Sunday, June 24, 2007

First race experiences...

So back from the race. And what a race it was. Serious rain to start, so nice and wet, about 100+ dudes lining up. I should probably start a little earlier... Due to the rain, we decided to drive to the race, about 30-40 minute drive. Got there, got my Belgian license (5 Euro) signed up and signed in (8 Euro - but 5 Euro back when you give your number back) and headed out of the smoky beer tent to get changed. Changed into my uni, and we headed out to the course to learn the course. 6.7km 17 times. Pretty decent length. Especially at the speeds we went off at. First lap was pretty 'tame' (~44km/h) probably due to the weather. But as the second lap began, the speed picked up, and up. By the third lap we would fly down the straight sections at 50-55km/h, which is crazy to begin with, but add the fact that in Belgium you corner at 15km/h or less, that is quite the flippin acceleration. Needless to say, gaps began to open as the pack strung out single file. I closed gaps on the straight sections and moved up when possible on the shorter sections between corners. There was no way I was going to risk getting tossed in the ditch trying to dive corners to move up. I saw a few guys get tossed from the line for doing so. Luckily apparently my riding style seems to suit the Belgians just enough to not feel the need to yell much at me. Which is especially odd, considering how much they seem to love voicing their opinion during a race. I lasted about 45 minutes in the main "field" (which was quite split up at this point) until getting popped after having to close one to many gaps. From there, I spent about 25 minutes in a fruitless and innefective chase group until we were pulled. This group was ridiculous, with only 3 of the 6 of us working, and 1 douche constantly attacking for no particular reason I actually got the chance to test my vocal cords with some good results. After getting pulled, I handed in my number and headed to the van to get changed into some dry clothes. One of our team "fans" slash helpers (the wonderful Blanca) got me some hot tea and talked about the race. Apparently all but one of the team members had also been popped before me or at the same time so we waited and watched as Texas Colt tore up the road finishing in 40th spot. Near the last of the finishers, but also the last money spot, making himself a cool 5 Euros. Lessons learned: stay near the front at all times (closer than I was anyways), corners are weird - gonna have to learn to do that better and more efficient, and I need to be aggressive - I was more aggressive than I have been, but have to again become more so. All in all, an awesome experience, lessons learned and I'm now ready to improve on this for the next race. Testing Tuesday, and then I'll also talk to Bernard to find my next race. There is a potential apparently that I may be racing in the UCI race on Wednesday (the one racing up the Mur, the Bosberg, and the Kongaburg). But nothing confirmed for that, we'll focus on the test for now and figure stuff out from there. As for me now, its time to eat and recover some more. Grocery store run tomorrow, and a nice recovery spin. Ciao.

1 comment:

Echelon à Martinique said...

Way to go Sandy.
Step 1 is to get on the start line and be there. Mission accomplished. Now move to step 2 - conquer the world!