À Bloc

The V surrounds us, it penetrates and binds us together. Through disciplined practice we are able to draw from it to push harder and go farther on the bike; what we do on the bike then informs how we face our lives. The masters, such as the Prophet Merckx and the Apostle de Vlaeminck, could channel this strength to overcome the greatest challenges both on and off the bike.

The question we must always ask ourselves is, how hard is hard enough? The answer is, you go until the lights go out, and then you go some more. Today’s lesson is that if you can still stand after the effort, you didn’t go hard enough. Nice one, Laurel.

Merckxspeed, my fellow Velominati.

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62 Replies to “À Bloc”

  1. I am not worthy. Rode in today, almost a PR, and yet….her efforts put me to shame.  I will have to take a punitive lesson in V on the ride home today to regain my self-worth. Lauren you are amazing.

  2. Riding to your limit requires a careful negotiation with your internal governor, more “shut up head” than “shut up legs.” Mine for one is a lying bastard but I’m stuck with it for the moment. I always seen to have energy left, even after all the alarm bells are being sounded.

    It fails to amend my activities in other aspects of life though which I find interesting.

  3. Kudos for Laurel on that kind of effort.

    Now that I’m an old shit and with all the buzz lately on heart issues with life long endurance people I’ve notched the intensity way back. No more 16km TTs for me as it’s pointless riding those and leaving anything in the tank. Kind of satisfied with just getting out and putting in the time on the bike.

     

     

  4. @Haldy

    Does that make this, the greatest example of going hard enough, ever?

    Probably. Few athletes have pushed themselves that close to the edge and lived to tell the tale. What the world witnessed that day was nothing short of a superhuman effort. But was it genius – knowing thyself to perfection? Or was it sheer recklessness?

    On a personal level, I once vomited while assaulting a local climb. While I took pride in the fact that I had pushed myself to that extent, the VMH failed to be impressed.

  5. I recall and effort a little while back, Frank vs. The Volcano, Part Trois;

    Drag to 7:44

    Today’s lesson is that if you can still stand after the effort, you didn’t go hard enough.

    Have a race tomorrow, I’ll see if I can vomit after crossing the line.

  6. I just love the look on Laurel’s face, well done! Kind of makes me want to try cyclocross hmmmm, another bike.

  7. Love this snapshot. And this my friends is why I’m thinking I might have more fun next year helping to organize some races than actually racing!

  8. @sthilzy

    I recall and effort a little while back, Frank vs. The Volcano, Part Trois;

    Drag to 7:44

    Today’s lesson is that if you can still stand after the effort, you didn’t go hard enough.

    Have a race tomorrow, I’ll see if I can vomit after crossing the line.

    Gianni saying that watching me is “the best part” and “gold” always puts a big ol’ smile on my face.

    I’ve never puked from an effort but I passed out once after a sloppy ski race.

  9. @frank

    You’re looking a little heavy here Frank.  I can say that because I am in the same boat…10-12 pounds away from where I’m sure I could climb the fuck out of anything.

    Love the video though!  Excellent example of suffering here.

  10. @frank

    @Haldy

    Does that make this, the greatest example of going hard enough, ever?

    Yes. Class dismissed.

    1987 was the year that I started cycling (relatively) seriously.  Over the summer, between eighth grade and freshman year in high school, I had ridden Bianchi’s cheapest model over the hills of the Hudson Valley, and hung in with the b-group and c-group rides.  I was almost always the youngest rider in the group, and I tried to listen to and learn from the older and veteran riders.  In September, when I mistakenly thought that I’d started to learn something about cycling, I picked up a copy of Bicycling Magazine in our local library and read their story on Roche’s victory in the Tour de France.  I remember not quite comprehending what would push someone to ride so hard that they collapsed at the finish line, and realizing then that I didn’t even know how much I didn’t know.

  11. Paul Kimmage was telling Sean Kelly about the time he pushed so hard (Olympics ,84 I think) he nearly passed out. He asked Kelly if this had ever happened him ……. Kelly replied ….. often….

  12. @DavyMuur

    @Haldy

    Does that make this, the greatest example of going hard enough, ever?

