Keepers Tour 2012 Update, Part 3: Awesome, Kinda Weird, Awesome Again, and Solemn

Outside the Merckx Velodrome in Ghent

With Keepers Tour: Cobbled Classics 2012 stitched up and in the history books, the challenge of documenting the trip became immediately obvious; how do you take the myriad impressions, experiences, and perspectives and put them down in a meaningful way – let alone in a way that can somehow be digested. Surely, to document even just the Keepers’ view on these goings-on would result in an article much longer than anyone would be prepared to read and would be a far cry from comprehensive. 

We have decided that the best approach is to split the report into four Articles, one authored by each Keeper, and each covering a different section of the trip. We also look forward to the contribution of additional photos and stories through the posts from those who joined us and those who witnessed the goings-on from afar. Today, we look at midweek. There’s a little bit of everything – Velodrome, Roubaix Redux, midweek semi-classic, a kooky collector (and good friend), and a visit to seriously hallowed ground. We hope you enjoy!

Keepers Tour: Cobbled Classics 2012 Updates: Part I // Part II // Part III // Part IV

It’s been said previously and bears repeating again – The Keepers Tour just kept getting more rad as the week progressed. This is not to say that day 6 was really any better than day 2; it was more like none of us could get over the fact that the sum total of each subsequent day – when added to the previous days – moved the needle of the Awesome Meter further to the right. We were approaching the Redline of Rad.

We’ll let the photos and video speak for themselves in this installment of Keepers Tour report. Watching GoPro video and looking at more photos is probably a better way to put you in the action vicariously and it is certainly a better way to waste your employer’s money. But before unleashing the visual blitz, I’ll list some of the highlights.

  • The Vlaams Weilercentrum Eddy Merckx in Ghent was the second time I’ve ever ridden a velodrome. The first time was a few days earlier in Roubaix. If I never ride the banks and boards again it won’t matter. It was very cool getting hooked up with Merckx fixies and flying around the track. We ended by holding our own pursuit – six laps of metered pain. Very fun.
  • Watching Scheldapriijs from the finishing village in downtown Antwerpen was an experience in itself.
  • The fusion dinner at Casa Grinta was an absolute trip. At what point does being a fan of pro cycling go too far? We’re not sure but the proprietor, Paul, is a good friend of Williams and has an incredible private collection.
  • All would agree – the second time riding the stones of Roubaix was entirely different from the first. To a Velominatus, we all felt better, stronger, and faster and left wanting more.
  • Make no mistake – William and Alex are Velominati of the highest order. Not only can they ride, they MAKE THEIR OWN BEER AND IT IS CALLED MALTENI! Just ruminate on this for a second. They ride the piss out of the stones and have their own delicious Belgian beer with the coolest label ever for a recovery drink. BAD.FUCKING.ASS. The tour of the brewery where Malteni is brewed and bottled was a welcome recovery activity.
  • Heuvelland and the surrounding area was the western front in WWI. We had been riding past concrete bunkers, memorials, and graves all week and all of us wanted to visit one to pay our respects. Our group was made up of just the right mix of people for the Messines Ridge Cemetery and Memorial we visited as it was where many Commonwealth soldiers from New Zealand, Australia, and Great Britain gave their lives in service. As an active duty soldier, Bill led the prayer as we raised a bottle of beer to the fallen. The levity sunk in as I thought about how fortunate our group of blokes were to be riding our bikes, clad in Lycra, across the country side on a sunny day almost a hundred years after those men gave their lives for us to be able to do so.

Eddy Merckx Velodrome (Gent) Video

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wFvqrsOhkb8[/youtube]

Scheldeprijs Vlaanderen Race Finish (and penultimate lap)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WmzuBnl7vMU[/youtube]

Roubaix Recce Video

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E7wqEI-tueI[/youtube]

Photo Album (days 6-8)

[dmalbum path=”/velominati.com/content/Photo Galleries/[email protected]/KT Part III/”/]

Eyerefelction Fotografie* Pro Recce Ride, featuring Velominati

[dmalbum flikr=”72157629383149390″/]

@Marko’s Strava on the Roubaix Recce ride: http://app.strava.com/rides/6245723

@Frank’s Strava on the Roubaix Recce ride: http://app.strava.com/rides/6245827

* Eyereflection Fotografie is not affiliated with Velominati at this time; the photos of us appeared through coincidence and the photographer’s generosity. And, because we looked so Merkcxdamned Pro he mistook us for the real deal. Seriously, The Rules WORK.

