Classic. Epic. Cobbles. Raw. The tour of Flanders. Tomorrow.
Flanders has always been known as a classic bike race. It has been raced for many decades. It has everything a bike racer could dream of; steep hills, cobbles, cross winds, spectators, and narrow roads. You name it and the Tour of Flanders has it.
Belgium racing is also known for bad weather. That's what makes some of the classics races classic. It wouldn't be that hard if it were just sunny and nice all the time. Then anyone could have a great day and do well. But you mix rain and mud with cobbles and that's when things get interesting. It changes the dynamics of the race. Little weeny wafer-racers all of a sudden aren't that tough and whining becomes the priority over winning. It's a tough girl day (or tough guy day) and the most burly will have success.
Such is the case on the eve of my second Tour of Flanders. Last years race was run under sunny, blue skyes and mild weather. Looking back, it was a great way to "get my feet wet" and learn the race. Now when I ride on the cobbles I feel good. Balanced. It feels like riding the dirt roads at home. I know what to expect and I am ready for it. This knowledge is going to be VERY helpful as tomorrow's race is forcasted to have the worst weather since 1989. You name it, we are supposed to get it. Rain, cold, wind, hail, snow. It is going to be epic. Classic in all parts of the word.
Bring it on.