Archive for 18 December 2012

If you asked me if I thought it was a good idea to fly to Los Angeles, do a couple bike races, fly to Vancouver, drive to Bend, OR, race your ass off for another 2 days, Drive to Vancouver, then fly to Belgium all in the span of 10 days, I’d tell you your stupid.  Well, hindsight is 20/20.  A lot of things have been 20/20 on this trip, but I made it here none the less, and am now finally settled in.

LA was a good go albeit muddy for both races which is a rarity in those parts.  Had a pretty fun race on Saturday even though I only had one functioning mud wheel set.  The other had some flats I had to deal with, so I made do with my all around tread.  Thanks to Donn with Clement Tires for setting me up with the new MXP’s and some more PDX’s.  I imagine they will come into some great use in Europe. It wasn’t all rain though:


Then onto Bend.  Bend, well… There isn’t much I want to say about Bend, other than that I was there… Bad starts both days lead me to some not so hot races.  I’ve never been last man around the first corner before in a race in the States, and due to my start on the second day after the gun went and I ended up with both feet firmly planted on the ground straddling my bike, it wasn’t going to turn out to be a fun one.  For those who have taken my School of Cross clinic before, note:  This is not how you start a cross race.

Then we were off to Europe.  I am travelling with fresh CX blood Mark McConnell who hasn’t been to Europe before let along raced CX in it.  It’s been an eye opening experience I’m sure.  Took me a few days to feel good again after that flight, but took a bit longer to make sure the bikes were in working order.  CXLA really took a bite out of them.

Fidea CX, Leuven:

The first Euro race back in at least a few years, and it had to be the knarlyest course they could throw at us.  The first couple descents and climbs back up again were no where near ridable, and yes they were 3 m’s wide, but only one real way to get up them, so you could imagine the chaos that ensued after the group hit the first ‘funnel’.  It was insane.  I stood at the back of the group while bars to stuck in wheels, racers yelling at other racers, and the crowd is just loving it.  Taking in the chaos, right, back to the cross race.  Once the mess cleared up, it was a long slog to try and hold off the leaders from charging up behind me.  I figure on the first lap I lost at least two minutes because of the need for the race to funnel through the ‘single track climb’.  Doesn’t leave much time to spare.  Also, another major shock to the system is the 80% rule.  Which didn’t exist the last time I raced in Europe.  This allows the Commissaires the ability to pull you if you are more than 80% of the leaders lap times behind them in the race.  My supposedly hour long cross race was over after 42 mins.  Makes me want to train harder.  A stark contrast to the hour and 6 min races I’m used to in the States.  Cost per hour raced just went up.

We have had some cool new scenery here in Oudenaarde though, a change from my usual residence in Belgium of Tielt-Winge.  Below: Random Castle with Moat (I’m pretty sure the castle is sloping)  Ah, do I love my Norco Bike!


Next up, St. Niklaas UCI Race on Wednesday!