    Probably. Few athletes have pushed themselves that close to the edge and lived to tell the tale. What the world witnessed that day was nothing short of a superhuman effort. But was it genius – knowing thyself to perfection? Or was it sheer recklessness?

    On a personal level, I once vomited while assaulting a local climb. While I took pride in the fact that I had pushed myself to that extent, the VMH failed to be impressed.

    Done that once myself – the puking thing. I’ve never had a team run to my aid with an oxygen mask…I’ve gotten better at bringing myself just to the edge of nausea, dial it back a fraction and live in hurt. On the other hand, I was riding today and cut it 20 miles short cause my legs just felt like absolute garbage. And yet I arrived home to discover I PR’d half the segments…

    @sthilzy

    I recall and effort a little while back, Frank vs. The Volcano, Part Trois;

     

    Jesus. Look at those shoulders. No wonder it was such a struggle.

  13. @cognition

    @frank

    @Haldy

    Does that make this, the greatest example of going hard enough, ever?

    Yes. Class dismissed.

    1987 was the year that I started cycling (relatively) seriously.  Over the summer, between eighth grade and freshman year in high school, I had ridden Bianchi’s cheapest model over the hills of the Hudson Valley, and hung in with the b-group and c-group rides.  I was almost always the youngest rider in the group, and I tried to listen to and learn from the older and veteran riders.  In September, when I mistakenly thought that I’d started to learn something about cycling, I picked up a copy of Bicycling Magazine in our local library and read their story on Roche’s victory in the Tour de France.  I remember not quite comprehending what would push someone to ride so hard that they collapsed at the finish line, and realizing then that I didn’t even know how much I didn’t know.

    I remember watching that on channel 4.

    I thought it was over and Delgado had won, the disappointment was intense and then Phil Ligget says there is someone coming. It’s Roche it’s Roche I don’t believe it. It’s Roche

    I will never forget it and Roche appeared the next morning lookin fresh as a daisy

     

  14. @kixsand

    @frank

    You’re looking a little heavy here Frank.  I can say that because I am in the same boat…10-12 pounds away from where I’m sure I could climb the fuck out of anything.

    Love the video though!  Excellent example of suffering here.

    I was thinking the same thing, glad I’m about 6 kg lighter now than I was then. This is me a few years earlier when I was having those enormous lunches.

  15. @cognition

    @frank

    @Haldy

    Does that make this, the greatest example of going hard enough, ever?

    Yes. Class dismissed.

    1987 was the year that I started cycling (relatively) seriously.  Over the summer, between eighth grade and freshman year in high school, I had ridden Bianchi’s cheapest model over the hills of the Hudson Valley, and hung in with the b-group and c-group rides.  I was almost always the youngest rider in the group, and I tried to listen to and learn from the older and veteran riders.  In September, when I mistakenly thought that I’d started to learn something about cycling, I picked up a copy of Bicycling Magazine in our local library and read their story on Roche’s victory in the Tour de France.  I remember not quite comprehending what would push someone to ride so hard that they collapsed at the finish line, and realizing then that I didn’t even know how much I didn’t know.

    Humility is knowing how much you don’t know. This is a beautiful story; thanks for sharing.

    @Shane Courtney

    Paul Kimmage was telling Sean Kelly about the time he pushed so hard (Olympics ,84 I think) he nearly passed out. He asked Kelly if this had ever happened him ……. Kelly replied ….. often….

    I love that Kelly was always the man who would use one word when two would do. So funny that he’s slipped into color commentary.

  16. @SamV

     

    @sthilzy

    I recall and effort a little while back, Frank vs. The Volcano, Part Trois;

    Jesus. Look at those shoulders. No wonder it was such a struggle.

    I’ve been cursed by my fucking nording skiing background my entire Cycling career. Thanks to a regiment of always refusing to carry the groceries into the house, I’ve been able to whittle them down a bit.

    What fucking sport requires an upper body to propel you along anyway? What has the world come to?

  17. @Barry Malone

    @cognition

    @frank

    @Haldy

    Does that make this, the greatest example of going hard enough, ever?

    Yes. Class dismissed.

