Zero temperatures!

Zero sun!

Hell on the cobbles!

Welcome to the Belgian Classic’s season… don’t forget to grit your teeth as rider and spectator!

Omloop Het Nieuwsblad riders, Pottenberg

There is a special kind of electricity in the air when you shiver in anticipation waiting for the sounds of the helicopter, closely followed by the distant ground rumbling of tyres and the sight of blurring colours coming fast towards you. You hold your breathe as the snaking swarm approaches fast, twisting and turning its metal at speeds deemed impossible. The kinetic energy of the rollercoasting peloton has to be felt for real and perhaps even on a day of zero temperatures the diehard riders and spectators just love the pain and suffering! The Omloop Het Nieuwsblad never fails to deliver!

So wearing polar trekking garb and carrying only tuna butties and chocolate, M and I headed out for another exciting 3-location trek-photoshoot. Last year we covered the same race with similar locations but the weather was on our side then (10 degrees and sunshine!). This time the challenges for me were to stay barely alive, trek fast over frozen terrain and handle my new Canon camera in polar mitts!

How cold do I feel on the Pottenberg… !?

The landscape was pretty haunting at times; everything still, frozen in time. Trekking is such a pleasure in such silence but its important to keep moving even if the photo opportunities are tempting you to hang about for longer!

Frozen stumps on the Pottenberg

My heart went out to the riders. No amount of leg and hand warmers, overshoes and oversocks, and chin-wrapping buffs is going to protect you from the cold air biting into your cheeks and nose. Fortunately for the riders, the 10% threat of snow didn’t become a reality until well after the race, where it swirled around me and friends past the midnight hours in Ninove.

My Omloop Het Nieuwsblad 2013 race unfolds below…

Omloop Het Nieuwsblad riders, Pottenberg

Omloop Het Nieuwsblad riders, Pottenberg

All hands on deck for BMC’s bike trouble, Pottenberg

Omloop Het Nieuwsblad riders, Pottenberg

Belgium in February

Omloop Het Nieuwsblad riders, cornering Meersestraat and Boekelbaan

Omloop Het Nieuwsblad riders, cornering Meersestraat and Boekelbaan

Omloop Het Nieuwsblad peloton, Meersestraat

Waiting game for M, too cold to blink!

Chavanel leads on the Molenberg cobbles

Van Avermaet and Paolini chasing a Chavanel lead on the Molenberg cobbles

Tongues out on the Molenberg

Focus and determination on the Molenberg

Frozen fingers snapping the riders grimace

More determination on the Molenberg

Peddling the pain on the Molenberg

More tongues out on the Molenberg

Originally published: Sunday, February 24th, 2013 at 18:45 in Living matter, Monologues


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