What's Cool In Road Cycling

HOMEBOY Belgium: France dirt, Italian posers and other randomness

In his next installment of the Homeboy in Belgium diaries Gregg gives us a look at the “other” Paris-Roubaix, a word on Italian imposters, and some other randomness that has been rattling around his brain the past couple of weeks

French Dirt
They say everything tastes better in France. “They” have never had to ingest French dirt. Of course I don’t care where you come from, dirt is dirt and it doesn’t taste good. So you are right about now asking yourself why is this Homeboy eating dirt? It all has to do with a little race called Tro Bro Leon, or “Le petite Roubaix”

This race in the Brittany region of France and covers 20 sections of the finest dirt France has to offer. Top off the fine dirt selection with a nice cold Northern European rain storm, add 150 plus guys to the mix and you are ready for some fun! Highlights of the whole ordeal include literally skimming a guys helmet by mere centimeters during a 65kph line out, watching Cofids rider Nicholas Roche face plan into a muddy ditch, somehow sliding sideways on a corner in a dirt section then keeping it up in stupefied disbelief and finally turning a relatively brand new set of brake pads into absolutely nothing in less than 200k. Riders were so dirty that people feeding had trouble picking out their riders at the feed.

All in all it was a good race for me. I ended up blowing up at 175k into the race as the pace was increased on the last couple of dirt sections. To see what this dirt infested death march looked like go to the www.velofotopro.fr.st website and scroll down the right hand menu to the Tro Bro Leon picture, you’ll know the one.

Italian Imposters
The following is a tale way to twisted to make up and way to funny not to be told. So here it goes…. So after getting home at 4am after 8 hours of driving to back from Switzerland I go and check my e-mail like normal. There is a message from a guy in Italy asking what is happening with his “great fan and idol Alex Coutts”. This isn’t to strange as my teammate Alex Coutts raced in Italy two years ago and did quite well, also my e-mail is easily available on the web and the Flanders Team site.

So I ask Alex later on in the day if he knows this guy, but he doesn’t. We wonder how and why Alex is getting fan mail two years later and not having raced in Italy for the better part of a year. The solution, time to Google. But my being an internet addict I Google “Alex Coutts” at google.it and see what comes up. We ran across a search for a forum in Italy called Cicloweb.it and began to read.

No one in the house speaks Italian, so we used Freetranslator.com to translate the pages. As me and Alex began to read we were surprised to see people talking, and recently at that, about Alex and his results in Belgium. I was like, “Damn Alex, you got fans in Italy!” But then we started to read and noticed some posts by a guy named Cymon. The strange thing was he was posting in first person! This guy Cymon thought he was Alex Coutts and was posting as him.

About this time our teammate Dan was off his training (He broke his hip and collarbone in a crash earlier in the month) and had entered the room to see what all the commotion was about. Once he learned that someone was posting as Alex he began to laugh so hard he was causing his hip and collarbone to hurt! This was getting stranger as the night went on

So me and Dan searched the internet and found some of the following things that were weird and disturbing. There is an interview by ‘Alex Coutts’ from last year that he didn’t give. The dead giveaway that it wasn’t the real Alex is the music question as the real Alex is musically inept. I am even involved in this whole mess in one of the posts where Cymon talks about the first races of year complete with a photo hijacked from my early season PEZ diary. The Italian fan who had e-mailed me earlier in the day also posts to the forum and has a website complete with an “Alex Coutts” page! You can see all Cymon’s posts here.

So Alex was a bit worried about all this so I e-mailed the same Italian fan who e-mailed me at the start of the day. He replied back and said he couldn’t believe it, that Cymon was not the real Alex and that he had talked to him on MSN (the real Alex doesn’t even have an MSN account). I e-mailed back with my MSN name and he added me. I talked to him and his disbelief was still there until I came up with the idea of putting my webcam on and showing him the real Alex Coutts standing next to me. The next twist was when the imposter Alex “Cymon” came on MSN. I tried to talk to him but he quickly blocked me, I wonder why.

So in the end we had the Italian fan send an e-mail to the administrator of the website and he let everyone know that Cymon was not Alex. There were some people who didn’t believe it was possible, but it was true. My teammate Alex Coutts had an Italian imposter for over a year, spanning 4 different websites and building him a loyal fan base of Tifosi. He couldn’t have paid top class press agent to better publicity work!

If you build it, they will come …
In November I received some bad news. The McDonalds across the street from where I live burnt down. I was unhappy at the thought of no more post race McFlurries. When I returned I hoped it would be being rebuilt, nope. But then one day about a month ago I opened my shutters to the wonderful site of a framework of a McDonalds. If you build it they will come. It’s post race McFlurry time soon enough.

What the pro’s do for training?
So I have decided to start posting my weekly training to my website. I have been thinking about doing it for a while, but I haven’t found the time to get it all together. All to often I hear people talk about there being a lack of power meter files and that people won’t share them, well my training has just become an open book for everyone (well everyone with CyclingPeaks Software). I have begun to post all my power files onto my personal website.

You can see my training, along with other tidbits at:

A little name dropping
Finally I want to say a big thank you to Cane Creek. I don’t name drop too often in my reports, but I kinda feel the need to with Cane Creek. I have been riding their wheels for a little over 4 years now and have to say they are my favorite. Every time I have needed some help they have been there to provide that support that makes the kilometers go by faster. So thank you Peter and the Cane Creek crew for hooking me up with a bling bling set of Volos Sterling.

Take care and keep the rubber side down.

Gregg Germer

About Gregg:
Gregg Germer is now in his fourth year in Belgium and is racing professionally with the Flanders Pro Cycling Team based out of Oudenaarde, Belgium. Between races and training he likes to spend most of his time consuming mass quantities of coffee, watching movies, reading and doing website design in addition to his writing articles. You can always find out more information about Gregg and see more photos of his journeys and travel by visiting his website at: www.gregggermer.com and he always welcomes e-mails at [email protected].

Support those who support our Homeboy in Belgium:

Flanders Pro Cycling Team – www.flandersprocycling.com
VeloStuff.net – www.velostuff.net
CaneCreek – www.canecreek.com
Cobblestone Dreams – www.cobblestonedreams.com
Trial-Tir USA – www.trialtir-usa.com

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