Gravé Diggers

Gravé Diggers

by / / 49 posts

Sometimes we need to be reminded that originality is paramount to leading a good and honest life. It took some home truths from a poster in Frank’s Gavia post to jog our memories that old news is, well, just that; old news. We need to come up with some new material man, that shit is going on two tours old now.

It’s with some embarrassment then that we bring you yet another blog post on yet another ride (we already did this one last year, sheesh) that took place on the same weekend as the greatest one day professional road race of them all: Paris-Roubaix. It’s the original cobbled classic, one whose heritage leaves no doubt as to that fact. As they say in the commercials, beware of cheap imitations (especially if you’re in the market for a Sybian). It makes me wonder, why do riders all around the world think it’s ‘cool’ to mock this grand event by putting on their own rides, rides including as many cobbles, gravel roads, dirt tracks or even made-up names that rhyme with pavé as they can conjure?

It’s a farce.

There’s only one thing for it; Welli-Roubaix will be no more. No more shall we gather and ride our bikes for hours over surfaces we’d never consider going near the other 364 days of our cycling year. We didn’t create this, it’s not ours to use, so we must walk away after we’ve had our way with it. Why should we bother to do reconnaissance rides, into territory unchartered, risking our beloved machines to the chance of flats, breakages and damage, to mark out a course that we think might be befitting of the Queen, to give us some tiny amount of insight, some small perception of what the real riders go through during their own, proper race? It’s a waste of time. Like a Waffle House waitress would say, “why ride when you can just flick on the tube?” She’s got a point.

There go our plans for a full Mock Spring Classics series next year. No Ronde Van Vellington. No Gent-Wellingtem. No Fleche Walloneton. No Export Gold Race. No Bays-Bastogne-Bays. And no Roubaix.

These photos then are a documentary of the very last edition of Welli-Roubaix. I know, I know, a lot of the ideas have been done before. Gavin and myself did our best, but we are not professional photographers, like some. We could’ve shot them a lot more originally. I mean, come on, have you ever tried shooting from the back of a Vespa, or when doing 40kmh on a road bike, on gravel, one-handed, looking backwards? It’s a piece of cake, and frankly I’m ashamed of the results.

Have a look anyway, and I’ll try and describe how the Hellâ„¢ we had any fun, and also the original concepts we blatantly ripped off.

Gavin Walker’s Flickr stream here.

A crappy video here…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GtVOjd8qgfg&feature=player_embedded[/youtube]

Slideshow:
Fullscreen:

 

*On Monday morning a throng gathered at Leuven Belgian Beer Bar in downtown Welly, and we witnessed the Queen on a delayed telecast. No-one was silly enough to yell out the result, although G-Phant knew who’d won he held his tongue and enjoyed the spectacle again with us.

We raised $210 for Papanui and Pegasus cycle clubs in Christchurch, so a big thanks to all who donated and made it a great way to start the week. Thanks to Todd at Leuven also.

// Cogals // General // Routes // Unforgettable Rides

  1. Nice one.

    The thing with rehashing old brilliant rides, and paying homage to the Monuments (and their little siblings – I particularly like the sound of Bays-Bastogne-Bays) is that it gets newbies who are starting to think “there’s a certain something about this sport that I think I might like” to see some of the basis for why the rest of us are all mad about the sport.

    Last week there was a documentary in Australia on Stuie O’Grady’s Roubaix win from a few years ago. I am working with pro sportsmen in a completely different sport, and it was gratifying that those who saw it raved about Roubaix for the remainder of the week, and a good number of them stayed up late and watched the race. One of the team leaders is sourcing a copy of the documentary to show the rest of the team so they can think about hardness, fighting and never giving up. We’re going to see what we do about getting the boys to have a chat to Stuie when he’s next in Aus for a decent period.

    Obviously this is an oft-rehashed tale in Australia, and by the rationale of some is thus not worthy of mentioning, but it has brought a group of newbies to an awareness of the beauty of the sport of cycling, and an appreciation of just how tough a sport it can be.

    We use the shining examples to remember what our sport is like at it’s best.

  2. Nice work Brett and crew. Love the gravel trophy. Did anyone propose in the velodrome?

  3. Nice one, Brett. Sorry to hear though that I’ll not get the chance to make it along next year – missing it was the big disappointment of my recovery.

