Merry Festum Prophetae

The greatest photo of the greatest Cyclist ever. Photo: Het Laatste Nieuws
The greatest photo of the greatest Cyclist ever. Photo: Het Laatste Nieuws

This photo is perhaps the greatest of all time; it shows The Prophet riding in the 1969 Ronde van Vlaanderen, kit and machine perfect. Rule #9 conditions in abundance. He’s gone off the front with some 80km left to race, which predictably sent his directeur into a rage. Ordered to return to the bunch, Merckx calmly suggested he go screw himself. It would be a dishonor to sit up and wait for the bunch when there was still strength in his legs. He stayed away to the finish.

Long, kamikaze breakaways were his bread and butter. The idea that he might wait for the last climb or make a shrewd tactical move were completely foreign to him; whether in the leaders jersey or not, if his legs itched, he pushed on the pedals and left the bunch behind – no matter how far it was to the finish and how great his lead already was. That is class. That is panache  That is an example for the conservative modern rider. Classy, stylish, obsessive, meticulous, and devastatingly tough. The Prophet was a unique animal, the perfect combination of what lies at the core of the Velominati and The V. We each endeavor to uphold the standard he laid down during his career and since.

The Keepers would like to join each of you today in celebrating Festum Prophetae, the birth of the greatest Cyclist and our Prophet, Eddy Merckx. It is customary for the Velominati honor this day in a manner befitting him, and we invite you all to share with us how you chose to.

Thanks go to each of you for being a part of this community and helping make this site a worthwhile place to visit and share in our collective love for Cycling. Cycling is much more than a sport; it is a lifestyle and a conduit for us to become better people. Without each of you helping in your way to share in the experience, this place has no meaning.

Vive la Vie Velominatus, and Merry Festum Prophetae, one and all. A-Merckx.

As a special gift on this most festive day, we present the newly anointed Rule #92:

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88 Replies to “Merry Festum Prophetae”

  1. Merckx, I remember the 82 Worlds. I was still in the UK at the time and badly wanted Kelly to win. Last km he was still in with a chance even though Boyer was away. Then Lemond chased his own teammate down! Saronni was on Greg’s when then – woosh! – went over the top for a stunning and well-deserved victory. Kelly’s head nod of disappointment at the end tells you he knows he blew it – he had Saronni’s wheel all the way but couldn’t respond to that last attack.

    Saronni was riding one of the greatest steel bikes ever – a ruby red Colnago. His wool jersey was drenched in sweat at the finish – no fancy technical fabrics back then. It was a win that Merckx would have raised a glass to. Happy birthday to the Prophet!

  2. And remember this –

    Eddy’s doctor ‘A glance was enough to show that the cardiogram was alarming,” he said. ‘There were no symptoms, only the risk of sudden death. Eddy Merckx rode his entire career with the sword of Damocles over his head.”

    Eddy’s view  “I know I have a special heart, it’s very big,”

    What a fucking legend

  3. I’ve just got word that my frame is back from paint and will be shipped tomorrow or possibly even today!  As for riding, etc. I observed the holiday over the weekend with some good rides, Rule #33 observance, and a cleansing of the steed.

  4. Oh if only we could have a few more cyclists like Merckx again ! You can shove your ‘tempo riders’ up your arse.

    Today I went out for 96km including a few beasting climbs, in what was possibly the warmest day of the year here in Ecosse, so far (still only a measly 22 C though….) I enjoyed sitting at an old fountain in a small Perthshire village in the sun for a short 5 minutes to just soak up the all too rare sunshine. I passed a few other cyclists too, and made sure to give them a nod a and a farmers wave. Not an unusual day, but a decent few hours on the bike living the life.

  5. Report coming Wednesday, but this is how I celebrated on Saturday

    And proof of the thorough recovery session afterwards.

  6. @strathlubnaig

    Oh if only we could have a few more cyclists like Merckx again ! You can shove your ‘tempo riders’ up your arse.

    Today I went out for 96km including a few beasting climbs, in what was possibly the warmest day of the year here in Ecosse, so far (still only a measly 22 C though….) I enjoyed sitting at an old fountain in a small Perthshire village in the sun for a short 5 minutes to just soak up the all too rare sunshine. I passed a few other cyclists too, and made sure to give them a nod a and a farmers wave. Not an unusual day, but a decent few hours on the bike living the life.

    And if we had them we would suspect they were doping. Sad but true….

  7. Happy Birthday, Eddy!

    I celebrated with my longest ride to date of 160km on Friday (I just started this, buying my road bike last August) and today I will celebrate further with my third time trial of 24km.