    1987 was the year that I started cycling (relatively) seriously.  Over the summer, between eighth grade and freshman year in high school, I had ridden Bianchi’s cheapest model over the hills of the Hudson Valley, and hung in with the b-group and c-group rides.  I was almost always the youngest rider in the group, and I tried to listen to and learn from the older and veteran riders.  In September, when I mistakenly thought that I’d started to learn something about cycling, I picked up a copy of Bicycling Magazine in our local library and read their story on Roche’s victory in the Tour de France.  I remember not quite comprehending what would push someone to ride so hard that they collapsed at the finish line, and realizing then that I didn’t even know how much I didn’t know.

    I remember watching that on channel 4.

    I thought it was over and Delgado had won, the disappointment was intense and then Phil Ligget says there is someone coming. It’s Roche it’s Roche I don’t believe it. It’s Roche

    I will never forget it and Roche appeared the next morning lookin fresh as a daisy

    I think that must be the Irish equivalent of LeMond’s ’89 victory; such a shock after being sure all had been lost.

  18. Growing out in the off season was a common euro pro thing back in the ’80s.

    Gilbert Duclos-Lassalle needing two or three guys to lift him off the pavement.

  19. Speaking of needing to lose weight….just sitting down to a diner breakfast with the latest copy of Rouleur. This is a ritual equally as important to me as riding. Have a great day gentlemen.

  20. @frank

    @kixsand

    @frank

    You’re looking a little heavy here Frank.  I can say that because I am in the same boat…10-12 pounds away from where I’m sure I could climb the fuck out of anything.

    Love the video though!  Excellent example of suffering here.

    I was thinking the same thing, glad I’m about 6 kg lighter now than I was then. This is me a few years earlier when I was having those enormous lunches.

    Jesus, Mary and Joseph. What is going on here? He looks dyspneic just walking (or did he just eat the Lampre team and needs to burp?).

  21. @frank

    @sthilzy

    That little part about, “I’d like to see a little more effort at the end…” Now that was gold! What are good friends for after all but to add some perspective when appropriate. I swear I don’t know why that kinda thing looks fun but it sure does. Very cool. Cheers

  22. Cyclocross is definitely one discipline that will put you at near your heart rate limit and leave you there for the full hour if you let it. In no other efforts have I ever been able to recreate that sort of intensity over time. Long climbing efforts are hard but nowhere near as hard as CX.

    Max HR efforts lead to all sorts of fun stuff. You can get the reflux or full spew. That’s fun. I also get tunnel vision in long uphill sprint efforts.

    The interesting thing that I’ve discovered is that Max heart rate is a movable feast. It can be trained higher, much higher, even for old people like me.

     

  23. @frank

    @cognition

    I’m not suggesting you take double the amphetamines to enhance the effect.

    Simpson’s death was tragic, but let’s not get carried away.

    I won’t say that I was being sarcastic in referencing Simpson, because that would be going a bit too far.  While his death was tragic, short-sighted, and mistaken, I have to give him some credit in being willing to turn himself inside out.  Take away the drugs and you still have a cyclist demanding to be put back on the bike.

  24. @frank

    @Haldy

    Does that make this, the greatest example of going hard enough, ever?

    Yes. Class dismissed.

    Woah, careful, let’s not forget the need for the casually deliberate and respect for the bike…

    There are certain things that need to be tended to before collapsing.

  25. The good thing about being a cyclist is that I’m always within 5 kg of where I should be. The bad thing about being a cyclist is that you always feel 5 kg heavier than you wish you were.

    The other bad thing is seeing old pals. “Oh, he’s gained like 20 kgs, I’m fine with only gaining 5.” You’re not as bad as some former mates, but that isn’t saying much when you dream of looking like a pro roadie. Lycra is not flattering unless you are skinny as and toned as.

    Looking forward to putting in many, many more hard efforts in 2016. 2015 had been a year largely without the time/energy/ability to put in long, hard rides. I miss them.

  26. @cognition

    @frank

    @cognition

    I’m not suggesting you take double the amphetamines to enhance the effect.

    Simpson’s death was tragic, but let’s not get carried away.

