I Left My Legs on The Muur Today

Filed under: On the Road Again — admin @ 3:28 pm

Written by Steven Cozza
August 20, 2009

The road from Ardooie to Brussels was nothing but pain. Not one inch went by today where I didn’t feel any pain.

Since Tyler was in the leader’s jersey, and by far the fastest sprinter in the race, it was our job to control the race and ride at the front. For the first hour, we had to bring back any break with more than 5 riders in it. A break with more than 5 riders is too hard to control, so we needed to be at the front and ready to pounce when needed.

After about 40 minutes, the perfect break of 5 finally went off and out of sight. I was so happy because at this point I could breathe for a second. After they gained 2 minutes, Huub and I were chosen to ride the front.

There were about 9 solid Flemish climbs in today’s stage – and what I mean by Flemish climbs is that they’re usually under 1 kilometer in length, very steep and narrow and covered in cobbles. To add to the challenge, it was a battle to keep Wiggo and Tyler at the front going into each climb because the other teams kept trying to swarm us. Even though I felt super duper weak today, I am so proud of myself for leaving everything I had on the road.

After 103 kilometers of pulling on the front, The Muur was my last hurrah. This is the most famous cobbled climb in the great Flemish classic Rond Van Vlanderen, AKA: Tour of Flanders. I took it full speed with Wiggo and Tyler on my wheel to keep the sworms of riders behind us. When we hit the devilish climb, I detonated and about halfway up it, my legs felt like they were blown off.

I made it over the top, but for the rest of the race I had to trust that I could keep turning over my legs – I imagine it felt like riding with prosthetics. I really had no more feeling in my lower body. Fortunately, I was with 60 or so other riders experiencing the same feeling.

It just so happened that we rode by one of the largest Belgium bread-making factories. An Euskatel rider and I looked at each other and pointed to our noses, letting out an “awwww” sound. He looked like he needed pastries more than I did – he was like an orange on a toothpick… then again, I’m not far behind.

The best part of the day was crossing the line and hearing that Tyler had won yet another stage. Our team rode so awsome today, leaving every drop of sweat out on the road.

I’m now on the team bus after a nice shower… just thinking of what’s to come in tomorrow’s 200 kilometer+ day. I can do it. I know I can. It’s all for the fans, the kids and my stubborness to never never give up.

Steven

Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Slipstream) sprints to another stage win in Eneco.

Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Slipstream) sprints to another stage win in Eneco.

Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Slipstream) sprints to another stage win stage 2 Eneco.

Photo credit ©www.ispaphoto.com