I'm filled with conflicting emotions. But for the next few hours, I will put all negative thoughts aside so I can be excited for the riders as they celebrate the brief solitary moment they have to enjoy the race. While watching them smile and laugh while engaging in idle chit-chat while riding at a cyclotourist pace, I can only imagine how they must be feeling. Their Tour is coming to a close. They must be relieved and excited among about a billion other emotions.
One emotion you don't get to see on TV is post-tour depression that may set in for some of the guys as soon as the morning following the Tour. I could imagine that it would be weird to wake up without a purpose for getting out of bed. Maybe this is part of the reason there exists a series of post-Tour crits. OK, those are strictly run for the money! Apparently they pay the racers WELL just for showing up!
There is a post-Tour crit in Aalst tomorrow that I may watch if it doesn't rain. Tommeke is the main attraction at this one. If you have never attended one of these events, it may behoove you to make the trip. They are more of a spectacle that the Tour itself!
Usually, the events start in the afternoon with the womens race, some junior and cadette events, then the main attraction - the traveling circus. Sometimes the circus includes pros riding around at about 5kph stopping to sign autographs or pose for photos. Other times they ride around with their kids. Often some of these loops include a convertible with highlighted pros sitting in the backseat flanked by blonde babes of course. The riders really play it up for the crowds! The final series of 'races' start at about 10pm while the festivities run through to 4am!
Since the course normally passes multiple cafes, the drinking starts with the first events at about 2pm. By 10pm the crowd is outright hammered which surely adds to the spectacle of the event! Since I am a good girl, I will promptly leave at 9pm to be in bed by 10 - joined by Tommeke. I will fold him in half, take him off the stage in my living room and tuck him in under the covers. Never cold feet on this guy!!