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Cobbled Classics 2013 Forecast: Hardman’s Valmanac

Cobbled Classics 2013 Forecast: Hardman’s Valmanac

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As many of you know, one of my specialties is examining events, imagining trends in them, and then predicting future events by painting with broad strokes based on those findings. I find this approach particularly effective when it pertains to topics of which I know less than nothing. In many ways, this is the same thing meteorologists do, so in that sense it is very fitting that my current prediction is for the weather of the 2013 Cobbled Classics.

I consider Het Volk to be a harbinger of what is to come for the major classics coming about a month later. By ignoring all data points that don’t support my assumptions, my study has conclusively demonstrated the following points:

  • Rare is the case when a rider wins Het Volk and also wins de Ronde or Roubaix.
  • Weather can’t hold a peak any better than a rider can, apparently; dry weather in Het Volk means wet weather in April and vice versa.
  • Riders who race Het Volk in their Flandrian Best generally perform better in the monuments.
  • Racing to the win in too-long a pair of knickers is a specter of failure for future events.
  • Racing with an upturned cycling cap brim will yield a season fraught with spectacular highs and lows.

In light of this, it was with great relief that I noticed that while the weather was cold for Het Volk, it was also dry. Which conclusively shows that the bergs in de Ronde and the trench in Roubaix will be coated in heaps of slippery mud. Thank Merckx, too; it’s been too many years of dry weather for my taste. For those of you smart enough to sign up for Keepers Tour, this will be epic. And yes, I know its not called Het Volk anymore. (We have a few open spots left on the Tour, so get in while the getting’s good.)

// Keepers Tour // Nostalgia // The Hardmen // Tradition

  1. @DerHoggz

    @Dan_R

    @Tobin
    Yeah, with a name like Café Roubaix, I felt obligated to open for a few hours today.

    You have Deda frames?!?

    For future VSPs we should do some kind of betting on whether or not the Schlecklette will finish. At the very least, free points!

    Yeah, we got Deda in the house! I brought in 2 Nerissimo frames for the display, but I can get them all. Being surrounded by all this crazy bike porn everyday has not sated my own lusts. It is worse.

  2. @Deakus

    Alcohol always used to trigger it with me (not food) and in the end I figured out it was closely related to dehydration…

    The doctor reckoned mine might have been the result of dehydration suffered on holiday in Spain. My knee did swell up a fair bit after a long hot ride. However, to say that it’s not alcohol related wouldn’t be entirely accurate, there was a lot of Pedro Ximinez sherry consumed the night before. Lovely stuff but the hangovers are on a similar scale to port.

    @Deakus

    I will now politely recede from my intrusion in to the internal joke!

    Gout’s no fun if you’re not going to joke about it. Carry on.

  3. Placed 13 of 39. Four fewer falls and I would be in the top ten!

  4. @Chris

    @Deakus

    Alcohol always used to trigger it with me (not food) and in the end I figured out it was closely related to dehydration…

    The doctor reckoned mine might have been the result of dehydration suffered on holiday in Spain. My knee did swell up a fair bit after a long hot ride. However, to say that it’s not alcohol related wouldn’t be entirely accurate, there was a lot of Pedro Ximinez sherry consumed the night before. Lovely stuff but the hangovers are on a similar scale to port.

    @Deakus

    I will now politely recede from my intrusion in to the internal joke!

    Gout’s no fun if you’re not going to joke about it. Carry on.

    heavy consumption = dehydration….you were probably half way to the attack before you ever got on the bike!

  5. @G’rilla that’s some fun looking trail. I would love to ride some of that.

  6. @G’rilla

    You don’t look like the mild mannered chap I remember in those photos – worth hanging those snaps in your bathroom where you can enjoy them in peace

  7. @G’rilla

    Placed 13 of 39. Four fewer falls and I would be in the top ten!

    OH HELLYEAH! Nice pics. What’s great about the pics is they don’t show how slow you’re going.

    I also like how you put on leg warmers that look just like skin and muscle.

  8. @frank Don’t tell Brett that I was running 2 inch tires.

  9. @G’rilla I’m running 2.0 also. i was running 2.3 and it’s a pretty big difference. Everything feels faster. Running at about 28-30 psi.

  10. @G’rilla photo #1 is a properly good ‘oh shit’ face.

  11. @El Segundo

    @Mikael Liddy

    @El Segundo

    @Deakus

    Hooray for a snow riddled slushy Roubaix! If only mainstream TV would televise this epic!

    Praise be to Merckx, SBS in Aus. will be televising all the spring classics in their entirety.

    I’ll have to delve deep into “the suitcase of caffeine”. Can’t wait.

    That does depend on where across the country you’re situated…they’ll be live if you’re in the eastern states, central or WA & you’ll be taking big chunks out of your internet data usage streaming it because they don’t want to eat in to their normal schedule.

    Thanks for the tip Mikael, it seemed too good to be true. I’m in SA (Victor) so looks like I’ll be burning up my data allowance. Still, it’ll be worth it.

    Victor, as in Victor Harbor ?

