Frank on the track in Gent. 2 minutes sucked enough. Why an Hour? Photo: @brettok

Festum Prophetae: The Impossible Hour

Festum Prophetae: The Impossible Hour

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Update: You can watch the live stream (assuming it works from the velodrome) on the Velominati channel at USTREAM. When you log in, you’ll first see my little test video of my puppy eating grass. Please disregard me yelling at it. That never happened.

I have always considered myself to have a good imagination, something I attribute half to my genetics, half to my upbringing, and half to Lego. Despite this supposed creativity of mine, I am utterly incapable of conceiving how much I will suffer on Festum Prophetae. It might be that I’m too much of an optimist, but more likely is the explanation my darling VMH gives: I’m an idiot.

An example that comes to mind prominently would be my trilogy of efforts up Haleakala. I too easily forget the suffering, despite the videos and photos that speak quite plainly on the subject. And that actually happened. I experienced it. Still, the pain fades quickly and right now I feel like having another go.

I also rode a one kilometer Pursuit on the track in Gent on Keepers Tour (twice). Just the kind of good, non-competitive fun that lets you go so hard you suffer minor convulsions afterwards. Granted, a one-kilometer effort is about the worst event you can imagine for an old diesel like me, who doesn’t start heaping coals on the fire until I’ve been in the saddle for a good number of hours. Two minutes nearly killed me, so I should try doing the same thing for three orders of magnitude longer. (Pedant alert: The times were well under two minutes but that makes the math much more complicated and the suffering no less significant.)

The Hour Record has fascinated me more than any other event. I read about the records set by Coppi, Merckx, and Moser, but missed experiencing them in real time (Steep Hill.tv didn’t exist yet, and also I wasn’t alive for two of those.) I was, however, lucky enough to live through the Hour Record’s Golden Age in the 90’s when the widespread use of EPO and the wholesale negligence of the UCI meant frame builders were at liberty to design whatever speedy abomination they wished, and riders were willing to saddle up and lay the hammer down ad infinitum. Lets see who’s blood vessels pop first!

The doping is exaggerated; Boardman might have been clean and was probably just stupid. Obree was definitely clean and certainly stupid. Indurain was definitely doped, definitely not stupid. Rominger was dirty as a Wall Street Mortgage Broker, and a semi-genius. The game was afoot, and back and forth they went: New record! Record falls…New record! Record falls…It was fantastic. In my memory, I was much more enamored with the Hour than I was with the Tour. 

I had the ambition to honor last year’s Festum with an Hour Ride (I won’t call it a Record), but factors outside my control (last minute panic to organize time on a track after leaving it too late) conspired against the effort. This year, I planned ahead a bit more.

In honor of what I consider to be the standard-setting Hour Record by The Prophet on what amounted to little more than standard track equipment at the time – not to mention, without the aid of genetics-altering drugs – I will be flogging my guts out for 60 minutes on the Alpenrose Track at 3pm on Saturday, June 15. Mark at Veloforma will be loaning me a Pista Pro for the ride, seeing as I have no track bike (or experience to speak of).

Anyone who wishes to come see a tall fat guy ride a bike badly for 60 minutes is welcome to come down and watch. I understand @scaler911 will be documenting the event. There is even a rumored appearance of my VMH who is a bit of a Snuffleupagus around these parts. If she attends, I will have her fill the role of Ole Ritter’s wife in The Impossible Hour and step forward for every lap I’m ahead of schedule and step backward for every lap that I’m behind schedule. She’s a strong woman not accustomed to walking backwards, but I’m sure she’ll do fine.

Merry Festum Prophetae, one and all. Vive la Vie Velominatus.

// Cyclotourism // Etiquette // Folklore // Look Pro // Nostalgia // Racing // Riding Ugly

  1. Oh and the Warriors tribute nice touch.

  2. Wasn’t able to watch live but watching the replay. Awesome effort and a very nice outdoor track indeed. From a coaches perspective, good gear choice, decent cadence for a track novice but actual distance ridden will be way more than the official one. Frank is riding above the sprinters line. The shortest distance round is on the black datum line although for a smooth turn into the corners its ok to move up to the sprinters line in the middle of the straights.

    Anyway enough feedback, great effort all round, the idea, the ride, the stream. Thanks chaps.

  3. Gotta admire the dedication and gumption of the merry Frankster. Well done!

    By the way: good job on the VSP, @Buck. Cheers.

