Cycling is a way of life in Belgium and the wider cycling community has a huge presence there. The tragic events in Brussels this week have brought those global issues very close to home. Many of us have a number of good friends and colleagues there, and anyone who knows anything about bike racing appreciates how much time bike riders spend in airports - and in particular Brussels Airport. Even I have passed through that airport on numerous occasions, and sat by that cafe at the scene, sharing a coffee and a chat with a pro while we waited for flights. Mark was the first person I contacted on Tuesday morning to check he and his girlfriend Pia were ok. Even though I know very well they live an hour away near Antwerp, when they are not racing they are more often than not travelling to or from a race. Understandably Mark is in no mood to write about bike racing this week, the events of Tuesday are still too raw and real. Instead he's asked us to publish a few thoughts, which we are more than happy to do.
Sometimes in life events happen - good or bad - that put things in to perspective. Yesterday I sat in front of the TV for hours taking it all in. I thought about not going out on my bike. Then I thought why should I stay in because of some senseless evil act that caused so much pain and suffering.
So I decided to go out and spent the next three hours thinking about the victims. I wondered why or how someone could do such a hateful thing, over religion or race, and wondering what sort of world it is we live in today.
I am not Belgian but I do live here in Belgium and it is a beautiful country full of wonderful people. I'm no politician nor do I understand the reasoning behind such acts. But one thing I do believe is that the people who committed these atrocities are not religious or martyrs, they are small-minded, sad men. I will not remember them nor will I acknowledge their cause, because when their actions fall on deaf ears the only thing we see is the true madness of it all.
I will remember the victims in my thoughts because they are the ones who deserve them.