Archive for the ‘News’ Category

After my call for contributions a month or so back I had a cycling parent send me a blog post about Junior Worlds – more from the perspective of those kids that don’t go and what the options are for them.  Some interesting thoughts, feel free to add yours in comments section.

Before I post it though, CyclingDad wishes all the kids competing in the Junior Track Worlds which start overnight (Aussie time) in Kazakstan.  Australia has a long tradition of exceeding a these championships and the team we sent will no doubt do our country and themselves proud.  It is a big commitment to go, both financially and from a schooling/time management point-of-view… wishing them good health and good legs for the days ahead.

It must feel pretty special to pull on the green and gold skinsuit… good luck to the team representing Australia over in Astana, Kazakstan at the Junior World Track Championships.

It must feel pretty special to pull on the green and gold skinsuit… good luck to the team representing Australia over in Astana, Kazakstan at the Junior World Track Championships.  Thanks to CA for the image.

If you’re interested in following our junior team here’s a link to the results.

Thanks to the cycling parent who sent this quite topical blog piece in:

On the eve of the Junior World Track Championships kicking off in Kazakhstan, it seems like a good time to look at the event and what it does or doesn’t mean to our young riders.

This is only my opinion but I believe one that is shared by many, and an issue that could be playing a factor in the future of track cycling in Australia. We need to find a way to keep our young riders in the sport of track cycling and not make them feel that it is the end of the road if they are not selected for Junior Worlds.

I am going to use the British junior team as an example here as this is the only country of which I have knowledge on how their system works. And before I start, yes I am aware that population and our location plays a key factor, however there is room for improvement.

From the moment my teenager started racing at the age of 14, we have been surrounded by ambitious riders desperate to make selection for Junior Worlds when they reach U19. This is a major focus event, but for many it is not an option for varying reasons; whether it be ability or in fact even a financial issue. For those that want to go, and get selected, then it is fantastic but for those that don’t go there are often reasons why not, and its not necessarily their ability or lack thereof. Some riders have different goals which include longer-term goals rather than short-term results. I applaud these riders that are mature enough to look at the bigger picture and plan for a lengthy future on the bike.

For these riders, there are other pathways. For the females in particular I urge you to read a recent article by Chloe Hosking on her own particular pathway (road) which was very much an alternative one, she is one very determined and inspirational female rider. http://cyclingtips.com.au/2015/05/chloe-hosking-on-alternate-pathways/

In recent years we have seen much success by our young Australian riders at Junior Worlds but we have also seen the negative fallout in riders giving up the sport upon their return or soon after (CD: I did a story on this a year or so ago which received some outstanding comments and is worth a read) . At the same time we see riders that didn’t get selected also give up as they see no pathway ahead due to their non-selection. Wrong… there is always a pathway, you just have to find it.  Road or track, where there’s a will there’s a way.

Here’s an interesting fact, the British have not sent a team to Junior Track Worlds for the last two years. Why? You may ask, not because of lack of funds and certainly not due to lack of talent. The simple answer is (and I have this from a British team member) the emphasis of the British is on developing Britain’s young riders for future long-term success.  In other words they do not place as much emphasis on Junior Worlds as we do here in Australia.  I am guessing that that here it is in part due to the structure of funding (maybe this needs to be reviewed).  My teenage rider is fortunate enough to have dual citizenship so gets the opportunity to ride at the British Nationals on both the road and track and has already done so in 2013.

I also think that parents can play a role in the future of their teenager’s cycling ambitions, let them find their own pathways without pressure, but be there to support them when and if they need it.

In summary, if you, the rider, has the drive and ambition but don’t get the opportunities via the more popular and obvious avenues available on the track and the road, find your own pathway!  There’s one out there for each and everyone of you, you just have to find it.  And when you find that pathway, enjoy the journey.

Happy Riding!!

Thanks again cycling parent, you make some good points.  At the end of the day there only 15 riders chosen to represent their country at Junior World’s each year… that leaves a lot that aren’t selected.  Take a look at the current list of Australian pros riding at the pinnacle of the sport at the moment (Pro-Conti, World Tour and Women’s Tour) and less than a fifth represented Australia at Junior Track Worlds… they seem to have found a suitable alternate pathway to the top.

Take a look too at the seven under-23 riders riding for Australia’s Jayco AIS Academy at the moment and only two of the seven raced Junior Track Worlds… so five of those riders also seem to have found a way to keep their dream well and truly alive.  The same can be said for the women’s High5 Development Team with only two of the nine riders having competed at Junior Track Worlds.

