Done and Dusted



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.

Superb analysis over at Inrng.
CyclingTips
has a nice vid’.
Do you have any idea what 22% feels like… on cobbles?
And if THIS doesn’t get your heart racing, friend, you aren’t living.

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:

  • You’re going to burn a lot of calories over the course of 5-6-7 hours of racing. Furthermore, the race starts earlier than average on account of the length. My astute observation: it’s difficult to stuff yourself to the gills when you’re hardly awake shy of 6:30 in the morning.
  • I considered putting a charm in my pocket in case I found myself off the front of the peloton with the victory virtually sewn up to show my love for my yet-to-be-conceived child (…I’m not yet married yet either). But at the last minute I decided not to.
  • The weather was perfect. Chilly in the morning, still cool to mildly warm throughout the day, but never HOT hot, and most importantly dry. I saw  entirely too many crashes – altogether probably a dozen or more – with this flawless weather. I truly don’t want to even imagine an alternative.
  • I think that marks my friend George Hincapie‘s sixteenth RVV. On the start line we chatted a bit – weather, family, travel, life in general. Believe the hype folks, George is a genuinely great guy. But he’s also a bit nutty: 16 Rondes?! RESPECT, bro.
  • Lastly a wise man once said, “If you’re not giving out ‘taters, you’re taking yourself too seriously.”

Next up, Paris-Roubaaaaay.



Comments

  1. Vacca Boia

    What a ride. And you kept it rubber side down. Borgo Gianotti cobbles will be simple now as you pedal Angelo Dolce’s.
    Keep on keeping on. Breath of fresh air to hear such a positive take on racing, riding and the human race.
    Your tom-tom plants will be wilting in the heat of the Luchese Tifosi!
    R-E-S-P-E-C-T.
    Vai TEDward.

    Reply
  2. Cody

    Great post, Tedly, it’s so cool to the the Pinata Rocker in the Big One.

    Reply
  3. Marcia Valenzuela

    Nice Job Ted! Great use of Legendary too.

    Reply
  4. Becky B

    my yet-to-be-conceived child
    You can borrow my kid – she’s a chick magnet!

    Reply
  5. Mary

    gosh Ted King, are you this funny in real life? Your posts make me laugh no matter how bad of a day I’m having, so thanks for that! Good luck next week!!!

    Reply
  6. steelciocc

    Perhaps the only word better than one with two “a”s is one with two “u”s.

    How ’bout some thoughts on your first ascent of The Muur in competition.

    Thanks for keeping us informed!

    Reply
  7. wade

    I’m humbled that you’ve mentioned my blog IATK. Thanks!

    Reply
  8. M.Creed Fan Club President

    Everyday I click on the advertisements on your website so someday you will be amazingly rich from all the click-through payments. That is assuming you aren’t already, however judging by your total lack of gold necklaces, diamond ear rings, or flamboyant assortment of rings while you ride/race I must believe you could use a some additional greenbacks in your wallet to support such displays of wealth.

    Reply
  9. DJ

    Hi Ted,
    Great blogging!! As a fan I’m hoping for rain in the North of France come sunday but I hope you can keep the rubber side up and ride the magic finishing lap on the Roubaix vélodrome. Good luck!

    Reply

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