Friday, April 10, 2009
ode to P-R
though it's been many many years since i've been in a road race and have no desire to do so again, and am quite content being a recreational rider just who rides for fun, i still follow the sport, though mostly just the european scene. this sunday one of the most storied one-day races of the calendar takes place. apart from the tour de france, paris-roubaix was one of the first big races i learned about when i was a teenager just getting into cycling, probably because it's always on or very close to my birthday. so along with everyone else i'll be watching the 'queen of the classics' with keen interest on sunday. p-r is a great race with a lot of drama and history. one of the best ones i think, with the greatest show of bravado... was the one and only edition the great bernard hinault raced it. it was 1981, he was world champion and made no bones about how he hated the race. but to honor the rainbow striped jersey he decided he needed to do it once, win it, and get it over with. as always it was one hell of a race, and he dominated it in a way the likes of which we don't see anymore. he always rode at the front and dared anyone to attack, and if they did he'd chase them down on his own. toward the very end though he was almost done in by a black dog, and yet he still managed to chase back on and get right to the front to lead the sprint in the velodrome. so this sunday i think i'll go ride some gravel (i wish we had a few cobbled paths here in nebraska like they have in france) for a few hours and then maybe open a bottle of wine afterwards.