The switchbacks of Luz Ardiden

Allez la Douze: Dropping Flies

Allez la Douze: Dropping Flies

by / / 95 posts

An ancient Velominati legend states that when the The Prophet created the common fly, he gave it a maximum air speed of exactly 12 kilometers per hour. When he created the common Cyclist, on the other hand, he gave us a maximum climbing speed of 11.9 kilometers per hour.

The worst flies on the planet live in the Pyrenees, where it is hot and humid. I recall an overcast typical day in the Pyrenees, the kind of day where the flies pull back the drapes, look outside, and decide to take the whole family out to the Cols for an afternoon of Cyclist Surfing. As it happened, we were on a big ride that day; we started with the Col d’Aspin, went over the Tourmalet, and ended at Luz Ardiden as the sun was tucking in behind the shoulders of the mountains surrounding us.

It was here, on the lower slopes of the last climb, down within the suffocating effect of the tree line where our sanity was most severely tested. Luz Ardiden is the cruelest kind of climb, the sort that is always one hour from ending, as Will Fotheringham once pointed out. With 13km to go, the speed you climb at is 13km/h; with 12km to go, the speed drops to 12km/h, then to 11, and so on with always an hours’ riding left before you.

The guns had been thoroughly drained of any power after 160km over two of the most fearsome climbs in the Pyrenees; the mind was not far from cracking. I do not know what is worse; the noise of their flying droves, or their endless dancing upon the arms and legs, but the flies here are incessant. It is hard enough, climbing at track-stand speed, without the added challenge of doing so while wildly swinging an arm or two about and cursing every manner of airborne invertebrate.

Our reserves were tapped and the bottom of the V-Well scraped for every bit of speed in an effort to escape this torturous hell. Above the treeline and into the pastures, the flies found more appealing hosts than boney Cyclists, and we were left to once again commune with butterflies – the only sort of flying insect I find at all tolerable.

Every summertime climb I have ever done has beeb accompanied by these pests; and every summertime climb – irrespective of my fitness – has been enjoyed at a maximum speed of just under 12 kilometers per hour. Having insects capable of flying a bit faster than the struggling cyclist is Nature’s enforcement of Rule #5, it is the Way of Things.

Vive la Vie Velominatus.

// Cyclotourism // Folklore // La Vie Velominatus // Nostalgia

  1. Yep, sorry North American & Euro-Velominatii, but you fuckers know nothing of flies or other fucker insects. Riding in summer down here in Oz, north winds, 40 degrees and every mutation of big fat fly hitting you in the face as you hump it into a headwind spiked with dust whist trying to avoid a bogan in a ute hurling  a beer can at you. The only advantage of the big Dunny Budgie fly is that they’re so big their wings make the sound of an idling chainsaw so you can hear the fuckers coming.

  2. My vote goes to midges too… much worse than any standard fly.

    Not as bad individually as a horsefly but those tend to be lone attackers. Midges swarm.

    We have the occasional wasp – a bit like the ones you get in France. I had one go down my jersey once and he just kept stinging me until I could get him out.

    But my single worst insectal experience on a bike has to be the time that a bee flew into my mouth and stung me on the tongue. Lucky I’m not allergic, but it was extremely painful and swollen and I had to get tweezers and pull the sting out when I got home.

  3. Yeah, march flies are shite, but slow and stupid too.   Well, I reckon only the stupid ones visit me. They alight so gently though, you barely feel them.  My dog hates them, and I had a mare who would stand still so you could swat them off her legs, she hated them so much.   Dog runs inside at the sound of them.

    One  of my very few religious beliefs is that everyone gets a fly.   As soon as you kill your fly, God notices and sends you another one. There is always a fly.   The best thing i learned in Kung-fu is how to move fast enough to swat any fly.   it’s all God does. He does not give a crap about sparrows falling, he just makes sure that everyone has a fly. 

    The worst thing is out West, when the buggers will actually follow your fork into your mouth! If eating outside. You have to wave and swat as you open your mouth.

  4. @ChrisO

    My vote goes to midges too… much worse than any standard fly.

    Not as bad individually as a horsefly but those tend to be lone attackers. Midges swarm.

    We have the occasional wasp – a bit like the ones you get in France. I had one go down my jersey once and he just kept stinging me until I could get him out.

    But my single worst insectal experience on a bike has to be the time that a bee flew into my mouth and stung me on the tongue. Lucky I’m not allergic, but it was extremely painful and swollen and I had to get tweezers and pull the sting out when I got home.

