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. 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.

  2. 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.

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

  4. @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!”

  5. @G’rilla

     

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    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

  6. 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.

  7. @Chris

    I love her look of determination.

    Blue Steel!

  8. @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.

  9. @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!

  10. @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.

  11. @Chris

    One of these riders has been raised by a Velominatus…

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

  12. @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!

  13. @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.

  14. @Chris

    That explains it.

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

  15. @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!!

  16. @Chris

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

  17. 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?

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

  19. chapeau on an awesome ride!

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

  21. @tessar But see Rule #74.

  22. @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.

  23. @G’rilla ahahah, great!

  24. @the Engine

    @G’rilla

     

    3 / 6
     

     

     

     

    Slideshow:

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    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 !

  25. 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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