Keepers Tour 2012 Update, Part 3: Awesome, Kinda Weird, Awesome Again, and Solemn

Keepers Tour 2012 Update, Part 3: Awesome, Kinda Weird, Awesome Again, and Solemn

by / / 78 posts

With Keepers Tour: Cobbled Classics 2012 stitched up and in the history books, the challenge of documenting the trip became immediately obvious; how do you take the myriad impressions, experiences, and perspectives and put them down in a meaningful way – let alone in a way that can somehow be digested. Surely, to document even just the Keepers’ view on these goings-on would result in an article much longer than anyone would be prepared to read and would be a far cry from comprehensive. 

We have decided that the best approach is to split the report into four Articles, one authored by each Keeper, and each covering a different section of the trip. We also look forward to the contribution of additional photos and stories through the posts from those who joined us and those who witnessed the goings-on from afar. Today, we look at midweek. There’s a little bit of everything – Velodrome, Roubaix Redux, midweek semi-classic, a kooky collector (and good friend), and a visit to seriously hallowed ground. We hope you enjoy!

Keepers Tour: Cobbled Classics 2012 Updates: Part I // Part II // Part III // Part IV

It’s been said previously and bears repeating again – The Keepers Tour just kept getting more rad as the week progressed. This is not to say that day 6 was really any better than day 2; it was more like none of us could get over the fact that the sum total of each subsequent day – when added to the previous days – moved the needle of the Awesome Meter further to the right. We were approaching the Redline of Rad.

We’ll let the photos and video speak for themselves in this installment of Keepers Tour report. Watching GoPro video and looking at more photos is probably a better way to put you in the action vicariously and it is certainly a better way to waste your employer’s money. But before unleashing the visual blitz, I’ll list some of the highlights.

  • The Vlaams Weilercentrum Eddy Merckx in Ghent was the second time I’ve ever ridden a velodrome. The first time was a few days earlier in Roubaix. If I never ride the banks and boards again it won’t matter. It was very cool getting hooked up with Merckx fixies and flying around the track. We ended by holding our own pursuit – six laps of metered pain. Very fun.
  • Watching Scheldapriijs from the finishing village in downtown Antwerpen was an experience in itself.
  • The fusion dinner at Casa Grinta was an absolute trip. At what point does being a fan of pro cycling go too far? We’re not sure but the proprietor, Paul, is a good friend of Williams and has an incredible private collection.
  • All would agree – the second time riding the stones of Roubaix was entirely different from the first. To a Velominatus, we all felt better, stronger, and faster and left wanting more.
  • Make no mistake – William and Alex are Velominati of the highest order. Not only can they ride, they MAKE THEIR OWN BEER AND IT IS CALLED Malteni! Just ruminate on this for a second. They ride the piss out of the stones and have their own delicious Belgian beer with the coolest label ever for a recovery drink. BAD.FUCKING.ASS. The tour of the brewery where Malteni is brewed and bottled was a welcome recovery activity.
  • Heuvelland and the surrounding area was the western front in WWI. We had been riding past concrete bunkers, memorials, and graves all week and all of us wanted to visit one to pay our respects. Our group was made up of just the right mix of people for the Messines Ridge Cemetery and Memorial we visited as it was where many Commonwealth soldiers from New Zealand, Australia, and Great Britain gave their lives in service. As an active duty soldier, Bill led the prayer as we raised a bottle of beer to the fallen. The levity sunk in as I thought about how fortunate our group of blokes were to be riding our bikes, clad in Lycra, across the country side on a sunny day almost a hundred years after those men gave their lives for us to be able to do so.

Eddy Merckx Velodrome (Gent) Video

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wFvqrsOhkb8[/youtube]

Scheldeprijs Vlaanderen Race Finish (and penultimate lap)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WmzuBnl7vMU[/youtube]

Roubaix Recce Video

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E7wqEI-tueI[/youtube]

Photo Album (days 6-8)

Slideshow:
Fullscreen:

Eyerefelction Fotografie* Pro Recce Ride, featuring Velominati

Slideshow:
Fullscreen:

@Marko’s Strava on the Roubaix Recce ride: http://app.strava.com/rides/6245723

@Frank’s Strava on the Roubaix Recce ride: http://app.strava.com/rides/6245827

* Eyereflection Fotografie is not affiliated with Velominati at this time; the photos of us appeared through coincidence and the photographer’s generosity. And, because we looked so Merkcxdamned Pro he mistook us for the real deal. Seriously, The Rules WORK.

