These cobbles don't stand a chance against little Lizzie A. Photo: Ashley Gruber.

These cobbles don't stand a chance against little Lizzie A. Photo: Ashley Gruber.

This Spells Rain

by / / 68 posts

For those of you with an interest in the subtle art of Paying Attention, you may have noticed a few things about my writing technique: apart from the inescapable fact that it is untrained and terrible, I make a habit of overusing the semicolon, a practice I started when I heard my third grade teacher tell me it was a substitute for any conjunction. That might not be what she said and it is definitely not correct; that’s what I heard and it stuck. I also capitalize every word that holds a personal meaning, a habit I co-opted from German where nouns are typically capitalized; it left an impression on me in terms of valuing words with importance. I took this principle and applied it according to my own whimsy, as I am wont to do, and now capitalize every important word, like “Cycling”, “Awesome”, and “Looking Fantastic”.

On that subject, can I just say 2016 Is Getting Off On The Right Foot. Het Volk (which I refuse to call by its correct name) saw two seriously legitimate podiums, with rainbows in both the men and the women’s races. I’m still not sure if the Saganwagon is wearing Rule #33 legs, but Lizzie pulled a Cancellara and just “accidentally” dropped the bunch to win the first continental race she competed in while wearing the rainbow bands. And both World Champions are wearing black bibshorts, something they had to gain UCI approval for. I have to say, a small part of me feels like our work here is done. Then Faboo and Lizzie crushed the gravel in the Strade Bianche. Then, Paris-Nice, which is a snoozer of a race as far as I’m concerned, loaded up today’s stage up with Chalk Dust Torture roads. Ohhellsyeah.

With how much V has been pouring out of the sport so far this season, this is trending well to be a strong year. Last year for Keepers Tour, we lived a dream by riding the cobbles in the rain and mud, but were once again disappointed to witness yet another dry Paris-Roubaix. This year will be different. Statistically speaking, this lies in favor of the law of averages. The rains will fall, the roads will be slick with silt, manure and mud, and the three will be indistinguishable to the rider chewing on the rooster tail of the rider in front.

I will commit an entire paragraph to point out that Tom Boonen is the only active Paris-Roubaix podium placer to have raced Paris-Roubaix in the wet, way back in 2002. He came in third. In truth, no one can call themselves a Cobbles Specialist if they haven’t raced the cobbles in the wet. That makes Boonen the King of the Cobbles of our generation. Even more so than Kenny.

So fuck yeah cobbles and fuck yeah rain. This can’t be another dry Cobbled Classics week in April. May the rains fall as heavy as the V.

VLVV.

// La Vie Velominatus // Racing // The Hardmen

  1. @Buck Rogers

    Frahnk!!! Jesus man! Did you really say “silt, manure and mud”? Fer fuck’s sake man, I know that I am an illiterate moron but even I would have known to use the much more elegant turn of phrase “silt, SHIT and mud” in that context. (see what happens when I actually read an article around here)

    Maybe you missed it where Frahnk declared that he doesn’t like to use profanity in the opening articles. Plus, he was too busy typing “fuck” to remember the proper term for manure.

  2. @MangoDave

    @Buck Rogers

    Frahnk!!! Jesus man! Did you really say “silt, manure and mud”? Fer fuck’s sake man, I know that I am an illiterate moron but even I would have known to use the much more elegant turn of phrase “silt, SHIT and mud” in that context. (see what happens when I actually read an article around here)

    Maybe you missed it where Frahnk declared that he doesn’t like to use profanity in the opening articles. Plus, he was too busy typing “fuck” to remember the proper term for manure.

    Ya, but I am pretty sure that he was drunk when he wrote that line about “not liking to use profanity” as that is the only explanation I could come up with for that craziness.

    And besides, does “shit” even count as profanity these days???

  3. Years ago I read a piece by a journalist who’s name I have forgotten. After he submitted his first few articles riddled with colons and semi colons the editor came round with a file and removed them from his typewriter.

    Maybe Fronk needs to go old school for a while as a cure?

