It is already quite a while ago, since I decided to pedal Paris-Roubaix. I took off from home, in the early morning later than originally planned. I packed my stuff not expecting temperatures below zero while riding on the bike. I left my polar gloves at home, some hours later when passing the palatine forests, I was almost crying and I had to stop to get any feeling back into my finger tips. This fact almost made me return home and forget about this idea. After melting back to normal in the sun, I decided to carry on and it became a smooth ride. As usual I had a short rest in a bus stop at the very north of France. I woke up around four o’clock and continued to finally see the cobblestones. On my way to the track I already met some cobblestone paths, the fogs was still deep down on the world and the light came up, only slowly. It was a mystic feeling. Finally I reached Busigny, the starting point of the touristic ride (paris-roubaix-challenge) to Roubaix. Only later I realized that the actual race, the day after, did not start in Busigny but from Compiégne, another 100kms further south. To be honest flying over the cobblestones with luggage had already been a unique experience. I expected all my bags to be flown away, only shortly after getting onto the course. But no, they all stayed on, until the velodrome and even further. As I rarely go riding on such events, I have to control myself not to start competing, as my plan was to cycle further, back to Heidelberg. After the sun erased the fogs and it got warmer, more and more spectators arrived next to the scene, that had been a really great thing about this ride. In my imagination there were more cobblestone segments than I actually read on the overview. After riding them all, I can tell you that this was more than enough for me. Just roughly thinking about the situation being tied up in the middle of the peloton, not having any chance at all to choose which way you want to go, and on top riding another 10kms/h faster than I actually did, lets me pay soo much respect to the riders that chased over these paths, the day after.
After having reached the velodrome, I left the scene again, had a little Ice cream and espresso stop and continued to Koppenberg where I wanted to meet a good friend for a famous climb in Belgium. On my way to Koppenberg my bottom bracket stuck. After some external investigations, I decided to use some force and see what might happen. I gave it a strong kick and the crank war rotating again, even it sounded like a coffee grinder, from now on. This event let me to a slight modification of my ride and I decided to re-route to Brussels Midi, to take the train home. It was a great experience and the pre-race day ride was organized really really well. Excellent marks and guards all over the route! The weather made this an amazing day, on this day I wished to have decided on short bib’s and leg warmers, but I did not. My wrist joints needed some rest, even though, there was gel pads and two layers of bar tape on my handle bar. Initially I assumed my fork won’t make it is it was bouncing forth and back so much, everything went smooth.