2016 Flèche Wallonne
Wednesday April 20, 2016 | Mur de Huy
Marchie-En-Famenne (Men), Huy (Women)
(Mur de) Huy
196km (Men), 137km (Women)
16,379 steps, 7.9 miles.
Okay, shit is getting tight, the pressure is on. On the way to Wallonne and Women’s Wallonne, the USA Cycling House called and said come on over and Cribz with us. On Friday! Which is like, yeah, cool, but. Also, it turns out that Cannondale is going thrifting today (Thursday) not Tuesday. Oh, and tonight we’re photographing Jonas from Topo Copy, the Risograph machine, the birthplace of the Cobble Goblins posters. Also, it’s already 4:49 in the afternoon, so yeah, time of filing is once again a place where we can understandably but shamelessly broadcast-stye solicit sympathy from you, the reader.
- Obtain credentials – FAILED!
- Drive immediately to the Mur Party – SUCCESS!
- Photograph the Mur Party, and the race too, if it’s easy – YOU TELL US!
- Alejandro Valverde, Movistar Team
- Julian Alaphilippe, Etixx – Quick-Step, s/t
- Daniel Martin, Etixx – Quick-Step, s/t
- Anna van der Breggen, Rabo Liv Women Cycling Team
- Evelyn Stevens, Boels Dolmans Cyclingteam, +0:00:08
- Megan Guarnier, Boels Dolmans Cyclingteam, +0:00:22
“Although the three assaults on the Mur de Huy remain unchanged, the umpteenth alteration to the start and middle section of the Flèche Wallonne route itself might, just, make a difference to the final outcome. Featuring a fifth different start in as many years, this time in the town of Marche-en-Famenne in southern Belgium, a double ascent of a new mid-race climb, the Côte de Solieres, will perhaps toughen up Flèche’s last segment. After shedding 2015’s very early Côte des 36 Tournants climb, on the first two laps between the Bohissau and the Mur de Huy itself, the 4.3- kilometre Côte de Solieres, at km 87 and 153, will perhaps ensure the ‘weeding out’ process of the peloton starts earlier than usual or act as a springboard for a break. However, the final, crucial lap and combination of Mur de Huy/Côte d’Ereffe/Côte de Cherave/Mur de Huy climbs in the last 29 kilometres remains unchanged from 2015.”—CyclingNews
Four years ago we drove the course and photographed the race along the way in several locations. Three years ago I was on a Photo Moto and photographed the race from more or less within the race itself. Now, because we’re lazy, because the Mur Party is so reliably colorful, and because if you do it this way you can also see the Women’s race twice, we drive straight to the Mur de Huy. For the record, Flèche means arrow, and Wallonne translates roughly to West Virginia; The Arrow of (Belgian) West Virginia. It’s called the arrow because that’s basically the shape of the race, a straight line that ends with several laps up and down a big-ass hill (or ‘Mur’) outside the town of Huy. What’s the Dutch word for lollipop? It’s loli apparently. But this is Wallonne, the French-speaking part of Belgium—jesus this is tedious—which means the real question is what’s the French word for Lollipop? It’s sucette. If you wanted to, you could easily call this race Sucette Wallonne. In fact, let’s. The first 100 or whatever kilometers of Sucette Wallonne, the straight line bit is, it should be mentioned, very picturesque. Lots of undulation, narrow roads of various surfaces some of them questionable, forets, small villages, rivers and creeks; all and all an area not unlike the Appalachian Piedmont plateau in Western Maryland, Virginia and North Carolina. But who cares #BecauseMurParty.
The race didn’t start in Charleroi. It’s supposed to start in Charleroi. I love Charleroi because it’s like a take out joint and a track suit had sex and gave birth to a French-speaking Belgian town in West Virginia.
Visually speaking, this race wins.