  4. @Buck Rogers

    @MangoDave

    @Buck Rogers

    And besides, does “shit” even count as profanity these days???

    Fuck, no!

  5. @chris

    Plan B… Brilliant!

  6. @1860

    Look at the pic closely of Lizzie (besides the awesomeness)… she has the nr 13 but is so confident she didn’t put it upside down…… That is casually fantastic.

    Look closely. Her number is 131

  7. @MangoDave

    @Buck Rogers

    @MangoDave

    @Buck Rogers

    And besides, does “shit” even count as profanity these days???

    Fuck, no!

    With the first velominipper on the way one of my biggest concerns…will I be able to stop swearing so frequently, without even noticing it?

    For all the good things my father did in raising me…I don’t think he let a proper “fuck” slip until I was well into my teens. Plenty of goddamns, shit, bastard, sonofabitches when working on the cars, etc., but really was good about avoiding THE word, the big one, the queenmother of dirty words, the “F-dash-dash-dash” word!

  8. @Buck Rogers

    Although my heart was broken this morning by cyclingnews reporting that Tommeke complained yesterday that the Paris-Nice stage should have been cancelled b/c it was “too cold and there was snow”.

    Ohmyfuckinggod! Snow! Cancel this shit!

    Totally. You should climb off.

  9. @brett

    @chris

    Plan B… Brilliant!

    I won’t mind if you pop it in the Lexicon!

  10. @litvi

    @Buck Rogers

    Although my heart was broken this morning by cyclingnews reporting that Tommeke complained yesterday that the Paris-Nice stage should have been cancelled b/c it was “too cold and there was snow”.

    Ohmyfuckinggod! Snow! Cancel this shit!

    Totally. You should climb off.

    Perfetto! I’m going with Tommeke having a “senior moment” of confusing and accidently channeling his inner Sparty. That can be the only explanation.

  11. Oh, climb off like this?

    I know right? how are you guys even… alive?!

  12. +2 on the Phish reference

  13. Fuck! Not Again!

  14. We don’t get a massive amount of rain where I live and when we do it tends to be in the form of severe storms. I do love it after a 160km+ ride the feeling of grit on my skin caught by the sunscreen and I tend to pick up more of that after a big rain. That and the tan/grit lines enhanced just before hopping in the shower. Think I might do that on Sunday…

  15. It’s all right, Frank. Many of us suffer from cancer of the semicolon…

  16. @JohnnyK

    @1860

    Look at the pic closely of Lizzie (besides the awesomeness)… she has the nr 13 but is so confident she didn’t put it upside down…… That is casually fantastic.

    Look closely. Her number is 131

    Look closer – at the number on her bike. :)

  17. @JohnnyK

    @1860

    Look at the pic closely of Lizzie (besides the awesomeness)… she has the nr 13 but is so confident she didn’t put it upside down…… That is casually fantastic.

    Look closely. Her number is 131

    Lizzie turns to you, “Yes, it’s number 13!”

    Being WC, can have 13 anyway around she likes!

    Pic from Gruber Images

  18. the inescapable fact that it is untrained and terrible”

    untrained maybe, terrible never!

  19. @brett

    @chris

    Plan B… Brilliant!

    Beat me to it, I like it, Lexicon maybe.

  20. @sthilzy

    @JohnnyK

    @1860

    Look at the pic closely of Lizzie (besides the awesomeness)… she has the nr 13 but is so confident she didn’t put it upside down…… That is casually fantastic.

    Look closely. Her number is 131

    Lizzie turns to you, “Yes, it’s number 13!”

    Being WC, can have 13 anyway around she likes!

    Pic from Gruber Images

    Great photo. Casually Awesome should become a thing.

  21. @Owen

    @sthilzy

    @JohnnyK

    @1860

    Look at the pic closely of Lizzie (besides the awesomeness)… she has the nr 13 but is so confident she didn’t put it upside down…… That is casually fantastic.

    Look closely. Her number is 131

    Lizzie turns to you, “Yes, it’s number 13!”

    Being WC, can have 13 anyway around she likes!

    Pic from Gruber Images

    Great photo. Casually Awesome should become a thing.

