Friday, October 10, 2014

Cyclocross Season off to a stinging start...

literally, as i almost died at the opening race of the season in China.
Necklace i got from
the China Race
Click HERE on PelotonPost to read all about it, as well as the rest of my bizarre exciting adventures there. The article includes LOTS of colorful photos so you'll feel like you were right there with me!

The day after we returned from China, it was directly back to work with a Derny race in Edegem, Belgium organized by fellow racer Katrien Thijs. Before the race, all the gals were treated to body jewelry tattoos made of gold so we'd have that girly touch while kicking each other's asses.  It definitely was a shock to the system to get back into cycling after taking a few days off the bike to recover from the China incident, especially considering it took me a lap to find my derny.  Luckily Loes Sels offered me her wheel until i found him.  Afterwards, Jonas and I got to catch up with our friends Ellen van Loy and Tom - always nice when you can combine your passion with a bit of socializing!

Two days later, it was time to re-test the cyclocross legs at Hofstade-Zemst
by Leske Staes
where they held a separate women's race, thanks to organizer Jean Schoovaerts.  Otherwise we'd be having to duke it out with the juniors which is typical here in Belgium.  Once the gun sounded, it took me no time to get myself into 2nd position, on the heels of Ellen van Loy.  My first thought was that my legs were indeed as good as i thought they were in China where i didnt get to really test them. My second thought, though, was SHIT, my difficulty breathing from China hasnt gone away yet. I knew i was taking a gamble to race so soon after having such a close brush with death, but still wanted to give it a shot.  Eventually i faded to spot 5/6, crosssing the line in 6th in a sprint. 

The next weeks were occupied by my job as spokesperson for In Defense of Animals, The Vegan Society (whose logo is on my ass of my cycling clothing), and PCRM.  It took me to Luxembourg mid-september where i spoke at International Animal Rights Conference, then again to London for Vegfest UK at the end of September.  At both events, i spoke over my own experiences on a plant-based diet as well as tips and trips i've learned along the way to get the most out of my body through the use of nutrition.  Her is LINK to my talk at Luxembourg.
Talk at IARC Luxembourg

Once back from London, it was all focus again on cross.  I kicked off my return with a win at the 6de Grote Prijs Cyclocross Viersel in Belgium. Although it was a small event, it felt GREAT to lift my hands in the air across the finish line.  After the podium ceremony, i was interviewed in Flemish where i got to talk all about my job as spokesperson - was a very cool experience!

Next up is my first big back-to-back racing weekend.  Saturday (tomorrow) is Grote Prijs van Brabant  s-Hertogenbosch NED (they even put photos of the gals next to their names!) and Sunday is BPost Bank Trofee Ronse, BEL.   I know my legs are much stronger than the last years thanks to hard work with my new kinesist to resolve my lingering hip pain, but not sure how the nerves will be - or even how I will handle the constant intervals.  What I do have going for me is lots of excitement to be at both these races! No matter the outcome, I expect I'll have lots of fun!

Thanks for reading!