Wednesday, April 8, 2009

The Spring Classics part 1 - Belgium

here's what we are hoping for!

Bruce had to write this on our car

Yesterday we woke at 4:30 to a very empty house. Dashell & Stella had been taken to their “vacation home” yesterday, Sharon & Sara who dog sit in their most beautiful French home, along with their 3 goldens are taking care of them. The chickens were already at Bens, he gave them to us, so he gets to watch them when we are away. And Maillot actually woke us up 1 minute before our alarm (which I find rather strange) and  headed out to hunt. She’ll be staying outside while we are gone, the chicken coop is great shelter and her bed is in there as well as plenty of food and water. She’s a stray, so she’ll be fine. Marie-do our neighbor said she would come down a few times to check on her too. We wanted to get an early start since our drive was going to be around 10 hours. So, at 5:30 on the dot we were in the car, driving away from Les Costes…still dark out.

The drive to Ghent Belgium takes us from southwest france up through Limoges, around Paris to Lille and then over the border to Ghent, Belgium. On long drives we switch every 2 hours, it’s makes it so much easier and time goes faster. As I was typing this we were still in the car and my turns were done.

What brings us to Belgium you might ask? I would, because truthfully I never in my life thought I’d go to Belgium, never really had the desire to go to Belgium, until I started cycling. Belgium’s national sport is cycling, Tom Boonen who rides for Quickstep is from Belgium and in the spring Belgium hosts many “classic” races. Tour de Flanders, Ghent-Wevelgem and Paris-Roubaix to name a few. These are the most prestigious one-day races. What makes them so interesting is that they are one-day races and also that some of the routes are on cobbles, something that’s not very easy to bike on. We are going to cycle some of the routes and on some cobbles, should be fun and interesting.

Today is Ghent-Wevelgem and Sunday is Paris-Roubaix. On Thursday we hope to drive to Bruges, which they call the Venice of the North and I don’t mean Venice Beach, California. We hope to ride tomorrow, Saturday and Sunday, that’s the plan right now. We’ll come home on Monday.

We are also meeting our friend Steve and his wife Lisa today and then they are coming down to votre maison for 2 weeks, should be loads of fun. Steve is a cyclist, runner and climber and I think he might get Bruce out climbing, there is so much limestone around our area. It’s been 6 years since Bruce climbed and every time we ride by the huge limestone walls his hands get all sweaty…time to get back on the rock!

We hope it will rain on Sunday, which I know sounds crazy coming from me, but Paris-Roubaux goes through the Arenberg Forest  and if there is rain the riders come in completely covered in mud. The fans love it. I brought my rain boots and raincoat just in case. Stay tuned for some great pictures and race reports.  It's raining and windy and cold this moring, but we are super excited to head out and see the race.  We are staying at a hotel with many of the teams so it's pretty cool.


Cindy said...

Wow! sounds like exhausting fun!! your rain dance seems to be effective.

La Framéricaine said...

Hey there! I don't know how I missed this for two days. Anyway, I want to wish you a wonderful trip through France to Belgium, all around Belgium, and back, safely.

I hope that the races and the people are a lot of fun. It all sounds great! I would love to visit Bruges and see a Belgian film.

Bon voyage!

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