    Rim decals lined up damn near perfect for photo also, now that’s pro

  22. Frank, not only did you manage to reference Phish, and not only did you reference CDT but you referenced the Randall’s version. Well played, Sir. So good. #weareeverywhere

  23. @JohnnyK

    @1860

    Look at the pic closely of Lizzie (besides the awesomeness)… she has the nr 13 but is so confident she didn’t put it upside down…… That is casually fantastic.

    Look closely. Her number is 131

    Look closer – at the number on her bike. :)

    @JohnnyK “insert thick glasses photo here”….

  24. So Lizzie is what height? 167 cm ? And any guesses what size bike that is that she’s racing? A 49cm bike? It looks like a tiny little bike to me for someone her height. Maybe in part it’s the visual of the sloping top tube? And looks like end up with a stem at 13cm or something like that. I don’t know…

    I guess when I was growing up as a kid I was always on a bike that was one size too big. I just got comfortable riding larger bikes. I’ve commented on this many times: pro’s sure seem to like little bikes.

  25. Gotta believe the Paris-Nice directors heard Boonen ringing in their ears when they decided to cancel today’s stage…

  26. @Ron

    Gotta believe the Paris-Nice directors heard Boonen ringing in their ears when they decided to cancel today’s stage…

    Dunno about that. The French being influenced by Belgian whining? Pas probable.

  27. @Harminator

    @Ron

    Gotta believe the Paris-Nice directors heard Boonen ringing in their ears when they decided to cancel today’s stage…

    Dunno about that. The French being influenced by Belgian whining? Pas probable.

    Damn nonsense is what it is. Have we lost all the HardMen of the sport?

  28. @Harminator

    @Ron

    Gotta believe the Paris-Nice directors heard Boonen ringing in their ears when they decided to cancel today’s stage…

    Dunno about that. The French being influenced by Belgian whining? Pas probable.

    Schadenfreude

  29. @hudson

    @Harminator

    @Ron

    Gotta believe the Paris-Nice directors heard Boonen ringing in their ears when they decided to cancel today’s stage…

    Dunno about that. The French being influenced by Belgian whining? Pas probable.

    Damn nonsense is what it is. Have we lost all the HardMen of the sport?

    I have hard feelings on this one. I can understand the whole argument that “these are professional athletes paid millions of dollars a year to ply their trade and to put them at undue risk is an insult and not the right thing to do” but then the other argument is that they ARE fucking paid a shit-tonne of money (at least some are) for what reason??? To ride their fucking bikes!!! It is not like they are doing fucking brain surgery and the lights go out so you have to stop the surgery; it is riding a fucking bike. And, AND mind you, they have the right to fucking climb off their bike any fucking time they feel that it is TOO dangerous. That is partly why I will never get on the Sparty bandwagon. He is the fucking maestro of going all Nancy in the middle of a ride; whether it is too hot/too cold/too wet/too much for the Schlecks/etc. I think that they ought to have a committee made up of Le Blaireau, Andy Hampsten and Ian Fuckin Stannard and if the majority of those three feel that the race should be called off, then do it, but otherwise no one is forcing the riders to ride when they feel too cold/hot/panzy/scared and they can get off their fucking bikes anytime they want.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dpqZgGHmjeE (cannot find the greatest post-race interview of modern times with Ian post-2010 KBK)

  30. @Buck Rogers

    Great idea. Put Hinault, Hampsten and Stannard on the UCI’s Extreme Weather Protocol panel and see how many appeals emerge.

    Reading reports that the stage was neutralised for 125k yet there was a break 1.20 up the road at the 80k mark. How does a break go clear in a neutralised stage? Sounds like a shambles.

  31. Follow Sean Kelly’s advice on this one: toe up at the start, race to the finish, and when the stage is over the organizers can decide whether it should have been cancelled to accommodate the pussies who signed in that morning. Fucking snowflakes.

