Ah Spring. It brings the promise of water in the basement, soggy dog shit on the sidewalk and a filthy bike. I can hardly wait. In preparation, I have spent this last number of pre-spring weeks planning my race schedule while putting in countless hours on the trainer with Kevin B., motivated by the sweet sounds of the Rocky soundtrack.
I have also entered a vicarious racing pool for the Spring Classics, the other European road races you never hear much about thanks to the big splashy stage races of summer like the Giro d’Italia and, of course, the Tour de France. I have never really followed these single-day races, other than Paris-Roubaix, and shame on me for that. They are incredibly exciting races to watch, and have been around even longer than the great Tours.
I selected my team of riders for the pool using much the same logic as my picks for the TdF. I picked names I recognized, and the rest I picked because they sounded good. How could someone with a name like Enrico Rossi or Antonio Cruz NOT be good? Thankfully the pool does not require a monetary wager of any kind, since I would most certainly lose my shirt. Maybe my pants too.
Today was the first of the Spring Classics, the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad (!) in the Belgian province of East Flanders. It is typically held in shitty wet spring Begian weather, which could really give shitty wet spring Winnipeg weather a run for its money. Needless to say it is not broadcast on CNN, so I watched it in jerky streaming video on my laptop in front of my trainer in the basement. In Dutch.
In spite of that, it was incredibly exciting. My team performed poorly, but as they say, it’s not over until the fat lady sings, or perhaps eats an entire peloton of skinny bike racers, then cleans between her teeth with the breakaway.
Of course the other great thing about Spring is that it will usher in the Summer of Brad, which is most certainly not to be missed.