Museeuw wants to get muddy with us in April. Photo: Tim de Waele

Dry Rot

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It’s not difficult to understand that climate change, global warming, call it what you will, is real. If you’re still in denial about this fact then you are probably one or more of three things: ignorant, complicit or a complete moron. You can cite all the statistics you want, read the reports, or just stick your head out of the window and realise it’s fucking hot, but the only evidence for the environmentally aware Cyclist is this:

It hasn’t rained at Paris-Roubaix for thirteen years.

Not since The Lion soloed in from 40k’s out to take home his last cobblestone paperweight in 2002 has there been a proper wet Hell Of The North. The preceding year was even worse, or better depending on your perception of Rule #9 conditions and whether you take pleasure in others’ torment. I guess most of us here have a foot firmly in both camps, enthusiastically summoning the rain gods to take a piss on Northern France on the second Sunday in April. The resulting lack of precipitation only confirms that gods don’t exist, or don’t bloody listen.

In a final act of desperation, I’ll be buying some gumboots, Wellingtons, Alaskan sneakers when we hit Lille for Keepers Tour 15. Hopefully this will draw some moisture from the sky and add to the spectacle that will be Tommeke gunning for his 5th, Faboo trying to equal him, and Wiggins having a laugh. This has all the ingredients for an all-time classic Classic. Just add water.

*Why would you miss this opportunity to be part of history? Keepers Tour is the best value cobbled week tour available. Sign up now. Bring your Wellies.

// Keepers Tour // Musings from the V-Bunker

  1. I will go make some popcorn and sit back to watch the debate

    http://www.velominati.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/Lille.jpg

  2. You should bring a hose to the Arenberg Forest just in case…

  3. One day, there was a mishap about 40 miles from home. Only since then do I carry the chain tool I needed. I have never needed to use it.

    The gods of Rule #9 are not summoned with gumboots. To prepare is to prevent.

  4. Go dressed for sunshine. I hope you get soaked.

  5. I’ll be buying some gumboots, Wellingtons, Alaskan sneakers when we hit Lille for Keepers Tour 15. Hopefully this will draw some moisture from the sky

    @Champs

    The gods of Rule #9 are not summoned with gumboots. To prepare is to prevent.

    Absolutely, I’d be packing the factor 50, the deck chair, a Jilly Cooper and a bottle of Pimms

  6. @Chris

    Yup and not to miss the flip flops but a hat with corks on strings might be taking it too far.

  7. @brett

    ” In a final act of desperation, I’ll be buying some gumboots, Wellingtons, Alaskan sneakers when we hit Lille for Keepers Tour 15. Hopefully this will draw some moisture from the sky”

    Don’t forget the timeless and ever popular ” washing of the car ” to ensure it pisses down.

    Works for me every time.

  8. @Champs

    The gods of Rule #9 are not summoned with gumboots. To prepare is to prevent.

    Beautiful. +1 to you my friend.

  9. @Barracuda

    @brett

    Don’t forget the timeless and ever popular ” washing of the car ” to ensure it pisses down.

    Works for me every time.

    Tried and true. I wonder if it works with bikes?

  10. Wiggo!

  11. I’m surprised by the talk about Wiggins as a contender. Sure, he did really darn well last year. But, to dive in late and ride strongly when you’re an interloper and to name your race and pull off a podium is quite different. Unknown quantity vs. staking your territory four months in advance are very different.

    I’m looking forward to seeing how he does, but I can’t imagine he’ll repeat a top 10. Not now that folks will watch his wheels much, much more closely.

  12. @Ron

    I’m surprised by the talk about Wiggins as a contender. Sure, he did really darn well last year. But, to dive in late and ride strongly when you’re an interloper and to name your race and pull off a podium is quite different. Unknown quantity vs. staking your territory four months in advance are very different.

    I’m looking forward to seeing how he does, but I can’t imagine he’ll repeat a top 10. Not now that folks will watch his wheels much, much more closely.

    Agreed. It’s going to be really tough for him. But then it’s going to be tough for all the main contenders. Everyone knows them.

    I don’t think a win or podium is likely, but I’ll be cheering him on.

  13. I understand Wiggins is getting all excited about a crack at P-R, but is this really a race to put so many proverbial eggs in a particular basket? Let’s face it, perhaps more than any other race, P-R requires luck – no punctures, no mechanicals, no one falling in front of you.You could be at 100% fitness, have a great team, then have a mechanical in the Arenberg. Team car? Nowhere in sight. For reference, see Tommeke a few years back – jammed chain. Race over.

    As always, I wish Wiggins well, but he’d better eat his lucky charms.

  14. @brett

    @Barracuda

    @brett

    Don’t forget the timeless and ever popular ” washing of the car ” to ensure it pisses down.

