Friday was epic. One of those days it will take a while for me to forget.
Made the trip to Sint-Niklaas to cheer on Marc and Ed and to work the pits for them. Pretty good racing. Though the organizers decided to have all three Masters categories on the course at once – this made for frequent traffic jams and hold-ups for the racers. The pit was jammed packed. So packed I could barely see Marc and Ed when they came by. Luckily I saw Marc at the right time and saw him raise his arm to signal that he needed to pit. I recruited a guy to catch his bike and the bike exchange was flawless. Marc had a tough day on the bike – he crashed a few times – but he still came in for an admirable 16th place finish. Ed was strong and finished 6th – battling his way through the back of the Masters B and A packs. So far so good.
I had decided to ride from Sint-Niklaas to Westmeerbeek. This way I could watch the guys race and still get in a good day of training. Worked out a route with Tim and Jos. Looked like it would be close to 60 km. Pretty good. I set off at around 1:30. The trouble started about 20 minutes in.
Stomach cramps. Really bad ones. But I blocked them out and focused on the ride and making sure I didn’t get lost. I was essentially supposed to follow the N16 (a major road) bike path and then in Mechelen pickup the N15 (another major road) bike path. There were a few twists and turns due to road works but I made it to Mechelen in good time. I got a bit lost so I called Jos and then set out. Well, I messed up and ended up in Zemst. Zemst is in the completely wrong direction. Not only was I now lost, I also had a flat tire. Oh – and my stomach was getting worse.
So I did what any modern bike racer does – pulled out the cell phone and called Marc. He and Ed were still in Sint-Niklaas and would be in Zemst in 30 minutes or so. Thanks to the power of the GPS they found me huddled in a bus shelter frozen to the bone and hunched over. What a relief to see that white van pull up. I got in the van and off we went. Well, sort of.
My stomach finally rebelled big time. Suffice it to say – I was very ill on the side of the road. Poor Marc and Ed – I felt terrible about dragging them away from the race and then to be sick in front of them. Made it home finally and I went straight to bed. Marc was awesome – brought me hot water bottles, checked in on me, got me a Fanta and some bubbly water. Verdict – food poisoning. Not sure from what.
So that was my epic day. According to Tim: “An epic is needed once in a while. Only thing that toughens you up.”