Shit Gets Real

Can you feel that? That itchy, twitchy feeling… that’s anticipation, it’s expectation, it’s Belgian fucking racing fever! You know you’ve got it, and you can’t fight it, you don’t want to fight it, you need it bad because it’s been way too long. Some may call it Spring Fever, Cobblebone, or Kassientitis. It manifests itself deep in the bones, chilling your very core, while simultaneously warming your heart. This is the best time of the racing season, and it’s affecting me more than ever, because I won’t be attending the clinic this year. And that makes me sick.

While the VSP doesn’t kick off until some 300k Italian sprint bores us to death in a couple of weeks, we all know that the real start to the season is this weekend on the bergen of Flanders, and we want the worst possible weather for it. As we bathe in sunshine in the bottom half of the planet, those of us inflicted with the sickness really long to be wrapped in our Flandrien Best and getting dumped on by cold rain and icy crosswinds on some shit-covered road, just waiting to get to the next sector of stones, the next steep and slippery climb, where once on it you curse with all your deep-seated hatred until it is crested, and a strange sense of joy briefly appears, not giving itself up fully until the first Malteni is opened hours later. It’s the medicine that doesn’t cure anything except a lack of Flahute in the system, and that’s just how we like it.

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83 Replies to “Shit Gets Real”

  1. @brett

    @Owen

    @Blah

    @wilburrox

    Isn’t there some sort of rule that stipulates hairy legs if you can rip other peoples’ shaved legs right off? Missing the sprint against GVA notwithstanding.

    I hope he leaves them hairy all season! I’m thinking of a series of articles breaking a key Rule a month, this being one of them…

    Why not learn what we can from this foto? I see that your drops should be within 4 to 5 cm of the tops of your tire – low. Let this lead our fellow Velominati onto a Rule concerning drop specs and staying down. Whatever it takes to get there. Thnx Sagan

  2. @brett

    @Owen

    @Blah

    @wilburrox

    Isn’t there some sort of rule that stipulates hairy legs if you can rip other peoples’ shaved legs right off? Missing the sprint against GVA notwithstanding.

    I hope he leaves them hairy all season! I’m thinking of a series of articles breaking a key Rule a month, this being one of them…

    Jesus Frahnk!  Isn’t there some saying about getting ones house in order???

  3. @brett

    Reading my post again, i feel i was a little…how to say that in english..overbearing?

     

    But i am happy for you. It always feel nice getting back on the saddle.

     

    But i should not have talked about injury: today as i was laying some V in the big ring i felt something in the front of my right knee getting overextended. No pain as such, but something is wrong…

     

    Not when the good weather is coming for fuck sake! To the doc tomorrow…

  4. @Buck Rogers

    @brett

    @Owen

    @Blah

    @wilburrox

    Isn’t there some sort of rule that stipulates hairy legs if you can rip other peoples’ shaved legs right off? Missing the sprint against GVA notwithstanding.

    I hope he leaves them hairy all season! I’m thinking of a series of articles breaking a key Rule a month, this being one of them…

    Jesus Frahnk! Isn’t there some saying about getting ones house in order???

    I recall being informed of a particular principal when a person was considering or even actually breaking rules. Ultimately it was best just to keep that information it to one’s self yes.

    So, I wager that 1) The World Champion smashes P-R and that 2) He saves some watts on the leg thing. He’s just training now.

    From what I gather Hinault was last WC to win P-R and that was back in ’81. Before that was Moser in ’78 and Merckx in ’68. I’m thinking Sagan this year wears the rainbow jersey atop of the podium at P-R.

  5. @wilburrox

    @Buck Rogers

    @brett

    @Owen

    @Blah

    @wilburrox

     

    Isn’t there some sort of rule that stipulates hairy legs if you can rip other peoples’ shaved legs right off? Missing the sprint against GVA notwithstanding.

