Just getting back from a post-FSA DS ski holiday, and as of this writing, with just the ceremonial return flight left, my knees hold a presumptively insurmountable lead over grim reality! Anything can happen on that final stage though, so I don’t plan to celebrate until it becomes official and I can turn the pedals over on my (checks weather) indoor trainer tomorrow.
[UPDATE: Anything can happen, apparently, because the airline has extended my trip by two days. So my knees are not yet out of the woods.]
But the timing is perfect, IMO. Taking a ski trip is a good way to get skiing over with, when you have adolescent male children, as opposed to the never-ending drip of local ski outings. And though I love skiing, largely because it helps me love winter, I am so, so ready to get on the bike for real. Winter may have four weeks remaining but I would like to free my psyche from its snowy, icy grip.
This matches well with the rhythm of being a cycling fan, because this weekend’s Omloop Het Nieuwsblad is the not-so-literal but kinda perfect opener to the cycling season. To me it’s like my morning latte: nothing of value happens before it, it doesn’t define the entire rest of my day, it’s not even my actual breakfast. But it does signal whether things are about to get real.
[* Speaking of morning rituals, can we just admire how great it would be if you could use “nieuw” in Wordle?] [Also I am up to three unnecessary bracketed sidebars and the season hasn’t even begun.]
There isn’t much different about this year’s race — just the addition of the Molenberg in place of Marlboroughstraat on the climbing side, and the Lange Munte substituting for the Huispontweg cobbles. The weather will be dry and typical of late winter. The World Tour teams are all here along with the top squads from the Pro Conti world, especially the ones with Belgian ties. The race remains a slightly nostalgic re-running of the old Flanders course to Ninove, with less at stake but plenty of attacks anyway. Nothing but fun.
- Noticeably absent from the startlist are the Yin-Yang classics boys, Wout Van Aert and Mathieu van der Poel, who will wait for next week’s Strade Bianche to join battle again, but after that it’s a deep field. Van Aert and the recuperating Michael…
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