These cobbles don't stand a chance against little Lizzie A. Photo: Ashley Gruber.

This Spells Rain

For those of you with an interest in the subtle art of Paying Attention, you may have noticed a few things about my writing technique: apart from the inescapable fact that it is untrained and terrible, I make a habit of overusing the semicolon, a practice I started when I heard my third grade teacher tell me it was a substitute for any conjunction. That might not be what she said and it is definitely not correct; that’s what I heard and it stuck. I also capitalize every word that holds a personal meaning, a habit I co-opted from German where nouns are typically capitalized; it left an impression on me in terms of valuing words with importance. I took this principle and applied it according to my own whimsy, as I am wont to do, and now capitalize every important word, like “Cycling”, “Awesome”, and “Looking Fantastic”.

On that subject, can I just say 2016 Is Getting Off On The Right Foot. Het Volk (which I refuse to call by its correct name) saw two seriously legitimate podiums, with rainbows in both the men and the women’s races. I’m still not sure if the Saganwagon is wearing Rule #33 legs, but Lizzie pulled a Cancellara and just “accidentally” dropped the bunch to win the first continental race she competed in while wearing the rainbow bands. And both World Champions are wearing black bibshorts, something they had to gain UCI approval for. I have to say, a small part of me feels like our work here is done. Then Faboo and Lizzie crushed the gravel in the Strade Bianche. Then, Paris-Nice, which is a snoozer of a race as far as I’m concerned, loaded up today’s stage up with Chalk Dust Torture roads. Ohhellsyeah.

With how much V has been pouring out of the sport so far this season, this is trending well to be a strong year. Last year for Keepers Tour, we lived a dream by riding the cobbles in the rain and mud, but were once again disappointed to witness yet another dry Paris-Roubaix. This year will be different. Statistically speaking, this lies in favor of the law of averages. The rains will fall, the roads will be slick with silt, manure and mud, and the three will be indistinguishable to the rider chewing on the rooster tail of the rider in front.

I will commit an entire paragraph to point out that Tom Boonen is the only active Paris-Roubaix podium placer to have raced Paris-Roubaix in the wet, way back in 2002. He came in third. In truth, no one can call themselves a Cobbles Specialist if they haven’t raced the cobbles in the wet. That makes Boonen the King of the Cobbles of our generation. Even more so than Kenny.

So fuck yeah cobbles and fuck yeah rain. This can’t be another dry Cobbled Classics week in April. May the rains fall as heavy as the V.

VLVV.

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68 Replies to “This Spells Rain”

  1. Things that do disappoint me: that there’s no womens P-R, so we’re denied the prospect of Queen Lizzie crushing mud slicked cobbles to solo into the velodrome.

     

    But then idiocy meant we were denied the chance to actually watch her win in Sienna.

  2. Fuck yeah cobbles. Don’t forget that many have raced the cobbles in the wet – just not P-R.

    Boom, Westra, Fuglsang showed their character. Other big names didn’t seem to like it so much…

  3. Look at the pic closely of Lizzie (besides the awesomeness)… she has the nr 13 but is so confident she didn’t put it upside down…… That is casually fantastic.

  4. Dutch and German where nouns are typically capitalized”

    That’s German. Dutch doesn’t do that. First word of a sentence, names, stuff like that get’s capitalized.

    Capitalizing Important Words is more of a Terry Pratchet thing. Or perhaps Thing. Be sure to see that as a compliment.

  5. Trending? Did I fall into that awful morass known as yahoo.com?

    I’d go with steadily developing. But hey, whaddo I know. (I’ll accept my fuck off in advance!)

    Surprised there is no mention of Big Tom’s comments after the stage yesterday. If guys raced in embro with old socks on their arms not that long ago, surely there isn’t much room for complaining when you are covered head-to-toe in fantastically technical materials.

  6. Got to give a thumbs up for any article that has a picture of Lizzie at the top.

    And two in just over two weeks as well.

  7. @Harminator

    Fuck yeah cobbles. Don’t forget that many have raced the cobbles in the wet – just not P-R.

    Boom, Westra, Fuglsang showed their character. Other big names didn’t seem to like it so much…

    Let’s not forget Thomas dragging Plan B through hell. It’s quite clear whose enjoying themselves and who isn’t

  8. @Harminator

    Boom’s stage 5 win in ’14 goes down as one of my all time fave’s. 189km in 3.25 hours or something looney tunes like that racing in those conditions? Incredible. Though Nibali won the tour on this stage, it was Boom, running on some kinda hi-test, that simply smashed it and gave me much appreciation for the expertise of a CX racer translating in to road success. Why oh why did he have to end up in the world’s ugliest kit the next year?

