Classics Season.

I don't religiously watch professional races like I used to. I still follow them though, reading online race reports and occasionally watching streaming videos of portions of select races. There aren't many races I actively go out of my way to watch, and all of them are Northern Classics.
Something about the all-or-nothing nature of the one-day cobbled Classics in Northern France and Belgium really speaks to me on a primal level. Usually contenders make one huge move and then bury themselves in the effort. The smallest mistake or bit of bad luck and your race is over. Conditions are often brutal, leaving riders physically and mentally wrecked when they climb off their bikes. There is no tomorrow.
Don't get me wrong, I'm no Flandrian hard man. A single secteur of pave would likely wreck me for a month. I do ride in a bit of wind, rain, and on less-than-perfect roads, but 250km of the sort of pounding they endure at Roubaix? Not me. Maybe to a Southern Californian crit specialist my riding habits would seem downright Belgian, but anybody with any sense would know the difference. I'm a dainty little flower.
Still, that's the sort of race that inspires me to get on the bike and flail out of admiration for those with actual determination and ability. Stage races like the Tour just don't inspire me in the same way, even if an animator like Contador is willing to go on the attack. They seem somehow... sterile, at least in comparison to the brutality of a Northern Classic.
To be honest, I'm not much of a spectator. I'd rather be doing an activity than watching one. I'm not like a NFL fan who comes in Monday morning and talks about how "we" won the big game. No, "they", the highly-paid professionals, won the game. "We" sat on the couch, flicked Dorito crumbs off of our bellies, and whined about how much the professionals are overrated. There's a subtle difference somewhere in there. 
I will be watching during the Classics, though, if only for inspiration. It makes the cold, rainy rides easier.


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