La Vie Velominatus, Part IV: The Great Escape

La Vie Velominatus, Part IV: The Great Escape

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One of the most magnificent things about Cycling is that not only does it represent different things to different people, it represents different things on different days. Some days, it’s training – a means to an end. Other days, it’s the culmination of a body of work; rather than a means to an end, it represents that end itself, whether that end is exhilarating or devastating. But these two facets represent Cycling only as Sport, the complex simplicity of the balance between dedication and results.

Cycling stands apart, however, in its many dimensions beyond Sport. For me, Cycling is meditation, a time to clear my mind of ancillary concerns and contemplate on those that require my focus. It is thoughtlessness, a time to eliminate everything through the simplicity of pain. It is simultaneously medication and therapy; even a short ride can shake a heavy lethargy from my bones and rejuvenate aching muscles and joints. It is simultaneously tension and release; Cycling can fill my being with effort, an effort that overflows my legs and lungs and spills over to fill every fiber of my being, flushing from me all those things I wish not to keep.

Cycling is penance for my mistakes; a few hours at the mercy of the Man with the Hammer can help me understand the error of my ways. It is cleansing of other’s mistakes – here the Man with the Hammer helps pound out the ripples in the surface of Life they cause me.

I am by no means a great man and never will be. But I am a better man for my bike, and for that I am eternally grateful to it.

Vive la Vie Velominatus.

// La Vie Velominatus

  1. @Cyclops
    Yeah, the test for the gonorra-herpi-sphylitis is so far negative as well. :)

    Just cannot be too careful, esp in non-insured trauma types here in the city.

  2. @Buck Rogers

    Bloody hell, happy for you about the results so far and I hope that the same is to be said of the Hep C.

  3. @huffalotpuffalot

    @All
    Speaking of events and consdering my dismal form right now, I decided to set my self a small target with a sportive in Blighty. I am going to be doing the Epic course so should be a nice little ride and if anyone else is going to be doing this let me know.
    South Downs Sportive

    Thanks man.

    “Small target” eh, definitely sounds EPIC! That sounds awesome! Cannot wait to hear how it goes! Better start logging some serious K’s as that sounds like it will be a real ride!

  4. @Buck Rogers

    aye laying down a couple of hours every afternoon and then proper runs on weekends. Its just getting back into the routine really. I have been really amazed how good the recovery drinks. I am using SIS at the moment and was a bit dubious about how much difference they would make but after trying them I have really noticed it.

    Will definitely let everyone know how it goes and will even try and get a couple of pictures if I can remember.

  5. Late to the discussion, but this article and the posts are very timely (and amazingly apt, eloquent and inspiring) for me indeed.

    I haven’t touched a bike for ten days, and it feels like my mind and body are being deprived of some sort of life-force, and energy and clarity is being slowly drained from me. It’s the old ‘life getting in the way’, but riding is a part of my life that really dictates everything else in it. My job(s) is cycling related, so it’s ironic that cycling is preventing me cycling in a paradoxical way. I’m sat at a computer putting together a magazine that celebrates the freedom that riding brings, yet that very act is preventing the act that I’m portraying to the audience.

    And I know that when I ride again, the pain that I feel in my legs and lungs will wash away the pain in my mind and my heart that has built up and clouded my very being.

    It’s time to escape.

  6. @huffalotpuffalot

    @All
    Speaking of events and consdering my dismal form right now, I decided to set my self a small target with a sportive in Blighty. I am going to be doing the Epic course so should be a nice little ride and if anyone else is going to be doing this let me know.
    South Downs Sportive

    Looks like a fine day out – I did a couple of runs down that neck of the woods through the South Downs a few weeks ago whilst sailing Hamble – mind you, I would struggle not to stop in every other village for a pint in one of those delightful little English village pubs – got a bit pissed on one of the 30 mile runs after two such stops!

    @frank
    Is this not your job?
    Maybe one for the “favourite rides” page, would be the mentioned idea to have a register, as suggested, not for discussion, of rides/ trips that Velominati are doing, that they feel others might wish to join if riding/travelling in the vicinity, so folk have a contact to liaise with??

