Hell of the North

Morning Tash Appreciators,

I was out and about over the weekend and there seemed to be loads more runners and cyclists than usual. Maybe folk are trying to get in shape for the summer. Or maybe they just thought the weather was decent for the first time in months! Either way, many of them appeared to be suffering. 

Spring has long been the time when people get their act together and start becoming a bit more active. Whether it’s spring cleaning or getting some exercise in, it’s like the sun gives everyone a bit more energy. 

When folk first start getting out on the roads or down the gym, the first few sessions will be the worst. People will generally feel like they’re going to throw up or that their limbs have turned to jelly. 

Thankfully, it’s the same for everyone, even pro athletes. For example, the cycling season started a month or two ago but the first few races were in exotic locations with pristine roads and comfortable temperatures. They weren’t real races. Now though, the season has moved on to Belgium for the spring classics and the real races have begun. 

These most recent races have seen dozens of cyclists abandon due to lack of fitness but there have been some incredible performances. In last week’s Tour of Flanders (a one-day monster where the riders tackle the same 20% hill six times) Fabien “Spartacus” Cancellara rode away from the rest of the field after 150 miles with pure will-power and determination. Look at the expression on his face:

This weekend sees the biggest race of the spring: Paris-Roubaix, also known as Hell of the North. Team-mates will not help in this race – the cobbled roads (yes, for large sections of the race the riders will be going at 20+ mph over cobbles) mean its every man for himself. Strong men end up looking like this:

The point is, it’s all relative. These boys will cover 157 miles in a little over 6 hours. However, the pain they suffer is no different to that of you or I as we pound the pavements or brave the pot-holed roads. 

For example, Nike released an advert a couple of weeks ago about an overweight boy who decided to lose weight and took up running:

s there any difference between his pain and the pain of the guys doing Paris-Roubaix? Yes, the cyclists are being paid big bucks and have thousands of people cheering them on; it’s much harder to put the hours in on your own.

If you’re getting out and about this spring, TF salutes you. 

Have a great weekend folks!

Keep going!

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