After six months of investigative reporting and following up on many false leads, the indefatigable reporting staff of Peloton magazine cracked the code to winning Flanders.
Words: Jeremiah Boombambergen
On a cobbled street in the linen district of Ghent, above Super Frittur and next to an aging dentistry clinic, there’s a small yoga studio with the simple name of Mammallooker. Inside his remote studio apartment with a yoga room in his slappkamer, we found Jurgen Van Downwerdoggen, the yoga guru of the last five winners of the Tour of Flanders. And while he may be hard to find in his inauspicious surroundings, a select circle of the world’s top cyclists know exactly where to go.
After refusing to speak with our team of 27 editors on site to cover the race and to create Facebook Live shows, Instagram galleries and Snap Chat stories while selling our new kit designs, Donwerdoggen finally obliged after Bom Van Balen intervened on our behalf.
“He’s the guy who designed my upper-torso eagle-wings tattoo and the reason I am the rider I am today,” said Bom. “If you want the secret to winning this Sunday, you should talk to him. He taught me everything.”
We did talk to him and in fact seven of our copy editors were so blown away by the conversation and training tips, that they have quit Peloton and are moving to Ghent to train under, above and alongside Donwerdoggen. Here are his five principles to riding and winning in Flanders in brief. Each principle will become its own book, published by Om Press, a new division of Move Press (it’s “Move” but we took out the “v” and the “e” and then swapped the “o” and the “m,” then trademarked it (and then a stationary bike company quickly utilized it and started running ads in the New York Times: Editors note: We can’t even run ads in High-Times).
The Five Principles of Yoga Guru Jurgen Van Downwerdoggen:
- Paterbergen: Like the climb, it’s important to be steep, breathe steep and bounce up and down while feeling sick and potentially damaging your aging prostate gland and shocking your neverneverlandian region.
- Koppenbergen: Always “Kop” to the truth. Get along with “Kops” especially if you live in a dangerous neighborhood. Nothing will give you more Chi (other than Tai-Chi) than this principle. And, don’t “Kop” out (that’s a bonus principle not included in this five).
- Cancellarian: With flowing dark hair, a defined mid torso and the propensity to overheat, this principle teaches you to attack early and often and shock your competitors and family with your looks, your talent and your ability to win. A lot of Swiss people have this quality naturally. If you don’t you can supplement your life with Saw Palmetto and daily reading of Lao Tzu.
- Boonenbergen: Try your best to be 6’1, have massive power numbers, drive sports cars, ride like a warrior-angel and be the favorite of an entire nation. If you can’t do that, you should quit and give up. Let someone else try and get out of the way, jackass.
- Loverbergen: Take your partner and family to Ghent, come to my studio and perform three simple yoga moves with me, pay me $1400, make me curry and I will teach you to breathe in the world and out the world and float upside down then sideways and turn your Cobra into a Gazelle and all the while we will talk about bikes and Flanders and life and winning and then I will go upstairs and watch the moon glow and laugh at the doubters.
Pretty simple really.