    @brett
    Amazing just how shit the guns and lungs feel after a short lay off – first day on bike today for a week – decided to batter the hills and frig me, did I struggle – but then on the fourth climb at about 20km and 450m upness done, they started to sing like a well oiled Pavarotti, I guess the Voluptia appeared – Merckx I felt strong – such a relief – I’ve had a shit week so far, albeit I haven’t been shared the body fluids of dodgy Mexican Scratchback, but for that time nothing mattered – cheap and completely legal Mary Joanna

  7. @brett

    Late to the discussion, but this article and the posts are very timely (and amazingly apt, eloquent and inspiring) for me indeed.
    I haven’t touched a bike for ten days,

    How do you do that when you WORK IN A FUCKEN BIKE SHOP!?!?!?!?!?!?! I dare you to show Kahuna this post.

  8. @drsoul

    Just went to their site…I take it back. They do some “heavy” trips…
    http://www.backroads.com/biking-trips

    Loads of stuff going on with them – sounds like mostly pleasure, with moderate level suffering, but with degree of luxury – nice

  9. @Minion
    Ok, I’ve touched one or two… not with my arse though.

  10. @Dr C

    @Buck Rogers @Chris @all Northern European Velominati @ in fact anyone who is game
    I’ll try to sort a Paris Roubaix trip for 2013, for those who like to gaze into the distant future, to include the P-R sportive and a few other rides over a couple of days and of course, the race itself – could be a good focal event for the EuroV’ers

    Sounds like a plan! It’ll be good training for the LEJOG I’m planning on doing with a mate later on 2013.

    I may just about have got to grips with my new rollers by then or, more likely, have died trying.

  11. @huffalotpuffalot

    @All
    Speaking of events and consdering my dismal form right now, I decided to set my self a small target with a sportive in Blighty. I am going to be doing the Epic course so should be a nice little ride and if anyone else is going to be doing this let me know.
    South Downs Sportive

    Good stuff! Looks like a nice ride. I’m off to do this one in Shropshire the week after. It is going to be my first century (well almost at 98 miles).

    Where are you based in the UK?

  12. @Buck Rogers

    Needless to say, myself and the Infect Disease folks were a bit worried about his HIV status so I had to go on the anti-retroviral meds that make you sooooo sick! Even two doses of this stuff has made me feel totally like shit. But, the lab results came back 10 minutes ago and he is HIV negative! So I can go off the HIV meds.
    Now if only his Hep C can come back negative, I’ll be all clear!!!

    Scary shit, dude. You guys do amazing work, and risk alot. The VMH used to be in a similar line of work, and its a very stressful deal.

    Very glad you’re negative, and here’s hoping for a negative on the Hep C.

    And, for something completely different, the HIV drugs sound like a great way to loose weight, much like getting gonorrhea giardia in India did for me.

  13. My friend loves biking. He sent me this article. He’s a goddamn idiot but could kick your ace in a race.
    Thanks for the indulgence.

  14. @Buck Rogers

    Not nice shit but glad you got the HIV negative. Fingers crossed on the Hep C.

  15. @Buck Rogers

    On a side note and completely unrelated (or as Monty Python would say, And now for something completely different) I have to share some good news. I was stuck by a needle yesterday during surgery and the patient was a trauma dude that I was fixing his eye. He’s some guy from the Mexican border who was stabbed in the eye with a broken beer bottle while in a bar fight.
    Needless to say, myself and the Infect Disease folks were a bit worried about his HIV status so I had to go on the anti-retroviral meds that make you sooooo sick! Even two doses of this stuff has made me feel totally like shit. But, the lab results came back 10 minutes ago and he is HIV negative! So I can go off the HIV meds.
    Now if only his Hep C can come back negative, I’ll be all clear!!!

    That sucks, and good news so far. I gotta ask: you a MD, RN or scrub? I myself work in the OR as a anesthesia technician/ technologist. 12 years in the ER before that. Only been stuck once and it was ‘clean’ (needle off a piggy-back IV). Have a few co-workers that have been though. Nothing like coming home and telling the VMH “hey, know we’ve been together for 10+ years, but gotta glove up for the next 12 months.

  16. @Horace Nmydik

    My friend loves biking. He sent me this article. He’s a goddamn idiot but could kick your ace in a race.
    Thanks for the indulgence.

    Not sure how to respond to that. But that’s a pretty bold statement unless your friend is Jens Voigt.