    I won’t say that I was being sarcastic in referencing Simpson, because that would be going a bit too far.  While his death was tragic, short-sighted, and mistaken, I have to give him some credit in being willing to turn himself inside out.  Take away the drugs and you still have a cyclist demanding to be put back on the bike.

    Absolutely agree. Also, take away the drugs and you still have a Cyclist who is alive.

  27. @chris

    @frank

    @Haldy

    Does that make this, the greatest example of going hard enough, ever?

    Yes. Class dismissed.

    Woah, careful, let’s not forget the need for the casually deliberate and respect for the bike…

    There are certain things that need to be tended to before collapsing.

    This is the photo we link to on Rule #65. I love that Laurel has a minion to hold her bike up for her.

  28. @frank

    I was thinking the same thing, glad I’m about 6 kg lighter now than I was then. This is me a few years earlier when I was having those enormous lunches.

    Egads. Cannot be unseen!

  29. @frank

    @chris

    @frank

    @Haldy

    Does that make this, the greatest example of going hard enough, ever?

    Yes. Class dismissed.

    Woah, careful, let’s not forget the need for the casually deliberate and respect for the bike…

    There are certain things that need to be tended to before collapsing.

    This is the photo we link to on Rule #65. I love that Laurel has a minion to hold her bike up for her.

    No you don’t…

    @Rule #65 link

    Merckx help us, this item can’t be found.

  30. @sthilzy

    Have a race tomorrow, I’ll see if I can vomit after crossing the line.

    The youngest velominipper enjoys cross country running as much as he does cycling (for my sins that’s how I first learnt to hurt myself).

    Last year at the regionals, he looked particularly rough but also slightly confused at the halfway point (a steepish hill with a nice cold headwind). Afterwards when asked about it he said he was trying to decide whether to stop to be sick or to carry on regardless. In the end he didn’t need to do either but concluded that it probably would have freaked his competitors out more if he’d carried on regardless.

  31. @frank

    @Haldy

    Does that make this, the greatest example of going hard enough, ever?

    Yes. Class dismissed.

    Let’s not forget this sort of heroic effort wasn’t unique in Roche’s career.  I had a chance to chat with him for a little bit once, and he told me about all the racing he had to do with one leg.  It started with a track crash in ’86 that shattered his patella, which led to a string of corrective / re-corrective / re-re-corrective surgeries that continued until he (very wisely) went the route of physical therapy* instead.  But in the interim, favoring one leg led to an unbalanced position on the saddle that would press on a nerve branch and eventually put one leg to sleep.  Now tell me who the fuck can win with one leg going to sleep?  Stephen mothafuckin Roche, that’s who.

    And by win, I mean win the Triple Crown in ’87.

    Let that soak in as you meditate on Rule #5.

    * BTW, he said this therapy was harder than any effort he’d put forth in any race, and judging by the photo above, I’m guessing his therapist was one tough son of a bitch!

  32. I remember watching this stage to La Plagne in 1987 on CBS early on a Sunday morning in July.  The media caught up with Roche as he was walking out of his hotel the next morning and asked him how he felt after the gruelling stage and trip to the hospital the afternoon before.  He replied that he had sore legs but otherwise OK or something to that effect.  Costco sized helpings of the V, thats for sure.

  33. @frank

    @chris

    Seriously? Bitch, please.

    Most seriously, bitch. The IT nerds would probably suggest that you’re accessing a cached version of the page, or some such incomprehensible shit.

     

  34. @frank

    @chris

    @frank

    @Haldy

    Does that make this, the greatest example of going hard enough, ever?

    Yes. Class dismissed.

    Woah, careful, let’s not forget the need for the casually deliberate and respect for the bike…

    There are certain things that need to be tended to before collapsing.

    This is the photo we link to on Rule #65. I love that Laurel has a minion to hold her bike up for her.

    And if you are going to collapse…make sure you have a team of people around you to help you up….

  35. @Oli

    @frank

    He’s blimmin’ right, you know.

    Well that’s annoying, it appears all the quick links are broken. FFS.

    Nevertheless, that is the photo we use for that Rule, as my screenshot proves, and the quick links being broken doesn’t change that. So you can both go put your thumbs up your butts!

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