  8. @frank

    Report coming Wednesday, but this is how I celebrated on Saturday

    And proof of the thorough recovery session afterwards.

    So you only rode for an hour then drank lots of beer? Hardly Rule #5 compatible.Where are your priorities FFS?

  9. I did 105km on Saturday (1,000m vertical); this morning hit the bike at 5am to ride to yoga, attend said yoga class and ride home.  Nothing near as epic as many of you, but this is the first time I’ve woken at 4:30am to ride my bike.

    VLVV!

  10. @wiscot

    Well, you may want to ask @G’rilla where his priorities ended up that night.

    Happy birthday Eddy! I’ll celebrate by launching myself off the front in a shot for glory at the “Monday Night Master’s Weekly World Champs”, then follow with a tasty beverage (tho not as many as I had Saturday night, Sunday morning. Gonna take the liver awhile to recover from that).

  11. 1. I celebrated by completing my first metric century (670m gained) on Saturday, including some real Rule #9 riding when a thunderstorm rolled through.

    2. I made my first post as a Velominatus on the Prophet’s birthday.

    3. A thorough cleaning of the steed to ensure the Principle of Silence is adhered to on future rides.

  12. @Marcus

    The fastest line on this track is the red line on the straights and then cut across to the black line on the bank. Fucking terrifying track until you get used to it.

  13. On Sunday morning we did 100km in the rain at Horseshoe Valley. My brother rode his Merckx. We were blessed.

  14. @TheVid

    1. I celebrated by completing my first metric century (670m gained) on Saturday, including some real Rule #9 riding when a thunderstorm rolled through.

    2. I made my first post as a Velominatus on The Prophet’s birthday.

    3. A thorough cleaning of the steed to ensure the Principle of Silence is adhered to on future rides.

    Nice.

    (That was me last year, after two decades off the bike. Riding makes everything better, doesn’t it?)

  15. It is considered highly auspicious to have the frame builder ship out your frame on Festum Propetae.

  16. Had a small showing for Festum Prophetae Perth (Western Australia – not Scotland or Washington) on Sunday – myself and Tinman. Cold crisp Perth morning. Headed out of the city to the hills – going well and enjoying the sunshine and zero wind – first big decent climb and I got bitten by a dog that got off its lead as we went past. Bite into my left calf – went back and chatted the lady, got address etc.. Anyway carried on – only one puncture (flesh) wound, but it got me pretty good – squirt of water bottle got rid of most of the blood.

    Another 15km of hills and we decided to pull in for a coffee (and shed some layers) – chemist was open so though I might go and get a Betadine swab to clean it up – was a bit uneasy about what toxins/ bacteria/ nasties might be circulating through my body. Timnan waiting outside – pharmacist says Doctor is open next door – better go in and get them to have a look at it. OK then – well …..bigger than Ben Hur… thought I was going to be there for an hour. Asked nurse to go outside and let Tinman know what was going on – she came back in and said he suggested the doctor should give me an injection of Rule 5! 

    Tetanus shot, wound packed and bandaged, waited obligatory 10 mins and then off again. Cut some of the bigger climbs out as not sure how I was going to react, but headed back to city and onto the original route around the river.

    105kms with 1200m climbing at a temp of about 6C – plus dog bite – not a bad way to celebrate the Prophet’s birthday. Thanks to Tinman for showing up and his patience whilst I faffed about.

    Got better – had a look at my watch – still had time to make the start of the first cyclocross race in WA for 2013 – go and have a look I thought. But also just enough time to drop home, grab my CX bike and give it a crack. Got there just in time for the scrubbers race – 30mins of sand, grass,  tape and plywood jumps. First CX I had every done! Legs balked a little at the getting off and on after the mornings effort, but thoroughly enjoyed it. Caught up with fellow Velominatus, BenJ, who won the “support” grade. and had celebratory malted recovery beverage whilst we watched the Elites.

    Slept well that night.

    VLVV

  17. Happy Birthday Eddy! And Merry Festum Prophetae all.

    Couldn’t decide which Merckx to ride today, so it had to be both. Couple hours on the Pista this morning, couple more on the Corsa Extra after work (where I glued tubulars instead of actually working).

    Moules-frites and Gulden Draak next.

    Blissful day.

  18. Fast Eddy, what a lord. Definitely in league with the devil. I rode the long way home from work as fast as possible. 40k, 750m. Now sat it the garden with a 12 pack of Dales Pale Ale. Not that I’ll drink them all mind, but in this climate it pays to stay hydrated.

  19. @Nate

    It is considered highly auspicious to have the frame builder ship out your frame on Festum Propetae.

    i hope your local cyclists are well-oiled. The sound of jaws dropping will break the Silence Principle.  Beautiful.

