Sunday, February 21, 2016

Laatste Ronde

Sven Nys with family and friends at the end of today's race ... the end of a remarkable career.
Today I watched the final race of cyclocross legend Sven Nys. What can you say about someone with these credentials?

 2 UCI World Championships, elite
 2 UCI World Championships, U23
 6 UCI World Cup series titles
50 UCI World Cup race victories
13 Superprestige series titles
 9 Trofee series titles
 9 Belgian national championships

Nys also won 5 national championships in mountain biking and, when he was a kid, 8 national championships in BMX.

Many professional athletes hang on too long and then retire with broken bodies, tarnishing their legacies with greatly diminished performance. Not so with Nys: at 39 he is still one of the best in his profession. It’s sad to see him go but it’s good to see him go in this fashion. He will remain close to the sport and no doubt will continue to inspire new generations of racers.

Here in Washington County we’re making a different kind of transition. We have reached the point of the year at which our afternoon temperature usually is above the freezing mark. On Friday we reached 50° for the first time in 2016 but high winds made the prospect of a bike ride too unpleasant, if not dangerous. At times the winds were holding steady above 30 mph and we had gusts as high as 49 mph. Saturday was a better day for cycling. The air temperature was just a little cooler at 46° but we had plenty of sunshine and much lower wind speeds. The effect was a day that felt warmer than its predecessor, and I was very pleased with my 30-mile road ride. Today was only 34° and overcast but there was no wind. I rode in relative comfort thanks to heavier gloves, heavier socks, and toe covers for my shoes, but I kept my effort to just 20 miles. Monday and Tuesday should look very much like today, and that’s good enough. A shift in wind direction could bring a few inches of snow by the middle of the week. We had a little taste of spring this weekend but winter isn’t done yet.

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