  4. Looked like a great day… question though: in photo No. 22, the dude is wearing a cap with Rule #5 on it… isn’t it written upside down?.. shouldn’t it be a constant reminder to himself, lurking just there in the periphery of his vision when it really starts to hurt? You mention ‘beware of cheap imitations’… this should include unofficial, knock-off Sacred Garments (and accessories)

  5. Enjoyed the tour Brett, it felt like being there to see a place I may not get to in this lifetime.

  6. Nice one Bretto. Looks like a good ride and something I would enjoy.

    I went out on Sunday morning with a group of 60 odd other riders for the second Melbourne Gravel Grinders CX ride as a warm-up to the Queen of the Classics that night. 3 hrs on gravel roads up in the Dandenong ranges through forest gravel roads with a bunch of mad keen mountain bikers and ‘crossers.

    If anyone is interested some pics can be found on the blog here: http://melbournegravelgrinders.blogspot.com/. The guys that run it plan to hold them every 2 months here.

    As for cobbled riding I’ll do a write up later in June after the 6th edition of the Melbourne Roobaix is held – we ride about 15 odd ks worth of cobbles through the back alleys of Melbourne and finish at Brunswick outdoor velodrome. The winner also gets a piece of cobblestone mounted on a plaque presented in the pub.

    Kiwicyclist

  7. How that will not be repeated I do not understand. Looks to me like the day had every ingredient of awesome. Good turn out, nice weather, gorgeous place, epic ride, Velominati everywhere, end of season fitness, beer, the list goes on. Very nice, it would have been splendid indeed to have been there.

  8. Not to mention that the cap brim being up is a flagrant Rule violation. And if it’s not it should be!

    Great photos, Brett, but the most chronologically confusing photostream I’ve ever tried to follow…

  9. Man, I sound surly! I assure you I don’t mean it that way!

    Dammit, I should read some of these posts before I press ‘submit’…

  10. On a more positive note, I love Josh’s red Bianchi, very cool!

  11. Oli Brooke-White:
    Not to mention that the cap brim being up is a flagrant Rule violation. And if it’s not it should be!

    Mate your little picture has the cap brim flipped up.
    the Great Merckx might also disagree with you.

  12. Rule violations aside, it looked like a good time. Thanks for the photos.

  13. BTW, I’m getting myself a Chi Machine (not a fake) as soon as I can. What other product can back itself with that kind of science?

  14. Wow, the photos make me very eager to get back to NZ sometime soon. Ride looked like a good time.

    Rode on Sunday with just one friend. I was in no shape for anything serious after waking up at 7:00 and drinking beer during the race.

    Saturday though thought I was heading out for an hour or two. Ended up riding with one friend, and meeting another dude, and riding for four hours. The new guy I met is possibly the biggest and coolest cycling enthusiast I’ve ever encountered. He’s twenty years older than me and even more stoked on cycling than I am; I hope I grow up to be like him someday!

  15. roadslave:
    Looked like a great day… question though: in photo No. 22, the dude is wearing a cap with Rule #5 on it… isn’t it written upside down?

    Writing it upside down makes it HARDER to read, thus you’re laying out even more of The V just to remind yourself to HTFU.

    @Brett: Awesome pictures and write-up. I’m assuming you’re being a little cheeky when you say it’ll be the last one. Seems like a good time, and it certainly makes me want to go and explore gravel riding on my road bike. I’ve ran into sections on rides where they are re-grading country roads, so you have to do a few miles in some nice gravel, but nothing so serious that 23mm road tires couldn’t handle it.

    As a bit of a laugh on my ride last Friday, I spotted two alley-ways that were “unimproved” roads with just dirt and gravel, so of course I rode over them in preparation for watching the race on Sunday. I even passed a guy working on an old BMW behind his house who gave me a funny look. Not quite the Paris-Roubaix…

  16. Oli Brooke-White:
    Sorry to hear though that I’ll not get the chance to make it along next year – missing it was the big disappointment of my recovery.

    mcsqueak:

    I’m assuming you’re being a little cheeky when you say it’ll be the last one.

