Keepers Tour: Cobbled Classics 2013

Keepers Tour: Cobbled Classics 2013

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March 29, 2013 – April 8, 2013 // Lille, France // Event Details // Book Now

The Hardmen. They inspire us; we aspire to be one among them. They are the solitary voice among the thousands in our heads that tell us to keep pushing when all the others tell us to stop. Their long shadows look on in approval as we pull on our cold and wet weather gear and head out into the elements to ride.

Every serious Cyclist is a hard man or woman; it comes with the territory. But to be given the title of Hardman, one must be more than just tough. The Hardmen stand out among the rest as the ones who ride over the savage, jagged cobblestones of Northern Europe with a souplesse that is possessed only by those riders who thrive in the most torturous of road cycling’s domains: The Cobbled Classics of Northern Europe.

Velominati has partnered up with Pavé Cycling Classics, based in Northern France, to offer the chance to walk where Giants tread and pedal through the trench of Arenberg and up the devastating cobbled steeps of the Koppenberg and Kapelmuur. To pedal with the Pros during their reconnaissance of the Paris-Roubaix route.

As if that isn’t good enough, we offer the opportunity to do all this with Johan Museeuw, the last Lion of Flanders.

Velominati’s Keepers Tour: Cobbled Classics 2013 will be hosted and guided by the Velominati Keepers in partnership with Pavé Cycling Classics over nine days in April during the most sacred time of the season, the week when de Ronde van Vlaanderen and Paris Roubaix are held. The trip is all-inclusive and covers lodging, meals, energy drink, energy bars, and sag support. Bikes are available and included in the price should you wish not to bring your own.

The friendships forged over the 2012 edition of Keepers Tour with 9 days of riding the cobbles of Flanders and Northern France, drinking the best of Belgian beer, and eating the finest French cuisine leave an indelible mark on not only the Keepers, but all those who attend. Cycling has that ability to bring people together, and we count ourselves very blessed to have met such a great bunch of souls who we are proud to call our mates.

For 2013, we have trimmed the fat and added a bunch of amazing treats for you. Not only will we be riding the Pavé du Nord, the steeps of Liége and the Kasseien of Flanders, we will be doing it with a very special guest; The Lion of Flanders himself, Johan Museeuw. Last year we had the pleasure of an afternoon with Johan, riding some of the Gent-Wevelgem route and enjoying a few beers after. This time, you can witness firsthand how to float across the stones of Arenberg and charge up the Kapelmuur from the master… how many cyclists are able to say that?

Take this unique opportunity to be part of an experience that everyone attending will never forget, or regret.

Provisional Itinerary

  • Friday : Pick up midday, travel to gite and get bikes setup
  • Saturday : Paris-Roubaix with Johan Museeuw (last 150km)
  • Sunday : Watch de Ronde van Vlaanderen at the Oude Kwaremont
  • Monday: Visit the Roeselare National Bicycle Museum & go for an easy ride around Kemmel
  • Tuesday:  Liège-Bastogne- Liège with Johan Museeuw
  • Wednesday: Track riding at the Eddy Merckx Velodrome in Gent then watch the GP Escault (Scheldeprijs) pro race
  • Thursday: Paris Roubaix reconaissance ride with the Pros
  • Friday: Brunehaut brewery visit and meet with Pro Team (Omega-Pharma Quickstep or AG2R)
  • Saturday: Ronde Van Vlaanderen with Johan Museeuw (150km)
  • Sunday: Watch Paris Roubaix at three secteurs (Valenciennes, Arenberg, l’Arbre); optional stay at gite on Sunday night

Price: 3990€, All inclusive price includes rides with Johan Museeuw, accommodation for 9 nights, breakfast, lunch, dinner, beer, wine, insurance coverage, sag support, Pavé’s custom Cyfac rental bikes (upon request), exclusive V-Lion V-Shirts, exclusive Keepers Tour V-Pint, exclusive V-Mussette, and Pavé Cycling Classics jersey. Plus swag from our sponsors.

At this time we are accepting reservations for the full Keepers Tour, and now we also include weekend and daily packages. Once the reservation is confirmed, we will collect a 20% deposit with the balance due upon arrival in Lille.

Attendees should be comfortable riding in groups and be able to ride 150km several times in a week at a 28-30kph pace; some groups may elect to go faster but these are non-competitive rides. There will be lots of cobbles, and lots of short, steep climbs – sometimes both at the same time, so prepare yourself accordingly. We will usually have sag support, and riders who are unable to keep up may be asked to climb in the car. Or to Survive on V.

