The Hardmen: Legends of the Cycling Gods

Today’s a big deal over here at VHQ; V-Pints are being clinked and backs are being slapped in celebration of our second book, The Hardmen, being released in the UK and Commonwealth countries today, June 1. (It is due out in the United States in the Fall as well as The Netherlands and Belgium in Spring 2018.)

I have a new appreciation for what a band might go through when faced with putting out their sophomore effort (which in our case was something of a sophomoronic effort). While I would never put forward the idea that writing our first book, The Rules, was in any way “easy”, its writing was one unencumbered by the notion that anyone might actually read it. The pressure of expectation for our second book might well have been something we placed on ourselves, but the pressure felt very real nonetheless. The irony did not go unnoticed that we had to harden the fuck up and focus on the business of writing the best book we could manage, given the book was centered around the general notion of Rule #5.

The Hardmen is just that: the tales of the most epic rides and riders in history, or at least in our collective recollection. We wrote it in the style you’ve become familiar with, (ir)reverently with a focus more on legend than on fact, and avoiding research wherever possible for the simple fact that research feels a lot like cheating. Our inclination to make words up also proved an interesting challenge for our copyeditor.

Of the variety of obstacles we encountered along the way, that of selecting the riders to include in the book figured prominently; there are so many worth including that we could hardly set about including them all. So we picked at our whim and whimsy, and we welcome you to challenge us on both our inclusions and omissions.

With that, I will retire to the patio and indulge in more celebratory pints but not before leaving you with this very flattering and possibly unjustified review on the Washing Machine Post.

Thanks to everyone here for your support as our writing slacked off over the past year while we labored to get this book done. We owe you each a debt of gratitude and look forward to enjoying your company online and back out on the roads. Vive la Vie Velominatus.

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80 Replies to “The Hardmen: Legends of the Cycling Gods”

  1. @RobSandy

    @frank

    @Cary

    this is the cover as it appears on Amazon. Fignon, Delgado, Lemond. pretty outstanding.

    That’s the US cover…or at least a draft of it. Ironically, none of those guys actually made the book.

    WTF? No Fignon?!

    And was Delgado late AGAIN, so he did not make it into the book? And what about the originator of Rule #VV who also wrote the foreword of the previous Keepers’ book?

  2. @RobSandy

    @frank

    @Cary

    this is the cover as it appears on Amazon. Fignon, Delgado, Lemond. pretty outstanding.

    That’s the US cover…or at least a draft of it. Ironically, none of those guys actually made the book.

    WTF? No Fignon?!

    And no LeMan?!?!?!?!?!?   (maybe he and Le Professeur are getting their own book solely dedicated to them???)

  3. @litvi

    @Cary

    @frank

    @Cary

    NO SPOILERS!!

    This will keep you wondering… According to books.google.com the US version looks like this:

    This cannot be correct as this photo has STI/brake lever shifters and no way you could have that on the cover of a Hardman book.

  4. @Buck Rogers

    @litvi

    @Cary

    @frank

    @Cary

    NO SPOILERS!!

    This will keep you wondering… According to books.google.com the US version looks like this:

    This cannot be correct as this photo has STI/brake lever shifters and no way you could have that on the cover of a Hardman book.

    Nah man, that’s Campy 10S Powershift.  Exactly how much of that Marnier did you drink???  You’re going blind!

  5. @litvi

    @Buck Rogers

    @litvi

    @Cary

    @frank

    @Cary

    NO SPOILERS!!

    This will keep you wondering… According to books.google.com the US version looks like this:

    This cannot be correct as this photo has STI/brake lever shifters and no way you could have that on the cover of a Hardman book.

    Nah man, that’s Campy 10S Powershift. Exactly how much of that Marnier did you drink??? You’re going blind!

    Well fer fuck’s sake, they are not down tube shifters so my point is still valid (and obviously it is time for a refill)!!!

  6. Just got word The Hardmen will be translated into Dutch and released in The Netherlands/Belgium in time for the Classics.

    Now, THAT’S hard.

  7. By the way, I forgot about this little gem we added to The Rules in the book – now added to this little album. Take that.

  8. @frank

    By the way, I forgot about this little gem we added to The Rules in the book – now added to this little album. Take that.

    0

    Ha!  Talk about covering all yer bases!  Well done!

