Belgian pressure cooker

Due to a series of technological downfalls on top of buying a house here in Belgium, I haven't been...

Belgium, November 17, 2005

Due to a series of technological downfalls on top of buying a house here in Belgium, I haven't been able to write a diary until now...I'll try to catch you all up as briefly as I can and as much as I remember from the last month.

I'll start with the house. As of Thursday, we are first-time house owners, which I suppose is confusing and requires many steps in America, and now we are in a foreign country. We spent weeks driving here and there to sign bank papers, house papers, foreigner documents and who knows what else. Then, our computer broke, our cell phones both quit working with our sim cards here, our camera broke (which doesn't seem like a big deal until you consider that all of our family lives in America and they want to see pictures of Emma and they want to see them NOW!!) and our clutch cable broke in our van on the way to a race (can't find em? Grind em!). Plus I had a lot of bike work to do all by myself. So we were trying to figure all of that out on top of the daily life tasks. It has been a little overwhelming, but we are still smiling.

This brings me to the next section of this diary. My racing. I received lots of emails (which I would receive by calling someone and having them read them to me or trying to use the library computer with the Euro keyboard - arrgh) and phone calls of "what HAPPENED to you for two weeks?". The answer: stress + training + travel + racing = riding like crap! You can understand that, right? Now I am finally back on track. The phones work. We have a new computer and camera. The clutch is smooth. The number of races per week and the distance to travel between them has lessened. The house papers are signed and we only have to move in now. And perhaps the biggest stress reducer has been that I now have help with the bikes. A good friend of mine is now helping with all of my mechanic work so the amount of time I spend in the garage has been significantly reduced.

Now, the biggest obstacle is that I have to start way in the back like I used to a few years ago because I don't have many UCI points as of yet. While the leaders are forming their first and second groups, I'm still trying to fight my way through the mass of riders to catch up to the back of the second group! Racing has been frustrating lately but for a different reason. I am finally riding strong, but on paper, it doesn't look like it. 16th place this weekend in the World Cup in Pijnacker, NL - 'Yippeee', right? But I rode very well. I made only one mistake in the sand and that cost me three places, but I was otherwise strong. Tell that to your sponsors or supporters who can only see the end result, and I don't think it has the same effect as if they were actually there watching or as if I were fifth and riding well. I'm happy with my form and hope that in the coming weeks my results will reflect that!

Now, to help me even further, I have a super fan club here! Not only do I have a "supporters club" from all over Europe and some from Belgium who have made T-shirts (they even made a tiny one for Emma) and flags with "supporters of Jonathan Page" on them but I have Cori's mom, dad, and sister here from America too! They run around to different spots on the course and they are the great cheerers so it's a lot of fun! Even Emma gets into it and points and screechs "daaaaaa daaaaaa!" in a high-pitched voice when she sees me. She also tries to give me high fives every time I come around! Pretty funny when I happen to catch a glimpse of that. So this coming weekend I'll be at the Super Prestige in Gavere, Belgium and I am going for my best placing ever. It's like the Koppenburg, one of the season's toughest and most talked about races. It is going to be a rough commute but I'll do my best during the 20 minute drive...

Until next time, which will be sooner than the last time, thanks a lot for reading and for all of the support!

Jonathan

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