At last we come to the racing. The time of the transfer rumors has passed, and the team rosters brim with hope and expectations. The sponsors have signed the dotted lines, and the riders have had their off-season fun posing with girlfriends, dolphins, and the occasional fast car. Team kits unveiled, new bikes presented, rumors dispelled. It’s over now, the off-season pageant of half-baked rumors, fashion failures, and assorted disasters.
Now we get down to the real business of bike racing, where a nice kit and a pretty smile will only get you so far, which really isn’t so far at all. The cobbles don’t have much use for pretty. Still, there’s beauty in the glint of rain on stone and in the mud smeared on sculpted legs. Trace the lines on each face and read a life’s story, a story of gears and grit, of hard kilometers under a beating sun or a driving rain, of podium kisses and of hopes denied.
Go to a race and you’ll hear it before you can see it. Stand by the road side, and the motorcycles horns honking announce the coming of the lead riders. But you needn’t really be there to hear it, do you? Surely, you can hear the race, even from a distance. Metal smacks carbon as the bump of the cobbles sends chains jumping and skipping. Then the chain comes to rest between the gears with a grind. A grunt and a curse, and it’s freed. To race on the cobbles is a hard labor for man, woman, and machine.
I always enjoy the beginning of a new season. All those bike races just waiting for us to unwrap them, Christmas every week. Always, there are surprises, like the older rider who casts off his supporting role and wins on his own account or the young, untried kid, whose name we haven’t learned yet, but soon will be unable to forget.
So gather ‘round, my friends and let’s celebrate the beginning of the best of times. It’s time for the bike racing! It could not have come sooner, because quite honestly, I could not have waited any longer. Tomorrow, it’s Omloop day at last. Happy bike racing to all! It's so on!
Ps. Anyone want to help me finish my vds team? Cuz like, I haven’t started yet.