Last weekend there was a special ride for Erwin Vervecken and his fans. This was to be Erwin’s last ride as he officially retired from the sport of cyclo-cross. My friend Luc Van Der Meiren, participated in this race. Luc was generous to write a race report for us. Many thanks Luc for taking the time to tell us all what it was like.
Erwin Vervecken’s Retirement
On Saturday 27/02/2010 Erwin Vervecken said goodbye to cyclocross and topsport! For all his fans and cycling colleagues he planned a big mass-event in his hometown of Herentals (Belgium). Everyone who wanted to take part in this event was welcome. If you had a mountainbike or a ‘cross bike you could ride along with the greatest riders off cyclocross. (Participants: men elite: Zdenek Stybar (World Champion), Sven Nys, Niels Albert , Kevin Pauwels (my local hero), Bart Aernouts and Erwin Vervecken himself of course; elite women: elite Daphny Van Den Brand, Helen Wyman, Nikki Harris, Christine Vardaros, Joyce Vanderbeken and Nicole De Bie-Luyten. Even ex- collegues took part in this race! I saw Roland Liboton (7 times world champion), Danny De Bie and many others on the starting line!
But before we started our race there was a special race for kids, they really enjoyed their own race! After their race they got a package with all kinds of stuff in it, from lots of sponsors such as sports drinks and food.
At 2.30pm it was our race. The whole night and morning it rained a lot, so the track in the field and woods from Herentals was very, very muddy! We had to choose between two distances: 20k or 40k. (2 or 4 laps of 10k). There where 3 starting boxes: first box was for the elite men and woman, next box was for all riders with another license and the third box was for the whole bunch of freeriders. With almost 750 people it was not easy to have a fast start. The start was on a football field, but after 200m the road was only 3m wide so it was important to have a good start. My brother and I started at the rear of the pack, because he said he would do it on a slow tempo! But after 200 m we stood still, then we rode a few meters and back of the bike, walked a few meters and back on the bike again! First half lap was very muddy and all singletrack, if you wanted to pass then you must go trough deep mud and water. The Elite men and woman had a clear track so they started really fast!
Just before I ended my first lap I was passed already by the head of the bunch, they rode two times faster than me!!! I think I made a wise decision to do only 20k (2laps)! The pro’s did 4 laps and they had already taken a shower before I ended my two laps! They are really fast, when they passed me, I almost caught a cold!!! In my last lap I made a mistake on a little downhill and fell of my bike and bruised my ribs! Ouch!!!
At the end of the race it was Erwin Vervecken himself who won, behind him the other pro’s made a show of honor and applauded the man who stopped his beautiful career! Afterwards there was a big party for everyone! All the pro’s and fans enjoyed themselves with food , drinks and dance! Then Erwin hung his bike on a hook and that was the really end of his career! Now his new career as sport marketing manager can begin by Golazo Sports, focusing on cyclocross and mountainbiking!
I’m still recovering from my bruised ribs but I was glad that I was there!
(Thanks again Luc for taking the time to write a race report! Greatly appreciated.)