merckx pave 2

Raining in My Heart

Raining in My Heart

by / / 37 posts

Not one to subscribe to the slew of text speak or acronyms that permeate the modern vernacular (well, not too much, I guess YJA is one used fairly regularly), I am harbouring a severe case of FOMO right now. And the catalyst for this? The lack of a KT14. Shit, I did it again. WTF?

As Gianni wound up the excitement and anticipation for the real start of the real races, ie those on the cobbles and bergs of Belgium, my heart is heavy with emotions and my head is filled with bittersweet thoughts about the imminence of the Spring season, and the Classics in particular. This is my absolute favourite time of the racing year, and this one promises to be one of the best of recent times. Just like the past two seasons, the anticipation of a Tommeke/Faboo showdown is present, but maybe this time both will stay wreck-free and we will witness the winners of the past two Flanders/Roubaix doubles going at it at their peaks. And surely it will rain this year. It has to rain this year…

While standing around in the cold rain at the side of a shitty farm track isn’t the epitome of a good time for the general population, I place it at the top of my yearly holiday wishlist. The past two Aprils have been nirvana for me, and not being there this year leaves me with a feeling of having a part of my very being ripped out. Like my soul has been stolen away, an appendage removed, a limb hacked off. The complete experience of being there in those weeks when the whole of the cycling world is centred around Flanders and northern France, when there’s a race never more than an hour’s ride or drive from you, it’s something that embeds itself deep inside, and damned if it wants to ever leave.

This is what makes these races special, the anticipation, the unknown quantities of weather, form and luck, all factors which add up to the most unpredictable racing; anything can happen on the day, the riders know it, as do the fans. Rather than packing the wet weather gear, warm jacket and wooly hat and drinking copious amounts of Malteni at the side of the Kwaremont or Carrefour, I’ll be sitting in the dark in the middle of the night, watching online, yet still imbued with the same raw enthusiasm for these monuments among Monuments. The fact that I’ll be half a world away will no doubt sting a little still, but if it does rain, then at least I’ll get half of my yearly wish. And that is something to look forward to for sure.

VLVV!

// Belgian Affirmations // Cyclotourism // Defining Moments // La Vie Velominatus // Nostalgia // The Hardmen // Tradition

  1. It has been my experience this year, that the weather has been predictably unpredictable….  we could quite easily see it all this spring

  2. That photo proves Eddy et al. were a different and a much tougher breed. All he has for protection is a wrist watch and some thin leather gloves. No helmet, no cycling specific eye-ware, no cotton cap, no arm warmers hanging loose about the elbows for protection (Hincapie reasoning for showing the gap, lame).

    The pavé is slick with rain, mud and manure and there is Eddy: white jersey, clean face because he rides on no man’s wheel, and his hair was perfect. Looking fantastic, look no further.

  3. @Gianni Yep. Uber slick cobbled corner. Big dog. In the drops. Half smiling…

  4. I was so looking forward to this years KT (I actually had planned on going this time). Mecca (Merckx’a?) will have to wait. Once again following shoddy streams on the inter webs will be how I follow the spring classics.

    At least I have the Seattle Ronde and the de Ronde van West Portlandia to look forward to.

  5. @scaler911

    I was so looking forward to this years KT (I actually had planned on going this time). Mecca (Merckx’a?) will have to wait. Once again following shoddy streams on the inter webs will be how I follow the spring classics.

    At least I have the Seattle Ronde and the de Ronde van West Portlandia to look forward to.

    KT14 was in my plans too. Settling for a week based in Bourg D’Oisans and a day trip down to Mont Ventoux instead. Maybe KT15 or 16 instead?

  6. C’est dommage.

    At least I will be making a pilgrimage to the Holy Land (Lexicon anyone???) in early June to ride the roads and visit some WWI monuments. Not during the Holy Month, but on hallowed ground none the less.

  7. @brett There was no way that I could have made it this year but hat doesn’t mean there isn’t a certain feeling of emptiness. It’s also not helping incentivise when at this point for last two years PR wasn’t too far off.

    I’m sure I remember that corner, it was the closest I cam to coming off on the cobbles when Franco came close to taking my front wheel out as he went from crown to corner.

    Next year…

  8. ‘Tis on my bucket list: to stand in the rain and cold, drinking beer and having pomme frites with my sons and watching a cobbled classic in person (after having ridden the parcours the previous day of course).

  9. @Gianni – how do you know that his socks, knicks and jersey are not wool?

    That photo proves Eddy et al. were a different and a much tougher breed. All he has for protection is a wrist watch and some thin leather gloves. No helmet, no cycling specific eye-ware, no cotton cap, no arm warmers hanging loose about the elbows for protection (Hincapie reasoning for showing the gap, lame).