    There are a load of medical folk in here and I’m not – but if a next time (and anyone else) don’t use tweezers on a bee sting.  You just squeeze the poison out of the sack and into you and make it worse.  You need to avoid touching the sting and get either very fine tweezers or the back of a couple of knife blades to pull it out right at skin level without squeezing the poison sack.  That way will result in far less pain and swelling.  Easier said than done but I have managed to stop a few people making things worse that way.  Of course doing that down your own throat would be another challenge!

  5. My personal worst one was a Hornet.  Darned thing was so big had a little beast sat on it’s back with a spear and shield when it appeared alongside me.  When it stung me on my back it felt like the wee fella went clean through my shoulder blade with his spear.  At that point I fell off my bike and became a sitting target for a few more stings for good measure.

  6. @Xyverz

    @Gianni

    @Xyverz

    @Richy Pea

    @Xyverz Oh it is a beauty. I have the privilege of cycle guiding in the Pyrenees and this is right in the area i guide around (Bareges).. I love this climb (and hate it).. That and the ride up to Gavarnie and the Col du Tentes are some of he best in the area. Please go – it will change your life. It did mine.

    How would this compare to The Volcano for pain? Haleakala is another mountain I want to climb…

    No flies in Hawaii. OK, a few dengue carrying mosquitos, only in one area, but flies are way down on the suffer list. Actually they are not on the list. Climbing is cruel enough without worrying about flies too. The Volcano does not dish out much pain unless you go at Dutch Monkey speed.

    The Volcano isn’t as steep as Luz Ardiden? Hmm, I might have to start there. And I can’t catch Dutch Monkey speed, let alone anybody else I ride with. I’m just still Too Fat To Climb. (Working on that, though! I’m finally back below 100kg!)

    Haleakala is very mellow for the most part; 6% or so. The top is around 15% or 35% if you believe what your legs tell you when you’re riding it. Its not a hard climb in any respect other than the fact that its 60km long and goes up quite high to 3050m. From sea level.

    L’Alpe is much steeper – 8% or so, with some sections in the 10% range, but its only 13km and change. Most Alpine climbs are like that – in the 7-9% range and reasonably consistent in gradient. The Pyreneean climbs are maybe a hair steeper, but the gradients vary much, much more which makes them much harder for a diesel like me to ride.

  7. @Marcus

    @Gianni if only our mosquitoes carried dengue, then they might not also carry Ross River Virus and Barmah Forest Virus.

    And @frank, until I see the winner of San Sebastian getting around with corks hanging off his txapela, I will maintain that Australian flies are worse than Pyrenean

    And this is a pocket knife, right?

  8. @teocalli

    My personal worst one was a Hornet. Darned thing was so big had a little beast sat on it’s back with a spear and shield when it appeared alongside me. When it stung me on my back it felt like the wee fella went clean through my shoulder blade with his spear. At that point I fell off my bike and became a sitting target for a few more stings for good measure.

    Ya. Bees. I’m so allergic that if I get stung and don’t get a epi pen jammed in my leg I’ll die.

    But anyway, my good friend and teammate was out on a ride, last summer I think, and a bee landed on his crotch and stung him on “the hood”. Said that he must have been quite a sight to passing motorists slapping at his junk, screaming and almost weaving out into traffic. It’s funny because it didn’t happen to me………..

  9. @Alexandre Cruz

    I can’t believe you can see them in the picture. Yuck.

    @snoov

    Double yuck. And I’m talking about the hair. FFS.

    @DerHoggz

    Please don’t quote that fucking image. It’s going to make me puke.

  10. @snoov

    As I climbed some of the lesser Cols in the summer 12kph seemed just about my average, maybe a little lower. To read here that it’s the universal climbing speed fills me with joy

    Sorry to burst your bubble, mate, but I’m really just taking the piss. The universal climbing speed is actually V.

  11. @scaler911

    @teocalli

    My personal worst one was a Hornet. Darned thing was so big had a little beast sat on it’s back with a spear and shield when it appeared alongside me. When it stung me on my back it felt like the wee fella went clean through my shoulder blade with his spear. At that point I fell off my bike and became a sitting target for a few more stings for good measure.

    Ya. Bees. I’m so allergic that if I get stung and don’t get a epi pen jammed in my leg I’ll die.

