Belgium, September 27, 2005
So... my first diary for Cyclingnews.com today. I'll start with a little bit of background. I am the current national cyclocross champion and for the past two years, I have spent the winters with my wife Cori in Belgium to race cyclocross. Last year, our daughter Emma was born here on October 17th! She received a wonderful welcome from friends here and supporters at the cyclocross races and a few weeks later, some of our family came over to see her too. The racing has been hard in Belgium but I am getting better in the races and now have a lot of friends and supporters here. For the second year now, I have put together my own team of individual sponsors. This year my sponsors are: Cervelo, Shimano, Adidas, Mavic, Hincapie, Oakley, Specialized, DeFeet, Thomson, Naults bike shop, and HotTubes.
This year we arrived in Belgium on September 14th. Since the woman we rent this house from is a nut and the house has a lot of problems (including but not limited to NO insulation - AT ALL! - you can stand in the stairway and the wind will blow your hair!!), we are planning to move out of our house earlier than we originally thought. We are in the process of trying to buy a house here. A whole other story... It's been interesting and fun but stressful too and so now we are just ready to get one and be done with it. The weather has been awesome. (I mean it seriously this time!) I think mother nature is paying us back for the first fall/winter we were here when Belgium had it's hardest winter in over 100 years! We'll take it!
I have had two races so far. The first one was in Aalter, Belgium on Wednesday the 21st. Some of the top guys were there but not all. Since the weather has been so dry, it was fast course with a few man-made whoop-dee-dos and lots of corners. I was doing well. I just missed out on the first split for the lead group of six but within a lap I caught them again so I was in a good position. With 20 minutes or so to go, I flatted. Unfortunately, I don't have my bikes yet so I only had one spare bike in a two-pit race. Murphy's Law: you always flat before the pit where your bike ISN'T available :-) So I rode to the next pit and changed bikes and of course a lot of guys blew by me. I finished for training in like 15th or so. The one good thing that came of the first race was that I felt like I had good form. I was happy with how I rode and confident that once I have all of my ducks in a row, I will do well. My second race was today in Erpe-Mere, Belgium. This is a very difficult course because half is uphill and half downhill. No breaks. Lots of varying terrain. Grassy fields, bumps, wooded sections, etc. This time, all the top guys were there so I thought it would be a good indicator of how I was going. We started and there was an immediate selection the first time up the hill. I made it!
But a lap later I flatted again. (I know, I know...time for some new tires. That's what I was telling myself the whole way to the pit) This time at least, my bike was in the correct pit. So, I got passed by the second group and some stragglers from that group but was determined to give it a go, anyway. I picked off everyone from the second group and then started picking off the stragglers from the lead group. I finished 10th and again, although I am disappointed with the flat, I am happy with my form. Some of the normally critical fans even stopped me to tell me I was "riding fast" and that I "will win sometimes this year". It's nice to hear. But I won't do it without getting my equipment in shape. (Had to take a temporary time out just now to put Emma on the toilet! She is doing awesome with potty training!)
So now, my next race is Saturday. In the meantime, I'll be training and looking at houses and getting my equipment I hope. Until next time, thanks for reading!