    The pavé is slick with rain, mud and manure and there is Eddy: white jersey, clean face because he rides on no man’s wheel, and his hair was perfect. Looking fantastic, look no further.

  10. It’s photos like these that make you hate Rule #16 just a little.

    You couldn’t help but feel V times more awesome in a woollen Molteni rainbow jersey, but at the same time you would painfully aware of how unworthy you are of those sacred threads…

  11. @PT

    @Gianni – how do you know that his socks, knicks and jersey are not wool?

    That photo proves Eddy et al. were a different and a much tougher breed. All he has for protection is a wrist watch and some thin leather gloves. No helmet, no cycling specific eye-ware, no cotton cap, no arm warmers hanging loose about the elbows for protection (Hincapie reasoning for showing the gap, lame).

    The pavé is slick with rain, mud and manure and there is Eddy: white jersey, clean face because he rides on no man’s wheel, and his hair was perfect. Looking fantastic, look no further.

    Is this about to be an Aussie joke? All wool for Eddy here. He was too early for lycra, I believe.

  12. Would Eddy wear this ?

    Its got the “V” on it !?

  13. @Barracuda wiki tells me Vleeseter is carnivore, (Cannibal?) and Chimbegna is a 900m pass in Italy so maybe it would appeal, Molteni orange even, and it does carry the V. Wouldn’t mind one myself.

  14. @Gianni

    @PT

    @Gianni – how do you know that his socks, knicks and jersey are not wool?

    That photo proves Eddy et al. were a different and a much tougher breed. All he has for protection is a wrist watch and some thin leather gloves. No helmet, no cycling specific eye-ware, no cotton cap, no arm warmers hanging loose about the elbows for protection (Hincapie reasoning for showing the gap, lame).

    The pavé is slick with rain, mud and manure and there is Eddy: white jersey, clean face because he rides on no man’s wheel, and his hair was perfect. Looking fantastic, look no further.

    Is this about to be an Aussie joke? All wool for Eddy here. He was too early for lycra, I believe.

    When Eddy started to wear lycra, the toughest sheep started to grow polyurethane.

  15. @Barracuda Seems an awful lot of coin for a tarted up Classic jersey.  But it is dead sexy.

  16. @Harminator/Gianni: no punchline pending…although on reflection it did sound like it was heading that way.

    More to say that given he’d be wearing wool it wouldn’t be too many orders of magnitude different to today.  Ok, long sleeves or knee-lengths would be nice on a day like that( and certainly not uncommon in todays peloton) but I reckon Eddy wasn’t feeling too much cold at this point.  Heresey perhaps but even in days of yore, the pros still knew how to dress properly to ride a bike, just like they do now.

    All pedantry aside, thanks for a nice piece @Brett. The photo is a cracker too.  Don’t mind that orange Rapha jersey even, faux-vintage and all.

    @Gianni

    @PT

    @Gianni – how do you know that his socks, knicks and jersey are not wool?

    That photo proves Eddy et al. were a different and a much tougher breed. All he has for protection is a wrist watch and some thin leather gloves. No helmet, no cycling specific eye-ware, no cotton cap, no arm warmers hanging loose about the elbows for protection (Hincapie reasoning for showing the gap, lame).

    The pavé is slick with rain, mud and manure and there is Eddy: white jersey, clean face because he rides on no man’s wheel, and his hair was perfect. Looking fantastic, look no further.

    Is this about to be an Aussie joke? All wool for Eddy here. He was too early for lycra, I believe.

    When Eddy started to wear lycra, the toughest sheep started to grow polyurethane.

  17. @Brett Great article!…and by the way this year it will be Stybar….when is the V.S.P calendar up?

  18. Looking at the picture of Eddy, I’m going to take a punt and say it was a relatively mild day. Look at the specators. Open necks, relatively light jackets, no hats apart form the policeman(?), no scarfs etc.

  19. @Al__S

    Looking at the picture of Eddy, I’m going to take a punt and say it was a relatively mild day. Look at the specators. Open necks, relatively light jackets, no hats apart form the policeman(?), no scarfs etc.

    Yes, likely mild by Roubaix’s standards (or is it Flanders? the cobbles look small), however: that’s probably shit and not mud, it’s wet, he’s in short sleeves while they’re wearing jackets, and the spectators are sauced up (save the cop, or not).

  20. I’d squeeze my TT with my knees on that corner on a cross bike with 30 psi in the tires. The Patron is going full gas on narrow tubulars. Yikes.

    I’m still feeling the buzz of seeing the PROs in Louisville last year. I still can’t fathom being at one of the spring Classics. Tough one, Brett! Probably harder having been before, as opposed to never being there.