  17. @Horace Nmydik

    Awesome. I’ll stick with being slow in the legs but fast of mind, myself!

  18. @Buck Rogers
    I’m happy you are negative at the test!

  19. @frank

    @Buck Rogers

    And, for something completely different, the HIV drugs sound like a great way to loose weight, much like getting gonorrhea in India did for me.

    Fronk, are you SURE that it was gonorrhea that you picked up in India? If so, that ought to be an intersting story as there are not too many ways one can contract gonorrhea!

  20. @scaler911
    I’m an M.D. Trained in ophtho with a cornea transplant fellowship at Wills, but then went over to the “Dark Side” and was an SF surgeon for the last 4.5 years. Now I’m back full time cornea. I think I might have been safer in SF! :)

  21. @Buck Rogers

    @frank

    @Buck Rogers

    And, for something completely different, the HIV drugs sound like a great way to loose weight, much like getting gonorrhea in India did for me.

    Fronk, are you SURE that it was gonorrhea that you picked up in India? If so, that ought to be an intersting story as there are not too many ways one can contract gonorrhea!

    No, I meant giardia, and I was joking. I just had the runs in a major way. On the plus side, I could eat whatever I wanted.

    Fuck, I hate it when my jokes don’t work out. Now I feel like a New Zealander, or more specifically, Minion.

  22. @Buck Rogers

    @frank

    @Buck Rogers

    And, for something completely different, the HIV drugs sound like a great way to loose weight, much like getting gonorrhea in India did for me.

    Fronk, are you SURE that it was gonorrhea that you picked up in India? If so, that ought to be an intersting story as there are not too many ways one can contract gonorrhea!

    Yeah, that’s like my cousin who had mono and claimed she had contracted it while playing beer pong in NYC. Likely story, indeed.

  23. @frank

    @Buck Rogers

    @frank

    @Buck Rogers

    And, for something completely different, the HIV drugs sound like a great way to loose weight, much like getting gonorrhea in India did for me.

    Fronk, are you SURE that it was gonorrhea that you picked up in India? If so, that ought to be an intersting story as there are not too many ways one can contract gonorrhea!

    No, I meant giardia, and I was joking. I just had the runs in a major way. On the plus side, I could eat whatever I wanted.
    Fuck, I hate it when my jokes don’t work out. Now I feel like a New Zealander, or more specifically, Minion.

    Yeah whatever sunshine. You’ve got a LONG way to go before reaching pinnacles I’ve scaled. Step one: terrible spelling. That’ll get you started.

  24. @frank

    @Buck Rogers

    @frank

    @Buck Rogers

    And, for something completely different, the HIV drugs sound like a great way to loose weight, much like getting gonorrhea in India did for me.

    Fronk, are you SURE that it was gonorrhea that you picked up in India? If so, that ought to be an intersting story as there are not too many ways one can contract gonorrhea!

    No, I meant giardia, and I was joking. I just had the runs in a major way. On the plus side, I could eat whatever I wanted.
    Fuck, I hate it when my jokes don’t work out. Now I feel like a New Zealander, or more specifically, Minion.

    I wasn’t even going to go there. Did think that it’d be harder to get gonorrhea in India than, say, Thailand. I was also pretty sure that you wouldn’t disclose that in a public forum! LMAO!

  25. @frank

    @Buck Rogers

    @frank

    @Buck Rogers

    And, for something completely different, the HIV drugs sound like a great way to loose weight, much like getting gonorrhea in India did for me.

    Fronk, are you SURE that it was gonorrhea that you picked up in India? If so, that ought to be an intersting story as there are not too many ways one can contract gonorrhea!

    No, I meant giardia, and I was joking. I just had the runs in a major way. On the plus side, I could eat whatever I wanted.
    Fuck, I hate it when my jokes don’t work out. Now I feel like a New Zealander, or more specifically, Minion.

    New Rule to Self: do not borrow Frank’s bikes. You never know what you might catch.

  26. @frank

    @Buck Rogers

    @frank

    @Buck Rogers

    And, for something completely different, the HIV drugs sound like a great way to loose weight, much like getting gonorrhea in India did for me.

    Fronk, are you SURE that it was gonorrhea that you picked up in India? If so, that ought to be an intersting story as there are not too many ways one can contract gonorrhea!

