At the end of March we went to watch the Tour of Flanders (or Ronde van Vlaanderen), one of the biggest one day cycling races in the calendar. There's no doubting where you are whilst in the Flanders region of Belgium - the Lion of Flanders is everywhere.
We rose early on race day to join the crowds marching to the various obscure cobbled farm tracks on which the race would be decided hours later. We chose the Oude Kwaremont, and once we'd bagged a prime spot on the barriers we settled into a few late morning beers to help insulate us from the single figure temperatures.
The women's race came past just after midday. This is Lizzie Armitstead of Olympic silver medal winning fame last summer.
An hour or so later and the police started clearing the road for the approaching men's race, whilst keeping an eye on a group of lads opposite who were making quick work of a crate of Jupiler. This moment of anticipation is one of my favourite parts of watching a race live - the calm before the storm as everyone waits for a galloping peloton.
You know when they're getting close as you can hear the crowds further down the climb starting to roar. The race would pass this climb three times, so the first riders to pop into view were the early breakaway still enjoying some TV time for their sponsors.
Shortly after the main peloton started streaming past. Despite being uphill and on cobbles, they were still moving impressively fast...
The riders aren't afraid to take risks, passing close enough to us to feel the wind and smell the sweat - a milisecond after taking this photo I quickly pulled my camera and head back over the barrier to avoid being whacked by Team Sky's Bernie Eisel. Some riders even rode on the tiny strip of smooth road between the barriers and cobbles, looking to gain any advantage possible.
As the pack disappeared into the distance we had another hour to kill before they came back for lap two. Plenty of time to sample another 9.5% Belgium beer. Apologies if the photos start getting a little fuzzier as the day goes on...!
As the riders came back for the third and final lap the vital move was made when eventual winner (Cancellara) attacked halfway up the hill. Unfortunately for us and the press photographers opposite, he caught the tired remnants of the breakaway right in front of us all, meaning he's behind the motorbike and riders in the shot above with Peter Sagan in green behind him.
Sky's Boasson Hagen was with the two favourites 30 seconds before, but now the race is lost. The photographer looking up the road also realises the race winning move has gone.
The rest of the pack filters through. Some are carrying injuries picked up during the inevitable crashes that happen during every race.
The race had another 20 minutes or so to run, so everyone gathered around the big screen to watch the Swiss rider take the win in style.
After a hard day's spectating, there's only one thing left to do. To the bar!
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