Velominati Super Prestige: Paris-Roubaix 2015

No one can be happy about Sunday’s weather forecast (except for 95% of the riders and support staff). I am not. Now every Norwegian non-cobble riding specialists has a chance of winning this. I was hoping for day that would separate the Rule#9 riders from everybody else. Bah!

We can take some comfort in knowing our Keepers Tour brothers will be at three different cobbled secteurs, hydrating and yelling with the the locals. Keep an eye out for the V-flag.

There is not much to say about Paris-Roubaix that has not been said. It is the race of the season.

Consult your god. Go with your heart or your head on this. Enter your choices, prepare your frites deep-fryer, the beer selection, assure your family that drinking and swearing on a Sunday morning is part of your religion.

The VSP page has the details and in case anyone forgot, the end of the season could get you here:

  • First place– A custom Jaegher frame, handbuilt in Belgium.
  • Second Place– A Café Roubaix/Velominati wheelset, Chris King hubs, hand built by professional wheelsmith and Velominati Dan Richter.
  • Third Place– A Velominati kit: jersey, bibs, and cap.

 

 

[vsp_results id=”32609″/]

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266 Replies to “Velominati Super Prestige: Paris-Roubaix 2015”

  1. @dyalander

    @Chris

    I don’t think the comparative speed is the most significant factor – a peloton is far more difficult to stop than a car or a group of cars travelling in a line. Far more difficult. If the first rider hits the brakes when he sees the lights flashing there is a real chance that a pile up would ensue and riders would end up on the tracks in a far more dangerous predicament.

    The gates may be similar to those in the UK, but then, they may not be. I couldn’t say. But I would expect that ,they are designed for general traffic not for a peloton in a race.

    For the sake of the discussion I’m going to assume that the timings on the gates are roughly comparable to those in the UK. As you say, the barrier is likely to be designed for general traffic so the general principles and the speeds they expect traffic to be travelling at is going to be similar. In the UK that road is likely to be limited to 50 or 60 mph (80 or 96 kph) for which the braking distance is listed in the highway code as being 53 or 73 m (for 80 kph that’s 15 m of reaction time and 38 m of actual braking – assuming the driver reacts immediately once the lights start flashing). The timing between the lights beginning to flash and the barrier dropping is likely to be based on something similar but with a bit more reaction time built in for safety. Either way it is a long way to stop anything.

    Granted, there maybe a pile up if one of the front riders slams the brakes on. However, given the skill levels you’d expect from someone who cycles every day and has most likely developed a severe disliking to falling off, I’d suggest that a more measured approach of signalling a hazard, easing off the power and gradual braking would be possible. I’ve never ridden in the pro peloton and on the odd occasion when I have raced there wasn’t anything other than corners and my own inability to keep pushing the pedals hard enough that caused any sort of slowing down but we generally manage to draw to a halt in an organised manner on Sunday club runs and the like. The speed may not always be as high but neither is the level of bike handling skill.

    @dyalander

    @Chris

    I don’t consider cyclists in an organised race flouting speed limits while descending to be setting a bad example – the road rules don’t apply to racing cyclists. I think this is comparable – they are choosing to flout a road rule (not a race rule – only those that crossed when the gate was down contravened the race rule and they should be dq’d) – they are putting themselves in danger in both instances. I’m fine with both on that respect.

    It isn’t comparable at all. In a closed course race, traffic rules are suspended and replaced by race rules on the basis that the roads are empty of traffic.

    No traffic = no requirement for traffic rules.

    Where a race crosses a railway and the train operator(s) haven’t agreed to suspend services for the duration, only a moron would suggest that the riders shouldn’t take heed of rules relating to crossings.

  2. I’m genuinely surprised at the brouhaha around this, and also by some of the positions being taken.

    There was good 8 or 9 seconds between the last rider and the train – that’s not even close. Compared to doing 100km/h down a wet mountain pass in Italy it doesn’t even register on the pro-cycling scale of near-death experiences.

    It’s just that this time it gives a load of media and hangers-on a chance to make a story out of something that has never been a problem in all the years it has been happening, was not really a problem this year and is unlikely to ever be a problem in future years despite all the desperate appeals for somebody to “Think of the children”.

  3. @ChrisO

    Compared to doing 100km/h down a wet mountain pass in Italy it doesn’t even register on the pro-cycling scale of near-death experiences.

    Right? I mean, I heard Paul or Phil say something like “he’s lucky to be alive,” and my eyes rolled.

  4. Man, it pisses me off when the only time the media/public pay any attention to the stuff I live and love is when a controversy arises. Talk about fair weather fans…

    Cycling – doping or skirting around a train. Otherwise, never in the news. Maybe a bit on Le Tour, that’s it. If you don’t report on it, don’t highlight only the negatives. Fuck off.

    Ice hockey – only makes headlines when there is savage goonery. Or, a goon dies from possible brain trauma-related issues.

    Soccer – every four years the idiots come out with Donovan jerseys and pretend they know something about soccer. And then they starting talking about the need for stupid shit like reviews, how to create more goals, and other assorted nonsense. Soccer is awesome because it is so basic and there aren’t that many stats, as opposed to BS baseball.

  5. @Chris

    @dyalander

    @Chris

    I don’t think the comparative speed is the most significant factor – a peloton is far more difficult to stop than a car or a group of cars travelling in a line. Far more difficult. If the first rider hits the brakes when he sees the lights flashing there is a real chance that a pile up would ensue and riders would end up on the tracks in a far more dangerous predicament.

