Paris Roubaix is one of the oldest races in professional cycling.
This one day race, known as the “Queen of Classics” is my favourite. An ultimate test of a cyclists resilience. I love the history, the terrain, and the uncertainty , as its a race where favourites don't normally win, and its race where a "domestique" can land in the history books from a good break or by merely staying on his bike.
It is that air of uncertainty that surrounds the “Hell of the North” which appeals to a rare breed of cyclists, willing to risk everything for a chance to ride into the Roubaix velodrome waving hands in the air, and to stand atop the podium in the sport’s toughest classic.
I became obsessed with this race back in the mid 80's and now almost 25 years later, I have re-captured that undiminished passion for this race, the region, and the history of this great sporting spectacle.
During my high school years, my favourite subject was European History, so understanding Paris Roubaix was quite easy for me. Run your fingers through the topsoil in that region of Northern France and you are likely to find shrapnel and splintered bones. The race has been shaped by history's wars and iconic battles of past.
I used to often dream about bouncing over the cobblestone roads also known as pavé. Even to this day, I often imagine myself riding through the Forest of Arenberg. A spot in the race which is the most treacherous stretch, and for what the race has become known for. Its never won here. But it is often lost.
So as the years go by, and my time on earth ends, my only wish is for my ashes to lay across Paris Roubaix.
(exit from the forest of Arenberg. The cyclists exit and turn left onto the road.)
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