Laurens VV Dam, Stage V. Photo Cor Vos

The V Stages Of V

The V Stages Of V

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It’s no coincidence that Stage Five of the Tour was not only the best one to watch, or that it helped decide the race before nary a hill was crested, but that it was just, well, Stage Five. Only last minute copyright clearances prevented the organisers actually dubbing it Stage V, though they managed to get the rain delivered on time, an essential element for any V-based activity. All that was left to be added was the Grinta.

Some brought more than others. Some brought none. Some brought it, thought they had enough, but when they realised it wasn’t, protested it’s very requirement. Others didn’t even get to remove it from their jersey pocket, too embarrassed to look it in the eye, hoping it will still be there for future, lesser missions. When faced with the harshness of the Hell of the North, those unfamiliar with those parts had a choice to make: Go V or go home.

Along with laying out their kit and possibly engaging in some superstitious rituals, an enlightened Velominatus will abide by the V Stages of V to ward off any Anti-V that may be infiltrating the peloton/bunch/mates. Like a twelve-step plan for alcoholics, stick by this edict and you’ll have earned that beer.

Recognition: Have a look at what’s in front of you, and see it for what it really is. You’re not going out there to smile and skip and frolic, you’re going to be inflicting hardship and pain upon your body and mind, and no matter how you try to sugar-coat it (“it’s a recovery ride” “let’s just cruise” etc), you must recognise that this will not be pleasant. At all.

Acceptance: Ok, so this is gonna suck, but you know what? Bring it on! I mean, how bad can it really be? Embrace the conditions, even if the rain is coming in sideways and your toes are blue before you start, you must rub your hands together and at the very least project an air of not giving a fuck.

Action: The secret to suffering is seclusion. Suffer internally, not outwardly. Suffer in silence, no-one wants to hear you complaining or grunting or retching when they feel just as bad. Rule #5 doesn’t need to be flaunted to be effective, so just get on with it. And remember, stay Casually Deliberate at all times.

Reaction: You’re not going to be able to lay down massive amounts of hurt and not pay for it. That’s what the V-Bank is all about. Deposits and withdrawals. The more you put in, the more fools you drop. The more you take out, the more fools you drop, harder.

Vainquer: Winning isn’t about crossing the line first. Ok, it is. But it’s also knowing you’ve not only beaten everyone else, but you’ve stared down your own demons, took on what you thought was impossible, and wrestled it to the ground and stamped on it with a smooth carbon-soled slipper. That may seem a bit how’s your father, but it’s not.

It’s V. And that’s a win.

// La Vie Velominatus

  1. Fucking spot on Brilliant!!

  2. Hallelujah! Tonight was the night to remember along with this article. Thanx for writing it.

  3. Yeah baby. Great post. It all comes back to PVP, “This weather is good for us.”

    Great photo of Laurens too. I was cheering for him on the mountain stages. He owns a copy of The Rules. He is one of us.

  4. Awesome. No namby-pamby Elizabeth Kuber-Ross stuff when the V is required. Rides like stage V of the tour are great because when you survive, others challenges appear less so by comparison.

  5. Great article – those secteurs are on my bucket list!

    “those unfamiliar with those parts had a choice to make: Go V or go home” – Vincenzo found his!

    Others who didn’t have it went home.

  6. Top work Brett.  I love this line “Others don’t even get to remove it from their jersey pocket.”  Just great.

  7. Vucking good stuff

  8. Great piece and so true about the V Bank. Last night’s 90 kms ride was in perfect conditions and I was flying – 29kms.hr. Basically no wind and mid 70s. I went on some of the same roads I rode back in March when the temps were in the 20s and the wind chill less than that and I had to stop to warm up my hands which were screaming in pain from the cold. I reassured myself that I was making deposits in the V Bank.

  9. I took large withdrawals out of my V Bank a few weeks ago in Italy, and have basically not topped up with any meaningful deposits since.  Strangely though, with a 160km ride coming up next week, I’m almost looking forward to meeting The Man again.  He’ll certainly put me back on the straight and narrow.