 

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78 Replies to “Keepers Tour 2012 Update, Part 3: Awesome, Kinda Weird, Awesome Again, and Solemn”

  1. if a picture is worth 1000 words then what is a video worth?
    great work Marko!
    my only question is what is that noise when you were riding n the tarmac?

  2. “And, because we looked so Merkcxdamned Pro he mistook us for the real deal. Seriously, The Rules WORK.”

    How fuckin’ cool is that?! LOVE IT!!!

  3. @RedRanger

    if a picture is worth 1000 words then what is a video worth?
    great work Marko!
    my only question is what is that noise when you were riding n the tarmac?

    Well lets see… first video up there is 2:37 in length, and if we assume 30 fps (with each frame being a ‘picture’), that would give us 30,000 words worth per second.

    Or a total worth of 4,710,000 words. For just the first video. Man, Frank is going to have some serious writing to do to catch up with Marko…

    Each one of these posts make me more and more sad I couldn’t make it, but at the same time more excited to see the content each subsequent person contributes to the storyline of that week. Seriously solid work here gents.

  4. Love seeing you guys push the Rad Meter in the photos & videos. Nice!

    “Seriously, The Rules WORK.” Yes, Marko! I shall apply this to all aspects of life, both on & off the bike.

    Growing up my pals & I sort of had Rules we followed. We’d keep one another in check by applying The Rules through what we called Discipline Drills. Basically a few of us would think another was getting a bit too wayward, too soft. We’d come up with a drill just to test him. They could be physical or mental, sometimes involved beer along with the drill, but always involved exuding some serious V. When you live in a small(ish) town you either get creative or you get weak, soft, and bored. Can’t have that.

    I suppose I have been living by Rules in one form or another for awhile now.

    What a trip! You guys really took it to new levels. Nice going!

  5. @Marko

    The Roubaix recce video, how fucking cool is that. Framed and scored by the cables but otherwise silent, fingers vibrating like tuning forks, the low sky. My eyeballs are still shaking. Brilliant.

  6. Great stuff Marko. The footage on the cobbles is epic… mindblowing….watching your fingers bounce around when they’re on the hoods really drives home how rough it was. Looked like you guys were handling them quite nicely though, that looks like a serious pace you all had going. Thank you for sharing!

  7. Awesome work Marko. Like the days of your keepers tour each report just keeps the awesome factor ramped right up! The roubaix video is fantastic, it really gives some insight to how it must have felt. Thank you.

  8. @Cyclops
    Don’t hang yourself, just come along next time, dumbass. Fair warning: we’ll do this during the same week (depending on the UCI calendar) next year, so that should give everyone plenty of time to make whatever preparations you need (ie get the insurance claims lined up) in time.

  9. Bravo! Absolutely fantastic! Thank you, Marko! I couldn’t agree more, my friend. The “awesomeness” just kept getting better and better and better – the needle most definitely dipped into the extreme realm of Rad! Man, I’m still suffering from withdrawal. I would love to have another 10 minutes on the velodrome. And the cobbles – to be reminded, daily, of the cobbles parallels the healthy habit of eating a good breakfast every morning.

    Man, what a trip. I bounce in between disbelief and wonderment – can’t believe I experienced this and at the same time, man, how awesome was that?!

    Love it. Thank you, again, Marko! Hope you’re well?

  10. Also working on getting a weekend pass for 2013.
    I’d be interested to hear if any UK Velominati would be interested in sharing some transport over? It looks like Lille / Roubaix is only about 100km from the port / tunnel at Calais. It would be easy and fairly affordable split a few ways.

  11. @motor city

    Also working on getting a weekend pass for 2013.
    I’d be interested to hear if any UK Velominati would be interested in sharing some transport over? It looks like Lille / Roubaix is only about 100km from the port / tunnel at Calais. It would be easy and fairly affordable split a few ways.

    It is somewhat further from the mountain fastness of Scotland but I’m sure we can put something together

  12. Am impressed by the quality of the footage on the cobbles, saw the camera attached to the bike in some earlier pics and thought “That will be blurry and shaking too much” but it is pretty damn good.

    A great trip, might have to try and make it to Belgium next year….

  13. @doubleR

    @Ron

    That is a great line, no? Alas, I can’t take credit for it. Frank slipped it in there when he added the last album from Eyereflection.

    @Ron – Everyone now and then my friends and I will offer up a Man-Test for the same reasons.

    @LA Dave
    It’s cool you can see my fingers as that’s really the only indication of how jarring the Pave really is. The relative smoothness must be a testament to the GoPro. Good little camera.

