By Marty Jemison — Monday after Paris-Roubaix I woke feeling ill again. The progress I had made just before Paris-Roubaix had reversed itself. I had a slight fever and was coughing, etc.
La Flèche Wallonne. One of my favorite races, but originally not part of my schedule this year. I was replacing Kevin, Jamie, or David … take your pick. Cedric and Benoit were also replacement riders.
Before the race started, I thought I could push myself. I know this race. On the first climb though, I was fighting to stay in the bunch; at the top there was a crash, and I was caught behind. A small group of us had to chase hard, but I had nothing in the legs, and I was coughing hard.
After 80kms we reached the Mur d' Huy. I started the climb in the middle of the bunch and rode over the top with no more than 10 riders behind me. I thought twice then pulled over. Honestly in my condition, I should hot have even started. My equilibrium was off which was a bit dangerous in the bunch. I was digging a hole that could have been too deep to get out of if I continued.
Last year, I had placed 19th in Flèche Wallonne and 18th in Liège. By stopping, I still aspired to have a good ride in Liège. In the race, I felt much better. I was comfortable and while looking around I thought others were suffering more. Again, I have an experience which indicates the level of World Cup racing.
Yes, I had been sick during the last week and that must be the reason that after 180-200k I was starting to suffer. My muscles were aching in an odd way, and I was starting to cramp in places that never have cramped before. I managed to finish the race (77th) but for me the race was over on La Redoute, a climb that I like a lot.
Last year I went over it in around 12-15th watching as Frank VDB jumped away. This year though many more riders nimbled up the climb ahead of me. Christian finished 18th, the exact same placing I had 1 year earlier.
The day had started at 6:40 am and by 1:30 am I was in my own bed, back in Spain.
The last several weeks have been hard, the weather and travel being greatest contributors. I have decided to take it easy this week. Wednesday, I did a nice ride to Cadaqués
where I checked into a hotel with an ocean view. On Thursday I would ride back to Girona, about a 90kms ride.
After a nice dinner Wednesday night, we (my wife, her sister, and myself) walked into a club where we could hear good music. It happened to be Salvadore Dali's old hangout. Originally, I thought someone was trying to capitalize on Dali's death but, upon inspection of the many Dali paintings (all originals!!!), I realized we were in a quite a place. There was a tapestry made by Dali, more than one framed newspaper article with Dali and the owner (Marci? Marceau?).
Marci or Marceau was there standing behind the bar, and he was the man pictured many times with Dali and other famous people. The art was worthy of a museum but being viewed through thick smoke and the crowd there, I think somehow this is where Dali wants them to stay. Amazing.