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.