Booking

There is a problem with our booking form; please email tours@velominati.com to register.

Bookings

Bookings are closed for this event.

Event Details

Loading Map....

Date/Time
Date - March 29, 2013 - April 07, 2013
12:00 AM - 12:00 AM

Location
Gare de Lille Flandres

Cogal Details
Route Details


// Keepers Tour // Rule V (Hard Ride) // Rule VV (Climbing)

  1. by frank: “We’re off to kill it on the Pavé again this morning with the Lion; cold as fuck? Check. Windy as a banshee’s crotch? Check. Timing the start to ride the majority of sections from Arenberg onwards with the Pros? Check. Praying our incompetence doesn’t cause a premature end to a Pro’s carear? Check.”

     

    Wow !  Look forward to hearing a recap about todays amazing and memorable ride !

  2. @Spun Up

    @Buck Rogers

    Great song as well. What is it? Probably going to sound like an idiot here (wouldn’t be the first time) but it almost sounds like the Kinks, or at least one of the Davies. I have never heard it before. Someone help me here?

    It’s an Australian band called Papa vs. Pretty. The song is called “Sleep (again),” but I’ve never heard this version before. It’s much cooler than the one I have on my iTunes.

    That video is incredible, and finally gives me perspective on just how high Frank’s seatpost really is. I’m a sawed off little fuck, and I’m pretty sure my feet wouldn’t reach the pedals.

    @Frank, how many cm from the top of the saddle to the ground?

    Wow!  Love this site and learning new stuff not only about cycling but music as well!  I youtube’d (is that a verb?) the band and listened to the other version.  I agree, the one here is much better but the other one is good as well in my opinion.

    Thanks!

  3. @Gianni

    @Spun Up

    Frank is a Dutch monkey. I’m as tall as Frank. I’ve ridden that bike and I can barely touch the pedals. And I can barely reach his low bars. And it hurts “down there”. He is a freak in many ways.

    So you’re the same height but he has longer legs AND longer arms?

  4. @frank

    We’re off to kill it on the Pavé again this morning with the Lion; cold as fuck? Check. Windy as a banshee’s crotch? Check. Timing the start to ride the majority of sections from Arenberg onwards with the Pros? Check. Praying our incompetence doesn’t cause a premature end to a Pro’s carear? Check.

    It appears Johan brought his 16 year old son. Apparently he wants to teach his kid how to swear properly in English. Its an important skill for many career paths, especially assuming he’s on track to go Pro Cycling.

    Merd! We’re going to get our asses handed to us by the Lion Cub of Flanders.

    Fooock, just saw this after making the other post about it!  Tell me it wasn’t you or one of our brethren that brought down Sparty today on his recon ride!!!

  5. @G’rilla

    Ectomorph squared

  6. @Sauterelle

    Next week, an ass pinch!

  7. J’arrive……burp….

  8. @Spun Up

    @Buck Rogers

    Great song as well. What is it? Probably going to sound like an idiot here (wouldn’t be the first time) but it almost sounds like the Kinks, or at least one of the Davies. I have never heard it before. Someone help me here?

    It’s an Australian band called Papa vs. Pretty. The song is called “Sleep (again),” but I’ve never heard this version before. It’s much cooler than the one I have on my iTunes.

    THANK you.  I was busting my head trying to figure that out, trying all sorts of internet sleuthing  And was not even close.  And you are spot on re: this version vs. the album track.  I think some young bands go for a lot of production gimmicks because they lack confidence in the songs or their capacity to say no.

    Too much make up on a natural beauty.

  9. @xyxax

    @Spun Up

    @Buck Rogers

    Great song as well. What is it? Probably going to sound like an idiot here (wouldn’t be the first time) but it almost sounds like the Kinks, or at least one of the Davies. I have never heard it before. Someone help me here?

    It’s an Australian band called Papa vs. Pretty. The song is called “Sleep (again),” but I’ve never heard this version before. It’s much cooler than the one I have on my iTunes.

    THANK you. I was busting my head trying to figure that out, trying all sorts of internet sleuthing And was not even close. And you are spot on re: this version vs. the album track. I think some young bands go for a lot of production gimmicks because they lack confidence in the songs or their capacity to say no.

    Too much make up on a natural beauty.