    No need to fret Oli, McSqueak is onto it. Just having a little dig at our friend Adrian, I mean Stefan, after his declaration that anything ‘re-hashed’ is of no value to our enjoyment of life.

    News for you Stefan; bike photography, it’s been done, mate. Riding? Ditto. But I’m gonna keep riding, and Welli-Roubaix (and the other Classics mentioned) will be back next year. And the year after, and…

  17. *On Monday morning a throng gathered at Leuven Belgian Beer Bar in downtown Welly, and we witnessed the Queen on a delayed telecast. No-one was silly enough to yell out the result, although G-phant knew who’d won he held his tongue and enjoyed the spectacle again with us.

    We raised $220 for Papanui and Pegasus cycle clubs in Christchurch, so a big thanks to all who donated and made it a great way to start the week. Thanks to Todd at Leuven also.

  18. @Brett
    Now that’s taking troll hunting to a whole new level, sensei. And a relief you were fucking with us as not making this an “annual” would be a damn shame. I sort of had an inkling but you took is so far. And then the link to Adrian’s site? Off the hook.

  19. Welli-Roubaix notwithstanding, we did an unofficial honorary Seattle Cogal on Sunday around the Ronde van Seattle route and remembered to bring a camera this time. Enjoy.

    And yes, that’s Jim hitting a car. And then face-planting.

  20. Frank is that a Rule #23 violation I see? or is it still that cold? I don’t know cause its hotter than shit down here.

  21. We don’t have cobble stones in my neck of the woods but Sunday after the race I did a solo ride over some harsh tarmac. Ended up with 2 flats, second being 16km from home with no way to repair. had to walk 3km in The Red Damsels before I got a ride from a stranger. rode a total of 77km.

  22. RedRanger:

    Oli Brooke-White:
    Not to mention that the cap brim being up is a flagrant Rule violation. And if it’s not it should be!

    Mate your little picture has the cap brim flipped up.
    the Great Merckx might also disagree with you.

    Yes, but not under a helmet wtf!?!

  23. @frank
    Rockin! But what’s with the the Man Satchel on Jim? Mega Rule #29 violation… just sayin’…

  24. Frank – Great Video looked like some nasty steep little climbs there, good work to jim for getting a win for cyclists VS vehicles hopefully a nice little shifter scratch up the door panel for good measure.
    God Dam those V kits look PRO!

  25. @sgt
    Jim is all about Rule violations. It’s very stressful, but it’s also a good reminder for me to keep my shit together. And @RedRanger, it was plenty cold. Knee warmers, caps, LS jerseys, shoe covers. Very Belgian. Dan, the other guy with us, we very concerned about being on film for fear of being cited on his violations. I said, “No sweat dude. First off, you’re fairly compliant, and second, you’re nothing compared to Jim!”

    I think the saddle bag is what set off his balance and caused his first crash…

    @Oli Brooke-White
    We’ve covered this before. Only Phillipe Gilbert is cool enough to pull that one off; no brims up under helmets. Very unsightly.

    @Scuba Steve
    There were some marks on the truck, but Fords have amazingly resilient paint jobs! We rubbed it all off and it was left in as-good-as-new state, plus a polite note apologizing and letting them know how to get in touch with us…by getting on their bikes and riding to catch us!

  26. Looks like an excellent day Brett! Well supported and congrats on the fund raising efforts as well.

    Thanks for the post. Too funny.

    I was doing a little research on cynicism, often having that label applied to moi and not always sure if that was actually right. On reading of the true nature of a cynic, I feel that the Adrian ‘s of the world could benefit from their teachings and that the Velominati do practice some of their belief’s namely –

    The Cynic way of life required continuous training, not just in exercising one’s judgments and mental impressions, but a physical training as well:

    [Diogenes] used to say, that there were two kinds of exercise: that, namely, of the mind and that of the body; and that the latter of these created in the mind such quick and agile impressions at the time of its performance, as very much facilitated the practice of virtue; but that one was imperfect without the other, since the health and vigour necessary for the practice of what is good, depend equally on both mind and body

  27. As the Papanui club lost one of its members, Ross Bush, to the earthquake, the Pegasus club has kindly agreed to all the donation funds going to Papanui. Cheers to Pegasus.