  9. I asked @frank the following :-

    Has it got the glorious leathery velvety cover feel of the first edition ” Rules ” book ?? ”

    and was greeted by this reply

    Actually it does. A surprise ending, because I expected a dust jacket – which I didn’t want…”

    So, on the basis of the cover feel alone, I will be purchasing.

     

     

  10. I’ve got mine through Amazon UK–couldn’t wait for the US version.  I also like the TdF jaune UK cover.  My review of the book so far (having read Sean Yates)–fucking awesome.

  11. @tmgrasso

    I’ve got mine through Amazon UK–couldn’t wait for the US version. I also like the TdF jaune UK cover. My review of the book so far (having read Sean Yates)–fucking awesome.

    0

    Can’t wait to read that Yates chapter.  The guy just oozes hard core vibe.  I was in the press lounge after the ’97 Paris-Roubaix and I saw him across the room.  He glanced over in my direction and the look on his face was pure “dude, don’t even come over here.”  You could tell it was killing him inside to be behind the scenes and not out on the velodrome that day.  And what a day.  Guesdon came out of nowhere.  Everyone in the parc was like “what the fuck just happened?”

  12. @litvi

    @tmgrasso

    I’ve got mine through Amazon UK–couldn’t wait for the US version. I also like the TdF jaune UK cover. My review of the book so far (having read Sean Yates)–fucking awesome.

    0

    Can’t wait to read that Yates chapter. The guy just oozes hard core vibe. I was in the press lounge after the ’97 Paris-Roubaix and I saw him across the room. He glanced over in my direction and the look on his face was pure “dude, don’t even come over here.” You could tell it was killing him inside to be behind the scenes and not out on the velodrome that day. And what a day. Guesdon came out of nowhere. Everyone in the parc was like “what the fuck just happened?”

    0

    Yates is a legend. I think part of being a Velominatus is not wanting to be the skinny guy in yellow with his arms in the air, you want to be the guy who has put the whole bunch in the hurt all day chasing down the break or stopping everyone else attacking.

    We all want to be Yates.

  13. it would be cool if a book would turn up one day detailing the exploits of the six day riders, most of which are also roadmen.  not just Sercu, but Etienne DeWilde, Urs Freuler, Silvio Martinello, Danny Clark, etc.  Iljo Keisse is bringing some modern attention to six day riding, but really, who else?  Wiggo and Cav did for a minute, but i’m more referring to the REAL track stars.  

  14. @Cary

    it would be cool if a book would turn up one day detailing the exploits of the six day riders, most of which are also roadmen. not just Sercu, but Etienne DeWilde, Urs Freuler, Silvio Martinello, Danny Clark, etc. Iljo Keisse is bringing some modern attention to six day riding, but really, who else? Wiggo and Cav did for a minute, but i’m more referring to the REAL track stars.

    0

    Yup, that would be a great book! Those were real hardmen, most of who rode a regular road season too. Add Tony Doyle to the list.

    As for Clark? This from Wiki:

    Clark began cycling on a bike borrowed from a local enthusiast, which he used for three months before acquiring his eldest brother’s semi-racer.[4] He became one of the most successful riders in six-day racing in the 1970s and 1980s, winning 74 races, second to Patrick Sercu’s 88. Most of these wins came after a crash in the 1983 Frankfurt six-day which broke his hip. Clark still carries a plate inserted to help the fracture heal and said that when sprinting or climbing, only his right leg delivered full power.[4]

    Clark won the Australian one-mile penny-farthing championship in Evandale, Tasmania, in 1989, beating the Briton Doug Pinkerton and Matthew Driver.[5]

    Legend!

  15. @wiscot

    @Cary

    it would be cool if a book would turn up one day detailing the exploits of the six day riders, most of which are also roadmen. not just Sercu, but Etienne DeWilde, Urs Freuler, Silvio Martinello, Danny Clark, etc. Iljo Keisse is bringing some modern attention to six day riding, but really, who else? Wiggo and Cav did for a minute, but i’m more referring to the REAL track stars.

    0

    Yup, that would be a great book! Those were real hardmen, most of who rode a regular road season too. Add Tony Doyle to the list.

