I've always been fascinated with the Spring Classics, the brutally beautiful terrain and mud splattered images of riders in the hurt locker, the painful nature of it all is oddly intriguing. It takes a certain amount of insanity to call yourself a "Spring Classics rider," however that insanity comes with a great deal of respect! I must admit that the cold, wet, windy, and cobbled route was one I never really saw myself taking...until a received an email from the US National Team director that will forever remind me to "Never say never!"
I'm very excited that come this April I will be ripping around the cobbles in the Spring Classics!
April 7th - 10th: Van Lauwerszee tot Dolard Tour (Netherlands)
April 14th: Drentse 8 (Netherlands)
April 16th: Ronde Van Drenthe (Holland) *World Cup
April 17th: Ronde Van Gederland (Holland)
April 20th: Fleche Wallone (Belgium) *World Cup
April 23rd: Omloop V Boresele (Netherlands)
April 24th: Roselare (Belgium)
April 27th - May 1st: Gracia-Orlova (Czech Republic) *World Cup
Ironically the day after I received the email about doing the Spring Classics I came across this juicy tidbit in the book I'm reading ("A Dog in a Hat" by Joe Parkin, great book by the way):
"I was cut from our team's start list for the Fleche Wallonne. There was part of me that wanted to be on the team but another part that was happy to be able to watch the race on TV instead. I was tired and didn't have the necessary morale to do battle with the Mur de Huy. The Mur, or Wall, is one of the nastiest, steepest stretches of road I have ever seen. It seems to exist only to kick the hell out of bike riders. I have climbed and descended quite a few of the world's great hills, and the thought of the Mur de Huy still causes me pain. Perhaps it was the combination of steepness and length, or perhaps it was my level of fitness on the two occasions that I rode it, but if today you offered me a free trip back to Belgium, I would probably turn you down if it meant I had to climb that hill again!"
HAH, I was speechless after reading this...it was shock followed by uncontrollable laughing at the thought of me on the Mur de Huy this April. I'm hoping to come over it looking like this...
Emma Pooley's victory solute after winning the 2010 Fleche Wallone
Here are a few pics from the races I'll be doing, looks fun eh??:)
Bring on the pain cave Spring Classics!