 

// Belgian Affirmations // Cyclotourism // Defining Moments // Keepers Tour // Nostalgia // The Hardmen // Tradition

  1. to all you Keepers who were so privileged to ride the stones, fantastic work.

    and for each one who has written, including Marko here…magnificent strokes of the pen fella’s!!

    @Marko: and to push the Rad Meter like this may indeed be heaven on earth, centered of course upon the Mecca itself, in Belgium, in Merckx own velodrome, I believe this to be the Center of the Entire Universe that you all have found

    and to be properly mistaken as P-R-fuckin-O “because we looked so Merkcxdamned Pro he mistook us for the real deal. Seriously, The Rules WORK.”…because as you say…the Rules do work, is profound evidence of an absolute TRUTH, it is self evident to us, so RIDE on fella’s..its right!

    and all I can do is ride my lonely pave’ here in the midwest, vicariously riding through your experiences, which is inspirational

  2. @frank
    I got you a first time but having done Paris Roubaix and watched the RVV I’d love to do the full week but equally, Italy is an awesome place in it’s own right and I can only imagine that with the right set up and organisation, a Keepers Tour there would be just as awesome. Either way, you guys have set the bar impossibly high.

    As for the Pyrenees, I’m currently trying to work out whether I can spend three weeks down there in August rather than two. Life is tough.

    @the keepers
    The quality of the KT audio and visual footage is outstanding. Keep it up. What next, the KT video game?

  3. @marko

    @anotherdownunder
    The first day on the Pave it was helmet mounted. This sucked because I couldn’t see what it was doing and couldn’t really hear the beeps it gives to tell me what it was doing so I missed a lot of good shit. Not to mention I looked ridiculous with that thing perched on my head and over the course of the day it did contribute to my neck being sore. The Pave guys said other groups have had them mounted to seatposts looking back which could be cool but then everyone wants to follow the camera guy’s wheel to see themselves. Mounted on the stem worked well.

    \\ GoPro (stem image)

  4. @Vin’cenza
    I had mine mounted underneath the stem and set to the upside down setting. That way I didn’t have to look at the damn thing. Didn’t even know it was there. That’s more like a Willy-cam.

  5. Thanks for the strava links and videos. That’s a lot of mileage on such rough roads. Kudos to both @frank and @marko.

  6. (and all the rest of y’all)

  7. @Xyverz
    I believe you’ve previously enquired about whether an event like this might be taking place. Hope you can join in.

  8. @Mikael Liddy
    The Pave Boys really opened our eyes. One, their trip was so killer, what else can compare? Two, it felt so nice, why not do it twice? Local knowledge and connections are so important and we don’t have that connection in Italy, yet, but we do in Belgium. Realistically, I don’t see most people being able to travel to Europe more than once a year so two in 2013 might be a stretch. But…but, if the stars align and we make the right connections, nothing is ruled out.

  9. @Marko
    \\ Marko made a really bold move as a guest at Merckx (see image) !!

  10. @frank

    @Mikael Liddy


    @frank
    I thought there was talk of an Italian based Keepers Tour next year?

    There was, but nothing is set for that just yet, and there is nothing that says we can’t do both, right?

    Good, without mentioning the possibility of wanting to stick around for a bike ride I managed to convince my wife to put off a trip to Italy from this fall to next spring during the Giro.

  11. @frank

    For anyone saying/thinking that the video of the cobbles “gives a good idea of what its like”: it doesn’t come close. Due to the wide angle on the camera, it seems much less bumpy than in real life. In all, the only thing it transmits is a notion of the blurry vision, but without having your hands, arms, and but getting jackhammered it loses a lot of the messaging.But they’re fun as hell to watch. The audio could have been cut, but I like how it accentuates the smoothness of the tarmac when you get off the stones.@McEnroeMark I echo Marko and agree that it defies logic that you could ride out of the saddle so much. Weirdo.@Belgian Cobblestones

    i guess you have to look at something from a distance sometimes just to realise how good it is. Get the non local vieuw on things happening around you every day to open up a new kind of seeing

    Nice avatar! Yeah, when you’re living amongst the Awesome, sometimes you just need a fresh perspective to realize it isn’t normal! You live in the best part of the world for Cycling!

