The greatest photo of the greatest Cyclist ever. Photo: Het Laatste Nieuws

Merry Festum Prophetae

Merry Festum Prophetae

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This photo is perhaps the greatest of all time; it shows The Prophet riding in the 1969 Ronde van Vlaanderen, kit and machine perfect. Rule #9 conditions in abundance. He’s gone off the front with some 80km left to race, which predictably sent his directeur into a rage. Ordered to return to the bunch, Merckx calmly suggested he go screw himself. It would be a dishonor to sit up and wait for the bunch when there was still strength in his legs. He stayed away to the finish.

Long, kamikaze breakaways were his bread and butter. The idea that he might wait for the last climb or make a shrewd tactical move were completely foreign to him; whether in the leaders jersey or not, if his legs itched, he pushed on the pedals and left the bunch behind – no matter how far it was to the finish and how great his lead already was. That is class. That is panache  That is an example for the conservative modern rider. Classy, stylish, obsessive, meticulous, and devastatingly tough. The Prophet was a unique animal, the perfect combination of what lies at the core of the Velominati and The V. We each endeavor to uphold the standard he laid down during his career and since.

The Keepers would like to join each of you today in celebrating Festum Prophetae, the birth of the greatest Cyclist and our Prophet, Eddy Merckx. It is customary for the Velominati honor this day in a manner befitting him, and we invite you all to share with us how you chose to.

Thanks go to each of you for being a part of this community and helping make this site a worthwhile place to visit and share in our collective love for Cycling. Cycling is much more than a sport; it is a lifestyle and a conduit for us to become better people. Without each of you helping in your way to share in the experience, this place has no meaning.

Vive la Vie Velominatus, and Merry Festum Prophetae, one and all. A-Merckx.

As a special gift on this most festive day, we present the newly anointed Rule #92:

Screen Shot 2013-06-17 at 3.52.03 PM

// La Vie Velominatus // The Rules // Tradition

  1. @asyax

    @Mikael Liddy Winter! – I thought I would be able to cover the wookie legs up with tights. Oh, the shame!

    Merckz is obviously all knowing and sees through such a cheap trick!

    Wool DeFeet socks at least…always appropriate.

  2. @Mikael Liddy I was really lucky. Trashed a helmet and knicks, scratches on pedal, RD and shifter. The bike’s fall seems to have been cushioned by the roo and amazingly the wheel is true, got to love alloys! Bit of bark off and very sore but nothing broken. The ride back over Mt Osmond to get home was pretty slow and painful. Seen a few facebooks of you and mini me, looks like you are getting along fine. How long till the seat goes on the back of the bike and I see the two of you out doing hill repeats?

  3. @Daccordi Rider I’ve been forced to promise that I’ll wait at least until he can hold his head up before buying him one of the wooden balance bikes…he’ll have to make do with his BabyMolteni jersey c/o Fyxo for the time being.

  4. @Mikael Liddy Balance bike, and don’t let him anywhere near training wheels, and you’ll have a promising pedalwan.

  5. @xyxax Good one.  I’ve had to up my fluid intake because of all the drooling I have been doing this evening.

  6. @Nate

    It is considered highly auspicious to have the frame builder ship out your frame on Festum Propetae.

    That’s dead sexy right there. Whacha going to kit it up with? Or is that a surprise?

  7. @asyax

    Dooode! I prefer riding close to semi trucks over seeing off leash dogs while out on the whip. Bummer.

    @Daccordi Rider

    Reason #175 I don’t want to live in Australia. I’ll never get crashed by a Kangaroo here. Ever.

  8. @Daccordi Rider
    Bad luck – those furry fuckers are made of iron, no?

    @scaler911

    Kangaroos and wallabies are a serious fucking hazard on the roads out here.

    You dont need to be far out of Melbourne’s cbd before they can be a factor especially at dawn/dusk (and of course, they hop down the main streets of Adelaide where they hold down big jobs in town). The dumb fuckers (the ‘roos not the Adelaideans) think nothing of hopping next to you whilst riding on a descent and then doing on a quick directional change which may or may not see their tail and your bike make contact. I know 4 fellas who have been brought down by them in the last 5 years.

    And they are exactly like that one on Looney Tunes – they just jump along fucking fast without a care or apparent effort.

    And then of course, there are the drop bears.

  9. @scaler911 one question – which number in your reasons not to live in Australia am I?

  10. @scaler911

     

    @Daccordi Rider

    Reason #175 I don’t want to live in Australia. I’ll never get crashed by a Kangaroo here. Ever.

