@Harminator just submitted this little gem of a tale. It is too timely not to share with Paris-Roubaix looming.
I imagine that some people who decide to fly 17000kms to watch a bike race might plan every little thing down to the finest detail. We didn’t. We believe in the maxim that the best adventures are planned on the back of an envelope. All we had was a vision of standing drunk beside an ancient cobbled farm track as the cream of cycling’s hardmen suffered past in clouds of dust and pulverized cow manure. How that might eventuate was clearly filed under “fuck knows”.
And on the Seventh Day our approach was vindicated. Despite several campervan near-misses, we made it to the austere town of Orchies. But finding the town does not equate to finding the obscure cobbled farm track and our pidgin French was only un petit-peu helpful. It was then that the powerful tradition of Paris-Roubaix came to our aid – in the form of the pig. Two pigs actually. About 5 meters tall, dressed like farm folk and being wheeled through the streets. For a moment we stood there perplexed until it dawned on me that on That Sunday, in that town there could be only one explanation.
“Follow the Pigs!” I half shouted. And we did. And yea! They did lead us to the cobbles of Orchies. And the beer tent. And the frites. All hail the pigs!
And a couple of hours later I was standing drunk beside an ancient cobbled farm track when Turgot and Tommeke and JVS powered past in a cloud of dust and pulverized cow manure: Past the giant pigs standing sentinel to the cobbles of Orchies: Past two heaving lines of temporary maniacs swept up in a bona fide celebration of cycling. In that moment I became a true follower.