  28. frank:

    @Oli Brooke-White
    We’ve covered this before. Only Phillipe Gilbert is cool enough to pull that one off; no brims up under helmets. Very unsightly.

    There you go, the definitive word on the subject.

  29. Brett:
    As the Papanui club lost one of its members, Ross Bush, to the earthquake, the Pegasus club has kindly agreed to all the donation funds going to Papanui. Cheers to Pegasus.

    Good stuff Pegasus, and nice one Brett and Velominators.

  30. @frank
    Not this thing again…@Cyclops

    Like I said, and at the risk of Stefan blowing a gasket, more “Dukes of Hazard” and less “Schindler’s List”, please… yeah, the super slo-mo is cool, OK?

  31. @frank
    Oh, you’re referring to the artsy angle of the film. Obviously I was referring to the bit towards the end where you can watch those sweet box-rim wheels compress over the cobbles. Deep-dish rims can’t do that. Watch the ovalization. It’s super hot.

  32. Woah, I didn’t even go near the possibility that Brett was serious with this. I just left it alone and enjoyed the photos.

    I’m glad you were just fucking with us!

  33. And jeez…a Sybian reference on the site? I’m perpetually surprised what the Velominati can come up with:)

  34. Looks like a Rule #41 violation there too

  35. Excellent ride Brett. This is what we are talking about; friends having fun on a long crazy ride, ride ends in a velodrome, later beers are consumed. Video and photos posted. Cyclists from around the world are jealous. Perfect.

  36. Oli Brooke-White :
    Yes, but not under a helmet wtf!?!

    PhilGil at Lombardy last year = brim up under helmet is cool. Helps if weather is apocolyptic and you solo it in ahead of the handful of other finishers who haven’t pulled the pin and gone home for an early shower.

  37. Phil is cool despite the brim up, not because of it. And anyway, as discussed earlier, his awesomeness makes him immune to petty criticism from lesser mortals like me.

  38. @Oli Brooke-White
    My sentiments exactly. Was watching the 2001 Paris-Roubaix last night and several riders were doing the same. Just because it’s cool when you’re doing it while applying serious dosages of the V in Rule #9 conditions does not make it cool in and of itself. It’s like “ancillary cool”.

  39. @Oli Brooke-White
    Wait. Do we agree on something? QUICK! Lets start an argument!

  40. No!

  41. Hey Frank, I’m noticing something weird in both Firefox 4 and Chrome 10.

    The É in GRAVÉ is being dropped from the title above the author’s name and below the photo up at the top of the page.

    The whole word will appear as the page loads, then it seems like a final CSS file or something is loaded and the É is dropped, as it looks like the font is changing as well. Happens for me in both browsers. The É also gets dropped in “Recent & Random Articles” section, but shows up fine in the title tag.

    Not a big deal, just some wonky little thing I just noticed…

  42. That’s because we’re using SiFR and the special characters are not being loaded. We’re working on it. In fact, I’m working on moving the site to TypeFace right now. Windows users will still get sucky SiFR, but Apple users will be on the new love.

    As my man K-Dog (who is going to build a new version of SiFR with the special characters loaded) say, you can’t buy a Specialized Allez and expect it to ride like a De Rosa.

    BTW, it’s not just on FF/Chrome – it’s global on all platforms right now. It’s almost working in test right now.

    BTW, you should have received your symbol pack today…or you’ll get it minyanna.

  43. Sweet, interesting “behind the curtain” info. Curious about the split user interface for Mac/Windows, is that common? I’m familiar with profiles for different browsers since they all have different rendering engines.

    Thanks for the update. I look forward to tastefully adorning things with The V.

  44. Even the most brilliant ideas have a shelf life. Genius is recognizing when it’s past due. On to the next one!

  45. I received a lovely letter of thanks from Amy at Papanui CC last week, it was great to get that and see that our small effort went a little way to helping out the club and the family of the late Ross Bush…

  46. @Brett
    Nice one.

  47. The beautiful thing about being relatively new to the site is finding gems like this in the archives.  It’s a giant of a photo album, but on slideshow with a glass of scotch, a great way to unwind before the weekend.

    Thanks @Brett

Leave a Reply