Friday, April 11, 2014
The one-day pro cycling race from the north of Paris to the city of Roubaix is, with little doubt, the hardest and most dangerous pro-cycling race of the year. The route stretches out for 257 kilometers (160 miles), and includes 28 sections of cobblestone that date back to the times of Napoleon. The 51.1 kilometers (31.7 miles) of cobbles are treacherous, and when wet are treacherous beyond belief. In 1994, rain soaked the course so that only 14 of 151 riders even finished the race, and these were pros--the best cyclists in the world!
No wonder they call this race "The Hell of the North"!
For those who survive to the end, the race finishes in the Velodrome of Roubaix so that yet another cycling discipline plays a part in this event. Last year Fabian Cancellara outwitted Sep Vanmarcke on the track, and after a close but decisive win at The Tour of Flanders last Sunday, Cancellara is again the race favorite.
But it takes near super-human strength, and a lot of luck, just to make it to the velodrome much less win the race, so we shall see. I have higher priorities in my life which means that I'll be in church with my eyes fixed on Jesus during the race, but I won't be surprised if every once in a while my thoughts drift to Paris-Roubaix because it is, by far, my favorite race of the year!