A Lesson In Winning Races

Hi,

A lot has happened since my last post both good and bad. I left off my last post just before heading back to Scotland for the Scottish Road Race championships. Unfortunately this didn’t go to plan and after not feeling 100% on race day it turned out that I had picked up food poisoning on the days leading up to the championships. This resulted in 10 days spent in bed  trying to recover and get rid of the illness so I could head back to Belgium. Having lost a few kg’s during those 10 days I had lost some power so my first few races were going to be tough. I didn’t go into them with any expectations and merely to finish would be ok.  My first race back in the heartland was more of a glorified criterium than anything else, not really up my street and it is what west Flanders in renowned for. I lasted around 60km after attacking and trying to get in moves (not the best idea given my state of fitness) before the constant accelerations took its toll and I slipped away from the diminished peleton. I spent the next week getting my strength back and I was ready to race again the next Monday In East Flanders near Aalst. The beginning of this race went well, I managed to get into a strong looking breakaway but in my eagerness to push on I crashed on some slippery wet cobbles after going a bit too hot into the corner. Race over I had to make my way back to the start in the ambulance while the doctor patched up my various cuts and bruises on my elbows and hip. The next few races I was constantly feeling better, getting back to a decent state of fitness.

A kermesse near Brussels showed that some good form was coming. Having raced the day before my legs took a bit to get going and by then the winning move had already managed to slip up the road. I spent the next part of the race trying to bridge across either in small groups or on my own. The wide long exposed roads were to my liking and there was a fair bit of gutter death!! I had good fun trying to bridge across with a former member of the Zingem House Team Chris Jory who rides for the Doltcini Continental squad and we pushed on for a while before getting caught again by the group behind. Most recently I have had my best result in Belgium to date with a 19th place out of 157 starters in a 1.12A kermesse, Again in my favored East Flanders. After a rapid start (which is to be expected here) I managed,  along with several others to bridge across to the breakaway and for the next 45 mins we rarley went below 50km/h as we established a gap of over  3 minutes. To get such a large gap when riders were constantly getting dropped from the peleton behind showed how hard we were going. Instead of easing up after we had a large gap, the speed was constantly high even though we weren’t really working together with riders firing off the front almost constantly. The heat during the race was very high with temperatures at 33 degrees and this certainly proved tough to deal with especially as everyone in the break had somone to hand them up fresh bottles apart from me! With 5 laps to go two of the “kermesse kings” in the break began to become more active putting everyone under pressure. Their method of winning races is to constantly attack until they wear everyone else down and they are free to grind it out to the finish. I accompanied them on some of their attacks but soon the pressure proved too much and with half a lap to go the breakaway split in two and I was in the second split. We rode into the finish and I finished empty and severely dehydrated with salt covering my the skin around my lips… My flat mate Alex Anderson won the bunch sprint behind so it was a good day for most of the Zingem House Team. Unfortunately we also had a man down, Kevin from South Africa had suffered a huge crash which wrecked his pair of Zipp 303’s and he required stitches to his chin after face-planting the concrete at 55km/h…As he headed of to hospital I picked up my prize money (20 euro #bigmoney) it was time to ride home.

Riding Home after a solid day in the breakaway.

Riding Home after a solid day in the breakaway.

The Break worked well for the first half of the race..

The Break worked well for the first half of the race..

Standard Belgium, One Line!

Standard Belgium, One Line!

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