Sunday, October 02, 2005

Campeon del Mundo!

The morning of September 25, I woke up to my dad chanting: Tom Boonen is the new world champion cycling! The Belgian national team had apparently been riding a fantastic race in Madrid. Every time somebody attacked, one or two of the Belgian riders participated. I watched it delayed on The end was extremely exciting. While Bettini was omni present, for a moment, I thought it was going to be a Dutch rider. In the final kilometers, a group of six were ahead, among them two Dutch riders. Luckily, they were caught and in the sprint, Tom Boonen showed who was King.

Belgium has a rich cycling tradition. Growing up, I watched religiously all the Classic races, as well as the Tour de France, typically from 2PM till finish (around 5PM). I compare the experience to watching the baseball play-offs. Sure, it takes several hours. But a lot of things can happen and at any given time. It was rarely boring. (Unlike basketball, where there is a lot of scoring, but you really only have to watch the last 3 minutes to get the excitment.) Watching cycling on TV was typically very exciting.

In Belgium, I grew up on a bicycle. I went to primary school by bicycle. Twenty two kilometers a day to and from high school. Twenty two kilometers to and from university. Hundreds of kilometers a day on vacation throughout Europe. Even in California, I bought a racing bicycle and even conquered Mount Hamilton a couple of times. But then it slowed down a little.

Recently, I found the motivation again to hop on my bike:
  • KRIB (Katrina, Rita, Iraq and Bush) have sent gas prices through the roof.
  • A Honda Civic fits four. Five at most. With my parents in town, we are one too many to fit in one car. I've choosen to pedal behind the calvery and show up at parties half an hour later in bicycle gear.
  • Riding a bicycle over the Menlo Park bicycle bridge looking down at bumper to bumper traffic gives a kick.
  • It eases our commute to work and school.
  • And I get to exercise a little. Luckily there are showers at work, so, I can refresh before sitting behind my computer.
So, three to four times a week, I have been commuting to work by bicycle or combining two bicycle trips with a ride on caltain. See hi when you see a guy with a jersey of Vlaanderen 2002, a big backpack and riding a black Trek 1200 commuter racing bike.


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