    The gates may be similar to those in the UK, but then, they may not be. I couldn’t say. But I would expect that ,they are designed for general traffic not for a peloton in a race.

    For the sake of the discussion I’m going to assume that the timings on the gates are roughly comparable to those in the UK. As you say, the barrier is likely to be designed for general traffic so the general principles and the speeds they expect traffic to be travelling at is going to be similar. In the UK that road is likely to be limited to 50 or 60 mph (80 or 96 kph) for which the braking distance is listed in the highway code as being 53 or 73 m (for 80 kph that’s 15 m of reaction time and 38 m of actual braking – assuming the driver reacts immediately once the lights start flashing). The timing between the lights beginning to flash and the barrier dropping is likely to be based on something similar but with a bit more reaction time built in for safety. Either way it is a long way to stop anything.

    Granted, there maybe a pile up if one of the front riders slams the brakes on. However, given the skill levels you’d expect from someone who cycles every day and has most likely developed a severe disliking to falling off, I’d suggest that a more measured approach of signalling a hazard, easing off the power and gradual braking would be possible. I’ve never ridden in the pro peloton and on the odd occasion when I have raced there wasn’t anything other than corners and my own inability to keep pushing the pedals hard enough that caused any sort of slowing down but we generally manage to draw to a halt in an organised manner on Sunday club runs and the like. The speed may not always be as high but neither is the level of bike handling skill.

    @dyalander

    @Chris

    I don’t consider cyclists in an organised race flouting speed limits while descending to be setting a bad example – the road rules don’t apply to racing cyclists. I think this is comparable – they are choosing to flout a road rule (not a race rule – only those that crossed when the gate was down contravened the race rule and they should be dq’d) – they are putting themselves in danger in both instances. I’m fine with both on that respect.

    It isn’t comparable at all. In a closed course race, traffic rules are suspended and replaced by race rules on the basis that the roads are empty of traffic.

    No traffic = no requirement for traffic rules.

    Where a race crosses a railway and the train operator(s) haven’t agreed to suspend services for the duration, only a moron would suggest that the riders shouldn’t take heed of rules relating to crossings.

    How can it be wrong:

  6. @Chris

    The point where you should have given up was when you realised you were on the same complaining side as (in order of horror):

    • Phil’n’Paul
    • A train company
    • The Daily Mail, and
    • Fabian Cancellara
  7. @ChrisO

    Even the biggest fuckwits are capable of moments of absolute clarity. They just don’t recognise that they’re wrong most of the time.

    I’ll stand by what I said in the first post. Not because I think what happened was particularly dangerous. You’re right there was a clear gap between the last rider and the train (possibly that gap would have been much smaller if the policeman hadn’t stopped them). But I think the organisers are in a position where they’ll receive criticism, rightly or wrongly, that they have a duty to both prevent such situations and take a hard line on anyone flouting the rules. My main problem with the whole thing is their assertion that they were blameless. They could have done more. In general though, I’m pissed off with people, either deliberately or inadvertently, getting in the way of trains. I seem to be spending too much time stuck on trains going nowhere or waiting for trains that aren’t going to turn up.

  8. @ChrisO

    I’m genuinely surprised at the brouhaha around this, and also by some of the positions being taken.

    There was good 8 or 9 seconds between the last rider and the train – that’s not even close. Compared to doing 100km/h down a wet mountain pass in Italy it doesn’t even register on the pro-cycling scale of near-death experiences.

    It’s just that this time it gives a load of media and hangers-on a chance to make a story out of something that has never been a problem in all the years it has been happening, was not really a problem this year and is unlikely to ever be a problem in future years despite all the desperate appeals for somebody to “Think of the children”.

    Hear hear! The voice of reason…

  9. As you can all no doubt tell – I love splitting hairs. I don’t do it to change anyone’s mind, you’re all entitled to your opinions – but just to clarify why I’m right:

    @Chris

    We clearly disagree on the peloton’s ability to stop – I’d compare it to a semi driven by committee rather than a car. I’d also add that I don’t think changing the rule so that riders can’t cross when the boom is descending or when lights are flashing would work – making it when the boom is down is the best way because it’s the most predictable thing in the sequence for the riders to gauge. Obviously it can’t be “don’t cross while the lights are flashing” – it might start flashing after the riders pass the post but before they cross so it would be stupid rule that wouldn’t be enforced. I don’t think it can be “don’t cross while the boom is descending/ascending or down” because then riders would be trying to guess when it starts descending – they generally don’t start coming down when the light’s flash but some set time thereafter – so riders wouldn’t have enough time to stop if they were just getting to the crossing slightly before the boom starts moving. Making it “don’t cross when the boom is down” is best because it gives the best chance for riders to see the lights, see the boom coming down and make a call about whether they need to stop or whether they can make it without being dq’d.

    Also, speed limits aren’t simply predicated on the existence of many cars/pedestrians/etc – they are also predicated on safe speeds for negotiating the infrastructure in keeping with it’s specifications. Closing the course doesn’t fully remove the premise for a speed limit. But regardless, my point was really that in a race situation I don’t watch a cyclist and think that their disregard for safety when selecting their speed sets a bad example – they’re racing – they’re not setting an example for safe behaviour – I apply the same logic to the crossing. The essence of what they’re doing precludes them being judged for unsafely ignoring road rules (not race rules – road rules). They have course rules to comply with – don’t cross when the boom is down – the road rules are irrelevant to my mind. The riders assess the course before them and act on the basis of what they deem to be safe for them within the race rules – not a road rule. The guys who crossed while the boom is coming down are fine – the ones who broke the race rule should be dq’d.

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