We’re set for a bumper edition of the Victorian State Junior Road Championships this weekend.  We’ve got an amended (and better) course and a not to be missed official dinner on the Saturday night to present ITT Medallists and State Junior Aggregate winners.  If you haven’t booked your tickets – best do so now… follow the links on this page.  You can request to sit with your fellow club mates too!

The profile of the ITT course can be found here while distances can be found on the CV event page.  While it looks harmless enough, speaking to locals suggests it is a challenging out-and-back course.  A good road surface but it is one of those dead country roads that gives you nothing… it’ll feel like riding in sludge coming home that last 1.5kms.

It starts out easy enough with a 1.5km downhill, then pretty flat to the turnaround (there’s another bit of rise for the under-17s and under-19 riders but nothing to write home about).  It’s coming home where the damage is likely to be done and especially the last 1.5km uphill drag.  Saturday morning wind shouldn’t hurt too much.  Forecast for between 10 and 14kmph and coming from the north turning to NW – so a cross wind on your right going out – maybe hurting going out for the later riders (but that means helping coming home!).

It looks like a course for the stronger rider – someone with some bulk and a good aero position.  Pacing will be important.  I think it will provide a list of ‘predictable’ winners with Eildon and Ararat probably a better guide than Shepparton.  But we’ll see – health (not having a cold) and form will play a big part.

One question I’ve been pondering is where do State Champs sit in the whole pecking order of importance?  Especially with Nationals in Victoria this year and the ability for individuals to enter Nationals (unlike Junior Track Nationals where the only way to race is to be selected on your state team).  I think we’re seeing a little of that ‘doesn’t matter too much’ mentality with the lack of support and depth in under-19 entries (just 25 men and six women compared to 44 and ten in the under-17s).

Ask a coach how hard it is to peak for States and then peak for Nationals six-weeks later and the answer is… IMPOSSIBLE!  So who wants to be going well now any way?  It’s a tricky balance…

All that being said, it should still be a great honour to win a state title.  Maybe CV needs to up the ante a little.  Offer the winners the chance to wear the #1 dossard in their age-category for next season or the ‘Big V’ jersey as State Champion.  The problem here is that winners are usually top-age and effectively move up to the next age-category three-weeks after Nationals.  The awarding of ‘Big V’ jersey might be a nice touch though – for posterities sake – or do what Belgium does and give the first bottom-age rider the jersey to wear for next year?

I digress some: back to the Victorian Junior Championships…

The road race is an amended loop to previous years.  Still one loop for the under-15s, but now two full loops for the under-17 women and three full loops for the under-17 men and under-19 women and five for the under-19 males… but get this… the course is run in the opposite direction to previous years!  Which makes sense from a traffic management point-of-view – to keep turning left – but no one has ever raced it that way!  Interestingly, CV hasn’t opted to enforce the new CA Junior Policy of equal distance for male and female riders of the same age category.

On the profile, Taminick Gap looks slightly longer with slightly steeper sections going this new way around… making it slightly harder!  Especially for the older age categories doing multiple loops.  The finish is about 7km from the bottom of the Taminick Gap descent and will likely be fast and mostly with the wind… so it will be difficult to get back on if you’re off the back on the last climb before the finish.

Taminick Gap is a serious climb and we're sure to see the peloton splinter, particularly on the ramps at the top.

Taminick Gap is a serious climb and we’re sure to see the peloton splinter, particularly on the steep ramps at the top.

The descent going this way is also a lot more of a technical descent so it will advantage good descenders, who could potentially put more time into/make time up on those less skilled at going down hill.

The finish looks like it’s an up hill drag of a sprint – the great thing is, it’s a much fairer finish than previous years where first or second into that dodgy saleyards corner was the winner… so a good outcome there.

Should be a fun weekend although with forecast lows of 1 or 2-degrees in the morning, make sure you bring warm gear with you.

Good luck to all competitors.

Maccie arrived home last night and has written a terrific summary of his trip which I’ve posted below.

The other boys have headed to Paris to watch the final stage of the tour… and enjoy the odd crepe!  Riley and Mitch had their last race last night with a second to Riley, following home a new mate he made on the trip for a Vertex 1-2… nice way to finish!  Mitch got rolled-out at this race (something that apparently doesn’t happen too often over there) and unfortunately rolled over… so no racing for him.

