Tuesday, April 5, 2011


I am home after three weeks of cycling, visiting friends and having another cycling moment of my life. One of the best things about living in Bend is I get to come home to my favorite place in the world. I do like to travel and I do love road riding in Mallorca, Mountain biking in Scotland and of course watching and participating in Tour of Flanders will be a highlight of my cycling life forever. Bend is still the best, and being back with my best friend and sweetheart of 40 years is wonderful.
Watching The Tour of Flanders of live was very special. I have to thank the great folks at Quality Bike Parts and Lazer Helmets for hosting me and the other USA dealers. Rebecca did a great job of keeping track of us and making sure we all had food, bikes, and entertainment, a special thanks to my roommate Adam. When you find yourself in Belgium in a typical hotel (small rooms) and you have an unknown roomy it is a pleasure to get along as well as we did. It turns out we both love cycling, and we both have a sense of humor. Those two things go along way. He also has an awesome camera and with that camera he got some great shots. Thanks Adam. I would also like to thank Todd Cravens from Quality. In the first hour of the Cyclo sportiv version of the Tour we hooked up together, and though he was stronger than me he waited at every hill top and allowed me to "suck his wheel" for many a kilo. Though I am a Europe veteran it was great to have someone to share the experience with. That made a big difference for me. Thanks Todd.
The photos show more than I can explain about watching the race. We were in 4 places, the staging area, two spots on the road and the decisive "Muur". The Kammelmuur is where Cancellara dropped Booned last year and this year it was when after getting a minute lead he an Chavenel were caught. We got to see the moment when the group came together. That was special. We were sitting in a VIP tent having a gourmet meal while the race was going on. They had at least eight big screens with the race. Between our first course and main course we ran outside and watched the race go by and then back to the tent for desert and the end of the race. This was special. Being in a tent full of Belgians watching a Belgian win was very cool. It was also satisfying to see my favorite Juan Antonio Fletcha animate the race early on and of course see the BMC team real back Cancellara. I was disappointed with the Garmin team and I am sure they were. They had no one in the break at the end and though they had some of the strongest they did not play a role in the race. I am sure they are going to rethink their strategy for Paris Roubaix.
The last thing are the bike lanes in Belgium everywhere. There is no debate in Belgium about bikes. They are used for transportation period and there is a place for them to be. They don't have as many rules over there about safety though. They figure people can take care of themselves. I included that photo with the bike lane to show how much they care about bikes. That road is not wide enough for a bike lane in our world. Over there they put the bike lane and expect the cars to respect the bikes in the road. The cars have to pass the bikes when it is safe.
One bit of irony. We went over as the guests of Lazer Helmet. Their headquarters is in Antwerp. In Antwerp there are thousands of bike commuters every day using designated bike lanes and paths throughout the city. I did not see one commuter using a helmet. If Lazer could get that market they wouldn't have to export a helmet to any other country.
Another point of interest was the helmet use in Cyclosportif version of the Tour of Flanders. I would say over 90% had helmets. I was surprised with that many.
It was a great trip which ended with Adam Craig sitting in the seat next to me from Denver to Bend. He was in Colombia racing in the Pan/Colombian mountain bike races. We got to catch up, share some photos and thoughts. So once again it is amazing to come home to Bend after seeing some of the greatest the road riders in the world and sit and chat with one of the best mountain bikers in the world who just happens to live in Bend, my home town.
Thanks for reading.

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