Patrolling in the rain...
The rain and cold weren’t enough to deter the Patrol from heading to Huy (Belgium) for the Grandfondo Eddy Merckx. Given the weather so far in 2013, riding in poor conditions has become a habit! However, they were still disappointed at not being able to show-off their superb Eco-Cyclo UCI kit – this was the first foreign trip for the harlequin style multicoloured outfit.
Rain does not make a patroller’s mission easy!
Rain makes the patroller anonymous. He or she has to camouflage their identity behind their rain vest and their distinctive kit no longer plays its dissuasive role. Perhaps the patrol needs green-harlequin rain vests for future cyclos!
Rain makes riders clumsy. Wearing thick winter gloves and trying to reach energy bars deep inside jersey rear pockets, made all the more inaccessible underneath the rain vest, is almost mission impossible! Removing the wrapper and trying to put the litter back into the pocket becomes an immense challenge. This juggling act results in wrappers flying off into the countryside. Here the patroller faces a huge dilemma – let this pass without saying anything or engage in dialogue with the ‘polluter’ at the risk of exposing an innocent but clumsy rider to public condemnation.
Rain prevents the patroller from eating properly! He is too afraid of the disgrace if, he too, lets a wrapper escape!
Fortunately, several feed stations enable the less-hurried riders to recuperate with guilt-free consumption of the infamous Belgium honey waffles; infinitely better than energy bars or those dreaded and dubious gels.
However, a word on those feed stations; the free distribution of plastic bottles should be stopped, as has happened in France, to avoid finding those bottles littering the open countryside.
The Huy rain did nothing to dampen the patrol’s enthusiasm for the warm welcome they received from our Belgium friends, nor their appreciation for the superb route taken by the Granfondo Eddy Merckx through the green and bucolic Ardennes landscape.
The mythic Mur de Huy remains untainted by litter, rain or no rain. Taking your hands off the handlebars to reach for a gel, on a climb of over 20%, is too much of a challenge!
When in Belgium… beer and chips greeted riders at the top of the Huy wall, with everyone reliving their race in fine style!