|GVA Baal by Luc van der Meiren|
Usually it wouldn't be especially difficult for me to have done those 7 races in two weeks (or 9 races in three weeks) as i recover quickly from hard efforts but i unfortunately entered this race period with a bladder infection. I tried to first treat it homeopathically for a few days with cranberry pills, lots of water, garlic, etc but only found out on the morning of Namen World Cup that my attempt had failed miserably. Not only had i missed out on sleep for a whole week from drinking an overload of water and having to pee every ten minutes through the night, but I 'woke up' that morning of the World Cup with a very strong pain in my kidney. Bugger! Now i had the infection in both bladder and kidney.
|Namen World Cup|
Just after i crossed the finish line having only beaten a handful of gals, I was greeted by the sweetest group of folks who patiently waited there for me to arrive. Their enthusiasm was so infectious (no pun intended) that for a moment i thought that maybe i had done better than I thought. But alas, they were simply there to offer a bit of comfort to me on a very trying day. I got warm comments like, "Way to finish", "You looked great on the descents". On top of that, my press and media friends jumped in to take photos and even grab an inteview of me. I felt like a rockstar, a very sick one but nonetheless special. THANKS TO YOU ALL!!!! I held it together until i got back to the "Peanut" van before i broke into tears.
|Essen by Johan Pelgrims|
Three days later was yet another World Cup in Zolder, BE - on a Formula 1 track actually. Last year i cracked my pelvis on the track on an ice patch so with that in mind combined with my neverending recovery from the kidney infection, my expectations were not too high. Again, even though the course suited me, the best i could manage was 29th.
Two days later i was back at it at GVA Trofee Azencross (Loenhout). This course is never a good one for me and that day it was no different from the years previous. I finished in 19th and put the experience out of my mind.
|Essen by Dirk Bruylant|
The next morning after a night of heavy rain, the Fidea Leuven course was completely different. It was still fun to play in the mud the day previous though. As for the race, it was a real mudfest. My start was for the first time in a while not so disastrous. During the race i passed a couple of people and finished 12th. It was a solid race and even more importantly a good feeling that my fitness is still there and confirmation that i am indeed almost recovered from the tool that infection took on me.
|Zolder by Krist Vanmelle|
As for the race, again i had a decent start and again i passed a couple of riders to come in 14th. What thrilled me about this race was that for the first time this season i saw riders that i normally never see like Reza Hormes-Ravenstijn, Arenda Grimberg and even sprinted for 13th with Ellen van Loy. I cant say i felt like a superhero by any means, but it surely gave me hope for the rest of the season. The course was also a good one for me i must admit as it was technical and riddled with heavy mud - something that suits me more than the road-race on cross bikes style.
|Namen by Patricia Cristens|
I know i've said it before but i feel like i cannot say it enough - I want to thank you all for your unwavering support!! It really makes the racing experience so much more managable on the bad days and memorable every day - a feeling that I am not alone at the start line but with my extended family of sorts!! It really means the world to me!!
|GVA Baal by Filip François|