Sunday, March 23, 2008
Paris-Roubaix is coming. If you have never seen it, you have no idea what you are missing. It is a race that can only be appreciated in terms of suffering and tragedy. It is a race that no amount of training and dope can ensure a finish, let alone a victory. I know many cyclists who dream of being Lance Armstrong and winning the Tour de France, but for me, my dream was to FINISH Paris-Roubaix.
There are not many moments in your life that can be recalled with crystal clarity, especially with the distance of time, but I can tell you what I was doing 2 weeks after Easter, 22 years ago. I was watching this:
on CBS Wide World of Sports. That cheesy John Tesh music still makes my heart beat faster with the thrill of bike racing. You think cycling is obscure now, try the 80's. The cyclists I hung around all seemed to be in on a big secret that nobody else knew about. All I know is that I fell in love with cycling watching Sean Kelly win the Paris-Roubaix. My friend Jason loves Kelly to this day, but back then he worshipped him. He emulated everything he could about Kelly (except for the atrocious position on the bike). I emulated Andy Hampsten who seemed like doomed quicksilver from the moment he set foot in Europe, but managed to win the Giro d'Italia in such an epic way that no one will ever forget it. I long for the less antiseptic racing of that era and Roubaix still offers glimpses of that greatness.