Learning how to shoot.
I am on Day 2 of racing in Holland. The USA National team is doing the Energiewacht Tour, wish I prefer to pronounce “Energy WHAT!?” Tour. You would think the flat roads would be predictable here. Isn’t the entire country technically below sea level? What surprises could the country possible come up with?
If only it were that simple.
Holland is full of surprises. From the mystery meat, to the sour milk, to the sterile modern brick homes. This place has got it all. Bikes have the right-of-way. Women of all ages ride in heels and skirts while balancing a bread basket. The flat roads wind around delivering wind, sporadic lawn furniture, and bricks. The sweet aroma of manure, fertilizer, and deep fryers. You think of smoked meats and cow poop. You don’t want to know what is in those big trucks spraying the fields, but the Dutch painted on the side of them looks suspect. Mud flings up in your face. You sure hope it is mud, but unfortunately it might resemble manure. You don’t want to know what is caked all over you.
What looks predictable is far from it. How could a race be so hard, and so flat. How could it be blue sky in the morning, and rain just in time for our race? Where does the wind come from? Does everyone ride bikes here? If there is one place to learn to race bikes, it’s here. There is bike riding, and there is bike racing. I am racing my bike. Selections can occur here at a mere shift in the wind. A compact peloton can shatter into millions of pieces with an appropriately timed echelon. Time to race my bike.
If you aren’t passing, you are getting passed. This isn’t too different then if you aren’t shooting, you are being shot at.
Bike racing in Holland. Kind of like learning to shoot. 2 more days of racing for Energiewacht.