    Works for me every time.

    Tried and true. I wonder if it works with bikes?

    It does, dammit, it does. Every time I clean it really thoroughly the gods conspire against me. I once spent a few hours cleaning it completely, polishing and greasing and stripping the chain of any speck of dust ahead of a race, forecast dry and sunny. Reality? Race shortened because of floods, and it was raining and hailing from 30km out until the finish.

  15. @wiscot

    As always, I wish Wiggins well, but he’d better eat his lucky charms.

    Yeah, it’s not just like smashing a TT. I don’t really understand how you could plan to win P-R. I assume it’s just a case of reacting to what happens around you and having plenty left in the tank.

  16. @wiscot

    I understand Wiggins is getting all excited about a crack at P-R, but is this really a race to put so many proverbial eggs in a particular basket? Let’s face it, perhaps more than any other race, P-R requires luck – no punctures, no mechanicals, no one falling in front of you.You could be at 100% fitness, have a great team, then have a mechanical in the Arenberg. Team car? Nowhere in sight. For reference, see Tommeke a few years back – jammed chain. Race over.

    As always, I wish Wiggins well, but he’d better eat his lucky charms.

    Reminds me of this great video… http://www.wheelsuckers.co.uk/page/the-back-of-hell-paris-roubaix-2013

  17. @brett

    @Champs

    The gods of Rule #9 are not summoned with gumboots. To prepare is to prevent.

    Beautiful. +1 to you my friend.

    Indeed. I’m bringing no overshoes, no gloves, no cycling caps, nothing but bibs and jerseys. I’m not even bringing arm warmers.

    That ought to do it.

  18. @frank

    @brett

    @Champs

    The gods of Rule #9 are not summoned with gumboots. To prepare is to prevent.

    Beautiful. +1 to you my friend.

    Indeed. I’m bringing no overshoes, no gloves, no cycling caps, nothing but bibs and jerseys. I’m not even bringing arm warmers.

    That ought to do it.

    Don’t forget the credit card though……………….

  19. @Ron

    I’m surprised by the talk about Wiggins as a contender. Sure, he did really darn well last year. But, to dive in late and ride strongly when you’re an interloper and to name your race and pull off a podium is quite different. Unknown quantity vs. staking your territory four months in advance are very different.

    I’m looking forward to seeing how he does, but I can’t imagine he’ll repeat a top 10. Not now that folks will watch his wheels much, much more closely.

    One one hand I see what you’re saying, but you can’t tell me that no one marks Boonen or Cancellara and they continue to perform year in and year out at P-R. Its definitely a race where luck plays a much larger part than many other races, but in Pippi Longstockings defense, he really does tend to do well with those races he targets and prepares specifically for. There aren’t many guys that can transform themselves these days from track champions, to TT specialist, to Grand Tour Contender the way he seems to have. If its his one road goal for the season and Lady Luck doesn’t kick him in the balls, I don’t see why he can’t be right up there when its time for the final selection.

  20. @Wiscot @Ron @RobSandy

    I take your point about luck in P-R but with Wiggo past experience has shown that once he puts his mind to it, he does it. To a certain extent he transcends luck, other than the most egregious variety.

    You don’t get four Olympic golds, a TdF and a World TT championship any other way.

  21. Frank writing about no flats on the cobbles in previous rides and all this talk of no rain… You guys are fucked.
    Should be a hell of s time.

    I have found that the more educated I have become, the more superstitious I have become (contrary to what should happen). Cycling is the worst in that department.

  22. @Teocalli

    @frank

    @brett

    @Champs

    The gods of Rule #9 are not summoned with gumboots. To prepare is to prevent.

    Beautiful. +1 to you my friend.

    Indeed. I’m bringing no overshoes, no gloves, no cycling caps, nothing but bibs and jerseys. I’m not even bringing arm warmers.

    That ought to do it.

    Don’t forget the credit card though……………….

    Ah, but that’s the beauty of Keepers Tour… once we pick you up, you won’t be needing that again. Want to drink ten beers on the Kwaremont? No problem, we’ve got you covered.

    Frank, I hope it’s not as cold as last time then, you and Gianni may need to snuggle for warmth.

  23. Well said. You only have to look back as far as stage 5 in the Tour last year to be reminded that a legendary day might be in the works anytime the riders and the rain hit the cobblestones at the same time. Nibali rode like a champion that day.

  24. I don’t doubt Wiggins is a strong and classy (not in the style dept, in the Department of Palmares) rider, I’m just thinking rollin’ the dice last year vs. targeting this year is going to change his chances. But hey, ChrisO says Sir is above this chance thing…

    And what is this car thing you lads are talking about washing? I only own bikes and have no time to waste cleaning other machines.

