Procycling magazine’s 12 days of Christmas revisits some of the highlights from our contributors in the magazine over the last year. After racing Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and hoping to get stuck into the spring classics, Heidi Franz and her Rally Cycling team swiftly found themselves in Europe with no races to race, once the covid-19 pandemic caused cancellations everywhere.
Heidi Franz races for Rally Cycling and was one of Procycling’s 2020 diarists. This article was taken from Procycling magazine issue 268 May 2020.
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Contrary to what my calendar says, it feels like a whole season went by since I last wrote from the eve of Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and yet, it was only four weeks ago. The world is an unrecognisable place. The morning after Nieuwsblad, we got word that Strade Bianche would potentially be cancelled along with several other Italian races.
However, Tuesday morning we got word that everything was scheduled to go as normal. Our staff leapt into team vehicles to start their long drive to Tuscany, and the few of us riders jumped on a pre-dawn flight to Pisa. We drove the scenic route in my team-mate’s rental car to “her little town” as she called it, where I indulged in an extraordinary cream puff pastry with pistachio and a cherry on top. Why not?
I almost wish we hadn’t done our race recon, because I immediately understood why it is so beloved. It was one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever ridden my bike. Pearly gravel roads and green hills upon hills – as if we had ridden directly into a Microsoft Windows XP wallpaper.
For two hours of riding, I had forgotten every bit of doubt that I’d felt in Belgium. Our stopping point on the parcours files into my top-three most scenic pee stops ever, but some gloomy updates from the UCI and RCS Sport brought us back to reality. We showered, cooked some pasta, I drank some wine, and we played a game of Dutch Blitz to take the edge off and 28 hours later and we found ourselves halfway through a long, stormy drive along the Mediterranean to Girona, Spain. We were going home.
The rest of my story isn’t unlike other cyclists. We find ourselves in a state of uncertainty, searching for new goals as we travel home to lockdowns and Zwift. With an off-season suddenly upon us, I have been keeping busy and trying to find motivation elsewhere. Timing be damned, I’ve been in the process of moving since returning stateside.
Yes - I am leaving the little island I’ll always call home and heading to Seattle. There have been many solo ferry trips and car loads of boxes and bikes back and forth across the Puget Sound the last two weeks, all while my partner and I have been doing our best to support the artists, musicians, and friends in the foodservice industry who are struggling in these times.
In these times, we have to be creative with our time, how we cope, and how we support one another. That might involve looking at things you see every day in a different way. I took these photos with my film camera in Girona. It was my first time there and my bike had gotten lost by the airline, so I spent the first two days just walking everywhere.
The first film scan is at golden hour, the road looked beautiful to me. At speed in a car or on a bike, we don’t quite get to appreciate or look long enough to let something soak in. Same thoughts go to filmscan 2- looking at the street you might live on in a different way to appreciate it.
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