Back to Maccie… enjoy the below read:

Here I am sitting on the plane in Brussels, waiting for my flight to take off.  It seems like yesterday that we arrived but wow what an amazing experience I have had.  After 19-days of staying in the caring hands of Gregg Germer (Chainstay) and Tim Redus (Vertex), I will take away an experience that I will never forget.  Racing in Europe has been my dream ever since I started watching Le Tour.

I knew the riding in Belgium was going to be hard, and it was!  The bunches where bigger, in one case over 170 U19 riders, and yes, the risk of crashes was higher.  I had my ups-and-downs over the 19-days but by far my greatest ‘up’ moment was a local club Kermesse in a small quaint town called Gavere, 15kms from Oudenaarde (my home for three-weeks and the finish for the famous Ronde Van Vlannderan).  It was at the end of my first week at Chainstay so the fatigue of racing three times a week hadn’t really hit by that stage.

Big bunches amongst the juniors meant very different racing than in Australia.

Big bunches amongst the juniors meant very different racing than in Australia.

I put up a short race report a few weeks ago, but for those that are interested, here is a slightly longer version:  It was a pretty overcast day, very misty and likely that there would be torrential rain again (classic Belgium weather).  I had some idea on Belgium racing having already raced two kermesses, but I didn’t know how my body would react to such an aggressive race the day before.

Having a crack… that's what it's all about!

Having a crack… that’s what it’s all about!

As we were lining up to get the whistle I was ¾ of the way down the field (not the best place to be), but as the whistle went I found my bearings and made my way towards the front.  At this point we hadn’t even finished the first lap but I felt that I could go with the break today (somehow I had great legs), as I was positioned about 8th wheel I was ready for the attacks to come thick and fast… and they did.  I found myself getting boxed in when the initial 11 man move went away and really couldn’t do anything for a good lap and a half, until I found myself 2nd wheel behind new friend and team mate Mateo Sanchez. As the road started to rise I made my move to close the one-minute gap (I thought I could bridge on my own, it was just a matter of kicking hard enough to not get the whole field on my wheel).

It took me 8.5kms to close the gap, but by the time I got there I couldn’t really recover seeing as the Belgians looked around and said in Dutch “who’s this kid and where did he come from?”, From there on I was marked by the Belgium’s, I guess not knowing who I was came as the biggest threat to my break away compatriots, as soon as I got to the break I knew who to mark and it came as no surprise, especially as he rode for Young Telenet Fidea Cycling Team (one of the biggest and strongest junior teams in Belgium).  His name, Eli Iserbyt – he is the current European and Belgian Cyclocross Champion and also current Belgian National Road Race Champion, anyway back to the race, as soon as I got to break I was ordered to start working straight away but with a break of 12 riders the turns weren’t very long which was comforting.

A kermesse - courses were between 6 and 11km long and usually included some hills as well as a pass through the hosting town.

A kermesse – courses were between 7 and 11km long and usually included some hills, some fields as well as a pass through the hosting town.

You could say positioning is key in the peloton to avoid crashes, flats etc but it’s even more important when you’re in a break, especially in Belgium, I was at the back having a gel when Eli and one other attacked, I didn’t even know until it was too late, I tried to do my soloing move again but my legs weren’t going to give a second time, that was race over for the win at least, we were now fighting for the podium, in the end it was a bunch sprint in the break and I just didn’t have the legs, rolling in 8th out of 95 riders, pretty exciting to make the break and then get top 10… couldn’t really ask for more at this point!

In Europe and especially in Oudenaarde racing is chaotic to say the least.  Big bunches, big teams, narrow roads and a lot of junior cyclists who want to win at all cost. The racing is a lot more aggressive than it is back at home, I think partly because of all the teams. I can’t even describe how many attacks there are and how vicious they are, they start at roll out and just when you think the race has settled down after a break away has been caught another rider will attack, it is relentless.

You either attack or you chase down attacks… Maccie chooses to ATTACK!

You either attack or you chase down attacks… Maccie chooses to ATTACK!

The biggest race we did was the Junior Omloop Het Nieuwsblad Interclub Club (IC), it was awesome and one I will never forget, 28 teams, 170 riders, neutral support, team trucks, you name it, it was there, it was real TDF stuff but for an U19 race! For me the race was not to be and I ended up with a disappointing result and not able to finish due to a crash at the 77 km mark, a summersault over another rider on the cobbles ended my race.  Crashes are bound to happen on the cobble sectors (this crash wasn’t my fault) but it is hard to take especially as it was a goal race for me and one I wanted to do well in. To make matters worse, two-days later, another big IC race and another crash that took out a third of the field and left the road blocked which meant that my race was over early again. But, that’s bike racing, it is a lot of hard work, with amazing moments and experiences mixed with a bit bad luck and some disappointment.

