Belgian Classic - finally!

Discussion in 'Cycling Training' started by BullGod, May 27, 2008.

  1. BullGod

    BullGod New Member

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    So on Sunday I finally managed to finish an elite classic. The Klein Brabant Classic in Flanders, to be specific; 160km with a few cobblestone sectors and 199 riders on the start, including the USA National Team and some of the Belgian pro team continentals (amateurs afiliated to pro teams).

    Luckily the weather forecast was inaccurate and the first 3 hours we enjoyed warm sunshine, although this made for a lot of bidon fetching. Pace was reasonably fast - quite a few breakaway attempts that were reeled in. Hardly any wind, so bunch stayed together, although there were frequent episodes where it was strung out in single file.

    As usual in the low countries there was a lot of road furniture to avoid. I nearly came a cropper at a roundabout when everybody braked hard and my brakelever bounced off the arse of guy in front of me, I nearly went over the bars but I managed to put my foot on the ground and kind of jump back onto the bike at 30km/h.

    The cobblestone sectors were hard - at 45km/h it is really hard to control the bike, and with it bouncing around you lose traction. Plus you have to dodge the fallen bidons bouncing around. One 2km sector the bunch split with half on the sidewalk and the other half in the gutter on the opposite side. Luckily I chose the sidewalk, because there was a nasty crash in the gutter.

    The finale of the race was a 4 x 6km local circuit, and just as we entered this it began to absolutely lash it down with rain and hailstones. I knew a crash was coming so I edged to the back (as there was no way I dared overtake 100+ riders to get up front) and inevitably there was a 20 man pile up out of a corner, with some guys badly hurt and screaming. This split the bunch and I was in the last group. We chased hard for a while, but weren't going to get back in contention, so it was kind of agreed just to ride safely to the finish, as the local circuit would have been quite treacherous in dry conditions, yet alone aquaplaning.

    So i ended up 122nd out of 144 finishers. Not exactly impressive but this was a strong field, and only my 2nd attempt in Belgium. I felt strong all race, and was never in danger of being dropped. I know if I could have been nearer the front I might have done better, but I am still nervous in a densely packed peloton at that speed. To be in the half of the team that finish the race was a nice experience!
     
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  2. Jono L

    Jono L Well-Known Member

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    Did you race against the purple DFL-cyclingnews team?
     
  3. BullGod

    BullGod New Member

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    No - I have raced with them in Holland at the Arno Wallard memorial race in Meerkerk.
     
  4. Jono L

    Jono L Well-Known Member

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    If you speak to any of the aussies, say hi!

    Cheers.
     
  5. kopride

    kopride Member

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    Sounds like you are on your way to conquering your fear. You're riding with the big boys and finishing a race in conditions that most of us weekend warriors would have stayed home and watched TV. To someone who has never raced even remotely on that level, it seems pretty darn impressive.
     
  6. Ade Merckx

    Ade Merckx New Member

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    Well done Bull dog. Positive Thinking, Come on man - You can do this!!!
     
  7. Alex Simmons

    Alex Simmons Member

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    Cool :)
    Well done :D
     
  8. Yojimbo_

    Yojimbo_ Well-Known Member

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    Nice job Bull.

    I enjoy reading your posts about your progress. Keep it up.
     
  9. BullGod

    BullGod New Member

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    Fellas,

    The form is really coming. Just came 82nd in a 175km race in Holland. It was a 91 man bunch sprint, so I kept out of the sprinters way having done my job fetching some bidons for my better placed teammates.

    I got this strange feeling during the moments when the speed went up and the bunch lined out in the gutter - normally I suffer at such moments, but yesterday I had this feeling of something warm spreading through my leg muscles, and almost no pain, and mentally I knew there was no danger of getting dropped.

    At one stage my captain got frustrated with some of us hanging out near the back and came and fetched us, and we made a "train" that stormed up front. This was fun. However, I was terrified that I was going to have to take everyone's empty bidons (our budget is too small to chuck them away) and then go and get a new load of drinks so I lost myself in the middle. Sly, but I don't mind getting drinks for the captain, but the other guys can also sort themselves out if they like.

    I was frustrated in the local circuits at the finale of the race, as I had good legs, but I was so unbelievably thirsty, and as we were really racing there was no chance of dropping back for a bottle. Otherwise I really feel like I could have gotten up front and tried something, if only for show, as I think the whole afternoon a bunch sprint was obvious as there was so little wind. Our sprinter got 8th place though, which ain't bad.

    Gonna take an easier week this week and then in a fortnight we have 2 classics in 2 days, which will be tough, but if I can finish those well I should definitely be on the team for the tour of Luxembourg.
     
  10. jsirabella

    jsirabella New Member

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    Congrats...you are getting into that zone and it seems like just the right time for it.

    Good luck my friend.

     
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