Anyone, who thinks a gigantic climb up to a legendary summit is absolutely necessary for a thrilling stage and there’s no other possible way to create drama has been proven totally wrong with the 2021 edition of Paris – Roubaix.
You know this race is a monument of the sport, when you take a look at the numbers already:
Total distance: 257 km!
Including: 30 sectors with a total distance of 50kms of pavet!
Nickname: The hell of the north!

This race is a spring classic with cold but dry conditions for dozens of years straight. Due to the pandemic it has been moved to early octobre and how could it have been any other way:
Rain showed up in the night before the race and wouldn’t stop until late in the race!

Usually, I prefer being outside riding roadbikes to sitting in front of the TV watching races the whole day. However, for the most prestige classic monument race in the world, I decided to make a super rare exception and of course I didn’t just sit on the couch staring at the TV for six hours straight … I studied the race in detail, which led to pages and pages of hand written race notes, which I would like to share right here:


Paris Roubaix 2021

257km
start conditions -> cold and wet
rider impression -> focused, not happy,
noone is laughing except of
Tim Declerx -> already at the front on the Depàrt fictif

TV legend expert Jens Voigt is already hyped, compares the riders with gladiators. Voigt rode in the same conditions about 20 years ago

first crash after 800 metres

first breakaway at 247 km to go
Trentin, Theuns, Kanter -> caught after about 25km

next breakaway (huge) at 209km to go (20-25 riders)
most teams are represented in the breakaway
Voigt calls it a race deciding situation

10km’s before Sector 30, the first segment of pavet in the race, tension is rising in the whole field, everyone wants to enter this sector at front. First time Mathieu v.d Poel shows up on the screen

5km’s before Sector 30 -> Stefan Küng and FDJ are again part of it (wrong tire pressure?)

Sector 30 -> peloton is torn into pieces, needs to regroup before the next sector -> 2min. away from the breakaway

150km to go -> Luke Rowe + Gianni Moscon (both Team Ineos) make a good impression in the breakaway

140km to go -> Sagan and Pollitt at the back of the peloton, Oss can’t stay in the breakaway. Bad day for Team Bora Hans Grohe.
Peloton once again torn apart, many riders lose contact to the peloton

Sagan crashes, looks shaken up

133km -> what’s up with Team FDJ? 3rd crash for Stefan Küng, front wheel slips away on the pavet out of nowhere

126km -> John Degenkolb crashes in the peloton, front slips away similar to Küng

115km -> Mathieu v.d.Poel attacks in the peloton with 2:30min behind the breakaway

Crashes and technical issues are still present everywhere in the race:
Laporte (Team Cofidis) lost rear brake, uses his right foot to slow down the rear tire before turns

100km -> Jens Voigt says, the riders look like riding bikes “on wet leaves and oily ice”!

The Forest of Arenberg

Eckhoff and Vermeersch are in front
Van Aert escapes crash soooooo close
Mathieu v.d. Poel attacks with Sonny Colbrelli at his wheel

The forest looks super rough, many ugly crashes

85km to go -> SONNY COLBRELLI attacks!!!

The field is close together after all, just one minute between breakaway, chase and peloton

75km to go -> Colbrelli is on a mission!

Side note: I need a coffee, it’s the 5th hour of sitting in front of the TV screen

70km to go -> Mathieu v.d. Poel attacks again and again,
van Aert can’t follow

52km to go -> Gianni Moscon is alone at the front after
all other riders in the breakaway crash
behind Walscheid

50km to go -> v.d.Poel, Colbrelli and Canadian Champ
Boivin are on a mission to catch Moscon
van Aert is nowhere!

Side note: Riders and Bicycles look like mine workers.
This isn’t a road race…

37km to go -> v.d.Poel attacks with 1:15min between him
and Moscon

Seems like noone can follow him -> wrong, Colbrelli, Boivin
and the rest of the chase are able to catch up to him

30km to go -> Moscon with a technical issue, has to change
bike and loses 30 seconds

Side note: Team Ineos has Moscon’s alternative bike installed
on the left position on the roof of the teamcar,
which costs time and proves, that Moscon has not
been their number one choice for the day…

Jens Voigt calls this a “noob mistake” by Team Ineos, because
they had enough time to prepare everything for their only rider left in the race

26km to go -> Moscon crashes on his new bike
wrong/different tire pressure than before?
however, he doesn’t stop fighting for the win
with 15sec left between him and the chase!

Carrefour de’l arbre

Colbrelli, v.d.Poel and Vermeersch catch up to Moscon

Colbrelli looks strong

Moscon loses contact to the group and is gone

10km to go -> The race is going to be decided between
v.d.Poel, Colbrelli and Vermeersch

Watch out for Colbrelli!

