Ronde



256km tomorrow on the Ronde. Actually 256.9km plus probably a few kilometers neutral, so let’s call it a cool 260. Not wanting to overdo it, we went for a very chill ride today, emphasis on chill-y as there was a very dank, cool fog hanging low over Kortrijk today.

A few minutes down the bike path, I was chagrined to see that they frown upon upside down anchors. What a bummer, right?! Mehh, what can you do.

It’s nice being back in this corner of the world since Izegem, right down the road, is where I first received my first schooling in European cycling with the u-23 national team. The bike path you see above is the same one we would ride on easy days from Izegem to Kortrijk for a cup of coffee and a relaxing day spent out and about rather than staying pent-up in the national team house.

The more things change, the more they stay the same holds starkly true here; just yesterday on a recovery ride after the 3 Days of De Panne we Liquigas-Cannondale folk went on a similarly relaxing ride, but at the end of the ride rather than hanging with the boys in neon green and blue during the mandatory coffee stop, I spotted a pair of Americanos at the cafe next door, whereupon I met Lawson Craddock and Ryan Eastman of the Bontrager-Livestrong team. Good kids, but man if you ever want to feel old, go hang out in your old stomping grounds and reminisce with the people currently doing what you were doing a half decade ago in their exact same position. I felt all of my geezerly 29 years even though apparently nothing has changed since 2005: drinking coffee with the national team boys on a damp day in Kortrijk.

Meanwhile fast-forwarding to the present, we stopped at a nice new coffee shop right in the main square of the letter J loving town of Kortrijk. Since none of us can read Flemish, we mostly looked at the pictures since virtually every newspaper has cover-to-cover information about de Ronde. We’re pretty fired up and ready to roll tomorrow! We’re coming off an excellent round of Classics races, including a podium at Gent-Wevelgem, plus a stage win and overall podium at De Panne. I’m miles ahead of where I was last year when I was using the harsh Belgian classics as my reintroduction to racing after an unpleasant month long bout with knee tendonitis. (psst: not recommended)

Everyone is gung-ho for RVV in Belgium. Even the friendly people in the cafe weren’t upset that we parked our bikes specifically in the no-bike-parking zone. They welcomed us neon clad Italian speaking cyclists with open armed gusto.



Comments

  1. D'Andrea

    Very artistic last photo. Ride well & keep safe tomorrow.

    Reply
  2. Don

    Always a pleasure to read your blogs Ted, thanks for sharing.

    Reply
  3. Steve M

    Good luck, tomorrow, it’s a blast following your exploits and savoring arty photos like the one above.

    Reply
  4. Brian

    Truly fantastic ride yesterday in Flanders, Ted. I know you have to ride as a team and teammate, but I have to ask: given how much you must have suffered yesterday, if you had been able to ride for the win, how close could you have gotten? Just curious, because what you do on a bike is not in the realm of the possible for me, so I gotta ask of someone who lives the dream.

    Best wishes,
    Brian

    Reply
    • iamtedking

      That’s a great question Brian, but not one I can truly accurately answer. Cycling is so specific once you get to this ProTour level that you train/race/hone your specialty. So years ago when I made a name for myself racing in America, it was from doing everything – road races, sprints, crits, time trials, breakaways – really well. Once you step up to this level, it’s a whole new ballgame because everyone does everything pretty well. Anyway, you recognize your talents and abilities as well as your place in the peloton. Yes, I would like to ultimately be the go-to guy in a race, but in the meantime I train like a tried and true diesel engine so that I can do my job well. It’s often a thankless job and it doesn’t get my handsome mug on the camera too often, which is a terrible shame because my face was made for the camera (that’s a joke), but it’s a humbling job that I truly enjoy. Chances come every so often and I’d like to step up and make a name for myself and go for the wins. But you certainly need to earn that captain position when you’re in one of the biggest races in the world, like Flanders.

      Or to take a complete stab at it and answer your question, I would have finished 14th if I had raced for myself yesterday.

      Reply

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