This post should be consumed in conjunction with THIS
I left my home in Holland
Headed for the Antwerp Bay
Cos I've got a team to ride for
And there's a job to be done today
So I'm just ridin' on the dock of the bay
Watching the peleton roll away
Ooo, I'm ridin' on the dock of the bay
Holy godfather in heaven. That was hectic. Yesterdays Antswerpse Havenpijl was one of the crazier bike races I have participated in to date.
I am not sure what the term 'Havenpijl' refers to but in 'Lovelock's Thesaurus' it is the foremost antonym for 'scenic' or 'beautiful'. Doesn't matter what Roget thinks, my mind is set. This place sucks.
Well, to be fair, we only saw the docks of Antwerp, we bypassed the real city so if anyone from the Antwerp tourist commission is reading please don't sue me for libel.
The course snaked along the docks with the appetising odours wafting from the buffet of chemical factories lining the course providing motivation for everyone to finish the race as soon as possible. To keep the riders nervous and twitchy were a number of obstacles; there were some cobbles and some nice gutters that I became well acquainted with. The rails of death, however, provided the most drama. A number of times when we would swing round a corner to be greeted with train lines in the road, running parallel with our path of travel.
I would come sweeping round these 90 bends, everyone leaned over, flying, bumping, shoving their way to the front before the inevitable split in the cross winds, and I would look up and see people on the exit of the turn changing direction and bunny hopping all over the place. My first reaction was to crap my dacks. My next reaction was to wonder what obstacle was coming up. In between reaction one and reaction two I would see a big nasty looking train line just ready to swallow my front wheel. Then reaction four was to wonder who decided to race us over this road? I mean, it's not even a road, it's just a path for effin big trucks and effin trains to get effin big containers off effin big ships to the effin big factories. And we are effin racing here? What are they, effin nuts?!?!
Luckily in between reactions two and four was an autonomous bunny hop that saved my hide. But then ten minutes later, another set of lines. Oh god. And the steak knives that completed the package got delivered in the form of MORE rail lines, running at a 45 degree angle across the road that we were heading down, with a tailwind, at 50k/h plus. So I was thinking that
Looks like nothings gonna change
Everything still remains the same
I can't do what the DS tells me to do
So I guess I'll miss the break away to,
Sittin' here not breakin my bones
And this hunger won't leave me along
It's 100 miles I rode
And I'm glad to leave this dock and go home,
Now, I was ridin' on the dock of the bay
The peleton has now rolled away
Oooo-wee, just ridin' on the dock of the bay
Maybe reaction five should have been giving the race organisors a bollocking for such a ridiculous course.
I suppose (apart from apologising to Otis for butchering his song) I should be thankful that it was dry, and, no one crashed. In addition, the wind was really blowing so the racing was good and hard and certainly good prep for the 1.1 Race that we have tomorrow: GP Stad Zottegem.
I'll check back in with some more news as it comes to hand...