    Yes, I’m surprised it took you that long to recognize the abnormality of my mug and I. I probably shouldn’t have been allowed to ride out of the saddle – it may have beat the rim up a bit more as a result?! Which reminds me, I meant to true that sucker up before leaving. I guess I was just trying to prolong the inevitable and got distracted.

    And, yes, not a day has gone by where something will remind me of some aspect of the trip – whether is a rough section of my commute, shaking the knuckles awake from their coma, or the abrupt climb in the group ride, sans pave, of course. Anyone still feeling it in their fingers?

    The videos and photos are great – I have really enjoyed the articles as well, thank you! It continues to keep the trip alive and even adds to it’s effect. I was impressed with the quality of the photography amongst the group as well! There are quite a few shots that are of Rouleur status and inspiration.

    Curious, did Cycling Tips hire a couple photographers to contribute? They’re nice, but knowing that they were taken from blokes outside their group, makes them, how do you say, “pas vrai?” Ah, yes, pas authentique. Nice that he plugged Velominati, though.

    I also keep thinking of Rigid, still wandering around France/Italy/Germany – anyone know how he’s doing?!?

    Oh, and Frank, I inadvertently changed my email – so sorry. I’ll keep consistent, I promise.

  12. @Marko

    Yes, smart. I bet this is on the stem (as I did the first time I ventured out with one) because they were too lazy to change the camera setting. Ha. Plus, the under-the-bar perspective is cooler – seeing the levers brake and shift.

    Again, Marko, bravissimo!

  13. @McEnroeMark
    And Frank – curious, I may be completely whacked, but I…well, I am whacked, so nevermind. But seriously, I was having some trouble figuring out how to add a photo to my ID. Could you advise, si vous plait? Merci.

  14. Curious, has anyone counted how many Belgian beauties Bretto captured with his camera? I’m thinking triple digits, no? Anyone?

  15. @McEnroeMark

    Curious, has anyone counted how many Belgian beauties Bretto captured with his camera? I’m thinking triple digits, no? Anyone?

    About as many as you hit on?

  16. @Marko
    Ha! Exactly. Well, if they catch your eye, you might as well say hi, no? Maybe I’m wrong? We were looking out for each other, that’s for sure.

  17. @Marko
    My audition/interview is Friday at 11am. Thanks for your support, man. I’ll let you know…

  18. @McEnroeMark

    @McEnroeMark
    And Frank – curious, I may be completely whacked, but I…well, I am whacked, so nevermind. But seriously, I was having some trouble figuring out how to add a photo to my ID. Could you advise, si vous plait? Merci.

    Gravatar.

  19. @McEnroeMark

    Anyone still feeling it in their fingers?

    YES! They are getting better, but they are still not right. On the other hand, I’m setting PRs all over town without even trying…the power gained from riding the Pavé and chasing all you assholes up every hill is hanging around.

    As for the photogs on the ride, amazing how good some of you are at photography. I thought I was pretty good, but you guys rock. And, not surprisingly, @JesseWillems’s’s’s’s photos just blow my mind. How he made us look that good I’ll never know. Not sure about CyclingTips; I know Veeral Patel has a close relationship with Wade from CyclingTips, but I’m not sure about the others. Veeral is the photog we met in Cassel.

    @McEnroeMark

    @Marko
    My audition/interview is Friday at 11am. Thanks for your support, man. I’ll let you know…

    Good luck!

  20. The writeup awesome! The video, epic (and I don’t use that term much). The photos; FUCKING PRO! Nice job boys!!

  21. @Dan_R

    Outstanding!

    You can just taste the sweet relief of the tarmac as you leave the pave!

    OK, when do we get the technical report? We need a comprehensive kit review. Marko, the photo of the Ambrosio rim with the Conti tubular is a bit small on my BB. Which conti is being used? Could you tell which spokes were laced to the rim? Hubs? I just gotta know!

    Sweetness.

    Just catching up and saw this… I took that photo, and I think the tyre was a Sprinter 28mm. I can’t remember what hubs they were using (Lotto so possibly Record?). I really need to pay more attention.

  22. @brett

    @Dan_R

    Outstanding!

    You can just taste the sweet relief of the tarmac as you leave the pave!

    OK, when do we get the technical report? We need a comprehensive kit review. Marko, the photo of the Ambrosio rim with the Conti tubular is a bit small on my BB. Which conti is being used? Could you tell which spokes were laced to the rim? Hubs? I just gotta know!

