Sunday, August 24, 2014

Cyclocross is just around the corner...

OK, well in my case it's on the other side of the WORLD as my first race is next weekend in CHINA!

Ninove crit by Yves Schollaert
Yes, you read that correctly.  I'm heading over to China with my good friend Ellen van Loy and Jonas is coming as our support guy! We are also partnering up with Thijs Al, his girlfriend and their 7-month old baby when we're there.  It is to race the first UCI cyclocross race of the season - a Category 1 event.  I expect it will be the strangest experience ever!

We leave Wednesday, arrive Thursday, race Saturday and then check out China, in particular The Great Wall and Beijing for the few days after. Ellen, though, heads directly back the day after the race. I'll be sure to take a lot of photos and do my best to send updates along the way.

Over the summer, i did a few races to keep in touch with race pace. Every time i do this, i am always

Lille Derny by Tom Debruyn
surprised by how fast women can propel their bikes!! Super cool to see - and of course to experience!  I did a couple post-tour criteriums including Ninove and the derny race in Lille as well as the Beneladies Tour on my birthday in July. 

My last hard effort was yesterday where i took the start at the Feesten Beert Kermiscross against the "elite" men.  I was 17th out of 48th at the end. That number doesnt really say anything but i can tell you i was thrilled to even get the opportunity to race! I went to the event with my friend Christophe. And without the usual Peanut van, i packed lightly. Apparently i was too light as i showed up without racing shoes!! By some miracle, a kind man lent me his spare pair of shoes so i could race. I am now hoping i didnt beat him to the finish. ;-) But it was a very good practice where i could work on my mud skills, climbing, descending, staircase descending, curb-hopping, log-springing and even

Flemish interview in Lille by Bianca Nyen
ramp jumping. Was a very interesting yet extremely fun experience! The announcer loved that there was a woman in the race so much that during the podium ceremony they were looking for me to award me with my very own prize - 2 oversized bottles of Kriek Boon - 1 oude (old) and 1 new. I kept the old but gave the new to Christophe as a thank-you for helping me put it all together before the race when i was busy trying to get the shoes to work. Was very thankful for that!

After i returned home with the racing high, i immediately hit rock bottom when i heard the news of Annefleur Kalvenhaar.  Dead. WTF. She hit a bridge wrong in the World Cup MTB Eliminator last weekend and the rest is history. Breaks your heart. This is someone i saw most weekends during the winter, a real up-and-comer at only 20 yrs old and always sweet to me. I didnt know her well aside from the races and as facebook "friends" but it hurts nonetheless to lose one of our own. pfff. I wish strength and loving vibes for the close friends and family of Annefleur.

On a more positive note - as life for the rest of us must go on - i have some GREAT news to announce soon enough so stay tuned....

As for my upcoming events, I'm speaking at International Animal Rights Conference again in
Luxembourg 12 September so stop on by if you can!!!

Next up is my talk at VegFest UK London 28 September.  They expect a crowd of 10,000 at this
event!!  I'm a guest speaker for The Vegan Society - they are being honored at this event for their 70th birthday. What an honor it will be to speak on their behalf. To find out more about it, click here!

As for my next races, I'm racing the day after i get back from China at Derny Edegem on 5 September (organized by Katrien Thijs), then after that i'm not yet sure regarding my cross schedule so stay tuned for that as well!!

Thanks for reading! x