  4. I’m late for my morning ride as I had to read through these before heading out.  I’ll have to watch the video when I get back.  Congratulations, @Frank! and thanks to @Scaler911 and @G’rilla for the technical support and everyone else for commenting.  Made it possible to relive it though I couldn’t watch live.  The whole thing is a fantastic example of what makes this the most enjoyable cycling community on the internet!

  5. Oh and thanks to @Buck for keeping all those picks straight!

  6. Awesome @Frank.  Just back from 3 hours (it’s 9am here!) so time to settle down for the replay.  Congrats to everyone involved. Happy Prophets Day folks. VLVV

  7. Bollocks!  I spent the whole event in casualty with a shattered finger…that’s what you get for playing dangerous games like cricket….although I did demonstrate the V when I broke it fielding and then insisted on batting afterwards.  Chapeau @Franke

    Great work!!

  8. How wrong was I… 43.7.

    I BELIEVED in you Frank…

    Good effort and I will be interested to hear what it was like over the hour and how you found the track riding – what went right, what went wrong.

    Oh and please upload your data. Very keen to see the vital statistics. If nothing else you will have done a very accurate FTP test.

  9. I was one of the 25 watching live in the early   hours yUK time, thanks for the feed.

    Thanks to @Buck for the listings, always new my estimate was too close to lanterne rouge @Brett to stand a chance!

  10. These comments are fantastic reading!  Great effort @frank.  Just watched parts of the recording, well done to all involved!

  11. Not only was I enjoying dinner out with my VMH while Frank was smashing himself stupid on the track, I also come out of it with a major award! Best day of my life? Yes. Yes it is.

  12. Do I get some kind of mini Puking Frank badge out of this too?

  13. Well I never,my guess that was not founded in science or indeed anything else wasn’tgoo far off the mark!

    Good effort Frank and well done, I’m sure you could have managed a few more metres though! Now to get the race fixing investigation underway!

  14. @ChrisO

    Good effort and I will be interested to hear what it was like over the hour and how you found the track riding – what went right, what went wrong.

    Frank didn’t go right, only left.

  15. @Nate

    Looking forward to seeing what @frank can do with a little practice and a well-sorted track bike.

    Here’s the plan for the well sorted track bike?!!!Chapeau to all that attributed for the Festum Prophetae, venue, DS’s, live stream and of course all the fellow Velominati that screamed in the comments words of support for Frank’s dedication to honor this year’s Festum!

  16. Congrats to @ten B on an astute pick!

    ten B
    37.3

    Rob
    37.4

    Now who do I petition for 1) a remeasure of the track or 2) an investigation into Franks piss poor track skills, where we all know that the actual distance covered was at least 1/10th of a km more?

    Less than a 1/10th of a km… and he din’t even pass out or puke at the end… come on theres a fix in here somewhere I just can’t see it!

    I think the 13 who picked 37km deserve fixed cogs til next June, just sayin, not that Grilla and Scaler were in his pocket or anything??

    OK, rant over, I feel better – This was a great way to spend an afternoon and thanks to Frank for stepping up to something that has always intrigued me. His effort has put Eddy’s into perspective from the point of view of the non racer.

  17. @piwakawaka

    The guns in number 4 are pretty impressive, very nice Casually Deliberate pose as well!

    No SHIT?!?!  Jezhus, how’d you get Tom Platz to do your time keeping, anyways.

    And may I never have the honour of helping with a VSP again!  You Keepers do more behind the scenes than I ever could have guessed.  May I be banished to permanent VSP running Hell if I ever bitch again about a late VSP event!!!

  18. Bike too small? Looks pretty short in the tt. Dunno if you’d want or need a 60 cm track bike, but perhaps a 200mm stem would get you in the right spot.

    Congratulations on the ride, I missed the streaming bit cos I was out riding but it looked great. The thing with track is you always want to see how much harder you can go….

  19. Wow…turns out Frank is just over three quarters Merckx!  Perhaps an official t-shirt to commemorate the event?

    Great work Frank!  Where can I see the replay feed?

  20. @Rob

    Congrats to @ten B on an astute pick!

    ten B
    37.3

    Rob
    37.4

    Now who do I petition for 1) a remeasure of the track or 2) an investigation into Franks piss poor track skills, where we all know that the actual distance covered was at least 1/10th of a km more?

    Less than a 1/10th of a km… and he din’t even pass out or puke at the end… come on theres a fix in here somewhere I just can’t see it!

    I think the 13 who picked 37km deserve fixed cogs til next June, just sayin, not that Grilla and Scaler were in his pocket or anything??

    OK, rant over, I feel better – This was a great way to spend an afternoon and thanks to Frank for stepping up to something that has always intrigued me. His effort has put Eddy’s into perspective from the point of view of the non racer.

