As I watched Road World Champs last week, merely 15km from my house, I couldn’t help but wonder what it must feel like to participate in such an event. Then I reminded myself that I was a participant. Sure, I wasn’t exactly in the position of my dreams but perched on the side of the Cauberg wasn’t a bad spot either.
As far as cycling fandom goes, there are certain events that we all aspire to participate in: The Tour, World Champs, the Olympics, Paris-Roubaix. Watching these hallowed events, however, is only half the fun.
This past year I have been able to cross off a few cycling fan bucket list items. I watched stages of the Tour (and I was there when Tony Martin had a puncture in the prologue!), Eneco Tour, World Champs, Amstel Gold and a few other pro races. I climbed the Muur de Huy of Flèche Wallonne, La Redoute of Liège–Bastogne–Liège, and the Cauberg and the Keutenberg of Amstel Gold. I’ve seen Cavendish Sprint, Marianne Vos attack on the Cauberg, Wiggins in a Time Trial and I’ve seen how tiny Emma Pooley is in person. During World Champs last week I crossed five more off the list:
5. I met the tallest professional cyclist in the world, Conor Dunne. At 6’8″, the saddle of his shiny Cervelo went to my shoulder.
4. I mingled among the pro’s…well, I took pictures near them at the team busses before the Team Time Trial and scored some free biddons.
3. I watched World Champs on the legendary Cauberg.
2. I met the Devil.
1. I did NOT paint a rider’s name on the road.
As the European season comes to a close, so does my time in Holland. It has been a great season here but I am looking forward to the next adventure. There is plenty left on my bucket list!