Tag Archives: Tour of Flanders

Greenville goes to Belgium

All of us cyclists here in Greenville think it is a great place to live and ride. It is. However, it doesn’t take many moments of viewing the Ronde van Vlaanderen — for us, the Tour of Flanders — in Belgium to know that it is a cycling crazed place! Over a span of seven to ten days the two worlds meet as several Greenvillians have made there way across the pond to see — and particpate in — European racing.

Foremost, of course, it George Hincapie. After a solid finish of 6th in Sunday’s Tour of Flanders, he is now eying April 11th’s, Paris-Roubaix. There will be some American flags being waved by supporters from his home town.

The Greenville "Boys" cheer on George

Photo from HincapieSports.com blog

You can follow George with the guys along with Rich Hincapie at the HincapieSports.com blog. Steve Baker is passing along some photos from the trip Rich is taking with friends. Looks like they are having a blast!

In addition to his father, Rich has a few traveling companions from Greenville in tow.  Knowing this crowd, they are horsing around, riding, drinking and laughing their way through Belgium.  We can’t wait to hear some of the stories about their adventures.  This trip marks the first time several of them have ridden the cobbles.  Let’s hope the newbies keep it upright in the saddle.  At least they are smiling in the pictures we see. — Steve Baker

You can read more and see more pictures at Hincapie.com/blog.

I’m also enjoying following another blog of some friends just out to have a good time riding their bikes in Belgium. Several of them are my teammates. They even had to opportunity to wear their POA colors in action with Rodney taking a 16th place overall and 4th in the Masters division. Way to go, Rodney!

The first climb, the Kluisberg, was paved and not too bad at under 800m, but number two was the Knotenburg which in english means “my first gel wants to get a second taste, and big guys don’t always go up hill slow,  as Windjammer no 1 decided to check out. ”   5k later the first cobbled climb, the Kwaremont at 1600m, was the wake up.   I learned how to ride a bike again!  Lean forward to pull on the bars, back wheel comes up,  not good!  I might add that we did have the best conditions possible fo the epic ride with 20 mph wind, pouring rain almost all day and cobbled sections flowing with water and mud! Read more here.

My only regret is that there isn’t more to read! It is going to be hard to keep these guys quiet when they get home. Then again, I’ll be all ears!

The POA guys and Steve

Taking in the Belgium experience

Dreaming – a lesson from Cancellara

It would have been exciting to climb into the mind of Fabian Cancellara as he settled into time trial mode and completed his amazing performance in the Tour of Flanders. It was his first win in the Belgian Classic. Perhaps, but you can rest assured that he had been there before.

Anyone that participates in competitive sports does it. Drive through any neighborhood where a lone child is shooting baskets. Hang around long enough and you will hear… “3 – 2 – 1…”  at the last second the ball leaves the hands to arch up toward the rim… “Brrrooowwwwaaaannnn!” The ball clangs off the side and the child, undaunted, picks up the ball again to try once more. Finally, success! “And the crowd goes wild…” You hear that unmistakable sound of “the crowd”, cheering and clapping, coming from a single mouth.

It is the dream. Probably sports psychologists call it visioning. It is one of the motivators that leads a competitor to train and survive in the midst of the struggle to claim the top spot at the end of the day.

I have a dream. Actually, I have several variations on a theme. There is a race that I would really like to win. I’ve ridden the course before, but never won… except in my mind.

One iteration mimics Cancellara’s lone victory away from the field. In my mind I have felt the surge of victory, viewed myself glancing behind to see the field no where in sight, and crossing the line in victory. I even have it down to what I will do once I cross the finish.

Another option has me coming out of the slipstream of another rider in a field sprint. It is close! You would call it a camera finish, but I still take the win. I always do… in my mind.

It is an awesome feeling, winning. Once you’ve won, you know better how to dream. Cancellara certainly knows how to win, and that made living his dream all the more sweet. From the moment he announced his intentions to find victory in the spring classic, I’m sure he started dreaming of how and when it would happen.

There is another lesson to be learned from the Swiss champion’s race across the cobbles. He did not let set backs within the race deter him from the dream. After suffering a mechanical on one of the tactically dangerous portions of the course, he kept his calm and began setting out once more to make a dream come true.

From near the end of the field he steadily worked his way up to the front and once there he just kept on going. The realization that he had avoided a catastrophe and was now success was within his grasp  must have given him a realization of hope. It was not long, as Boonen fell off his wheel, that hope gave way to victory. A dream came true.

I’d love to know what was going through Cancellara’s mind as he grabbed the Swiss flag and rode through the wall of sound as the fans cheered his masterful ride. Better yet, I’d love to see my own dream come true. They do, you know.