Zottegem and Wanbeek

29Aug08

Zottegem started fast and hard. Everyone was in the 11 and everyone was spinning it for the first 30km meaning we were easily pushing 60km/hr. The pace eased up after awhile but the respite never lasted long. There were 200 riders in the pack and everyone wanted to be in the front because there was a lot of small roads and some stretches that could split the peloton meaning that anytime the pace eased up everyone at the back would rush to the front and force the pace up from the fight for position. Along one downhill stretch about 70km into the race I was moving up the side of the peloton with Chris on my wheel when I hit a pot hole. My hands slipped from the bars. My chest hit the stem and I fell to the ground hitting my head and then sliding across the ground for awhile.

I was seeing stars and couldn’t get back on my bike so I was taken to hospital. Nothing was broken and the worst I had was a concussion and a lot of missing skin. The crash could have been so much worse. Thank god for helmets. Mine is now broken along with my sunglasses, shoes and everything else I was wearing except for my cloth cap but I would much rather that then have broken myself.

The shoes

The shoes

My bike after a crash

My bike after a crash

After having a few days off the bike recovering and buying some new shoes I turned up to the Wanbeek kermesse with fresh legs and plenty of motivation to race. The race consisted of 13 laps. Each lap included a cobbled climb and another stretch of cobbles. The race started in sunshine but that didn’t last for long with the skies turning black and the rain coming down in sheets. A break of around 14 went away on lap one. My plan was to relax and go with the race with a strategy of waiting till the second half of the race when a lead group would go away and probably bring back the break.

I stayed near the front staying out of trouble and making sure I was in the right half of the pack if a split would happen. With 4 laps to go a chase group of 7 had gone clear. I crossed over to it on the climb and we started to work well together. We caught about 6 riders from the break with a lap and a half to go. However, as soon as this happened the chase stalled. I attacked and at the start of the last lap I had caught two riders. We worked well together but never saw another rider. I beat my companions for 7th.

The night after Wanbeek I began to think about why I race. I had just had a massive crash that left me seeing stars and not much skin and not more than four days later I was back racing in the cold and rain getting covered in mud and crap from the road. I love it that’s the reason why. I love to ride my bike. I always have ever since I was a kid and I used to go tearing around my street. On top of that I have always been a racer. It doesn’t matter what I am racing in. Half the time no one knows that I am competing against them. When I used to catch the tram home from school I used to make sure I was the first one to make it from the tram stop to the traffic lights approximately 200m away. It didn’t matter how fast I had to walk to win. I have always had to win even if it was beating Tubb at Monopoly, it’s just in me and I don’t understand it but it is the reason why I race and the reason why I love it even when I am hurt or the weather is bad. Luckily for me and everyone else I get to take this competitive side out on the bike.

On the attack

On the attack

Working with Topsport in a race

Working with Topsport in a race

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