Sonny Colbrelli, the european champ, wins in a thrilling finish sprint in front of Vermeersch and v.d.Poel!!!

Vermeersch tried everything and started the sprint early but Colbrelli did the smartest sprint and probably had the most left in the tank!

<- where else, right?

<- Trentin was gone after that

<- horrible day for FDJ, it’s a shame, because Küng looked super fresh and motivated

<- what happened to Luke Rowe after this? one moment he’s in the breakaway looking super fresh, next moment he’s gone…

<- nasty crash, which ended Sagan’s race, even though he continued

<- only one week after his crash at the world champs! Big streak of bad luck for Degenkolb…

<- The “road” through the forest looked so narrow! If a single rider crashes in front, everyone behind him needs to have superpowers to escape a crash

<- That day, I finally understood the meaning of being tired of doing nothing!

<- Legends do legendary things! Jens Voigt -> best TV expert ever!


This race is just incredible! Anyone who has never seen it, won’t understand this.
It’s incredible, that the riders are actually finishing this race at all and it’s incredible, that the bikes are actually surviving this race.
It’s incredible, that the pavet sectors are all listed and protected as a historical monument and it’s incredible to see, how the people in northern france are celebrating the race and the sport like this.

I am already hyped for next year’s edition of Paris – Roubaix!

-Dennis

May has already started and I just realized, that I haven’t wrote a single word about the start of the official outdoor cycling season yet.

So, here we go … What are the most remarkable things about Spring 2021?

Let’s start with the #1 small talk topic of the galaxy:

The Weather – March and April had just a handful of overall nice days in stock and I tried to take advantage of every single second of them. Time flies and the nice times are like a lightning bolt – before you recognize them, they’re gone. That’s why it was important for me to be outside cycling as long as the weather was great.
However, the standard average March and April day went something like this:

Sunshine and no wind when I woke up.
Grey clouds and a light breeze after breakfast.
Rain, hailstorm and a decent headwind, while I had lunch.
Sunshine and no wind before coffeebreak in the afternoon, that made me dressup and get ready for cycling.
Rain, hailstorm and a decent sidewind as soon as I hit the streets on the roadbike.
Sunshine and just a few clouds, that designed a pretty nice sunset, but it’s just a trap, because the sun’s just laughing about the joke that the average spring day in March and April was!

– Dennis The Cyclist, Spring 2021

Let’s move on to the next remarkable thing:

Construction Sites – Phoenix West – the #1 roadbike spot in Dortmund – is officially dead!
The city decided to make this place a shiny flagship project by planning a modern tech centre right there. Currently, there are three or four huge construction sites, which would not be a problem, if they wouldn’t cause the roads to be closed, torn apart and covered with dirt and gravel. Now it’s a problem and it’s absolutely no fun to ride roadbikes there and it probably might never be fun again.
The only cool thing they ever build at Phoenix West is the brewery, which is only opened for take away right now.
So, whenever I do my casual one lap at Phoenix West to make sure noone’s forgetting that this is still a roadbike spot – I also consider on whether or not I should get some beers, so I could have some delicious ice cold after ride beverages … alone in my room, because that’s what you do in spring 2021, you know?

Finally, the most remarkable and greatest thing about spring 2021:

Cherry Blossoms – Not everything was all grey and cloudy in March and April!
Luckily, it’s the cherry blossom time of year, so it was almost too easy to get some great shots of all the colorful trees outside. Taking all these pictures, which I think turned out really cool, made up a lot for all the downsides of 2021 so far!

If you’d like to see more pictures like the header, here’s the link to the seasonal content on this website:

-Dennis

P.S.: There’s a brand new video on my YouTube channel! If you got four and a half spare minutes left, you might just give it a try? It’s right here:

Whenever I’m looking for ideas, that would be great as a next YouTube video, that’s when I’m most creative.

The Highway Loop is my latest invention, if you want to call it like that.

What’s the Highway Loop? – It’s a cycling route, that I created while I was scrolling through the streets of Dortmund on google maps, while checking out nice routes for my next YouTube video.

The Loop actually is a cycle path right next to the B54, one of the smaller highways in Dortmund. It starts at the Phoenix West highway entry, follows the highway for 3 km out of town, turns left to cross the highway under a bridge and then follows the highway for 3km in the opposite direction back to Dortmund. While the first part of the loop is challenging your endurance with a light ascent of round about 2%, the way back to town is making up for it, with a light descent of round about 2%. Basically, this just means, you can’t go as fast as you want to on the way out of town, but always as fast as you like on the way back. You should always keep in mind though, that the cycle path is crossing several highway exits, so you better make sure to keep an eye out for cars. Beside of this, the loop’s your classic average cycle path. Tons of potholes, bumps, highway debris and garbage are going to test your reaction and handling skills.

