Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Ereprijs 'Albert Van Damme' Cross

Last Saturday I had one last chance to test my legs before Koksijde World Cup this weekend.  The race was held an hour from home in a tiny town called Laarne in East Flanders.  I went there in support of Dan Seaton who is a fellow racer and CX Magazine journalist and in support of my teammate Veerle Ingels who was there to win the East Flanders Provincial Champion's jersey. 

As it was a small race, they ran the women in conjunction with the junior guys.  The start was super fast, especially considering the course weaves in and out of a farm that just harvested their corn, leaving little 10 centimeter stalks protruding from the ground.  Veerle and I got away from the rest of the gals from the start and rode at our own pace till the end.  Veerle finishing a bit ahead of me to win the jersey! 

What i took away from the race was confirmation that my body is continuing to get stronger over the season.  On a power course like that, it is easy to judge your fitness. I was also thrilled to hear again so many cheers for me - even at a local race! What a difference that kind of support can make.

But the highlight of the day was the excitement on Veerle's face when she won the race.  When you compete in a country like Belgium where most of the big guns come to race, victories are hard to come by - unless you are marianne vos, daphny van den Brand or of course Katie Compton.  So when it happens, you're sure to treasure the moment.  I may not have won the race myself, but i was filled with joy nonetheless just by getting to witness Veerle's moment.

As for this week's training, it's been raining nonstop with heavy winds attached. It's so bad out there that I almost got blown off the soccer field during my run. It took ten seconds to clear the field in one direction and three minutes in the other.

Friday we leave for the Belgian coast for Koksijde world cup. Saturday is the race. Jonas and I have a little post-race routine every time we go to this race that includes taking a long walk on the beach while holding hands just like in the romance movies. Jonas' mom reminds me that it's just a phase - haha.

As always, thanks for reading!

Photo on top is from Vlaamse Cyclocross Cup
All the rest courtesy of Cindy Nagels

Monday, November 16, 2009

Superprestige Gavere Race Report

My race report was just posted in CYCLOCROSS Magazine's site including photos.  You can read all about it HERE. 

Be forewarned that the article is VERY dirty. teehee.
And on a side note, my teammate Veerle Ingels looked the strongest i have seen her all season! She finished in 11th!! Seems like she is working her way up to top form in time for the big racing blocks to come.

(photo courtesy of Mario Yskout)

Friday, November 13, 2009

Nommay World Cup and Fidea Jaarmaarktcross Niel Races

After a crappy time in Nommay where my legs just didnt work, i went back to basics in my mind and focused only on positive race experiences i've had in the past. I kept these thoughts up for the next three days until the next race at Jaarmaarktcross in Belgium.

I guess there is a lot of truth to the power of positive thinking.  From the first pedalstroke, i was feeling great!  Unfortunately i was so taken by surprise by my responsive legs that i got nervous and didnt fight as hard as i could have for top position going into the dirt where we rode single file for quite some time. Oops.  I eventually passed a few riders to finish in 14th just behind my teammate Veerle Ingels.   The result may not have been spectatular but it did give me a good feeling that if my legs can be great from the start in this race, then why not in the next!  I'll only have to wait a couple of days more since this Sunday is Superprestige Asper-Gavere in Belgium. Here I go...

For a detailed race report, check out CYCLOCROSS Magazine.  My race report is up now.

Thanks for reading!
(above photo taken by Bart Hazen and below is taken by Francois Buyssens)

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Kortenbergcross Report

Not to be confused with Koppenbergcross.  Last sunday i skipped the eight-hour drive to Germany to race with Hanka Kupfernagel and instead went local, really local as in my neighborhood woods.  The last time I raced in these woods was a month ago for the 6-hours of Kortenberg relay MTB race.  But this time around, it was a skinny-tire'd event. 

As there was no women's category since it was held on the same day as European Championships, the three of us who showed were put in the men's 50+ year category.  With no series points i had a last row callup, in fact i had no callup at all. I just had to file in behind the guys - and two girls.  While i stood at the start, Jonas told me, "Don't let anyone beat you in your own woods." As funny as that was, I did feel a certain hometown pride about racing on my training trails.  I even had my own cheering section in the form of Jonas' mom Godelieve, his sister Eva and her kids Lukas and Karel. And Jonas' friend Jo  was there to yell.  He raced the 40- category later in the day - his first cyclocross race ever!

The race start was on a skinny strip of grass, followed by a tight left hander into a singletrack trail.  I was towards the back of the field going into the singletrack but worked on my patience. Periodically I'd pass a guy here and there and was surprised to find that some of them were clearly unhappy about it, whining as i passed.  It started to make me think that the race was rigged and nobody told me. 

During the second lap of seven, i was passed by one of the gals.  I didnt whine although of course i hoped it didnt happen. The one other race we've been in together this year, she beat me by a couple of minutes so I wasnt terribly surprised. We rode together for two laps until i attacked her on a descent while thinking, "not on my turf".  I may not be able to beat the men, or even the gal but i sure as hell was going to try since this is MY backyard.  For the next four laps I defended my turf, finishing as first place woman and 9th "50+ guy".

The best part of the day was an unexpected compliment I got from a 60+ year old guy as I was about to mount my bike to ride home.  He said, "Beautiful. Just beautiful."  I dont know if he was compimenting my bike, my clothes, my riding, or my smile.  But either way, I took the kind words in as I saw fit, translating them in my head as, "beautiful ass" of course.

I may have showed decently in my local woods, but Nommay World Cup next weekend will be a whole different situation.  All the big guns like Hanka Kupfernagel, Marianne Vos, Daphny Van den Brand, Helen Wyman, and Katie Compton will be there. And even the little guns will be there too.  But you never know, even BB guns like me can do serious damage when aimed correctly.

Thanks for reading!