In the last more or less 30 days since the Canadian Championships I have not done any team races and have managed to fill the void with some Kermis courses. I was pretty bummed to miss out on selection in both Tour of Namur and Tour of Liege as it was suggested earlier in the year that I could start one of them.
The kermis course is a beautiful thing even though I am probably the only kid on my whole team that isn't totally sick of them. I have raced 9 kermis' (or is it kermi ?) and I am not going to go on about each one with some boring play-by-play so here are a few notes.
Kerm 1 - 15 guys go in first 100m, no Ben. Attacked like crazy to salvage whatever place I could and got away with 8 crossers and then sprinted for 18th.
Kerm 2 - Horrible course, made pretty much every move but nothing lasted very long. Crunched in the bunch kick and finished 30th.
Kerm 3 - Dropped chain in lead group when crossing over some cobbles. Everyone was eventually pulled except the leaders whom used to include me. No luck today.
Kerm 4 - Got in a sweet move from the get-go that lasted 75km. Didn't last as the wheels feel off everyone but the 2 of us from the pace. Tried attacking the pack late but just a few (28) riders came around me before the line. 29th place.
Kerm 5 - Hot day and attacked like crazy. Got a group of 7 rolling and they even had to pull the field whom had thrown in the towel. Two Quickstep guys worked together and shut down everything late. My attack with 500m to go was covered and quickly responded to with the winning move, I could only manage 6th place from the sprint. So close yet so far, good confidence for me.
Kerm 6 - Felt good, didn't feel the pedals. Winning move of 15 riders. Tried to leave and go in solo in the final km's, no dice. Threw away all my sprint chances from previous efforts and could only get 10th in the sprint.
Kerm 7 - Didn't make the break. Hands were tied after I wasn't in the initial move as lots of Lotto's out and just didn't follow the right wheel and had no excuse to chase when 4 Lotto's in group of 10. Legs felt good and put in a lot of digs and made all the little splits. Came down to a gallop of 20 or so for the next places and I managed 15th outright.
Kerm 8 - Silly circuit race, messed up and missed the winner again. Tried putting the hurt down in crosswind section. Attacked with 800m to go and held of the peleton by a few meters which was nice and a little silver lining to bummer of a race. 16th place.
Kerm 9 - Best result of the season! Made every single split, breathing out the nose. Just a good course and good form. At one point in group of 15 all the premes were to be shared but deals were made in Dutch and I wasn't included being a foreigner, I took great pleasure pipping a few guys who thought they had it and having them freak out on me. Probably a good photo out there of a Morgan Blue rider giving me the finger. After all the shakes and catches and bridges it's 4 of us with a small gap with 8km to go. Quickstep guy paid a Sojenens guy for a lead out. I was savign for the sprint and wanted 2nd wheel out of last corner but settled for 3rd. Started coming up beside Quickstep dude with 100m to go but Sojenens guy sat up and came over on me causing me to brake and go around him and up or face hitting the barrier. Lost it by a bike length but 2nd is a result I am happy with. Really bummed as to what could have been.
So my races have been good but on non cycling news I am now back living with my friend Quinten in Tessenderlo. It is really nice to have a buddy my own age to joke around and be a kid with. It really helps me get my mind off the bike when I need to forget it most. Stupendously nice people, they let me roll around in their Mercedes-Benz and are really easy going. What more could I ask for?
Between now and the off season a lot is on deck. Race in France tomorrow, week in Oudenarde with my buddy Jess Allen, Belgium Cup race in Liedekerke, Stage race in Southern Spain, moving into Tielt -Winge with the Canuck U23's, racing French Games in Nice, France and then home for Centurion U23 races before the off season begins! Off season meaning lots of track racing and popping up at cross races.