I stood, shivering, on the start line of the Wouden Klassiker with the fate of the race already clear in my mind. Heavy gusts of wind were blowing into town, leaving little doubt that the race would explode as soon as the peloton escaped the shelter of the houses and trees. All that was unknown was where I would be when the dust settled.
Every other rider on the line had the exact same scenario running through their mind, making the peloton a nervous, hectic place to be as we started to roll.
The neutral section was mess of shoving and fighting for space.
The flag dropped, madness ensued, carbon and skin scraped over cement, I braked and worked through the debris while half the peloton passed me, more carbon and more skin scraped over cement, I braked and worked through the debris while the other half of the peloton passed me, we rode 55km/hr in the gutter, the peloton started shedding pieces as if it were a meteor, the peloton exploded into waaiers, I was far from the front.
At that point, my race was over. The chase was hopeless and before long, they pulled the numbers of our group and I turned around with a friend and headed back to the start town, disappointed with my lot. When I got there, I grabbed a vest and headed back out for a couple more hours of training. The sun was shining, Friesland was beautiful and it was useless to dwell on a very frustrating race.