To market to market...

It hasn’t all been about racing, I managed to get out and have a few long rides with the team and catch up with some of the Australian NRS riders who are in Belgium at the moment.  We ate frits, watched a bit of the tour while it was still daylight while doing our core exercises and stretching.  It is amazing how quickly the time goes when you do three big races a week and how little spare time you really have.

Part of the fun of the camp was the exploring the Flanders region on bicycle.

Part of the fun of the camp was the exploring the Ardennes region on bicycle.

The camp has been hard, it has tested me physically and mentally, but I would go back in a heartbeat. A big thank you to Tim and The ChainStay, Alex Smyth for the lift to the airport and to CyclingDad for to opportunity to share my story, I hope that it might motivate you to get on a plane and race in Europe, because trust me, it is amazing.  

Race Schedule

Date

Race Location

Classification

Distance (km)

 

Wednesday, 8 July 2015

Brakel

OO

90 km

 

Saturday, 11 July 2015

Herzele

OO

92.4 km

 

Sunday, 12 July 2015

Gavere

OO

95 km

 

Wednesday, 15 July 2015

Opwijk

OO

98 km

 

Thursday, 16 July 2015

Mechelen

OO

90 km

 

Sunday, 19 July 2015

HET NIEUWSBLAD

IC – Nat

120 km

 

Tuesday, 21 July 2015

HOOGLEDE

IC- Nat

111 km

 

Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Zottegem

OO

96.6 km

 
         
       

Post script: We got home and 11.00pm last night and I had a ride this morning to try to clear the jet lag.  IT’S COLD!  I want to go back!

As the boys come towards the end of their adventure, here’s Riley’s report from the nieuwelingers second last race:

Wortegem-Petegem: After some mechanicals, bad luck and illness in my previous few races I came to our second last race of the trip wanting to make up for it and maybe get another win in a very strong field. After the usual early breaks where bought back and the field had thinned from the around 90 starters to about 40 the racing started to heat up.

Trying to get away in an earlier break - this one got bought back after about a lap.

Trying to get away in an earlier break – this one got bought back after about a lap.

With the Belgian national championships next weekend almost all the top guys were out racing for their final hit out before Sunday’s race.  Including the current national champion himself.  Wearing the national champion stripes and donning number one, it’s kind of funny how much everyone else respects him.  When giving him a bit of a bump to get through a gap I got the sense that he hasn’t had that done to him much during his year in the famous black, yellow and red.

Anyway, back to the race.  After coming round to get three to go (18k) I saw a chance to go at the top of the first big climb and I somehow got away without being chased by everyone.  After hitting it through some technical parts of the course I came around to get two-to-go with about a 30-second lead.

Not long after getting away coming up to get two to go.

Not long after getting away on the third last lap… I was feeling great and took the gap out to around 30-seconds.

A bit over halfway though the second last lap Mitch and another Belgium kid bridged and we were working well.

Coming around to get the bell I took a gravel covered corner a little too hot, which wasn’t a good idea.  I lost traction with my front wheel and my back wheel slid and hit the lip of the inside of the road popping into the air and landing… and all of a sudden things became a lot harder!  I went back to the bunch and loosened off my brakes but I could definitely smell something burning and I was pretty sure despite the sensations in my legs, it wasn’t them that smelt.

Back in the bunch I decided despite my lack of handling and rubbing rear brake I may as well try for the bunch sprint.  The reigning Belgium champ got the last laugh launching a perfectly timed attack after the bunch had brought back Mitch and his breakaway companion and he stayed away for the win.

I spotted a gap that moved me right up to the front with half-a-lap to go. What a great position I thought, however I could only enjoy that great position for about five-seconds, before there was a great big bang!  I knew it wasn’t my legs as they still felt fine!

After a tyre goes bang!  And these tyres are pretty tough - Specialized Roubaix 25c - reckon there was a lot of rubbing!

After a tyre goes bang! And these tyres are pretty tough – Specialized Roubaix 25c – reckon there was a lot of rubbing!

The rear brakes had been rubbing on my tyre and I had managed to rip the Kevlar out of the sidewall… another opportunity goes begging. The sag wagon dropped me off at the line and I walked across in 38th.  I probably wasn’t as disappointed as when my chain came off in Opwijk two races ago, as this time it was caused by my own misjudged cornering… 

Mitch winning the sprint for second.  His fourth podium in five races (including two wins)!