  25. @Ron

    And what is this car thing you lads are talking about washing? I only own bikes and have no time to waste cleaning other machines.

    If you’re like me it’s the wheeled thing you park outside your house to store all your unwanted junk in.

  26. @ChrisO

    @Wiscot @Ron @RobSandy

    I take your point about luck in P-R but with Wiggo past experience has shown that once he puts his mind to it, he does it. To a certain extent he transcends luck, other than the most egregious variety.

    You don’t get four Olympic golds, a TdF and a World TT championship any other way.

    Plus, his power figures are pretty much public domain, and they’re no slouch. An FTP that’s supposedly near 500W buys you a whole lot of luck.

    The funny thing about probability theory is that Wiggins is just as likely to flat as the Faboonens, and just as likely to flat this year as he was likely to flat last year. It’s not as if Wiggo wasn’t a marked man last year – nobody in their right mind lets a TT specialist get away if they can help it.

    Sometimes they can’t.

  27. @brett

    @Teocalli

    @frank

    @brett

    @Champs

    The gods of Rule #9 are not summoned with gumboots. To prepare is to prevent.

    Beautiful. +1 to you my friend.

    Indeed. I’m bringing no overshoes, no gloves, no cycling caps, nothing but bibs and jerseys. I’m not even bringing arm warmers.

    That ought to do it.

    Don’t forget the credit card though……………….

    Ah, but that’s the beauty of Keepers Tour… once we pick you up, you won’t be needing that again. Want to drink ten beers on the Kwaremont? No problem, we’ve got you covered.

    Frank, I hope it’s not as cold as last time then, you and Gianni may need to snuggle for warmth.

    @frank and @Gianni spooning, that’s a whole other article right there, and one that’s best not discussed while the kids are up. Three monkeys !

  28. @brett

    @Teocalli

    @frank

    @brett

    @Champs

    The gods of Rule #9 are not summoned with gumboots. To prepare is to prevent.

    Beautiful. +1 to you my friend.

    Indeed. I’m bringing no overshoes, no gloves, no cycling caps, nothing but bibs and jerseys. I’m not even bringing arm warmers.

    That ought to do it.

    Don’t forget the credit card though……………….

    Ah, but that’s the beauty of Keepers Tour… once we pick you up, you won’t be needing that again. Want to drink ten beers on the Kwaremont? No problem, we’ve got you covered.

    Frank, I hope it’s not as cold as last time then, you and Gianni may need to snuggle for warmth.

    But will you supply frank with overshoes, gloves, caps, arm warmers……………….

  29. If the baby jesus loves us, and I know he does, it will rain. If it does, Wiggins and Fabs chances just went in the ditch. Neither have raced Roubaix in the wet. Advantage will go to Boom, Sep Vanmarcke and the bad ass Belgians.

    Wiggins was right there last year, he has the motor but I’ll be betting against him. That’s just the way I am.

  30. By my very rough guesstimation Paris Roubaix has been won by a rider almost certainly among the three pre-race favourites at least 60% of the time for the last 50 editions…

    While Wiggins won’t be among my top three pre-race favourites, Geraint Thomas or Ian Stannard must be enjoying their resultant anonymity. As perhaps will be the Sky masterplanners…

  31. @osbk67

    While Wiggins won’t be among my top three pre-race favourites, Geraint Thomas or Ian Stannard must be enjoying their resultant anonymity. As perhaps will be the Sky masterplanners…

    I was going to mention Geraint. As well as being my local hero (I rode the outdoor velodrome where he started out with Maindy Flyers this morning), I think he’s a hell of a gutsy rider who rides the cobbles pretty well. I’d like to see what he can do when he’s not just being a domestique.

    Well, he can win Commonwealth gold, for starters…

  32. If goals are motivation, why shouldn’t Wiggo set one? Of course he can’t know he’ll win, but saying he wants to and thinks he can makes perfect sense.

    Personally, I believe he’s got as good a shot as anyone – hell, if a journeyman like Vansummeren could win, a class act like Wiggins surely can…

    IF everything goes his way, of course.

  33. The conditions and/or luck will be the same for everyone, so shirley it’s down to which rider is on form and wants it the most? Wiggo certainly knows his cycling history, and the P-R is up there in with all the other classic races. Can he do it? I have no idea, but as he’s stuck his neck out publicly, I’m damm sure he’ll be prepared.

  34. Is Wiggins going to ride Flanders too?

    Maybe he’s not quite explosive enough to cover a Cancellara attack there, but pure power is still a big factor and luck isn’t such a huge factor.

  35. @Oli

    If goals are motivation, why shouldn’t Wiggo set one? Of course he can’t know he’ll win, but saying he wants to and thinks he can makes perfect sense.