  32. Bugs me, a lot. I’m never ever gonna be Pro, not fast enough and too old, but all freakin winter i was kitting up, when it was 0 degrees, iffy roads, and snow falling in the dark just to get in a ride before work. If someone would have said before my last turn “hey, if you keep riding in this horrible weather for another 4 hours we will pay you. Or…you can keep on to your mundane job” I’d have drop that heavy back pack and rode on no questions asked

  33. @Buck Rogers

    @I think that they ought to have a committee made up of Le Blaireau, Andy Hampsten and Ian Fuckin Stannard and if the majority of those three feel that the race should be called off, then do it

    This should be appended to Rules #5 and #9. There’d never be another discussion about the conditions being to bad to ride.

    Nipple Lube.

  34. Who would want to race, let alone ride, w/potential for ice?? Not me that is for sure.

  35. @wilburrox

    They like the smallest frames they can get away with because they’re lighter and stiffer.

  36. Check out Cycling Tips photos of Strade Bianche – V^V

    http://cyclingtips.com/2016/03/photo-gallery-2016-mens-strade-bianche/

    Can’t paste photos in from work, but there are some crackers there!

  37. @Teocalli

    @bart

    “Dutch and German where nouns are typically capitalized”

    That’s German. Dutch doesn’t do that. First word of a sentence, names, stuff like that get’s capitalized.

    Capitalizing Important Words is more of a Terry Pratchet thing. Or perhaps Thing. Be sure to see that as a compliment.

    Yeah but be careful if it’s THING you hear but it may be too late by then.

    All caps is usually very bad, Pratchetticaly speaking..

  38. @Barracuda

    One has to admire the not overly long bib shorts lizzie is rocking here, not to mention the correct length socks.

  39. @Barracuda

    @brett

    @chris

    Plan B… Brilliant!

    Beat me to it, I like it, Lexicon maybe.

    Yes, that might have to slip its way in there!

  40. @wilburrox

    So Lizzie is what height? 167 cm ? And any guesses what size bike that is that she’s racing? A 49cm bike? It looks like a tiny little bike to me for someone her height. Maybe in part it’s the visual of the sloping top tube? And looks like end up with a stem at 13cm or something like that. I don’t know…

    I guess when I was growing up as a kid I was always on a bike that was one size too big. I just got comfortable riding larger bikes. I’ve commented on this many times: pro’s sure seem to like little bikes.

    Smaller bikes are lighter and stiffer. LeMond even talked about that in his original book, back in the early eighties. We’ve talked about that here at some point, in fact, someone even posted a photo of the page.

    She’s 5’6 according to her wiki, and 126 lbs which I think is bullshit. But yeah, she is on a small bike, 51cm maybe from the looks of it, and a 12cm stem I’m guessing.

  41. @Buck Rogers

    @hudson

    @Harminator

    @Ron

    Gotta believe the Paris-Nice directors heard Boonen ringing in their ears when they decided to cancel today’s stage…

    Dunno about that. The French being influenced by Belgian whining? Pas probable.

    Damn nonsense is what it is. Have we lost all the HardMen of the sport?

    I have hard feelings on this one. I can understand the whole argument that “these are professional athletes paid millions of dollars a year to ply their trade and to put them at undue risk is an insult and not the right thing to do” but then the other argument is that they ARE fucking paid a shit-tonne of money (at least some are) for what reason??? To ride their fucking bikes!!! It is not like they are doing fucking brain surgery and the lights go out so you have to stop the surgery; it is riding a fucking bike. And, AND mind you, they have the right to fucking climb off their bike any fucking time they feel that it is TOO dangerous. That is partly why I will never get on the Sparty bandwagon. He is the fucking maestro of going all Nancy in the middle of a ride; whether it is too hot/too cold/too wet/too much for the Schlecks/etc. I think that they ought to have a committee made up of Le Blaireau, Andy Hampsten and Ian Fuckin Stannard and if the majority of those three feel that the race should be called off, then do it, but otherwise no one is forcing the riders to ride when they feel too cold/hot/panzy/scared and they can get off their fucking bikes anytime they want.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dpqZgGHmjeE (cannot find the greatest post-race interview of modern times with Ian post-2010 KBK)

    +1 badge to Buck!