    I hope he leaves them hairy all season! I’m thinking of a series of articles breaking a key Rule a month, this being one of them…

    Jesus Frahnk! Isn’t there some saying about getting ones house in order???

    I recall being informed of a particular principal when a person was considering or even actually breaking rules. Ultimately it was best just to keep that information it to one’s self yes.

    So, I wager that 1) The World Champion smashes P-R and that 2) He saves some watts on the leg thing. He’s just training now.

    From what I gather Hinault was last WC to win P-R and that was back in ’81. Before that was Moser in ’78 and Merckx in ’68. I’m thinking Sagan this year wears the rainbow jersey atop of the podium at P-R.

    I am now in a position to pour scorn on Sagan’s legs. Hair-wise, that is. I am in awe of his gunnage. And I seem to have achieved total VMW acceptance.

    Also, if Sagan can win P-R with a Vth of the panache that Hinault did, I will love him forever. I can watch those grainy highlights from ’81 again and again…legendary.

  6. @wilburrox

    So, I wager that 1) The World Champion smashes P-R and that 2) He saves some watts on the leg thing. He’s just training now.

    Interesting. Local bookmakers have him at 7/1 to win P-R, with Kristoff favorite at 9/2. I’m not normally a gambling man, but I like those odds on Sagan. Might be worth a flutter! He looks like he’s in great form, but also like he’s been holding something back. I reckon he’s going to smash it too.

  7. @Owen

    @Buck Rogers

    Jasper Stuyven with style and class! Chapeau to him! Only 23 yo!

    VMH was trying to sleep in, she didn’t appreciate my cheering him on. But, she knew what she was getting into when she married me.

    Every spring I think it’s high time I learn Dutch, since that’s the crappy pirate feed I tend to watch on…

    Looks like your VMH isn’t the only lady Stuyven had worked up on the weekend. Have a look at the expression on the woman in the background while he lays it over around this corner!

  8. @Mikael Liddy

    @Owen

    @Buck Rogers

    Jasper Stuyven with style and class! Chapeau to him! Only 23 yo!

    VMH was trying to sleep in, she didn’t appreciate my cheering him on. But, she knew what she was getting into when she married me.

    Every spring I think it’s high time I learn Dutch, since that’s the crappy pirate feed I tend to watch on…

    Looks like your VMH isn’t the only lady Stuyven had worked up on the weekend. Have a look at the expression on the woman in the background while he lays it over around this corner!

    Man, he looks the business, doesn’t he?  I wonder if we have seen the “Next Big Thing” in Classics this last weekend or not?  Tommeke and Sparty are getting old and Tommeke burst onto the scene in 2002 (at least that’s when I took notice of him) when he was 22 years old.  Stuyven is only 23.  Not trying to say that he is the next Merckx but it will be fun to see what he can do this spring and in the coming years.

  9. @Mikael Liddy

    @Owen

    @Buck Rogers

    Jasper Stuyven with style and class! Chapeau to him! Only 23 yo!

    VMH was trying to sleep in, she didn’t appreciate my cheering him on. But, she knew what she was getting into when she married me.

    Every spring I think it’s high time I learn Dutch, since that’s the crappy pirate feed I tend to watch on…

    Looks like your VMH isn’t the only lady Stuyven had worked up on the weekend. Have a look at the expression on the woman in the background while he lays it over around this corner!

    That kind of riding causes pregnancy. Green lady doesn’t know it yet, but she’s expecting twins in late November.

  10. @wiscot

    @Mikael Liddy

    @Owen

    @Buck Rogers

    Jasper Stuyven with style and class! Chapeau to him! Only 23 yo!

    VMH was trying to sleep in, she didn’t appreciate my cheering him on. But, she knew what she was getting into when she married me.

    Every spring I think it’s high time I learn Dutch, since that’s the crappy pirate feed I tend to watch on…

    Looks like your VMH isn’t the only lady Stuyven had worked up on the weekend. Have a look at the expression on the woman in the background while he lays it over around this corner!

