September 12, 2011

Zemst - Laar

My 2nd National level race in as many days proved challenging with 6 trips over a 1km cobble section in a flat 114km course. We were still racing as Canada/New Zealand, but Dion decided not to race because he had a spill the previous day and didn't want to risk his damaged wrist getting more damaged on the cobbles only 2 weeks before Worlds, which is fair enough. We were going well it seemed but then about 10km in I got a flat and it took me about 10km and a lot of matches getting back in the pack. Once back it took me a while to calm down and get rested. It started to pour rain and on a corner Emile hit the deck at around 30km/h on a corner and was okay and managed to make his way back into the pack, but not too long after he got a flat as a rider collided into him from behind and his rear tire exploded and he had to call it a day. Soon after I saw Yohan giving feeds so he was apparently not feeling too well either. Adam, James and myself then found ourselves in a group of 10 with 20second gap but sadly it failed and we preped for the sprint. A group of 5 ended up escaping at some point I didn't see, maybe it was on the 3 metre wide roads or after one of the countless turns. With 2 km to go I decided I would attack but making it to the front was an ordeal with constant road furniture to dodge, turns and then the insanity of the cobbles I just decided to sprint for the money, which went out to the top 30 places. As we left the cobbles I made up a tonne of spots and was in 10th wheel, about 15th overall as we passed under the flamme rouge there was a left hand bend and a guy to my right crashed and a few guys fell on me but I managed to stay up but I was rerouted onto some spectators front lawn and lost a tonne of spots. I sprinted hard in the draft of single riders but could only manage 31st place! oh what horror! I could have been 2 euros richer! Any ways good news is that Adam did a top 5 in the group sprint and won us 30 euros, plus our team placing of 5th which was another 50 and our 2 day cumulative of 3rd place which was 150 made for a pretty rich weekend of just under 300 euros. There was sort of a 2 day GC which I finished 15th out of 175, mostly because it was on time so I gained 2minutes on all but 14 guys on day 1 and day 2 was pretty much a bunch finish of about 80 riders. I am happy with that.

Another crash I witnessed was a cool/sad one a rider sprinted out of a corner with his head down and managed to blindly colide with some road furniture that looked like this just with some 4ft concrete poles around it. He smashed into it broke his fork and flew about 5 metres past it.
Follow this link to some photos from my trip so far!    

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