    Yeah, I reckon he actually rode an extra 1.8ish extra kms from riding ON THE RED LINE.

  21. @minion

    Bike too small? Looks pretty short in the tt. Dunno if you’d want or need a 60 cm track bike, but perhaps a 200mm stem would get you in the right spot.

    Congratulations on the ride, I missed the streaming bit cos I was out riding but it looked great. The thing with track is you always want to see how much harder you can go….

    This.

    Also, well done Frank. That’s a special thing to suffer through an hour like that. Looking forward to see your attempt next week, I mean year.

  22. @Rob get out there with a meter stick, like Oskar Egg in that anecdote in The Rider.

  23. Wow. What a day/ night. So I had to keep the swearing to a minimum since just at the top of the track, and near the end, there were a lot of kids around. Alpenrose is a dairy and “family fun time” place.

    Of course, it’s been decided, that like Haleakala, this was a test run. He had too much left at the end and was smiling right after. A lot was learned by everyone, and it’ll be better next year. He may or may not mention this, but his 4K time was super impressive (the actual “trackies” hanging around were pretty stunned how he was going given the circumstances, and they compared Frank to a 2 time Olympic Track cyclist who’s name I can’t remember now).

    Fucking great time, before, during and after the event. It was an honor to be involved. Some photos (you can figure out what was going on I’m sure):

    Slideshow:

    Fullscreen:

    (for the record, that’s not nearly all the beer that was consumed, earlier in the evening, the empties actually made it to the recycling bin. AND, you know its been a good night when you go outside in the morning to find $8K worth of camera gear and 3 MacBook Pros just sitting outside in the driveway. The bikes did get locked in the shop, so I suppose out priorities are straight)

  24. @scaler911

    Of course, it’s been decided, that like Haleakala, this was a test run. He had too much left at the end and was smiling right after. A lot was learned by everyone, and it’ll be better next year. He may or may not mention this, but his 4K time was super impressive (the actual “trackies” hanging around were pretty stunned how he was going given the circumstances, and they compared Frank to a 2 time Olympic Track cyclist who’s name I can’t remember now).

    From the pictures it appears Frank didn’t have a computer display on the bike, but used a Powertap wheel.

    It might have helped to achieve a more measured pace, despite any Rule #72 misgivings.

  25. @ChrisO

    @scaler911

    Of course, it’s been decided, that like Haleakala, this was a test run. He had too much left at the end and was smiling right after. A lot was learned by everyone, and it’ll be better next year. He may or may not mention this, but his 4K time was super impressive (the actual “trackies” hanging around were pretty stunned how he was going given the circumstances, and they compared Frank to a 2 time Olympic Track cyclist who’s name I can’t remember now).

    From the pictures it appears Frank didn’t have a computer display on the bike, but used a Powertap wheel.

    It might have helped to achieve a more measured pace, despite any Rule #72 misgivings.

    Ultimately I don’t think he did the ride on the Power Tap wheel. Switched out at the last minute to one with a different rear cog (a 14t in case you wondered). But I think that next time, even with his reluctance to use a Garmin, it’ll be easier for him to keep track of his own pace. Even though we were yelling out lap times, and knew what time that had to be to get to the 40K goal, he couldn’t really hear us. I’m sure when he gets home (he and G’rilla just left, mighty hung over) he’ll fill y’all in more with his thoughts.

  26. Frank did not need a garmin or a power tap, he just went on the V Meter, that and a feller yelling lap times too of course. Well done big man, bon effort.

  27. oh, and I  would like to point out, my guess of 38.16km was not far off, and all I did was guess the same number as the current female record at the track. Simples.

  28. @ChrisO Yes, I was going to comment on the unsightly Rule #72 growth on that rear hub…

  29. @Nate

    @ChrisO Yes, I was going to comment on the unsightly Rule #72 growth on that rear hub…

    I don’t think Rule #72 means one shouldn’t use a powermeter – but rather, that one shouldn’t brag about the numbers. I wish I could afford one (next thing on my list…), but I do hate the types who finish an epic ride and can only say “340 NP on that climb!”

  30. @G’rilla

     

    3 / 6
     

     

     

     

    Slideshow:

    Fullscreen:

    Download:

     

    Chapeau Frank – In passing I really liked picture number three where you are explaining to the crowd how to play an accordion when you haven’t actually got one

  31. Strong work @frank. A hefty dose of Sambuca and dancing on Friday night left me without the stamina to last beyond the halfway point before drifting off. 