  21. The spectators no doubt are warming themselves with flasks of cafe calva.  Eddy is warming himself with the V.

  22. Oddly enough, I’m sad you guys aren’t going, either.  With you all being there the past two years, it made the rest of us schlubs feel that much closer to the action.  (I will not miss the severe eye strain that comes with trying to catch a fleeting glimpse of the V-banner on a grainy internet feed.)

  23. Just realized – is this a Buddy Holly reference? That’s a damn good song.

    Also, while appearing on a lesser album, it is super sweet that AC/DC has a song named “Bedlam in Belgium.” Is this what happens when it rains and Boonen, Cancellara, and Sagan all show up on form?

  24. @The Oracle

    Oddly enough, I’m sad you guys aren’t going, either. With you all being there the past two years, it made the rest of us schlubs feel that much closer to the action. (I will not miss the severe eye strain that comes with trying to catch a fleeting glimpse of The V-banner on a grainy internet feed.)

    Its sad for all of us; we’ll go back again some time. We will probably do some other KT’s in other places first though. But man, it will hurt not being there, especially if it fucking rains.

    We had to cancel this year to focus on the US Book release which will be just a few weeks after when KT would have been.

  25. I love this photo. Love.

  26. @piwakawaka

    @Barracuda wiki tells me Vleeseter is carnivore, (Cannibal?) and Chimbegna is a 900m pass in Italy so maybe it would appeal, Molteni orange even, and it does carry The V. Wouldn’t mind one myself.

    Here’s the marketing spiel:

    The 57th Giro d’Italia 1974 saw Eddy Merckx, riding for Molteni, win his fifth and final edition of Italy’s grandest race. It wasn’t easy for Merckx, however, as his no. 01 status was challenged to the last by the young Italian Gianbattista Baronchelli, riding for SCiC at no. 132. After battling to depose José Manuel Fuente of the pink leader’s jersey, Merckx held Baronchelli on the last mountain stage by just 12 seconds. It remains the smallest winning margin in the history of the race. Another Italian, then World Champion Felice Gimondi, racing in the colours of Bianchi-Campagnolo as no. 11, finished third on the podium.

    With the same merino-blend Fabric as the Rapha Classic Jersey, the jersey is breathable and comfortable. The jerseys have several embroideries, including a specially designed ’57 – podia corsa’ motif on the back and individual nicknames on the front mimicking the sponsor logos of each team.

    http://www.rapha.cc/au/en/shop/trade-team-jersey/product/TTJ02

  27. @Mikael Liddy Feels a bit nasty to me, riding on the coat tails of other brands and their history, kinda like a cheap knock off not quite the same as the original that you get from a dollar store, but in Rapha $$…

  28. The marketing spiel reminds me of the Peterman catalogues.

    “It’s a hot night. The mind races. You think about your knife, the only friend who hasn’t betrayed you, the only friend who won’t be dead by sun-up. Sleep tight, mates, in your quilted chambray nightshirts.”

  29. @Beers think it’s more about a nod to the riders themselves rather than the team/jersey they wore. To be honest I prefer their efforts last year that just used the colours without any type of sponsor (real or fake) on there.

    http://wtfkits.tumblr.com/post/52114128769/the-rapha-trade-team-jersey-weighing-in-after-the

  30. Hopefully the weather will leave the pave like this

  31. @Chris – spoken like a true spectator.

    Hopefully the weather will leave the pave like this

  32. @PT Having “been there and done that” twice in dry but cold conditions on the Keepers Tour, there’s a part of me that would love to do it in those conditions.

    There is also a much larger part of me that absolutely fucking dreads doing it on a day like that.

    When I got off the bike in the velodrome the first time round I was glad that I’d done it but I said I’d never do it again. Within a few days there was a nagging thought that I could have done a better job of it. That turned into a realisation that I’d have to do it again. KT13 only fuelled that and I know that I’ll keep going back for more. Odd are that I’ll get the weather at some point.

    I’d also like to do it properly and ride the full length.

  33. @VeloSix according to this: http://www.weeronline.nl/Europa/Belgie/Gent/4054720 there might be some rain :), but like you said, you never know.

  34. @Chris  – A personal affection for rain & mud was not part of my thinking, and thus I apologise if my comment was harsh. Moreover, well done on riding the course and enjoying all it entails.

    However, I can’t agree in anyone wishing for a road bike race to be held in wet & muddy  conditions.  Don’t imagine anyone on the start line will either.  This was the origin of my comment.

  35. @PT Don’t worry I didn’t take your comment as being too harsh.

    As for not wishing for the race to be held in wet and muddy conditions, why not? It’s part of the history of the sport. The roads in the early days weren’t held on freshly relaid tarmac as per the modern tour.

    I’d also guarantee that someone on that start line will be relishing the idea of such conditions because they’ll know it’ll give them their best chance on the day. There’s also the immortality that winning in truly awful conditions;  think Hinault’s frostbitten LBL or Hampsten Giro stage.

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