Milan-SanRemo redux

22 03 2013

I love watching the pros suffer.

Whether it’s a gruelling climb or wild weather, seeing the faces in the pro peloton twisted and contorted in anguish, their eyes focused forward in steely resolve is one of the great appeals of the sport. Their pain is something i can relate to, even if it’s just on an early-season ascent of Burnaby Mountain. Their courage to overcome is motivational.

During the spring’s races in Belgium, France and Italy, it’s often the variable weather that introduces that extra dose of drama to the Classics, or Paris-Nice or Tirreno-Adriatico.

But for the past several years the weather has always seemed almost too nice. Instead of cold and mud at Paris-Roubaix, the cyclists have had to cope with heat and dust. Even the earliest races, in Flanders, seemed to be run in the sun, on dry roads.

Not this year.

Spring in Europe has been anything but. Snow canceled one race. Rain and cold dogged many others. The already long Milan-SanRemo turned into a test of fortitude with all three. By the end, in gloomy dusk, the riders’ fingers were frozen, their faces caked in mud and road grit.

It was epic!

Today’s special FRF Friday ride turned into a mini Milan-SanRemo. The weather forecast promised sunshine. But over the course of our 45 km route we never saw it. Instead rain slicked the road, sending Guy to the pavement on one perilous, greasy decent. On Burnaby Mountain, it snowed, then sleet pelted our cheeks. At the finish, thunder clapped.

The calm before the snowstorm. Curtis, a new recruit on his inaugral FRF ride, and Guy suit up after our midway snack break.

The calm before the snowstorm. Curtis, a new recruit on his inaugral FRF ride, and Guy suit up after our midway snack break.

We were cold, wet. Our bikes were muddy. We were smiling.

It was epic!

A well-earned second hot chocolate of the day to warm up!

A well-earned second hot chocolate of the day to warm up!

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