Find a rhythm. You know you can. The commissaire’s car comes riding next to you. “You have 30 seconds!” Better not stand on the pedals then, to avoid cramps. The pain is nothing. Focus. Nothing can go wrong now. The commissaire shows up again. “45 seconds!” You enter Zwolle, riding behind the motor bike and passing the 5km sign. Don’t think and just do your job in the last kilometers. Take it easy on the viaduct. You remain on the saddle and make it up the climb. You will make this. You really will make it. For your mother, and your brother and your aunt you never knew.
That the motor bike is not in front of you anymore when you arrive on top of the viaduct and race down again, does amaze you. But the traffic wardens block the side roads so you just follow the road down to the right. Just like you always would when the traffic wardens indicate nothing else. So you keep going straight ahead untill the motor bike suddenly re-appears 300 meters further. He rides next to you and says: “You should have taken a left turn after the viaduct.”
There are no words to describe what you’re thinking at that moment. Turn around and end up in the second group where everybody asks you where the hell you are coming from. Riding to the finish and cry. The motor bike guiding you at that crucial point, shows up. “Yeah, well erm sorry but I didn’t know where to go either. I stopped there and got a red flag in my hand but didn’t know what to do with it, actually.”
You would have won, 100% certain, if one of the traffic wardens down at the viaduct would have taken the trouble to point you left instead of following the road. If you would have seen the motor bike hesitate and stop, which you didn’t because you were at the other end of the viaduct, you would have probably realized that you might have had to take another direction than the traffic wardens told you to. And okay, in all honesty, a rider should know the course she’s riding. Taking the wrong direction is basically your own mistake. Those are the rules.
If you would have been a winner of many races, it wouldn’t be such a big deal perhaps. But this would have been your first classic win. You just can’t believe it and remain utterly speechless. The only thing you manage to say when the motor bike guy tells you he had no idea what to do with the flag, is: “Maybe just show me the right direction?!”"
Poor, poor Marijn de Vries, blogging on a total trauma in the Omloop van de IJsseldelta - it’s not fair!