    Sweetness.

    Just catching up and saw this… I took that photo, and I think the tyre was a Sprinter 28mm. I can’t remember what hubs they were using (Lotto so possibly Record?). I really need to pay more attention.

    I think they are Competitions 28’s, and laced to Record hubs, as @Bretto is saying. I went and dug through some more of those pics for some details (no clue on spokes, assume DT):

    Also, these ESP-badged rings are interesting; they look hollow to me. These rings certainly look very different from my 2007 Record rings…

  23. @Dan_R
    I had a chat with Tyler Farrar at the Seattle airport while we waited for our bikes to come out of the plane; he mentioned they all rode custom R3’s with extended rear triangles in order to accomodate the 28mm FMB’s they were riding. This does not surprise me, as I had to zip-tie my FD cable out of the way to make room even for the 25mm FMB’s I was on.

    They also rode at 5.5 bar, a bar lower than any of us on KT had dared go. He said that last bar makes a massive difference when it comes to comfort on the stones.

    Incredibly cool to geek out with a Pro like that. Such a nice guy, so approachable, and seemed to have just as much fun as I did getting into it – he had loads of questions for me about what we rode, what we thought of it (RVV vs P-R), our gear, etc.

  24. @frank
    I think one of the coolest things about this sport is how close you can get to the athletes. I can’t imagine that if you were at the airport waiting for your bags and say LeBron James was there, you’d be able to get within 50M of him. And if you could, all you’d get is maybe a autograph and a photo. If you were a hot chick. Which, in spite of your fabulous teeth, you’re not. Awesome!

  25. @frank

    Did he remember you from that ride you did with him a while back ?

  26. @scaler911
    Who is Lebron James?

  27. @marko
    He rides a bike to work.

  28. @marko

    @scaler911
    Who is Lebron James?

    Tall guy. Bounces a ball for a living. Which is only slightly better than the guys that stand around in a field waiting to catch a smaller ball that another guy is trying to hit with a wooden stick.

  29. @scaler911
    You would be suprised at how approachable celebrities are.

    I stood next to Al Gore at the Seattle bag claim. No bodyguards.

    Unfortunately, we didn’t talk about tire pressure or frame geometry.

  30. @McEnroeMark both Veeral Patel & Kristof Ramon regularly contribute their photos to CT’s articles, pretty sure they were the photogs on his tour.

  31. @G’rilla
    I’m confused. We’re talking about cyclists, you mention celebrities, and then you talk about Al Gore*. Very confusing.

    I had a similar experience sitting on the plane by Al Franken. Also super approachable and nice, though I didn’t talk to him – but I overheard others’ conversations with him. He didn’t even make any of it about him or his campaign at the time. Just good conversation. Very cool when these people aren’t douchebags like we assume they all are.

  32. @frank

    @G’rilla
    I’m confused. We’re talking about cyclists, you mention celebrities, and then you talk about Al Gore*. Very confusing.

    Yeah but without Al Gore we wouldn’t have the internets…ergo the Velominati would consist of you Keepers communicating by phone, not so much fun.

  33. @Mikael Liddy

    @frank

    @G’rilla
    I’m confused. We’re talking about cyclists, you mention celebrities, and then you talk about Al Gore*. Very confusing.

    Yeah but without Al Gore we wouldn’t have the internets…ergo the Velominati would consist of you Keepers communicating by phone, not so much fun.

    Or mail, delivered by Pharmy and Frankie Andreau.

  34. @scaler911

    @Mikael Liddy

    @frank

    @G’rilla
    I’m confused. We’re talking about cyclists, you mention celebrities, and then you talk about Al Gore*. Very confusing.

    Yeah but without Al Gore we wouldn’t have the internets…ergo the Velominati would consist of you Keepers communicating by phone, not so much fun.

    Or mail, delivered by Pharmy and Frankie Andreau.

    Don’t forget Postman Roid Landis

  35. I’m having a parallel conversation with @gaswepass, and am trying to remember who used to starve themselves to get to race weight? Was it Roid? @Oli, help me out here.

  36. I thought it was most of them?

  37. @scaler911 I think Roid’s weight loss secret were his day long espresso benders.

  38. @Mikael Liddy

    @scaler911 I think Roid’s weight loss secret were his day long espresso benders.

    Really? That’s something I can muster up, might be worth a shot.

