Encore de la Pluie

Encore de la Pluie

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I don’t enjoy the races in February on the Arabian Peninsula because I like watching other people ride in the sun while I spend my afternoons looking for a sliver of daylight that coincides with some fragment of my day where I don’t also need to work or engage in some other activity. I also don’t enjoy them because I think corners are overrated, nor because I like watching stock-bike time trials, nor because I believe wind is a suitable substitute for mountains.

No, I enjoy the February races on the Arabian Peninsula because it’s the first sign of life we get from the hardmen who will be bending, breaking, and smashing their way over the cobblestones this Spring in snow, rain, or suffocating dust.

Not a bad way to start things, Tomeke.

// Racing // The Hardmen

  1. @frank
    Re. “That said, there’s a hipster downtown who rides a fixie with the crankset on the wrong side. Classic. I have a pic of it somewhere.”
    I imagine he might have done that because he’s left handed and fed up with getting oil all over the leg of what you’d call his pants when dismounted. I might try the same myself at some point, although I prefer having a freewheel to a fixie.

  2. There’s no denying Museeuw was a Hard Man, and he certainly won some great races.

  3. frank:

    Here’s him big-ringing the Kapelmuur. Any questions?

    Long live the Lion. Now I’m totally psyched to go out and ride in the 9 degree frozen tundra. I should watch that video every morning. He was, however, in the small chainring for the steep part at the top. Of course, on the Lion’s rig that’s probably a 44….

  4. @blaireau
    Nah…his big ring is a 61 and his small ring is a 52. But in any case, the Big Ring is not just a chainring, it’s a state of mind.

    Speaking of big-ringing, here’s Du-du defying physics and time in 1992:

    If you don’t already check out BRR, you are doing yourself and everyone you know a disservice.

  5. Is anybody watching stage 3 of the Tour of Qatar? perfect example of echelon riding in a viscous wind but i do agree that having a race that depends on it blowing to make it interesting is a bit sketchy

  6. @frank
    Museeuw was definitely one of the hardest, even with some of the ugliest kit ever.

  7. frank:

    That said, there’s a hipster downtown who rides a fixie with the crankset on the wrong side. Classic. I have a pic of it somewhere.

    Thats could very well be a way of avoiding the rear kog to unscrew while breaking/skidding if he is riding a “suicide” set up. Been done before.

  8. @michael

    Just because it makes sense from an engineering standpoint doesn’t mean it isn’t ugly. That was probably a perfectly good bike before somebody went and did that so they could ride a cool fixie/singlespeed.

    Single speed riding can be pretty bad-ass, but only when done in a proper, aesthetically pleasing way.

    But shit, if the guy’s bike broke and that was the only way he could make it work because he didn’t have the money to fix things, then good on him, otherwise, TRAVESTY I SAY! TRAVESTY!

  9. frank :
    @Buck Rogers

    I completely agree with you on not ever really liking Museeuw. Not sure why but he never appealed to me as a rider. Definitely was a Hardman in the Spring but just not very likable in my opinion.

    Badass, fucking hard as hell, fucking cool, and Boonen’s mentor. The FUCKING LION OF FLANDERS. What’s not to like? Dude smashed his knee on a cobblestone and STILL looked cool.
    Here’s him big-ringing the Kapelmuur. Any questions?
    http://www.velominati.com/racing/study-of-a-hardman-johan-museeuw/

    You know, I cannot really put my finger on it. Maybe it was because he was from a priviledged background (not his “fault” but a far cry from Kelly either racing his bike or hauling paving stones) and his seemingly aloofness. I do not deny that he was a true Hardman, but he just seemed too classy or something to really fit my iconic Spring Classics rider (hey, it’s my fantasy world, I’m setting the rules!)

  10. Could it be that little Heinrich Sauceler is on the mend? Wahoo!

  11. @Marko
    Is he German or Aussie these days? Either way, he seems to be tearing up the early season a bit, doesn’t he? Bummed to see Tomeke dropped off with a flat. I think the peloton should have waited (maybe we can start a 6 month thread related to this, no? :)

  12. @Buck Rogers
    He’s firmly in the Aussie camp now.
    HA!, maybe Spartacus should have stopped everything and let Blownen catch up.

  13. @Marko
    With Haussler and Boonen returning healthily to the fold, this is going to make the spring VSP that much more difficult. Great to see so many good riders rolling healthy and into form.

