"It's only January..."

Winterfietsen time.
Looks like another winter of cycling-friendly weather around here... Very little snow, clear roads.   Last few weekends have provided an opportunity to get out for some good base miles rides.

Almost all of mine have been in my trusty 40x16 fixed gear... flat to slightly rolling rides of mostly between 2 to 3 hours.  Less during the week.  It's been OK, but unfortunately not enough to get my doughboy body down to fighting weight.   Naturally, I overindulged this holiday season, what else is new.  Put on about 12 pounds.  Ugggh.  Genetics.   Time to get it in gear...but taking it slow and steady this year.

Dr. Brad and I were joined by a special guest last Sunday: Barry 'the Bullet' Boyce: Cycling Revealed.com empresario, CCB International masters legend, and a fellow Ronde van Vlaanderen cyclo finisher.  We took a nice 3 hour spin around scenic Tiverton and Little Compton RI and Westport MA, at a gentlemanly pace.  First ride on derailleurs this year.  Still kept it in the small ring though.

Barry is cycling's trivia quizmaster.  Every winter he runs an online 'winter trivia monday' contest.   Given we share a feverish passion for cycling history, three hours of stories and catching up passed by in the blink of an eye.  

Sting in the tail was the climb up old Bulgarmarsh road to our start point.   It's a pretty good climb for these parts - Barry's computer said there were sections at 12 and 16%, so it's steep.   Almost at the top I noticed a side road climbed off more to the left.. it looked a little like a private driveway.  Hmmm...wonder where that goes?  Feeling spunky, I turned left and rode away from the 'now where are you going?' catcalls...     This discovery kept us climbing through a new neighborhood development for another quarter mile or so - cool!  a kappelmuur-esque extension, only without the cobbles or the kappel.
Barry the Bullet and Dr. Brad with the official doping product of flandriacafe.  
Westmalle Trappisten.  Bad for VAM, Good for the soul.

Despite us ambushing him by making him ride with us up every little berg in the area, Barry brought us each a bottle of Westmalle.   And then, like veteran riders whose glory days are long past should do, we retired to lunch and a beer at the Black Goose to cap the perfect ride.  Totally civilized.   No pain, no power meter.   Just capillary training in the time-tested, traditional manner.

This Saturday I did close to 4 hours w/Brad on the fixed.  Again, piano piano.   I know 4 hours is way more than prescribed for a fixed gear ride, but I like it and doesn't seem to do me any harm.   And I know fixed cog for winter training is old school and now claimed to be of little benefit to power, but I don't believe it.  Hey, I figure if it was good enough for Anquetil...

Sunday though I did a ride at the other end of the spectrum with my flandria-cafe mates  Maarten, Kurt, Tom and Jay...and another dozen lean fit guys.   It was ~50 miler in hilly northern RI.   I knew I was in for a much harder morning when they started flying in the big ring downhill right out of the parking lot, big gaps forming then immediately a first long climb up Scott road.  It was like the big selection in a race.   Pulse on the absolute upper limit, I hit 178 a level which I think I only reached once all last season.    "Why are we going so hard?  It's January for chrissakes?"  Shrugs.  A few of the guys on the ride were Colombian-Americans, and they drilled it hard up every climb like Lucho Herrera trying to drop Patrocinio Jimenez on La Linea.   After sprinting up in one bellicose, loud-mouthed-Irish attempt to get them to chill, I resigned myself to getting stuck into the inevitable, interminable hammer fest.  Big ring the whole way.  Hammerin' out of every turn.  Some serious leg burn and gap closing on the climbs.   Single file.  No conversation.  Super gusty wind.   Not really how I was taught to do January base miles, but no worries, I'm always game for a slug-fest...

If I was smart though I probably should have let them go, but wasn't sure where we were, and wanted to find my way back sometime while there was daylight... I'm sure you've been there, right?    Plus there's that little voice in your head that tells you to keep you hanging on till you can't...

Old school civilized Wintertraining with Elsy Jacobs and
Roger Riviere.  
I hung in ok till the final 3 minute 'wall' up Cullen Hill road just 2 miles from the end.   Without letting up or giving up I just slowly came off...pulse wouldn't climb up high anymore.   I was done.   My good buddy Frenchy was suffering with me and tried to tow me back, but I shut it down and spun last man in to the parking lot.  No worries jongen, it's only January.   Not as bad as I thought I'd be going though given the lack of training and surplus of fat.   Gotta work to lose the tonnage though... that's the hardest part.

Was really glad to see the other Flandria team guys are all flying   Spartacus Jay's really fit and climbing super strong, and I'm quite sure will be a force at the Tour of Battenkill this year.   And Maarten, Kurt and Tom have all been training hard for their upcoming April pilgrimage to the Ronde van Vlaanderen / Parijs-Roubaix double.  They've sighed up for the full distance cyclotoerist version in both!  I'm more than a little jealous I can't be joining them on this... but after seeing how well they're going now, and knowing what they're in for maybe I shouldn't be!


  1. Excellent. How many of us have experienced the feelings and emotions recounted here. In the 'original CCB' we did not allow fixed wheel ! Just saying.

  2. Hi Eddy, glad to see you'll keeping the old school training going!
    Like you I'm riding fixed at the moment, 63" with lights, guards and panniers, 20 miles a day commuting.
    Snow in Somerset UK at the moment, loads on roads this morning, whimped out and put bike in mates Range Rover! But will be riding home.

    Got to keep "getting the miles in" as entered Leige-Bastonge-Leige sportive in April, over the full 272km, then looking forward to watching the pros on the Sunday whilst partaking in a few Belguim beers!

  3. Nice Steve! Commuting is for hardmen...and LBL full distance, well that says it all really. Sounds like it will be a great trip. Hope to ride that one someday myself...it's on the bucket list, let us know how it goes. Good luck with the prep, and thanks for reading. E.

  4. Hi Eddy,
    Love your site!
    You really tell it as it is.

    I think a lot of new riders miss out on the pleasure of just "going for a ride", by that I mean no plan, no pulsemeter, gps, power meter etc, etc.

    Even on a training camp in Mallorca or Spain I set aside one day when I just "go for a ride".
    Might involve a cafe stop or two, a leisurely lunch stop and a finish with a beer or two!!!
    Best wishes,

  5. Great post Eddy! We're over here in Sicily "going for rides" as you say. Last year here I showed up at 2 PM at the local "world championship" ride and the same thing happened - big right right away, etc. I wisely dropped off the back in the first km, asking anyone if they wanted to RIDE rather than race? A couple of guys had the same idea and showed me a new route to boot! More on that over here http://cycleitalia.blogspot.it/2013/01/nothing-to-do-and-all-day-to-do-it.html for anyone who wants to see some scenery from over here.
    Meanwhile, for some stupid reason I've signed up to ride the Ronde citizen ride (race?) the day prior to the big event. My real goal was just to see the damn thing, adding one more of the 5 monuments to my list or races to see before it's too late. But the organizer offered me a bike and support so "perche no?" I say now...probably won't be saying once bouncing over the cobbles. Best Wishes for a great 2013!

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  7. Are you sure that Riviere is in this picture? The guy second right looks like Geminiani. The other two I don't recognize but neither look like Riviere.

    Great blog as usual Eddy.

  8. Pretty sure John... FYI here's the photo source I found:
    L to R: Michel Dejouhannet , Elsy Jacobs ('58 world champion), Roger Rivière, and Roger Walkowiak.


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