Belgium Boys (Part 2)

Posted: July 16, 2015 in News, Racing
Tags: , ,

The boys are still loving life living in the epicentre of cycling.  As well as the riding they’ve turned into dab cooks, trying to better each other in the kitchen.  Weather continues to be a mixed bag – hot one minute, raining the next – usually within a few hours of each other!  Getting some reports out of there, but need to put a rocket up the boys to deliver more content! After a win each for Riley and Mitch, and a top-10 to Maccie, the boys all lined up for a big day of cycling in Opwijk which was hosting both a Nieuwelingen and Juniors race.  The course was reasonably flat and tight and the rain fell intermittently, making for nervous racing.  Here’s Riley’s race report:

In the space of two races Mitch and I have gone from just a couple of foreigners to the most marked riders in the field. Today in Opwijk we had 93 starters on the flattest course we’ve had so far.  4.5km laps with one decent leg burner that was around 500m long – the place the pack would break up.

It was very tight roads and the wet conditions made for a nervous start, everyone wants to be up the front and when it’s a flat course like it is today everyone thinks they can ride up the front. I’ve found that if you just ride aggressively most riders will back off and let you through almost any gap.

Rain is just part of life in Belgium… even in 'summer'… better get used to it!

Rain is just part of life in Belgium… even in ‘summer’… better get used to it!

A few breaks went in the first half of the race and by the halfway point a break had established containing an American, who is also attending the camp, and a couple of Belgies. Mitch and I made efforts to bridge however every time we even got out of the seat there was shouting and all of a sudden the top guys were on our wheel. Speaking of shouting, these Belgiums seem to do a lot of it, “Links” or “Rechts” is yelled every time someone moves up. It’s quite funny really how much of it goes on.

Hart getting away from the break to go solo.

The moment Hart gets away from the break to go solo.

Anyway, the pack split on the climb and a small group got away and with a bit over three-to-go our bunch of around 15 caught the break. I saw this as my moment to go and jumped as soon as we made the junction. From here the tt mindset switches on and I was feeling great. The gap to the bunch was growing and growing as I came around to get two to go. Two more people were halfway across the gap to me but I thought I might as well keep going.

Out front alone about to get one to go…

Out front alone about to get one to go… about to lose his chain!!!

However… coming around to get the bell I shifted down for the descent and a all of a sudden I couldn’t pedal. The chain had come off the derailleur and gotten jammed (at least it wasn’t because of track standing this time!). I was on the side of the road less than 5k from the finish with a minute gap over the peleton and I couldn’t get my chain back on. The two chasers flew past. Then not long after the peleton too.  I had actually just begun to think about a victory salute before that happened, you win some you loose some I guess.

In the end the two people bridging to me held off the peleton and finished 1-2 and Mitch did well to get 4th in a very hectic bunch sprint – finishing 6th. I rolled in a few minutes down for a 51st. Although not a great outcome it was a good sign in a quality filed.  Waffles and iced tea after the race made it all better and looking forward to a couple days training before the Zottegem Kermeesse on Sunday.

Maccie finished 35th in the Junior race just behind the main bunch.  Zottegem is next up on for Riley and Mitch on Sunday with eight-laps of a 7.8km loop; while Maccie is hanging out to see if he’s chosen for the team to race Omloop Het Nieuwsblad for Juniors – a 1.14 NAT rated event that’s sure to attract a very strong field from all over Europe. Remember to follow the boys on Insta and check back here for updates on their last 12-days of racing and living in Belgium. Come on Mitch and Maccie… start writing, your Aussie fans want to hear about how you’re going!

Thanks to Rudy Schietecatte for the photos.

  1. Jeanette Berwick says:

    Great descriptive writing a good pics , keep the updates coming boys

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