  14. Sam:
    Is anybody watching stage 3 of the Tour of Qatar? perfect example of echelon riding in a viscous wind but i do agree that having a race that depends on it blowing to make it interesting is a bit sketchy

    Know what you mean, but speaking as someone who has to contend with those winds all year round it does me good to see that even the pros find them tough.

    Probably only half our club group is competent at through-and-off so trying to organise them into a f**king echelon is a lost cause. At least you appreciate the days when the right half breaks away though.

  15. I am so sick of this deadshit place.
    Went to the ToQ prologue – me, my family and a friend were about it for spectators apart from the circus that travels with a big (!) race. There are trials guys doing amazing trially stuff to entertain… not sure who, really… One of the trials guys is in WC rainbow bands; nobody is really watching, ‘cos there’s nobody really there.
    Yes Cav fell because of a big metal speedhump – deadshit race organisers didn’t remove it, despite it being a temporary one. Fuck it; I could have traced 2.5km through the place without hitting a speedhump, but it’s been done in the same dumbarse way everything is done here.
    So glad I’m moving in June.
    Blah in Doha, Qatar.

  16. @frank
    maybe because of his hairpiece?

  17. @Steampunk
    Sauceler may be returning to form, but seems to be trying to change nationality again to Spain, to judge by his Pistolero antics on the line. I liked it better when he just had a good old manly cry. But maybe he’s saving the weeping for the Classics.

  18. @Geoffrey Grosenbach
    That’s as retarded as a polish straight block: 12,12,12,12,12,12,12,12,12,&12!

  19. @G’phant
    Your anti-australianism is almost becoming embarrassing – bad g’phant!

  20. @Marko
    Appears that way given his last three stage placings.

  21. @Buck Rogers
    2008 Ghent Wevelgem today.

  22. @Blah

    They’re just practising for the Football World Cup I guess.

  23. @ChrisO
    Yep, for some reason some local clubs don’t understand the principle of echelons, at the club i got to when not a uni, wind formed from my side of a two abreast pack, so i moved up to protect the inside. Got screamed at for “Half-Wheeling”. I don’t have an issue with social riders but i ask they watch some racing to understand how moving as a pack works in changing conditions

  24. Steampunk :
    @Buck Rogers2008 Ghent Wevelgem today.

    Where do you live?!?!?! Man, I hope it is San Antonio as I am moving there this summer!

  25. What the fuck is going on with that big ring on the inside? Oh gosh. I’m guessing that is a fixed conversion? Leave it to them…

    Can’t wait for the Spring Classics. My life feels like it will have meaning in a few weeks…

  26. @Marcus
    I apologize unreservedly, retract and withdraw. Those of you who aren’t Mark Renshaw are all wonderful fellows.

  27. @Buck Rogers
    Dundas, Ontario. Sorry.

    G’phant:
    @Marcus
    I apologize unreservedly, retract and withdraw. Those of you who aren’t Mark Renshaw are all wonderful fellows.

    This is disappointing on two counts. First: see Rule #5 and stick to your guns. And, second: I thought all Australians were Mark Renshaws…

  28. @G’phant

    Those of you who aren’t Mark Renshaw are all wonderful fellows.

    ++1

    @Steampunk

    And, second: I thought all Australians were Mark Renshaws…

    ++1

    Nicely done, team. FedEx is an urchin.

  29. How about Cancellara and Flecha today in Oman? Man, looks like Cancellara is serious about L-B-L with his climbing. Those two are going to be a serious threat in Flanders again this year as well.

  30. @Buck Rogers
    Sorry, didn’t even notice – I’m too busy being stoked for my boy Gesink!

  31. @frank
    Love that finish line photo. There has to be at LEAST 15 people there!

    Looks like my citizen race finishes I used to do back in my first year of cycling in ’87!

    But, honestly, he’s got some good form right now. Wonder if he’ll hold the jersey through tomorrow’s ITT?

  32. @frank

    can i throw in a mention for the lad Ian Stannard who beat Cuntadore and TJ in a climb to the line in Volta Algarve

    I also like the salute

  33. @Sam
    Man, I’ve LOVED Ian Stannard ever since I saw his post K-B-K interview last year! Super result for him (although I do need to temper my reactions while they are still racing in the Middle East!)

