2019 Tour de Flanders Preview (Men’s)

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Vlaanderen’s Mooiste and the Tour de Flanders 2019 is back this April 7th in Belgium.

Sure it’s outshined by the Tour de France and other mainstream public events. But for legitimate cyclists, the Tour de Flanders is marked on the calendar in bold red. The 266-kilometer all-terrain race has a rich history stretching back over 100 different iterations is a true test of endurance and cycling technique.

Let’s look at the circuit and peek at the betting odds from top sites. As always, if you plan on taking action on your favorite riders do your due diligence and check this sportsbetting.ag review to compare outlets.

The Course and its Stages

There are 17 hills in this brutal circuit, spanning from slight to a leg burning 22% grade. In the near 267 kilometers, there are five paved sections but the star of this circuit is the infamous Belgian cobble.

The first 80 or so kilometers are fairly bland and we will mostly see a lot of pace setting and riders settling into the initial phases of their strategy. But after 80 kilometers it gets interesting. The first patches of cobbles hits and gives the riders their first bite of this uniquely challenging course.

After around 40 kilometers of gut jarring cobble intermixed with asphalt, Oude Kwaremont appears in Kluisbergen. The cobbled climb has an average gradient of 4.2% and maxes out with parts that hit 11%. Oude Kwaremont is actually a misnomer, it not the name of the hill, but the road leading up to it. The first half kilometer of the cobbled section is the most difficult. The cobbling is uneven and jagged and this takes place during the steepest section of the climb. Flemish decree classified these cobbles as monuments back in the early 90s, so you don’t have to worry about any repaving here, this challenging section is here to stay.

Another 50 or so kilometers takes the cyclists through Korteeker, Wolvenberg and then finally hits the pave cobble section at Holleweg. After various short and arduous climbs, the 170-kilometer mark ends at Ten Bosse, leading to the Wall of Geraardsbergen. The Muur van Geraardsbergen is a little over a kilometer long of steep and narrow climb at a brutal average gradient of 9.3% and sections that reach into the 20% range.

This beloved hill has been a constant in the Tour de Flanders since the 1970s but was excluded due to the logistics of Bruges race starts. Now that the circuit starts in Antwerp, its summit marks the fact that the cyclists have just 95 more kilometers to go and the most exciting sections of the race.

The riders circle back for a second attack on the Oude Kwaremont and eventually the Paterberg with gradients over 20% and a mind-numbing (and leg-numbing) average of 12.9%. After this, it’s a race for the finish!

The Favorites

Last year’s edition was taken by Niki Terpstra caught the leading group in the final 28 km after a magnificent effort on the Kruisberg. The Dutchman pulled ahead and won the race. But surprisingly, he isn’t this year’s odds-on favorite.

Terpstra is sitting at a cool +1160 (23/2). Peter Sagan is the favorite at most betting sites. HIs average price is a just +270 (or a little less than 3/1). Let’s look at the average odds for the top-10 athletes:

 

  1. Peter Saga (2.7/1)
  2. Greg Van Avermaet (4.3/1)
  3. Philippe Gilbert (9/2)
  4. Zdenek Stybar (23/2)
  5. Niki Terpstra (23/2)
  6. Oliver Naesen (15/1)
  7. Tiesjj Benoot (19/1)
  8. Michael Kwiatkowski (21/1
  9. Michael Mathews (21/1)
  10. Mathieu Van Der Poel (21/1)

 

Peter Sagan finished 6th last year. But Philipe Gilbert made the podium at 3rd and Greg Van Avermaet was in the mix at 5th. So with this year’s route, it is anyone’s race to win.

 

How to customize your mountain bike

fat tire mountain bike single speed

Well there really isn’t a rule on how to do this. But if you’re happy with your component group, then start making some changes on how your bike looks. A lot of people will change out the color of their grips, bars, stem, seat and etc. Changing out those items is a sure fire way to give it a personal touch.

Personally I like to accentuate some of the subtle colors that the bike has. For example, if my frame is orange, but the graphics like the logos are white, then I’d go with a white saddle and grips. If the bars and stem are black, I’d keep it the way it is.

One of my bikes had a pretty blue frame with white letters. So I made sure I got white wheels and a white saddle as well as a white seat collar(eventually).

Titus Rockstar 29er mtnbikeriders.com

The Moe followed the same idea with one of his older bikes. At the time there was a tire company called Sweet Skinz that sold these colored tires. They had a variety of designs that could make your bike’s appearance pop.