Huy does not appear to have a Twitter account. The account @huy belongs to Huy Hong, whose profile says, “I slam things into the internets and butterflies magically appear.” Huy Hong has 2,837 followers, and is happy to have beaten a Nissan GT-R on a brief uphill chase on April 17th. He lives in Palo Alto, CA.
I think I had a little bit of an uh-oh moment. What does it mean if after eating a big meal of Indian food you want to go home and put on some sweat pants, but you’re already wearing sweat pants, and what if you’ve been wearing sweat pants basically non-stop for the past year and a half?
The people in Wallonia are a liiiitle rough around the edges.
Kayso, between 8:00am and 8:00pm (roughly 12 hours), I ate two handfuls of salted peanuts and a miniature package of Haribo Gummy Bears. For refreshments I had one 24oz bottle of Spa Intense, a 12oz bottle of Vittel and five gas station XL cappuccinos.
Mormon Josh live-blogging is back! This time it’s the Amstel Gold Edition!
- And BTW, I JUST like JUUUUST started Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (UKS, dammit) on Saturday night and pushed through like 5 episodes already. So funny.
- So wait, are you saying that the Belgian freedom to pee in public (PiP) is a reason for increased dogging because people are cool with seeing dongs in public so like coolyeahwhynot? Or are you saying that the taboo of PiP in Netherlands is a reason for increased dogging because ooooooooh risqué!?
- And now I am doing time math and wondering the likelihood of a pain au chocolat lasting in your luggage until we hang in May. Not good odds, I’d say.
- Klaus says wowee quite a bit on the podcast and although I have obviously heard it I have never really noted how great it is and
- it reminds me of the Goonies. Does Data (the Japanese inventor kid) say it? Not sure. Watching Goonies soon for research on this.
- WTF is up with homeboy’s hair? Did he just take it out of a mini ponytail? Also, SIIIIIQ long pocket JNCOs. That is one banging race marshall
- The bio of red corduroy jacket dude is spot on.
- Dude are you dippin some POC shades er wut?
- Ok. I am looking for a cool pendant to put on a chain so I have some swangin’ danglin’ action while I ride my bike.
I Here's a Somewhat Interesting Thing That Happened to MFS
Manual for Speed found the above note attached to our EuroCar rental on the evening of Flèche Wallonne. We don’t speak Dutch, but we have transcribed it below to the best of our abilities (accuracy isn’t even remotely guaranteed):
U heebt SCHAde LU.
Dat Komt doedat onze Bus
doon tegen oon Kwaw.
U Kon leller met:072-xxxxxx.
Given that we are unable to interpret the note ourselves, we took to Twitter to #crowdsource some translations. We would like to thank everyone for their help, even if it wasn’t helpful, and especially if it was funny/entertaining. Below, some of the best responses are reproduced verbatim.Also, we weren’t super clear about this, but it was totally a competition and Alex Howes won.
google translate got me this far 'you half DAMAGES LU . That's doendat our bus doon empty oon kwor . you could caller'”[email protected]
hey! I just met you, and this is crazy, here's my number, call me maybe”[email protected]
Goedendag. U heeft schade LU. Dat komt doendat onze bus daar tegen aan kwam. U kan bellen met: *number*”[email protected]
we damaged your car left-front with our bus you reach us at: (numbers is telephone number) maybe replace first 0 with +31)”[email protected]
Did You Know? Flèche Wallonne Edition By Klaus
- Liège-Bastogne-Liège and Flèche Wallonne used to be held on the same weekend, which was then known as “Le Weekend Ardennais”. Since both races have existed, only seven riders have achieved the Ardennes Double. Most recently, Philippe Gilbert and Alejandro Valverde.
- Ardennes Double sounds like a sexual euphemism.
- The race was started by the newspaper Les Sports to increase circulation in 1936. The race has taken place every year since, except 1940.
- Belgians have won the race 38 times, Italians 18 and French 8. The only American to ever win it was Lance Armstrong.
- Alejandro Valverde has won Flèche Wallonne more than anyone else, a total of four times.