    @McEnroeMark
    Once again, well put and thanks. For the life of me I still can’t decipher how you were able to spend so much time out of the saddle on the Pave – and look smooth doing it.
    I hope the future looks musical for you.

    @RedRanger
    I can assure you it’s not a Rule #65 violation. Imperceptible (except to dogs and bats) noises were being amplified as they traveled through the bike into the camera mount. I learned a lot about the GoPro – I had gotten it two days before trip – and would do things differently next time. All in all though, the footy is fun.

  14. @anotherdownunder
    The first day on the Pave it was helmet mounted. This sucked because I couldn’t see what it was doing and couldn’t really hear the beeps it gives to tell me what it was doing so I missed a lot of good shit. Not to mention I looked ridiculous with that thing perched on my head and over the course of the day it did contribute to my neck being sore. The Pave guys said other groups have had them mounted to seatposts looking back which could be cool but then everyone wants to follow the camera guy’s wheel to see themselves. Mounted on the stem worked well.

  15. Holly crap !!!! how good are those videos !!!!

    dang , i live here and now i’m considering doing the whole KT13 next year, better start training straight away. Dumptruck of awesomme can’t touch this !!!

    i guess you have to look at something from a distance sometimes just to realise how good it is. Get the non local vieuw on things happening around you every day to open up a new kind of seeing

  16. @marko I think the GoPro mounts actually add to/accentuate some of these sounds. Comparing the vids I’ve done with their mounts & the one I had the chance to make with the new k-edge mount (before I binned the bike the next day) there seemed to be heaps less noise involved with the k-edge handlebar mount.

  17. I’ll join with everyone else in saying that the Roubaix Recce vid is frikkin’ incredible. While watching, I noticed my leg muscles twitching in time with all of your pedal strokes, almost as if I was subconciously trying to help push you guys along. Outstanding work, Marko!

  18. @McEnroeMark

    Bravo! Absolutely fantastic! Thank you, Marko! I couldn’t agree more, my friend. The “awesomeness” just kept getting better and better and better – the needle most definitely dipped into the extreme realm of Rad! Man, I’m still suffering from withdrawal. I would love to have another 10 minutes on the velodrome. And the cobbles – to be reminded, daily, of the cobbles parallels the healthy habit of eating a good breakfast every morning.

    Man, what a trip. I bounce in between disbelief and wonderment – can’t believe I experienced this and at the same time, man, how awesome was that?!

    Love it. Thank you, again, Marko! Hope you’re well?

    Its funny how long this trip has stuck with me – I’ve dreamt about the trip every single night since we’ve had it – no exaggeration. Amazing.

    Great piece Marko, the last sentence of the last bullet gave me goosebumps.

  19. @Mikael Liddy

    @frank
    I thought there was talk of an Italian based Keepers Tour next year?

    There was, but nothing is set for that just yet, and there is nothing that says we can’t do both, right?

  20. @frank

    @Mikael Liddy

    @frank
    I thought there was talk of an Italian based Keepers Tour next year?

    There was, but nothing is set for that just yet, and there is nothing that says we can’t do both, right?

    That would be a tough call – a pass for one might be possible, doing both would require a small lottery win.

  21. For anyone saying/thinking that the video of the cobbles “gives a good idea of what its like”: it doesn’t come close. Due to the wide angle on the camera, it seems much less bumpy than in real life. In all, the only thing it transmits is a notion of the blurry vision, but without having your hands, arms, and but getting jackhammered it loses a lot of the messaging.

    But they’re fun as hell to watch. The audio could have been cut, but I like how it accentuates the smoothness of the tarmac when you get off the stones.

    @McEnroeMark
    I echo Marko and agree that it defies logic that you could ride out of the saddle so much. Weirdo.

    @Belgian Cobblestones

    i guess you have to look at something from a distance sometimes just to realise how good it is. Get the non local vieuw on things happening around you every day to open up a new kind of seeing

    Nice avatar! Yeah, when you’re living amongst the Awesome, sometimes you just need a fresh perspective to realize it isn’t normal! You live in the best part of the world for Cycling!

  22. Outstanding!

    You can just taste the sweet relief of the tarmac as you leave the pave!

    OK, when do we get the technical report? We need a comprehensive kit review. Marko, the photo of the Ambrosio rim with the Conti tubular is a bit small on my BB. Which conti is being used? Could you tell which spokes were laced to the rim? Hubs? I just gotta know!

    Sweetness.

  23. @RedRanger

    @McEnroeMark
    will someone please
    Give this guy a keepers tour badge?

    Good one, eagle-eye. He switched emails on us! Corrected.