    But anyway, my good friend and teammate was out on a ride, last summer I think, and a bee landed on his crotch and stung him on “the hood”. Said that he must have been quite a sight to passing motorists slapping at his junk, screaming and almost weaving out into traffic. It’s funny because it didn’t happen to me………..

    You should not have put those two together as somehow it doesn’t feel right to be laughing so hard at something that starts “if I get stung I could die”……………..though I have to wonder what he was doing at the time as it doesn’t sound like something that would be attributed to a quick pee stop…….or is this through the shorts and Assos could pick up on “padding so thick a bee sting won’t penetrate”?

  12. Being from the west of Scotland, I can verify the horror that is a cloud of midges. One of the strips for time trials at Langbank was in a dank, shady lay-by. Heaven for midges, pure hell for riders hanging about to hear the results.

    On another note regarding flying terrors, something, not sure what, stung me in the right testicle the other week. The pain, together with the sheer unexpectedness of it, took some time to get over.

  13. @Ron

    @frank

    @napolinige

    Here we get a kind of horsefly that loves sucking cyclist sweat. They bite and you definitely don’t want to get one down inside you jersey!

    The worst flies I ever experienced were out in Pillsbury Forest in Northern Minnesota – they were so bad, you’d smack your hand on your neck and get about 15 of them right there. We rode in long-sleeve wind-breakers with the zipper down so the jacket would poof up and the flies couldn’t bite you. And baggy shorts for the same effect.

    And there too, I think our speeds were in the 12kp/h range altogether too often.

    Does this mean we get to see the teenage Frank mtn. cycling photo? It has been awhile…

    I wish this was a clearer photo. I loved this bike. It had the Scott AT-4 handlebars and a Rock Shock. BADASS.

  14. @Teocalli

    @scaler911

    @teocalli

    My personal worst one was a Hornet. Darned thing was so big had a little beast sat on it’s back with a spear and shield when it appeared alongside me. When it stung me on my back it felt like the wee fella went clean through my shoulder blade with his spear. At that point I fell off my bike and became a sitting target for a few more stings for good measure.

    Ya. Bees. I’m so allergic that if I get stung and don’t get a epi pen jammed in my leg I’ll die.

    But anyway, my good friend and teammate was out on a ride, last summer I think, and a bee landed on his crotch and stung him on “the hood”. Said that he must have been quite a sight to passing motorists slapping at his junk, screaming and almost weaving out into traffic. It’s funny because it didn’t happen to me………..

    You should not have put those two together as somehow it doesn’t feel right to be laughing so hard at something that starts “if I get stung I could die”……………..though I have to wonder what he was doing at the time as it doesn’t sound like something that would be attributed to a quick pee stop…….or is this through the shorts and Assos could pick up on “padding so thick a bee sting won’t penetrate”?

    He was just riding along and it stung him through the lycra. And I felt bad laughing (so hard I was crying) when he told me the story. But isn’t comedy just other peoples pain/ misfortune?

    As for me, we have epi-pens everywhere. I forgot to bring one on a ride one time, a bee flew into my unzipped jersey. I got stung. It’s not a instant reaction, I have around 10-15min before things go bad. I rode toward my parents (I keep one there too) about 2 miles away. I passed a house where some paramedics station at (friends of mine) and they were there thankfully. In that short time (maybe 8-10min) my heart rate was around 160, blood pressure 70/40, hives everywhere and throat swelling. Not good. Epi IV at that point. I don’t forget that pen anymore.

    I love bees BTW. I used to keep them, which is how I became allergic. Got stung ~80 times moving a hive with just a hood, not the whole protective suit. Ah well…………

  15. @scaler911 so should this be a new line of penetration testing for cycle shorts and padding………..?

  16. On the climb to the bison farm the occasional horsefly will land on my butt (Rule #14 compliant) and take a bite. After reading some of these tales, I’ll chaulk it up to the flies doing some coaching. I’ll take New England most days.

  17. @frank

    @snoov

    As I climbed some of the lesser Cols in the summer 12kph seemed just about my average, maybe a little lower. To read here that it’s the universal climbing speed fills me with joy

    Sorry to burst your bubble, mate, but I’m really just taking the piss. The universal climbing speed is actually V.

    Thought it was way too slow and wouldn’t have been able to explain the dudes who sailed past me, or my riding buddies who I couldn’t keep up with.  There was one amazing moment though when later on Col de la Crois Fry one of them shouted from behind me, ” I know I’ll never live this down Nick, but could you ease it off a bit.”  I’d shifted right up onto the rivet and got a second wind or was holding it in with the nose of the saddle, while meditating on Rule #20.

