Heist op den Berg


Over the past week I was welcomed back to Belgium in the only way that Belgium could. Fast and hard Kermesse racing. Tomorrow sees the trend continue with The Heist op den Berg Pro Kermesse.

2008 Heist Pijl. On the climb

Heist op den Berg is 10km from my old home in Belgium so it is a home race of sorts for me. I know the roads and the course well. The race is run over 11 laps of 15km. The toughest section is the small climb at the start of every lap. There is a 2km drag up to the climb, which, is only 200m long and isn’t that steep. Once at the top there are 600m of cobbles and a few tight turns. Half of the cobbles are downhill before turning onto a nice big road where the descent continues.

Heist op den Berg Kermesse from Nick Mitchell on Vimeo.

The video above is from two years ago when I watched from the sidelines thanks to a small issue with my leg.

This doesn’t sound too hard. However, the accumulation of each obstacle creates a very tough part of the course. If the climb puts some lactic in the legs then the cobbles will add to it and stir it up nicely. By the time you come off the cobbles the bunch will be single file and because it’s a descent the front riders will be doing 60km/hr making everyone behind them chase that little bit harder to get back on the wheel. This means that the 100th rider is going 65km/hr and the 200th is doing close to 70km/hr.

Lesson number one of racing in Belgium: Ride at the front. Easier said than done. However, if you want to contest the finish of Heist Pijl (The Heist Arrow) you need to be in the front of any splits.

Bike washed. Now it's time for a massage

I am looking forward to tomorrow. Seeing old friends and having fun in a really nice race.


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