  34. @Buck Rogers
    Not likely. Much more likely to fall off. Pray to Merckx that doesn’t happen, eh?

    @Sam
    Very cool. I have to say, with the advent of the smaller and smaller race-fit jerseys everyone is sports, and the lower and lower cut on the bibs, we’re starting to get that pookey little bit of underjersey in the finish line pictures. Can’t decide if it’s uncool to show any undergarment, or if it’s cool because they are layin’ down the V.

  35. @frank
    Looks like he managed to keep the rubber side down today. The Dutch have a real contender in the ranks this year!

  36. @frank
    the jersey sizing is a real issue for me, i have a weird shape, broad shoulders and a tiny waist, so i’m somewhere between M & L on most charts. Got a really nice Santini jersey t’other day and it fits really well but mighty short. I think from now on we have to accept it that laying down The V will result in a slightly iffy salute

    @Buck Rogers
    yeah but he always goes well in the classics, so with Hunt, Stannard and Flecha it’s looking good for us

  37. shit it’s Cummings not Stannard, everything said is still true. I’m blaming it on an unsuccessful return to the bike this week that left me hauled up in bed pumped full of cold and flu drugs

  38. Sam :
    shit it’s Cummings not Stannard, everything said is still true. I’m blaming it on an unsuccessful return to the bike this week that left me hauled up in bed pumped full of cold and flu drugs

    Bummer about the sickness. As you said, still great even if it is Cummings although I will always have a soft spot for Ian after that interview (if you have not seen it, youtube K-B-K postrace stannard interview–it’s not to be missed!)

  39. @Buck Rogers
    Holy shit the boys cold, watchin world cup in Manchester atm, we’re getting pasted by the aussies and americans, but thats what you get for a funding system based on Olympic Golds, has aided our road tho

  40. @All Just read Eddy Merckx thinks Robert Gesink is the top contender for this year’s Tour de France.

  41. @ Netraam

    Aye, he does look in good form, but it’s whether he keeps it, personally i’m a Vicenzo Nibali fan just hope he gets the place in the team

  42. Thought Nibali was pencilled in as lead for the Giro? He did awesome work for Basso last year, I’d like to see him get a shot this time.

  43. @Joe
    He probably is, i just don’t want another two horse race like last year. Last years vuelta was more exiting because there was nibali, gilbert (for a while) rodriguez and that fella from Xacobeo Galicia, who’s name slips my mind. But i’d prefer Nibali as he has been untainted by the juice

  44. In my opinion, A. Schleck (and perhaps Basso) is the man to beat the next Tour, but Gesink can get a top-5 and perhaps even a podium. Nibali will probably get a shot at either the Giro or the Vuelta, as Basso is still the #1 for Liquigas.

  45. Is everyone out of his mind? Hennie Kuiper, 1975 world champion, states Gesink will at least be along the best 3.

    10-to-1 he will end up falling down in one of the first rides, again crushing my hopes…

  46. @Netraam
    Awwwww….so harsh, so sad, so true. I guess I fail to see how winning a one-week race in the desert in February sets the stage for a three week race in July, but those guys certainly have a place in this sport that I don’t.

    I’d love to see Gesink win, but isn’t he a more likely candidate to win the Dotty Jumper? A chronic crasher, I just don’t see him staying at the front during the first week.

  47. Yup, all hopes flushed down the Ge-sink in the first week. (Probably after tripping over Banged’n’Felled)
    Looks like the Giro could rule in general this year – 7 mountain top finishes, including Etna with Grossglockner and Zoncolan, back to back….oooh. Might be interesting to see if ‘Innocent’ Bertie will contest it with his new vegetarian super powers in case the appeal rules him out of the Tour.

  48. @Joe
    For me, the Giro rules. The TdF has lost its mind. The Vuelta has lost its relevance.

  49. @Joe
    Absolutely. The Giro will be amazing this year. What’s up with the ToC trying to draw riders away and not all the great contenders going for it in Italy? Even as an American I do not give two shits about the ToC, except that it draws away from the Giro.

  50. @frank
    I don’t think he’ll be a real contender for that. The Dotty Jumper is for people who actually go for the mountain points, and Gesink (along with other contenders) probably goes for stage wins. Stage wins do not provide enough mountain points to be a real contender for the Dotty Jumper.

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