  9. @chris

    @Harminator

    Fuck yeah cobbles. Don’t forget that many have raced the cobbles in the wet – just not P-R.

    Boom, Westra, Fuglsang showed their character. Other big names didn’t seem to like it so much…

    Let’s not forget Thomas dragging Plan B through hell. It’s quite clear whose enjoying themselves and who isn’t

    Possibly the best grimace ever, no showing of pain, just sheer will power and massive amounts of V.

  10. Frahnk!!!  Jesus man!  Did you really say “silt, manure and mud”?  Fer fuck’s sake man, I know that I am an illiterate moron but even I would have known to use the much more elegant turn of phrase “silt, SHIT and mud” in that context. (see what happens when I actually read an article around here)

    Otherwise fucking great post!  Also very important to note that Tommeke was third AFTER pulling Big George’s Ass all over the cobbles all day before he did his usual stage dive into the trenches.

    Fucking Tommeke, The MAN!!!

  11. @bart

    “Dutch and German where nouns are typically capitalized”

    That’s German. Dutch doesn’t do that. First word of a sentence, names, stuff like that get’s capitalized.

    Capitalizing Important Words is more of a Terry Pratchet thing. Or perhaps Thing. Be sure to see that as a compliment.

    I’m basically illiterate in Dutch when it’s late at night, apparently. Thanks!

  12. @bart

    “Dutch and German where nouns are typically capitalized”

    That’s German. Dutch doesn’t do that. First word of a sentence, names, stuff like that get’s capitalized.

    Capitalizing Important Words is more of a Terry Pratchet thing. Or perhaps Thing. Be sure to see that as a compliment.

    Yeah but be careful if it’s THING you hear but it may be too late by then.

  13. Buck – not sure if you read the recent interview with Boonen where he said in that race…the Belgian fans were throwing beer on him because he as chasing Johan…and they didn’t know who the fuck he was. Yet. With that shit USPS kit, they thought he was just another big ugly American. Classic.

  14. @Ron

    Buck – not sure if you read the recent interview with Boonen where he said in that race…the Belgian fans were throwing beer on him because he as chasing Johan…and they didn’t know who the fuck he was. Yet. With that shit USPS kit, they thought he was just another big ugly American. Classic.

    I have not seen that!  Thanks, man!  Great story!

    Although my heart was broken this morning by cyclingnews reporting that Tommeke complained yesterday that the Paris-Nice stage should have been cancelled b/c it was “too cold and there was snow”.

    Now I have not seen confirmation of such supposed heresy by Tommeke but my entire world has taken a shock like a 6.8 earthquake (largest I have been in, in Seattle in 2001).

     

  15. Glad I could fill you in then!

    I saw those comments too. I’m hoping: 1) he had just put up with a shit day and someone shoved a mic in his face and he let it fly 2) he was recalling crashing out in P-N last year and ruining his year, so he was extra pissed off about the conditions.

    But yes, for me…they’re getting paid handsomely to compete in a very hard sport, but one we wouldn’t mind participating in for $ AND if guys could ride in the past with just some embro and a cotton cap, these lads with body suits of awesome kit should be okay.

  16. @frank

    Thank you for citing Chalk Dust Torture, one of Phish’s greatest anthems.

    This makes me very happy!

    “But who can unlearn all the facts that I’ve learned

    As I sat in their chairs and my synapses burned

    And the torture of chalk dust collects on my tongue

    Thoughts follow my vision and dance in the sun

    All my vasoconstrictors they come slowly undone

    Can’t this wait ’til I’m old

    Can’t I live while I’m young?”

  17. @1860

    Look at the pic closely of Lizzie (besides the awesomeness)… she has the nr 13 but is so confident she didn’t put it upside down…… That is casually fantastic.

    Casually Fantastic? That’s an exceptional description! @frank– do we have a new sub category of Looking Fantastic here? I mean..When you Look so Fantastic..while belting out healthy doses of V…across the cobbles…in the rainbow bands…with a slammed stem…all while Casually ignoring Rule #13. Hmmm…

  18. @Buck Rogers

    Frahnk!!! Jesus man! Did you really say “silt, manure and mud”? Fer fuck’s sake man, I know that I am an illiterate moron but even I would have known to use the much more elegant turn of phrase “silt, SHIT and mud” in that context. (see what happens when I actually read an article around here)

     

     

    Maybe you missed it where Frahnk declared that he doesn’t like to use profanity in the opening articles.  Plus, he was too busy typing “fuck” to remember the proper term for manure.

