Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Assault on Western Europe: Part III - Hell of the North

Sunday, May 12, 2009

Last year Edwards made one of his infamous, daily, my credit card is already in the system, and online purchases of a coffee table book that later arrived at our house. “What is this?”, I asked. It looked like an overpriced book of photographs taken of muddy cyclists. Is this my husband’s version of porn? “No!” he emphatically refuted me. It’s Paris-Roubaix. It’s awesome! Look at it...

Less than a year later, there we were lining up along the cobbles with the crazy Flemish fans… waiting for muddy cyclists to pedal past. The only disappointment, this year the weather was perfect and the boys were dry.

Slideshow on Facebook... you might have to be a part of Facebook AND a friend of mine to see it.

What is there to say about Paris-Roubaix? Having ridden the cobbles in Belgium, I cannot comprehend how they do it. The cobbles are so jarring on a road bike that they made me black-out when I tried to ride them fast, and my fast is those guys’ get off the bike and walk pace. This one-day race is brutal. Really, really brutal. For the fans though, it is a good excuse to trot out the majorettes and local hack musicians, get drunk on Jupiler, eat brats, and cheer on the obsessive-compulsive pro-cyclists. It’s like a festival for indulgently bad behaviors.

But, when the sound of the helicopter cuts through the air, and you know the riders are on their way, it gets pretty exciting.
Tom Boonen

We started our day at the beginning of the Pave’ d’Arenberg. They say the race is decided by the end of this forest, so we decided to see what things looked like going in. We got there early to partake in the festivities and cleared out as soon as they passed to catch another glimpse further down the course.
Fabien Cancellara

After our roadside stop at Section 13, we headed to the Velodrome to catch the finish. While we were in transit, Thor Husolvd wrecked and Tom Boonen took a commanding lead. The race was his for the third time and thousands of fans cheered him through the finish. We had cheap seats (free) outside the ‘drome. It was great.

After the race, we went back by all the buses and checked out all the bikes. At the bar, there was a toast that past between Edwards and Bruce, and lucky for us, Boonen came through on his bike. I believe Bruce got b*tch-slapped by a guard for patting on the back!

The whole day was truly quite awesome. Go Boonen! (And here’s hoping you get off the cocaine and race again real soon!)
Tom Boonen knows he's the man

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