Today I raced in Niel, Belgium in the GVA Trofee. Since it is a national holiday today, there were so many people out for the race. I’d forgotten how many people come out to the cyclo-cross races here. Very cool. Makes for an exhilerating race experience.
Lucky for me, Jos came wit me to the race. So helpful to have her support. She is an expert navigator and is a big help with the registration, finding the parking and then doing the dirty work in the pits. Thanks Jos – I owe you!
We set off early today. I wanted to get there with time to get on the course before things got really crazy. I knew that parking would be a challenge and with the crowds I wanted to be well-settled before the craziness began. Super happy we arrived when we did. We managed to beat the craziness at registration. And thanks to my determination, we were able to get parking in the elite parking lot. The elite parking lot is really only for the elite men… But I told the parking wardens that they weren’t giving out parking passes (which was true) and that we wanted to park in the elite lot. In this case, persistence paid off and we got a sweet parking spot next to the Fidea team compound.
I hopped on the course pretty much right away and got in a couple of laps. Super fun course. Challenging and pretty much unrelenting. Nowhere to “rest” or really recover. This was due to the surface – bumpy soggy grass. It wasn’t as muddy as last year. Rather just soft. Seemed like the combination of the bumps and the wet grass were really effective at grabbing the bike and sucking you down! I’ve written a race report over here. At the end of the day, I finished 18th. I was duking it out for most of the race with the girls who finished 16th and 17th. On the last lap I lost them on the steep run-up. I simply couldn’t get them back. Bit frustrating because I know I was stronger than them – they were just that better than me technically.
Before the race I met Rudy De Bie – the Belgian National Team coach. He is a super friendly guy and promised to shout at me during the race. And shout he did. It was awesome to have him encouraging me. Then at the end of the race he was there to give me some tips and a friendly smile. This was super awesome. I really appreciate all the help and tips I can get from people. Especially from someone like Rudy De Bie. Thanks Rudy!
I did a quick little cool down with a quick side stop at the Sven Nys clothing booth to check out this year’s line of clothing. Mmm, some really nice Sven Nys branded clothing this year. Sven Nys is not only the top ‘crosser here in Belgium, but he also has a very popular line of clothing.
Jos and I got the car packed up pretty quickly and then went on the search for the prize money/start money place… We were misdirected to the registration building… This was definitely not the correct place – but luckily we saw the race officials walking towards the race – so we drove one of them back to the race and he directed us to the correct place to get the start money. Once this was sorted we were quickly in the car and on our way back home.
As usual the drive went super quickly as Jos and I discussed the day and the race. It helps to have a good friend like Jos to talk to after the race. Helps me get the race out of my system and get her thoughts on what is going on. And thanks to Jos, I’ve got a mechanic lined up for the next World Cup in Koksijde. This is a big relief.
Well, that was the day. The bikes are clean. One load of laundry is done. The second is almost done. Now it is time to chill out a bit. Maybe flake out on the couch with a magazine and get an early night to bed. Another big day tomorrow. Another double day. Next race is on Saturday – racing with the super-fast junior boys in Zelzate, Belgium. Thanks for the support and the emails wishing me good luck.