  20. In a complete absence of Rule #5 (although an homage to the prophet in a way) I’ve spent his birthday weekend staring whistfully at the bike while couchbound thanks to a rather spectacular bout of back & neck spasms last week.

    In other potentially blasphemous news I’m going out on a limb & saying I reckon I actually prefer the Faema clad prophet to the Molteni one…

  21. @asyax while there’s no doubt some Rule #5 on display in those pictures I see we’ve not been able to shame you in to the main aspect of Rule #33 compliance yet…

  22. @Mikael Liddy Winter! – I thought I would be able to cover the wookie legs up with tights. Oh, the shame!

    Merckz is obviously all knowing and sees through such a cheap trick!

  23. I fronted up for a race to do my part for the celebrations, my second time in A grade, hoping for a good ride. The previous week I had hit a Kangaroo whilst coming down Mt Lofty at night and went over the bars at 50km/hr, ouch. My back and shoulders were pretty sore but guns felt ok so figured with a bit of Rule V I should be ok. Anyway got spat out on the first major climb and had a lovely training ride in the crisp winter air. You don’t need to be far off peaking to get put to the sword in A grade that’s for sure.

  24. @asyax see I rarely go as far as full tights as knee warmers & booties tend to be sufficient here, plus shaved legs & lined suit pants is a combination that delivers some rather fine sensations.

  25. @Daccordi Rider

    I fronted up for a race to do my part for the celebrations, my second time in A grade, hoping for a good ride. The previous week I had hit a Kangaroo whilst coming down Mt Lofty at night and went over the bars at 50km/hr, ouch. My back and shoulders were pretty sore but guns felt ok so figured with a bit of Rule V I should be ok. Anyway got spat out on the first major climb and had a lovely training ride in the crisp winter air. You don’t need to be far off peaking to get put to the sword in A grade that’s for sure.

    Ouch, I know of someone who broke both arms, many ribs & shattered his sternum after being on the wrong end of that type of collision. Sounds like you came away reasonably unscathed.

  26. First Road Ride in almost two weeks, wasn’t very long or fast but it felt great to be back in the saddle again.

  27. @asyax

    @Mikael Liddy Winter! – I thought I would be able to cover the wookie legs up with tights. Oh, the shame!

    Merckz is obviously all knowing and sees through such a cheap trick!

    Wool DeFeet socks at least…always appropriate.

  28. @Mikael Liddy I was really lucky. Trashed a helmet and knicks, scratches on pedal, RD and shifter. The bike’s fall seems to have been cushioned by the roo and amazingly the wheel is true, got to love alloys! Bit of bark off and very sore but nothing broken. The ride back over Mt Osmond to get home was pretty slow and painful. Seen a few facebooks of you and mini me, looks like you are getting along fine. How long till the seat goes on the back of the bike and I see the two of you out doing hill repeats?

  29. @Daccordi Rider I’ve been forced to promise that I’ll wait at least until he can hold his head up before buying him one of the wooden balance bikes…he’ll have to make do with his BabyMolteni jersey c/o Fyxo for the time being.

  30. @Nate

    It is considered highly auspicious to have the frame builder ship out your frame on Festum Propetae.

    That’s dead sexy right there. Whacha going to kit it up with? Or is that a surprise?

  31. @asyax

    Dooode! I prefer riding close to semi trucks over seeing off leash dogs while out on the whip. Bummer.

    @Daccordi Rider

    Reason #175 I don’t want to live in Australia. I’ll never get crashed by a Kangaroo here. Ever.

  32. @Daccordi Rider
    Bad luck – those furry fuckers are made of iron, no?

    @scaler911

    Kangaroos and wallabies are a serious fucking hazard on the roads out here.

    You dont need to be far out of Melbourne’s cbd before they can be a factor especially at dawn/dusk (and of course, they hop down the main streets of Adelaide where they hold down big jobs in town). The dumb fuckers (the ‘roos not the Adelaideans) think nothing of hopping next to you whilst riding on a descent and then doing on a quick directional change which may or may not see their tail and your bike make contact. I know 4 fellas who have been brought down by them in the last 5 years.

    And they are exactly like that one on Looney Tunes – they just jump along fucking fast without a care or apparent effort.

    And then of course, there are the drop bears.

  33. @scaler911

     

    @Daccordi Rider

    Reason #175 I don’t want to live in Australia. I’ll never get crashed by a Kangaroo here. Ever.

    There’s a roo farm in Arlington. They escape. Never say never.

    I never expected to hit a peacock, but almost did last week. Imperious little fuckers think they own the road.

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