Yesterday I rode in a photo car for Paris Roubaix. This has to be one of the best and craziest experiences that I've had in cycling thus far. I'm still recovering. The Driver, as he will be known to me forever was amazing.
The course? Brutal.
The fans? Even more brutal. At one point they literally tried to open the doors and pull us out of the car. When the door was opened, the smell of beer mixed with sweat mixed with screaming fans was intense.
I saw the race from four different vantage points with some insane driving in between. I captured as much of it as I could on video.
Paris is calling at this point but I'll leave you with this.
I was standing near Mr. Zabel the day before the start, heading in to get press credentials. People were making introductions all around so I boldly stepped up and stuck out my hand. Only problem was that I think I may have been a little startstruck (how could you not?) so I forgot to say anything and just stood there with my hand out. He looked at me and laughed and said "Hello, I'm Erik."
I mumbled something in return and tried to say that it was nice to meet him. But, from then on, whenever I would see him for the next few days — at the start, near the team bus, out on the course handing out water bottles, he would laugh and give me a nod of acknowledgment.