Cobbled Classics 2013 Forecast: Hardman’s Valmanac


As many of you know, one of my specialties is examining events, imagining trends in them, and then predicting future events by painting with broad strokes based on those findings. I find this approach particularly effective when it pertains to topics of which I know less than nothing. In many ways, this is the same thing meteorologists do, so in that sense it is very fitting that my current prediction is for the weather of the 2013 Cobbled Classics.

I consider Het Volk to be a harbinger of what is to come for the major classics coming about a month later. By ignoring all data points that don’t support my assumptions, my study has conclusively demonstrated the following points:

  • Rare is the case when a rider wins Het Volk and also wins de Ronde or Roubaix.
  • Weather can’t hold a peak any better than a rider can, apparently; dry weather in Het Volk means wet weather in April and vice versa.
  • Riders who race Het Volk in their Flandrian Best generally perform better in the monuments.
  • Racing to the win in too-long a pair of knickers is a specter of failure for future events.
  • Racing with an upturned cycling cap brim will yield a season fraught with spectacular highs and lows.

In light of this, it was with great relief that I noticed that while the weather was cold for Het Volk, it was also dry. Which conclusively shows that the bergs in de Ronde and the trench in Roubaix will be coated in heaps of slippery mud. Thank Merckx, too; it’s been too many years of dry weather for my taste. For those of you smart enough to sign up for Keepers Tour, this will be epic. And yes, I know its not called Het Volk anymore. (We have a few open spots left on the Tour, so get in while the getting’s good.)

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105 Replies to “Cobbled Classics 2013 Forecast: Hardman’s Valmanac”

  1. @Chris


    Your attention to detail is impressive.

    I do operate those stubby brake levers with one finger but probably slipped momentarily due to having just ridden downhill over a large root (and shortly over a few more to the jeers of the spectators).

    I also need new lock-on grips since giving mine to my son who ripped through his flimsy child-grade grips within a few weeks of receiving his bike.

    I’ll experiment with different brake placements. I’m definitely still figuring it out. An MTB feels like a jumbo jet with all the adjustments to make on the fly: front shift, rear shift, brakes, fork, shock.

  2. @G’rilla

    Ok, sounds like you’re fiddling too much… is your fork a CTD? Leave it in Trail or Descend mode, never lock it out. Rear shock the same if it’s CTD, or run without ProPedal if not. Front shifting, go single ring! Throw out the lock-ons and use these. Oh yeah, tubeless if you aren’t already, absolutely essential (and you can run those low pressures).

  3. @brett I will agree. ESI grips rock. I’m running 1×10 and it’s tits. I have a basic from fork so I just keep the preload up and never lock it out. Tubeless is the way to go. It’s a no worry deal.

  4. Snow forecast in the Roubaix area this week! Doubt it’ll last but the UK is in crore the same cold snap. Bit of snow to liven up the early morning rides.

  5. I do not even know how I ended uup here, but I thought this post was great.
    I don’t know wwho you are but certainloy you’re going to a famous blogger if you are not already ;) Cheers!

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