Sorry for not being around these parts as of late. Marc and I took off for Brussels yesterday for a day of sightseeing and chillaxing. No bikes involved. Though Marc did eye the city rental bikes with a glint in his eye… To read about the day out in Brussels, check out my other site.
I realized after posting that I neglected to mention the amazing macaroons we had for an afternoon treat. We stopped at a fabulous bakery named Paul. It was very busy and appeared that we were the only tourists in the place. This bakery had it all – amazing bread, incredible tarts, impressive macaroons, sandwiches, etc. If you find yourself near a Paul bakery, definitely go in – you will not be disappointed.
So bike racing and biking action. There has been some. On Sunday I traveled with Marc and Ed to Assenede to work the pits for the guys. It was an excellent day of racing for both of them. Ed finished 3rd in the 50 plus category and Marc was 8th in the 40 plus category. I chilled out in the pit – cheered on the guys and chatted with the father of one of the racers. Good day at the races.
So no riding yesterday. Just lots of walking. This is not easy on a bike racer. By the end of the day – Marc’s back was sore and my hips were super tight. But the temporary pain was well worth it.
Today we stayed home. Intention was to go on the group ride. Whole house went today (except Tim who is in England). Started off okay. No real drama – well except Ed flatted at the start. Jumped into the second group. Rather pedestrian pace today. The star of the ride was not impressed (Sven Nys). So rolling along and I get that wobbly feeling in my back wheel. Yep – flat tire. Drat.
I stop. Marc stops. We only have one tube between us. A tube with a very short valve – not good for the deepish rims on my bike. So we have to do a tube switcheroo with Marc’s rear wheel. Okay – so now the group is well gone. We don’t have any spares. We make our way to Tim and Jos’s house in Blauberg. The British Cycling Federation ‘cross riders are staying there for the winter. Luckily Johnny was in – he gave us a better tube for Marc’s wheel and after a bit of chatting we were off. Still had a good ride – just shorter than we intended.
Turns out we missed out on lots of action on the group ride. So Sven and his pal got to the front of the second group. Apparently the reason we were going slowly was because the front group was going slowly (we have to keep a certain distance behind the front group to allow cars to get around us). Sven rode up to the first group to find out what was going on. Then I guess when there was some clear road – Sven and his pal sort of attacked and the second group ended up passing the first group. Unheard of! Apparently Sven did some other crazy stuff – changed the route a couple times as well. Sorry to miss all this action.
Not much else happening. In a bit of a down week here. It is our last week here in Belgium so we’re taking some time off the bike and getting in a bunch of sightseeing. Tomorrow we might go to Bruges and Ghent. Thursday and Friday we’ll be in Paris. Potential that Marc will race on Saturday and I’ll try to get in a couple more rides.
Amazing that our trip here is coming to an end. This has definitely been one of my more challenging trips to Belgium. The racing was hard as I expected. But I did not expect so many setbacks and tests of my determination. I had some crappy days. I had some awesome days. I’ve come out as a better person and bike racer as a result.
Nearly picked up Malcolm Gladwell’s latest book – Outliers yesterday, but decided to wait until I get home. Think it will be excellent reading for when I’m starting my new training program for 2009 – 2010. Do you have any books you would recommend? If so – post up in the comments. It is always interesting to discover what books, web sites, etc. other athletes find useful/inspirational/etc.
Okay, I’m out. I’ll try to get a post in tomorrow. Enjoy the trainer or if you are lucky like Keir – enjoy the great outdoors.