Brian Holm is a Danish former pro-cyclist and a current directeur sportif at Belgian super-team Ettix-Quick Step.
Most people who know anything at all about Brian Holm consider him to be a pretty cool guy, because he says and does interesting stuff, and he’s Scandinavian. I’ve never met the guy, and I consider him to be a close personal friend. He doesn’t know this, but that’s a minor detail.
He’d be cool with that.
Talking of that, if you need some definitive information on what constitutes cool in pro cycling then you either check out what David Millar has to say on the subject, or you type the words ‘Brian’, ‘Holm’, and ‘Cool’ into Google.
Holm is also known for a nicely old-fashioned view of cycling as a profession, and of the value of hard work. In an interview with Rouleur back in 2012 he mentioned in passing that if a rider has had a crash, as team director he will sometimes send that guy up to the front of the peloton to do some work.
On the face of it that sounds pretty harsh.
If a rider is suffering the after-effects of an unscheduled appointment with the tarmac, or a bollard, or some other bike riders, surely he’s suffered enough? Is it not cruel to add to his pain in the service of his team-mates at the front of a race?
As Holm-logic has it, you can only hurt in one place at a time.
If you are sitting on the front of a pro peloton like a boss, and dragging it along like a high-speed conga at a house party, then you’ll be suffering. But in a way that not only are you used to, but are getting paid to do. You’ll also look pretty cool doing it. You will not have time to think about the road rash, the piercing pain in your rib-cage, and the general physical and psychological trauma of the crash.
Speaking as someone who once crashed into the back of a parked Land Rover in a small Cumbrian town, and was forced to ride the twenty miles home wearing winter tights with a rip from groin to knee, I am well qualified to talk about the physical and psychological trauma that a crash can cause.
Holm’s solution has to be a better option than malingering off the back of the race nursing your ailments and avoiding making eye contact with the broom wagon.
Next time I cut my finger chopping carrots, or poke myself in the eye putting a contact lens in, or slip in the shower and bang my elbow on the shampoo shelf, I’m going to grasp this as an opportunity to heal, and go for a ride. Suffer on the bike to take my mind off the pain. Surely no wife/child/work colleague would be cruel enough to deny me that simple pain relief following a household incident?
If they do I’ll just pull out my ace.
Why are you going for a ride when you should be going to work/chopping more vegetables/putting your contact lenses in/generally being responsible for stuff like any other adult?
Brian Holm told me to.