp 3, which is on the hanging glacier you can see on the ~7,000 foot vertical face in your picture (the Dablam, i.e charm box of the mother, i.e. Ama ergo Ama Dablam is mother’s charm box).

    Crazy story but no, we did not summit.  We got into Camp 3, ~21,000 feet and dumped our loads and started rapping down the fixed lines to Camp 2 (which lies over the ridge to the right in your photo from our view) and then about 25% of Camp 3, the hanging glacier, broke off and fell down the 7,000 foot face to the base camp area.  Pure luck, or the Will of God, that we were not there.  We had left less than one hour prior.  No doubt at least one of the four of us (we had a Dave Penny join our group-a pro guide from Colorado, after his entire guided, paying group quit upon reaching base camp and actually seeing the mountain up close–definitely not for the faint of heart) would have been killed.

    We packed it in and headed home.  A Russian team did manage to summit that year but only three members of their team made it and one lost his hand and some of his other hand’s fingers on the climb.

    That was my last Big Mountain as my VMH shortly afterward became pregnant and I vowed not to leave any kids without a father until at least after they graduated high school.  There is definitely an 8,000 meter mountain in my future, just have to wait 13 years until the youngest graduates high school!

  18. To prepare for a race there is nothing better than a good pheasant, some champagne and a woman.

    Jacques Anquetil
  19. @Buck Rogers

    OK, you are more insane than I realized.

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  21. @Ron Who went wee-wee in my tee-pee??

  22. @Beers O I was just being sensitive, I think every sport has become to specialized, Vos might be the only modern cyclist that kicks ass on everything, I love the old day’s too when all these guy’s rode track, cross, the classics, lost a few kilo’s for the grand tours and repeat. should be mandatory really.

  23. @Gianni

    OK, here is another take, I don’t think it’s a drug issue, I think the answer is in Freddy’s interview. Back in his day, everyone had to do all the races. Now some skinny streak-o-piss like Froomy can avoid the spring classics and focus on climbing-centric grand tours.

    I tend to agree with you. I read an interview with Froom a couple of months back prior to an ITT he did. He said he had to “bulk up” for the TT and it’s ruined his climbing form. Now I’m not sure exactly how bulky he gets, but certainly he was not the “blow me down with a feather” that is/was his TdF form.

  24. @Buck Rogers

    Jesus. What a business.

  25. @Ron

    Who wants to play Caption The Off-Season Training Camp Activity Photograph game?

    No one takes photos of me when I’ve thrown up and passed out after drinking a fifth of Old Crow in the cold dark of January.

  26. @LutherB

    I think that’s Gustaaf van Slembroeck on the right, lighting a fag for Maurice Geldof. Here he is smoking his way to a stage 20 podium in 1927. It ain’t water in that glass bidon.

  27. Sorry for restarting the thread drift, but I can’t resist adding to the Ama Dablam love.

    Camp 2, November 1996. For sure one of the top 5 coolest places I’ve spent the night.

    @Buck Rogers, glad you avoided the chop. Good luck with your 8000er aspirations!

    Cheers,

    Dave R

  28. @Buck Rogers@Dave R   You both are men of fine taste.  As far as I could tell Ama Dablam is the finest-looking mountain in Nepal.  Dave, I was in the same neighborhood that very month, but down in the valleys.  Small world.

  29. @Nate

    @Buck Rogers, @Dave R You both are men of fine taste. As far as I could tell Ama Dablam is the finest-looking mountain in Nepal. Dave, I was in the same neighborhood that very month, but down in the valleys. Small world.

    Awesome stuff,

    a guy I work with ( soon to be official photographer for the Fleurieu Cogal in Feb ) went to base camp at Everest last year and is back there this year as we speak climbing to Gokyo Peak via Renjo La.

    By all accounts and his stories of last year, its an addictive place !

  30. @Barracuda Awesome stuff.  I hope I get to go back to that part of the world some time.  And I wish I had taken more pictures when I was there before.

  31. @Nate Wow Nate. Small world indeed. Mountains do that though. I have a friend from Boulder who I don’t often see. Last three times we just ran into each other by chance in Talkeetna, Namche and Zermatt.

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    start_el('?display_element(Object(stdClass), Array, 1, 0, Array, '?@Dave R

    Sorry for restarting the thread drift, but I can’t resist adding to the Ama Dablam love.

     

    Camp 2, November 1996. For sure one of the top 5 coolest places I’ve spent the night.

    @Buck Rogers, glad you avoided the chop. Good luck with your 8000er aspirations!

    Cheers,

    Dave R

    NICE!!!  I remember that ledge!  Seems bigger in your photo than I remember.  I swear that 25% of our tent was over free space in Camp 2.  Straight multi-thousand foot drop off the back, right? Crazy!  This is at 19,800 feet, correct?