My newest bike in the stable is all white with black logos. I decided to go with a USA theme with it. I ordered red bars, white grips, blue water bottle cage,  USA flag water bottle and a frame bag that is black and blue. I thought about getting star stickers to make it more patriotic, but I’ll probably do that later on.

Gravity Single Speed Fat Tire moutain bike
I decided to go with a red white and blue theme.
wake best bicycle handle bars
Wake Best Bicycle 780mm bar and short stem.
fat tire bike
White grips
gravity fat tire single speed mountain bike
Though my frame bag doesn’t match my cage…I’m ok with it because not every shade of black on this bike matches with each other…right? I’m going to put my snacks in there!
 Ahren's WiseCracker bottle opener
Last but not least, my Ahren’s WiseCracker bottle opener

So that’s about it…customizing your mountain bike can be as easy as changing out the colors of your accessories. Unless  you get your frame painted or Plasti-Dip it, then you’ll have to work with what you got, and that’s what makes it fun!

Don’t trust a fart when you’re over 40

don't trust a fart mtnbikeriders.com

We’ve all been there…you’re riding and you’ve got an urge to fart. Well if you’re over 40…don’t trust that fart! Why? Well for the simple reason of you being older. Your bung hole ins’t as tight as it was when you were younger. Plus you’re not as regular as you used to be. So that means you could still have some poop left over in your colon and when you fart…BOOM! It’s a SHART!

Nothing worse than having to clean out your riding shorts after trusting a fart…don’t even bother right? Just throw those $100 pair of shorts away. I’m sure you tried to hose off the skid marks..but sometimes those poop particles just stay within the padding.

Anyway, let’s get back to what we were talking about…farts at 40. Ya man, hold it in…or better yet, burp it out! I’m sure you know how to do that, right? What you do is this, when you feel the urge to fart, push it back in by doing a simple keigel exercise. This will allow your sphnicter to bounce the fart back up your intestines and you later burp it out. Try it…practice the keigel…did you burp?

 

Therapy on two wheels

The Moe and RL of MtnBikeRiders.com

One of the benefits of riding with close friends is the talk time you get. I’ve called it Therapy on Two Wheels. I’m not sure about you, I tend to ride with some of my best friends. These are the people who know me and my story like the back of their hand. One of my riding partners is The Moe. We’ve been friends for nearly 20 years. Our friendship actually started from mountain biking.

Throughout the years we’ve both gone through some challenging times. The Moe had to deal with a divorce about 10 years ago, and recently I had to deal with divorce. Those two events in our lives were…to say the least tougher than anything we’ve had to deal with.

The Moe and RL
The day I was going to sign my divorce papers. I needed to go on a ride just tone down my anxiety.

Fortunately we had mountain biking to help us cope. The Moe and I would often schedule rides and for those two hours, we talk about all sorts of stuff. It starts off with the latest news with each other, new toys or gadgets we just bought. But a few more miles into it, the real stuff gets aired out.

What’s cool about Therapy on Two Wheels is that while you do get angry or frustration comes out about what you’re talking about. You can easly let out that energy to the pedals.  Sometimes I just zone out and let it all go as I roll through the trail

After all that purging, there’s usually a peace that comes over you and allows you to take stock of how good life is. While bombing down the hills, I am usually smiling ear to ear and quenching all that angst as the cool air hits my pretty face.

So the next time you’re feeling stuff, need to vent or get a different perspective, try mountain biking with a good friend. You’ll find that talking through life stuff while riding is definitely helpful.

When should you stop eating before a ride?

carb loading

For years I’ve heard of people “carb-loading” before a big ride and or a run. Not really sure if that’s really a thing or if it’s a myth. Personally, I use it as an excuse to eat a lot of spaghetti…which happens to be one of my favorite foods.  Some people say it works for them and others it doesn’t.

But if you’re anything like me, an average mountain biker who happens to be too short for my BMI, then let me share with you what I do. If you’re one of those super fit XC guys that loses weight when they sneeze or fart, then click on the back button or better yet, go for a ride.


Alright, now that it’s just us REAL Mountain Bikers, let’s get to it. For me, if I know I’m riding in the afternoon around 5pm, then I usually stop eating anything around 1:30pm. If I put anything in my stomach, even a drink after 3:30pm…then it just makes me feel sick when I’m riding. All that gloop is sloshing around in my belly and eventually, it will want to come back up…eew nasty. There’s nothing worse than the feeling of nausea when you’re riding…especially if you’re trying to climb a hill.

