Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Racing in Loenhout

Today was good! Loenhout has to be the biggest stop on the Belgian Christmas Cross circuit. Tons of racers, tons of fans, and tons of mud. Today was by far the best I have felt racing over here this year. I had a good start and mentally I was ready to race instead of just ride in circles. With a huge amount of fans cheering for me it made it pretty easy to go out there and suffer in a good way. I couldn't beleive how many people were cheering for me.....not Jesus, but me. For whatever reason I have earned the respect of the Belgian fans! Around every corner I could here my name, but if they were not yelling my name they yelled for JC, Jesus, Santa, and even Osama!

This year with the new 80% rule in effect it is going to make it pretty difficult to finish on the lead lap, but I'm going to do my best. Today I was riding in a group of 5 with 2 laps to go. We were going pretty good and there was no way we were getting lapped. I was pumped to suffer even harder. Getting ready for the long pavement section I drift to 5th wheel to sit in and save some energy for the last lap and the final tractor pull section where I will make my move....

Then, 'tweet tweet' a super anticlimactic finish. 4 guys in front of me roll to the side of the course and I'm 5th. The officials take out some scissors cut the transponder out of the back of each of the 4 guys in front of me and then cut out my transponder. I wait another 30 seconds...still no sign of the leaders. I decide to pedal off towards the van and never even heard the roar of the crowd as Niels Albert took to the final stretch for his second victory in as many races. So I'm figuring at very very least 1:00 minute, but more likely 2:00 minutes before they would have caught me. All I had to do was ride another 100m and I could have started my last lap. I don't think it would have taken more than 10 seconds even if I was soft pedaling to make it to the start/finish. Not sure I quite like the rule on the last lap...on the other hand I do agree with the rule....if you are out of contention with 2 plus laps to go and you will be passed by the top 10 or 15 you should be pulled. Its not fun getting passed by 15 guys and its not fun for the 15 guys who are battling to pass you.

I'm not complaining by any means.....if anything more motivated to race faster....especially if all these folks are cheering for me!


Geesix said...

Thanks for letting us taking a picture after the race. Are you participating in Sankt-Wendel ?

b-matter said...

No problem for the photo! I will race in Bredene tomorrow, then Baal & Tervuren. USA Cycling will determine who rides in St. Wendel??? I hope so!

Craig said...

I think the fans are digging on your epic beard.