I told him we planned to see the race three, maybe four times that day. He laughed and laughed and when finally he was done laughing, he told me they would see it at least nine times. Within a few days, thanks to the internet and Dutch Public School Foreign Language Curriculums, we were emailing, and by the following Sunday (Liège-Bastogne-Liège) we were on caravanning terms. Where we (MFS) had planned to see LBL three or maybe four times, they had plans to see it at least five times—and they did, and by proxy so did we.
After the Classics and throughout 2012, we continued to email and talk. In January 2013, I told Raoul we were coming back. I told him we wanted to ride with him and his Dad this time. I said caravanning is cool and all, but let’s just do this for real. He said I was welcome, he said I could stay with him, he said that his Mom would make White Gold Soup (cream of white asparagus) for us. I said cool, that sounds delicious, oh and before I forget, what’s the key to spectating Amstel?
“Most people think spectating a Spring Classic is just like the Grand Tours: standing next to the road, waiting for hours till the race passes by for 30 seconds and that’s it. No, it’s definitely not. Spectating a Spring Classic is totally different, it’s a way of life! During the Spring Classics, the real cycling fans gather. Speed, chaos, brutality and strategy are the keywords to success. The most important word is strategy. Everybody has their own; the question is whose is best? We see Amstel nine times. There are a few more options, but the quality of the spots will be lower. If you want nice uphill spots, nine is the maximum by car.”