  18. @snoov

    @frank

    @snoov

    As I climbed some of the lesser Cols in the summer 12kph seemed just about my average, maybe a little lower. To read here that it’s the universal climbing speed fills me with joy

    Sorry to burst your bubble, mate, but I’m really just taking the piss. The universal climbing speed is actually V.

    Thought it was way too slow and wouldn’t have been able to explain the dudes who sailed past me, or my riding buddies who I couldn’t keep up with. There was one amazing moment though when later on Col de la Crois Fry one of them shouted from behind me, ” I know I’ll never live this down Nick, but could you ease it off a bit.” I’d shifted right up onto the rivet and got a second wind or was holding it in with the nose of the saddle, while meditating on Rule #20.

    My current climbing speed on much of anything these days is only about 6kph. Yeah, I’m slow, but I have gravity on my side for the descents!

  19. @Mike_P

    @Frank you Dutch photographic plagiarist. I refer you to my gravatar, shot by me as I topped Luz Ardiden last year ha! For me, the most beautiful view in that part of the Pyrenees.

    I’m confused.  Shouldn’t a gravatar simply be an avatar of your gravel bike?

  20. @Barracuda

    Im with @Marcus, our flies, and every other fkn animal not chained up down here, are big bastards and they hunt you down and deliberately get a free ride just to piss us off more.

    e.g. Saturdays ride of a mere 50kms I was privileged enough to have a veritable zoo along the route, from said flies, 3 marauding magpies spaced evenly along the sojourn so as to lull me into a false sense of security till the next attack, redneck utility drivers and a big stinkin’ slow moving Brown snake that I suspect was just waiting for a slow moving cyclist in Rapha (me) to come along and start the season off nicely.

    So @frank, having never been to the beautiful part of the world you are describing, I can only imagine it to smell like roses and be full of butterflies as I hoped it would be.

    The photo looks to darn idyllic to be anything but.

    I have made a point of disliking anything that can kill me, a dislike which rises proportionally to how stealthily it can do it. Not sure I’m made for Aus.

  21. @Richy Pea

    The next days is just that – another day and The Man with the Hammer will be close at hand. I think he might own a Gite near La Mongie because I always seem to meet him in the tunnels around there…

    I love that part of the climb, and I love the feeling that you’re almost done with that monster because you’re riding through what is sometimes the finish line. And then you ride past it and realize you have a long bastard of a climb still ahead to reach the col.

    The restaurant holds some very happy memories as we refueled and downed a few too many pints to make the descent down the other side come anywhere close to resembling safety.

  22. @girl I have it on the excellent authority of Google that the March Fly is what we call Horse Flies. They are indeed bastards and I’m willing to bet they are bigger in Australia, partly to compensate for @Marcus’s inferiority complex.

    It is very satisfying to catch one, roll it between your fingers and then tear the head off. A tad sinister, but when you’re at your wits end, weird things happen.

  23. @ChrisO

    My vote goes to midges too… much worse than any standard fly.

    Not as bad individually as a horsefly but those tend to be lone attackers. Midges swarm.

    We have the occasional wasp – a bit like the ones you get in France. I had one go down my jersey once and he just kept stinging me until I could get him out.

    But my single worst insectal experience on a bike has to be the time that a bee flew into my mouth and stung me on the tongue. Lucky I’m not allergic, but it was extremely painful and swollen and I had to get tweezers and pull the sting out when I got home.

    I’ve had both those happen, and also in the helmet. September seems to be bee/wasp stinger.

    My worst insect experience was somewhere in the woods when I stopped to answer the call of nature and accidentally peed on a ground bee’s nest.

  24. @frank Horse flies are big but that is their weakness; they are an easy target.  Dear flies bite harder, and are smaller and faster.

    As for the “horrible” Australian fauna, I am beginning to suspect it’s a myth intended to keep others away from what is actually a really nice place.  Kind of like the horror stories about endless rain in the PNW, right?

  25. @Teocalli

    @scaler911 so should this be a new line of penetration testing for cycle shorts and padding………..?

    The next V-Bib will feature a kevlar chamois.

    @scaler911

    Keeping bees is one thing I’ll never do. I am not afraid of them – the pain from their stings goes away after a bit – but fuck me if they’re not hateful little bastards.

