Wednesday, October 5, 2011

On... Sacred Ground

At the end...
Affirmation.
(Bryn Lennon)

I finished reading the absorbing article, 'Sacred Ground' by Joe Parkin in the Fall issue of Paved Magazine.

My favorite one day race by far is the classic Paris-Roubaix. My first education into the world of cycling was watching (eyes glued) to CBS Sports Sunday Paris-Roubaix 1984. It was the first and not the last time that I witnessed Sean Kelly manhandled every rider over his favorite pave. He easily sprinted past Rudy Rogiers in the hallow Roubaix velodrome, for his first Paris-Roubaix win.

Josef Fischer...
the first of the religious order to win over le pave.


To me, it was my first time watching this mystical race, a bewildering display of endurance racing (7 hours plus), riders struggling and falling over mud slicked pave. A crazy blend of athleticism balancing on the thin line (the width of a tyre) of whether a rider will or will not survive the surreal conditions.

When I saw Kelly and Rogiers entering the cold concrete velodrome I thought what a fitting way to end 7 hours of hell.

A re-birth to Spring...

1896 was the very first edition of this great race first won by the German Josef Fischer. Riding an oversized heavy bike, almost hard to fathom, to win. I understand the Roubaix Velodrome is the third since 1943. I remember in the eighties the organizers decided to move the finish on the road beside the sponsors, Le Redoute office. It never worked the same way, the velodrome providing a near religious ending to cap off an hellish race.

Equally important is what greets the survivors, a deserving shower in the ancient concrete shower cubicles with plaques of former winners to remind them all to return back ...to sacred ground.



King Kelly... God like 
over le pave.

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