  12. @Dan_R

    @Tobin
    Yeah, with a name like Café Roubaix, I felt obligated to open for a few hours today.

    Aside from the snow and the associated temperature, what a great looking “office” you have

  13. @G’rilla

    @frank Don’t tell Brett that I was running 2 inch tires.

    @RedRanger

    @G’rilla I’m running 2.0 also. i was running 2.3 and it’s a pretty big difference. Everything feels faster. Running at about 28-30 psi.

    You guys are nuts. Do you want to make your ride suck?

    I run Ardents, 2.4 front/2.2 rear at 18-20psi. Grip city, rolls like butter.

    G’rilla… two words: Dropper post.

  14. @brett that seems a bit much. i got mine based on the recommendation from one of the topshops in town. I guess it depends on the kind of trails, no?

  15. @brett My joke was lost in a rounding error. I also run Ardent 2.4/2.2.

    After taking a saddle to the stomach several times per lap, a dropper post sounds like a good idea.

    And, all joking aside, thanks for the advice on the Yeti last June. I love it more every time I ride it!

  16. @Barracuda

    @El Segundo

    @Mikael Liddy

    @El Segundo

    @Deakus

    Hooray for a snow riddled slushy Roubaix! If only mainstream TV would televise this epic!

    Praise be to Merckx, SBS in Aus. will be televising all the spring classics in their entirety.

    I’ll have to delve deep into “the suitcase of caffeine”. Can’t wait.

    That does depend on where across the country you’re situated…they’ll be live if you’re in the eastern states, central or WA & you’ll be taking big chunks out of your internet data usage streaming it because they don’t want to eat in to their normal schedule.

    Thanks for the tip Mikael, it seemed too good to be true. I’m in SA (Victor) so looks like I’ll be burning up my data allowance. Still, it’ll be worth it.

    Victor, as in Victor Harbor ?

    @Barracuda Yes indeedy

  17. @Mikael Liddy

    @G’rilla photo #1 is a properly good ‘oh shit’ face.

    I was wondering whether it was that or an adrenalin fuelled race face.

  18. @G’rilla Great photos. You’re hands don’t look entirely comfortable on the bars there, especially the right hand. Might just be the gloves making it look that way but try one finger braking.

    I need to put my mountain bike back together.

  19. @Chris

    @G’rilla Great photos. You’re hands don’t look entirely comfortable on the bars there, especially the right hand. Might just be the gloves making it look that way but try one finger braking.

    I need to put my mountain bike back together.

    What he said… those XT levers are made for one-finger braking, and you have an inch or two of bar sticking out the end there. Maybe try moving your hands outboard and the one finger.

    @G’rilla

    @brett My joke was lost in a rounding error. I also run Ardent 2.4/2.2.

    After taking a saddle to the stomach several times per lap, a dropper post sounds like a good idea.

    And, all joking aside, thanks for the advice on the Yeti last June. I love it more every time I ride it!

    Glad you like it, they’re a great bike… (one that will come alive with a dropper post!)

  20. @brett

    @Chris

    @G’rilla Great photos. You’re hands don’t look entirely comfortable on the bars there, especially the right hand. Might just be the gloves making it look that way but try one finger braking.

    I need to put my mountain bike back together.

    What he said… those XT levers are made for one-finger braking, and you have an inch or two of bar sticking out the end there. Maybe try moving your hands outboard and the one finger.

    or moving your levers in-board until the lever sits in a position that feels natural for one finger braking with your hands in the middle of the grip – you’ve got plenty of straight bar there to play with.

    If your shifters are in-board of your levers you may want to swap them round otherwise you’ll be stretching your thumbs to get to them. I’ve got similarly long bars and there’s quite a gap between the shifter and lever mounts.

  21. @Chris

    @brett

    Your attention to detail is impressive.

    I do operate those stubby brake levers with one finger but probably slipped momentarily due to having just ridden downhill over a large root (and shortly over a few more to the jeers of the spectators).

    I also need new lock-on grips since giving mine to my son who ripped through his flimsy child-grade grips within a few weeks of receiving his bike.

    I’ll experiment with different brake placements. I’m definitely still figuring it out. An MTB feels like a jumbo jet with all the adjustments to make on the fly: front shift, rear shift, brakes, fork, shock.

  22. @G’rilla

    Ok, sounds like you’re fiddling too much… is your fork a CTD? Leave it in Trail or Descend mode, never lock it out. Rear shock the same if it’s CTD, or run without ProPedal if not. Front shifting, go single ring! Throw out the lock-ons and use these. Oh yeah, tubeless if you aren’t already, absolutely essential (and you can run those low pressures).

  23. @brett I will agree. ESI grips rock. I’m running 1×10 and it’s tits. I have a basic from fork so I just keep the preload up and never lock it out. Tubeless is the way to go. It’s a no worry deal.

  24. Snow forecast in the Roubaix area this week! Doubt it’ll last but the UK is in crore the same cold snap. Bit of snow to liven up the early morning rides.

  25. I do not even know how I ended uup here, but I thought this post was great.
    I don’t know wwho you are but certainloy you’re going to a famous blogger if you are not already ;) Cheers!

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