    Everything I’ve ever read about time trialling had the DSs lying through their teeth about their riders performance. I don’t think Jacques Anquetil’s DS told him he was “looking good” as he was smashing the opposition in the Grand Prix des Nations. Maybe if you’d been told you were looking good for a 35…

    I spent Festum Prophetae marshalling at a local National level race, closed roads, motorcycles  team cars, pros, the lot. My daughter, Katie, came along to take part in a bit of fun racing organised by my club. It was fairly low key, Italian Pursuit with teams of kids aged from tiny up to about 15.

    She got her first drop bar bike last week and has hardly put it down. We had quite a bit of time sat around waiting for the race and the supporting Regional race to come through our marshalling point, she spent the time riding around the local streets or sat on the wall discussing The Rules.

    The organiser of the kids racing wants her to come along to the track training he organises which she’s stoked about, winter sessions are likely to be held in the London Velodrome.

    I’ve never set up cantis before, what a nightmare.

  32. @Chris

    I love her look of determination.

    Blue Steel!

  33. @mouse

    @Chris

    I love her look of determination.

    Blue Steel!

    The V is strong in this one.

    Purple. The bike is a cracker, an ebay special, Reynolds 531, Sora drivetrain and hubs, Mavic Open Pro rims, old school Cinelli quills tem and traditional round bend bars. Evil little Onza cantis, soon to be replaced with Tektro mini Vs. It’s got loads or clearance for some cross tyres for the winter.

    Katie has been told that she’s responsible for it’s upkeep. I’ll help but she’s doing the work. From Velominipper to Pedalwan Learner.

  34. @Chris Fantastic!

    Looks like the sun might’ve even threatened to break through

    Now you’re gonna get hounded for some Speedplay’s + Bont’s!

  35. @ped Next set of Speedplays and Bonts will be in my size! I think I’ll start her off in something she can use for cross in the winter. I know that might not be entirely rule compliant but there’s a need to match the budget to the household cycling needs. After chasing his mate round the local reservoir twice (25km) yesterday, her brother has decided that his Junior or Expert size BMX should be kept only for hooning round the BMX track – he’s now pestering me about a mountain bike.

    The youngest lad is probably drafting his latest set of demands as well.

  36. @Chris

    One of these riders has been raised by a Velominatus…

    A perfect example of the importance of learning from the right people.

  37. @harminator

    @Chris

    One of these riders has been raised by a Velominatus…

    A perfect example of the importance of learning from the right people.

    So distinct is she, from the others, she looks Photoshopped, albeit by an expert!

  38. @Bespoke

    @harminator

    @Chris

    One of these riders has been raised by a Velominatus…

    A perfect example of the importance of learning from the right people.

    So distinct is she, from the others, she looks Photoshopped, albeit by an expert!

    To be fair to the others, the session was open to anyone under the age of 16 and to kids passing with a bike. The photographer was lying down which plays down just how small the lead out rider was.

    It was a bit tough on some of the older/more experienced kids who effectively had to ride up and down the high street at walking pace until it was their lap.

  39. @Chris

    That explains it.

    Otherwise…She looks mighty peeved at the quality of the sprint train the team provided..

  40. @harminator

    @Chris

    That explains it.

    Otherwise…She looks mighty peeved at the quality of the sprint train the team provided..

    Class!! A bit like Cav earlier this season and most of last season!!

  41. @Chris

    Awesomeness squared! She’s got the focus for sure. Great job!!

  42. Late comment here, but chapeau to Frank on a sterling effort at Alpenrose. A tough challenge made tougher by letting everyone on this site know he was doing it too.

    Seriously though, would it have killed you to do a measly extra 6000 meters?

  43. missed it by…..*puts thumb & index finger almost together*…..THAT much.

  44. chapeau on an awesome ride!

  45. See if you can guess which ones are Frank’s and which ones are the track sprinter’s.

  46. @tessar But see Rule #74.

  47. @G’rilla

    See if you can guess which ones are Frank’s and which ones are the track sprinter’s.

    Twiggo was there?!  Sorry Frank – couldn’t resist.

  48. @G’rilla ahahah, great!

  49. @the Engine

    @G’rilla

     

    3 / 6
     

     

     

     

    Slideshow:

    Fullscreen:

    Download:

     

    Chapeau Frank – In passing I really liked picture number three where you are explaining to the crowd how to play an accordion when you haven’t actually got one

    I thought it was the size of the fish that got away !

  50. I’ve half a mind to book the track right now! Obree on the Hour rule changes.

    Do the changes pave the way for a truly bizare machine for the next Strack attempt?

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