Archive for the ‘Road’ Category

Just a bit of an inconsistency that’s has been brought to my attention… an issue not so relevant to a lot of junior parents… yet; but it’s likely will be.

When does one age-category finish and another begin?  Is it the 1st of October for ALL disciplines or is that just for track?  I was of the opinion (after seven years in the sport) that come the 1st of October riders moved up a year – either to the next age-category or to the second-year of their existing category.  This is one of the confusing things about the sport for those new to it!  At any rate, seems I was wrong… at least in Victoria.

If I was in South Australia, Tasmania or even Queensland I would have been right… In NSW I would have been mainly right… but Cycling Victoria claim that the CA policy is that you only move up for track on the 1st of October and for road you don’t move up until the 1st of January of the following year.

And guess what… CV is right!  Although the policy is hard to find, it’s not in the Tech Regs but in the By-Laws (wait for the language, it’s hysterical!):

2.18.11  For summer track season competition, all members who are due to change category at the new membership year commencing 1 January of that respective season will compete in that track season in that higher age category from the commencement of that season, being 1 October.

So if that is the CA policy, why is CV the only state enforcing it?  Why are all the other states ignoring/disregarding this policy?  Can I opine that the way the other states are doing it… just makes more sense!  Perhaps they are using this CA by-law as justification:

2.18.09.1  A cyclist may compete in an event of a different age category, older category in the case of junior and younger category in the case of masters, provided such events are approved by CA or a Constituent Association.

The way this is written is even harder to interrupt: aren’t all events approved by CA or a Constituent Association (State Federation)?  Is it the cyclist who needs to ask for approval or does the event seek it on behalf of the cyclist wanting to ride up or down?   I know Cycling SA wrote to CA to seek approval for it’s graduating junior riders to be allowed to ride ‘up’ a year or so back – but that was for a specific group of strong under-17 riders requested back in 2012.

Personally, I’m ambivalent about what the policy is… AS LONG IT IS WELL COMMUNICATED AND CONSISTENT FROM STATE-TO-STATE.  Is that too much to ask?

I actually can’t see any justifiable reason for the age category not to change on the 1st of October for all disciplines.  Someone please come up with a good argument, I’d love to hear it.  It would avoid the confusion and play to the blurring of the line between road and track season.

No one can tell me it’s a health and safety issue – these riders are already pushing the big gears on the track (which has no gear limits).  Most of them are also already riding against the ‘big boys’ and have been for a number of years at the local criteriums – with a lot of the first-year 19’s (or top-year 17’s or whatever you want to call them?) already racing in A-grade.

This is such a ridiculous policy that while a graduating under-19 can’t race in C-grade at the Tour of Bright, on the same weekend they can fly down to Tassie and race shoulder-to-shoulder with Caleb Ewan and Michael Matthews in two criteriums.  That while they can race the MS Wollongong Crit as under-19 on the 1st of November, a few weeks later they’ll have to put their under-17 gear back on for the St Kilda Super Crit.  Madness!

Chris Froome racing in Tassie last year with a couple of first-year under-19's in the background! What an experience!

Chris Froome and Richie Porte racing in Tassie last year with a couple of first-year under-19’s in the background! What an experience for them!

Now I realise CA has had a bit going on over the past year or so and that reviewing this policy probably sits below sock-height in priority, but it should be an easy fix… or maybe it doesn’t need to be fixed, only interrupted consistently by state federations?

The only reason CyclingDad got involved in this was because other cycling parents asked the same question last year and were simply told: that’s the way it is… and that’s not a good enough answer IMO.  Love to hear your thoughts?

When the start lists for the CA Junior Road Nats ITT came out today, CyclingDad received a number of emails and messages about the seeding – or perceived lack thereof.

Now CyclingDad doesn’t like to do negative posts, so I’ll try and do a constructive post to hopefully improve this process for next year and beyond.

I was sent some correspondence with CA from a ‘concerned parent’ that questioned the seeding for the weekend and how it was arrived at.  The correspondent in question was quite calm and reasonable in his argument that CA got the seeding pretty wrong.  He was also thankful that the powers that be within CA actually responded to his questions in a timely manner and attempted to explain how it seeded the riders for the ITT.

Cutting and pasting from the email response sent to him from CA:

U15M – Not one of the top 8 from last year is competing in the U15’s this year, so these seeding were given with a ranking for the first 10 and alphabetical for the rest. (CD: But how was the seeding for the first 10 arrived at?)
U15W – The top 3 seeds all finished in the top 10 last year, the next 7 were then allocated alphabetical.
U17W – The top 2 both finished in the top 10 last year, then the next 8 were ranked with 5 of those finishing in the top 8 in the U15W last year.
U17M – The top 4 were the highest place (CD: bottom age) riders in the U17 from last year results (4,7,8,9), then the next 6 were the highest placings from the U15’s last year. 
Common sense and some research would provide a better and more accurate seeding system.  It can't be that hard!