    That kind of riding causes pregnancy. Green lady doesn’t know it yet, but she’s expecting twins in late November.

    Well, thread over. You win.

  11. @Buck Rogers

    Junior Road WC in ’09 shows there’s some pedigree back there.

    I seem to remember watching a video online somewhere a couple of years back that involved a behind the scenes view with the Bontrager Livestrong squad, and there was about 5 minutes on this young Belgian kid who was just obsessed with Flanders & Roubaix, pretty sure it was him, and I think it ended in a fairly good result in the U-23 Roubaix. Fucked if I can remember where I saw it though.

  12. Get psyched folks, sure it may not be in Belgium or Northern France, but there’s an epic 1 day race happening this weekend in Italy that could deliver the kind of classics weather we like.

    Here’s how that looks when you combine it with a bike race…

    Like I said, epic.

  13. Anyone see the end of Le Samyn? Not Terpstra winning (legend), just watch everyone in the lead bunches cross the line, they’re all fucked. Awesome!

  14. @Beers

    Looking at those highlights one thing is clear, parking the team bus along the route on a filthy Rule #9 day is sure to lead to some Anti-V moments from the riders who aren’t interested (Gilbackwards, I’m looking at you)!

  15. @Mikael Liddy

    @Buck Rogers

    Junior Road WC in ’09 shows there’s some pedigree back there.

    I seem to remember watching a video online somewhere a couple of years back that involved a behind the scenes view with the Bontrager Livestrong squad, and there was about 5 minutes on this young Belgian kid who was just obsessed with Flanders & Roubaix, pretty sure it was him, and I think it ended in a fairly good result in the U-23 Roubaix. Fucked if I can remember where I saw it though.

    Yes, the announcers on Sunday said that he had won the Junior P-R as well.

    I have not seen a good interview with him yet so no idea if he is cocky or humble or what but it was really cool to see him this last weekend in both races and I really look forward to seeing him ride in the future.

  16. @Mikael Liddy

    Get psyched folks, sure it may not be in Belgium or Northern France, but there’s an epic 1 day race happening this weekend in Italy that could deliver the kind of classics weather we like.

    Here’s how that looks when you combine it with a bike race…

    Like I said, epic.

    FUCK YEAH!!!  My third favorite race of the year by far (Only behind P-R and RVV).  Fucking LOVE this race and I WILL ride this cyclo within the next 3 years once I move to Germany this summer.  I have ridden the P-R cyclo and this one and the RVV cyclo will be completed before I leave Europe!

  17. @Beers

    Anyone see the end of Le Samyn? Not Terpstra winning (legend), just watch everyone in the lead bunches cross the line, they’re all fucked. Awesome!

    Great to know!  Thanks for the heads-up.  I’ll watch it on the rollers at lunch today.

  18. @Buck Rogers

    @Mikael Liddy

    Get psyched folks, sure it may not be in Belgium or Northern France, but there’s an epic 1 day race happening this weekend in Italy that could deliver the kind of classics weather we like.

    Here’s how that looks when you combine it with a bike race…

    Like I said, epic.

    FUCK YEAH!!! My third favorite race of the year by far (Only behind P-R and RVV). Fucking LOVE this race and I WILL ride this cyclo within the next 3 years once I move to Germany this summer. I have ridden the P-R cyclo and this one and the RVV cyclo will be completed before I leave Europe!

    I rode some of the white roads in the rain a couple of summers ago. As usual, the Pros make it look way easier than it really is. I found some really rough roads by accident. My tyres were fucked. I got all kinds of shit in my brake pads that I had to pick out with a knife. I cried for my rims.

    But Tuscany is just as you imagine it is. Those Italians have it all figured out – gelato, coffee, wine, cheese and an afternoon nap. And bike racing.

  19. @Harminator

     

    But Tuscany is just as you imagine it is. Those Italians have it all figured out – gelato, coffee, wine, cheese and an afternoon nap. And bike racing.

