It was an interesting topic that was discussed in this newspaper on Saturday: are cyclists season sensitive? Covid-19 has stuck a fat stick between the spokes of the traditional race cycle; anyone who still wants to make a difference has to strike immediately. So also the classic spring drivers and the specialists of the summer. A phrase that you have heard a lot lately is: ‘You have to take what you can get’. And quickly, I would like to add. The virus is defiantly on the sidelines, laughing about masks.
Niki Terpstra expects the same riders in the spring classics of the autumn. Me too, it is a matter of scientific calculation, attitude and time scarcity. The fact that under normal circumstances one is better in the spring and the other better in the fall will not be decisive. Still, I do not rule out that there will be a few cycling in between who feel they have been born in a foreign body.
Michael Boogerd speaks of ‘a kind of biorhythm’. He felt good about himself two periods a year. First in March and April, and then again in September. He still has that. He also remembers riders who cleared the pavers in training in December. And then no more. I also remember such riders: tragic winter sports enthusiasts.
I myself was a typical summer driver. Only from about thirty degrees did the engine start to run smoothly. That served me well a few more times during the Tour. In the summer I felt the best in my own skin mentally and emotionally. Not surprising, of course, when a body does what it should do. I have also had bad summers. And nice winters. Actually, I felt very good about myself every winter.
The Tour of Lombardy, at the end of October, hit the door of the cycling season. A hundred or more racing days a year were the rule rather than the exception in the 1980s; ram was always worn out. My winter started at Milan airport. Not touching a bicycle for a month, taking off the blinders, putting down the egocentrism, having time for loved ones, wearing the slippers. And every year it came as a surprise because I had forgotten what it feels like to be fresh and rested. The non-winter person was great.
She said it many times in February, my partner, I am glad to drop you off at the airport later. Go on, go to the team’s training camp. The equipped migratory bird seemed to be no longer at home.
During the lockdown with the barricaded races, I was much more concerned about the biorhythm of the drivers’ wives and girlfriends than the biorhythm of the riders themselves. You will only have them at home for months, the birds without airspace.