April 17, 2013

My Super Sweet 16

Another weekend of kermis courses in lovely Belgium. Friday I rode to the start and of course it rained for most of the 25km there. Once at the race I found a teammate, sat and chatted with him in the cafe, paid my 10 euro entry fee, and pinned my numbers on to a sweaty jersey. I sat and waited for him to get changed then we rolled around and got ready for the start. Early on us few Lotto boys were going for all the moves and before long all 4 of us at the race managed to get in a group of 22. We had the numbers but 4 on 22 is still pretty rough odd ands it is hard to dominate that size of a group. With 4 laps to go we amassed as a team at the front and drove it in the gutter on one of the more wind effected sections to try and increase our power swing in the escape. We managed to break four riders off, still nowhere near enough to get a firm control of the group. So we began to Cat and Mouse, taking turns attacking with Dries, Wouter and I while our strong sprinter Alex sat in just incase none of us escaped before the end. Next lap at the cross wind section Dries brought "riding in the gutter" to a more literal stance when a rider from Norwegian team that was there racing forced him into the muddy trench. Luckily he was fine but he would no longer be helping our attacking assault.

cross wind section

Wouter went and he stayed away with one other rider. I was covering moves and stuck on all except the one successful bridge by a rider from the Dutch national team who just shot out of the peleton so fast we were all looking at each other and no one could do anything about it. The three stayed away and Wouter was third in the 3 up sprint as the Dutchman managed to put 5 bike lengths on them in the sprint, which he supposedly started 400m out.    

Two attacks went in the last km or so, so I told Alex to get on my wheel and I rode as hard as I could. I caught one guy just as we rounded the final bend and got within a few bike lengths of the next guy but then Alex came around and managed to take the sprint for 4th. I rolled in, smashed, for 16th place.  

Here is a video of the race, notice me pop off on the right hand side with some late attackers @29:15  

Sunday was a 3.5km loop with tonnes of cross wind sections, 2 meter wide roads and a ridiculous 8 corners. 33 laps of this would be leg busting. I managed to fight my way to the front line early on and started covering moves. By mid race 115 of the 145 starters where on the roadside watching, having been blown out of the water. Sadly I missed the final split when 12 riders rode away leaving me in a group of 18. I did have 3 teammates in the lead group however. Riding around we kept the leaders at about 30 seconds and after a while my group soon started to fade. I hadn't been doing my fair share with so many mates up the road, although fresh I did miss a move of 3 riders that attacked and got a gap on my group. I wasn't going to let myself miss the next one. I followed a crazy TT specialist guy when he went with .5 km to go and then I came around him in the sprint for 16th, hence the title of this blog post. The lotto guys up the road went 1,3,6 with Frederick Frisson taking the W.

Altogether a good weekend of racing, I was up there I just wasn't in the 1 or 2 % of the race that made the last split. Soon enough I will be there and I can play out my tactics for 1st, not 16th.

This Saturday I am going to be racing in Holland for the 4th time this year, another UCI 1.2 with pro's. It will be a breeze. Sunday I will try to hit up the hills of Wallonie at a kermis, fingers crossed I will win this one!

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