Greetings from snowy Connecticut. I may have to sell my bikes, as they will never see the roads again. I actually stacked, unstacked and then restacked piles of firewood in the backyard the other day just so I could get outside training. Lift with your knees, maintain a steady HR, you know the drill.
Last night was nice. Our friend Justin Lindine came over for dinner with his young wife Jess. As my faithful readers will remember, he is just home from racing cyclocross in Belgium. He brought me a cool souvenir from one of his races last week: the “Officieel prgramma ten voordele van Ziekenzorg en KG Loenhout; de 26ste Azencross den Loenhout”. It is this really nicely made 20 page long full color brochure of the race.
It has stories about the history of the race, pictures of all the past world champions (wereldkampioenen) and all of the race favorites (de favorieten). It also has a complete start list of every rider, including our own Justin Wolverine Lindine; plus recent results and the prize list. By the way, the winner (winnar) gets 26,000E, which is just slightly more than the cat 4 prize at Battenkill! Ha!
Justin talked about how there were almost 20,000 people at the race and how they were more than willing to pay 10E for entry into the grounds. There they bought frites in paper cones, plus as much Bier as they can handle. Which apparently varied from spectator to spectator. This passion from the fans helps drive and support the racers. Just awesome.
I sat at my italian designed dining room table in my long straight back modern chairs and imagined what that must be like have here in our country. Now, let’s be clear, I am not one of those guys that thinks Europe is the best all; it is pretty neat in the different and traditional ways they do things, but at the same time, I like to get gas on Sundays. I will say however, that if people actually came and watched most bike races, I really feel that they would understand and appreciate the sport a lot more than most do now.
Watching a circuit race like a criterium or cyclocross is a great way to learn about the sport. Spectators would instantly see how hard it is to win a race and how the rolling chess match that is a bike race is constantly moving and evolving. Almost every person I have ever taken to a race instantly becomes a fan. Maybe some day those fans would be willing to pay a small fee to come watch a great race and then that fee would help cover the expenses that young lads like Justin incur in order to try to live that dream.
It’s my dream too. This spring, ask your friends and neighbors to come watch your local spring training race. Bribe them with lunch afterwards, but I bet the next time they will come on their own and maybe bring their own friends too.