    I do like honey, though, so I’m glad someone keeps bees.

  26. @Nate

    @frank Horse flies are big but that is their weakness; they are an easy target. Dear flies bite harder, and are smaller and faster.

    As for the “horrible” Australian fauna, I am beginning to suspect it’s a myth intended to keep others away from what is actually a really nice place. Kind of like the horror stories about endless rain in the PNW, right?

    SSSSSSHHHHH!!!

  27. @frank

    What is that? I can’t see a goddamned thing. Oh, it must be the PNW.

    Just got back from far SE Oregon, where you can see forever. Mostly sagebrush, but you see a fuck-ton of it.

  28. Had the same this August climbing Sa Calobra in Mallorca. Same fly terrorised me for a couple of k’s but I managed to squash fuck out of it on the bars. The euphoria was worth another couple of kph for the rest of the climb

  29. Oh boy, a new photo from the vault! I still see the windbreaker, is the man-waist-purse (mwurse?) slipped around the back due to velocity?

    Insects, what about mammals? A few years back I noticed something barreling towards me from the side. Is that a fucking cat? Cats don’t run at things though?

    I was going at a decent pace and somehow a raccoon managed to kamikaze me, yet passed under the DT and right between both wheels, so he either had really bad aim, or really good aim. Maybe the goal was to knock me off and feast on me with his pals. That was bonkers.

  30. @Ron Hah, one time I had a squirrel run at me on a downhill false flat.  I was flying and just held my line.  Little fucker did a 180 at the last second, thought the better of it, did another 180, went right under my front wheel, and with that the local squirrel gene pool was naturally selected against that last 180.

  31. @VeloVita

    @Mike_P

    @Frank you Dutch photographic plagiarist. I refer you to my gravatar, shot by me as I topped Luz Ardiden last year ha! For me, the most beautiful view in that part of the Pyrenees.

    I’m confused. Shouldn’t a gravatar simply be an avatar of your gravel bike?

    Ha that’s smooth!

  32. @frank

    @ChrisO

    My vote goes to midges too… much worse than any standard fly.

    Not as bad individually as a horsefly but those tend to be lone attackers. Midges swarm.

    We have the occasional wasp – a bit like the ones you get in France. I had one go down my jersey once and he just kept stinging me until I could get him out.

    But my single worst insectal experience on a bike has to be the time that a bee flew into my mouth and stung me on the tongue. Lucky I’m not allergic, but it was extremely painful and swollen and I had to get tweezers and pull the sting out when I got home.

    I’ve had both those happen, and also in the helmet. September seems to be bee/wasp stinger.

    My worst insect experience was somewhere in the woods when I stopped to answer the call of nature and accidentally peed on a ground bee’s nest.

    I think the wasp thing in September is based on three things

    a) they know they haven’t got long to go and so they are generally a bit pissed off with things and so will pick a fight with anything.

    b) they are mainly chewing on fermented fruit in September and so in the afternoon are generally a bit pissed (US folk that means drunk) and so will pick a fight with anything.

    c) in the mornings because of being depressed by a) and as a result of the hangover from b), are generally pissed off and will pick a fight with anything.

  33. @frank

    @girl I have it on the excellent authority of Google that the March Fly is what we call Horse Flies. They are indeed bastards and I’m willing to bet they are bigger in Australia, partly to compensate for @Marcus’s inferiority complex.

    It is very satisfying to catch one, roll it between your fingers and then tear the head off. A tad sinister, but when you’re at your wits end, weird things happen.

    Forget ‘Straya mate – Africa is worse. My idiot nephew had a pretty bad insect experience when he and another idiot nephew and two idiot mates thought it would be a good idea to ride their bikes 6800kms from Tangier, Morocco across the Western Sahara to Ghana.

    About halfway through idiot nephew #1 got what seemed to be an infected knee – which kept getting worse. After a few days of pain, he had to stop the ride and seek medical assistance. Turns out he had a tumbu fly, ie. a fucking maggot had hatched in his leg. He got back on the bike though.

    For anyone with a spare 15 minutes (yes, you all have it), watch this for the ride. Its quite entertaining.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IuyRXnBuaQs

    Or you can go straight to watching them squeeze fly larvae out of his knee (around 4:30)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fiHkvHRPhaI

  34. Behold the ubiquitous deer fly – bane of Northern Minnesota. When they bite, they leave craters in the skin.The determined ones [I’ve personally never met any but this kind] can bite through spandex. I’ve considered mixing DEET into my chamois cream, but it’s unclear what effects this might have on the aging prostate. These sons of Hell have given chase at speeds up to 25 kph. The Velominati  enjoys spontaneous practice at riding with no hands, when these winged devils manage to get lodged in a helmet vent. The only hope is to keep it in the big ring and seek escape velocity.