    So in other words, fucking paradise!

  20. @Buck Rogers

    @Harminator

    But Tuscany is just as you imagine it is. Those Italians have it all figured out – gelato, coffee, wine, cheese and an afternoon nap. And bike racing.

    So in other words, fucking paradise!

    We spent a week based in Florence on our 5 week honeymoon through Europe, I have to go back with a bike…

  21. I received some inspiration today from a TrainerRoad workout that I wanted to share and fuck me Freddy, I’ve decided to do my sharing here…

    It was an FTP over & under workout with a lot of time spent either 5% over FTP or 5% under.  If you’ve experienced Trainer Road you will know that the workout is overlaid with pithy comments about the workout or about general training that are designed to keep you engaged and motivated and to ensure that you’re doing the workout correctly.

    Today, during the 4th 5 minute session of over/unders the folks at TrainerRoad inspired me.

    I will paraphrase.

    Pain is in the brain and your brain is designed to protect you from pain.

    When the going gets tough you need to keep that shit from your brain – the less it knows, the better.  If you engage in negative self talk, if you put a death grip on your bars, if you hunch your shoulders up around your ears, if you let your pedal stroke get all ragged!  If you do any of this stuff, your brain will start to figure out what’s going on and will issue well intentioned orders to your muscles to shut things down – pronto!  You see, the brain is trying to protect you from harm – it really doesn’t know any better.

    Instead, we need to embrace the suffering with the confidence of someone who has been down this road before and knows where it goes.  We need to find the perfect pedal stroke.  We need to breath deeply.  We need to relax our shoulders and lighten our touch on the bars and welcome the suffering in to our midst.  Just as we never want to betray our suffering to our friends or our enemies, we need to understand that the most important person that we need to fool is ourselves.

    Later in the session – after the second last interval – Trainer Road started talking to me again – most riders post their strongest results on the last interval.  It makes no sense physiologically, you should be at your weakest.  But, your brain sees the light at the end of the tunnel and knows that there is just one more set and then it’s all over.  Voila – it gets easier.  And it was your brain that made it happen.

     

  22. @Beers

    Anyone see the end of Le Samyn? Not Terpstra winning (legend), just watch everyone in the lead bunches cross the line, they’re all fucked. Awesome!

    Man, WHAT  A  RACE!!! I am ashamed to say that I did not know about this race prior to today.  Thanks so much for posting about it.  One HELL of a race.  Damn, some of those back pave’ alleys were SCARY!  Hell, I would not want to venture down them in the dark.  I found a Russian youtube vid of it and was glued to it while on the rollers at lunch.  Great stuff!

  23. @Mikael Liddy

    @Beers

    Looking at those highlights one thing is clear, parking the team bus along the route on a filthy Rule #9 day is sure to lead to some Anti-V moments from the riders who aren’t interested (Gilbackwards, I’m looking at you)!

    Haha yeah, even in the 1 minute highlights you see dudes stepping off at the bus!

  24. @Buck Rogers

    @Beers

    Anyone see the end of Le Samyn? Not Terpstra winning (legend), just watch everyone in the lead bunches cross the line, they’re all fucked. Awesome!

    Man, WHAT A RACE!!! I am ashamed to say that I did not know about this race prior to today. Thanks so much for posting about it. One HELL of a race. Damn, some of those back pave’ alleys were SCARY! Hell, I would not want to venture down them in the dark. I found a Russian youtube vid of it and was glued to it while on the rollers at lunch. Great stuff!

    Watched the last 25km on Steephill last night… fantastic race, truly nasty pavé secteurs for sure. Terpstra really did a mental job on young Thwaites there when he joined him in the break, got him to do a turn then just burnt him off.

    The way Thwaites rode to hold 2nd solo after that was impressive, and he might have got to the line with Terpstra if he’d sat on instead of getting suckered to the front.

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