The Kerstperiod in Belgium and World Cup Infected.

Posted: 4 January 2015 in Uncategorized

Wow, that must have been the weirdest Christmas period I’ve ever experienced.  With ups and downs, change of plans and friends, sideways rain and snow, it was one to tell to the grand kids.

I started off by heading out to Belgium in prep for the Namur World Cup race.  Emily had planned to stay at home this year and not join me in Belgium mostly based on the fact that it’s Belgium and she’s not a big fan.  I would then stay in Belgium between Namur and Zolder 5 days later (with Christmas in the middle) to decrease the amount of travel I’d have to do and the fact that I can always stay with my Belgian rental parents Luc and Ingrid.  So I made it to Namur and this year I remembered to put my contacts in before the race, so off the bat I’m doing better than last year.

Namur Photo: Paul Sweeck

Namur Photo: Paul Sweeck

The course was a bit interesting though given that it was the driest conditions I’ve seen it in since it’s inception (normally it’s just raining buckets down for the race) and to be honest the fact that the mud was more sticky than usual made it even harder to race than normal.  The downhills are just as knarly though and this course has so many rocky sections interspersed with mud fields that I always struggle to find the right tire pressure.  I ended up flatting on two occasions, once on the back wheel, once on the front, on top of the very many crashes I had during the race.  One of the downhills I was riding so bad as each time I tried to ride the rut at the bottom I’d end up hitting the rut but being off balance from sliding into another rut just before it, so I ended up having a couple pretty spectacular crashes on the same corner and every time I’d come by after the first big crash the crowd would cheer louder.  It made it pretty hard to concentrate on what I was doing wrong at the time, but hindsight is always 20/20.  Finished up a pretty dismal 48th, but enough for a few UCI points. Little did I know the troubles my first crash would cause.

Famous Namur off cambre Photo courtesy: Tom Prenen

Famous Namur off cambre
Photo courtesy: Tom Prenen

So after a few days in Mechelen with Mark McConnell and co. we were off to Zolder for the next big go.  I felt ok and actually was pretty confident with my lines and pressures in the pre-ride, but once the race really got started, my body had other plans.

Zolder  Photo: Tom Prenen

Zolder Photo: Tom Prenen

I had a really good start on top of the fact that the field was down a bit in numbers for this World Cup which meant I was riding pretty steady in the top 40.  After a few laps though I started to ride like crap, crashed a few times, rode some bad lines here, missed a pedal there, and after a bit I couldn’t even hold the pace of riders I’d normally be ahead of.  After getting pulled way to early, and knowing where I should be riding, I was pretty choked, and headed straight for the showers, only to find out no one knew where they were.

Zolder  Photo: Tom Prenen

Zolder Photo: Tom Prenen

Based on the fact that my leg was now re-opened for a second time, and I really needed to clean it as soon as possible, I headed back to the team bus and my team mate gave me a bucket of water to clean off my leg with.  Only problem was, once I started pouring it on my leg to clean out the wound, I noticed it’s somewhat foul smell.  Yep, I was trying to clean out an open and dirty wound with brake cleaner.  After this, I was pretty bummed on the whole Belgian experience for this year, on top of being away from Emily for Christmas, and really just needed to head home to sort out what the issue was, so I decided not to race again over the Kerstperiod until I figured out what the issue was and why I was riding like shit.  A massive thanks goes out to Bob for helping the team out in the Pits during the U23 race, and Susan, Kayla, Ryan, Kristine, and Michael for coming out from Colorado and cheering me on!  It was pretty cool to spend some time with them catching up in Ghent a couple days before.

Bob helped out the U23's in the pits in Zolder

Bob helped out the U23’s in the pits in Zolder

So after Zolder I stayed with my German friend Uli in a cabin he rented in a massive campground near Mol for a couple days while Uli finished his last couple races.  I was able to help him out in the pits for Bredene which was a really cool experience, but after that race, which Uli cut open his chin in (requiring at least a few stitches to patch back up) on our way back to the cabin I started to feel not so good and we thought it was best to head to the hospital to at least get my leg checked out.  Sure enough, it was infected.  I’m pretty glad I didn’t wait till getting back to Germany to go in and get checked because a) I was able to keep my leg, and b) that night and the following morning were the worst I felt and my leg was already looking like it was getting much worse.  So off to the Apoteke to get my drugs and I was on a course of Antibiotics for the next 5 or so days.  I didn’t need to ride my bike much anyways right?

Next up:  Leudelange, Luxemburg C2 Jan 18.

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Comments
  1. boblof says:

    Hi Aroon,

    Bob Lof here, I recently moved back to the Netherlands as I took a job at Jacobs and visited the cross in Loenhout last year, meeting up with Marc. Are you racing in Hoogerheide? I willmost likely go there,

    Bob

  2. 2nd Avenue says:

    Yikes! Brake cleaner, a campground cabin, infection, and antibiotics… you’ve had quite an interesting couple of weeks! Hope that you’re feeling much better and that you have a great race in Luxemburg 🙂

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