    There’s a roo farm in Arlington. They escape. Never say never.

    I never expected to hit a peacock, but almost did last week. Imperious little fuckers think they own the road.

  11. @Mikael Liddy

    @Daccordi Rider I’ve been forced to promise that I’ll wait at least until he can hold his head up before buying him one of the wooden balance bikes…he’ll have to make do with his BabyMolteni jersey c/o Fyxo for the time being.

    wooden? when you can get carbon with an internally routed brake cable? A steal at â‚¬1,499.

  12. @Al__S Just need some baby Rapha kit to go with that – sweeet!

  13. On Saturday, urbanwhitetrash, a man doubly blessed by being born with 50% Belgian blood on the Prophet’s birthday,  took me under his wing for a 227 km sortie into winds clever enough to always shift in front of us at a moment’s notice. In observance of this double blessing, The Prophet did smite a rear spoke of his not 3 km from my house, that he could add worry to his heap of suffering, and then one of my rear spokes a full 100 km from home, that I might equally stress and wring my hands with unglee. Our wobbly observance of the Festum proceeded with magnificently waning powers as the shadows grew long, yet the Man with the Hammer held off his final blow until we’d shared a tremendously delicious and final hoppy ale.

  14. @Marcus

    And then of course, there are the drop bears.

    And the hoop snakes.

  15. @starclimber

    On Saturday, urbanwhitetrash, a man doubly blessed by being born with 50% Belgian blood on The Prophet’s birthday, took me under his wing for a 227 km sortie into winds clever enough to always shift in front of us at a moment’s notice. In observance of this double blessing, The Prophet did smite a rear spoke of his not 3 km from my house, that he could add worry to his heap of suffering, and then one of my rear spokes a full 100 km from home, that I might equally stress and wring my hands with unglee. Our wobbly observance of the Festum proceeded with magnificently waning powers as the shadows grew long, yet the Man with the Hammer held off his final blow until we’d shared a tremendously delicious and final hoppy ale.

    Bravo!

  16. Ciao @frank ! That’s the Monte Bisbino, an hill of the Lake of Como, there are a couple of quite old switchback there…

    http://app.strava.com/activities/60675693

  17. @Nate

    @Mikael Liddy Balance bike, and don’t let him anywhere near training wheels, and you’ll have a promising Pedalwan.

    the rate he’s growing he’ll be in this (designed for 6-12 months) by the time the tour starts! Figure some tour watching clad in it & reading sessions from the new book should have him well on the path to pedalwan status.

  18. @asyax happy everything is ok! I still remember a nasty dog that left ‘that’ activity with a female dog to run towards my calf.

    I always thought he had to evaluate his priority again…

  19. @Mikael Liddy great!

  20. I celebrated Festum Prophetae in the unconventional style of a 24hr team MTB race having been conscripted onto our ‘fast’ team. Much V was channelled by all through rain, mud, unrideable hills, broken bikes and aching bodies. Under 100km each but with about 3000m climbing to get us a win in the Services class and 3rd in Open behind 2 teams of ringers with Pro riders in. Utterly, uttery broken afterwards but getting royalty to present the trophies was a nice touch.

  21. up at 4am to ride 4 gorges ( Sydney) – 120km, 1800m vertical – before work.

    Very dark, very cold ( at least the descents into bobbin head berowra and galston ) – got into office at 8.15 – quiet glow of reverential satisfaction all day long.

    VLVV

  22. @G’rilla

    @Marcus

    And then of course, there are the drop bears.

    And the hoop snakes.

    And the lethal sea life. Twelve rows of teeth and something that fuckin’ stings you terribly (in the Words of the great Billy Connolly)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-V4JYIOja10

  23. @Pedale.Forchetta

    Ciao @frank ! That’s the Monte Bisbino, an hill of the Lake of Como, there are a couple of quite old switchback there…

    http://app.strava.com/activities/60675693

    Must be a fantastic view from up there!

  24. I considered dressing myself in full V kit, lubing myself down in Dumonde Tech and giving Mrs Deakus “The Greeting” (unfortunately I am still shy a pair of V Bibs so I went out for a ride instead….she will have to wait for next year!)

  25. I shall have to observe tomorrow with a full commute to work of 60km naturally doing my best to observe Rule #5. I have all day at work to recover after all before the return journey. Now when will my pre-ordered book arrive ? Birthday Thursday and it was the only thing on the list apart from new tubs.

  26. I would like to honor a rightful heir to the Great One, someone who can inflict a ton of hurt with a solo breakaway.  Last yea, here in Colorado, Herr Jens broke away climbing Independence Pass, a huge Cat 1 climb, then held on to ride to a solo victory 80 miles later.

