Monday, July 16, 2007

My tranquil spot in Belgium...

My first trip to belgium was about five years ago. I came here to race two World Cups (Wetzikon, SUI and Heerlen, NED) and be ready for the World Championships just in case the US National Team needed me (I was 1st alternate - that year they only filled 4 of the 5 spots allocated to USA for Worlds.)

That trip was the farthest I'd ever been from home - in fact, it was the first time I had ever been to Europe! I read the brochures and travel books but I really had no idea what to expect.

The moment I arrived, i put my bike together and headed out for my first Belgian ride. The first street I hit was called N253 - it connects Leuven (where i stayed) to Tervuren. Even though this simple, winding, undulating road was filled with bad pavement, no real room for cyclists and lots of blind turns which made it a bit of a safety hazard, I was overjoyed to come across it!!! It reminded me of home - of Paradise Drive in Tiburon, CA to be precise.

At least once or twice a week, when training in California, I'd ride along Paradise Drive - a small undulating road that overlooks the San Francisco Bay . I'd use it mainly for tranquil recovery rides . As goofy as it seems, finding that stretch of road in Belgium was a sign to me that everything was going to be okay. And it was! I didn't get to race the World Champs that year, but I did place top 10 in the two World Cups!

The photo is of N253. I have since ridden it about 100 times. And just like Paradise Drive in California, every time i ride it I discover something new. On this ride, I discovered a beautiful little pond.

Coincidentally I now LIVE on the road, but on the other side of the highway from where I took this photo.

8 comments:

Big Bad Wolf said...

Actually the N253 connects Leuven to Neerijse and Overijse. But you are right, it IS a real death-trap. On the rare occasion I use parts of that road (usually going from one offroad section to another - a wealth you don't have off course being road bound - I ride in the middle of my lane to avoid being pushed in the gutter. That way the cars (or bigger ) HAVE to wait to pass me until the road is clear. The road connecting Leuven to Tervuren is the N3 , straight as an arrow and sporting good bike lanes except near Vossem.

Anonymous said...

Look at that -- rare Belgian miniature cattle perched on the fence railing like sparrows!
-- E.C. Chamberlain

PEANUT said...

I actually use the N253 on my way to tervuren. When the N3 bike path ends, that too becomes a death trap. I have used it a couple of times to get to brussels since it is better than N2 (brusselsesteenweg) which is downright ugly. I have now opted never to go to brussels again - not worth it.
By the way, I LIVE on N253. I just realized that recently.

Big Bad Wolf said...

To get to Tervuren you might wanna ride over Bertem ,Leefdaal and Duisburg . Its a much quiter road.

PEANUT said...

i now get to tervuren about a zillion different ways. thanks! are you going to the BK this weekend?

Big Bad Wolf said...

I will be at the Belgian Crosscountry Championships in Ottignies yes, as a signaleur and of course to take some photographs. Check my Blog for more details.

Adeline said...

HAPPY BIRTHDAY !
With a day too late ...

PEANUT said...

Thanks adeline!!!!