Today was a 'smaller' race in Bredene, Belgium. The Sylvester Cross. Gregory our mechanic started the morning out by saying, "today will be a good day." He could feel it in the air! We arrived to the small town near the coast 3+ hours before the race.
Where is inschriptjion? Ahhh of course go down the course take a left and into the cafe! Look for the Jupiler sign and the bikes. That is kind of like saying look for the house with the Packers flag in Sheboygan. After smoking about 20 second hand cigarettes we made our way to the back, back, back room of the pub to find a few UCI officials sitting at a table with about 50 Ham & Cheeses. By the time we registered the pile of Ham & Cheese was almost gone! I was number 15 and at the time the 4th guys on the list of participants with UCI points....hmmm maybe a front row....naaa no way. Not with Stybar, Albert, Nys, Dlask, Zlamilek, Vanthourenhout.
We head out onto the course...its like a WCA, flat, bumpy, and super fast. It'll be way different than any race we have done so far....hit the trainer and suit up..."Nys" "Albert" "Stybar" "Stybar" "Stybar" no Stybar...10 names later "Matter" I am consciously thinking better save that spot for Stybar, but unconsciously my bike steers itself to the last open spot in the front row! Photo Time! 30 Seconds....."whistle" I bump bars with Zlamilek for the second day in a row and I'm off the line first. Head down I'm going good...yes holeshot...first dude to the start finish! 150 meters later I'm 5th through the first corner with Nys, Stybar, and Albert!
In my book I could have called it a race right there and saved myself 59:45 of pain! I was already a winner as long as someone snapped the photo??? So I pedal through the first five corners and lose about 15 spots....whoa I'm not comfortable going this fast....another 5 corners and another 5 spots lost...I can't accelerate out of a corner....another 5
spots....ouch I'm hurting...I'm trying too hard...I start lap 2 with a 20 meter gap behind a big group and I suffer down the start finish stretch...I go through the first corner and realize I have way too much tire pressure...I go through the pits tell the mechanic to lower the pressure and change the rear wheel to a more aggressive tire. The course is getting more and more greasy. I lose 5 more spots during the next half lap and I'm counted in around 40th spot when I go through the pits and get ready to start lap 3....20 meters behind another group. I start lap 3 and get off the pavement and instantly can feel a difference. I start going forward! I start feeling better. I catch the group. I move through the group to the next group. I moved through that group and was really starting to hit the lines good. Man I can't beleive I bombed such a good start with too high of a tire pressure. Oh well keep racing and going forward. I raced smart from lap 3 to the finish. Moving forward in the technical sections and sitting in a recovering whenever possible! Finished up 23rd!
Next up...some much needed R&R....the past 5 days have been 4 of the hardest cross races in the world. We get a day of rest and then finish it up with 2 more races...Baal & Tervuren.
Thanks again to all for reading and supporting, special thanks to David Aukerman for donating.