  10. I’ll just leave this here as some evidence of step 1 in relation to tomorrow morning…

  11. I’ve still got Stage V on my DVR, and I’m pretty sure I will never delete it.  It was easily the most dramatic stage I’ve witnessed live since I started regularly watching cycling.

  12. @Mikael Liddy and a moderate fire risk thrown in for good luck. Sounds like a lovely day out!

  13. This is fucking perfect.

  14. Regarding the first three steps: I’ve always found that embracing the suck is key to smiting one’s adversaries. When the road turns up at a maddening angle, a cheerful chat with the guy next to me earns my too fat to climb behind a glare, which I know means that I’ve already beaten him mentally. The physical victory is in the bag at that point.

  15. @Mikael Liddy Oooo, things are looking dicey in South Australia.

  16. @DeKerr

    @Mikael Liddy Oooo, things are looking dicey in South Australia.

    That looks fun. Flemish tan lines will be in effect.

  17. @Ccos

    Awesome. No namby-pamby Elizabeth Kuber-Ross stuff when The V is required. Rides like stage V of the tour are great because when you survive, others challenges appear less so by comparison.

    Yes; this. The next one pales in comparison. Invincibility.

  18. @The Oracle

    I’ve still got Stage V on my DVR, and I’m pretty sure I will never delete it. It was easily the most dramatic stage I’ve witnessed live since I started regularly watching cycling.

    I kept it on until recently and now regretting my mistake. I did have a mate over who had not seen it and we watched the whole thing, (my second viewing). It was an awesome stage.

    At the finish of Stage V they were interviewing Geraint Thomas. He didn’t know until then Froomy had quit and was asked if R. Porte was ready to be the team leader. “He better be” was his answer. Love that guy.

  19. Note to the older Velominatus among us: 

    Some grey in the beard may look distinguished. However, Dark-Nasty-Cold-Grey, as illustrated above, looks far more bad-ass. So, go dye that Gray with some nature.

    Crayola, you can thank me later for the new color when you debut the V-Pack 14 set of crayons (5+9 of course). It will consist of the 5 World Champ colors (Blue, Red, Black, Yellow, Green), 5 of the Dark-Nasty-Cold-Grey, 2 of the Oh-So-Powerful V-Orange and 1 each of Surreal Blue and Beyond Green. You’ll know them when you see them.

  20. @oldensteel I’m not entirely sure that the “Facial hair is to be carefully regulated” bit of Rule #50 was intended to include dying one’s beard but surely doing so would be on a level with using fake tan to maintain ones tan lines.

    Eitherway, it’s a dirty little thought that you’d best keep to yourself.

  21. If anyone had been making deposits in the V-bank over the last years on these roads, it was Lars Boom. Great to see him cash in finally.

  22. @Mike_P

    @Mikael Liddy and a moderate fire risk thrown in for good luck. Sounds like a lovely day out!

    Only in ‘Straya could there be snow, hail and the risk of fire!

  23. I travelled to see stage V with my velominahottie. It rained. The wind blew. The place was (unsurprisingly) full of Belgians…

    Rule #9 rules!

  24. Great post, totally nailed it. “Go V or go home.”

  25. @Chris I assure you that I did not use my post as a subtle confessional but thanks for the chuckle. My point, that you surprisingly missed, is that even if you had a full on Santa beard going, you’d look decidedly more bad-ass with it covered in Flandrian terra-firma as illustrated above. Seeing as you are a cobbled classics attendee, I’d expect you to get that.

    Although Rule #50 says nothing about dye, one can only assume that it would be a blatant violation.

  26. This is just so very well written and so very knowing. I smiled and nodded through the entire piece. Power to your elbow and your pedals!

  27. @oldensteel Oh I see now! I do apologise for casting aspersions.

    I need to go and find a steep hill on which to find atonement.