Common sense and some research would provide a better and more accurate seeding system. It can’t be that hard!

Now without going through last year’s results and this year’s seedings, lets take this at face value.  Does this method make any sense?  Does it provide the best seeding outcome?  I guess we’ll find out on Friday afternoon, but at first sight it seems flawed at best… and probably very antiquated – going back to a time before the internet when results weren’t readily available at the click of a button.  Maybe it made sense then.  It makes no sense now!  It was seemingly done this way, because it’s always been done this way.

All of the weighting on the seeding was placed on last year’s nationals.  Oddly it seems that the previous year’s top-age riders – who moved up to a higher age-category (under-15 to under-17) – are rated significantly more highly than the previous year’s bottom-aged riders, now racing top-age in that same category… if that makes sense??  And it doesn’t.  Especially with the introduction of the much bigger jump in gear size.

The biggest example of how badly this current seeding method has failed is to look at the JM15s, where Graeme Frislie (VIC) hasn’t been seeded.  Now Graeme won the ITT at the Shepparton JT in June, on the same course and against many of the seeded riders in the JM15 category.  Graeme won his state ITT title against all of the 10 Victorian riders that have been seeded for nationals, while he hasn’t.  Every man and his dog who has followed junior cycling this year knows Graeme will start as one of the favourites this weekend in all three of the disciplines he competes in.  Simply; because the existing process didn’t seed Graeme IT IS FLAWED.  End of story.  And needs to be fixed.

There are many other similar arguments that could be made around well performed riders from this season that didn’t get seeded.  Who cares?  Well I think some of the riders probably do.  The concerned cycling parent’s email to CA suggests that it’s a slap in the face to the kids who have worked hard all season for zero recognition.

He also suggests that by getting the seeding wrong it opens the result up more to the vagaries of the weather.  The example he uses is Braden O’Shea (SA) – who should have been seeded in the top-five in the JM17’s given his results this year.  Now Braden starts over an hour before the top-seeds in his ITT.  What if the wind is blowing it’s guts out when he starts and then dies to a whisper an hour later?  Looking at the timing, it’s probably more likely to go the other way, where Braden gets the better conditions than the later starters.  Neither outcome is fair and with better seeding could have been avoided.

CA argues it doesn’t have the resources to go through all the results and rank riders.  Without an ongoing national ranking system, as used in so many other countries is one solution, it would take all of a day to look at the results of all the state champs, Buffalo and maybe the leading junior tour in each state to work out who-who in the zoo.

Easier still, ask the Team Managers to seed their best four riders, then draw the state starting order out of a hat and presto, you wouldn’t get it as wrong as it currently is, at least arguably the top 24 riders would be the last 24 to start.

Will the best rider win regardless?  Probably and hopefully!

And does it all really matter?  Probably not, but if it can be improved, why don’t we improve it?

Wishing you all a safe trip to Shepp, good health to the riders and no crashes for the whole weekend.

CyclingDad

State teams are selected…  Entries are closed…  Tapers have begun…

There are over 90 entries in the JM17 category and over 50 in the JM15.  Add in over 55 young ladies in the 15 and 17 categories and it’s shaping as a big junior road nats.

First up Friday is the ITT.  A rolling dead out-and-back course that is likely to have a nasty cross wind – probably slightly helping one-way and hurting the other.  Pacing is pretty important with a lot of the riders coming back in after the Shepparton Junior Tour, on the same course, reporting blowing up half-way home.  The under-15’s have 10km, while the under-17’s must suffer for 15kms.

It looks like there are three standouts in the JM17’s with SA’s Liam Nolan, Vicrtoria’s Godfrey Slattery and WA’s Craig Wiggins looking strongest.  Nolan and Slattery have had a ding-dong battle this year, each beating the other in the lead-up.  It was Nolan who took the honours at the Shepparton Junior Tour, but only by a handful of seconds.  While Wiggins, hidden away in the west, has outstanding performances in past Nationals including being the best placed first-year last year and beating all-comers to win the under-15 crown the year before in Wagga.  Other notables likely to be in the mix include Mitch Wright, Riley Hart, Sebastian Berwick, Braden O’Shea, Cooper Sayers and Stephen Cuff.

In the under-17 women, big favourites for the ITT include WA’s Jade Haines, NSW’s Natasha MullanyEmily Watts and Chloe Heffernan along with Queensland’s Alexandra Martin-Wallace.  Throw in SA’s Maeve Moroney-Plouffe, Victorian’s Georgia O’Rourke and Sarah Gigante and Tassie’s Morgan Gillon and we’re set for a right old fight.

