Two weeks ago we started our trip that would take us to four different races in as many countries. A slightly crazy plan, but when you’re as crazy about cycling and traveling as we are, it’s not. We were sleep deprived, cold and basically only ate sugar for at least three days. But seeing all the amazing views along the way, the great pizza and pasta we had for dinner and enjoying the atmosphere surrounding the races definitely made up for that.
If you wanna read how this adventure started, please see part 1.
So, the ending of the last part left us standing on a square in Brugge with a long day and night ahead of us. I will skip that part, but it truly was long, boring, cold and definitely not something we like to remember. I will mention one thing though. Waiting for your transportation to arrive sometimes connects you with a bunch of random people. In this case with people who were crazy enough to take a bus at 2 am. Often these people also love to travel (the cheaper the travel, the more you can travel obviously) so you can exchange some amazing stories. We never met anyone who travels a lot to visit cycling races though, I guess we’re the only ones who are that crazy 😉
Anyway, let’s fast forward to Paris. Or to be more precise Conflans-Sainte-Honorine, where the prologue of Paris-Nice took place. It’s a town to the north-west of Paris. The teams were situated along the Seine which runs through the town. If you could see past the filthy water and the garbage floating around, it was quite nice. Especially when the sun came out.
But we weren’t there to enjoy the view, we were there to see riders and teams and everything else that comes along with warming up for a prologue. This wasn’t the first race of the season for us (that was yesterday after all), but in a way it was. When you visit a lot of races you mostly see the big teams and most of them weren’t present the day before. After the off-season it’s always nice to see familiar faces, those of riders as well as of the staff. With riders you know whether they stayed at their old team or switched to another. With staff you never know, so it’s nice to see they still have a job or switched teams (which happens quite often actually).
Because we were very tired we alternated between sitting on a stone wall overlooking some teams to rest and walking around in a circle around te teams to keep warm. We took a lot of pictures and saw a lot of guys warming up and cooling down. At the end we were so tired we spent all of our time on the stone wall, watching the riders making their way to the start. As it is with most races we go to, we never know who has won until the next time we have access to the internet again. Usually that is later that day, but in this case I think it took until the next morning. Going to races ironically isn’t the best way to get the results right away. We had to catch another night bus back to Brussel after the race and from there we would fly to Italy. We knew that it was going to be the hardest day because our bodies would be drained of all energy. The reward however was one of the things we love most in this world: Italy.
Coming up in part 3: Tirreno Adriatico. But first, please take a look at some of the pictures we took below.