    Here are a couple of photos I took at the finish

    Slideshow:

    Fullscreen:

  27. @Wag

    I would like to honor a rightful heir to the Great One, someone who can inflict a ton of hurt with a solo breakaway. Last yea, here in Colorado, Herr Jens broke away climbing Independence Pass, a huge Cat 1 climb, then held on to ride to a solo victory 80 miles later.

    Here are a couple of photos I took at the finish

     
     

    1 / 2
     

     

     

     

    Slideshow:

    Fullscreen:

    Download:

     

    Jensy also worked his magic this year on stage 5 of the Tour of California.  The man is a legend and what is more he has a personality….love this quote

    Asked what rider he’d tap to replace him, for once he was stumped, with no clever answer. Until this: “I think it would take maybe two persons. One to do the funny part, and one to be the bike rider.”

    http://velonews.competitor.com/2013/05/news/after-amgen-tour-win-voigt-says-it-will-take-two-riders-to-fill-his-spot_287162

    He had also said early something to the effect that everyone knows his tactic and once he has 2 minutes he is never coming back so cannot understand why they still let him go…

    Quality…a true disciple of the prophet!

  28. @Marcus

    @scaler911 one question – which number in your reasons not to live in Australia am I?

    Prolly #5. Behind a few of the “most venomous shit on the planet” critters you have there.

  29. I celebrated over the weekend defending my title at a 24-hour road race. 685km in 21:15 of racing. We had about a three hour suspension due to a lightning storm, but I was riding in the sideways rain right up until lightning started hitting the water tower. Some fun Rule #9 conditions!

  30. @Mikael Liddy

    @Nate

    @Mikael Liddy Balance bike, and don’t let him anywhere near training wheels, and you’ll have a promising Pedalwan.

    the rate he’s growing he’ll be in this (designed for 6-12 months) by the time the tour starts! Figure some tour watching clad in it & reading sessions from the new book should have him well on the path to Pedalwan status.

    on further review he may well already be on the path to enlightenment (hat tip to Harminator for pointing out the similarity in the poses)

  31. No riding for me yesterday, as it was the 1-year anniversary of my wedding date. Oh, which happens to fall on June 17th. Mistake? Nice coincidence. We were in the Grayson Highlands, highest peak in VA. I shall return with a bike sometime soon to ride up that sonofagun.

    I have the Merckx book on my beside table, can’t wait to continue reading it.

    I’m thrilled to read all the reports on the rides everyone made happen. I missed having the time for a long ride, but I took a cruise to the local post-ride recovery drink store when we got home. Amazing how great it feels to just turn the cranks after a long, hard one-day layoff out of the saddle. How can one miss something so simple after such a short hiatus.

    NATE! – no fucking way. That frameset is incredible. My Merckx.

    Collin – goddamnit. I remember thinking this last year when you posted about that. 21 hours of riding? Nearly 700 kms in one ride? You fuckin’ Cannibal!

  32. @scaler911

    That’s dead sexy right there. Whacha going to kit it up with? Or is that a surprise?

    Thanks.  No secrets, it’s getting Record 11 (except a Chorus FD, don’t see the point of a carbon FD plate), my Nemesis wheel set, 3T Rotundos, fi'zi:k saddle and seat pin.

    @scaler911

    @Marcus

    @scaler911 one question – which number in your reasons not to live in Australia am I?

    Prolly #5. Behind a few of the “most venomous shit on the planet” critters you have there.

    Careful, you might be insulting @Marcus by excluding him from the “most venomous shit on the planet” list.

    @Mikael Liddy

    Nice.  My guys like watching bike races.  There was a phase when they were two that they both called the peleton the “choo choo train.”

  33. @Ron Thanks Ron, and congrats on the anniv.

  34. @Collin

    I celebrated over the weekend defending my title at a 24-hour road race. 685km in 21:15 of racing. We had about a three hour suspension due to a lightning storm, but I was riding in the sideways rain right up until lightning started hitting the water tower. Some fun Rule #9 conditions!

    A noble way to celebrate, indeed! The weather was truly a bugger this year. Congratulations from the west side of the state.

  35. After months of lurking and reading here, I decided that the Festum Prophetae was a good time to join up and interact a bit.

    Father’s day having delayed my Festum activities, I watched the weather radar heralding Rule #9 conditions on 6/17. After work, and waiting for the lighting to be a few km off,  I set off to pay my respects in the rain. Merckx must have approved, because after 15 minutes of blissfully ignoring getting drenched I was treated to a stop to the rain, 23C temps, and a drying road. I was left to finish my weeknight hour in the best weather I can recall riding in all year.