  39. Totally forgot to add my photos to the photoshare – guess I’ve been distracted. Will get them soon, I promise.

    So great that you got to chitchat with Tyler! I’m not the least bit surprised – just proves again, that this trip just kept getting better and better and better with each passing hour!

  40. @frank

    @Mikael Liddy

    @scaler911 I think Roid’s weight loss secret were his day long espresso benders.

    Really? That’s something I can muster up, might be worth a shot.

    pun intended?

    The caffeine poisoning may not be so much fun to endure…

  41. @scaler911

    I’m having a parallel conversation with @gaswepass, and am trying to remember who used to starve themselves to get to race weight? Was it Roid? @Oli, help me out here.

    Starving’s relative. I haven’t eaten for about 15 minutes (fruit doesn’t count) and am ravenous. That means I’m like a ravine that no matter how hard you try to fill with food, you can’t.

    I’d think most of the pros have nutritionists these days to help them control their weight? You’d have to hope (and it may be reflected by riders staying in the peloton till ‘advanced’ in age) that better nutrition is leading to healthier riders, and longer careers? (Speculation only)Look at Ulrich, the fatter he got the more I liked him. Go figure.

  42. Gentlemen, for the record, it was not a prayer that I said. For those that know me, prayer and me do not get along.

    Except when I’m trying to catch up to you fuckers after a slight increase in the grade or a secteur.

    The words are simple. They are Laurence Binyon’s, from the poem “Ode of Remembrance”:

    They shall grow not old,
    as we that are left grow old:
    Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
    At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
    We will remember them.

    Those down under will recognize the words from their annual Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) ceremonies, which are held tomorrow, April 25th.

    I will hoist a glass tonight. And at least one tomorrow.

  43. @Bill heard those beautiful words just over 5 hours ago at the dawn service here, hoping that for 2015 I might get the chance to go to Villers Bretonneux and see the service there on the 100 year anniversary of the Gallipoli landing.

  44. Just got back from Eddy’s piste, not as part of the Keepers Tour but with some of my club friends.

    Rented a Merckx track bike , got some pointers and etiquette explained to us and then we were let loose to go mix it up with the 30 some other people doing laps

    Amongst them the current reigning Belgian track champ.

    First a couple of laps on the bottom to get the feeling of a fixed gear bike , then build up some speed get low in the drop and blast up the real track and enjoy those banked corners,feeling the centrifugal forces sticking you to the wall

    It was my first time on a track , glad i didn’t cause a huge pile-up by doing a noob move. It is defenately a thrilling way of cycling when you get up high in the corners a couple of meters above the ground.

  45. @Bill
    Well, back in the mid-90s I travelled many of the same roads the Keepers took on their tour, but it was by car and not bicycle. I stood in awe of the amount of Memorials for all those young men who died for the cause in WWI.

    I hoisted an Ale tonight in honor of ANZAC Day and the memory of those ANZAC brothers in arms for their service and sacrifice…even if it was 50 years before I was born. I’d guess most Americans had no idea of the significance of 25APR, just like our Decoration Day/Memorial Day is not a holiday in other countries.

    Sleep well boys, you are not forgotten.

  46. @niksch
    A Merckx mate. Lest We Forget.

  47. Reverence to C11 Record EPS rings. Chamfering. And can turn 10s ultra-narrow chain (5.9mm) Centaur same as previous Record.@frank

    @brett

    @Dan_R

    Outstanding!

    You can just taste the sweet relief of the tarmac as you leave the pave!

    OK, when do we get the technical report? We need a comprehensive kit review. Marko, the photo of the Ambrosio rim with the Conti tubular is a bit small on my BB. Which conti is being used? Could you tell which spokes were laced to the rim? Hubs? I just gotta know!

    Sweetness.

    Just catching up and saw this… I took that photo, and I think the tyre was a Sprinter 28mm. I can’t remember what hubs they were using (Lotto so possibly Record?). I really need to pay more attention.

    I think they are Competitions 28″²s, and laced to Record hubs, as @Bretto is saying. I went and dug through some more of those pics for some details (no clue on spokes, assume DT):

    Also, these ESP-badged rings are interesting; they look hollow to me. These rings certainly look very different from my 2007 Record rings…

  48. Record chain is now Centaur. Chorus chain is now Veloce.@frank

  49. Amazing! This blog looks exactly like my old one! It’s on a totally different
    subject but it has pretty much the same page layout and
    design. Outstanding choice of colors!

Leave a Reply