So big race day today. Scheldecross. A great venue. A classic course. Perfect racing weather – short sleeve skinsuit and thin cycling socks – can’t beat that on Dec. 19!
We set off around 9 a.m since Marc and Ed were racing at noon. Made it there with no issues. Got registered and got the all important elite parking pass. This elite parking pass is crucial – it got us into the compound with all the big teams and riders. We got a good spot and were quickly surrounded by the Fidea trucks and cars.
Things didn’t go so well for Ed – he forgot his shoes. Tim did the best to get them to him in time but it didn’t work out. Marc had a super start. He was riding in 5th place. Then a crash on a descent onto the pavement set him back. This crash caused his SRM cable to come loose and get tangled in his wheel… And he didn’t want to pit because of a bent derailleur hanger. In the end Marc fought back super hard and his never say die racing style earned him a 16th place. As I told both Marc and Ed – tomorrow is another day and surely will be better.
As for me. Well I had a pretty good day on the bike. Today I finished 23rd. This might not seem super-fantastic but today I was racing with the strongest field I’ve ever faced. All the greats were there. I held my own and put together a good ride. There are areas I can improve on. Areas that I rode super well. So I’m content. I’ve written a race report here.
After my race I hopped on the trainer to get in a solid cool down. Marc set the trainer up so I could watch the men’s race and watch the people watching me. A very bizarre experience. Don’t know if I’ll ever get used to the starring. The fans check you out. They check the bike out. The stare at you for a bit. And then keep walking. Kind of cool. Now I know how giraffes and monkeys in the zoo must feel. One guy stopped to ask me all sorts of questions about my heart rate.
I met David Quist today. He is an American/Norwegian who has come over to get some European cyclo-cross experience. Nice to meet him. We’ll see him tomorrow in Lichtervelde. Got to catch up with Daniel and his sons – super friendly and encouraging.
The elite men’s race was pretty exciting. I wandered around taking pictures and cheering for my favorite – Vervecken. Unfortunately he abandoned – but he is still one of the greats.
So here are my pics from the day. Some are a bit blurry… Sorry about that. I’ll have more photos tomorrow from Jos and Ed.