    I’d only add Sean Kelly to the committee and give him a double vote for any tie-breakers.

  42. @Dom

    @Barracuda

    One has to admire the not overly long bib shorts lizzie is rocking here, not to mention the correct length socks.

    Her style is impeccable. Top marks all around.

  43. @Kevin

    @frank

    Thank you for citing Chalk Dust Torture, one of Phish’s greatest anthems.

    This makes me very happy!

    “But who can unlearn all the facts that I’ve learned

    As I sat in their chairs and my synapses burned

    And the torture of chalk dust collects on my tongue

    Thoughts follow my vision and dance in the sun

    All my vasoconstrictors they come slowly undone

    Can’t this wait ’til I’m old

    Can’t I live while I’m young?”

    I love the notion of there being a “Family Berzerker”.

  44. @asyax

    Check out Cycling Tips photos of Strade Bianche – V^V

    http://cyclingtips.com/2016/03/photo-gallery-2016-mens-strade-bianche/

    Can’t paste photos in from work, but there are some crackers there!

    I just keep loving Nibbles. Only Grand Tour contender that I’m seeing in those photos. The guy is a proper all-rounder.

  45. I’m coming out of the closet. I have Gun Envy directed towards Lizzie. There, I admitted it.

  46. @frank

    @wilburrox

    So Lizzie is what height? 167 cm ? And any guesses what size bike that is that she’s racing? A 49cm bike? It looks like a tiny little bike to me for someone her height. Maybe in part it’s the visual of the sloping top tube? And looks like end up with a stem at 13cm or something like that. I don’t know…

    I guess when I was growing up as a kid I was always on a bike that was one size too big. I just got comfortable riding larger bikes. I’ve commented on this many times: pro’s sure seem to like little bikes.

    Smaller bikes are lighter and stiffer. LeMond even talked about that in his original book, back in the early eighties. We’ve talked about that here at some point, in fact, someone even posted a photo of the page.

    She’s 5’6 according to her wiki, and 126 lbs which I think is bullshit. But yeah, she is on a small bike, 51cm maybe from the looks of it, and a 12cm stem I’m guessing.

    So she outweighs Quintana by a stone or two, eh?

  47. @frank

    @Buck Rogers

    +1 badge to Buck!

    I’d only add Sean Kelly to the committee and give him a double vote for any tie-breakers.

    Yes, definitely need King Kelly. Not sure how I left him off. Fucking king of the Bad-asses.

    As for the 1+ Badge, thanks Mate. I never know if my fuck-laden rants are going to get me thrown in the penalty box or actually be somewhat coherent and add something to the conversation.

    I’m sure I’ll screw it up shortly and then you can move the badge on to someone else post-haste.

  48. Wet and raining Milan San Remo 2 years in a row? Stage 11 of 2010 Giro on soaked gravel? Stage 5 2014 TDF? 2015 Wevelgem crosswinds? These all stick in my mind for adversity. I, like most of you, love races with anything that provides adversity. Massive cols, cobbles, gravel. Sprint stages bore me to tears, although I respect the fastmen of course, because they are so straight forward.

    All those examples occurred recently. I’m not going to criticise riders who don’t want to ride with the risk of hypothermia, or heat exhaustion. I think there is enough adversity in cycling already, without adding life risking medical conditions.

    Sure, it happened in the past. But they used to use mercury to fix migraines, and smoke in planes, so not all fantastic ideas last the test of time eh?

    The bunch riding at 36kph with a 190bpm heart rate? 4 hours at -3degrees and soaking wet? We’re talking about potential for long lasting physical damage.

    I love to see the peleton attack adversity. But I don’t want anyone to die for my entertainment.

  49. @Ron

    I’m coming out of the closet. I have Gun Envy directed towards Lizzie. There, I admitted it.

    Damn straight, this pic is from the Worlds, it confirmed my belief that I’m happy to ride like a girl and have legs like a girl too, particularly if said girl is Lizzie. She’s bloody awesome.

  50. Woah, that is exactly the corner where I watched some of the Worlds racing back in September. I guess smart minds think alike!

    Great photo!

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