  19. @MangoDave

    @Buck Rogers

    Frahnk!!! Jesus man! Did you really say “silt, manure and mud”? Fer fuck’s sake man, I know that I am an illiterate moron but even I would have known to use the much more elegant turn of phrase “silt, SHIT and mud” in that context. (see what happens when I actually read an article around here)

    Maybe you missed it where Frahnk declared that he doesn’t like to use profanity in the opening articles. Plus, he was too busy typing “fuck” to remember the proper term for manure.

    Ya, but I am pretty sure that he was drunk when he wrote that line about “not liking to use profanity” as that is the only explanation I could come up with for that craziness.

    And besides, does “shit” even count as profanity these days???

  20. Years ago I read a piece by a journalist who’s name I have forgotten.  After he submitted his first few articles riddled with colons and semi colons the editor came round with a file and removed them from his typewriter.

    Maybe Fronk needs to go old school for a while as a cure?

  21. @1860

    Look at the pic closely of Lizzie (besides the awesomeness)… she has the nr 13 but is so confident she didn’t put it upside down…… That is casually fantastic.

    Look closely.  Her number is 131

  22. @MangoDave

    @Buck Rogers

    @MangoDave

    @Buck Rogers

    And besides, does “shit” even count as profanity these days???

    Fuck, no!

    With the first velominipper on the way one of my biggest concerns…will I be able to stop swearing so frequently, without even noticing it?

    For all the good things my father did in raising me…I don’t think he let a proper “fuck” slip until I was well into my teens. Plenty of goddamns, shit, bastard, sonofabitches when working on the cars, etc., but really was good about avoiding THE word, the big one, the queenmother of dirty words, the “F-dash-dash-dash” word!

  23. @Buck Rogers

     

    Although my heart was broken this morning by cyclingnews reporting that Tommeke complained yesterday that the Paris-Nice stage should have been cancelled b/c it was “too cold and there was snow”.

    Ohmyfuckinggod! Snow! Cancel this shit!

    Totally. You should climb off.

  24. @litvi

    @Buck Rogers

    Although my heart was broken this morning by cyclingnews reporting that Tommeke complained yesterday that the Paris-Nice stage should have been cancelled b/c it was “too cold and there was snow”.

    Ohmyfuckinggod! Snow! Cancel this shit!

    Totally. You should climb off.

     

     

    Perfetto!  I’m going with Tommeke having a “senior moment” of confusing and accidently channeling his inner Sparty.  That can be the only explanation.

  25. We don’t get a massive amount of rain where I live and when we do it tends to be in the form of severe storms. I do love it after a 160km+ ride the feeling of grit on my skin caught by the sunscreen and I tend to pick up more of that after a big rain. That and the tan/grit lines enhanced just before hopping in the shower. Think I might do that on Sunday…

  26. @JohnnyK

    @1860

    Look at the pic closely of Lizzie (besides the awesomeness)… she has the nr 13 but is so confident she didn’t put it upside down…… That is casually fantastic.

    Look closely. Her number is 131

    Look closer – at the number on her bike. :)

  27. @JohnnyK

    @1860

    Look at the pic closely of Lizzie (besides the awesomeness)… she has the nr 13 but is so confident she didn’t put it upside down…… That is casually fantastic.

    Look closely. Her number is 131

    Lizzie turns to you, “Yes, it’s number 13!”

    Being WC, can have 13 anyway around she likes!

    Pic from Gruber Images

  28. the inescapable fact that it is untrained and terrible”

    untrained maybe, terrible never!

  29. @sthilzy

    @JohnnyK

    @1860

    Look at the pic closely of Lizzie (besides the awesomeness)… she has the nr 13 but is so confident she didn’t put it upside down…… That is casually fantastic.

    Look closely. Her number is 131

    Lizzie turns to you, “Yes, it’s number 13!”

    Being WC, can have 13 anyway around she likes!

    Pic from Gruber Images

    Great photo. Casually Awesome should become a thing.

  30. @Owen

    @sthilzy

    @JohnnyK

    @1860

    Look at the pic closely of Lizzie (besides the awesomeness)… she has the nr 13 but is so confident she didn’t put it upside down…… That is casually fantastic.

    Look closely. Her number is 131

    Lizzie turns to you, “Yes, it’s number 13!”

