Tuesday, September 18, 2012

2012 Belgian Kermis Racing Trip 1 - Part 2

After an easy rest day, Michael and I were right back at the racing. For the remainder of the trip, we would be based out of Waterloo.

Lessines – 2nd

Some days you wake up and just know you'll have good legs. This was one of them. We arrived at the venue with lots of time to get a spin around the 10km lap. There were a few drags, a fast descent, and the weather wasn't too hot – I loved it. The race started with the usual frantic pace. Groups would get a couple of seconds, and then be pulled back – over and over. About 30 minutes in, I noticed a group of seven get a few seconds – it looked like a good group. I bridged across to it and tried to get us working well together – it wasn't jelling so I attacked from it solo – I rode hard for 10 minutes getting a good gap. I was caught, but this time by the seven that were prepared to ride together. Another 30 minutes later a chase group made it's way across to us making us 18 up front. On one of the long drags a few of us would attack hard reducing the front group. Coming into the bell lap I attacked with another rider, we built a gap on the chasers and over the long drag another two riders came across to leave us with four out front, with ten riders chasing hard. I had been showing a few too many cards earlier in the race and us four out front were not working well together – attack, counter, attack, the kilometers ticked down. Exciting.

With about a kilometer to go, another six riders made it across to us – it would be a small group sprint. Tommy Baeyens who had been away with me lead out the sprint and held it to the line, I finished up in second.

Perbais - 4th

Today was HOT – on the start line at 35C and pretty humid. I didn't get my usual warmup in (slight bike mechanical I had to fix) so the first part of the race hurt more than usual. About 30 minutes in, with strong winds and a lineout the peloton split to bits – fortunately, I was in the front group of 12 and that was mostly it (some riders would make it across but then get shelled again). With about 40km to go, I attacked with a strong rider (Julies Jade – cool name!), we rode well together but never really got away from the chase. It was back together with 30km to go. Attack, counter, attack, counter – the average speed dropped, but the aggression rose dramatically. With about eight kilometers to go, I made a massive effort to escape but was eventually clawed back – it would be another sprint from a group of 12. The technical final kilometer had us lined out and I sprinted to 4th place.

Lessines – 3rd, 2 primes, 3rd overall in the series (raced 2 of 3 races)

Looking around at the starting peloton I knew today would be fast, all the big teams were present. The course had a couple of drags on it, and again I liked it a lot. The first hour was very quick, nothing was getting away. About midway through the race there was a little lull and I found myself off the front with another 3 riders. We combined well but I knew it was never going to be a race winning move – I hoped another group would bridge – it didn't happen but I got some primes before the peloton brought us back. At this point, the main peloton was significantly smaller than what started – maybe 50 riders. (Only 30 would complete the full distance – it was a tough day). With 2.5 laps to go, 4 riders got off the front and built up a small margin – the remnants of the peloton spluttered and stalled a little – I tried to get some chase groups away but it wasn't working. Just after we entered the final lap, as we hit the first drag on the lap I attacked from the peloton. I rode through 2 of the riders that were in the initial four off the front, but there legs were gone. I spent the last lap in solo chase mode – I got with ten seconds of the front two but never caught them – the peloton finished another 45 seconds back from me. So another podium – 3rd. This result also meant I finished 3rd in an omnium series they were running – happy days.

Must resist - so many nice pastries in Belgium

No need to resist - recovery day coffee shop ride
So that was the end of my first trip – including the Suir Valley, I raced 10 hard races in 13 days – I loved it. When I got home, it was much needed rest I craved!

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