So I did an easy week mid-may. For the people reading who aren't racers that essentially means a week with... one sec let me check TrainingPeaks....a mere 5 rides totalling in 10:48:41 of training.
The week following my easy week I received an invite to go to the Vosges in France for a training camp with two more senior riders on the Lotto formation. I got the call Saturday, we left Monday, it was to cost us 60euro apiece for the apartment + food. Gas is free as long as we fill up in Belgium and don't drive too much outside the homeland coughcompanycarcough. I had a great time, despite being: deceived by the size of our apartment with some wide angle lens trickery (9m2 for 3 people), it rained 3/5 days, and the fact I lost my cool doode oakley glasses. The area was cool, we rode to Munster, where babies come from. There was a Storck nest on literally every house. The climbs were long and steep and it was nice to get away, from my getaway. We had couple hard days when weather allowed but it was a week full of steady rides checking out beautiful climbs.
I came home thinking I could do a good race. I try to pick the ones in Wallonie as it usually means hills, well I picked the wrong part of Wallonie on this occasion. I went hard from the gun working with my teammate Louis and we had a lot of guys on the rivet. Soon enough though I realized something was wrong with me as I couldn't get a lot of power out on the sharp efforts. I went from being a big player, to a surviver, and eventually to the laughing group. I felt horrible, I don't know if it was my pride or my legs but I needed to pull over and end it. I regret stopping now as it was only 30km to go but maybe my body was just telling me I need a more fluid transfer to this level of intensity. Check with the boss, make my rides for next week shorter and harder, and hopefully I can be back to my old ways next weekend at the local race in Herselt. I have convinced myself 2 weeks without intensity was the reason for my flub in Wallonie.
I spent the week with my good buddy CX superstar Quinten Hermans. We rode all over Liege from our base above a bar in the centrum of the cute small town of Malmedy. Between rides we were sitting outside and babe watched while working on our complexion or checking out the local digs in the area. I sent an arm load of post cards to anyone who is important to me, check your mailbox and see if you made the cut! Just kidding but I did send 8 and I got grilled about my life by the older ladies at the post office as the line behind me swelled, I guess I am a real charmer even when I'm trying to escape. On the bike I felt really good, the watt-o-meter was telling me good things, and I was looking forward to my race Sunday.
Wait for it, this will come full circle, the thing about someone who has English as a second language is that no matter how good they seem there will always be things they fail to do perfectly. An example of this is I've heard a story about a guy who's english was so good you wouldn't know he was a Flemish speaker if he started with Engels. One time this guy was talking about working in his yard and that the tree's were really hard to get out the ground due to all the carrots... carrots? Well that's because carrots and roots are the same word in Flemish. On a lower level I find a lot of Belgians mix up tuesday with thursday and saturday with sunday. Well Friday I did 3 hours hard riding with more that 1:30 of intervals and when I came home to find that I was racing Saturday instead of Sunday due to some linguistic confusion. My expectations had dropped a little due to already feeling a little cracked. A bunch of people were coming to support me and it was the Provincial Championships so higher quality field and more eyes on me from the crowd. It was really nice though being so close to home. Act like it's a rest day from waking until 2pm, then kit up, ride 10km to the start, sit in the cafe and register, and enjoy some SPA. It was a scorcher, my first test since the recent flub, and I went in far from fresh. All things considered I decided to play it conservative. I covered some moves but I wasn't the aggressor I normally am.
After a while and some hard riding 8 guys were up the road with my pal Stef who was guaranteed the Antwerp U23 jersey so I wanted it to stick. I got in a group of 3 with teammate Kennet and we got to within 20 seconds but no closer and soon the peleton went h.a.m and 30 guys came up to us. Kenneth waited a few laps and went with one other guy so to grab himself 2nd on the U23 podium. I covered moves and was feeling well within myself. I picked what I thought was the best wheel for the sprint, 2 wheel at the bottom of the short punch to the line behind a Diesel named Goolaerts. I managed to get a little boxed and had to freewheel when my teammate Dries and I got on the same space. Soon my window opened and I am confident I was fastest in the last 50m.... but that was only good enough to get me up to 6th in the group kick. I wouldn't of been going fastest in the last 50m if I had gone sooner and been less conservative but maybe I could of been top 3. 16th overall and 5th in the U23's. Wait an hour for the pay check (15euro) listening to classic kermis music before a nice spin home. I am happy with my ride as it was one of those races where I was more than capable but it only takes a few capable guys in a move for it to be gone for good. I just need to stay persistent and look for races (preferably) with some elevation change and I am sure I can pick up one of these things.
These last few days I met up with my old buddy Nat and went for a long easy ride. He was passing through in his ride around the world. http://chocolatefilledbananas.com. I have been frantically getting everything set up for my trip home when I leave next Monday morning, but this afternoon I fly to Switzerland for the Tour des Pays de Savoie in France. Massive TDF mountains on the Italian border. I am hoping to really get my climbing legs as if you gave our selection for the race a band name it would be "Prodigal Climber's 1 through 5 and the Fat Canadian". I will drive home through the night following the stage Sunday pack my Bike in the wee hours of Monday morning and then head to the AirPort at 6am.
|A bad habit of mine, trying to see where I am going to finish in the last 5m. (on right of photo)|