    No, I meant giardia, and I was joking. I just had the runs in a major way. On the plus side, I could eat whatever I wanted.
    Fuck, I hate it when my jokes don’t work out. Now I feel like a New Zealander, or more specifically, Minion.

    Nice story, Fronk. But don’t worry, I’m sure that your VMH never reads this site anyways, and we, as your brothers, would never say anything to her. ;)

  27. @Marcus

    @frank

    @Buck Rogers

    @frank

    @Buck Rogers

    And, for something completely different, the HIV drugs sound like a great way to loose weight, much like getting gonorrhea in India did for me.

    Fronk, are you SURE that it was gonorrhea that you picked up in India? If so, that ought to be an intersting story as there are not too many ways one can contract gonorrhea!

    No, I meant giardia, and I was joking. I just had the runs in a major way. On the plus side, I could eat whatever I wanted.Fuck, I hate it when my jokes don’t work out. Now I feel like a New Zealander, or more specifically, Minion.

    New Rule to Self: do not borrow Frank’s bikes. You never know what you might catch.

    LOL!!! Chapeau!

  28. @Marcus

    New Rule to Self: do not borrow Frank’s bikes. You never know what you might catch.

    They don’t make wooden blocks large enough to allow you to reach the pedals anyway. So don’t sweat it, mate.

  29. @frank

    @Marcus

    New Rule to Self: do not borrow Frank’s bikes. You never know what you might catch.

    They don’t make wooden blocks large enough to allow you to reach the pedals anyway. So don’t sweat it, mate.

    You go straight for the short guy call? You disappoint me. I thought you were better than that.

    Why didn’t you say something like,
    “You should be ok Marcus as I don’t think you can get a double dose of the Gonna. I think I caught it from your Missus.”

    And then I could respond with
    “Did i say don’t borrow Frank’s bikes? I meant to say ‘don’t borrow Frank’s rides.’ Last time I checked Fronky boy, your velomihottie has never needed me to wear wooden blocks.”

    See, that was a bit more fun wasn’t it? And then all the other readers would say, “Gee that Velominati is a cool website. I think I am going to buy more V-gear.”

    Missed opportunity my lofty friend. All because you dissed a short guy instead of going for the slightly edgier, but always guaranteed laugh of talking about porking someone else’s missus.

    And no matter how far you people slam down your stem, tall guys on bikes always look fucked.

  30. @Ron
    Nicely put. Shall fwd to my wife!

  31. SWMBO had a moment of revelation last night. Working in advertising her truly free time outside of work or work related events is fairly limited at best & even then most cognitive thought processes are somehow connected back to her work. She went to her second session of Bikram Yoga (think yoga performed in room at about 35-40 degrees C) last night after starting on Monday & she comes home with a weird smile on her face & just says:

    “I know you’ve wanked on about how good that fucking bike is for clearing your head for ages, but I now understand exactly where you’re coming from. An hour & a half of concentrating purely on what my body was doing without having to think of anything else, it’s magic!”

    I took that as the perfect time to let her know that the insurance claim has been paid & I’m either picking up the repaired bike before the weekend or the LBS is lending me a demo model so I can find some legs again before the 65k group ride I’ve signed up for next week.

  32. @Chris

    That looks awesome, I am just hoping the weather holds out and its not raining too badly otherwise the power I will be layind down is going to result in a lot of wheel spinning (yeah right!!) I swear sometimes when I am pushing it up hill I can feel the counter rotation of the earth against my every pedal stroke.

    I am currently based in Wimbledon, London at the moment hows about yourself?

  33. @frank

    agreed Frank, I have been looking at better ways of shifting the weight as I am fking shit at losing it due to my passion for fruit pastilles… oh and chocolate… oh and cakes… oh and actually any bloody food any bloody time.

    having just got through a new super duper private medical scheme for work I was consdering putting in for a couple of sessions of chemotherapy…did bloody wonders for Pharmstrong.

  34. @huffalotpuffalot
    I’m up in the Alpine wonderland of Cambridgeshire. There are no proper hills to train on and there are no proper hill between here and Siberia so you’re always guaranteed a good headwind.