    Ahhhh, memories!  No suffering like 20,000 foot load hauling suffering, unless, that is, you’re thinking about riding Paris Roubaix for 8.5 hours or running for 27 straight hours!

    Thanks for the photo!  I’ll have to dig around and see if I can find a few and scan them in.

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    start_el('?display_element(Object(stdClass), Array, 1, 0, Array, '?@pistard

    I think that’s Gustaaf van Slembroeck on the right, lighting a fag for Maurice Geldof. Here he is smoking his way to a stage 20 podium in 1927. It ain’t water in that glass bidon.

    Thanks for the info & that’s a great pic above.

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    start_el('?display_element(Object(stdClass), Array, 1, 0, Array, '?@LutherB

    @pistard

    I think that’s Gustaaf van Slembroeck on the right, lighting a fag for Maurice Geldof. Here he is smoking his way to a stage 20 podium in 1927. It ain’t water in that glass bidon.

    Thanks for the info & that’s a great pic above.

    Back to an ancient observation I made about riding on the hoods – namely that with a pre-war set up you are either on the drops, the bends or the top – never the hoods.

    This picture shows why.

    Also – what is the appropriate pro way to light your snout? Does one get one’s domestique to get the old Gauloise going and bring it to you lit or does one have to perfect a riding whilst lighting one’s own Woodbine technique? What does one do in Rule #9 conditions? Is the Zippo appropriate?

    I think we should be told.

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    @pistard

    I think that’s Gustaaf van Slembroeck on the right, lighting a fag for Maurice Geldof. Here he is smoking his way to a stage 20 podium in 1927. It ain’t water in that glass bidon.

    Thanks for the info & that’s a great pic above.

    Smoking aside, you just know those brakes were shit. Flexy just doesn’t begin to cover it – and these guys were descending gravel-strewn mountain passes.

  36. @the Engine

    @LutherB

    @pistard

    I think that’s Gustaaf van Slembroeck on the right, lighting a fag for Maurice Geldof. Here he is smoking his way to a stage 20 podium in 1927. It ain’t water in that glass bidon.

    Thanks for the info & that’s a great pic above.

    Back to an ancient observation I made about riding on the hoods – namely that with a pre-war set up you are either on the drops, the bends or the top – never the hoods.

    This picture shows why.

    Also – what is the appropriate pro way to light your snout? Does one get one’s domestique to get the old Gauloise going and bring it to you lit or does one have to perfect a riding whilst lighting one’s own Woodbine technique? What does one do in Rule #9 conditions? Is the Zippo appropriate?

    I think we should be told.

    First part of the cigarette, last bit of the joint. On the road he lights up and delivers. He sets the fire and  rarely is allowed to bask in its warmth. Back at the hotel, he brings the buds, but lets the leader twist up and pass around the glow. He waits patiently for the roach. Some say he’s missing the best bits but he would never have it otherwise.

  37. @Buck Rogers Yes, the photo captures well the beauty but not the exposure. Kind of like a photo I have from atop the Stelvio with the 48 hairpins below. Does not convey the magnitude of the climb to that place. At C2 there was discussion with my partners about not falling off the mountain while taking a piss during the night. C 2 is around 5900m (we are Velominati after all), but yes, about 19,700 ft. We avoided load hauling. Carried one load from BC to C1. Then launched and went up and down in 5 days (BC-C1-C2-C3-Summit-C3-BC).

  38. I finished the interview with Freddy this weekend but I can’t get over how awesome it was. Loved the history I learned, the parts about pay offs and pay outs and maybe why Freddy struggled a bit – 30 years of tax troubles? Damn.

    The article, aside from being beautiful in its own right, only demonstrates why I feel so passionate about cycling. Enlightening, beautiful, insightful, like a good early morning ride. Also, it highlights why many modern, popular sports in the U.S. don’t hold my interest. Characters and champions have been replace by corporate machines and robotic, overgrown children.

  39. @Dave R So nice!  That push from C3 to the summit looked pretty amazing from C3.  Envy you the summit on that mountain.  Impressive.

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    @il ciclista medio

    Here’s the difference between then and now!

    @frank

    @il ciclista medio

    Translation: I’ve switched to R6. For me, its the first great-tasting nicotine and tar cigarette.

    And…

    @frank

    The greatest cycling photo ever.

    @sthilzy

    To prepare for a race there is nothing better than a good pheasant, some champagne and a woman.

    Jacques Anquetil

    @pistard

    @LutherB

    I think that’s Gustaaf van Slembroeck on the right, lighting a fag for Maurice Geldof. Here he is smoking his way to a stage 20 podium in 1927. It ain’t water in that glass bidon.

