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Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Amgen Tour of California

Today is the big day that world cycling enthusiasts gather to see the peloton cross the finish line in Clovis, California. They are predicting the riders will arrive about 3:30 this afternoon in front of 25,000 people. Riders will include Belgium's Tom Boonen, last year's winner Levi Leipheimer, and that other guy, Lance Armstrong. I'll be taking my mom, Josie Caraveo, who is an avid race fan, where we'll be cheering on Tom, who won 75 races last year alone.

If you are truly a cycling enthusiast, then you should know about the National Cycling Museum in Roeselare, West Flanders, Belgium, called the Nationaal Wielermuseum. As far as I know, this is the only museum in the world dedicated to bicycle racing.

My mother's family has a long history of cyclists, and at the turn of the century (last century) my uncle's father was the National Champion of Belgium, and that is why this museum is in their home town. His name was Hector Martin and some of the artifacts you see here were donated by my uncle's family.

When I visited the museum in 2006 cycling star Freddy Maertens was the curator and he was more than genial. I even had permission to take a few photographs.The museum has a permanent exhibit of cycling through the years, and also has new rotating shows such as photography exhibits and, when I was there, the famous Tour de France yellow jersey.
So now you know, Belgium is not just about beer and chocolate, beautiful lace and incredible artwork. And for you Americans who don't get out much, no, they don't serve Belgian Waffles for breakfast, so don't ask.

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