    Personally, I believe he’s got as good a shot as anyone – hell, if a journeyman like Vansummeren could win, a class act like Wiggins surely can…

    IF everything goes his way, of course.

    Unlike the Giro episode….

  36. “the harder I work the luckier I get” I think Wiggans deserves a lazy tenner…

  37. I don’t think Wiggo can win in the wet. Regardless he’ll have to be sharper than last year when he responded to Terpstra’s attack by having a little chat to Thomas before doing absolutely fucking nothing. Same goes for Sagan, Faboo, Degenkolb, Vanmarcke et al.

    It must be that none of the current pros have raced PR in the wet. Unless JVS raced in 2003. Whatever the case, Boom will take some beating in mud.

  38. @Gianni

    If the baby jesus loves us, and I know he does, it will rain. If it does, Wiggins and Fabs chances just went in the ditch. Neither have raced Roubaix in the wet.

    Fabs rode Stage V of the Tour in the wet though.

  39. @Harminator

    I don’t think Wiggo can win in the wet.

    He knows when to harden up and just deal with it…

  40. @Barracuda

    @brett

    @Teocalli

    @frank

    @brett

    @Champs

    The gods of Rule #9 are not summoned with gumboots. To prepare is to prevent.

    Beautiful. +1 to you my friend.

    Indeed. I’m bringing no overshoes, no gloves, no cycling caps, nothing but bibs and jerseys. I’m not even bringing arm warmers.

    That ought to do it.

    Don’t forget the credit card though……………….

    Ah, but that’s the beauty of Keepers Tour… once we pick you up, you won’t be needing that again. Want to drink ten beers on the Kwaremont? No problem, we’ve got you covered.

    Frank, I hope it’s not as cold as last time then, you and Gianni may need to snuggle for warmth.

    @frank and @Gianni spooning, that’s a whole other article right there, and one that’s best not discussed while the kids are up. Three monkeys !

    Between the three of us, I’ll be the only one used to bad weather; if there is any Keeper Spooning happening, it will be Brett and Gianni. I’ll be the one filming it.

  41. @Oli

    If goals are motivation, why shouldn’t Wiggo set one? Of course he can’t know he’ll win, but saying he wants to and thinks he can makes perfect sense.

    Personally, I believe he’s got as good a shot as anyone – hell, if a journeyman like Vansummeren could win, a class act like Wiggins surely can…

    IF everything goes his way, of course.

    Totally agree you have to set goals to maintain focus. And while I agree with the sentiment that he is in with a realistic shout I totally disagree that Vansummeren was somehow a less classy rider, he is one hard-working Bastia with as much class as anyone.

  42. @Gianni

    If the baby jesus loves us, and I know he does, it will rain. If it does, Wiggins and Fabs chances just went in the ditch. Neither have raced Roubaix in the wet. Advantage will go to Boom, Sep Vanmarcke and the bad ass Belgians.

    Wiggins was right there last year, he has the motor but I’ll be betting against him. That’s just the way I am.

    You and me both brother

  43. @brett

    @Gianni

    If the baby jesus loves us, and I know he does, it will rain. If it does, Wiggins and Fabs chances just went in the ditch. Neither have raced Roubaix in the wet.

    Fabs rode Stage V of the Tour in the wet though.

    Yeah, and he complained more than a Springbok being eaten by a lion.

  44. @frank

    @Oli

    If goals are motivation, why shouldn’t Wiggo set one? Of course he can’t know he’ll win, but saying he wants to and thinks he can makes perfect sense.

    Personally, I believe he’s got as good a shot as anyone – hell, if a journeyman like Vansummeren could win, a class act like Wiggins surely can…

    IF everything goes his way, of course.

    Totally agree you have to set goals to maintain focus. And while I agree with the sentiment that he is in with a realistic shout I totally disagree that Vansummeren was somehow a less classy rider, he is one hard-working Bastia with as much class as anyone.

    Um, he hasn’t won a Grand Tour (or even a minor tour) and he doesn’t have a world title or Olympic gold medals to his name.

    I wasn’t dissing JVS, but he’s pretty much a solid domestique who lucked out on circumstance and had enough ability to finish off the job, whereas Wiggins has serious and undeniable class.

    For example, if JVS said, “I’m going to win Liege-Bastogne-Liege!”, or any race other than Paris-Roubaix, would we take him seriously? But if Wiggo says he’s going to win pretty much any race he’s shown he has the ability to at least give it a serious bash.

    It’s not an insult to JVS to call him a “journeyman”, it’s just a fact. Many journeymen will never be in the position or able to finish off a win like he did, and it was fantastic to watch, but that win didn’t suddenly elevate him above being a good team worker.

  45. You can try all you want, but you guys are screwed: it’s going to be perfectly sunny on Keepers Tour. I know. I’m not home that week…

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