Cyclo-Cross Weekend in Belgium

Our first weekend of racing in Belgium has come and gone. What a weekend. Two totally different race courses. Two most excellent race experience.

(Sorry I did not post on Saturday night – we had a busy evening – company for supper complete with fine food, laughs, and stories. Check out all the details (including photos) on Victoria’s Island.)

So Saturday we were off early for the drive to Varsenare. This race was part of the Vlaamse Cyclo-Cross Cup – a pretty big series here in Belgium. We entered the small town of Varsenare and quickly saw the posters and signs advertising the race. The race was centered around the Sporthaal in Varsenare – so there were pretty good pre and post-race facilities. Got registered. Hit the course for some early warm-up laps. The course was pretty tame- long straight aways, some twists and turns in the woods, some tight turns on the grass, two ditch crossings and one set of barriers. Nothing crazy or scary. Just what we (Marc, Ed and I) needed for our first race in Belgium. There were lots of people out watching and just generally milling about. So cool to see so many people out to watch a local series race. I’ve written a complete race report here. Suffice it to say, we all raced well – Marc was 9th in Masters B, Ed was 8th in Masters C, I was 22nd in the juniors race and the first woman. I think all in all it was a good first race experience. Got the cob webs out and got to feel some effort in the legs.

We made short work of getting ready for the next day. Marc and Ed hit the bikes and I took care of the general tidying and laundry. We were treated to a fine meal cooked by chef Tim. Had lots of laughs and stories. An excellent way to round off our first day of racing in Belgium.

Today (Sunday) we were off early again in the super duper van. Got to say – the van rocks. So much room – we put five bikes, wheels, gear, tools, buckets in the back and still had plenty of room. The back has so much room that I can stand up and get changed in the back (some curtains on the window would be good…). We traveled very comfortably with lots of room and then perfect for pre and post-race. I like the super duper van. I even drove it today. Not too bad.

Today we raced in Maldegem. A very different race course and conditions from Saturday. Today was warm, wet, and muddy. A real farmer’s ‘cross course. Bumpy. Muddy. Big mud bog (I think in real life it is a road). Two little climbs. Lots of turning and twisting. A real leg-sucking course. The key for this race course was momentum. Keep the legs spinning and turning over. I’ve written a race report and posted it. All in all, another good day on the bike for all of us. Marc had the best ride of us – finishing 6th in the Masters B race. Ed had a solid day and finished 11th in Masters C. I lined up with 20 or so junior boys and three other women. I chased the other woman (the other was behind me) for the entire race. I almost caught her but a bobble in the mud and some struggles and I lost contact with her. In the end I was 16th overall – the race paid to 15th…

We made it home in excellent time. Stop on the highway for some food and a Cecemel for me and then we were home. Marc spent some time in the garage cleaning the bikes and getting them ready for tomorrow. I did my usual stuff and then Ed and I got supper together. Tonight we had some fine soup with some meatball things, some Bami Goreng (thanks to the Lidl), and salad. Now we are just chilling out with Tim and Jos – watching the Overijse ‘cross race. What a race course this is. Hopefully next year they’ll bring the women’s race back – this is an awesome race course.

Okay, I’m out. Have a good one. Best of luck to everyone racing in Kansas City today. Next race is Scheldecross on Friday (Marc and Ed are also racing here) – should be a good one.

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