  36. @Collin

    I celebrated over the weekend defending my title at a 24-hour road race. 685km in 21:15 of racing. We had about a three hour suspension due to a lightning storm, but I was riding in the sideways rain right up until lightning started hitting the water tower. Some fun Rule #9 conditions!

    Chapeau

  37. What I did yesterday: covered breaks for my teammate that’s high in the series (and attacked. a lot):

  38. I celebrated Festum Prophetae with a trip to the Marymoor velodrome on my new steel track steed.

  39. Rode Belgian Style for the whole of the club run.

  40. Late on this but…

    Just nitpicking that when The Prophet makes a long solo break, kamikaze is the wrong word.

    Homicide maybe. I prefer manslaughter.

  41. Life is good!

  42. I’ve been reading “Merckx: Half Man, Half Bike” from William Fotheringham since I picked it up last week. Goddamn, the photos on the front and back are incredible as well, though this lead photo is beautiful too. I’ve been skipping around the book so far.

    From where I sit, Merckx is not a man but a machine. Over 500 victories, he made it look easy, right?

    What I can’t believe is how much self-doubt fueled him, how much he was driven to show himself over and over and over. It wasn’t easy, and he didn’t simply assume he would win. That has been a true revelation for me and nothing short of inspirational.

    I’ve been fucking about with a dissertation for far too long. The single biggest reason is that the project seems so big and insurmountable that silly ol’ me hasn’t a chance in hell of finishing it. I doubt I have what it takes, all those others who’ve written the books on the subject are surely so much better than me.

    Reading that Merckx doubted himself, or allowed that fear of failure to fuel him has been eye-opening and really given me a great push to just get going and work at it, to not fear the doubt but simply let it push me forward. The Prophet, inspiring my academic pursuits, as well as my cycling pursuits. Amazing!

    Time to stamp on the pedals, er, pages…

  43. @Cyclops Livin’ the dream.

  44. @Marcus

    @Daccordi Rider
    Bad luck – those furry fuckers are made of iron, no?

    @scaler911

    Kangaroos and wallabies are a serious fucking hazard on the roads out here.

    You dont need to be far out of Melbourne’s cbd before they can be a factor especially at dawn/dusk (and of course, they hop down the main streets of Adelaide where they hold down big jobs in town). The dumb fuckers (the ‘roos not the Adelaideans) think nothing of hopping next to you whilst riding on a descent and then doing on a quick directional change which may or may not see their tail and your bike make contact. I know 4 fellas who have been brought down by them in the last 5 years.

    And they are exactly like that one on Looney Tunes – they just jump along fucking fast without a care or apparent effort.

    And then of course, there are the drop bears.

      the only upside ,is at least they don’t eat you…

    A cool drizzle welcomed the riders for the start of the Lake Louise Road Race. The original 81km route along the scenic Bow Valley Parkway had to be shortened to 64km due to a family of bears and wolves that had moved into the area. This was a similar occurrence to what happened two years ago.

    The 9:30am neutral roll-out saw our Cat 1/2 Men’s leader, Evan Bayer (Team Niklaus), don the yellow jer…sey and ride the 2km to the start with the group. Once at the start, the 2-way radio signaled that there was a grizzly bear on the course and that we had to hold the race. This was a déjà vu from last year’s race, where eight bears near the course kept the wildlife spotters and race caravans on constant alert.  lol.

  45. I have reason to celebrate because I  humbly share the Holy Day of Our Prophets birthday with mine own. For this day of reverence, in solemn solitude and silence, I pedaled 168km, (a distance PR) and shaved 54 minutes (time PR) off of last years Festum Prophetae celebration/flagellation.(I mark the anniversary each year since last year with a solo Century, and will continue until I need a trike or recumbent, which hopefully never comes..) Not too shabby for a fat guy who’s another year older and many,many months from peaking. Happy Merckx Day to all and to all a Good Ride! Chapeau!

  46. @brian

     

    the only upside ,is at least they don’t eat you…

    You sure about that?

  47. @Marcus Australians grossly overplay the dropbear epidemic. All that needs to be done is to rub a handful of vegemite behind each ear for protection.

    http://australianmuseum.net.au/Drop-Bear

  48. @JACD214

    Ah! A fellow Michigander. Were you out at N24HC this year? I was thoroughly enjoying the downpour until lightning started striking around the course, at which point I was happy they called a suspension.

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