  28. Likewise Stage V is recorded on the Froomebox.  The more I thought about this article, and the more I looked at the Laurens photo, the more I thought of G.  He encapsulated the V for me in the Tour, come rain, shine, sprint, mountains, he was always there, always laying down the V and always with a word for the cameras at the end of the day….Vtastic!

  29. @Mikael Liddy what are you going to wear on your hands? We’ve got V degrees in the tomorrow morning in Melbourne. I’m thinking of cutting off the finger tips off rubber gloves then putting on the full finger gloves over them.

  30. VV Dam with the epitome of the V face, staring at middle distance, soaking up all the information required to go almost safely at the highest Velocity.

    Face Cacked with the stuff he’s riding over, soaked to the skin, hurting but not hurting.

    Hurting those around him

  31. Stage V certainly made the Tour for me. The way Nibbles took it to the other GC guys, basically saying “well, you can wait til the mountains, but I’m gonna race today…” I think he would’ve won the Tour even if Bertie and Froome were still riding, after his rides in stages 2 and V. Brilliant tactical riding and bucketloads of grinta.

    VV Dam, Boom, those boys make lime green look like the toughest hue there is!

  32. VV Dam is possibly the best nickname in recent memory. I hope one of us Keeper dingbats has the sense to put that in the Lexicon. That is solid gold!

    Bretto, this is your best piece yet. This is going into the scrapbook:

    Winning isn’t about crossing the line first. Ok, it is. But it’s also knowing you’ve not only beaten everyone else, but you’ve stared down your own demons, took on what you thought was impossible, and wrestled it to the ground and stamped on it with a smooth carbon-soled slipper. That may seem a bit how’s your father, but it’s not.

  33. @frank

    VV Dam is possibly the best nickname in recent memory. I hope one of us Keeper dingbats has the sense to put that in the Lexicon. That is solid gold!

    Bretto, this is your best piece yet. This is going into the scrapbook:

    Winning isn’t about crossing the line first. Ok, it is. But it’s also knowing you’ve not only beaten everyone else, but you’ve stared down your own demons, took on what you thought was impossible, and wrestled it to the ground and stamped on it with a smooth carbon-soled slipper. That may seem a bit how’s your father, but it’s not.

    Cheers mate. Added to Lexi.

  34. Excellent stuff.   Generally enjoyed the tour this year, but the V was by far the standout.  Awesome picture too.

  35. @piwakawaka

    @Mike_P

    @Mikael Liddy and a moderate fire risk thrown in for good luck. Sounds like a lovely day out!

    Only in ‘Straya could there be snow, hail and the risk of fire!

    I’m assuming the fire risk came from the copious amounts of lightning that was also on hand, unfortunately that was enough to put a stop to me kitting up. Not much fun being on top of a hill when there’s that stuff around.

    @sthilzy usually I avoid wearing gloves where possible, but for days where it’s below 5 I tend to bring some woollen DeFeet Duragloves for once I’m done climbing.

  36. A rule V day at the Tour Of Poland… Golf ball hail storms, falling trees and debris strewn roads. Epic. 

  37. @Mikael Liddy

    @piwakawaka

    @Mike_P

    @Mikael Liddy and a moderate fire risk thrown in for good luck. Sounds like a lovely day out!

    Only in ‘Straya could there be snow, hail and the risk of fire!

    I’m assuming the fire risk came from the copious amounts of lightning that was also on hand, unfortunately that was enough to put a stop to me kitting up. Not much fun being on top of a hill when there’s that stuff around.

    @sthilzy usually I avoid wearing gloves where possible, but for days where it’s below 5 I tend to bring some woollen DeFeet Duragloves for once I’m done climbing.

    Had to Google how cold you are talking. Sounds reasonable for that weather…

    @brett, nicely done, even if I am not a Stages of anything fan.

  38. @brett

    Found this article again and wanted to sound the V siren. And at this point, is Velominati orange considered an agent used to signify the V — to remind us ??

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