    @Chris
    When I said “we” I meant the organizers. I assume people will pick which trip they’d go on, and not do both. But we’re just in the planning stages at this point and who is to say what will/won’t work out with Italy. I have also ridden enough to do one in the Pyrenees and be the guide, so that will be on the table for the Tour de France at some point.

    At this point, we’ve got more ideas than sense, so we’ll have to see what works out. KTCC2013 will happen for sure, though.

  24. to all you Keepers who were so privileged to ride the stones, fantastic work.

    and for each one who has written, including Marko here…magnificent strokes of the pen fella’s!!

    @Marko: and to push the Rad Meter like this may indeed be heaven on earth, centered of course upon the Mecca itself, in Belgium, in Merckx own velodrome, I believe this to be the Center of the Entire Universe that you all have found

    and to be properly mistaken as P-R-fuckin-O “because we looked so Merkcxdamned Pro he mistook us for the real deal. Seriously, The Rules WORK.”…because as you say…the Rules do work, is profound evidence of an absolute TRUTH, it is self evident to us, so RIDE on fella’s..its right!

    and all I can do is ride my lonely pave’ here in the midwest, vicariously riding through your experiences, which is inspirational

  25. @frank
    I got you a first time but having done Paris Roubaix and watched the RVV I’d love to do the full week but equally, Italy is an awesome place in it’s own right and I can only imagine that with the right set up and organisation, a Keepers Tour there would be just as awesome. Either way, you guys have set the bar impossibly high.

    As for the Pyrenees, I’m currently trying to work out whether I can spend three weeks down there in August rather than two. Life is tough.

    @the keepers
    The quality of the KT audio and visual footage is outstanding. Keep it up. What next, the KT video game?

  26. @marko

    @anotherdownunder
    The first day on the Pave it was helmet mounted. This sucked because I couldn’t see what it was doing and couldn’t really hear the beeps it gives to tell me what it was doing so I missed a lot of good shit. Not to mention I looked ridiculous with that thing perched on my head and over the course of the day it did contribute to my neck being sore. The Pave guys said other groups have had them mounted to seatposts looking back which could be cool but then everyone wants to follow the camera guy’s wheel to see themselves. Mounted on the stem worked well.

    \\ GoPro (stem image)

  27. @Vin’cenza
    I had mine mounted underneath the stem and set to the upside down setting. That way I didn’t have to look at the damn thing. Didn’t even know it was there. That’s more like a Willy-cam.

  28. Thanks for the strava links and videos. That’s a lot of mileage on such rough roads. Kudos to both @frank and @marko.

  29. @Mikael Liddy
    The Pave Boys really opened our eyes. One, their trip was so killer, what else can compare? Two, it felt so nice, why not do it twice? Local knowledge and connections are so important and we don’t have that connection in Italy, yet, but we do in Belgium. Realistically, I don’t see most people being able to travel to Europe more than once a year so two in 2013 might be a stretch. But…but, if the stars align and we make the right connections, nothing is ruled out.

  30. @frank

    @Mikael Liddy

    @frank
    I thought there was talk of an Italian based Keepers Tour next year?

    There was, but nothing is set for that just yet, and there is nothing that says we can’t do both, right?

    Good, without mentioning the possibility of wanting to stick around for a bike ride I managed to convince my wife to put off a trip to Italy from this fall to next spring during the Giro.

  31. @frank

    For anyone saying/thinking that the video of the cobbles “gives a good idea of what its like”: it doesn’t come close. Due to the wide angle on the camera, it seems much less bumpy than in real life. In all, the only thing it transmits is a notion of the blurry vision, but without having your hands, arms, and but getting jackhammered it loses a lot of the messaging.But they’re fun as hell to watch. The audio could have been cut, but I like how it accentuates the smoothness of the tarmac when you get off the stones.@McEnroeMark I echo Marko and agree that it defies logic that you could ride out of the saddle so much. Weirdo.@Belgian Cobblestones

    i guess you have to look at something from a distance sometimes just to realise how good it is. Get the non local vieuw on things happening around you every day to open up a new kind of seeing

    Nice avatar! Yeah, when you’re living amongst the Awesome, sometimes you just need a fresh perspective to realize it isn’t normal! You live in the best part of the world for Cycling!

    Yes, I’m surprised it took you that long to recognize the abnormality of my mug and I. I probably shouldn’t have been allowed to ride out of the saddle – it may have beat the rim up a bit more as a result?! Which reminds me, I meant to true that sucker up before leaving. I guess I was just trying to prolong the inevitable and got distracted.

