Monday, December 28, 2009

Scheldecross, Kalmthout World Cup, and Zolder World Cup report

Sorry it's been a while since i have updated my blog. It does not mean, however that i have been lax in life! You can always catch up on my racing adventures on CYCLOCROSS Magazine.  They just published my last report today. Yippee!

The last few weeks i have been busy training, racing, recovering from training and racing, and recovering from a few health incidents like a really bad saddle sore and an eye infection in both eyes that I apparently had for a few months!  Here's a photo of what I look like with eye infections. Not pretty.                                    Two of the last three races have been unusual by Belgian standards.  We've had a lot of snow lately, something that doesnt happen much here. It completely shut the whole country down with 300 mile traffic jams extending well outside the country limits.  But the races continued as planned. Maybe not completely as planned as the first race in Scheldecross (18 Dec.) had a bomb scare.  They found a granade just before the mens start, causing the guys to stand - or rather run back and forth - at the start line for a full 45 minutes before getting on with the show.  As for my race, it was over within the first lap due to a crash that claimed my bike and some body parts.                                                                                                   I had modest designs going into it. Finishing it was the goal since i hadn't trained the last two of the three weeks due to the saddle sore gone awry.  But on the first snowy sloppy descent, i couldnt clip into my pedals that turned to ice balls, flew down with both legs sticking out on both sides and took myself out at the bottom. Shockingly enough, i would have made the descent if it werent for a gal running it in front of me. it was either take myself out or smack into the back of her. I'm too nice sometimes. Then again it wasnt her fault my pedals were frozen.                                                                                              The next race, Kalmthout World Cup (20 Dec.), was even more unusual regarding nature's elements. We raced on a full track covered with ice, blanked by a thick layer of snow - in the middle of a blizzard.  On a course that had only one good line throughout almost the whole course, wherever you started in the race is where you mainly ended up.  The only way that most riders passed each other were when crashes happened. Even so, it was incredibly fun to race in that stuff!   What really made it the best race ever, though, was the wonderful cheering i got throughout the course, especially from my loving supporters club.  Ever lap, they did a "mexican wave" and popped a confetti bottle just before i arrived so i'd ride through a colorful shiny party in the air! THANKS GUYS!!    

Since i am throwing out the gratitude, i want to extend a big thank you to all the wonderful photographers who were kind enough to catch me on film!  On this post, i included photos from Cindy Nagels (#'s 3,4,7), Mario Toussaint (#6), Marc Van Est (#2)   

My latest race, Zolder World Cup (26 Dec.) was missing the pizazz of white glistening snow but made up for it with muddy, slippery sections including one death drop where i managed to avert death, but only just barely. On one of the laps, i hit a rut at the wrong angle causing my front wheel to turn and flip me on my face - and hip, shins, quads, shoulder and back. After i straightened the helmet and glasses, got over to the pits to get a non-broken bike, i got on with the job.

Tomorrow is yet another race - GVA Trofee's Azencross.  The race is famous for its washboard section where the riders bob up and down - great for photos!  Fingers crossed for great sensations - makes the racing a lot more fun!

Thanks for reading and have a super merry holiday season!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Koksijde World Cup last Saturday

Going into the race, I knew I was finally coming onto some real fitness based on my last two races.  Unfortunately, the concept that evil always balances out good applied in this case and my race was a bust.
It was a real bummer - no pun intended. To fully understand the pun,  CLICK HERE for the details of my trip posted on CYCLOCROSS Magazine.

And while you are on the site, DO check out CYCLOCROSS Magazine's Fantasy Cyclocross.  You'll see that I'm presently on top of the leaderboard - not a small feat considering there are 340 teams!  I even chose myself for the team!! It may be silly to be excited about it but I AM!

Thanks for reading!