    Being WC, can have 13 anyway around she likes!

    Pic from Gruber Images

    Great photo. Casually Awesome should become a thing.

    Rim decals lined up damn near perfect for photo also, now that’s pro

  31. Frank, not only did you manage to reference Phish, and not only did you reference CDT but you referenced the Randall’s version. Well played, Sir. So good. #weareeverywhere

  32.  

    @JohnnyK

    @1860

    Look at the pic closely of Lizzie (besides the awesomeness)… she has the nr 13 but is so confident she didn’t put it upside down…… That is casually fantastic.

    Look closely. Her number is 131

    Look closer – at the number on her bike. :)

    @JohnnyK “insert thick glasses photo here”….

  33. So Lizzie is what height? 167 cm ? And any guesses what size bike that is that she’s racing? A 49cm bike? It looks like a tiny little bike to me for someone her height. Maybe in part it’s the visual of the sloping top tube? And looks like end up with a stem at 13cm or something like that. I don’t know…

    I guess when I was growing up as a kid I was always on a bike that was one size too big. I just got comfortable riding larger bikes. I’ve commented on this many times: pro’s sure seem to like little bikes.

  34. Gotta believe the Paris-Nice directors heard Boonen ringing in their ears when they decided to cancel today’s stage…

  35. @Ron

    Gotta believe the Paris-Nice directors heard Boonen ringing in their ears when they decided to cancel today’s stage…

    Dunno about that. The French being influenced by Belgian whining? Pas probable.

  36. @Harminator

    @Ron

    Gotta believe the Paris-Nice directors heard Boonen ringing in their ears when they decided to cancel today’s stage…

    Dunno about that. The French being influenced by Belgian whining? Pas probable.

    Damn nonsense is what it is.  Have we lost all the HardMen of the sport?

  37. @Harminator

    @Ron

    Gotta believe the Paris-Nice directors heard Boonen ringing in their ears when they decided to cancel today’s stage…

    Dunno about that. The French being influenced by Belgian whining? Pas probable.

    Schadenfreude

  38. @hudson

    @Harminator

    @Ron

    Gotta believe the Paris-Nice directors heard Boonen ringing in their ears when they decided to cancel today’s stage…

    Dunno about that. The French being influenced by Belgian whining? Pas probable.

    Damn nonsense is what it is. Have we lost all the HardMen of the sport?

    I have hard feelings on this one.  I can understand the whole argument that “these are professional athletes paid millions of dollars a year to ply their trade and to put them at undue risk is an insult and not the right thing to do” but then the other argument is that they ARE fucking paid a shit-tonne of money (at least some are) for what reason???  To ride their fucking bikes!!!  It is not like they are doing fucking brain surgery and the lights go out so you have to stop the surgery; it is riding a fucking bike.  And, AND mind you, they have the right to fucking climb off their bike any fucking time they feel that it is TOO dangerous.  That is partly why I will never get on the Sparty bandwagon.  He is the fucking maestro of going all Nancy in the middle of a ride; whether it is too hot/too cold/too wet/too much for the Schlecks/etc.  I think that they ought to have a committee made up of Le Blaireau, Andy Hampsten and Ian Fuckin Stannard and if the majority of those three feel that the race should be called off, then do it, but otherwise no one is forcing the riders to ride when they feel too cold/hot/panzy/scared and they can get off their fucking bikes anytime they want.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dpqZgGHmjeE  (cannot find the greatest post-race interview of modern times with Ian post-2010 KBK)

  39. @Buck Rogers

    Great idea. Put Hinault, Hampsten and Stannard on the UCI’s Extreme Weather Protocol panel and see how many appeals emerge.

    Reading reports that the stage was neutralised for 125k yet there was a break 1.20 up the road at the 80k mark. How does a break go clear in a neutralised stage? Sounds like a shambles.

  40. Follow Sean Kelly’s advice on this one:  toe up at the start, race to the finish, and when the stage is over the organizers can decide whether it should have been cancelled to accommodate the pussies who signed in that morning. Fucking snowflakes.

  41. Bugs me, a lot.  I’m never ever gonna be Pro, not fast enough and too old, but all freakin winter i was kitting up, when it was 0 degrees, iffy roads, and snow falling in the dark just to get in a ride before work.  If someone would have said before my last turn “hey, if you keep riding in this horrible weather for another 4 hours we will pay you.  Or…you can keep on to your mundane job”  I’d have drop that heavy back pack and rode on no questions asked

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