What's Cool In Road Cycling

Homeboy: Flower Dreams

Flower Dreams – Real Events by Gregg Germer

The elusive “W”, the win. It’s a thing of beauty when it happens. You find yourself the leader and for a split second the world does a freeze frame with you at the fore-front of the race. You have won. The feeling of winning is something that never gets antiquated.

I have no illusions about my abilities in cycling, especially here in Europe. I’m a strong racer, but just one of hundreds of strong racers. Sometimes though, the strong racers have a great day and the right race comes along. The moons were almost in the right alignment on Saturday as I raced a Beloften Kermese in Warrgem, Belgium.

The race was on a short 6.5 kilometer loop done 18 times. The short loops with a lack of wind led to the race staying together for the first 2 hours of the event. There would be an attack, but it would only gain a couple of seconds and then be reeled in within a kilometer or two. At about 80 kilometers into the race I saw my chance. The field was slowing down in its chasing and I attacked with two other guys through a winding section of the course. We established the first real break of the day.

Once the dust settled there were five of us in the break with a decent 25 second lead over the field. My heart rate was going into the redline zones which bring the time to slow crawl and elongates the pain you are experiencing. In the break is a member of the Firestone team and with each pull he proceeds to go faster and faster. Not only is he going harder, he is yelling at me and other to go faster! Where in the hell does this guy get the breath to yell?

Soon the speed blows two of us off of the break and I’m relegated back to the field. I quickly find shelter as the field is chasing down hard and things are starting to break up. I see a gap open, I start to chase to latch on, but only made it half way of a 10 meter gap. I was spent. My teammate makes it into the break and I am spit out the back of the field.

So why am I telling this story? What makes it different than the other race?

Imagine for a second your favorite meal. You know that time right before you are about to eat and you get a whiff from the sweet aroma that sends a million and one sensational tantalizing nerve responses to your brain and starts the saliva glands going into hyperdrive. You can almost taste the meal, yet you haven’t touched it.

Well I almost tasted victory this Saturday for the first time. I have no illusions, every other race this year there wasn’t even the slight hint of a chance. This time, there was actual smelling of the elusive “W”. I smelled victory.

In the end the break of 13 riders went to a field sprint, which is a rare occasion here in Belgium. I watched the speed of the sprint and just shook my head. I screwed up the best chance for flowers this year. I was left holding my knife and fork, along with the taste of my favorite meal, but no food in sight. I’m now hungry for the meal, the elusive “W”, and the primal need for food has given me new motivation to train harder and push myself just that little bit more.

Call me gluttonous, but I like to win.
-Gregg Germer-

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