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!
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
Scheldeprijs Vlaanderen Race Finish (and penultimate lap)
Roubaix Recce Video
Photo Album (days 6-8)
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Eyerefelction Fotografie* Pro Recce Ride, featuring Velominati
* 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.