Favourites in the under-15 men include Shepperton JT winner and Track Champion-of-Champions, Graeme Frisle (VIC) along with NSW’s Will McClennon (who won his State title by 45-seconds over Luke Ensor).  Throw in James Moriarty (QLD) who won the hotly contested Canberra JT along with Tasmanian Eddie Calvert and WA’s Sebastian Barrat and it’s probably the hardest age-category to pick the podium.

In the under-15 girls all eyes will be on SA’s Olivia Wheeler, a dominant winner in the ITT at the Shepp JT. Then look to Laura Berwick (ex-QLD now NSW), Amelia Miles (ACT), Chloe Hollingsworth (NSW) while the Bradbury sisters, Neve and Isla will fly the local hopes.

Day two sees the road races; interestingly run in the anti-clockwise direction.  When run this way as a stage in past Shepp JT’s we’ve always seen a much reduced group finish compared to when the loop is run in a clockwise direction (as it was at this year’s Shepp JT).  It seems to be a mix of the longer uphill drag and the wind.  Let’s hope that’s the case as I don’t think many cycling parents would be looking forward to big bunch sprint finishes!

Favourites are probably the same as the above listed riders.  Maybe throw in some good bunch races (those able to hold position) and fast finishers.  It’ll be interesting to see how the the state team riders cope with riding as a team.

It’s probably worth looking at which teams are strong enough to actually benefit from racing as a team.  In the JM17’s it’s SA, Victoria and perhaps NSW.  If we see a strong rider from each of these teams in a break it may well be a good break to be in.  If these three teams aren’t chasing then who will?

In the JW17’s NSW looks the strongest team although Haines is definitely the strongest individual rider.  It is likely this will be more a race of attrition with the strongest girls contesting the finish. Keep an eye on Laura Jones (NSW) who has made a habit of winning road races this season.

In the JM15’s it’s a much more even contest.  Also their smaller gears will make it hard for anyone of any significance to get away.  The same can be said of the JW15’s, which it likely to again come down to a sprint from a small bunch.

The criterium is an interesting one.  After last year’s super smooth flowing course in Toowoomba, which saw crashes aplenty, this course is hopefully slightly more selective.  Being bumpier and narrower in places we won’t see riders six-wide like they were at Toowoomba, and the little pinch of a hill every lap will eventually have an effect on those just hanging on.

The 'little pinch' on the back straight of the DECA crit course. Not much to look at, but the legs will start hurting if the pressure comes on.

The ‘little pinch’ on the back straight of the DECA crit course. Not much to look at, but the legs will start hurting if the pressure comes on.

I think it’s a good move to reduce the number of finalists in the junior men’s categories – 36 for both, down from 50 in Toowoomba!  With three heats for the JM17’s that’s just the top 12 getting through (while the top 18 get through from the JM15’s two heats).

Let’s hope there is a lot less carnage than last year where bodies and bikes were both broken across seven crashes in the criteriums.  Good news is it’s logistically a very good place for a crit with lots of bitumen to set up your marquees etc.

DECA is blessed with good set-up and viewing options. Bring some shelter though if it's sunny… or rainy!

DECA is blessed with good set-up and viewing options. Bring some shelter though if it’s sunny… or rainy!

Well, that’s about it.  Kids: eat well, sleep well and make sure your bikes are all in tip-top shape; parents… do the same and remember to remind the kids it’s not about the results – there can only be one winner in each race – it’s about how they perform against their own goals going in.  Safe travels and see you all in Shepparton.

CyclingDad

PS> Long range weather forecasts look good – although this Victoria!  Only downside is not much wind being forecast at this stage.

Only a week left to enter what’s shaping as a fine climax to the junior tour road season.  The Centrals Junior Tour is one of CyclingDad’s favourites and is a perfect lead-in event to Junior Nationals.  It’s also one of the few events where the parcours suits all styles of riders with stages for sprinters, climbers, time trialers and rulers.  It’s one of the safest and best organised junior tours in the country to boot!

With over 50 riders already committed, including over 20 junior women, the tour looks set to provide a field befitting it’s grand history.  There are some local hitters in the field across most age-categories, so interstate visitors will be in for a challenging tour.  There are already a dozen riders coming from Victoria with entries from NSW and the NT also adding to the depth.

What'd I tell you about the coloured helmet covers... I think it looks cool!?!

Last year the tour moved it’s base to The Company Store in Angaston – so mum and dad can enjoy fine food and wine while the kids race!  It’s a perfect set up.

So get on it kids… tell mum and dad they’re spending a weekend in the Barossa Valley… how could they refuse?  Plus, as an added bonus, you get to wear one of the uniquely SA coloured helmet covers – something not to be missed!

Interstaters can also contact John Kelly if they want to see if they might be able to snare billeted accommodation.

You’ll find a link to enter the tour here; and all the info, including course maps, right here.

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.