    No problem. I spend my Sunday mornings as a volunteer DJ, playing world music on the local community radio station. I do my riding on Sunday afternoon.

  10. @sthilzy just having the wheels within the aura of The Lion!

    Plus, Frank got him to autograph one of my shop jerseys!

    and then, the Lion retweeted the photo Frank sent that I tweeted!

  11. @Dan_R YEAH!!

  12. @Sauterelle

    Oh look, the Lion Cub of Flanders is imitating Peter Sagan!

    http://www.sporza.be/cm/sporza/videozone/v_opvallend/wielrennen_opvallend/MV_130404_Stefano_Museeuw_wheelie

    He rode Roubaix with us yesterday. He’s got some force in his legs, that’s for sure. He just needs some age to get the power to keep it up. He and Johan attacked before Mons en Pavel and broke away together. He almost made it, too. It was cool to see Johan mentor his son.

  13. Wednesday was track day on KT. I sat it out this year and rested on mylaurels from KT12. I was tired as fuck actually from Liege so took the opportunity to play around with William’s camera. The lads were ripping it up, and Franco was telling us how the track was his specialty moments before ending up on his arse. We loaded up on Malteni for the drive to Antwerpen for the Scheldepriis and the VIP treatment…

  14. So we got to the finish area and went to find Museeuw in his promo van. There was this steward on the ergo bike showing more form than we needed to see… when I pointed him out to Johan, he took an iPhone shot then showed the steward who quickly became a tad more modest, much to the amusement of the crowd. VIP beers flowed then we headed to the grandstand for the race finish. It’s not what you know…

  15. Hitting Carrefour up with Museeuw. Hitting one odd cobble destroys all rhythm putting you in the gutter to try find some speed again…

  16. @sthilzy He and his sons both have V-Cufflinks; we’ll have to see tomorrow if they installed them or not.

  17. @all

    You guys are fucking killing me!

    I’d give up one of my testicles (and all my sporting principles) to be in northern France right now.

    Great pics, great vids. Please keep on posting.

    Where the fuck is the precip? Every Euro pro race I’ve seen this spring has been soaked but the cobbles stay dry?

    C’mon…

  18. @el franco sitting at work, sitting at my desk…GREEN with envy!!  Thanks for the vid, I have to live vicariously through you guys today.

  19. Solid fucking work there Keepers!!

  20. That steward needs some faux denim Carrerra bib shorts!

    And, who let the Cofidis guy ride with ya during the L’Arbre recon?

  21. @brett Re: the podium picture, if Cav’s expression is anything to go by, he might not be physically pinching the podium girl’s ass, but i his imagination he is!

  22. @wiscot Reckon Cav is standing there being pissed about the quality of his leadout train.

  23. @brett

    Love the pics from the visit to the track.

    -Dinan

  24. No longer a pavé virgin. First cobble sector was Arenberg, ouch is all I can say. Tomorrow should be interesting. Not sure if me or the bike will cave first.

  25. Lazy day yesterday; small ride with @The Engine and @strathlubnaig to show them some secteurs; must say that riding Arenberg was a bastard fresh off our hard day Thursday.

    Nice easy ride for the most part (as much as a ride can be easy in a block head wind and on pavé) but on Mons en Pavel, Turgot and another ride came by us; impossible to resist the temptation to go after them. In all, I think we saw more Pros yesterday than we did on Thursday during the official Pro recce day.

    Then it was off to see the AG2R team and have a chat with Hugo Houles and check out the mechanics area which, lets face it, was the highlight. They even let us on the bus. Very cool to check out how the team pretends to ease the suffering of being a Pro.

  26. Then it was off to a restaurant in Roubaix, a town which despite it mythical status for Cycling is quite a bit of a shit hole. Anyhow, all the staff were wearing cycling kit.

  27. @frank

    @sthilzy He and his sons both have V-Cufflinks; we’ll have to see tomorrow if they installed them or not.

    Sweet! Tell them they’re made from Flandrian plastic and can survive CX racing!

    How are the V-plugs performing on real cobbles?

  28. Today we ride RVV with Johan again. Can’t wait. We do a version of the original route because the Velominati don’t officially recognize the new route. We’ll hit the classics like the Eikenberg, Kwaremont, Paterberg, Taienberg, Koppenberg, Kapelmuur, Bosberg et al.

    From memory, the Koppenberg is the hardest on the route. Steep as shit in the middel, and steep as a steep thing slightly less steep than shit everywhere else.

