In Blauberg, Belgium

Made it one piece. Both bikes arrived. My bag arrived. And I’m here. An uneventful flight (full of crying babies and loud talkers but I had three seats to myself…). I crashed hard on the Frankfurt to Brussels flight – barely could keep my eyes open to drink my little glass of water. Hooked up Shaun A. in the Brussels airport – this is when I had a huge wave of fatigue. Wobbly legs, lightheaded and just plain old wiped out – I hoped for a second wind.

Luckily the second wind came just when I needed it… I found the rental car desk easily got the paperwork and proceeded to the car pick up. This is when things went a bit wobbly. I had an overloaded luggage cart with two bikes, a heavy piece of luggage and my carry-on. The stuff came spilling off twice. Once this happened when the wheel of my cart caught a little hole in the pavement. The second time it happened as I was trying to navigate the downward/spiral sidewalk – yes everything fell off. I nearly cracked. But I took a deep breath, sucked it up and dragged my gear to the car pick up. Packed up the car and hit the open road – thanks to the trusty iPad and Navigon.

It is amazing how one moment you can feel fine and the next be knocked down by ridiculous hunger… Thankfully the Bambus grocery store next to the house was open. One brie and egg sandwich later and I was sitting down pondering my next move. Time to build bikes. Got the bikes together rather easily. By this time Jos had arrived so we had an excellent chat and then Jos was off. Back to the bikes. Discovered the shifting was a bit latent on one bike and the other one has a bent rear brake. No problems – quick drive to 4Bikes and my bikes are in excellent hands. Excellent chat with Peter the owner and a promise of the bikes being ready by 11 on Wednesday morning.

I was a bit disappointed about not being able to ride. But truth be told, I’m pretty tired and it is pouring rain! So no spin for my legs today. Instead I got a bunch of errands done. Mostly food related – a few stops at my favorite grocery stores, bakery, and health food store. By the time I got to the big grocery store I truly was in a fog – I just put random stuff in my cart. I did discover tahini and honey spread at the Lidl. Of course I had to buy it – it is so good. Going back for another jar tomorrow (no I didn’t eat the whole jar – it is just that the product at Lidl rotates so I might never see this heavenly spread again).

The house is looking good. Though it is a bit cluttered right now since I’m in various stages of unpacking – all over the house…. I’ll try to get a bit more done tonight – all in the effort to stay awake until 9 p.m. Wednesday will be full of riding, pre-race preparations, arranging race logistics, getting unpacked and another trip to the grocery store to buy everything I forgot to buy today….

It is good to be here. I walked into the Bambus and the ladies working there started talking to me as if I’d never left. Same thing happened in the bakery and health food store. What a fantastic feeling. Great to talk with Jos in person as well. If today is any indication of how the next three months will be, I’m convinced it is going to be a most excellent winter.

Alright, I’m out. Hopefully tomorrow I’ll remember to bring my camera on my ride and I’ll snap a few pics for you. First race is on Thursday at Niel. I have a feeling it will be muddy…

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