- His Twitter account (@alejandrovalverde) is verified.
- He has 206,000 followers. That’s less than Weird Al Yankovic (3.98 million) but more than comedian Gallagher (750).
- His nicknames include Balaverde (Green Bullet), La Bala (The Bullet), El Imbatido (The Unbeaten One).
- He became a professional cyclist in 2002.
- He has had 96 professional victories.
- He last updated his personal diary/blog on April 18, 2014.
- His birthday is on April 25th, which he shares with Al Pacino, Ella Fitzgerald, Jason Lee, and Renée Zellweger.
- On the day of Valverde’s birthday, in 1980, the United States armed forces, under president Jimmy Carter attempted to end the Iran hostage crisis by rescuing 52 embassy staffers that were being held captive at the US embassy in Teheran. The operation had several names, including Eagle Claw, Evening Light and Rice Bowl.
- Population: 21,205
- Postal Code: 4500
- Area Code: 085
- Sister cities:
- Compiegne, France
- Port-Bouet, Ivory Coast
- Seosan, South Korea
- Arona, Italy
- Bury St Edmunds, United Kingdom
- Natitngou, Benin
- Montagano, Italy
- Tienen, Belgium
- Kruje, Albania
- Velingara, Senegal
- Taizhou, China
- Was used as the filming location of the 2014 BBC TV series The Missing about a retired French detective (Julien Baptiste) in search of a missing child. The series starred James Nesbitt (Bofur in The Hobbit movie series). The series was set in France and the UK, but was filmed in Huy in order to take advantage of the Belgian government’s tax shelter scheme to encourage TV and film production there. The episode with the highest viewership in the series was #8 (“Til Death”) with 6.61 million in the UK, and .161 in the US. The Missing has a “Certified Fresh” score of 96% on Rotten Tomatoes.
- Must-see sights in Huy include:
- Li Pontia (a river over River Meuse)
- Li Rondia (rose window in the Gothic Notre-Dame collegiate church)
- Li Bassina (15th century fountain that stands in the middle of the Grand Place)
- Li Tchestia (Citadel of Huy)
- Lee Majors (not really, he was the star of The Fall Guy and The Six Million Dollar man, and lives in Los Angeles, not in Huy)
- Celebrities from Huy:
- John Joseph Merlin (Inventor of roller skates)
- Peter the Hermit (instigator of the First Crusade)
- Le Pere Pire (1958 Nobel Peace Prize)
- Alizee Poulicek (Miss Belgium 2008)
The Mur de Huy
- Officially known as Chemin des Chapelles (Path of the Chapels) since there are seven chapels along its route.
- Was used as a stage finish in the 2015 Tour de France. That stage was won by Joaquim Rodriguez.
- Was first used as the finish for Flèche Wallone in 1983. Bernard Hinault won using 39×23 gearing.
- 1.3 km long.
- Average gradient of 9.3%.
- Maximum gradient is 26%.
- Current male Strava KOM is held by Wilco Kelderman (Power: 512W, VAM: 2146, Time: 3:23).
- Current female Strava KOM is held by Ashleigh Moolman Pasio (Power: 329W, VAM: 1807, Time: 4:01).
III Women's Lap I
IV Men's Lap I
Printed by the legendary Topo Copy in Ghent, Belgium (feature coming soon!), these A3-sized Risograph prints are sure to spice up any blasé rooms in your house with a dosage of art by Benjamin Marra. Manual for Speed, we’re patrons, just like the Medici family.
V Women's Lap II - Finish
VI Men's Lap II
VII Men's Lap III - Finish
Spring Classics (aka Cobble Goblins) Underwriters Thank You!
For the next three weeks Manual For Speed is your Spring Classics Virtual Reality. Creating a three-week-long virtual reality requires a lot of support both emotionally, psychologically and financially. Our underwriters provide us with all of three and more. We cherish them because of it; won’t you cherish them too?