  35. All this bravado about flies has me laughing like Hinault must laugh at today’s “hardmen” boasting about how grueling their rides are. You all know nothing of flies.

  36. @gregorio You in NorMin?

  37. @Marko My parents took me camping on a lake in NorMin when I was 1.  On the first night I got bitten by 1000s of mosquitos. On the second night I got bitten on the forehead by a spider.  My whole forehead swelled up and I looked like an alien.  The next morning we got back in the VW and drove back to Missouri.  I haven’t been back to that part of the world but I have a perverse desire to do so.

  38. @Nate

    @Marko My parents took me camping on a lake in NorMin when I was 1. On the first night I got bitten by 1000s of mosquitos. On the second night I got bitten on the forehead by a spider. My whole forehead swelled up and I looked like an alien. The next morning we got back in the VW and drove back to Missouri. I haven’t been back to that part of the world but I have a perverse desire to do so.

    You’re welcome any time. I’ve got space for any Velominati, whenever, standing invite. I’ll take you graveling and we’ll get chased by swarms of deer, horse, and black flies.

    But nothing, I mean nothing, compares to the flies of Northern Manitoba. Particularly those on the eastern shore of Lake Winnipeg. The locals refer to horse flies there as bulldogs. I’ve never seen anything like it and I can endure bugs like Eddy can endure lactic acid baths.

  39. @Marko

    @Nate

    @Marko My parents took me camping on a lake in NorMin when I was 1. On the first night I got bitten by 1000s of mosquitos. On the second night I got bitten on the forehead by a spider. My whole forehead swelled up and I looked like an alien. The next morning we got back in the VW and drove back to Missouri. I haven’t been back to that part of the world but I have a perverse desire to do so.

    You’re welcome any time. I’ve got space for any Velominati, whenever, standing invite. I’ll take you graveling and we’ll get chased by swarms of deer, horse, and black flies.

    But nothing, I mean nothing, compares to the flies of Northern Manitoba. Particularly those on the eastern shore of Lake Winnipeg. The locals refer to horse flies there as bulldogs. I’ve never seen anything like it and I can endure bugs like Eddy can endure lactic acid baths.

    How many spare blood bags should I bring?

  40. @Nate

    @Marko

    @Nate

    @Marko My parents took me camping on a lake in NorMin when I was 1. On the first night I got bitten by 1000s of mosquitos. On the second night I got bitten on the forehead by a spider. My whole forehead swelled up and I looked like an alien. The next morning we got back in the VW and drove back to Missouri. I haven’t been back to that part of the world but I have a perverse desire to do so.

    You’re welcome any time. I’ve got space for any Velominati, whenever, standing invite. I’ll take you graveling and we’ll get chased by swarms of deer, horse, and black flies.

    But nothing, I mean nothing, compares to the flies of Northern Manitoba. Particularly those on the eastern shore of Lake Winnipeg. The locals refer to horse flies there as bulldogs. I’ve never seen anything like it and I can endure bugs like Eddy can endure lactic acid baths.

    How many spare blood bags should I bring?

    I believe the correct measurement for blood bags is known as a “cipollini” , they come in lots of 25.

  41. @teocalli

    I think the wasp thing in September is based on three things

    a) they know they haven’t got long to go and so they are generally a bit pissed off with things and so will pick a fight with anything.

    b) they are mainly chewing on fermented fruit in September and so in the afternoon are generally a bit pissed (US folk that means drunk) and so will pick a fight with anything.

    c) in the mornings because of being depressed by a) and as a result of the hangover from b), are generally pissed off and will pick a fight with anything.

    Sounds like Glasgow.

  42. @frank

    It is very satisfying to catch one, roll it between your fingers and then tear the head off. A tad sinister, but when you’re at your wits end, weird things happen.

    Catch one, tie a piece of string (cotton) around it’s body under the wings and you have a pet!! Watch it try and fly away then! Also used to like pushing sheoak needles up their arse and the letting them go. They can fly but due to the weight it’s head straight up.

