Damn, that stone is heavy! Wow, what a classics season!
After a lot of years of trying, we have finally won a few classics. Not for trying mind you, we have been trying for so long I was beginning to think we were never going to get there. I have always heard that if you push your head against the wall long enough, you would eventually push through. But, you could also give yourself quite a headache.
I think of all the images
- George Hincapie coming so close.
- George Hincapie in a pile
- Fabian outsprinted in MSR
- Fabian ganged up on and combine'd at Roubaix
- Fabian with a broken collarbone on the street in RVV
As you can see it has been a long effort. We have been trying to win these races for a long time.
In the end, if you stay dedicated and keep working at it you can get there, those are things I have always believed in. This year, everything finally came together.
Time to go to the holy land!
Last week after RVV, I headed over to Belgium. I had always planned to stop in with the team at this time of the year. For better or worse, we were going to go and push our head against the wall more and see if this was the year. As the wins ticked by, and I realized that I was actually heading over to celebrate with the team vs. sit and hope, it was with really high hopes that I could be there for one of the actual wins.
You see, not only had Trek not been there for a win, I personally also had not been there for a win. I was pumped.
When you drive into Belgium from Holland at this time of the year, the images of Eddy Merckx and Freddy Maertens dance through your head. I can hear Axel say to me “Belgium is special. I don’t know if I want to live there, but in March/April there is no other place to be.” He is right. The signs on the road just confirm that you are in the galactic center of cycling. Ghent, Wevelgem, Oudenarde, Harelbeke, etc…
I arrived in time to see the end of Fabian’s press conference where he was very calm and collected. “It will be war.” He looked trim and ready for battle. Roubaix was on.
I have come to know Fabian over the years, and I love his sense of humor and professionalism. “Let’s get this done” was what he said to me as he left the press conference for a ride. War.
At this point you have seen the race, and what you should know is that the race is even harder than what you have seen on television. The bikes are destroyed after the race, wheels are crunched, drivetrains are trashed. But even worse than that is the toll on the riders. Roubaix is a special race. There is nothing else like it. You do not win Roubaix with team strategy alone. At best a team strategy just delivers the leader to the last 70k healthy. After that, it is entirely up to the leaders themselves. You go to the front and you lay down power that only a few can produce. You lay that power down for an hour. I am talking about 400-500 watts, average, after riding for nearly 5 hours.
To win Roubaix requires that you go “full gas” as Luca would say until there just isn’t any gas left. If you time it right, that last ounce of energy is burned at the finish line. If you time it wrong, you burn that last bit of energy 50meters before the line and get 2nd.
And so there you have it. Our best classics season ever. We will probably never equal that again. 3 monuments in one year is pretty special.
Only about 330 days now until classics season again next year. The absolute best races of the year happen in March and April.