I suppose I should flash back two days ago. Two days ago, I quit racing cyclo-cross. Yep, I quit. I had a rough time at the World Cup. The course scared me. I didn’t ride well. I finished second last. I really had decided that was it. I was done.

I had a couple of mopey days around the house here. Marc did his most to convince me to keep racing ‘cross. We made a deal – I would go out and pre-ride the Azencross course today – if I wasn’t comfortable or not having fun – that was it – I could leave. But wouldn’t you know it – Marc was right. I had fun on the pre-ride. The course was perfect for my “comeback” ride. Rock hard. Frozen ground. Lots of long stretches. Technical but not uber-technical.

I have to tell you that I was really ripped up inside about deciding to stop racing ‘cross. I felt guilty. But relieved. I felt guilty about all the people I was letting down. But I felt relieved to not have to put myself out there and risk being afraid on the bike. I realized though after listening to Marc that it was one race and one race course that had made me feel this way. I couldn’t let one experience erase everything I’ve worked for. So a big thanks to Marc for making me “get back on the horse”.

I’ve written a race report and posted it. I had a good ride today. An early crash set me back a bit but I just put my head down and turned on my diesel engine. I had fun. I would see girls. I would catch them. Then I would pass them. Not a bad way to spend 40 minutes. Last year I was lapped on this race course. Not today. Nice. I must say it was nice to ride the frozen ground as compared to squishy slippery mud.

After my race I chatted with Nikki H. and Matt B. for a few minutes. Had to congratulate Nikki – today is her 22nd birthday and she was 7th in the race. A pretty solid day for Nikki! Then it was back to the super van for some cool-down time. I’m a big fan of the cool-down now. I’ve learned I like/need a long warm-up and really benefit from a long cool-down. Today I cut the cool-down short since my toes were frozen ice blocks. Made a rookie move and put on cold shoes right before the race – I thought it would be smart to put on dry shoes – but these dry shoes were also freezing cold – my toes started the race cold and were still cold when we left the race! Another lesson learned. We made a quick detour to the Sven Nys tent/booth so I could buy a Sven Nys souvenir – picked up a pretty cool painter’s cap. Then we were off.

We made a detour into Antwerp to hit up the Decathlon and Saturn. I was finally able to buy Marc his birthday present – some windproof bib tights. Happy belated birthday Marc! Our tummies were rumbling so we went for some fine-dining – the Ikea restaurant. Actually it was pretty good and the price can’t be beat. One more stop on the way home at the Carrefour and finally we made it back to Westmeerbeek.

Just chilling out now watching the men’s race on the television. Extra bonus today was the footage of the women’s race. Bed will be very soon. Next up is Luxembourg on Thursday – got some logistics to sort out for that one. I’m back on the horse. And ready to go.

Late Breaking News

I am slow in posting this – my sincerest apologies:

Marc was 3rd in his race at Balagem on Sunday! Congrats Marc on an awesome ride. Your improvements from last year are really showing.

Racing and training are coming together perfectly for Marc. So nice to see.