Mitch winning the sprint for second. His fourth podium in five races (including two wins)!

Mitch did well to win the bunch sprint for second and an American friend from our house finished 18th.  Hopefully that was my last bit of bad luck for the trip and I’m looking forward to my last race at Borchtlombeek on Saturday.

jens 4

The Belgium champs has won four times during the year he’s worn the national colours.

Maccie is racing tonight – hopefully we’ll get a race report from him.  He’s mainly recovered from his crash at the junior Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and will be hoping for another top 10 finish.

Thanks Riley for the entertaining blog post and may some good luck come your way.

Thanks to Cece DesOrmeaux for the photos.  Cece is a coach on the boy’s camp.

A quick race report from Mitch on yesterday’s win in Zottegem:

After coming off a few great races in Herzele, Opwijk and Parike I new I’d be a marked man and that it would be difficult to get in a break for this reason.

The race started with a neutral section of 95 boys (not that you would know, the pace was so high) and when the neutral zone was finished the race was on.  The course was quite technical with many fast corners and sweeping bends. There were a few hills near the middle of the course that also split the bunch up and was an area for attacks to go.

Mitch 'testing his legs' with a bit of an effort on the steepest climb on the course.

Mitch ‘testing his legs’ with a bit of an effort on the steepest climb on the course.

The first lap I was just finding my feet around the course and when the second of eight laps came I decided to jump twice to look for the reaction of the bunch. Both times the bunch was hot on my heels and it wasn’t until we hit a nice, strong headwind on the third lap that I got a gap, put my head down and got into a tempo for the long road ahead – still with just under 40km to go.

Mitch getting away with three other Belgies, all keen to make the break stick.

Mitch getting away with three other Belgies, all keen to make the break stick.

Two boys from different Belgian teams bridged to me and from the get go I could tell they wanted to stay away just as much as I did.

With three and a half laps to go one of the boys in the group popped and dropped off leaving myself and Kenneth (one of the Belgian riders), and straight away we looked at each other and were both determined to power on. After this we got a time gap of a minute with three laps to go. Kenneth and I kept working really well together and after that the time just kept going up and up.

Just a few laps to go and the break would soon be down to two.

Just a few laps to go and the break would soon be down to two.

On the last climb of the last lap I decided to attack once again and it worked, I got a gap and was solo in which I came across the line 13-seconds in front of Kenneth and 1 minute and 55 seconds in front of the peloton.

I was extremely happy with how I rode the race yesterday and to top it off with a win was unreal. Our next race is in Wortegem-Petegem tomorrow so now it’s time for abit of recovery before what is sure to be another tough race.

Thanks again to our unofficial race photographer Rudy Schietecatte who’s come through with the gold and brought the race alive for us folk back home in Australia.

Fellow Aussie traveller, Riley, had a bit of a shocker feeling achy and suffering headache… just before he pulls out.

Fellow Aussie traveller, Riley, had a bit of a shocker feeling achy and suffering a headache … last rider on the road just before he pulls out.

Next race is tonight at Wortegem-Petegem – apparently the best of the courses the boys will race with two very steep inclines each time around the nine 6.75km laps.  It will be leg-tearing so let’s hope Mitch has recovered from his efforts and Riley from his illness.  Maccie’s next race is Wednesday night our time.

More racing overnight.  Mitch and Riley raced a kermesse at Zottogem, while Maccie was living the dream racing the junior version of Omloop Het Niuewsblad.  Maccie has also contributed a nice little piece about some of what he’s been up to below.

First to our nieuwelingers Riley and Mitch.  They went into the race with plenty of confidence after two wins (and what should have been a third but for a mechanical) in three races.  It soon became apparent however that Riley’s achy body and headache, that he was trying to forget about, wasn’t going to get better with racing… in fact it got worse and he pulled out half-way through.

Mitch still had a couple of the Chainstay guys with him and the boys worked well with Mitch joining the winning move and then attacking to take it solo by 13-seconds to his breakaway companion with a small group back at 1.35 (including new mate Mark from the US who finished 4th) and then the peloton at 1.55.  Hopefully Mitch will give us a race report and let us know how it all unfolded… and hopefully Riley will be right for their next race scheduled for Tuesday at Wortegem.

Maccie was a DNF in Omloop.  He was feeling good but had nowhere to go when a rider crashed in front of him at the 68km mark.  Luckily he somersaulted onto the grass and not the cobbles he was racing on.  Maccie estimated that around 50 of the DNF’s were due to crashes, including one that took out about 20 riders.  He’s ok, a bit of a corked thigh and his hanger was pretty bent, but nothing the Chainstay resident mechanics can’t fix.