    As for Clark? This from Wiki:

    Clark began cycling on a bike borrowed from a local enthusiast, which he used for three months before acquiring his eldest brother’s semi-racer.[4] He became one of the most successful riders in six-day racing in the 1970s and 1980s, winning 74 races, second to Patrick Sercu’s 88. Most of these wins came after a crash in the 1983 Frankfurt six-day which broke his hip. Clark still carries a plate inserted to help the fracture heal and said that when sprinting or climbing, only his right leg delivered full power.[4]

    Clark won the Australian one-mile penny-farthing championship in Evandale, Tasmania, in 1989, beating the Briton Doug Pinkerton and Matthew Driver.[5]

    Legend!

    i did quite a bit of track riding in my 20s.  kilo, miss and out, and points races were my bread and butter.  i rode 50 miles to a velodrome, did a full omnium, and rode home more than once..  the anaerobic fitness necessary to compete is a different level than road racing.  a poorly ridden kilo will redefine what it means to truly suffer.  after a bad kilo, i could feel my heartbeat in my TEETH.  i’ve always loved track racing since i had the opportunity to try it.

  16. ..and by no means do i intend to belittle road racing by these observations.  60 miles in the hills at or above threshhold will empty you every bit as throughly, especially if you’re built like me.. lol  but the real shock of track racing, especially the sprint events, is that it will really show you what a 100% effort is.  a sprint workout with seated and standing acceleration intervals will wipe you out for a couple days, as though you had spent and adtetnoon following wheels at 50kph.

  17. check this out, if you haven’t already.  Azizul Hasni Awang is 150lbs soaking wet.  Gregory Bauge is a fuckin Cerberus..  this is the best single ride i have ever seen in my life.  Azizul has got it ALL.  patience, explosive acceleration, guile, and above all, he ain’t scared a bit:

     

    https://youtu.be/5Ac9H02rYEk

  18. @Cary

     a poorly ridden kilo will redefine what it means to truly suffer. after a bad kilo, i could feel my heartbeat in my TEETH. i’ve always loved track racing since i had the opportunity to try it.

    Can vouch for that. The first time I rode a kilo in training I was horrified and stunned how hard it was. The pain of the last lap is indescribable.
    That said, I’m going to focus on track sprinting this autumn with the aim of competing in a few more sprint disciplines (kierin, match sprint) in January.

     

  19. @RobSandy

    @Cary

    a poorly ridden kilo will redefine what it means to truly suffer. after a bad kilo, i could feel my heartbeat in my TEETH. i’ve always loved track racing since i had the opportunity to try it.

    Can vouch for that. The first time I rode a kilo in training I was horrified and stunned how hard it was. The pain of the last lap is indescribable.
    That said, I’m going to focus on track sprinting this autumn with the aim of competing in a few more sprint disciplines (kierin, match sprint) in January.

    man..  LIVE IT UP!!  enjoy every second.  you are are living fuckin modern day pirate, every time you take to the boards!  i am as excited for you as i ever was for myself.  if you taste pennies, you’re doing it right!!  lol

  20. Just finished up with my FREE edition of Hardmen – Legends and Lessons from the Cycling Gods. Many thanks to Goodreads and Pegasus for the free book, which I greatly enjoyed. I’m a 71-yr old once-was-a- serious(in my mind at least) cyclist of Boulder in the late 70’s and early 80’s. Still ride my Trek hybrid from time to time. Saw a bit of Lemond vs. the Russians in 1980(?) @ Coors Bike Classic(?). Also Phil Anderson a bit earlier when it was still the 3-Stage Red Zinger Classic. So … in defiance of Rule #90, on the cover of my edition, both Bernard Hinault and Greg Lemond seem to be riding in the small ring(plus another guy whose face is out of the cover shot). Great cover, BTW. Comment?????

  21. Hi everybody

    Just ordered three copies – one for myself and two for cyclist friends here in Switzerland. Looking forward to a good read!!

    I’ve been enjoying the articles, comments and the occasional re-read of the rules for the past two years since I got my first road bike late in my life, which in itself has been a sort of revelation.

    Thanks for all the good reads here and the many chuckles at the humour :-)

    Cheers

    Alessandro

  22. I’m just watching Czech and Slovak road cycling championship. Sagan is crazy. Went solo 175km to go…

    This hardman has 67km to go now, still alone, unafraid, what a champ!

  23. sounds like he needed at tune up effort for the TDF, and it went better than expected!

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