Greg Van Viszla
ONe Day racer
Greg believes in toughness. He sleeps outside to better acclimatise to the fickle changes in Flandrian weather. Throughout winter and spring rain batters down on his thin blankets soaking his pyjamas as he sleeps. With every hail-strike he smiles. His rivals are not doing this he thinks.
He wakes and stares across flat farmland into the far distance, windows rattle, scragged leaves
flail upon barbed wire, a rough stand of birch trees sway and clash in the wind.
Van Viszla says nothing to his wife as they sit at their wooden kitchen table.
But she accepts this silence.
Her suffering in this marriage is nothing in comparison to his suffering on the bike. He consumes her carefully made Belgian gruel and sausage then pulls on his worn training shorts and a summer jersey. Clipped in, he makes his way out of the little iron gate onto wet roads slick with tractor mud, crushed turnips and discarded potatoes.
Now the work begins.
Greg comes alive. His stoic rhythm pushes watts into the wet tarmac and cobbles. His rear tyre periodically skids as he surges forwards across uneven roads. He allows a smile to appear at the corners of his mouth as he imagines others in their warm weather training camps in Mallorca. His unique physiology allows him to just keep going. His energy is almost boundless, his genetic gift to be the strongest at the end of the longest day.
Greg knows he can grind down his rivals with repeated big attacks and still keep enough in the tank for a big race-winning sprint. On his day he is unstoppable. But genetics are nothing without hard miles in the legs and Greg's miles are the hardest of all. Mud shod windwhipped rides fuelled by the religious fervour his Flemish culture expects. Sinew stretched, Bergs ascended day after day. Greg dreams of the full set of classics.
He believes it is possible.