If for some reason I do get hungry before my ride, having a piece of fruit helps. I usually will chase it down with half of a Redbull. Anything more then I’ll be feeling it during my ride.

Ok so far we’ve learned that about 3.5 hours before a ride should be the cut off time for food. But if I get a little hungry, small fruit. Taking these precautionary steps helps me have a better time riding. That means I don’t have to carry any food on me just in case I bonk. All I have to do is bring a water bottle and myself. Here’s a pro-tip: carry some non-perishable candies in your saddle bag or hydration pack. Nothing crazy, or anything. But in the event you do hit the wall or bonk, you can easily consume some simple sugars to get you back on the bike.

Candy!

How to strip paint off your bike-Revisited

how to strip paint off a bicycle frame

The original article was published back in 2007 when aluminum frames were more abundant than carbon frames, so that means you should only do this DIY on steel or alloy frames.  This process used a simple chemical spray remover that could be bought at Walmart. To learn how to strip paint off your bike frame, simply click on the link HERE!

how to strip bike paint

*Remember, don’t get this stuff on your skin, it burns!

The problem with XC mountain biking

mountain biking

One of the beefs I have with XC mountain biking is this constant need to go fast. What I mean is, people can get so caught up with their Personal Record or wanting to be King of the Mountain. Hey, I get it, you want to see how well you’re progressing with your training and riding.

But my main issue is that people just don’t take the time to soak it all in. Enjoy the scenery, smell that fresh air and ride in a casual pace. Years ago we coined the term “Relaxed Vibe.” It basically means we go out there and have fun. We take a bunch of photos, videos and tell jokes.

mtnbikeriders.com

Personally I appreciate those types of rides more than the ball busting fast paced rides.  For starters, a relaxed vibe ride means less injuries. When you’re going at 100%, you’re more likely to tear something and the margin for errors are way higher. Crashes, breakdowns, and other problems can be mitagated by going at a slower pace.

So on your next ride, go a little slower. Soak up the experience and have fun.

I could have bought a (fill in the blank) with the money you paid for your new mountain bike

Let’s face it, mountain bikes aren’t cheap. I know guys that have dropped $5-$7k on a mountain bike. Each time I hear of it, I sorta cringe. You see I’m what you call a cheapskate, AKA BOB-Brother on a Budget. I come from no money and because I have three daughters, I still don’t have money. Any of the mountain bikes I’ve purchased are usually acquired through some extensive dealings to get a bro-discount. I make sure I try and pay at cost for a bike. If anything, having a used bike is the way to go. Just like cars, their resale value drops like a sledgehammer once they leave the showroom floor.

Not sure if you knew this, but I’m a huge motorcycle fan. I’ve bought and sold over 31 motorbikes in the past few years. It’s become a big hobby for me. I look for bargains or in some scenarios, a basket case and I’ll recondition and resell for a profit. I’ve gotten pretty good at it and out of all my dealings I can say I’ve only lost money 2 times. That loss only equates to about $50…but if you consider all the profit I make on all my other dealings, then I really didn’t take a loss.

Anyhow, when I heard some friends drop mad-cash on new bikes…my mind immediately goes through a thought process of “I could have bought a nice motorcycle for that!” Sometimes my mind ends up speaking on my behalf by blurting out…”DAAAANG!!!” Then I also think about how many months of rent that could pay or how many car payments that could take care of. I also think about how many tattoos can I get with that money?!

But hey, to each his own, right? I mean, you’re going to do what you think is best for you. For me, if I had $4k in my pocket, I’d probably find a mountain bike for about $1500, then use the rest to buy 1-2 motorcycles to flip so I can get a return on that cash I just spent.

Local mountain biker late to the Fat Tire Bike Fad

Gravity Deadeye Single Speed Fat Tire Bike

42-year-old mountain biker finally gets on the fat tire bike fad with his purchase of a new single speed fat tire bike. These types of bikes have been around for quite some time and people who live in non-snowy areas have gotten them too. Ya sure they’re gimmicky and they look fun, but this fad…well, it’s a fad. There are plenty of brands who offer fat tire bikes, but the thing is, these bikes aren’t their biggest sellers. People still love their XC or Enduro/Trail bikes. Heck, even the E-bike craze is starting to become more popular than the fatties. But don’t quote me on that, it’s not like I have scientific data. It’s a matter of what I see on the trail

single speed fat tire mountain bike mtnbikeriders.com

With that said, we’ll wait around and see how long he’ll keep this bike. When asked why he bought one, he said: “Well truthfully, I got caught up in a bidding war on eBay…and guess what, I won.” But did he really win?