  43. @Barracuda

    @Nate

    @Marko

    @Nate

    @Marko My parents took me camping on a lake in NorMin when I was 1. On the first night I got bitten by 1000s of mosquitos. On the second night I got bitten on the forehead by a spider. My whole forehead swelled up and I looked like an alien. The next morning we got back in the VW and drove back to Missouri. I haven’t been back to that part of the world but I have a perverse desire to do so.

    You’re welcome any time. I’ve got space for any Velominati, whenever, standing invite. I’ll take you graveling and we’ll get chased by swarms of deer, horse, and black flies.

    But nothing, I mean nothing, compares to the flies of Northern Manitoba. Particularly those on the eastern shore of Lake Winnipeg. The locals refer to horse flies there as bulldogs. I’ve never seen anything like it and I can endure bugs like Eddy can endure lactic acid baths.

    How many spare blood bags should I bring?

    I believe the correct measurement for blood bags is known as a “cipollini” , they come in lots of 25.

    I would have thought they would have named the unit by reference to a GT contender rather than a sprinter.

  44. @Nate

    @Barracuda

    @Nate

    @Marko

    @Nate

    @Marko My parents took me camping on a lake in NorMin when I was 1. On the first night I got bitten by 1000s of mosquitos. On the second night I got bitten on the forehead by a spider. My whole forehead swelled up and I looked like an alien. The next morning we got back in the VW and drove back to Missouri. I haven’t been back to that part of the world but I have a perverse desire to do so.

    You’re welcome any time. I’ve got space for any Velominati, whenever, standing invite. I’ll take you graveling and we’ll get chased by swarms of deer, horse, and black flies.

    But nothing, I mean nothing, compares to the flies of Northern Manitoba. Particularly those on the eastern shore of Lake Winnipeg. The locals refer to horse flies there as bulldogs. I’ve never seen anything like it and I can endure bugs like Eddy can endure lactic acid baths.

    How many spare blood bags should I bring?

    I believe the correct measurement for blood bags is known as a “cipollini” , they come in lots of 25.

    I would have thought they would have named the unit by reference to a GT contender rather than a sprinter.

    Nah, the International measurement is definately one in “cipollini’s”

    i.e. ” Man, that was one tuff tour this year, glad my team had two spare cipollini’s for us”

    http://www.cyclingnews.com/news/report-cipollini-used-25-blood-bags-before-2003-giro-ditalia

  45. @Barracuda Hah, I was thinking a “cipollini” should have been a reference to podium girls

    Or insane skinsuits

  46. There is one surefire way to climb quicker…go to any area with horseflies….those motherfuckers will tear new orifices in your body and have you in a race against reaching the top before blood loss takes its toll and you wind up the unforntunate victim of what is essentially and airborne pirahana!

  47. @Marko Yup. Grand Rapids, on the west end of the Iron Range.

  48. @gregorio@Marko

    Minnesota has its reputation for cold winters, but people forget about the hot, muggy summers. The woods of Pillsbury Forest taught me a thing or two about deer flies, that’s for sure. Beautiful country, though.

    Seattle has no bugs; until we had our windows replaced last summer, we didn’t even have screens in the windows. And its not hot. Or cold. But you can ski and ride year round.

    Gregario – are you doing The Heck of the North weekend after next?

  49. @Barracuda

    @Nate

    @Marko

    @Nate

    @Marko My parents took me camping on a lake in NorMin when I was 1. On the first night I got bitten by 1000s of mosquitos. On the second night I got bitten on the forehead by a spider. My whole forehead swelled up and I looked like an alien. The next morning we got back in the VW and drove back to Missouri. I haven’t been back to that part of the world but I have a perverse desire to do so.

    You’re welcome any time. I’ve got space for any Velominati, whenever, standing invite. I’ll take you graveling and we’ll get chased by swarms of deer, horse, and black flies.

    But nothing, I mean nothing, compares to the flies of Northern Manitoba. Particularly those on the eastern shore of Lake Winnipeg. The locals refer to horse flies there as bulldogs. I’ve never seen anything like it and I can endure bugs like Eddy can endure lactic acid baths.

    How many spare blood bags should I bring?

    I believe the correct measurement for blood bags is known as a “cipollini” , they come in lots of 25.

    Wow, this disintegrated perfectly. Well done all around.

    And fuck my tits, that’s a lot of dope. I’d expect nothing less from Super Mario.

  50. @frank Missed the postcard lottery back in May. By default I’ll be over in Park Rapids doing my favorite century ride.

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