Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Oudenberg again!

The day after the race at Ursel, I joined the Zappi's pro cycling team for a training ride which included multiple ascents up the Koppenberg! Why multiple ascents you ask? Turns out, the British nationals championships were to be held on a circuit which included and finished on top of a cobbled climb resembling the "Heads Mountain". How cool is that!!

Koppenberg! Literally translates to Heads Mountian!
We started the first ascent, I kicked into a suitable gear and began powering up the climb. Unfortunately, the power I was putting out was too much for my trusty aluminium steed as 50 metres into the 600 meter climb, my derailleur hanger snapped and shoved the derailleur into my rear wheel! Sheise

18th June, 2015 : Oudenberg

My friend and supporter, Prof. Jamie Anderson was kind to lend me his carbon bike with some pretty sweet Dura-Ace components and I lined up for my next race at Oudenberg.

The course was a 6.2km loop. Flat as a pancake. As windy as a Hurricane.

Th start line was the same as the criterium I had done 3 days ago, but after the second corner, we ventured further down the road and turned into exposed country stretches littered with corners and road furnitures.

The field was 50+ riders strong including riders from the An-Post Chain Reaction Cycles Team and the Lotto-Soudal U23 team (These guys are everywhere!!) and also the Estonian U23 National Champion!

As always, the race started with a flurry of attacks from the front, I settled behind the Callum's wheel who is one of the most experienced riders in the Zappi's team. We approached a round about and a few guys took advantage of a bike path alongside and sped on it to position themselves towards the front.

Mental note to self: Use the bike paths whenever you can.

As we took a left turn from the city onto the country roads, we encountered a strong crosswind coming in from 10 o' clock. After the sprint, I latched onto a wheel while being on the right hand side of the field. Riders who were on the left hand side of the bunch were exposed and were constantly trying to move in to se-


A big Belgian dude, probably 80-85kilos bumps into me trying to steal my position. That son of a gun! He did not have the agility of Mark Renshaw and I quickly went offensive, thrusting out my left elbow into his ribcage. He moved slightly ahead of me and tried to butt in his butt onto my handlebars. At that moment, a gap opened up on the right hand side and I sprinted to slot myself ahead of him. Take that! Phew! That was close...and fun! Oh and all of this happened at 45+kmph!

Who says cycling is not a contact sport?!

As we encountered one corner after another, I noticed that the entire bunch ahead was lined out into a single form with a group of 7-8 riders at about 4-5secs ahead. This is going to be hard race.

 Lap 2:

I took the bike path. But in doing so, I was at the edge of my nerves trying not to crash and did not make up much positions exiting onto the road.
I had settled onto the rear wheel of one of my teammate whom I knew was very experienced. Fortunately, there was no argy-bargy...for a while. Entering one of the corners, another teammate of mine swooped in and stole my position. What the? Who the? HEY!
At this point I was furious at him and lost focus in the race, loosing wheel after wheel, eventually relegated to the very last wheel.

Belgium racing lesson number 4 : FOCUS! FOCUS! FOCUS!

I eventually snapped due to the constant accordion effect taking place and was dropped about 1km from the finish line.

Gutted. Again.

To overcome the disappointment, I decided to ride the 90km back home. I caught up with Flavio and wished him and the boys the best for the nationals and set about finding my way back home.

The way back to Gent was quite enjoyable as I got to visit the picturesque city of Brugge en route and feasted on some waffles mid ride, which I would regret doing so 3kms later.

Wordt vervolgd..


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