  29. Flandrian cobbles bergs and muurs today, too many to name, all classic all iconic all enjoyable. 112km in the company of great lads and of course the Lion of Flanders hisself. What can I say other than superlatives and clichés. ‘kin-A !!

  30. @Mikael Liddy

    @Dr C

    Anyone care to post that classic video of the old P-R race, with the riders raiding the coffee shops for brandy and the poor sod getting slower and slower until he passes out and falls in an ambulance – I think Oli used to lob it up about this glorious time of year

    I was close, it was ’62

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yVAknjyZW0g

    Now that is a great reminder of what it means to  peg the meter, and the fan assisted accents were perfect. At one point they had a type of relay going on.  One of the defining points to the whole race is when the pros just get back on there bikes  by default and ride because failure is not an option . Now the riders wouldn’t hesitate to jump in the team car or the  broom wagon.  Thanks for posting.

  31. Fantasic updates and vidieo Keepers, Now thats the way to do it.

  32. Fantastic  would be the word i was looking for.  that is all.

  33. That was an awesome unplanned few days. Even though I never got a tee I will put it firmly in the ‘ good times’ memory box. Santé Lads !

  34. Looks like yall even ended up in some of cyclingfans.com photos –

  35. @G’rilla

    @Gianni

    @Spun Up

    Frank is a Dutch monkey. I’m as tall as Frank. I’ve ridden that bike and I can barely touch the pedals. And I can barely reach his low bars. And it hurts “down there”. He is a freak in many ways.

    So you’re the same height but he has longer legs AND longer arms?

    Having the good fortune and opporchancity to ride the pavé of France and the cobbles of Flanders alongside Franck I can attest to the near unbelievable height of the seat, and when glancing to my left when he was alongside, I felt like I was on some kiddie bike, I wondered if I should put streamers on my bar ends ffs. It does not, however, appear to be any detriment to him laying down the Vee that’s fer sure.

  36. This is what it’s all about

  37. @the Engine

    This is what it’s all about

    THAT IS SUPERB!!!

  38. @the Engine

    This is what it’s all about

    chapeau!

  39. @el franco@frank

    Just when I thought I’d stopped aching… Riding the pave with Johan must have been beyond awesome. How are you going to top that next year – the Pyrenees with Ocana and Pantani?

    Nice white gloves, are they are white version of the Defeet woolly pair you wore the previous Saturday?

    @the Engine

    This is what it’s all about

    Great shot. The kids saw the flag on Eurosport when we were in Ronde in Edinburgh, thought it was very cool.

    The middle son started talking to one of the guys in the shop about one of the bikes and was asked if he’d watched the race. He replied “No, but my dad rode it last weekend.”

  40. @the Engine

    This is what it’s all about

    Jesus, you’re a fooock’in RockStar Frahnk!  Awesome!

  41. Fook, nice work lads.

  42. Continuing with the drapeau theme….

  43. Continuing with the drapeau theme….

  44. ffs !!! stoopid interweb…. Continuing with the drapeau theme…. this time….

  45. Hmm, some great photos & a lot of questions stirring in me.

    The Buckler jersey. I’ve only ever seen N/A beer from Buckler. Do they make real beer? That would really blow to be sponsored by a non-alcoholic beer.

    A denim apron? NOoooo!

    Has fi'zi:k gotten into the squishy tape market? Some of the Focus bikes look to have the rubbery tape some manufacturers have out. I have it on my cross bike, might just have to put it on the road bikes too. It really makes grabbing the bars a pleasure, it feels so darn nice.

    What exactly was kept in the “Fitness” container?

    Shoes. Those Sidis look pretty broken in. Do some PROs like to ride the same shoes for a long time? I would, considering how long it took me to get some of my Sidis to be comfortable.

    Also, can anyone venture a guess as to why guys used to ride the same saddle forever, a Regal or such, and now it seems as if everyone is on brand new Ariones, Aliantes, or a Prologo saddle. What caused the switch from classic, broken-in saddles to new ones?

    GREAT photo of Frank there! Wow, I’d feel blessed to be that close to Cancellara as he powered on by. Very cool!

  46. @the Engine

    This is what it’s all about

    Fuckin’ Robert Plant!

  47. @Dan_R

    @the Engine

    This is what it’s all about

    Fuckin’ Robert Plant!

    Spot on ,

  48. This should be required viewing for anyone coming along next time. A bit arty-farty, but Johann gets the message across.

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