Well folks, that’s a wrap.
Ronde van Vlaanderen that is. That’s a fun word, I just like saying it. Vlaaaaanderen. Or typing it, rather. Not many words in the English dictionary carry out the consecutive-A with such authority. Aardvark is about a close as it gets in my mind. Aaron is a close second, but we’re playing Scrabble rules here so no proper nouns. Sorry. In any event, I’m digging it.
I dig the race too. Hard to put words to describe it, so I’ll begin by calling it legendary and then digress.
Some other folks have put together various pre-race montages, summaries, videos, and masochistic “Heads up! This is what you’re about to get yourself into” vignettes. Nothing really can do justice to this race though until you have taken it all in, full-gas, with 200 of your closest colleagues. Regardless, here are a few people’s take on the prep’, which being cycling nuts like yourselves, I’m sure you’ve seen once or twice already.
In all honesty, never have I been so anxious leading up to a race as this. Rarely do I have my nerves tied up in a knot, but for my first Ronde I continued to find myself in the days and hours leading up to it with an elevated heart rate just just thinking about the race. The parcours, the hype, the crowd, the cobbles, the climbs, the competition, and mayhem of 260km of nonstop fighting tooth and nail for position. Nope, this isn’t your standard jaunt through the park.
My day lasted less than 260km however. My job was to look out for Daniel Oss, who’s a genuine all-star and along with Peter Sagan was one of our two captains for the day. I don’t remember where we were exactly, but we were a good three hours in, beginning to feel the heat of the race with Garmin driving it on the front for good position leading into a handful of back-to-back-to-back cobbled sections and climbs when Oss flatted. A wheel change ensued followed by my frenetic dig back through the cars and to the peloton with Daniel in tow. That was a proverbial match-burner. From there, I continued to shadow him until about 180km when Peter had a bout of bad luck and a wheel change himself. I helped pace him back for a while in vain. No excuses here, just a general explanation. Day: over.
And now a few general observations of the RVV:
Next up, Paris-Roubaaaaay.