Christmas started off well. I didn’t have to work, and Santa was good to the kids so we had a great start to a laid back day. We went to my friend Frankie Van Haehasbrouke’s house for dinner with a few other friends and had fun time.
The Christmas races were both encouraging and problematic. I fell at Loenhout and was knocked up pretty good. I decided to keep racing, which is risky since your immune system is already depleted after an injury. Your chances of getting sick are higher, but I decided to press on figuring I’d get more long-term benefits from pushing forward. I had banged the back of my leg hard in the fall and it was really hurting. I was initially concerned I might have torn something, but I was primarily worried about re-injuring my ribs, which have been a recurring issue all season.
The day after Loenhout I raced at Bredene and was feeling pretty good before the race. I raced well against a strong field and ended up sixth overall so it briefly felt like my efforts were worth the risk. Then, immediately after the race, I could tell something was wrong. I felt bad, really bad. I could hardly walk, and when I stepped out of the mobile home I could tell I was not in good shape.
Sure enough, I got a bronchial infection, which wasn’t helped by a plane ride to the U.S. late last week. Fortunately, I’m on the mend, and I am feeling better now that I’m getting settled at my friend Marcel Van Garderen’s house. Marcel is Tejay's father, and I know him through my wife Cori. Marcel and Cori go way back to when she was racing in college in Montana.
Marcel is part of my informal crew that I pull together when I race in the U.S. Mechanic Dave Kohli and Planet Bike founder Bob Downs round out my small team. I like to keep it simple, so my small race-proven team (remember we won last year) is a good fit.
Nationals are a good time to catch up with my different sponsors so I have been doing the rounds and catching up with everybody. My contact at QBP-Lazer Sport, Chris Smith, will be racing this weekend, too. Lazer has been with me a long time. When I provide periodic updates to my supporters, Chris and the folks at Lazer are always the first ones to write back with words of encouragement. Last year I broached the idea of returning to the States full time with Chris and he was completely supportive. Lazer set me up with a red, white and blue helmet so I am going to do everything I can to hold onto that this weekend.
After a tough early season, things have been on the upswing. Now that the cold I contracted after Loenhout is done with me I am excited to get down to business Sunday. There is a lot of racing left to do this season, so I plan on starting off the new year strong.