KONM IS SPENDING THE OPENING WEEKEND OF CLASSICS SEASON IN BELGIUM.
Don’t get too excited, though. Because, sadly, it isn’t cycling that brings KONM to the Land of Beer-based Cheer, but rather a wedding that just has to be attended and from which there is no polite escape. And on Omloop Saturday, of all days. To make matters worse, it’s a wedding taking place tantalisingly nearby the finish of the first big cobbled classic of the year.*
*But, agonisingly, not close enough for an excursion that can be explained away to the future in-laws whose nuptials are the reason for the trip.
Oh sure, KONM is happy for the bride, groom and all involved – bloody delighted, yeah, absolutely thrilled in fact. And yet, it’s hard to ignore that nagging voice somewhere in the back of the mind that just keeps on muttering: “Sorry pal, did you not know Het Nieuwsblad is on today? F*ck sake.”
What a cruel joke: a seemingly interminable year spent waiting for classics season only to be denied the pleasure of watching the opening race in real time – DESPITE BEING LESS THAN 60KM FROM THE BLOODY THING. Still, simply being roughly in the vicinity of what is unquestionably the heartland of one-day cycling – sorry, Italy – is sufficient to set KONM’s pulse racing in renewed anticipation of what’s to come.
For the Omloop, really, is just the beginning; an amuse-bouche ahead of the gritty, muddy, dirty 15-course Spring classics meal. KONM has resolved not to pass up another morsel of racing during this glorious, mad and awe-inspiring period.
Naturally, there’s a sense of newness in the early months of the cycling calendar, when you’re still getting used to the new jerseys, still trying to remember which riders have gone where. Races like Oman, UAE and Down Under are so low-key they’re basically recumbent. Then, bang, it’s pavé-time – and all of a sudden you realise the sh*t has well and truly hit the fan.
And, well, isn’t it just absolutely bloody wonderful?
Madmen and madwomen crashing and thrashing their way up ridiculous inclines through gutters or across cobblestones so lethal they probably have a 00-licence.
Hordes of lunatics packed into ditches screaming them on in freezing cold Flandrian conditions. The injuries – oh, good lord Jesus, the injuries.
It’s ludicrous. Truly ludicrous. Would you have it any other way?
Featured photo: s.yuki/Wikimedia Commons, Creative Commons Licence, edited by KONM