However, the great thing about the highway loop is the fact that you can usually ride without interrruptions like traffic lights or pedestrians. Of course, you might have to stop for cars at the exits, but most of the time you can avoid that with good anticipation.

I did the highway loop on a sunday and I think, that might be the best day of the week to ride it. There’s no rush hour on the highway and most of the weekend cyclists are choosing much nicer routes around town, so there’s a good chance, that you got the cycle path all for yourself.

As I mentioned before, I did a whole video about cycling on the Highway Loop, that I’d like to share with you so, here it is:

Thanks for reading, replying, sharing and liking…

-Dennis

Yes, it’s true. The pizza saddle is history. It’s gone, spending its days chilling on top of the desk inside of the garage until there’s a new purpose for it.

It was a necessary change, although it really had a chance, a good chance, maybe even more than one chance, because I’ve always been a die-hard fan of it. I first saw it somewhere on the internet, five years ago maybe, and instantly decided I had to own it. I mean, it’s a pizza saddle, how much cooler can a saddle possibly look? Yeah, it’s not possible…

I felt confirmed, when I saw the saddle in real life mounted on the old bmx of mine. That really was a classy combination, style for miles … unfortunately contrary to my bmx skills …

The pizza saddle went into its first retirement, when I realised, that I didn’t had what it takes to be anything near good on a bmx. I bought my first roadbike and the pizza saddle spent its days covered in dust leaning against the wall inside of the garage.

A few months ago the saddle was reactivated, dusted off, cleaned and brought back to life, when I started to customize my everyday roadbike ( if you “missed” the story, there’s a chance for you to catch up with it right here and here ).

The saddle still looked classy, upgraded the roadbike from the first moment on and I instantly knew why I decided to buy it a few years ago.

Then I rode more than 25 km on the customized roadbike. That was the exact moment I learned the reason, why you shouldn’t ride a saddle, even a pizza saddle, that is mounted with one huge screw right down through the middle of the saddle into the seat post on a roadbike. It was a painful lesson, but I learned from this mistake …

This blogpost is dedicated to the one and only pizza saddle. Its freshness and style will always be remembered. I’m sure there will be a next purpose for the classiest saddle in the game soon…

-Dennis

The singlespeed conversion of my Creme Cycles Vinyl bicycle took weeks until everything looked like how I wanted it to be. Of course, my excitement level to take the bike out for a first ride went straight through the rooftop…

I decided to go on an easy spin through the neighborhood to see, if everything works as it should. I was especially worried about pretty much the whole brake system and the positions of the brake levers on the handlebar in detail. Everything used to work on the bike stand, but that doesn’t mean anything for on-road use. So, the first few times I hit the brakes were very exciting moments to say the least.

Somehow though, the brakes were working just fine and I’m happy about that.

On top of that, the way the bike looks made me even happier. The chrome-like brake levers on the black handlebar, the velcro on the toptube holding the brake cable and of course … the pizza saddle! Everything looked exactly the way I imagined.

However, looking at the bike as a whole, I think I would maybe go with two rims of the same color next time. The new rim at the rear looks great for itself…but the rest of the bike is black, so the silver of the rear rim looks a bit weird…

I don’t know, next time I would probably try to get a black rim or two silver rims. But in times like these I’m happy that I got a single new rim at all. Ordering and waiting for the new parts took way longer than I thought. The local bike shop almost ran out of spare parts and looking for parts online proved to be a nightmare too. This rim was basically the only singlespeed hub – rim combination available, so I’m pleased with what I got right now…

Besides of this, the customized version of the bike is running so smooth, I sometimes have to look twice to see that this is the same frame as before. Of course, the 47 – 17 gearing has its pros and cons. My first impression is, that it’s perfect for riding on city roads. I’ve got a nice acceleration, so that I can easily flow with the traffic.

Unfortunately, this city ain’t too big… As soon as I hit the suburbs, I find myself fighting on every climb. I just hope to get some nice training effects out of this…

After all though, I’m pretty satisfied with the result of my work. The bike is far more fun to ride than it used to be and I learned a whole lot of new things about the mechanics on a bicycle.

Plus, I’m already thinking about a next project…

-Dennis

In case you’d like to see a bit more of the customized bicycle, here’s my YouTube video about it:

Thanks for reading, watching, liking and visiting!