    And, yes, not a day has gone by where something will remind me of some aspect of the trip – whether is a rough section of my commute, shaking the knuckles awake from their coma, or the abrupt climb in the group ride, sans pave, of course. Anyone still feeling it in their fingers?

    The videos and photos are great – I have really enjoyed the articles as well, thank you! It continues to keep the trip alive and even adds to it’s effect. I was impressed with the quality of the photography amongst the group as well! There are quite a few shots that are of Rouleur status and inspiration.

    Curious, did Cycling Tips hire a couple photographers to contribute? They’re nice, but knowing that they were taken from blokes outside their group, makes them, how do you say, “pas vrai?” Ah, yes, pas authentique. Nice that he plugged Velominati, though.

    I also keep thinking of Rigid, still wandering around France/Italy/Germany – anyone know how he’s doing?!?

    Oh, and Frank, I inadvertently changed my email – so sorry. I’ll keep consistent, I promise.

  32. @Marko

    Yes, smart. I bet this is on the stem (as I did the first time I ventured out with one) because they were too lazy to change the camera setting. Ha. Plus, the under-the-bar perspective is cooler – seeing the levers brake and shift.

    Again, Marko, bravissimo!

  33. @McEnroeMark
    And Frank – curious, I may be completely whacked, but I…well, I am whacked, so nevermind. But seriously, I was having some trouble figuring out how to add a photo to my ID. Could you advise, si vous plait? Merci.

  34. Curious, has anyone counted how many Belgian beauties Bretto captured with his camera? I’m thinking triple digits, no? Anyone?

  35. @McEnroeMark

    Curious, has anyone counted how many Belgian beauties Bretto captured with his camera? I’m thinking triple digits, no? Anyone?

    About as many as you hit on?

  36. @Marko
    Ha! Exactly. Well, if they catch your eye, you might as well say hi, no? Maybe I’m wrong? We were looking out for each other, that’s for sure.

  37. @Marko
    My audition/interview is Friday at 11am. Thanks for your support, man. I’ll let you know…

  38. @McEnroeMark

    @McEnroeMark
    And Frank – curious, I may be completely whacked, but I…well, I am whacked, so nevermind. But seriously, I was having some trouble figuring out how to add a photo to my ID. Could you advise, si vous plait? Merci.

    Gravatar.

  39. @McEnroeMark

    Anyone still feeling it in their fingers?

    YES! They are getting better, but they are still not right. On the other hand, I’m setting PRs all over town without even trying…the power gained from riding the Pavé and chasing all you assholes up every hill is hanging around.

    As for the photogs on the ride, amazing how good some of you are at photography. I thought I was pretty good, but you guys rock. And, not surprisingly, @JesseWillems’s’s’s’s photos just blow my mind. How he made us look that good I’ll never know. Not sure about CyclingTips; I know Veeral Patel has a close relationship with Wade from CyclingTips, but I’m not sure about the others. Veeral is the photog we met in Cassel.

    @McEnroeMark

    @Marko
    My audition/interview is Friday at 11am. Thanks for your support, man. I’ll let you know…

    Good luck!

  40. The writeup awesome! The video, epic (and I don’t use that term much). The photos; FUCKING PRO! Nice job boys!!

  41. @Dan_R

    Outstanding!

    You can just taste the sweet relief of the tarmac as you leave the pave!

    OK, when do we get the technical report? We need a comprehensive kit review. Marko, the photo of the Ambrosio rim with the Conti tubular is a bit small on my BB. Which conti is being used? Could you tell which spokes were laced to the rim? Hubs? I just gotta know!

    Sweetness.

    Just catching up and saw this… I took that photo, and I think the tyre was a Sprinter 28mm. I can’t remember what hubs they were using (Lotto so possibly Record?). I really need to pay more attention.

  42. @brett

    @Dan_R

    Outstanding!

    You can just taste the sweet relief of the tarmac as you leave the pave!

    OK, when do we get the technical report? We need a comprehensive kit review. Marko, the photo of the Ambrosio rim with the Conti tubular is a bit small on my BB. Which conti is being used? Could you tell which spokes were laced to the rim? Hubs? I just gotta know!

    Sweetness.

    Just catching up and saw this… I took that photo, and I think the tyre was a Sprinter 28mm. I can’t remember what hubs they were using (Lotto so possibly Record?). I really need to pay more attention.

    I think they are Competitions 28’s, and laced to Record hubs, as @Bretto is saying. I went and dug through some more of those pics for some details (no clue on spokes, assume DT):

    Also, these ESP-badged rings are interesting; they look hollow to me. These rings certainly look very different from my 2007 Record rings…

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