Last Few Hours

(Sniff sniff sniff) Smell that? The rich, earthy goodness of springtime in Belgium hangs in the air. A recent, brief deluge just two days ago is a stark contrast to the sunny and virtually flawless weather today. It’s almost an effrontery – if weather could actually show spite to us humanfolk – to have taken in our last ride before tomorrow’s Ronde van Vlaanderen in such nice weather, knowing that the forecast tomorrow entails more, err, let’s just call it Belgian weather.

If you haven’t given it your requisite five minutes, please read my piece over at Bicycling found here, thank you kindly.

Here are a few shots from the ride. This is the main pedestrian street through Kortrijk where we’ve startled many an unexpected walker with the whizzing by of a half dozen Liquigas-Cannondale clad cyclists. Upon being recognized, we usually get a quick and unintelligible Flemish yell. Usually the tone sounds positive, so we reciprocate with a festive yelp ourselves.

Again, coffee was an integral part of this ride, but it isn’t all fun and caffeine for us with a monument like Flanders looming on the horizon. After bidding farewell to the friendly bakery couple who have hosted us on the easier rides this week, we set off off in the direction of our nearby hotel. Some guys saved their legs after a tough week at De Panne and went straight to the showers, a pair of others spent nearly an hour behind the car for a bit of motorpacing to hone the leg speed, and others went off to do their specific work. Me, I went for an addition 45 minutes with varying speed. I kept it mostly easy with a few absurdly high cadence drills in addition to even stumbling on what resembled a hill – a rarity in this particular region. Click below to further scope the ride courtesy of Strava.

Here’s an artful shot of my steed for tomorrow’s romp through Flanders, a Cannondale Synapse. Built to absorb much of the harsh reality that is Flanders and its cobbled together goodness, but still deliver a snappy and responsive ride, I’ve been loving this bike lately. “Artful” because it was taken with one of themthere photographer-in-the-making image editors that accentuates colors and makes it look like I spent some time (butchering) with the photo in a darkroom. Also please note the windmill and the cows. Yuup, art.

Less art, more stark reality: Belgium. Farmland, dirt, trees forever bent from the prevailing wind. It’s almost too easy to characterize this place.

Lastly, I found a sheep. I stopped next to this sheep and it wouldn’t take it’s eyes off of me. It’s smokey black face and tar-black eyes don’t really exhibit many emotions, but I did give it a reciprocal inquisitive stare just to leave him confused. Point: King! While there’s not actually anything interesting in this paragraph, I did actually find it incredibly odd that this little fella wouldn’t stop staring. I figure he sees cyclists all the time being Belgium and all. Okay sure, maybe not many cyclists stop and take photos, but still.


  1. Robet Rimini

    Hi Ted,
    You must check out the film “Flanders”. Not about cycling. It’s about young Flandrian farm boys sent off to fight in Afganastan. Powerful film. It’s existentialist I believe so it shows how the experience was seen through the eyes of these kids who have no knowledge of much outside their own environment. 60 years after the WW2 trauma in Flanders, the local kids get to do it again. The director is a famous Belgian artist. Belgium is producing some of the finest films in Europe lately.
    Hope you got a chance to read TC Boyle!

  2. Becky B

    The sheep knows about the handknits…

  3. Kristina

    Those sheep need a haircut, a woolly bath, some serious brushing, a spinner, and a knitter = warm socks!

  4. Beau

    Between your two articles I want to pack up the fam for trip to Belgium. With the forecast though it’s good thing you got in your TUSB training back in NH. Enjoy the ride today!


    Sheep are color blind except in the lime-green color range, which would explain the stare.. All other cyclist in more standard colors are merely rendered in black and white. You stood out like a big lycra-clad freak and he/she/it found you interesting.


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