    I’m a bit worried about the weather myself. It’s not that I don’t enjoy riding in shit weather but a dose of Rule #9 for the longest ride I’ve ever done across some pretty lumpy landscape might be pushing it. Going to give the guns a bit of a twirl this weekend on out local club run and was thinking that I really should ride down to thee start point to add another 20 odd miles to the 50-60 miles.

    I was also thinking of doing this, it’s in your neck of the woods and the organisers are guaranteeing fine weather, a fast flat course lined with pretty spectators and free beer and massages at the end.

  35. @Chris
    don’t forget, the wind generally blows from the same direction when it is strong, so you will have a tailwind for pretty much the same time as the headwind
    For the lack of hills, try a higher gear when training dude, and hang out over the front of the bars with your eyes shut (maybe best only to do this on the rollers….)

  36. @fronk
    Don’t be embarrassed about having gonnorhoea Fronk, plenty of people get it still – in fact, some quite famous people

  37. @Dr C
    Maybe I should slow down so that I don’t exceed the speed of the tailwind and create my own relative headwind!

  38. @Chris

    @Dr CMaybe I should slow down so that I don’t exceed the speed of the tailwind and create my own relative headwind!

    nothing like making work for yourself!

    try cyling backwards into the headwind, so the wind is constantly at your back…..?

    There has to be a solution

  39. Clicked on a link to this video of someone jumping of a mountain in China in a wing suit and fuck me! Look at the road he flies past, switchback spaghetti!

  40. @DrC… re: your idea for a P-R 2013 Sportive EuroV trip…. awesome idea. Only suggestion I have is that ASO only run the ‘official’ P-R sportive every two years (that includes the velodrome and velodrome showers experience)… looks like it is June 10th 2012 and then will be similar time in 2014. In 2013, it will go ahead unofficially (on the Sat before the real P-R), but this year – even though I think Rapha organised it – there were some challenges with the status of roads, police coverage etc.

    HOWEVER The Tour of Flanders is run every year, and I would highly recommend it – on an awesomeness scale of 1 to 10, the RvV scored a 27 for a great day’s riding and experience.

  41. @Chris
    are you going to post the link?

    @roadslave
    good point, I’d forgotten it was alternate years – happy to do ToF next year instead – need to sort something unofficial, as Phil Anderson charges about £3000 for his week long trip! Will keep an eye on 2012 P-R Sportif and see how it pans out – I recall all the dramas they were having with the route earlier this year

  42. @Dr C
    What a twat I am! Go here.

    I’m up for cold weather, muddy adventures on the pave in 2013 and for that matter sportives and the like in the UK/Ireland – it would be great to get a V Fuelled Paceline going if we could get the numbers!

  43. @Chris
    Man alive, that is a serious bit of twisty Tarmac!

  44. @Dr C

    haha I just noticed I wrote about the same thing independently on another thread. As I said there 11.2km with 1100 meters of ascent and 90 hairpins in total. Let the hill repeats begin!!

  45. There’s an even more extraordinary Jeb Corliss clip here:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TWfph3iNC-k&feature=youtube_gdata_player

    If it doesn’t work, Google “Jeb Corliss” and “Grinding the Crack”. (Despite its title, it is SFW).

    Nads of krypton.

  46. @G’phant

    If the fat boy with the balloons had got that wrong it would have been messy!

    He can also fly through mountains!

  47. @huffalotpuffalot

    @Dr C
    Let the hill repeats begin!!

    I might just go for one the first time round!

  48. @G’phant

    There’s an even more extraordinary Jeb Corliss clip here:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TWfph3iNC-k&feature=youtube_gdata_player
    If it doesn’t work, Google “Jeb Corliss” and “Grinding the Crack”. (Despite its title, it is SFW).
    Nads of krypton.

    Just bonkers – why would you even bother to wear a crash helmet? (I guess to attach the cameras to?)

  49. @Chris

    @G’phant
    If the fat boy with the balloons had got that wrong it would have been messy!
    He can also fly through mountains!

    Can’t go without mentioning the great hairpin sections again!!

    Can’t wait to see Le Petit Grimpeur in Le Tour de China

  50. @huffalotpuffalot
    Upon seeing that, I could only exclaim “What the fuck is that?” and then quickly realized the 270 degree turns and had Climbone to the extreme. How could I possibly get a bike to China to go up, up, and away? Unbelievable.

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