    It’s no wonder I’m so fucking quick…

  41. Jeeeshz, I’m away front the site for a little while and it’s become Velomounti. Must be the off season!

    Very cool alpine stuff though guys, very impressed. I guess  all just love mountains eh? I do, anytime I see one my first thought is. Want to ride it, then I start wondering about hiking and climbing it.

    I read somewhere (wish I could do the recollecting thing better) that Thomi Voekler still trains old school.  Can anyone verify that?

  42. I’ve seriously go to stop typing on my iPad, it’s making me seem like I’m drunk all the time…

    …must be time for another Sydney Cogal…

  43. @Alex

    Jeeeshz, I’m away front the site for a little while and it’s become Velomounti. Must be the off season!

    Very cool alpine stuff though guys, very impressed. I guess all just love mountains eh? I do, anytime I see one my first thought is. Want to ride it, then I start wondering about hiking and climbing it.

    I read somewhere (wish I could do the recollecting thing better) that Thomi Voekler still trains old school. Can anyone verify that?

    I have a theory (or personal view) that people should only ever hike or climb mountains as part of the process of building roads for us to ride on.

    Regarding Tommy V, I’d heard that also.  That man rides with nothing but his V-meter !

  44. @Chris

    Jacques Anquetil

    Are you sure that’s Anquetil?  He’s doing a pretty good impersonation of a young Kirk Douglas. “I’m Spartacus”.   Not sure you’d ever see Spartacus toking on a cigarette though.

  45. @Mike_P

    @Chris

    Jacques Anquetil

    Are you sure that’s Anquetil? He’s doing a pretty good impersonation of a young Kirk Douglas. “I’m Spartacus”. Not sure you’d ever see Spartacus toking on a cigarette though.

    That’s JA for sure. I’ve seen various versions of the picture. He was a man of unorthodox habits in eating, drinking and, ahem, relationships. Having a ciggie pre or post ride would have been one of the more “acceptable” things he did.

  46. exception 'ImagickException' with message 'no decode delegate for this image format `/nas/wp/www/cluster-40013/velominati//wp-content/uploads/readers/fleeting moment/2013.12.05.05.17.20/1//fleeting moment-2013.12.05.05.17.20-1-undefined' @ error/constitute.c/ReadImage/544' in /nas/wp/www/cluster-40013/velominati/wp-content/themes/velominati/generics.php:1270 Stack trace: #0 /nas/wp/www/cluster-40013/velominati/wp-content/themes/velominati/generics.php(1270): Imagick->__construct('/nas/wp/www/clu...') #1 [internal function]: dm_replace_image_embeds('

    start_el('?display_element(Object(stdClass), Array, 1, 0, Array, '?@Mike_P Possibly, it’s surprising how many of stars of cinema were also quite handy bike racers.

    It’s even rumoured that De Niro started out as a wrench at an LBS in Brooklyn but his attitude towards customers was a problem…

    You lookin at me? WTF, are you lookin at me?

  47. @Chris Chapeau!!!  Well played!

    As for Douglas and Sparticus and smoking something:  Have you seen the uncut version?  Talk about homoerotic overtones!!!  Amazing movie!

    Still think that Douglas’ best movie is Paths of Glory, though.

  48. @Chris

    @Mike_P Possibly, it’s surprising how many of stars of cinema were also quite handy bike racers.

    It’s even rumoured that De Niro started out as a wrench at an LBS in Brooklyn but his attitude towards customers was a problem…

    You lookin at me? WTF, are you lookin at me?

    Bobet says “stick your 11 speed cassette where le solieil don’t shine, mon ami. I’ll still kick your ass.”

    That’s a hardman’s freewheel right there. Those wheels ain’t for sissies either – not with the rough roads they had back in the day. The pic probably dates from 51 or 52 as he was French champ in 50 and 51.

    Here’s a tasty nugget from Wiki:

    Bobet was driven by personal hygiene and refused to accept his first yellow jersey because it had not been made with the pure wool he believed the only healthy material for a sweating and dusty rider. Synthetic thread or blends were added in 1947 following the arrival of Sofil as a sponsor. Sofil made artificial yarn.The race organiser, Jacques Goddet wrote:

    It produced a real drama. Our contract with Sofil was crumbling away. If the news had got out, the commercial effect would have been disastrous for the manufacturer. I remember debating it with him a good part of the night. Louison was always exquisitely courteous but his principles were as hard as the granite blocks of his native Brittany coast.

    Goddet had to get Sofil to produce another jersey overnight, its logo still visible but artificial fabric absent. Bobet’s concern with hygiene and clothing was accentuated by frequent problems with saddle sores.

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