In the meantime, here’s a little something from Maccie:

My time in Belgium so far has been unreal and has already exceeded my expectation. From my first race until now, a week and a half later, I have gone from trying to just hang on to the bunch to being confident enough to be able to attack and break away with some of the best cyclists in Europe, including the European and Belgium cyclocross champion.  The racing style is very different with large junior teams attacking early trying to establish breaks. By far the best race so far was Sunday where I was able to bridge a 45sec gap solo to the break and finished a credible 8th.

It has been a great experience with a few big races to come, the race timetable has been pretty full on with three 80 – 110km races a week, so recovery has been an important part of my program. The team has been great with excellent support. I was also  able to ride with a few guys from African Wildlife Safaris a few days ago and showed them how to ride up the Koppenberg :).

Awesome shot of Maccie attacking the Koppenberg.

Awesome shot of Maccie attacking the Koppenberg.

Thanks Maccie for your report.  Well done to Mitch on the win and Riley hopefully it’s nothing serious and you’re right to rip it up on Tuesday.

Another day, another tale from those boy’s in Belgium, but before Mitch tells us about their adventure, here’s a candid shot of the crew relaxing at their home-away-from-home, The Chainstay, in Oudenaarde.

I'm sure those of us in Oz are very jealous of the sun and people going shirtless!!!  Was 1-degree here in Melbourne overnight…. Brrrrrr.

I’m sure those of us in Oz are very jealous of the sun and people going shirtless!!! Was 1-degree here in Melbourne overnight, brrrr!

Right, so back to yesterday’s trip to Gent… thanks for the write up Mitch:

You can tell we’re living the good life here in Belgium when I tell you the in’s-and-out’s of our journey yesterday to Gent. After Sam (who’s 24 and one of the ride leaders) arrived from the second house to meet us at the Chainstay at 11am, he, Riley, John (a junior from the US) and I set off on our way to experience another aspect that Belgium has to offer.

Skies were grey but the rain held off and it was a pleasant 25-degrees.

Skies were grey but the rain held off and it was a pleasant 25-degrees.

We rode along the N60 Highway, screaming along at 45-50km/h the whole way there… thanks to the tailwind of course!

Once we arrived in Gent we found a coffee shop called Makobon, which apparently serves the best coffee in Belgium… and true to its reputation we enjoyed the best coffee we have had over here by far.

So good… coffee like it's meant to taste!  If you get to Gent, get to Mokabon!

So good… coffee like it’s meant to taste! If you get to Gent, get to Mokabon!

We then found a restaurant called ‘Tokyo Sushi’ and as we hadn’t had sushi since we’d been back in Australia that was also a much needed treat. The sushi was so fresh and delicious, I was liking the way this trip was panning out!

The next surprise on our roll through what I believe is the nicest town in Belgium, was a little hole in the wall shop called ‘Australian Home Made Ice-Cream’.  This was made for us, so we had to get some… right!?!  Riley and I both got a big waffle with cookies & cream ice cream on top… Yum!

A little taste of home… now we know that home tastes like cookies and cream!

A little taste of home… now we know that home tastes a lot like cookies and cream!

Before we left, we witnessed some of the amazing attractions that Gent had to offer, we rode through the park that included riding on some pretty sweet mountain bike trails and even stopped in at Plum Bikes which is a vintage bike store that was awesome and featured a collection of racing bikes from yesteryear. Seeing the transformation from these early bikes to our bikes today was pretty cool.

Sign the guest book… see some amazing bikes including from that Greg Lemond used to win a stage of the tour.

Sign the guest book… see some amazing bikes including from that Greg Lemond used to win a stage of the tour.

Insta suggests there were other 'attraction' that the boys appreciated… Gent is a university town after all!

Insta suggests there were other ‘attraction’ that the boys appreciated… Gent is a university town after all!

It was quite a day and as we headed back to the Chainstay along the canal – still a ride we’ll do one morning – we decided it wouldn’t be fully complete without having another stop in at the most amazing bike shop in the world… the BMC Concept Store.

The boys race again tonight (Sunday night) Australian time.  Riley and Mitch at a Zottegem kermesse and hopefully Maccie’s   been selected to race the junior Omloop Nieuwsblad – going on his results, I’d say he would be.

Stay tuned for more bluster from Belgium soon.