Wednesday I raced in northern France, competing in the Cote Picard. It was a beauty of a race. We set out a plan before the race and I spent myself in that effort. Unfortunately things came apart in the team’s execution, but shit happens.. thats bike racing. I think I filled my role well. Tomorrow is the ZLM Tour, surely a fast, nervous Dutchy race. I haven’t been on fire this week but I’m ready to go out, race aggressively and give er hell.
Cycling is a sport of details, in this game small things accumulate and become very important. Attention to such marginal aspects makes cycling all the more interesting. Of course, here in the Netherlands I am experiencing a different cycling culture. There is a different set of habits and customs revolving around the sport here. By remaining observant and considerate of the European way, I will bring something extra to my own cycling. Cycling requires you to be a student of the sport. For interest, I will try and document a few things I notice while here. Remember, tradition and custom are not necessarily the best way and it is important to keep an independent mind. Regardless, there is always something to be learned and to be gained.
One thing that is especially striking is the amount of bread that Dutch bike racers eat. In the team car on the way to the race, each rider carries a bag with a loaf of bread. Most common are raisin buns or sweetened loaf made into sandwiches. Also popular is a koek made with ginger and spices. Before arriving at the start, 2hrs before, this is consumed. To me, it seems crazy. One thing I will advocate is their choice of race food. Stroopwafels are possibly the most perfect thing to eat on the bike, as Alex says “They make you happy” too. When you have been suffering op de kant and in de wire all day, that is very important.