This upcoming weekend is opening weekend for the cycling season. It is marked by two races, the first, Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, formerly known as Omloop Het Volk (both are newspapers and Het Nieuwsblad bought Het Volk recently and renamed the race), and Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne.
Unfortunately, although I will be in Belgium, I probably won't be able to see either one of these. The reason for my visit is the somber task of attending the funeral of my brother in law, who recently died of cancer.
I read today that two teams, Het Landbouwkrediet and Quickstep were out on the course of the Omloop to see what conditions were like. Belgium suffered through a long harsh winter and the roads are in poor shape. Het Landbouwkrediet team apparently suffered 11 flats, although Quickstep -a more experienced team one could say- suffered none.
Quickstep's big guns were not present, preferring to stay in Spain until the weekend, something management did not object too. Clearly Tom Boonen is familiar with the course and even though there were minor changes, and lots of new potholes, Boonen will have the support of his team to take care of that.
Meanwhile here in Northern California, it is raining too, albeit a bit warmer than in Belgium. Thursday I rode on rollers for 45 minutes. Friday I ran 9.5 miles in the hills. Saturday I again rode on rollers for 45 minutes, going quite hard for about 30, and on Sunday I drove Alistair to the Ronde van Brisbeen crit, where he rode in the rain. Afterwards I went running in the rain. I ran a 10K and I was soaked. Yesterday was sunny and warm and I rode 31 miles on Alistair's new bike, just to check it out. It feels great although I need to become more familiar with the SRAM shifting.
Today I rode 1:03 minutes on rollers. Now I have to get ready for my trip to the home country and the sad task of burying my sister's husband.